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September 23, 2012

Touch-screen Sekonic light meters debut at Photokina

Sekonic_175.jpgSekonic Corporation, manufacturers of professional photographic light meters for over 50 years, unveiled their LITEMASTER PRO L-478 series light meters at Photokina 2012, in Cologne, Germany.

Sekonic describes the new meters as the world's first touch-screen operated light meters with unique features for both still photographers and motion imagers.

Smartphone users will quickly adapt to the color 2.7-inch LCD monitor, which enables simply touching or sliding a finger over the touch screen to make settings.

The units are basically identical with built-in Pocketwizard support added to the L-478DR model. This is a highly useful function for wireless flash triggering and power control over multiple lighting units from a single location.

Highlights are detailed in Sekonics Press Release:
Ideal for digital still photographers working with remote flash set ups, the new L-478DR model incorporates PocketWizard® wireless radio technology for in-meter power control of select studio flashes connected to PocketWizard ControlTL® receivers as well as standard triggering with the entire PocketWizard wireless family of products. Both the L-478DR and L-478D are fully firmware upgradeable and use Sekonics breakthrough Data Transfer Software (DTS) system that automates meter calibration to the camera in use. In addition, an array of unique cine features put these meters in a class of their own.

Sekonic_250.jpgWhether telling the story with stills or in motion, Sekonic offers the perfect meter for a photographer or film makers imaging needs, said Phil Bradon, Sekonics USA Product Marketing Manager. The new compact LITEMASTER PRO models provide a familiar interface for users and display ambient, flash, cine and other information in a clear and understandable way.

Flash Power Control with L-478DR
PocketWizard radio technology enables reliable, fingertip control of remote flashes connected to PocketWizard ST4, MC2 and FlexTT5 ControlTL receivers and Nikon and Canon Speedlights connected to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 transceiver. Offered in both FCC (USA) and CE (Europe) frequencies, the LITEMASTER PRO L-478DR will support all ControlTL Channels and Zones (A, B, C). Power levels are easily controlled by touching or moving a finger over the L-478DR screen. Touching ControlTL Zone buttons marked A, B, or C allows the user to switch remote flashes on and off at the meter to make separate exposure measurements for easy adjustment of desired lighting ratios. Standard Channel and Quad Zone capability allow triggering all standard PocketWizard radios and flash units incorporating PocketWizard radio receivers. To learn more about PocketWizard, please visit www.pocketwizard.com.

Exposure Profiling

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Sekonics pioneering DTS (Data Transfer Software) Version 3.0, introduced earlier this year, enables quick dynamic range mapping of both digital still and motion cameras for the most precise control of light and exposure. The automated process requires using the L-478s 5-degree viewfinder and recording images of one of Sekonics Exposure Profile Targets or one of X-Rites ColorChecker® series targets, all available as a separate purchase. Measured data from industry-standard targets can also be manually entered in the software or meter. Up to ten camera profiles can be stored in the meter. Any number of profiles can be stored with the software. Once loaded, the Sekonic L-478DR/D series can make incident and reflected light readings that are precisely tuned to the dynamic range of the profiled camera. A wide range of in-meter adjustment as well as complete exposure data input is also possible using the graphic interface of the L-478 meters.

Unique HD Cine / Cine / Light Measuring Features
Todays Digital Video cameras offer boundless versatility. The L-478D meter has two motion-capture modes to fit the shooting needs of every cinematographer. Touching the screen easily sets shutter speeds for HD SLR cameras or for Cine shooting, a touch of the screen controls frame rates and shutter angles. This new meter also allows users to create unique frame rates and shutter angles for special effects.

Sekonic designers also added a unique filter compensation mode that enables getting exact light levels with the filtered light sources used in motion picture production. By simply touching the new L-478D screen a user can instantly call up light source or camera filtration expressed in industry standard CTO/CTB/ND terms. Users can also create filter factors with names for quick call-up and use. Up to four filters can be used together in a pack. After the compensation is selected, they simply measure the light and drop the filters in place for precise control illumination and exposure. Extended ISO to 409,600 and brightness measurement in Lux/FC and Cd/m2/FL ensures that the L-478 is destined to become a major player on movie sets around the world. Cd/m2/FL measurements can be made with the optional L-478VF, 5-degree viewfinder.

Power and Accessories
The L-478-series meters are powered by two convenient AAA-size batteries. Both meters come standard with two AAA batteries, case, strap, user-applied anti-glare film CD with DTS software and instruction manual, and Quick Guide. A five-degree viewfinder is available as a separate purchase for reflected light readings and calibration and measurement using camera profiles made with the Sekonic DTS system.

Sekonic products are marketed exclusively by MAC Group (www.MACGroupUS.com) in the USA, and sold by distributors around the world.

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September 22, 2012

Google + Nik Software = Death of Rich Client Photo Editing

OK, so Google bought Nik Software a few days ago. This goes inline with the reported unhappy marriage and factual divorce between Nikon and Nik I mentioned back in March 2012.

What will now this acquisition by an advertising-driven web search portal with adjoining social and business tools of a photo imaging/editing application vendor like Nik Software mean?

1. Googles image capturing and editing offering will expand with mobile access
2. Google will enrich their portfolio of online editing tools and increase functionality
3. Nik Software portfolio will cease to exist over time

The third point is interesting for anyone who has been betting on the Nikon software Nikon Capture (NX et al), a software that is the intellectual property of Nikon and was developed by Nik.

Specifically, will Nikon have the interest, ambition, budget and skills to place the existing software codebase as a start for a new outsourcer that will develop it further according to their needs?

Vic Gundotra, Senior VP of Engineering at Google stated that they are inclined to keep the suite of pro tools and plugins for image editing as provided in the past by Nik. That sounds first pretty cool for photographers. But, we must understand that Google does not care about photographers with DSLRs any more they would care about anyone without direct online access to Googles services. They care just as much about a photographer using a Nikon D700 as they care about someone who is offline in deep Africa on a bicycle.

They want traffic, the online audience. Just like Imperium Z they feast and consume online souls. A photographer who is not online with his stuff is of no interest. Small devices staying online connecting to their services day and night. Small, personalized devices with advertising shown in various known and also still unknown ways, that is interesting for the search folks, making the billion dollars ad wheel spin and the servers heat up.

Where does advanced offline editing tools fit in here, the Nikon Captures of this world? Well, sure, they can and will connect to online services like those of the search folks. They will connect to all kinds of cloud services in the future. But, it is not a focus of Big G. And, anyways, Nikon Capture was never a part of the assets Big G acquired.

So, back to the Nikon question: Is Nikon going to get a new release out the door of Capture NX anytime soon? It does not seem to be a priority of Nikon though, with e.g. websites not updated on this since 2009. My personal take on this is, we have less than 50% chance of anything happening from Nikon to seriously improve NX. Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture is doing what most of us need already.

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September 21, 2012

Nikonians in Tokyo, Japan. Meet up?

If you are in Tokyo and care for meeting some other Nikonians, please let Silver member Giguchan know.

Posted by bgs at 9:05 PM | TrackBack

September 13, 2012

Nikon announces D600 FX-format DSLR

D600_Nikon_110.jpgNikon's newest FX-format camera has been unveiled.
The Nikon D600 features a full frame 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor alongside an EXPEED 3 image processing engine that allows for outstanding low-light ability and sharpness.
The new camera will be available on September 18, 2012 for a manufacturer's suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,099.95 (USD) for body only or $2,699.95 kitted with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens.

Nikon's full Press Release includes the following highlights:

D600_24_85front_300.jpg
The D600 also features Full HD 1080p video recording capabilities combined with the ability to wirelessly share and capture images using the optional new WU-1b Wireless Adapter.

Precisely designed for enthusiasts looking to make the jump into FX-format photography, the new D600 also features a versatile 39-point AF system ready for a variety of unpredictable subjects, fast shooting speeds and 100% frame coverage through its optical viewfinder.

A new addition to the 1 NIKKOR line of lenses was also announced, as Nikon introduced the compact 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 lens. This fixed-focal length prime lens immediately becomes one of the fastest lenses in the 1 NIKKOR lineup and offers even more creative freedom for Nikon 1 system users.

D600_back_300.jpg
Nikon D600 Highlights
• 24.3-megapixel FX-Format CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24mm) and EXPEED 3 image processing engine.
• Wide ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable from 50-25,600) for low-light shooting.
• Nikon Scene Recognition System and 2,016 pixel RGB sensor.
• 39 point AF system with new MultiCAM 4800FX AF Module.
• Ready to shooting in 0.13 seconds with a 0.052 second shutter release.
• Capable of shooting at 5.5 fps at full resolution with full AF.
• 100% frame coverage through the optical viewfinder.
• Scene modes, Picture Control functions, High Dynamic (HDR) mode and time lapse shooting.
• Full HD 1080p video, 3.2-inch (8.128 centimeters) 921K dot LCD screen.
• Video control features include full manual exposure, ability to switch between FX and DX (1.5X) formats in Full HD, manual focus, full-time AF, external microphone input.
• Ability to transfer uncompressed video via HDMI and monitoring/streaming capability. D600_LCD_menu_300.jpg
• Intuitive ergonomics and button placement for maximum shooting efficiency.
• Body sealed and gasketed against dirt and moisture for unpredictable shooting conditions
• Compatible with NIKKOR lenses, Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) and WU-1b Wireless Adapter.
• Available on September 18, 2012 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,099.95 for body only or $2,699.95 (SRP) kitted with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens.

WU-1b Wireless Adapter Highlights
Allows users to connect wirelessly to the Nikon D600 for easy sharing and remote operation.
• Connect to Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility application for Android™ based mobile devices
• Easily share images through social networks
• Remotely operate the D600’s shutter from up to 50 feet away (15.24 meters).
• Available on September 18, 2012 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $59.95.

NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 Lens Highlights
• 18.5mm fixed focal length prime lens addition to the 1 NIKKOR lens line.
• Popular and versatile approx. 50mm (35mm equivalent) focal length.
• Large f/1.8 aperture for great portraits and everyday shooting.
• Lightweight body -- (2.5 ounces / 70.8738 grams), fast and affordable.
• Compatible with the Nikon 1 J1, J2 and V1, available in early November 2012 in Black, White and Silver for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $189.95.

Lastly, Nikon introduced the UT-1 adapter, yet another tool to help photographers organize and share content. This device enables easy image transfer of large high-resolution files to a computer or FTP server, as well as remote camera operation when connected via Ethernet cable or wirelessly (when using a WT-5a wireless transmitter) from select Nikon D-SLR cameras including the Nikon D4, D800, D800E and D7000.

Is the Nikon D600 your next camera?
Tell us what you think of the camera in our Nikon D600 forum.

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September 12, 2012

Nikonians Photo Professors #9

Photo Professors Episode 9: This month the Photo Professors interview World reknown photographer, writer, and inventor of the Lightsphere, Gary Fong! They also discuss recent product announcements from Nikon, recent Nikon product rumors, and wrap up with an inspiring quote from Gary Fong!

Download Nikonians Photo Professors #9 (NPC-PP-2012-09.mp3;1:04:29;MP3 format)

* The Photo Professors discuss recent Nikon announcements and rumors
* Interview with Photographer Gary Fong
* Being Inspired by the words from Gary Fong
* You could Win a Think Tank Bag by responding to the Photo Professor's recent "Homework" Assignment!

You can also read the Nikonians review of the Gary Fong Lightsphere.

Length of the podcast is 1:04:29

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Nikonians Depth of Field iPhone app updated

DOF-app_110.jpgIf you want to use your iPhone, iPad or iPod to assist with Depth of Field (DOF) and Hyperfocal Distance calculations, the free DOF Calculator by Nikonians app available on iTunes has recently been updated.

DOF-Camera_175.jpgThis is the new version 1.1, which now offers the option of setting FX as default camera when the program starts for the first time. It is also optimized for faster code execution.

Calculating Depth of Field (DOF) and Hyperfocal Distance is an important element for professional photographers.

DOF-DOF_175.jpg
Members of the Nikonians community have shared ideas on the topic for years, and the most recent update to the J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) article in our Resources at Nikonians pages is now online.

The article by our Nikonians co-founder includes links to downloadable charts and an online calculator as well as directions on how to apply your measurements and lens data.

Hint for using the app
Before you fire up that application, it would help if you read the Calculating Depth of Field (DOF) and Hyperfocal Distance article. It will assist you in understanding the terminology used by the app.

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