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Sony: 'Our company has a vision which is more important than profit alone'

Digital Photography Review - Mo, 11/09/2017 - 15:22

Recently, DPReview was invited to Japan to visit both the Sony headquarters in Tokyo and Sony’s image sensor factory in Kumamoto. The trip was an opportunity to gain some insight into both the philosophy and the technology that underpins the company.

We spoke to both Sony Semiconductor Solutions, the company making the imaging sensors in your cameras and smartphones, and Sony Digital Imaging (DI), the division of Sony Imaging Products and Solutions (SIPS) that makes everything from interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) to action-cams and camcorders, and lenses. Sony Corporation itself, the umbrella above all these groups, has its hands in a number of sectors - from consumer electronics to smartphones to professional services and motion pictures. Sony Semiconductor, as we previously reported, is its own company, which has some interesting implications we learned about through the course of our conversations.

Be the guinea pig

"The electronics industry is constantly searching for new ideas and there are still many products for us to make. If the guinea pig spirit means developing innovative ideas and embodying them in new products, then I think this is an admirable spirit." These are the words of Sony co-founder Masaru Ibuka.

At the Kumamoto sensor factory hangs an image of co-founders Ibuka and Akio Morita arm-wrestling in good spirit.

At the Kumamoto sensor factory hangs an image of a golden guinea pig right below a candid of co-founders Ibuka and Akio Morita arm-wrestling in good spirit. On it these words appear, along with one of the principles set out in the Founding Prospectus: "To establish an ideal factory that stresses a spirit of freedom and open-mindedness, and where engineers with sincere motivation can exercise their technological skills to the highest level."

"If the guinea pig spirit means developing innovative ideas and embodying them in new products, then I think this is an admirable spirit"

More than 70 years later, the ethos of the co-founders still persists in the mindsets of Sony employees. It's evident in everything from the philosophy of Sony Semiconductor and its relationship with other manufacturers to Sony's new flagship: the a9.

Planning innovation: Sony a9

Our testing has shown the Sony a9 to be a formidable camera, not just for stills but also video. At Sony, a new camera like the a9 takes two to three years to develop, we were told. Therefore, the photographic technologies the a9 offers had to be planned for years in advance, not long after Sony introduced the world's first full-frame mirrorless cameras a mere 3.5 years ago. And as we learned during our visit, most of the advancements in the a9 stem from new sensor technologies.

Two to three years ago, how would it have been possible to predict sensor readout speeds that offer autofocus calculations at 60 fps and a fully electronic shutter that is only a stop behind the speed of mechanical shutters? The answer lies in the constant communication between Sony Semiconductor Solutions and Sony DI. And since Sony’s sensor foundry is one of the best in world, providing sensors for everything from cameras and smartphones to security and medical devices, this in-house knowledge and communication is a key advantage.

It takes 2 to 3 years to develop a camera like the Sony a9. Koji Hisamatsu, Mechanical Engineer of the a9, showed us its magnesium alloy body. It offers improved ergonomics and weather resistance over previous models.

Yasufumi Machitani, project leader on the a9, talked to us about the development of the camera. A number of its features, like blackout-free shooting and fast AF/AE calculation, require sensor readout speeds conventionally thought impossible. A stacked BSI-CMOS sensor with integral memory was necessary for these technologies, and the camera division’s awareness of such coming sensor technology years in advance allowed it to plan the a9.

Daisuke Miyakoshi, in charge of the image sensor portion of the product design division, elaborated on this cross-communication: his team is a bridge between Sony Semiconductor Solutions and SIPS (Sony Imaging Products and Solutions), the latter in charge of both product and system design and Sony DI's parent company. The system design department sends new imager proposals to the product design teams making cameras, and together the teams evaluate success and pain points of actual sensor designs.

This information is then used to send new specification formulations to the image sensor development department at Sony Semiconductor. The communication between these three groups allows fine tuning of both sensor and camera.

Product strategy

Sony's product strategy is simple. Imagine a pyramid with three customer types: at the top pros, in the middle high amateurs ('enthusiasts'), and below that consumers. Products are intended to fall within one or span two of these segments.

Rice fields at dusk. Miyama Sansou, Kurokawa Onsen. Photo: Rishi Sanyal
Sony a7R II | 12-24 F4G @12mm | 1/30s, F4, ISO 5000.

Sony believes there is a growing market of pros and enthusiasts, with shrinking demand at the entry level (it’s hard to argue with that, given the death of the compacts and the rise of the smartphone). This brings a higher demand for better performing products, be it in terms of autofocus, speed, resolution or sensitivity. Therefore, Sony says its product strategy is to pack as much available technology into each product as possible, barring hardware limitations, to meet a certain price point. Machitani-san explicitly told us "there is no intention to limit functions of cameras to certain groups". In fact, Sony claims it includes many of these functions - where others might remove them in an effort to segment products - just to see what creatives do with them.

It's a strategy not always taken by other camera manufacturers, but one that makes sense in a post-smartphone era: target customers who want a dramatic step in quality and features from what smartphone imaging offers. It’s not entirely without its issues though. For one, some may find the user interfaces of some Sony cameras overwhelming due to the number of features. Sony is aware of this and constantly iterating - the a9 for example offers an encouraging ergonomic and usability refresh.

Of course, Sony’s own crowded camera lineup can sometimes be at odds with its intended strategy, since Sony is less afraid of cannibalizing itself than other camera companies. Take for instance the short product replacement cycles. Or the almost inevitable focus - since Sony believes in a growing pro and enthusiast market - on full-frame E-mount, which has left the impression among some that Sony is abandoning A-mount1 and APS-C.2 Or the appearance of advanced new technologies in more niche products before they find their way into other product lines. Many of these ‘issues’ stem from the pace of iteration and innovation at which Sony is moving, if not due simply to its relatively newcomer status. But Sony is actively learning, and recent market data suggest its strategy is working.

Vision over profit

You might think that Sony Corporation would like to keep the in-house knowledge of Sony Semiconductor Solutions for its own camera division, but that's not the case. For one thing, the sales of the semiconductor division to third-parties is a large source of income for the corporation at large, but it goes beyond that.

Although Sony tends to hold its proprietary sensor technology for its own cameras for roughly two years,3 it publicly discloses sensors that are available for sale and their underlying technologies. This allows other manufacturers to integrate Sony sensors into their own products. And this is where it gets interesting: any manufacturer can approach Sony Semiconductor and ask for their own design requirements, often building on Sony’s own sensor advancements that are made public (take full-frame BSI-CMOS or dual-gain for example, two technologies found in the Nikon D850). But if an OEM does so, Sony Semiconductor is not allowed to communicate any intellectual property it gains to Sony’s camera division.

Having this wall (or more accurately, perhaps this two-way mirror) in place makes a lot of sense. After all, OEMs wouldn’t approach Sony about new designs if the sensor division leaked proprietary information to its own camera engineers. So, no folks, Sony's camera team has not been aware of the Nikon D850's sensor all along, prepping a response to it years in advance...

There are interesting implications of this wall between Sony Semiconductor and Sony DI: it means that newer, better technologies than those available in Sony’s own cameras may appear in any other manufacturer's camera, despite using a 'Sony' sensor. Indeed, we’ve actually seen multiple examples of this: ISO 64 on the D810 and 16-bit analog-to-digital conversion on the Hasselblad X1D to name just two.

Could this threaten the growth of Sony's own camera division?

Sony executive round-table. From left to right: Takashi Kondo, Chief Marketing Manager, Hiroshi Sakamoto, Senior General Manager of Marketing, Kenji Tanaka, Global Head of ILCs, and Masanori Kishi, Deputy General Manager of ILC lenses.

When we asked this question, the message from DI executives was clear: "Our focus is to increase the overall market". Paraphrasing slightly, global head of ILCs Kenji Tanaka said: "Please think about vision. Our company has a vision, which is much more important than profit alone. Of course, if we cut our supply of sensors to other OEMs our camera market share might increase. But this is not our vision. Our vision is to grow the entire imaging market, and Sony alone cannot make every [imaging] product."

While every manufacturer wants to be number one, no single company can make every product - even within a single sector. It is clear that Sony believes that competition is healthy, and that if Sony sensors help make better products, be it in a Sony device or other OEM device, the consumer wins. And ultimately, that is the purpose of the company.

"Our company has a vision, which is more important than profit alone"

It's possible that the worst of the camera market collapse is over, but we do wonder whether Sony’s strategy might change if the market continues to shrink. Would the huge current investment in ILCs still pay off? Would sales of class-leading sensors to other OEMs still make sense? The answer from executives was "yes".

Growing the market

Like every camera manufacturer, Sony wants to grow its market share. But it sees the gain of market share as a secondary effect, almost a byproduct, of growing the market overall. In fact, Sony admitted it doesn’t expect to continue to gain market share simply by getting users to switch systems. Tak Kondo, General Manager at Sony DI, remarked that "the industry is stagnated partly because of a lack of interesting products from camera manufacturers. It’s our obligation to increase the market size."

We probed Sony about its strategy to move users away from smartphones, arguably the very cause for the declining camera industry. "We want to expand the photo-shooting culture" Tanaka-san told us. "By growing this culture, we hope to stimulate the desire for something [much] better than a smartphone". Furthermore, Sony chooses to place its focus on mid- to high-end products, which show increased demand. The global decline in the industry is due to a drop in demand for low-end products - both DSLR and mirrorless - thanks to the smartphone.

By making versatile cameras that offer vast benefits over smartphones and more computational photography-oriented devices that widen its user-base, Sony hopes to reverse this trend. That is, grow the market through innovation, a message we’ve heard before.

Why Sony?

Sony believes that it is in a unique position to grow the imaging market. The communication between its image sensor development engineers at Sony Semiconductor and the camera teams at Sony DI give the company a unique advantage: an understanding of important sensor technologies to come two, five, or ten years down the line. The two-way communication between a cutting-edge sensor foundry and camera engineers that need sensor technologies to solve photographic problems is a unique advantage for Sony's camera division. And Sony's sensor design and fab group must stay cutting edge simply due to the number of sectors it has its hands in: from smartphones to the medical industry.

Shiraito Falls near Mount Fuji in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka Prefecture. It's often said that Mt. Fuji is shy, rarely revealing herself. This day was no exception: the entire region was covered in thick mist and rainfall, and the spray from the waterfalls themselves was intense. Photo: Rishi Sanyal

Sony a7R II | 24-70 F2.8GM @46mm | 0.5s, F11, ISO 100

Mirrorless cameras are still in their infancy. However, Tanaka-san stressed that when you compare the development speed of mechanical products vs. semiconductor technology, the latter is far faster. Since much of the capability of mirrorless cameras is derived from the image sensor itself, its development speed is much faster than DSLR. So while mirrorless camera technology is a relative newcomer to the field, Sony's insight into semiconductor advances puts its camera division in a unique position to innovate and iterate quickly, bringing greater speed and functionality to consumer products across shorter refresh cycles.

Will Sony's 'guinea pig' approach pay off? The latest U.S. dollar-based statistics from NPD are certainly encouraging: the first 6 months of 2017 showed a 36% growth in mirrorless camera sales compared to an 11% decline in DSLR sales. In the same period, Sony’s sales of full-frame ILCs grew 42% compared to a decline of 5% for all other manufacturers. It also maintained a #2 position in sales of full-frame ILCs (likely helped by the release of a flagship camera), while growing 26% in mirrorless ILC sales year-on-year. Sony is now at the top in mirrorless ILC sales in the U.S.

While these sales figures are all dollar-based, with many Sony products retailing at relatively high prices, they’re significant - especially when you consider the impact the Kumamoto earthquake must have had on the company.

Challenges

Despite these encouraging figures, Sony’s path will not be a smooth one. Canon and Nikon have been making cameras for a long time and are widely viewed as photography companies, as opposed to consumer electronics companies. Part of the reason the a9 is being targeted so aggressively at pros, and why Sony is working so hard on expanding pro support, is to overcome the perception of the company as a manufacturer of TVs, Walkmans and PlayStations.

At the opposite end of the pyramid, smartphone cameras offer something that most, if not all, standalone cameras to-date lack: convenience of image ingestion, curation and sharing. While Sony PlayMemories apps offer some solutions,4 they leave much to be desired. Thankfully, Sony is well aware of the importance of integrating with cloud services and smartphones.

The hillsides near the Kuju Mountain Range in Kumamoto prefecture provide endless vistas. I shot this through a window of a moving bus on the way to Kurokawa Onsen. The volcanic region offers many hot springs and resorts within Kurokawa's 'enchanted' forest. Photo: Rishi Sanyal

Sony a9 | 24-70 F2.8GM @35mm | 1/1000s, F2.8, ISO 1250

And then there's video. Increasingly, cameras that do both stills and video well are more attractive than those that can't. Sony is on the right track here, offering cameras that are highly capable at both, but there’s still work to be done. The Sony a9 offers some of the sharpest video around thanks to the fact it oversamples a full-frame sensor, yet it lacks a Log profile or an intuitive autofocus interface in video.5

Meanwhile of course, competitors aren’t standing still. Canon’s Dual Pixel AF in video offers a clear user benefit in combining performance and UI/UX. Four Thirds cameras offer 4K video with compelling (mechanical + digital) stabilization. The Panasonic GH5 offers 6K Photo, pre-capture, and effectively simultaneous video and stills capture in its high-resolution anamorphic mode. RED Cinema cameras - albeit in a very different price bracket - can capture at 120 fps for stills extraction or for 24p video.6

But theoretically, these are all challenges that Sony is well placed to face. Sony's executives see the relationship between Sony Semiconductor and Sony DI as being key to planning for the future, and they assure us that the founders’ spirit of innovation will continue to bring compelling products to the market.

Footnotes:

1 Tanaka-san assured us that ‘the A-mount customer base is small, but loyal, and we need to serve them.' While Sony does not intend A-mount users to transition to E-mount, it does see the a9 as a potential body for A-mount lenses, via adaption. To that end Sony assures us the disadvantages associated with adapters - like the lack of proper subject tracking - are addressable, though it won't officially support or offer a solution for Canon lenses natively.

2 Expressing very frank surprise at the idea that some of our readers feel Sony is less committed to APS-C, Sony DI executives assured us that, on the contrary, they are fully committed to APS-C. They pointed in particular to its potential to increase business by its adoption as a second camera for pros (a6300/6500) or a first-time camera for casual users (a5100/6000). We suggested Sony release a roadmap of APS-C lenses to inspire confidence and trust in its customers.

3 While we weren't explicitly told this, one might surmise it from the fact that the sensor in the a7R II has not appeared in any other manufacturer's camera since its launch over 2 years ago.

4 For example, ‘Sync to Smartphone’ ensures all my JPEGs from my a7R II end up on Google Photos via my Google Pixel in full resolution original quality without me moving a finger.

5 We asked Sony about the omission of S-Log2 and PlayMemories on the a9. We suggested it ostensibly appeared like forced product segmentation, uncharacteristic of Sony's product strategy. While it still appears that may indeed have been the case, we were assured that Sony takes our negative feedback about these omissions seriously.

6 Some RED cinema cameras are capable of assembling 24p footage from 120p capture by frame averaging, which removes the stutter that would otherwise result from the higher shutter speeds you’d likely shoot 120p footage at. It's quite clever.

Kategorien: Fotografie

Shutter Release: Psychology & portraiture, astro shutter speed calculator & macro lenses

Imaging Resource - Mo, 11/09/2017 - 15:20
We hope you had a nice weekend. Let's get this week started with a new edition of Shutter Release, our regular roundup feature here at Imaging Resource. In today's Shutter Release, we will be looking at how to use psychology to capture better portraits, removing braces using Photoshop, a new advanced astrophotography shutter speed calculator, building your own cheap super macro rig and an opinion piece on why you should have a macro lens in your bag. Is your shutter release finger ready? Let's get shooting! Using psychology to...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

Nikon D850 sample gallery

Digital Photography Review - Mo, 11/09/2017 - 15:00

Though the first priority for our full-production Nikon D850 loaner was to usher it into the studio for testing, we couldn't bear to let it languish in a storage cupboard all weekend - so we've taken it on a tour of Washington State in early September. From Cascade peaks to the rolling hills of the Palouse (and a baby and a couple of dogs thrown in for good measure), we've got plenty of 45.7MP samples for you to peep at.

But keep a sharp eye on our homepage, as there will be a number of gallery updates in the coming weeks as we put the D850 through its paces for our full review.

See our initial Nikon D850 sample gallery

Kategorien: Fotografie

This simple web tool helps you find the lenses you like best

Digital Photography Review - So, 10/09/2017 - 15:00
Photo by Brandi Redd

If you're having trouble deciding what lens to buy next, and diving into the technical details isn't helping (we have no idea what that's like... but we hear it happens), a simple web tool called What the Lens might be able to help. Created by photographer Willie Chik, the tool reveals your lens preference by having you pick your favorite photos from a gallery.

The site pulls images from 500px, automatically sorting them by brand—so you can use What the Lens to find your favorite Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony FE, Sony A, Olympus, or Panasonic lens. Then, once you've selected your brand, you can further break down the gallery by category—selecting either Landscapes, Macro, Animals, Travel, People, and City.

Finally, once you've done all that, it's time to pick your favorite 20 photos. You can scroll down as far as you'd like, loading more shots until you find 20 you really like, and once you're done the site will reveal what lens suits you best. In my case, after selecting 20 canon portraits, it came up with this:

Of course, we prefer a more technical approach here at DPReview... one that's not liable to be skewed by your post-processing preference, what kind of landscapes you like best, or the variety of other issues that come up when you really start to think about this tool as a buying guide.

But if you're looking for a simple and possibly even fun way to determine what lens deserves to go next on your to-buy list, What the Lens might be worth a go. Just be careful with the "People" category... that one can get a bit not safe for work (NSFW).

Kategorien: Fotografie

Video: 3 simple Lightroom tricks you should definitely know

Digital Photography Review - Sa, 09/09/2017 - 17:00

Photographer Travis Transient recently put together this helpful tutorial that might just teach you a thing of two about Adobe Lightroom. The video outlines three simple 'tricks' that Travis discovered by playing around with the sliders in Lightroom and really digging deeper than most of us ever try to dig.

These are the kinds of tips we usually see from Adobe itself—from enabling edge detection when using the brush tool to make a selection, to finding and eliminating color fringing by using the Dehaze tool to emphasize it. Check out the full video above and let us know which (if any) of these tips are totally new to you.

Kategorien: Fotografie

Shutter Release: 85mm lenses, turn your bathroom into a softbox, spraying water on your lens and more

Imaging Resource - Sa, 09/09/2017 - 13:00
Happy Saturday, everyone. Today we will be looking at the advantages of 85mm lenses, the most important aspects of a good photography website, how to turn your bathroom into a softbox, a look behind the scenes of a TIME magazine project shot with iPhones and finish up with a neat way to add a distinct twist to your outdoor portraiture. Shutter Release is a regular roundup article here at Imaging Resource. We know there is a lot of great content out there about all sorts of photography-related topics and we want to share some of...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

How to photograph a special species of bird known as a Photographer

Imaging Resource - Sa, 09/09/2017 - 11:34
By IR reader René Theuillon I have always admired the wonderful images published in IR's Photo of the Day contest, especially the awesome bird photographs shot by very talented artists like Linn Smith, Debra S. Dorothy, Karen Celella and many others. It gave me the foolish idea to try and copy them! Unfortunately I could not find any woodstorks in my neighborhood, and being far from having the craft of the above mentioned masters, I instead concentrated on that rather queer bird commonly known around the world as a...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

Firmware Friday: Fuji to upgrade the GFX 50S and X-series cams; Canon, Nikon and Sigma get updates too

Imaging Resource - Sa, 09/09/2017 - 03:47
Our second Firmware Friday roundup of September is absolutely epic, with news not just of updates to 14 different pieces of imaging hardware, but also six software packages that are either updated or newly-developed. And this time around, it's Fuji and Nikon we have to thank for the bulk of the news, with the former responsible for the bulk of the firmware news, and the latter for the majority of the software. Without any further ado, let's see what Fuji's firmware development team has been up to, before we move along to...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

RED Hydrogen One smartphone will feature Leia lightfield holographic display technology

Digital Photography Review - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 19:31

Earlier this summer, RED announced its new Hydrogen One, a pricey smartphone with what it describes as a holographic display. The company revealed very little about the smartphone at the time, but that changed yesterday with a small but illuminating revelation: RED has teamed with Leia Inc. (not to be confused with Leica) to use the latter company's lightfield holographic display technology for the Hydrogen One.

Leia produces lightfield holographic displays for mobile gadgets using Nano-Photonic technology, according to the company, which was founded in 2014. RED has invested into Leia as part of this deal, though the particulars of the new exclusive partnership weren't revealed.

Leia's technology involves adding a Diffractive Lightfield Backlighting (DLB) layer to an ordinary LCD. The company explains on its website that this 'gives [the displays] almost magical properties while preserving their standard imaging capabilities.' The result is a phone screen capable of producing things as complex as interactive holograms or as 'simple' as privacy viewing zones.

RED plans to begin shipping its Hydrogen One device in the first half of next year. The smartphone is available to pre-order now from RED for $1,195 (aluminum) or $1,595 (titanium).

Via: BusinessWire

Kategorien: Fotografie

DJI will let you rent a Mavic Pro for free so you can enter Nat Geo's aerial photography contest

Digital Photography Review - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 18:42

NatGeo and DJI have teamed up to offer Mavic Pro drone rentals to photographers who want to enter National Geographic's #MyMavicContest, an aerial photography contest for photos taken with the Chinese company's drone. Not everyone who signs up for the drone rental will be awarded one, but those who are chosen to receive the Mavic Pro will get to use the drone for two weeks.

National Geographic has detailed the rentals on its new contest page, explaining that anyone can sign up to get the Mavic Pro loaner device. For its part, DJI explains that it will randomly select people from the application pool for whom the drones will be provided; there are 'hundreds' of drones available, though an exact number wasn't provided. Recipients will have to pick up the rental from their local DJI Store, as well.

When signing up for the rentals, applicants must provide information that includes name and email, photography interests, pickup city, and can optionally provide an Instagram ID and National Geographic Your Shot ID. The rental period is running from September 5 to October 31, though recipients will only get the drone for two weeks during that period.

Photographers who already own the Mavic Pro can enter their photos into the contest by posting them on Instagram with the hashtags #NatGeoTravel and #MyMavicContest. Five winners will be selected in November to received a Mavic Pro of their own.

Via: The Drive

Kategorien: Fotografie

Shutter Release: Pro goes hands-on with Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8, look at the new XF 200mm f/2 & more

Imaging Resource - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 16:30
As we head into the weekend, let's take a look at a variety of photo-related content from around the web. Shutter Release is our ongoing regular feature here at Imaging Resource in which we share and summarize interesting content we come across. It could be announcements for new gear, opinion pieces or tutorials. Of course, it could be something else entirely different too. In the case of today's Shutter Release roundup, we will look at a video GFX story from Fujifilm about their new GF 45mm f/2.8 lens, first images of prototype...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

Google Drive and Photos desktop app support to end in December

Digital Photography Review - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 16:07

Google's Drive and Photo cloud services are essential backup tools for many photographers. It's therefore important to be aware that both apps for Mac and PC will be eliminated soon. Support will end on December 11th, 2017, and the apps will be shut down completely on March 12th, 2018.

Don't worry too much, though. A replacement for both apps in the shape of the newer Google Backup and Sync app has already been put into place. The new app does what it says on the tin and lets you backup and sync photos and files from folders on your computer, USB drives and memory cards to the cloud. The main difference to the Drive/Photos combination is that photos and other file types are handled by the same app rather than by two different ones.

So, overall the way you work with the Google cloud services won't change too much. Google also says it will alert current Drive and Photos users about the requirement to migrate to the new system. Backup and Sync is available for download on the Google website now. More information on how Backup and Sync works is available in the Google Help Center.

Kategorien: Fotografie

Fujifilm XF 50mm F2 R WR sample gallery

Digital Photography Review - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 14:00

Compact, robust and comparatively affordable: the Fujifilm XF 50mm F2 WR is an appealing mid-telephoto prime for X-series shooters. It's a 76mm equivalent on Fujifilm's APS-C bodies, and is also weather-sealed – making it a good companion for the X-T2. See how the pair performed on a classic summer lake excursion.

See our Fujifilm XF 50mm F2 R WR
sample gallery

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Kategorien: Fotografie

Nikon D850 Review - First shots from the lab!

Imaging Resource - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 04:28
News flash! We've just received a production-level sample of the Nikon D850, and have just posted our first lab shots taken with it! We'll have more details, including some image crops comparing it against competing models, timing, and possibly some additional lab shots taken with it posted over the next couple of days, but in the meantime, head over to our Nikon D850 review page, or directly to our Nikon D850 image samples page, to see the initial results. Stay tuned; these first test images from the D850 are now loaded...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

Fujifilm Japan announces X Raw Studio conversion software

Digital Photography Review - Fr, 08/09/2017 - 00:47

With the announcement of several new lenses and a new X-series body, Fujifilm also snuck in news of a new Raw conversion program. X Raw Studio, which will debut in November, works when the camera is connected to a Mac or PC via USB and uses the camera's own image processing engine to convert Raw files to JPEGs. The software will support single image and batch conversions.

The GFX 50S, X-T2, X-Pro2 and X100F will be compatible with X Raw Studio, with support arriving first for the 50S and X-T2. Mac users will get the software first, in November 2017, with a Windows version arriving in January 2018.

Fujifilm announces development of new RAW conversion system "FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO".

September 7, 2017

FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) has announced that it is developing a new RAW conversion system, "FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO".

"FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO" enables users to quickly and easily convert RAW files with outstanding image quality, once a camera is connected to a Mac or PC via USB cable.

Exceptional image quality is retained, as the X RAW STUDIO system utilizes the X Processor Pro in the camera instead of the CPU in the computer,

Due to the increasing size of RAW files, users have found batch conversion to be an issue, as it takes more and more time as a result. However, using the high performance "X Processor Pro" processor, this batch conversion is handled far more efficiently as a result.

This new software is due to be available from late November 2017.

<Main Features>

- Convert RAW images on the computer (Single / Batch Process)
- Preview converting images
- Save, load, or copy conversion profiles.
* Specifications, window images subject to change without notice.
* RAW conversion is compatible with a RAW file taken by the same model as the connected camera.

<Due Release>

Application Software "FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO"

for Mac : Late November 2017
for Windows : Late January 2018

"FUJIFILM X RAW STUDIO" system compatible camera firmware

FUJIFILM GFX 50S: Late November 2017 (Ver.2.00)
FUJIFILM X-T2: Late November 2017 (Ver.3.00)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2: Late December 2017 (Ver.4.00)
FUJIFILM X100F: Late December 2017 (Ver.2.00)

Kategorien: Fotografie

Fujifilm X-A3 Field Test Part II: We test the compact camera’s shooting modes and video performance

Imaging Resource - Do, 07/09/2017 - 22:05
Click here to read our Fujifilm X-A3 Field Test Part II In our first Fujifilm X-A3 Field Test, we looked at the camera's sensor, autofocus performance, speed and more. In our Fujifilm X-A3 Field Test Part II, we tested the camera's shooting modes, video and connectivity features. The X-A3 has Full HD video recording at up to 60 frames per second and is capable of recording decent video. For users who like to share their images and videos, the X-A3 makes it quite simple with its built-in Wi-Fi and smartphone integration. To...
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Kategorien: Fotografie

Polaroid teasers suggest company has a big film announcement planned

Digital Photography Review - Do, 07/09/2017 - 19:55

Visitors to Polaroid.com are being greeted with a pop-up that teases a big announcement scheduled for September 13th. Though the company hasn't revealed what exactly it has planned, the various teaser messages heavily hint that the announcement will involve film.

Speculation abounds at the moment—including everything from expectations that Polaroid will begin producing its own chemical instant film again, to a possible announcement that Impossible Project's film will be sold under the Polaroid name—and not without cause. The pop-up scrolls through several statements, including one that reads, "The most complex set of man-made chemical reactions ever. Coming September 13."

Yet another states, "Analog Dreams," and another, "SX-70. OS. 600. Spectra. 8x10. Join the dots on September 13."

Earlier this year, Polaroid announced that Wiaczeslaw Smolokowski, The Impossible Project's majority shareholder, had acquired its owner PLR IP Holdings, giving the Smolokowski family both the Polaroid brand and intellectual property. The Impossible Project has been working on bringing analog film back from the dead for years, and it's hard to imagine the timing of Polaroid's teaser is a coincidence.

The Impossible Project currently offers a few different types of film under the Impossible brand through its website, including SX-70, Spectra, and 600. It is possible we could see this film being sold under the Polaroid name in the near future... or a whole new type of film may be announced by Polaroid itself.

The cards do indicate that something bigger than just film is in the works, though, possibly hinting at big changes in how the two companies do business.

Kategorien: Fotografie

Sneak peek: Adobe is developing a 'curvature pen tool' for Photoshop CC

Digital Photography Review - Do, 07/09/2017 - 19:23

Adobe is working on a new tool for Photoshop CC called the "Curvature Pen Tool," and earlier today the software maker released this sneak peek video to show you how it will work.

The tool—which will be added to "an upcoming release of Photoshop CC" according to Photoshop Product Manager Meredith Payne Stotzner—is very simple to use. It works by creating curved lines between points in your selection as you create a path. Each click adds a new point, clicking a point twice turns it into a sharp corner, and once your path is complete you can add, move and toggle points between rounded and sharp edges without ever changing to another tool.

Watch the sneak peek above to see how Stotzner uses the tool, first to create a custom shape, and then to create a perfect selection of a window frame.

Kategorien: Fotografie

Profoto is bringing TTL and HSS to Fujifilm cameras with new Air Remote TTL-F

Digital Photography Review - Do, 07/09/2017 - 19:09

Profoto is expanding its AirTTL product family for Fujifilm cameras, the company has announced, with the release of a new Profoto Air Remote TTL-F. This wireless radio transmitter is designed for use with a Fujifilm camera's hot shoe, lending full HSS and TTL support with the Profoto Pro-10, D2, B1, B1X, and B2 flashes.

This version of the Air Remote TTL was optimized for Fujifilm cameras in collaboration with Fuji itself, joining a lineup that includes Air Remotes for Sony, Canon, Nikon and Olympus cameras. The Fujifilm variant will retain all of the features of the existing Air Remote TTL models, meaning the Air Remote TTL-F will work from as far away as 1,000ft (300m), is capable of remote manual firing, and will offer three groups per channel with eight frequency channels.

Profoto plans to start shipping the Air Remote TTL-F by the end of 2017.

Press Release:

Profoto TTL and HSS now for Fujifilm - Empowering your creativity

Profoto today announces collaboration between Profoto and Fujifilm to offer optimized compatibility between Profoto flashes and Fujifilm cameras.

When the unique Profoto AirTTL was first announced in November 2013, it revolutionized the photography industry by enabling a lean workflow and making it possible to seamlessly merge your camera with your flash. Now we are proud to include Fujifilm shooters in the AirTTL family, empowering photographers to be more creative and focus less on settings.

"Together with Fujifilm, we are proud to announce our latest family member – the Air Remote TTL-F. Light is the essence of every image and the Profoto AirTTL makes light shaping easier. It unlocks new creative possibilities and helps you go from idea to final image faster. We are happy to help the world's most ambitious image creators turn their ambition into reality," says Anders Hedebark, President of Profoto.

Profoto Air Remote TTL-F is a small, wireless radio transmitter that can be attached to the Fujifilm camera's hot shoe. The remote offers full TTL and HSS capability with Profoto's B1X, B1, B2, D2 and Pro-10 lights.

The Air Remote TTL-F will start shipping at the end of the year.

Key Features

  • Attach to your Fujifilm camera’s hot shoe to wirelessly connect camera and AirTTL light into one.
  • Shoot in TTL Mode for fully automatic point-and-shoot shots.
  • Shoot in HSS Mode to shape light in broad daylight.
  • Switch from TTL Mode to Manual Mode with the automated TTL settings intact – a huge time saver.
  • Sync and manually control any Profoto light that is compatible with Air.
  • Intuitive and easy to use user interface.
  • Long operating range of up to 300 m (1,000 ft).
  • 8 digital channels.
  • Controls up to 3 groups of lights on each channel.
  • USB port for firmware upgrades.
  • Collaboration with Fujifilm for future proof compatibility with new cameras.
  • Approved for world wide use.
Kategorien: Fotografie

New Photoshop feature will make clipping curved paths significantly easier

Imaging Resource - Do, 07/09/2017 - 18:02
Adobe has teased cool features before, and today they shared an upcoming feature for Photoshop that you may remember seeing in a "Sneak" in the past (Sneaks are features in development that may or may not make final production, and area usually shown at Adobe MAX). This new feature is called the "Curvature Pen Tool" and makes creating even, curved paths way easier than it is presently. In the demonstration video, Adobe shows how to make a perfect heart shape in a matter of seconds, and then follows it up showing a practical use for...
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Kategorien: Fotografie