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Aujourd’hui — 27 janvier 2022News: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

Video: Behind the scenes of the BBC's fantastic Winter Olympics advertisement

The Winter Olympic Games in Beijing are just around the corner, with the opening ceremonies slated for February 4. The 24th Winter Games will feature athletes from nearly 100 nations competing across 109 events. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has released an amazing advertisement to build up hype for the games.

At first, the video may look computer-generated. However, it is much more and features a lot of real props and practical effects. The advertisement features 3D printed props created by 3M Buckley Innovation Centre and miniature model work by ScaleModelStudios.

Have you seen the BBC's advert for the 2022 Winter Olympics? Did you know the 3D printed snow scenes are created by our very own technical team at the @3MBIC for the animation created by @model_scale and Blink Ink? #Beijing2022

Check out the full video 👇 Credit: BBC Creative pic.twitter.com/RJHqGUu58Y

— 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (@3MBIC) January 27, 2022

James Cross, creative director at BBC, shared a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the Winter Olympics promo video. The video shows the highly-detailed models, and some of the lighting and camera riggings used to capture the photos. The final promo video combines great craftsmanship, ingenuity and impressive technology.

And here's how we made it. pic.twitter.com/k6anwajCzD

— James Cross (@JamesPLCross) January 25, 2022

Twitter user Paul Raffaelli asked Cross, 'How come you didn't just do it all in 3D software?' to which Cross replied, 'Good is the enemy of great, etc.' It takes a lot of time and effort to create anything using stop motion methodology, let alone a stop motion video with as much detail and finesse, but I'd say it was well worth it.

Edit.Photo is a fast, free web app for editing your photographs

Click to enlarge.

PQINA, a Dutch agency focused on designing and developing ‘highly polished web components,’ has introduced Edit.Photo, a free browser-based photo editor that offers a fast and effective editor without any cookies, pop-ups, accounts, adds and tracking.

Edit.Photo is built on pintura, a Javascript Image Editor SDK also developed by PQINA. The web app works on both desktop and mobile browsers and is incredibly fast and intuitive. It offers all of the basic editing tools you might need to process a photo, including a crop/rotate tool, filters and a robust array of fine-tuning features, including brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure, color temperature, clarity, vignette and more. As of now, Edit.Photo doesn't support Raw formats, but any JPG or PNG image should work without any problem.

You can now edit your photos at https://t.co/dFxQeshZiQ 🔗

🍪 no cookies to accept
🤹‍♂️ no popups to close
👤 no account to create
🎯 no ads to ignore
🕵️‍♂️ no spying on you

✨ 100% free

Paste, browse, or drop your photo and start editing.

— Rik Schennink (@rikschennink) January 17, 2022

There are also additional options for annotating the image, adding frames to an image, redacting information from an image and even resizing an image. And all of it is done right in your browser, with a simple export option for saving to your computer or mobile device. There’s even a full-screen option that turns Edit.Photo into an even more app-like experience, which is especially helpful on smartphones, tablets and Chromebook devices.

While Edit.Photo might not be as capable as Capture One or Lightroom, it’s fast, intuitive and entirely free, which is more than most editing programs can say. Head on over to Edit.Photo to try it out. You can keep up with updates by following PQINA and its founder, Rik Schennink, on Twitter.

Xiaomi’s global Redmi Note 11 lineup offers (some) flagship camera specs at a mid-range price point

Late last year, Xiaomi released its Redmi Note 11 series in China. Now, the company has announced the global release of its mid-range lineup with a few minor changes for international users.

Unlike the Chinese lineup, the global lineup lacks a ‘Pro Plus’ model, which was a plus-sized version of the flagship offering. Despite this absence, Xiaomi makes up for the loss of a device with the inclusion of a Note 11S model. This means the international audience will be able to choose from the Note 11, Note 11S, Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G.

This lineup nicely splits the series into effectively two devices, with only the internals splitting the difference into four unique models. That is, the Redmi Note 11 and Redmi Note 11S are effectively identical devices on the outside, as are the Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G. The only difference lies in the cameras housed inside each device and the chipset used to power it all.

Note 11 and Note 11S

Illustrations of the Redmi Note 11S.

Starting first with the similarities between the Note 11 and Note 11S, both models use a 6.43-inch AMOLED FHD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate and are powered by a 5,000mAh battery that supports 33W fast charging. Both devices also feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, power button fingerprint sensors, AI Face Unlock, Dual SIM + Micro SD card slots, NFC support and an IR blaster.

Feature overview for the Redmi Note 11.

The Note 11 features a 26mm full-frame equivalent 50MP main camera with an 8MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro camera, a 2MP depth camera and a 13MP punch hole-style selfie camera. The Note 11S swaps the 50MP main camera for a 108MP 26mm equiv. module that uses a Samsung HM2 sensor (1/1.52", 0.7µm, dual pixel PDAF). The Note 11S also bumps up the in-display selfie camera to 16MP. Aside from those changes, the Note 11S otherwise uses the same 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro and 2MP depth camera as the Note 11.

Feature overview of the Redmi Note 11S

While both devices use LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 flash storage, the Note 11 is only available in 4GB+64GB, 4GB+128GB and 6GB+128GB configurations while the Note 11S is available in 6GB+64GB, 6GB+128GB and 8GB+128GB configurations. The chipsets are different as well, with he Note 11 using a Snapdragon 680 and the Note 11S using the MediaTek Helio G96.

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 and Note 11S are expected to be available globally in the coming weeks for around 160€ and 220€, respectively. Prices may vary depending on your region and current exchange rates.

Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G

Xiaomi's Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G offers quite a value for those who want a solid device on a respectable budget.

As mentioned above, the Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G are identical in external appearances and both use the same 6.67” FHD+ AMOLED display (2,400 x 1080 pixels) with a 120Hz refresh rate and wide color gamut support (DCI-P3) and a peak brightness of 1,200 nits. They also share the same 5,000mAh battery with 67W fast charging support. Other similarities include a 3.5mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, power button fingerprint sensors, AI Face Unlock, NFC support and an IR blaster.

Feature summary of the Redmi Note 11 Pro.

While the Note 11 Pro 5G lacks the 2MP depth camera, the three remaining cameras on the device are identical to those found in the 11 Pro. That includes a 108MP 26mm equiv. main camera powered by Samsung’s HM2 sensor (1/1.52", 0.7µm, dual pixel PDAF), an 8MP ultrawide camera (F2.2, 118º FOV) and a 2MP (F2.4) macro camera.

Feature summary of the Redmi Note 11 Pro

Both devices use the same LPDDR4X RAM and UFS 2.2 flash storage as the Note 11 and Note 11S and come in the same configurations as the Note 11S: 6GB+64GB, 6GB+128GB and 8GB+128GB. The Note 11 Pro is powered by the same MediaTek Helio G96 chipset as the Note 11S while the Note 11 Pro 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, which gives it its exclusive (to this series) 5G functionality.

The Xiaomi Redmi NOte 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G are expected to be available in the coming weeks for 270€ and 290€, respectively. Prices may vary depending on your region and current exchange rates. Below is the full launch video of the Note 11 Series global launch:

While these phones lack some of the more impressive chipsets, displays and specifications of high-end phones, they’re also some of the most affordable devices with Samsung’s ISOCELL HN2 inside. In fact, from our research, the Note 11S is the cheapest phone (at launch) to have the HN2 onboard and as a whole has quite a bit to offer for a device expected to retail for only 220€. Keep in mind the cellular bands these devices use may or may not be entirely compatible with your carrier and region. GSMArena has details breakdowns of specifications for the Redmi Note 11, Note 11S, Note 11 Pro and Note 11 Pro 5G.

Share your best iPhone macro photos for a chance to be featured across Apple's social media and ad campaigns

Have you ever seen brilliant iPhone photos shared by Apple and used in Apple promotional materials and thought, 'I've got so many great iPhone shots, that could've been me!' Well, now it can be. Apple has announced a macro photography Shot on iPhone Challenge that runs from now through February 16, 2022. Winners will be announced in April.

The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max smartphones include numerous upgrades to their photographic capabilities, including improved autofocus with the ultra-wide camera that allows for focus as close as 2 cm (0.78").

To showcase the macro capabilities of its latest flagship iPhone models, Apple welcomes users to share their favorite macro photos taken on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #ShotoniPhone and #iPhonemacrochallenge to participate in the new challenge.

A panel of expert judges will review worldwide submissions and work together to select 10 winning photos. Judges include Anand Varma, Apeksha Maker, Peter McKinnon, Paddy Chao, Yik Keat Lee, Arem Duplessis, Billy Sorrentino, Della Huff, Kaiann Drance, and Pamela Chen. The winning images will be showcased in a gallery on Apple Newsroom, apple.com, Apple's Instagram and other official Apple accounts. Winning photos may also appear in digital campaigns, at Apple Store locations, on billboards or in a public photo exhibition.

Of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max camera improvements, Apple writes, 'The pro camera system on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max features new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, all powered by the unmatched performance of the Apple-designed A15 Bionic. The all-new Ultra Wide camera features a much wider ƒ/1.8 aperture and a new autofocus system, bringing a 92 percent improvement for low-light environments, producing images that are brighter and sharper. The new lens design, autofocus capability for the first time in the Ultra Wide on iPhone, and advanced software allow users to capture impressive macro images where subjects appear larger than life.'

Apple also offers some tips for iPhone 13 Pro macro photography. Recommendations include getting as close as possible to your subject, placing the primary point of focus near the center of the frame (where the sharpest focus is when shooting macro photos with your iPhone), setting a specific focus point in the viewfinder and shooting at 0.5x to use the Ultra Wide camera. You can also try 1x to get a narrower field of view and tighter frame. The iPhone 13 Pro (Max) will automatically switch cameras as you get close while preserving the 1x field of view.

In addition to sharing photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags mentioned above, you can also participate on Weibo with the hashtags #ShotoniPhone# and #iPhonemacrochallenge#. You must note the model of the phone you used in your image caption. Further, you can also submit high-resolution files via email by sending images to shotoniphone@apple.com. The subject line must be 'Shot on iPhone Macro Challenge Submission.' The file name must be 'firstname_lastname_macro_iPhonemodel.' Images can be edited or unedited using first- or third-party software and you. Must be 18 years or older to participate. The submission window closes on February 16, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. PST.

For additional information and the full terms and conditions, please visit Apple.

All images courtesy of Apple

Ten years of X-mount: Fujifilm X-Pro1 retrospective sample gallery (DPReview TV)

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Fujifilm's X-mount, Chris and Joran from DPReview TV took to the streets with the original X-mount camera: the X-Pro1. Check out their sample gallery to see how its image quality stacks up ten years later.

Did you miss their review of the Leica M11? If so, you can watch it here.

View the Fujifilm X-Pro1 retrospective sample gallery from DPReview TV

Hier — 26 janvier 2022News: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

$10B James Webb Space Telescope enters its final orbit, 1.5 million kilometers from Earth

Lead image: Artist's rendition of James Webb Space Telescope in space. Credit: Adriana Manrique Gutierrez, NASA Animator

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope lifted off on Christmas morning from Arianespace's ELA-3 launch complex at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. If you want to see the launch, watch a replay of the live stream here. This Monday, nearly a month later, Webb, as NASA often refers to it, reached its final orbit around the second Sun-Earth Lagrange point, or L2, about 1.5 million kilometers (nearly 1 million miles) from Earth.

Engineers and researchers have been working on the incredible space telescope since the 1990s. The $10B project has been decades in the making, so its arrival at L2 is a truly momentous occasion for all involved. It's also a big deal for everyone else, as JWST will join the Hubble Space Telescope in our pursuit for more knowledge about our universe and its origins.

James Webb Space Telescope trajectory map. Credit: NASA

'Webb, welcome home!' said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. 'Congratulations to the team for all of their hard work ensuring Webb's safe arrival at L2 today. We're one step closer to uncovering the mysteries of the universe. And I can't wait to see Webb's first new views of the universe this summer!'

Yes, unfortunately, 'this summer' hints at the fact that Webb has more work to do before it can start capturing and beaming images back to Earth. The primary mirror segments and secondary mirror have been deployed from their launch positions, so engineers are now amidst a three-month process of aligning the telescope's sophisticated optics to 'nearly nanometer precision.'

Webb has spent the past month working its way to L2 while unfolding its sunshield and other components. On January 19, Webb finished deploying the 18 segments that comprise its primary mirror.

The James Webb Space Telescope includes four onboard cameras, including the NIRCam, NIRSpec, NIRISS and MIRI. The telescope's cameras can see further into the past and across more wavelengths than Hubble, so we should see even more incredible photographs and learn much more about how the first galaxies formed when Webb commences its full operations in a few months. If you'd like to learn more about the space telescope and its instruments, check out the video below from longtime DPReview reader Dr. Kevin Hainline.

Webb's final orbit allows it an expansive view of the cosmos 'at any given moment' and ensures the onboard instruments stay cold enough to perform 'optimal science.' Webb has been making minor course corrections since its launch. The final course corrections added only about 1.6 meters per second (3.6 miles per hour) to Webb's pace, slowly moving it into orbit around L2. The team worked hard to preserve as much fuel as possible for use over the lifetime of Webb. The JWST will need minor adjustments over time to remain in orbit. It will also need to propel itself occasionally to counteract the effects of solar radiation pressure on the telescope's large sunshield.

'During the past month, JWST has achieved amazing success and is a tribute to all the folks who spent many years and even decades to ensure mission success,' said Bill Ochs, Webb project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. 'We are now on the verge of aligning the mirrors, instrument activation and commissioning, and the start of wondrous and astonishing discoveries.'

'Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket launches with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope onboard, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, from the ELA-3 Launch Zone of Europe’s Spaceport at the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana. The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or Webb) is a large infrared telescope with a 21.3 foot (6.5 meter) primary mirror. The observatory will study every phase of cosmic history—from within our solar system to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.'

Caption credit: NASA; Photo credit: Bill Ingalls

The original estimate was that Webb had a good five to ten years of scientific life. However, Ariane 5 did such an excellent and precise job with the launch of Webb that NASA now believes Webb has 'significantly more than a 10-year science lifetime.' We can't wait to see what the team achieves.

H&Y shows off its new magnetic fix for cross-polarization in Revoring variable ND

Filter manufacturer H&Y has launched a series of magnetic ND filters that it says are designed to eliminate cross-polarization effects in its 1.5-10 stop variable ND Revoring when used with wide angle lenses. The idea is to couple the new magnetic ND filters with the VND of the Revoring adding the two filters together so that the VND can be used at a lower strength where the X effect doesn’t occur.


The new clip-on ND filters come in ND4, 8, 16 and 400 strengths which can combine with the ND3-1000 variable filter in the Revoring. According to the company’s own figures you might expect to experience cross polarization with a 24mm lens at the 7-stop mark with the Revoring’s VND, so users could turn the VND to the 5-stop position and attach the ND4 (2-stops) magnetic filter to achieve a 7-stop effect.

Similarly to achieve a 10-stop ND effect with a 50mm lens users should turn the VND to the 6-stop position and attach the ND16 filter to add the extra 4-stops. The filters can also be combined to achieve much more powerful ND effects for extreme long exposures even in bright daylight conditions, and they can also be combined with any of the other Revorings that come with a filter permanently attached – such as the Black Mist series.

The company has also released its first circular polarizer in the Revoring format, which will also work with the new magnetic clip-on ND filters. H&Y says it has used Schott B270 glass for this filter, an anti-reflective coating that allows up to 97% of light to pass through and an anti-dust and moisture finish.

To protect the filters in the Revoring series the company has also announced sets of metal front and back-caps for the rings. The new front caps are magnetic and clip onto the Revorings in the same way the new ND filters do, while the rear caps use the twist mechanism that usually attaches to a lens. The caps comes as a front+back set and cost $24.99.

Three Revorings sizes are available, for lenses with filter threads of 46-62mm, 58-77mm and 67-82mm, and the clip-on ND filters need to be bought in the right size to pair with the Revoring in use.


The new CPL Revoring, the magnetic ND filters and the metal caps are all available now. For more information see the H&Y website.


Press Release

H&Y Unveiled the World’s First CPL Filter in Variable Step Adapter with Accessary Magnetic ND Clip-on Filters

H&Y Filters, the leading photography filter manufacturer based in Hong Kong, has announced the launch of a new variant CPL filter and Magnetic Clip-on ND in REVORING the variable adapter ring ecosystem. The REVORING CPL comes in 3 sizes: 46- 62mm, 58-77mm, 67-82mm; while the Magnetic Clip-on ND filter comes in 3 sizes same as above and 4 grades – ND4,8,16,400(2,3,4,8.5stops).

H&Y REVORING CPL FilterFirst Ever CPL Filter on Variable Adapter Ring

H&Y REVORING MRC CPL Filter is the first ever filter product that can fit in lenses of different thread sizes. It is a desirable solution for prime lenses users who need to use abundant of adapter rings or filters of different sizes. It saves time of screwing in and out the traditional CPL filters and change it to another lens; it saves space of storing a series of adapter rings or filters. Quickly switching filters from lens to another is highly achievable with H&Y REVORING CPL Filter for both run-and-gun shooters and steady indoor videographers.

REVORING Mechanics

REVORING features unique self-retracting blade technology with threaded ends to secure on the front of your lenses. Each threaded end has been designed to overlap; therefore, any possibility of light leak has been completely removed. All REVORING products are made using Architectural grade Aluminium, keeping it lightweight and tough. The anodized finish also protects the ring from corrosion when shooting outside in unpredicted elements.

Magnetic Caps for Higher Protection

Magnetic caps in High quality Aluminium and solid magnets for REVORING are available as a top-up option for steadfast protection of the glasses in the ring. Front cap is magnetic which means photographers and videographers can cover up their ring with a single hand, at the same time, the cap is securely mounted on. The back cap works the same when we twist the ring to mount it on a lens.

Glass and Coating

The German Schott B270® glass is used in making the Polariser filter. It includes Anti-Reflective coatings, which virtually eliminate all flare and reflections from the front and rear surfaces. This helps visible light to pass through the glass by removing unwanted reflections, giving the user the best possible light transmission (up to 97%), optimizing images for the sharpest possible outcome. Whether shooting at 16mm or 400mm, the glass and coatings used in our system produce sharp images, even at light reductions of up 10 stops. MRC means Multi Resistant Coating. The accelerated inert-gas ions condense the deposited material as a very solid layers, to make the glass dust and moisture resistant.

H&Y Magnetic Clip-on ND Filter for REVORING

H&Y Magnetic Clip-on Filter is compactible to REVORING with VND & CPL, REVORING with Black Mist Filter, REVORING with CPL, and other REVORING Variant, as long as there is a non- detachable filter on REVORING. For VND&CPL, a clip-on can be used for cross-polarisation solution or extension of the original 1-10stop ND range. For CPL, a sole ND8.5 can be used to achieve the dreamy long exposure effect. For Black Mist Filter, 2/3/4 stop ND can be used as a range of fixed ND filters as an aid to videography. H&Y aims to provide highly flexible choices for photographers’ hybrid use.

One-Snap Operation

The operation of H&Y ND Magnetic Clip-on filter requires just one simple snap. The strong Magnetic force will engage the filter and the REVORING together solidly, making the installation extremely quick for any types of shooting.

Solution For Cross-polarisation Phenomenon (X-pattern)

The Magnetic Clip-on filter was developed with the sole purpose to solve the cross- polarisation problem happened on traditional variable ND filters. Cross Polarisation is a physical phenomenon of all VND filters when paired up with wide angle lens. It makes an obvious “X-pattern” darken on the image. The wider the lens is, the earlier the “X-pattern” starts to appear.

To solve this problem, wide-angle lens users may now use the H&Y magnetic clip-on ND together with the H&Y Revoring VND filters to achieve the higher ND stop with no X-pattern seen. For instance, to use a 16mm lens with 10-stop ND , users can turn the ND level to 1.5 stop (on the Revoring VND filter) and use an extra 8.5 stop (Clip-on ND) to achieve a 10-stop long exposure effect.

Price and Availability

All the products are ready to order and ship via H&Y Filters official webstore (https://hyfilters.net/shop/) and their authorized resellers. US Pricing (VAT excluded) are as below.

DPReview TV: Fujifilm X-mount 10th anniversary (and X-Pro1 field test)

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Fujifilm's X-mount camera system. To celebrate, Chris takes a new look at the system's first camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro1, and discovers that it holds up quite well a decade later.


Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get new episodes of DPReview TV every week.


Fujifilm X-Pro1 sample gallery from this episode

À partir d’avant-hierNews: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

The Digi Swap turns your iPhone into a digital sensor (of sorts) for your film cameras

At the upcoming Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2022 (CP+) in Japan, a new accessory designed to breathe new life into old film cameras will be fully unveiled. The Digi Swap is an accessory that allows you to attach an iPhone to a film camera and capture digital photos through the film camera's lens.

If you have a film camera and lens but don't always want to go through the hassle and expense of shooting film, being able to record digital images with your analog gear could be a fun way to make use of your equipment.

Details are still scarce, but the Digi Swap website shows a few images of the accessory in action. It comprises machined aluminum parts that can fit various film cameras. The Digi Swap works with iPhone X, XS, 11, 11 Pro, 12, 12 Pro, 13 and 13 Pro models. It doesn't appear that the latest Max models will work.

After removing the back of the film camera, you use Digi Swap to attach your phone to the back of the camera. You then use an accompanying app to capture photos on the iPhone. When using the app on a connected phone, the shutter speed and aperture are set on the film camera itself. You also wind the film and use the camera's shutter release to capture photos.

It's an interesting gadget. Although based on the product photos, it looks like it may be somewhat cumbersome to handhold the camera with your iPhone sticking out of the back. It will also require a bit of finagling to get your iPhone's camera lined up with the back of the film camera. Based on some early sample images (seen in small sizes here), the Digi Swap does let you capture digital photos that retain the character of analog lenses. However, a digital photo is certainly not the same as shooting film.

Pricing and availability information is not yet available, although it's reported that the product will launch on Kickstarter. While a full list of compatible cameras isn't available, it's worth noting that using Digi Swap on a Leica M camera will require an extra attachment that will be sold separately.

Ricoh's new Theta X 360º camera features 2.55" touchscreen, interchangeable battery and Micro SD card slot

Ricoh has announced the details of its latest 360-degree camera, the Theta X. The camera, which is set for a March 2022 release, is the first to include a 2.25” touchscreen display, an interchangeable battery and a Micro SD card slot.

Unlike Ricoh’s previous Theta 360-degree cameras, which relied heavily on an external smartphone or tablet to control, transfer and edit footage and photos, the Theta X takes a more all-in-one approach. Headlining this transition is the inclusion of a 2.25” color touchscreen display that’s used to both navigate the camera’s menu and compose your shots. While much smaller than the display on your mobile device, this screen means you should be able to get what you need on the go without having to worry about pairing the Theta X with your smartphone or tablet.

Ricoh has also added an interchangeable battery and a Micro SD card slot, both of which are firsts in a Theta camera system. The inclusion of these means, so long as you have extra batteries and Micro SD cards, you can shoot for as long as you need without having to charge the device back up. Previous Theta models only had integrated batteries and storage, which severely limited the versatility of functionality the camera had to offer. In the event you do need to pair your smartphone or tablet with the Theta X, Ricoh says it’s improved the process by negating the need to enter an SSID when making a Bluetooth connection.

Inside, the Theta X features all new 48MP CMOS image sensors, an upgraded main processor and an improved lens design. When taking 360-degree still images, the Theta X can capture 60MP images. For video, the Theta X captures 5.7K (5760 x 2880 pixels) video at up to 30 frames per second (fps) with ‘enhanced image stabilization.’ Other features include a built-in GPS for geolocation information and a USB-C port on the side of the camera for keeping the device charged via a USB power bank without the need to swap batteries.

The Ricoh Theta X is expected to be available in March 2022 for $799. It will come with a USB cable, a soft case and a single rechargeable battery.

Press release:

RICOH THETA unveils new 360-degree camera model: THETA X

Hitting the market in March 2022, the advanced model features many firsts for the brand including a large touch screen display for enhanced usability

TOKYO, January 24, 2022 – Ricoh Company, Ltd. (President and CEO: Yoshinori Yamashita) today announced the launch of the RICOH THETA X. Designed in pursuit of enhanced usability and outstanding quality, this advanced model joins RICOH THETA’s series of 360-degree cameras that shoot immersive still images and videos in a single shot and is equipped with many firsts for the brand: a large touch screen, interchangeable battery, and external memory card.

The RICOH THETA X’s most innovative feature is the 2.25-inch full-color touch screen display, making standalone camera use much easier by reducing the need to connect to a remote control or smartphone app. Other first-time function additions include an interchangeable battery and an external memory card for more efficient and reliable shooting. Smartphone connectivity has also been improved, as the RICOH THETA X no longer requires the need to enter an SSID when establishing a Bluetooth connection. RICOH THETA X also boasts real-time stitching capabilities with stabilization, removing the need to stich videos – this improves the processing time of 360-degree videos on computers drastically.

“Since RICHOH THETA released the world’s-first 360-degree camera in 2013, it has been utilized in a wide range of fields to expand the possibilities of photographic and video expression. The pandemic caused an even greater need for immersive imagery and virtual tours to boost business efficiency, especially in the real estate, construction, design, and automotive industries—and we only expect that to expand into additional industries,” said Shinobu Fujiki, General Manager of RICOH Company’s THETA Business division. “As we strive to meet the needs of our customers through the innovation of our digital devices and services, this camera is designed to help streamline workflows and deliver high-quality imagery for business users and consumers alike.”

Keeping in line with the original product concept for RICOH THETA cameras, the RICOH THETA X has a compact, lightweight body in a sleek metallic grey finish that can be easily carried around anywhere and offers high-resolution image quality equivalent to a maximum of approximately 60 megapixels (output pixel).

The RICOH THETA X will be available for purchase online starting in March 2022. Included accessories are a USB cable, soft case, and rechargeable battery. For additional specs on the RICOH THETA X, please see below and visit https://theta360.com/en/about/theta/x.html.

Additional specs for the RICOH THETA X include:

  1. Large, user-friendly 2.25-inch touch screen display for significantly improved operability. A range of operations can be done without connecting to a smartphone including the ability to preview the scene before capture, adjust shooting settings, and view captured images.
  2. High-resolution 360-degree still image and video capture. The CMOS image sensor, main processor, and lens design have all been renewed. Incorporating a new sensor with approximately 48MP, it is now possible to capture high-resolution 360-degree still images with a maximum output of approximately 60MP. Two image sizes are available to match the scene: 11K for a high-resolution bright-light indoor photography, and 5.5K to capture images easily and efficiently in other scenarios. In addition, enhanced image stabilization realizes vivid and smooth shooting for 360-degree videos to be captured at a 5.7K-equivalent resolution of 5760 × 2880 pixels at 30 frames per second (fps).

  3. Ability to switch battery and memory cards. The RICOH THETA X is powered by an interchangeable battery and the memory storage capacity can be increased with the use of an external memory card (Micro SDXC). Even when shooting long hours or capturing many images, users can continue shooting without worrying about battery life or storage capacity. The Rechargeable Battery DB-110 is sold separately as a spare battery.

  4. Increased compatibility with smartphone. Wirelessly connect to a smartphone without entering an SSID when establishing a Bluetooth connection. And transfer still images and videos to a smartphone approximately 1.5 times faster than conventional cameras with incorporated MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output technology that communicates using multiple antennas) and real-time processing such as top/bottom correction while shooting videos.

  5. Improved expandability of the camera body. As with the RICOH THETA V and RICOH THETA Z1, the RICOH THETA X utilizes an Android-based OS, allowing third-party developers to create and release applications (plug-ins) to expand the function of the camera. Additionally, the RICOH THETA X is equipped with a large touch panel monitor, significantly extending the scope for plug-in development. It is also now also possible to easily set up “client mode” (a mode used to directly connect the RICOH THETA to a wireless router) without using a smartphone. This allows plug-ins to be installed and firmware to be updated simply by operating the RICOH THETA X itself without using a computer or smartphone, making it easy to expand functions to suit the user's needs.

  6. Linking with image sharing services. The RICOH THETA X links with RIOCH’s image sharing services improve user's workflows. It is also compatible with RICOH360 Tours, a panorama tour production service provided by RICOH for the real estate industry, to provide a dedicated RICOH THETA X plug-in that streamlines on-site photography.

  7. Additional Features:

    • With built-in GPS and support for A-GPS function, accurate positional information can be obtained from the device.
    • The camera employs magnesium alloy for the body exterior, ensuring robustness and excellent heat dissipating properties.
    • Through the USB Type-C port on the side of the main body, power can be supplied to the camera even during tripod use without using the optional extension adapter.
    • Time Shift Shooting mode allows the photographer to capture an image without being in the frame, and continuous shooting mode continuously captures 20 still images per second (when shooting 5.5K still images).
    • Incorporates a touch shutter function that allows a photo to be taken by tapping on the touch screen in addition to pressing a shutter button.
    • Images can be registered as favorites from the list of images shown on the touch panel display. The images marked as favorites can be viewed on the THETA app on a smartphone.
    • Still image playback orientation can be selected in shooting settings. The RICOH THETA X features AI Auto, which utilizes AI recognition technology to identify the subject in images captured and display from that point.
    • Exposure compensation and white balance can be adjusted with the camera itself before livestreaming.
    • Easily switch between various shooting modes (still image, video, custom settings, livestreaming, plug-in) using only the mode button on the camera.

  8. New Optional Accessories:

    • TL-3 Lens Cap. A dedicated compact cap to protect RICOH THETA X lenses. Thanks to a meticulous design with inner material and construction, the cap can be inserted or removed without touching the lenses. The lens cap can also be attached to the bottom of the camera in addition to the upper lens area. Offers stable shooting when the cap is attached to the bottom of the camera and placed on a flat table, in combination with the touch shutter function.

BCN+R data shows that Canon and Sony controlled the Japanese camera market in 2021

Japanese analyst firm BCN Retail (BCN+R) has announced the BCN Awards winners. The awards offer an in-depth summary of 2021 camera sales data in Japan. BCN+R collects data from an estimated 40 to 60 percent of retailers in Japan, so its awards offer an indicative look at the overall Japanese camera market.

The BCN Awards are split into different categories, including interchangeable lens cameras, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Looking first at digital interchangeable lens cameras, including DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, Canon had the highest market share with 34.1 percent. Canon also had the award last year and the year before, although its market share has dropped each year, from 39.3 percent in 2020 and 39.1 percent in 2021. In fact, Canon has had the top spot since 2006, save for 2019 when Nikon beat out Canon for the top spot. Canon is followed by Sony with 23.1 percent market share and then Fujifilm in third with 11.4 percent. This is the same order as last year, although both Sony and Fujifilm have gained ground.

We compiled the data from 2006 through 2021 for the top three manufacturers in the digital interchangeable lens camera market, per the BCN Awards. Note, Matsushita (Panasonic) was in the top 3 in 2006 and 2008 with 12.7 and 16.1 percent market share, respectively. However, as the data points don't connect and we don't have access to the 2007 data for Matsushita, it has been omitted from the graph, although you can see Panasonic with similar market shares in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

It's no surprise that Canon has taken the top spot for DSLR cameras with a dominant 59.8 percent market share. Canon is followed by Nikon with 33.9 percent and Ricoh Imaging, likely due to the new Pentax K-3 Mark III DSLR, with 5.8 percent. The order of the top three has been the same since 2014.

This chart is translated. Click here to see the original.

For mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, Sony takes the top spot with 32 percent market share. In 2021, Sony released two new high-end Alpha cameras, the flagship Sony A1 and the Sony A7 IV. Sony also released the vlogging-oriented ZV-E10. Canon was in second place with 28.2 percent and OM Digital Solutions, formerly known as Olympus, rounded out the top three with 12.7 percent market share. It's the same top three as last year, however, both Sony and Canon gained market share in 2021 compared to the prior year.

This chart is translated. Click here to see the original.

There are also BCN Awards for digital video cameras and action cameras. Panasonic came out on top with 43.6 percent market share in the video camera category, followed by Sony with 26.3 percent and DJI with 11.2 percent. Panasonic and Sony have been first and second each year since 2009, occasionally swapping places. In the action camera segment, GoPro dominated with 70.4 market share, followed by Sony and DJI.

To see the BCN Awards and the full list of results from previous years, click here.

Landscape Composition - Part 2: Balancing the Weights

In my previous article I challenged the reader to try to see the compositional elements in a landscape shot as masses and lines. I also surveyed a selection of shots and guided the reader to categorize the compositional elements, try to see how they counterbalance each other and start to get a feel for how each element's properties determine its placement in the shot, in addition to the placement of other elements.

This time, I intend to bring more order to the discussion, and give you concrete ways to use the masses and lines concept to improve your compositional abilities.

When thinking of a composition as appealing, or balanced, it is often difficult to explain what it is about the composition that works. To most of us, intuition is the judge that tells whether a composition works well or doesn't. But I suggest that it is always possible to improve your vision if you understand the origin and nature of this intuition. My way of putting order into composition is the notion of compositional weights and how to balance them.

The long-term goal of using this idea is to find a method of almost-mathematically balancing a composition (the 'almost' is important). It always depends on the weight one gives to the different elements in the shot - and those are subjective - but once they are understood, it's possible to see how and why they are balanced. Once you get a better feel for the weight method, it goes into your subconscious, and that's the point you start 'feeling' a composition instead of thinking it. Something to aspire to, for sure.

Compositional Weight

The most important term - and concept - I'd like to introduce in this article is that of compositional weight. Each mass in an image can be viewed as having some sort of significance, a measure of how 'heavy' it is and how much it draws the viewer's eye. This 'weight' depends on many factors: sheer size immediately comes to mind, but there are less obvious ones: how detailed it is, how different it is in color and texture to its surroundings, and more.

The greater the weight of a compositional element, the greater the weight of other elements needed to counterbalance it. The immediate analogy is that of real-world scales, but in photography, we have to balance the scale in two dimensions, not only one. And moreover, the scaling takes into account much more than physical weight: it takes the compositional weight of the elements, a type of weight determined by several factors.

To make things a bit clearer, it's good to look at an example, and here is one of the simplest ones possible.

Ice broken off Breiðamerkurjökull glacier was swept away to the Atlanic Ocean with the tides, and deposited back on the black beach of Breiðamerkursandur.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 17-40mm F4, 3.2 sec, F16, ISO100
Breiðamerkursandur, Iceland

What is it about this composition that is balanced? To answer that, we first need to apply what we learned in the previous article and find the masses. Luckily it's a simple composition, with one mass being the ice blocks in the foreground, and the other being the lit part of the sky. The former is the foreground subject, and the latter the background subject.

The two main masses in the composition are highlighted

But why did I place these masses like I did? Why is the ice off-center to the left, and the opening in the sky off-center to the right? And why are the measures of these eccentricities such as they are? to answer that, let's look at the middle axis of the image canvas, and let's see how it relates to the center of each mass.

We can clearly see that the foreground subject is only slightly off-center, while the background subject is farther off-center. This is intentional, but what's the rational behind it? Before reading further, try to think (or rather 'feel') for yourself - what is it about the properties of these two masses that determined the correct amount of off-center eccentricity?

Let's look at another example.

Granite rocks at Parque Tayrona, Colombia

Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm F4, 4 sec, F13, ISO 100

This is a slightly more complex composition with more masses, but it obeys the same basic principles. What are the main masses in this composition? There are two foreground masses, and two background masses, as shown below:

The four main compositional masses in the shot

Again, let's look at the central axis and ask ourselves how these masses counterbalance each other.

The four masses balance each other in several ways: compositional weights as discussed below, but also in the fact that there are two masses on the right and two on the left, and also two on the top and two on the bottom.

This time, the balancing game has more variables, but the idea is similar. To counterbalance a large, detailed, prominent mass (in other words, a compositionally heavy mass), the masses on the other side of the axis need to have sufficient 'torque' (in physics, a multiplication of mass and distance from the central axis), to maintain compositional balance and to prevent the image from being right- or left-heavy.

My main point in this article is that a good rule of thumb to maintaining balance in a composition is having a balance of torques around the middle axis of the image. If you've ever studied physics, the idea can also be described as maintaining the center of (compositional) mass close to the middle of the image.

How are the masses balanced in this image? Do the masses draw the viewer's eye in different ways? Why?

Sony A7R, Tamron 24-70mm F2.8, 1/320 sec, F8, ISO 400
Torres Del Paine NP, Chilean Patagonia

I'm aware that some of you may find this idea too mathematical, and I admit that two engineering degrees have taken their toll on my thought processes, but when I started shooting I never intended to use mathematical ideas - the connection came only when I tried to explain to myself why certain compositions work whereas others feel unbalanced. If anything, you may treat this as a model to explain and confirm why a composition works, rather than composing according to the model. A small but meaningful difference.

In addition, I'm really not saying that you should carry a computer when composing images as a photographer. I only mean to suggest that you consider the weight of the compositional elements in your shot, and make sure that they counterbalance each other nicely around the middle axis. If they don't, that could knock the image off-balance, which would result in a less appealing, more tense composition. Carry this idea in mind, and it will help you when in doubt in the field.

What Gives a Compositional Mass its Weight

When I used the term compositional weight above, there was an underlying assumption that it's clear what gives a mass its weight. While in physics weight is just mass multiplied by the gravitational constant, in photography it's not quite the same. Let's look deeper into what determines weight.

The first, and most obvious factor is size. The larger a mass is in the frame, the larger its weight, compared to other elements with the same properties. In the image below, the mountain to the left (Reinebringen) is clearly larger than the one on the right (Olstind). Considering the fact that both mountains have very similar properties otherwise, we can say that Reinebringen has larger compositional weight compared to Olstind. And indeed, Olstind's center of mass is located farther to the middle axis than that of Reinebringen.

An aerial shot of the mountains around Reinfjorden, The Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway

Canon 5D4, Tamron 24-70mm F2.8, 1/1600 sec, F4, ISO 1600

The larger mass on the left needs less distance from the central axis compared to the smaller one on the right.

Does the same reasoning apply to the image below?

Salt and mud structures on the fringe of a salt lake in Dallol, Ethiopia.

DJI Mavic II Pro, 1/60 sec, F10, ISO100

The rightmost structure is larger than the middle one, and the middle structure is larger than the leftmost one. Since they are similar in most other ways, can we deduce that the rightmost structure has the most compositional weight? If we can, why is the rightmost mass located the same distance to the middle axis as is the leftmost? What are we missing?

Why are the rightmost and lefmost masses located almost the same distance away from the middle axis?

We are missing the realization that other factors are at work here, and have to be considered when balancing the elements. In the shot above, the leftmost element has something that the rightmost element doesn't: prominence. By the prominence of a compositional element, I mean how different it is to its surroundings, how much it stands out. While the rightmost element is very similar in texture and lighting to its surroundings, the leftmost element is all but that. It's dark while the salt lake is light in color. Its texture is grainy while the lake's is smooth. Even the color is different. In simple words, the leftmost element stands out much more than the rightmost. This fact gives it more compositional weight, and compensates for its smaller size.

What about the image below:

Here, if the rising moon weren't in the shot, it wouldn't be balanced. Even though it's a tiny element, the moon's prominence gives it a lot of compositional weight, and together with its distance from the central axis (and with a bit of help from the foreground), it is enough to counterbalance the much larger mass on the left.

Let's look at another image.

A vista to vágafjørður, taken from an elevated viewpoint in Streymoy Island, The Faroe Islands

Canon 5D4, Canon 16-35mm F4, 45 sec, F14, ISO 100

The rock at the bottom isn't too big and isn't particularly prominent. How is it then that it counterbalances the large mountain on the right? The answer is that its level of texture and detail is larger, and together with its textured surrounding grass, its compositional weight is increased enough to compensate for the lack of size and prominence.

So, another factor in determining the compositional weight of an element is its level of detail. The more detailed and textured a mass is, the larger its weight. This makes perfect sense, since more detail and more texture draw the viewer's eye more easily. This easily translates into giving the considered element more importance, or in our terms - more weight.

Which of the two main masses has more detail and texture? Where does your eye go here? Do you agree with the overlap between the quiver tree and the sun? If you do, what qualities in these two elements justify this overlap? Would the overlap be justified if they weren't so different in brightness?

Sony A7R, Canon 70-300mm F4-5.6, 1/8000 sec, F11, ISO 100
Giant's Playground, Namibia

An important point is that the amounts of weight added due to prominence and detail levels are highly subjective. One could also claim that size considerations are subjective as well, and I wouldn't disagree: after all, the compositional weight isn't a clear function of size, but more of how much attention the sizable element draws. That means that all this balancing theory is completely subjective too. The photographer himself has to determine how much significance to give to size, prominence and detail when balancing the elements, but this significance has to be given in one way or another, and it's important to have all these factors working in the conscious, and later in the unconscious mind, when composing.

With all this information at our disposal, lets dissect a few more shots and discuss how their elements are balanced.

A lava river flows from the double cone at Fagradalsfjall Volcano

DJI MAvic II Pro, F4, 1/20 sec, ISO 100
Fagradalsfjall, Iceland

I would argue that there are three main masses here: the double cone, the hill on the left and the front of the river at the bottom of the image (there are also interesting lines but for now, that's irrelevant).

The foreground's center of mass is exactly on the middle axis, and thus doesn't need to be counterbalanced. What about the two background masses? The right mass is smaller, but also has much more prominence and level of detail. So, it is heavier and needs to be located closer to the middle axis in order to counterbalance the left mass, which is less prominent.

Another volcanic example:

This case is much more complicated, since there are several masses and they all differ in size, prominence and texture. The heaviest element in this image is the erupting volcanic fissure on the bottom right. The colors and brightness of the erupting lava give it both prominence and detail, and its size cannot be ignored. Therefore, this element needs a whole lot of weight to counterbalance it. This weight is in all of the elements on the left side: the lava river on the bottom and the 3 top fissures, all of which are located left of the middle axis. All of these fissures are erupting as well, which gives their masses prominence, and gives them an advantage in drawing the viewer's eye compared to the regular hill on the top right.

But this image, even with all the volcanic craziness going on, is a bit lacking in balance. The main fissure on the bottom right has so much weight, that the only way I could counterbalance it is to have even more weight to the left than I had here. The problem is that if I tilted the drone right, the river on the left would be parallel to the sides of the image, which would feel inorganic and would really hurt the composition (more on that in the future). In addition, this would cause the hill on the top right to be directly above the fissure on the bottom right, and the 3 fissures on the top left to be directly above the center of mass of the river bend on the bottom left. Again, quite the problem.

Moreover, the top left side of the image is somewhat empty, which I dislike. The image is full of information: almost every corner has something going on, but this very fact makes the emptiness in the top left even worse. This dead space (the bad version of negative space) undermines the balance in a composition and can hurt it to a high degree. This fact shows us that we are not yet finished discussing the notion of compositional balance, since even if the weights are balanced, other aspects might not be. I intend to discuss this in more detail in future articles.


Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez's work on Instagram and Facebook, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates and to his YouTube channel.

If you'd like to experience and shoot some of the world's most fascinating landscapes with Erez as your guide, take a look at his unique photography workshops in Namibia, Greenland, Colombia, The Lofoten Islands, Indonesia and the Argentinean Puna.

Erez offers video tutorials discussing his images and explaining how he achieved them.

More in The Landscape Composition Series:

Selected Articles by Erez Marom:

DJI's new firmware update gives the Mavic 3 more of its missing features, including panorama mode and more

When DJI released its highly-anticipated Mavic 3 drone series back in November, over 3 years after the Mavic 2, there was some initial disappointment. One of the biggest complaints was that many of the features it boasted in the press materials weren't yet available. Updates were promised for January 2022, and today the world's leading drone manufacturer made good of them by releasing a v01.00.0500 firmware update for both iOS and Android.

DJI's Fly app powers the Mavic 3 series and upgrading to v.1.5.8 will allow users to access the following features:

  • QuickShots including Dronie, Rocket, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid
  • Panorama mode
  • Burst Shooting
  • Digital zoom for Normal (N) video mode
  • Increased sharpness in imagery when shooting in high magnification with Tele camera (still .JPEG files only)
  • Added color display assist for D-Log profile
  • Added zoom and D-Log for FocusTrack when recording
  • Added 4K/60p and manual EI adjustment for MasterShots
  • Added support to set RTH altitude for Advanced RTH
  • Added QuickTransfer
  • Optimized accuracy of color correction
  • Optimized image area for Timelapse (Hyperlapse) photos
  • Added support to DJI RC Pro to output clean HDMI footage
  • Added support for DJI RC Pro to cache video and download original video to an external SD card
  • Fixes for other minor bugs

The ability to capture hyperlapse clips and follow subjects with ActiveTrack 5.0 were added in December. DJI introduced a new RC Pro, an upgrade from its SmartController, with the Mavic 3. DJI Air 2S owners will now be able to use the remote when they upgrade to the latest firmware. Huge thanks to Official DJI Owners Group on Facebook for the tip.

Slideshow: Winning images from the 10th annual Ocean Art Underwater photo contest

Winning images from the 10th annual Ocean Art Underwater photo contest

Recently, winners and finalists were announced for the 10th annual Ocean Art Underwater competition. Organized by Underwater Photography Guide, the contest has attracted entries showcasing underwater wildlife, portraits of animals and humans, and a variety of critters for a decade. Thousands of images were submitted from photographers in 81 countries.

Over $35,000 worth of prizes from sponsors were awarded. This year's Overall winning image showcased a pair of pike fish battling it out. The complete list of winners, plus links to each category's finalist images, can be found on the contest page. Interested in taking photos like the ones in this showcase? One of the competition's sponsors offers up underwater photography workshops and trips.

Overall Winner and 1st Place, Marine Life Behavior: 'Snoeken' by Luc Rooman

The Story: This photograph was captured during a night dive in October at the dive site, Domein Muisbroek, near Antwerp, Belgium. To my surprise, I came across these fighting pike. I was lucky enough to photograph a whole series of pictures of these 2 pike.

Location: Domein Muisbroek, Belgium

Equipment Used: Nikon D810 DSLR camera, Nikon 60 mm lens, Hugyfot underwater housing, Subtonic strobes

Camera Settings: f/14, 125, ISO 200

1st Place, Wide Angle: 'Family' by Eduardo Acevedo

The Story: A group of pilot whales resides in clears waters in the south west of the channel between the islands of Tenerife and La Gomera. We can see adult females with calves and juvenile whales swimming together. It is normal to see this group of interrelated individuals apart from the big males. This image combines the pilot whales with the reflections created by the crystal seas.

Location: Los Gigantes, Tenerife Island, Canary Islands, Spain

Equipment Used: Canon 5D Mark IV, Seacam Housing for Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon lens 15mm. No strobe

Camera Settings: f/9, 1/100 , ISO 200

1st Place, Macro: 'Blenny Grabs A Quick Meal' by Nigel Motyer

The Story: This is a shot taken on a night dive where we were looking for the famous Epaulette Walking sharks. This little guy caught my eye and I stayed with him for a few images hoping to get some portraits. I loved the colour around the eyes and the expressive face so I thought this little guy would make a great photo subject.

As I shot some images, I noticed my lights attracted some zoo plankton, and then I saw the Blenny became really active feeding on the plankton. In the shot you can see the Blenny lining up a strike on a passing copepod. I love the focus on the Blenny's face in this image.

Location: Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Equipment Used: Nikon D750 Camera. Nikon 105MM Macro Lens, Nauticam Housing, Dual Inon Z230 Strobes

Camera Settings: F32, 1/160 sec, ISO 640

Honorable Mention, Macro: 'Pike Dinner' by Lionel Houde

The Story: September 2021, at 20h00 during the end of a deep dive ( 33 meters), in an old quary close to the Rhine near Strasbourg. I saw an unusual agitation around 5 meters deep. A big pike was hunting another one and caught it. My approach was very slow. I stopped. After a few minutes, the pike came to me in the dark and I shot it. At the end of this story the big pike swallowed the other one hidden in the milfoil grass.

Location: France, Strasbourg, Holtzheim

Equipment Used: Olympus EM1 Camera, Housing Aquatica AE-M1 Housing, Dual Retra Pro Strobes, Panasonic Lumix 7/14mm f-4 Lens, Port Aquatica SW8

Camera Settings: F5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO 320

1st Place, Portrait: 'Joker' by Paolo Bausani

The Story: This shot catches the moment when a fish opens its mouth wide showing the internal gills. The picture highlights the bright and vivid color of male anthias, typical of the courtship period

Location: Italy, Argentario, Argentarola Rock

Equipment Used: Nikon D500 Camera, Nikkor 60mm Macro Lens, Nauticam Housing, Dual One Strobe

Camera Settings: F22, 1/17250, ISO 100

1st Place, Nudibranch: 'Spawning' by Salvatore Ianniello

The Story: A Godiva quadricolor spawning, seen from below. This photo was taken in the Mediterranean in a lagoon of the Gulf of Naples, Italy.

Location: Napales, Italy

Equipment Used: Nikon 800e Camera, Nikon 60mm Macro Lens, +4 Macro Wet Lens, Dual Inon Z240 Strobes

Camera Settings: F28, 1/320 sec, ISO 160

1st Place, Blackwater: 'Reflections' by Steven Kovacs

The Story: Occasionally during a blackwater dive, flying fish can be found cruising along the surface with their reflections visible. The challenge of trying to obtain a photograph showing this phenomenon is the movement of the water on the surface that tends to toss divers around, thus making it very difficult to stabilize and frame a picture at the right angle. Occasionally conditions are just good enough to allow for such pictures. as it was this night when I was also lucky enough to have a curious flying fish swim over to check me out.

Location: Palm Beach, Florida

Equipment Used: Nikon D500, Nikon 60mm Macro Lens, Ikelite Housing, Dual Ikelite DS160 Strobes

Camera Settings: F29, 1/250 sec, ISO 320

1st Place Underwater Conservation: 'Coral Tree' by Catherine Holmes

The Story: In this image, a diver examines the progress of coral fragment growth on a coral tree, set up by CORALL, Coral Reef Restoration Alliance in Barbados to propagate new coral growth from live fragments.

As highlighted at COP26 this year, coral reefs are the superstars of the ocean, being one of the most biodiverse ecosystems, home to almost half the fish species, absorbing 97 percent of wave activity protecting land masses and critical to the livelihoods of millions worldwide.

Coral restoration projects have been set up in many locations across the world, trying to combat the unprecedented loss of habitat forming hard corals over recent decades caused by rising water temperatures, pollution, disruptive fishing practices, disease, and local predators like crown of thorns starfish. Global warming causing coral bleaching after high water temperatures has however had the most profound negative effect of all.

Restoration projects vary in methodology. In Barbados, like the Caymans and Maldives, coral gardens have been constructed to act as nurseries for the growing fragments of coral prior to transplantation back onto the damaged reefs. Artificial trees are suspended from the surface by flotation devices allowing the fragments of coral attached to the branches to be bathed by moving currents.

There is a high percentage of success in the growth of branching corals and a survival rate of 66 percent, but there is a need for global efforts for restoration on a large scale. At present the many fragmented local efforts, that whilst effective in the short time, long term do not yet have sufficient impact, and are always susceptible to climate disasters.

Location: Barbados

Equipment Used: Nikon D500 Camera, Nauticam Housing, Dual Inon Z330 Strobes. Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye Lens

Camera Settings: F13, 1/250, ISO 400

2nd Place, Underwater Conservation: 'Smoke Break' by Steven Kovacs

The Story: During a dive at a popular local dive site, I was stunned to come across this small Lizardfish that had mistaken a cigarette butt drifting by for a fish. Even more shocking was that the Lizardfish did not realize its mistake and continued to swallow the discarded butt as I photographed the spectacle.

Fearing it would ultimately kill the unfortunate animal if it succeeded, I decided to intervene and took away its harmful meal choice. Sadly, I think this photograph illustrates how people can negatively impact and harm the environment with even the smallest of actions.

Location: Blue Heron Bridge, Florida, USA

Equipment Used: Nikon D7000 Camera, Canon 105mm Macro Lens, Ikelite Housing , Dual Ikelite DS160 Strobes

Camera Settings: F25, 1/250 sec, ISO 250

1st Place, Underwater Art: 'Magical Fairy Wisps' by Jenny Stock

The Story: Whilst diving in Cuba I caught some captivating images of vivid fairy basslet. The complementary colours of this fish lent themselves to artistic creation. Through the use of masks and filters in post processing, I crafted the basslet bodies to disperse into wisps of colourful smokey clouds against a jet black background.

Location: Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

Equipment Used: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 100mm Macro Lens, Nauticam Housing, Dual Inon Strobes

Camera Settings: F25, 1/100, ISO 500

1st Place, Black & White: 'Ancient Caves' by Tom St George

The Story: I joined Ellen Cuylaerts and my partner Julia Gugelmeier for a cave dive at Cenote Zacil Ha. After spending some time swimming through some very small passages the cave suddenly opens up and presents you with these giant speleothems which took millenia to form. The diver, Ellen, is dwarfed by the massive columns as she hovers awestruck and motionless, while Julia uses a video light to expertly backlight her and stay completely hidden from the camera (photographing in underwater caves is always a team effort!).

This image worked particularly well for me in black and white with the interplay of light and shadow, and the incredible textures revealed by the backlighting - most of the light is coming from the off-camera video light with the on-camera strobes used to add just a touch of fill.

Location: Cenote Zacil Ha, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Equipment Used: Sony A7SII, Sigma 15mm fisheye (with Metabones adapter), Nauticam Housing, Nauticam 8.5" Dome Port, 2 x Inon Z330 Strobes, Big Blue 30K Lumen Video Light

Camera Settings: F8, 1/125 sec, ISO 6400

1st Place, Compact Wide Angle: 'Motherhood' by Kate Rister

The Story: Humpback whale mothers and their calves are seen annually in the shallow waters off of Moorea, Tahiti - typically between August and October. It's important to approach a mother and calf slowly and with respect - not every pair will stay in the area once they spot you. We were fortunate that this mother was quite comfortable in our presence, even encouraging her shy calf to get a closer look at us by pushing him towards us with her nose.

Location: Moorea, Tahiti

Equipment Used: Sony RXIV 100, Nauticam Housing, Nauticam Wide Angle Wet Lens

Camera Settings: F5, 1/160 sec, ISO 320

3rd Place, Compact Behavior: 'Coral Tip Forest' by Nicole Helgason

The Story: I arrived a week earlier in the Solomon Islands on a mission to photograph healthy coral colonies. We set out for the day from Tavanipupu Island Resort to a place they can sand island. The island is just that, a mound of sand surrounded by coral. Much of the coral on one side of the island had already been killed by the shifting sands while the far side of the island was alive and vibrant with healthy coral colonies.

As I was swimming through the shallows I spotted this plating Acropora tenuis coral which was easily 3 feet across. The top of the coral was incredibly flat as if the branch tips might touch the sky at low tide. I knew this would be a fantastic subject for the top-down coral shot I've always dreamed of. I snapped a few shots from different angles of the coral and then floated above waiting for the perfect light.

All it took was one shot and I knew I had something special. This image has always been one of my all-time favorite photographs from the trip as the little tentacles on the side of the Acropora branches invite you to look deeper into the coral.

Location: Solomon Islands, Marau sound, Sand Island

Equipment Used: Canon G7X, Fantasea Housing, XAdventurer M6000 Lights

Camera Settings: F701, 1/400 sec, ISO 125

DPReview TV Mythbusting: Medium format has a unique depth of field

Is there something special about the depth-of-field offered by medium format? Chris and Jordan look closely at the effect of format size on depth-of-field to find out.

Shallow depth-of-field is often cited as being a key part of the 'medium format look' but is that actually true? Our Canadian friends shot some side-by-side examples to check.

Inevitably, since this video compares sensor sizes, it touches on equivalence and why it can make sense to think about equivalent f-numbers when comparing formats.

If you want a fuller picture of the ways in which a larger format does (and doesn't) change your images, there's a detailed breakdown here.


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Test images from this episode

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Video: NFL collaborates with drone pilot to create this mesmerizing flight through the Las Vegas Strip ahead of Pro Bowl 2022

In anticipation of Pro Bowl 2022, drone pilot Johnny FPV and the National Football League (NFL) recently collaborated on a promotional video clip that takes you on a whirlwind journey through the Las Vegas strip. Shot on a Red Komodo FPV drone, the clip starts at Caesars Palace and then takes the viewer on a dive down the Eiffel Tower replica that marks the Paris, Las Vegas hotel.

The viewer is then taken on a dizzying journey, where clips of pro football players in action are projected on numerous buildings, before the drone flips around and weaves its way through the High Roller Ferris wheel. Finally, the drone makes its way toward Allegiant Stadium and gives you a birds-eye-view of the interior, including the field – where the NFL's Pro Bowl is set to take place on February 6th.

Johnny FPV, who goes by Johnny Schaer, filmed and edited the clip by himself. Video projections seen on the buildings throughout the clip were created by Keane Luøng. Logan Armstrong is responsible for the sound design and color grading was completed by Schaer and Jake Irish with FPVluts.com. If you're looking to fly like Johnny, you can get his complete ready-to-fly set up here.

Schaer recently completed work on the Netflix feature film Red Notice starring The Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. He is credited with helping start the FPV (first-person-view) movement and boasts over 1 million followers on his social channels. Huge thanks goes out to AirVūz for the heads up on his latest work. Johnny FPV's other incredible clips can be viewed on his channel with the leading drone video network.

NASA observes a black hole in a dwarf galaxy that is fueling star formation

NASA has announced that it has observed a black hole at the center of dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10 that defies expectations. Thanks to detailed evidence from the Hubble Space Telescope's imaging and spectroscopy instruments, scientists can see that the black hole is 'creating stars rather than gobbling them up.'

The typical understanding of a black hole is that it's a region within space from which no particles, including light, can escape. However, something unusual occurs in the dwarf galaxy Henize 2-10. The dwarf galaxy is what's called a 'starburst galaxy,' which means that, as the name suggests, it's a galaxy that experiences a relatively high rate of star formation. As NASA puts it, 'Stars are born within the clouds of dust and scattered throughout most galaxies.' Henize 2-10 includes at least two star-forming regions near its center.

Besides featuring unusually high amounts of star formation, Henize 2-10 is special because its conditions are analogous to those of the early Universe. In 2011, NASA wrote, 'Stars are forming in Henize 2-10 at a prodigious rate, giving the star clusters in this galaxy their blue appearance. This combination of a burst of star formation and a massive black hole is analogous to conditions in the early Universe. Since Henize 2-10 does not contain a significant bulge of stars in its center, these results show that supermassive black hole growth may precede the growth of bulges in galaxies. This differs from the relatively nearby Universe where the growth of galaxy bulges and supermassive black holes appears to occur in parallel.'

Back in 2011, the observations of Henize 2-10 set off a debate among astronomers 'as to whether dwarf galaxies were home to black holes proportional to the supermassive behemoths found in the hearts of larger galaxies.' Amy Reines published the first research on Henize 2-10 in 2011 and Reines is the principal researcher for the latest paper.

'Ten years ago, as a graduate student thinking I would spend my career on star formation, I looked at the data from Henize 2-10 and everything changed,' said Reines. 'From the beginning I knew something unusual and special was happening in Henize 2-10, and now Hubble has provided a very clear picture of the connection between the black hole and a neighboring star forming region located 230 light-years from the black hole.'

Credits: Science: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI)

Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

The debate a decade ago centered around the idea of if a black hole at the center of a dwarf galaxy behaved in proportion to a supermassive black hole at the center of much larger galaxies. The latest research shows that Henize 2-10 isn't producing results like a larger black hole on a smaller scale.

With a supermassive black hole, material needed for star formation is 'whisked away by surrounding magnetic fields,' which forms super-hot plasma moving at nearly the speed of light. Any gas clouds, which contain star-forming material, are heated so much that they can't cool enough to form stars.

Henize 2-10 is doing something different. The outflow is moving much slower. And while that behavior may be like a supermassive black hole, just slower, the effect is dramatically different. NASA writes, 'That connection is an outflow of gas stretching across space like an umbilical cord to a bright stellar nursery. The region was already home to a dense cocoon of gas when the low-velocity outflow arrived. Hubble spectroscopy shows the outflow was moving about 1 million miles per hour, slamming into the dense gas like a garden hose hitting a pile of dirt and spreading out. Newborn star clusters dot the path of the outflow's spread, their ages also calculated by Hubble.'

'At only 30 million light-years away, Henize 2-10 is close enough that Hubble was able to capture both images and spectroscopic evidence of a black hole outflow very clearly. The additional surprise was that, rather than suppressing star formation, the outflow was triggering the birth of new stars,' said Zachary Schutte, Reines' graduate student and lead author of the new study.

'A pullout of the central region of dwarf starburst galaxy Henize 2-10 traces an outflow, or bridge of hot gas 230 light-years long, connecting the galaxy's massive black hole and a star-forming region. Hubble data on the velocity of the outflow from the black hole, as well as the age of the young stars, indicates a causal relationship between the two. A few million years ago, the outflow of hot gas slammed into the dense cloud of a stellar nursery and spread out, like water from a hose impacting a mound of dirt. Now clusters of young stars are aligned perpendicular to the outflow, revealing the path of its spread.'

Credits: Science: NASA, ESA, Zachary Schutte (XGI), Amy Reines (XGI)

Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

There remained some controversy over whether there even is a black hole at the center of Heinze 2-10. When Reines discovered radio and x-ray emissions in 2011, some astronomers believed that the radiation was due to a supernova remnant and not a black hole. However, 'Hubble's amazing resolution clearly shows a corkscrew-like pattern in the velocities of the gas, which we can fit to the model of a precessing, or wobbling, outflow from a black hole. A supernova remnant would not have that pattern, and so it is effectively our smoking-gun proof that this is a black hole,' Reines said.

Reines believes that more research will be focused on dwarf galaxy black holes, as they may hold the key to solving the persistent puzzle of supermassive black hole formation in the early Universe. 'The relationship between the mass of the galaxy and its black hole can provide clues. The black hole in Henize 2-10 is around 1 million solar masses. In larger galaxies, black holes can be more than 1 billion times our Sun's mass. The more massive the host galaxy, the more massive the central black hole,' writes NASA.

In 2011, Reines' early research on Henize 2-10 set off significant debate among the scientific community. Just over a decade later, we've learned much more, but there are many more mysteries to unravel.

Credits: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Virginia/A.Reines et al); Radio (NRAO/AUI/NSF); Optical (NASA/STScI)

As of now, there are three primary theories on the origin of supermassive black holes. Supermassive black holes may have formed like smaller stellar-mass black holes. Perhaps instead there may have been special conditions in the early Universe that gave rise to supermassive stars that then collapsed into massive black holes. Or maybe the 'seeds' of supermassive black holes were formed in dense star clusters where the cluster's mass was great enough to create supermassive black holes through gravitational collapse. None of these black hole 'seeding' theories has taken off. It's hoped that dwarf galaxy black holes, like the one in Henize 2-10, will be able to serve as an analog for black holes in the early Universe.

'The era of the first black holes is not something that we have been able to see, so it really has become the big question: where did they come from?' asked Reines. 'Dwarf galaxies may retain some memory of the black hole seeding scenario that has otherwise been lost to time and space.'

Film Friday: Is Bulk Loaded Cine Film a Panacea for Rising Film Prices?

Photograph by Matthew Wright, used with permission from 35mmc.

Last December, on a previous edition of Film Friday, we shared an article from Matthew Wright wherein he explained why the film photography community ‘has a math problem […] not a film price or Kodak problem’ in regards to 9–15% price hike Kodak had announced for many of its films. Now, Wright is back with another thoughtful article on 35mmc, this time opening – and ultimately answering – the question of whether or not bulk loading cinema film is a solution for photographers amidst increasing film prices.

The essay, which dives into the pros and cons of bulk loading and developing cinema film is an insightful look at what some photographers believe to be the panacea of rising color negative film prices and an increasing unstable market that is seeing many film stocks unavailable or heavily backordered. Wright starts with some background information by explaining how 35mm cinema film stock is different than your standard color negative film and even provides a little glossary of sorts.

This glossary is beneficial because if you’re not familiar with cinema film, and particularly developing your own film, there are a few things that might catch you off-guard. First and foremost, most cinema film can't be developed at your usual photo lab, due to the use of a rem-jet layer not present on still-oriented 35mm film stocks. So, instead of using the usual C-41 development process, most cinema film requires you to use an ECN-2 process, which is a bit more complicated to account for the removal of the rem-jet layer.

Photograph by Matthew Wright, used with permission from 35mmc.

As such, you’ll likely be limiting yourself to home-development, which may or may not be something you’re up for depending on your determination to save a few dollars here and there. And, as Wright points out, odds are if you’re using a film lab as is to develop your film, the price increases of film aren’t going to deter you from shooting pre-loaded film considering the price most labs charge to develop and scan a roll.

After going over the rather complicated nature of developing cinema film, Wright digs into whether or not you can actually save money by bulk-loading cinema film instead of buying pre-rolled film from the likes of Kodak and Fujifilm. Wright even breaks down the analysis on a public spreadsheet, which is available to view here.

Photograph by Matthew Wright, used with permission from 35mmc.

The remainder of the article covers a few anecdotes from Wright’s time shooting with bulk-loaded cinema film and concludes with a rather succinct opinion:

‘For me, bulk loaded cine film and ECN-2 development is not a panacea for rising film prices unless film prices skyrocket AND cine film prices stay unchanged AND the prices of ECN-2 chemicals stay the same.’

Considering how unlikely it is that pre-loaded color negative film and C-41 chemicals continue to increase at such a rapid pace without cinema film stocks and ECN-2 chemicals doing the same, it’s unlikely the process is worth it, even if it feels like you’re saving a few dollars up front.

You can read Wright’s full article over on 35mmc:

Is Bulk Loaded Cine Film a Panacea for Rising Film Prices? – By Matt Wright


About Film Fridays: We've launched an analog forum and in a continuing effort to promote the fun of the medium, we'll be sharing film-related content on Fridays, including articles from our friends at 35mmc and KosmoFoto.

Meta is working on letting users create, sell NFTs on Facebook and Instagram

According to the Financial Times, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is looking at ways to allow its users to create and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on its platforms. The article also cites that NFTs are currently a $40 billion market, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Naturally, it makes sense that Meta would want to explore ways to capitalize on this momentum.

The company's Novi Wallet technology would be powering the service, according to insiders. Instagram is exploring ways to display NFTs while Meta is supposedly working on a marketplace. The FT article states that they are 'at an early stage and could yet change' in terms of progress with this project. However, Instagram's CEO Adam Mosseri stated, last December, that the company is 'actively exploring NFTs and how we can make them more accessible to a wider audience.'

Last October, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that the metaverse should offer support for 'ownership of digital goods or NFTs.' It's important to note that listing an NFT for sale doesn't automatically connect it to the metaverse. This is a concept that often confuses speculators.

Purchasing an NFT amounts to digital ownership of an item such as a jpeg, gif, video clip or piece of music on a blockchain. Lately, NFTs have received their share of criticism for a lack of security and market fickleness. Earlier this week, one of the largest online cryptocurrency platforms, Crypto.com, confirmed it had suffered a hack that saw more than $34M worth of Ethereum taken from affected users accounts.

However, with Twitter working on ways to showcase items from a blockchain, and while Reddit is working on its own NFT platform, this level of mainstream adoption points towards NFT support becoming more ubiquitous across the web.

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