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Could this 20mm f/2.8 lens patent be Canon’s next pancake lens?

Originally filed back in December of 2013, Patent Publication No. 2015–111192 (translated) shows a 20mm lens made up of six elements in five groups. Focusing for the lens is done through ’s Stepping Motor Technology (STM), enabling smooth focus transitions when shooting in video mode, which all Canon APS-C DSLRs are now capable of.

As pointed out by Canon Rumors, this lens is very similar in focal length to Canon’s current 24mm f/2.8 STM, which packs quite the punch in a small form factor. Thus, it could be nothing more than a left over patent from the 24mm’s design.

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Review: f-stop’s Ajna is a Tough Modular Camera Bag for World Exploration

There are a limited number of backpacks that we would recommend taking on a journey if you decided to head to the Arctic circle or the Amazon rainforest. The range of available bags from f-stop seem to be designed for the pure purpose of rough adventuring, and it may just be a contender. We received a chance to test out their latest Mountain Series bag, the Ajna, and we had quite a journey.

The Ajna is considered the baby of the f-stop team’s Mountain Series range – ‘baby’ is a term that shouldn’t be taken too literally. Despite being the smallest of its brethren, the Ajna can house up to 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of equipment. The backpack weighs in at 3.75 lbs which makes it easy to carry around. When the full volume of the Ajna is not being utilized, a series of straps can be quickly pulled to compact the unit.

Before we dive into the seemingly endless number of straps and pockets that the Ajna contains, let’s talk about the unit’s comfortability. We are going to assume, that for legal reasons, f-stop cannot call the Ajna the world’s most comfortable backpack. However, we are prepared to say that it must be high up on the list. Thanks to the unit’s construction, we found the Ajna extremely comfortable to use on both short hikes and long treks.

The Ajna is constructed with a combination of oxford-weave ripstop nylon and a thermoplastic polyurethane film. For those unfamiliar with ripstop nylon, it is the same material used to ensure parachutes stay together – this is one tough backpack. The back of the unit is advertised as a breathable and comfortable material due to an ‘EVA molded rear panel’. During our adventures, we found the pack to be very ergonomic. The Ajna was less of a backpack and more of an extension of our bodies.

If water is your concern, the Ajna does an excellent job of keeping the environmental liquid outside and the drinking water inside. While f-stop doesn’t recommend throwing your expensive backpack into a lake, we wouldn’t be too concerned if you accidentally dropped it in – do not try at home! The Ajna has a COTEC Hypalon base that promises to protect against wet surfaces and messy terrain. Combine that with the unit’s ripstop nylon and you have a backpack ready handle the wettest terrains.

In terms of drinking water, the pack is compatible with most hydration systems on the market. The Ajna even contains an internal bladder pocket to protect the unit from ‘lumping’, as well as a sealed Velcro hydration tube port to ensure your hydration pack doesn’t decide to give your expensive equipment a drink.

One of the unique features of the Ajna that fascinated us during our testing was the unit’s ability to use, what f-stop calls, Internal Camera Units (ICUs). The Ajna is essentially a nylon bag supported by an internal aluminum spine. Different ICUs can then be purchased and inserted to act as the internals of the bag. We received our unit with both the ICU Pro and ICU Micro.

The ICU Micro is advertised as being great for small mirrorless kits, along with an off-camera flash and a few remote triggers. We found the space more than generous and were able to fit two small mirrorless cameras, a few prime lenses, and our flash units. The ICU also features a handle for carrying when it is being used outside the Ajna.

The ICU Pro is an entirely different beast. We decided to load our entire test shelf of cameras into the bag, and we still had space left over for use. Items we fit into the ICU Pro included a D7200, Lytro ILLUM, Samsung NX500, Yashica Electro 35 GTN, Fujifilm Instax Neo 90, SIGMA dp3, and a collection of prime lenses. We didn’t even use the largest ICU available, meaning that space was still available within the Ajna. We don’t have a shadow of a doubt that you could load all the gear we loaded along with a decently sized external battery pack for off-the-grid adventuring.

The advantage of the ICU system is that you can have one ICU pack set up for one style of shooting and another ICU pack for something entirely different. Gear is accessed from the rear of the pack, unlike most units that feature access in the front. F-Stop says they have purposely designed the bag in this manner so that it can be set down, and a photographer can quickly sort through all of their gear.

Lastly come the unit’s straps and pouches. We spent quite a while trying to find each and every compartment, and it is possible that there are still areas left unexplored. There are fully accessible side pockets that feature an expanding design making them large and roomy when needed and compressed when not. The underside lid pocket features a zipped mesh area for small valuables while a stretch mesh pocket on each shoulder strap can easily hold nutrient bars for your adventure.

If you are carrying a laptop or tablet, no problems there. A multipurpose inner pocket can be used as the aforementioned hydration bladder pocket or to store laptops up to 13” in size. Add on a number of exterior front panel pockets, and you are ready to store your entire collection and more while on the move. Each pocket is protected by a YKK heavy gauge zipper with some areas using weather resistant YKK Aquaguard zippers.

Additional accessories for the unit can be purchased including: gatekeeper straps, wallet attachments, lens barrels, rain covers, and tripod bags. It is safe to say that no matter what your adventure may be, the Ajna f-stop bag will be there to support your endeavors.

The Ajna Mountain Series bag we tested will be available this July in black, orange, and green. The blue addition will be available in August. The bag itself retails for $229, but you will need to purchase at least one internal ICU for the kit separately. The ICU Pro will cost you an additional $89 while the ICU Micro will cost you $45. Other ICU options are available within the f-stop store.

Overall, we have to say that the f-stop Ajna backpack is one of the most robust units we have ever tested. If you unexpectedly receive an assignment from NatGeo to travel the world, f-stop should be the first company you give a gander. The Mountain Series continues all the way up to the premium Shinn bag for $399; it includes twice the storage capacity of the Ajna while supporting the f-stop Cine Master and Tele Master ICUs.

 

 

Adobe CC Photography Update Available Now

Lightroom CC 2015 and Raw 9.1 are available for download now. Bringing in the highly touted dehaze feature along with a grip of other improvements.

Dehaze and local black and white adjustment sliders are now available for Camera Raw 9.1 and Lightroom CC. Be advised that these features are not available in the standalone version of Lightroom 6.1. This feature is one I’m especially excited to try out on my hazy photos from the coast a few weeks back. I have been holding back processing them until this release. Per usual, the list of supported cameras has also grown in this update adding; Fujifilm X-T10, 1 J5, Nikon D810A, Panasonic DMC-G7, Pentax K-S2, Pentax K3 II.

Lightroom for iOS just got the ability to now import, and sync your iPhone and iPad created videos from Lightroom on iOS to the web and desktop. Also added to the tools are Vignettes, ability to adjust the color channel and B&W mix, and added tone curve.

Aside from the dehaze feature, a fairly standard update to Adobe’s photo processing toolset. Head over to the Adobe Lightroom Journal for the full list of bugs squashed and a long list of new lens profile corrections also added. The rest of the Creative Cloud 2015 set is also available today as well. Adobe also jumped into the stock game with Adobe stock which is the first stock source to be fully integrated into your creative workflow.

Camera Raw 9 – Please use the update mechanism in Photoshop CS6 and Creative Cloud app. If updating ACR gives you any fits through the Creative Cloud interface, use this link. http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/camera-raw-plug-in-installer.html

Kyle Ford descends upon the PNW from rural Nevada. Kyle joined Fstoppers in late 2014. He is a Wedding and lifestyle photographer who throws his extra dough at film supplies. You can find him across a multitude of social media platforms and his website.

 

 

MeFOTO announces world’s first color-customizable tripod

MeFOTO, a compact tripod manufacturer, has launched the world’s first customized color-based tripod design, the BYOT (Build Your Own Tripod) service for its popular RoadTrip model.

MeFOTO’s new BYOT service allows photographers to choose between 12 different colors for the head, brackets and center column of its RoadTrip Travel Tripod. This customization makes for a total of 792 different color combinations, perfect for showing off the colors of your favorite sports team or school.

MeFOTO’s Brand Manager, Brian Hynes says in the press release, ‘We want to make the gear that photographers use easy, intuitive, and fun […] Our goal is to give people creative freedom when it comes to the photo gear they rely on.’

MeFOTO’s BYOT service is now available in the U.S. starting at $249, which includes free shipping. You can head on over to MeFOTO’s store to build yours now.

 

 

 

Historic camera business founded by British spy to shut down – Amateur Photographer

An independent store, the last in a chain set up by Norman Lewis – a travel writer recruited as a British spy before the Second World War – is to shut down.

London-based store RG Lewis is the sole survivor of a former chain of eight camera stores that took their name from a chemist shop first set up three years before Amateur Photographer (AP) was first published in 1884.

It adds: ‘However, due to the effects of the internet, and also changes in attitude towards the independent specialist dealer, [owner] Len Lyons has regretfully decided to retire and, therefore, the Holborn shop (at 29 Southampton Row) will close permanently on 14 June 2015.

The chemists was run by Richard Lewis whose son, Norman, opened a photographic business above the shop and took the trading name of his father’s business.

Norman Lewis was a travel writer and photographer who reportedly spied for the British government during the Second World War and was once a friend of James Bond author Ian Fleming, Lyons recalled.

Indeed, a Telegraph obituary of Lewis, who died in 2003 aged 95, states: ‘In 1959, Lewis was sent to Cuba by Ian Fleming, then working for both the Sunday Times and MI6, to discover what were Castro’s chances of ousting the Batista regime.

‘In Mission to Havana, Lewis recounted two memorable meetings: one with Ed Scott, the priapic model for James Bond, who had taken to keeping naked negresses in his office and wearing spent cartridges as cuff-links; the other with Ernest Hemingway, who by now was drinking neat half-pints of Dubonnet. “He told me nothing”,’ wrote Lewis, “but taught me more than I wanted to know”.’

The Telegraph obituary adds that, unbeknown to Lewis, his meeting with Scott in a bar was observed by author Graham Greene, who used the scene in his novel Our Man in Havana.

Reacting to news of the closure, Jason Heward, managing director of Leica Camera UK Ltd, said: ‘It is extremely sad to see RG Lewis close and many Leica customers will feel a real sense of loss on hearing the news.

‘All industries need characters and within the photographic trade they don’t come much larger than Len Lyons. I struggle to think of anyone who knows more about the industry and the history of Leica.

‘All things must change and our industry is no different but we do well to remind ourselves that many customers still seek out a far from homogenous experience.

‘Our understanding of the past is key to shaping our present and the future of the industry. I am sure we shall all miss that feeling of being “wet behind the ears” when talking to Len. He has been a great ambassador for the brand and will be sorely missed.’

Founder Norman Lewis went on to write 13 novels and 13 works of non-fiction, according to the Norman Lewis website, which adds: ‘Forgoing a place at university for lack of funds, he used the income from wedding photography and various petty trading to finance travels to Spain, Italy and the Balkans, before being approached by the Colonial Office to spy for them with his camera in Yemen.’

Mike Evans, a loyal RG Lewis customer, photographer and former journalist who wrote about the closure in a blog, told AP: ‘It’s sad to see the end of any independent camera dealer, but the closure of RG Lewis is a particularly significant loss…

Lyons does not blame online competition for the closure – though the store’s website may suggest otherwise – but he told AP: ‘All the dealers I’ve spoken to [say that] people come in to have a demo and then buy on the web.’

 

 

Hasselblad announces new lineup of medium format aerial cameras

Hasselblad has announced a new lineup of medium format aerial cameras called the A5D. Sleek and simple in design, these cameras are designed for commercial and industrial applications, packing quite a punch in a small package.

The new lineup is available in three varieties: 40MP, 50MP and 60MP. Besides pixel count, the cameras are identical, capable of capturing up to 14 stops of dynamic range.

Considering one might not be enough for industrial applications, Hasselblad has developed a specialized sync feature, which will allow up to 8 of the cameras to be tethered together to create a single image. Hasselblad says the cameras will be able to capture images within 20 μs (microseconds) of each other, making stitching much easier.

To coincide with the new cameras, Hasselblad has also updated 9 of its H System lenses with fixed infinity focus and locking mounts to ensure the image plane and sensor stay parallel, even in bumpy conditions.

Back in March, Phase One announced the world’s smallest 80-megapixel medium format camera, designed with aerial photography in mind, so it’s no surprise to see Hasselblad following it up with an aerial announcement of their own.

 

 

The most important camera of the year?

models come and go, but real game-changers are few and far between. Have we already seen the biggest game-changer for 2015? And will it truly change the game or just be a footnote in history?

By far one of the most intriguing products I saw at last February’s CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan was the AIR A01 hacker-friendly camera module. I think our coverage back on January 10, 2015 was the first English-language report on it, well ahead of its official press announcement at CP+. Back then, it was called the OPC or Open Platform Camera.

Sony started the whole wireless-camera-module market with their fixed-lens QX10 and QX100 fixed-lens products, adding updated QX30 fixed-lens and QX1 interchangeable-lens models late last year. While Sony now has an interchangeable-lens QX product on the market, Olympus has taken the concept a good bit further than Sony has.

The idea is still the same, a bare-bones camera and lens assembly, connecting via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to a smartphone, and using the smartphone’s big LCD screen and touch-interface to control the camera. While Sony does now have both an interchangeable-lens model and SDK available, it looks to me like Olympus’ SDK allows much more extensive camera control. The full SDK for both iOS and Android is available online. If you want to experiment with the system but don’t have an AIR of your own yet, the SDK includes a simulator for the AIR itself. The Olympus AIR also has the two threaded hard-mounts on the sites of the body, and Olympus has published full design files defining the camera’s physical attributes and in particular the mounting flange on the camera’s rear. From what I can see, hackers wanting to integrate the QX cameras into drones or robots have to purchase and hack apart a Sony mount accessory intended for cell phones to attach the QX models. With the Olympus AIR, you can use the provided design files to add a mount to anything you want, and 3D-print a suitable attachment. (Or, for a more rugged mount, design your system with attachment points to mate with the threaded hard-points on the sides of the AIR.)

Olympus has also published detailed information on the AIR’s physical design, which includes a rear mounting flange for attaching it to external devices (in the simplest case, a smartphone case with a mating mounting flange on it), and two metal-threaded holes, providing a more robust attachment.

Never before has a mainstream camera company so completely and officially opened their products to programmers, experimenters, hackers and system-builders. The Olympus AIR A01 isn’t just another camera, it’s a tiny, Lego-brick camera-in-a-can, ready to be plugged into any system you can dream up. It’s also an unusually capable, remotely-controllable, high-quality camera system for event or wildlife photographers, videographers, or anyone else who needs to tuck a camera away somewhere and take pictures beyond arm’s reach.

It will take a little while for the Olympus AIR to make its way out in to the market and for people to begin tinkering with it. Once that happens, though, I predict an explosion of creativity and innovation around the AIR. No need for kinda-officially-accepted hack kits; the full camera capability is open and supported by the manufacturer.

Then there’s the angle that other companies can build the AIR into their own products. It bears noting that leading drone maker DJI joined the Four Thirds alliance, the announcement coinciding with that of the AIR itself. Weighing only 147 grams, and the “body-cap” 15mm lens weighing only 22 grams, what better choice for high-quality aerial photos? Suddenly, consumer-grade quadcopters can carry cameras capable of DSLR-grade image quality. Then there are companies relying on machine vision for production-line QC and other applications. Here they have a camera that’s designed to be easily integrated into other systems.

The Olympus AIR’s first appearance was via the OPC Hack & Make project in Japan, which was where we first learned about it. Olympus officially announced it at the annual CP+ photo trade show in early February, and went on sale in Japan in mid-March. I was told at the time that it would eventually be coming to other countries, but so far, no announcement has been made. It seemed clear, though, that the plan was to eventually sell and support it worldwide. While no plans or pricing has been announced for the US, the AIR is currently selling on the Olympus Japan website for ¥36,504 (about $290 US as of this writing) for the body unit alone, or ¥53,784 (about $428 US) with a compact 14-42mm kit lens that both telescopes and zooms electronically (making it perfect for systems involving computer control). That’s a pretty amazing deal for this level of image quality, in a computer-controllable camera.

Ultimately, only time will tell what impact the Olympus AIR will have on the photography business, but it certainly opens a whole new territory for hackers, developers, and anyone who needs a tiny, remotely-operated camera module with interchangeable lenses and high quality images. We don’t know yet when it will appear in the US market, but were told informally that it would be sometime in 2015. Given that we’re half way through the year now, maybe it’ll be soon.

(What do you think? The Olympus AIR obviously isn’t a replacement for your trusty PEN or EM-series body, but what about special applications, where you want to set up and operate an unobtrusive camera remotely? Nature photography? Event photography? Any other application ideas? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!)

Here’s the Olympus AIR A01 in-hand, with the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ zoom lens attached. The lens is retracted (it extends automatically when the camera is powered on), but the “body-cap” 15mm is even thinner than this lens in its retracted state. The whole package is incredibly small, when you consider you’re getting a full Micro Four Thirds camera, with battery, memory card, and both USB and Wi-Fi connectivity in the bargain!

As you can see in this cutaway view, the Olympus AIR’s components are definitely tightly packed! It’s hard to see anywhere that it could have been made much smaller. It uses a combination of die-cast aluminum and stainless steel for its body, with the steel being used to provide added structural strength in areas that need to be both thin and strong.

on my 3D printer. Olympus had a 3D printer constantly in use in their CP+ booth, printing out samples of a smartphone case with a built-in mounting flange for the AIR.

Showing remote connectivity, Olympus had a spycam trolley-thing running back and forth on a curved track about 12-15 feet above the AIR display area. Visitors could control the pan and tilt angle of the camera as it trundled back and forth via a joystick interface at table-level.

 

 

Ilford Photo brings back Harman Direct Positive Fiber Base paper

Good news for pinhole photographers. Ilford Photo has brought back its Harman Direct Positive Fiber Base paper on the back of public demand after the Swiss company that made the original coating shut down.

Since then, Cheshire-based firm Harman technology says it has been ‘working hard to secure access to the emulsion and the know-how to transfer production to Mobberley’.

Steven Brierley, Director of Sales and Marketing at Ilford Photo/Harman technology, said: ‘We have had many enquiries from all over the world asking when and if users would be able to buy the product…

 

 

SLR Magic unveils 50mm T0.95 HyperPrime Cine

Designed for portrait and documentary cinematography with micro four thirds cameras, the 50mm T0.95 HyperPrime Cine (£849) will deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 100mm lens. The Rangefinder Cine Adapter (£529) should allow the user to override the focus control of the taking lens with the rangefinder’s focus ring, when attached to a compatible lens. For more information see www.slrmagic.co.uk

PRESS RELEASEUnited Kingdom (June 3rd, 2015) – SLR Magic is pleased to announce two new additions to our range of cine products, the 50mm T0.95 HyperPrime CINE Lens and the Rangefinder CINE Adapter.

The 50mm HyperPrime CINE lens is designed exclusively for Micro Four Thirds (MFT) mount cameras, Blackmagic, Panasonic and . 100mm (35mm equivalency) focal length offers many new creative possibilities, in particular in the fields of portrait and documentary cinematography. An ultra-fast maximum aperture of T0.95 makes the SLR Magic 50mm CINE ideal for low-light photography. As usual with all our lenses, the lens has integrated aperture and focus gearing and a silent, ‘clickless’ aperture ring. Manufactured to meet the demands of professional photographers and cinematographers with its solid anodised finish and precision manufacture.

The SLR Magic Rangefinder CINE Adapter is an optical device with integrated follow-focus gearing. When attached to a compatible taking lens, you’re able to override the focus control of the taking lens with the Rangefinder’s focus ring. It provides calibrated focus markings from 3’6 ft (1.1M) to Infinity. The Rangefinder CINE Adapter is recommended for users wishing to have single focus capability on the SLR Magic Anamorphot adapter (currently the 1.33×50 and the 2×50). Furthermore, it can be used to create authentic cinema-like manual focus capabilities on auto-focus lenses.

Both the SLR Magic 50mm T0.95 HyperPrime CINE lens and the Rangefinder CINE Adapter will be available from resellers at the end of Q3 with a MSRP’s of £849 / €1189 and £529 / €739 respectively.

Technical Information for HyperPrime 50mm T0.95 CINEProduct SLR Magic 50mm T0.95 HyperPrime CINE lensLens Type Ultra Fast lens manual focus lens with glass elements, ensuring superior cinematic performance.Mount Micro Four Thirds (MFT)Lens Construction 13 elements in 11 groupsMinimum Focus Dist. 0.60MNo. of Diaphragm Blades 11 aperture bladesFilter Thread 62mm diameter. Filter mount does not rotate.Lens Hood N/AFinish Black anodisedDimensions (L x D) 81.7mm x 71.6mm (Max.)Weight (g) 620

Technical Information for Rangefinder CINE AdapterProduct SLR Magic Rangefinder CINE Adapter Lens Type Rangefinder Adapter Mount N/A Lens Construction N/A Operating Range 3.6ft (1.1M) to Infinity No. of Diaphragm Blades N/A Filter Thread 82mm front thread, 77mm rear thread Lens Hood N/A Finish Black anodised Dimensions (L x D) 24.3mm x 97mm Weight (g) 340

 

 

In pictures: Photo London to open its doors

More than seventy galleries from around the world will be participating in the Photo London show as it opens to the public at Somerset House on Thursday 21 May.

‘At a time when so many of us are using our smartphones to capture images of the people and sights around us, we shouldn’t forget photography’s significance as an important and longstanding art form,’ Johnson said.

The show will present a mixture of rare and historic prints from the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Diane Arbus, as well as work from young upcoming talent from London and beyond.

Photo London has commissioned five exhibitions at Somerset House including ‘Beneath the Surface’, which is a collection of 200 rarely-shown works from the Victoria and Albert museum.

The show will also include talks and lectures from variousluminaries in the photograpic community, including legendary documentary photographer Steve McCurry.

There will also be large-scale prints from Sebastião Salgado’s ‘Genesis’ series. Salgado will also be receiving the inaugural Photo London Master of Photography Award.

Scroll through above some of the images that will be on display and on sale throughout the show, from various galleries and photographers around London, the UK and beyond (click to see full screen).