March 2017

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’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.