Facebook-owned image sharing behemoth Instagram (heard of 'em?) is testing a new change to its app, and the internet is collectively freaking out about it. According to some users, Instagram is already rolling out a new 4-across profile grid to replace the current 3-across setup that people know and (apparently) love.
Not a huge deal, you might think, but many photographers and casual users alike use that 3-across grid to create interesting mosaics that help their profile stand out. And those people are not reacting well to news of the test:
INSTAGRAM MIGHT UPDATE ITS FEATURE FROM A 3-ACROSS TO A 4-ACROSS PHOTO GRID AND IVE NEVER BEEN THIS DEVASTATED IN MY LIFE. MY FEED OH NO— nikki regalario (@spicycinderella) September 17, 2017
I'm going to be fuming when Instagram changes to a 4 grid!! My theme will be ruined. 😳😒#bloggerproblems— The Beauty Kingdom (@BeautyKingdomUK) September 19, 2017
Literally no one wants the 4 grid instagram change. Listen to your users @instagram this might be the beginning of your end— FC (@ATM__R) September 15, 2017
Thoughts and prayers to the people who curated their instagram based on the three column grid.— Mary (@marysilvestre) September 14, 2017
Of course, by now Instagram is used to these kinds of reactions—it seems like every change they make is met by a deluge of fear, anxiety and threats of abandonment. The algorithmic feed has been a boon for the company, but it set the community into a panic; and even smaller changes like the ability to block comments automatically or by keyword are usually met with at least some skepticism.
But for those photographers who have built their Instagram 'brand' in part by making creative use of the 3-across grid on their profile, this change would represent a swift kick to the mosaic.
Following an announcement last month that camera maker Zenit would launch a full-frame camera in 2018, USSRPhoto claims the new Zenit model will be based on the Leica SL full-frame camera. Leica will reportedly make components for the Zenit based on the ones found in its Leica SL camera, but will tailor them specifically for the upcoming Zenit model.
Little is known about Zenit's plans at this time. In mid-August, an announcement that Zenit would return with a new camera was reportedly made on Moscow Region Radio 1. No camera specifications were provided aside from the fact that it will be a full-frame mirrorless model with a brand-recognizable design and an anticipated 2018 launch date.
We know that the reborn Zenit company won't try to compete with the industry's biggest camera makers, and it was stated at the time that a "leading photographic equipment company" would be used to produce some of the new model's components. That company wasn't revealed, but assuming USSRPhoto's leak is correct, it will be Leica.
However, and in speaking to PetaPixel, USSRPhoto said the KMZ Zenit factory in Russia will itself produce the new lenses for this upcoming model, and that work on this project has already started. Though the factory isn't capable of producing electronic components for the camera (hence Leica's involvement) it does have the equipment necessary to make its own optics.
Additional information—such as cost, specs, and a more specific release date—still haven't been revealed.
According to sources who spoke to Korean publication ETNews, Samsung is planning to kick its mobile camera technology up a notch with a 1,000fps smartphone camera sensor that will compete directly with Sony's similar sensor. This technology is called a "3-layered image sensor," and Samsung has reportedly ordered special equipment necessary to start producing the hardware in November. Smartphones featuring this technology, like the Sony Xperia XZ, can record super-slow-motion video.
ETNews, which has a good track record in relation to Samsung leaks, claims that this 3-layered image sensor is comprised of TSV stacking technology alongside a DRAM chip and system semiconductor. Pilot production of the image sensors will start in October, the sources claim, followed by mass production in November. By comparison, Samsung currently uses 2-layered image sensors in its newest flagship smartphones.
It is the DRAM chip for temporary data storage that will enable the mobile image technology to capture at 1,000fps, and as we mentioned earlier, Samsung won't be the first company to develop this technology for mobile devices. Sony was the first to bring this 3-layered image sensor tech to commercial devices, though the sources say Samsung will use TSV stacking rather than thermal compression to avoid the costs that come with licensing other companies' patents.
Questions remain about which Samsung smartphones will receive the new 3-layered image sensors. Assuming mass production does start this November, it is reasonable to assume we'll see the sensors implemented into the next batch of Galaxy smartphones the company will unveil in 2018.
|Photo by Justin Hofman|
When photographer Justin Hofman snapped this photo while snorkeling off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumbawa in 2016, he couldn't have guessed the environmental impact the snapshot would have. A year later, the photograph is a finalist in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and has been dubbed "the poster child for today’s marine trash crisis."
Hofman is based out of California, but he travels all over the world leading wildlife expeditions. This photo was captured on one-such expedition in Indonesia.
He was gleefully watching this seahorse bounce from natural object to natural object, hitching rides on the current, when something changed. Here's a piece of the official image caption:
"As the tide started to come in, the mood changed. The water contained more and more decidedly unnatural objects—mainly bits of plastic—and a film of sewage sludge covered the surface. The seahorse let go of a piece of seagrass and seized a long, wispy piece of clear plastic. As a brisk wind at the surface picked up, making conditions bumpier, the seahorse took advantage of something that offered a more stable raft: a waterlogged plastic cotton swab."
When Hofman shared the photo on his Instagram account last week, it received over 17K likes and 1,100 comments, but it's a photo he wishes didn't exist. "This sea horse drifts along with the trash day in and day out as it rides the currents that flow along the Indonesian archipelago," he wrote on IG. "This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans."
As for capturing the photo itself, we asked Hofman if he would like to share anything with our audience of photographers directly. This is what he had to say:
The thing I would really like to tell photographers is to a) Listen to your gut and b) Don't worry so much about gear.
If you look at this encounter, on paper it doesn't really make that much sense: I captured a photo of a 1 inch sea horse using a 35mm lens (16-35mm). Most people, if you had told them of the scenario would say to bring a macro lens. But I never have a macro lens on my camera. I am always afraid that a whale will swim by while I have a 105mm on, which would make it worthless. If I am unsure or just goofing off, I will always bring with me the most flexible lens I can. This ensures that whatever comes by, I have given myself the best opportunity possible to capture the moment.
Of course there will always be sacrifices, but the flexibility is key. If I had had a macro lens, I can 100% assure you that this photo would not have been possible because we were both bobbing around too much to make a sharp macro shot possible. Even with a 35mm, I only have a handful of photos that are actually in focus.
And in case you are curious about gear, he also shared that the photo was taken with an A7R II and Sony 16-35mm F4 lens in a Nauticam housing with a Sea and Sea 240mm dome and two Sea and Sea ys-d1 strobes.
To see more of Hofman's work, be sure to visit his website or give his account a follow on Instagram. And if you'd like to learn more about ocean conservation, Justin suggests you visit SeaLegacy.org.
Photo by Justin Hofman and used with permission.
As expected after last week's photo and specs leak, lighting manufacturer Profoto has launched an on/off camera flash unit called the Profoto A1. But if you were expecting a simple speedlight, Profoto is definitely branding this as more powerful than that. In fact, they're calling it "the world’s smallest studio flash."
The new A1 is styled much like most on-camera flash units, but is equipped with the powerful features of a Profoto studio head. The 76Ws unit uses a lithium ion battery that is claimed to be good for up to 350 full power bursts and which charges in under 80 minutes. Profoto also says that the A1 recycles "four times faster than other on-camera solutions," as it can emit a full power pop every 1.2 seconds.
A stand-out feature of the A1 is its circular lens, which is said to produce light that is "natural and beautiful with a pleasing soft-smooth fall-off." The rim of that circular lens housing is also magnetic, and accepts a range of clip-on modifiers that can be changed quickly and easily. The head offers a manually operated zoom function and the rear display is large and easy to read.
The A1 heads are equipped with Profoto’s Air Remote TTL system so they can work in groups alongside other A1 heads or any other Air Remote studio heads from the Profoto studio head range. Finally, the A1 offers variable power over 9 stops in both standard and HSS modes, and includes an LED modeling light for previewing the effect of the flash or using on its own as a light source.
The A1 is currently compatible with Nikon and Canon systems, and will be with Sony models in the future... but it doesn't come cheap. As previously reported, the Profoto A1 will cost you $995 USD... quite the pretty penny when you compare it to some of the full-featured speedlights other options out there from brands like Godox.
For more information on the Profoto A1, visit the Profoto website or watch the introductory video below.
The Profoto A1 might be the smallest flash we’ve ever made, but it’s still built to the same impossibly high standards we’ve set ourselves over the last fifty years.
Our focus with the A1 was to create a flash that delivers a truly high quality of light, which is why it features a round head which delivers light that's both natural and beautiful with a pleasing soft-smooth fall-off, that blends seamlessly with the ambient light.
Thanks to a smart magnetic mount built into the head, light shaping tools and modifiers can be clicked on and off quickly and easily. Within seconds you're being creative with light, shaping it. It also has a zoom function that allows you to make fine adjustments to the spread of light by simply twisting the zoom ring on the head, and for accuracy it has a modeling light built-in to the head – so you can see what you're going to get before you press the shutter.
We made it our mission to make A1 the first on-camera flash that's easy to use from the box. The user interface is simple and intuitive with a large high-contrast display at its center. The less time you spend learning and fiddling, the more time you'll spend shooting. And that's ultimately what counts. Despite its size, or lack of it, the A1 punches above its weight in a good number of key areas.
Battery life is key when a photographer is right in the thick of the action, because the last thing they need to have to stop mid flow to change the batteries. The A1 has its own Li-ion high capacity battery built-in which lasts up to four times longer than AA batteries with no performance fade. So, you can shoot for longer with confidence.
And this is a flash that can keep up with you because it recycles four times faster than other on-camera solutions – that's every 1.2 seconds at full power. Put simply, you'll never miss a shot.
And while it's true to say the Profoto A1 is our very first on-camera solution it's also just as effective off-camera as a standalone unit, and integrated into a larger system of lights. That level of versatility is possible because Air Remote is built-in, which means the A1 offers seamless connectivity with freestanding lights like another A1 or bigger Profoto lights like the B1X.
And with AirTTL you'll get a perfect exposure super-fast. Better still, you can lock the exposure with a single 'click' while still being free to fine tune that exposure in manual, giving you even greater control.
So, this is so much more than our smallest flash yet. This is shooting on the move, shooting with confidence and shooting with light shaping excellence. This is shooting off-camera and for the first time with Profoto, on-camera. This is the Profoto A1 – the world's smallest studio light.
The EOS Rebel SL2 (known as the EOS 200D outside of North America) is Canon's second-generation ultra-compact digital SLR. It's largely packed with Canon's latest tech, including Dual Pixel AF, a DIGIC 7 processor, Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, and a new user interface for beginners.
While its small size may lead one to believe that it's an entry-level model, similar to Nikon's D3400, the SL2 actually sits above the bottom-end Rebel T6 (EOS 1300D), which costs $150 less.
The SL2's main competitor is the aforementioned Nikon D3400, which is just a tad larger and heavier. The SL2s' other peers are all mirrorless and include (in our opinion) the Canon EOS M5, Panasonic DMC-GX85 and the Sony a6000 which, after 3+ years on the market, is still competitive.
Just about everything in that list is Canon's latest and greatest, and the external microphone input is a nice extra. The one feature that's not new is the 9-point autofocus system that you'll use when shooting through the viewfinder – it's identical to what's found the original SL1, which is over four years old. You'll get a much better focusing experience by shooting in live view, which uses Canon's excellent Dual Pixel AF technology.
|The SL2 (left) is the mini-me to the still-small Rebel T7i.|
First, let's take a look at how the SL2/200D compares to the step-up model, the Rebel T7i (EOS 800D). Here's what you get for another $200 (with kit lenses for both models):
Does the average point-and-shoot user need any of that? Probably not. If you plan on gaining more experience in the world of digital photography or want a more robust autofocus system, though, the extra $200 might be worth it.
Now, let's take a look at how the specs compare between the the SL2 and the peers mentioned a few paragraphs earlier.
|Canon SL2||Nikon D3400||Canon M5||Panasonic GX85||Sony a6000|
|Sensor size||APS-C||APS-C||APS-C||Four Thirds||APS-C|
|Lens mount||EF||F||EF-M||Micro 4/3||E|
|AF system (live view)||Dual Pixel||Contrast-detect||Hybrid
|AF system (viewfinder)||9-point||11-point||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|LCD||3" fully articulating||3" fixed||3.2" tilting||3" tilting||3" tilting|
|Viewfinder type/mag.||OVF / 0.54x||OVF / 0.57x||EVF / N/A||EVF / 0.7x||EVF / 0.7x|
|# control dials||1||1||2||2||2|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi + NFC + BT||BT||Wi-Fi + NFC + BT||Wi-Fi + NFC||Wi-Fi + NFC|
|Battery life||650 (OVF)
|295 (LV)||290 (LV)||360 (LV)|
|Weight||453 g||445 g||427 g||426 g||344 g|
Strictly comparing the SL2 and D3400 you'll see that they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. While there are 'little things' like the type of LCD, viewfinder size and wireless functionality, live view autofocus is the main differentiator. It's simply no contest there with the SL2's AF system blowing away the D3400 in live view and movie mode.
With the exception of the Sony a6000, the SL2 is close in weight, and not far off in size, to the three mirrorless cameras in the group. All three of the mirrorless cameras have an additional control dial, making exposure adjustment quick, and their EVFs are larger than the optical viewfinders on both DSLRs. None of the mirrorless models can compare to the DSLRs in terms of battery life, but only when you're using the latter with their optical viewfinders.
When you're first starting out, the great big world of photography composition can seem like a long list of rules and a bunch of videos where photographers paste grids on top of iconic photos. It's all a bit abstract. So if you're looking for concrete advice, this video by photographer Evan Ranft is a much better place to start.
In the video, Evan discusses four common composition mistakes many photographers make, and then shows you how to fix them. Each tip is accompanied by a very useful "do this not that" before and after, and the advice is genuinely a lot more helpful than slapping a bunch of grids and golden ratio spirals on top of famous photos.
You can check out the video up top for a full rundown with before and after images, but the tips (in short) are:
There you go: a few simple but effective tips that help create photos that emphasize your subject and lead your viewer where you want them to go. As Ranft says in the video, these are easy mistakes to correct, you just have to be aware you're doing them.
To see more tips and how-tos from Evan, head over to his YouTube channel. And if you have your own simple composition tip (or common mistake) to share, drop it in the comments!
The 360-degree camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina 2016 is now available to buy in the US. The PixPro Orbit360 is a rugged, compact action camera with a pair of 20MP sensors, one on the front and the other on the back, joining by two curved 155-degree and 235-degree lenses, a microSD slot for storage, a 1" LCD, and an included selfie stick (depending on bundle).
JK Imaging, the company behind the camera, designed the PixPro Orbit360 to be rugged for outdoor use. The camera has an IP6X dustproof equivalency, an IPX5 splashproof equivalency, a shockproof design able to withstand drops from 2m / 6.6ft when using the lens cover, and the camera is also freeze-proof to temperatures as low as -10C / 14F.
The PixPro offers users three recording modes: a fully 360-degree spherical mode, a 235-degree 'dome' mode, and a 197-degree 4K Ultra-Wide mode. It works with a related mobile app (Android | iOS) that makes it possible to directly upload the PixPro's videos to YouTube and Facebook.
The camera's full specs sheet is available here.
The Orbit360 is being sold in the US through the Kodak PixPro website and through Amazon.com. It $500 USD in the "Adventure Pack" (arriving later this year) and $550 USD for the "Satellite Pack" (available now). The Satellite Pack includes some accessories not included with the Adventure Pack, such as the aforementioned selfie stick.