On The Site
Is DJI really working on a parachute for your copter?
The website Gadgetify recently spotted something intriguing—an unlisted video from DJI that shows that the company is working on a parachute for a number of its aerial systems, called the DJI DropSafe. That's right, a new addon that means if something were to go horribly wrong while flying, it might not smash into a thousand pieces, utterly destroying both the copter and camera. And while there's still not a lot of information, it's an intriguing concept.
The video shows off a prototype of the DJI DropSafe, a parachute for the S800 or S1000 aerial systems. These systems start in the thousands of dollars, and by the time you've added camera, controls, and all your extras, it's not a cheap rig. Which is why a safety mechanism makes sense.
According to the video, the DropSafe weighs less than 550g (20oz), and can be set up to automatically deploy. When needed, it shoots out in less than 0.5s, automatically killing power to the rotor blades so as not to get tangled. It's even a reusable design so you won't need to buy a whole new one each time.
We have no idea when the DropSafe will come out, or how much it will cost. But if you're flying the better part of $10,000 worth of gear, the added security of a rapidly deploying parachute may make a lot of sense.
No flash and a dim screen is all it takes
If you've been to a concert any time in the last five years, you're probably watched most of the show through a sea of smartphones, held up by other concert-goers determined to take blurry photos and jiggly videos of your favorite band. Kimd is an app that aims to fix that—and while it won't make your actual images look any better, it will make it a lot less annoying for everyone around you.
The app itself is impressive in its simplicity. When you launch it, it dims the screen way down, and disables the flash. You tap the screen to take a photo, tap and hold to record a video. Swipe to access the library. All told, an incredibly straightforward—but it deals with a very relevant problem, all those people with their screen brightness on max, trying to take photos.
Sure, you can do most of this yourself. You can manually make sure your flash is off, that the screen brightness is turned all the way down, and that it won't automatically brighten itself for any reason. Or, you could just launch a simple app. Which do you think is easier to remember to do when in the middle of a crowd dancing along to your favorite act?
Just be careful not to drop your phone while you're trying to get that shot. Happened to me at the last concert I went to, and I almost lost it for good.
A classic look with modern CMOS guts
Look at most modern hasselblad cameras and they have a distinctive streamlined gray look. But, for many, many years before that, Hasselblad was all about the boxy black and chrome cameras beloved by so many photographers. Now, they have created a digital back meant to work with their legacy V system shooters, the CFV-50c.
The new back uses the same 50-megapixel CMOS sensor found in the high-tech H5D-50c, so it has the big resolution and gets the ISO performance enhancements that come with a CMOS censor instead of a CCD. The back, though, it built to work specifically with older V-series cameras, which go back as far as 1957.
You can still find quite a few V-series cameras on the second-hand market, some at a pretty good deal. It's a camera that was extremely popular with all kinds of photographers. The back, however, doesn't produce square images (the max resolution is 8272 x 6200), which might feel like a bit of a departure.
The screen on the back is a 3-inch TFT LCD and it captures up to 1.5 photos per second. Each raw files is about 65 MB.
Of course, this isn't the first time you could use a digital back with the V-system cameras. Leaf and Phase One have made compatible backs for quite some time. But, these new Hasselblad backs are meant to match the 'Blad cameras in both style and function.
One new lens, one that we now know more about, and some unfortunate delays
Fujifilm has updated its X-mount lens roadmap, revealing more information about two lenses, but also shifting back a few dates in a way that will doubtless frustrate some people.
Totally new in the roadmap is the XF90mmF2 R, set to launch in late 2015. This previously unhinted lens will have a 35mm equivalent 135mm focal length, making it appropriate for a long portrait lens, and one with a large enough aperture for a narrow field of view. The roadmap has now also specified what was previously just known as the "high speed wide angle lens", which we now know will be XF16mmF1.4 R. Unfortunately, this has been pushed back from mid-2014 to early-2015. This 24mm equivalent lens will surely be a big draw for street shooters.
Other changes in the roadmap are the water-proofed XF16-55mmF2.8 R WR, which was originally scheduled for later this year, but has now been bumped to Spring 2015; and the as yet unspecified "super tele-photo zoom lens" which has been tweaked slightly from an overall 2015 release to a more specific "Winter" release window.
Fujifilm's frequent and public updating of the lens roadmap has made it easy for X-mount photographers to stay on top of what lenses are coming out, and to purchase appropriately. And if Fujifilm sticks to this schedule, it'll be a total of 21 lenses by the end of 2015—a situation not to be scoffed at.
If you're worried about the possibility of someone remotely accessing your iPhone camera, this is the case for you
For some people, the fact that you can't tell if the camera on your phone is on or not is a very real privacy worry. They're concerned that it might be possible for someone to remotely control your iPhone, and take photos of you without your consent. A new case currently seeking crowdfunding aims to prevent that by giving the iPhone a sliding lens cap. Called the iPatch, it'll allow you to manually cover the front and back cameras except for when you want to use them.
The iPatch is designed by Michael Sorrentino, a television news producer, and uses a simple sliding mechanism to cover both of the cameras on the iPhone 5 and 5s. The front cover includes a small gap so that the proximity sensor isn't blocked, which means that it'll still correctly judge how close you're holding it to your face.
The fact of the matter is, the actual chances of your iPhone getting hacked and remotely controlled are extremely small. To the best of our knowledge, there are no known cases of it happening (laptop webcams are a whole different story). However, that doesn't mean that someone who has physical access to your phone might not install an app without you realizing it; or, alternatively, an app that you already have may be hacked from the server side of things. Having a physical barrier means that no matter what, you control when or how your iPhone is able to take photos.
If the iPatch gets funded, hopefully they're smart enough to be aware of the fact that the iPhone 6 will likely be announced later this year, and will have a redesigned body.
All laid out in an easy to read map
In the USA, there are three major rules that govern where you can and can't fly your photography drone. To put it simply, you're not allowed to take to the skies over US National Parks, US Military Bases, or within a five mile radius of a decent sized airport. Don't Fly Drones Here pulls that information into an easy to read map, so you don't have to grab a compass to figure out if you're too close to an airport or not.
This map admittedly doesn't take into account local ordinances that may ban them from certain places (which is definitely a thing that's starting to happen), and there's still an overall ban on their use for commercial work. But if you're just doing some photography, this map provides an excellent guide to where you need to be careful about using a remote operated drone.
For the vast majority of the country, you're probably in the clear. When it gets interesting is in major cities with multiple airports, such as around New York City and San Francisco, where the five mile radius rule can dominate much of the city. Good luck anywhere between San José and Palo Alto. And a big part of Manhattan's Upper East Side and Central Park fall within the range of La Guardia.
Since this is an open source project, you can add further data to it, if you have. So next time, before you take your DJI Phantom out for a spin, make sure you're in the clear.
[ED. NOTE: This isn't a legally binding map and it doesn't include all the areas where drones are banned. It's just meant to be used as a guideline. So, don't go trying to tell the cops about a map you saw on the web. You'll probably just end up getting into more trouble. Do the research before you take your drone out.]
[via the Verge]
Only 2,000 units will be made of this gunmetal variant
Of all the major manufacturers, Ricoh-Pentax has something of a reputation for playing with wild and weird limited edition cameras. But the newest hard to find variant is a far more understated take on the special edition: a gunmetal variant of the K-3 called the K-3 Prestige.
Only 2,000 of the Prestige will be made worldwide, and it will ship with a gunmetal D-BG5 battery grip to pair with it. According to a press release, the K-3 Prestige "commemorates the many awards bestowed upon the K-3 by revered photography publications and organizations.... This illustrious version of the award winning K-3 will be available in a limited quantity making this special edition highly sought after."
On a hardware level, the K-3 Prestige is unchanged, offering the same handling and performance from the original. It's just with a gunmetal paint job, a special grip, as well as "an exclusive, black leather strap", and two batteries.
The K-3 Prestige will go for $1399.95 when it debuts next month, an extremely reasonable price for a limited edition model, since the standard K-3 still fetches $1200 for just the body.
As far as limited edition variants go, this one is comparatively understated and affordable—so might actually be worth hunting down if you're a dedicated Pentaxian.
A photo series that captures the essence of summer
Nothing says summer quite like shooting out of a water slide, taking a big deep breath and splashing into a chlorine-filled pool. Krista Long’s series “I Love Summer” captures Iowa swimmers in that moment of pure joy or fear before they hit they water.
The series started last summer when Long took day trips with her two daughters to the waterparks near her Des Moines, Iowa home. Long says one slide in particular that captured her attention: “People would shoot out real fast and it was a little different than the typical water slide you see,” she says.
A photography hobbyist for the past 20 years, Long started bringing her camera and shooting her daughters, their friends and eventually strangers as they shot out of the slide. “I wanted every little water droplet to stand out and really capture, emphasize and isolate the facial expressions and the body positions,” she says. “I think it’s so fun just to watch everybody come out of this thing. It is just pure entertainment for me.”
Long captures her images using a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 70-200 zoom lens, a wide open aperture and a fast shutter speed, typically around 1/8000. After a day of shooting Long processes in Photoshop to remove a brick background from her images and replaces it with a black one—to give the splashing water and the flying human a bit more oomph. “Getting the timing down took a little practice, at first there were a lot of bumbles,” she says. “Now I’ve practiced it enough that I can get them just right out of the slide.”
See the full 18-image series on Long’s Flickr account.
Low-light sample images from Sony's latest advanced compact
Sony's RX100 Mark II has been one of the best advanced compact cameras on the market, so we have high expectations for the follow up, the Sony RX100 Mark III. We got some time to shoot with the camera and its new pop-up viewfinder in its natural habitiat at night in NYC.
We were also pleased with the initial low-light, high-ISO sample images. We'll have to wait until we get the camera in the test lab to say for sure how it resolves all the way up at ISO 12,800. For the sake of comparison, check out the sample galleries from the other RX100 models below.
Sample Images: Sony RX100 Mark III
Sample Images: Sony RX100 Mark II
Sample Images: Sony RX100
Pepper spray, camera, and alarm, all in one
The Defender is a crowd-funded self-defence tool that combines a suite of different features into one package. When triggered, it snaps a photo, shoots pepper spray, sends the photo to the Defender's servers, contacts local law enforcement with your GPS location, and sounds a siren. And while that's a whole lot for one little thing to do, what it reminds us most of is the long history of combining cameras with guns.
Let's just skip the obvious questions about how good of an identifying photo a tiny sensor like this will take of someone sprinting towards you at night, and instead focus on other combinations of weaponry and photography.
Perhaps the most similar was this 1938 revolver camera, which would take a photo whenever the trigger was pulled. You can see more of it here. And then once, the CIA did the opposite, and hid a gun inside of a camera for surreptitious shooting. Likewise, the KGB.
What's far more common is to see cameras that mimic the form factor of firearms—stretching back right to the earliest days of the history of photography. There was the Photo-Revolver de Poche, which went for £45,000 at auction in 2008. Or the Thompson's Revolver Camera. More recently there was the Japanese Doryu 2-16 gun camera, or the Fulgurator. Plus there are plenty of people who stick cameras on rifle stocks for extra stability.
These days, there's ever more interest in affixing cameras to guns to create an accurate recording of events—so you can buy accessories such as this one for your firearms.
But for almost as long as people have been making cameras they've been sticking them on or around weapons—and that doesn't seem set to change.
Get a good strap, give to a good cause
Camera bag makers ONA have teamed up with charity: water to create a special camera strap, with proceeds going to the organization's attempts to provide clean drinking water the world over. Crafted from leather, neoprene, and canvas, the Sahel strap comes in black with chrome buckles and rivets, and a "Tell Stories" canvas patch.
The Sahel strap is based on a similar design to ONA's Presidio strap. It's the same primarily leather construction, with neoprene padding and chrome accents. But what's nice is the ONA hasn't boosted the price on the Sahel to make up for the fact that part of the proceeds are going to charity—instead, it retains the same $99 pricetag as the leather Presidio straps. And according to charity: water, "$30 from the sale of each ONA Sahel Camera Strap helps fund our operating costs."
In case you're worried about giving money to an operation that you don't know much about, charity: water is rated extremely well on Charity Navigator.
The Sahel itself is a rather long strap, designed to worn cross-body as a sling. It has a 63-inch total length, with a drop that can adjusted from 19.5-23.5 inches, and is capable of holding up to a 6lbs camera.
[via the Phoblographer]
A cheap-but-challenging solution for extremely dramatic light
New coatings also make them resistant to water and scratches
When it comes to filters, it's actually the coatings on the outside of the glass that can make a huge difference in performance. Hoya's newest filters have some brand new coatings that they claim bring a few different improvements.
The filters are treated with antistatic material, which means it won't hold onto dust and dirt like some filters do. If you've ever looked down at the front of your lens and found it a speckled wreck, you know how handy that could be if it's as effective as they claim. It's also resistant to water, stains, and scratches.
Second, they also claim that they have improved light transmission from 99.7% of light to 99.8%. The numbers make it sound a bit hilarious, but when it comes to letting in light, every little bit counts. They also claim to have 100% transmission at some wavelengths.
You can get the filters in Protector (a clear filter meant just for protection), UV, and circular polarizer in sizes from 37mm all the way up to 82mm.
They must have had awesome insurance
Bullet time has been around for quite some time. In fact, we've written about several different versions here on PopPhoto.com. Typically, they use decent lenses and consumer-grade bodies, but this bungee surfing shoot used 50 Canon 1D X bodies with 24-70mm F/2.8L II lenses. That's approaching a half-million dollars in camera gear.
The cameras are arranged in an interesting array. Typically, they form a semi-circle around the subject so you can get a 270-degree view, but the nature of the shoot made that impossible. So, the cameras are arranged on a rail alongside the water.
The sport itself is actually pretty interesting. A boat tows a surfer along using a stretchy cord that slingshots them forward after letting go. It's a bit like wake boarding without the water skiing elements.
The shots are pretty cool, but it seems like the potential to use the 12 fps capabilities (with AF) of the 1D X could lead to some even cooler applications down the road.
So, even if the shots don''t blow your socks off, it's still cool to see what current top-of-the-line gear is capable of. What would you do with access to that much gear?
Without even the need for reflective tracking dots
Accurately tracking 3D motion is not an easy prospect. On one hand, you have the way that most movie studios do it, by outfitting actors in jumpsuits, and covering them with reflective dots to map key points of motion. Or there workarounds, like using a Kinect sensor, which has problems with accuracy or complex scenes. But a team at Carnegie Mellon has developed an alternative method—called the Panoptic Studio, it's a dome, outfitted with 480 cameras, that can track up to 100,000 points in motion.
You can see the results in the video below, and what's especially impressive is how well it manages to deal with incredibly complex scenes. It starts simple, with just a single individual swinging a baseball bat, but then rapidly increases in complexity to multiple people circling each other, people playing games together, or even tracking confetti as it moves through the room.
The Panoptic Studio itself is a two story geodesic dome, but all the cameras are made from off the shelf parts, which means it should be fairly easy to upgrade with new technology as it becomes available.
While doing motion tracking inside of a fully enclosed room may seem restrictive, being able to ditch the jumpsuits and just have people move around the space could be a major advance in 3D motion tracking technology—and could mean a lot for the future of tracking movement.
Converted cinema film stock makes for some interesting photographic effects
Back before the days of Raw files and adjustable ISO, you had to buy film according to the light in which you'd be shooting. Most film was made for daylight, but when you were shooting indoors, you needed something that would render tungsten light bulbs white, rather than grimy orange. Lomography's new Cine200 film stock is balanced for indoor shooting and also offers some benefits typically only found in cinema film (hence the "cine" in the name).
You process the film as you would any other roll of color transparency film, using the C-41 process. So, yes, you can drop it off at whatever photo lab and it will come out just fine (assuming the people doing the processing are competent).
According to the site, the cinema stock has had the back layer removed to make it compatible with 35mm cameras, so you can stick it in whatever old SLR or even film compact camera you may have. As a result, the images have a very cinematic look to them.
It's balanced for shooting in Tungsten light, but that means you can also shoot outside in the sun with it and you'll get very blue-looking images thanks to the color shift. They'll be consistently blue, though, and it won't crank the contrast sky-high like cross-processing will.
They're only making 4,000 rolls of the stock available, so if you want to try it out, you should probably jump on it fairly quickly. There are also some other film stocks out there worth a shot.
Metz has announced its newest high-end flash
German manufacturer Metz has unveiled its newest flash unit, the previously rumored Mecablitz 64 AF-1 digital. It features not just an impressive guide number of 64, but also a 24-200mm zoom capability, as well as a USB port for firmware updates. Perhaps most interesting for most photographers is the touchscreen rear, which you can use to control the unit without fiddling over buttons.
The 64 AF-1 will also play nicely with most major camera systems, offering TTL flash and remote modes for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, and Olympus/Panasonic/Leica camera. It runs off of 4 AA batteries, or an external power pack. Here's its full feature list:
- Secondary reflector with 2 light levels
- Vertical (–9/+90°) and horizontal (300°) swivel reflector
- Large illuminated, graphic touch display in colour, with automatic rotating function (90°)
- Simple operating concept
- Motorised zoom for 24–200 mm illumination
- Spot and extended zoom Integrated wide-angle diffuser for 12 mm illumination
- Flip-out reflector card
- Modelling light (permanent light for checking shadows)
- Integrated autofocus multi-zone flash metering
- Flash readiness indicator and correct exposure display on unit and on camera
- TFT flash range display
- Acoustic status notifications (beep)
- Automatic unit shut-off and manual key lock
- Wake-up function via the camera Integrated sync cable socket
- Power pack connection
- Rapid mode
- Programme memory (4 memory locations)
- Metal base with quick lock
Unfortunately, we don't know exactly how much the 62 AF-1 is expected to fetch, but given that the 58 AF-2 goes for around $400, we imagine the 62 AF-1 will go for more than that.
This folded optics patent would squeeze a huge zoom into a small space
Have you ever wondered how underwater cameras manage to fit an optical zoom into a body where the lens doesn't seem to move at all? Frequently, they use a system of what's known as "folded optics", rerouting the light along a bouncing path rather than straight from lens to sensor, allowing the camera to squeeze a zoom into a totally enclosed space. A new Japanese patent for Canon has pushed that concept to the limit, with a design for a 45x folded zoom, which could theoretically end up in a waterproof camera.
The patent was spotted by Japanese site Egami, which cites it as a 45x zoom, with a 1/2.3-inch sensor, 24-1066mm equivalent, f/4-9 lens. It would have 12 elements in 9 groups, and what differentiates it from your standard superzoom patent is the fact that the diagram shows a 90° bounce in the light path.
Egami links this to the Canon D-series, which uses optical folding to keep the lens housed inside a waterproof, shockproof system, so that it can take all manner of abuse without getting water, sand, or other detritus in its works.
On the other hand, we're a bit more skeptical about the Canon D-series link, if only because a 45x zoom makes almost zero sense in an underwater camera. As anyone who's shot underwater knows, light dropoff happens extremely fast, and anything beyond just a moderate zoom become almost impossible to see. However, a tough superzoom does make some degree of sense—as does using this folding optics to just shrink down the size of the superzoom all together. Think about the Sony T-line of cameras, which were incredibly thin. If Canon could squeeze a 45x zoom into a body the size of its current 20x compact zoom cameras, that would be a major selling point.
And folded optics can lead to some pretty extreme form factors.
A portable printer to turn smartphone photos into tangible prints
Just be careful, a beta's still a beta
With news that Apple's officially discontinuing development of Aperture to focus on the upcoming Photos app, that leaves a lot of people who used Aperture in their workflow in something a lurch. Where do they go from here? And how do they get there? One developer has taken matters into his own hands, crafting a tool to transition from Aperture to Lightroom. It's called Aperture Exporter, but with the caveat that it's still in beta, so you're taking the life of your image collection into your own hands.
It sounds like much of what the software does is take things you were already able to do, and simplify them. As the site explains: "Aperture Exporter consolidates the process into just a few clicks and provides features not possible with any manual process. Aperture Exporter is also a great way to back up your Aperture Libraries in a format that is not reliant on the future use of Aperture.
The full feature list is:
- Export your Aperture library to a set of folders
- Retain meticulously crafted project hierarchies.
- Keep all your metadata including ratings and comments.
- Original/Master images saved with XMP sidecar files for ultimate compatibility.
- Aperture adjusted images saved as TIFF or JPEG depending on image rating. Adjustments are baked-in the image.
- Exports images contained in your albums and smart albums.
- Converts Aperture flags and colour labels to keywords.
- Your Aperture libraries are unaltered and unaffected.
The fact that it leaves your Aperture library untouched is a major plus, but keep in mind it's still a beta version of the software, and there's still plenty of ways for things to go wrong. So just be careful, maybe back up your archive first, just in case the worst should happen.
Tethered controls without the tether
MIOPS is a Kickstarter for a smartphone controlled remoter trigger system, and while that's not an entirely new concept, it does promise an impressive level of performance and control.
Rather than physically tethering your phone to the camera using a release cable, MIOPS is a bluetooth controlled device, which slots into your hotshoe, and can be used to control your camera. If you don't have a smartphone around (or your battery dies), it still has a full set of manual controls built into the body, so you can still tweak settings as needed.
MIOPS will have three primary control modes: lightning (triggered by light changes), laser, and sound (which is used for triggering the flash rather than the shutter, to minimize delays). However, it can also be used for HDR image recording, and timelapses—and can even have other types of triggers linked in through an external port.
This isn't the first time we've seen camera controls run through a smartphone—Trigger Happy was one such project, there's the TriggerTrap Mobile app, and even wireless options like MaxStone and ShutterBox. But part of what sets MIOPS apart is its lineage, it's made by the same people who made the Nero Trigger, which means they already have experience with remote triggers, and bringing them successfully to market. And with the MIOPS going for just $200 to Kickstarter backers, that puts it on price parity with the non-Bluetooth version.
That's just half of its usual $995 price
Last year, Blackmagic drew the attention of the world for offering a RAW video shooting camera for just $1000. Now, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) has dropped in price even further, and for a limited time you can dip your toes into the water of professional level cinematography for just $495.
Until the end of August, the BMPCC will be going for half of its normal cost, and the sale price is already kicking in with major online retailers.
In a press release, Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design said:
“We have worked hard to set up this exciting special price to allow more people to afford a super compact digital cinema camera that they can personally own. However stock is limited at this lower price so customers who want to buy at this price will need to move fast. We are extremely proud of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and we want to thank all the cinematographers who have send us examples of the work they have completed with this camera. We want to thank everyone for the wise and intelligent feedback they have given us and we hope this special offer is a great way to show our appreciation to the wonderful customers we have. For us, this is a dream come true!”
The BMPCC uses a Micro Four Thirds mount, but because of its small, Super-16 sized sensor, it has a 2.88x crop factor rather than the usual 2x you see with Micro Four Thirds sensors.
This camera can record 1920x1080 footage at up to 30fps, in ProRes 422 (HQ) or CinemaDNG formats, and writes to a built in SD card. Blackmagic claims 13 stops of dynamic range in the RAW footage.
While it might not quite have the sheer power of some of the 4K cinema cameras that are currently on the market, with a $500 price tag, it's a way for indie filmmakers to learn the tools of the trade, without being hobbled by overly restrictive formatting, or bankrupting themselves.
The closest view of the action you're going to get without being a world-class athlete
This year's Tour De France has seen a new addition to the rigorously designed and controlled cycle frames that the athletes ride in the world's most prominent bicycle race: cameras. That's right, for the first time, the bikes have cameras loaded on them, and you can see just how intense and exciting the race is from the middle of the pack.
This May, the International Cycling Union gave the thumb's up for on-board cameras for the first time, during the smaller Tour of California, which resulted in an immensely popular video of the race's finish. Now each team has their own camera system set up, giving us a glimpse into how their racers are doing, like some of the ones you can see below, or these ones from Team Giant-Shimano.
While GoPro may be the most common name when you think of action cameras, unusually, they're not the ones being used for this race. According to the New York Times, eight of the teams are using a Shimano action camera (including non-Shimano teams), and Team Garmin-Sharp has their own recording setup.
The cameras are placed either under the handlebars facing forward, or behind the seat, facing back. Since they last about two hours on a charge, it's up to the rider to decide when to turn them on—but if the videos we've seen so far are any indication, there's always plenty of action to be seen.
If this whole post left you scratching your head, you're probably not alone. After all, mountain bikers and cyclists have been using action cameras for, well, as long as there has been action cameras. In the world of competitive bike racing, though, even the smallest amount of weight can be a significant addition, and at 3 oz., the cameras are substantial. But, the benefits seem to outweigh the added grams for the teams, which is just further proof that cameras really are awesome.
This month's collection of amazing reader-submitted photos
Summer time is an awesome time to get out and take photos. But, the one kind of photography that really seems to thrive when the temperatures rise is landscape. This month's contest had a ton of great photos, but the concentration of amazing outdoor and nature shots is almost staggering. There are sweeping mountain shots to dramatic sea scapes and everything in between. It's a nice indicator that, with the polar vortex of the winter over, people are grabbing their cameras (and their tripods) and heading out to make awesome images.
Despite the hefty number of nature images, there's also a nice mixture of other stuff, too. There's a small-but-strong showing by black and white photographers and, as always, some excellent portraiture as well.
Once you've gone through the gallery for inspiration, head on over to our Contests Page for your chance to show off your own images and win some great prizes.
Oh, and if you're primarily a smartphone photographer, be sure to check out our Mobile Photo Contest. There are already some incredibly impressive entries in there.
The controversial application is now out of beta
Nikon has long offered Capture NX, its own Raw conversion and editing application for those who don't want to venture into the waters of third party software. But, in 2012, Google bought out Nik Software, the company that created the underpinnings of Capture NX, leaving Nikon with some decisions to make. Now Nikon has released a totally new app, Capture NX-D.
One of the big selling points for previous versions of Capture NX was the "U-Point Control System", but this tool vanished with Nik Software, leaving many photographers feeling frustrated. And while Nikon has now made the software free, comments on earlier betas suggest that Capture NX-D is essentially just a new skin on top of the widely used Silkypix engine.
Comments on the official release mixed, with some people criticizing its slow speed, lack of editing tools, and most worryingly, poor compatability with Capture NX2 files—some users claim you'll lose all your edits if you bring in old NEFs, restoring them to straight out of camera files.
If any of our readers have experimented with either the NX-D betas, or this official release, sound off in the comments or on Facebook, and let us know what you think of it.