Ricoh extends DSLR optics line with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens

DFA24-70_bRicoh Imaging Americas Corp. announced a 24-70mm high-performance K-mount lens for Pentax DSLR cameras. The weather-resistent HD Pentax-D FA 24-70mm f/2.8 ED SDM WR lens is compatible with full-frame, 35mm-size image sensors. The lens provides a 24-70mm focal-length range with full-frame 35mm image sensors, and a 37-107mm range with current PENTAX K-series APS-C bodies.

By incorporating three Extra-low Dispersion (ED) optical elements and four aspherical optical elements, the lens assures sufficient light levels even at the edges of the image field, and compensates for various aberrations to deliver fine-detailed images, rich in contrast and resolution.

DJI announces Micro Four Thirds aerial cameras for professionals

Drones have been used for serious photography and filmmaking for quite some time, but drone leader DJI has upped the ante with two aerial cameras featuring Micro Four Thirds sensors. Both cameras can take 16 megapixel stills and 4k video on a stabilized 3-axis gimbal integrating with the Inspire Interchangeable lens options with remotely controllable focus and aperture.

The $4,499 Zenmuse X5, including a DJI Inspire 1 and DJI’s MFT 15mm F1.7 ASPH lens, will begin shipping before the end of September. The Zenmuse X5R will be available in Q4 2015 for $7,999. Both can be purchased as stand alone cameras with, or without lens.

DJI claims Zenmuse X5 is the first commercially-available micro four thirds camera designed specifically for aerial use. The camera will capture high-resolution 16 megapixel photos or 4k, 24fps and 30fps videos in complex lighting environments. Zenmuse X5 will support additional lenses and offers full wireless aperture and focus control. At the time of launch, the Zenmuse X5 supports four interchangeable lenses, including the DJI MFT 15mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, Panasonic Lumix 15mm G Leica DG Summilux f/1.7 ASPH lens, Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 lens, and Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 lens.

While in flight, pilots can adjust both focus and aperture via the DJI GO app or through DJI’s previously-announced Follow Focus system. The camera’s lightweight 340 gram (0.75 pound) body integrates with DJI’s signature 3-axis Zenmuse gimbal technology, creating effortlessly smooth video and stabilized long-exposure photos (up to 8 seconds).

“The professional applications of the Zenmuse X5 are almost endless,” says Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging, DJI. “In addition to shooting professional-quality photos and 4K video, the new camera can be used to create high-quality aerial maps and 3D models, and can also help industrial teams get even more detail from their aerial imaging pursuits, for example, in utility inspection using a drone.”

DJI also announced the Zenmuse X5R camera, which shares the same sensor and lens compatibility with the X5, but records video both to an onboard microSD card as well as to a removable 512GB solid state disk (SSD) on the gimbal’s top plate. The Zenmuse X5R records CinemaDNG (RAW) video to the SSD, and opens up lossless 4k video recording in a groundbreaking, compact form factor with video bitrates averaging 1.7Gbps (with a maximum of 2.4Gbps). The Zenmuse X5R also offers a brand-new D-LOG mode that offers a broader array of color correction options in post production. To support the management of Zenmuse X5R Cinema DNG files, DJI will release software to edit and convert RAW camera footage. CineLight, which will be available when the Zenmuse X5R camera is released later this year, simplifies users’ workflows by offering offline proxy editing before converting the CinemaDNG files to ProRes.

Apple breathes life into old idea with Live Photos

Apple iPhone 6 and 6S

Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus feature force-touch screens

Apple Inc. once again grabbed headlines with its fall product announcements, primarily about new hardware, like the AppleTV, the iPad Pro and two new iPhones, the 6s and the 6s Plus. Coverage of the new products has been, well, extensive to say the least, so we thought we would look at the photo-specific features of the announcements.

The new iPhones support Force Touch, already found on MacBooks and the Apple Watch, but this version is called “3D Touch” because it has varying levels of sensitivity. Apple calls two new gestures — Peek and Pop — to let the user “dip in and out” of content without their place. For example, pressing lightly to “Peek” at a photo, and press a little harder to Pop “open” the photo itself.

Apple also updated the camera hardware onthe new iPhones, featuring a 12-megapixel sensor with advanced pixel technology and Apple-designed image-signal processor; and a new 5-megapixel FaceTime HD camera and “Retina Flash” (which momentarily makes the display three times brighter with True Tone lighting, for illuminating low-light selfies).

One of the more interesting iPhone 6s camera features was Live Photos, which are 12-megapixel images with a short video component. Basically, the camera records a second-and-a-half worth of images both before and after the shutter press, and then plays the images with a 3-D Touch. At the press conference, Apple execs said these are not videos, but actual 12-megapixel images presented in succession, with sound. Live Photos can also be viewed as a watch face on Apple Watch.

While Live Photos was presented as a new, compelling feature, similar features have been available from other camera makers. For example, Panasonic calls this “4K Photo Pre-burst mode” on its Lumix G7, while makers like Casio and Sony have used pre-burst images to ensure the subjects are smiling. So Live Photos is not a technologically new idea, but Apple will do much to popularize this concept.

Here is a video demonstrating the Live Photos feature:


For video, both of the new iPhones offer HD and 4K video recording; the iPhone 6s Plus adds optical image stabilization to video recording.


Condé introduces customized Lace Faces


DyeFlex LaceFaces

Condé Systems Inc., Mobile, Ala., added DyeFlex Lace Faces to its DyeTrans line of sublimatable products. Suitable for  shoe sizes 9-12 with an average of 3.25-inches of vertical open lace space, each Lace Face provides a 1.62-by-by-3.25-inch white image area that can be custom decorated for schools, sports teams, fundraisers, and shoe retailers wanting to adorn high-end footwear with unique, full-color messages and designs.


Photo retailer a catalyst for change


Staff members of Buckley's, which is benefiting from a new shop local initiative

Staff members of Buckley’s show off their shop local sticker

— by Chris Wilkinson

Joanne Hall, owner of well known New Zealand photo retailer Donald Buckley Photographics has been a driving force behind her township’s goal to regain local goodwill and customers for its businesses.
The Love Gore – Shop Local initiative is part of a major program that’s designed to help retailers adapt to meet their market, build capability and re-engage the community with its stores and services. The initiative has seen support from across the commercial and consumer sectors — and led to an awareness that without support, town centers will be under threat.
Sponsored by Gore District Council and developed by town center strategists First Retail Group, the plan is to continue building on the program by listening to customers and helping retailers become ‘on radar’ with their marketplace.
Lorraine Nicolson, First Retail Group’s project lead, has been especially enthused by Gore’s early success with the strategy. “While we deliver these programs across the globe, Gore’s community has especially embraced this,” she said, citing the 130+ people that attended the recent launch.
Hall’s business knows a thing or two about adaptation and meeting its market. The much loved retailer has been developing the memories for generations of local residents and continues to diversify as it meets the needs to today’s consumer. The GoRetail program is helping reawaken people to stores like Donald Buckley Photographics, and the retailer is already seeing an increase in customers walking back through its doors.