Google’s Pixel 4 Astrophotography mode is now available on Pixel 2, 3 and 3a devices

The Google Pixel 4 offers a range of new and innovative camera features. Some of them are, mainly due to hardware requirements, exclusive to the latest Pixel device but Google has promised to make some others available for older Pixel models.

This has now happened in the case of the Pixel 4 Astrophotography mode. The function had previously been made available for older Pixels via a community-driven development effort but it’s now officially supported with older devices in the latest version 7.2 of the Google Camera app. Below are a few sample photos captured with the Astrophotography mode on the Pixel 4:

Users of the Pixel 2 and Pixel 3 series, including the Pixel 3a, are now able to use the feature after updating to the latest version of the app. The Astrophotography option builds on Google’s Night Sight technology and captures and combines several frames to achieve a clean exposure and great detail as well as limited noise levels when photographing the night sky.

‘Doctor Sleep’ Producer Trevor Macy Reveals the Scariest Thing About Making ‘The Shining’ Sequel

Doctor Sleep producer and long-time Mike Flanagan collaborator Trevor Macy reveals the hardest part about making the movie wasn’t being in Kubrick’s shadow, but watching it with Stephen King.

[SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you have seen the movie, as its ending is discussed below.]

Doctor Sleep joins Mad Max: Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049 (all released by Warner Bros., interestingly) as sequels to ’80s movies that took forever to get made. But not for lack of trying.

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How the ‘Doctor Sleep’ Crew Rebuilt Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel

The director and production crew of Doctor Sleep were already working in Kubrick’s shadow, but they also had to build his hotel, too. Find out how.

Stanley Kubrick was a meticulous genius who put so much attention and detail into his films, that we’re still uncovering cool things he’s done. They’ve had entire museum displays showcasing his notes and his legend grows more and more each year.

All this is to say when you tread in Kubrick’s tracks, the pressure is on and people will notice. Director Mike Flanagan was nervous when it came time to film Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. But lucky for him, he had a very dedicated production crew that was willing to help him pull off the impossible.

How the Doctor Sleep Crew Rebuilt Kubrick’s Overlook Hotel

When it came to iconic hotels, the Overlook was right up there with the one owned by Norman Bates. Flanagan knew there were a lot of people ready to whip out the microscopes to examine what he would do with Doctor Sleep.

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PRG Opens New Facility In Albuquerque

As a global leader in entertainment and event product solutions, PRG brings one of the largest inventory of cameras, lenses, accessories and LED technology to New Mexico. The new camera prep facility is centrally situated in Albuquerque, between I-25 Studios and Albuquerque Studios, with access to Santa Fe Studios and Downtown. In addition to camera-prep, […]

The post PRG Opens New Facility In Albuquerque appeared first on Below the Line.

Testing the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens for 10 Days in California

The trinity is now complete. Since the release of the Canon EOS R about a year ago, the mirrorless camera is my go-to tool for shoots. Not least because of its size and weight, as well as the amazing lenses (RF 28-70mm f/2, RF 50mm f/1.2, and my RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 expedition lens) the EOS R has benefits over its DSLR counterpart.

With the EF lens-adapter combination that I’ve been using so far, especially for the EF 11-24mm f/4 wide-angle lens and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 tele-zoom lens, there was a noticeable imbalance between the camera body and the lenses. There was no optical quality loss when I used the adapter ring, but compared to the camera, my old 70-200mm f/2.8 was pretty long and heavy.

With the release of the trinity lens set in the RF mount, I can now use the EOS R for a focal length of 15mm to 200mm with a fixed aperture of f/2.8 and a 5-stop image stabilization — and all this with lenses that are specifically designed for the mirrorless system. I’d like to share my experiences with you here, especially with the RF 70-200mm f/2.8.

Disclaimer: I’m a Canon Ambassador and I was sent the lens to test on a commercial job. This test report is based on my subjective experiences over 10 days under real-life conditions. The report covers day-to-day use of the lens. I’ve intentionally left out technical details and lab tests since this isn’t something that applies to my daily use.

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 200mm – f4 – 1/1600 – ISO 100

My first experiences using the RF 15-35mm f/2.8 and the RF 24-70mm f/2.8

When I compare the new RF 15-35mm to my old lens (EF 11-24), sometimes I miss the 11-14 mm focal length. But the fixed f/2.8 aperture lens and its 5-stop image stabilizer, things my EF 11-24 didn’t have, makes up for this. Better yet, it’s about 30% lighter, and not needing an adapter ring makes it quite a bit shorter.

The fact that the RF 15-35mm f/2.8 lets you use filters with a diameter of 82mm that can also be used with the RF 24-70mm f/2.8 isn’t really that important to my daily work, but this is definitely an advantage for lots of nature photographers. The EF 11-24mm f/4’s bulbous front lens doesn’t make this possible.

The RF 24-70mm f/2.8 is pretty much the same size and length of my old EF 24-70mm f/2.8, but with its 5-stop image stabilization, it outdoes the old lens, also when it comes to optical quality. Especially on the edges, the differences are easy to see (just as for the 15-35 compared to the 11-24). I’m not going to get into these two lenses in more detail here; my focus will be on the RF 70-200mm.

Canon EOS R with RF 15-35mm at 35mm – f3.5 – 1/400 – ISO 800

The “little” RF 70-200mm f/2.8 is a big accomplishment

The first time I saw photos of the new lens, I could hardly believe my eyes. After waiting for more than a year, it looks like I’ve finally got a tele-zoom solution for my EOS R. Armed with the RF 15-35mm, the RF 24-70mm and the latest RF 70-200mm, I headed off to California for 10 days to test the trinity set on a commercial shoot.

Pros

Weight and size

To reiterate, size and weight are important factors when considering the EOS R mirrorless system. The RF 70-200mm f/2.8 is almost 30% smaller and lighter than the EF 70-200mm f/2.8. The length, when zoomed at 200mm, is the same as my old EF lens. But what’s most important for me: it’s much shorter at 70mm. I often have to carry my gear around for hours in my backpack. Any extra space I gain in my photo gear backpack can be used for other things.

5D Mark IV with EF 70-200mm f/2.8, EF 24-70mm f/2.8, EF 11-24mm f/4
EOS R with RF 70-200mm f/2.8, RF 15-35mm f/2.8, RF 24-70mm f/2.8

Image stabilization

When it comes to the RF lens, the 5-stop image stabilization has 1.5 aperture stops more than my previous EF lens. Image stabilization has improved a lot, especially when it comes to long focal lengths or filming. This makes it possible for me to photograph with shutter speeds that I never dared use before, never mind when I’m taking tele shots! The following picture was taken at almost 160mm at just 1/20 seconds:

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 158mm – f6.3 – 1/20 – ISO 100
100% crop of the image above. No post production sharpening.

Here’s a sample video filmed at 200mm with image stabilization:

Extremely quick auto focus

On this shoot, I shot more than 3000 photos with the 70-200. I took more than 75% of them with an open aperture of f/2.8, often with continuous autofocus. There were considerably less unfocused images using this lens. This is due mostly to the two nano USM autofocus motors, which separately control two groups of lenses. The result: For continuous shooting, the number of sharp photos is higher overall.

As a reference point, look at the logo on the left side of the helmet. On the right side is a 100% crop of the image you see on the left.

The third photo was taken with the following settings:

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 70mm – f2.8 – 1/2500 – ISO 200
Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 124mm – f2.8 – 1/2000 – ISO 200

Top performance for shots against the light

I love taking photos against the light. For this photo shoot, I decided against a flash or light bouncer, preferring to use Lightroom to edit the shadows and darker areas. The special Super Spectra coating reduces lens flares and scattered light.

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 119mm – f4.5 – 1/1250 – ISO 200
Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 77mm – f2.8 – 1/2000 – ISO 200

Photos that are crisp and clear

I am totally sold on the crisp definition that the lens makes possible. I was already very satisfied with the results I got from the EF 70-200. The new RF takes it up a notch. The pictures are extremely crisp overall. This is especially noticeable on the edges of the photos.

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 119mm – f4.5 – 1/1250 – ISO 200
Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 95mm – f2.8 – 1/2500 – ISO 100

Cons

It’s a real challenge to come up with cons for the RF 70-200mm. Some people gripe about the extending lens barrel. During my 10-day shoot, the extending barrel had no negative impact on the images. As compared to other Canon external focus lenses (like the older 100-400), this new lens has a filter between the extending barrel and the main barrel to prevent dust from getting sucked into the lens.

If, after long-term use of the lens, the filter was shown to not prevent this, then this definitely would be a drawback. I haven’t used the lens enough yet to know whether this is an issue. To date, I see no disadvantages to extending lens barrel. On the contrary: I’m quite happy to make use of the extra space I’ve gained to put other lenses in my backpack.

In conclusion

Canon EOS R with RF 70-200mm at 70mm – f2.8 – 1/1250 – ISO 100

Just as the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 is part of a serious Canon DSLR photographer’s toolkit, the same applies to the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 for those using mirrorless EOS R or EOS RP cameras. In my line of work, a compact tele-zoom lens is worth its weight in gold, and right now, there’s no other lens that holds a candle to this one. In my eyes, the optical quality, combined with its compact size and low weight make this lens a must for photographers who work with Canon’s mirrorless system.


About the author: Martin Bissig is a professional photographer and Canon Europe Ambassador based in Switzerland. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Bissig’s work on his website and Instagram.

Panasonic Unveils 70-200mm f/2.8 and 16-35mm f/4 Full-Frame L-Mount Lenses

Panasonic has added two much-anticipated lenses to its “S Pro” lineup of L-Mount lenses for the full-frame mirrorless Lumix S1, S1R and S1H cameras: The Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 O.I.S. and the Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4.

The two new lenses bring Panasonic’s L-Mount lens lineup to six total lenses, including one prime and five zooms:

  • Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4
  • Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4
  • Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS
  • Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 OIS
  • Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/4 OIS.

And Panasonic is promising to design and develop “11 or more lenses with the emphasis on the ‘LUMIX S PRO’ class by March 2021.”

Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 OIS

The star of the show is the stabilized 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens, which brings Panasonic’s full-frame “holy trinity” one step closer to completion.

The optical construction is made up of 22 elements in 17 groups, including two Ultra Extra-low Dispersion (UED) elements, three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements, and one aspherical lens elements to tackle chromatic aberration and astigmatism. Like many of the high-performance mirrorless lenses that we’ve seen lately, the S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 features a dual-focus motor that should be quick, accurate, and helps to suppress aberration at close focusing distances.

Additionally, the lens is fully weather sealed and features optical image stabilization that, when paired with the S1-series in-body image stabilization, offers a reported 7-stops of shake reduction. If that claim pans out in real life, we’re talking about being able to shoot a 1-second exposure where you’d need 1/125th un-stabilized.

The Panasonic Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/2.8 OIS lens will be available in January for $2,600. To learn more or place a pre-order today, click here.

Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4

Joining the 70-200mm f/2.8 is a versatile wide-angle zoom that’s a favorite of photographers who can’t quite afford to drop the cash on a 14-24mm f/2.8, don’t mind giving up one stop of light, and appreciate the additional reach: The Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4.

The optical construction is made up of 12 elements in 9 groups, including three aspherical elements, one Extra-low Dispersion (ED) element, and an Ultra-High Refractive Index (UHR) element. This formula promises “stunningly high resolution toward the corners even at wide open,” out of a relatively lightweight package.

The lens features a double-magnet linear motor for fast and accurate autofocus, a weather-sealed construction, and “a mechanism that suppresses focus breathing” for video shooters who don’t want their framing to change when they pull focus.

Like the 70-200mm f/2.8, the new Panasonic Lumix S Pro 16-35mm f/4 lens will ship in January, and this one costs an easier-to-swallow $1,500. To learn more or pre-order yours, click here.

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro with dual-tele and 108MP primary camera is official

Last week Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi teased the penta-camera setup in its Mi Note 10 flagship device. Now the smartphone has been officially released and more detailed specifications have become available.

As previously teased, the new device comes with five cameras on its back. The centerpiece is a large 1/1.33″ Quad-Bayer Samsung ISOCELL BRIGHT HMX sensor with 108MP nominal resolution that produces 27MP output files. It’s accompanied by not one but two tele-cameras for optimal performance along the zoom range. There are 2x 12MP tele and a 5x variant with 5MP sensor.

At the other end of the zoom spectrum a 20MP ultra-wide camera with a 16mm equivalent field of view is deployed and there is also a 2MP dedicated macro camera that can get as close to the subject as 15mm. A 32MP front camera with F2 aperture is hidden in a waterdrop cutout in the display.

On the software side of things the Mi Note 10 features a new version of Xiaomi’s Night mode that now stacks frames at Raw level rather then JPG for better results. Xiaomi also says this feature will be made available on the ultra-wide camera via a software update soon.

Other specifications include a 6.47-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution, a Snapdragon 730G chipset, 6 GB RAM and a non-expandable 128GB internal storage. The large 5,260 mAh battery features 30W fast-charging support.

In Europe the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 will set you back 549 Euros (approximately $608). There will also be a Pro version with 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and an 8-element lens on the primary camera (vs 7 elements on the non-Pro) which will cost €649 (approximately $718).

The Mi Note 10 and Note 10 Pro are the international version of the China-only Xiaomi Mi CC9 Pro and CC9 Pro Premium Edition which were announced yesterday. The China-market versions don’t come with Google services but everything else should be the same.

You Probably Don’t Care About the Leica SL2, and You’re Worse Off For It

Up until a few weeks ago, I had never used a Leica. I don’t think I’d ever even held one or knew much about them other than the occasional story of an outlandishly expensive iteration on a camera previously on the market. I had preconceived notions about the kind of company Leica was, about their goals, and about their strategy. I expected very little, regardless of what they were going to show me.

Today, I write these words as I somberly gaze at the empty place on my desk where the Leica SL2 I had on loan, and have since had to return, once sat. Somber, because I miss the camera dearly.

I know that many of you who looked at our thumbnail, read the title, and maybe made it through this far already think you know what you need to know about the Leica. You see the brand, and therefore you believe it’s going to be expensive (which it is, but not terribly so), it’s going to have features you don’t think add value, it’s going to be stuffy and cold and high brow. You won’t like it, you won’t see the point, and you will move on.

I get it. Like I said, I was exactly like you a few weeks ago. Except the difference between me and you is that I gave the Leica SL2 a chance. I took it out, shot with it (and I mean I really shot with it), and looked at my images.

Leica SL2 w/ Noctilux-M 1:1.25/75 ASPH
Leica SL2 w/ APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1:2/35 ASPH

Though not without its flaws, as it definitely has some, the Leica SL2 is the perfect answer to this question: how do you stand out when every camera made today is excellent?

That is an unassailable fact. As much as we hum and haw about different cameras, argue about which ones a “real professional” would own, and how dumb our contemporaries are for not going with the one we are certain is the better pick, looking at the camera market from a higher level will reveal that every single interchangeable lens camera made by any manufacturer in the last five years is a great camera. There is no exception.

All we are doing is arguing about what features one has that another hasn’t, and what adds more value to our own personal view of what is important.

Leica SL2 w/ Summilux-M 1:1.4/35 ASPH

Another fact is: the market is crowded. Every major manufacturer has a full-frame mirrorless or other high-performance camera now, and everyone has presented reasons why theirs is the superior choice.

For Leica, a brand not known for moving quickly and who admitted as much when they showed me the SL2, had to decide what was important to them. They had to take the time to study what Leica as a brand stands for, and how to best leverage those important things to create a finished product.

Leica SL2 w/ Noctilux-M 1:1.25/75 ASPH

From Leica’s perspective, that meant making a camera that from end to end feels amazing to use: from the moment you set your eyes on it, to how it feels in your hands, to how it captures an image, to how that image looks.

And they almost got that whole process entirely, perfectly right. They’ve come very close, and in many ways closer than anyone else has yet.

From the moment you set your eyes on it…

The Leica SL2 is a beautiful camera. I imagine I’ll find some folks who will disagree with me, but even if you don’t like the look of Leica cameras, you should at the very least be able to appreciate that there are those that do like this modern, clean and simple style.

The SL2 bucks the trends of a hundred buttons and tiny text and multiple dials. Instead, it offers only three labeled buttons on the back of the camera with the rest be unlabeled. There aren’t many overall, just a couple on top and a few more around the body in tactical places.

The camera is pretty much completely customizable, and all the functions usually made into buttons are found in the very intuitive and easy to use touch screen and menu.

To how it feels in your hands…

This is not a light camera, but I don’t think Leica set out to make it as such. The body is made from machined magnesium, with the top cap and bottom plate made from machined aluminum. The metals are not extruded, they are machine ground from solid pieces of metal. That is a more time consuming, more expensive way to make metal parts, but the end result is a stronger and more robust product.

There is no plastic in the construction of the body anywhere. It is also highly weather-sealed, to a degree that surprises for a camera that looks as nice as this one does.

The exterior is lined with textured leather, and when I was told it was leather that came as yet another surprise. It feels more like a cross between the rubber you normally feel on camera grips and a sort of soft plastic. But like, nicer. It’s a very unique feeling, and it hugs your hands beautifully. There is even a little inset area inside the very nice grip for your fingertips to hold. Overall, it feels great.

To how it captures an image…

The SL2 uses the same EVF that is found in the Panasonic S1 and S1R as well as in the new Sony a7R IV. It’s a very pixel-dense OLED that is the best available on the market. What you see through the viewfinder is sharp and crisp, with great color fidelity.

Leica SL2 w/ SUPER-VARIO-ELMAR-SL 1:3.5-4.5/16-35 ASPH

Unfortunately, this is one of the few stumbling points on the SL2. Because the camera uses a contrast-based autofocus system, with no phase detection, in order to acquire focus it has to quickly rack in and out behind and in front of subjects. In continuous autofocus modes, that translates to a “wobble” look that can be disorienting. It can even make what should be sharp, crisp experiences through the EVF look soft.

When in single-point or manual focus, this isn’t a problem, but it’s 2019. We’re going to be using continuous autofocus pretty often, especially when the Leica offers body, face and eye detection. All these things work great, and I was getting above an 80% keep rate even firing 20 frames per second, but the feedback to me while shooting wasn’t ideal.

So while Leica comes close to closing the loop here, it’s not as clean of a good job as found in the other categories. That said, it does have in-body image stabilization and it’s clear that their partnership with Panasonic has paid dividends because this, at least in my short time with the camera, feels just as good as what Panasonic offers. They are in my and many others’ opinion the best in the industry, and Leica now has that.

Handheld at 0.3 seconds, Leica SL2 w/ Noctilux-M 1:1.25/75 ASPH

To how the image looks

Leica is using the Panasonic S1R 47.2-megapixel sensor, but this is not the same image experience: Leica did some Leica magic because images look spectacular. My favorite photos are just ridiculously sharp, have great color reproduction, and stellar dynamic range.

Apparently, Leica attached more advanced microlenses in front of the sensor, which is something anyone can do and isn’t just a Leica technology. They’re just the only ones willing to do it and take on that cost. I think the results speak for themselves. The photos look good.

Leica SL2 w/ APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1:2/90 ASPH
Leica SL2 w/ APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1:2/90 ASPH
100% Crop

I think it’s easy to just shrug off the Leica SL2, and I cannot blame you for it. Leica makes some decisions that, to the average photographer, don’t come off as decisions you make as a camera company. They are clearly invested heavily in being a luxury brand, and that can be really off-putting to the average photographer.

I pointed this out to Leica representatives, and they explained that the only reason they get to make a camera like the SL2 is because they have diversified their business. Having the ability to be a luxury brand means they can make enough money to continue the standards to which they feel they owe their heritage. If they didn’t do the luxury stuff that we all kind of wince at, then we wouldn’t be able to enjoy anything from Leica at all. They just wouldn’t exist.

Back in October, we featured a story where Leica expert Erwin Puts said that “the soul of Leica products has been eradicated.” I read that, and those words rang in my head as I remembered seeing Leica engineers testing lens tension by hand. As a team of technicians worked to replace damaged cameras carefully and expertly.

It buzzed in my ears as I recalled a Leitz lens specialist describe in detail how they maintain their high standards, nearly with a tear in his eye out of pride. I have seen the care, love, and attention the Leica team put into the preservation of their history, and the reverence with which they displayed that history to me.

I have seen the conviction they have to maintaining the old way of making product — by hand. I have seen in their eyes the love for Leica, and I have felt in my hands the result of that love in the SL2.

I respect Mr. Puts for his opinion and his expertise, and I recognize I’m new to this “I like Leica” thing. But if the SL2 is any indication of what Leica thinks is important in 2019, then the soul of their heritage is still burning brightly.

Leica SL2 w/ APO-SUMMICRON-SL 1:2/90 ASPH

So… how do you stand out when every camera made today is excellent? You make something like the SL2. And you make it proudly.

FilmConvert Camera Pack for Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1H Now Available

FilmConvert has announced the addition of a new camera pack for the Panasonic S1 and S1H cameras. If you are a FilmConvert Pro or FilmConvert Nitrate user, you can download these new profiles for free. Let’s take a closer look.

FilmConvert Camera Pack for Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1H

The Panasonic LUMIX S1 and LUMIX S1H – the version for filmmakers – are currently on fire! Indeed, the S1H is the first Netflix approved mirrorless camera. Also, if you want to learn more about the S1H, you can take a look at our complete S1H review by clicking here and our lab test by clicking here.

FilmConvertS1S1H_Featured

FilmConvert is continuously updating its list of camera packages, and they have just introduced a new camera pack for the Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1H. This camera pack is compatible with the FilmConvert Pro and FilmConvert Nitrate plugin. For more information about FilmConvert Nitrate, you can take a look at our article here and even get a 10% discount when purchasing the plugin.

To test their new camera profile, the team at FilmConvert took the camera out for a test drive – the video is at the top of the article – to Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary in Wellington, New Zealand. They shot it with only one lens, the Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm F/4 Macro OIS, in the V-Log picture profile at 48 frames per second. Grading was done in FilmConvert Nitrate using the KD P400 Ptra film stock. The results they got with the S1H handheld are pleasing to the eye. Also, you can see the full Dynamic Range of the camera in such severe conditions.

Pricing and Availability

FilmConvert camera packs are always free. You can download the new camera packs along with support for a wide selection of other cameras from the FilmConvert website.

Furthermore, they are running the FilmConvert Short Film Competition at the moment, and entries are closing in a few days.  This might be your call to get your film out there and have a chance to win some great filmmaking packages.

What do you think of this FilmConvert camera pack for the S1/S1H? Do you already use FilmConvert Pro or FilmConvert Nitrate? Let us know in the comments!

The post FilmConvert Camera Pack for Panasonic LUMIX S1 and S1H Now Available appeared first on cinema5D.

Sigma Unveils the 24-70mm f/2.8 Art Lens for Full-Frame Mirrorless

Sigma has announced the new 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras. It’ll be available at launch for the E-mount by Sony and the L-mount by the Leica/Panasonic/Sigma L-Mount Alliance.

The new lens is the second DN Art lens designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras, following the 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art. Sigma says the new 24-70mm f/2.8 offers the best optical performance of its class thanks to a sophisticated optical design.

While remaining smaller and lighter than its DSLR counterparts, the new Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art achieves a uniform high resolution from the center of the frame to the edges throughout the entire zoom range.

“By employing three aspheric lenses, this zoom lens thoroughly subdues aberrations such as axial chromatic aberration or sagittal coma aberrations, which are difficult to correct in post-processing, tailors the resolution and achieves uniformity and superior optical performance from the center to the periphery throughout the zoom range,” Sigma says.

On the front of the lens is Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer Coating and Nano Porous Coating, the latter of which helps the lens achieve high contrast and clear images. The coatings help reduce flare and ghosting when shooting with strong incident light.

Build-wise, the lens is both dust- and splash-proof, and there’s a zoom lock switch on the body to prevent the lens barrel from extending when you don’t want it to.

Other features and specs of the lens include maximum magnifications of 1:2.9 (wide) and 1:4.5 (tele), a minimum focusing distance of 7in/18cm (on the wide end), a locking lens hood, an 11-bladed rounded diaphragm for smooth bokeh, a rugged brass bayonet mount, and Japanese manufacturing.

The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art will be available in E and L mounts starting in mid-November 2019. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Dictators, Predators and Magical Thinkers (and Some Combination Thereof): Doubling Up at DOC NYC

Now in its 10th year (though still in November, AKA doc-tsunami festival month) the upcoming DOC NYC is celebrating the anniversary with a wealth of nonfiction riches. Boasting a whopping 300-plus films and events — including 28 world premieres and 27 US premieres — this year’s edition will also be hosting an eclectic array of guests. On hand will be everyone from musician Robbie Robertson — star of Daniel Roher’s Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, which opens the fest — to fashion force-of-nature André Leon Talley (who starred in Kate Novack’s The Gospel According to André just […]

Leica SL2 Unveiled with In-Body Image Stabilization and 187MP Photos

Leica has announced the SL2, a full-frame mirrorless camera that replaces the SL that was announced back in 2015. Leica says the new “all-purpose” camera “resets the tone for the mirrorless market.”

One of Leica’s focuses in designing the SL2 was ergonomics — the company claims the SL2 has improved ergonomics thanks to a more comfortable grip, refined edges, and a simple 3-button control layout on the back of the camera that’s reminiscent of what’s found on Leica’s digital M rangefinders.i

The SL2 also introduces in-body sensor-shift image stabilization that provides 5.5 stops of stabilization while you use any lens, from native SL lenses to adapted M lenses.

Inside the camera is a 47-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 50-50000, “enormous dynamic range,” and a color depth of 14 bits per RGB channel. Leica says the sensor delivers an “unparalleled level of detail rendition and image quality.”

The Maestro III image processor working alongside the sensor allows for virtually zero shutter lag and 10fps shooting (and up to 20fps with the electronic shutter).

The ability of the suspended sensor to shift also allows for a new multishot mode — mount the camera on a tripod, and the feature snaps up to 8 frames in rapid succession with half-pixel sensor shifts in between each one. The resulting frames are then combined into ultra-high-res photos of up to 187 megapixels.

For video shooting, the SL2 can shoot 4K at up to 60fps and Full HD at up to 180fps. 10-bit footage can be saved directly to the memory cards. There are built-in headphone and mic jacks as well as an HDMI connector for external monitors.

“Activating Cine mode transforms the SL2 into a manually controlled cine camera,” Leica says. “ISO becomes ASA, the shutter speed is marked in degrees on the rotary disk shutter, and the f-stops indicating the aperture ratio are replaced by T-stops, which measure the actual amount of light transmitted through the lens,”

Durability-wise, the SL2 is IP54 certified, meaning it offers a high level of protection against particles and a good amount of protection against water.

On the back of the camera is a new 5.76-megapixel EyeRes electronic viewfinder above a 3.2-inch touchscreen with an improved resolution of 2.1 megapixels.

Other features and specs include the ability to turn off noise reduction during long exposures, a streamlined UI with new status menus (and dedicated menus for stills and video), two SD card slots with simultaneous recording of DNG and JPEG files, face/body detection, moving subject tracking with Intelligent-AF (iAF), the ability to fine-tune focus settings, and Smart AF mode (automatic switching between focus priority and shutter release priority).

Here are some sample photos captured with the SL2:

Here are a few videos introducing the new camera:

The Leica SL2 will hit store shelves on November 21st, 2019, with a price tag of $5,995.

VueScan application makes thousands of old scanners compatible with macOS Catalina

Apple’s latest desktop operating system, macOS Catalina, dropped support for 32-bit applications. As a result, many older scanners lost native support for the operating system, forcing owners to upgrade to newer hardware or use a different computer that retained compatibility. Third-party scanning software VueScan offers a different solution, namely support for around 6,000 older scanner models.

VueScan was upgraded this week to version 9.7. With it, Mac users can use their older 32-bit scanner with their Apple desktop or laptop even if they’re running macOS Catalina. The third-party software is made possible by reverse-engineering drivers for more than 6,000 older scanners from 42 manufacturers, including film scanner and flatbed models.

Manufacturers include Ricoh, Canon, Fujitsu, Kodak, Nikon, Panasonic, Polaroid, Samsung, Mitsubishi, and Epson, among others; a full list of supported models can be found here. Overall, VueScan supports around 2,400 scanner models on Windows, 2,100 models on Mac, and 1,900 models on Linux.

The software is available for $49.95 USD (Standard Edition) and $99.95 USD (Professional Edition), the latter of which includes support for film and slide scanning, among other things.

Leica SL2

The new Leica SL2 comes with improved ergonomics, a more comfortable grip, in-body image stabilization and excellent 4K Full Frame video. The L-Mount’s 20mm shallow flange depth and the in-camera stabilization accommodate Leica M, S and R lenses. PL, LPL and other cine lenses not only fit but also benefit from the 5-axis sensor stabilization. Meanwhile, Leica continues to roll out an impressive series of new SL lenses. The SL2 camera menu is designed with 2 separate modes: “Photo” and “Cine (Video).” read more…

Panasonic S1 & S1R Firmware

Panasonic has announced that the company will release firmware updates for the S1 and S1R. The most important features from my perspective are the ability to use CFexpress Type B cards, improved auto focus performance, and the ability to now manually set the exposure when shooting in the VFR mode. The other big fixes are … Continued

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Panasonic G9 gets 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording

The Panasonic G9 is getting the ability to record 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internally. This makes it the most affordable hybrid mirrorless camera capable of 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording. The G9 will also get V-Log L as a paid license upgrade, as well as VFR (Variable Frame Rate) FHD 2-180 fps/4K 2-60 fps). All firmware … Continued

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