Tokina Unveils the 16-28mm f/2.8 for Full-Frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs
Kenko Tokina has announced the new Tokina opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF lens for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs.
A new member of Tokina’s premium “opera” lineup, the 16-28mm f/2.8 FF is a super-wide-angle lens designed for landscape, architecture, documentary, environmental, and night sky photographers.
Featuring a newly designed Silent Drive module that uses GMR magnetic autofocus sensors, the lens delivers autofocus that’s faster, smoother, and quieter than Tokina’s previous generation of lenses.
To make using this third-party lens more intuitive, Tokina has made the focus ring rotation direction on the lens for each mount match Canon and Nikon’s lenses.
A One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism on the lens makes it easy to switch from autofocus to manual focus — the photographer only needs to pull the focus ring back toward the camera to engage manual focus control.
“This gives photographers an authentic tactile MF feel with hard stops on either side of the focus range like traditional manual lenses,” Tokina says.
Other specs and features of the lens include 15 elements (including 3 aspherical and 3 all-glass low-dispersion) in 13 groups, a 9-bladed aperture, a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches (28cm), a macro ratio of 1:5.26, and a large front element (for straight lines and minimal exposure vignetting).
Here are some sample photos captured with the lens:
The Tokina opera 16-28mm f/2.8 FF will be available for Canon EF and Nikon F on March 15 with a price tag of $699.
“Washing lettuce laughing” — three words you don’t expect to read on a shot list for an advertising campaign starring world-famous athlete and humanitarian David Beckham. If we weren’t careful, this concept pitched by the advertising agency could have been confused with the stock photo meme “women laughing with salad”, but we knew there could also be a tasteful way to pull it off. We just had to channel our cinematic energy together towards the concept.
Washing lettuce laughing was the second image we made during our day-long shoot with David in Bangkok. So, I added some gunk in the foreground and used a painterly key light with a desaturated earth tone background so that I could achieve a more dramatic look. When we saw the first test photo pop up on the monitor on set, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief. Everyone was in good spirits. The shoot had begun.
We were photographing David Beckham in Bangkok for AIA, a pan-Asian life and health insurance company. The purpose of the campaign was to portray David engaging in healthy activities, such as exploring local markets, preparing fresh foods and exercising.
After seeing some of my photos of the burning oil wells in Qayyara, Iraq, David’s people reached out to me to see if I might want to document a humanitarian trip David was planning in Africa. That particular project never materialized, but David and his team would eventually connect with me again for this specific project in Bangkok.
Before the shoot in Bangkok, I spoke with David and his team over the phone to see how David likes to work. They told me that David doesn’t like to stop or to take breaks—that he prefers a go-go-go photo session. This aligned precisely with my work ethic as well. When I get in the zone photographing, I don’t want to stop. I just have an innate urge to continue working until we create the images everyone envisioned.
With David’s and my work ethic in mind, I knew we needed the shoot to move as efficiently as possible. This encompassed seamlessly moving quickly from one setup to the next — all while we put our best efforts into preserving time on our set. This meant that we had to avoid wasting time with lighting arrangements or pre-lighting. Fortunately, the budget was generous enough for me to hire a large local Thai team for assistance, in addition to my familiar dream team — Jesse, Caleb, and Hector.
Two days before the shoot, we did a full scout of the city, to select potential locations. We did this while keeping Beckham’s fame in mind, we could only select locations that would allow us to set up public barricades. The day before the shoot, we used a stand-in test subject to rehearse our lighting.
Thanks to our thorough pre-shoot work, the day with David ran very smoothly. Caleb was one step ahead of us the whole time, moving packs to the next set-up area and getting everything into place. So all I had to do at each location was make a few quick tweaks before diving into my photography.
When you’re doing a day-long shoot with a person as in-demand as David Beckham, you want to make the most of your time, and you want to shoot as much as you can, as it’s the best thing for you and your client. The challenge of a day-long shoot in the outdoors is that the quality of the light is always changing. But just because you don’t like to shoot in harsh afternoon lighting, it doesn’t mean you stop shooting entirely.
To make the most of both our time and lighting for David, we diffused the natural light over our setups. For example, early in the morning, hours before making the image of David in the market, our grip team went to that alleyway and rigged the location with diffusion materials. That way, regardless of the time of the day David would reach the set with soft lighting.
For the image of David in the tuk-tuk, we had a huge scrim arranged over the whole scene. With the entire area covered in the scrim, the light would be soft no matter where David went. I still used a flash, so there was some degree of control, but the scrim softened that harsh afternoon sunlight.
All in all, the project ran very smoothly. It was an honor to work with David, whom I’ve admired for his humanitarian efforts, and the pace of the shoot seemed to please him.
The icing on the cake for this project was definitely working alongside Wally Pfister, who directed the commercial for the AIA’s ad campaign. I am a huge fan of Pfister’s, and to be on the same tier of importance- in a sense of running the stills while he’s doing the video- is so damn cool. I don’t think I could articulate how honored I am. Wally Pfister is the man. He’s the David Beckham of cinematography.
I would like to thank everyone who made this shoot possible. In no particular order:
Our creative production team and lighting assistants: Patricia McMahon, Laura Gonzalez Murphy, Caleb Adams, Jesse Korman, Hector Adalid and Jirathit “Nut” Saengavut.
The team at David Beckham: Sara Hemming, Simon Oliveira, Helena Cowpland, Helen Hodgson, Ken Paves, Sally O’Neill, Cathy Kesterine, Ben Canares, Grace Medford, Toby Toms, and Ben Sole.
AIA, BBDO and Arthur and Martha: Catherine Gibbs, Stuart Spencer, Scott Walker, Spru Rowland, Amber Clayton, Ann May Chua, and Emily Mabley.
Our Thailand production team at Living Films: Fred Turchetti, Jeab Indageha, Obb Apinat Siricharoenjit, Kerk Pisanu Takasiyanan, Tip Thumvittayakul, Egor T, Gai Kuladee and Warakarn Waruttamangkoon.
Post-production: Nick Leadley, Ryan Cleary, and Pratik Naik.
About the author: Joey L. is a Canadian-born photographer and director based in Brooklyn, New York. Since the age of 18, Joey’s work has been consistently sought out by a number of prominent advertising clients, including the National Geographic Channel, U.S. Army, Lavazza for their 2016 calendar, Canon, Summit Entertainment, and many others.
After 30-Year Hiatus, CFDA and Susanne Bartsch Announce The Love Ball III
How else to describe the 1989 and 1991 fundraisers for HIV/AIDS by Susanne Bartsch other than iconic? Decades ago, the Swiss-born event producer shook the world with her legendary fundraisers aptly titled, The Love Ball. Gathering high fashion designers and high profile celebrities in collaboration with the ballroom community, Bartsch put on a damned good show for a damned good cause. This year, the spectacle will see its 30th Anniversary at NYC’s Gotham Hall on June 25th.
Samsung Galaxy Fold has the First True Folding Screen and 6 Cameras
Samsung today kicked off a new mobile category with its pioneering Galaxy Fold. The device features a 7.3-inch folding screen and 6 cameras. It’s a smartphone and tablet “folded into one.”
The compact Galaxy Fold is portable when it’s folded up but expands to reveal Samsung’s largest-ever smartphone display. The device features a sophisticated hinge that allows it to both open flat and close with a click.
Three apps can be opened simultaneously on the main Dynamic AMOLED display, and apps seamlessly transition between the cover of the device and the main displays.
“As Galaxy Fold opens and closes, apps will automatically show up where you leave off,” Samsung says. “When you’re ready to take a photo, make in-depth edits, or have a closer look at the feed, open the display for a big screen and fuller canvas.”
The device features six different camera modules: three on the back (12MP primary, 12MP telephoto, 16MP wide), two inside (10MP selfie, 8MP RGB depth), and one on the front cover (10MP selfie).
Other features and specs include 12GB of RAM, a dual battery system, two-way charging (it can charge other devices while it’s being charged), and stereo speakers.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold will be available starting in the second quarter of 2019 with a price tag of $1,980.
Time is running out to bring your drone into compliance. (#)
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Baby Ariel Hearts You
Baby Ariel’s new single “I Heart You,” appropriately released around Valentine’s Day, details a relationship on the brink of becoming something more than puppy love. Ariel’s smooth and carefree vocals, permeated by plaintive emotion in the chorus where she sings “You hurt me // And I hurt you // ‘Cause you heart me // And I heart you” come through radiantly against the punchy beat of the track. But the philosophy the song reflects is much heavier than the danceable melody lets on…
It was surprising because in July 2017, Bowens went into liquidation and nobody’s heard a peep from them since, so understandably we all thought that was the last we’d ever hear of them. But to hear nothing for nearly two years and then see the ‘Bowens is Back’ statement from an online photographic retailer of all people was certainly odd.
But is it true? Is Bowens, one of the oldest running studio lighting manufactures, really back?
Well before I go into the details of their revival, let me quickly update some of you on how we got here, why I’m even talking about it and how some of these companies are connected.
Bowens as a company was founded in 1923 and by the 1950s it was one of the largest of its kind in Europe. The company saw great success for many years and was well known for producing incredibly reliable and durable studio lighting heads that were the workhorse of many a busy studio.
Bowens also developed what is now the most commonly used lighting attachment mount in the world referred to as the ‘S-Fit attachment’. This attachment method spawned countless copies that ultimately resulted in the Bowens head having thousands of viable lighting attachments from all corners of the globe. This unintended proliferation is, in my opinion, one of the reasons for the Bowens success early on as many third-party manufacturers were producing very cost effective modifiers for their studio strobes and ultimately its users.
But unfortunately, I also think this proliferation of the S-Fit was ultimately one of the causes of their downfall. Before long, competitively priced Chinese strobe companies like Godox began manufacturing S-Fit strobes that were good enough for all to use and at a price point to see them sideline the bigger Bowens.
Bowens was certainly struggling and in June 2016, the German investment company AURELIUS bought Bowens. The following year, in July 2017, Bowens went into liquidation and AURELIUS closed it down completely shortly thereafter. We’ve heard nothing from them until now.
So Where Does WEX Photographic Fit Into All of This?
As I mentioned previously, the German investment company AURELIUS bought the Bowens brand back in 2016, but they also acquired Calumet as well as WEX Photographic. (To my international friends, WEX Photographic is (now) our largest online photographic retailer here in the U.K.)
In July 2017, AURELIUS then announced that they were ‘merging’ Calumet into WEX to ‘offer an improved experience and wider range of products to photographers across the U.K.’ And once more, we never heard from them again.
So to recap; AURELIUS bought Calumet, WEX Photographic, and Bowens. AURELIUS then merged Calumet into WEX and closed Bowens. So what we’re left with is not only WEX being the last man standing but also the public face of AURELIUS and it’s photographic assets. The importance of this will be more evident as we find out about the future of the Bowens brand.
Why Do You Care, Jake?
Just to be clear, I currently have no affiliation with Bowens, WEX, or any of these other companies in question and I am writing and sharing this due to my own personal curiosity and interest, nothing more.
In the past, I was a major part of Team Bowens which essentially means I would test their new products, write articles for them and provide training to the public as well as their distributors around the globe. But that affiliation abruptly ended when Bowens went into liquidation in 2017. I know there was a lot of anger at the time from employees both here and in China regarding the abrupt Bowens closure, but I can only say that I received all the money I was owed for the work I provided for them, therefore I can’t comment on that. My point here is that I have no ill will towards them.
As a part of Team Bowens, I did receive the new Bowens XMT strobes to test and use. As it stands today, I still use all Bowens heads for my day to day commercial work as well as my workshops and training. Since Bowens’ closure in 2017, I have been contacted by several lighting companies to use their products and although money is always a factor, I still choose to use my old Bowens heads as I love using them.
I felt it important to make that stipulation and although I have no official affiliation with Bowens I still have contacts not only with them but their old distributors as well. But upon reading in my emails that ‘Bowens was Back’, I did begin to try and reach out to old contacts to learn more. After several bounce-backs and dead ends, I did manage to speak to Matt Devine (head of content) over at WEX Photographic.
I explained to Matt that I was part of the old Bowens pro-team and I mentioned that I still use my Bowens heads to this day and if he had any knowledge he’d like to share with me with regards to the ‘Bowens is Back’ news then I’d gladly love to pass it along to you guys here.
WEX Photographic’s Response to the ‘Bowens is Back’ Statement
Me: Is the Bowens brand back for good?
Wex: Yes, the Bowens brand is back as an own-brand professional offering within the Wex Photo Video portfolio. There is a full line of lights, flash, triggers, and accessories planned for release.
We are able to sell these products at a more affordable price than competitor brands because we are sourcing them directly – the lower price does not signify a drop in quality.
Is the Bowens brand now owned by Wex Photo Video?
Bowens is owned by the same group that owns Wex; so, effectively, yes.
Will there be any new products or are we just selling through old stock?
Yes, there is a rolling program of new products in development, alongside continuous improvements to existing models.
Will the new products be made by the same manufacturer as before?
The products are being made to the previous Bowens specifications by the Godox factory. Note that Godox was previously involved with the manufacture of Bowens products prior to the closure, but the Bowens factory was separate to the Godox production line.
It’s important to note that these are not just rebadged Godox products – Godox is the trusted manufacturer that has been selected to produce the products to the high Bowens specifications required.
What is the involvement of Godox?
Godox is the chosen production partner but the new gear will be produced to the pre-existing Bowens specifications.
Is this XMT500 the same model as per the previous release?
Yes, this product is the same as the previous model on sale before Bowens went into liquidation
Will all Bowens products come with a two-year warranty?
Yes, all Bowens products come with a full two-year Fixation-approved warranty.
So first and foremost, I was never expecting to hear Bowens come back in any capacity and secondly, I was certainly not expecting WEX to be so open and upfront with its intentions of where it wants to take the brand now.
AURELIUS owns WEX so essentially WEX owns Bowens. This means that Bowens is simply an own-brand product of WEX. They are not buying Bowens heads and redistributing them, meaning they aren’t marking up the products price to sell them on and this means they have the largest margin to play with when it comes to selling the products.
For example, they have to buy other photographic lighting heads like Profoto and then mark up the price to resell them. Whereas this is not the case with their new Bowens own brand.
Personally, I see this to mean that we’ll likely continue to get the same excellent Bowens heads at a crazy-good price. Take a look at my quick comparison right here of some of the heads on the market right now.
Here in the U.K., our Godox heads are rebranded under the Pixapro name so the head being compared here is essentially the well known Godox Citi 400. It’s a great head and for a 400w head, it comes with a lot of features for that price. The Bowens XMT is a 500w head priced at only a little more through WEX. Of course, to keep everything in perspective, I’ve also included the Profoto 500w battery head here too. At nearly a £1,000 (~$1,300) more, you’re hoping to get a lot more light for your money.
New Bowens Products
New products?! This was one of the most surprising statements to me and in reality, it could mean anything from new Bowens strobes or new Bowens mugs and mouse-mats. Time will tell us how much they want to invest in this but if nothing else, it does speak very loudly to their commitment about the new Bowens revival sticking around for a while at least. Which is good news for all us current Bowens owners.
Another thing I was surprised about was WEX’s openness about Godox. To those that don’t know, prior to Bowens closing, Godox actually made the Bowens heads for many years. We as Team Bowens weren’t supposed to talk about it at the time but we also knew it was no secret. Here WEX openly says that Godox will be making the new batch of Bowens lights from the Godox factory.
There’s one piece of info to take note of here and although seemingly innocuous, time will tell if it’s important.
‘Godox was previously involved with the manufacture of Bowens products prior to the closure, but the Bowens factory was separate to the Godox production line.’
‘Godox is the chosen production partner but the new gear will be produced to the pre-existing Bowens specifications.’
I was aware of this back when Bowens was still functioning, but essentially Bowens owned its own factory in China, inside it was run by Godox but it had Bowens employees and they were beholden to Bowens rules of quality assurance.
Why is this important? Well, I’ve used both the Godox Citi and the Bowens XMT and I personally found the XMT to be far more consistent, color accurate and had fewer misfires when compared to my time with the Godox Citi…. even though they were supposed to be made by the same people. Of course, this is a sample test of one light compared to another and I could just have had a less than perfect Citi head.
So what’s changed now? Well, WEX state here that the new Bowens XMT heads will not be made in the old Bowens factory (presumably that no longer exists) but instead the XMT specs will now be built in the Godox factory. It’s a small difference and it could mean nothing at all. But time will tell if the more consistent XMT head was due to its specifications or a slightly tighter quality assurance in the older Bowens factory.
Peace of Mind
Lastly, WEX very sensibly mentions the warranty of all of its new heads. All Bowens heads sold through WEX will come with a 2-year warranty. This is phenomenal news and to be honest they needed to have that in place before anybody was going to risk getting back into bed with Bowens. In fairness to WEX, it was never really officially announced and promoted, but they’ve been providing repairs and parts for the Bowens heads since Bowens closed its doors nearly two years ago. I for one am very happy to see this 2-year warranty being so openly pushed, as again it speaks volumes as to WEX’s intentions with the Bowens brand moving forward.
For me personally, I see this ‘Bowens is Back’ as excellent news. I’ve used Bowens heads commercially for nearly two decades and I’ve had no reason to complain or question their products. Bottom line; their heads have been utter workhorses that far exceeded any rational person’s expectations of engineering.
Years ago I worked in a very busy studio that probably saw 1000 photo shoots a year go through its doors. Each of those shoots involved around 150-300 photos and every single one of those photos needed a flash. So if we say every shoot was around 200 shots on average, that studio took 200,000 flash photos a year. The studio had 5 Bowens flash heads and whilst I worked there nearly 7 years I don’t even recall replacing the flash tubes…. and the Bowens heads were there before I got there!
So at nearly 1.5 million flashes a piece, I don’t think anybody could argue their expectations versus the reality from 7,000,000 flashes being fired through those things. Utterly incredible pieces of kit in my opinion.
Granted Bowens has seen a huge amount of change in recent years and they certainly have an awful lot to live up to in my mind. But if we can get back to anywhere near that level of excellence again, their products will be a force to be reckoned with on the market today. No, I’m not sponsored or paid to say this in any way but I certainly wish them every success in this new chapter.
About the author: Jake Hicks is an editorial and fashion photographer based in Reading, UK. He specializes in keeping the skill in the camera and not just on the screen. If you’d like to learn more about his incredibly popular gelled lighting and post-pro techniques, visit this link for more info. You can find more of his work and writing on his website, Facebook, 500px, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr. This article was also published here.
This Widest-Ever 4.9mm Fisheye Lens Can See Behind Itself
LensRentals founder Roger Cicala is known for disassembling camera gear and sharing his findings on his company blog. Now he has done the opposite: he’s sharing how he built (from scratch) a prototype 4.9mm f/3.5 “hyperfisheye” lens, the widest fisheye lens ever made. It’s a lens so wide that it can literally see behind itself.
It’s a purely mechanical lens, so you won’t find any fancy motors or stabilization systems inside.
“But even a simple lens is a very complex structure,” Cicala writes, saying that his behind-the-scenes glimpse “will probably give you a good idea of how much mechanical design is required to make even a very basic lens.”
“To give you an idea of what 270 degrees means, the lens sees behind itself,” Cicala says. “An ultra-wide 15mm fisheye lens gives a 180-degree field of view while an 11mm rectilinear lens is less than 120 degrees.”
“The closest thing that’s existed to this is the 1970s classic Nikkor 6mm f/2.8 fisheye, which gave a 220-degree field of view, weighed 5 kg, and can be rarely found for $100,000 and up these days,” Cicala says. “The C-4 optics lens weighs every bit as much as the Nikkor, but should be far sharper, have less distortion and vignetting, and cost somewhat less than those do today. (‘Somewhat’ being defined as ‘less than half’.)”
Just the first element in the lens alone costs about $5,000.
Here’s what the fully-assembled C-4 Precision Optics 4.9mm f/3.5 lens looks like:
You can find an in-depth step-by-step look at the assembly of this lens here.
Here’s a 46-second timelapse video of the process:
Cicala announced C-4 Precision Optics nearly four years ago back on April 1st, 2015, but — perhaps due in large part to the April Fool’s Day announcement — it seems no one took the announcement seriously then. Well, it’s clear now that the new lens startup is very much real. It’s a joint venture being run in spare time by Cicala and Brian Caldwell, who previously worked as a designer at Metabones and Coastal Optics.
C-4 has only developed two lenses thus far, and Cicala hasn’t revealed what his long-term goal with these creations is. If you’re interested in seeing what this hyperfisheye lens can do, Cicala expects to have the first set of sample photos from it within the next week or two, so stay tuned.
The Industry Pays Respect to The Legacy of Lagerfeld
German creative director, fashion designer, photographer and author- Karl Lagerfeld has revolutionized what we know today as fashion. With a tenure in fashion surpassing thirty years, Lagerfeld has defined luxury for generations of models, creatives and consumers. Sitting as creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label, Lagerfeld has stood as the heart of said brands and furthermore established himself as a patriarch to the industry.
Kissing Sailor in Iconic ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ Photo Dies at 95
The sailor who was photographed kissing a nurse in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic photo V-J Day in Times Square has died. George Mendonsa was 95.
Eisenstaedt was in New York City’s Times Square on August 14th, 1945, during victory celebrations that ensued after then-President Harry S. Truman declared the end of the United States’ war with Japan. The photographer spotted and photographed a US Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a stranger — a woman wearing a white dress.
Eisenstaedt wasn’t able to take down the names of his subjects, so after the photo became a defining image of that day, several people have come forward claiming to be the subjects.
In 1987, George Mendonsa came forward and filed a lawsuit against Time Inc., claiming that he was the sailor and that the magazine had violated his right of publicity by using his likeness without his permission. He dropped his lawsuit the following year, but a subsequent study by volunteers at the Naval War College in August 2005 confirmed Mendonsa’s claim by comparing his scars and tattoos with the sailor’s in the photo.
The woman has been identified as Greta Zimmer Friedman, who was a dental assistant at the time the photo was taken.
Mendonsa later said that he kissed Friedman because her outfit reminded him of the nurses on a hospital ship who had been caring for wounded sailors during World War II.
Friedman died in 2016 at the age of 92. Mendonsa died on Sunday, two days before his 96th birthday.