A short film shot entirely on an iPhone has won the prestigious 2018 Turner Prize in Britain. Established in 1984, the prize is presented every year to a British visual artist, and it’s the UK’s most publicized art award.
Titled Bridgit and created by artist Charlotte Prodger over the course of a year, the film features Prodger’s narration over a series of short clips showing things such as the Scottish countryside from a train, cargo ships from a boat, and a cat playing with a lamp.
Here’s a 1m46s excerpt from the 32-minute short film:
Prodger tells The Guardian she used an iPhone “because of that ease of use and the way you can use it while you are going about the world. For me, everything is in there.”
Prodger’s film was the “most profound use of a device as prosaic as the iPhone camera that we’ve seen in art to date,” judge and Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson tells The Guardian.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was quick to celebrate Prodger’s win using his company’s device:
Congratulations to Charlotte Prodger, winner of Britain’s prestigious Turner Prize. A first for a film shot on iPhone, and another milestone in the democratization of photography and filmmaking. https://t.co/zlQbelQIPb
Alamy Cutting Commission from 50% to 40% for Its Stock Photographers
Alamy announced in an email to contributors today that the commission rate for stock photo sales is being slashed from 50% to 40% starting in February 2019.
Here’s what the email said:
In February 2019 the Alamy contract will be changing to reflect a new commission structure. The commission contributors receive for direct sales will change from 50% to 40%.
This email is to give you advanced warning of this upcoming contract change. You will receive another email in January 2019 signalling the beginning of the standard 45 day notice period before the new contract comes into effect in February 2019.
Alamy is a popular stock photography agency that, since launching back in 1999, has remained a private company through all the mergers and acquisitions that have occurred in the stock photography industry.
While it was originally known for offering a majority of each sale to contributing photographers (even as high as an unheard-of 90% in the beginning), Alamy dropped the 60% commission to 50% back in 2010-2012 citing a need to invest in R&D, new products and services, and new marketing initiatives.
Now the 50% commission is being cut further to a minority share of 40%. Alamy CEO James West took to YouTube today in a 13-minute video explaining the change.
“It’s kind of a significant move away from where we have been historically, which is to be on equal footing with our photographers, and in fact our origin was to always pay the lion’s share of royalties,” West says.
West calls Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) “tier 1” agencies with revenues north of $150 million. He places Alamy in the “tier 2” level with revenues of $30-$60 million, saying Alamy is essentially the only “tier 2” agency that’s not an outright microstock agency.
West also says Alamy started with the unusual approach of paying contributors a much higher royalty than anyone else in the industry, which brought Alamy early success.
“The thing that we got wrong — and I was pretty naive about with hindsight — was the royalty split,” West says. “I thought we could charge a fraction of that of our competitors and so we started it paying contributors 90% royalties with some transaction fees on top of that.”
“If we hadn’t reduced the royalty as we did in 2010, we would not have been able to invest in the things that led to ultimately the results we’ve achieved in the last 3 years,” West says.
Alamy has also been able to stay nimble thanks to staying private and not taking on any debt for its growth and operations. But due to growing uncertainties in the global economy and because there are new things Alamy wants to invest in, Alamy believes dropping its commission rate again is a “good move.”
After the change, Alamy will still be offering a higher commission than its competitors, West says, adding that he believes this may be the last commission rate drop Alamy will need to do.
“So far I’ve modeled all the cameras in my personal camera graveyard and working collection, and my friends Canon collection,” Moses tells PetaPixel. “I think that I made the first ever RIGHT hand grip for a Pentax 6×7.”
Here’s a look at the grip for the Leica M series, which fits all M cameras except the M5:
You can pick from a wide range of colors, including color-changing grips that change from one color to another at 88°F (31°C).
Sony a7/R III Firmware v2 Unlocks All AF Modes for Adapted Lenses
Sony has just released a new major firmware version for its popular a7 III and a7R III mirrorless cameras. Version 2.0 brings new features and improvements, including the ability for adapted lenses to make use of all the camera’s autofocus modes.
The update “Adds support for Zone, Expand Flexible Spot, and Lock-on AF focus areas when using the LA-EA3 mount adaptor,” Sony writes.
Sony specifically mentions the LA-EA3 mount adapter, which is designed to let photographers use Sony A-mount lenses on E-mount cameras. But it seems the new feature goes well beyond that use case.
“[W]e’ve tested it with adapted Canon mount lenses as well and can confirm it works with EF lenses via a Sigma or Metabones adapter,” DPReview writes. “Since Eye AF also works with adapted lenses, we’re really starting to see less and less of a downside to using third-party lenses on Sony cameras, save for a drop in performance at longer telephoto focal lengths.”
Here’s the full list of benefits and improvements in the latest firmware update:
Adds support for the 400mm f/2.8 G Master and 24mm f/1.4 G Master lenses
Optimizes the optical image stabilization performance.
For the 400mm f/2.8 G Master lens only, adds support for new image stabilization mode (Mode 3) of the lens.
Adds the Function Ring(Lens) feature to the to the Camera Settings2 menu.
Addition of [Aperture Drive in AF] setting in the menu.
Adds AF Track Sens as a selectable option for custom key settings.
Adds support for Zone, Expand Flexible Spot, and Lock-on AF focus areas when using the LA-EA3 mount adaptor.
Enables Bracket shooting to be available during silent shooting when the File Format is set to RAW or RAW & JPEG, and the RAW File Type is set to Uncompressed.
Improvement of the performance and the overall stability of the camera.
Better reproduction of the gradation of RAW pictures.
Improves dimming stability under flicker light conditions.
Improves managing continuously shot images as a group.
You can download the a7 III firmware v2.0 for Windows and Mac and the a7R III firmware v2.0 for Windows and Mac.
Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f/1.4 Lens Unveiled for Fujifilm GFX
ZY Optics has unveiled the new Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f/1.4 lens for the Fujifilm G mount. It’s the fastest standard-length native lens available for Fujifilm’s GFX medium format mirrorless cameras.
The manual-focus lens provides the rough equivalent of a 50mm field of view (in 35mm terms) when mounted on a GFX camera, and the fast f/1.4 aperture provides an ultra shallow depth of field and the ability to work in low-light environments.
ZY Optics says the optical quality of the lens is designed to meet the demands of GFX sensors, which have resolutions starting at 51.4 megapixels in the GFX 50S and GFX 50R. There’s also a 102MP GFX camera on the horizon.
Specs and features of the lens include 11 elements in 9 groups, a 9-blade rounded aperture, a metal lens body, and a built-in retractable lens hood.
Here are some sample photos captured with the new Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f/1.4:
The Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f/1.4 is available now through http://www.zyoptics.net/“>the company’s website and through authorized resellers with a price tag of $799.
Image credits: Sample photos by by Jonas Rask and courtesy ZY Optics
Capture One 12 Brings a Redesigned UI, New Masking Tools, and More
Phase One just launched Capture One 12, the latest major version of the popular RAW conversion, photo editing, and asset management software.
“This release takes a top-down approach to streamline, modernizing, and improving the user interface to continue the program’s tradition of providing powerful features in a customizable, uniquely-configurable interface,” Phase One says.
“With this update, we focused on creative control — updating and improving the user interface, adding powerful new masking tools, and extending the Capture One ecosystem through plug-in support,” says VP Jan Hyldebrandt-Larsen. “These updates further our commitment to ensuring that Capture One continues to be the industry’s recognized leader in accuracy, performance, and customizability.”
Here’s a rundown of new features found in Capture One 12 in Phase One’s words:
Powerful, Refined Interface
“Capture One 12 introduces a newly re-designed, contemporary interface, designed to make Capture One easier to use during long editing sessions and to make discovery, experimentation, and customizability easier than ever. New iconography better conveys tool functionality, and the new slider design, the spacing of the tools, and font size increase improve both the look and the usability of the program.”
Revamped Menu System
“Every menu item in Capture One 12 has been evaluated, categorized, and organized according to its logical function and grouped along with associated tasks, which makes it easier to find the desired controls and settings, and brings the Mac and Windows menu options into alignment.”
“One of a trio of new masking tools, Luma Range allows users to quickly create masks based on the brightness of pixels in an image and is the most powerful luminance masking tool of its kind. […] The masks created with the Luma Range tool are dynamic and can easily be tweaked and modified at any point in the workflow. Unlike a hand-drawn mask, Luma Range adjustments can be applied from one image to another, and the effect will be based on the luminance of each image. This functionality is a huge time-saver as it eliminates the need to create precision masks for each frame in a shoot.”
Linear Gradient Mask
“Capture One 12 takes gradient masks to the next level, allowing for editable, moveable, rotatable—and best of all—asymmetric gradient masks. Using a brand-new Parametric Masking Engine, Capture One allows for adjustments in the size, shape, and symmetry of the masks with simple mouse clicks and key presses, truly redefining the possibilities of linear gradients in Capture One.”
Radial Gradient Mask
“The new Radial Gradient mask tool enables quick, flexible radial masks, useful for vignette and other adjustments with a desired falloff effect. Using the same Parametric Masking Engine as the Linear Gradient mask tool, radial masks can be adjusted, rotated and moved after creation for extreme control over desired effects.”
Redesigned Keyboard Shortcut Manager
“Capture One is known for its ability to custom-assign and custom-configure virtually every task to a keyboard shortcut. With more than 500 individually-assignable and customizable commands, it’s essential to be able to find the exact shortcut, without having to hunt through hundreds of choices. Users can now search by the specific menu command, or by the assigned keyboard shortcut, making it easy to find and manage shortcuts. To unify the interface between the Mac and Windows versions the new menu system has been moved to the same location on both platforms, making it easier for workgroups to stay in sync.”
New Plug-in Ecosystem
“To address the needs of photographers and creatives looking to share, edit and collaborate on their images, the new Capture One plug-in ecosystem will allow for powerful third-party extensions. The new Capture One SDK will allow any developer to create custom solutions to expand Capture One, and to transform Capture One into an open ecosystem. Users of Capture One will be able to extend the platform with the upcoming addition of plug-ins that allow for sharing, editing, and that can connect Capture One to a variety of specialized editing tools.”
Copy and Apply
“When copying adjustments between images, Capture One will automatically detect changes for a quick workflow. Image specific adjustments like composition or spot removal are ignored by default, but can be manually included if needed.”
Fujifilm Film Simulation Support
“Thanks to the collaboration between Capture One and Fujifilm, photographer’s using Fujifilm’s renowned X-Series and GFX-series cameras will be able to edit photos complete with Fujifilm Film Simulations. These in-camera settings have been faithfully reproduced in Capture One, to provide an identical experience when working with files, resulting in images that appear the same as if the Film Simulation picture profiles were applied in-camera.”
Extended AppleScript Support
Users of Capture One on Mac OS can take advantage of extended AppleScript support for automation and workflow streamlining. More than a dozen of Capture One 12’s areas and properties can now be directly modified with AppleScript, adding to the existing, robust AppleScript support in previous versions of Capture One.”
New Camera and Lens Support
“In addition to the RAW support for more than 500 cameras, Capture One also provides profiling and image correction support for more than 500 lenses. Like with the RAW file interpretation, Phase One carefully measures the optical characteristics of each supported lens and builds correction algorithms that compensate for the various optical imperfections of various designs. New camera support: Nikon Z7, Nikon Z6, Fujifilm GFX 50R, Canon EOS R, Canon EOS M50.”
Phase One has released a large number of tutorials that introduce how the new features work on its YouTube channel:
Max Bridge of Square Mountain also made this helpful 18-minute video looking at the new features:
Availability and Pricing
Capture One 12 is available now with a perpetual license for $299 (upgrading costs $149). There’s also a subscription model that costs $15 per month and up.
DJI Osmo Pocket: The World’s Smallest 3-Axis Stabilized 4K Camera
DJI has announced the new Osmo Pocket, the world’s smallest 3-axis stabilized camera designed for the masses. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket while still shooting high-quality photos and videos.
Despite measuring roughly 4 inches tall, the Osmo Pocket contains a 1/2.3-inch sensor that captures 12-megapixel photos and 4K videos at up to 60fps and 100Mbps.
The state-of-the-art three-axis mechanical gimbal on the camera helps you capture sharp photos and smooth videos by compensating for shake and movement.
On the back of the Osmo Pocket is a 1-inch touchscreen that provides live view and the interface for adjusting things like shooting modes, settings, and reviewing captured imagery.
Under the Osmo Pocket is a universal port that allows the camera to be paired with mobile devices that use Apple’s Lightning or USB-C connections. Paired devices can be used as a monitor for the camera.
Other features include dual microphones, advanced noise-canceling, up to two hours of battery life while shooting 4K/30fps, ActiveTrack subject tracking, FaceTrack face tracking, Timelapse, Motionlapse, FPV Mode (capturing your view instead of a level horizon), 3×3 panoramas with 9 photos, and 180° panoramas.
There’s also an ecosystem of accessories, including an accessory mount, wireless module, controller wheel, expansion kit, filters set, waterproof case, extension rode, charging case, and 3.5mm adapter.
“Innovation is at the heart of every product we create and DJI Osmo Pocket is here to change the way photos and videos are captured, not just by professionals but by parents, couples, adventurers, travelers, and everyone in between,” says DJI President Roger Luo. “Osmo Pocket is a portable personal camera crew and we can’t wait to see how people use it to capture their stories and share them with the world.”
One immediately obvious use for this tiny high-res camera would be vlogging, an industry that’s exploding in popularity.
Here’s a 3-minute video that introduces the Osmo Pocket:
Here’s a 6.5-minute hands-on review of the camera by B&H:
The DJI Osmo Pocket will start shipping on December 15th, 2018, and it has a price tag of $349.
The photography apparel and accessory company COOPH has announced a new photo vest for feature- and fashion-conscious photographers. It’s a high-tech reinvention of the classic photo vest that has built-in heating.
The traditional photo vest “is an iconic garment unchanged for 80 years, but what they offer in functionality they’ve always lacked in style,” COOPH says. “In the fast-moving world of photography, we wanted to create something for the needs of the modern photographer. Something with useful and innovative features that looks as good on the streets as it does at a photo shoot.”
Made in Poland, the reversible vest is ultra-lightweight and can fold up compactly when not being worn.
Put it on, and sheep wool insulation keeps you warm. If you need some active heating, the built-in THERM-IC heating system can warm your hand pockets as well as the kidney, back, and stomach areas of the vest — the companion COOPH 5200mAh battery provides 5 hours of heating, but the vest is compatible with any rechargeable 5V power bank that uses a USB connection.
To control the heat, you can also pair a smartphone to the vest using the THERM-IC Bluetooth dongle and the free THERM-IC app for iOS and Android. In addition to controlling the temperature, the smartphone app can also automatically adjust the temperature as you move around.
As a good photo vest should, the COOPH Heatable Photo Vest provides a number of pockets and storage options for carrying your camera gear, accessories, and other small items.
The reversible vest has a different styling on the reverse side.
Here’s a 2.5-minute video in which COOPH introduces the Heatable Photo Vest and its features:
Canon to Unleash a 75MP+ EOS R Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera: Report
Canon is reportedly planning to launch an high-resolution EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera with at least 75 megapixels.
Canon Rumors is hearing from multiple known sources that Canon is developing an EOS R camera with “slightly more than 75MP.”
While the timeframe for launch isn’t clear (and is likely far from being decided internally at Canon), the camera could show up in the second half of 2019.
“One source added that the high megapixel EOS R will come once 4 or 5 more native RF mount lenses are announced, with one of the new lenses being ‘the best landscape lens in the Canon lineup,’” Canon Rumors writes.
What’s more, the sources are confirming speculation that Canon isn’t planning to replace the 50-megapixel EOS 5DS and 5DS R with new high-megapixel DSLRs but will instead be turning its high-megapixel camera efforts toward the new EOS R line.
Canon has long been reported to have more than one full-frame mirrorless camera in development, and the $2,299, 30MP EOS R announced in September 2018 isn’t considered to be the company’s pro-grade flagship full-frame mirrorless camera.
This rumored 75-megapixel EOS R camera would more closely fit the bill, but Canon Rumors is also hearing that the next EOS R camera to be announced in 2019 may be an even lower tier “entry level” mirrorless camera, so professional Canon shooters may have to wait a bit for this high-res camera to appear.
Review: Xennec’s CityScape BackPack 15 is Sleek and Spacious
Peak Design is probably the most well-known camera bag brand to leverage Kickstarter to launch their products, going way back as early as 2014 with their camera straps. And since then, there have been many camera bags brands who have tried to follow their footsteps — some successfully, and some not.
So when Xennec approached me to review their new range of camera bags, I was slightly apprehensive when I learned that it was to be launched via Kickstarter. There were just too many “all-talk and no go” products and vaporware around (Yashica Y35 anyone?), and I didn’t want to be associated with such campaigns.
To their credit, Xennec stepped up to address the concerns, providing background information on the project and team which included a prominent retailer in Singapore and a product designer with a track record in designing camera bags. They also provided for review a pre-production model of their bag, which is very close to production quality.
So today, we’re looking at the Xennec CityScape BackPack 15 in black trim. The bag is also available in Charcoal trim, which looks pretty sharp and dapper. Right off the bat, the backpack is a winner design wise, delivering a camera bag that is versatile enough to be used for both outdoor shoots and corporate shoots.
Measuring 18 x 17.3 x 5.5 inches (44 x 30 x 14 cm), the backpack fits within most cabin carry-on size restrictions, making it ideal for air travel. It weighs in at just 3.32 lbs (1.51kg) and swallows up to 20 liters of camera gear.
The Xennec CityScape BackPack 15 features a sturdy framework all around, holding its form even when fully loaded. The high-density foam padding cushions the contents from impact from all sides without adding unnecessary bulk or weight. A well-padded handle for the top integrates neatly into the backpack, making it easy to pick up and go.
At the front sits two zippered compartments, of which you can organize your batteries and memory cards in the smaller one at the bottom in its sewn internal pockets. The larger front compartment fits my 9.7” iPad easily, and the specs indicate that it’ll take up to a 12” tablet.
There is also another compartment in the front flap which you can fit a 15” notebook or documents, in which my 15” MacBook Pro slipped in easily. The zippers are high in quality and offer smooth operation, and they are lined with rubberized flaps to keep water out.
Flipping the Xennec CityScape BackPack 15 around, the generously padded shoulder straps with ergonomically designed curve makes it easy and comfortable to carry the backpack around. Even when fully loaded, the backpack is comfortable to carry and conforms to my back easily. I brought it out for a short hike and the shoulder straps did a phenomenal job of distributing the weight of the bag without any discomfort.
I like that the sternum strap is fastened magnetic latches that are secure and fast to use, as opposed to the traditional clips which can be finicky to operate with gloves. The strap also incorporates a slight elastic action which makes it really comfortable yet secure. There is also a removable waist belt which I didn’t try out.
The back of the backpack is padded with breathable fabric, so sweat and moisture get wicked away and evaporates quickly. The backpack features a loop for luggage handle pass-through, making it more convenient to move around with your luggage at the airport for example.
At the sides are magnetic pockets, one for carrying a tripod/monopod, and the other to fit your water bottle. The pockets are nicely designed with the proper size and depth, making it easy to secure and remove the tripod or water bottle. They snap back snugly with their magnetic buttons – a far more elegant solution than webbed pockets which tend to loosen after a while.
The bottom of the backpack is coated with what Xennec calls “carbonate-coated fabric” for water resistance.
The access to the main compartment of the backpack is via the back, so it will be difficult for any potential thieves to help themselves to your gear while you’re carrying the Xennec CityScape backpack. Of notable mention is the twist lock zipper tabs Xennec calls Twiz-Lock, which requires you to twist the tabs in opposite angles to lock or unlock the tabs. This feature makes it more difficult for someone to access your gear quickly and adding to the security of the bag.
The cover unzips on 3 sides and opens completely, and the shoulder straps fold back completely to stay out of the way for easy access. The quality construction continues inside with high-density foam forming the inside dividers to provide rigid and lightweight protection for your gear. There are sufficient dividers to create multiple configurations for almost any arrangement you need.
I managed to fit an impressive amount of my Canon EOS gear inside the backpack, which fits over my LowePro roller case containing my Profoto lighting equipment, making it easy to transport all my gear for commercial assignments.
The Xennec CityScape 15 is great for DSLR, medium format gear or full frame mirrorless systems. If you’re shooting with Micro Four Thirds or a rangefinder with smaller lenses, the dividers can be too large to fit smaller items snugly. The rain cover sits in a blue poach ready for deployment when required (provided you remember to pack it in), and there are two zippered pockets on the inside with see-through fabric for your important documents such as passports and travel documents.
All in all, the Xennec CityScape 15 is a surprisingly capable backpack for any photographers wishing to carry a load of gear for urban or light rural location shooting. The backpack’s svelte appearance belies its carrying capacity of 20 liters, and it feels very well-built and comfortable even when fully loaded. I’d certainly recommend that you check out the CityScape 15 and the other two Xennec camera bags at their Kickstarter campaign page (check out the campaign for the pricing).
Full disclosure: A pre-production backpack was provided by Xennec for the purpose of this review.