Pentax 645Z Medium Format Digital Camera

Ricoh Imaging has announced a new Pentax medium format camera, the 645Z.

The camera features a new CMOS sensor with approximately 51.4 effective megapixels. The camera is also capable of live view shooting.

The Pentax 645Z is based on the Pentax 645D, released in 2010. It has weatherproof, dustproof construction, and is capable of burst shooting at 3 frames per second. It also features a tiltable, high-resolution LCD monitor.

The 645Z is set to be available at the end of may 2014 for £6799.99 body only, or £7699.99 with a 55mm lens. For more information, take a look at the Ricoh website.

From Ricoh:
RICOH IMAGING UK, LTD. is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX 645Z medium-format digital SLR camera. This new model features a newly designed, large CMOS image sensor with approximately 51.4 effective megapixels to deliver super-high-resolution images, all while ensuring outstanding operability and exceptional reliability to satisfy the demands of professional photographers.

The development of the PENTAX 645Z was based on the PENTAX 645D, which was launched in 2010. While retaining the proven weather-resistant, dustproof construction, it incorporates a newly developed image sensor and imaging engine to enhance image quality and reliability. It also boasts approximately 51.4 effective megapixels to produce super-high-resolution images with ‘true-to-life’ quality. It offers much-improved standard specifications, including; burst shooting at approximately three images per second; a tiltable, high-resolution LCD monitor; a state-of-the-art AF system with a live-view function; a high-precision exposure control system; and a more durable, dependable shutter unit. It also provides much faster response to the photographer’s commands in all types of shooting conditions. The result is the top level of operability and manoeuvrability required in professional work. It also features full HD movie recording capability and smartphone accessibility via Wi-Fi transmission, for more flexibility and enhanced opportunities for more creative photography.
645Z back

Main Features

Super-high-resolution images made possible by approximately 51.4 effective megapixels
The PENTAX 645Z features a high-performance CMOS image sensor, with an imaging area (43.8mm x 32.8mm) approximately 1.7 times larger than that of a 35mm full-frame sensor. By combining this sensor with the PRIME III imaging engine — with its advanced image-processing and noise-reduction capabilities and anti-aliasing filter-less design — the 645Z makes full use of the imaging power and approximately 51.4 effective megapixels to deliver super-high resolution and exceptional depth rendition.

The 645Z minimises annoying image noise during high-sensitivity shooting, allowing the photographer to comfortably take pictures even at super-high sensitivities up to ISO 204800. This provides the photographer with totally new creative options beyond the scope of existing medium-format photography.

High-speed response to accommodate professional demands
The 645Z continuously records as many as 10 images in RAW format (or up to 30 images in JPEG L mode) at a maximum speed of approximately three images per second. It also offers quick-view function, UHS-1 speed class compatibility for high-speed data storage (in SDR104 bus speed mode; with a compatible SD memory card), and USB3.0-standard data interface for easy transfer of recorded images to a computer. Thanks to its high-speed response rivalling that of 35mm-format SLRs, the 645Z assures active, flawless shooting in a wide range of applications demanded by professionals.

High-precision AF system
The 645Z incorporates a newly designed SAFOX 11 phase-matching AF module with 27 sensor points (including 25 cross-type sensors). It also detects the light flux of an F2.8 lens to optimise focusing accuracy when using a large-aperture lens. Its wide AF working range of –3EV to +18EV (at ISO 100; at 23oC) assures pinpoint focus with dimly lit subjects, which are difficult to focus accurately with the naked eye. Thanks to the new CMOS image sensor with high-speed data readout, it also provides a live-view function. This allows the photographer to make more minute focus adjustments using the contrast-detection AF mode on the live-view screen, or by magnifying the on-screen image.

Tiltable, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with approximately 1,037,000 dots
In addition to its wide-view design, the 645Z’s 3.2-inch high-resolution LCD monitor with approximately 1,037,000 dots (in 3:2 aspect ratio) has a tilt mechanism to adjust the monitor angle, making it easier for the photographer to capture low and high-angle images. Its front panel is made of tempered glass for extra protection. To optimise visibility during outdoor shooting, it also combines a unique air-gapless construction which eliminates the air space between the LCD layers to reduce the reflection and dispersion of the light, with an AR (Anti-Reflection) coating to minimise reflections on screen.
Pentax 645Z side
Full HD movie recording at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 60i frame rate
The 645Z captures beautiful Full HD video clips (1920 x 1080 pixels; 60i/30P frame rate) in the H.264 recording format. Its large image sensor is effective in recording shallow-depth videos with an effectively blurred background. In addition to the built-in stereo microphone, it also provides a stereo mic terminal for external microphone connection and an audio level control function. It also provides interval video recording of 4K-resolution images (3840 x 2160 pixels; in Motion JPEG or AVI video format) to add a new dimension in creative imaging.

Solid, dependable body
Both the 645Z’s exterior housing and the LCD monitor frame installed on the back are made of sturdy yet lightweight magnesium alloy, while the chassis is made of die-cast aluminium to optimise kinematic accuracy and thermal stability against excessive heat. The LCD panels — one on the top of the camera, and another on the back — are covered with tempered-glass plates for extra protection against scratches. The camera is also designed to be extremely durable and dependable even in harsh outdoor conditions. The body is not only weather-resistant and dustproof, with 76 seals applied around it, but it is also cold-resistant against temperatures as low as –10°C, while its dependable shutter unit has withstood a punishing operation test of more than 100,000 shutter releases.

High-precision exposure control supported by PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System
The 645Z also features the innovative PENTAX Real-Time Scene Analysis System, which consists of an RGB light-metering sensor with approximately 86,000 pixels and a fine-tuned algorithm. This system not only ensures much-improved exposure-control accuracy, but also utilises the data obtained by the light-metering sensor to further enhance autofocusing accuracy and white-balance adjustment. By accurately assessing the type of scene or subject using the light-metering sensor, the 645Z not only selects the exposure settings that are most consistent with the photographer’s creative intentions, but also makes a clearer distinction between the subject and the background to ensure more accurate control of the discharge level in flash photography.

Large, bright optical viewfinder
The 645Z features a trapezoid-shaped glass prism, in place of a conventional pentaprism, to guarantee compact dimensions. Its optical viewfinder provides approximately 98% field of view to facilitate image composition, while the proven Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen offers a sharp, clear viewfinder image for easier focusing and reduced eye fatigue, even during extended shooting sessions.

Smartphone-support functions
By installing the optional FLUCARD FOR PENTAX 16GB O-FC1 memory card in the 645Z, the user can release the 645Z’s shutter, check the live-view image, and browse and download the images recorded on the card using a smartphone.

DR II to eliminate dust from the image sensor
The 645Z comes equipped with the highly effective DR (Dust Removal) II mechanism to eliminate annoying dust spots on recorded images. By shifting the UV/IR-cut filter placed in front of the image sensor at supersonic speed using a piezoelectric element, this mechanism effectively and efficiently shakes dust off the image sensor. The 645Z also provides the Dust Alert system, which helps the user detect any dust particles clinging to the image sensor prior to shooting. Thanks to these user-friendly features, the photographer can be confident of capturing spotless images, even when lenses are changed in dust-prone environments.

Advanced, professional-grade features
When the camera is positioned upside down, in copying work and bird’s-eye-view photography, you can select “Auto Image Rotation mode” which allows you to automatically rotate the image 180 degrees on the camera’s LCD monitor, or on a computer screen for easier viewing based on the selected position data.

The fine square grid on live-view helps you confirm the subject’s position in the image field during live-view shooting. You can also select the grid colour when shooting in black and white.

The lock button disables the camera’s control buttons and dial to prevent any accidental shift of settings.

Other features:

  • Dual SD card slots for memory card flexibility (compatible with SDXC, SDXC UHS-1 speed class in SDR104 bus speed mode)
  • Flexible white balance control, with a newly added Multi-Pattern Auto mode
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) shooting mode, with RAW-format data filing
  • PENTAX-invented hyper control system for quick, accurate response to the photographer’s creative intentions
  • Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images; and detection of image tampering using the accompanying software
  • Automatic compensation of lens distortion, lateral chromatic aberration, brightness level at edges, and diffraction
  • Compatibility with Eye-Fi wireless LAN memory cards
  • Compatibility with USB3.0-standard interface accessories, with HDMITM (type D) terminal
  • Digital Camera Utility 5 software included, to provide enhanced image-processing performance and speed using its newly designed engine
  • Compatibility with IMAGE Transmitter 2 software, for easy transfer of recorded images to PC (optional; available soon)

onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 Photo Editor

onOne Software has announced a new version of its full-featured photo editor, which works as a plug-in with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple Aperture, as well as a standalone app.

The new Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 includes speed and productivity enhancements to the Perfect Photo Suite’s Browse module, improved performance with the Perfect Eraser tool and enhanced masking support in Perfect Effects and Perfect Layers.

The updated Browse module will offer quicker thumbnail and preview viewing and new file-management features for organising photos. Enhancements to the Perfect Eraser will make it easier for photographers to remove objects set on difficult gradient backgrounds and also available in version 8.5 will be the capability to create more complex masks by using multiple Masking Bugs on a layer. Other bug fixes and performance enhancements will also be part of the 8.5 release.

Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 will be available in mid-May 2014 and existing owners of Perfect Photo Suite 8 are eligible for a free update. New users may purchase the Premium Edition for $179.95 or the Lightroom & Aperture Edition for only $99.95. The Standard Edition, a standalone application, is available for $79.95. Owners of earlier versions of the Perfect Photo Suite can upgrade to the Premium Edition for $99.95 or the Lightroom & Aperture Edition for $79.95.

For more information on Perfect Photo Suite 8.5 release, please visit the onOne Software website.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens Pricing And Availability Announced

Sigma has announced that the price of the 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens announced in January will be £849.99 including VAT.

Canon and Sigma fit will be available in May, with Nikon fit following in June. When Sony and Pentax fits will be available is still to be determined.

Sigma say this lens delivers both high resolution, and beautiful bokeh. While pursuing a high level of resolution on the focused point, bokeh in front and behind the point of focus is carefully maintained to have soft rendering. Aberrations including sagittal coma flare and color distortion that affect the image quality are thoroughly corrected. From open aperture, high-definition rendering without blur is achieved.

For more information, take a look at the Sigma website.

Lytro announce Illum

Lytro, Inc. revealed today its powerful vision for the future of photography with the unveiling of LYTRO ILLUM, a light field camera and software platform designed to redefine the way we portray the world around us. Built to harness the full power of the light field, the professional-grade LYTRO ILLUM will give photographers a new medium capable of capturing visual experiences in their purest form — not as a static cross-section of reality but an authentic, interactive window into their world.

The camera paves the way for an immersive brand of storytelling in which images can be brought to life in multiple dimensions through Light Field Photography — a transformative new category that empowers artistic creation and expression beyond what is possible in the 2D world of digital and film. In capturing the color, intensity and direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, LYTRO ILLUM provides a massive amount of visual information that allows photographers to recreate sights and scenes on a truly experiential canvas.

“With LYTRO ILLUM, creative pioneers — ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals — will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling. Now artist and audience alike can share an equally intimate connection with the imagery, and, in a sense, jointly participate in the magic of its creation,” said Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal. “By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography.”

To enable such rich, layered compositions, LYTRO ILLUM delivers unparalleled optical versatility by merging custom-built hardware with a powerful software platform. The camera offers a 40-megaray light field sensor, 8x optical zoom range, constant f/2.0 aperture and a high-speed shutter capable of freezing motion under a wide variety of conditions. After image capture, the innovative software platform empowers photographers to adjust aspects of images that were previously fixed, such as focus, tilt, perspective shift and depth of field, which allows the photographer to create images that will resonate for the viewer not just in one dimension, but in every dimension.

“My photography style pushes me to look for ways to tell a more compelling story with every image. LYTRO ILLUM gave me that ability by incorporating an interactive element that captures different visual touch points at every depth,” said Kyle Thompson, a Chicago-based photographer known for his surreal conceptual style and one of the early users of the camera. “With LYTRO ILLUM, I’ve been able to make a multi-dimensional image with more perspectives to explore.”

LYTRO ILLUM’s totally unique photographic experience reflects the technological revolution around virtual reality and 3D graphics as powerful new storytelling formats in the Digital Age. In the hands of creative pioneers, the camera is a catalyst for a transformational shift in which the world will increasingly look for opportunities to craft a more immersive artistic experience.

“Light Field Photography is following the classic pattern for a transformational concept,” said Lytro founder Dr. Ren Ng. “The original Lytro camera, which launched in 2012, introduced an entirely new era in photography. LYTRO ILLUM will advance this movement to a new level. We are very excited by the potential of this camera to ignite a photography revolution on the magnitude of the transformation from film to digital.”

In addition to enabling post-capture image adjustments, LYTRO ILLUM’s proprietary software platform enables users to view images in 3D, build custom animations, export images into common formats like JPEG and share to the Web or mobile devices. LYTRO ILLUM’s workflow is also compatible with existing photo-editing suites like Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom software and Apple’s Aperture software, allowing creative pioneers to use the tools they already know and love.

LYTRO ILLUM Availability

The LYTRO ILLUM camera will ship starting July 2014 for a retail price of $1,599.

As part of the launch, Lytro is offering a variety of exclusive opportunities to those who pre-order the camera before July 15. In addition to receiving a specially- engraved LYTRO ILLUM for a special introductory price of $1,499 and an extended two-year warranty, they’ll be eligible to join an inner circle of Lytro users with insider access to product development insight and support. Even after the product ships, this nucleus of early adopters will continue to receive ground-floor insight and training from the Lytro team, with opportunities to contribute to exclusive developmental projects.

As part of their status as early adopters, individuals who pre-order will have the opportunity to submit their own photo series to earn a spot in the Ultimate Lytro Photo Experience — a once-in-a-lifetime trip to shoot alongside a prominent photographer on an all-expense paid photo shoot. The Lytro team and this pro photographer partner will be on hand to provide high-caliber, hands-on training and practice for getting the most out of LYTRO ILLUM. As the larger photography community gets acquainted with this new style of digital art, these early adopters will have an inside edge on techniques for producing cutting-edge Light Field Photography.

For more information about LYTRO ILLUM, please visit Lytro.com/camera.

LYTRO ILLUM Technical specs

Camera

  • Custom-designed 40-megaray light field sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (30mm-250mm equivalent)
  • Constant f/2.0 aperture across the entire zoom range
  • 1/4000 of a second high-speed shutter
  • Extreme close-focus macro capability
  • Combination of tactile-controls and smartphone-class, articulating touchscreen
  • Dimensions: 86mm x 145mm x 166mm; 940 grams
  • Hot shoe supports all leading flashes

Software Platform

  • Integrated workflow with leading photo software from Adobe and Apple
  • Interactive depth feedback display
  • Virtual camera controls in post-processing, including aperture focus and perspective adjustments and physically accurate tilt control
  • Instantly displays 3D photos on 3D-capable devices
  • Integrated sharing to leading social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
  • Libraryofdrag-and-dropcinematicanimations,includingpan,zoom,focus, perspective shift
  • Workflowiscompatiblewithexistingphoto-editingsuiteslikeAdobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom software and Apple’s Aperture software

About Lytro

Lytro is reinventing photography by combining a novel hardware array with cutting- edge computational graphics to capture a more complete and immersive picture of the world in three dimensions. Lytro is the first company to bring an entirely new category, Light Field Photography, to the consumer and professional markets by transforming the camera into a powerful computational photography platform that fundamentally captures a richer set of image data compared to conventional digital or film cameras. Founder and Executive Chairman Dr. Ren Ng, whose Ph.D. research on Light Field Photography won Stanford University’s prize for best thesis in computer science in 2006 as well as the internationally recognized ACM Dissertation award, founded the company in 2006. For additional information, visit Lytro.com.

The NPS launching new free service for photographers

The NPS are launching a database for photographers who need second shooters or emergency cover.

This will be perfect for wedding photographers and other photographers who need critical photographic assignments covered in the event of illness or other emergency.

There is a form at https://www.thenps.com/photographer-needed-interest-registration/ where you can register your interest and you will be notified when the service launches.

Please do share this with any other photographers that you know, the more photographers that offer their help then the more efficient the service will be.