Pauleth Ip Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.

All articles by Pauleth Ip

 

Instant Camera Review: Canon IVY CLIQ+ Instant Camera Printer

Instant cameras have made a huge comeback in recent years, and with it, so too has printing photos seen a resurgence in popularity. This is certainly a welcomed trend considering pretty much everyone has a camera in their pockets at all times these days, but the photos we take are seldom printed and instead find themselves stuck in digital limbo, never to be looked at again. The novelty of seeing a physical print come out of an instant camera never gets old, with people instinctively gathering for selfies whenever someone busts out an instant camera. Canon is hoping to tap into this market with the newest product in their IVY product line: the Canon IVY CLIQ+. The IVY CLIQ+ is an easily pocketable instant camera that also doubles as a mobile printer, allowing you to take photos and create prints on the fly using ZINK Zero Ink Technology. To add to the novelty factor, the ZINK prints have a peel-apart back that turns them into stickers as well. Does the Canon IVY CLIQ+ live up to the hype?...
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Review: Sony A7R IV (The Pound for Pound Resolution King)

Sony announced its latest high-resolution flagship Full Frame Mirrorless camera, the Sony A7R IV, earlier this summer, and was met with an overwhelmingly positive reception. At the heart of the Sony A7R IV is its brand new 61MP backside-illuminated sensor. As of press time, this sensor is the highest resolution sensor currently available in a Full Frame camera, taking the A7 series into medium format territory in terms of resolving power. The Sony A7R IV is packing the company’s latest generation AF technologies under the hood to compliment this beastly sensor, including Face & Eye AF for Humans and Animals, along with Real-time Tracking as well. The exterior of the A7R IV went also under the knife, resulting in a slightly larger body that includes a larger handgrip, better joystick, improved rear dial, a lockable Exposure Compensation dial, as well as upgraded buttons all around. The already excellent Electronic View Finder from the A7R III was also replaced with a higher resolution EVF that’s now capable of refreshing at up to 120 fps. Weather-sealing has been one of Sony’s pain points, but this too saw a major overhaul in the A7R IV. All of these improvements culminates into a camera that is designed clearly with the professional in mind. We’ve been shooting extensively with the Sony A7R IV since this summer, our full review is just after the jump....
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Review: Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM (Canon RF Mount)

One of Canon’s biggest strengths has always been their ability to create consistently excellent lenses targetted at professionals, and the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is no exception. With their RF Mount system, Canon has chosen to tackle the Full Frame Mirrorless market from the complete opposite direction as Sony did. Instead of focusing on industry-leading cameras first and slowly building up a portfolio of lenses like Sony did, Canon has elected to introduce premium lenses out of the gate while they work on developing newer, more advanced Full Frame Mirrorless camera bodies. Only time will tell if their strategy will pay off, but one thing’s for sure: the RF Mount lenses we’ve seen so far are some of the very best on the market today. The Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM was designed with portrait photographers in mind, and boy does it create some truly stunning portraits. By virtue of being a f1.2 lens, the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is bulky and has the weight (and price tag-US $2,699 as of press time) to match. If you’ve got deep enough pockets and won’t settle for anything but the very best, the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM will not disappoint....
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First Impressions: Tamron 35mm F2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Sony FE Mount)

Last week at the annual PhotoPlus Expo in New York City, Tamron unveiled a trio of compact and lightweight prime lenses designed from the ground up for Sony’s E Mount Full Frame Mirrorless cameras. One of the lenses in this prime trio is the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Model F053). The newly announced Tamron 35mm f2.8 follows the same design philosophy of balancing a small footprint while maintaining portability like we’ve seen in the company’s excellent 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD and 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD zooms for Sony Full Frame Mirrorless. At just 7.4 oz, the Tamron 35mm f2.8 is remarkably lightweight. It’s also quite compact in size as well at just 2.5 inches in length (the 20mm and 24mm f2.8 primes also share the same exterior design and dimensions). We got to spend some brief hands-on time shooting with the brand new Tamron 35mm f2.8 at PPE, head on after the jump for our...
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First Impressions: Tamron 24mm F2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 (Sony FE Mount)

Tamron’s philosophy of designing practical lenses for Sony E Mount Full Frame Mirrorless lenses that are both lightweight and small in size has proven to be extremely popular, as is the case with their 17-28mm f2.8 Di III RXD and 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD zooms. The Japanese lens manufacturer is now turning their attention towards prime lenses, unveiling a trio of prime lenses designed from the ground up for Sony E Mount at the annual PhotoPlus Expo in New York City last week. The Tamron 24mm f2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 joins the 20mm and 35mm as part of Tamron’s Full Frame E Mount prime lens lineup, which follows the same design philosophy of balancing a small footprint while maintaining portability. The Tamron 24mm f2.8 is exceptionally lightweight, weighing in at less than half a pound. At just 2.5 inches in length, it also won’t take up much room inside your camera bag either. The 20mm and 35mm f2.8 primes weigh in at less than half a pound in weight as well and share the same exterior dimensions as the 24mm. Tamron was kind enough to let us shoot with the 35mm f2.8 during PPE....
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First Impressions: Sony A9 II (They Made It Better Than the Original)

At the beginning of this month, Sony announced the next iteration of its top tier A9 flagship, the A9 II. The most noticeable change Sony has made to the A9 II are the physical changes that borrows heavily from the A7R IV. These include the more pronounced handgrip, the improved buttons on the rear of the camera, as well as the improvements made to the various dials on top of the camera body. While the Sony A9 II retains the same 24.2 Megapixel Exmor RS sensor as the original A9, it is now paired with an upgraded BIONZ X image processor which leads to even faster AF/AE performance and accuracy. As expected, Real-time Eye AF, Real-time Eye AF for animals, and Real-Time Eye AF for video recording are all supported, and we expect Sony to introduce further improvements down the line with future firmware upgrades. The A9 II’s autofocus system can now track subjects continuously even if when shooting at apertures greater than f16. When shooting continuously, the Sony A9 II is capable of capturing images at up to 20 fps when using the electronic shutter, or 10 fps with the mechanical shutter (twice that of the original A9). Both card slots are both UHS-II compatible as well, which will surely help minimize the amount of time that images are stuck in the buffer waiting to be written. We got to spend some time shooting with the brand new Sony A9 II last week during PhotoPlus, head on after the jump for our first impressions of Sony’s latest flagship....
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Instant Camera Review: Canon IVY CLIQ Instant Camera Printer

The popularity of instant cameras have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, and the Canon IVY CLIQ is the company’s entry-level product targeted at this market. Fujifilm is currently dominating the instant camera market with their various Instax cameras and printers. Canon is hoping to compete by pricing the IVY CLIQ at just under US $100. Lacking some of the features of the more premium IVY CLIQ+, the IVY CLIQ is a no thrills instant camera that creates photo prints using Polaroid’s ZINK Zero Ink Technology. The prints have a peel-apart back that turns them into stickers as well. The compact size of the IVY CLIQ allows it to fit into most pants and shirt pockets, making it easy to carry around with you. Is the Canon IVY CLIQ the right instant camera for you?...
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The New DxO PhotoLab Is Aimed at Adobe Lightroom and Capture One

While DxO is known by many for their in-depth lab tests of cameras and lenses, they also offer a number of photo-centric software programs such as the popular Nik Collection of plugins as well as their own DxO PhotoLab raw editing software. Today, DxO is announcing version 3 of its DxO PhotoLab program, which is an alternative to Adobe Lightroom and Capture One Pro. Numerous new features are joining DxO PhotoLasb’s existing stable of technologies, including advanced optical corrections, U Point local adjustment technology, DxO Prime denoising technology, DxO Smart Lighting, DxO ClearView Plus, and DxO Lens Sharpness. These new features include a redesigned HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) adjustment tool called DxO ColorWheel, improvements to the Repair Tool, the introduction of a Local Adjustments Masks Manager, as well as the addition of keyword management support to DxO PhotoLibrary. Details on the new features coming to DxO PhotoLab 3 as well as pricing & availability can be found after the jump....
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First Impressions: Fujifilm X Pro 3 (We Did Street Photography with It!)

We first learned of the Fujifilm X Pro 3’s development last month. Yesterday afternoon, we got to spend some brief hands-on time shooting with the camera around New York City. The Fujifilm X Pro 3 incorporates the same 26.1MP X-Trans CMOS 4 APS-C sensor along with the X-Processor 4 Quad-Core Imaging Engine found within the X-T3 into a rangefinder-style body. The most notable design change from the X Pro 2 is that the rear of the camera now features an always-on but not backlit E-Ink display. This is designed to simulate the film box window found on many analog cameras. There’s still a touch screen LCD if you want it, accessible by flipping the back of the camera down....
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Review: Disk Drill Pro 4 (You Deleted Images You Needed, Didn’t You?)

We’ve all been there. It’s the middle of busy season and you’re shooting back-to-back-to-back events all weekend long. You’re at the sixth event of the weekend and you run out of space on your memory card in the middle of shooting. Naturally, you swap the card out for another one in your memory card wallet, format the card in-camera, and keep on shooting. You finally get home at the end of the night after photographing all weekend long, sink into your chair at your desk, and start importing everything you just shot into Capture One. Wait a minute, what happened to the images from the first event you shot yesterday? You start going through all of the cards in your memory card wallet frantically, popping them into your computer one at a time in a desperate attempt to locate the missing images until you come to the terrible and eventual realization that in the midst of shooting, you had accidentally formatted the wrong card. This is the stuff of nightmares for many photographers and unfortunately, it can happen to all of us. Although we always preach the importance of backing up your images, no drives are immune to hardware failure. in the event of severe hardware failures, sending your drives out to a data recovery company may be your last and only recourse and can be prohibitively expensive. But what if there was an affordable program that you can use at home or at your office to try to recover the data, and it doesn’t require you to have a degree in computer science to master? This is where Disk Drill Pro 4 comes in. Disk Drill Pro 4 is the latest version of the data recovery software that aims to help you rescue your precious data easily and quickly from the comfort of your own home. Keep ready to see whether or not Disk Drill Pro 4 can live up to its claims....
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First Impression: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

It’s been more than four and a half years since Olympus first introduced the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Fans of the Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless camera have been waiting with baited breaths ever since for an eventual successor to be released. With much of the industry shifting its focus towards Full Frame Mirrorless cameras, it felt as though that day may never come. If you’re still holding out hope for an E-M5 successor though, you can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief because Olympus is officially announcing the release of the OM-D E-M5 Mark III today. Inheriting the 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor and the TruePic VIII Image Processor that was first introduced in Olympus’s top tier E-M1 Mark II, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a lightweight, compact, and weather-sealed mid-tier M43 option for photographers looking for the right balance between performance and pocketability. With the introduction of the OM-D E-M5 Mark III (and the E-M1X before it back in January of this year), Olympus is making a definitive declaration that they remain dedicated to the Micro Four Thirds ecosystem. We got to spend some time in the literal wild shooting with the OM-D E-M5 Mark III last week in Moab, Utah. Was the E-M5 Mark III worth the long wait? Find out after the jump....
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Review: Amber (A Personal Hybrid Cloud Device for Photographers)

As photographers, the issue of where to store our images has been an age-old challenge that goes back to the analog days of prints and negatives. While the shift to digital meant that most of our images now exist virtually, we live in an age where everyone has a camera in their pockets, and the ever-increasing megapixel count has resulted in the continued growth of raw file sizes. Earlier this summer, we were introduced to a new NAS (network-attached storage) device called Amber from Silicon Valley-based startup LatticeWork. As the company’s cheeky marketing claims, Amber is not just “another pain in the NAS,” and aims to be a simple to set up and easy to manage hybrid cloud storage solution that leverages Artificial Intelligence to help keep everything organized. There are two versions of Amber are available. Amber One comes equipped with a pair of 1 TB hard drives, while Amber Plus doubles the capacity of the included hard drives. Storage capacity aside, Amber One and Amber Plus are functionally identical. LatticeWork was kind enough to send over an Amber One for us to review. Curious to see how it fared under real-world conditions? Read on to find out....
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How to Not Be a Jerk Photographing Cosplayers at New York Comic Con

Every October, thousands upon thousands make their pilgrimage towards Manhattan’s west side to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center to attend New York Comic-Con as the annual celebration of their diverse fandoms, ranging from comic books, video games, movies, tv shows, pop culture, and everything in between. Last year’s NYCC had a record-breaking attendance of a quarter of a million people, and that number will likely increase this year. What was once considered geeky or nerdy are now woven into the fabric of pop culture itself, and in recent years, more and more people are now openly embracing and expressing their love of the numerous fandoms of which they’re a part of. For many convention-goers, cosplaying – the act of dressing up as and embodying their favorite characters – have become a rite of passage. The rise of cosplaying’s popularity has also led to an influx of photographers attending conventions like New York Comic-Con, whose main objective is to capture images of the many cosplayers roaming around the convention hall. If you happen to be one of these photographers, this article was written with you in mind....
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Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini Link Smartphone Instax Printer

Fans of Instax Mini prints will appreciate the usability refinements Fujifilm incorporated into their new Instax Mini Link smartphone printer. Fujifilm’s Instax line of instant cameras and mobile printers have been dominating the instant photography market. Today, they’re unveiling their brand new Instax Mini Link smartphone Instax printer. Instant cameras have seen a massive resurgence...
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Review: Lenovo Yoga A940 All-In-One PC (Is It for Photographers?)

The Yoga A940 All-In-One Desktop PC is Lenovo’s more affordable take on the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 concept designed with photographers and creative professionals in mind. Like the Surface Studio 2, the Lenovo Yoga A940 features a double-hinged high-resolution touch screen display attached to a base unit that houses the All-In-One’s components. Unlike the Surface Studio, Lenovo actually integrated a dedicated keyboard tray and QI wireless charging pad into the Yoga A940’s base unit. This makes for an arguably neater design, particularly if you like to store everything away neatly when not in use. Lenovo also includes all of the peripherals with the Yoga A940, which include a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, Bluetooth Active Pen, and a Content Creation Dial. The Content Creation Dial is Lenovo’s spin on Microsoft’s Surface Dial, an optional accessory for the Surface Studio 2 that costs US $99.99. All of this adds up to a compelling All-In-One desktop solution, but how’s it fare under real-world use? Let’s find out....
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Lens Review: Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F2.8 S (Nikon Z Mount)

When it comes to zoom lenses, the 24-70mm focal range is considered by many working photographers to be one of the “holy trinity” focal ranges, and is often the first zoom lens that many opt to purchase due to its versatility of being suitable for a huge variety of subject matter ranging from landscapes, real estate, street, solo to group portraiture, and so much more. While Nikon released a 24-70mm zoom to complement their Full Frame Z mount mirrorless cameras at launch, that particular lens had a maximum aperture of only f4 and many photographers interested in the Z mount cameras were left wanting for a faster alternative. Fast forward six months after Nikon introduced their Z mount cameras and the initial trio of lenses (35mm f1.8 Prime, 50mm f1.8 Prime, and the aforementioned 24-70mm f4 Zoom), Nikon officially unveiled the more premium Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f2.8 S. We got to spend some hands-on time with the lens while we were in Las Vegas for WPPI earlier this year, and Nikon was kind enough to provide us with a final production sample of the lens so that we can evaluate it thoroughly on our own terms. Head on after the jump to see how the Z mount 24-70mm f2.8 zoom performed during our real-world tests....
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Lighting Review: Fositan FL-1×2 Rollable LED Panel

A huge variety of LED lighting have been making their way onto the market in recent years, and a lot of photographers have begun utilizing them as a part of their constant lighting kit thanks to LEDs having power efficiency, increased light output, and generating little to no heat compared to legacy constant lighting options like incandescent or CFL bulbs. Westcott was arguably the first to introduce flexible LED panels to the photography market, and shortly after the Flex series of LED panels were released, a number of knockoffs began flooding the market at lower price points promising similar performance. Fositan’s FL-1×2 Rollable LED panel is one of them....
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Gear Review: X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2

While most modern digital cameras on the market today do a fine job of reproducing colors found in the real world, there is still room for improvement because most modern digital camera sensors interpolate much of the real-world colors as they can only record red, green, and blue. And although many photographers choose to express their creative visions when post-processing their images, certain workflows, such as when photographing products or high-end fashion for commercial clients, demand accurate and consistent colors. This is where the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 comes in. Working in conjunction with X-Rite’s own ColorChecker Camera Calibration software, the ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 is a reliable tool that helps photographers create accurate reference images under any lighting condition to ensure that their images feature consistently accurate colors. The folks over at X-Rite sent over a ColorChecker Passport Photo 2 for us to test out, and you can check out our full review after the jump....
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Steve Simon’s Empty Sky Explores the Immediate Post-9/11 NYC

It seems almost inconceivable that the attack on the Twin Towers occurred 18 years ago, given the fact that many of us still remember everything that happened on that fateful Tuesday morning so vividly as if it had just transpired. When we look back on the World Trade Center attack, we tend to see a lot of images of the Ground Zero itself along with the Twin Towers during and after the incident. If you were to look for images of the periphery and of the people drawn towards the area, there’s a chance that the photos were captured by photojournalist Steve Simon. Steve was actually scheduled to fly back to New York on September 11th and wound up returning a week later. His project, titled Empty Sky: The Pilgrimage to Ground Zero, is part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection and focuses on the people looking towards and drawn to where the Twin Towers once stood, and the sweeping emotions that overwhelmed the air in the surrounding area in lower Manhattan. He has kindly taken time out of his busy schedule to recount his experiences while working on Empty Sky in the days and weeks immediately following the tragic events that transpired on September 11th, 2001....
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Lens Review: Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm F4 S (Nikon Z Mount)

The Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f4 S is an ultra-wide angle zoom designed for Nikon’s mirrorless Z mount cameras that is both lightweight and compact. At press time, the 14-30mm f4 is the widest autofocus Nikon Z mount lens currently available on the market. The Nikon Z 14-30mm f4 S is a welcomed addition to the nascent Z mount lens lineup which is about to celebrate its first birthday. One of the lens’ biggest selling points is its ability to accommodate threaded filters up front, a feature that is extremely rare to find on an ultra-wide lens which typically includes bulbous front elements and thus require the use of specialty filter mounting brackets. We first got to spend some time with the 14-30mm earlier this year in Las Vegas during WPPI and were eager to get our review unit so we could put it through its paces and thoroughly test it in the wild. Head on after the jump to see if the Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f4 S is the right lens for you....
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New Sony Xperia 5 Android Smartphone Comes Loaded with Camera Tech

Today in the IFA 2019, Sony announced their next 5G Android smartphone: the Sony Xperia 5. Like the Sony Xperia 1 launched earlier this year at MWC Barcelona, the Xperia 5 incorporates many of Sony’s innovative Digital Imaging technologies, this time in a sleeker, more pocket-friendly package. Like the larger Xperia 1, the Sony Xperia 5 utilizes an OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, albeit measuring 6.1″ diagonally this time around and packing a slightly lower 2520 x 1080 resolution due to the Xperia 5’s smaller dimensions. The Xperia 5 comes equipped with a trio of cameras, each covering a unique focal length: 16mm Ultrawide Angle, 26mm with Optical Image Stabilization, and 52mm Portrait/Telephoto with Optical Image Stabilization. The same dual photodiode/stacked CMOS image sensor technology used in Sony’s Flagship Full Frame Mirrorless A9 also powers each of the Xperia 5’s three cameras. The cameras in the Xperia 5 also borrowed a lot of the advanced autofocus tech found in Sony’s Alpha Mirrorless cameras, including advanced Eye AF and the ability to shoot at up to 10 fps with continuous AF/AE tracking. Video shooters will find lots to love with the Xperia 5 as well, including 10-bit 4:2:2 capture and s709-based color science adopted from Sony’s own Venice cinema cameras. Like the Sony RX100 Mk VII premium point-and-shoot, the Xperia 5 has Hybrid Electronic/Optical Image Stabilization built in, allowing you to capture videos with near-gimbal-stabilized quality even in low light scenarios. Sony’s Cinema Pro project-based video creation app is also included with the Xperia 5, making cinematic editing possible on a mobile phone. See the full press release along with pricing and availability after the jump....
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First Impressions: Sony E 70-350mm F4.5-6.3 G OSS (Sony E, APS-C)

Earlier this week, Sony announced their 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS lens alongside the A6100 and A6600 crop sensor mirrorless cameras and the 16-55mm f2.8 G lens. The Sony E 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS is the company’s first super-telephoto designed specifically for their crop sensor mirrorless cameras, with a 35mm Full Frame equivalent focal range of 105–525 mm. When shooting at such extreme focal lengths, the built-in optical image stabilization help keep motion blur down to a minimum. The 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS features an optical design consisting of an aspherical element along with three extra-low dispersion glass elements and is dust and moisture resistant. Sony managed to pack all of these features into a compact package that weighs in at just 625 g. We got a chance to shoot with the Sony 70-350mm f4.5-6.3 G OSS in a variety of shooting conditions using both the A6100 and A6600, head on after the jump to check out our first impressions on this super-telephoto....
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Could the New Razer Blade Stealth 13 Be a Photographer’s Next Laptop?

Today at IFA, Razer announced their updated 13″ ultrabook – the Razer Blade Stealth 13. Powered by Intel’s latest 10th generation Core i7-1065G7 Quad-Core processor, three variants of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 will be available. All three variants of the Razer Blade Stealth 13 are housed in precision-milled unibody aluminum chassis that are just 15.3 mm thick and weighing in at roughly 3 lbs depending on the configuration. Two of the models feature discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics, a first for a 13″ laptop. It sports a black anodized finish, while the third utilizes integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics and comes in a mercury white anodized finish. In terms of connectivity, all variants of the new Stealth 13 feature WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, and come equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port, a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port, as well as a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports. The updated Razer Blade Stealth 13 is a powerful mobile solution for photographers on the go. Additional details on the updated Razer Blade Stealth 13 variants can be found after the jump....
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First Impressions: Sony A6100 (Flagship Level AF, Entry Level Price Point)

In addition to launching the A6600 flagship earlier this week, Sony also introduced the entry-level A6100 as well, essentially a refresh of the highly popular A6000 which is now a five-year-old camera. The Sony A6100 shares the same 24.2 Megapixel APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and blazing-fast 0.02 second 425 point Fast Hybrid AF system found in the higher end A6400 and A6600 models. With a MSRP of US $750 for the camera body alone, the A6100 is now the most affordable camera in Sony’s mirrorless lineup with Real-time Eye AF for both human and animal subjects as well as Real-time Tracking. To keep costs down, the A6100 utilizes a plastic housing that lacks weather-resistance as opposed to the more robust and weather-resistant magnesium alloy housing used in the flagship A6600. The A6100 also eschews the 5-axis in-camera image stabilization found in the flagship model. Additional cost-saving measures include the A6100 using a lower resolution OLED Electronic Viewfinder than the one found in higher-end Sony mirrorless APS-C cameras (1,440k-dot resolution in the A6100 versus a much higher 2,345k-dot resolution in the A6400/A6600) along with the continued use of the aging NP-FW50 battery as opposed to the newer and longer-lasting NP-FZ100 model that the A6600 is adopting, leading to significantly shorter runtimes. Shortcomings aside, the Sony A6100 is an interesting value proposition that shares much of the performance of the higher tier APS-C models, albeit at almost half the price of the A6600 flagship. We spent some time shooting with a pre-production A6100 unit during the launch event in New York City, you can read all about our first impressions after the jump....
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First Impressions: Sony E 16-55mm F2.8 G (Sony E Mount, APS-C)

Although Sony’s been releasing new mirrorless APS-C cameras regularly for the last few years, a common complaint has been the lack of new lenses that are designed specifically for crop sensor E mount cameras. With the introduction of the Sony E 16-55mm f2.8 G lens, photographers shooting with Sony APS-C mirrorless cameras finally have a new first-party standard zoom option available. The SEL1655G is Sony’s first 16-55mm zoom designed specifically for crop sensor E mount cameras, with a 35mm Full Frame equivalent focal length of 24-82.5mm and a constant aperture of f2.8. 24-70mm f2.8 zooms are the workhorse lenses for many working photographers, and this 16-55mm is essentially the APS-C version of that lens, albeit much lighter and more compact. The Sony E 16-55mm f2.8 G features an optical design consisting of two AA lens, two aspherical elements, and three ED glasses, and is driven by an XD Linear Motor allowing the lens to focus quickly, accurately, and quietly. Being a G lens, the 16-55mm is also dust and moisture resistant....
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First Impressions: Sony A6600 (Sony E Mount, APS-C)

Sony announced its latest APS-C flagship A6600 today at their New York headquarters. While the resolution remains at 24.2 Megapixels like the rest of the cameras in the A6xxx series, the A6600 features Sony’s latest-generation BIONZ X image processing engine which it claims to be 1.8x faster than the A6500, and can output 14-bit raw files. Like the A6500, the A6600 has 5-axis image stabilization built-in. The magnesium alloy body is also said to be dust and moisture resistant. It also sports the same flip-up rear LCD that was first introduced with the A6400. The most noticeable change with the A6600 is that it uses the larger and higher capacity NP-FZ100 Lithium-Ion batteries. This is a first for a Sony mirrorless APS-C body, which results in the camera having a larger and handgrip. We got to spend some time shooting with the new camera in a variety of different environments. Head on after the jump for our first impressions....
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First Impressions: Canon EOS 90D (Yes, a New APS-C DSLR)

Although Canon finally entered the Full Frame Mirrorless market last year with the introduction of the EOS R and followed up with the EOS RP a few months afterward, the company reaffirmed its commitment to the DSLR market with the announcement of the Canon EOS 90D. Announced alongside the Canon EOS M6 Mk II crop sensor mirrorless camera, the Canon EOS 90D is the successor to the now three-year-old 80D. The 90D incorporates several notable advancements, including a higher resolution 32.5 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (up from 24.2 Megapixel in the 80D) along with the company’s latest Digic 8 imaging processor. The Canon 90D also sports a Dual Pixel AF system featuring 45 cross-type AF points and can detect human faces. It’s also capable of capturing up to 11 frames per second in continuous shooting mode using the electronic shutter (10 fps when using the mechanical shutter). Canon generously invited us down to Atlanta last week to spend some hands-on time with the 90D, head on after the jump for our first impressions....
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First Impressions: Canon EOS M6 Mark II APS-C Mirrorless Camera

Announced alongside the Canon EOS 90D APS-C DSLR, the Canon EOS M6 Mk II is the updated version of the crop sensor mirrorless M6 that was first announced back in February of 2017. While the M6 Mk II features a nearly identical exterior to its predecessor, much of the upgrades are found within the camera’s internals. The M6 Mk II’s APS-C sensor receives a significant resolution bump from 24.4 to 32.5 Megapixels and is powered by Canon’s latest Digic 8 imaging processor. The M6 Mk II’s Dual Pixel AF system features 5,481 manually selectable AF points and includes Eye Detection AF support, allowing for up to 14 frames per second to be captured in continuous shooting mode while maintaining autofocus (up to 30 frames per second when using the RAW Burst Mode). Having released two Full Frame mirrorless cameras within the past year, Canon’s decision to introduce an updated APS-C mirrorless camera may seem like a step backwards to some, but it’s important to remember that although Canon EF-M mount (designed with mirrorless APS-C cameras in mind) haven’t seen widespread adoption here in the US, they are quite popular in Asia. This does put Canon into an interesting position of having to concurrently support three separate lens mounts with EF/EF-S, EF-M, and RF. Canon generously invited us down to Atlanta last week to spend some hands-on time with the M6 Mk II, head on after the jump for our first impressions....
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First Impressions: Light and Motion Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light

For the last few years, continuous LED lighting has been steadily gaining popularity amongst photographers, particularly amongst those aiming to take their images to the next level by utilizing lighting, but for one reason or another have yet to master professional strobes. While continuous LED lights are a good tool to help photographers learn how to light their images, the biggest weakness that many photographers have found with continuous LED lighting has been their relatively low power output when compared to traditional professional strobes. The folks over at Light & Motion aim to address this common shortcoming with their newest Stella Pro CLx8 Continuous LED Light, which features a maximum light output of 8,000 lumens. We got to spend some time shooting with this new light from Light & Motion this past week while we were in Oregon attending Sony’s Kando 3.0 Trip, head on after the jump for our first impressions on the Stella Pro CLx8....
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First Impressions: Sony RX100 VII (A9 Level Performance in Your Pocket)

While companies generally tend to introduce their leading-edge technologies with their flagship products, these top-tier advancements will inevitably make their way into more entry-level products thanks to the continued development of said technologies along with the economies of scale lowering production costs over time. Such is the case with the RX100 VII, Sony’s latest premium compact point and shoot, which promises the performance of the flagship A9 and incorporates the company’s latest autofocus technologies like Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking. For reference, Real-Time Eye AF and Real-Time Tracking were first introduced with the Crop Sensor Sony A6400 that was announced at the beginning of this year, and shortly thereafter patched into the Full Frame flagship Sony A9 along with the widely popular third-generation A7 cameras. Putting flagship-level performance into a premium compact point and shoot camera is a bold claim, so we were reasonably skeptical when we were first introduced to the RX100 VII, especially given our rather lukewarm experience with the previous model. We got to spend some time with the RX100 VII last week while we were in Oregon for Sony’s Kando 3.0 Trip, head on after the jump to see how the seventh generation RX100 fared....
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Back to School: The Best Cameras, Lenses, and More for 2019

As the summer holidays are beginning to wind down here in the United States, many students are beginning to gather supplies and other essentials in preparation for the upcoming school year. With the Fall semester rapidly approaching, we’ve put this roundup together for all of the photography enthusiasts out there so that they can start putting together their Back-To-School Photography Kit for the new school year....
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Review: Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 (Perfect for Frequent Flyers)

For photographers that fly to different locations for assignments on a regular basis, the last thing that any of us would want to do is to have to check the bag that’s carrying all of our expensive camera gear prior to boarding our flights. While you can always use a hard case to transport your equipment, they stick out like a sore thumb to opportunists with sticky fingers amongst a sea of traditional luggage that you may as well just launch a signal flare advertising that you’re carrying a lot of valuables. Enter the Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 which aims to quell our equipment transportation woes. We’ve been putting the Tenba Roadie Air Case Roller 21 to the test for the last few months, head on after the jump to see how it fared....
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First Impressions: Sony a7R IV (The 61MP Full Frame Beast)

Sony announced the brand new Sony a7R IV today in New York City and we got to spend some quick hands-on time with it during the press launch event. Slated to be released later this year in September, the A7RIV features a new 61MP sensor, the largest currently available in a Full Frame Interchangeable Lens Camera, and Sony claims to have improved the weather sealing as well. As such they’re targeting it very much to the professional market–and this is evident in the $3,500 price tag. Beyond this, the new Sony a7R IV has 567 autofocus points that cover 99.7% of the image area vertically and 74% horizontally....
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Review: LaCie 2big RAID (the Answer to a Photographer’s Storage Woes)

One of the things that working photographers have to deal with on a regular basis is the constant need for more storage, thanks to raw files ballooning in size in recent years as a result of the seemingly neverending megapixel war that camera manufacturers have been on since the industry made the shift from analog to digital. Many photographers end up moving files onto cheap external hard drives as a quick fix to make room on their computers, which inevitably end up getting tossed into a drawer or cabinet. Most of these external hard drives are generally poorly organized, never properly maintained, and lack any sort of redundancy in the event of hardware failure. This is why RAID storage solutions like the LaCie 2big RAID have become go-to options for many creatives with demanding workloads that require large storage footprints....
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First Impressions: Lenovo Yoga A940 All-In-One Desktop for Creatives

When Microsoft first announced the Surface Studio back in October 2016, it was met with significant fanfare and interest amongst creatives thanks to its innovative design, along with the fact that it addressed a lot of the requirements that a lot of creatives felt weren’t being met by their Apple desktops and laptops. Fast forward to today, Microsoft has since released version 2 of the Surface Studio while a number of other PC manufacturers have introduced their own takes on the Surface Studio concept as well, Lenovo’s Yoga A940 All-In-One desktop is one of them. We got to spend some hands-on time with the Lenovo Yoga A940 last week here in New York City while we were attending Pepcom’s Digital Experience! East technology media event, and think that it’s certainly worthy of consideration for photographers and other creatives in the market for a new computer that can tackle their many creative needs....
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First Impressions: Amber Personal Hybrid Cloud Storage Device

We discovered the Amber One and Amber Plus AI-powered hybrid cloud storage devices from LatticeWork–which are designed more or less as personal storage clouds that can be of huge use for photographers. As far as startups go in the increasingly crowded hybrid cloud storage market space, LatticeWork has arguably one of the more celebrated pedigrees with its founder being a former director as well as one of the co-founders of Marvell Technology Group. For those not familiar with Marvell, their technologies are crucial in powering many of today’s leading-edge computers, networking equipment, and mobile devices. With ever-increasing amounts of images and videos being captured on a daily basis by photographers, videographers, and the layperson alike, Amber aims to provide a hybrid cloud storage solution that’s simple to set up and easy to manage, while leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence to help keep everything organized....
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Review: Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System (That Extra Pop We Need)

Any photographers that have experience shooting through objects like prisms, crystals, and mirrors to create unique effects in-camera will tell you that the results are often unpredictable. The process of using these optical modifiers can also be rather bothersome since you have to hold your camera with one hand while manipulating these modifiers in the other. Lensbaby’s OMNI Creative filter System aims to simplify this user experience and make creating these in-camera effects a less complicated and more manageable affair. Being announced today, the new system uses prisms, and your lens’ filter mount system to give photographers the ability to create some cool in-camera effects....
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Essentials: TACS AVL II Rustic Brown Edition Timepiece

Having been a watch guy for as long as I can remember, probably even longer than I’ve had an interest in photography, thanks largely to the hours upon hours I’ve spent assisting my aunt that worked in the horology industry during my youth admiring countless timepieces, changing watch straps, and tinkering with watch movements, I almost never leave home without first putting on a timepiece around my wrist to this day. Call it a habit, or maybe I’m just old fashioned, but despite having a smartphone with me at all times that not only tells time along with being able to perform a myriad of other functions, being able to tell time at the flick of a wrist will always be faster than having to pull my phone out of my pocket. When Tokyo based boutique watchmaker TACS reached out to us to see if we’d be interested in checking out one of the new Rustic Brown Edition of their AVL II timepieces, the watch nerd and the photographer in me were more than happy to oblige. TACS is an acronym for Taste, Attractive, Creative, and Sense, and the AVL II Rustic Brown Edition surely check all of those boxes....
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Software Review: Nik Collection 2 by DxO (Now with More Presets!)

DxO is releasing version 2 of their ever popular Nik Collection today, a year after the French company first released their own version of the much-loved of image editing plugins suite after acquiring the previously orphaned codebase from Google. With Nik Collection 2, DxO is including over 40 new creative presets along with support for high DPI displays on Windows. In a move that will surely please many photographers wanting to move away from Adobe and their subscription software model, DxO is bundling DxO PhotoLab 2 Essential Edition, their French company’s own standalone Raw Converter, with the newly updated Nik Collection 2. We got a chance to test drive Nik Collection 2 before it’s public release to see how the updated plugins suite fared....
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Review: Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Canon EF Mount)

When Tamron released the original version of their SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD high-speed ultra-wide angle zoom back in 2015, we praised it for its sharpness, color rendition, and versatility, but felt that there were some areas that Tamron could improve upon. Enter the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2, Tamron’s 2nd generation refresh of the same lens that we had reviewed some four years ago which incorporates a number of improvements upon the well-received original. A pair of MPUs (Micro-Processing Unit) along with a VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism resides within the SP 15-30mm f2.8 G2 and work in tandem to ensure snappy autofocus performance while maintaining image stabilization. According to Tamron, the 2nd generation lens also features an optics design that incorporates an XGM (eXpanded Glass Molded Aspherical) lens element along with multiple LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to minimize distortions and lateral chromatic aberrations that tend to appear when shooting with wide angle glass. Tamron’s improved the already durable Fluorine Coating on the front element while introducing a number of additional coatings to help improve the optical quality of the updated lens, including the newly developed AX (Anti-reflection eXpand) Coating that’s designed to dramatically reduce flaring and ghosting. the eBAND (Extended Bandwidth & Angular Dependency) and BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) coatings which help maintain clarity and sharpness especially towards the periphery of your frame. We got to spend some time with the Tamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 Di VC USD G2 to evaluate whether this updated offering from Tamron lives up to the company’s touted improvements....
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Review: Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E Mount)

Up until Sony announced the A6400 back in January of this year, some have speculated that the Japanese Mirrorless camera manufacturer had all but abandoned their Crop Sensor line to focus on their ever popular Full Frame cameras. Coupled with the fact that the last time Sony released an APS-C lens was almost exactly a year before the A6400’s announcement when the company introduced the variable aperture 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens, it’s not exactly hard to see why people concerned for the life of Sony’s APS-C camera line. With lineup being alive and well, at least for the immediate future, it’s good to see third-party lens manufacturers continuing their support for the system as well, such is the case with the Sigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens. This is sigma’s third lens designed with Sony’s Crop Sensor E Mount cameras in mind. They previously released a 16mm f1.4 lens and a 30mm f1.4 lens, both under the Contemporary line and now marketed as a trio of sorts. The Sigma 56mm f1.4 has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 84mm when factoring in the 1.5x crop factor that Sony’s E Mount APS-C cameras have. For those keeping track, Sigma basically designed this lens with portrait photographers in mind, as many tend to gravitate towards the 85mm focal length. A Micro Four-Thirds version of this lens is also available for photographers shooting with M43 cameras....
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Our 15 Favorite Pieces of Gear for Travel Photography in Summer 2019

Photographers that plan on taking a vacation in Summer 2019 will be happy to know that there has never been a better time to look at the market. Not only are there tons of innovative and great cameras out there, but there are also lots of great accessories. Best of all, these items are bound to not take up a lot of space or break your back while being hauled through an airport. So if you’re a photographer looking to vacation in Iceland, the Virgin Islands, Italy or even somewhere more local, we’ve gone through our reviews index to figure out what items are best for you. Here are some of our current favorite gear that you may want to consider taking with you on your next trip....
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First Impressions: Fujifilm GFX 100 (And Why It Needed IBIS)

Last week, Fujifilm invited us to a top secret briefing on the west side of Manhattan where they unveiled the long-awaited addition to the company’s Medium Format Mirrorless camera lineup: the Fujifilm GFX 100. We had seen renderings of the GFX100 before and even got to fondle a mockup of it in Las Vegas during WPPI, but this is the first time that we got to spend some hands-on time with the genuine article itself, albeit in pre-production but near-final trim. The star of the Medium Format GFX 100 show is the brand new 102 MP sensor that is not only backside illuminated but also stabilized. In fact, it’s the first medium format digital camera to have image stabilization on the sensor....
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Review: Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 (Sony FE)

During last year’s PhotoPlus Expo, Viltrox announced that they have begun designing and manufacturing their own camera lenses. Up until that point, the Chinese company was known principally as a manufacturer of photography accessories as well as lens adapters. As we had already reviewed the ultrawide Viltrox PFU RBMH 20mm f1.8 ASPH lens previously, the focus of this review will instead be on the other lens that Viltrox announced during PPE: the portrait-centric Viltrox PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 for Sony FE Mount. Housed within a brass body, the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 feels sturdily built in hand. While you can adjust the aperture of the Viltrox 85mm f1.8 using your camera’s aperture dial, focusing is a completely manual affair. Aggressively priced at just under US$300, the Viltrox  PFU RBMH 85mm f1.8 for Sony Full Frame Mirrorless is certainly worthy of consideration for any portrait photographers on a budget. Read on to find out how well the freshman lens maker fared....
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Camera Review: Fujifilm X-T30 (Honey, Fuji Shrunk the X-T3!)

While most of the digital imaging industry has been concentrating their efforts on introducing Full Frame Mirrorless cameras for the better part of the past year, photographers that prefer lighter and more compact Crop Sensor bodies got some new hotness of their very own to lust after in the form of the Fujifilm X-T3 and the Sony A6400. Both flagship APS-C cameras have proven to be massively popular for consumers to professionals alike, but what if you wanted the same level of performance but in an even svelter and more condensed package? As luck would have it, the engineers over at Fujifilm managed to answer that question with the X-T30, the company’s latest compact Crop Sensor Mirrorless camera. Fujifilm managed to incorporate almost all of the best of breed innovations found within the X-T3 into the XT30 while bringing both the size and the cost down. After spending a few short hours with the pre-production sample during the top-secret press briefing when the X-T30 first launched, Fujifilm was kind enough to provide a final production model of the camera to us so that we can evaluate in comprehensively in typical Phoblographer fashion....
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Review: Gravity Backdrops Custom Hand-Painted Backdrops

Any photographer that’s spent time in a studio have undoubtedly photographed their subject in front of seamless paper and possibly even a cyclorama. When we look at some of the most iconic portraits throughout history, however, like those captured by contemporary greats like Annie Leibovitz and Mark Seliger or late legends like Irving Penn, you will often find that the subject(s) are placed in front of hand-painted canvas backdrops, lending a timeless, painterly look to the images. In fact, the backdrop that Penn used in many of his portraits was prominently displayed at his namesake centennial exhibit held at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art back in 2017. For a long time, these hand-painted backdrops were quite prohibitively priced, out of reach for most photographers. So costly were these backdrops, in fact, that there are specialty rental houses that specialize in renting them out to photo shoots and other productions, but even the rental fees could add up to quite a large sum of money. This is where Europe based backdrop studio Gravity Backdrops comes in, effectively disrupting the existing backdrop business model by offering hand-painted backdrops that match the quality of those available from storied backdrop studios but at a fraction of the cost. In fact, some of the backdrops from Gravity actually costs less to own than it would cost to rent similar backdrops from a rental house. We recently had the opportunity to test out some of Gravity Backdrops’ custom offerings, head on after the jump for our review....
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Photographer David James on Capturing the Set of the Star Wars Movies

“…earlier in my career turned down the original Star Wars’ movie…” explains Motion Picture Stills Photographer David James. “George Lucas and I talked about that many years later, he actually admired me for making that decision.” David James–who was tasked to capture the behind the scenes happenings on both Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.  While being a movie stills photographer is a pretty difficult job, it becomes even more of a challenge when it happens to be on the sets of space operas that take place “in a galaxy far, far away,” where every minute detail is shrouded in secrecy until all is revealed on premiere day. Aside from over a half a century in the industry, David helped found the Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers (SMPSP), serving as one of the organization’s past presidents, and was bestowed the Still Photographer Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Camera Operators in 2011. In time for Star Wars Day, we talked to David about his experiences working on the sets of both Star Wars sequels, how he entered the world of still photography, his experiences working on some of the most prominent Hollywood blockbusters, and what fuels his creative impulse....
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We Updated Our Sony A9 Review After Testing Firmware Update 5.0

Taking a page out of Fujifilm’s books, Sony released a major firmware update for their flagship A9 last week that brings the camera’s firmware to version 5.0. This new firmware update leverages the company’s latest developments into Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and object recognition and adds Real-Time Tracking (first seen in the Sony A6400) along with automatic Eye Autofocus to improve upon the already unparalleled performance of the Sony A9. Even before this update was introduced, the Sony A9 was already one of the most capable cameras on the market, but Firmware 5.0 takes everything great about the camera and makes the process of photography even more seamless and second nature. Aim at your subject, release the shutter, and the A9 takes care of the rest. Some may argue that this is “cheating,” but if you’re a professional sports or wildlife photographer, the Sony A9 is simply the most powerful camera you can have in your arsenal at the moment....
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Review: Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S (Nikon Z Mount)

During our testing with the Nikon z series of cameras, perhaps our favorite lens was the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f1.8 S. It can be argued that a camera system is only as good as the lenses available, and this is especially true when launching a brand new camera system–as is the case with the Nikon Z Mount series. One of three lenses that were announced at the launch of Nikon’s brand new Z Mount, the Nikon Z 35mm f1.8 S covers a popular focal length used by many photographers–suitable for street, landscapes, portraits, and a lot of other genres. Nikon was kind enough to send us a copy of the lens along with the brand new Z6 and Z7 cameras, and we put it through an exhaustive numbers of tests to see how well the lens performed....
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Review: Sony a6400 (The Sony a9 with an APS-C Sensor)

Up until recently, Sony’s focus seemed to rest with their Full Frame mirrorless cameras, but the Japanese consumer electronics giant reaffirmed their commitment towards APS-C cameras when they announced the A6400 back in January of this year. Featuring the company’s latest advancements in autofocus technologies, the Sony A6400 is positioned interestingly between the existing A6300 and crop sensor flagship A6500. It’s not quite the halo product some were hoping for, but it is certainly no slouch by any measure. While the A6400 shares the same 24.2 megapixel sensor found in the now 2+ years old A6500, it eschews the in body image stabilization that made the A6500 popular but makes up for it in terms of overall performance (“world’s fastest autofocus” with just 0.02 seconds delay, 11 FPS continuous shooting with AF & AE tracking when using the mechanical shutter, enhanced Real-time Eye AF, as well as the newly introduced Real-time Tracking and Real-time Animal Eye AF) as well as a lower price point of just under US$900 (body only). Much to the delight of video shooters everywhere, the A6400 is capable of recording 4K HDR videos as well as time-lapse in camera. Vloggers and selfie addicts will be happy to learn that the tiltable, flip up touch screen is capable of facing forwards. While we only got to spend a precious few hours with the Sony A6400 back in San Diego during the launch event, we received our review unit recently and go to evaluate it more thoroughly on our own terms. Find out how it fared after the jump....
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