Instead of trying to be just another me-too camera, the K-30 from Pentax Imaging is trying to be different, and that’s a good thing. First, there was the introduction of the K-01 mirrorless camera and now there’s the K-30 SLR, for when the going gets wet and not-so-wild. The rugged Pentax K-30 is designed for photographers who enjoy outdoor lifestyles and combines a weather- and dust-resistant compact body, HD video recording capabilities, and a glass prism optical finder with a 100 percent field of view, something most welcome in the small SLR category. To keep itself high and dry, the camera has 81 seals and is built to be cold resistant and function in temperatures as low as 14˚F, which is a number not all that uncommon here on Daisy Hill, Colorado, in the winter.
When creating their mirrorless camera system, Panasonic wisely, I think, chose the Micro Four Thirds format rather than designing an all-new proprietary lens mount. The system includes two dozen or so Lumix lenses, including conversion lenses, along with adapters for Leica R and M mount lenses, Four Thirds digital SLRs, plus the ability to use lenses from Olympus, Sigma, and Tamron. The Micro Four Thirds system is here to stay and the Lumix DMC-G5 seems a perfect way to jump on board.
I don’t think there’s much doubt that, all things being equal, larger sensors are capable of delivering superior image quality. The very fact that more sensor sites are available means that there’s better performance in low light, less noise in shadow areas, and that cropping does not mean making compromises in the image’s integrity. Now that the megapixel race has settled down, somewhat, and compact system cameras allow for lens interchangeability without requiring large packs to accommodate gear, a new trend is emerging where the classic D-SLR form is seeing more and more full-frame models aimed at attracting the enthusiast photographer.
A trio of new battery grips is on offer. The Pixel Vertax series (Argraph) gives you a firm handle on your camera while providing a power boost. Features include a vertical shutter release, shutter and aperture control wheels (Nikon models or a single wheel for Canon), exposure lock, multifunction control buttons, and more. The grips accept AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeable) or camera batteries for added shooting capacity. The grips offer excellent dust and moisture seals and a rubber handgrip for slip-free control. They are made for use on current and newer model Nikon and Canon cameras. Prices start at $79.
When shooting portraits on a green screen setup the first stage in the work is selecting and removing the green screen itself, something a “magic wand” or similar selection tool will accomplish. The next stage is finding and fitting an appropriate replacement background, and just as Digital Anarchy’s Primatte Chromakey streamlines the green screen removal process, the company also offers a Photoshop plug-in that streamlines the background creation process. Dubbed Backdrop Designer, the software can aid you in digitally creating muslin drapes, lighting effects, and other photographic backgrounds.
While it may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, photographers have been doing just that since Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths photographed the “Cottingley Fairies” in 1917, but a lot has changed since then and we’re now more skeptical of images that appear “shopped.” (Portrait photographers engaged in retouching even before Mathew Brady opened his New York studio in 1844.) To me, part of the fun of photography is enhancing reality, creating images that could be true or might be true in a parallel Fringe-like universe. That’s one of the reasons I like shooting digital infrared images because photography, for me, is all about having fun and if you happen to play a harmless—emphasis on harmless—photographic April Fool’s prank on someone, let’s hope it’s accepted in the spirit of the day.
The job of auto-retouching software is to retouch faces quickly, easily, and with as little human intervention as possible. Most require you to either set or confirm where the major points of the face are, like the eyes, ears, and lips. After you’ve identified those areas, the software then goes about its business of transforming little Pamela into little Princess.
As more photos are made on more types of devices, there’s a need for resultant images that aren’t just “OK” but as good as they can be. And part of the need, it would seem, is that some folks don’t want to spend a lot of time learning complex programs to get the image results they want. Companies like Athentech Imaging aim to make it a one-click affair.
Edited by Georg...
Jun 14, 2013
Published: May 01, 2013
The new SLT-A99 is Sony’s first full-frame camera with an electronic viewfinder. While former Sony full-format cameras like the A900 or A850 offered a standard SLR system, the new A99 offers an electronic viewfinder with extremely high resolution (2.3 million RGB dots). Due to the SLT system with fixed mirror, which allows use of a classic AF system based on phase detection, the camera is very fast and can even utilize the AF system while recording videos.
I always enjoy trying out the best new high-end products. It’s fun, but more important it tells me how good the best performance can be. But when reviewing color management tools I realize that photographers are not color scientists or computer programming experts, so I thought I’d start this review with a bit of a tech briefing on why they are important to all photographers who want to get the most from their work.
Canon’s 13x19”-sized printers, the PIXMA Pro9500 Mark II and PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II, have had a longer life than most, but have been replaced with two new models that are similar to the PIXMA PRO-1, introduced over a year ago. New features on both the pigment-ink PRO-10 and dye-ink PRO-100 include Wi-Fi and AirPrint compatibility, a new plug-in to make printing easier, and a refined inkset.
The world of photography is a very wide one, and in this report Roger Hicks takes us to the fringes of photographic accessories. While you might well wonder how you might use some of these items, well, you never know!—Editor
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, um… it’s um… a camera-carrying helicopter drone. Honest! Though our other favorite in this meandering survey is probably a lot more use to a lot more people. It’s a changing room! It’s a hide for photographing wildlife! It’s a monopod! It’s a light modifier! It keeps the rain off! Or the sun! It’s… um, it’s an unusually versatile umbrella.
As part of our continuing coverage of photokina, the worldwide gathering of the imaging industry, we present Roger Hicks’s fascinating report on unique studio accessories. As is his wont, Roger has turned up the arcane and unusual found in the main and hinterland booths of the massive show.—Editor
In an attempt to connect everything electronic, this year’s CES/PMA show in Las Vegas was awash in “smart” TVs, tablets, and various and sundry devices that can link to your device—be it phone, tablet, or camera—and allow you to access “image content” anywhere, anytime. There was also a rash of rough cameras, a 3D lens for still and video, new ways to customize your camera, and a major boost in USB storage and memory card speed. Following are some photo tech highlights.