Sigma announces pricing and availability of its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens

More than two months after first showing it off at Photokina 2018, Sigma has announced its 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens will be available by the end of December 2018.

The lens, which rounds out the signature F2.8 trio alongside Sigma's 14-24mm F2.8 and 24-70mm F2.8, will be available in Canon EF, Nikon F and Sigma SA mounts. It's constructed of 22 elements including one Special Low Dispersion (SLD) element and nine F Low Dispersion (FLD) elements alongside an 11-blade aperture diaphragm and 1.2m (1.31yds) minimum focusing distance.

Following suit with most of Sigma's other lenses in its Global Vision lineup, the 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens comes in at a discount compared to its Canon and Nikon counterparts. Sigma has set the retail price at $1,499 USD, a full $600 cheaper than Canon's 70-200mm F2.8L IS III USM lens and exactly a thousand dollars cheaper than Nikon's 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens.

The 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport lens is available for pre-order on B&H (Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA).

DxO PhotoLab 2.1 update brings file indexing feature to macOS, better search for Windows

DxO launched its PhotoLab 2 in late October, and now it is back with an update to version 2.1. The updated photo editing software brings the file indexing feature to macOS that was previously only available to Windows users. As well, the Windows version of PhotoLab 2.1 now includes a more detailed search history, including one-click access to past image searches when in a new session.

DxO PhotoLab 2.1 features an optimized database architecture that improves the editor's image management system, the end result being "significantly faster searches," according to the company.

In addition to the new features and improvements, PhotoLab 2.1 adds support for the DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone, Fujifilm X-A5, and Nikon Z7, as well as the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S and the NIKKOR F FX lens. DxO plans to add support for the NIKKOR Z 35mm F1.8 S and NIKKOR Z 50mm F1.8 S early next year.

The company is working on adding support for the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone, Nikon Z6, Canon EOS R, Canon EOS M50, Fujifilm GFX 50s, and Fujifilm GFX 50r cameras, as well.

DxO PhotoLab 2 Essential and Elite editions are currently discounted to $99.99 (£79.99) and $149.99 (£119.99), respectively, until December 25. Existing PhotoLab 2 software owners can download the version 2.1 update for free.

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes

The post Why You Should Have Photography Heroes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes Kayan Girls

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Daily bombardment by images can leave us desensitized to truly inspiring art and cause creative catharsis. Pictures crowd our lives more than ever before. They are on the internet, social media, tv, billboards, pavements and walls. Images are on pretty much every product we purchase. Filling the whole sides of buildings or as miniature graphic icons on our phones.

Anyone interested in growing their photography skills may find this saturation somewhat nauseating.

Narrow your sphere of influence. Purposefully. Feast your eyes on the best and your creative muse will be full and satisfied. Indulging in visual junk food will only make you bloated and unhealthy. Uninspired.

Those Who Have Gone Before Us

Masters of the camera are plentiful. True photography heroes have produced impressive bodies of work in every genre imaginable.

Learn from the best. Find those who have distinguished themselves and whose work stands out and moves you. These days it’s very easy to research and locate portfolios of photographs which inspire you.

How to Find Your Photography Heroes

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes Karen Men

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Make a list of the styles of photography you are most interested in. Maybe there’s just one. Google your results and include the word ‘photographer’. You might search ‘street photographer’, ‘landscape photographer’ etc. The results will provide you with a starting point you can work with and refine. Also, try searching photography specific sites like 500px. Pinterest is another good option. Searching hashtags on Instagram also produce fruitful results. But on these uncurated websites be careful to find the best, most renowned photographers.

Don’t just read camera manuals and ‘How To’ books. Read blogs and books by photographers whose work you admire. Reading what they write can provide valuable insight into how a photographer thinks. How did they achieve a certain look and feel to a particular photograph? What was the process they worked through in the development of their distinctive style? Which equipment did they use?

There are lots of amazing online documentaries you can watch about famous photographers. Sitting down for an hour or so to see and hear how photographers work is a terrific way to learn.

Go to exhibitions. Viewing curated bodies of work, printed and framed beautifully is a far different experience than looking at photos on a computer monitor or on your phone.

Talk to your photographer friends and find out who they draw inspiration from.

Follow any of these suggestions and your inspiration will increase.

New to Photography? Seek a Wider Sphere of Influence

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes Lahu Smoker

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

If you’re new to photography and not sure where to start, take a broader approach. Look at books on photography where more than one artist and style is discussed. Draw from the ones who move you the most.

I think the very first photography book I owned was called The Camera. It’s part of the classic Time/Life series ‘Life Library of Photography’. The last chapter of the book profiles ten photographers and introduced me to the work of Ansel Adams, W. Eugene Smith, Diane Arbus, amongst others.

Two photographers who caught my attention in this book are Irving Penn and Henri Cartier-Bresson. I have continued to study their styles and methods over the years. Looking back I think it is the connection with the people they were photographing that touched me the most.

Natural Light Portraiture

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes Karen Woman Smoking

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Some years later I picked up Penn’s book ‘Worlds in a Small Room’. His use of natural light in his portraits had always captivated me. In this book, he writes about developing his outdoor studio and using it in countries like Papua New Guinea and Morocco. He motivated me to emulate this innovation. I designed and built my own version of a natural light studio and use it in the mountain areas of northern Thailand.

From time to time, as the opportunity arises, I enjoy photographing the various ethnic minority peoples who live in this part of the world, (where I also live.) During the past ten years or so, I have had many enjoyable experiences photographing these people in their villages. The studio allows me to photograph them in their space, within their comfort zone. Using the studio, I have more control over lighting and background than I would otherwise have.

Photomontages

Why You Should Have Photography Heroes Saamlor Photo Montage

© Kevin Landwer-Johan

Shortly after purchasing my first camera I was introduced to the photo joiners David Hockney was dabbling with at the time. I saw this video. The idea of making images beyond the conventional photographic boundaries of time and space constraints appealed to me, so I experimented.

Back then we had no internet and information, and examples of Hockney’s photographic montages were hard to come by. I started messing around and chewing through lots and lots of film.

Once I went digital a whole new world opened up. I began to produce video and photos to incorporate into my montages. I am still experimenting more than thirty years after being introduced to this cubist form of image making. The concept still captivates me and draws me to explore wider and deeper.

Be Purposeful in Your Hero Worship

Seek to emulate. Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” Make the most of what you see in other photographers work. Don’t just admire it, mimic it. Build the techniques and methods you see your heroes using into your photography. Then incorporate your ideas, or things you have seen in various other photographer pictures.

The daily bombardment of images into your eye space hopefully presses you to produce better, more exciting and creative photographs. It is too difficult to do on your own. Find your heroes and pay them homage by developing a style of your own, inspired by the images they’ve produced.

The post Why You Should Have Photography Heroes appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Kevin Landwer-Johan.

Kipon announces five ‘Elegant’ F2.4 prime lenses for Canon RF and Nikon Z mounts

Lens and lens adapter manufacturer Kipon has announced a new series of lenses for the latest Canon and Nikon full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The Elegant series, as it's called, consists of five prime lenses in the following focal lengths and apertures: 24mm F2.4, 35mm F2.4, 50mm F2.4, 75mm F2.4 and 90mm F2.4. Each lens comes in both Nikon Z and Canon RF mount options and is entirely manual. The lenses features a focus ring, a physical aperture dial, and focus guide markings. The exact optical construction of each lens remains unknown, as the press release is vague and short on details.

The lenses will be available by the end of December 2018 with the following pricing:

• 24mm F2.4 — $499 USD
• 35mm F2.4 — $468 USD
• 50mm F2.4 — $325 USD
• 75mm F2.4 — $355 USD
• 90mm F2.4 — $386 USD

Although not currently available for purchase, the lenses will be listed on Kipon's Adorama and eBay shop when they become hit shelves later this month.

AirMap announces real-time geofencing alerts on Android, iOS for DJI drones

Airspace management company AirMap announced the release of real-time geofencing alerts in its AirMap for Drones mobile app that is available for iOS and Android devices.

The new feature alerts pilots visually and/or verbally when their drone is approaching airspace that is unsafe or areas where drone flying is not permitted. AirMap uses data from organizations such as civil aviation authorities, air navigation service providers and local authorities to build its databases and airspace maps.

AirMap says real-time geofencing will soon get the ability to prevent drones from entering unsafe operating area or leaving its flight path, instead of just sending out alerts. Pilots will have to opt in to activate this function.

In addition to implementing real-time geofencing alerts in its own app, AirMap is also making the feature available to other developers and OEMs as a mobile SDK for iOS and Android, allowing them to 'to build services enhancing flight safety, compliance and overall experience for their users.'

Real-time geofencing alerts are currently only available for users of DJI drones when operating in the AirMap for Drones fly mode. More information can be found on the AirMap website.

GoPro moving production of U.S.-bound action cameras out of China, cites concerns over tariffs

GoPro announced today it will be moving camera production out of China for cameras destined for the U.S. market.

In a press release shared this morning, GoPro stated that while its cameras bound for the international market will continue to be made in China, gear destined for the United States will be moved elsewhere by summer 2019, citing concern over the recent tariffs put in place as a part of the trade war that's been brewing between the U.S. and China.

'Today's geopolitical business environment requires agility, and we're proactively addressing tariff concerns by moving most of our US-bound camera production out of China,' says Brian McGee, executive vice president and CFO of GoPro in the press release. 'We believe this diversified approach to production can benefit our business regardless of tariff implications.'

McGee assured consumers and investors alike the move will have little impact on GoPro's financials, saying 'It’s important to note that we own our own production equipment while our manufacturing partner provides the facilities, so we expect to make this move at a relatively low cost.'

As of writing this article at 10:10am on Monday, December 10th, 2018, GoPro is priced at $4.82 USD per share, down 2.82% on the day on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN | C sample gallery

The Sigma 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary is a welcome addition to the Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount lens lineups, combining a sensible sub-$500 price tag and excellent performance. On Sony's APS-C mirrorless cameras it offers an 85mm equivalent view, a favorite for portraits. Take a look at what it can do.

See our Sigma 56mm F1.4 sample gallery

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media

The post Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

Search Instagram for #foodphotography today and you’ll find almost 30 million posts.

Blogs and social media have turned what was once a weird little niche in photography into a worldwide phenomenon. From Baltimore to Beijing, there is no doubt that people love to take pictures of food.

However, as appetizing as your filet mignon may look to your eye, it may not to the camera. Throw in some bad restaurant lighting and a wide angle smartphone lens into the mix, and the potential for ugly food photography is high.

Here are my top five tips for great smartphone food photography for social media that will make your Instagram and other social channel images stand out.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

Use Natural Lighting Whenever Possible

When it comes to food photography lighting is everything. The knowledge of how to use light is what separates the amateurs from the pros.

Although flat lighting has been a trend in food photography lately, food looks best when the light is natural and directional.

The reason a lot of food images taken in restaurants looks so bad is the fluorescent lighting, which is hard and unflattering. It is also often tinged with a green or yellow color cast.

When shooting food indoors on your smartphone, try to get beside a window.

Natural window light is what every professional photographer tries to mimic with complicated and expensive flash systems.

It is very flattering for food.

Just be sure that the sun is not too bright, as it can also cast harsh shadows that are unflattering to your dish.

When shooting food with a smartphone, notice where the light is coming from. It should be from the side or the back of your plate or set-up.

While front light is beautiful in portraiture, it will make food look flat and also can cast unwanted shadows.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

Choose the Right Angle

Does your plate ever look like it’s sliding off the table whenever you shoot with your smartphone?

This is because the camera has a wide angle lens, so certain angles make your food look distorted.

To achieve the best results, shoot your scene at 90-degrees or straight-on. A 3/4 angle rarely works.

An overhead angle gives a graphic pop to an image because it flattens depth. You can also get a lot more into the frame than you would if you were shooting at 45-degrees.

It’s a perfect angle for tablescapes, but also more minimalistic compositions.

90-degrees is not a good angle for tall foods, like burgers or stacks of pancakes. You want to see those layers, so shoot these kinds of subjects straight-on.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

Take a Minimalist Approach

Tablescapes are fun and look appealing, but they are oftentimes difficult to do.

It can take a lot of moving the various elements around to make a pleasing composition and by the time you get it right, the food will no longer look appetizing.

A minimalist approach usually works best, especially if you’re a beginner. After all, the focus should be on the food!

Look at it this way: if your food is nicely plated and styled, then you’re already more than halfway there!

All you need is an additional prop or two, like a utensil or a piece of linen tucked under the plate.

How you approach your propping will really depend on the food. In the image of the poke bowls below, the food is already bright, colorful, and full of texture. Adding more than a set of chopsticks would have distracted the viewer’s attention from the dish.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

Heed the Rules of Good Composition

One problem you often see in food pictures on Instagram is that they look messy. Sometimes the food looks messy but also the environment in which the food is captured in.

The background is cluttered, or there are too many props that are distracting and don’t add anything to the shot.

Some of this can be solved with tighter shots and by taking some unnecessary elements away.

But you should also be aware of some of the basic principles of composition.

Try to have some negative space in the image. That is a clean area where the eye can rest for a brief moment as it moves through the image.

Resist the urge to fill every part of your image.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

If every area of your surface is covered with ingredients or a prop, it confuses the viewer and gives a claustrophobic feeling. Negative space provides a bit of breathing room and helps us focus on the main subject.

You should also be familiar with the rule-of-thirds. This is a compositional guideline that divides an image into nine equal parts, using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, like a tic-tac-toe board.

Rule of Thirds

The important elements in your scene should fall along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.

Smartphones already have a grid like this as an overlay when you turn on your camera. Use it to help you place your focal point. That is the area where you want to create emphasis and draw the viewer’s eye.

A focal point can be created with color, an area of contrast, or isolation. A garnish can serve as a focal point.

Tell a Story

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

I have stated that a minimalist approach is often best, however, be mindful that adding a narrative quality to your images can also be very powerful.

Everyone loves a good story. Give your viewer an idea of a wider story taking place beyond the confines of the frame.

For example, you can do this by partially cropping out some of the elements in an overhead table shot, or show someone’s hand serving food or holding a cup of steaming coffee.

This human touch has become wildly popular in food photography, and this lifestyle element has spilled over from Instagram into the world of commercial food photography because it creates a sense of atmosphere and relatability.

Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media-Darina Kopcok-DPS

In Conclusion

Hopefully, this article has given you some tips to improve your smartphone food photography for social media.

Whichever approach you choose, be conscious of consistency and developing your style.

If you look at the most successful accounts on Instagram and other social media, you will find that they have a specific look in terms of color treatment or palette.

Take a good look at your images for the consistencies in your style and work on developing them. This may mean you take a lot of bright and airy images, or maybe you do mostly close-ups of your food.

The more you hone your style, the tighter your feed will look and draw an audience that loves what you do.

I’d love to see some of your smartphone food photography, so please share in the comments below.

 

 

The post Smartphone Food Photography For Social Media appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Darina Kopcok.

Video: What is DX encoding and how did it become an industry standard in the analog age?

Have you ever wondered what those silver squares on the side of film cassettes are? They're called Camera Auto Sensing (CAS) codes and they're part of DX encoding, an industry standard first announced by Kodak in March 1983.

While DX encoding might be common knowledge for some DPReview readers, others — particularly the younger crowd — might not know what DX encoding is, how it works and what it took to become an industry standard.

These exact questions and more are answered and explained by Azriel Knight of the YouTube channel This Old Camera. In the six minute video, the first in a new series he's calling This Old Camera X-tra, he explains how Kodak introduced DX encoding, the purpose of the individual rectangles and how it became an ANSI and I3A standard that nearly all of the photography industry adopted, even though certain companies were a little hesitant to hop on board.

You can find more of Azriel's videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel or following him on Twitter and Instagram.

5 Tips to Guarantee Great Road Trip Photos

The post 5 Tips to Guarantee Great Road Trip Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

1 - 5 Tips to Guarantee Great Road Trip Photos

Few things say “Midwest United States” like hay bales and rolling hills. You won’t find scenes like this on most interstates and major highways though.

For some people, the idea of taking a road trip can seem like a dull proposition. One fraught with mundane scenery and near-endless hours of staring out of the window watching the world outside whiz by at 70 miles an hour. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can turn any long car ride into a precious opportunity for amazing pictures.

The countryside you are traveling through may seem uninspiring. You may have already made the drive dozens or even hundreds of times. Still, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up with some fantastic photos, of which to be proud, at the end of your journey.

Take the road less traveled

I live about 400 miles from my parents and siblings, so I end up making the drive back to my old stomping grounds a few times a year. The easiest route to take involves a turnpike, followed by hundreds of miles of interstate. Due to the speed limit being higher, and the drive straighter, I don’t have to slow down every 20 minutes to pass through a small town. However, when it comes to photo opportunities, this type of travel precludes a lot of good chances for picture-taking.

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I was driving down a highway when I saw this dirt road off to the side, so I pulled over and got a picture while also taking a minute to stretch my legs.

Interstates and other thoroughfares are great for getting to your destination quickly, but not so great for photos. Instead of taking the quick and easy path, as Yoda might say, look for alternate routes to your destination. Alternative routes that may not be as fast but are far more photogenic.

Pull up your preferred mapping software, or unfold a physical map, and look for highways or other types of two-lane roads. When you are driving down these types of roads, you pass by scenery that is more interesting than you find on the interstate.

Moreover, you also have the luxury of being able to pull over and stop without causing a traffic jam.

Plan your photos

When taking a road trip, have an idea in mind of the types of pictures you want to take. Keep a sharp eye out for those opportunities when you are on your drive. Hoping to find something interesting along the way to your destination may work out, however, planning ahead to photograph something specific, is likely to achieve much better results.

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On this particular drive I wanted to take pictures of windmills and sure enough, once I had that thought in my mind I started noticing windmills all over the place.

The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon is a weird trick your brain plays on you. When you start taking notice of one particular thing, say a specific type of car or style of clothing, you start seeing it everywhere. This concept comes in handy on road trips. While you may not know what you are going to encounter along the way, you can plant the seeds for some great photos with a little mental preparation in advance.

For instance, on a recent drive back home, I pulled out a map and found some slower, but more interesting, highways to take. I told myself to look for windmills along the way. I couldn’t recall ever seeing windmills before.

However, given that I was going across the midwest United States, I felt sure I would end up going past at least a few. I was stunned when, as the hours ticked by on my drive, I kept passing one after the next and ended up with some excellent pictures as a result.

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Try applying this method next time you’re on a road trip. You might be equally surprised at how well it works. Before you leave, think of a particular subject or type of picture you want to take. Then look at how often you see those opportunities along the way. Things such as dilapidated barns, weathered billboards, old bridges, tall cacti, mountainside vistas, or even dirt roads can all be exciting subjects for road trip photos.

If you plant these seeds in your mind, by the time you reach your destination, they could very well grow into fascinating and beautiful photos.

Time of day is paramount

Sunlight can make or break almost any type of photo. The same holds true when it comes to making images on a road trip. The journey you are taking might be perfect for some sunrise or sunset shots, but those aren’t going happen if you set out at noon! It might seem too simple to mention, but just knowing that your photos are dramatically affected by the sunlight affects your departure time and helps you plan accordingly.

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There’s about a two-minute window for getting sunrise shots like this. Plan your drive accordingly.

If you aren’t sure what type of pictures you want to capture on your road trip, plan to leave at least 30 minutes before sunrise. You may see something compelling. Alternatively, if you know you are going to pass by a particular photo location, make sure you get a good picture of it by adjusting the timing of your trip. That way you maximize the chances of getting good light in that particular spot.

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Allow more time than you need

If I take the interstate to get back to my hometown and plan on stopping only once, I can make the trip in about six and a half hours. However, that’s not how I prefer to make the drive. Taking less-traveled roads and stopping half-a-dozen times for possible photo-ops, I usually get there in seven-and-a-half hours. So, when planning for the drive, I always allow at least eight hours for unexpected photo opportunity stops.

One of the worst situations a road-trip photographer encounter is coming across a stunning sight or landmark only to realize they don’t have enough time to stop and take a picture. Give yourself some wiggle room by adding an extra half-hour into your drive schedule. Make sure that time is not a limiting factor.

Having extra time is also an excellent excuse to get out, stretch your legs, and see the scenery even if you’re not sure of the photographic possibilities.

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On one recent drive to see my folks, I ended up driving past a vast field of beautiful sunflowers by accident. The lighting wasn’t great, but I stopped for some pictures nonetheless. I made a mental note to go back to the same spot on my return drive. Not knowing how long I would need, I made sure to build in plenty of extra time on my drive and achieved the shot you see above. This extra time gave me the ability to pull over a few hours later to capture this shot of an oil pump and wind turbine.

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Don’t worry about your gear

At this point, you might be thinking about how to apply some of these tips on your next drive. However, you may not think you have the right gear for the job. On the contrary, the nice thing about road trip photos is you probably already have the camera equipment you need to take great photos. Something as simple as a mobile phone camera is enough to capture sweeping landscapes or beautiful countrysides.

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I shot this with some expensive camera gear but based on the exposure settings (f/4, 78mm, 1/180 second, ISO 220) a nearly identical image could have easily been taken with a basic DSLR with a kit lens.

Don’t let your camera gear, or lack of it, hold you back from taking good photos the next time you are in a car for hours on end. Fantastic shots are achievable with a mobile phone, a DSLR, or anything in between. If you have a tripod, go ahead and bring it because you never know when it might come in handy. However, don’t stress over whether your camera is good enough.

As you develop your skills, you may find yourself gravitating towards a particular lens, or camera depending on the shots you like to take. Things such as lighting, planning, and taking less-popular roads achieve better results than merely buying a new camera.

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I took this shot on a road trip with a simple point-and-shoot camera, and all it required was some good light and an observant eye.

What about you? Do you have any favorite tips or tricks for getting good pictures while out driving? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

The post 5 Tips to Guarantee Great Road Trip Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

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