DPReview on TWiT: Is the Sony a9 worth $4500?

DPReview has partnered with the TWiT Network (named after its flagship show, This Week in Tech) to produce a regular segment for The New Screen Savers, a popular weekend show hosted by technology guru Leo Laporte.

On this week's episode of The New Screen Savers, DPReview editor Carey Rose joins Leo and Iain Thomson to talk about the Sony a9, who it's for, and whether it's really worth the $4500 price tag. The full episode also takes you on a tour of Jupiter with the Juno spacecraft and a quick review of the latest Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1. Lastly, what if you're going traveling and want a camera for $300? We'll help you out there, too.

You can watch The New Screen Savers live every Saturday at 3pm Pacific Time (23:00 UTC), on demand through our articles, the TWiT website, or YouTube, as well as through most podcasting apps.

Swiss resort town ‘bans’ photography so you won’t feel bad that you’re not there

This is Bergün, a lovely town you are forbidden from photographing. Photo by Adrian Michael, licensed under CC 3.0

In a genius PR move, the local council of Bergün, a village in Switzerland, has banned photography. They claim that it's an effort to protect the feelings of anyone who might happen to see a picture shared on social media showcasing the area's natural charms and experience FOMO, or fear of missing out. They've even put together a video asking NASA to scramble satellite images of the town in compliance with the ban.

According to the Telegraph, anyone caught violating the photography ban will face a fine of 5 Swiss Francs (about $5), though the town's director of tourism says it's unlikely any will actually be imposed.

Video: a grayscale method for matching colors in Photoshop

Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown recently posted this neat demo showing a technique for matching colors in Photoshop without touching a hue or saturation slider. His method uses adjustments in grayscale to individual color channels, comparing a swatch of the color he's attempting to change directly to the color he's trying to match. See how he does it in the video above.

New regulations aim to end harassment of tourists by photographers at Indian monuments

Image © Yann Forget / Wikimedia

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is amending its photography policy that aims to reduce both 'pestering' of tourists at thousands of monuments by licensed photographers. The proposed amendment reads:

'No person shall, within a protected monument, hawk or sell any goods or wares or display any advertisement in any form or show a visitor around or take his photograph for monetary consideration, except under the authority of, or under, and in accordance with the conditions of, a licence granted by an archaeological officer or additional director general, ministry of tourism.'

The number of permits issued per monument will be based on its 'size, growth potential and footfall.' Further regulation will put commercial photographers in designated areas and have ministry-managed tourist rates. ASI is also considering using biometrics to 'regulate [photographers] movement inside the monuments.'

ASI manages over 3600 monuments in India, including the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in Delhi.

Nest Cam IQ indoor security camera with 4K sensor packs smart features

Following on the heels of a big leak comes the official launch of Nest's latest security product, the Nest Cam IQ. As the name suggests, this new indoor security camera packs a bunch of intelligent features, not the least of which is a high-quality zoom function called 'Supersight' that utilizes the Cam IQ's 4K image sensor. Cam IQ joins Nest's Cam Indoor and Cam Outdoor models.

The Nest Cam IQ features an 8MP 4K image sensor alongside 12x digital zoom, HDR, and a pair of 940nm infrared LEDs. Though the camera features a 4K image sensor, the video feed is presented in 1080p. The extra pixels are utilized as part of the aforementioned 'Supersight' feature, which intelligently zooms in on subjects of interest without a loss in image quality.

Joining 'Supersight' is a feature called Person Alerts, which sends the camera's owner a special alert including a zoomed-in photo when a person is detected in the video feed. Other intelligent features include audio alerts for sounds coming from places beyond the camera's video feed, as well as Familiar Face Alerts, which utilizes facial recognition technology to determine whether someone in the video feed is known or unknown.

Cam IQ utilizes 128-bit AES with TLS/SSL encryption to protect stored and streaming video content. Some of these intelligent features, such as Person Alerts, are available for free on Cam IQ whereas they require a Nest Aware subscription for past Nest cameras. The Nest Cam IQ can be preordered now in the US for $299, and will soon be available to preorder in Europe for £299 GBP and €349 EU. Shipping will start in late June.

Via: BusinessWire

Matterport Pro2 3D Camera launches with 4K still image support and GPS

Matterport has taken the wraps off its new 134MP Pro2 3D Camera, an update to its existing Pro 3D camera designed to create 360-degree renderings of real estate interiors. The Matterport Pro2 adds support for 4K-resolution 2D photography on top of its VR walkthrough and 3D functionality. Matterport has also integrated GPS into the camera for automatically adding location tags to content.

According to Matterport, the new Pro2 camera enables users to capture 2D photography and capture 3D spaces using the same device. The Pro2 features 2D image capture, as well as spherical image creation, 360-degree content, and it can automatically generate both 2D and 3D floor plans for rooms or buildings captured using the camera.

The newest model features the same '3D sensing capability' of the older Pro model, the company explains, as well as simplified end-to-end automated content processing, an iPad Capture app, and both social and syndication features for distributing content. As well, Matterport says its recent Google Street View partnership will allow its customers to publish their Pro2 content on Street View easily starting this summer.

Matterport has launched the Pro2 camera for pre-order at $3995, and it plans to start shipping the model on June 15.

Via: PRNewswire

Manual Mode or Exposure Compensation – Which is Best?

As you may know, cameras often get exposure wrong. The question is, what do you do when you realize that the exposure settings suggested by your camera are not right?

You have two options. One is to switch to Manual mode and set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed yourself. The other is to use exposure compensation (and Aperture or Shutter Priority mode).

The best solution depends on the situation in which you find yourself, plus the configuration of your camera’s dials. For example, with a Canon EOS digital SLR it’s easy to apply exposure compensation by moving the Quick control dial on the back of the camera. It’s so simple you don’t need to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

The Quick control dial on the EOS 77D.

On my Fujifilm X-T1, the exposure compensation dial is on top of the camera. It’s harder to get at and nearly impossible to adjust without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. But the aperture ring on the lens makes it easy to go to Manual mode and adjust exposure by changing the aperture. An optional live histogram in the viewfinder helps you see if exposure is accurate before pressing the shutter (an advantage of some mirrorless cameras).

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

The exposure compensation dial on the Fujifilm X-T1 is much harder to reach.

These are good examples of how hardware can push you in one direction or another. My Canon SLRs pushed me towards exposure compensation, and my Fujifilm X-T1 pushes me towards using Manual mode.

Using Manual mode

Let’s look at Manual mode first. In Manual, you set the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed yourself. There are certain situations when using Manual mode (as opposed to Programmed Auto, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority with exposure compensation) is beneficial. Let’s look at a few.

1. Shoot in Manual when the light level is constant

If the ambient light level is steady, you don’t need to change the exposure settings once you have decided which ones to use. Automatic exposure modes are influenced by the reflectivity of the subject and the exposure reading can change even if the light levels don’t.

That makes Manual mode ideal for this kind of situation. Once you’ve set the exposure you don’t need to change it. I like to use Manual mode when making portraits in natural light. Once I’ve set the exposure I’m free to concentrate on directing the model.

Exposure compensation versus manual mode

2. Shoot in Manual when you’re photographing landscapes and using a tripod

In this situation, you have plenty of time to assess exposure. Manual mode is ideal because you can set a low ISO (for image quality), a small aperture (for depth of field) and change the shutter speed to suit the light levels. It’s also easy to make adjustments to allow for any polarizing, neutral density or graduated neutral density filters you may be using.

If you’re shooting landscapes at dusk, while the light is fading, Manual mode also works well. After you take a photo, just check the histogram. As it moves to the left, which it will as the light fades, dial in a slower shutter speed to compensate.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

3. Use Manual Mode when you’re using manual flash

If you’re using a flash set to manual the output from the flash is the same every time. In that situation, it’s best to adjust the camera settings manually so the exposure is consistent from frame to frame.

To create the portrait below, I worked with both the camera and flash set to manual. Setting your flash to manual only works when the flash to subject distance doesn’t change.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

4. Use Manual mode for long exposure photography

If you’re doing long exposure landscape photography and your shutter speed (exposure time) is longer than 30 seconds then you need to use Bulb mode. This is another form of Manual mode. Except that rather than telling the camera what shutter speed you want it to use, you do so by using the camera’s bulb setting and a remote release.

I used Bulb mode to make this landscape photo with a shutter speed (exposure time) of 82 seconds.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

Using Exposure Compensation

The alternative to Manual mode is to set your camera to an automatic exposure mode and use exposure compensation to override the camera’s settings.

The three best automatic exposure modes to use are Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Programmed auto. Other exposure modes, such as Landscape and Portrait, don’t give you enough control. On some cameras (such as Canon EOS) you can’t adjust exposure compensation when using one of these modes.

These are some of the situations where exposure compensation may be better than Manual mode.

1. Use Exposure Compensation for street and travel photography

If you are taking photos of people in the street the required exposures can vary wildly. One moment you may take a photo of something in the sun, the next you may photograph something in the shade. The sun may also be going in and out between the clouds.

In this situation, you want to concentrate on finding interesting things to photograph and creating a good composition. If you have to stop and think about exposure, then you may miss the shot. Automatic exposure modes help greatly.

Exposure compensation vs. manual mode

2. Use Exposure Compensation when you are using on-camera flash in an automatic mode (TTL)

If you have the on-camera flash set to an automatic mode, then the camera needs to be set to evaluative or matrix metering, the camera’s most advanced metering mode, to take full advantage of that. The camera and flash work together to calculate the correct exposure.

Setting your flash to automatic (TTL or E-TTL) works best when the subject to flash distance is constantly changing. Using automatic means your camera can adjust the output of the flash as it needs to.

3. Use Exposure Compensation when shooting sports or wildlife

This is another situation where the light level is likely to change frequently and you need to concentrate on tracking the action and capturing important moments. You don’t want to be thinking about exposure when trying to capture the peak of the action in sports or photographing fast-moving wildlife. Let your camera do the work, and use exposure compensation if you have to.


Everybody works differently, so the points in this article should be taken as suggestions only. The more experienced you become as a photographer the more you will learn to judge whether you should use Manual mode or Exposure Compensation to take control of your exposure.

It may make it easier to think of it in terms of time. If you have more time to think about your camera settings, then use Manual mode. If you have less thinking time and need to be ready to react quickly to capture the action, then use an automatic exposure mode and Exposure Compensation.

Do you prefer to use Manual mode or an automatic exposure mode with exposure compensation? Please let me know in the comments below,

Want to learn how to get perfect exposure on your digital camera? Then check out my new ebook Mastering Exposure and say goodbye to all your exposure problems!

The post Manual Mode or Exposure Compensation – Which is Best? by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Sony is preparing its sensor business for a stronger yen

According to a Nikkei report, Sony is looking to prepare its sensor business to any appreciation in the yen by cutting costs, raising production yields for new offerings and increasing sales of image sensors used in automobiles. The report also says that a stronger yen benefits Sony's overall operations, but that for semiconductors the situation is different, with a 1 yen appreciation against the dollar decreasing annual profit by 4.5 billion yen.

The measures are designed to make the business unit less reliant on the highly volatile demand from the smartphone sector. Sony expects an image sensor output of 100,000 units a month at the end of March 2018, with the volume rising another 10-20% by 2020. The company also projects the semiconductor business unit to be one of the most important this year, with 170 billion yen in profit only trailing the Japanese company's gaming and financial divisions. 

According to analyst firm Techno Systems Research Sony is the global image sensor market leader, holding almost 50% market share in value. However, competition from Samsung and other manufacturers is growing.

For more on the company's plans for semiconductors, take a look at Sony's investor relations information. We've also covered the company's report on the camera division.

First shots from new Nikon 28mm F1.4E ED

Nikon's new 28mm F1.4E ED is the latest in a series of wideangle F1.4 primes, and if it's as good as its sister models, we're expecting it to deliver great results. Among the first people to get hold of the then-unreleased lens was wedding photographer and Nikon Ambassador Marko Marinkovic.

Shooting in Marrakech, Marko captured portraits and landscapes, working almost exclusively wide-open at F1.4, with the lens attached to a D5. He has written a blog post detailing his initial findings (images are reproduced here by kind permission).

According to Marinkovic, he favors 28mm because it offers a wide field of view without being unnatural - allowing him 'to fit things into a frame without overflowing it or distorting the corner elements'. 

Although the new lens is 'significantly larger and heavier' than the slower 28mm F1.8, Marinkovic found that the build quality of the F1.4 version 'is a great compromise between robustness and weight'. 

Marko's verdict on the new lens? 'If you are a professional looking for an upgrade of your old 28 2.8 or 28mm 1.8G – this is the lens to go with'. 

Read Marko Marinkovic's full article here

View unprocessed versions of Marko's images on the Nikon website

Hands on with Halide, a new gesture-based iPhone camera app

What do you get when a former Apple designer and a former Twitter developer combine forces? You get Halide — a brand new gesture-based iPhone camera app designed for those who want more control over the picture-taking process.

Designed by Sebastiaan de With, developed by Ben Sandofsky, and released yesterday, Halide — a name reminiscent of film-based photographic processes — is designed with the aim that anyone from an amateur to a pro can achieve advanced results with minimal effort.

Advanced apps like Camera+, ProCam, and ProShot offer vast shooting flexibility and go beyond the basics provided by Apple's stock Camera app, but come with a higher learning curve. Unless you use such apps consistently, it’s hard to remember the location of various controls for a quick shot. In urgent situations, many shooters resort to the app they know best — the default Camera.

Halide aims to be the ideal, elegant middle ground between 'too simple' and 'airplane cockpit,' peacefully co-existing with the iPhone's default Camera app and perhaps occupying at least some of the same muscle memory space.

Halide lets you compose your shot in portrait or landscape orientation.

Halide starts out shooting in smart auto mode, but a single tap calls up a manual mode where you can adjust ISO, shutter speed and white balance. The same gestures you use with the iPhone’s native camera work for Halide, though with some variations. The zoom gesture, for example, does not work for some handset models, but instead adjusts exposure, which is similar to the original Camera app’s vertical swipe gesture.

Toggle controls let you switch between automatic and manual settings, and the grid lights up when the camera is level. Tap focusing also works.

Moreover, Halide’s sole concentration on shooting still photos gives it wider latitude within that narrow task. Halide doesn’t do panoramas, video or other special effects like HDR, but it does give you an optional, real-time live histogram, Raw capture and a friendly visual interface. It's not an editor, so you can’t use it to open a photo from your Camera Roll.

Halide focuses on three major points of interest: tactile controls, focus peaking and instant review. Smart Auto picks your ISO and shutter speeds while an EV feature lets you flick up or down to adjust exposure. Focus peaking automatically highlights in red the sharpest areas in the scene. You can enable an optional overlay grid that doubles as a level – the center tile glows when your camera is level – to help align your shot.

Automatic and manual focus and focus peaking.

Controls at the bottom of the interface let you tap to switch between auto and manual focus, as a toggle evokes focus peaking. You can also tap to focus. Finally, you can choose to shoot JPEG or Raw and customize which controls appear on screen.

When you’re ready to check out your shots, Halide lets you view your recent captures via 3D touch and quickly swipe left or right to either favorite your picks or discard rejects.

Halide runs on iPhone 5 and above — essentially any iPhone that can run iOS 10, but it works a little differently, depending on which device you own. The iPhone 6s and up supports both the real-time histogram and focus peaking. The test sample shots in this story are from an iPhone 6s. 

The single layer of controls at the top are customizable. View, save or discard shots right away.

Halide is available from the App Store now at a discounted price of $2.99. It is available in English, with Spanish, Dutch, German, and French localizations in progress. On June 6, the price goes up to $4.99. There are no plans for an Android version at this time.

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