Adobe resets free 30-day trials for those wanting to test out Creative Cloud’s newest features

Just as they did last year, Adobe has announced its resetting free trial offers for its Creative Cloud platform to all users who have already taken advantage of it.

Earlier this month, Adobe released the 2015 update for its Creative Cloud platform. It included a number of new features for Photoshop and Lightroom, and brought about a new life to Adobe’s growing collection of mobile apps.

To make sure everyone gets a chance to try the updated software, Adobe has decided to reset all free trial periods for Creative Cloud. The programs eligible for the 30-day trial include Photoshop CC (which includes Adobe Bridge CC), InDesign CC and Illustrator CC.

To take advantage of the refreshed trial, you simply open up the Creative Cloud application on your computer and click ‘Update’. Your free trial period should then be reset and ready to go.

Canon warns of fake 600EX-RT speedlites; find out if yours is authentic

In their statement, emphasizes these counterfeits were neither designed nor manufactured by them, despite look nearly identical to Canon’s own products down to the individual trademark logos.

‘Furthermore, these counterfeit products have not been manufactured or tested under the safety standards established by Canon’, Canon states in the advisory. ‘[Therefore] we are unable to make representations concerning their safe operation, and there is a possibility that using one of these counterfeit products may cause adverse affects such as generation of fire and/or smoke’.

Canon says the best bet to ensuring your model is an authentic Canon product is to purchase from an authorized Canon dealer, such as B&H or Adorama. If you’ve already purchased a Speedlite 600EX-RT flash, Canon has provided a couple of graphics to help you distinguish whether your speedlite is authentic or not.

The position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a genuine unit is towards the left (see the green arrow), and the position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a counterfeit unit is towards the center (see the red arrow).

The display on the Custom Function screen is different. Follow the steps in the Speedlite 600EX-RT Instruction Manual to access the Custom Function screen.



Olympus patent shows off what could be the first super telephoto lens for MFT systems

The patent, originally filed in October of 2013 and published earlier this month, details a super telephoto lens made up of 17 elements in 14 groups. Also present inside of the lens is an image stabilization group, for better capturing those long distance shots.

Minimum focusing distance of the lens would be 2 meters (6.5 feet) and the angle of view would be roughly 2.6º. Below is an MFT chart displaying, from left to right, spherical aberration, astigmatism, distortion, chromatic aberration of magnification.

This would mark the first super telephoto lens for the Micro Four Thirds mount. To date, the longest focal length you can achieve, without extenders, is 300mm in both their 70-300mm F4.0–5.6 and ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II. Panasonic also offers a 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 lens.

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Learn how to feather the light from your soft box

Softboxes are a staple of studio photography. You can pick one up in almost every size imaginable and, with the right knowledge, can tweak its light output to do almost anything you want.

One method of adjusting a softbox to change its aesthetic is feathering, the process of angling your softbox at different degrees across your subject’s face to soften or strengthen facial contours.

Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens has shared this helpful video to help introduce and walk through the process of feathering a softbox. In the eight and a half minute video, Morgan thoroughly walks through what feathering is and shows how to use the technique to perfectly sculpt your subject with light. It’s a great watch, full of enthusiastic help from one of the most knowledgeable in the business.

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Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 Lens Review: a top-notch, ultra-portable and affordable Nocticron alternative

Hot on the heels of our recent review of the Panasonic 30mm f/2.8 Macro lens, the other newest member to the Lumix lens family is the Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 OIS lens. Like the earlier 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron lens from Panasonic, this f/1.7 version provides an 85mm-equivalent focal length, making it a perfect portrait lens. Unlike the Nocticron, however, the 42.5mm f/1.7 is significantly smaller, lighter and, perhaps most importantly, vastly less expensive — at around $400, the f/1.7 version is a whopping $1,200 cheaper! But does this smaller, cheaper portrait prime — with a mere 1-stop difference in light-gathering capabilities — sacrifice image quality performance for an affordable price tag?

Indeed, the Panasonic 42.5 f/1.7 lenses produces very sharp photos, even wide-open, plus the other optical characteristics are top-notch, as well. For all the details from our in-depth review, including our analysis of image quality as well as handling, AF performance and image stabilization testing, head over to SLRgear for our Panasonic 42.5mm f/1.7 review!

The lens is available for purchase for around $400. Check out Amazon, Adorama or B&H for more info on ordering. Buying this lens, or any other item, at one of these trusted affiliates helps support this site and keeps the reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our lens technician Rob Murray using our Panasonic GX1 test . You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

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Campaign launched against ‘barking’ European plan to censor photos of buildings

‘Amateur Photographer’ (AP) is at the forefront of a campaign against controversial European plans to restrict photography of public buildings which threaten to censor millions of amateur and professional photos.

There are growing fears that proposed changes to European copyright law will require photographers to obtain permission before publishing pictures of tourist attractions such as the London Eye.

AP has backed an open letter, drawn up by Wikipedia operator Wikimedia and sent to The Times newspaper, which has been signed by organisations including the Bureau of Freelance Photographers and the British Photographic Council.

Editor Nigel Atherton said: ‘This unnecessary attack on personal liberty, designed to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, will fundamentally transform photography in public places.

‘It will destroy the century old tradition of reportage and street photography that’s provided us with such a rich and valuable visual history of our collective past.

He added: ‘Moreover, it’ll make it almost impossible for anyone to take and publish photos that include buildings and landmarks, which will do irreparable damage to both the hobby and profession of photography.

‘It’s a vindictive attack on our individual freedom to enjoy public spaces, and on the free and open distribution of information – and in the age of Google Street View it’s completely pointless.’

Stevie Benton, head of external relations at Wikimedia UK, told AP that Wikipedia would be forced to remove an estimated 40,000 images from its website if the European Parliament votes through the law.

Benton fears other sites, including Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, would be deemed ‘commercial’ – meaning users would need prior permission before posting photos of iconic buildings such as the Shard.

‘It’s a mess… We are writing a letter to MEPs today,’ said Benton who explained that 15 countries would be hit including the UK, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Greece.

‘We just wouldn’t be able to use images of European public spaces not covered by Freedom of Panorama – even if the Shard is in the background of holiday snaps.’

Charles Swan, an intellectual property rights lawyer and a director at the Association of Photographers, told AP: ‘I just can’t believe this is going to happen. The feeling against this is so strong. I think it unites the whole country.’

What is ‘commercial use’Campaigners warn that images posted on websites such as Facebook may be deemed commercial, even if tourist-style snapshots taken by non-professionals.

Benton said: ‘If I was to take an image of the Shard today [that would be acceptable]. But in a month’s time, even on my own blog, with Google Adwords [targeted adverts placed when people search for related phrases], it will be considered to be a commercial website.’

‘If you’re just an amateur photographer and put your photos on Flickr or Facebook, or wherever, I can’t see how that could be commercial, just because [they are] commercial operations…



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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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Review

# EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Review – Gary Wolstenholme reviews the new Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens, which is designed to offer smoother, quieter autofocus performance.

This lens is an update to the popular and inexpensive standard 50mm f/1.8 EF lens, replacing the standard focusing motor with Canon’s new stepping motor technology, which promises smoother, quieter autofocus performance, which is especially suited to recording video. Although this lens costs more than it’s predecessor, it’s still affordable, costing around £120. In this review, we’ll take a look at how it performs.

In contrast to the previous version of this lens, build quality is good, with high quality plastics used for the lens barrel and a metal bayonet. Despite the higher build quality, this optic still only weighs 160g. The lens balances well with the Canon EOS 5D MkIII body used for testing.

Autofocus is virtually silent, although it can be a little slow when compared to many other Canon lenses. Unlike many of Canon’s USM lenses, full time manual focus override is not possible and manual focusing is performed by the focusing motor. Manual adjustments can be made in single focus mode once the lens has locked onto a target though. The manual focusing ring is well enough damped to prevent the focus ring rotating freely, which makes applying fine adjustments a pleasure. A small switch on the side of the lens allows switching between manual and autofocus quickly.

Focusing is not performed internally, extending by around a centimetre at closest focus. Even so, the 49mm filter thread doesn’t rotate, making this lens ideal for use with polarising and graduated filters.

At maximum aperture sharpness is already very good in the centre of the frame, with the clarity towards the edges of the frame falling just below fairly good levels. Stopping down improves sharpness across the frame, with peak performance being achieved at f/8. Here clarity is excellent across the frame.

Chromatic aberrations are reasonably well controlled, remaining well below one pixel width at all aperture settings. This low level of fringing should be difficult to spot, even in harsh crops from the edges of the frame.

Falloff of illumination towards the edges of the frame is quite strong at maximum aperture, with the corners of the frame being 2.6 stops darker than the centre. Visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

Distortion is quite strong for a 50mm lens with Imatest detecting 1.89% barrel distortion. If straight lines are paramount, then you’ll be glad to hear that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make corrections straightforward to apply.

No issues with flare were encountered during testing, with only a slight loss of contrast being noticeable when shooting directly into the light at wide apertures. However, no lens hood is supplied as standard, so if you require one for peace of mind, then an ES-68 hood can set you back up to £20.

Currently, this lens is available for around £120, which seems quite reasonable, especially as ‘s equivalent 50mm f/1.8 currently costs around £135.

Canon’s old ‘Nifty Fifty’ was a popular lens despite its poor build quality as it represented such good value for money. Even though this lens costs more than its predecessor, it still represents great value due to the high levels of sharpness it produces. The improved build quality is welcome too and should win over many fans as a result.

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

Chromatic aberration is the lens’ inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Joshua Waller reviews the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II, with improved IS, 40 megapixel mode, and overhauled design, is the Mark II enough of an update to justify buying?



Eyefi Mobi Apps And Cloud Services Now Work With GoPro And Olympus

Eyefi Mobi Apps And Cloud Services Now Work With And  – Eyefi Mobi apps and Cloud services now work with WiFi enabled cameras from GoPro and Olympus.

Updates to Eyefi’s Mobi apps and Cloud services now allows users to instantly transfer photos which are automatically organised and displayed alongside images captured with other cameras, including DLSR cameras with an Eyefi Mobi WiFi SD card, mobile phones and tablets. With Eyefi Cloud Smart Tags, the entire collection of photos is automatically classified by subject area and synced to all devices making it easy to find, enjoy and share vivid memories as soon as they happen.

“No one uses only one device for taking pictures anymore,” said Matt DiMaria, Eyefi CEO. “When it comes to gear, today’s photo enthusiast relies on an array of equipment from WiFi cameras, to DSLRs with an Eyefi Mobi card, to smartphones and tablets.With Eyefi, photos from each camera are instantly transferred and available in a single collection, eliminating tedious, time-consuming manual transfer and consolidation steps. Also, with Eyefi Cloud photos are made available on every device, instantly.”

Eyefi’s WiFi camera connectivity is available on Android-based devices today, and will be released on iOS-based devices later this year. Eyefi is also announcing a new £3.49 monthly pricing option for Eyefi Cloud. The Eyefi Cloud subscription includes WiFi camera connectivity support for GoPro and Olympus cameras with built-in WiFi. Eyefi Mobi app users who don’t subscribe to Eyefi Cloud can add WiFi camera connectivity to their Eyefi Mobi app with an in-app purchase of £3.49. Eyefi’s WiFi camera connectivity is available for use with GoPro Hero+ LCD, Hero 3, GoPro Hero 4 and Olympus Stylus 1, OLYMPUS PEN E-P5, Olympus Stylus TG- 860, and Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II cameras.

Joshua Waller reviews the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, with improved IS, 40 megapixel mode, and overhauled camera design, is the Mark II enough of an update to justify buying?

This month, you could win one of 6 fantastic photographer’s bags from Think Tank and MindShift Gear.  There are a wide variety of bags up for grabs, incl…



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.