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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.

 

 

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

 

 

Nissin Di700A and Commander Air1 Flash Kit now out in UK

The Nissin Di700A and Commander Air1 Flash Kit is currently available for and fits. A Sony-compatible version is due out in June. The Nissin Commander Air1 is designed to control three groups of Nissin Di700A flash (to a maximum of 21 Nissin Air System flashguns). The Di700A and Commander Air1 Kit costs £239.94. The Di700A flashgun is available separately, priced £209.94, and the Commander Air1 costs £59.94. The kit is distributed by Kenro Ltd. Call 01793 615836 for details or visit www.kenro.co.uk.

The new Nissin Di700A with Commander Air1 Flash Kit is now available for purchase in the UK in both Canon and Nikon fittings, Kenro Ltd has announced. The Sony fit is expected to be available in June.

And, it’s already making headlines – with TIPA recently awarding it ‘Best Portable Lighting System 2015′. TIPA editors take into account innovation, the use of leading-edge technology, design and ergonomics, ease-of-use, as well as price/ performance ratio.

It’s the third year in a row that the company has won this prestigious award, following previous honours for the Nissin i40 and MG8000 Extreme flashguns. Using radio transmission, the range of the new Nissin Air System is up to 30m.

For flexibility, transmission channels and IDs can be set to prevent misfiring in the event of signal interference on the same channel. The Nissin Commander Air1 can control 3 groups of Nissin Di700A flash (with a maximum of 21 NAS guns), making it an ideal controller for photographers who wish to simultaneously fire multiple guns at various distances and without the need for cables.

Flash Exposure Control: 1st Curtain synchronization, 2nd Curtain synchronization, High-speed synchronization, Red-eye reduction, Slow sync. (Nikon only), FE / FV Lock (set on )

Says Paul Kench, Kenro’s managing director: ‘The Di700A flashgun and Air1 Commander are very easy to pair and intuitive to use. As the system is also priced within the reach of enthusiasts, we are expecting a high demand for these units.’

Kenro Ltd is the sole UK distributor of Nissin Flash guns and accessories. For details of your nearest stockist please visit www.kenro.co.uk. Alternatively, call Kenro’s head office on 01793 615836 for further information.

 

 

Olympus Firmware Upgrades for E-M1 and E-M10

has announced firmware updates for the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M10 cameras. 

Features of the updates are listed below:

OM-D E-M1 Firmware Version 1.4

  • Improved remote control functionality when using the Olympus Image Share app.* (Art Filter mode, custom self timer, zoom operation when using electric zoom lenses, digital tele-converter and cable remote release mode)
  • AF response when using Four Thirds lenses has been improved
  • Stabilisation when shooting in C-AF mode has been improved

*It is necessary to use the latest version of the  Olympus Image Share app, available on iOS & Android devices.

OM-D E-M10 Firmware version 1.1

  • Improvement to image stabilisation while shooting movies
  • A 0 second setting has been added for Anti-shock mode

The firmware will update when the is connected via Olympus Camera Updater. The updates can also be found on the Olympus Support page

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