1. The other day we gave our readers a sneak peek at the latest Fuji performance point and shoot, the Fujifilm X30. Today we unveil the full press release, with all the juicy specs you want, and a direct overview with product photos galore that you need. Head on over to our website which will give you all the goods on this nimble little point and shoot.
    [ OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE ] [ PREORDER THE X30 (SILVER) TODAY ]

     

  2. It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Our boss, the ever camera shy Harry Mac, was challenged to do an ice bucket challenge in support of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (more commonly known as ALS) research.  We decided to film it with our usual two camera setup, but also threw in a GoPro bucket POV shot, because, why not?  
     
    ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating ailment which atrophies muscles to the point of weakness, resulting in worst case scenarios of respiratory failure.  The disease has an incredibly high mortality rate, with most people affected expiring within a short 39 months.  Famous people with ALS include developer and cryptography activist Hal Finney, guitarist Jason Becker, and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, among others.  

    Remember folks, the point of the Ice Bucket Challenge is to donate to ALS research, and challenge others to do so also.  You can decline to do the challenge and donate anonymously, but it is implied that you send a larger donation in place of spreading awareness.  
     
    Visit http://www.als.ca/en/donate if you wish to donate to the Canadian ALS research organization, or www.alsa.org/donate/ for its American counterpart.

     
     

  3. Fujifilm has just announced their latest performance point and shoot camera: the Fujifilm X30.  The new camera features the much beloved 2/3” X-Trans CMOS II sensor, and comes equipped with a whole slew of novel features.  We shot a video of Jerry, from Fuji Guys fame, going over some of the new goods, but in case you can’t access the video, read on and get the info from the scribes.

    Perhaps the first thing users of the X30 will notice is the increased grip size.  The reason for this is because Fuji’s new piece is powered by their higher capacity NP-95 battery; a change which ultimately bumps up your shot count from the X20’s 270 pic average, to a much more user friendly 470 shot limit.  The increase in size also made room for new goodies like a brand new electronic viewfinder with a massive 2.3 million pixel resolution, and 100% frame coverage (spec enthusiasts will recall the X20’s optical viewfinder fell short of that number at 85%) allowing for new display functions for photographers tucked away right in their EVF.  The rear LCD has also been beefed up, doubling the resolution to a respectable 920,000 pixels, while additionally being graced with a handy 45° downward tilt and 90° waist level orientation adjustment.  

    On-board the camera you’ll immediately notice an all new function dial immediately behind then zoom ring.  The dial acts similarly to the ones found on RX100 and S100 class cameras from Sony and Canon respectively; meaning the functions can be adjusted from white balance control, to focus ring, to shutter speed and so forth.  The placement is fantastic for rangefinder users with an emphasis on manual focus, allowing for amazing tactile response for adjustments on the fly.  An additional feature to respond to vintage-style camera lovers is Fuji’s new film profile, titled chrome, and approximating the Fujichrome line of film, which you’ll be able to see in our upcoming street test.  

    Among the other features, the X30 also brings Wi-Fi and NFC support to the lineup, allowing for wireless transfer from camera to smartphone, tablet or even Fuji’s Instax instant printer.  The camera’s beefed up software now also includes an intervalometer, making shooting 1080p video at 60fps more versatile thanks to the easy inclusion of instantly rendered time-lapse videos.  

    As previously mentioned, we’ll be releasing a Street Test of the X30 in action later this week, allowing you to see video and photo features.  Stay posted, and we’ll let you know as soon as the video hits the airwaves! 

     
     

  4. MUSEUM MONDAY: GRAFLEX PACEMAKER CROWN GRAPHIC 4x5 
     
    Happy Monday everyone!  Today we’ll show you some snapshots of a new resident of our camera museum: the Crown Graphic 4x5.  The Crown Graphic is a large format camera that folds into a compact and lightweight carrying case.  The camera hit the market in 1947 and was designed for press photographers, meaning the back doesn’t move and is fixed in a permanent horizontal orientation. 

    Because of the camera’s intended use in the world of photojournalism, the camera is built solid.  When packed up in it’s case format, the exterior is covered in leather with a stainless steel chassis, which open up and fold out in two quick movements, allowing for extremely fast and easy set up. 

    Our model of the Crown Graphic is equipped with a Graflex 135mm f/4.7 lens, a Kalart Synchronized Range Finder, and a leather handgrip; further evidence of the camera’s intended use as a press camera.  The Graflex camera’s tough body design and popularity in the field makes this an easy and inexpensive 4x5 camera to find.  Units routinely appear on online auction sites, and the camera is easy to use, offering a great camera for anyone interested in dipping their feet into the world of large format photography.  Head over to our Flickr page with additional photos, and also to largeformatphotography.info’s Crown Graphic page with a great extended breakdown on the camera. 
    [ Flickr Gallery ][ largeformatphotography.info ]

     

  5. Happy Tuseday everyone.  This week’s used feature is the Fujifilm XF 14mm f/2.8 lens for Fujifilm mirrorless cameras.  Equivalent to a 21mm in 35mm format, this wide angle lens provides a 89° angle of view, perfect for indoor, architectural, landscapes and wide angle street photography.  The 7 rounded blade aperture is great at creating a buttery bokeh when using the lens wide open, ensuring the lens will give some spectacular results even in low light thanks to it’s f/2.8 aperture.  Head over to our flickr gallery where you can see higher res versions of these photos as well as some full resolution sample shots we fired off with the lens.
    [ XF 14mm f/2.8 Flickr Gallery ]

     

  6. Sony has just announced it’s latest mirrorless APS-C sensor camera: the Sony α5100.  Featuring the same hybrid 179 AF Point/Contrast Detect autofocus system, as well as the 24.3 megapixel sensor of it’s bigger brother, the α6000, the camera seeks to put those specifications in the hands of users who have no need for a hot shoe, LED viewfinder, or top adjustment dials.  Because the camera is stripped down, the final size of the α5100 places it among the smallest mirrorless cameras on the market. 

    AF performance should be stellar, with the α5100 offering a host of options, from touch AF, to Eye-AF, Lock-on AF, Flexible spot AF, and the α6000’s AF-A system.  As a result, video AF is also subsequently improved, promising to offer performance more akin to a camcorder than a DSLR. 

    While on the subject of video, Sony has implemented its XAVC S2 codec to allow for 50Mbps HD Video at up to 60fps.  Since such a low compression is bound to be unsuitable for direct uploading online, the α5100 has also introduced a dual video recording mode that saves an additional copy of your film in MP4 format for quick upload to the net.  The 921-K touch LCD has a the ability to be flipped 180° allowing for easy to monitor self recording for video blogs, or… shooting selfies, I guess. 

    Available in black and white, the α5100 has all the modern standards like Wi-Fi, NFC and the accompanying apps which will allow control and operation of the camera via your smartphone or tablet.  Head over to our announcement page which features the full spec list, additional photos and the official press release from Sony.
    [ Sony a5100 Press Release ]
    [ a5100 Product Page ]
    [ Preorder Now ]

     

  7. We were recently forwarded this comprehensive video which breaks down the core elements of cinematography into an easy to understand 40 minute time block.  Hosted by 30 year cinematography veteran Richard Michalak, the video explains different camera types, discusses DSLR’s and how they work, goes over lenses and how they function, briefly touches on film making standards like frame rates, basic lighting for scenes, and all sorts of essential information if you want to make videos. Almost all the subjects discussed feature filmed examples, giving you a excellent visual reference to keep in your bookmark folder.

    That being said, if you’re a photographer in training, or just wanna brush up, a lot of the information is still practical, and can be applied to still image capture. 

     
     

  8. Photographyisnotacrime.com, a resource website and blog for citizen journalists, is reporting that New York City mayoral candidate Randy Credico has been arrested and jailed for recording two plainclothes police officers while they were arresting a man.  PINAC reports that Credico has been charged with menacing a police officer, obstructing government administration, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. 

    The mayoral candidate is no stranger to police attention.  As a vocal opponent of the NYPD’s stop and frisk campaign, Credico has also been involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement where he was similarly arrested in this photograph taken by Timothy Krause.  The arrest is seen as particularly eventful, considering the atmosphere in Ferguson, recent calls for NYPD officers to use body mounted cameras, and because the NYPD just issued a memorandum to its officers that photography of the on duty police is permitted, stating among other points that: 

    Members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions. Intentional interference such as blocking or obstructing cameras or ordering the person to cease constitutes censorship and also violates the First Amendment.  

    Just a friendly reminder to all you citizen journalists out there.  Even though something may be within your legal rights, it doesn’t mean you won’t have to deal with undue police attention, even if you’re a mayoral candidate. 
    [ PINAC Article ]

     

  9. Ever since the debut of the Fujifilm X100 and it’s subsequent success, companies like Canon, Nikon, and Sony jumped at the opportunity to create their own large sensor, fixed focal length, point and shoot cameras; for the snapshot photographer who still has a demand for a quality finished product.  We took what Nikon brought to the table, in the format of the Coolpix A, out for a spin one evening last week, to see how it would handle on the dimly lit streets of Toronto’s west end.  But first let’s check the specs.   

    The Coolpix A comes equipped with a 16.2 megapixel APS-C sensor, and a fixed 28mm f/2.8 lens — just the combination necessary for late night street photography.  Ergonomically, the camera is fantastic, fitting perfectly in the hand, with adjustment dials at the index and thumb contact points.  The lens protrudes from the body of the camera, allowing for manual focus adjustments, which when coupled with an optical viewfinder makes for a camera that feels very much like the rangefinder’s of yesteryear. 

    Photographs from the camera taken in low ISO’s are rich in color, with a nice contrast.  The lens is sharp and it shows, with details remaining tack from corner to corner.  Once switched to the higher ISO’s, the image still remains useable, albeit a little noisy, but still picks up beautiful color gradations from varied light sources you’re likely to find inside restaurants and bars.  One place the camera struggles is under yellow lights, which under automatic white balance settings come out very orange.  This problem seems to be consistent amongst point and shoots, and particularly apparent in Nikon cameras, but ends up being a minor annoyance easily corrected by shooting in raw, or by manually setting your white balance (which we avoided for the purposes of this sample shoot). 
     
    With it’s recent sub $1000 mark price drop, the camera has become increasingly competitive against the Fujifilm lineup, and comes across as not only a competent point and shoot, but also as a versatile camera throughout nearly any conditions you may encounter.  After a night with the Coolpix A, it’s easy to see why it earned a Silver Award from DP Review: the camera takes great photos, feels good in the hand, and also looks great aesthetically (how often do people actually come and complement you on a camera, right?). 

    Head over to the flickr gallery and check out the full resolution sample shots, with EXIF data and all that good stuff.
    [ Coolpix A Flickr Sample Gallery ]

     

  10. BREAKING NEWS: AL JAZEERA JOURNALISTS COVERING FERGUSON POLICE PROTESTS ARE DISPERSED BY TEAR GAS

    For the last four days, citizens in Ferguson, Missouri have been protesting the killing of unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown, who was shot numerous times while attempting to escape police after being stopped on the way to his grandmothers house.

    The accounts of the altercation vary wildly between the Ferguson police department, and Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, prompting cries from the populace for an inquiry into the shooting. During a candlelight vigil the night of Brown’s death, protestors became unruly and a riot police squadron of 150 officers were assembled as the situation deteriorated. 

    Since then, looting, rioting and protesting has become the norm in Ferguson, with reporters likening the police response to that of a military.  Tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bang grenades are reportedly being used to control protestors, but the police have made little effort to control their response, with the latest incident involving an Al Jazeera journalist and his crew being hit by a tear gas canister while doing a report.  Riot police then reportedly proceeded to dismantle and confiscate the equipment belonging to the crew.

    The situation currently continues to escalate, with Anonymous stepping in to try and identify the officer involved in the shooting, and disrupting local PD websites.  The response has caused gun sales to spike in the county, while the ever escalating police response has done little to alleviate tensions in the community.  Calls for wearable cameras for officers are being trumpeted around social media, and we’ll be discussing how those sorts of cameras operate on a post in the near future. 
     
    For any photographers and journalists in the area, or other hazardous environments, we stand in solidarity at your attempts to report the news and urge that you observe caution during this time of tribulation.  Reporting the news should not be a punishable offense.

     
     

  11. Manfrotto has announced its latest tripod to add to its long line of camera support systems.  The newest unit is called the BeFree Carbon (or by its product codename MKBFRC4-BH) and looks a lot like Manfrotto’s 055 series tripods, albeit with a few tweaks. 
     
    The the 4-section BeFree Carbon is made in Italy from 100% carbon fiber and supports up to 8.8lbs out weight, while conversely weighing in at 2.4 lbs and collapsing to an easily manageable 15.7 inches in length.  The aesthetics of the BeFree are also updated, with a sharp red and white accent on the length of the legs; a departure from Manfrotto’s typical jet black color palette.  If that’s not enough to get your fingers mashing the phone pad, Manfrotto is also throwing in a custom padded bag for transport.

    Check out the full press release, for additional photos an information, below.
    [ Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Press Release ]