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SkyPixel Reveals Winners of its 2018 Storytelling Drone Photography Contest

SkyPixel Contest 2018 Winners

DJI's SkyPixel, one of the world's largest photography and videography communities, has announced the winners of its 2018 Aerial Storytelling Contest. Over 30,000 entries were submitted by professional videographers, photographers, and hobbyists from 141 countries.

The grand prize-winning entry in the photo category, pictured above, was taken in Northern France by Deryk Baumgartner. He used a Mavic Pro to capture the sunbathed Mont Saint Michel monastery, shrouded in a thin layer of fog, and framed with snaking ribbons of water.

?I was sitting on a rock fighting with stubborn wind and thick rain for the whole morning. The sun came up when I was just about to stand up and go home,? Baumgartner said. ?This photo tells a simple story of you and me. Stick to it for a little longer in life when you are just about to fold, the silver lining would often unveil itself.?

In addition to the Grand Prize, First, Second, and Third prizes were awarded to images spanning four categories: Nature, Fun, Architecture, and Sport. A panel of six judges including Ben Nott, ACS, an award-winning cinematographer and Josh Raab, the Director of Instagram at National Geographic, selected the winners with the exception of People's Choice Prize.

To view all the winners, nominees, and People's Choice, for both photography and videography, visit the official SkyPixel Contest 2018 hub.

Hungry hippos

'First Prize' category winner, Nature: Hungry Hippos by Martin Sanchez (@zekedrone)

About the photo: "There's no party like a hippo party" said photographer Martin Sanchez about this top-down perspective, taken in Tanzania, of a group of hippos convening in a small body of water. Sanchez used a DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

Alien footprints

'Second Prize' category winner, Nature: ?????? by ? ??

About this photo: Snow in the Taklimakan desert, located between two mountain ranges in Northwest China, combined with ice formed a unique texture on the lake during the winter. The photographer captured this image at 400 meters AGL with a Mavic 2 Zoom and likened the patterns as "alien footprints."

Nature Engraving

'Third Prize' category winner, Nature: ?Nature Engraving? by ???

About this photo: Using a Phantom 4 Pro in the Utah desert, the photographer used golden hour light, the texture of the badlands, and the icy hues resulting from shadows cast against patches of snow to his advantage.

Flowers on the water

'First Prize' category winner, Fun: ?Flowers on the Water? by Khnh Phan

About the photo: Using a Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, Phan created an aerial perspective of three women methodically cleaning gun flowers, arranged in a circle, for bundling to sell in the markets.

Salt harvest

'Second Prize' category winner, Fun: ?Burden Salt Harvest? by Tu?n Nguy?n

About the photo: Hon Khoi is the largest salt field in Vietnam. Using a Phantom 4 Pro, this nadir perspective fixates on the shadows of workers carrying buckets of salt on one of their daily shifts that range from 3:00 to 7:00 am.

Ducks in black and white

'Third Prize' category winner, Fun: ????? by ? ??

About the photo: A Phantom 4 Pro was used to capture this black and white image containing dozens of white peking ducks clustering around piles of food.

Hong Kong small planet

'First Prize' category winner, Architecture: ?Not a Small HK Island? by Panvelvet

About the photo: Panvelvet used a Phantom 4 Pro to create 43 images of Hong Kong. They were stitched together into a tiny planet sphere, and inverted for a visual effect of a city circling toward a bright orb.

Myanmar temples

'Second Prize' category winner, Architecture: ?Bagan? by Witold Ziomek

About the photo: Bagan used a Mavic Pro to capture the sunrise reflecting off a temple in Bagan, Myanmar.

Golden hour in Macau

'Third Prize' category winner, Architecture: ??????? by ??

About the photo: Golden hour light brightens up the Grand Lisboa hotel in Macau, China. The photographer used a Phantom 4 Pro.

Running through sand dunes

'First Prize' category winner, Sport: ?Running Through the Sand Dunes? by Trung Pham

About the photo: Pham used a Mavic 2 Pro to get an aerial perspective of children running through sand dunes in Phan Rang, Vietnam, early in the morning. The black and white image accentuates the vastness of the dunes in relation to the children.

Shadow skier

'Second Prize' category winner, sport: ?Shadow Skier #5? by Christoph Oberschneider

About the photo: A Mavic 2 Pro was used to capture a lone skier gliding down a slope in Austria.

Hammer throwing

'Third Prize' category winner, Sport: ?Throwing IT to the Moon? by Taavi Purtsak

About the photo: Purtsak used a Mavic Pro and set the shutter speed at 1/2500s to freeze the motion of Estonian hammer throw champion Kati Ojaloo mid rotation.

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US Supreme Court rejects request to hear 'Jumpman' copyright suit against Nike

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Jacobus 'Co' Willem Rentmeester's copyright case involving the Nike 'Jumpman' logo, the high court has announced. The reason for the court's decision remains unclear, but it leaves in place the 2018 ruling by an appeals court that found Nike hadn't infringed upon Rentmeester's image copyright with its iconic 'Jumpman' logo.

The legal matter began in 2015 when Rentmeester filed a copyright lawsuit against Nike over its 'Jumpman' logo featuring a silhouette of athlete Michael Jordan. The logo was based on an image of Michael Jordan produced by Nike in 1985, which was itself allegedly based on an image Rentmeester took of Jordan as a freelancer for Time Magazine. The two images, while expressing the same idea, are different.

Nike had originally paid Rentmeester $150 to license two of his 35mm transparencies featuring Jordan. Following that, the company paid Rentmeester $15,000 for a two-year license to use its own image based on the one Rentmeester took after he threatened litigation. In 1987, Nike then created the Jumpan silhouette logo based on its Michael Jordan image and it has used that logo in the years since.

Rentmeester's January 2015 copyright infringement lawsuit was rejected by a federal court in Portland, Oregon, in June 2015. According to that court, Nike's image presented a different expression of the idea behind the two images and copyright law only protects the expression of ideas.

The legal spat went to an appeals court, which ruled in 2018 that Nike's image didn't infringe upon the protected expression in Rentmeester's image. The appeals court stated that the subject's pose cannot be copyrighted, which would prevent other photographers from taking images of the person striking the same pose. Elements like shutter speed, camera angle, and timing all contribute to the expression of the idea in Rentmeester's image, the court said.

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Huawei P30 Pro features super-wide-angle, 5x optical zoom and ISO 409,600

One year after launching the P20, Huawei has announced its new P-series high-end smartphone models: the P30 and P30 Pro. As usual, the Chinese manufacturer is at the forefront of smartphone camera development and the P30 Pro in particular has some real innovation to offer in the camera department.

The top-of-the-line device comes with a triple-camera setup (Huawei calls it a quad-camera, counting the time-of-flight (ToF) sensor), covering a focal length range that has previously been unheard of on a smartphone. The primary camera features a 1/1.7 40MP quad sensor that puts out 10MP images. The optically stabilized lens comes with an 27mm-equivalent focal length and F1.6 aperture. If you want to go wider there is also a 20MP 16mm-equivalent super-wide-angle option but the P30 Pro's real highlight is the stabilized 5x (125mm-equivalent) periscope-style tele-camera with folded optics.

Huawei P30 Pro

The concept is very similar to OPPO's prototype zoom system and allows for a much longer reach than would be possible with a conventional lens in a thin smartphone body. In addition Huawei also uses clever software algorithms to further enhance the P30 Pro's zoom performance. In combination with a super resolution algorithm which merges several RAW frames into one high-resolution image that is then cropped to produce a zoomed image, a maximum zoom factor of 50x can be reached.

During the presentation Huawei CEO Richard Yu also put a lot of emphasis on the the cameras low light capability, claiming a maximum ISO of 409,600 and the capability to capture well-exposed images in near darkness (1 Lux). This is made possible through the use of an RYYB sensor in the primary camera. According to Huawei the chip is 40 percent more light sensitive than a conventional RGB sensor. Combined with OIS and a fast F1.6 aperture the new Huawei should be one of the best performing smartphone cameras in low light we have seen.

...the new Huawei should be one of the best performing smartphone cameras in low light we have seen

There is also an improved portrait mode that creates a background-blurring bokeh effect. A first depth-map is created using data from the super-wide and primary cameras. It is then refined with the help of the ToF-laser that can precisely measure subject distance in all light conditions. Other imaging innovations include adaptive frame rates in video mode - the camera shoots at 60fps in bright light and with camera motion and reduces to 30fps in lower light or when the camera is held still - and HDR video recording on the front camera.

Other key specs include a Kirin 980 chipset, 8GB RAM, a 6.47-inch display with minimal bezels and FHD+ resolution as well as a 4,200mAh battery with fast charging. The Huawei P30 Pro is available from today but unfortunately isn't quite a bargain. Pricing ranges from 999 ($1130) Euros for the 128GB version. You'll have to invest 1249 Euros ($1410) for the 512GB top-of-the-range model.

Huawei P30 Pro key camera specifications:

  • Triple-camera setup
  • Primary: 40MP, 1/1.7-inch quad sensor; F1.6 aperture, OIS, 27mm-equivalent
  • Tele: 8MP sensor, folded optics with F3.4 aperture, OIS, 125mm-equivalent
  • Super-wide: 20MP, F2.2 aperture, 16mm-equivalent
  • PDAF/Time-of-flight (ToF) autofocus
  • LED flash
  • 32MP front camera, 26mm equivalent, F2 aperture, HDR video
Huawei P30

The P30 is the Pro version's mode affordable cousin. In the camera department it lacks the 5x optical zoom and comes with a similar camera setup to last year's Mate 20 Pro. The primary camera uses the same sensor as the Pro but has to make do without an OIS system. The super-wide comes with a lower 16MP resolution and the conventional tele 'only' offers an 80mm equivalent focal length.

Other differences include a smaller 6.1-inch OLED display and a lower capacity 3650 mAh battery. The Huawei P30 comes with 6>GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and will set you back 799 Euros ($900).

Huawei P30 key camera specifications:

  • Triple-camera setup
  • Primary: 40MP, 1/1.7-inch quad sensor; F1.8 aperture, 27mm-equivalent
  • Tele: 8MP sensor, F2.4 aperture, OIS, 80mm-equivalent
  • Super-wide: 16MP sensor, F2.2-aperture, 16mm-equivalent
  • PDAF/Time-of-flight (ToF) autofocus
  • LED flash
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The Sony RX0 II offers internal 4K/30p recording, improved Eye AF and a flip-up LCD screen

Sony has announced the RXO II, an ultra-compact camera that packs a lot of tech and specs into tiny device that's roughly the size of a GoPro camera.

At the heart of the second-generation device is a 1"-type Exmor RS CMOS sensor, powered by Sony's BIONZ X image processing engine that features a sensitivity range of ISO 80-12800. The camera uses a 15.3-megapixel crop from a 20MP sensor.

In front of the sensor is a ZEISS Tessar T* 24mm-equivalent F4.0 fixed wide-angle lens that has a minimum focusing distance of 20cm. The device measures 59mm x 40.5mm x 35mm and weighs just 132g. Its ruggedized frame keeps the internals waterproof down to 10m (32.7ft), shockproof up to 2m (6.5ft), crushproof up to 200KG of force and rustproof.

One of the most interesting additions is an updated LCD screen that tilts upward 180-degrees, downward 90-degrees and even works underwater. This addition will be a welcomed addition for vloggers and the selfie-obsessed, but it should also prove useful when trying to get footage in hard-to-reach situations.

The RX0 II features internal 4K/30p internal recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. Sony says 'by oversampling this data, the appearance of moir and jaggies is reduced to deliver smooth, high-quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.' The camera also features high frame rate filming at up to 1,000 frames per second, uncompressed 4K HDMI output and simultaneous proxy movie recording. The RX0 II includes Picture Profile, S-Log2 and Time Code / User Bit functions for maximum post-production latitude.

On the photography front, the RX0 II includes an anti-distortion shutter up to 1/32,000th of a second and a maximum burst speed of 16 fps. Sony has improved the color reproduction from the original RX0 and included an optional Soft Skin Effect that can be used when taking portraits to help minimize blemishes.

Below is a sample gallery of images provided by Sony:

Sony has also improved the Eye AF functionality of the RX0 II. Like the firmware version 5.0 update for the Sony a9, the RX0 II will now lock-on to the eye of a subject when the shutter is half-pressed.

Up to five RX0 II cameras can be synced together and controlled wirelessly using Sony's Imaging Edge Mobile app. If five cameras isn't enough an upcoming access point, due for a Summer 2019 release, will be able to control between five and fifty cameras at once. The RX0 II is also compatible with the Camera Control Box CCB-WD1, which is able to control up to 100 cameras.

The RX0 II will ship in April 2019 and be available at authorized Sony retailers for $700 / CAN$900.

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Review: Langly Alpha Globetrotter Backpack is more style than substance

Langly Alpha Globetrotter backpack
$249 | Langly.co

Langly's Alpha Globetrotter Backpack.

It seems that nostalgia for classic designs continues to be an obsession in the photography world and beyond. Cameras like the Nikon Df and much of Fujifilm's X Series exemplify this. It's no surprise that this same retro-ism has found its way to camera accessories ? a perfect example of this is Langly's Alpha Globetrotter backpack (hereafter referred to as "The Alpha")

The Alpha is a bit like if your average front-loading Lowepro backpack had a baby with a classicly-designed Fjallraven backpack ? and this cross-over comes with a high price tag. You can pick Forest Green for $249 or Slate Black with either Brown or Black leather trim options for $269.

Key specifications:

  • Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8in /45 x 29.5 x 20cm
  • Weight: 4lbs / 1814g
  • Water resistant, TPU-coated canvas exterior
  • Waterproof zippers
  • 15in Laptop Sleeve
  • Gear storage for DSLR body and 3-5 lenses (lens size dependent)
  • 3 exterior pockets with pin-buckle snap closures
  • Tripod holding straps on bottom of bag

Compared to Other Bags

The Alpha's price tag puts it in the same bracket as bags like Peak Design's Everyday Backpack and Mindshift's Backlight and Firstlight. Both of Mindshift's bags carry a good deal more gear and have more of an outdoor focus. Despite Langly's outdoor-focused aesthetic, Mindshift's bags win in this category due to similar levels of weather-resistant materials and a harness design more akin to hiking backpacks, including padded hip straps. That said, neither of Mindshift's bags have very solid compartment sections for everyday items.

Alpha's style is really what's going to separate it from other bags

The Alpha's style is really what's going to separate it from other bags. Classic and retro are the ideas here; if that's not your thing and you like a more technical/futuristic design, then look to Peak Design's Everyday Backpack or Tenba's DNA 15 Backpack. The Peak Design bag is essentially the same price and offers a bit more storage between its side panels and expandable top compartment. Meanwhile the Tenba also has an expandable top compartment, but like the Alpha has a front loading gear compartment and for only $199.

Design and Construction

The lower portion of the bag is the gear storage compartment, the upper portion is for personal items. The Alpha's straps are not as padded as we'd like to see in a premium backpack and hip straps offer no padding.

The Alpha looks a lot like Fjallraven's bags, featuring a single color with a leather-like insignia. Its shape also resembles old hiking backpacks a bit. Make no mistake, it looks good. I actually got a compliment or two on the bag when I was out wearing it. Again, the style is definitely a huge selling point here.

I normally go for black in almost everything, but I enjoyed having something with a solid earth tone like the Alpha's forest green.

The TPU-coated canvas exterior feels sturdy and truly weather-resistant. A flap over the top compartment provides an additional barrier to keep water out, though it feels somewhat redundant. The two main zippers (one for the gear compartment and one for the top compartment) are weatherproof, while all the other pockets are enclosed with a pin-buckle system.

The Alpha's pin-buckles snap and lock into place, securing the flaps they're attached to.

The weather-proofing is definitely welcome but while Langly advertises itself as an outdoor-oriented brand, I'm a bit disappointed by the relatively simple nature of the Alpha's harness system. The shoulder straps are only slightly-padded and the hip straps have no padding at all.

Another odd design choice here is the shoulder straps have plastic buckles you can undo, presumably for the purpose of storing them behind the large velcro strap in the middle of the back of the bag. There isn't really any issue here but it seems weird that the shoulder straps are storable but the hip straps really aren't.

Straps, everywhere.

The Alpha also features straps on the bottom to use as a tripod holder (or to hold a sleeping bag ? though I'd be surprised if anyone was taking this on extended hiking adventures). They're definitely useful for their intended function, but with all the other straps for the harness, plus the straps used for the pin-buckles, the Alpha feels way too 'strappy' for my taste. Some people like to have a lot of stuff dangling from their bags and that's fine, but I found it to be distracting and annoying more than anything else.

My basic organization for the gear compartment allowed me to fit a DSLR, four lenses and a flash.

The Alpha includes 6 dividers in 3 different sizes. You likely won't need them all at once.

The gear compartment also feels sturdy and the included dividers do their job. There's not much to note here other than the fact that the dividers don't come installed in any way. If you really like a blank slate to start from you might appreciate this but I definitely prefer to have some kind of organization in place that I can build from, mainly because I found getting the dividers to fit was just kind of a hassle. That said, once they were in there they feel snug and secure.

In use

Despite my gripes with the design of the Alpha, I enjoyed using it. Everything felt secure, the zippers were fairly smooth, and I was able to carry a pretty solid kit plus a book, some snacks, an extra sweater, etc. I was convinced I would hate the pin-buckles but actually found them super satisfying to use and had confidence in their staying locked.

I found the weatherproof zipper plus double pin-buckles for the top compartment flap to be a bit confusing. It works just fine and protects everything but the flap just feels unnecessary. It's made of the same weatherproof material that's underneath, so other than giving the zipper a bit of added protection it's just added weight and bulk.

Comfort-wise, I felt good about wearing this bag for a bit, but I doubt it would be all that fun to lug on a hike

The top flap also makes me think that the top compartment would be expandable, but because of the zipper, it isn't. Granted, it is plenty big for carrying your everyday essentials, so no complaint in terms of size. I'm just hung up on some of these odd design choices that feel counter-intuitive to what Langly seems to be aiming to accomplish with its bags.

The non-expandable side pockets are my least favorite aspect of The Alpha.

Comfort-wise, I felt good about wearing this bag for a bit, but I doubt it would be all that fun to lug on a hike. While Langly is clearly trying to carve out an audience in the outdoor photography community, the Alpha feels pretty lacking when it comes to the sorts of things I'd expect to see in a hiking/shooting backpack.

The only thing about the Alpha I strongly dislike is the design of the side pockets - they're fine for carrying additional items that might not fit in the other compartments. But the flap flops about when using them to carry a water bottle ? they're also too snug to fit larger containers like a 32oz Nalgene. I definitely would have preferred an expandable mesh pocket or something similar with a breathable bottom.

Bottom line

To sum up the Alpha in a simple phrase, I'd choose: 'style over substance'. This bag looks great and would feel extremely appropriate in any #PNW #GetOutside #Adventure -tagged Instagram post, but anyone that's spent a lot of time in the outdoors would know that this bag isn't really any better-suited for that sort of thing than most other camera bags. It feels like it was designed for people to look like they spend time outdoors, rather than being designed for anyone to actually spend time shooting the outdoors.

With that said, that's not such a bad thing. If you're into the style, it feels perfectly at home as an everyday shooting backpack to use in the city as well. It's probably not applicable to anyone shooting real professional stuff (photojournalism, sports, weddings, etc) but for engagement sessions out in the park? Sure. Actor head-shots downtown? You bet. If you like the style of this bag and your gear-carrying needs are pretty straightforward, then it will probably suit you well.

If you're into the style, it feels perfectly at home as an everyday shooting backpack for the city

The design flaws here aren't really deal breakers, they just feel like crossed wires in regards to what's important in a bag. Assuming you're okay with ~$250 of 'looks cool' on your back, get it, but I would at least consider some of the other options listed above if you're looking for something of a different style.

What we like:

  • Looks stylish
  • Sturdy and made from solid materials that feel truly weather-resistant
  • Lots of space to pack gear, personal items in main compartments

What we don't:

  • Pricey
  • Minimal padding on shoulder straps
  • No padding on hip straps
  • Redundant design elements lead to bulk
  • No convenient way to carry a water bottle
  • Too many straps dangling about
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Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.4.6 update brings detect and convert feature for older media files

Apple has pushed out Final Cut Pro X update (version 10.4.6), that adds the ability to automatically detect and convert any legacy media files that will not be compatible with future versions of macOS, as well as numerous bug fixes and improved features.

Last year, Apple began warning its users that older video formats and codecs relying on QuickTime 7 would no longer be supported by future macOS releases due to the 64-bit transition. Though legacy media files remain compatible with macOS Mojave, updating a Mac system beyond Mojave in the future could prove problematic for filmmakers who have content in older formats.

In a note about this potential issue on its website, Apple warns users to convert their incompatible media files before upgrading to the next major macOS version after Mojave. The newly released Final Cut Pro X 10.4.6 simplifies this requirement by detecting and converting these files into a format that will remain compatible with macOS in the future.

In version 10.4.6, Final Cut Pro users who open a library or import content will see a window listing any incompatible media files the software found. Users can immediately convert these files by clicking 'Convert' in the window. Copies of the converted content are created in Apple ProRes format and stored in the library's media storage location. Existing clips in the library are then relinked to the converted files.

There's an exception for Motion projects, however, with Apple warning that Final Cut Pro won't detect incompatible media files in these projects. Instead, users will need to open the project in Motion, after which point a message will appear warning if any incompatible media is present. In that case, the user would need to convert it using QuickTime Player or Compressor.

Media conversion aside, Final Cut Pro X version 10.4.6 brings several relatively minor bug fixes and improved reliability when sharing videos directly to YouTube.

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NBC's Tonight Show filmed its latest episode entirely on the Galaxy S10+ smartphone

There have been iPad commercials shot with iPads and feature films made on iPhones, so why not add a late night television show to the list of jobs smartphones are taking over.

Tonight's episode (March 25, 2019) of NBC's Tonight Show will be shot entirely on a Galaxy S10+ smartphone and its wide-angle camera, a bold move to turn not just 30 seconds into a commercial, but the entire episode.

As you might expect, the show won't be taking its normal format though. Rather than sitting at his desk throughout the evening, Fallon, his accompanying band, The Roots, and a few guests will be taking a tour around his favorite locations around New York City, from The Django jazz club to singing with Conor McGregor at a New York Irish pub, it's very much an on-location shoot designed to showcase the photo and video capabilities of Samsung's latest flagship smartphone.

In an interview with Variety, Samsung's vice president of marketing, Patricio Paucar, unabashedly says the move was done to combat traditional advertising avenues:

'We know consumer attention is being pulled in so many different directions today. It?s really hard to break through the noise and get people to engage in a way that best communicates the benefits of your products.'

In addition to the Tonight Show, Samsung will be showcasing a high volume of commercials for the S10+ across various networks and television shows, including NBC's Today, Bravo's Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, Telemundo's La Vox and E!'s Snapchat show The Rundown.

From the sample video above, the footage looks promising. It'd be interesting to see what's going on behind the camera though and see what sort of rig the camera is arranged on.

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Photo Mechanic 6 launches with 64-bit support, selectable ingestion and more

As promised earlier this month, Camera Bits has released Photo Mechanic 6, a major update to the company's image ingestion software. A free trial is available to download for new users on Windows and macOS, while 'qualified' existing customers can upgrade for $89 USD. A new software license is priced at $139 USD. For users who purchased Photo Mechanic 5 in 2018 will receive a license key for Photo Mechanic 6 for free.

Photo Mechanic 6 brings a large number of big and small improvements, including the previously announced 64-bit support, the ability to ingest images from selection, better image caching, full-screen support for Preview and Contact Sheet windows, and reverse geocoding.

As part of the initial release, Photo Mechanic 6 brings new elements including a new render cache and image gallery exporter. In addition to new features, version 6 also adds improvements to existing tools, including crop, slideshow, and the Find and Replace panel, plus new support for Blu-ray disc burning and much more.

The software enables photographers to rapidly ingest images, organize, and manage them at faster speeds than catalogue-based competitors. Users have the ability to cull, tag, view, organize and export their images from a single application. This is the first major update to Photo Mechanic since the release of version 5 in 2012.

Mac users must be running at least Mac OS X 10.10 or higher to use Photo Mechanic 6; Windows users must be running a 64-bit version of either Windows 7, 8, or 10.

In addition to the release of Photo Mechanic 6, Camera Bits has also announced Photo Mechanic Plus, a premium upgrade version of Photo Mechanic that will include the much-anticipated Catalog feature. A limited beta of Photo Mechanic Plus will be launched on April 22nd to Photo Mechanic 6 owners at no extra cost and will be launched alongside a dedicated forum where beta testers can share feedback.

In Camera Bits' own words, the upcoming Catalog feature 'is an image database for managing large numbers of image files across multiple locations.' After the beta period is over Photo Mechanic Plus will be offered as a paid upgrade over Photo Mechanic 6 at a price that's yet to be announced.

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'Streets in Mind' shows NYC through the eyes of B&W street photographer Alan Schaller

SmugMug Films has released Streets in Mind, its latest film that follows London-based street photographer Alan Schaller around the busy streets of New York City.

The film comes in at five-and-a-half minutes and takes a wonderful look into the life and work of Schaller. As narrator, Schaller explains how he came to be a street photographer after a career in music.

In the words of SmugMug Films, Schaller's 'surrealist, geometric eye reveals the hauntingly intimate beauty which exists in the hustle of every day life in the Big Apple.'

You can find more of Schaller's work on his Flickr photo stream and purchase a print through his online shop.

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CP+ 2019 - Nikon interview: 'The view through the viewfinder should be as natural as possible'

(L-R) Mr Naoki Kitaoka, Department Manager of the UX Planning Department in the Marketing Sector of Nikon's Imaging Business Unit, pictured with Mr Takami Tsuchida, Sector Manager of the Marketing Sector inside Nikon's Imaging Business Unit, at the CP+ 2019 show in Yokohama Japan.

We were in Japan earlier this month for the annual CP+ show in Yokohama, where we sat down with senior executives from several camera and lens manufacturers, among them Nikon.

We spoke with three Nikon executives from the Marketing Sector of Nikon's Imaging Business Unit: Mr Naoki Kitaoka, Department Manager, of the UX Planning Department, Mr Takami Tsuchida, Sector Manager, and Mr Hiroyuki Ishigami, Section Manager of the Product Planning Section IL, UX Planning Department.

Please note that this interview was conducted with multiple interlocutors through an interpreter, and has been edited for clarity and flow. For the sake of readability, answers have been combined.


How do you think the market for full frame mirrorless will evolve?

In terms of hardware, it is likely that mirrorless will catch up with DSLR. But one thing that is a challenge is the time lag of electronic viewfinders. Even though we have a great mirrorless [solution], we cannot beat the optical viewfinder.

For really high-level professional photographers at sports events and so on, I believe that the DSLR will survive. I think there will be a synergy between DSLR and mirrorless, so we can expand the market moving forward.

I hesitate to talk about our competitors, but while Sony only offers mirrorless cameras, both Nikon and Canon offer DSLR and mirrorless, so there are more options for our customer bases. DSLR and mirrorless cameras have their own unique characteristics.

The Nikon Z6 and Z7 feature a high-resolution electronic viewfinder which prioritizes clarity and sharpness over response speed. One of the secrets behind the large, sharp viewfinder image is the complex optical unit behind the display panel, which contains multiple elements including an asphere.

The Z6 and Z7 offer very high resolution finders, at the expense of response speed, compared to some competitors. Why did you make this decision?

There are various factors, however we decided on three main pillars for the Z system. The first pillar is a new dimension of optical performance. The second is reliability, both in terms of the hardware and also the technology, and the third is future-proofing of that technology.

The view through the viewfinder should be as natural as possible

To touch on the first pillar, optical performance, we?re really trying to be the best and provide the ultimate performance of the viewfinder. The view through the viewfinder should be as natural as possible. To achieve that goal we did two things - we focused on the optics, and also on image processing.

With current technology there is always some time lag, it will take some time and if we want to shorten the response time and compromise in terms of resolution, the [experience] deteriorates. Of course, we?ll continue to try to make the response time shorter.

Is it more important for the viewfinder response to be faster in a camera more geared towards speed?

That depends. In the Z7, our first priority was not speed. Therefore, if we were going to launch a camera focused on speed, we?d need to review [viewfinder responsiveness].

What kind of feedback have you received from your Z6 and Z7 customers?

Very similar to [DPReview's] feedback. For people who don't prioritize high-speed shooting, they?re happy with the performance and the portability of the system. In many cases they?ve totally switched away from DSLR.

The Nikon Z6 is a lower-cost companion camera to the flagship Z7, which has already out-sold the more expensive model. According to Nikon, the Z6 has proven especially popular with filmmakers.

Is the Z6 attracting a different kind of customer to the Z7?

When we launched them, we expected that sales would be about 50:50, however the Z6 already has a larger customer base. It?s more price competitive. Video shooters are telling us [the Z6] is very user-friendly, and in the US market, the Film Makers? Kit has become popular.

We?re going to create easier to use and friendlier equipment for photographers that need to do both stills and video

In the future, would you like Nikon to appeal to serious professional videographers and filmmakers?

If you mean Hollywood or television broadcast videographers, we?re not trying to address that segment. However we are targeting freelancers, one-person team kind of videographers - that kind of shooter. That?s the kind of direction we?re going in.

We?re going to create easier to use and friendlier equipment for those photographers that need to do both stills and video. For example, photojournalists, or wedding photographers.

On the optics side, in the S-series lenses we took great care over the video functionality as well, so for example when you zoom the focus stays there, there?s no defocusing, and there?s no change in the image angle when you focus, either.

Do you think that strategy might change in the future?

We?ll keep an eye on the market, and look at the demands of our customers.

Despite the entry of the Z7 into the market, the D850 continues to be a major seller for Nikon, and in some ways remains a more capable camera for professionals.

Do you plan to increase your production capacity, to make F mount and Z mount products in parallel? Or will you scale down production of one line to make room for expansion of the other?

Even though we?ve now launched Z mount into the market, we still have a very robust [F mount] customer base, and a good reputation thanks to our DSLRs, especially products like the D750 and D850. And sales are still very robust.

I want to grow the Z series and D series at the same time - we?re not weighing one against the other. For example, developing Z lenses alongside F-mount lenses will put a lot of pressure on us, so efficiency of production will be very important from now on, because we really want to maintain production and development of both lines in future. When we can, we?ll commonize parts and platforms, and of course we?ll monitor trends in the market, and where the growth is.

Take a look inside Nikon's Sendai factory [August 2018]

Can you give me an example of a new, efficient production process in contrast to an older, less efficient process?

We are really interested in automation, and we?d like to automate so we don?t have to depend [entirely] on human labor. For example, we?d like to have a 24/7 operation in our factories.

Since we launched the Z series, our users have been asking us to apply mirrorless technology to the DX format

Do you think the Z mount will eventually be an APS-C platform, as well as full-frame?

I cannot disclose our plans but for today I can say that since we launched the Z series, our DX format DSLR users have been asking us to apply mirrorless technology to the DX format as well. If we employ APS-C sensors [in mirrorless] maybe the system can be made even smaller. So as we go along, we?ll listen to the voices of our customers.

One of the advantages of the narrow dimensions of the 60 year-old F-mount is that the APS-C cameras that use it - like the D3500, shown here - can be made remarkably small. That will be a harder trick to pull off with the larger Z-mount.

We understand some of the benefits of a short flange back and wide diameter mount, are there any disadvantages?

In comparison to F mount, [when designing lenses for Z] we can really guide the light, even right to the edges of the frame. This gives uniformly high image quality across the whole image area. The camera can also be thinner.

There?s no particular challenge or shortcoming in this kind of design, except that the mount diameter determines the camera?s size. You can?t make the camera any smaller [than the height defined by the diameter of the mount].

Does a shorter flange back distance make the mount and lens alignment tolerances more critical? Is it harder to correct for reflections and ghosting?

Generally speaking, when it comes to alignment, no. But there is more risk of sensor damage in [such a design, with a rear lens group very close to the imaging plane ] if the camera is dropped. So we needed to create a system to [absorb shock] in this instance. When it comes to ghosting, it is more critical, so we have to really reduce reflections. Only by doing this were we able to [make the design of the Z mount practical].

Is there a software component to that, or are you achieving the reduced reflections entirely optically and via coatings?

No software is involved.


Editor's note: Barnaby Britton

Last year was a crucial year for Nikon, and the Z system was a hugely significant move for the company - one on which the future of the manufacturer may depend. Nikon has been careful not to talk about the Z mount replacing the 60 year-old F-mount so much as complementing it, and in our meeting at CP+, Nikon's executives were again keen to emphasize that they see DSLRs and mirrorless cameras co-existing - at least for now.

Clearly though, as they admit, 'mirrorless will catch up with DSLR' eventually. And already, for Nikon, mirrorless has opened the door to a new customer base for the company: filmmakers. While Nikon isn't targeting professional production companies or broadcast customers (not yet - although the forthcoming addition of Raw video is a strong indicator that they'd like to) I get the sense that the Z6 has been more of a hit with multimedia shooters than Nikon perhaps expected. It certainly seems as if sales figures for the 24MP model have come as a bit of a surprise. It's unclear though whether the proportionally greater sales of the Z6 compared to the Z7 are a result of the cheaper model over-performing, or the flagship under-performing in the market.

A mirrorless D5 it ain't, but the high-resolution Z7 is an excellent platform for Nikon's new range of Z-series lenses

The Z7 was always going to be a relatively tough sell at its launch price, with the inevitable comparisons against the incredibly capable and still-popular D850, and the fact that the similarly-specced (and in some ways more versatile) Z6 was coming fast on its heels. Regardless, Nikon clearly sees the Z7 as living alongside its high-end DSLRs, rather than as a replacement model. As the executives said in our interview, 'in the Z7, our first priority was not speed'. A mirrorless D5 it ain't, but the high-resolution Z7 is an excellent platform for Nikon's new range of Z-series lenses, which are at least a generation ahead of their F-mount forebears in terms of optical technology.

We've heard a lot about the benefits of wider, shallower mounts for optical design (and the benefits are real, by the way, especially when it comes to designing wide, fast lenses) but it was interesting to hear about some of the challenges that emerged. Principle among them are the need to reduce aberrant reflections, which can cause ghosting, and the requirement for a robust sensor assembly to avoid damage from impact.

Right now, the Z system is a full-frame system. But in this interview we got the clearest hint yet that this might not be a permanent condition

Judging by Roger Cicala's tear-down of the Z7 last year, it's obvious that Nikon really prioritized ruggedness and 'accident-proofing' in the Z6/7. It turns out that one of the reasons for this focus on build quality is the close proximity of the stabilized sensor not only to the outside world, but also to the rear elements of Z-series lenses.

Right now, the Z system is a full-frame system. But in this interview we got the clearest hint yet that this might not be a permanent condition. Reading between the lines, a statement like 'since we launched the Z series, our users have been asking us to apply mirrorless technology to the DX format' is as close to a confirmation that this is being actively worked on as we'd expect to get from a senior executive. As for how far away an APS-C Z-mount camera is, I wouldn't want to guess.

There's always a chance, of course, that Nikon could go the Canon route and use a totally separate mount for APS-C. I doubt it, but Mr Kitaoka did make the point that the width of the Z-mount defines the size of the camera. And the Z-mount, as we know well, is very wide indeed.

lees verder ...
bron Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)



 
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