Next Club Meeting

NB NB NB! There are 2 meetings in May! Our next meeting is on Thursday 9 May 2019.

Set Subject: "Multiplicity" 

Enter via PhotoVault.

Entries must be in no later than Sunday 5 May 2019


NB NB NB! Our BEST OF THE YEAR competition is on Thursday 16 May 2019

Entries must be in no later than Sunday 12 May 2019


Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

All articles from Digital Photography Review
Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)
  1. Lomography announces Petzval 55mm F1.7 lens for full-frame mirrorless systems

    Lomography has announced it's opened pre-orders for the Petzval 55mm F1.7 MKII, its first lens designed specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

    According to Lomography, the lens 'is created with discerning photographers and filmmakers in mind' and 'designed to allow full creative flexibility, with its 7 levels of Bokeh Control and Dual Aperture system.' Like other Lomography lenses, the Petzval 55mm F1.7 MKII comes with various plates to shape the bokeh in images.

    Below is a gallery sample photos captured with the Petzval 55mm F1.7 MKII and shared by Lomography:

    The lens is available Sony E, Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts and comes in three varieties: black brass, satin-finish brass and black anodized aluminum for $499, $449 and $399, respectively. Pre-orders are open now; the first aluminum units are expected to ship in July 2019 and brass units will follow shortly after in August 2019.

  2. FAA expands LAANC capabilities to 100+ new airports

    At the beginning of this month, the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Acting Deputy Administrator, Carl Burleson, announced that Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) would be made available to an additional 109 contract towers. The government agency has acted quickly since the news broke at AUVSI Exponential's keynote presentation.

    The FAA has expanded LAANC to increase access for commercial drone pilots in controlled airspace. Still in beta, LAANC was introduced to the public in November, 2017. Applications such as Kittyhawk, AirMap, and Skyward give qualifying remote pilots approval in real-time to access controlled airspace. Without LAANC, the process of getting approval via a waiver could take up to 90 days.

    Approximately 600 airports are now covered by the LAANC capability. The FAA also mentions that the list of facilities taking part in LAANC will change. Some airports will drop it altogether. The full list airports added today can be viewed here.

    Some major Class B, C, and D airports were added today including the following:

    • Austin-Bergstrom International (AUS)
    • Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL)
    • Nashville International (BNA)
    • Bob Hope (BUR)
    • Denver International (DEN)
    • Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW)
    • Detroit Metro Wayne Co (DTW)
    • Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL)
    • John F. Kennedy International (JFK)
    • McCarran International (LAS)
    • Los Angeles International (LAX)
    • Orlando International (MCO)
    • Chicago Midway International (MDW)
    • Memphis International (MEM)
    • Miami International (MIA)
    • Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlin (MSP)
    • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY)
    • Metro Oakland International (OAK)
    • Ontario International (ONT)
    • Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)
    • Portland International (PDX)
    • Philadelphia International (PHL)
    • Phoenix Sky Harbor International (PHX)
    • San Diego International (SAN)
    • Seattle Tacoma International (SEA)
    • San Francisco International (SFO)
    • Salt Lake City International (SLC)
  3. Waterproof camera buying guide updated, Olympus TG-6 wins recommendation

    We've updated our waterproof camera buying guide with the latest round of rugged compacts, and we've crowned a new winner as the best pick in the category: the Olympus TG-6. That is, unless you happen to find a good deal on the TG-5.

  4. Sony bumps Nikon from #2 spot as its global ILC market share increases 4% year-over-year
    An illustration in Sony's financial documents that shows how its Digital Imaging Business is positioned.

    In a recent conference call with investors and analysts, Sony broke down the numbers and statistics of its digital imaging business for the 2018 fiscal year (FY2018). While there's plenty of interesting tidbits to pull out, the most significant is that Sony is now reporting it has 24 percent of the global still camera market based on revenue, an increase in four percent compared to FY2017.

    Sony's global market share, based on revenue, from its FY2017 report.
    Sony's global market share, based on revenue, from its FY2018 report.

    According to Sony's report, its interchangeable lens camera (ILC) market share increased from 19 percent in FY2017 to 23 percent in FY2018, moving them to second place behind Canon and ahead of Nikon. Meanwhile, its compact camera market share increased from 26 percent in FY2017 to 29 percent in FY2018, moving them to the number one spot globally.

    Despite Sony's increase in the global market share, based on revenue, Sony's report shows the still camera market as a whole decreased from ¥1,400 billion to ¥1,300 billion, a drop of 7.1 percent. Interestingly, this decrease is identical to the 7.1% drop in global digital camera unit sales according to the most recent report from the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

    Moving away from still images, Sony also reported that while its global market share in the video camera market remained at 29 percent, the overall market size, in revenue, dropped dramatically from ¥390 billion to ¥300 billion, a massive decrease of 23 percent.

  5. Leica, Lenny Kravitz produce limited edition ‘Drifter’ M Monochrom with snakeskin finish

    Rock star and keen photographer Lenny Kravitz has produced another limited edition camera in partnership with Leica Germany, this time with a rock 'n' roll feel—and a snakeskin covering.

    The Drifter is a Leica M Monochrom kit that comes with Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH lenses and a case to carry them. All the items in the kit are finished with a sepia brown paint and the camera and strap use a synthetic snakeskin that is designed to reflect Kravitz’s wardrobe.

    Leica says the result is an ‘attention-commanding and soulful Leica camera made for global touring,' with Kravitz adding 'I’m a drifter [...] That has been my life since I was 15-years-old; I’m always on the road.'

    Other than the finish the camera is a standard M Monochrom, but will also feature untreated brass on the hotshoe rails, the thumb wheel, the shutter button and the soft-release button to lend it a stylish vintage look over time.

    This is the second limited edition M camera Lenny Kravitz has been involved with, coming up with the design for the Correspondent version of the M-P in 2015 in memory of his reporter father. The Drifter kit will be limited to only 125 globally, and will cost $23,950 / £20,500. Kravitz’s accompanying “Drifter” photo exhibition is currently being showcased at the Leica Gallery in Wetzlar, Germany. For more information see the Leica website.

    Press release:

    One for the road: new limited-edition Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is Lenny Kravitz’s ode to touring

    Leica Camera AG and Kravitz Design have collaborated on a camera built for rock n’ roll nomads who can be found on either side of the lens. The look of the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ has been created by Grammy-winning musician, actor and artist Lenny Kravitz, who is no stranger to bold style and individual expression. The result is an attention-commanding and soulful Leica camera made for global touring. The name is inspired by how Kravitz sees himself, “I’m a drifter. That has been my life since I was 15-years-old; I’m always on the road.”

    This limited edition camera is designed with an eye-catching ‘synthetic python’ snakeskin covering, made from premium-quality vegan leather which looks straight out of the rockstar’s wardrobe. Kravitz was made aware of this synthetic material by his close friend, fashion designer and animal rights activist Stella McCartney, who uses it for many of her own creations. The matching carrying strap made of woven fabric is coated with the same vegan leather as the camera. The camera’s monochrom body is luxuriously retro in special sepia brown paint, and the hotshoe, thumb wheel, shutter and soft-release buttons are made from untreated brass, which will allow a stylish vintage look to develop over time.

    Two state-of-the-art lenses are included, both finished in sepia brown; a Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH, and an APO-Summicron-M 75mm f/2 ASPH. In a departure from the standard production model, the Summicron-M 28mm f/2 features a built-in extendable lens hood to match the design of its 75mm counterpart.

    This camera demands five-star accommodation; a smart brown leather-like ‘Drifter Traveller’ bag, two pouches and cases for both lenses are included, so your kit is always protected.

    Lenny Kravitz was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1964 to an Afro-American mother and a Ukrainian-Jewish father. He is not only a world-famous musician, songwriter, producer and actor but also an accomplished photographer. As a musician, Kravitz is a multi-instrumentalist who uses analogue recording technology to underline the retro-character of his songs. As a visual artist, he has enjoyed success with his design studio, Kravitz Design, and has also become an accomplished photographer publishing ‘Flash’, a book of his black-and-white photographs in 2015. “I love the quality of the Leica’s monochrom system’ says Kravitz, “it’s exquisite. I tend to see things in black-and-white. It looks more real to me, and timeless.”

    This is the second time Lenny and his design team have collaborated with Leica on a limited-edition masterpiece. In 2015, he was inspired by the life of his father, a Vietnam War reporter and TV news producer, to create the ‘Correspondent’, a vintage-look Leica M-P. This time, Lenny has looked within himself and authored a design which reflects the lifestyle of a cosmopolitan artist and travelling musician stopping to capture his or her unique experiences.

    With production limited to 125 units globally, the Leica M Monochrom ‘Drifter’ is incredibly exclusive and highly collectable; RRP is £20,500.

  6. Samsung researchers create AI that transforms still images into talking portraits

    Researchers with the Samsung AI Center in Moscow and the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have published a new paper detailing the creation of software that generates 3D animated heads from a single still image. Unlike previously detailed AI systems capable of generating photo-realistic portraits, the new technology produces moving, talking heads that, though not perfect, are highly realistic.

    'Practical scenarios' require a system that can be trained using only a few—or even a single —of a person rather than an extensive image dataset, the newly published study explains. To satisfy this requirement, researchers created a system for which 'training can be based on just a few images and done quickly, despite the need to tune tens of millions of parameters.'

    Using generative adversarial networks, researchers were able to animate painted portraits in addition to images, producing, among other things, a talking, moving version of the Mona Lisa. As demonstrated in a video detailing the study (below), final results vary in quality and realism, with some being arguably indistinguishable (at least at low resolutions) from real videos.

    The researchers explain in their paper that the use of additional images to train the system results in life-like final results:

    Crucially, only a handful of photographs (as little as one) is needed to create a new model, whereas the model trained on 32 images achieves perfect realism and personalization score in our user study (for 224p static images).

    Some other issues remain with this type of system, the researchers note, including a 'noticeable personality mismatch' between the person featured in the still image(s) and the talking individual used to animate the portrait. The researchers explain, 'if one wants to create "fake" puppeteering videos without such mismatch, some landmark adaptation is needed.'

    The technology remains viable for purposes that don't necessarily require a personality match, but rather the simple animation of a character that exists only as a small series of still images. Thus far, the technology only works on faces and the upper parts of one's torso. It's unclear whether the researchers plan to expand the system to include other body parts.

    Samsung's study joins past AI-based portrait work from NVIDIA, as well as non-portrait AI image generation, including the system NVIDIA debuted earlier this year --- one capable of rapidly converting simple sketches into complex landscape images.

  7. Elderly camera store owner suffers broken arm during violent robbery

    K&R Photographics, located in Crescent Springs, Kentucky, is the latest camera shop to report the theft of expensive camera equipment. According to store co-owner Rob Kumler, who spoke with Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO, his 70-year-old wife and shop co-owner Wilma was attacked by masked, armed men who broke into the store on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 22.

    According to Kumler, Wilma was thrown to the ground roughly and suffered a broken arm as a result. 'Tens of thousands of dollars' in high-end camera equipment was stolen. In addition to harming Wilma and stealing the hardware, the robbers accidentally dropped and destroyed a $12,000 camera.

    The masked thieves were reportedly armed with a gun and a hammer; they are said to have immediately moved toward the most expensive equipment in the store, indicating that at least one had likely been in the store prior to the robbery. Four security cameras were live in the store at the time of the assault and theft.

    Kumler points out that due to the expensive, high-end nature of the stolen equipment, the thieves will likely struggle to find buyers who both need the gear and are willing to purchase it without asking questions about its origins. 'High-end cameras,' Kumler said, 'that's a small market.'

    The store maintains a Facebook Page, but hasn't yet posted about the robbery; it's unclear whether police or Kumler plan to publish a list of the stolen equipment's serial numbers. The public is encouraged to contact Villa Hills law enforcement with any information related to the violent robbery.

  8. Canon now offers a service to de-click the Control Ring on its RF lenses

    In addition to a larger diameter mount and additional contacts, one of new features of Canon's RF lenses—and one of its EF to RF adapters—is the Control Ring, a physical dial around the perimeter of the lens that can be customized to control various camera functions including aperture, ISO and shutter speed.

    By default, the Control Ring is adjusted in predetermined steps, which click into place while rotating the ring. While this is beneficial when you need a tactile indication of how many steps you've adjusted various settings, it does cause a bit of movement and noise, which isn't helpful if you're filming video.

    An illustration provided by Canon showing off the Control Ring on its RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro lens.

    Canon is addressing this problem by offering a de-clicking service for RF lenses. According to a pricing sheet, Canon will charge $79.99 to de-click any RF lens and $59.99 to de-click the Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R, not including the cost of taxes and shipping. Once de-clicked, the lens or adapter will be able to be switched between its default functionality and the de-clicked mode.

    The service can be scheduled via Canon's customer service phone number (1-800-652-2666) or its online support page.