Leaked government memo claims DJI is spying on the US for China

Drone maker DJI's security troubles continue to grow, as a newly leaked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo claims the company may be spying on the US on behalf of the Chinese government. Per the memo, DJI drones and mobile apps are possibly being used to gather data on critical US infrastructure, law enforcement, and more.

The ICE memo was issued on August 9, 2017, and is unclassified. In it, the memo claims that DJI is "likely" providing the aforementioned data to the Chinese government, an assertion that is "based on information derived from open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry with first and secondhand access."

The claims aren't a certainty, according to ICE, which says in the memo that Special Agent in Charge Intelligence Program (SIP) Los Angeles has "moderate confidence" that DJI is providing law enforcement and critical infrastructure data to China. However, the memo claims that SIP LA has "high confidence" that DJI is "selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data."

SIP Los Angeles makes some alarming claims about the DJI GO and SkyPixel mobile apps, saying in part that they grab facial recognition data even if the feature is disabled. The collected data, which is said to include sensitive personal info like full names, images and videos, phone numbers, and computer credentials, are automatically uploaded to unspecified "cloud storage systems" in Hong Kong and Taiwan "to which the Chinese government most likely has access."

The memo goes on to state that SIP LA has "high confidence [that] a foreign government with access to this information could easily coordinate physical or cyber attacks against critical sites."

Sources of information (SOI) have informed officials, according to the document, that:

The Chinese government is using DJI UAS as an inexpensive, hard-to-trace method to collect on U.S. critical assets ... directorates most likely receiving the data from DJI's cloud are the offices responsible for defense, critical infrastructure, traffic controlling, and cyber offense...

This isn't the first time DJI has been the source of security concerns. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army issued a memo, as pointed out in this most recently leaked document, that ordered its units to immediately cease use of DJI products over security concerns. Additionally, security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently claimed that DJI threatened him after he submitted a bug bounty report highlighting serious security issues he had discovered with the company's system.

For its part, DJI has released an official statement on the leaked ICE memo, saying:

The bulletin is based on clearly false and misleading claims from an unidentified source. Through the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, DJI provided ICE a detailed rebuttal of the report, explaining why the data behind its conclusions is deeply flawed.

As DJI explained to ICE, the allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions. DJI further urged ICE to consider whether the source of the allegations may have had a competitive or improper motive to interfere with DJI's legitimate business by making false allegations about DJI.

The company states that some of the claims in the ICE memo can be "easily disproven," including with "a simple internet search," while other claims are said to be "unsupported by facts or technical analysis."

That said, the ICE memo claims, "Much of the information collected [by DJI products] includes proprietary and sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction."

DJI is allegedly "focused on targeting" the utility companies that provide drinking water in four big locations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Jersey. The memo claims the drone maker is also focused on railway companies located in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Omaha, the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Fort Riley, Kansas, and it is allegedly also providing the Chinese government with data to help it determine which assets to acquire in the U.S.

The complete ICE memo can be found here.

Leaked government memo claims DJI is spying on the US for China

Drone maker DJI's security troubles continue to grow, as a newly leaked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo claims the company may be spying on the US on behalf of the Chinese government. Per the memo, DJI drones and mobile apps are possibly being used to gather data on critical US infrastructure, law enforcement, and more.

The ICE memo was issued on August 9, 2017, and is unclassified. In it, the memo claims that DJI is "likely" providing the aforementioned data to the Chinese government, an assertion that is "based on information derived from open source reporting and a reliable source within the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry with first and secondhand access."

The claims aren't a certainty, according to ICE, which says in the memo that Special Agent in Charge Intelligence Program (SIP) Los Angeles has "moderate confidence" that DJI is providing law enforcement and critical infrastructure data to China. However, the memo claims that SIP LA has "high confidence" that DJI is "selectively targeting government and privately owned entities within these sectors to expand its ability to collect and exploit sensitive U.S. data."

SIP Los Angeles makes some alarming claims about the DJI GO and SkyPixel mobile apps, saying in part that they grab facial recognition data even if the feature is disabled. The collected data, which is said to include sensitive personal info like full names, images and videos, phone numbers, and computer credentials, are automatically uploaded to unspecified "cloud storage systems" in Hong Kong and Taiwan "to which the Chinese government most likely has access."

The memo goes on to state that SIP LA has "high confidence [that] a foreign government with access to this information could easily coordinate physical or cyber attacks against critical sites."

Sources of information (SOI) have informed officials, according to the document, that:

The Chinese government is using DJI UAS as an inexpensive, hard-to-trace method to collect on U.S. critical assets ... directorates most likely receiving the data from DJI's cloud are the offices responsible for defense, critical infrastructure, traffic controlling, and cyber offense...

This isn't the first time DJI has been the source of security concerns. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army issued a memo, as pointed out in this most recently leaked document, that ordered its units to immediately cease use of DJI products over security concerns. Additionally, security researcher Kevin Finisterre recently claimed that DJI threatened him after he submitted a bug bounty report highlighting serious security issues he had discovered with the company's system.

For its part, DJI has released an official statement on the leaked ICE memo, saying:

The bulletin is based on clearly false and misleading claims from an unidentified source. Through the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, DJI provided ICE a detailed rebuttal of the report, explaining why the data behind its conclusions is deeply flawed.

As DJI explained to ICE, the allegations in the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter that ICE should consider withdrawing it, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions. DJI further urged ICE to consider whether the source of the allegations may have had a competitive or improper motive to interfere with DJI's legitimate business by making false allegations about DJI.

The company states that some of the claims in the ICE memo can be "easily disproven," including with "a simple internet search," while other claims are said to be "unsupported by facts or technical analysis."

That said, the ICE memo claims, "Much of the information collected [by DJI products] includes proprietary and sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction."

DJI is allegedly "focused on targeting" the utility companies that provide drinking water in four big locations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Jersey. The memo claims the drone maker is also focused on railway companies located in Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Omaha, the Milan Army Ammunition Plant in Fort Riley, Kansas, and it is allegedly also providing the Chinese government with data to help it determine which assets to acquire in the U.S.

The complete ICE memo can be found here.

How to use Off-Camera Flash to Create Dramatic Images with Cross Lighting

Learning to use off-camera flash allows you to create and shape light, giving you plenty of new opportunities for dramatic photography.

But for many photographers, starting up with flash can be intimidating. It’s not just a matter of aiming a flash at your subject and hoping for the best. Choosing the wrong angle or positioning for your flash can have a negative effect, casting unflattering or irregular shadows.

A tennis player lit by off-camera flash cross lighting

A tennis player lit by off-camera flash cross lighting

I remember when I was starting out with off-camera flash I would sometimes get images where the light simply didn’t look right. But when it’s used effectively, flash adds to an image – it shouldn’t make the lighting seem unnatural or otherworldly (unless, of course, that’s the effect you’re going for – to each their own!).

But where’s a good place to start? Where should you put your flash in order to get good light? This article will show you one method you can use called cross lighting that you can use to create dramatic images with off-camera flash.

What is cross lighting?

For both beginners and pros alike, cross lighting is a very quick and simple setup that results in a dramatic, well-lit shot.

Like the name implies, this setup features two light sources on opposite sides of the subject. Hitting your subject from both sides adds a sense of depth to the image, while still producing natural-looking light.

An example showing an off-camera flash cross lighting setup for a portrait of a tennis player.

An example showing an off-camera flash cross lighting setup for a portrait of a tennis player.

The key or main light

Typically you want your light that will provide the most illumination, also know as the key light, placed in front of the subject and a bit to one side. For portraits, you will typically want to use a modifier on your light, such as a softbox or umbrella. This isn’t a requirement – but it will help soften the shadows and create more flattering light on the subject.

The purpose of this key flash is to light up the subject’s features and put a sparkle of catch light in their eyes.

A demonstration of the key light only in a cross lighting setup - How to do Cross Lighting to Create Dramatic Off-Camera Flash Images

We convinced this model to act as our stand-in for a few quick portrait shots. Here is an image with only the key light, an off-camera flash positioned to the right of the camera.

Add a second flash as a rim or separation light

The second light is placed behind the subject on the opposite side as the first one. The purpose of this light is to create an “edge” of light around your subject. This is traditionally called a “rim light” or a “separation light” since it helps to separate the subject from the background.

Demonstration of cross lighting on a subject

By adding a second light to the left of the camera and behind our model, we’ve created a rim of light that separates him from the background for a much more pleasing and dynamic image. Notice the highlight on his hat and hand on the left side.

Voila! This quick setup is an easy way to get started and start exploring the creative potential of a shoot. As you begin to snap pictures, you may find something about your setup that you want to change, but the cross lighting gives you a solid foundation from which to build.

An alternate setup of the previous cross lighting example with the off- camera flash locations reversed

We’ve flipped the orientation of the lights for this shot – while keeping the same cross-lighting style. Now our key light is on the left, and the rim light is provided from the right.

Quick to set up

One of the reasons I love using this setup for off-camera flash is that it takes away the guesswork and provides a solid foundation of light that you can then begin to work with and modify.

And also that it takes only moments to set up! When you start lugging around multiple flash units, light stands, and modifiers, it’s nice to have a consistent starting position that provides even lighting.

An example image showing the setup of flash units for cross lighting - How to do Cross Lighting to Create Dramatic Off-Camera Flash Images

An overview of our setup, with the flashes oriented for cross-lighting and our subject right in between.

The final image of a carpenter, photographed using cross lighting - How to do Cross Lighting to Create Dramatic Off-Camera Flash Images

The final shot, where the light has given a sense of depth to make the subject stand out from the clutter behind him.

It’s a good idea to get the correct flash power for your key light dialed in before adding your second flash. Trying to figure out the correct outputs for two lights at the same time and adjusting in your camera on the fly is a recipe for a headache.

Cross lighting with a single flash

One of the reasons this setup is so easy and versatile is because you don’t necessarily need to use two flash units – the sun can step in as either your key or secondary light.

This approach is particularly effective at golden hour. As evening falls and soft, warm light floods across the fields, you have a ready-made separation light. Many natural light photographers are already familiar with this and use this rim light in their shots.

Example of a portrait shot with cross lighting using a single off-camera flash as a key light and the sun as a secondary light

The key light here is an off-camera flash fired into an umbrella just outside the left edge of the image. The sun, coming from the right, acts as the secondary light. The key here is in balancing the flash with the natural light.

The benefit of adding an off-camera flash as a key light is that you can create a much more dramatic image with dark, rich colors. Colors lose their vibrancy as they get brighter. By keeping the exposure low and using your off-camera flash to light up your subject, your background can be full of vivid contrast and color.

Using the sun as your key light

The sun doesn’t always have to play second fiddle to your flash. You can create the same effect by using the sun as your key light – coming in at your subject from a slight angle – and then using your off-camera flash as the rim or separation light.

The biggest drawback here is that you can’t adjust the power of the sun quite as easily as you can on the back of your flash! However, taking the time to learn how your camera settings can make a picture darker or lighter, and how you can use this skills in conjunction with your off-camera flash, will give you allow you to build the shot you want.

Cross lighting with a flash and a reflector

Here’s the last variation of this setup. By setting up your off-camera flash on one side of the subject and angling a reflector just right on the other, you can mimic the effect of two light sources. This approach might take a bit of practice and a steady hand, but it’s a fun way to learn what you can accomplish as you learn how to control light.

An example of a portrait using a reflector and sunlight to create cross light

Here we used a reflector to provide the key light from the left side of the shot, while the sun comes from the back right.

Give it a shot

Learning to maneuver and shape light is a fun challenge. Being able to quickly and reliably get top-notch results with flash is an important aspect of photography – especially if your model or clients are waiting impatiently for you to get your lighting figured out.

By starting with cross lighting and working from there, you have a reliable method for nailing some great shots. Please share your comments, questions and cross lighting images in the comments section below.

The post How to use Off-Camera Flash to Create Dramatic Images with Cross Lighting by Frank Myrland appeared first on Digital Photography School.

The Isolite intelligent modifier system lets you change a photo’s lighting after it’s taken

An intriguing new lighting system called Isolite just launched on Kickstarter. The system of hardware accessories for strobes and speedlights comprises what parent company Phototechnica calls the "first ever intelligent light modifier." What does that actually mean? Basically, with Isolite, photographers are able to modify the lighting in an image after taking it.

Phototechnica stresses that this process involves turning on and off actual lighting in the image, not simply lightening /darkening it or adjusting contrast—this is the real deal, not a post-processing trick.

The Isolite system doesn't require a 3D render or special camera to enable light changes during post-processing. Raw images are converted by the Isolite converter, which enables users to adjust the image's lighting before outputting it as a raw DNG file. That final DNG file can then be edited with compatible software like Capture One and Lightroom.

Phototechnica lists the following capabilities on its Kickstarter campaign:

  • Turn real lights on and off after the capture has been made.
  • Push, Pull, Paint light after the capture has been made.
  • Hard and soft light in one capture.
  • Adjust the exposure and ratio of each light source after the capture has been made.
  • With selective masking of each light source, difficult or impossible lighting control can be done with ease.
  • Light can be animated after capture turning still image captures into full motion video.
  • Using our proprietary tools, online images can be brought to life with light.

Here's a video intro the further explains what the Isolite system is and how it works:

As far as hardware is concerned, the Isolite system features the Duolite and Beauty Dish Kit. The gear is designed to work with popular Speedlight sizes, most legacy Speedlights, the newest Profoto and Tri/Bowens Mount Strobes, plus there are adapters for using it with Elinchrom products.

Phototechnica is offering the Isolite Dualite through Kickstarter for pledges of at least $195 CAD (~$150 USD), a Dualite Speedlight Kit for $250 CAD (~$195 USD), Isolite Studio for $500 CAD (~$390 USD), and the Isolite Deluxe Studio for $1500 CAD (~$1,165 USD). The campaign is also offering early bird versions to backers who make pledges starting at $95 CAD (~$75 USD).

For now the campaign has a long way to go before its funding goal is met, and only 15 days to get there, so we're not holding our breath on this one. But if the campaign is successful, shipments to some backers are estimated to start in May 2018.

To find out more or put down your own pledge, head over to the Kickstarter campaign.

Leica unveils retro version of the APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2.0 ASPH to honor the LHSA

Hot on the heels of yesterday's Noctilux-M 75mm F1.25 ASPH announcement, Leica has debuted yet another lens this week. This time, it's a special edition: the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2 ASPH 'LHSA' released in honor of the 50th anniversary of The International Leica Society (LHSA).

What makes this lens special is, basically, that it meshes the styling of the original Summicon 50mm F2 from 1954 with the optics of the current APO-Summicron 50mm F2 ASPH released in May of 2012. Optically, it's identical to the 2012 lens, but on the outside it features either a black paint or silver chrome finish, a 1950s style lens hood, and red engravings of the distance scale. Other special markings include:

The special serial number is engraved on the aperture ring and is picked out in black on the silver chrome version and is not coloured on the black paint lens. Further engravings are found on the bayonet ring: ‘MADE IN GERMANY’ and the LHSA Logo – both of which are not picked out in colour.

This special edition Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm F2 ASPH 'LHSA' will be limited to just 500 copies—300 in the black finish and 200 in silver—and each of them will come in 'high quality packaging' with a certificate of authenticity.

Both colors will be available starting the 4th of December, and according to our contacts at Leica it will retail for $9,595. That's $1,800 more than the non-special edition lens retails for.

To learn more about this lens, visit the Leica website.

Press Release

Leica APO-Summicron-M 50mm f/2 ASPH. 'LHSA': Special Edition to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of 'The International Leica Society' (LHSA)

Wetzlar, 30 November 2017 – For the past 50 years, ‘The International Leica Society’ (LHSA) has dedicated itself to researching the history of Leica and the use of the company’s products. The beginning of the celebration of the 50th anniversary in 2018 will be marked by the launch of a special edition of the Leica APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. produced especially for the occasion. The appearance of the lens is reminiscent of the Summicron 50 mm f/2 from 1954. The special edition thus unites the outstanding imaging performance of the current lens—which was the first to be able to fully exploit the contrast and resolution offered by modern digital cameras—with the look of the nineteen-fifties.

Depending on the choice of colour of the ‘LHSA’ special edition, the outer brass elements of the lens are finished either in black paint or in silver chrome. This also applies to the separate lens hood in the style of the nineteen-fifties that is also made of brass. While the engravings of the distance scale in feet are picked out in red on both versions, the other engravings vary in colour depending on the version of the lens selected: these are in white on the black paint version and black in the case of the silver chrome option. The special serial number is engraved on the aperture ring and is picked out in black on the silver chrome version and is not coloured on the black paint lens. Further engravings are found on the bayonet ring: ‘MADE IN GERMANY’ and the LHSA Logo—both of which are not picked out in colour.

The cordial collaboration between Leica and the LHSA has a long tradition and has already been the source of a number of special editions in the past. These include, for example, a set comprising a silver chrome Leica M6 and three Summicron-M lenses of different focal lengths produced in 1993 and a Leica MP from 2003 finished in a special hammertone lacquer.

The LHSA special edition of the APO-Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 ASPH. is strictly limited to 500 examples, 300 in black paint finish and 200 in silver chrome. Both versions will be supplied together with a certificate of authenticity in particularly high-quality packaging and will be available from 4 December 2017.

Gear of the Year 2017 – Dan’s choice: Sony a9

It's been fascinating to watch the rise of mirrorless cameras over the course of my 7+ years writing about digital photography. And Sony in particular has been fun to watch as they've lead the mirrorless charge in terms of sensor size and resolution.

I’ll never forget the moment the Sony NEX-7 was unveiled in a pre-launch briefing in 2011 - it was the first time I truly craved a mirrorless body - the publication I worked for at the time even named it 'Camera of the Year'. Up until that point mirrorless still felt like something of a novelty: a nice option for amateurs craving a small, light ILC alternative to a DSLR, but certainly not a replacement for one, especially for those 'serious' about their photography.

It's often been Sony in particular making the mirrorless cameras I'm most eager to get my hands on.

As the mirrorless market continued to take off and cameras like the original Sony a7 were unveiled, my interest in what originally seemed like a niche continued to grow. And while a lot of brands have contributed serious innovation to the mirrorless market, it's been Sony in particular making the mirrorless cameras I'm most eager to get my hands on - an opinion not shared by all my colleagues, mind you.

But time and time again I found my expectations of shooting a Sony mirrorless camera never quite matched the reality of using the product. For instance, when it came to the Sony a7, sure it packed a full-frame sensor in a super compact mirrorless body - something that'd never been done, but the user interface of the camera, to put it simply, felt unfinished. This led to an overly frustrating shooting experience.

The Sony a9 is the brand's first truly refined mirrorless camera, in this writer's opinion.
ISO 1000 | 1/1000 sec | F5.6

To make matters worse, many of Sony's early mirrorless UI stumbling points were uniquely their own: slow startup times, vague error messages, and batteries draining while the camera's shut off were problems other manufacturers had long since addressed (not to mention poor battery life). And while no one has the perfect menus, Sony's have historically been the most cluttered and confusing.

But time and time again I found my expectations of shooting a Sony mirrorless camera never quite matched the reality of using the product.

For years, early Sony mirrorless adopters defended their decision to go all-in citing that, eventually, you do get used to the annoying UI and find workarounds. And indeed I'm sure they did. But a good camera shouldn't force you to work around it: it should work with you. And as the Sony a7 II-series came to market, it seemed clear the brand was intent on fixing a lot of these issues and shaking its image as the camera brand with bad UI.

And then came the Sony a9

But it wasn't until the release of the Alpha 9 this year, that a Sony camera has felt as refined in use as it DSLR counterparts. A year early, the Sony a6500 came pretty close to hitting this mark, but it's the Sony a9 that's finally won me over as a whole-hearted mirrorless believer.

Make no mistake, the a9 is meant to compete against the likes of the flagship Nikon D5 and Canon EOS 1D X Mark II. What it lacks in built-in vertical grip, it makes up for in a faster burst (20 fps on the Sony, 14 fps on the Canon and 12 fps on the Nikon). But it has more appeal to me than as just a sports camera.

The a9 is a sports camera, but that doesn't mean it isn't also well-suited for shooting candids. In fact it's flip-out touchscreen is perfect for discreetly focusing on a subject.
ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F5.6

For me, the mark of a truly good camera is one you find yourself reaching for regardless of the assignment or subject matter. Since the a9 landed in our office, it's been a camera that I've found myself grabbing for both static and moving subjects. Because as well-suited as it might be for sports photography, it's also a great street photography camera with lenses like the FE 28mm F2 attached. I find that using the flip-out touchscreen to select a point of focus is a great way to shoot candids.

Since the a9 landed in our office, its a camera that I've found myself grabbing for both static and moving subjects.

I recently took a trip to Jackson, Wyoming where I expected to shoot a mix of wildlife, landscapes and video, and found myself bringing the a9 because it offered a fast burst rate with good AF, 4K video without any heavy crop factor and excellent dynamic range. But moreover, I packed it because it is a camera I enjoy shooting with and can, with some time spent, customize to complement my shooting style perfectly.

I picked the Sony a9 for a once in a lifetime trip to Jackson, Wyoming because of its small size, dynamic range, 4K video and burst speed.
ISO 50 | 1/640 sec | F8

That's a big step forward for Sony. They've long made cameras that out-spec'ed the competition but for me personally, were not enjoyable to use. But the a9's menus have been overhauled and are less confusing, its also responsive (starts up fast) and rarely throws confusing errors messages. These may sound like little things, but they add up to vastly more pleasant shooting experience compared to Sonys of years past.

I packed it because it is a camera I enjoy shooting with.

Improvements like a new, larger capacity battery that doesn't self-drain, gave me more confidence in grabbing the Sony for what was likely a once in a lifetime shooting excursion. Plus, compared to a D5 or 1D X II, the a9 is a much smaller lighter camera to pack. And its in-body + lens stabilization allows me the flexibility to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds and avoid lugging a tripod around. This was something that mattered to me as I was to do a lot of hiking in Jackson.

These bison may be nursing, and therefore stationary, but they can run at speeds up to 40 MPH. Good thing the Sony a9 can shoot at 20 fps.
ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F5.6

Where Sony can go from here

The Sony a9, and its recently-released cousin, the Sony a7R III are both exceptional cameras. I used to hesitate to pick up a Sony camera; with this recent generation, no longer. That said, there are still some areas these cameras could improve to truly leave their DSLR pals in the dust, specifically: weather-sealing and subject tracking.

'Nikon's 3D Tracking is still superior to Sony's Lock-on AF for subject tracking.'

The Sony a9 is dust and moisture resistant to certain degree, but the lack of robust rubber gaskets on the ports, SD card and battery doors does not lead me to trust its ability to survive shooting in conditions such as a lacrosse game in torrential downpours - I'd be much more comfortable grabbing a Nikon D5 of Canon 1D X II.

The same goes for any assignment/circumstance were nailing focus on the shot is mission critical: Nikon's 3D Tracking is still superior to Sony's Lock-on AF for subject tracking.

There are some other minor grievances I have with the a9, like the inability to enter menus while the buffer clears. Another: the omission of video gamma and color modes found in most other Sony cameras. But these are all things that can easily be added/improved in the next generation. And if there is one thing I've learned covering Sony's camera technology, it's that the brand listens to customers and industry feedback.

This was shot through a seaplane window. If you've ever flown in one, you know they can be very shaky, thankful the camera's stablization helped steady my shot.
ISO 800 | 1/2000 sec | F5.6

It's no secret that Sony is hungry for a piece of the professional sports photography market, eager to get mirrorless cameras on the sidelines of the Olympics and Super Bowl. And with the Sony a9, there's compelling reason to at least acknowledge Sony as a legit player. I think it will take a few more generations of cameras for Sony to blow past the competition, giving pros a concrete reason to consider switching. But if they keep moving in the direction they have been, I see no reason why more and more pros wouldn't give them a chance.

So for winning me over and being the first Sony mirrorless camera I truly love shooting with, the a9 is my pick for 2017 gear of the year.


Hasselblad launches its own online store, offers 5% off for a limited time

Iconic medium format manufacturer Hasselblad has opened its own online store, allowing users all over the world to skip the third-party vendors and local dealer and buy direct from the manufacturer itself. Following in the footsteps of Hasselblad's first brick-andmortar stores in Sweden, China, and Japan, the online 'Hasselblad Store' will be open to resident of the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

Currently, the Hasselblad Store is selling both X1D and H6D cameras, as well as a limited number of lenses. Opening offers include 5% off some X1D kits and the body-only price, while H6D buyers can get a free hard case with their purchase. These discounts will last until December 7th.

The company's hope is that an official online store will broaden the availability of its products:

The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories.

For more information or if you want to purchase a brand new Hassy from the company itself, check out the Hasselblad Store for yourself.

Press Release

Hasselblad Expands Into E-Commerce with Launch of 'Hasselblad Store'

Hasselblad’s New Online Store is Now Open To The USA, China, UK, Germany and France

Hasselblad, the leading manufacturer of digital medium format cameras and lenses, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online ‘Hasselblad Store’. The online store will broaden availability of Hasselblad’s iconic high- performance cameras and lenses to photographers in the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

“The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories” said Bronius Rudnickas, Hasselblad Marketing Manager.

The online store follows closely behind the new Hasselblad website and the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ program that was launched earlier in November.

‘Rent a Hasselblad’ is a global online reservation service for Hasselblad cameras and lenses. Whether renting a Hasselblad system for a speci c photoshoot, booking a camera to try it out before purchasing, or reserving gear to pick up and use at their next travel destination, the rental service provides photographers with more freedom and greater accessibility to Hasselblad systems.

During the opening week of the online store, customers will be eligible to receive a ve percent (5%) discount on the award winning X1D and the XCD 45mm and 90mm lenses. In addition, for every customer purchasing an H6D-50c or H6D-100c camera, an H System Camera Hard Case will be included. This offer will end on December 7th, 2017.
Access to the ‘Hasselblad Store’ at:
https://store.hasselblad.com/

Hasselbald launches its own online store, offers 5% off for a limited time

Iconic medium format manufacturer Hasselblad has opened its own online store, allowing users all over the world to skip the third-party vendors and local dealer and buy direct from the manufacturer itself. Following in the footsteps of Hasselblad's first brick-andmortar stores in Sweden, China, and Japan, the online 'Hasselblad Store' will be open to resident of the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

Currently, the Hasselblad Store is selling both X1D and H6D cameras, as well as a limited number of lenses. Opening offers include 5% off some X1D kits and the body-only price, while H6D buyers can get a free hard case with their purchase. These discounts will last until December 7th.

The company's hope is that an official online store will broaden the availability of its products:

The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories.

For more information or if you want to purchase a brand new Hassy from the company itself, check out the Hasselblad Store for yourself.

Press Release

Hasselblad Expands Into E-Commerce with Launch of 'Hasselblad Store'

Hasselblad’s New Online Store is Now Open To The USA, China, UK, Germany and France

Hasselblad, the leading manufacturer of digital medium format cameras and lenses, is pleased to announce the launch of its new online ‘Hasselblad Store’. The online store will broaden availability of Hasselblad’s iconic high- performance cameras and lenses to photographers in the USA, China, UK, Germany and France.

“The launch of the ‘Hasselblad Store’ is one of our core initiatives derived from our strategy that focuses on not only making our products more accessible to photographers seeking hands on experience with the Hasselblad product line-up, but also to inspire fans with great images and stories” said Bronius Rudnickas, Hasselblad Marketing Manager.

The online store follows closely behind the new Hasselblad website and the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ program that was launched earlier in November.

‘Rent a Hasselblad’ is a global online reservation service for Hasselblad cameras and lenses. Whether renting a Hasselblad system for a speci c photoshoot, booking a camera to try it out before purchasing, or reserving gear to pick up and use at their next travel destination, the rental service provides photographers with more freedom and greater accessibility to Hasselblad systems.

During the opening week of the online store, customers will be eligible to receive a ve percent (5%) discount on the award winning X1D and the XCD 45mm and 90mm lenses. In addition, for every customer purchasing an H6D-50c or H6D-100c camera, an H System Camera Hard Case will be included. This offer will end on December 7th, 2017.
Access to the ‘Hasselblad Store’ at:
https://store.hasselblad.com/

Phase One unveils Capture One 11 with ‘next level layers’ and more

Watch out Adobe. Early this morning, Phase One unveiled the next major update to Capture One. The new version, Capture One 11, promises improvements in every regard: from "new, highly responsive tools," to "workflow enhancements" to a new "finely tuned processing engine."

Here's a quick introduction to what's new in Capture One 11 straight from Phase One itself:

The major improvements can be broken down into three categories: layers, workflow, and performance.

Performance

When Phase One talks about 'optimized' performance, the company is not just talking about how quickly Capture One can open and edit your Raw files. Included in these improvements is 're-engineered' color handling, as well as the addition of a LAB Readout option for "customers who wish to measure image output to critical values."

'Next Level Layers'

With this update, Phase One is now characterizing Capture One 11 as a 'layer centric application.' All of the program's adjustment tools are now compatible with layers, masking tools have been improved with the ability to refine and feather masks after drawing, and you can now control the opacity of individual layers.

Workflow

Since Capture One 11 is trying to be "the professionals’ choice in imaging software," several improvements have also been made on the workflow side.

You can now add annotations and graphics on top of your image as overlays, and export them as separate layers in a PSD file; crops can be added as a 'Path' when exporting to a PSD file, so you don't lose any pixels if you transfer out to Photoshop; and, finally, you can now export watermarks as a separate layer in an exported PSD file as well.

As with all major Adobe competitors—and Capture One is arguably one of the best-known and most widely-used—the message Phase One wants to send loud and clear is, "we care about our customers' needs." In fact, you could say Phase One stopped just short of calling Adobe out by name in its announcement:

In keeping with Phase One’s commitment to its customers’ choice, Capture One 11 is available for purchase by either perpetual license or by subscription – whichever best suits the customers’ needs.

For photographers eager to escape Adobe's subscription-only model, Capture One 11 represents a very tempting choice.

Capture One 11 is available now for both Mac and Windows at $300 for a brand-new perpetual license or $20/month on subscription (or $180 if you pay for a year in advance). If you already own Capture One Pro 9 or 10, you can get a perpetual license for just $120, and if you purchased Capture One Pro 10 on October 31st, 2017 or later, you can actually upgrade to Capture One 11 for free by using your same license key.

To learn more or download a fully-functional 30-day free trial, head over to the Phase One website.

Lightroom Mobile – The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Why use Lightroom Mobile

Many people don’t realize the benefits of using Lightroom Mobile with your Adobe Lightroom Subscription. When you subscribe to Adobe’s Photographer’s plan, not only will you receive Adobe Lightroom Classic, but you also get access to Lightroom Mobile.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Lightroom Mobile is a cloud-based program which originates from your Lightroom Classic desktop. It’s easy to set up, and Adobe’s help desk is there to quickly assist if you have any questions. You not only have the ability to share your images across multiple devices, but you can also shoot and edit quality RAW images right from your phone or tablet.

 Setting up Lightroom Mobile

The first thing you need to do is enable Lightroom Mobile from within your desktop version of Lightroom. This will signal Lightroom to sync the files that you select. Below is a screenshot of Lightroom’s Activity Screen that shows the status of Lightroom mobile. The activity screen is located in the upper left-hand corner of your Lightroom desktop page.
Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Creating Collections

The secret to working with Lightroom Mobile is to create collections within your Lightroom desktop version that you want to sync with Mobile. It will not automatically sync everything in your Lightroom catalog, you have to tell it which images you want to show on your devices and this is done through collections. I wouldn’t recommend syncing all your images to Lightroom Mobile. Leave this for special collections and your portfolio.

Select a group of images you would like to include in a collection and navigate to the collection module on the left panel of the Lightroom desktop app. Click the + sign in the collections pane to create a new collection.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Create a new collection.

Once you have created the collections and added images to them, you need to be sure that these collections will sync. When you first create them, there is a box to tick to enable Lightroom Mobile and syncing between devices – make sure that is checked off.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Enable Lightroom Mobile

If you don’t enable Lightroom Mobile upon import or when you create a new collection, you can always enable it after the fact by making sure the firebolt is enabled located to the left of the collection name. Just tick the box next to the collection you want to sync and the firebolt will show.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Firebolt Icon is Located to the Left of the Collection Title

To stop a Collection from syncing with your device, do one of the following in the Collections panel:

  • Click the firebolt sync icon next to the name of the Collection to turn it off.
  • Right-click a Collection and deselect Sync With Lightroom Mobile from the sync menu.

Viewing Images on Your Device

If your Lightroom Mobile is enabled correctly, you will need to sign into the Adobe Creative Cloud with your password. The mobile version should start filling up with the collections you enabled on your Lightroom desktop. You can also enable Lightroom Mobile to automatically pull images that you take from your Mobile device. Make sure you create a special collection of those images only.

Creating Images with Lightroom Mobile

With the current version of Lightroom mobile, you can create images on your Smartphone with the app. It gives you the option of either shooting in JPG or DNG. You can also shoot in automatic or professional mode and use a variety of presets. I prefer to shoot an image without any preset adjustments made to it and apply any edits afterward. That way you will always have the un-retouched original image.

The automatic shooting mode on Lightroom mobile works really well. It gives you separate focus and exposure points as well as overexposure indicators that show up as a series of parallel lines indicating highlight clipping. These three tools are the keys to getting a good shot on your mobile device. If you scrub left or right on the screen, the highlight clipping indicators will go away when the exposure becomes balanced. If portions of the image are overexposed, it will show up as you see in the image of my white dog below.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Automatic Shooting Mode with Over Exposure Highlights

The beauty of using Lightroom Mobile is you can edit images on your Mobile device or from your main computer. They can be located in a collection taken with your DSLR, or they can be images taken with your cell phone and located in your Lightroom Mobil collection.

Note: if you have your monitor calibrated, the colors may come out differently on your pad or phone if you decide to edit from there. No editing is permanent within Lightroom, so it’s an easy fix if it doesn’t look right on your main desktop computer.

One of the keys to success in mobile photography is to get it right in the camera just like a DSLR. Using these tools with this intuitive mobile app will help you accomplish that goal.

Please keep in mind, your phone or tablet is not a DSLR, so know that the images will not be of the same quality as a high megapixel DSLR. However, the Lightroom Mobile camera app gives you some great tools to create some really nice Smartphone images.

Editing in Lightroom Mobile

Once you have created your images and imported them to Lightroom Mobile (either from your desktop or from your smartphone), you have almost as many options for editing on your device as you do on your desktop.

If you tap on the edit screen in the top left corner, it will open up a menu of several different editing options.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Select the Edit Tool

On the edit screen, you can choose to edit the image globally or choose selections and edit specific areas individually. This is how to start a post-processing workflow, whether you’re using Lightroom Classic CC desktop version or Lightroom Mobile.

Then you can go through the different options for post-processing, starting with light, color, effects and finishing off with detail. You can also make a selection in your image and go through all of those same adjustments, just affecting the selected areas.

Local Adjustments

By tapping on the selective icon on the bottom left, it will bring up a menu with a paintbrush. Tap on the brush, and then select the middle brush size and paint with your finger over the area you would like to edit. If you overdo it, you can use the eraser tool to clean up your selection. After you make the selection, then you can make any number of adjustments on just that area. Once you have made all the necessary adjustments, save your edits.

Lightroom Mobile - The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone

Using this technique will give you the most interesting effects by truly painting with light and not just adding random light adjustments for the whole image.

Give Lightroom Mobile a try and make it a part of your everyday photo organizing and editing. Give some of these selective tools a try and let me know how it goes in the comments area below.

The post Lightroom Mobile – The Secret to Shooting and Editing on Your Smartphone by Holly Higbee-Jansen appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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