Adobe announces Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application

Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing. According to Adobe, Rush is intended to provide a more streamlined and intuitive user experience for creating videos, as well as to provide a powerful video solution for mobile users.

In contrast to traditional video creation workflows, which often require switching between specialized programs, Rush aims to put the entire workflow into one, integrated application. It supports shooting, editing, audio optimization, motion graphics, and video sharing, and provides a simplified interface for editing, color correction, audio, and titling.

Adobe says the tools available in Rush are based on the same underlying technology as some of its pro apps, including color correction technology from Premiere Pro and audio technology from Audition. Integration with Adobe Stock will provide access to free motion graphics templates which can be customized by users.

Project Rush will work across mobile and desktop platforms, and will include the same feature set in both versions. Projects will synchronize between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Recognizing that a great deal of video content is now shared through social media, Rush will automatically optimize video for a variety social media platforms, as well as manage publication and scheduling of content to those platforms. Adobe did not specify which platforms will be supported.

Rush will be available in mobile and desktop applications, with both versions supporting the same feature set, meaning users will have the same tools at their disposal no matter which device they’re using. Projects will sync between devices using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Although Project Rush is unlikely to replace pro-level tools for larger productions, it may prove useful to those who don’t need the power of a dedicated non-linear editor, or those who prefer a workflow that doesn't involve multiple programs.

Adobe did not provide a release date or pricing for Project Rush, but since it’s designed to sync across Creative Cloud it’s likely to require a Creative Cloud subscription to fully utilize its features. If you want to try Rush for yourself, you can apply to join the public beta here.

We’ll be taking a look at Rush in the near future and will share our impressions once we've had a chance to give it a spin.

Adobe reveals record-breaking quarterly revenue in Q2 2018

Adobe has announced a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion for its 2018 second fiscal quarter. The company saw 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment, which includes $1.30 billion for Creative and a record $243 million for Document Cloud. The company's Digital Experience segment experienced 18% growth to hit $586 million during Q2 2018, as well.

Overall, Adobe saw its year-on-year net income increase 77% on a GAAP-basis, as well as a 39% operating income increase. Looking at its Digital Media Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR), Adobe saw its second fiscal quarter end with a $343 million increase to $6.06 billion. The Creative ARR hit $5.37 billion, while Document Cloud ARR increased to $694 million.

Talking about the record quarter, Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen said:

Adobe delivers all the capabilities to enable transformative digital experiences, including content creation and management, predictive analytics and commerce. Our record results in Q2 reflect continued execution against this significant opportunity where Adobe is the clear market leader.

Narayen cited a partnership with Microsoft as a factor contributing to the favorable quarterly results, according to CNBC. Having beat analysts expectations this in Q2, Adobe anticipates third fiscal quarterly revenue of $2.24 billion.

Via: Adobe

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

There is a big distinction to be made when it comes to night sky photography, which is whether or not you plan on photographing the stars in the night sky. If you do not plan on including stars in your shots, things are a lot simpler for you. That is true in a lot of ways, in that you don’t need to worry as much about the clouds and weather, the impact of the moon, or light pollution.

When it comes to lens selection, it means that you can pretty much use whatever lens you want. Therefore, if that is the type of night photography you plan to do, continue using whatever is your favorite lens at present.

Photo of the Milky Way at night - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Issues doing Night Sky Photography

On the other hand, if you plan on shooting the night sky and capturing the stars, things get trickier. This stems from two facts. The first is that starlight is extremely dim. It is only a tiny, tiny fraction of what you have at sunset (let alone the middle of the day). Even moonlight is many times more powerful.

The second issue is that the stars are moving across the sky (or, rather, that the earth is spinning, but it appears as though the stars are moving to your camera). This is happening more quickly than you might realize.

As a result, you need to do everything possible to maximize exposure, and you need for that to happen quickly. In other words, the dim light means that you need a lot of exposure. Exposure stems from a combination of three things: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

In other types of photography, you might simply open up the shutter for a long time. In night sky photography, however, you don’t have that luxury since the stars are moving. That means your shutter speed is going to be capped somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. If you expose any longer, the camera will pick up that movement and it will show up as tails or blur in your pictures. That won’t work.

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography - night shot with cliffs and stars

That means you’ll have to look at the other two exposure options – ISO and aperture. To deal with the dim light, you will have to crank up your ISO to at least 3200 and in many cases 6400. At present, that’s about as high as you should go. Even if your camera goes up to something like ISO 25,600, as many cameras do these days if you use an ISO that high you risk noise completely taking over your picture.

Use a Fast Lens

Because of these caps on shutter speed and ISO, the only remaining exposure control is aperture. To maximize exposure and still successfully capture the night sky, you will need a fast lens. How fast?

A lens that opens up to f/2.8 or wider is ideal. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0 is acceptable. Anything less than that (meaning a higher f-number) probably won’t work. This is one situation where your kit lens might serve you well. Most kit lenses open up to f/3.5 at their widest focal length, which is actually 1/3 stop brighter than your typical f/4.0 lens.

As a side-note, you might be worried about depth of field when using these large apertures. You need not worry about that though. You will always set your focus at infinity and everything in your scene will be on that plane of focus. Even if there are objects in the foreground, at wide angles things quickly go to infinity on your lens. Unless something is very close to you (say, within 10 feet or so), it will be on the same plane of focus and depth of field will not be an issue. If you want to include anything closer than that, you’ll likely need to focus stack.

desert trees and Milky Way - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Shoot with a Wide-Angle Lens

You may be familiar with something called the Reciprocal Rule. It will help you make sense of why you need a wide angle lens for night sky photography. That rule states that the slowest shutter speed (exposure time) you can use when shooting handheld and still avoid blur in your pictures is the reciprocal of your focal length. So, for example, if you are using a 100mm lens, your minimum shutter speed should be 1/100th of a second.

This rule shows that there is always a direct correlation between focal length and the longest shutter speed you can use to avoid blur. That also holds true when it comes to photographing the stars. When you photograph the night sky, the wider the lens you use, the longer you can open up the shutter.

How wide of a lens do you need? There is no clear answer. If you are familiar with photographing the stars or the Milky Way, you may have heard of certain rules of thumb where you divide a number by the focal length of your lens to get a maximum exposure time (such as the Rule of 600, 500, or even 400) before the stars start to arch and blur.

For example, using the Rule of 500, a 24mm lens would allow you to use a shutter speed up to 20 seconds (500 divided by 24 mm is 20.8 seconds). But if you use a 16mm lens instead, you can expose up to 30 seconds (500 divided by 16 is 31.25). As you can see, wider is better. Here is how it works out for the widest focal lengths.

Rule of 500 chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Before moving on, let me point out two things about this standard. First of all, it is not absolute, and there are those who advocate for a stricter standard (meaning that you should use even shorter shutter speeds for these focal lengths). Be sure to test out different speeds and see what works best for you.

Second, if you use a crop factor camera, be sure to adjust these numbers to the Effective Focal Length, which is based on a full-frame or 35mm format (i.e. 20mm on a 1.5x crop factor camera is effectively a 30mm, so the maximum exposure then is only 16.7 seconds before the stars arch).

Measuring Sharpness

It goes without saying that you want a sharp lens. But how do you determine what is a sharp lens and what isn’t? The best way, of course, is to try them out for yourself. It may not be practical to test out a whole series of lenses though.

We all rely on lens reviews. I’m certainly no expert on optics, so I definitely do. These are usually extremely helpful, but sometimes it is difficult to get an apples to apples comparison of different lenses. To do that, there is an extremely helpful resource called DXO Mark.

The reason DXO Mark is so helpful is that they score all lenses in the exact same manner. For example, they give scores for sharpness, distortion, and vignetting (as well as other criteria, and an overall score) and grade each lens the same way. That lets you look at numbers very quickly, rather than comparing images from different lenses and attempting to quantify the differences. If nothing else, it gives you a good place to start.

DXO lens comparison chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Of course, sharpness isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Lenses all have different amounts of distortion as well. One type of distortion that is important in night photography is called coma distortion. It adds little wings to points of light, which in the case of photographing stars is not ideal. Unfortunately, this is not something that is often included in lens tests, so you’ll have to check for this with whatever lens you are considering.

Narrowing Your Choices Down

We have now established the three most important criteria for picking a lens for your night sky photography. Your lens needs to be wide, fast, and sharp. In terms of how wide, how fast, and how sharp, that is up to you. But you can use your own criteria to create a list of available lenses.

For example, you might decide to only consider lenses that are 20mm or wider, open up to f/2.8, and are at least moderately sharp.

lens comparison chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Once you narrow the list down to your particular brand of camera, you will probably find that the list is not very long. There may actually only be a few models from which to choose.

The Top Picks

Once you start looking at the widest, fastest lenses made, the list quickly gets pretty short. Once you add in the reviews and ratings, some pretty clear choices emerge. Of the Big Three manufacturers, I think you would have to strongly consider the following lenses (if you can afford them, as they are quite pricey):

three good lens choices - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

  1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 III
  2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  3. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

That’s not to say you necessarily need to rush out and purchase one of these lenses. The point of this article is really to help you establish the criteria for picking your own lenses. At the same time, I don’t want to be coy about these obviously great lenses, as they fit the criteria for night sky photography very well.

A Sleeper

When you start putting price limitations on lenses, the list gets short real quick! Most lenses in this range cost well over $1000, and many approach $2000. You may be looking for something more affordable, as I was. Once I looked at the list further, the Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 jumped out at me.

It is under $700 in most places and meets all three criteria of being wide (16 mm), fast (f/2.8), and sharp (scoring a 22 on my camera per DXO Mark). I picked one up and like the results. It works great, although there is definitely some coma distortion going on. Still, for the price, it is a great option. This lens is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras.

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography - Milky Way and spooky trees

A Wildcard

There is another affordable option if you don’t mind manual controls – Rokinon lenses. They have several wide angle options to choose from, ranging from 12-24mm. They are prime lenses and are very fast. All have maximum apertures of at least f/2.8. These are all manual lenses though, which means that you will need to focus manually. It also means that you will set the aperture with a ring on the lens, rather than with your camera.

Still, that should not be a problem with night sky photography. You just set the lens at its widest aperture and set the focus at infinity. You might never change it. Because of these manual controls, you can often pick up these lenses for well under $400 (check out the Rokinon 14mm). Again, this is just another good option if you don’t mind manual control lenses.

Note: Rokinon also has 12mm and 8mm fish-eye lenses available with mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, and Micro 4/3 cameras if you want to go really wide. 

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

The Lens for You

Just remember that if you are considering a lens for night sky photography, you’ll want to limit the lens selection to wide-angle lenses (generally 24mm or wider). You can get away with longer focal lengths, but you’ll need them to be extremely fast (probably f/2.0 or greater).

Once you have narrowed down your selection in this fashion, look at fast lenses. Try to get one that opens up to f/2.8 or better. That usually means you are looking at fairly expensive lenses, but as mentioned above there are some affordable options that will get the job done. After that, be sure to check the DXO Mark ratings. But don’t stop there – a simple Google search for the lens(es) you are considering will likely yield a lot of reviews. I am partial to The Digital Picture and DP Review as well.

Hopefully, this article has gotten you familiar with the criteria you need from a lens for night sky photography and has spurred a few ideas. It isn’t meant to limit your alternatives, so if there are other lens options I’ve missed, please let me know in the comment area below.

The post How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

There is a big distinction to be made when it comes to night sky photography, which is whether or not you plan on photographing the stars in the night sky. If you do not plan on including stars in your shots, things are a lot simpler for you. That is true in a lot of ways, in that you don’t need to worry as much about the clouds and weather, the impact of the moon, or light pollution.

When it comes to lens selection, it means that you can pretty much use whatever lens you want. Therefore, if that is the type of night photography you plan to do, continue using whatever is your favorite lens at present.

Photo of the Milky Way at night - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Issues doing Night Sky Photography

On the other hand, if you plan on shooting the night sky and capturing the stars, things get trickier. This stems from two facts. The first is that starlight is extremely dim. It is only a tiny, tiny fraction of what you have at sunset (let alone the middle of the day). Even moonlight is many times more powerful.

The second issue is that the stars are moving across the sky (or, rather, that the earth is spinning, but it appears as though the stars are moving to your camera). This is happening more quickly than you might realize.

As a result, you need to do everything possible to maximize exposure, and you need for that to happen quickly. In other words, the dim light means that you need a lot of exposure. Exposure stems from a combination of three things: shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

In other types of photography, you might simply open up the shutter for a long time. In night sky photography, however, you don’t have that luxury since the stars are moving. That means your shutter speed is going to be capped somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. If you expose any longer, the camera will pick up that movement and it will show up as tails or blur in your pictures. That won’t work.

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography - night shot with cliffs and stars

That means you’ll have to look at the other two exposure options – ISO and aperture. To deal with the dim light, you will have to crank up your ISO to at least 3200 and in many cases 6400. At present, that’s about as high as you should go. Even if your camera goes up to something like ISO 25,600, as many cameras do these days if you use an ISO that high you risk noise completely taking over your picture.

Use a Fast Lens

Because of these caps on shutter speed and ISO, the only remaining exposure control is aperture. To maximize exposure and still successfully capture the night sky, you will need a fast lens. How fast?

A lens that opens up to f/2.8 or wider is ideal. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/4.0 is acceptable. Anything less than that (meaning a higher f-number) probably won’t work. This is one situation where your kit lens might serve you well. Most kit lenses open up to f/3.5 at their widest focal length, which is actually 1/3 stop brighter than your typical f/4.0 lens.

As a side-note, you might be worried about depth of field when using these large apertures. You need not worry about that though. You will always set your focus at infinity and everything in your scene will be on that plane of focus. Even if there are objects in the foreground, at wide angles things quickly go to infinity on your lens. Unless something is very close to you (say, within 10 feet or so), it will be on the same plane of focus and depth of field will not be an issue. If you want to include anything closer than that, you’ll likely need to focus stack.

desert trees and Milky Way - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Shoot with a Wide-Angle Lens

You may be familiar with something called the Reciprocal Rule. It will help you make sense of why you need a wide angle lens for night sky photography. That rule states that the slowest shutter speed (exposure time) you can use when shooting handheld and still avoid blur in your pictures is the reciprocal of your focal length. So, for example, if you are using a 100mm lens, your minimum shutter speed should be 1/100th of a second.

This rule shows that there is always a direct correlation between focal length and the longest shutter speed you can use to avoid blur. That also holds true when it comes to photographing the stars. When you photograph the night sky, the wider the lens you use, the longer you can open up the shutter.

How wide of a lens do you need? There is no clear answer. If you are familiar with photographing the stars or the Milky Way, you may have heard of certain rules of thumb where you divide a number by the focal length of your lens to get a maximum exposure time (such as the Rule of 600, 500, or even 400) before the stars start to arch and blur.

For example, using the Rule of 500, a 24mm lens would allow you to use a shutter speed up to 20 seconds (500 divided by 24 mm is 20.8 seconds). But if you use a 16mm lens instead, you can expose up to 30 seconds (500 divided by 16 is 31.25). As you can see, wider is better. Here is how it works out for the widest focal lengths.

Rule of 500 chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Before moving on, let me point out two things about this standard. First of all, it is not absolute, and there are those who advocate for a stricter standard (meaning that you should use even shorter shutter speeds for these focal lengths). Be sure to test out different speeds and see what works best for you.

Second, if you use a crop factor camera, be sure to adjust these numbers to the Effective Focal Length, which is based on a full-frame or 35mm format (i.e. 20mm on a 1.5x crop factor camera is effectively a 30mm, so the maximum exposure then is only 16.7 seconds before the stars arch).

Measuring Sharpness

It goes without saying that you want a sharp lens. But how do you determine what is a sharp lens and what isn’t? The best way, of course, is to try them out for yourself. It may not be practical to test out a whole series of lenses though.

We all rely on lens reviews. I’m certainly no expert on optics, so I definitely do. These are usually extremely helpful, but sometimes it is difficult to get an apples to apples comparison of different lenses. To do that, there is an extremely helpful resource called DXO Mark.

The reason DXO Mark is so helpful is that they score all lenses in the exact same manner. For example, they give scores for sharpness, distortion, and vignetting (as well as other criteria, and an overall score) and grade each lens the same way. That lets you look at numbers very quickly, rather than comparing images from different lenses and attempting to quantify the differences. If nothing else, it gives you a good place to start.

DXO lens comparison chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Of course, sharpness isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Lenses all have different amounts of distortion as well. One type of distortion that is important in night photography is called coma distortion. It adds little wings to points of light, which in the case of photographing stars is not ideal. Unfortunately, this is not something that is often included in lens tests, so you’ll have to check for this with whatever lens you are considering.

Narrowing Your Choices Down

We have now established the three most important criteria for picking a lens for your night sky photography. Your lens needs to be wide, fast, and sharp. In terms of how wide, how fast, and how sharp, that is up to you. But you can use your own criteria to create a list of available lenses.

For example, you might decide to only consider lenses that are 20mm or wider, open up to f/2.8, and are at least moderately sharp.

lens comparison chart - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

Once you narrow the list down to your particular brand of camera, you will probably find that the list is not very long. There may actually only be a few models from which to choose.

The Top Picks

Once you start looking at the widest, fastest lenses made, the list quickly gets pretty short. Once you add in the reviews and ratings, some pretty clear choices emerge. Of the Big Three manufacturers, I think you would have to strongly consider the following lenses (if you can afford them, as they are quite pricey):

three good lens choices - How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

  1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 III
  2. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  3. Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

That’s not to say you necessarily need to rush out and purchase one of these lenses. The point of this article is really to help you establish the criteria for picking your own lenses. At the same time, I don’t want to be coy about these obviously great lenses, as they fit the criteria for night sky photography very well.

A Sleeper

When you start putting price limitations on lenses, the list gets short real quick! Most lenses in this range cost well over $1000, and many approach $2000. You may be looking for something more affordable, as I was. Once I looked at the list further, the Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 jumped out at me.

It is under $700 in most places and meets all three criteria of being wide (16 mm), fast (f/2.8), and sharp (scoring a 22 on my camera per DXO Mark). I picked one up and like the results. It works great, although there is definitely some coma distortion going on. Still, for the price, it is a great option. This lens is available for both Canon and Nikon cameras.

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography - Milky Way and spooky trees

A Wildcard

There is another affordable option if you don’t mind manual controls – Rokinon lenses. They have several wide angle options to choose from, ranging from 12-24mm. They are prime lenses and are very fast. All have maximum apertures of at least f/2.8. These are all manual lenses though, which means that you will need to focus manually. It also means that you will set the aperture with a ring on the lens, rather than with your camera.

Still, that should not be a problem with night sky photography. You just set the lens at its widest aperture and set the focus at infinity. You might never change it. Because of these manual controls, you can often pick up these lenses for well under $400 (check out the Rokinon 14mm). Again, this is just another good option if you don’t mind manual control lenses.

Note: Rokinon also has 12mm and 8mm fish-eye lenses available with mounts for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, and Micro 4/3 cameras if you want to go really wide. 

How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography

The Lens for You

Just remember that if you are considering a lens for night sky photography, you’ll want to limit the lens selection to wide-angle lenses (generally 24mm or wider). You can get away with longer focal lengths, but you’ll need them to be extremely fast (probably f/2.0 or greater).

Once you have narrowed down your selection in this fashion, look at fast lenses. Try to get one that opens up to f/2.8 or better. That usually means you are looking at fairly expensive lenses, but as mentioned above there are some affordable options that will get the job done. After that, be sure to check the DXO Mark ratings. But don’t stop there – a simple Google search for the lens(es) you are considering will likely yield a lot of reviews. I am partial to The Digital Picture and DP Review as well.

Hopefully, this article has gotten you familiar with the criteria you need from a lens for night sky photography and has spurred a few ideas. It isn’t meant to limit your alternatives, so if there are other lens options I’ve missed, please let me know in the comment area below.

The post How to Choose a Lens for Night Sky Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School.

PolarPro’s new buyback program gives you credit towards a new filter when you trade in an old one

Earlier this year, PolarPro stepped up its filter game and brought its expertise to the world of DSLR and mirrorless cameras with its QuartzLine filters.

As a follow-up to its latest filter lineup, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will let you get a certain amount of credit towards a new filter if you return an old one - even if it's not theirs.

Here's how it works. For any 37mm or 46mm filter you send in, you'll be given a $20 credit towards a new PolarPro filter. For 67mm, 77mm and 82mm filter sizes, you'll be given $40 in PolarPro credit. You will receive one credit for each filter you send in. Once you've agreed to the PolarPro terms for the return, you'll be given a discount code to use with your PolarPro purchase.

This is the dialog box you'll see when asked to agree to the terms of the buyback program.

Once your purchase is made, PolarPro will send you an email with a prepaid label to send in your old filter(s). Simply package them up and ship them off within 14 days of receiving your new QuartzLine filter and you're good to go. You can even use the box they shipped you your new filter in. PolarPro notes that any filters sent in will be recycled or repurposed.

To find out more information and get started with your trade-in, head on over to PolarPro's buyback page.

Read our original article about QuartzLine filters (April 2018)

Sigma now shipping Art series prime lenses for Sony E-mount

Sigma has announced that its five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping. The 20mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM, Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM and 85mm F1.4 DG HSM are designed for Sony's full-frame a7-series and a9 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. The E-Mount version of the 14mm F1.4 DG HSM (shown above, in prototype form) is expected later.

Optically the E-mount primes are unchanged compared to their DSLR-mount predecessors but are compatible with high-speed continuous autofocus and should offer faster data throughput compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter. This should improve autofocus speed across the board, compared to using a DSLR-mount version with an adapter - something we hope to test for ourselves in the coming weeks.

Press release:

Sigma Ships Five Prime Art Lenses for Sony E-mount Cameras with Full-Frame Sensors

Ronkonkoma, NY – June 19, 2018 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced availability of five of its interchangeable Art prime lenses for Sony E-mount camera systems – Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM ($849 USD), Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM ($899 USD), Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM ($949 USD) and Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM ($1199 USD).

Offering the same high-performance optical design as other lenses in the Art line, the new Sony E-mount models feature a newly developed control algorithm that optimizes the autofocus drive and maximizes the data transmission speed. In addition, these lenses are compatible with Sony’s Continuous AF (AF-C) and high-speed autofocus, which are not addressed by Sigma Mount Converter MC-11. Like MC-11, the lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization and in-camera lens aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion.

Key Features and Benefits

Autofocus Tuned for Each Lens

Thanks to an autofocus drive control program tuned for each lens and high-speed data transmission, the lenses offer a high-speed autofocus at the same performance level as that of a lens designed exclusively for mirrorless cameras. In particular, in E-mount cameras offering Sony’s Fast Hybrid AF, AF-C mode delivers exceptional subject following performance. Autofocus remains
extremely precise even in those E-mount cameras offering only contrast AF.

Compatible with In-Camera Image Stabilization

The lenses are compatible with in-camera image stabilization. The Sony E-mount camera senses the focal length of the lens and automatically optimizes image stabilization performance.

Data Loaded for Compatibility with In-Camera Aberration Correction

The lenses are fully compatible with in-camera aberration correction, which includes corrections for peripheral illumination, chromatic aberrations and distortion. By matching corrections to the optical characteristics of the lens, this function takes image quality to an even higher level.

Native Mount for a More Rigid and Stable Feel

Making the mount native to the lens means a more rigid and stable feel to the lens. Featuring a special surface treatment to enhance strength, the brass bayonet mount offers a high-precision fit and exceptional durability. The mount connection area incorporates rubber sealing for dust- and splash-proof construction.

Available Mount Conversion Service*

This service converts the mount of Sigma lenses to that of a different camera body, allowing photographers to continue using their favorite lenses over the long term regardless of camera system.

*The Mount Conversion Service is different from a normal repair. In order to apply for the service, please contact your nearest authorized Sigma subsidiary or distributor: http://www.sigma-global.com/en/about/world-network/.

**This service is performed exclusively by Sigma.

How to do Creative Editing with Layers in ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

In my first article on ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018, I covered all the elements of the program that a beginner would need to know about. This article covers editing in more detail, starting with processing your RAW file in Develop Mode and then doing some creative editing using Layers in Edit Mode.

Layers are a critical part of editing your images. Either in doing your RAW process and then tidying up areas that need it with curves, levels, and other adjustments. Or if you want to add more creativity to your images, with textures, decorative flourishes, fancy text embellishments. Finally, you can go all the way up to compositing, and using layers is the best way to achieve that.

textured image of flowers - How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Let’s look at what ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 has to offer for editing a RAW file. Then we’ll add a creative edit with texture layers, embellishment layers, and using masks to create a vintage grunge effect.

I am going to assume that you have a basic understanding of RAW editing and using layers and masks and not detail absolutely every step worked through in this process. If you need more help, go back and read: ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 Guide for Beginners first.

Editing a Raw File in Develop Mode

First, open up Manage mode and find the right folder to select an image. For this exercise, I liked the Gerbera Still Life image and decided that the final version should have a grungy vintage look added at the end.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - image thumbnails

This is the selected image of three crimson gerbera flowers, with a pair of pointe ballet shoes and some sheet music. It’s a bit dark and dull and needs some tweaking which we will do in the Develop mode of ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018.

original image before editing - How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Original unedited RAW file

After some basic editing, the image is brighter and the colors are better balanced.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - edited with basic adjustments

However my final vision for this image is more of a vintage look, and the colors are too bright and rich. So, further editing to bring the saturation down and darken the crimson was applied. This now provides the basis for the layers and creative elements, so it’s saved and then we move into Edit mode.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - image with lower saturation

Creative Editing Using Layers

Switching to Edit Mode by clicking on EDIT with the edited RAW file open will change your workspace. Now the Layers palette is laid out on the right. As there is only the one image open, it shows up as Layer 1.

At the bottom of the Layers palette are the different layer options – hover over each one to find the one you need and click to activate it. For this exercise, we are going to bring in some grunge textures and additional elements to make it look vintage, old, and more artistic.

Textures

I use a lot of textures from 2LilOwls, The Daily Texture, and Distressed Textures. If you are patient you can also make your own but there are plenty of places to acquire them online. The ones used in this article were from 2LilOwls.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

My preferred option to add extra layers is to use a second monitor, open up Windows Explorer to the desired folder, find a texture I like and then drag across to my image. Note, when using ACDSee, you have to drag it into the Layers Palette (rather than onto the image directly).

The other option is to click on the “Add A File As A Layer” button which allows you to search for a file within your directory and add it. This was a useful feature which I used several times.

By default, the texture is applied in Normal mode which means only the top layer is visible, which is the texture in this instance. In the Layer Palette it is visible as Layer 2.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - texture layer

The first texture layer has been added – it’s showing in Normal mode so you can only see this layer and not the one below (the image of the flowers).

Blend Mode

Next, change the blend mode of the layer to something that suits the image – either Overlay or Soft Light are good choices to start with. Also, dial down the layer opacity to soften the effect and make it look more pleasing.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Masking parts of the layer

This texture has some heavy vignetting around the edges that is a bit too dark. So to solve that, add a Layer Mask and select a large soft brush at around 30% opacity. Dab the brush in the darker edges and corners to reduce the effect.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

The Layer mask is white and it shows up the areas you brush in grey (or black) – you can see where it has been applied in the corners.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Image with texture and layer mask applied with softer tones in the dark corners now

Add more grunge

It needs more grunge so let’s apply a second texture layer. This one has lots of cracks and scratches for a nice vintage effect. It is also a bit lighter around the edges so should balance out the first texture nicely.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

The texture file is a different size than the original image but you can drag it out to fit by clicking on the yellow squares on the outside edges and corners.

This layer also had the blend mode changed and the opacity adjusted to suit. The crack effect was quite strong on the flowers so a mask was applied with a soft brush at low opacity that was brushed over the flowers.

More embellishments

The top left and right corners felt a bit empty so I added some decorative embellishments. On the left, is a butterfly with some fancy handwriting and another textural element was added on the right. Both are PNG files that are blended in with low opacity and Soft Light blend mode.

layers - How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Each element goes onto a separate layer for full control.  Masks are applied to remove the effect from the flowers.  These become Layers 6 and 7.

Finally, a Photo Effect (Somber) was applied to add a bit more contrast and punch.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - photo effect

Before and after images

Here we have the RAW file after it was edited in Develop mode and some creative adjustments for Saturation and Vibrance applied.

before layered editing - How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018

Here we have the final image after the texture layers, embellishments, Photo Effect and masks have been applied.

How to Edit Using Layers with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 - final image

Additional Notes

As an advanced Photoshop user, I was comfortable using all the layer tools and functions available in ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018. Most of the usual tools were available and functioned as expected.

The one major issue I found was the inability to change the brush shape. It does not appear possible to import .abr files to add creative brush shapes. The only options for changing the brush are blend mode, size, and opacity and the only shape is round.

You can change the size, hardness, and opacity of the brush but not the actual shape of it. This limits the creative choices available. Some of my brush files were present as PNG images so I was able to import them as individual layers.

Additionally, there were several extra features that were new to me which I found useful. The “Add A File As A Layer” button was extremely helpful and I used that on several occasions. There is also a button for “Adding a Blank Layer”, “Duplicating a Layer” and “Deleting a Layer”. All things that happen frequently and usually require a right mouse click, then a selection and second click. ACDSee made these steps much quicker with a single click.

There were extra adjustment layer functions, in particular, “Photo Effect” that offer a range of predesigned creative effects you can apply as a separate layer, to blend and edit as desired. A Vignette option (similar to Lightroom) was also available to quickly add a vignette.

Conclusion

If you are a beginner to using layers and masks then it can be a bit complicated to get your head around. The good news is that with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 everything that you would expect to be able to do and use to work with layers is all present and accounted for. It looks and functions very similar to Photoshop, so is comfortable for anyone transitioning over.

Except for the ability to change your brush shape, everything necessary to do a basic layer edit was easily recognizable and usable with pretty much no additional learning curve. That is a real bonus for anyone coming across from other programs.

There are also some nice new features that added extra value and made the experience better – in particular, “Add A File As A Layer” is something that I could easily get used to using. For anyone only using one monitor (like on a laptop) that makes adding another image as a layer so much easier. The Move function in Photoshop is really not user-friendly. This is a definite bonus if you are like me and add lots of extra files to your layers when editing.

Working in Edit mode and making a layered image with ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 was not difficult and the additional features added real value in unexpected places.

Disclaimer: ACDSee is a dPS advertising partner.

The post How to do Creative Editing with Layers in ACDSee Ultimate Photo Studio 2018 appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Adobe Creative Cloud updates bring preset and profile syncing to Lightroom CC

A new batch paste option in Lightroom CC allows settings to be quickly synced across multiple images.

Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.

For photographers, Lightroom CC receives the most substantial updates, which include easy synchronization of presets and profiles across all devices. Preset and profile syncing works with Lightroom's inbuilt options, as well as custom and third-party presets and profiles. Presets can now be created in Lightroom CC on mobile devices, too. iOS devices also gain a new chromatic aberration removal tool, and a beta 'long-exposure' mode which combines multiple images and stacks them to simulate the effect of a long shutter speed without the need for a tripod.

Lightroom CC for iOS now includes a 'Technology Preview' of a new long exposure photo mode, which simulates the effect of using a long shutter speed by combining several conventionally-captured exposures into one.

For those using Lightroom CC on a desktop computer, Adobe has improved batch syncing of settings across multiple images, and enhanced the options for sharing albums.

Users of Lightroom Classic CC are promised a substantial update 'coming soon' but in the meantime, Adobe has provided an iterative release centering on 'speed, stability, and a focus on professional workflows'. To that end, Adobe has added new ways of accessing and sorting presets, new color labels for organizing folders, and faster searching inside them.

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom CC

Learn more about what's new in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC

In other news, for designers, Adobe Spark is now available for Android smart devices and Adobe XD benefits from a range of improvements and added features including overlay support and private sharing.

Fujifilm GF 45mm F2.8 R WR sample gallery

The dust and moisture-sealed FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. Optical construction comprises 11 elements in eight groups, including one aspherical and two ED elements. But does all of this add up to great image quality?

Judge for yourself in our gallery of real-world samples.

Learn more about the FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR

Manfrotto releases 3 new tripods and a matching backpack

Italian tripod manufacturer Manfrotto has released three new travel-friendly models as part of its latest Befree Advance line. The new tripods are the Befree Advanced Carbon, Befree Live Carbon, and the Befree GT.

Starting at the top, the Befree Advanced Carbon find a nice balance in terms of functionality and price point. As its name suggests, the Befree Advanced Carbon comes with a new set of carbon fiber legs. It also features Manfrotto's new Advanced 494 aluminum center ball head, which Manfrotto claims offers a more fluid, precise experience in a lightweight package. The Befree Advanced Carbon retails for $320 and weighs just 1.25kg/2.76lbs, making it a great choice for times when you want to pack light.

Next up is the Befree GT. Like its Advanced Carbon counterpart, the Befree GT comes with a new Advanced 496 aluminium center ball head attached to its frame. Unlike the other two tripods in this release, the Befree GT is available in both aluminum and carbon for $240 and $390, respectively. The Befree GT can support up to 10kg/22 lb of equipment, yet still manages to pack down to just 43cm/16.93in when collapsed.

Both the Befree Advanced Carbon and Befree GT feature Manfrotto's signature M-lock design, making it easy to extend and lock the legs in place with a twist rather than a clip or lever. They also feature Manfrotto's more ergonomic leg-angle adjuster and an updated spider (the center piece of the tripod that holds the legs together) that includes Manfrotto's Easy Link connection for attaching additional accessories to your tripod—something previously reserved for larger, less compact tripods.

Wrapping up the tripod trifecta is the Befree Live Carbon. This tripod is less about stills and more about video—it features Manfrotto's Befree Live Fluid Head for smooth pans and tilts, with an on/off switch so you can pan and tilt independently without. It features the same carbon legs as the Befree Advanced Tripod, as well as the M-lock leg design. The Befree Live Carbon retails for $350.

In addition to the three tripods, Manfrotto has also introduced a new backpack for photographers on the road. The Advanced Befree Backpack is designed specifically for the Befree Advanced and GT tripods and is set to be available for pre-order starting June 21st, 2018 for roughly $150.

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