If you are looking for a professional-grade IPS monitor (if you have no idea what IPS means, see “this article“) for your photography needs, then check out this HP DreamColor LP2480zx that is currently on sale at B&H for $799. Yes, that’s a hefty price for a monitor, but keep in mind that this is a professional monitor specifically designed to accurately reproduce over 1 billion colors (12-bit look up table with 100% Adobe RGB and sRGB Color Coverage). With a 6 ms response time, this is one amazing monitor that can be used for pretty much anything you throw at it, including gaming. And the $799 price is a heavy discount, because the retail price of this monitor is a whopping $2,299! I looked at a number of websites and could not find this monitor cheaper than $1500, so this is a very good deal.
After going back and forth with limited time offers (that got extended several times) to lure photographers into its Creative Cloud platform, Adobe finally decided to create a special, permanent plan specifically for photographers for $9.99 per month. Compared to the $49.99 per month “all inclusive” plan, or the $19.99 per month single app plan that sparked a lot of negativity among the photography community, the $9.99 offer from last year attracted a lot of customers for Adobe, increasing the number of subscribers to close to 2 million. Since the program was introduced, close to half a million people signed up for this plan in just the first quarter of 2014. Since then, the program has been attracting even more subscribers, since $9.99 per month price appears to be much more reasonable for the latest and greatest features that Adobe packs in its Creative Cloud platform.
Today is a big release date for Adobe, because the company is rolling out a few major updates to its Adobe Creative Cloud platform, along with new apps for mobile devices designed for creative professionals and enthusiasts. One of the silent updates that got rolled and did not get much press is the final version of Lightroom 5.5 and Camera RAW 8.5. Adobe was so busy with its new products and updates, that it did not include any information on additional features included in Lightroom 5.5. It seems like the final release is similar to the 5.5 release candidate, where support for additional lenses and cameras were added, as shown below. The most notable bugfixes in this release are: properly reading lossless compressed files from older Nikon DSLRs and correct processing of Fuji X-T1 RAW files when using Dynamic Range 200% and 400% setting. And the most notable feature for Nikon D610 owners is that now there is finally tethering support, although Adobe never mentioned it on their website!
Aside from various online portfolio solutions, there aren’t many online services that photographers can use for their work. Well, this may change soon. With technology of in-browser RAW processing, Pics.io aims to become an all-in-one photo management and editing solution in the cloud or, as they call it, “Google Docs of photo editing”. We spent some time checking out what Pics.io is all about and we are excited about where this project might take us in the future. Although it is at an early stage of development, some interesting and useful tools have already been released for beta testing. For example, the newly announced online raw converter, raw.pics.io works with Canon and Nikon RAW images. And despite our initial thoughts and doubts, it turns out that the converter opens images locally from your computer, without uploading any data to the Internet. Basically, you open the site raw.pics.io in your browser, drop a raw file (nef/cr2/dng) and save a processed JPEG file. At this point it is not anything amazing, but that’s just the first step. Imagine what this platform could potentially do when it is built with a complete set of controls and various presets, similar to what you see in Lightroom.
After months of waiting for the manufacturer to modify the chemical properties of the Sensor Gel Stick so that it works perfectly well with the new Sony cameras and heavy testing, we are happy to announce that we will soon be shipping the Sony version of the product to our customers. I have received a couple of sample units last week and I am happy to say that the product worked very well with the Sony A6000 and A7R mirrorless cameras. The manufacturer assured us that the Sony version will work with ALL Sony cameras without problems, but just to be sure, we did perform our own tests and found no problems! If you own a Sony mirrorless camera and would like to use the Sensor Gel Stick, you can now pre-order it from our store.
With higher megapixel cameras, storage needs are growing rapidly, especially once you start using a redundant setup with dual cards mirroring data on modern DSLRs. I have been using SanDisk cards for many years now and whenever I see a good sale, I jump on to get the best deals. B&H just let us know that SanDisk is running a one day heavy discount promo, which will end tonight. So if you are looking for a good deal, check out some of these savings on all types of cards, including SanDisk’s Extreme Pro line (up to 160 MB/sec!).
Rainbows are rare in nature, because a number of events have to happen at the same time. First, there has to be moisture in the sky, so a rainy day or a quick rainstorm is the first pre-requisite. Second, the sun must be positioned on the horizon at a low angle, around 42 degrees relative to the viewer. Third, the part of the sky where the sun is must be clear from clouds and obstructions, while the part of the sky where the rainbow will appear must have continuous rain / moisture. When all of these conditions are met, the sun rays will refract and reflect off the water droplets in the sky, creating the optical illusion that we refer to as “rainbow”. When you see a rainbow, it is only natural to want to capture it on your camera. Who wouldn’t want to capture such beauty that contains the full color spectrum visible to our eyes? And if you happen to be at the right place, rainbows could make an ordinary subject appear truly extraordinary. Even a boring scene could be turned into something completely different with a full arc of a rainbow.
Nature often rewards us with incredible opportunities for photographing sunrises, sunsets and sun rays piercing through the clouds, creating stunning views. As a landscape photographer, I tend to wait for partly cloudy and stormy days, because clouds make photographs appear much more dramatic and vivid. Without clouds, sunrises and sunsets often look boring, forcing us to cut out the sky and focus on foreground elements instead. In contrast, if you get to witness a sunrise or a sunset with puffy, stormy clouds that are lit up from underneath with colorful sun rays, creating a fiery view, including the clouds in your photographs would make the scene appear much more colorful and alive. In fact, clouds can be so beautiful, that they could become the main element of composition in your photographs. In this article, I will not only talk about the process of photographing clouds, but also will focus on making clouds appear much more dynamic and dramatic in your photographs.
Big thanks to our readers in London that came to participate in our London Photo Walk on Wednesday, May 14. Although many could not make it due to work, conflicts and the fact that we did it during the week, we had 24 people join us for the photo walk! It was an amazing experience for me personally to get a chance to meet our readers and photograph the beautiful and the historic city of London. Although I ended up only taking a single picture at the end of the day (yes, the group did get a good laugh at that!), I absolutely loved getting to know each and every person from the group. Here is a group photo of us right before we started the photo walk:
Sony has also had a couple of important announcements last week. The pricing and availability for the previously announced Sony A7s mirrorless camera was finally revealed. The 12 MP Sony A7s with 4K video recording capability will be available on July 8, 2014 for a retail price of $2,498 (pre-order yours at B&H Photo Video). Along with this news, Sony also announced its third iteration of the Sony RX100 point and shoot camera with a large 1″ sensor (same size sensor as on the Nikon 1 cameras). The Sony RX100 III packs great features compared to its predecessors and now comes with a high resolution pop-up electronic viewfinder. The new 8.8-25.7mm (24-70mm equivalent) Zeiss lens is now also better and faster, with a maximum aperture range of f/1.8-2.8, compared to the 10.1-37.4mm (28-100mm equivalent) f/1.8-4.9 lens on older models. More features such as a 180° flip-up LCD screen, better movie recording features and a faster processor make the RX100 III a very attractive compact camera. It will be priced at $798 and is expected to be available at the end of June, 2014.