All posts tagged: Technology


Gear of the Year 2015

Sony A7 Mark II series The year 2015 saw the arrival of Sony’s full Mark II A7 fleet, adding five-axis full-frame sensor stabilisation to the mirrorless ILC. While the 42-megapixel A7R II [below left] is now acknowledged as the top of the range, the first update, the A7 II (24-megapixels), also improved autofocus, body design, sealing and shutter life. Its on-sensor, phase-detection AF works with many adapted Sony A-mount and Canon EF lenses. The second update (A7R to A7R II) moved from 36- to 42-megapixels with a new shutter and 4k video direct to SDXC card, plus a larger electronic viewfinder (0.78×). The backside-illuminated CMOS sensor allows first curtain electronic and silent shutter modes while curing rangefinder wide-angle colour shading and smearing. The final upgrade, the A7S II, kept 12-megapixels and moonlight-friendly ISO 409,600, while adding the advances of the A7R II and 14-bit uncompressed raw. Finally, Sony gave this to the A7 II/A7R II by a firmware upgrade. Leica Q If you are looking for an absolutely first-class compact camera that will produce results …


Strangers in the light, 2009 © Catherine Balet

Noorderlicht Photofestival grapples with information overload

Founded in 1991, Noorderlicht is one of the more experienced heads of the European photography scene. The Dutch festival has a decidedly ‘current’ scope, aiming to address social discussions and processes as they play out. Growing out of the Noorderlicht Photogallery in Groningen, for the festival, “photography is a socially inspired medium” and this year’s main theme is as rich as it is relevant: ‘Data Rush.’ WikiLeaks, the NSA, Sony vs. North Korea — information is being siphoned off and redistributed on a staggering scale, and inspired by the inundating stream of words, images, videos and combinations therein, this year Noorderlicht is tackling the digital age. This year, half of the planet’s population will have access to the internet, and ‘the next billion’ are beginning to grapple with the repercussions of constant connectivity. While contemporary artists have explored ideas surrounding technology thoroughly in recent years, Noorderlicht is focusing on the sheer scale of information overload, and through the images, asks what effect it may have on us. “‘Online’ is such a drastic concern”, says Wim Melis, curator …


Human Simulacrum

Luisa Whitton first became interested in what she describes as “technology and its effects on identity, in particular its ability to create a double self ” while working on a project during the second year of her BA degree at London College of Communication. Soon after, she came across a documentary on Japanese scientist Hiroshi Ishiguro, who had constructed a robotic double of himself, and she was instantly compelled to meet him. Whitton spent several months in Japan interviewing Ishiguro, as well as other scientists, and photographing their laboratories. The images that make up her series, What About the Heart?, focus heavily on the eerily lifelike faces that were constructed for the robots as a way to question the humanistic aspect of the subject. “In my photographs I am trying to subvert the traditional formula of portraiture and lure the audience into a debate on the boundaries that determine the dichotomy of the human/not human. The photographs become documents of objects that sit between scientific tool and horrid simulacrum.” Whitton’s images are accompanied by transcribed …


Highlights from Cologne

As the opening week of Photokina 2014 moves towards its final days, we present a few more highlights from the world’s largest photography trade show.                                       Lexar has announced a new professional line of memory cards – the 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards – “the fastest UHS-II memory cards available on the market today,” according to the company. Offering transfer speeds of up to 300MB per second and write speeds up to 260MB per second, the Lexar Professional 2000x cards will be able to capture and transfer 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video, as well as high quality stills images. They will be available in 32GB (£77.99) and 64GB (£135.99) capacities from the autumn. In addition, Lexar is to release a complementary range – Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II memory cards, which offer read transfer speeds of up to 150MB per second and write transfer speeds up to 95MB per second. Also available from the autumn, the 1000x cards can be purchased in sizes ranging from …


Photokina briefing: press day

The day ahead of Photokina’s opening in Cologne is given over to the press, and there were several announcements throughout the day, dominated by Canon, who surprised no one with the introduction of the EOS 7D Mark II, and Samsung, who did, launching the NX1, complete with numerous innovations that all in all make it a compact system camera worthy of pro attention. With its 28-megapixel resolution, 205-point phase detection autofocus system and 4K UHD video capture, the NX1 deserves attention, marking itself out as an extremely versatile camera packed into a compact body. The 7D Mark II, on the other hand, is more of an evolutionary development – though coming five years after the original 7D, there’s lots to improve on, including a highly developed autofocus system. Canon also announced the new PowerShot G7 X, its “most powerful pocket camera ever”. With a continuous shooting speed of 6.5fps, and an AF system that includes 31 points, the G7 X can focus “three times faster than the human eye”, said Canon at this afternoon’s press launch, “and offers a photographic experience comparable to that of …


Sony presents new lens at Photokina

The latest addition to the Sony lens stable is the Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 full-frame wide-angle zoom (with a 35mm-equivalent focal length, when attached to an APS-C body). Unveiled at a press conference this afternoon at Photokina, the Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS (SEL1635Z) lens is compatible with E-mount cameras and camcorders. The lens, which has been optimised for use with the A7 range of full-frame cameras, sits alongside Sony’s existing SEL2470Z zoom and SEL70200G telephoto zoom optics. Featuring five aspherical lens elements, the new lens, which comes with in-built image stabilisation, is able to achieve “outstanding corner-to-corner resolution and sharpness”, says the company, while also reducing distortion and keeping colour aberration to a minimum. The T* coating – a feature of Zeiss lenses – minimises flare and ghosting, boosting contrast, claims Sony. The Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS (SEL1635Z) full-frame wide-angle zoom lens is available to pre-order now from It will be on general sale in Europe from November 2014. Stay up to date with stories such as this, delivered to your inbox every Friday.


The NX1 is unveiled; Samsung’s flagship compact system camera

With its 28-megapixel resolution, innovative 205-point phase detection autofocus system and 4K UHD video capture, the newly announced NX1 has serious pro-worthy credentials. Indeed, for the first time with any seriousness, Samsung is using the ‘p’ word a lot, claiming the new addition is “about giving professional photographers choice and an alternative to the DSLR”. Its speedy autofocus, 15fps continuous shooting and advanced focus tracking capabilities should mean it delivers for both still and moving image capture. And its Back Side Illumination sensor design allows a clear lightway from the lens, which will reduce the signal-to-noise ratio significantly. The AF system can “instinctively track subjects almost anywhere in the frame, regardless of their location”, claims Samsung. “Photographers can capture even the briefest of moments as there is no need to re-compose a shot – they can simply focus and shoot immediately, allowing for extreme speed and flexibility. This technology will be of particular interest to those who love to shoot video, as the NX1 supports the use of Phase AF during movie recording, so that results are …


Canon unveils EOS 7D Mark II

It was the announcement we’ve been waiting for: this afternoon Canon unveiled their latest DSLR – the EOS 7D Mark II – to a packed room of journalists at Photokina in Cologne, Germany. “We never stand still as a company,” said Masaya Maeda, chief executive, Image Communication Products Operations, Canon Inc. “We help to shape the evolving landscape, and today we move forward again with the EOS 7D Mark II.” The 20-megapixel 7D Mark II is an extension of the 7D released five years ago, but “is a huge upgrade,” Alessandro Stanzani, head of Consumer Imaging Group, Canon Europe, told journalists. The camera, which harnesses EOS-1D X technology, is able to shoot at 10fps – “a speed no other APS-C sensor can currently match”, Stanzani said. Designed to shoot fast-paced action, the 7D has a new 65-point AF system and Dual DIGIC 6 processor. The camera’s ISO 100-16,000 range, expandable to ISO 51,200, will appeal to those wanting to shoot in low-lit conditions. The new camera will also appeal to filmmakers with its pro-level movie features, which include live, uncompressed HDMI output and Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. The 7D Mark II …


Weekly briefing: a round-up of this week’s technology news

While the majority of brands are holding off on announcing new releases until the Monday and Tuesday of Photokina, (15 and 16 September), one or two have announced products already. Although Hasselblad will officially launch the H5X system (above) at Photokina, this week the company announced that its latest medium format camera body has been developed primarily for photographers using the H1, H2, H2F and H4X, those who “seek H5 capability”, and H5D users who might use the new system as a backup body. Based on the H5D range, the H5X, which has a HVD 90x viewfinder optimised for 36×48 mm format, is compatible with most of the digital backs from older H System products, says the company, and also most third party digital backs. The H5X can be used with Hasselblad’s H System lenses. It is priced €4,595 without viewfinder and €5,795 with viewfinder. UK price and availability not yet known. As reported on bjp-online this week, Nikon decided to jump in ahead of Photokina and make its latest announcements. The company has launched the anticipated FX-format D750, and ultra-wide AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED lens, plus a new Speedlite – the SB-500 – and a new Coolpix …


Weekly briefing: a round-up of this week’s technology news

New from Syrp, a New Zealand-based company specialising in affordable film equipment for DSLR cameras, is the Magic Carpet Camera Slider + Motion Control for achieving smooth tracking slider shots. With high precision ball bearing rollers, a counter weight roller for vertical shots, and quick release adjustable legs, the Magic Carpet tracking slider retails at $300 (UK price not available.) The company, which is looking to crossover from the video market into photography, has also released a variable ND filter that limits the amount of light entering the lens by f/1-8.5 stops. Aimed at photographers and filmmakers, the ND filter kits are available in small (67mm) and large (82mm), and are priced $139 and $189.   Domke bags have been a particular favourite of photojournalists for nearly 40 years, thanks largely to their discreet, functional, no-nonsense approach to design. Now comes the ‘New Generation’, available across the Journalist, Metropolitan, Viewfinder and Adventure series, using a newly developed component storage system made up of of pockets, patches and pouches, and further scope to tailor the bags to your individual needs. Full details, specifications and US-only pricing here.     Kenro …


BJP Staff