Friday, 2 March 2012

Professional Photographer Magazine

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Professional Photographer magazine is the essential magazine for the professional photographer. Featuring the greatest images from the greatest photographers in the world. Filled with advice on how to get commissioned, stay inspired and be successful. It features work from all genres of photography including fashion, portraiture, reportage, weddings, sports amongst many others. Professional Photographer is published 13 times a year.

Preview digital version

The EOS 5D Mark III. Creativity, redefined.

Lytro is going to change the photography industry in more ways than you think

You've heard of Lytro and what it can do, but the impressive camera is capable of more than just refocusing fun: it's going to turn the camera manufacturing market upside down.
Yesterday Lytro officially launched, bringing its untraditional design and revolution technology into consumers’ hands. The first light field camera introduced us to the megaray and its infinite focus feature, as well as incendiary debate about the future of photography.
NEA has been one of Lytro’s biggest investors, and partner Patrick Chung is thoroughly convinced of the new camera’s potential. “Photography hasn’t fundamentally changed in two centuries,” he tells us. “It’s had major advances like color photography, and digital photography – but the physics of it have never changed.”
Lytro is throwing that science out the window: we had a chance to go hands-on with the device at CES (which we’ve been told was the finalized version of the hardware), and realized just how big a step in the evolution of digital imaging it represents. “[Lytro] can capture all of the vector data in a single exposure, the direction of all the light rays,” says Chung. “Later you can change the way that light bends using the software.” And while that might sound steeped in science, the beauty of Lytro is its intuitiveness and simplicity: it really is as easy as touching or clicking to focus and refocus.
For all its effortlessness entertainment and minimalist build, the new camera comes with far-reaching implications. The cameras we’ve come to know and love (and spend heaps of money on) are based on their superior glass – which is not a commodity American manufacturers are known for. “The ones that do it best are German and Japanese,” says Chung. He’s obviously right: names like Zeiss, Leica, and Sigma aren’t based stateside. “Glass is what’s at the center of the market,” he says.
But Lytro is taking that out of the equation and replacing it with software. “Glass matters so much less; aperture opens fully on every single exposure since you’re taking in all the light,” says Chung. “What you have is essentially a computational lens.” This means America is reclaiming a piece of an industry it hasn’t innovated in for a long, long time.
Chung says Lytro could be “the next renaissance of a whole technology strain in Silicon Valley.” And we don’t doubt him. Lytro makes sense as a feature in a variety of image capture devices –including the smartphone. “This technology will work in a camera kit for a phone,” he says. He also addressed the fact that in a recent FCC teardown, a Wi-Fi chip was found in the camera. “It’s definitely on our roadmap. We wouldn’t have put it in there if we didn’t plan on using it.”
For now, Lytro is only just getting into consumers’ very eager hands. Demand has been incredible and Chung says they’re making them as fast as they can to keep up. And the surreal photos can be shared and used on Facebook from day one, so users aren’t limited to Lytro’s own software or gallery for viewing purposes.  
At one point, it sounded as if the company intended to go its own route. When Lytro was first introduced, creator Dr. Ren Ng said “we can do it better” – although he also noted this wasn’t a veto on ever allowing others to use the technology. “We’re open to it,” Chung says when asked if Lytro would ever lease its technology. “Right now, though, we just want to get the technology out there under our own product.” For now, the Lytro camera can have its moment – but we can’t wait to see where it takes us from here. 

G Dan Mitchell

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera – First Thoughts

As a photographer who uses the Canon EOS 5D II, I have been watching the news leading up the release of the next iteration of the 5D series. The 5D series has been notable for providing top-notch image quality by means of a full frame sensor at a price point that, when the 5D was first introduced, was  a major breakthrough. Since that time, the 5D cameras have continued to provide excellent value and, more important, great image quality for Canon photographers doing work that benefits from the full frame sensors.
I won’t recount the whole list of camera specifications here, but I would like to comment on some highlights and their implications:
  • 22.3 megapixel full frame sensor – In the light on Nikon’s recent announcement of the 36MP D800 at about $3000, some who are interested in the greatest possibly sensor resolution were hoping for something comparable in the 5D3, so let me deal with the sensor right off the bat. While the 5D3 increases the MP count by roughly 1MP, this difference is essentially negligible when it comes to image resolution, so for all intents and purposes the 5D3 supplies the same resolution as the 5D2. Time will tell whether or not there are significant difference in the quality of image captured at this resolution, but those who were waiting for a 5D3 primarily because they wanted to upgrade from a 5D2 to a camera with greater resolution may be disappointed. It appears that Canon focused its efforts elsewhere with the 5D3. However, the fact is that 22MP produces truly excellent resolution – for example, producing truly excellent print results at 20″ x 30″ sizes.
  • ISO 100-25600 (extended range to ISO 50 and ISO 102400) – The continual improvement in the performance of DSLRs at higher ISO values is, in many ways, revolutionizing SLR photography. It was only a decade or less ago when the idea of shooting with any level of quality at an ISO above 100,000 would have been thought ludicrous – yet, here we are! You are not going to shoot at that ISO for typical photography, but this camera does continue to push the boundaries of high ISO that you can use. This makes it possible do do things that were extremely difficult or even impossible a few years ago: doing nighttime street photography, shooting action subjects like wildlife and sports in very low light, relying less on expensive large-aperture primes, and so forth.
  • 61-point autofocus system with 41 cross-type points and 5 dual diagonal AF points – As fine as the 5D2 is as a photograph producing system, its AF system was never anything to crow about. It was (and is) functional and effective, but hardly state of the art. However, in the 5D3, Canon seems to have addressed this concern, giving the camera a much improved set of AF features that should please those who want to use it for photographing moving subjects, and make the camera significantly more capable for photographing in low light and for shooting wildlife, sports, and similar.
  • Optimized metering system – The description sounds interesting… but, in my view, the metering system of the 5D2 was not particularly weak. I’ll chalk this one up to useful and interesting increment improvement until I hear otherwise.
  • Up to 6 frames-per-second continuous shooting (“burst mode”) – The improvements here are two-fold. First, the continuous shooting rate has been increase from slightly less than 4 fps on the 5D2 (not much different from the older 5D) to 6 fps. While some may point out that even faster frame rates are available on cameras optimized for such shooting, 6fps is actually pretty darn fast and will be quite good for almost all users. Second, and perhaps at least as important, the buffer depth has been improved. If I read the specifications correctly, the 5D3 can capture up to 18 raw format frames  at 6 fps. That is really, really great news from my perspective. The older versions not only worked more slowly but their buffers filled much more quickly, at which point the continuous mode frame rate dropped to an almost unusable rate. For this reason, we might have chosen to switch to the jpg mode in the past – but with the ability to shoot 18 frames of raw quality in burst mode… I would be a very happy photographer, indeed!
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) and multiple exposure modes – I’ll put these in the category of “may be interesting or even compelling” to some photographers. The inclusion of features designed for capturing HDR images is not unexpected, since there are many situations in which HDR techniques can be used to either produce the trademark “HDR effect” or for more subtle effects that improve photographs of scenes with extremely large dynamic range. The multiple exposure mode is an interesting thing in a few ways. For one, it returns a capability to SLR cameras that was lost for the most part when we left film behind.
  • Improved HD video – I’m not a “video guy,” so I don’t have a lot to say about this one. However, people I know who are focused on using DSLRs to produce video tell me that the improvements to the video specifications are significant and welcome. A simple bottom line might be that if you are among those who were excited by the ability to use your SLR lenses and the larger sensor of the 5D2 to make video, then you will likely be very pleased by the 5D3.
  • Dual CF/SD card – We have previously seen the inclusion of dual CF and SD memory card slots in high-end DSLR bodies, and it is good to see this feature added to the 5D3. There are several reasons to like this. Many DSLR photographers already own quantities of CF cards and don’t want to give up the ability to use them – who wants to have to use different card formats for different cameras? So a photographer using two bodies – not that uncommon – will be able to move cards between them with less worry about format compatibility. In addition, the smaller SD cards are becoming much more common. For example, a number of laptops now come with built-in SD card slots, eliminating the need for an external card reader. On top of that, if you use both types of cards in the camera you can record different formats on each card, make an in-camera backup copy of your photographs for safekeeping, or have the camera automatically switch from one card to another when the first card is full.
I’ll end by considering a few basic questions that various photographers might be asking:
  • “I have a 5D. Should I upgrade?” Unless the cost of the newer camera is an impediment, I think that the 5D3 is a very worthy upgrade from the original 5D. The difference between 12MP and 22MP is significant if you are producing large, high quality prints. Even more than that, the functional improvements are significant. They are not limited to those listed above but include a number of features missing from the older 5D: live view mode, video, better high ISO performance, the improved AF system, and more.
  • “I have a cropped sensor camera. Should I upgrade? The answer here is a bit trickier and it depends a lot on your needs and your circumstances. If you are mostly sharing your photographs electronically, you are getting fine quality images from your current camera, and it is a recent enough model that it includes most of the newer features, there may not be a great reason for you to upgrade. On the other hand, if you are the sort of shooter who will benefit from the full frame sensor, this could be a great time to make your move to a 5D3.
  • “I have a 5D2. Should I upgrade?”  This is a tough one, and I think it depends on why you want to upgrade and what benefits you are looking for in a newer camera. If you mostly shoot from the tripod and are largely happy with the overall performance of your 5D2, then upgrading to the 5D3 may or may not be worth it. There are situations in which it might be a more attractive idea. For example, if you tend to move to the newest model and keep the previous model as your backup/second camera, you might end up with a 5D2 and a 5d3, both with very similar image quality – and that could be a good thing. Or if you have a 5D2 and like it, but really feel that you need the improved burst mode and AF features of the 5d3, the upgrade could be more attractive to you.
  • “I wanted a higher MP count 5D-series camera!” – OK, that’s not a question. But I certainly have heard the concern among photographers who had been anticipating a camera with a 30+MP sensor, especially after Nikon introduced the 36MP D800. This is a bigger topic than I’ll take on in its entirety right here, but I do have a few initial thoughts. First, do you really need more than 22 MP? If you think so mainly because “more is always better,” you may not. As I mentioned earlier, I can reliably produce really excellent 20″ x 30″ prints from the 21MP 5D2. Are your needs greater than mine? Second, while I have no inside information, I’m pretty certain that the 5D3 will not be the last camera that Canon produces nor will 22MP be the highest MP sensor that they produce…
So, final verdict? Well, it may be too soon for a final verdict since we don’t actually have the camera yet! But a few generalizations seem possible. The camera will produce excellent image quality – more than enough for virtually all DSLR photographers. The improvements in ISO, burst mode, AF, video, and more seem to be significant and compelling. I think it is going to be a very successful camera.

The long wait is over — Canon unveils 5D Mk III DSLR camera

Canon's latest DSLR, the highly anticipated (and long awaited) EOS 5D Mark III, was unveiled on Friday by the Japanese camera giant. It should be in stores by the end of the month.
Canon announced the EOS 5D Mk III DSLR on Friday, a camera which takes its place between the hugely popular EOS 5D Mark II and Canon’s top-of-the-range professional EOS 1D X model.
This solid looking shooter packs a new 22.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (increased from 21.1 on the Mk II), a high-performance DIGIC 5+ imaging processor and a 61-point High Density Reticular Autofocus (AF) system — the last two being lifted from the 1D X.
The 5D Mk III is capable of fast continuous shooting of up to six fps, beating the speed of the EOS 5D Mk II by more than 50 percent. Canon’s new camera, which incidentally has been released on the 25th anniversary of its popular EOS camera system, also comes with improved weather resistance, which is certain to catch the eye of serious sports and wildlife photographers.

Its ISO capability stretches from 100 to 25,600 in the standard range; it can also be pulled down to 50 at the lower end and whacked up to two you’ll-probably-never-need settings of 51,200 and 102,400, unless, as Canon says in its press release, you work in the area of law enforcement, government or forensics.
The Mk III also features a 1,040,000-dot 3.2-inch rear LCD screen — again pulled from the top-of-the-range 1D X camera — and allows photographers to display two images side by side, which is a first for an EOS camera.
Dual memory card slots on Canon’s new offering accept CF and SD/SDHC/SDXC cards with various options available as to how they’re used, and 100 percent viewfinder coverage ensures shooters will be seeing the whole picture when they hit the shutter button.
The 5D Mk II model has been a hit with video makers the world over and so Canon is hoping the extra features on the Mk III will help cement its reputation among the film-making community. Improvements include better noise reduction, longer recording times (up to 30 minutes) and a built-in headphone jack for audio monitoring. The new camera can capture 1080p HD video at 24, 25 or 30 fps.
The 5D Mk III should be available at the end of this month with a body-only price tag of $3,499. A kit that includes the EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens will also be available for $4,299.
Missed anything? Canon’s press release about the new camera can be found here.

Picture perfect

This photo won third place (picture story/feature) in the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) 2012 contest. Paula Davis (L), mother of fallen US Army Private Justin Ray Davis, sits alone at his grave alongside hundreds of others in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery June 25, 2011. Reuters/Jason Reed/Jason Reed

Kodak to sell online photo business to Shutterfly

Eastman Kodak Co, which filed for bankruptcy protection in January, said it agreed to sell its on-line photo services business to "stalking horse" bidder Shutterfly Inc for $23.8 million.

A "stalkinmust surpass if they want to buy the company.

Shutterfly shares rose 18 percent to $31.70 in extended trade, following the news. The stock had closed at $26.91 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

The company said it will transfer Kodak Gallery customer accounts and images in the U.S. and Canada to Shutterfly, and will allow customers to opt out of the transition if they do not want their photos to be transferred.

Kodak is focusing its consumer business on retail and destination photo solutions as well as home printing products, said Pradeep Jotwani, president, consumer businesses and chief marketing officer of Kodak.

Kodak Gallery -- which enables users to store and share their own images and create custom printed photobooks, cards and albums -- has more than 75 million users.

Shutterfly, which boasts of millions of customers, bought privately held card design company Tiny Prints in a $333 million cash-and-stock deal last year.

It competes primarily with services like Hewlett Packard's Snapfish, Kodak's EasyShare Gallery and American Greetings' Photoworks and Webshots brandsg horse" bid is used as a starting bid or minimally accepted offer that other interested