A look back at some of last month’s most compelling photography from around the world Our Photojournalism of the Month gallery highlights moments of exceptionally strong documentary photography, culled from the daily output of wire photographers from a…
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Probably should’ve kept the smartphone camera in that pocket I’ve gotten used to putting the word “selfie” in quotation marks, but now that it’s a full-blown word, I don’t have to do it anymore. We’ve heard a lot about smartphone self-portraits this ye…
Three classic bags from the 70s and 80s are back in Tenba’s stable Tenba has taken a page from its own history book, re-releasing three of its oldest models as the Tenba Classic Collection. Originally created in 1979 and 1986, these three bags are even…
The Oxford English Dictionary has named “selfie” its word of the year for 2013, cementing the term’s place in today’s lexicon. The now ubiquitous act of taking a self-portrait and sharing it on social media has become so popular as to represent the most important word of the year.
Independently of this award, selfie was added to the OED in August of this year, but it’s due to its rapid rise in popularity that it won the title. The dictionary’s research pegs the word’s use as having grown 17,000% in the last year.
Judy Pearsall, Editorial Director for Oxford Dictionaries, explained: “Using the Oxford Dictionaries language research programme, which collects around 150 million words of current English in use each month, we can see a phenomenal upward trend in the use of selfie in 2013, and this helped to cement its selection as Word of the Year.”
Other candidates this year included included “twerk” and “bitcoin”. The award will occasionally be split geographically, as it was in 2012, when the word in the UK was “omnishambles” and for the USA it was “GIF” as a verb.
As part of the announcement, the OED tracked down the very first usage of the word in its modern context — to an Australian message board in 2002. In this case, the term seems to be part of the Australian slang tendency of shortening a word then throwing vowels on the end (see also: esky, trackie dacks).
Apparently some Sigma lenses aren’t working properly on the Nikon 5300 â�� but at least there’s a patch in the works
If you’re the proud owner of the recently announced Nikon D5300, you might have noticed some strangeness when shooting with certain Sigma lenses. You’re not the only one, and Sigma has released an official product advisory, citing firmware compatability problems between some of the company’s current lenses and the Nikon D5300.
Apparently, the the OS (optical stabilizer) and Live View Auto Focus functionality isn’t working correctly with Sigma lenses that have internal motors — but the new firmware is due out tomorrow, and should fix the problem.
Here’s the full statement from Sigma:
Information Regarding the Nikon D5300 Cameras
Thank you very much for purchasing and using Sigma products.
We have found that the current firmware of our Nikon fitting interchangeable lenses may not work properly with the Nikon D5300’s OS and Live View Auto Focus functions.
For those customers who own Sigma lenses in Nikon mount, we are going to provide a free firmware update service.
Please note that all the products we dispatch from the factory will have the latest firmware.
Without the latest firmware, the OS and Live View Auto Focus functions do not work properly when it is used with the Nikon D5300.
Nikon fitting interchangeable lenses that incorporate an internal motor
* Firmware upgrade cannot be applied to the lenses that do not have an internal motor.
* For some discontinued products, we may not be able to offer the firmware update due to the discontinuation of related repair parts. Please contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for the further details.
For those customers in need of the latest firmware, we are going to provide free firmware update from November 20th. For discontinued products, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for the further details.
For lenses that are compatible with the SIGMA USB DOCK, it is possible to update them via SIGMA Optimization Pro.
For detailed information on the SIGMA USB DOCK, please find it from the below link;
For the detailed information on the SIGMA Optimization Pro, please find it from the below link;
Local Service Center
You can contact your nearest authorized Sigma distributor for the firmware update.
From the link below, you can see where to contact in our world network.
Compatibility Sticker We are going to put the sticker to all Nikon fitting lenses that we will dispatch from the factory from now on.
Thankfully, the firmware should hopefully provide a straightforward fix. But for the multitudes of Sigma lenses that aren’t compatible with the USB Dock (or for users who don’t have one), that’ll mean getting your lenses to a Sigma distributor first.
Sonyâ��s updated compact sports the largest BSI sensor yet
This year saw a slew of fancy compact cameras introduced, as the smartphone camera continues to unseat point-and-shoots for casual photographs. On the lower end, these cameras use 1/1.7-inch sensors, such as those found in Canon’s PowerShot G16 and Nikon’s Coolpix P7800. On the higher end are those with APS-C sensors, such as Nikon’s Coolpix A and Ricoh’s GR, plus Sony’s full-frame Cyber-shot RX1. But Sony is also betting on a middle ground with its RX100 II. An update of last year’s popular RX100, this new version maintains the 1-inch sensor size and 20.2MP spec, but the circuitry for the sensor has been moved to the back side of the chip. Generally referred to as a back-side illuminated (BSI) design, Sony calls its version Exmor R. This design, by allowing for larger pixels, promises lower noise at equivalent sensitivity settings. We ran the RX100 II through the Popular Photography Test Lab to see how Sony’s claims pan out, and to look for any surprises.
In the Test Lab
The RX100 II earned an Extremely High rating in overall Image Quality at its lowest sensitivity setting of ISO 100—the same rating the RX100 got at its lowest setting of ISO 80. The resolution of both cameras drops one rating grade once you go beyond their respective minimum ISOs. Given that the sensor in the RX100 II is of a completely different architecture, we were surprised at how close the resolution numbers were. The RX100 II turned in 2280 lines per picture height at ISO 100, while its predecessor yielded 2270 lines at ISO 80. Through the ISO range the two cameras delivered virtually the same resolution: By ISO 6400, the RX100 II captured 1950 lines; the older camera, 1930 lines. The RX100 II lets you shoot at ISO 12,800, where it got 1900 lines, enough for a High rating; the older camera tops out at ISO 6400.
Sony seems to have delivered, for the most part, on its claim of a one-stop improvement in noise reduction. Through ISO 200, the RX100 II tested one rating level better than the older camera. And the RX100 II doesn’t reach an Unacceptable rating until ISO 1600, while the RX100 hit that rating by ISO 800. While noise measures high in the RX100 II, Sony does apply enough noise reduction to minimize that snowy luminance-noise look. This smoothed-out appearance in images comes at the expense of reduced resolution, as noted.
We also compared it with our test of a popular smartphone, Apple’s iPhone 4S—and the Sony prevailed. Even at its highest ISO, the RX100 II served up more resolution than the iPhone 4S did at ISO 64, where it captured 1730 lines. (The iPhone 5S will likely do better than the 4S—we will report on it soon.) As did its predecessor, the RX100 II aced our color accuracy test, this time with an average Delta E of 7.8—not quite as slick as its predecessor’s 6.6, but still good enough for top honors in our test.
In the Field
The design of the RX100 II is extremely similar to the original RX100. The new version has a tilting LCD, which certainly comes in handy when shooting at low or high vantage points and can help ward off glare when shooting on sunny days. Sony also added its Multi-Interface Shoe to the top, which means you can mount Sony’s excellent FDA-EV1MK OLED electronic viewfinder if you’re willing to lay down an extra $450. We used the finder during our test and it’s a joy to use. But while we definitely like the experience, it’s hard to say whether this expense is too much for a camera like this.
The shoe also opens up the use of other Sony accessories, such as the ECM-XYST1M stereo mic ($160, street). Some might find the mic unnecessary, though, since the RX100 II has a built-in—yet not as fancy—stereo mic. The other main addition to the RX100 II is Wi-Fi. Using Sony’s app for iPhone or Android, you can control the camera, fire the shutter, and transfer files to your phone for upload to your favorite social media site. The app worked well for us, and was a convenient way to share images on the fly. All our friends were able to see what we ate for brunch before we even finished the last bite. Isn’t that what photography is all about?
Other than those additions, the RX100 II is very much like its predecessor in general use. The lens is the same great 28–100mm f/1.8–4.9 Zeiss T* on the RX100. Video remains quite nice for a camera of its size, and should please most shooters who aren’t expecting the same level of video as from, say, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
The Bottom Line
The RX100 II is a fantastic compact camera whose time, sadly, may have passed. Its innards have been replicated in the QX100, which will save you about $250 if you don’t mind using your phone as your camera interface—something many millions of people continually show they don’t mind in the least.
You can get the Ricoh GR, with its APS-C-sized sensor, for about $50 more than this Sony. In fairness, the GR doesn’t have a tilting screen or Wi-Fi, and it isn’t as user-friendly as the RX100 II. Plus, Sony’s convenient features, such as Stitch Panorama and Handheld Twilight mode, which merges six shots for reduced noise in dimly lit scenarios, might be enough to win over some shooters.
Time will tell (and soon) whether there’s a place in the hearts of casual photographers for cameras like this one.
IMAGING: 20.2MP effective, 1-inch (13.2×8.8mm) Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor captures images at 5472×3648 pixels with 12 bits/color in RAW mode
STORAGE: Memory Stick PRO Duo, SD, SDHC, and SDXC store JPEG, ARW RAW, and RAW + JPEG files
BURST RATE: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode), up to 12 shots at 2.5 fps (with continuous AF and metering enabled)
AF SYSTEM: TTL contrast detection with 25-point autoselect or 187 selectable spot areas; single-shot and continuous AF with focus tracking and face detection
SHUTTER SPEEDS: 1/2000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments)
METERING: TTL metering with multi-segment (evaluative), centerweighted, and spot (size of spot unspecified) ISO RANGE: 160–12,800 in 1-EV increments, plus ISO 100 and 125
VIDEO: Records at 1920x1080p 60 in AVCHD Version 2.0 (at 28, 24, or 17Mbps); 1440x1080p30 in MPEG-4; built-in stereo microphone; no microphone input
FLASH: Built-in pop-up with autoflash covers approx. 1–49 feet with lens zoomed out to its widest; 1.8–19 feet with lens zoomed to telephoto; auto ISO Lens: 28–100mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.8–4.9 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* zoom lens with SteadyShot optical image stabilization.
LCD: 3-in. TFT with 1.229-million-dot resolution; five-step brightness adjustment
OUTPUT: USB 3.0, mini HDMI video (type C), composite video, and analog audio
BATTERY: Rechargeable NP-BX1 Li-ion, CIPA rating 350 shots
SIZE/WEIGHT: 4.0×2.4×1.4 in., 0.5 lb with a card and battery
STREET PRICE: $648
The Mentor Series Costa Rica Video Workshop offered participants a spectacular array of once-in-a-life-time experiences and the priceless opportunity to capture them in broadcast-quality videos with the latest Nikon HD-DSLRs.
With the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Arenal Volcano ever-present, the Mentor SeriesCosta Rica Video Workshop offered participants a spectacular array of once-in-a-life-time experiences and the priceless opportunity to capture them in broadcast-quality videos with the latest Nikon HD-DSLRs. After a brief hands-on equipment intro, we shot a team of ﬁve professional kayakers navigating with incredible skill along the scenic Arenal River, and captured thrilling video of exotic wildlife while ﬂying among the trees in a spacious gondolaon the amazing Sky Tram. Trekkers had the choice of returning on foot or putting their sense of adventure to the test by experiencing the ultimate adrenaline rush on one of 10 Sky Trek zip-lines for an unparalleled 360-degree perspective of the rainforest. Using the features such as Full HD 1080p capture at 30 and cinematic 24/25 frames per sec, it was hardly a surprise the participants came away with a true video experience. That was only day one!
On day two we got to use Nikon HD-DSLRs and lenses to capture hi-res stills and videos from the unique Arenal Hanging Bridges, and to walk along a 3-kilometer rain-forest trail and take in nature’s beauty with our eyes and cameras. In a video editing session we learned how to edit video clips into a complete production that tells a compelling story. In the afternoon, we visited a Butterﬂy Conservatory dedicated to the preservation and study of the rainforest and its tropical species and got to photograph rare butterﬂies, exotic frogs, and other rainforest ﬂora and fauna. Later that afternoon we experienced the awesome beauty of the La Fortuna Waterfall, a 70-meter-high cataract considered a national treasure, shot amazing videos of it, and captured videos and still images of beautiful birds, frogs, and reptiles in their natural habitats at the famed Arenal Ecological Park.
Of course, our Costa Rica Video Workshop was a lot more than merely experiencing a unique and awesome environment and getting to capture it using top quality Nikon equipment. Under the able, empathetic, and always accessible guidance of seasoned mentor Reed Hoffmann, participants learned an incredible amount about camera control, lighting, and video pacing, and received precious tips on still and video photography, video production, and workﬂow that will allow them to create their own unique pro-quality videos going forward. “I learned an incredible amount in a very short time, made a lot of new friends, and created videos and images I will treasure forever,” commented one happy trekker. Once you experience the unique camaraderie of this seamlessly organized photographic adventure that also happens to be a total immersion course in visual expression, you’ll deﬁnitely be back for more.
This whimsical essay will float your boat and your house too
When Parisian photographer Laurent Chehere first began shooting some of the buildings in his city’s less-privileged outlying neighborhoods in 2007, he hoped to “show their hidden beauty,” he says, “by getting them out from the anonymity of the streets.” He did this in the most literal way possible, with the creation of his series Flying Houses.
The commercial pro, now 41, didn’t want to just displace these buildings physically. “I wanted to help them tell their stories, real or not, funny or sad,” he explains.
So after photographing them, he began weaving fantastic narratives for the buildings using Adobe Photoshop, often inspired by the plots of films: ranging from childrens’ classics such as Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon and Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle, to art-house favorites by the likes of Marcel Carné, Federico Fellini, and Wim Wenders.
The idea for each image was inspired just as much by the character (and people) of the neighborhoods, including urban Parisian districts Ménilmontant and Belleville, as well as quieter residential areas, with casts of characters ranging from gypsy caravans to circus clowns, and buildings that might be “an old erotic cinema in Pigalle, a small neighborhood café, or a pretty little house in a boring suburb.”
After shooting hundreds of images with his Canon EOS 5D Mark II—typically in the same area in the same light, he would sit down to make his careful composites. Incorporating the buildings against their background skies as well as dozens of collected added details—graffiti, assorted windows, flying birds, and phone cables for each building’s “tether.”
Some may be recognizable as direct cinematic references; “Red Balloon,” for example, and “Circus,” which pays tribute to Fellini’s La Strada. Others are more about the neighborhood: One portrays the often dangerous passage undertaken by Paris’ immigrant population as a “far-from-charming Noah’s Ark.”
With 18 photos in the series completed, Chehere is now in the process of compositing an added 20 for a book that will be published next year; he also has a show opening November 1 at New York City’s Muriel Guépin Gallery.
Chehere says the works are as much about the imagination of the viewer as his own. “In the end, everyone makes their own stories of the Flying Houses.”
Laurent Chehere is commercial and fine-art photographer based in Paris. See more at laurentchehere.com.
A Pringles can, some cloth, a bit of tape, and you’re just about ready to go
A SaberStrip is a lighting modifier that clips into your speedlight, and gives you a long, thin strip of illumination — but at $135, it’s not the cheapest thing in the world if you just want to play around with light shapes and sizes. So over at DIYPhotography, Owen Harvey came up with a cheap and easy alternative: using a Pringles can, and modifying it into a jury rigged “SaberStrip”.
The build is extremely simple. You cut a long rectangle in the body of the can, then cover the opening with cloth to act as a diffuser. To mount it on the camera, there’s just an appropriately sized hole in the can’s lid — and then some judicious application of gaffer’s tape to make sure the whole thing stays together.
Sure, the light probably isn’t as even or controlled as a real SaberStrip, and a stiff breeze would probably cause the whole thing to collapse. But if you’re just curious about how to use a strip flash, and don’t want to drop more than $100 on something just to play around, it’s a great option.