There has been lots of talk about Sigma’s new 50mm f1.4 Art lens. Early reports have shown that it is about on par with Zeiss’s 55mm f1.4 Otus lens–and Sony themselves have created one heck of a 50mm f1.4 lens. Based on mostly the same formula (at least on the outside) as the company’s very successful 35mm f1.4 lens, it only makes sense that there is a ton of hype about this lens.
We got to play with a pre-production unit recently–and it seems every bit as beautiful as it seems.
Bad news for fans of Sigma lenses: the company has just lost a trial before the Tokyo District Court, where it was sentenced to a payment of $14.5 million in compensation to Nikon. Sigma was found guilty of infringing on Nikon’s patented VR image stabilization technology, part of which it has allegedly been using in a number of optically stabilized lenses. Nikon had originally filed the lawsuit back in May 2011, after the two companies failed to come to an arrangement outside of court. Back then, Nikon sought $120 million in compenation from Sigma.
Strangely enough, though, the Tokyo District Court originally dismissed the lawsuit back in January 2013. We have no idea what happened in the meantime, but apparently the case was taken up again. Now, does this mean that Sigma won’t make optically stabilized lenses anymore in the future? That is most unlikely, as image stabilization is so commonplace today that a reputed lens maker such a Sigma can hardly justify building lenses without it.
The way we see it, Sigma has two possibilities now. They could pay the compensation to Nikon, continue to use the image stabilization technology patented by Nikon, and continue to pay royalties for all future lenses using the technology. This of course would mean that Sigma lenses will become more expensive. Alternatively, the company could research other stabilization technologies, which would probably cost money as well and will also lead to its lenses becoming more expensive.
We can’t say whether or not an appeal is a possible third option, as we are unfamiliar with the Japanese legal system. But if it is, Sigma will most likely challenge the ruling in order to try and avert having to pay the huge amount of compensation (and possible future royalties) to Nikon.
No more overly contrasted photos with the Lux feature! Instagram enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the Facebook-owned photo and video social networking app has revamped its otherwise generally ineffective feature (it’s the one with the SUN icon).
The Lux feature was added to the app about 2 years ago to add more contrast and brightness to dull and poorly lit photos; but its effect was too strong to deem usable probably 80% of the time as it only makes the photos look more like badly executed HDR photos than nicely exposed shots. On Monday, however, the feature has been given a simple slider to customize the intensity of its effect. Now users of this crowd favorite photo-sharing service can use the feature more effectively by tweaking how much vibrancy, brightness, and detail enhancement every single shot gets. They can even add more softness to their shots, giving them a more vintage look.
Of course, this new update is only a small improvement and it’s nothing like what the VSCO Cam app already has. But we’re pretty sure this is but one of the many steps the service is taking towards something bigger as it just recently inked a $100 million advertising deal with Omnicom. How this deal will affect how its 150 million users will use the app remains to be seen but it’s clear that we will be seeing some more changes on Instagram in the near future.
For now, let’s just enjoy this minor enhancement. While there’s no word yet on whether on not it’ll be available for Android, iOs users can download the update now from the app store.
Getty Images and Flickr have ended their five-year partnership and have no plans to renew a contract. Since 2008 the partnership allowed Getty Images to browse through Flickr galleries and invite photographers to license out their work to Getty Image’s creative, commercial, and business buyers. The stock photography company said it was still open to working with Yahoo and Flickr.
The Flickr collection on Getty Images will now form the basis of a new house collection called “Moment,” which will now take images from contributors submitting directly to Getty for consideration. Instead of Getty Images searching through Flickr, camera shooters will have to send in full-sized, captioned photos for review and selection. While Getty won’t be actively seeking out new contributors on Yahoo’s photo sharing site, photographers who have already signed a contract won’t be affected as stated by a Getty email to Flickr Collection contributors.
“Your status as a contributor to Getty Images is unchanged by this news. Your current agreement with Getty Images remains the same and agreements will NOT be terminated by us as a result of this change, no matter how few images you have on gettyimages.com.”
As Getty moves away from Flickr it seems the company is shifting its curators to a wider range of sources including its new Moment app for iOS devices. Mobile users will also be able to contribute pictures to the new Moment collection from their smartphones using the new Moment-Mobile App.
For many, photography is more than just a hobby, more than just a passion. It can be a state of mind, even a way of life. For those that cannot think of doing anything but taking pictures, a career as a photographer may be the only viable option. However, being a professional photographer and actually making a living from your photography are two entirely different things. This is what “the best photographer on Instagram“, Daniel Arnold, had to realize on the eve of his 34th birthday, when he was left with less than $100 in his bank account.