Inside the lens are 15 elements in 10 groups, including 7 special optics: 2 aspherical lenses, 4 high-refractive lenses, and 1 extra-low dispersion lens.
This design “minimizes distortion and various aberrations while producing crystal clear resolution,” Samyang says. “The remarkably even image quality from center to corner of the wide 116.6 degree angle of view appears distinctly on its MTF chart.”
Other features of the lens include weather-sealing, a 7-blade aperture, and a built-in AF/MF switch.
5 Things We’re Hoping For From Camera Companies in 2018
Designing and manufacturing camera gear ain’t easy, as anyone who has invested in a Kickstarter project can attest. The amount of technology that’s stuffed into gear is astonishing, but that doesn’t mean each product meets the needs of the photographer. So in the spirit of “there’s always room for improvement,” here are a few of our hopes in the new year.
#1. A full-frame mirrorless system from Nikon and Canon
Had it not been for the release of the Nikon D850, 2017 would have been a winner-take-all year for Sony. The introduction of their a9 and a7 RIII convinced many professionals (particularly those who shoot both stills and motion) that mirrorless technology had matured and had distinct advantages over DSLRs (e.g. 20fps of completely silent shooting).
Canon’s M-series, while well-intentioned, isn’t competitive with mirrorless offerings from Fuji and Sony. And what are Nikon and Canon owners supposed to do with all that glass? Arguably the main shortcoming of the Sony system is the lack of glass – particularly in the telephoto range – and this would give Canon and Nikon a clear advantage if they could develop a full-frame system that could use existing glass. Sony has become a dominant player in the pro-camera segment in a very short period of time. Some solid competition could make the landscape very interesting.
#2. Third party manufacturers FTW
In the past few years, Tamron and Sigma have reinvigorated their brands with a focus on quality rather than price. The results have been pretty remarkable – giving photographers more lens choices, often times with higher quality for a cheaper price than the camera manufacturer brands.
And the rise of Korean and Chinese brands like Samyang, Rokinon, and Yongnuo have shocked a lot of photographers with significantly cheaper pricing while still maintaining solid image and build quality.
These more nimble brands have really given the old guard a run for their money, which means better options for consumers. Here hoping that the third party manufacturers keep pushing the envelope.
#3. Improved wireless connectivity
Your phone can probably shoot a combination of stills, auto-stitched panoramics, 240fps video, 4k video and more, and then transmit all that data into the cloud within seconds.
But transferring photos from my dedicated cameras to my phone via Bluetooth or WiFi is still like pulling teeth. Most camera manufacturer apps have user interfaces that look like they were built 10 years ago, and are buggy and prone to crashing.
Wireless flash systems often still require additional controllers and suffer from reliability problems, or god forbid, are still using optical connectivity.
#4. More medium format options
The release of the Hasselblad X1D and Fuji GFX proved that medium format digital could be “reasonably” priced with a measurable advantage in image quality and resolution. On an inflation basis, the cameras aren’t much more expensive than the first generation of DSLRs, and we hope that this niche continues to evolve giving photographers more creative options.
#5. Keep making wacky stuff!
Photo gear is just a tool for creative expression. But tools can also inspire, and we love seeing wacky ideas come to life and into the hands of photographers.
Product and macro photographers are gonna love the Adaptalux. The newest arms give UV and laser options.
Sliders are cool, but they’re so long and cumbersome. The Glidearm is patterned after your elbow joint and gives you a pretty amazing reach for more dynamic shots.
The most practical use cases for the FLIR camera are scientific, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have yourself a little fun for $249.99.
But if you really want to convert your DSLR into a full-fledged infrared camera, there are a number of vendors like LifePixel that can do it for you. Probably not the best bet for your primary camera, but a pretty neat choice for your old body.
About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.
Panasonic GH5S: The Most Sensitive Camera in Lumix History
Panasonic has unveiled the new GH5S, a hybrid single lens mirrorless camera with improved photo quality and stronger video capabilities.
The camera is designed for both still photos and video recording, but Panasonic says that it was designed with professional filmmakers in mind.
“The LUMIX GH5S achieves highest-ever image sensitivity and video image quality in the history of LUMIX cameras, especially in low-light situations,” the company says.
Inside the camera is a 10.2-megapixel Micro Four Thirds MOS sensor that can shoot 14-bit RAW photos at up to 10fps (12fps in 12-bit RAW), capture 4K60p video, and do up to 51200 ISO recording without extended ISO. Resolution has been halved from the 20.3MP GH5, but what you get is superior low-light performance.
“When shooting in dark environments, videographers can now focus on filming that perfect shot as they no longer need to worry about noise which often results from having to use higher ISOs,” Panasonic says. “The Dual Native ISO Technology [with low range (400) and high range (2,500)] suppresses noise to produce cleaner footage when taken in all light.
“As a camera that excels in shooting in low light, the LUMIX GH5S boasts -5EV luminance detection performance with Low Light AF thanks to the higher sensitivity and optimized tuning of the sensor. Live Boost is another practical feature that makes it possible to check the composition even in total darkness, by boosting the sensitivity just for Live View.”
The multi-aspect sensor has a True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” Function, which provides the same angle of view in 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, and 3:2 aspect ratios for photos and videos.
“This feature means you can easily swap between difference aspect ratios giving you the accuracy you want from your lenses, and making the process easier while producing and editing in post-production,” Panasonic says.
The camera’s DFD (Depth from Defocus) autofocus system provides speedy focusing in approximately 0.07s using 225 focus areas. Focusing options include Face/Eye Recognition, Tracking AF, 1-area AF and Pinpoint AF.
In the area of durability, the magnesium alloy body is splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof (down to -10°C or 14°F).
On the back of the camera is a 3.68-million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder as well as a 3.2-inch, 1.62-million-dot, 120fps free-angle touchscreen.
The GH5S features a Variable Frame Rate (VFR) feature that lets you record overcranked/undercranked video in C4K/4K (60 fps, maximum 2.5x slower in 24p) and FHD (240 fps, maximum 10x slower in 24p). Here’s some sample footage:
Other features and specs of the GH5S include no recording time limit, internal 4:2:2 10-Bit Long GOP, V-Log L Gamma and HDR Hybrid Log Gamma, dual UHS-II SD Slots, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Time Code IN/OUT for easy synchronization of multiple cameras, a 4K PHOTO mode that captures 60fps images at 8MP resolution, AF Point Scope, and a 20x magnification ratio in MF assist (useful for astrophotography).
Here’s a comparison of the GH5S and the GH5:
Here are some first impressions and hands-on review videos for the GH5S:
Thank you for listening to the PetaPixel Photography Podcast! Connect with me, Sharky James on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (all @LensShark) as we build this community.
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New55 is Dead Along With Its Dreams of Reviving 4×5 Peel-Apart Film
New55 has announced that it has shut down operations, putting an end to its dreams of helping to bring peel-apart 4×5 instant film back from the grave.
“New55 FILM ended operations on December 31, 2017,” reads the startup’s website in a message titled “New55 Ends Operations.” “We would like to thank all supporters and all customers as well as our steady suppliers for their faith and good service.”
Despite the film photography community’s enthusiasm, financial struggles were clear even early on. In February 2016, the startup shared about its “deep debt” in a message to supporters:
[T]he project is deep in debt and has a demand note against it. Through the 2nd half of the year, about $200,000 of supporting sales occurred which are promising but not sufficient to support the necessary capacity. Materials and paid staff comprise the bulk of the spending. Bob Crowley, Sam Hiser and others continue to work as unpaid volunteers.
In October 2016, New55 launched another Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of new color 4×5 peel-apart film. This fundraising effort failed, however. By the time it concluded, only 805 backers had contributed just $137,350 to the project, falling well short of its $400,000 goal.
In June 2017, New55 launched yet another Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise “quality improvement” funds. Like the color film effort, this attempt also fell short, only raising $53,447 of the $150,000 goal from 337 backers.
Another important consideration is that we have no “personal cushion” of cash to bail us out in case something else goes wrong, like it did in the first successful Kickstarter campaign that many of you helped fund. Those who have been following along know that Bob put in an additional six-figure amount to make sure we’d finish the rewards – something we cannot expect him to do again.
[…] The 4×5 market is moneyed and viable, just as it always has been – at a higher price of course – something that cannot be said for the smaller formats. 4X5 photography will continue into the future. This is certain.
One of the big factors that affected plans was New55 supposedly losing its vendor 20×24 Studio, which supplied pods critical to the project. 20×24 Studio announced in June 2016 that it would end its production operations in late 2017.
Without money and without access to access to 20×24 Studio’s pod-making machine, New55 apparently ran out of runway after an ambitious 3-year takeoff attempt.
Zapping Film with Electricity: How to Make Spark Patterns in Photos
There are still a few very unique and interesting things that can be done with film but not with a digital camera. One of these experiments is the recording of sparks on film.
Sparks are created when an electrical discharge moves either through or across the surface of the film. I first got interested in this project when I noticed static discharge patterns on X-ray film. Those patterns were due to the charge buildup on the plastic rollers in the auto development machines, but I wondered could I make better patterns in the lab?
It turns out there is an easy and relatively safe way to record these patterns by using a demonstration electrostatic generator called a Wimshurst machine. These electrostatic generators were popular around 1900 when they were used to create high voltages. Now these devices are used in the physics classroom to demonstrate static electricity.
The Wimshurst machine can generate a voltage in excess of 50,000 volts but the current is very low making it quite safe for a classroom. The devices can be very expensive, but lately several manufacturers have introduced models that are in the 50 dollar range. This is the perfect device for recording high voltage patterns in a darkroom with no chance of death from high voltage.
The experimenter will most likely get a few shocks that are similar to the sparks created by rubbing shoes on a rug. If the experimenter is careful and holds film with wooden tongs, or places the film in a nonconductive holder there will be few shocks.
The dielectric breakdown of the film happens when the film is placed between the electrodes of the Wimshurst machine. The Wimshurst machine is hand cranked so a charge builds up between the two electrodes. When the charge builds to a point that the film can no longer hold up, the film will break down into a conductor and allow the current to pass through. When this happens, there is a large spark created and a loud snapping sound.
The film will be exposed by the light generated by the electricity traveling through the air and film. These fractal patterns of electricity are easiest to recorded in a sheet of film. To test out this process I used both black and white film, X-ray film, and color 4×5 format film.
Different manufactures yield different types of patterns. Fujifilm and Kodak color films show different colors as well as different structures to the sparks. The different patterns are due to the different manufacturing materials. I used a lot of black and white X-ray film since it was easy and quick to process in the lab. The color film had to be sent to the last local lab for development, a process that took several days.
The procedure was to hold a sheet of film between the electrodes until there was a big spark then to hang the negative in a dark box for a few hours. This wait time was very important to give any residual charge time to dissipate into the air. Without this wait time, the film would spark as the film was placed into the conductive liquid of the developer. The color film was placed into a box and taken to the development lab. The process of exposing and charge dissipation of the film all needs to take place in the dark.
I hope the reader will give this a try and see what types of patterns can be created. Please keep in mind that a hand-cranked Wimhurst machine is safe for experimentation, while any other high voltage source can be lethal.
About the author: Ted Kinsman is an assistant professor of photographic technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He teaches advanced photographic technology, light microscopy, and macro photography courses. Kinsman specializes in applying physics to photography. You can find more about him and his work in his faculty profile and on his website.
There are a number of popular HDR photography programs out there. Microsoft Excel isn’t one of them. Photography enthusiast and software engineer Kevin Chen came up with the strange and hilarious idea of using Excel to create an HDR photo, and he presented his results in this 12-minute presentation he gave at !!Con 2017 (pronounced “bang bang con”).
Chen is a computer science student at Columbia University and was previously an intern working on camera software at Apple.
In his presentation, Chen first explains the math and technical aspect of how both digital photography and high dynamic range (HDR) imaging work.
“Have you ever taken a photo with areas that are too bright or too dark? As any photographer will tell you, high dynamic range photography is the right way to solve your problem,” Chen says. “And, as any businessperson will tell you, Microsoft Excel is the right platform to implement your solution.”
After reading into one of the foundational papers about HDR imaging, Chen found that the algorithm is “just a system of linear equations” — perfect for Excel!
To use Excel as an HDR photography program, Chen broke down his photos into grayscale pixels with each cell in the spreadsheet containing a pixel in the photo. By making the cells square and then zooming out (using the zoom level setting), the photo emerges.
Chen then did some number crunching on the values and voila! His final black-and-white HDR photo has much greater dynamic range than his original photo.
LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph, the photo festival in Charlottesville, Virginia, announced today that is ceasing operations due to lack of funding. A statement from the festival’s board, posted on the LOOK3 website, says, “While our event was beloved by many in Charlottesville and in the international photography community, we unfortunately do not have the financial resources to continue.”
The festival had grown out of slide shows that National Geographic photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols hosted each summer in his backyard in Charlottesville. The LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph became a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2006. Its sponsors have included Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, National Geographic and Adobe.
Over the past ten years, LOOK3 had hosted portfolio reviews, exhibitions and talks by Joseph Koudelka, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Donna Ferrato, Larry Fink, Richard Misrach and others. In 2010 and 2014, it took hiatuses to offer LookBetween, a gathering for young and emerging photographers.
GoPro Laying Off Up to 300 Workers as Karma Drone Flounders: Report
GoPro is reportedly laying off roughly 200 to 300 employees, mostly from the aerial division that works on the company’s struggling Karma drone.
TechCrunch first reported the layoffs after hearing the news from sources close to the company. GoPro wrote in a letter to laid-off employees that this decision was made “to better align our resources with business requirements.”
GoPro has struggled to compete in the camera drone market, which is dominated by the Chinese company DJI and its popular drones, such as the Spark, Mavic Pro, Phantom. DJI has a dominant consumer drone market share of about 70%.
The Karma didn’t return to store shelves until February 2017, when GoPro revealed that the flaw had been a faulty battery clasp that would cause the batteries to disconnect in-flight. By then, however, the damaged had been done — GoPro’s Karma had taken a serious reputation hit and the DJI Mavic Pro had enjoyed months of sales while the Karma was in for repairs.
It seems that these struggles have taken a huge hit to GoPro’s bottom line, and management is now looking to stop the bleeding.
Lately, the photography sphere has been inundated, not with the gazillions of photos everyone is talking about, but with article after article proclaiming that photography is dead/over/irrelevant/trash.
The questionable assumption here is that it was ever alive in the first place, but what puzzles me most is how this status has been defined. And it is about status in the end, because the reasons given for photography’s untimely (or exceedingly timely, depending on the source) demise are invariably centered around the rise of social media, short attention spans, instant sharing and, inevitably, cat pictures.
However, in a world where so many photographer bios begin with “I began documenting the meaningful moments of my existence with my iPhone in 2009,” I wonder if some context is missing from this argument. The so-called “life” of photography referred to in these articles arose from the concurrent rise of digital cameras and the Internet in the 2000’s, resulting in an army of technology-minded dudes buying the latest megapixel box they’d seen get a gold star on DPReview so they could make sure every pixel was sharp before Photoshopping the living hell out of it (using the handy Living Hell slider), uploading it to Flickr or 500px and watching the Faves roll in.
Ok, so I’m exaggerating. A bit. Obviously, a few of these people were, and remain, serious photographers with serious work. But the driving force behind this boom, this zombie “life”, was mainly hippishly whitebread men who worked in IT buying rather large cameras and showing their files to each other on rather small screens. Numbers ruled this phase of the game: numbers of faves/likes, numbers of followers, numbers of shots, no matter how awful the photos. One such dude in San Francisco (because of course it was some dude in San Francisco), made his only goal taking a million (completely unremarkable) shots, and he got quite a lot of attention from his considerable fandom.
I can’t remember his name for some reason.
During this time, the dedicated photographers who had been working quietly and being ignored for decades before the boom, continued working quietly and being ignored, though a handful got caught up in the storm and propelled to Internet stardom. Magnum, sitting suddenly up in its comfy chair and remembering its illustrious history, returned belatedly to the fore when they realized that their website needed an upgrade; they began changing their reporting and recruitment styles to suit the “life” of this new reality. Skateboarding also factored in there somehow, because of course any old thing being subjected to rejuvenation must by law involve skateboarding.
So for a time, everyone was All About Photography, particularly “street” photography, which is the easiest to practice because it doesn’t require anything in the way of studios, sets, models, lights, conscious thought or, from looking at most of it, talent. Bloggers featured their friends in “The (insert number here)-best photographers RIGHT NOW”-type listicles, some of which became actual books. Publishers pole-vaulted onto this suddenly relevant bandwagon, and groups on Flickr appeared and thrived on the drama of clashes between personalities.
Amid all this, it must be admitted, some photographers did actually get to know about other photographers and enjoy each other’s work. Several collectives emerged from the chaos, e.g. in-Public, Burn My Eye, and Observe. Of course, many others promptly disappeared when they found out that ego clashes are far less entertaining when you’re actually trying to work together in some fashion.
But then Facebook and Instagram arrived on the scene, along with decent mobile phone cameras. These burgeoning businesses quickly realized that what the vast majority of people wanted out of all this was not actually photography, but rather that short sharp injection of dopamine that came with simply seeing something new. Clicks, but not those of the shutter variety. Eyeballs, but not through viewfinders or at exhibitions. Photography itself didn’t particularly matter to these industries; it never had. It was a means to an end, which inevitably means an end to the means.
Digital camera performance plateaued as manufacturers tried to make them more like mobile phones, cramming things like wifi, video, and touchscreens into their machines and then wondering why nobody was buying their larger, heavier boxes. Computational mobile photography came to the fore, the camera boom waned; the party began to lose steam. Video was supposed to take over, but nobody could figure out the fundamental difference between the two media.
In any case, most people discovered they could get all their ego-driven drama needs from Facebook, and all their dopamine hits from Instagram, effectively severing the connection of conversation and photography that had been the accidentally advantageous side-effect of sites like Flickr, where you could do both, but not with the same rabid intensity. Some people tried to lure young would-be photographers into thinking they could “make it big” through competitions that they could only participate in after paying for the honor of consideration by their illustrious jury of people they’d never heard of. But then the world quickly learned that photography, like the cake, was a lie after it was found that many entrants in these contests were the result of applying a bit too much of the “Asshattery slider” in Photoshop.
The relationship between actual photography and social media was fraying; some would-be serious photographers desperate to hold onto these heady days tried spamming all their contacts about Kickstarter campaigns to fund their photo books. Precious few were any good. But then, truly good photo books have always been 1) few and far between and 2) generally ignored by most people.
And then, photography was dead, lying on the metaphorical sidewalk in a pool of its own metaphorical blood. You read it in an article by some famous Internet person with an impressive-sounding name. And then you read it again. And again. Dead. Over. Kaput.
But what died, exactly? The techie crowd had become bored with these particular machines, moving on to newer, shinier gadgets, and young people, like most young people, just wanted to hook up. Nothing wrong with either, and certainly nothing new. The dedicated photographers who had been working quietly and being ignored likewise continued in this fashion, and will keep doing so even while everyone else is using brain implants to beam live VR experiences featuring their cats.
In short, the “death of photography” these articles lament is actually the loss of the veneer of popularity photography momentarily enjoyed when it was caught up in the perfect storm of technological progress and social media. The three were conflated so closely for a time that most people assumed that, when the latter two moved on, photography would be rendered meaningless. But that is a false narrative; the essence of photography hasn’t changed; it has always been, at its core, a small, largely ignored niche. Not something for everyone, nor the grand new universal language once promised to us. Photography’s unique and quirky nature of stopping time and conveying complex emotion in one small frame was one of the things that drew me to it when I was growing up, and it occurs to me that perhaps we should just let it be what it actually is, without all the trappings, the bells and whistles of social trends.
Put your glasses back on, photography. Lose the makeover. Put on those comfortable shoes. And welcome back.
Photography is dead? Good. Long live photography.
About the author: TC Lin is a photographer based just outside Taipei, Taiwan, at the edge of the mountains. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Lin is an original member of the Burn My Eye photography collective (which can also be found on Instagram). You can find more of Lin’s work on his website, Flickr, and Instagram. This article was also published here.