Instamatic Days - Street Photography

      Product news-in-brief

via British Journal of Photography -

In the first of a new series we present our pick of newly announced cameras, lenses, accessories and software that have caught our eye this week.

Cameras and lenses

Towards the end of last week, news broke about the latest addition to the Leica stable – the M-P rangefinder. Billed as a camera that is “photography stripped back to the essentials”, the M-P is based on the Leica M (Typ 240), but has an enlarged buffer memory of 2GB – twice the size of that of the Leica M.

For selfie fans, there is the new Olympus Pen E-PL7. With a flip-down, tiltable LCD touchscreen, the Pen E-PL7 has a 16.1 megapixel sensor and built-in wifi, which allows users to share images via their (compatible) smart phone and the bundled Olympus Image Share app.

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Pentax announced the K-S1, the latest digital SLR to join the Ricoh Imaging UK family. Aimed at enthusiasts, the lightweight, compact and portable camera features “outstanding imaging performance, progressive design and an innovative illuminated body,” says the company.

The camera, which is available in 12 colours, has a newly developed CMOS sensor with approximately 20.12 effective megapixels, LED body illumination, a three-inch, high-resolution LCD monitor, and full HD movie recording with stereo audio.

Other key features include a top sensitivity of ISO 51200, top shutter speed of 1/6000 second, and a high-speed continuous shooting function with a top speed of 5.4 images per second.

Available mid-September, the Pentax K-S1 is priced £550 (body-only). It costs £600 with a SMC DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and £680 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 and SMC DA L f4-5.6 AL 50-200mm optics.

Fujifilm announced a new premium compact camera – the X30 – boasting “new controls and faster performance”.

Aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers, the X30 comes with a f/2.0-2.8 4x manual barrel zoom lens, and has a 12MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor with phase-detection AF, new real time 2.36M-dot organic EL viewfinder, (“the largest and fastest viewfinder in its class”), Live View display and high speed continuous shooting of 12fps.

The X30 also has a large, tilting 3.0” 920K-dot premium clear LCD monitor, increased battery performance, and a strong, lightweight, die-cast magnesium alloy body.

In addition, the X30 now includes two rings on the lens: a manual zoom ring and control ring. The latter, positioned behind the manual zoom control, is designed to allow users to easily change aperture and shutter speed settings while fine-tuning image composition.

Photographers will also be able to assign functions including ISO sensitivity, film simulation, white balance and continuous shooting via the control ring setting button at the front of the camera.

For those interested in shooting moving image, the X30 is equipped with full HD video 1080p at 60fps and a bit rate of 36Mbps, (there is also an output for stereo microphone).

The new compact camera also has a remote application and wireless communication function that allows users to shoot remotely using smartphones and tablets.

The Fujifilm X30 is available mid-September, and is priced $600.

Samyang has said it will present a new 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC lens at Photokina next month. As DPReview reports, the company will also introduce a new cine lens V-DSLR 50mm T1.5 AS UMC, “for videographers using DSLR and mirrorless cameras”.

Both lenses are designed to cover a full frame sensor, writes DPReview, and will each “come in 10 mounts to cover Nikon, Canon EOS, Pentax K, Sony Alpha, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds bodies,” according to the company’s website.

Accessories

This week also saw the release of a new Manfrotto carbon fibre tripod, the Befree Carbon, which retails at £280. With carbon fibre foldable legs and weighing 1.1kg, the new tripod is lightweight, making it easy to transport, but also stable and quick to set up. 

German lighting manufacturer, Hensel, has announced a number of products ahead of next month’s Photokina, including: the Hensel EH speedlight adapter; EH Mini P LED speed flash head; Visit UV flash dry C1 – UV drying unit; Softdish 80 – collapsible beauty dish; and Power max L – battery power supply.

For more information on these Hensel releases visit the press page on the Photokina website or the Hensel website.

Software

Corel has introduced the latest editions of its professional quality photo editing and design software. Pitched as alternatives to Photoshop, PaintShop Pro X7 and Pro X7 Ultimate offer “superior usability, enhanced power and new creative editing tools,” says the company.

New and enhanced features include Magic Fill, which allows users to erase unwanted areas of their images, and replace with content that matches the background area; Text and Shape Cutter tools; Materials Palette featuring Color Harmonies through which users can customise palettes for individual projects; and 30% faster brush performance. The company has also made improvements to its Selective Focus, Graduated filters, Depth of Field, and Digital Noise Removal tools, among others.

This week also saw Instagram announce its Hyperlapse app for iOS, which Instagramers can use to create smooth, streamlined time-lapse videos. As reported on Time Lightbox yesterday, Instagram wants the app to be “another way of seeing”.

Hyperlapse, “converts videos of up to 45 minutes (10 minutes on the iPhone 4) into smooth and stable time-lapses with a speed of up to 12x faster than the original,” writes DPReview Connect

Featuring built-in stabilisation technology, Hyperlapse lets users create handheld time-lapses while moving that “result in a cinematic look, quality and feel,” says Instagram on its blog.

Stay up to date with stories such as this, delivered to your inbox every Friday.


By Gemma Padley

      David English: Shadow Boxing

via The Leica Camera - I love classic black-and-white films. They can provide both creative inspiration and practical techniques for using an M Monochrom camera. Case in point are the Hollywood film noirs from roughly 1946 to 1958. Some of the more visually interesting ones use hard-edged shadows and large areas of darkness to emphasize the film’s characters or to […]
By Chance - Leica Cameras

      Olympus announces PEN E-PL7

via British Journal of Photography -

It seems the engineers behind the new Olympus PEN E-PL7 have pulled out all the stops to create a camera that is tailored to capture selfies.

Announced today, the compact and light-weight camera, is “specially designed for capturing superior selfies,” says Olympus in a press statement.

With its retro style design and all-metal finish, the new £499.99 camera comes with a slim-line 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 EZ pancake zoom lens, a large, flip-down and tiltable high resolution, touch-sensitive LCD touchscreen, automatic ‘selfie mode’ settings, including wide-angle lens position and portrait mode, and fast AF.

Live Guide allows users to check and adjust settings manually using a sliding scale on the LCD screen without the need for menu navigation.

The camera comes with a 16.1 Megapixel Live MOS sensor and a TruePic VII image processor, as well as built-in wifi, allowing users to share images via their (compatible) smart phone and the free Olympus Image Share app, available for both Android and iOS.

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Users will also be able to take advantage of options that include sequential and self-timer interval shooting. Using the flip-down screen, it will be possible “to frame and shoot a series of pre-timed, sequential still or video selfies… without even touching the camera, by simply tapping your smart phone,” claims the company.

While Olympus admits that an interchangeable-lens camera allowing users to release the shutter remotely via a smart phone is not new, PEN E-PL7 users will be able to zoom in and out without touching the camera, the company says, and adjust aperture and shutter speed settings in real time before being able to preview the effect on a smart phone screen.

In addition, the new PEN E-PL7 camera is fitted with industry standard 3-axis Image Stabilisation technology designed to “counteract rotational hand movements much more effectively than regular systems in comparable cameras,” says the company.

It adds that the PEN E-PL7 will deliver high quality images in low light thanks to “powerful technology used in Olympus’ high-end OM-D series cameras.”

The PEN E-PL7 also comes with 14 art filters, including new ‘Vintage’ and ‘Partial’ colour filters.

Aimed at “people with an eye for style”, the Olympus PEN E-PL7 is available with a white, vintage-style silver or classic black finish from early October. For more information visit www.olympus.co.uk.

Stay up to date with stories such as this, delivered to your inbox every Friday.


By Gemma Padley

      EyeEm announces Awards shortlist

via British Journal of Photography -

After sifting through more than 100,000 entries, the judges of the EyeEm Global Photography Festival & Awards have made their shortlist.

The judging panel, which includes Time LightBox’s Olivier Laurent, and recently appointed executive director at the Tim Hetherington Trust, Stephen Mayes, has chosen ten entries from each of the competition’s ten categories.

The winner of each category will be announced during an awards ceremony in Berlin on 12 September, during the inaugural edition of the EyeEm festival, which runs until 13 September.

One shortlisted photographer will go on to be crowned EyeEm Photographer of the Year at the ceremony.

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The winning images will be exhibited at the Berlin Holzmarket and in London, New York City, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, and Tokyo.

A book of the images will also be available.

Founded in 2011 in Berlin by photo-enthusiasts Florian Meissner, Lorenz Aschoff, Ramzi Rizk and Gen Sadakane, EyeEm seeks to celebrate “the quality and community of mobile photography,” say the founders.

As well as an online marketplace and community, EyeEm is a free application for iOS and Android.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating this new generation of budding photographers who are defining a new era with the launch of our Global Photography Festival & Awards”, says Florian Meissner, co-founder and CEO of EyeEm. “Photography has changed significantly in recent years and at EyeEm we see smartphone photography as a natural evolution of the art form. The creative excellence of our community is the centre of EyeEm, and the Global Photography Festival & Awards are our way of continuing to support and show the world this incredible talent.”

Here, we showcase our selection of the shortlisted images.


By Gemma Padley

      JIHAD 2.0

via British Journal of Photography -

Before he was killed in Libya, war photographer Tim Hetherington talked of “the feedback loop” – the self-perpetuating link between the reality of conflict and its portrayal in popular culture. But where such fictions were once tightly controlled, the internet has opened the floodgates, creating an ever-increasing circle that is seemingly more gruesome than ever before.

A few months before he died, Hetherington submitted to Vanity Fair a series of photographs of US soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. At the time, Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now was getting a re-release. The designers at Vanity Fair mixed the images up, mistakenly using Hetherington’s shots to illustrate a review of the famously conceptual rendering of war.

It was an ironic mistake. Just before the photographer died covering the uprising in Libya, he wrote of what he termed “the feedback loop” – the way in which servicemen echo fictional depictions of war while in combat, and vice versa. “You had this idea that young men in combat act in ways that emulate images they’ve seen – movies, photographs – of other men in other wars, other battles,” his collaborator Sebastian Junger said at Hetherington’s memorial. “You had this idea of a feedback loop between the world of images and the world of men that reinforced and altered itself as one war inevitably replaced another in the long tragic grind of human affairs.”

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Hetherington talked of how such mimicry becomes layered into war – how soldiers and the public at large come to understand, assess, quantify and ultimately consume conflict from the safety of the barricades, or from the safety of our homes. “The media has become such a part of the war machine now that we all have to be conscious of it more than ever,” Hetherington told The New York Times reporter Michael Kamber.

He talked of teenagers in war-torn Liberia watching Rambo the night before a battle with government forces, of American soldiers in the Korengal Valley, accessorising themselves in emulation of the iconic images of the Vietnam War. In the weeks before he died, he talked of young Libyan rebels hanging ammunition belts around their necks, carefully ‘arranging’ their bandanas, then incessantly posing for him with V for Victory signs. They barely knew how to fire their guns.

“He was put off by that,” says Hetherington’s biographer Alan Huffman in a phonecall from his home in Brooklyn. “He didn’t want them to pose because it was staged, inauthentic. And then it occurred to him that what he was seeing was underpinning the war, and all wars. He realised that even in the photographs of the American Civil War, everyone is posing. It’s integral to why men go to war.”

Eventually, Huffman writes in Here I Am, his account of Hetherington’s life, “the seeming fakery of inexperienced rebels posing with guns they barely knew how to use struck Hetherington, in retrospect, as an authentic response to having been thrust unexpectedly into war.”

“It’s something every war reporter needs to be conscious of,” says Australian photographer Adam Ferguson, a contemporary of Hetherington who has reported from both Afghanistan and Iraq and is currently documenting refugee camps in Syria for The New York Times. “I was once embedded with US Marines in Marja, which at the time was a volatile area in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. I was photographing this young Marine sat in a pool of light. He knew I was photographing him, and he kept holding up his dogtags and turning them in the light. I photographed him doing it and remember thinking, ‘This is such a poetic shotʼ.

“When I looked at it afterwards, I realised I’d made a Hollywood movie still. He knew what he was doing, I think, because he kept glancing at me; he played out a notion that I think existed before he got to Afghanistan. It’s as if he couldn’t help but act it out, because that’s what he understood war to be.”

The feedback loop has long existed, then, but in 2014 it has been carried “to extremes I don’t think Tim, or any of us, envisaged”, says Huffman. The ubiquity of cameraphones and distribution networks such as Twitter and Instagram has rapidly expanded the size and speed of the echo chamber, and its influence on our conception of war. The 9/11 attacks were designed for maximum visual potency, but back in 2001 there were few cameras on hand to record the planes as they flew into the Twin Towers. It was only by chance that a French TV crew was filming on the streets of Manhattan; in the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the once-controlled flow of images from the battlefield to the living room has become a flood. Added to this is a new breed of soldier, one who carries a gun, and a camera connected to the internet.

To read the full article, pick up a copy of this month’s issue of British Journal of Photography

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By Tom Seymour

Sunset at Hollands Spoor Train Station by robk1964 - [Editor’s choice]
Travelers waiting for a train on ‘Hollands Spoor’ train station