Lomography Diana Instant Square Camera launches on Kickstarter

Lomography is crowdfunding its latest film camera, the Diana Instant Square. According to the company, this is the first Instax-compatible camera with a hot-shoe mount and support for interchangeable lenses. Lomography designed this model to work with any of the lenses compatible with the Diana F+, as well as Fujifilm Instax Square film packs.

The new Diana Instant Square camera features a selfie mirror, detachable viewfinder, film counter, an unlimited multiple exposure mode, a bulb mode for keeping the shutter open, adjustable aperture (F11, F19, F32), and an "instinctive zone-focusing system" that toggles between 1 - 2m / 3.3 - 6.6ft, 2 - 4m / 6.6 - 13ft, and 4m/13ft to infinity. A wide variety of flashes can be used with the hot-shoe mount.

Buyers have the following lens choices:

  • 20mm fisheye
  • 38mm super-wide-angle
  • 55mm wide-angle (+ close-up attachment)
  • 75mm kit lens
  • 110mm telephoto

Lomography is currently funding the Diana Instant Square camera on Kickstarter, where it is offering a single Classic unit for pledges of at least $69 USD, which is 30% off the anticipated retail price. The company is also offering a Special Edition of the instant camera for pledges of at least $77 USD. Shipping for backers is expected to start in December for Classic units and January 2019 for Special units.

Via: Kickstarter

Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro

Time to get close-up with some macro photography this week.

Need some tips? Read these dPS articles:

Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Macro appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Microsoft launches AI-powered Bing Visual Search

Microsoft today announced a new AI-powered Visual Search function for its Bing search engine that will pretty much directly compete with Google Lens. Visual Search will let users search the web and shop online through pictures they have taken or selected from their camera roll.

For example, you can find out more about a landmark or flower by capturing it through the Bing app or uploading it from your device memory. Visual Search will then identify the object in question and provide web links you can explore further.

In the same way, you can shop for fashion items or furniture. If you see an object you like, take or upload a photo of it and the system will reply with shopping options and pricing for similar-looking items.

The Bing team says Visual Search will be continuously improved and expanded but the current version is available today in the Bing app for iOS and Android as well as Microsoft Launcher and the Microsoft Edge browser for Android. It'll also be soon available in Microsoft Edge for iOS and on Bing.com.

Supreme Court rules online retailers such as Amazon and B&H Photo can be required to collect sales tax

One of the biggest appeals of buying cameras, lenses and accessories online may no longer be around. As reported by the NY Times, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has ruled states can now demand retailers to collect sales tax from online sales, regardless of the physical location of the business.

The ruling is the first time since 1992 that the Supreme Court has let states collect sales tax from retailers who don't have a physical presence within their borders.

'In Thursday’s ruling, the court effectively overturned a system that it created. In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state,' says the NY Times in its report. 'The Quill decision helped pave the way for the growth of online retail by letting companies sell nationwide without navigating the complex patchwork of state and local tax codes..

One of the most well known instances of not having to pay sales tax on items in the photography world is B&H Photo. Based on the 1992 Supreme Court ruling, customers who live outside of the state of New York aren't required to pay sales tax on any gear purchased online at B&H. On a large-ticket item, such as Canon's $10,000 400mm F2.8 IS II lens, that saves a customer just over $887 dollars, based on New York's 8.875% sales tax rate.

This new ruling will also affect online retailers such as eBay and Amazon, the latter of which has used sales tax avoidance as a means of negotiations with states where it's interested in building distribution centers.

Although the ruling is final, it's not expected to go through without challenge, so this won't be the last time we hear of this. In the meantime, you might want to grab any gear you've been looking to get online sooner than later.

828 iOS 12 and The Future of Photography

On this clearly non-apple-fanboy-episode ep Chris and Ade take a closer look at what Apple’s iOS 12 photography-related announcements could mean for the future of photography.

Photo by MontyLov

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Links:

Photo tours with Chris Marquardt:
» May 2017: Svalbard — Arctic (sold out)
» Oct 2017: Bhutan — The Happiness Kingdom (only 1 spot open)
» May 2018: New York Tilt-Shift
» Aug 2018: Ireland — Giant's Causeway
» Sep 2018: Norway — Lofoten Fantastic Fjords
» Oct 2018: Morocco
» all photo tours

The post 828 iOS 12 and The Future of Photography appeared first on PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FROM THE TOP FLOOR.

Hands-On with the new Sony RX100 VI Compact Camera

Sony continues to innovate and release new versions of their popular line of mirrorless and compact cameras. Just release is the newest Sony RX100 VI, the sixth version in just six years. But at just under $1200 USD is it worth the price? Let’s see.

There are quite a few new things and upgrades from the Mark V. Let’s see what a few different testers had to say about it in Venice recently where Sony handed out some cameras to put through the paces. Here’s a small list of features:

Image courtesy of Sony.

  • New 24-200mm lens (with the 2.73 crop factor) but with an f/2.8 maximum aperture.
  • 24 frames per second burst mode.
  • Buffer 233 JPEGs standard.
  • 315 phase detection autofocus points.
  • 90-degree tilting LCD screen.
  • New touchscreen capabilities.
  • Easier popup electronic viewfinder.
  • Does 4K video.
  • New Vlogging stick available for easier video creation.

Photo Gear News

Richard Sibley from Photo Gear News gives the Sony RX100 VI some good tests as he walks around Venice. See what he has to say about shooting video, slow-motion, and other things. He talks about the aperture range limitations and the menu system.

Camera Labs

See what Gordon Laing, prolific camera reviewer, had to say about the Sony RX100 VI. His test of the tracking autofocus shows impressive results on moving subjects with the phase detect autofocus of this camera.

So what does he like, and what does he miss from the Mark V? Watch to find out.

Things missing on the RX100M6 he’s noted are:

  • No microphone jack or Bluetooth audio connection
  • The wider aperture of f/1.8 that was available on the Mark V
  • No built-in Neutral Density filter that was on earlier models

For a little humor

Finally, to inject a little humor into things is Kai (former of DigitalRevTV). His point of view and way of approaching things is unique and adds a bit of spice to reviews that can otherwise get a little dull.

The official word from Sony

Lastly, here is Michael Bubolo from Sony to give us the low-down on some of the official specs and features of this new camera.

Is this camera for you?

I have to admit when I heard about the 24-200 equivalent zoom lens I was a bit jealous as compared to my Fuji X100F with a fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens. But the 1″ sensor (2.73x crop factor) on the Sony is a lot smaller, so I’ll stick with my Fuji!

So who is this camera for? At the price of around $1200, it’s not for everyone. Perhaps it’s good as a backup to their DSLR for pros, or for bloggers (and vloggers) who do video and want something portable. The zoom range certainly is attractive and it does a nice job on video for sure. But would you spend this much on a compact camera?

Note: currently the Sony RX100 VI is only available for pre-order from Amazon and other retailers.

Let’s discuss in the comments section below.

The post Hands-On with the new Sony RX100 VI Compact Camera appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Instagram influencer apologizes for using stock and Pinterest images

A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, was called out by Mothership, which highlighted a dozen examples of work he presented as his own. Following the report's publication, Mothership noted that Yow began deleting some images from his Instagram account and adding credits to others.

Yow, who currently has approximately 101,000 followers on Instagram, published an apology in recent hours alongside a plain black image. The statement states, in part:

The outrage regarding how I have conducted myself is justified and I accept full responsibility for my actions and all consequences that arise from those actions.

I was wrong to have claimed that stock images and other people’s work were my own. I was also wrong to have used false captions that misled my followers and those who viewed my images. Having marketed myself as a photographer, I fell far short of what was expected of me and disappointed those who believed—or wanted to believe—in me.

For all of that, I apologise.

As noted by BBC, Yow was listed on Sony's Singapore website as a Creative Ally; the company advised BBC that it is "looking into" the matter. Website MustShareNews reports that it spoke with Yow before his apology was published on Instagram. Yow allegedly told the website that he paid for stock images from providers like Shutterstock; others were acquired from Pinterest or other photographers.

Yow reportedly said that he would tag Pinterest or the photographers as image sources in his posts, though that claim has been called into question. In other instances, Yow said no credits were listed because they weren't required by the seller, according to MustShareNews. Brands were supposedly aware of Yow's use of stock images.

Regardless, Yow presented himself as a photographer on Instagram; he also worked with clients to host photography workshops where he taught others. It appears Yow has removed a few dozen images from his Instagram account, but critics point out that some images, such as this one with an obvious Photoshop blunder (acquired from Pinterest), still lack proper credit.

Via: BBC

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

To edit food photography it requires a bit of a different approach than you might take with other types of photography, like portrait or landscape. The objective is to keep the food looking as fresh and appetizing as possible, which can take a subtle but considered hand.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Before and after a subtle edit of a food photo.

Although there is always room for style and artistry, the more real your subjects look, the better. Lightroom is the program of choice for most food photographers. It’s intuitive and relatively easy to use and offers most of the tools required to make great food photos.

For this article, I will walk you through how I make global adjustments to a food image in Lightroom’s Develop module. Workflow is something that is individual to each photographer. This is how I approach editing my food photography, however, you may opt to do things differently. Hopefully, you will find some takeaways that will help you edit your own images.

I’ll be editing this image of an apple pie. This is the shot straight out of the camera. Like all RAW images, it lacks contrast and needs a bit of pizzaz.

 

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Final image.

The Histogram

It’s important to have a basic understanding of the histogram in order to make adjustments to the exposure and tones in your image. The histogram is one of the key tools available for analyzing your image. It provides a graph of the density values of a given image. The histogram shows the relative quantity of pixels at each density value.

The far left point of the histogram is pure black and the densest, and the far right point is pure white with no density. A big peak in any of these regions means that the image has a lot of pixels at that particular density. An open gap in the histogram means that there are no pixels at that density.
How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom - histogram

The distribution of these tones will tell you about the overall exposure of the image. Most images look best if they contain both dark and light values. Generally, without some dark and light values, the image may lack contrast and look flat.

If you have a strong peak at the black or white end of the histogram, your image could be under or overexposed. However, it really depends on the individual image and the desired aesthetic. For example, blown out whites has become a “thing” in recent years. A dark and moody shot will have a lot of pixel density at the dark end of the spectrum.

Cropping

Before you can start making global adjustments to your image, it makes sense to crop and straighten it first. One tip is to shoot a bit wider than what you want for your end result so you can tweak your composition in post-production. You also may want to crop it to a certain aspect ratio – say 4×5 or square for Instagram.

First,  make sure that your horizon line is straight.

My horizon line in the apple pie image was already pretty straight. I used the crop tool to check it and also brought the crop in slightly on the left-hand side to cut off a little bit more of the pie. To access the Crop Tool in Lightroom, click on the grid symbol under the Histogram in the top panel (or just hit R, the keyboard shortcut). This will allow you to crop your image by bringing in the corners with your cursor.

While this tool is activated you can click “O” for the shortcut to bring up several compositional overlays like the Phi Grid or Golden Spiral to help you get the most out of your composition.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom - crop your image first

Lens Corrections

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom - lens corrections panel in LR

The Lens Corrections options fix optical distortion caused by the position of your subject in the frame, or where your camera is positioned relative to your scene. Lightroom supports a variety of lenses to automatically calibrate with this function.

I always check off Enable Profile Corrections before I start making adjustments to my image. Checking this box automatically brings up the camera profile for the lens used to create the image, in this case, the Canon EF 24-70mm.

White Balance

I recommend setting your White Balance in-camera or shooting with a gray card and adjusting it in post-processing. This removes incorrect color casts and ensures that your whites and colors render accurately.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom - eye dropped for WB in LR

You can correct your White Balance in Lightroom by taking the eyedropper tool (circled in red below) and clicking on an area in the image which appears neutral. This will the adjust the color temperature in the whole image, and you can tweak afterward if it’s not quite as you desire. It’s not as precise as the other options but can work well for food your food images.

Also, in food photography, White Balance can be used creatively, depending on your image. I tend to favor a cooler approach to my food photography. Cool colors give a crisp and fresh feeling to the image, which means I tend to edit more towards the blue or cyan.

Using the white balance eye dropper tool in Lightroom to color correct - How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Using the white balance eyedropper tool in Lightroom to color correct

Keep in mind that the goal is to make the food look as fresh and appetizing as possible, so you don’t want the food to look blue. Food photography looks best when there is a balance of tones. I keep my surfaces and props on the cool or neutral side and work with my food subjects individually to keep it as realistic looking as possible.

When composing my apple pie image, I chose a vivid blue background to complement the golden tones of the pie. Not only does this create a balance of tones, blue and yellow are opposite on the color wheel and are a great combination of colors for food photography.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

After White Balance color corrections.

Exposure and Contrast

The next slider is Exposure, which affects the brightness of the range of tones in your image. To see bright or dark details, pull the Exposure slider to the left, or the Blacks slider to the right. If the bright areas look muddy, or the shadows still need more light, move the sliders to points where the image looks good overall.

I often make this adjustment initially and then may scale it back once I have made some other adjustments.

Contrast can be boosted in the Basic Panel or in the Tone Curve panel, which I will get to in a moment. It’s important to add some contrast, as RAW digital files are flat by nature.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

After slight Exposure and Contrast adjustments.

Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks Sliders

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom - basic panel sliders

This panel is where you may end up doing a lot of tweaking before you settle on a look that you’re satisfied with. It will give you a more precise balancing of tones than simply relying on the Exposure slider.

In my shot of the apple pie, the highlights were too bright, and the shadows too light for the look I was aiming for, which was a darker mood. My style tends to be dark and moody with bright food.  I brought the highlights down and boosted the whites, while also bringing down the shadows and blacks to create the ideal balance for the aesthetic I was going for.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

After Highlights and Shadows were tweaked.

Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation

Clarity is a most important slider in Lightroom when editing food photography. Clarity gives your image contrast in the mid-tones (edge details more specifically) and adds detail. You probably wouldn’t edit a portrait with +50 clarity, but you can easily do so with food photos. Keep in mind that overdoing the clarity can make food look dry and unappetizing. For this edit, I put my clarity at +42.

Vibrance is also an important slider in food photography post-processing. It’s a better tool for your edits than saturation because it’s is more subtle. It tends to adjust the less saturated colors without intensifying the ones that are already saturated.

The difference between Vibrance and Saturation is that it affects the intensity of the colors. Red becomes redder, green becomes greener, and so on. Vibrance will first boost the saturation of the muted colors and then the other colors. It adjusts the less saturated tones without over-saturating the ones that are already saturated. Whether you use Saturation depends on the image and the look you are going for, but in general, a conservative approach is what works best when editing food photography.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation adjusted.

It’s easy to quickly overdo the Saturation and make your image look ugly. If I use the slider at all, I might only nudge it up a tad to about +5 or +6. You’ll notice that I actually brought down the Saturation slightly in this image, so the blue looks a little less intense.

Tone Curve

The Tone Curve is often challenging to new users, but it’s one of the most powerful tools that Lightroom has to offer. Getting in-depth with it is beyond the scope of this article, but let’s look at the basics.

The Tone Curve is a graph that maps out where the tones in your images lie. The bottom axis of the Tone Curve starts with Shadows at the far left side and ends with Highlights on the far right end. The mid-tones fall in the middle, in a range from darker to lighter. The tones get darker as you move lower, and brighter as you move up the axis.

Assess the mid-tones in your image. Are they bright already? If not, click on the middle of the tone curve and bring the point up. If they are already bright or too bright, bring the curve down slightly. Move on to the rest of your image. Typically you will find that your curve looks somewhat like a soft S (see screenshot below).

You can control the lightness and darkness of your tones by adjusting the Point Curve itself or by Region Curve. The Region has sliders for each part of the tonal range. As you drag each slider, the curve and the image both change.

To make adjustments with the Point Curve, click on the area you want to affect to create an anchor point at which to control the tone. Dragging the point up lightens that tone; dragging it down darkens the tone.

After Curves.

You will also notice that there is an RGB option in the lower-right portion of the point curve. This helps you to individually edit the Red, Green, and Blue channels. It performs the same types of adjustments to brightness and darkness, but on each separate color. This can be utilized if you want to edit a color individually, or give your image a certain type of color overall.

To choose tones directly from the image, there is a handy tool called the Targeted Adjustment Tool. This is located in the top left of the Tone Curve.

Click on it and move the cursor over the image. The tool shows you the tones under the crosshairs. If you click and drag it up and down the image, you will affect the tones like those under the crosshairs. For example, if you drag vertically on an area with light pixels, all of your image’s highlights will be adjusted.

If you’re getting started with learning the Tone Curve, play around with the Region sliders and take note of how the various sliders affect the curve. Whichever approach you choose, be sure to watch the histogram as you make changes, to ensure that you are not losing important detail.

HSL Adjustments

HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. This is where you balance the colors in Lightroom. However, color adjustments are usually more subjective than tonal adjustments, as color gives a photograph a sense of mood.

There are two ways to make color adjustments in this panel; you can adjust them all at once under HSL/All, or each color individually under the Color tab at the top of the panel.

The Hue tab or section is where you choose how warm or cool you want each color in your image to be. For example, I find that greens almost always look off, so I slide the greens slightly more towards the left or right to get them looking more realistic. To add more warmth, that is, more yellow to your greens, slide it to the right. For a cooler hue, sliding it to the right will add more blue.

Whereas the Saturation slider in the basic panel adjusts the color of the whole image, the saturation sliders here adjust each color individually.

If you adjust a color to be more saturated, then it will affect the saturation of that particular color throughout the whole photo. Whether you’re working in the basic panel or the HSL panel, saturation requires a light hand.

In the image of the apple pie, I thought that the blue looked a bit more on the magenta side, so I slid it towards the left. This hue gave me a blue that worked better with the orange tones in my picture.

Lastly, Luminance affects the brightness of the color. I find these sliders more valuable than the saturation sliders and work with these first.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

After HSL adjustments have been applied.

Working in Lightroom is all about balance, and the same goes when working with the Hue, Saturation, and Luminance adjustments.

Noise

Noise is the grain that can appear throughout an image. It’s not often a problem when you are shooting with artificial lights, but when working with natural light, grain can appear in your images if you are shooting at a higher ISO or you didn’t get enough light onto your sensor.

Working with the Noise slider in Lightroom will minimize the grain and give your image a smoother look. But, be careful not to push the slider too high, as it can result in a plastic look. For the apple pie, I set the Noise at +20, as it was shot in studio with a strobe.

Post-Crop Vignetting and Dehaze

If you are editing a darker, moodier image, Post-crop Vignette is a must. By darkening the outer corners of the frame, you draw the viewer’s eye towards the center of the image and your subject.

To darken, move your slider to the left. The midpoint slider controls how far in the dark edges get to the center of your photo. Feather controls how soft or hard your vignette will look. A softer vignette looks more appealing than a hard, “spotlight” effect.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Vignette applied.

Sharpening

Sharpening should be the last editing step. It adds contrast between pixels and edges, thereby adding definition and creating a more refined look.

NOTE: It’s not meant to make a blurry image look sharp!

Also, sharpening should not be applied to the whole image. In food photography, there is not much of a point in sharpening the props and the background, etc. The focus is on the food, therefore, this is what we sharpen.

To do this in Lightroom, mask out the image to select the areas of the image you want to sharpen rather than sharpening the whole image. You do this by holding down the Alt/Option key (it will show you where the sharpening is being applied, the white areas) while clicking on Masking in the Sharpening panel. Slide it to the right. The farther right you go, the less of the image it will sharpen. For my image, I left it at +76.

Also read: How to Make Your Photos Shine Using Clarity, Sharpening, and Dehaze in Lightroom

In Conclusion

So here is the final image! Not drastically different than what I began with, but overall a more balanced and refined looking photo and consistent with my style of food photography.

How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom

Before and after editing. Note how subtle the differences are here.

When it comes to post-processing your food photography, the best advice I can give is that whatever your style, strive for a natural look for your subject. Ask yourself this question, “Looking at this image, do I want to eat that food?”

The answer should unequivocally be yes! If so, you’ve done a good job.

The post How to Edit Food Photography Images Using Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Instagram reaches 1 billion active users

With its stand-alone IGTV video app Instagram had a big product announcement this week, but at the launch event in San Francisco the company had another milestone to talk about: after surpassing 800 million active users last September, Instagram has now reached the 1 billion mark.

After Messenger (1.3 billion), Whatsapp (1.5 billion) and Facebook itself (2.2 billion), this makes the mobile image sharing platform the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach this lofty number. When Instagram was taken over by Facebook in 2012, it had approximately 40 million users. The app's massive growth makes the 1 billion dollar price tag back then look like a very sound investment now.

It also shows that the recent privacy controversies around Facebook after the misuse of data belonging to 50 million of its users don't appear to have a lasting impact on the company's apps' and services' user numbers.

Oppo Find X smartphone has a slide-up camera for a true full-screen display

Chinese company Oppo has unveiled its new Find X, an Android smartphone with a full screen 19.5:9 "Panoramic Arc" display, rear dual cameras, and a 3D face-scanning front camera. Unlike certain competing smartphones, such as the iPhone X, Oppo elected to use a slide-up mechanism to house the device's cameras, rather than a display notch, resulting in a 93.8% screen-to-body ratio.

Oppo's slide-up mechanism is triggered by swiping up on the handset's lock screen, at which point the 3D face-scanning camera will slide into view to authenticate the user. The Find X does not feature a fingerprint sensor. According to The Verge, initial tests with a pre-production version of the Find X found the sliding mechanism moves quickly enough for comfortable daily use.

Oppo claims the Find X's front-facing 3D camera is "AI-enhanced" to "naturally personalize" a selfie, and that its software offers 3D lighting to produce "artistic portraits." Joining the front 3D camera are dual rear 16MP and 20MP cameras with optical image stabilization. Oppo says its camera software features AI Scene Recognition, a function that works like a "photography technique consultant" with the ability to analyze and identify 800 scene types.

Cameras aside, the Oppo Find X features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The handset ships with Android 8.1 Oreo and the maker's own Color OS veneer. The handset likewise features a 3730mAh battery with fast-charging support.

Oppo will launch Find X globally in August, according to CNET, which reports that the 256GB version will cost €999.

Via: The Verge

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