Saturday, 31 December 2011

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 first impressions

media_1325351712424.png

I'm testing the latest version of the full-frame Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 zoom. To state the obvious, it combines some of the capabilities of the 70-200mm and 300mm f/2.8 lenses in one lens but without any real penalty in size or weight over the latter (if Sigma had managed to produce a 70-300mm f/2.8 it would be considerably larger and more expensive). At $3,199 / £1,999.95 it's around half the price of the 300mm f/2.8 primes from Canon or Nikon and is certainly an intriguing proposition. Strangely, Sigma don't go to great lengths to promote the weatherproofing, their press material says it's sealed but there's no mention of it after that. And, I should point out that the lens mount doesn't have a seal, which is an odd omission at this level.

I've not taken enough pictures yet to formulate any conclusions on image quality but I've some initial impressions on the build. A large heavy lens like this must be equipped with a decent tripod bracket and, thankfully this lens is, by and large. However, it has just the one (1/4-inch) tripod socket in the foot. I would have preferred to see two for secure fixing of a lens plate.

media_1325352720845.png

Balancing the Sigma is more difficult than most on the Wimberley WH-200. Although internal, the zooming affects the balance slightly - enough for it to upset the Wimberley. It's not unusable though, by any means. Unexpectedly, the lens comes with a lens cap and an odd choice for a lens with a huge front element. The cap easily dislodges. Although difficult to remove one-handed, I actually prefer the lens covers supplied with the Canon and Nikon lenses (and, it appears, earlier versions of this lens). I've not tried it but the LensCoat Hoodie (Large) looks like it might be a good alternative - the black version is just $13.99.

media_1325354444293.png

I have a number of Arca compatible plates but I tend to use the Wimberley P50 with the Wimberley Head Version II (WH-200) head as it's very long and easy to slide back and forth in the clamp when balancing. I also test a lot of different lenses and this fits them all. The P50 is meant for the 600mm lenses but if I add the two screws as nubs it works reasonably well with the Sigma. Wimberley recommend the $52 P20, and I've no doubt that would be the better choice.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Call for entries in Open to Interpretation: Fading Light

media_1325160534084.png

Open to Interpretation are calling for entries in their international juried book competition. Submissions are open now with early submissions due January 19, 2012. The deadline for entries is March 15, 2012. Please see below for submission guidelines, fees, and award details.

Press release:

"Fading Light" Juried Photo Competition

Open to Interpretation is now calling on photographers to submit images for consideration in a juried book competition. 
 
Project Details
Open to Interpretation is a collaborative book project bringing together photographers, poets and writers. Each book begins with a themed call for photos. The chosen photos become the literary inspiration for the writers' submissions. A book is created that matches each winning photo with two stories or poems that offer different interpretations of the image. The unique collaboration adds new dimensions to both the photos and the written word.

 
Book Title: Open to interpretation
Theme: Fading Light
Juror: George Slade, Principal at re: photographica
Submission Fee: $40 for 5 images, $10 each additional
Deadline for submission: March 15, 2012
Early Entry: $10 discount if submitted by January 19, 2012
Results Announced: March 30, 2012
 
Awards
$300 Judge's Selection Award
 
Judge
George Slade has provided fine photographic artists and their audiences with insightful interpretation and curatorial expertise in exhibitions, classes, writings, lectures, and face-to-face exchanges for over 25 years. Formerly the artistic director of Minnesota Center for Photography, the director of the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Photographers Program, and recently the curator at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, George is a veteran presence at portfolio review events like Fotofest, Photolucida, Critical Mass, PhotoNOLA, and the Society for Photographic Education's regional and national conferences. In the last three years he juried regional and national exhibitions for the Coalition of Photographic Arts (Milwaukee), New Directions 2009 at the Wallspace Gallery (Seattle), the 2011 Clarence John Laughlin Award at the New Orleans Photographic Alliance, the New England Photography Biennial at the Danforth Museum of Art (Framingham, MA), and IRevelar at the Naomi Silva Gallery in Atlanta. George received a 2007 award from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program; his writings and reviews appear extensively in print and online; some may be found at his web site, re:photographica. He lives in Minneapolis with his partner Stephanie and their children.
 
Entries are submitted online at www.open2interpretation.com

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Adorama last minute specials on Canon lenses

media_1324596552698.png

Canon EF-S 10mm - 22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Autofocus Zoom Lens for Digital SLR Cameras - U.S.A. Warranty.
Save 24%
Regular Price $859
Sale Price $649
add to cart for price, expires 1/7/2012
FREE SHIPPING

media_1324596637625.png

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM Wide Angle Lens - U.S.A. Warranty
Save 19%
Regular Price $2359
Sale Price $1919.19
add to cart for price, expires 12/30/2011
FREE SHIPPING

media_1324596708084.png

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Lens - U.S.A. Warranty
Save 18%
Regular Price $2199
Sale Price $1799
add to cart for price, expires 12/31/2011
FREE SHIPPING

media_1324596772898.png

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Compact Macro AutoFocus Lens - USA
Save 26%
Regular Price $469
Sale Price $349
add to cart for price, expires 12/30/2011
FREE SHIPPING

Nissin to add MF18 ringflash to range

media_1324577601434.png

UPDATE 21 Feb 2012: A spokesperson of Nissin has confirmed to the DJP that stock will be arriving shortly in the UK, however Amazon UK are listing it already, at just £284.00

Kenro, the official distributor for Nissin flashguns in the UK, has announced the MF18 ringflash, a compact model with a GN of 16 and adjustment of up to 7-stops in manual mode, 11-stops in Fine Macro mode. The MF has a RRP of of £359.99 and will be available in January 2012.

Press release:

Nissin launch ring flash - MF18

Kenro has announced the UK launch of a new Nissin ring flash, the MF18 Macro Flash.

This new addition to Nissin's acclaimed range of flash equipment allows photographers to achieve an even spread of light from their macro work which means an end to overexposed images and removes the problem of ugly shadows. The MF18 Macro Flash is particularly suited to portraiture, either in a studio or on location.

The flash boasts an impressive high power guide number of 16m (100 ISO) and the power ratio can be adjusted down to 1/1024 in the Fine Macro mode. The MF18 also provides a Wireless TTL function enabling the addition of slave flashes. Firmware updates are available directly from the Nissin website via the unit's USB connection.

The flash head extends in diameter and will fit lenses from 49 to 82mm with mount adaptors. 52, 58, 62, 67, 72 and 77mm adapters are included with 49, 55 and 82mm being available as optional extras. The flash is powered by four AA batteries and is also compatible with the Nissin PS300, the Canon CP-E4, the Nikon SD-8A and the Nikon SD-9 power packs.

Kenro managing director Paul Kench made this comment on the release: "Ring flash can be an expensive luxury, but now, thanks to the MF18 Macro Flash, it is within reach of every serious photographer. I'm delighted Nissin have introduced this unit, it's easy to use and produces very impressive results."

The MF18 is available with either a Canon or Nikon fit and has an RRP of £359.99.

To view Kenro's full range, or for details of your nearest stockist go to www.kenro.co.uk

Nikon 1 V1 review

media_1324377453025.png


After five decades of the F mount, Nikon has introduced a new mirrorless system based around a new, much smaller 1 system mount and 13.2 x 8.8mm sensor, dubbed CX. The Nikon designed Aptina made CMOS sensor is just over half the surface of area of the micro four thirds format sensors used in the Olympus Pen’s and Panasonic Lumix models.

It was expected that Nikon would follow rivals Sony and Samsung and use an APS-C format sensor. From the outset, however, Nikon was clear that the 1 system is targeting more casual users; those looking for something between their Coolpix range and DSLRs, and something that doesn’t cannibalize either of the existing ranges either.

Of the two models announced so far, which use the same 10.1 megapixel sensor and new Expeed 3 processor, the V1 is the more sophisticated and features a built-in detailed electronic viewfinder, a multi-accessory port for an optional flashgun or GPS unit and a higher resolution (460k dot) rear screen. Unlike the lower J1 model, which uses an electronic shutter only, the V1 has an additional mechanical shutter and you can choose between these for different effects.

The electronic shutter option provides a wider range of speeds, up to 1/16,000th sec, and some versatile high-speed shooting options of up to 60fps at full resolution though AF is lost above 10fps. Despite that, flash synching still only tops 1/250th sec, though the addition of a conventional shutter should reduce the effects of sensor blooming, and ghosting that can occur with an electronic shutter.

Adopting both makes for a larger camera and battery is that coupled with the more powerful than average rechargeable battery means the V1 is larger than the marketing material suggests. Indeed, it’s bigger than the current Olympus PENs and some Sony NEX models with their APS –C sensors. In fairness, that’s not a bad thing, given the battery and built-in viewfinder. More importantly, the lenses are a good deal smaller than the Sony equivalents, and they’re good performers optically. 

The 10mm f/2.8 pancake, with an equivalent field of view to a 28mm has little vignetting, distortion or chromatism though some is corrected in-camera. Autofocus is very fast in good lighting, thanks to the new imaging sensor, which uses a part of its structure for distance and subject acquisition adopting a hybrid AF system of contrast-and phase-detection. This is system is not unique, it has featured on some compacts before but it’s a first in a camera with interchangeable lenses and it wouldn’t be surprise to see it rolled out in future DSLR designs.

Unfortunately, like the rival NEX system, image stabilization is optical rather than body integral thus limiting that benefit to any users with a back-catalogue of Ai-s lenses using the optionally available (and still hard to find) F-mount converter. Fortunately, the standard kit 10-30mm lens adopts VR, though all control is via the camera body and the same goes for focusing too. All of the 1 series Nikkor’s lack manual focus rings, though that’s not say that couldn’t change with as yet unannounced lenses.
media_1325240774287.png


Operation is more Coolpix than DSLR. Although there’s a smattering of buttons to the rear of the V1, including an easily dislodged shooting mode dial, most of the camera’s control is via the menu, including the ISO settings and exposure modes. This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, though. The sensors’ size is so small that there’s so much depth of field it’s almost pointless using the aperture priority mode, even the Program mode adopts wide-apertures most of the time. This isn’t a criticism, as such. As a point and shoot it makes sense to simply resign yourself to the fact you’ve fewer real choices to make.

An auto scene mode is the default choice though this is ideally suited to the new Smart Photo Selector mode. A derivative of Nikon’s Best Shot Selector (BSS) the V1 starts buffering images before the shutter button is fully depressed. Focus is adjusted between captures and the best five shots are saved to the card. Where timing is difficult to judge, for instance, street photography, portraits and the like, this mode certainly makes the V1 stand out. 

As you might expect from a camera with a small sensor the V1 doesn’t excel in low-light. Out of camera Jpeg’s have quite heavy noise reduction applied (and there’s in-camera option to alter this other than to turn it off), though Raw files are noticeably more detailed. Although sensitivity runs up to an extended ISO6400 equivalent, anything above ISO1600 is best left for emergency use.

As a still camera the V1 isn’t quite as convincing as some of its rivals, though in that’s arguable in anything over than low-light, but it’s as a hybrid video camera perhaps where this camera’s abilities really lie. Video quality at full HD is excellent. Traditionally, this is an area where Nikon has been weak but the V1 changes that. It might not offer the same imaging aesthetics as the 5DMk II but if nothing else Nikon can develop video technology in a format and platform that doesn’t compete with its DSLR sales. 

It’s risky strategy, but Nikon aren’t able to compete with Sony, and Canon directly on video, format for format, but with its compact size lenses the 1 system and choice of sensor supplier seems ideally suited. It’s perhaps the reason behind Nikon’s stated four-year gestation, but it’s all the more remarkable that the system has appeared at all.

media_1331926020665.png

The Nikkor 1 10mm f/2.8 pancake is a little soft in the extreme corners at maximum aperture, but it's a great combination with the Nikon 1 V1. Nikon say more primes are to be released and they'll feature larger maximum apertures.

Contact


For more information please visit www.nikon-europe.com, or www.nikonusa.com

Buy From:


If you found this review helpful and intend to remunerate us for this expensive and time-consuming work, please clear your browser's cache of cookies if visiting from a referring photo-site, as we're unlikely to receive the commission from the retailer. Thank you for buying through this site's links.

Adorama (US)
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR $896.95 (rebates available*)

Amazon (US)
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR $849

B&H Photo
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR $896.95 (rebates available*)

Jessops UK
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR £653.90 (rebates available*)

Warehouse Express (UK)
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR £629.95 (rebates available*)

Amazon UK
Nikon l V1 c/w 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR £629 (rebates avialable*)

* See retailer for details

Related Posts


Nikon UK start Nikon 1 promotion
Nikon D7000 review

Call for entries in Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

media_1324553469446.png

The Natural History Museum is calling for entries in the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. The closing date for entries is Thursday 23 February (23.59 GMT).

To enter the competition online, please follow the link at www.nhm.ac.uk Please note, there is a £20 entry fee.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Leica S2 firmware update supports ELMARIT-S 30 mm f/2.8 ASPH

media_1324321012569.png

Leica has announced a new firmware update (FW 1.0.2.0 ) for the Leica S2 medium format camera, which provides optimised performance with the recently announced LEICA ELMARIT-S 30 mm f/2.8 ASPH lens (pictured above).

Press release:

LEICA S2 Firmware Update

The latest LEICA S2 firmware update FW 1.0.2.0 supports the LEICA ELMARIT-S 30 mm f/2.8 ASPH. wide-angle lens.

This fifth firmware update has been specially developed for the use of the camera with the new Leica Elmarit-S 30 mm f/2.8 ASPH. wide-angle lens and ensures optimum functionality of this lens on the Leica S2 body.

Users wishing to bring their camera up to date can now take immediate advantage of the improvements offered by this upgrade. Registered S customers can now download the files containing the firmware and an installation guide from the owners’ area at www.s.leica-camera.com.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Adorama special on Fuji IS Pro UV-IR DSLR

media_1324230933994.png

Adorama in NYC has a special on the Fujifilm IS Pro body. Save 25% on the regular price $799.95 (Sale Price $599.95), plus free shipping.

Follow this link to buy (it won't cost you extra).

Read our review of the Fuji ISO Pro camera here.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Leica announces firmware update v2.0 for Leica D-Lux 5

media_1324044923061.png

Press release:

Leica announces firmware update 2.0 for Leica D-Lux 5
 
16 December 2011: Leica Camera AG has announced the release of a new firmware update (version 2.0) for the Leica D-Lux 5. The firmware update can be downloaded, with an installation guide, from the Downloads area of the Leica D-Lux 5 page on the Leica Camera web site.
 
This new firmware offers D-Lux 5 users the following updates:
 
    •    Improved autofocus speed within the wide-angle range
    •    Simpler operation of fine adjustments in manual focusing mode
    •    Improved automatic white-balance precision in low light conditions
    •    High-ISO noise reduction at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200
    •    Incorporation of an ‘Active mode’, which reduces blur in movie recording when in motion
    •    A new ‘Miniature effect’ in the ‘My Colour Mode’ (available in photo and video modes)
    •    Improved AF/AE Lock with shutter button half depressed
    •    Long exposure time increased in manual mode from 60 to 250 seconds
    •    Addition of manual adjustment of the LCD monitor and external viewfinder to the camera settings menu
 
A detailed description of the new and improved functions is also available at: http://d-lux5.leica-camera.com

NEC announces SpectraView Profiler version 5

media_1324035313641.png

NEC Display solutions, the makers of the outstanding SpectraView pro-level monitors has announced version 5 of the SpectraView profiler software. The upgrade allows users to perform hardware calibration via USB or DDC/CI as well as providing full support of 3D LUT functionality. Also included is support for the latest basICColor DISCUS and X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeters. Version 5 is immediately available as a free download for existing SpectraView® users on the Mac and PC platforms, including Apple OS X Lion and Microsoft Windows 7.

NEC launches SpectraView® Profiler 5 Software

Updated colour-calibration software package brings host of new features to SpectraView users
 
London, 16 December 2011NEC Display Solutions Europe has announced the launch of SpectraView® Profiler 5, the latest version of its sophisticated colour calibration software.
 
Designed for reference display users that require highly accurate display calibration and profiling for colour critical applications, the update delivers a host of new features all wrapped in a brand new interface with application preset and express calibration buttons easily accessible.
 
This latest version builds on the powerful existing functionality of the Profiler application, and now allows users to perform hardware calibration via USB or DDC/CI as well as providing full support of 3D LUT functionality. Also included is support for the latest basICColor DISCUS and X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeters.
 
SpectraView® Profiler 5 is compatible with all NEC SpectraView® displays, including the NEC SpectraView® 231 and NEC SpectraView® Reference 241, 271 and 301 displays.
 
“NEC prides itself on providing a range of best-in-class, colour-critical displays for the pre-press, soft-proofing, professional photo and creative professional, and for these people the SpectraView® Reference range is the benchmark,” said Christopher Parker, Product Line Manager Professional Displays at NEC Display Solutions Europe. “This update to the SpectraView® Profiler 5 Software enhances our capability for providing perfectly calibrated image quality that is reliably maintained over the display lifetime.”
 
Availability
The SpectraView® Profiler 5 Software is immediately available as a free download for existing SpectraView® users on the Mac and PC platforms, including Apple OS X Lion and Microsoft Windows7 from: www.spectraview.nec-display-solutions.com

NEC SpectraView® displays will ship with the Profiler 5 Software from January 2012 onwards.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fujifilm IS Pro UV-IR DSLR review


media_1323944148711.png


Fuji’s IS Pro is the up-date to maker’s earlier S3 UV-IR camera, and like that particular camera, the IS Pro adopts a modified image sensor that’s not shielded from UV or IR light. Consequently, with various filtration methods, the IS Pro is designed for Ultraviolet (UVA), visible and near Infrared photography.

Although there is a healthy demand for DSLRs with IR capability especially, and there are number of independent vendors (mainly in the US, but the UK also) that offer IR dedicated and full-spectrum conversion of current Nikon and Canon bodies, it’s anticipated the IS Pro will appeal largely to the scientific and forensic communities. With the departure of the S3 UV-IR, Fuji’s IS Pro continues to be the only dedicated full-spectrum interchangeable lens based DSLR that has professional-level support from a camera maker. As well as official product support and 12-month warranty, for government agencies and the like, the OEM status of the IS Pro will be particularly reassuring and attractive. What’s more, I would imagine photographic evidence acquired using the IS Pro is less likely to be questioned than unofficially adapted cameras.

Neither Canon nor Nikon offer UV-IR modified DSLRs, however the former developed an IR modified EOS 20D, the 8.2-megapixel Canon EOS 20Da. This adopted a modified IR bandpass filter solely for Astro-photography in the 656nm bandwidth. Interestingly the EOS 20Da allowed Live View from a firmware modification but it’s now no longer available. Besides it’s not just the exclusivity of Fuji’s purpose designed offering, as another consideration must be the availability of a number of quartz glass UV lenses made in Nikon F mount.

Modern multi-coated lenses are more effective at reducing the transmission of UV than older single-coated lenses, but they still allow a substantial amount through, hence the need for blocking filters where high levels of UV light is present. With the inherent sensitivity of both UV and IR of CCD’s and CMOS-based imagers modern DSLRs also feature a strong IR cut filter in front of the sensor. Without an effective IR blocking glass, infrared contamination can lead to some image softness and a magenta colour cast that’s impossible to completely correct in post-production.

Early Nikon DSLRs were often criticised for this, and especially when used with flashguns which are known as high emitters of infrared light. More recently, Leica’s M8 rangefinder is similarly noted for the adoption of a weak IR blocking glass, leading the maker to recommend additional lens filtration.

Body and Ergonomics


media_1323947574991.png


Just as S3 UV-IR camera was converted from the maker’s S3 Pro DSLR, the IS Pro is built from Fuji’s popular S5 Pro body. This in turn is based on the Nikon D200, which after being shipped in component form from that maker’s factory in Thailand, is married to Fuji’s excellent SuperCCD sensor and assembled by them in Japan. The maker is said to have converted five-hundred S3 Pro cameras previously, and with the discontinuation of the D200, we can assume a similar number of S5 Pro bodies have had the same treatment.

Fuji claims the IS Pro’s modified imaging sensor captures wavelengths ranging from 380nm to just below 1000nm, encompassing UV (A) to near Infrared. Information isn’t readily available from makers concerning the spectral transmission of their sensor’s cover glass, but it must be close to that of human vision, roughly 400-700nm. On that basis we can see the IS Pro is particularly suited to IR photography.

Essentially, the IS Pro is a Fuji S5 Pro that has had the IR blocking filter removed from the sensor and replaced with what the maker calls a special glass filter. We’re not told what’s special about it but it’s likely to be made of quartz glass and its inclusion is essential to retain auto-focus accuracy in visible light while providing some protection during routine cleaning and maintenance. Like other converted full spectrum DSLRs, the IS Pro cannot use the built-in AF module to focus manually or automatically on objects illuminated solely by either UV or IR light. However, a key feature is the IS Pro’s Live View option which can be used to assess focus with optional UV and IR bandpass filters in place.

Apart from that, the only other stated difference between the two models is the IS Pro’s firmware has been modified. Again, we are not told what this means other than 'it’s fully activated to engage the cameras UV, Visible, and IR abilities…and no other firmware modifications are necessary’. The IS Pro’s menu, and instruction manual mimic’s that of the S5 Pro. None of the advanced features such as Fine-Tune Exposure, Auto-ISO, Film Simulation modes or D-Range options or support for GPS geo-tagging have been omitted.

Although the maker’s S5 Pro has been reviewed previously in this magazine*, it’s worth re-counting the benefits as well as some of the shortcomings with regard to the IS Pro. Fuji’s proprietary Super CCD was generally regarded as having superior high-ISO performance over the D200 at the time, and it was lauded for its wider dynamic range – a result of the dual-sized SR pixel pairing. As noise levels are inherently higher with both UV and IR photography, effective Noise Reduction is a particularly attractive feature. On the downside, although output is 12.3 megapixels at its maximum, fine detail and resolving power in general was lower due to the intriguing interpolation system. What’s more file sizes, especially as uncompressed Raw (RAF) files using the W2 (400-percent D-Range) setting were quite large by comparison, often in the region of 25MB a file.

The IS Pro, like the D200 adopts a low-dust producing shutter mechanism but it lacks the auto sensor cleaning systems found on the latest DSLRs. And despite only having several-hundred shutter activations images from our sample revealed plenty of dust spots. Unlike the Nikon D200 that requires the AC adaptor to be attached for sensor cleaning, the IS Pro has a more user-friendly cleaning procedure providing the battery is full charged. An electronic beep and flashing AF illuminator warn of lessening power, which is a nice touch, but for cleaning of stubborn particles and prolonged use of the Live View feature you’ll need the security of the AC-adaptor.

Viewfinder

A Nikon eyepiece adaptor (DK-21M) with a 1.2x magnification is available that improves the fit to the eye but darkens the corners of the frame slightly. It’s a great help for manual focusing, though the viewfinder of IS Pro isn’t likely to be used often. Although it’s just possible to view a brightly lit subject through one of the dark-red IR bandpass filters, it’s almost impossible to focus using the optical viewfinder with any accuracy. A hinged gelatine filter like the type used for film would seem like a good workaround; focusing in the visible spectrum, locking the focus, then flipping the filter back into the light path while compensating for the shift in focus with IR.

Fuji suggest experimenting with the older manual focus Nikkor lenses for their older coatings. We must assume they mean older lenses with single coatings. The majority of AI and AI-S lenses adopt multi-layer Nikon Integrated Coatings (NIC), though it’s likely the newer AF lenses using Nikon’s Super Integrated Coatings (SIC) are even more efficient at blocking UV.

That said, older manual focus AiS lenses feature the now largely missing IR offset for more precise focusing. Sadly, these have been mostly discontinued and are becoming more difficult to find new. Judging the shift in focus required for UV isn’t as simple, but that’s where Live View scores so highly. Although pricey, a purpose-designed UV lens is recommended. Made from quartz glass, UV lenses boast high UV transmission rates usually in excess of 70-percent and have little or no focus shift. Fortunately, makers such Coastal Optics in the USA and a Nikon industrial subsidiary, Tochigi-Nikon, make quartz lenses in Nikon F mount which are well suited to the IS Pro.

media_1323977884335.png

My IS Pro sample was supplied with the rather luxurious Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm f/2, but not for my benefit I suspect, but rather for its unprecedented maximum aperture. It’s worth noting the Zeiss lens isn’t a true macro lens as it only goes to 1:2 but Nikon’s PN-11 extension tube will easily take the reproduction ratio to life-size. The 50mm Zeiss is the lens of choice for several of the bundles I’ve seen advertised, but I also managed track down Tochigi-Nikon’s successor to the legendary manual focus Nikon 105mm f/4.5 UV-Nikkor.

Live View

Although often overlooked now the S5 Pro was the first DSLR to offer an effective Live View option in full colour, as well as mono. This wasn’t a feature of the 10-megapixel D200 despite much of the S5 Pro’s firmware source code being written by Nikon. However, this ability to focus accurately using the camera’s imager is a crucial advantage over earlier UV/IR compatible offerings.

Sadly, selecting Live View is at least a two-button operation. You have to press and hold what was the Face-Zoom in button on the S5 Pro for two-seconds, choose between the B&W or Colour options (each time, as it’s not memorised) then press the Menu/OK button to confirm. Unfortunately, the IS Pro like the S5 can only provide a Live View image for 30 seconds, to prevent overheating of the sensor. And, somewhat annoyingly the on-screen second-by-second count down only serves to heighten anxiety, in my view. An option to switch that off would be handy. What’s more, the shutter can’t be released during Live View, making the whole procedure far from slick. Naturally battery power suffers considerably, making the optional power adaptor a must for prolonged use.

On the plus side, Fuji’s SuperCCD, like other CCD’s, is highly sensitive to IR and when using the IS Pro’s Live View feature in daylight images can still be focused and used hand-held with the opaque, nearly black-looking Peca 900 UV+IR (18a) and B+W 093 IR bandpass filters. You have to adjust the screen’s brightness to the maximum, a simple operation using the camera’s cursor key, and you can also magnify the image for improved focus accuracy with the same control-pad. The option to display either in colour or black and white is sensible, as I found focusing slightly easier as a result of the increased contrast when set to the latter. While the 2.5-inch 230k dot screen is small compared to the latest DSLR offerings the Live View is what elevates the IS Pro over older converted rivals.

Adopting Live View in low light, using the relatively fast Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 50mm f/2 (extremely fast for a macro lens) with the dark red B+W 092 (Wratten 87b) IR filter was much more difficult due, in part, to some poor gain control of the LCD. With the slower maximum aperture of f/4.5, unsurprisingly, the Nikon Rayfact 105mm UV lens with any of the opaque filters attached is practically impossible to focus accurately with. If you intend to light by flash, for example, this need not be a show-stopper but you will need a workaround. Using a continuous light source could be an alternative but in the case of UV, precautions would have to be taken to limit the harmful effects of inadvertent exposure.

Metering and Exposure

The Carl Zeiss ZF lenses are built to the AI-S specification that’s to say they lack electronic contacts and internal CPU unlike Nikon’s AiP or AF lens range. Even so the IS Pro will colour matrix meter with manual focus lenses providing the focal length and maximum aperture are entered beforehand. Set-up using the menu is a bit clunky but selecting the relevant lens can made a shortcut using the front FN button. Despite that, the IS Pro tends to overexpose backlit scenes especially when using the B+W 092 (87b) and will easily underexpose at other times. Although difficult to find, separate RGB histograms are provided in playback only, but are genuinely helpful when determining exposure.

With the combination of low UV light levels and the Peca 900 (18a) filter attached from the sample of photos shown the exposure was some 6 stops longer than the unfiltered image. Even accounting for the IS Pro’s increased infrared sensitivity, with the opaque B+ W 093 filter attached the exposure was still some 4 stops longer than the unfiltered sample photo. So although there may be a opportunity to use the IS Pro handheld occasionally, for other times where maximum depth of field (and focus accuracy) is a must a tripod will have to be used.

Software and Image Quality





I’m lukewarm with regard to the supplied software – Hyper Utility HS-V2 version 3.1j for Windows and Mac. HS-V2 has been the subject for discussion in an earlier issue of the magazine, so I won’t elaborate other than to say it’s pretty clunky in use and the layout would benefit from an overhaul. Neither was the supplied software compatible with the latest Mac OS, version 10.5. Be that as it may it offers tethered operation of the IS Pro (not with Live View), which is an obvious attraction in a studio or lab, and produces the best quality files with the lowest possible shadow noise from Raw. As it emulates the in-camera processing it can also be used to reproduce the film simulation modes from Raw, should you decide to use the IS Pro for visible light photography. However, I found the B+W UV/IR cut filter (486) doesn’t block enough IR light, leading to a slight magenta cast. Besides, until recently with the release of ACR 4.6, it was the only solution for developing the IS Pro’s Raw files.

Adjusting the white-balance can produce very strong and unexpected colour shifts that can be quite desirable aesthetically but if shooting raw files this can be wholly ignored. With the increase in exposure times, so we are likely to see an increase in noise. Noise levels are low even at ISO 400, and still well controlled up to ISO1600. At ISO3200, luminance noise is quite high and detail suffers but this is unlikely to be an issue for the majority of targeted users. Similarly, with the only real downside being an increase in file size and processing demands, the IS Pro’s impressive expanded dynamic range option is an advantage when it’s needed. Output from the IS Pro looks both flat and a little soft as a result and neither in-camera Jpeg’s or Jpeg’s from Raw files sharpen that well. This may well be due to the inclusion of strong AA filter as both the Carl Zeiss and Nikon 105mm UV lenses deliver impressive sharpness on an APS-C crop camera, such as the D200. Still there’s no questioning the enormous gain in exposure latitude with Raw files from the Fuji.

Conclusions

While the IS Pro may no longer be at the cutting edge of DSLR design the Live View feature has enormous advantages, especially when used with a strong and continuous light source. Even if Fuji could adopt the newer D300 or D700 body, fitting opaque filters on the lens thereby obscuring the viewfinder and image sensor is a shortcoming for handheld use. However there are several workarounds to this and when used on a tripod the IS Pro works well.

With an effective Live View system, pro-level build, low noise and impressive dynamic range the IS Pro is a huge step over its predecessor, the S3 UV-IR. System compatibility aside, landscape and fine art photographers would find the IS Pro attractive, though there could be an argument for a dedicated IR camera which would retain normal viewfinder focus operation. For the scientific and forensic communities, however, the OEM status and official support makes the IS Pro a compelling choice over an independently modified DSLR.



*This review was originally written in December 2008, however the camera has not been updated in that time and is still available, albeit in limited quantities.

Contact


For more information on the IS Pro visit Fuji at www.fuji.co.uk, or www.fujifilmusa.com

For information regarding the outstanding Nikon UV-105mm f/4.5 visit www.invisiblevision.com

Carl Zeiss lenses are distributed in the UK by Robert White, www.robertwhite.co.uk

B+W Filters are distributed in the UK by DayMen International, www.daymen.co.uk

Peca Filters are distributed in the UK by Bob Rigby, www.bobrigby.com

Sales


Adorama currently have a special promotion on the Fuji IS Pro here (was $799.95, now $599.95). Buy Carl Zeiss lenses from Adorama.

Adorama Canon EOS-5D Mk II specials

media_1323940559098.png

Canon EOS-5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body Kit,- USA Warranty - Slinger Camera Bag - FREE: Red Giant Adorama Production Bundle for PC/Mac a $599.00 Retail Value
Save 20%
Regular Price $2499
Sale Price $1999
FREE SHIPPING
Please follow this link to buy

media_1323940840924.png

Canon EOS-5D Mark II Digital SLR Camera Body Kit with Canon EF 24-105L Image Stabilized Lens
Save 15%
Regular Price $3299
Sale Price $2799
Add to cart for price Expires 12/31/11
FREE SHIPPING
Please follow this link to buy

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Life 75 - New iPad App To Celebrate 75th Anniversary Of Life Magazine

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, LIFE's editors have drawn on its extraordinarily rich photo collection to produce the LIFE 75 App, a selection of the very best of LIFE. Offering a unique viewing experience, the LIFE 75 App features more than 200 photos and related magazine covers, along with video and audio clips that tell the story of how LIFE was made.

Seventy-five years ago, TIME publisher Henry Luce launched a new weekly magazine that he called "the biggest picture show on earth." The magazine, LIFE, was an instant hit and became the gold standard for photojournalism. LIFE has covered war and celebrity, heroes and villains, nature and society, along the way amassing millions of powerful images. Today, LIFE's tradition carries on as a line of richly illustrated books, the popular website LIFE.com, as well as LIFE apps. 



This app retails for $12.99/£8.99 and you can download it here.

Features Include

media_1323864681430.png

 

•A unique interactive layout, presenting LIFE's greatest photos in landscape view and related covers in portrait mode


•Numerous audio clips featuring LIFE’s past and present editors and photographers, providing exclusive insight on their time at LIFE


•Video clips in which LIFE's most brilliant photographers tell how they got their shots


•An interactive game, Editor’s Choice: Can you choose the photo that made the cut?


•Galleries of rarely seen photos, available only in LIFE 75
•Multiple navigation points, including a "decades bar" that sorts the photos from the 1930s to the 2000s.


Topics Include

media_1323864697599.png

 

•Up Close with the Stars: Hollywood's brightest lights gave unfettered access to their lives. The result: special pictures of the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.


•Memorable Moments: LIFE; was always present to capture the crucial instant, from Gen. Douglas MacArthur landing in the Philippines to Martin Luther King Jr. launching his civil-rights crusade.


•In the Wild: LIFE offers a menagerie of the exotic and domestic, the cute and the terrifying.


•At War: LIFE's intrepid photographers brought home the horror and the heroism, including images that helped changed how Americans felt about Vietnam.


•Heroes and Villains: LIFE made unforgettable portraits of some of the most admired and reviled people of our time.


•LIFE Classics: The sailor kissing the nurse. The Marlboro Man. LIFE published images that became nothing short of iconic.


•Magical Places: The Taj Mahal by moonlight, Mt. Everest in sharpest daylight. Witness some of the world’s greatest scenic and architectural wonders.

media_1323864713771.png
media_1323864723235.png

Olympus announces 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ

media_1323855038092.png

UPDATE 25 Feb, 2012: Amazon US has just eight of the new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ in stock (sold by H and B Digital, fulfilled by Amazon). All other retailers are taking pre-orders at this time.

Olympus has introduced a new 12-50mm zoom (24-100mm equivalent) and has several new features besides the focal length and ratio. It's the first from the maker to feature power-zoom intended primarily for video shooters but it also boasts a focus-hold button (to avoid re-focusing) and the same level of weatherproofing as the Top Pro lens range for their DSLRs. We were told by a spokesperson that the new lens will be available late January or early February with an RRP of £349.99 inc. VAT.

Pre-order the 12-50mm at Adorama Camera (US) at $499.99, UK readers can pre-order from Wex Photographic at £369.99 inc VAT.

Thank you for buying through this site's links.

PRESS INFORMATION

Olympus makes zooming even smoother

A new zoom lens for a new PEN generation

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ

London, 14 December 2011 – Olympus’s new generation of multi- talented PEN cameras can enjoy a new Standard Zoom, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ. It comes with a new ultra-smooth, near-silent electromagnetic zoom mechanism that powers the lens on its own – no potentially jerky wristwork required. This makes it easy for anyone to make great home movies. Add in variable zoom speed and blazing quick auto focus, and it’s the perfect zoom lens for recording movies and portraits. It’s also ideal for high-quality macros and wide- angle shots. With an 84° max. angle of view, 24-100mm* focal range and manual zoom mode, this exceptional lens gives PEN owners all the options. The PEN line-up has a multi-talented standard zoom lens to match. It goes on sale from end of January 2012, for £349.99.

Smoother and quieter
The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ takes the movie zoom lens to a new level. An electromagnetically powered zoom mechanism lets you zoom in and out smoothly and quietly, at a constant rate. This avoids the camera-shake that often occurs when you zoom by hand and cuts out the noise of motor gears in the background, which can potentially ruin your movie. You can set the motor to zoom at one of three set speeds. The ‘slow’ setting allows time to concentrate on composing while ‘fast’ makes sure no shot is missed.

Faster and closer
The new lens delivers 4.2x standard magnification and is very quick. The electromagnetic motor makes for near-instant response and, in combination
1with Olympus’ proprietary MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) technology, ensures fast and near-silent autofocus. For this lens, Olympus enhanced MSC by adding a Linear Motor Drive that makes use of the electromagnetic motor to make focussing even faster, quieter – and better for recording movies.
Automatic and manual

As you’d expect from an Olympus PEN lens, the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12- 50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ delivers superb image quality, thanks not least to a multi-layer coating on all the lenses and two aspherical lenses that correct common zoom aberrations. The pristine quality is particularly evident in Macro mode, which offers 0.72x* magnification at 20 to 50cm. Less familiar is the new L-Fn button (a first on a PEN lens), which prevents the camera focussing on the wrong subject by mistake. Should something suddenly come between the lens and your intended subject, you simply push this button to temporarily suspend autofocus until it’s moved out of the way. For fans of hands-on shooting, the lens offers another rare treat – the option to suspend autofocus altogether and switch to the manual zoom ring.

The Micro Four Thirds standard makes PEN cameras especially compact and portable, which allows PEN owners to shoot in all kinds of places and conditions. So it’s comforting to know this lens is fitted with the same top- notch dust- and splash-proof mechanism originally developed for high-end ZUIKO DIGITAL Top Pro Series lenses. Now, wherever you go with your PEN you’ve got a zoom lens that’s tough enough to go too.

The M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ will sell separately and as part of a kit with one of the three newest PEN cameras: the PEN Lite (E- PL3), PEN Mini (E-PM1) and the flagship PEN E-P3. A matching protection filter, lens case and hood are also available.
* 35mm equivalent.
2
For a full list of features, please go to www.olympus.co.uk

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Custom Brackets announces Nodal Slide

media_1323789005611.png

Flaghead Photographic the distributor for Custom Brackets in the UK has announced the immediate availability of the Nodal Slide. The device is used to position the lens' entrance pupil over the centre of a panoramic head. With an RRP of £69 plus VAT (£82 inc. VAT), the Nodal Slide is made from machined aluminum and is compatible with Arca Swiss clamps.

Press release:

 

Flaghead Photographic, the exclusive UK & Ireland distributor for US manufacturer Custom Brackets, are pleased to announce a new product: The Nodal Slide.

The Nodal Slide is used to position a lens so that its “nodal point” is over the center of rotation on a panoramic or ball head. It can also be used to mount a camera directly onto a “gimbal head” (used as a perpendicular plate).

The Nodal Slide makes it possible for you to adjust your camera's position, front to back, to position the lens nodal point over the centre of rotation for accurately stitched panoramic images.
Benefits
• Double dovetail for added versatility
• Precision machined aluminum
• Compatible with Arca Swiss, Acratech, Kirk, Arca, R.R.S., and many other QR plates
• Beautiful black anodized finish
• Laser-engraved scale markings

Custom Brackets is a long established and well known US manufacturer of high quality camera brackets, camera rotating mounts and flash mounting accessories.

For more information please visit the Custom Brackets site at www.custombrackets.com or visit Flaghead Photographic at www.flaghead.co.uk.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sigma announces availability of PG-31 grip for SD1 DSLR

media_1323708770472.png

Sigma has announced the PG-31 grip for the SD1 DSLR will be available in January, but the price (which could be high, given the price of the camera) has yet to be confirmed.

media_1323708761962.png

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the PG-31 Power Grip, specially designed for Sigma’s SD1 digital SLR, the camera that ensures high resolution and breathtaking image quality.

The PG-31 is a specially designed battery grip which upgrades the battery power of the SIGMA SD1 by holding two dedicated BP-21 battery packs. This caters for large-volume photography and photography in field.

The PG-31 also incorporates a shutter button and therefore becomes a grip for vertical photography when attached to the SD1, providing a more assured grip.

THE SPECIFICATIONS
Power             Lithium-ion battery BP-21 (1 or 2)            
Weight          300g (excluding battery)
Dimensions        Width 156mm× Height 72mm× Depth 77mm
SRP             TBA
Availability         January 2012

X-Rite announces updates for i1 profiler software

media_1323683864404.png
X-Rite has released a raft of updates for their popular calibration devices. The updates include support for Mac OS 10.7 Lion and new features for the i1 Profiler software, as well as adding ADC (Automatic Display Control) functionality for the ColorMunki Display software.
Press release:

ColorMunki Display, i1Profiler and i1Profiler D2 Lion Edition software now available as free downloads

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., December 12, 2011 X-Rite, Incorporated (NASDAQ: XRIT), the world leader in color management, measurement and communication technologies, today announces the availability of several free downloadable software updates including ColorMunki Display software, i1Profiler software and i1Profiler D2LionEdition software for i1Display LT and i1Display 2 Color Calibration Devices.
 
“Today’s announcement of free software updates underscores X-Rite’s on going commitment to delivering the highest quality color management solutions.  We are committed to continually improve and enhance our software in order to deliver the world class solutions our customers expect,” said Thomas Kunz, X-Rite’s Market Manager, Imaging.  
 
i1Profiler Software v.1.2 is the latest i1Profiler update offering several new functions and improvements including:

Display Profiling Updates
·         Ability to balance RGB controls during display calibration
·         Reporting of target and measured values for luminance, white point and contrast ratio during display profiling
·         Direct control of EIZO ColorEdge displays using X-Rite ADC (Automatic Display Control)
·         Improved ADC functionality and connectivity for all platforms
Printer Profiling Updates
·         Selection of M0 or M2 measurements for profile creation when used with an i1iSis
·         User ability to customize exported CGATS data for multiple uses
·         Improved reading of chromatic black ink on printer test charts
 
Updates for Japan Market
·         Support of Japan Color in Printer QA
 
The i1Profiler software v1.2 operates with the X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter, i1Pro spectrophotometer and i1iSis spectrophotometer. Currently installed i1Profiler software will automatically detects the update if the user has this function turned on. If not, users can download directly from either www.xritephoto.com or www.xrite.com .

ColorMunki Display Software v 1.0.2.
This new update provides improvements for ColorMunki Display device connectivity, ADC (Automatic Display Control) functionality and color accuracy. To download the new software version, current users can access “Check for updates” located in their ColorMunki Display Help menu or visit: www.xritephoto.com or www.xrite.com to directly download ColorMunki Display v1.0.2 software from the Support section.  
 
i1Profiler D2Lion Edition, a MAC OSX 10.7 Lion compatible software update for registered i1Display LT and i1Display 2 users, is now available. These currently retired devices, which run on i1Match software, now have the benefit of utilizing this limited special edition version of the new X-Rite i1Profiler software. This software update is designed for MAC OSX Lion users to utilize their i1Display LT or i1Display 2 device on the latest Mac OS until they are ready to upgrade to one of X-Rite’s newest display products – i1Display Pro and ColorMunki Display. Both new solutions allow users to get the most out of their monitors and projectors, adding unprecedented functionality and fully support Mac OSX 10.7 Lion. Registered owners will be provided a software download link via email.  Owners can register at any time.
 
Availabilty
Each update – i1Profiler 1.2, ColorMunki 1.0.2 and i1Profiler D2Lion Edition – is available for immediate download. For more information on these software updates, please visit www.xrite.com, www.xritephoto.com or www.pantone.com.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Hasselblad H4D-60 review


media_1323251349090.png


UPDATE 18 May, 2012: Hasseblad is set to reduce the price on the H4D cameras by as much as $11,000 / 6,200 Euros on the H4D-60, bringing the price to 23,900 euros ($30,995 / £21,995). Please see here for more details.

The last couple of decades have been turbulent for medium format camera manufacturers, but now after several well-known names have withdrawn, the market looks healthy. Two new unexpected entrants, Leica and Pentax have added to the dynamic at opposing ends of the pricing scale, forcing the two established system players to compete fiercely in their traditional rarefied role as well as the entry-level.

Partnering with both Leaf and Mamiya, Phase One has developed a trio of entry-level Mamiya DM models starting at under $14k/ £9k while continuing to offer a wide range of Phase One and Leaf backs, up to 80-megapixels. Through various offers and incentives these backs, are most likely to be partnered with the 645DF body but they are in fact compatible with a wide range of cameras.

This is in stark contrast to Hasselblad's sleek industrial- and -totally integrated design philosophy. Hasselblad H series cameras are modular in name, but from the H3D onwards, the camera and back have been matched at the factory. Not only can you not switch backs between other Hasselblads neither can you use third-party backs. However, new firmware released for H4D-60 (with the H4D-50 /40 to follow later in the year) promises compatibility with view cameras, and adds several new features. Unfortunately, the sensor pairing between bodies remains but this does mean you can still buy a spare body as a back-up and use it with your existing back providing the body has been calibrated to it. The cost of a spare H4D body (I beleive without head) is currently £2,695.00 plus VAT.

Although the entry-level H4D-31 can be had complete with the HC 80mm f/2.8 for just $13,995, or £8,995 plus VAT, this pairing means you can’t trade in the 31-megapixel back for a 40, 50 or 60-megapixel back. This could be viewed as a limitation, but in practice you’ll likely get a better deal as a whole when trading up. Even if you could swap backs between bodies you wouldn’t be able to do so quite as freely as you might think. The bodies supplied with Multi-Shot sensors most likely adopt specific firmware but even if that’s not the case there are two versions of the camera; one adopting smaller size sensors, and another essentially full-frame body. The H4D-60 adopts the larger full-frame 4:3 format 60 megapixel CCD measuring 40.2 x 53.7mm.

Even with 10 million more pixels than the H4D-50, the physically larger sensor means the sensels are the same size (6.0 microns) as the others in the series, only the entry level H4D 31 can boast slightly larger light receiving pixels. You might expect to see this camera match the others with a top ISO1600 setting but in fact sensitivity runs from ISO 50 through to a mostly usable ISO 800, though I suspect any higher than this and it wouldn’t be.

media_1353758661751.png


Despite accommodating the larger sensor, the body looks no different to the others in the range and is about the same size as the old 500 models (retrospectively named V series). But, the built-in grip complete with data panel and small lithium battery makes it feel larger than those old mechanical cameras. It feels more robust though, perhaps because it's heavier, but the body with its steel outer shell over an aluminum chassis is as solid as a rock.

The larger sensor, almost the same size as a single frame of 645 film, means the H4D-60 is equipped with a different eye level viewfinder with a slightly lower (2.8x) magnification than the others but is no less impressive for it's large, bright view and high acuity. Indeed, it's a variation of the film based finder found on the original H series, but more importantly the larger sensor captures more of the lens' image circle.

Thus the angle of view of the widest lens in the range, a 28mm, would be the equivalent of an 18mm on a 35mm DSLR but for the fact that this particular lens is one of two carrying an HCD designation, meaning its narrower image circle is intended for the smaller sensor variants. It can still be used on the H4D 60 but the edges vignette while the camera’s optional built-in crop feature only reduces the angle of view. Nevertheless, the H4D 60 remains the most suitable of the range for architecture and interiors.

Like others in the range the H4D-60 has seen the inclusion of the yaw rate True Focus sensor technology. Not only does this AF technology permit accurate automatic correction of focus for off centre subjects, it is highly effective and extremely clever solution for the adoption of a slightly limiting single central AF point. Perhaps more importantly, when used with H-series lenses the camera can compensate for focus-shift (using a series of built-in correction tables) ensuring sharply focused images throughtout the aperture range.

Also common across all models is the adoption of Hasselblad designed central (leaf) shutter lenses for fast flash sync unto 1/800 sec (faster than the Leica S2), though there is no focal plane shutter, which can be seen as either a benefit or disadvantage depending on your point of view. Certainly, vibration and noise levels are low for this class of camera. But, using this camera on location is anything but discrete, though that also applies to rivals.

In use I found the menu system a bit tricky in use, mainly due to small size of the data-panel. New firmware allows for some features (notably ISO and White balance) to be selected from the rear 3-inch screen, though it’s a long way short of what you would see on a 35mm DSLR. The upgrade also unlocks the screen’s full resolution, now at 460K dots and up from a grainy 230k dots. Greatly adding to the flexibility the new firmware means the back can be used with view cameras. Power is supplied via the FireWire 800 connection adding the benefit of tethered operation using Hasselblad's free fully-featured Raw conversion utility, Phocus. Live view via Phocus is now possible too. Though the image is in mono only and refreshes about once a second it could be a valuable addition for shooting still life or product photography but it's far removed from the live view systems found on modern 35mm format DSLRS.

Hasselblad’s strengths are many and wide-ranging. The H-series is a proven system but equally as important is the support network, not only in the field and from the factory but also in terms of a subsidized studio and equipment rental. While not without some shortcomings the H4D-60 is an outstanding camera and with others in the range to suit more modest aspirations and budgets any commercial photographer will find the H4D a tempting proposition

Sample Images

media_1323298881937.png


St Paul's Cathedral, London. H4D-60 with HC-80mm f/2.8 ISO200 at f/8, developed in Phocus.





The H4D-60 captures an enormous amount of detail, even when hand-held, as this 100-percent crop from the above reveals - you can just make out a small crowd of sightseers on the Golden Gallery - 85 meters above the Cathedral floor.

media_1331420259904.png

[UPDATED] Studio shot, 1/800sec flash-sync at f/2.8, using the HC80mm f/2.8, ISO50. I used the outstanding True-Focus AF mode to focus on the sitter's left eye (facing the camera) and then recomposed. Notice the soft roll-off of the edges, giving a near 3D effect - developed to taste in Lightroom 4.

media_1331921047878.png

Contact


For more information including technical specs, please follow the link here www.hasselblad.co.uk or www.hasselbladusa.com

Hasselblad UK runs a studio in London, please see here for the details; www.hasselbladstudio.com

Buy From


Adorama US

Hasselblad H4D-31 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($13,995)
Hasselblad H4D-40 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($19,995)
Hasselblad H4D-50 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($30,995)
Hasselblad H4D-50MS c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($37,995)
Hasselblad H4D-60 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($41,995)
Hasselblad H4D-200MS body only ($43,995)

Choice lenses:
HCD 28mm f/4.0 $5,295
HCII 50mm f/3.5 $4,395
HC 150mm f/3.2 $3,795
HC II Macro 120mm f/4 $5,095

B&H Photo

Hasselblad H4D-31 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($13,995)
Hasselblad H4D-40 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($19,995)
Hasselblad H4D-50 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($30,995)
Hasselblad H4D-50MS c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($37,995)
Hasselblad H4D-60 c/w 80mm f/2.8HC ($39,995)
Hasselblad H4D-200MS body only ($43,995)

Choice lenses:
HCD 28mm f/4.0 $5,295
HCII 50mm f/3.5 $4,395
HC 150mm f/3.2 $3,795



UK readers can inquire at pro-dealer Calumet. Please note, Robert White are no longer Hasselblad dealers.

Related posts


Mamiya DM33 review
Pentax 645D review
Hasselblad Europe offer half-price lens deal
Hasselblad announces H4x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Adobe announce saving on Lightroom 3

media_1323171452780.png

Adobe Europe has announced a 30-percent saving on their popular raw-workflow solution Lightroom when purchased from the Adobe store. As well as the saving off the retail price, making the price £166.32 (inc VAT) there's free shipping for a limited time (ends 8 January 2012).

Please follow the link here for the offer.

For other special offers from Adobe please follow the link here.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Nikon Pro magazine available as an app

media_1323103910453.png

Nikon Pro magazine, the official magazine of Nikon Pro Services (NPS) in Europe is now available as an app for the iPad. The publisher claims the iPad edition will include extra content over the tri-yearly printed version, including movies, extended interviews and behind the scenes footage. The magazine was once exclusively available to NPS members but has been more widely available recently through registration of Nikon equipment at the Nikon Europe BV site.

The app which is free is to download is available from here (US iTunes Store).

Please use this link for UK iTunes Store.

Please note while the app is free, each issue costs $2.99 / £1.99. We spoke with the editor of the magazine, Lawrence Akers, and he confirmed the app is not neccessarily intended for NPS/NPU members (who already receive the printed edition free of charge), 'but more for people who want it instead of the printed version or are in areas where the printed issue isn't available'. It's sure to attact the interest of US readers, for instance. We think that's a small pice to pay for the quality of the content.

UPDATE: 12 December 2011. It also appears to be available a few days before the print copy (though I'm sure the post varies in different regions) - we've only just received ours in the post.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Iridient Digital announces Raw Developer v1.9.3, support for Nikon 1 V1

media_1322954280975.png

Iridient Digital, the software company behind the excellent Raw Developer utility has announced a maintenance release (v1.9.3) adding support for several new cameras, including the Nikon 1 V1* and J1, Canon PowerShot S100, Olympus PEN E-PM1 and Fuji X10 among others. The utility now supports over 400 camera models, including many medium format cameras such as the Pentax 645D, Leaf Aptus-II 12 and 12R and Phase One ACHROMATIC+ AND IQ180.

Raw Developer costs $125 / £84.36 but is the update is free to registered users. A free demo can be downloaded from www.iridientdigital.com.

1.9.3 - November 26, 2011 (Maintenance Release)

New Features:
Support added for Nikon P7100, J1 and V1.
Support added for Canon PowerShot S100.
Support added for Olympus E-PM1.
Support added for Panasonic DMC-FZ150.
Support added for Sony NEX-7.
Support added for Samsung NX200.
Support added for Ricoh GR Digital IV.
Support added for Fuji X10 and F600EXR.
Support added for Seitz 6x17 Digital, Roundshot D2x and Roundshot D3.
Improvements:
Performance improvements for lossless JPEG decompression which is used by numerous camera models for RAW data compression.

Bug Fixes:
A couple bug fixes to allow for support of RAW files larger than 140 megapixels in size!

media_1322956546786.png

* AMENDED: I've been waiting for this update to check to see if distortion correction is being applied to RAW files by the Nikon 1 V1 with the 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8. After running the files through Imatest I can conclude the camera's not correcting RAW files or JPEGs. There's some slight discrepancy between the two but at -1.72 and -1.65 respectively, it's negligible.

Friday, 2 December 2011

NEC to sponsor colour management courses for users of SpectraView monitors

media_1322827546392.png

NEC Display Solutions is running a series of half day workshops to assist users in getting the very best from their colour workflow Colour Management Course for Professional users of NEC SpectraView Displays
 
London, 2 December 2011NEC Display Solutions, manufacturer of SpectraView professional ‘Reference’ colour displays, is offering colour management courses for users of its SpectraView displays. Headed by leading UK colour consultant Paul Sherfield of the Missing Horse Consultancy, attendees will learn how to increase the efficiency of digital colour workflows.
 
The half-day courses are aimed at professional users within the graphic arts industries, photographers, image libraries, designers, pre-press and printing companies who use, or are going to use, NEC SpectraView displays to view images and pages for colour viewing and editing. The courses start in early 2012 at NEC’s West London offices and will cover many aspects of colour management from colour theory, display calibration best practice, colour management within common desktop applications, colour management policies and PDFs.
 
The demands on the creative and printing industries have changed considerably in recent years, with an increasing recognition and protective attitude of leading corporates towards their brand colours, such that no serious individual or company in this area can afford to not have a colour managed workflow and colour managed policy.
 
NEC SpectraView displays offer calibrated colour accuracy with long term colour and uniformity consistency. A range of displays with screen sizes from 23 to 30 inches and resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 pixels are all backed by the NEC 3 year on-site warranty extendable up to 5 years.
 
The first course take place on Thursday 26th January 2012 at NEC’s offices in West London. Each course will last approx. 2.5 hours with a maximum attendance of 6 people. A small charge of £50 +VAT will be payable. Anyone interested in attending should contact Anne Boreham on anne.boreham (at) emea.nec.com or call 0208 752 3777.

Read our review of the outstanding NEC SpectraView Reference 271 monitor for imaging pros.

Canon Europe announces Lens Cashback promotion

media_1322820955574.png

Canon announces a new Lens Cashback promotion

Change your lens, change your story

Canon has launched their latest Lens Cashback promotion with offers on 14 products across the EF and EF-S lens range when purchasing an EOS 60D, EOS 7D or EOS 5D Mark II.

Lenses available in the Lens Cashback promotion:

EF 50mm f/1.4 USM                        £10/12 euro RRP £449.99
EF 85mm f/1.8 USM                        £10/12 euro RRP £469.99
EF 50mm f/1.2L USM                       £55/60 euro RRP £1909.99
EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM                 £75/85 euro RRP £2639.99

EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM               £15/20 euro RRP £649.99
EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM        £30/35 euro RRP £1059.99

EF 17-40mm f/4L USM                 £25/30 euro RRP £939.99
EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM                £40/45 euro RRP £1409.99
EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM                £40/45 euro RRP £1449.99
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM                 £45/50 euro RRP £1539.99
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM                 £50/60 euro RRP £1789.99
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM         £80/90 euro RRP £2799.99

EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS                 £15/20 euro RRP £629.99
EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM                £30/35 euro RRP £1209.99

 

 

To be eligible for the Lens Cashback:
    •    Customers must purchase one of the selected DSLR products by 28th February 2012.
    •    Customers must purchase one of the selected lenses by 31st May 2012.
 
    •    The deadline for claims will be 30th June 2012.

For further details and full terms and conditions please visit www.canon.co.uk/lenscashback or www.canon.ie/lenscashback

Canon Cashback offers at Warehouse Express and Jessops (not showing the lens rebate yet)

 

We Have Moved

We have moved to a new address. Please follow the link below and bookmark: www.digitaljournalofphotography.com   Please continue t...