Till June in Jordan

Petra

I am on my way to the airport to head to Jordan and I wanted to let our readers know that I might not be able to post frequently while being there. I want to take a good time off with my family, explore some places in Amman and other cities in Jordan. As always, I am taking plenty of gear to play with with, so when I do have time in between my travel schedule, I will do my best to post some updates and maybe even some reviews! Definitely planning on visiting the beautiful Petra (hopefully at night) and this time I want to see more than just the main attraction. Here is my shot from a very short trip last year:

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Sensor Gel Stick Orders – Store Closed for a Month

Sensor Gel Stick

Just wanted to let our readers know that today is the last day when you can order the Sensor Gel Stick, since I am leaving out of country for a month. We will be shipping units later today and tomorrow morning at the latest and we have limited availability of the product – around 24 units total of the Sensor Gel Stick and about 215 units of the Sony version. If you would like to get yours as soon as possible, please do it before we run out. I expect to receive more shipments in June and we definitely will not be shipping any until I get back in early June.

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FastRawViewer Major Update and Sale

FastRawViewer 1.1

As many of our readers already know, I love FastRawViewer and I have now made it my default software for culling images before importing them into Lightroom. This not only saves me a lot of time and space, but also streamlines the import process and only leaves images that I want to work on. I have already written a detailed review of FastRawViewer, but since publishing the review, the developers of the software have already addressed all of my personal requests in version 1.1, most notably a proper folder view where I can click on different folders and see thumbnails of RAW files that I am about to view. In addition, OpenGL and DirectX support have also been added, so the software can now properly take advantage of GPU acceleration, which is great! On top of all this, I have just been notified that FastRawViewer is currently on sale for $14.99 (regular price is $19.99), which is a great price for this killer software. After upgrading today and running through a number of images from my recent trip to California, I am happy to say that it seems rock solid and very fast – something I have previously praised a number of times before.

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IBIS High Resolution Mode – Amazing Technology

Olympus High Resolution Mode

Olympus definitely deserves high praises for its in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system in its OM-D E-M5 II mirrorless camera to shift its sensor in order to create multiple images, then merge them together to create one super high-resolution image. Thanks to this technology, the OM-D E-M5 II, which has a native resolution of 16 MP can shoot large 40 MP images. At first, this may sound like a marketing gimmick, but if you take a close look at how Olympus accomplishes this, you will be amazed by the technology. Being able to shift the sensor opens up a lot of opportunities, and if DSLR manufacturers implement this technology (which Pentax already has, with its K-3 II) and find ways to do it quickly and smoothly, it can seriously change the way we look at resolution. Let’s take a look at this technology in a little more detail and see its advantages and disadvantages.

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Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 Announcements

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8

Another big announcement from last week was Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses for the Sony FE mount. Compared to Zeiss Loxia lenses, the new Batis line offers autofocus capability and has a similar focus-by-wire motor as in native Sony/Zeiss lenses. The exterior look of the lenses appears to be similar to the high-end Zeiss Otus lenses, but there is one major difference – the focus scale on the lens is OLED, the first-ever lens to feature it. While I am personally not as excited about the 25mm f/2 lens due to the fact that Sony has already announced the Sony FE 28mm f/2 lens (which you can convert to either a 16mm or a 21mm lens with a conversion lens), the 85mm f/1.8 is something that I cannot wait to try out. Sony has had a major hole in its lens line with the lack of a fast 85mm prime, so the new AF-capable Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 will definitely satisfy many portrait photographers out there. With its $1,199 price tag and Zeiss quality, this will surely be a popular choice among Sony shooters (the 25mm f/2 will sell for $100 more). Let’s take a closer look at these lenses.

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Pentax K-3 II Announcement

Pentax K-3 II

Having been out of town for a few weeks, I am just catching up with some major news, so I decided to post some announcements that I consider to be newsworthy. In this particular case, it is the announcement of the Pentax K-3 II, which I believe deserves a spotlight for the innovation it brings. Sporting in-body image stabilization, high-resolution sensor shift mode, star tracking, anti-aliasing filter simulator, built-in GPS and durable construction, the K-3 II brings some great innovative features which we have never seen on a DSLR before. Looking at this powerful APS-C camera, I am excited to see what Pentax will do with its upcoming full-frame camera. And I hope that both Nikon and Canon are taking notes from Pentax, because such innovation is much needed in the DSLR market to keep it healthy, now that the mirrorless market is steadily growing.

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San Francisco at Night

Twin Peaks

San Francisco is such a beautiful city to photograph. Although I have been there for almost two weeks now, my busy and hectic schedule has been preventing me from being able to go out and take pictures. On top of that, late April turned out to be a pretty cold time of the year, with plenty of cloudy days, lots of winds and even some rain. Still, whenever there is a chance for me to get out and take some photos, I always give it a try, even if I come back with nothing.

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Fuji XF 16-55mm f/2.8 Review

Fuji XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR

Since Fujifilm kicked off its X-series mirrorless cameras in 2012, it has been releasing a number of superb prime and zoom lenses to attract both enthusiasts and professionals to its camera system. Although until recently the Fuji lens line-up included a number of great zoom lenses, there was no professional-grade 24-70mm equivalent (in full-frame) choice available. Fuji changed that by introducing the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR in early 2015 – a high-quality, weather resistant lens with superb optical characteristics and tough construction for the most demanding photographers. Combined with a weather-sealed camera like the Fuji X-T1, the new generation Fujinon lenses like the 16-55mm f/2.8 are the top choices for landscape and architecture photographers who often face challenging weather conditions. I had the pleasure of using the XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens for several months after it was launched and I was able to take it with me on several projects and assignments, so this review is primarily based on my field experience. Let’s take a look at the lens in more detail.

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San Francisco Photo Walk this Sunday!

Bay Bridge at Night

I am in the beautiful city of San Francisco again and this time I would like to give advanced notice for our upcoming Photo Walk this Sunday, April 26 2015! Although the weather has been pretty miserable so far with cold, foggy days, hopefully things will look better on Sunday weather-wise and we should be able to enjoy a nice evening of shooting. Please note that all Photo Walks we host are free and you are welcome to come and join us for some photography, getting to know each other and talking about all things photography in a restaurant after the walk. As in our previous Photo Walks, you are also welcome to bring your portfolio with you and I can spend some one-on-one time after dinner to do a critique session and discuss your work, which will hopefully help you out in deciding how to take your photography to the next level. I will have a special guest with me, our very own John Bosley, who graciously agreed to help out in doing these one-on-one critique session. So we will not only have a great time together shooting, but it will be also a great opportunity to hopefully improve and advance your photography skills. Bring all the questions you have for us!

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Lightroom 6 Announcement and Preview

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6 and CC

Today adobe rolled out the much anticipated update to its Lightroom photo management and editing software. Two new versions of Lightroom are immediately available for both standalone and Creative Cloud subscribers. Lightroom 6 will be offered as an update to Lightroom 5 for perpetual users (both regular and upgrade licenses are already available) and those who subscribe to the Creative Cloud will get a cloud-specific version called Lightroom CC (which in its core is the same as Lightroom 6). This update is a rather significant one, because it brings very important and much-needed performance improvements, new camera / lens support and a few new notable features. Let’s discuss those in more detail now.

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