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Arri's new surgical microscope shows that large sensors aren't just for cameras

If you know the name Arri, it is probably from their century-long dominance of the cinema camera industry. However, now it is bringing its famous Alexa image sensor to the industry’s first all-digital surgical microscope – aptly named the ARRISCOPE. I got a chance to use one of the prototypes when the team brought the beast to Stanford for a talk this week. It is indeed impressive. You can learn more about it by reading the .

DJI Phantom, ZenMuse, GoPro 5, Yuneec drone camera sensors reviewed

DxOMark benchmarks for popular drone camera sensorsAs drones become increasingly popular for serious photography, DxO Labs decided they deserved to be reviewed for image quality the same way it reviews camera sensors for its DxOMark site. I was fortunate enough to be able to help them write a . The review also highlights the limits of testing just the sensor for drones. In future broader reviews that include stabilization, optics, lag, video, and other capabilities that are important for many applications.

Hands-on with Moshi's new wireless Vortex Air premium earbuds

With the disappearance of headphone jacks on an increasing number of smartphones, wireless earbuds have become more than just a convenience feature. That means a difficult tradeoff for audio designers between accommodating the limited battery capacity and providing high-quality sound. These tiny devices also need to support drop-free Bluetooth connectivity and streaming. Moshi, which is known for its fashion-forward accessories, , and headphones, has entered the market with two cleverly-designed models. The less-expensive Mythro Air and the Vortex Air – which we’ve been testing.

Adobe brings pro-friendly RAW HDR capture to Lightroom Mobile

Until now, HDR capture on smartphones has been an under-the-covers merging of several frames in a fairly simple way by the phone itself. Now, Lightroom Mobile offers pro-grade HDR for supported phones. The app’s camera mode will analyze the scene, decide on the needed bracketing, capture the images in RAW mode, and then combine and tonemap them into a 32-bit floating-point DNG RAW file – allowing full HDR editing. This is pretty amazing when you consider that typically a similar workflow involves bracketing on a high-end camera, and the use of specialized software applications to do the merge and tone mapping. It works on the Apple iPhone 6s and later, Samsung Galaxy 7 and 7 edge, and Google’s Pixel family of phones. For users of other phones, there are still some goodies packed into the new version of Lightroom mobile:

SmartDesk 2: Finally, an affordable, automated, stand-sit desk for your studio

For years its been known that working standing up – at least part of the time – can be good for your back. As photographers, most of us work standing up quite a bit. But unlike when shooting film and spending nights in the darkroom, many of us spend long days on the computer, and it is all too easy to not move around or stand up enough. There are a number of very nice motorized desks on the market, but they have typically cost as much as your DSLR. Not everyone can, or wants to, afford that. So it is with great interest that we’ve been watching the rollout of Autonomous.ai’s new SmartDesk 2. The company has been selling SmartDesks for a couple years, but version 2 has some significant changes – including better-built motors and controls. We’ve been testing the dual-motor Business Edition.

EI2017 talk: Future challenges in measuring image quality

New technologies like multiple-sensor cameras, multi-frame noise reduction techniques, and new platforms like drones mean that we'll need to totally-overhaul the way we assess the quality of a camera for its intended purpose. I was privileged to be invited to give a talk on the topic – sharing my perspective as a professional photographer, tech journalist, and camera reviewer with a room full of interested imaging scientists that will need to be creating the needed solutions. For those curious about where we’re heading, you can follow along with my presentation:

Sigma rocks four new high-end DSLR lenses

While the overall DSLR market isn’t super-healthy, and any number of vendors have been slowing down their rate of product introductions, Sigma Photo has been able to churn out impressive new lenses on a regular basis. This month brought four more – three in its high-end Art series, and one super telephoto in its Contemporary series. The Art lenses are a 14mm f/1.8 HSM, a 24-70mm f/2.8 HSM with OS, and a 135mm f/1.8 HSM. In the Contemporary line there is a 100-400mm super-zoom f/5-6.3 HSM with OS. All of the lenses are “DG,” so they will work on both full-frame and APS-C sensors.

Nikon admits defeat in high-end compact cameras: Cancels its DL series

DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8It’s no secret that the market for compact cameras has been imploding. Their market share has been taken over almost entirely by smartphones. The shining light among them, however, has been the very high-end of the market – typified by cameras like the , and the . Nikon was poised to cash in on those buyers with its DL series of premium point-and-shoots. However, after a series of delays, and apparently increased costs, Nikon has decided to cut its losses and

Don't like your face? Google's new photo trick might give you a better one:-)

As photographers, we’re all familiar with needing to pull the most detail we can out of an image. Now, Google’s Brain team has come up with a way not just to extract detail, but to add it based on comparing the blurry version with a reference library of potentially-similar images. Since they’ve trained the system with a library of popular media stars, you might like the results even more than the original. Of course, it can’t really be called a photograph when it’s finished. More like an impressionist painting. You can read more about how it works in .

Breakthrough new Sony sensor adds DRAM: Speeds up frame rates by a factor of 4!

Sony is threatening to again up the ante for smartphone cameras.

Arcus from Moshi: A backpack for the fashion-forward photographer

I have amassed quite a collection of photo backpacks over the years, in all shapes and sizes. Most are purely functional, and even those that look good, like my , clearly define themselves with functionality first. So I was very curious when Moshi, known for their fashionable accessories, asked me to test out their new Arcus backpack prior to launch at CES. I was impressed that while it is stylish, it could also fit my laptop, tablet, phone, paperwork, jacket, and camera with two lenses. So I was happy to give it a try. What I found was a pack that will make a lot of consumers happy, although it may not be rugged enough for most professionals.

Fujifilm X-Pro2: Retro camera for those with Leica envy

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)Right from the first look the screams retro, and reminds one of a Leica. Its square-shaped, solid-metal, body, with large control dials on top is a definite throwback. At first blush, so is the Rangefinder (which under the hood turns out to be a lot more than that). As with Leica, a carefully-curated selection of high-performance lenses complement the camera itself. The design may be retro, and a few of the features, but the Fuji X-Pro 2 packs a punch when it comes to the latest technology, features, and premium image quality. You won't be sacrificing anything in those areas by moving to one.

Lots of new drones for photographers shown at CES

My initial goal was to survey the drone announcements at CES 2017 earlier this month, but it soon became clear that there were far too many. Literally dozens of companies, with likely well over a hundred new models. Many of them are amazing for photographers. In particular the updated GDU model, with a modular gimbal and support for a camera up to 5 pounds, is intriguing. You can .

2017 will be the year of user-generated 3D and VR content thanks to new capture devices

CES 2017 was chock full of new 180-degree, 360-degree, and 3D/VR capture devices, priced from $150 to many thousands of dollars. No matter what your budget there was one being shown that would work. Of course, you need to pay more to get more, but there are even pro-quality devices around the $1,000 mark – a fraction of what they have been previously. I’ve rounded up some of my favorites, and also provided some definitions of the terms used by exhibitors to describe their devices in .

Looking for a Photoshop alternative: $40 for Affinity Photo is your best option

For photographers looking for an alternative to Photoshop, that want all the power it provides and aren’t satisfied with the more limited processing capabilities of or , there haven’t been too many alternatives. The best options to date have been , Gimp, or perhaps Cyberlink’s PhotoDirector. Now though, Affinity has dramatically improved the capabilities of its Photo product and has also made it available on both Mac and Windows. For the value price of $40, you can have a product that does almost all of what Photoshop does, and many things it doesn’t. I’ve taken it for a spin and enjoyed using it. You can read my .

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