Pro Tip: Why and How You Should Test Every Lens You Buy ASAP

Photographer and YouTuber Michael the Maven has put together a video about one of the worst-kept “secrets” in optics: sample variation. Or: why you should immediately test every lens you buy to make sure you have a good copy.

If you’ve been a reader of this site for a while, or you’ve ever read anything by Roger Cicala over at LensRentals, you’ll be well aware that no two lenses are exactly the same. This is particularly pronounced with zoom lenses, where the sample variation can be huge—performance at any one focal length in the zoom range can vary drastically from lens to lens, even if you’re using the exact same model.

But since we don’t all have a test bench, the skills, or the patience to properly test every lens we buy and graph the MTF curve or create a field curvature plot, Michael shares his personal technique for testing each new lens he buys to ensure he has a good copy.

Essentially, his technique is to set his camera up on a tripod in front of a flat, textured surface like a brick wall and snap photos at various apertures: wide open, f/2.8, f/4 and f/8. Feel free to add in f/5.6 if you’re feeling comprehensive. If you’re testing a zoom lens, we recommend repeating this process at various focal lengths as well.

Try to get the sensor as parallel to the wall as possible, and inspect each photo from the center out to the edges—it should be immediately obvious if you have a really bad copy at any particular focal length.

Then, as a bonus test, shoot some power lines against a blue sky and see if the lens is producing any dramatic chromatic aberration, which will show up as color fringing at the high-contrast edges between the black wires and the blue sky.

This might seem like nit-picking or pixel-peeping, but it’s just plain good practice. If you’re using a 24-70mm f/2.8 and you shoot most of your work at the wide end, you want to make sure you get a copy that performs really well at 24mm; it won’t do you much good to find out a year down the line that your lens is soft at 24mm but great at 70mm if you hardly ever use the tele end.

Check out the full video to hear Michael’s full explanation of his testing process, alongside some examples shot with one of his lenses. And if you like this kind of no-nonsense educational content, definitely check out Michael’s YouTube channel.

(via DIY Photography)

A Film on the Arrogance of Man: Josh Murphy on His Environmental Doc, Artifishal

“We are on a path to where eventually there will be no fish, and we will have spent billions of dollars to get to that point.” This dire warning is from one of the many experts in Artifishal: The Road to Extinction is Paved with Good Intentions, a new documentary from director Josh Murphy and Patagonia that opened on multiple platforms this past week. It premiered last spring at Tribeca, followed by screenings at Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride and the Seattle International Film Festival, near the heart of the film’s action. From there it’s moved into a series of 550 festival […]

Adobe is testing a live-streaming feature for its Creative Cloud apps

Select Adobe users who have access to the company’s Fresco digital painting and drawing app are currently testing a new live-streaming feature that enables them to broadcast their work in real-time. The live-streaming feature was announced at the Adobe Max conference and recently detailed by The Verge, which reports that Adobe views this as a way to make creators and its products go ‘viral.’

The live-streaming feature will be built into Adobe Creative Cloud apps, according to the company’s Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky. With it, users will be able to launch a live stream of their session and share a link with others either privately or on social media platforms. Viewers will have the ability to leave comments during the stream.

Other details, such as which live-streaming platforms will be supported and which Creative Cloud apps will get the feature, remain unclear at this time. Only select users have access to the beta feature in Adobe Fresco; the company hasn’t provided a time frame for when it plans to deploy the feature for all users.

How to Become a Filmmaker and Ways of Breaking Into the Film Industry

How to start building your career.

Let’s address the elephant in the room.

Being a filmmaker/starting a career in filmmaking is not for the faint of heart.

In fact, whatever heart you have when you start, you better be ready to weather a storm of indignities, or be shatterproof, or fitted for a suit of armor or… maybe just be so broken and damaged to start that you’ll barely feel the pain…

Whoa, that got dark.

Jokes aside, it can be pretty tough out there, and surely by now, plenty of people have issued you this type of warning.

Either way, if you’re serious about this, then you’ve come to the right place.

No, not because we’re going to conduct group therapy in the comment section (though… I’m game if you are…), but because this post is going to break down your film career options.

It’s also going to provide 3 tried and true methods for getting started that will cost you little or nothing.

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Get a Free Trial to Sundance’s Brand New Learning Resource

Want a safe learning space and a place to connect with other up-and-coming filmmakers? Look no further than Sundance Co//ab, the online educational platform of Sundance Institute.

Sundance Institute has just launched Sundance Co//ab, an international creative platform for creators to share work and learn from some of the industry’s best filmmakers. And No Film School readers can try it for free!

The platform, which exited beta yesterday, provides free educational videos, interviews, courses, and hand-picked resources to members.

Subscribers have access to more intensive learning resources as well as personal project feedback. What could be better than getting your work in front of industry professionals who want to help you make it stronger?

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Fujifilm China Trolls Xiaomi’s 108MP Smartphone in Social Media Post

Fujifilm China “welcomed” Xiaomi into the 100MP club with a social media post that’s almost certainly a tongue-in-cheek troll of the tiny 108MP image sensor found in the company’s recent CC9 Pro/Mi Note 10 smartphone.

In a post on Chinese social media website Weibo, the official Fujifilm China account posted an image of the Fujifilm GFX 100 alongside the caption “100 million pixels: Welcome new members!” But commenters immediately noticed something was “off” with the photo. In the bottom left corner of the massive medium format image sensor inside the GFX 100 was a much (much) smaller box—a box that’s approximately the same size as the tiny sensor inside Xiaomi’s new smartphone.

Here’s the original image:

And here’s an enlarged crop of the camera in the middle:

The top comment on the post reads, “I can’t even tell if this is irony…” to which Fujifilm replied “Encourage Xiaomi’s innovation for mobile phones,” more-or-less confirming that this was definitely done on purpose.

As to whether or not it was meant as an actual troll, it’s possible that some things are lost in cultural (and literal) translation, but commenters seemed pretty convinced, writing things like “Fuji official is more wicked than me!”, laughing, and even accusing Fuji of being mean-spirited towards the local Chinese brand.

Obvious troll is obvious…

(via Fuji Rumors)

Surprise: Kodak’s Film Business Grew 21% Year-Over-Year

Kodak released its Q3 revenue report yesterday, and while the company is reporting a year-over-year loss of $5 million on total revenues of $315 million, there’s a very interesting bright spot in the finances: revenues for Kodak’s film business grew by 21 percent year-over-year for Q1 through Q3.

The news was first spotted by the folks at Emulsive, who rightly point out that this does not mean Kodak is selling a massive amount of 35mm and 120 film to stills photographers. The film business that Kodak is referring to in its report includes motion picture film in addition to the photographic products sold by Kodak Alaris. But it’s good financial news and good news is rare in the imaging business these days.

Q3 earnings reports have been dropping left and right over the past two weeks, and “dropping” has been appropriate in more ways than one. Canon, Nikon, and Sony have all reported losses, some dramatic, as the market continues to shrink and smartphone photography continues to wreak havoc.

And yet, it seems the resurgence of film products continues unabated, moving at an even quicker clip that most people could have hoped for. Kodak is reporting strong film business growth, Ilford just announced several new products, and Lomography recently introduced the first new color film stock in half a decade. We’ll take it…

Shatterbox Shorts-Makers Channing Godfrey Peoples, Veronica Rodriguez, and Tiffany Johnson Talk “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox” at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival

Moderated by Amy Emmerich, President & Chief Content Officer at Refinery29, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s “Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox,” a program of seven quite diverse shorts followed by a post-screening discussion, was presented at the comfy SCAD Museum of Art theater on an industry-heavy Monday afternoon. The event featured Parisa Barani (Human Terrain), Tiffany J. Johnson and Adrienne Childress (Girl Callin), Kantú Lentz (Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die), Channing Godfrey Peoples (Doretha’s Blues), and Lizzie Nastro (the Chloë Sevigny-directed White Echo) onstage to discuss their work – as well as working with Refinery29 and Level Forward’s […]


Ready to do some packages delivery? Don’t miss this CG commercial made by the teams of French studio Unit Image for DEATH STRANDING:

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2019

The post DEATH STRANDING: CG Commercial appeared first on The Art of VFX.

Adobe is Adding Livestreaming to Its Apps So You Can Stream Your Photo Editing Sessions

Adobe showed off a lot of intriguing Adobe Sensei-powered tools and tricks during their annual “Sneaks” presentation, but one feature that’s a bit more official didn’t get a preview: built-in livestreaming.

According to The Verge, who got to see the features in action at Adobe MAX. In essence, it’s will act as an extension of Adobe Live—the livestreams Adobe broadcasts through Behance and YouTube—by baking live streaming tools right into Creative Cloud applications themselves.

The feature is being beta-tested by a small number of whitelisted users of the Adobe Fresco painting app, and it works exactly as you might imagine: you simply press a button to “go live,” which generates a link that anyone can follow to watch and comment on your stream as you go. Scott Belsky, the Chief Product Officer for Creative Cloud, has high hopes for the feature as a powerful educational tool that could “[make] our products viral.”

For now, the feature is still in its early stages, but given the popularity of streaming platforms like Twitch, baking livestreaming features right into Photoshop or Lightroom would make it that much easier for photographers to turn their photo editing sessions into an opportunity to connect with their followers, build their brand, and maybe even generate a new form of income.

“Redefining Identity, Imagination, and Storytelling Through the Female Lens”: Refinery29 + Level Forward Present Shatterbox at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival

“Come for the glitz. Stay for the substance,” really should be the tagline on my SCAD Savannah Film Festival T-shirt, I thought to myself during this year’s 22nd edition of the US’s largest university-run film festival. Along with the twice Oscar-nominated Alan Silvestri, attending to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for Composing, the fest invited a dozen high-profile and up-and-coming actors (Aldis Hodge, Daniel Kaluuya, Danielle Macdonald, Samantha Morton, Elisabeth Moss, Valerie Pachner, Olivia Wilde, Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Jharrel Jerome, Mena Massoud, and Camila Morrone) to accept an array of accolades. (It also hosted decidedly not-famous journos like myself […]

Learn How to Make a $3 Movie with the Duplass Bros (for Free)

The Duplass Brothers head online to share how to make microbudget flicks…for free.

The Duplass Brothers (Mark and Jay Duplass) spent 10 years making films until they created This is John, a 7-minute project with a total budget of $3 that was later accepted by the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.

Now you can learn how to make a quality film for next to nothing, too.

The Duplass Brothers are partnering with Sundance Co//ab to bring you a FREE webinar that teaches you how to make films that resonate with audiences while not breaking the bank.

The free webinar, “Making the $3 Movie,” launches on today, November 8th, from 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM EST. You can also post your questions for Mark and Jay Duplass ahead of time when you register for the webinar.

Sundance Co//ab is the learning extension of the Sundance Institute, providing online courses and resources on directing, screenwriting, acting, and more.

To sign up for the Duplass Brothers webinar and to add your questions, head here! And happy $3 movie making!

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Sony teases its next-generation Quad-Bayer smartphone sensor

The people at Sony’s image sensor division have posted a teaser video for an upcoming new smartphone image sensor, the IMX686, on the Chinese social media site Weibo. The new chip is the successor to the IMX586, which was one of the first 48MP Quad-Bayer sensors and has been deployed in several high-end smartphones.

Sony does not reveal the sensor resolution or other specifications in the video but based on rumors about phones that will supposedly use the sensor GSM Arena estimates it to be between 60 and 64MP.

The video reveals that the new sensor will be released in 2020 and shows a selection of still images captured in a variety of light conditions. The images are not full size, so it’s hard to make any judgements about image detail or noise, but they do look quite impressive in terms of exposure and dynamic range.

Given no phone is using the new sensor yet, Sony has used a prototype board connected to a computer to capture the samples. Have a look at the gallery above and check out the full video over on Weibo.

Canon’s first 8K broadcast zoom lenses for 1.25-inch sensor cameras

Canon’s first 8K broadcast zoom lenses for 1.25-inch sensor cameras

Paving the way for a future where 8K is king, Canon introduced its first 8K broadcast zoom lenses, compatible with 8K broadcast cameras equipped with 1.25-inch sensors.

The two new lenses, which offer filmmakers new options in terms of coverage, will be available early 2020. The 7×10.7 KAS S will be available by special order beginning in January 2020, and the UHD-DIGISUPER 51 will be available by special order beginning in May 2020.

“8K broadcasting equipment is the newest frontier for covering sporting events and documentary productions around the globe,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Through the addition of our first 8K broadcast lenses, Canon is cementing our position on the cutting edge of the latest ultra-high resolution digital imaging solutions.”

Canon’s first 8K broadcast zoom lenses for 1.25-inch sensor cameras

The UHD-DIGISUPER 51 8K field zoom lens provides high-quality optical performance for 8K broadcast cameras from the center to the periphery of the screen. The lens is built with the world’s highest 51x zoom, as well as the world’s longest focal range from the wide-angle end of 15.5mm to the telephoto end of 790mm. In addition, the lens also features a built-in 1.5x extender that increases the maximum focal length to 1185mm. With the ability to realize high magnification, this lens provides users the same operability as a conventional 2/3-inch HDTV or 4K field zoom lens, allowing them to switch to 8K video shooting and production without changing the shooting style.

Designed for 1.25-inch sensors

The second lens announced, the 7×10.7 KAS S 8K, features a 7x zoom that covers a focal range of 10.7-75mm, the new 7×10.7 KAS S, making it ideal for a variety of broadcasting applications. From the center of the screen to the corners of the periphery, this lens has the resolution and contrast compatible with 8K broadcast cameras, while also having the same operability as a conventional 2/3-inch HDTV or 4K portable zoom lens. The 7×10.7 KAS S is equipped with key features designed to provide customers with a high-quality, user-friendly experience, including the mobility required for on-the-move shooting.

The lenses were designed to be used with 1.25-Inch image format size for 8K UHD live television. According to Canon, the early experimental 8K UHD live television coverages of sporting events proved critical to determining the image format size that could deliver the essential depth of field while also ensuring an individual image sensor photosite size that could sustain 8K MTF, adequate dynamic range, and luma signal to noise.

A 1.25-inch image format size balances those imaging parameters in tri-sensor cameras for 8K UHD live television. The 1.25-inch image format has a diagonal of 18.5mm as compared to the smaller 11.0mm of the 2/3-inch format and the larger 28.2mm of the Super 35mm format.

For more information about the new 8K Broadcast lenses and other lenses from Canon contact your local Canon representative or visit Canon’s website.

The post Canon’s first 8K broadcast zoom lenses for 1.25-inch sensor cameras appeared first on ProVideo Coalition.

“Amy Heckerling Should be Thought of as a John Hughes!”: Words of Wisdom from the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s Wonder Women Directors Panel

Once again, this year’s not-to-be-missed event at the 22nd edition of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival (October 26-November 2), the nation’s largest university-run film fest, was the Wonder Women Panel Series. Now in its third year, these always informative discussions highlight female power in the cinematic arts, from directing, to producing, to writing, to the below-the-line crafts. And for me one of the standouts was Wonder Women: Directors, featuring seven ladies behind the lens currently upending every preconceived notion about chick flicks in impressively eclectic ways. Taking place on a laidback, late Tuesday morning at a packed Gutstein Gallery, and […]

New Topaz Mask AI released (and $30 discount)

Everything goes “AI branded” nowadays: Topaz announced the new Mask AI plugin which you can get with a $30 discount here. Topaz writes: Compared to Photoshop, Mask AI doesn’t need tedious brushwork to get a high-quality mask. And there’s no…

The post New Topaz Mask AI released (and $30 discount) appeared first on sonyalpharumors.

THROWBACK FRIDAY: Real Filmmakers Don’t Starve with Jeff Goins

Once you press play it will take a few seconds for the episode to start playing. Please note: Throwback Fridays are archival episodes from the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. After many requests from the IFH Tribe to bring back some of the show’s best episodes, I decided to create Throwback Fridays. These episodes will not be posted every…

The post THROWBACK FRIDAY: Real Filmmakers Don’t Starve with Jeff Goins appeared first on Indie Film Hustle®.

Sara Blakely Masterclass: Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur

Sara Blakely Masterclass: Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur With just $5,000 and an idea, Spanx founder Sara Blakely went from selling fax machines door-to-door to launching an apparel company that became a global sensation. With Spanx, she not only invented a product that women around the world now love, but she also reinvented an…

The post Sara Blakely Masterclass: Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur appeared first on Indie Film Hustle®.