20 December 2012

Adobe Photoshop CS6 13.0.3/13.1.1 updates

Today Adobe released an update for Photoshop CS6. Version 13.0.3 (Mac, non Creative Cloud subscription only) and version 13.1.1 (Mac and Windows, Creative Cloud subscriptions), resolve the following, quite serious, bugs:
  • Certain PSD files fail to open when they have layer FX applied to layers
  • The application crashes when opening certain EPS files
  • On Retina machines, the application crashes when the Navigator panel is displayed in some workspaces
To get the update, simply choose Help|Updates from within Photoshop. This launches the Adobe Application Manager from where you can select and install the Adobe Photoshop CS6 update.

Note: It may take a while for the update to show everywhere. I did not yet see it, for instance. The update should definitely be showing up soon though.

19 December 2012

Instagram responds and promises to change the terms

Yesterday I posted about the new Instagram Terms of Use and how they were basically selling you off to the advertisement market. As it turns out I wasn't the only one who raised concerns…

The public outcry over the new terms has led Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom to issue a statement clarifying the terms of use and, more importantly, announcing a modification meant to address the concerns.

I find the statement a bit apologetic to be honest; the terms were pretty clearly formulated and understandable, even without legal knowledge. Anyhow, let's hope Instagram indeed changes the Terms of Use and clearly state what they intend to do with your data (and what not). As of now, however, the text is still the same, leaving the door open for their use of your images without your control… So please keep a close look at the terms before you agree to continue your account or start a new one!

Here's the full text of the statement (marking done by me):
Yesterday we introduced a new version of our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service that will take effect in thirty days. These two documents help communicate as clearly as possible our relationship with the users of Instagram so you understand how your data will be used, and the rules that govern the thriving and active Instagram community. Since making these changes, we’ve heard loud and clear that many users are confused and upset about what the changes mean.

I’m writing this today to let you know we’re listening and to commit to you that we will be doing more to answer your questions, fix any mistakes, and eliminate the confusion. As we review your feedback and stories in the press, we’re going to modify specific parts of the terms to make it more clear what will happen with your photos.

Legal documents are easy to misinterpret. So I’d like to address specific concerns we’ve heard from everyone:

Advertising on Instagram From the start, Instagram was created to become a business. Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram. Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.

To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question. Our main goal is to avoid things like advertising banners you see in other apps that would hurt the Instagram user experience. Instead, we want to create meaningful ways to help you discover new and interesting accounts and content while building a self-sustaining business at the same time.

Ownership Rights Instagram users own their content and Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos. Nothing about this has changed. We respect that there are creative artists and hobbyists alike that pour their heart into creating beautiful photos, and we respect that your photos are your photos. Period.

I always want you to feel comfortable sharing your photos on Instagram and we will always work hard to foster and respect our community and go out of our way to support its rights.

Privacy Settings Nothing has changed about the control you have over who can see your photos. If you set your photos to private, Instagram only shares your photos with the people you’ve approved to follow you. We hope that this simple control makes it easy for everyone to decide what level of privacy makes sense.

I am grateful to everyone for their feedback and that we have a community that cares so much. We need to be clear about changes we make — this is our responsibility to you. One of the main reasons these documents don’t take effect immediately, but instead 30 days from now, is that we wanted to make sure you had an opportunity to raise any concerns. You’ve done that and are doing that, and that will help us provide the clarity you deserve. Thank you for your help in making sure that Instagram continues to thrive and be a community that we’re all proud of. Please stay tuned for updates coming soon.

Kevin Systrom co-founder, Instagram

18 December 2012

Instagram is selling you off

With Facebook taking over Instagram, I was already afraid something like this was going to happen. But with the new Terms of Use (active as of 16 January 2013) Facebook is going even further than I had anticipated.

The new terms of use allow them to use and sell your pictures for advertising. While you may feel honoured your images are being used for this, think a bit about the consequences. First of, people are going to be freely making money from your work. While you may be OK with even that, there's another associated problem with their use of your work without your control: you may get connected with a brand/image that you totally disagree with.

Would you want to be associated with a brand that goes totally against your beliefs, makes use of child labour, produces chemical weapons, is known for heavy pollution, killing people, …? I think not.

If you don't want any of this, there's basically only one solution: quit using instagram altogether and kill your account. Before you do, download all your images first of course. For instance using instaport. Note: Instaport is finding heavy traffic at this moment (I guess more people are using it to ditch their Instagram account) so this could take a while…

Here's the text article in the updated terms of use granting Instagram the right to sell you off.
Rights, Article 2
Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.

Note: Sure, chances of your images actually being used in an advertisement are very slim; there are simply very many images to choose from. And yes, there are some further guards against using images with people on them. So yes, the actual risk may not be that big, the implications, however, could be huge. So my advise would still be: ditch that Instagram account (and be very careful what you do on Facebook and other Social Media as they have similar far reaching terms of use).

17 December 2012

Nikon D4 and Nikon 1 receive Germany’s iF Product Design Award 2013

The Nikon D4 DSLR camera and the Nikon 1 system (the cameras, lenses, speedlight, and GPS unit) have been awarded the “iF design award 2013: iF product design award.”

The iF product design award is one of the most important design awards worldwide. With the iF label, participating manufacturers, developers and designers will be able to present a strong incentive to buy their products. Since 1953, the iF label has been used as a marketing tool for excellent products – ranging from A for automobiles to Z for zip locks – and has received a great deal of attention in the media and from the general public. Participants have included large international corporations as well as small to medium sized companies and design studios.

14 December 2012

Canon EOS 6D Firmware update 1.1.2

Canon has released a firmware update for their EOS 6D DSLR camera.

Firmware Version 1.1.2 incorporates the following fix:
  • Fixes a phenomenon which prevents movie files shot using EOS 6D Digital SLR cameras from being played back on YouTube.

Helpful Information from the release notes

Firmware version 1.1.2 may present some Video Snapshot limitations. Please review the two scenarios and the workaround provided below.

EOS 6D running Firmware Version 1.0.9:
If a video snapshot captured when the camera was running firmware 1.0.9 is combined with a video snapshot created by a camera which was running firmware 1.1.2, the resulting video snapshot album will be corrupted.

EOS 6D running Firmware Version 1.1.2:
If you try to add a video snapshot from a camera running firmware 1.1.2 to the video snapshot album created when the camera was running firmware 1.0.9, a warning message "Cannot select this movie" will appear and the video snapshot cannot be added to the album.

Please follow the following workaround to help addresses the two scenarios described above.
  1. Shoot a video snapshot and create a video snapshot album.
  2. Import the captured video snapshot album to your computer.
  3. Start ImageBrowser EX, an application bundled with the EOS 6D.
  4. Select the video snapshot album, and select [Edit Movie] in the [Edit] tab.
  5. MovieEdit Task will start.
  6. Select [Add Image] and select video snapshot album to add the movie snapshot.
  7. Select [Save] and [Save image type], and then click [Save].
Firmware Version 1.1.2 is for cameras with firmware version 1.0.9. If the camera's firmware is already Version 1.1.2, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

You can download the new firmware updates from the canon website.

Photoshop CS6 13.0.2/13.1, Lightroom 4.3, and Camera Raw 7.3 updates

Adobe has just released updates to their major photo editing software.

Lightroom 4.3/Camera Raw 7.3

The Lightroom 4.3 and Camera Raw 7.3 updates add support 20 for new cameras, including the Canon 6D and Nikon D5200.

Lightroom 4.3 also includes HiDPI (Mac Retina display) support for the Library and Develop Modules. It is a real pity that Camera Raw does not yet include this support though (hopefully the next update will cover this).

Here's the full list of new cameras supported in LR4.3/ACR7.3:
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon PowerShot S110
  • Canon PowerShot G15
  • Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
  • Casio Exilim EX-ZR1000
  • Casio Exilim EX-FC300S
  • Leica M-E
  • Nikon 1 V2
  • Nikon D5200
  • Nikon D600
  • Olympus PEN E-PL5
  • Olympus PEN E-PM2
  • Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 iHS
  • Panasonic DMC-GH3
  • Pentax K-5 II
  • Pentax K-5 IIs
  • Pentax Q10
  • Sony DSC-RX1
  • Sony NEX-VG30
  • Sony NEX-VG900

Photoshop CS6 13.0.2 (Mac only)

Like Lightroom 4.3, this new 13.0.2 version of Adobe Photoshop enables support for new HiDPI displays on the Macintosh platform for “a dramatic improvement in image fidelity and resolution.”

Photoshop CS6 13.1.0 (Creative Cloud subscription only)

If you bought Photoshop CS6 through the Creative Cloud subscription (from $19.99/€24.59 per month) you get some new features added to this, showing the advantage of this subscription based service (though, personally I still find it quiet expensive).

The first Creative Cloud-only update of Photoshop offers a host of new and improved features:
  • The Blur Gallery and Liquify are now usable on smart objects, greatly enhancing your “non-destructive editing” capabilities.
  • Web design enhancements:
    • CSS export from text and layer styles for faster and easier web design.
    • Import of colour swatches from you HTML, CSS, or SVG files.
  • Conditional actions – People making use of actions a lot will love the fact that you can now have conditional actions.
  • Improvements to the crop tool, naming of merged layers, and the ability to see up to 100 of your recently opened files.
Note to Windows XP users: these features are not supported on Windows XP any longer (the same already holds true for some of the GPU-enabled features by the way).

6 December 2012

Canon 1D X service advisory

Canon has indicated there may be an issue with auto-focus in combination with lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8 on some Canon EOS-1D X Digital SLR Cameras with firmware Ver. 1.1.1.

Firmware v1.1.1 enabled the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8. On some of the cameras with firmware v1.1.1, auto-focusing does not function at f/8 aperture. Funnily enough this is only the case when the camera came with the v1.1.1 firmware out of the factory, not when the user (or Canon support) updated the firmware manually!

To fix this problem, one simply re-applies the firmware (you can download the v1.1.1 firmware from the Canon website)

The problem affects Canon EOS-1D X DSLR Cameras with a 4 or 5 as sixth digit in the serial  number (except when you have a white dot in the battery compartment).

4 December 2012

Nikon releases Camera Control Pro 2.13.0

Nikon just released a new version for their Camera Control Pro 2 software.

Version 2.13.0 contains the following enhancements:
  • Support for the D5200 has been added.
  • When the focus area displayed in the Camera Control Pro 2 live view window is double-clicked with autofocusing in live view mode, the camera will now focus automatically.
    However, the camera will not focus automatically with the following cameras when Hand-held is selected for Live view mode: D3-series cameras, D700, and D300-series cameras.

Additional changes to the Windows version:
  • Compatibility with 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows 8 Enterprise has been added. However, under 64-bit versions, this software operates as a 32-bit application.

Additional modifications to the Mac OS X version:
  • Support for OS X version 10.8 has been added.
  • Support for Mac OS X version 10.5 has been eliminated.

You can download the software from the Nikon support sites:

30 November 2012

Why use a lens hood?

When out photographing, I see a lot of people who do not use one of the basic lens accessories: the lens hood. Worse, some people keep it “reversed” on their lens while photographing, making handling the lens more difficult as well…

My advise is to always use a lens hood when photographing. Most lenses come with a lens hood, but if yours doesn't (I know some of the cheaper Canon lenses don't come with a hood), buy one. They are usually not too expensive and they will certainly improve your photography.

Here are three good reasons for using a lens hood on your lens:
  1. Contrast improvement – The lens hood will keep out stray light from entering the lens. Stray light that isn't part of the scene, but which does remove some of the contrast. You can visualise this easily yourself: look at a scene without your eyes shielded and than look at the same scene and shield your eyes by holding your flat hand above your eyes. You’ll notice the difference in contrast immediately. The brighter and the more “into the light,” the more dramatic the increase of contrast.
    Note that while e.g., inside or in a studio there is probably less “stray light,” my advise is to also always use a hood there too, just in case.
  2. Less chance of lens flare – By keeping out the stray light, you will also lower the chances of flare. This is also easily visible.
  3. Lens protection – A lens hood also offers very good lens protection, way better even than any protective filter will (for even more protection, you can also mount the lens cap, of course).
Happy photographing!

27 November 2012

Firmware update A1.03 for the Nikon D4 DSLR

Nikon today released a firmware update for the Nikon D4 DSLR camera. This new update brings your firmware A to level 1.03, firmware B stays at level 1.02.

From the release notes:
  • Focus accuracy when a lens and teleconverter with a combined maximum aperture of f/8 is used has been increased

As always, you can download the new firmware from the Nikon support sites:

21 November 2012

Important notice for Nikon software users thinking about upgrading to Windows 8

If you are using Nikon software and you're thinking about upgrading to Windows 8, please be aware that Nikon does not plan to update all its software to support Windows 8. This could mean your software no longer works once you update to Windows 8.

Nikon's official statement
We plan to test Windows versions of the following software applications for compatibility with Windows 8. We will announce our plans regarding full compatibility once testing is complete.
  • ViewNX 2
  • Capture NX 2
  • Camera Control Pro 2
  • Short Movie Creator
  • Nikon Message Center 2
  • Wireless Transmitter Utility
  • Thumbnail Selector
  • NEF codec
  • NRW codec
  • PC-PJ Transfer
  • nik Color Efex Pro 3.0
  • IPTC Preset Manager
  • GP-N100 Utility
We do not intend to provide compatibility with the following applications:
  • Capture NX Ver. 1.x
  • Camera Control Pro Ver. 1.x
  • Nikon Capture series
  • ViewNX Ver. 1.x
  • Nikon Transfer Ver. 1.x
  • PictureProject
  • Nikon View series
  • Nikon Scan series
  • PictureProject COOLPIX Remote Control
  • WT-3 Setup Utility
  • Wireless Camera Setup Utility
  • Wireless Connecting Utility
  • nik Color Efex Pro 2.0
  • my Picturetown Utility
  • USB driver for GP-1
  • Image Authentication Software
We also do not plan to provide compatibility for other software, or for products utilizing a SCSI or serial connection.

Please be aware, that even though your software is in the first category, it is not guaranteed Nikon will update it to work under Windows 8, if necessary, just that they will be consider doing so.
For more information, please see Nikon's support website.

6 November 2012

New Nikon DSLR Camera: D5200

Nikon has announced the D5200, the third camera in the D5x00 series. The new Nikon D5200 offers a big upgrade in image-quality. In addition to a high resolution 24.1-megapixel DX-format sensor, the new EXPEED 3 image processor provides high-speed operation and excellent, rich colour reproduction – as well as enhanced movie recording. The ISO sensitivity range of 100-6400 can be further extended to 25600, allowing you to take great shots in dark or poorly lit environments. These higher ISOs also allow you to use faster shutterspeeds helping you to capture fast moving subjects.

The Nikon D5200 shares an AF system, metering sensor and scene recognition with the Nikon D7000 series, giving this camera a new level of performance and much enhanced image quality. The superior accuracy of the 39-point AF system and nine cross-type sensors delivers razor sharp images by focusing precisely on the subject you choose. Meanwhile, the 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor provides precise data to the camera’s Scene Recognition System, which optimizes exposure, autofocus and white balance immediately before the shutter is released.

As all D5x00 cameras, the D5200 LCD monitor can be tilted, flipped, and turned to view it at almost any angle.

Two new Canon lenses: EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM and EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

Canon adds two new models to their EF lens series, the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 35mm f/2 IS USM.

The EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM is the latest addition to Canon’s elite L-series, and expands the range of standard zoom EF lenses available for both professional and amateur photographers. Ideal for reportage and wedding photography, it combines an essential everyday focal range with a premium quality L-series construction, delivering consistently sharp, professional-quality stills in a range of different situations. A new macro function also optimises the placement of lens groups during macro photography, allowing shooting at a maximum magnification of 0.7x – reducing the need for photographers to carry a dedicated macro lens.

The EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM also features a newly designed IS system, delivering blur-free images throughout the zoom range. Canon’s advanced optical IS offers a 4-stop light advantage, while Hybrid IS effectively compensates for angular and shift shake during macro shooting for stable close ups.

Additionally, a dust and drip-proof construction is resistant to dust and moisture, a lock function protects lenses from knocks when travelling, while fluorine coating minimises the amount of dust, dirt and fingerprints that adhere to the front and rear lenses – helping to maintain superior image quality and reduce the need for cleaning.

The new EF 35mm f/2 IS USM is Canon’s first-ever 35mm prime to feature optical Image Stabilizer technology. The 35mm focal length provides the ability to capture everything from close-up portraits to wide-angle landscapes, making it an ideal companion for travel or general reportage photography.

A bright, fixed f/2 aperture also allows photographers to employ a shallow depth of field, and optical IS offers users a 4-stop light advantage, allowing the capture of blur-free images in low light conditions when shooting handheld. Intelligent detection of panning motion is also supported, with Panning IS mode automatically engaged to enable photographers to capture movement with greater accuracy.

Together with the new lenses, Canon also introduces a new lens cap, finally allowing you to pinch the cap from the middle. This design (which Nikon has had for ages now), makes it much easier to add or remove the cap when you carry your lens with the hood attached (which I fully recommend you always do by the way).

31 October 2012

DxOMark test results for the Canon 1Dx

Knowing that the Canon 1Dx is a great camera with great features and that is is a hefty competitor for Nikon's flagship camera, the D4, I had been waiting for the DxOMark sensor with great anticipation. Now the results are in, I have to say I am a bit disappointed.

While the 1Dx gets the highest score of all Canon DSLR bodies, its sensor quality is no match for the newer Nikon bodies. In fact, the 1Dx “only” gets 82 points, the same score as the Nikon D3s available in 2009.

Of course, sensor quality is not all there is to a camera. For instance, the right set of features and ease of handling play a huge role too. Furthermore, the test results for the Canon 1Dx do show it is a superb camera with a great sensor (some available cameras just have a slightly better sensor).

Here are some interesting comparisons (click for larger view):
1Dx versus Canon 1Ds and 1D mkIV
1Dx versus Canon 5D mkIII
1Dx versus Nikon D3s and D4

Please visit the DxOMark site to read their full review or perform your own comparisons.

30 October 2012

Nikon updates View NX2 and Capture NX2

Nikon released updates for their View NX2 and Capture NX2 software. The following improvements have been made:

Nikon View NX 2.6.0

  • Focus points are now displayed in images captured with a Nikon 1 camera.
You can download the new version from the Nikon EU website.

Nikon Capture NX 2.3.5

  • Windows and Mac OS X versions: Support for RAW images captured with the Nikon 1 V2 has been added.
  • Mac OS X version: support for Mac OS X version 10.8 has been added.
You can download the new version from the Nikon EU website.

24 October 2012

New Nikon 1 mirrorless camera: Nikon 1 V2

In addition to the new 70-200 f/4 lens, Nikon also announced a new camera in their Nikon 1 series of mirrorless cameras. The new Nikon 1 V2 is an update of the current Nikon 1 V1 camera.

Improvements to the V1 are, amongst others:
  • a new 14.2MP sensor,
  • 15fps continuous shooting speed with full AF (!),
  • a built-in flash,
  • a new better grip, and
  • the addition of a “command mode dial” to provide easy access to features and controls.

The Nikon 1 V2 camera (with 10-30mm lens) will be available in late November 2012 for the suggested retail price of $899.95.

New Nikon lens: AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/4G ED VR

Nikon has just announced a new, highly sought-after, lens: the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 f/4G ED VR. The 70-200 f/4 is a lighter “brother” of the pro-grade 70-200 f/2.8.

Highlights of this lens are a constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the 2.9x zoom range and a new VR system, stabilising up to 5 stops (previous systems stabilised up to 4 stops).

The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR will be available in late November 2012 for a suggested retail price of $1,399.95. Nikon also offers an optional Tripod Collar, available in the near future for a suggested retail price of $223.95.

18 October 2012

Firmware update for the Canon EOS-1D X

Canon just released a firmware update for its flagship camera, the EOS-1D X. The firmware update addresses the following two issues, making this update a “must have” for most 1D X shooters:
  • AF Point Illumination During AI Servo AF
  • Cross-Type AF Support at f/8
You can download the firmware from the Canon USA website. Also be sure to download the revised instruction manual there as well.

Details for firmware 1.1.1

Firmware Version 1.1.1 incorporates the following improvements and fixes.
  1. Enables the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8 (f/5.6 without the firmware update).
    *Please see the “Lenses and Usable AF points” section of the revised instruction manual for more detail on the lens & camera combinations.
  2. Displays the viewfinder information (such as the AF frames, grid, etc.) in red during autofocusing in AI Servo AF.
    *When shooting in dark environments during AI Servo AF, the AF points can be easily confirmed.
    *During AI Servo AF, the viewfinder will be lit intermittently, not continuously.
  3. Corrects a phenomenon in which the metering value of the AE sensor becomes incorrect and the captured images become pitch-black depending on the timing of lens attachment and/or detachment.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which Err 70 may occur during AEB shooting.
  5. Corrects errors in the Arabic menu.
  6. Fixes a phenomenon in which the firmware of the lenses cannot be updated normally./li>
The instruction manual has been revised consistent with the changes outlined in items 1 and 2 listed above.

16 October 2012

Architecture in Valencia

We're constantly on the lookout for new workshop possibilities, and besides animals and landscape, I have one other photographic passion: architecture. And for some reason, Spain seems to have been a breeding ground for excellent architects through the ages.

Veles e Vents
(architect: David Chipperfield)
When thinking of Spanish architecture, the first city that comes to mind is inevitably Barcelona. However, the architecture in that city has been photographed to death already. Therefore we opted to visit Valencia lately, to see what could be done there.

We were not disappointed. While Barcelona is absolutely beautiful, most of its architecture is dominated by the Spanish art nouveau style (“modernisme”) represented by, amongst others, Gaudí. Valencia is more of a smorgasbord of different architectural styles, ranging from medieval Gothic architecture to modernism to ultra-modern. Especially the latter proved to be pretty spectacular.

(architect: Félix Candela)
After deciding to reroute the river Turia in order to prevent flooding of the city, Valencia was suddenly left with 9 kilometres of dry rived bed. What to do with that? Well, of course, you ask a famous architect that was born and educated in your city to design a prestigious complex of museums and art centres. And so a whole complex of spectacular buildings, designed mostly by “local boy” Santiago Calatrava but also by Félix Candela, arose within the city. Work was started in the '90s of the last century and completed in 2005.

Throughout the week we spent in Valencia, this complex proved to be the most rewarding subject. However, we were in for a few surprises while shooting this spectacular architecture.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
The sheer size of the complex and its buildings forced us to take a different approach when shooting. For starters, comparing viewpoints to choose the best composition took hundreds and hundreds of metres walking back and forth (which is pretty gruesome in the July summer heat in Valencia, by the way – thank god for the excellent beer garden on the grounds!).

Also, we usually to like to have our images as “empty” and “clean” as possible, but here we deliberately chose to include people in our shots, just to give a good feeling of the sheer size of the buildings. What surprised us the most is the seemingly endless amount of good viewpoints – the buildings are so beautiful and so vast you seem to find a great shot wherever you point your lens.

Mercado Central
(architects: Alejandro Soler March
and Francisco Guardia Vial)
Since Valencia has many more beautiful buildings to offer (both old and modern), we've spent more than a week shooting at different locations. We've come back with quite a few images we're very pleased with and like to share with you — please see our website for more images.

Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
If you are interested in any of these or similar images, please let us know; they are available as prints in various sizes and finishes. If you would like to photograph any of these buildings yourself, please send us an email – we're investigating the possibilities of a photography workshop in Valencia and will gladly keep you informed!

3 October 2012

Adobe updates Lightroom, Camera Raw, and DNG converter

Adobe has just released updates for Lightroom 4, Camera Raw, and DNG Converter. The updates include support for many new camera models and lenses.

You can download the new versions using these links:
  • Lightroom 4.2: WindowsMac
  • DNG Converter 7.2: Windows, Mac
  • Camera Raw 7.2: Use the update mechanism of Photoshop CS6

Below is the full list of fixes and added camera/lens support.

25 September 2012

Solution for the D800 “left focussing issue”

Since the introduction of the new D800 some users complained about the so-called “Left Focussing Issue” where the the left side Auto Focus points would be slightly off, especially with wide angle lenses.

After seemingly ignoring the issue for some time, Nikon must have been working on a fix, however. In an interview of blogger Falk Lumo with Nikon Germany at Photokina 2012, Nikon acknowledges the issue and told him there is a fix for it as well.

Some points from the interview:
  • Nikon has acknowledged, found and understood the root cause of the issue. It has been eliminated in the current production (however, I guess we'll never know when and from which serial numbers on).
  • The root cause is a misalignment of the AF module when mounted, outside of Nikon's own production tolerances. But be asserted we are still talking micro meters here…
  • The issue for affected D800 can be solved in selected Nikon service centers; such as Düsseldorf, Germany.
  • The procedure is currently rolled out to more Nikon service centers.
  • The fixing procedure for Nikon is a tedious one. It includes writing individual calibration values into the firmware. For larger deviations, the AF module will first mechanically be re-aligned. This may actually include the AF auxiliary mirror in some cases.
  • This method is believed to deliver an autofocus precision which is at least as good as of cameras from a fresh batch. I could not clarify if there is a chance for both methods being non-equivalent in some way. However, Nikon Germany does not think so. They rather wholeheartedly believe that the in-service calibration procedure resolves the issue as good as current production does, if not better.
For the full report, see Falk Lumo's own Blog.

21 September 2012

New memory card format: CFast

Although Sandisk was one of the co-developers of the new XQD memory card (as used in the Nikon D4 camera and currently only available from Sony and, soon, from Lexar), Sandisk has never indicated they were going to actually develop a memory card for this format. It now becomes clear why: Sandisk chose to adopt a different memory card format altogether: CFast.

CFast is an upgrade of the current Compact Flash memory card and uses a new interface, promising speeds of up to 600MB/s. This will be great news for both the action/sports shooter as well as videographers. Although no actual cards or cameras that support this new format are yet available on the market, Phase One has already indicated they will likely adopt the CFast format in the near future.

I wonder what this new format will bring us and which of the two fast memory card formats will eventually survive: XQD or CFast?

17 September 2012

Canon announces EOS 6D Full Frame camera

Canon just announced their new 20 Mega Pixel EOS 6D Full Frame camera with built in Wifi and GPS.

Some more specs of the new camera which should be available at ±$2099 before the end of the year:
  • Full frame 20.2 Mega Pixel CMOS sensor
  • ISO: 100 – 25600 (extendible 50 – 102400
  • 11 point Auto Focus
  • 3.2″, 102,400 dots LCD touch screen
  • 97% viewfinder coverage
  • No built-in flash
  • Up to 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting
  • Full HD video: 1920x1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280x720 (60, 50 fps), 640x480 (25, 30 fps)
  • Built-in mono microphone and speaker
  • SD card storage
  • USB 2.0 and HDMI
  • Built-in Wifi
  • Splash and dust resistant
  • 770g, 145x111x71mm (5.71x4.37x 2.8″)
  • Built-in GPS

13 September 2012

Nikon announces D600 Full Frame camera

Today Nikon announced the D600, a 24.3 Mega Pixel Full Frame camera. The D600 is the smallest and lightest Nikon FX-body but still offers advanced camera performance. Equipped with a new 24.3 MP FX-format CMOS image sensor and the same EXPEED 3 image-processing engine as used in the high-end D4 and D800/D800E cameras, the D600 ensures superior definition and image quality.

Some key product specifications:
  • 24.3-megapixel FX-Format CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24mm)
  • EXPEED 3 image processing engine
  • ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable to 50-25,600)
  • New MultiCAM 4800FX, 39 point AF system
  • Nikon Scene Recognition System with 2,016 pixel RGB sensor for more accurate autofocus, automatic exposure, i-TTL balanced fill-flash, and white balance control
  • Quick to respond: Power-up time of only 0.13s, and a shutter-release time lag of just 0.052s
  • High speed continuous shooting at ±5.5 fps at full resolution with full AF
  • 100% frame coverage through the optical viewfinder
  • Built-in High Dynamic (HDR) mode and time lapse shooting
  • Virtual horizon for both axis
  • 3.2", 921K dot LCD screen
  • Built-in flash
  • Full HD 1080p video
  • Uncompressed video via HDMI
  • Same good dust- and water-resistance as the D800 and D800E
  • Two SD card slots
  • Durable shutter mechanism tested for 150,000 cycles
  • Small and light: only 141x113x82mm and 760 gram
  • Compatible with NIKKOR lenses, Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) and WU-1b Wireless Adapter
The D600 will be available next week already for a suggested retail price of $2,099.95 (body only) or $2,699.95 (kit with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens).

12 September 2012

Firmware update 2.0.3 for Canon EOS 7D

Today, Canon released a firmware update for their EOS 7D camera.

Firmware version 2.0.3 incorporates the following fixes:
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the camera stops working when the auto power off setting takes effect.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the maximum number of images that can be captured in a burst may be less than the actual number displayed in the viewfinder.
  • Corrects some errors in the message displayed on the LCD screen when saving RAW images developed in the camera (these errors do not appear in the Japanese and Korean language displays).
You can download the firmware update from the Canon USA website.

9 September 2012

New Zeiss lenses announced

Carl Zeiss, maker of quality lenses, recently announced a couple of new lenses.

Cinema Lenses

Two new lenses in the cinema lens line-up: the Compact Zoom CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 (remember, cinema lenses usually use T stops instead of F stops) and the Compact Prime CP.2 25/T2.1. Both lenses come with 5 (interchangeable) mounts (PL, EF, F, MFT and E) and will thus fit on a range of cameras including the popular Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

As always Zeiss quality comes with a price: the CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 has a suggested retail price of €14,900/US$19,900 and the CP.2 25/T2.1 of €3,300/US$ 4,500 (all excluding VAT!).

The 25mm prime will become available next month but for the 28-80 zoom, you'll have to wait until the second quarter of 2013.

Prime Lenses

Two new manual focus prime lenses have been announced also. A 55mm f/1.4 and an 135mm f/2.

The Distagon T* 55mm f/1.4 is to ship in the second half of 2013 (!), the Apo Sonnar T* 2/135 on the other hand should be available in December this year already with a suggested retail price of €1600/$2000.

Both lenses will be available with a Canon (ZE) or a Nikon (ZF.2) mount.

5 September 2012

Nikon software updates

Nikon has recently released software updates for its Capture NX2, ViewNX2, and Camera Control Pro software.

The new software versions contain the following fixes and enhancements:

Nikon Capture NX2 2.3.4

  • Support for RAW images captured with the Nikon 1 J2 (now shipping) and Coolpix P7700 has been added.
  • When RAW images captured with a camera’s Auto distortion control function enabled were opened or edited, Capture NX 2 sometimes quit unexpectedly. This issue has been resolved.
Nikon Capture NX2 2.3.4 can be download from the Nikon EU website.
Note that this update requires a previous version of Nikon Capture NX2 already installed.

Nikon ViewNX 2.5.1 (Windows)

  • An issue that caused horizontal lines to appear in images printed at paper sizes of A3+ (329 x 483 mm) or larger without margins has been resolved.
Nikon ViewNX 2.5.1 for Windows can be download from the Nikon EU website.

Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.11.1 (Mac)

  • An issue that prevented Camera Control Pro 2 recognising the D4 on Macintosh computers equipped with a PowerPC processor has been resolved.
Nikon Camera Control Pro 2.11.1 for Mac OS X can be download from the Nikon EU website.

28 August 2012

Firmware update for Canon EOS 1D-X camera

Canon today released a firmware update for their Canon EOS 1D-X camera.

The v1.06 firmware update is quite substantial (it takes about 7 minutes to apply) and contains the following fixes:
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF Microadjustment cannot be correctly carried out.
  • Fixes a phenomenon such that when using the camera with the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM or EF200mm f/2L IS USM lens and Extender EF 1.4x III or Extender EF 2x III, the images captured become back-focused.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which, when the camera is powered on in very dark environments (including instances when the lens cap or the body cap is attached), Error 80 appears on the camera.
  • Fixes the following phenomenon: if two CF cards are inserted into the camera and the "Standard" or "Auto switch card" setting is selected for the recording method for [Record func+card/folder sel.], and then one of the CF cards is removed and then reinserted into the card slot, the card selected for recording and playing back images may be switched to the other CF Card.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the AF microadjustment value is not correctly displayed in the EXIF information of the images captured.
  • Displays a "O" or "X" result to indicate whether images have been successfully transferred through the FTP protocol when using the WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter.

As usual, you can download the firmware update from the Canon USA website.

Lens firmware update for Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 and 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6

Nikon has released a firmware update for its 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 and 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lenses.

According to the release notes the new v1.10 firmware adds the following enhancement:
  • When this lens is used with Nikon 1 cameras released in, or after, August 2012, the camera can be turned off by locking the lens barrel (retractable lens barrel button), even if the monitor has turned off and the camera has entered standby mode.
You can download the new firmware from the support websites:

Lens firmware update for Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

Canon has released a firmware update for its EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens.

From the firmware release notes:

Firmware Version 1.2.0 addresses the following phenomenon:
  1. If pressure is applied to the lens barrel while the lens is mounted to the camera (pressure can be applied even while attaching the lens cap or while carrying the camera with the lens attached in a bag), the autofocusing function of the lens may stop working.
Firmware Version 1.2.0 is for lenses with Firmware Version 1.1.0. If the lens' firmware is already Version 1.2.0, it is not necessary to update the firmware.

Lenses with the following serial numbers are equipped with Firmware Version 1.1.0:
  • The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, or 2 (xx0xxxxxxx, xx1xxxxxxx, or xx2xxxxxxx).
Lenses with serial numbers other than those listed above are equipped with Firmware Version 1.2.0.

You can download the firmware from the Canon US Website.

16 August 2012

2012-2013 EISA camera awards for Nikon and Canon

EISA (the European Imaging and Sound Association) has announced the 2012-2013 award winners. Both Nikon and Canon score very well (again) in the photo category, with the two overall camera awards going to Nikon.

The European Imaging and Sound Association and has been awarding for more than 30 years. EISA is the unique association of 50 special interest magazines in audio, home theatre, in-car electronics, mobile electronics, photo and video, from 20 European countries.

  • European Camera 2012-2013: Nikon D800
  • European Professional Camera 2012-2013: Nikon D4
  • European Advanced SLR Camera 2012-2013: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • European Compact Camera 2012-2013: Canon Powershot G1 X
  • European Professional Compact Camera 2012-2013: Fujifilm X-Pro1

For a full list of categories and awards, please see the EISA website.

12 August 2012

Firmware update for Canon 300mm, 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm L IS II lenses

Canon has released a new firmware update (Firmware Version 1.1.1) for the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM, EF 400mm F2.8L IS II USM, EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM lenses. This firmware update will be performed by Canon Service Centres.

The products affected by this issue will be updated by Canon free of charge, just contact one of your authorised service facilities.

Firmware Version 1.1.1 incorporates the following enhancement:
  • Changes the control algorithm of the focus drive, and enhances the drive’s responsiveness for more precise focus adjustments. In particular, the new firmware enhances the AI servo AF capability of the lenses to track objects that move irregularly in sports events, such as soccer or rugby.

Affected Products:

Firmware Version 1.1.1 is for lenses with Firmware Version 1.0.0. If the lens' firmware is already Version 1.1.1, it is not necessary to update the firmware. Please contact Canon customer support if you are unsure as to what firmware your lens currently supports.
The serial numbers (10 digits) of the lenses equipped with Firmware Version 1.0.0 are as below.
EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx, xx1xxxxxxx, xx2xxxxxxx, xx3xxxxxxx).
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM: The third digit in the serial number is either 0, 1, 2, or 3 (xx0xxxxxxx, xx1xxxxxxx, xx2xxxxxxx, xx3xxxxxxx).
EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).
EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM:
The third digit in the serial number is 0 (xx0xxxxxxx).