Today is another sad day, because Apple announced that it will no longer continue development of its Aperture software, which many photographers still rely on for their day to day photo management and editing. Too bad, because this basically gives Adobe monopoly with its Lightroom software. Yes, there are some other tools on the market such as ACDSee Pro, Phase One Capture One Pro and a few others, but none of them come to close to what Lightroom offers in terms of features, photo catalog management and up to date RAW file support. Aperture has not seen any major updates since October of 2013 and has not received support for the latest cameras that were announced this year, with only a small minor updates. Many of us saw this coming, but none were expecting the death of Aperture so soon.
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!
On Thursday, June 26th I’ll be conducting an Introduction to Landscape Photography presentation at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery in Grimsby, Ontario. This session will be focused at the beginner/introductory level and will cover composition tips, understanding your gear and getting the most from it, along with some basics on using photo editing software to enhance landscape images, including a number of ‘before and after’ examples.
If you shoot with the Nikon D800 or the D800E DSLR cameras, you might want to check what firmware you are currently running in order to make sure that you are running the most recent version of the firmware v1.10. A couple of weeks ago Nikon released the firmware update that deals with the most annoying bug that has existed since both cameras were announced, where the camera will occasionally freeze, keeping the memory card access light lit for a very long time. The only workaround was to either wait it out or remove and re-insert the battery. To be honest, I am surprised that it took Nikon so long to fix this issue, as it was one of my personal pains with using my D800E. With the new firmware v1.10, Nikon has made a number of changes to the camera and its menu system, and has added support for larger than 128 GB CompactFlash cards.
As you may already know, we have covered and complained about the Nikon D600 dust issue quite a bit here at Photography Life, and we were one of the first resources on the Internet to discover the issue, as detailed in our Nikon D600 review. Unfortunately, Nikon failed to take action and issue a recall to fix the shutter problem on the camera, only partially acknowledging the issue and then silently releasing the Nikon D610, without even mentioning a word about why the camera was replaced in the first place. This led to many complaints from existing Nikon D600 owners that felt betrayed and lied to. I have received a number of reports from our readers that had bad experiences with Nikon’s service centers, which despite multiple trips and replacements of parts did not seem to address the ongoing dust issue. Well, some of those frustrated customers did end up taking action and filed a class-action lawsuit against Nikon on February 19th, 2014. It seems like the lawsuit finally did get some traction at Nikon, because today it released a service advisory for all existing Nikon D600 owners. It does not matter if you bought a brand new or a refurbished D600, or if the purchase was made over a year ago and the camera has no warranty – Nikon will repair your camera for free and will pay for all shipping expenses.
Hasselblad Lunar is a camera that many have heard about, many have seen images of, yet we never spoke about it here at Photography Life. We have not compared it to any other camera nor even let you know about the announcement as we usually do with high-end cameras. And the Lunar is indeed a high-end camera, a good one at that (if you choose to ignore one or two facts, more on which later). So… Why didn’t we ever mention it? I will be honest – we don’t like it all that much. No, that is kindly said. Actually, we think it is utterly, utterly pointless.
Today Nikon announced that it will preview its next “professional flagship D-SLR”, the D4s, at this week’s CES show. How much will be previewed at the show remains to be seen since today’s announcement was thin on details. In fact, it only said that the D4s is “currently in development” and one could interpret that to mean that final specs are subject to change. Nikon did give a little insight to what the new model will offer over the existing D4. First they state the new pro body will feature “improved image quality with the adoption of a new image-processing engine” and second, the press release promises more advanced autofocus performance. That is about all Nikon revealed with this “currently in development” announcement.
The Consumer Electronics Show is taking place in Las Vegas this week, which means lots of announcements of all kinds of gadgets, including cameras and lenses. As usual, we will be picking and covering the most important announcements that are related to the photography industry. One of the biggest news today is the announcement of the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G full-frame lens. Ever since the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX lens came out back in 2009 (which got wildly popular for Nikon DX cameras thanks to its excellent performance and low price), many Nikon shooters have been asking for a budget version of the lens for full-frame cameras. Although the professional Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is an excellent chunk of glass (see our in-depth review), it is too expensive for many photo enthusiasts and hobbyists. And that’s exactly the gap that the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G is designed to fill. At an MSRP price of $599, the lens is over 2.5x less expensive than its big brother. It is also twice lighter!
Today Adobe announced the availability of the final versions of Lightroom 5.3 and Camera RAW 8.3 (the previous version was a release candidate). A number of bugs that were present in Lightroom 5.3 have been fixed, and new camera and lens profiles have been added. No new features have been added, so this is mostly a camera / lens update + bugfix release. For those that recently purchased the Nikon Df, this release provides full RAW support for the camera! Other new cameras that are now supported since the release of the 8.3 RC include the Canon EOS M2, Casio EX-10, Nokia Lumia 1020 and Pentax K-3.