Canon has 5 Video Creator Kits now

Canon now has 5 Video Creator Kits

Canon will showcase its new Canon EOS 80D and EOS M3 Video Creator Kits during VidCon 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center, June 23-25. Visitors will have touch-and-try areas to examine the products and will also have access to engaging live speakers and guest appearances as Anna Akana or Bertie Gregory.

Considered a video-centric DSLR, the EOS 80D is the new top of the line model for the Video Creator Kit series from Canon. The new EOS 80D Video Creator Kit is currently scheduled to be available in August 2016 with an estimated retail price of $2,049.00, and can already be pre-ordered on Canon’s online shop.

The Canon EOS 80D Video Creator Kit includes the camera, with the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (Nano) lens, an external microphone and 32GB SD card. This kit also includes the Canon Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 which allows creators to smoothly control their zoom at the push of a button or right from their compatible smartphone by using the Canon Camera Connect app.

Canon now has 5 Video Creator Kits

One aspect I find puzzling is that although Canon announced recently (along with the launch of the EOS 80D) a new microphone, the Directional Stereo Microphone DM-E1, a compact stereo directional microphone providing, according to Canon, “exceptional performance for when high-quality sound matters just as much as the visuals” and designed to “complement the movie quality of the EOS range”, the Video Creator Kit for the EOS 80D uses a RODE VideoMic GO. As Canon’s DM-E1 is scheduled to be available in the end of June and the EOS 80D Video Creator Kit is only available in August, I was expecting to see Canon promote their own microphone with the new kits. I’ve asked for a DM-E1 unit for testing, as I am curious about this accessory, but I’ve not heard from Canon yet.

The RODE VideoMic GO is, anyway, a logic solution for Canon’s Video Creator Kits, and that explains why the microphone is part of each of the kits available, as has been for quite a while. The microphone also appears associated with the EOS M3 Video Creator Kit, which is currently scheduled to be available in late June 2016 for an estimated retail price of $899.99. The EOS M3 Video Creator Kit includes an EOS M3 digital camera, a EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, the external microphone and a 32GB SD card.

Canon now has 5 Video Creator Kits

With the introduction of the EOS 80D Canon redesigned the box for the Video Creator Kit, ostensibly promoting the Dual Pixel Autofocus used in this new model. The other model with Dual Pixel AF, the EOS 70D, is the second DSLR on this family, offering three packages based on different lenses: the EF-S 18-135mm IS STM Lens, the EF-S 55-250mm IS STM, and the EF 70-300mm IS USM Lens.

Besides the EOS 80D, EOS 70D with three versions, Canon also has Video Creator Kits based on the models Rebel EOS T5i (two versions) and Rebel EOS T6i (two versions), and the new mirrorless model EOS M3. The new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM (Nano) is reserved for the EOS 80D for now, and it probably will until Canon sells all the “only” STM lenses, now that the new technology (Nano) seems to be the way forward.

At VidCon 2016, where the new Video Creator Kits will be available for visitors to try, there is also a chance to connect with some of the YouTube generation of video creators. Names like Tiffany Ma, Clarissa May, RJ Aguiar, Sawyer Hartman or Loey Lane will share their experience regarding their video and content creation experience. On the information provided Canon says that “YouTube sensation Anna Akana will discuss various topics, such as how she got her start on YouTube, what inspires her, and the challenges she faces during the creative and filmmaking process.”

Canon now has 5 Video Creator Kits

Meanwhile, Canon will also host an on-site social media contest that encourages attendees to share their talents (Fashion/Costume, Beauty, Dance, Skit, or Talent Tricks). Participants will have the chance to create their own unique 30-second video using Canon Video Creator Kits. One lucky winner will be selected to create a video with a YouTube star at the Canon Experience Center in Cosa Mesa, CA and win an EOS Rebel T6i Video Creator Kit!

The VidCon 2016 event will also be the place to go if you want to listen to Chris Peterson, Director of Photography, or wildlife photographer, filmmaker and host of Nat Geo WILD’s first digital series wild_life Bertie Gregory, talk about their experiences.

One last note: while the Video Creator Kits do grab one’s attention, if you take your time to buy each of the elements included in a package like the one for the EOS 80D, you might spare some money you can invest in something else… maybe a good tripod. In fact, browsing through B&H website one finds the EOS 80D with lens for $1,599.00, the RODE VideoMic GO for $99.00, the Canon Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 for $149.00 and a 32GB card, of which I picked the Sandisk Extreme version, instead of the Ultra in the package, for $30,95. So, with a better card, my total is $1,877.95, meaning I’ve some $170 extra to use on a good tripod. It is strange that a bundle costs more than the total of each of the products included into it… but maybe for some people just grabbing a box to take home is easier than to go round looking for the different equipment. Anyway, Canon also indicates that “availability, pricing and specifications are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary”, so some of these prices might change with time.

Color and infrared: one sensor does both

Color and infrared: one sensor does it all

Olympus participated in the development of a new imaging system for simultaneous acquisition of color and near-infrared images, using only a single image sensor. No more need to modify a camera if you want to shoot NIR photos or video.

With the advent of digital capture systems, photographers soon discovered that with a modification of their cameras, usually by removing a infrared blocking filter, they could see the world in the same way as with some film emulsions, like the Kodak HIE for black and white infrared. Many old digital cameras have been transformed so as to offer that vision, and the process continues to be used, as Philip Bloom’s video of Las Vegas shows. Bloom used a modified Sony RX100 IV at 250fps 2 second burst mode with a 665nm filter.

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The video published by Philip Bloom has a destination link where it is possible to read more about the experiment, which is, in fact, more of an ongoing creative experience. In fact, Philip Bloom writes that “I own three cameras now which have been physically modified by companies to shoot infrared. They have all had the infrared blocking filter replaced with an infrared passing filter of different strengths. My first camera to be modded, well over 2 years ago, was one of my Canon 5DmkIII with a 720nm filter in it. The second camera was a Sony RX100 II with a “super colour” 590nm filter. After loving the results of this little Sony, I wanted to get better video so I temporarily popped out the IR blocker from my Blackmagic 4K production camera. The results were good, but the camera is cumbersome and I also REALLY wanted super slow motion, so there was only one option…I needed to mod another camera.”

You can read the whole article following the link under the YouTube video, on YouTube, or directly from here. One more note, though, about this Las Vegas video. Philip Bloom says it was “mostly shot from a moving vehicle creating a surreal study or a surreal city all set to one of my favourite pieces of music, Beethoven’s 7th Symphony 2nd Movement”, with “additional colour work done with Film Convert.”

Color and infrared: one sensor does it all

Every now and then I get asked “why?” or “what’s the point?”, says Philip Bloom. He adds that “well there isn’t ‘a point’ as such. These are my experimentations and I find infrared fascinating. This is creating, without sounding too pretentious, ‘art’. After all what is the point of art? For me it is to fulfil a creative desire in me and give me pleasure (not that sort of pleasure!) This does. It is so different to what I am used to and gets my creative juices flowing. That is ‘why’!”

Well, in the near future it may become easier to try or use regularly infrared. Professor Masatoshi Okutomi, from the Department of Systems and Control Engineering, School of Science, and researchers at Tokyo Tech and Olympus R&D have developed a new imaging system for simultaneous acquisition of color (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) images using only a single image sensor. The new system will be demonstrated this month (from June 26 until July 1) at the IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR2016), in Las Vegas, under the tile “A Real-Time RGB-NIR Imaging System Using a Single Image Sensor”.

Color and infrared: one sensor does it all

Although there have been some variations on the disposition of colour filters, commercially available compact and low-cost color digital cameras acquire single-sensor color images with a color filter array (CFA)– an array of R, G, and B filters overlaid on the image sensor, which presents data as a mosaic (see image above). A set of image processing algorithms such as an interpolation process of the mosaic data called demosaicking, and color correction is performed to acquire a full-color image. In this way, current color cameras realize low-cost and easy-to-use color image acquisition.

In recent years, many applications using a pair of color (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) images have been proposed by computer vision and image processing communities. With this background, the group of Masatoshi Okutomi at Tokyo Tech and researchers at Olympus R&D have developed a prototype of a new imaging system for the simultaneous acquisition of RGB and NIR images using a single image sensor.

Color and infrared: one sensor does it all

The result, still in prototype, is a system based on a novel CFA that contains both RGB and NIR filters. The arrangement of the new CFA is shown in the image above, where “N” represents the NIR filter. The researchers have also developed an image processing system that can execute sets of image processing algorithms, such as demosaicking and color correction, in real time.

According to the information available, the new system can acquire and display high-quality RGB and NIR images simultaneously at 60 frames per second (fps). Since the new system can provide users with a practical solution for simultaneous acquiring both the RGB and the NIR images, it is expected to open up a new range of applications in many fields such as remote sensing, security, robotics, agriculture, and medical imaging, where the NIR information is useful. But as photographers and videographers also want to play with NIR, it makes sense to expect this sensor to appear in some camera models. Then there will be no more need to modify a camera, and the options in terms of creative work will expand.

A digest of last week’s photo and video news – Week 25

A digest of last week's photo and video news - Week 25

A digest of last week’s news is a selection of some of the news from week 24 from 2016 related to the worlds of photography and video, covering multiple topics, always rounded up with a reading suggestion.

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Hasselblad’s game changer

Confirming the rumours, Hasselblad announced last week that on June 22 at 14.00 Berlin time the company will have a new camera, a model which is presented as a “game changer in the world of photography”. Considering that the days of the nonsense Lunar models are gone and that Hasselblad wants to return to a logical path, everybody is following the news – or rumours – with interest. No information from Hasselblad, yet, to confirm if any of the ideas about the camera – medium-format, mirrorless, panoramic – is correct. Hasselblad’s YouTube channel will go live on the 22 to reveal the new model.

A digest of last week's photo and video news - Week 25

New large format photo paper

Canon continues to expand their offer in terms of large format media options with the launch of four new options for users of their imagePROGRAF PRO printers. The Photo Paper Pro Platinum, Photo Paper Pro Luster, and Photo Paper Pro Premium Matte media, previously available in cut sheet for the imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer users, are now available in 100-foot rolls for those images that were meant to be printed in large format. The first of its kind to be added to the imagePROGRAF media lineup, the Water Resistant Matte Polypropylene paper expands the applications available for imagePROGRAF large format printers.

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Sony shows how to use flash

Sony published recently a set of three videos explaining how to use wireless flash (optical) with the Alpha 7 cameras. The videos go from a basic setup, with one unit, to a more complex setup, controlling three groups, and cover the essential aspects of setting the whole system to work. Last week Phottix announced the launch of their wireless radio trigger system for Sony, but these tutorial videos are all centered on the use of the traditional way of communication between flash units.

A digest of last week's photo and video news - Week 25

A 4×5 film duplicator from Pentax

For those aiming to transfer their negative and transparency film to digital, Ricoh announced a new accessory, the Pentax Film Duplicator 4×5. Produced on order, indicates Ricoh, this optional accessory saves the images on large 4×5-format (100mm by 125mm) film as digital files, by working in combination with a digital SLR camera, a macro lens and a dedicated flash unit. This accessory allows the user to easily duplicate the images found on the film, as if taking pictures of them. Unlike conventional film scanners, it doesn’t require a lengthy read-out time, so it greatly reduces work time.

A digest of last week's photo and video news - Week 25

How Do I Do That in Photoshop?

How Do I Do That in Photoshop? The Quickest Ways to Do the Things You Want to Do, Right Now! is the title of Scott Kelby’s book published by Rocky Nook. Until June 23 the book, a total of 288 pages packed with tips, can be yours for a special price: $10 for the eBook with coupon KELBYPHOTOSHOP10, $15 for the printed book with coupon KELBYPHOTOSHOP15 or the eBook and the Book for $25 with coupon KELBYPHOTOSHOP25

Blackmagic’s Micro Cinema Camera Delivers POVs on Peugeot Commercial

POVs. Helmet Camera. The Peugeot spot, found below, looks great. The fact it was shot on Blackmagic cameras is a testament to the kind of big splash Blackmagic Design has made on the world of production. What’s really interesting to me is the Peugeot production looks similar with what I understand to be one of the more expensive commercials ever made, Guy Ritchie’s Nike spot “Take It To The Next Level.” Now, I’m not saying these are similar in every way. I’m only saying the use of POVs to tell a story is similar. The big difference between these spots? Peugeot’s POVs in their new commercial likely cost a faction of Nike’s.

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Yes, Guy Ritchie’s spot is full of soccer stars, is three times the length, and the production did a ton of crowd VFX which likely contributed to the larger budget. It is a great spot. So is the camera work… in both spots. Here is the difference nearly 8 to 10 years will make. The camera used on Nike’s spot, the Silicon Imaging SI-2K Mini, cost around $14,000.00 back then and the Blackmagic camera used for the POVs in the Peugeot’s spot costs $995.00.

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Enough with comparisons. Both spots look fantastic, but were made at different times. Undoubtedly, the time it was made difference means a whole hell of lot to the amount of money needed to pull off each commercial. Let’s dive into the details about how the Peugeot spot was made.

Peugeot POVs Details

Peugeot POVs

Like I wrote early, the Peugeot commercial was shot on the Micro Cinema Camera and the 4.6K URSA Mini. The URSA Mini was used for all the non-POV shots. Assemblage K.K., a Japanese-based production company, created the commercial. “”In this commercial, we used a POV shot for most of the scene to be able to deliver the actual experience of a test drive to the viewers. That’s why we needed a small camera,” said Alexandre Bartholo, the founder of Assemblage K.K. “We attached the Micro Cinema Camera to a helmet. It was very important to control the camera position since we wanted the camera to be as close to human eye level as much as possible. The camera body is so small it felt like a small extension of the lens profile. The small footprint also allowed for better and more accurate positioning. The Micro Cinema Camera was stuck to the side of the helmet to shoot realistic POV footage, which worked perfectly. We also added a plate to the helmet so that we could move the camera back and forth slightly and change its angle.”

Peugeot POVs

I recently returned a review copy of the Micro Cinema Camera, and I can say the small size of the camera makes it perfect for POV shooting. Also, the size means I might be more inclined to use the Micro Cinema Camera over a GoPro just for the lens options, at the least. More importantly for me, I’d used the Micro over a GoPro because I’d want to shoot raw and give myself access to the 12 stops of dynamic range. It appears, the team who shot the Peugeot commercial had the same to say about shooting raw. They recorded raw 3:1 in-camera but took the additional step to record ProRes to a device via the HDMI output. “Blackmagic cameras are able to output a Log image even from SDI and HDMI out, so it gives me peace of mind knowing I can still get backup footage which has enough quality for color grading even if something happened to my RAW footage.”

Simplicity of Design

Peugeot POVBlackmagic does not make overly complicated cameras. They have relatively simple menus and are simple to use. This focus on “the simple” is what helped attract the Micro Cinema Camera to the Peugeot production. “”The one thing I really like about Blackmagic cameras is the simplicity of the settings. There are so many settings on other cameras and I get worried that am I using the right setting for the shooting? But as for Blackmagic, there are a very few settings to choose, so there is no need for me to worry.” Alexandre concluded; “Micro Cinema Camera is presented as a simple camera that is robust and gives you good images. The features inside are simple, and out of the package it does exactly what it is supposed to do.” I can attest to what he’s saying.

Two different camera systems used on two different spots. Blackmagic may not have invented the small, or micro, camera capable of POVs, but they definitely put it within grasp of smaller productions without compromising the camera’s image making capabilities. I think, and I might be wrong, the Micro Cinema Camera will be as popular as the Blackmagic Pocket Camera but for different reasons. What the Micro does well is offer up a camera you can add just about anywhere, just like the GoPro, but with raw recording, many different lens options, and 12 stops of dynamic range. Lastly, if you’re interested in a little more “how’d they do it” here is the behind-the-scenes from the Peugeot commercial shoot.

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P+S Technik Announces 70-200 1.5x Anamorphic Zoom Lens

At Cine Gear 2016 P+S Technik added a second Cinemascope lens to their repertoire. The New 70-200mm anamorphic zoom will compliment their original anamorphic zoom, the 35-70mm. The new zoom will feature the same interesting flare characteristics and cover full-frame image circles found in the wide zoom already in production. Now, a shooter could, if so desired, only use the Munich-based cinema equipment manufacturer’s lenses on their film or production and not feel like they’re compromising.

Zoom

The 35-70mm and 70-200mm lenses are based on a front anamorphic lens design with a 1.5x squeeze factor. The front anamorphic design is one of the features giving the lenses its unique look and flare characteristics I feel in love with when we shot our little short film “Winner Every Time.”

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1.3x? 1.5x? 2.0x? Which is best for you? My opinion, for whatever it’s worth, when shooting on a Super 35mm sized sensor the 1.5x is a natural and logical choice because you end up with around a 2.67:1 aspect ratio. This allows for a bit of re-framing, if so desired, to match a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Again, if that’s what you want to do. For me, in the short film we shot on the 1.5x 35-70mm anamorphic zoom I kept the 2.67:1 aspect ratio. I loved the way it looked.

on9-Zoom-800x600The new P+S Technik 70-200mm zoom is designed for Super 35mm and larger sensors. This includes Full-Frame sensors. To me, this is a huge deal, and another reason why these lenses are a great investment. Not only will the 35-70mm and 70-200mm give you an incredibly interesting look, but they will likely work well on nearly every sensor being produced today.

Then there is the ability to change the lens mount. When I wrote my original article about the P+S Technik 35-70mm anamorphic zoom I discovered that P+S Technik is able to change the lens mounts on the zoom: from PL to EF and Nikon F. To me, these two lenses will be the Indie anamorphic zooms to use when they make their way to the States. Below, you can see a series of screen grabs P+S Technik shared showing off the 70-200mm zoom’s performance and characteristics.

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Panasonic 12mm/F1.4: precise focusing in 4K video

Panasonic 12mm/F1.4: precise focusing in 4K video

Equivalent to a 24mm on a 35mm format camera, the new Leica DG Summilux 12mm/F1.4 ASPH for Micro Four Thirds enables photographers and videographers to work indoor shooting in low lighting and produces an impressive, natural defocusing effect with its F1.4 aperture.

Integrating two aspherical lenses, two UED (Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion) lenses and an ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) lens, the lens system is comprised of 15 elements in 12 groups. The adoption of five special lenses makes it possible to meet the stringent LEICA standard for exceptional image quality with high resolution and minimum distortion.

Panasonic 12mm/F1.4: precise focusing in 4K video

Panasonic indicates that “in general, flare is commonly seen around the periphery of a point source with many high-speed lenses when a large aperture is employed”, however, the new lens achieves high resolution from the center of the image to the corners by suppressing this flare. This means that users can take advantage of this lens to shoot a brilliant night skies or night scenes containing illumination to capture true-to-life images with minimal blurring and distortion at the edges. The multi-coated lens elements also minimize ghosting and flaring.

Incorporating an inner focus drive system and a stepping motor, the new lens is capable of smooth, silent operation. When used in combination with any Lumix G camera and its high-speed, high-precision contrast AF system, both photo and video recording are optimised. Panasonic adds that “it is also compatible with the sensor drive at a maximum of 240 fps to take full advantage of cameras with high-speed AF” and continue stating that “this stunning AF performance is excellent for recording 4K videos, where precise focusing is essential”.

Panasonic 12mm/F1.4: precise focusing in 4K video

The 12mm/F1.4 ASPH. comes with an aperture ring for direct, intuitive aperture control. Nine blades give the aperture a rounded shape that produces an attractively smooth effect in out-of-focus areas when shooting at larger aperture settings. A highly reliable metal mount assures durability for repeated use. The lens mount, the barrel and the hood are all made of metal to provide a sleek, sophisticated design that matches the entire line-up of what Panasonic calls the Lumix G Digital Single Lens Mirrorless (DSLM) cameras.

Externally, the lens boasts a rugged, splash/dust-proof design (when combined with splash and dustproof Lumix G Mirrorless camera models) to meet the needs of a wide-range of photographic situations. A highly reliable metal mount assures durability for repeated use. The lens mount, the barrel and the hood are all made of metal to provide a sleek, sophisticated design that matches the entire line-up of Lumix G cameras.

Blackmagic URSA Minis Updated With Firmware 3.3

Improving the color found in the 4.6K URSA Mini and 4K URSA Mini leads the charge with the latest round of Blackmagic Camera firmware updates. Specifically, Blackmagic wants to improve the Video look, Film look being the other option, when shooting footage not needing to go through color correction or needing a LUT. To help with monitoring, Blackmagic is also updating the Electronic Viewfinder so what you see on the LCD matches what you see in the EVF. Makes sense. You can download the new firmware here.

Firmware Update Details

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Shooting Video Mode

FirmwareI just came off a full day shoot where I had to hand off my footage immediately. For better or worse, it was a shoot and pray kind of gig and the 4.6K URSA Mini was up to the task then. I shot Video Mode and treated my shoot much like I did during my news photographer days. Then I manipulated white balance and light to capture the color I wanted. I can say, gaging color from one shot to another in an EVF, or small monitor, can be hard to do accurately. It’s always in an edit bay when you see the slight difference in color and it looks anything but slight.

At the time I saw my footage in the show I had a suspicious feeling it could have looked a touch better. I guess I wasn’t wrong. Blackmagic had a feeling it could look better too. Now, I feel even more confident when shooting Video Mode.

4.6K URSA Mini & 4K URSA

These are two cameras similar in shape, size, and appearance. Actually, they look identical not just similar, but the image they capture is different. One camera shoots 15 stops of dynamic range and the other shoots 12 stops of dynamic range to name one difference. Blackmagic is in the process of trying to make these two cameras, with different sensors, capture similar looking footage. How close will they get? We’ll find out as they continue to update firmware and introduce the User Interface and Operating System.

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Acer and Asus show new monitors

Acer and Asus show new monitors

Showcased at Computex 2016, the largest IT tradeshow in Asia, the new Acer BM320 4K UHD monitor is a 32 inch screen designed for graphics and video professionals. Asus also has a 32 inch, the ASUS ProArt 5K UHD, along with a ROG XG Station 2, able to transform a laptop into a VR-gaming powerhouse, says the company.

The BM320, from Acer, offers 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) on a 32-inch panel which offers, according to Acer, “images with professional-grade color accuracy and amazing detail”. The information provided indicates that “photographers and graphic designers will appreciate its support for 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut, while video editors and directors can work with confidence as it covers 100% of the Rec. 709 color gamut and 90% of DCI-P3.”

Acer and Asus show new monitors

The BM320 supports 10-bit color depth, which provides 64 times more color depth over conventional 8-bit monitors, and every unit is factory pre-tuned and tested to ensure a Delta E<2 color accuracy. It comes with Uniformity Compensation to help reduce uneven brightness and color fluctuations across the screen, adds Acer.

The BM320 features a sleek ZeroFrame design which virtually eliminates the screen’s bezel for a seamless visual experience when multiple displays are put together. In addition, Acer’s ErgoStand lets users tilt, swivel, pivot or adjust the height of the monitor with ease, ensuring that they find the perfect viewing position effortlessly.

No indication from Acer, yet, of price of availability.

Acer and Asus show new monitors

Asus had multiple new products on show at Computex 2016, including ASUS Transformer 3, an ultra-slim and compact 2-in-1 PC, which has a 12.6-inch display with a resolution of 2880 by 1920, so it makes complete sense that their 32-inch ASUS ProArt 5K UHD provides 5120 x 2880 resolution images through a single DisplayPort connection.

Designed for graphics professionals, the ASUS ProArt 5K UHD has a wide color gamut with 100% Rec. 709, 99.5% Adobe RGB and 95% DCI-P3 color-space support. The company also showed the ASUS ProArt PA27AQ monitor, featuring a 2560 x 1440 WQHD panel with a 100% sRGB gamut. With a frameless design on all four sides, it is ideal for multi-display setups, according to Asus. Asus has not yet indicated price for their new ProArt monitors.

Acer and Asus show new monitors

Both ProArt monitors feature the exclusive ASUS ProArt Calibration Technology, which includes color accuracy tuning and uniformity compensation for easy monitor calibration. It offers overall data mapping, correlation and calibration, and saves all color parameter profiles on the display’s internal scaler IC chip instead of the PC, so users do not have to recalibrate settings whenever the display is hooked up to different computers.

Asus also showcased their ROG XG Station 2, an external graphics-card dock that turns a laptop into VR-gaming powerhouse. A 680W power supply is designed inside and supports the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX and AMD Radeon graphics cards. ROG XG Station 2 is equipped with Thunderbolt 3 and an exclusive proprietary connector that improves performance up to a further 15%. Asus adds that “it’s easy to connect and can be unplugged without restarting the laptop — and includes four USB 3.0 ports and a gigabit LAN socket for extended connectivity and convenience.”

Acer and Asus show new monitors

The ROG XG Station 2 continues the idea of the Station 1, from 2007, but follows the recent trend for these external devices. With a price of $300 for the case – you’ve to buy the graphics cards to place inside, the ROG XG Station 2 enters a market where these enclosures are the new trend for 2016.

Although the ROG XG Station 2 appears as a solution for gaming, its use extends far beyond, and that explains why it is a solution being used by more manufacturers, and not just to allow laptops to transform into machines able to run Virtual Reality applications; now that consoles seem to be left behind when it comes to Virtual Reality and other recent applications, the PC enters a new era of customization, both for work and play, where the external graphics enclosure using Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) plug and play connections is just one of the new elements of a revolution started early 2016.

Zeiss: aspherical lenses for mobile video

Zeiss: aspherical lenses for mobile video

The new accessory lens kit for the iPhone, jointly developed by Zeiss and ExoLens, is the first aspherical lens for mobile photographers. It is a Zeiss Mutar 0.6x Asph T* wide-angle lens, which is available in Apple stores with a price of $199,95.

In addition to the wide-angle lens, Zeiss and ExoLens are also planning to launch a tele and a macro-zoom lens this summer. The series of three high-performance lenses (wide-angle, telephoto and macro) is a new breed of mobile photography optics that will allow the massive community of iPhone photographers and videographers to tell a deeper story with gold-standard gear.

“The joint goal of ExoLens and Zeisss is to bring never-before-seen quality and versatility to the rapidly growing market of mobile photographers and videographers,” says John E. Fellowes, Chief Executive Officer of Fellowes Brands, which owns ExoLens. “The collaboration represents a truly pivotal step in the development of accessory lenses for mobile phones.”

Zeiss: aspherical lenses for mobile video

Wide-angle and telephoto lenses feature the same aspherical lens technology that was previously reserved for high-end DSLR cameras and have brought them straight to the Apple iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 6 Plus/6s Plus as a compact mobile accessory lens. All of the lenses also incorporate the proven T* antireflective coating from Zeiss, which minimizes reflections at the glass-to-air surfaces and improves the transmission of light.

“The quality of an image is decisively influenced by the lens and its technical properties,” says Dr. Winfried Scherle, Head of the Zeiss Consumer Optics business group. “The ExoLens with optics by ZEISS series has achieved the best possible technical balance between small size, light weight and high image quality to provide ambitious mobile photographers with top-quality tools to support their creativity.”

Zeiss: aspherical lenses for mobile video

The innovative ExoLens bracket, which connects the Zeiss lens to your phone for a truly portable setup, which even fulfills professional demands, is made from precision-machined aluminum and includes soft interior liners to ensure a perfect fit and protection from scratches. The substantial and secure bracket also features an integrated standard tripod mount (1/4″-20) and cold shoe mount, allowing for compatibility with additional accessories such as a microphone or external video light. These wide-angle accessory lens kits include the Zeiss Mutar 0.6x Asph T* wide-angle lens, machined-aluminum ExoLens bracket, soft device-specific liners (for the iPhone 6/iPhone 6s or iPhone 6 Plus/iPhone 6s Plus), lens hood and lens caps, and two microfiber lens pouches.

4K on the iPhone

Leading the collection is the new ExoLens with optics by Zeis Mutar 0.6x Asph T* wide-angle lens. The lens is virtually distortion-free thanks to its aspherical design, has exceptional edge-to-edge contrast and achieves a unique picture quality. The wide-angle lens (35 mm-equivalent focal length f = 18 mm) is ideal for landscape, architecture and creative shots with unusual perspectives. It’s also perfect for the many videographers now filming professional-quality 4K videos on their iPhone, who want a wider shot than their narrow iPhone camera currently offers.

Zeiss: aspherical lenses for mobile video

The ExoLens with optics by Zeiss Mutar 0.6x Asph T* wide-angle lens and the telephoto Zeisss Mutar 2.0x Asph T* (35 mm-equivalent focal length f = 56 mm ) lens both feature an afocal optical design, which is different to traditional interchangeable lenses for system cameras. This means the lenses have infinite focal length, i.e. the focus is set at infinity. This enables photography of objects from infinity to the close-up range, the limits of which are defined only by the technical properties of the mobile phone camera.

Protection against dust and water spray makes the wide-angle and telephoto lenses perfect for the challenges of outdoor use. Meanwhile, the macro lens is the first and only mobile lens to offer continuous focus adjustment function, giving a 40-80 mm focal length (35-mm equivalent). This enables the full-frame capture of objects with diameters of between three and twelve centimeters. An optionally attachable and semi-transparent diffuser serves as a spacer, allowing light to shine evenly on the object and enables convenient focusing, even with a short object distance and shallow depth of field.

Phottix Odin II for Sony finally available

Phottix Odin II for Sony finally available

Sony cameras have always been the last of the trio – Canon, Nikon and Sony – to get products from Phottix, so the fact that the Odin II TTL Flash Trigger only sees the light now should be no surprise. Surprise may be the fact that the transmitter is launched without any receivers, contrary to what happens with Canon and Nikon.

If you thought “what good is a transmitter without receivers?” be aware that the Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger Transmitter for Sony can easily control and trigger compatible products within the Phottix ecosystem, including the Mitros+ TTL Transceiver Flash (For Sony), the 2016 TIPA-award winning Phottix Indra360 TTL Studio light, and the lauded Indra500 TTL Studio light. So, even if you do not have the option to use the Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger Receiver, like Canon and Nikon users have, you still can control some of the lights made by Phottix. Firmware upgrades for the Mitros+ and Indra series adding Odin II functionality are available for download.

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Furthermore, the Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger Transmitter for Sony is also compatible with multiple receivers/transceivers from Phottix: Odin, Strato, Strato II and Atlas II, although some limitations may apply.

According to Phottix, the Odin II gives photographers more control than they have ever experienced; control that is direct, logical, and fast. Each of the 5 Groups has its own quick-access button. Changes are made by turning a large, perfectly-placed, control dial. Pick the light. Make the change. Lock it in. Shoot. A large, illuminated LCD panel shows all settings at a glance. Control five lights or groups of lights, in TTL Auto or Manual. Switch a Group OFF and its display line disappears from the screen. Displaying only active groups assures an easier and simpler viewing experience.

With a price of $215.00, the Phottix Odin II TTL Flash Trigger Transmitter for Sony is already available on the market.

Phottix Odin II for Sony finally available

Major Features

  • 5 groups A, B, C, D, E
  • 32 channels with User-set Digital ID
  • Group buttons and control dial for fast changes
  • TTL Power Control +/- 3EV
  • Manual Power Control 1/1 to 1/128
  • High Speed Sync*
  • Second Curtain Sync (Nikon, Sony only)
  • AF Assist Light
  • Flash Zoom control
  • Modeling Light Control with Indra500/360
  • 2.4 GHz, Range 332ft (100m)
  • Compatible with Indra500/360 TTL, Mitros+, Odin, Strato, Strato II, Atlas II
  • Firmware upgradable