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Archive for October, 2016

G-Technology introduces its first SSD portable stand-alone drive

by on Oct.31, 2016, under Reviews

Storage company G-Technology has announced a new stand-alone SSD storage device that it claims can manage transfer speeds of up to 540MB per second. The G-Drive slim SSD uses a USB 3.1 interface and requires no external power source to run. Designed to be used with Mac computers the 500GB and 1TB drives, which come finished in silver or ‘space gray’, can be formatted for PC using the company’s Windows Format Wizard software. The drives come with a ‘high-quality’ USB Type-C to Type-C cable as well as a Type-C to Type-A cable.

The drives are set to retail for $229.95 and $379.95, and are available now – with the space gray option an Apple Store exclusive.

For more information see the G-Technology website.

Press Release

G-TECHNOLOGY G-DRIVE LINEUP OF PORTABLE SOLUTIONS EXPANDED WITH SOLID STATE TECHNOLOGY AND FAST USB-C™ CONNECTIVITY

G-Technology®, a trusted premium storage brand by Western Digital (NASDAQ: WDC), today announced the expansion of its G-DRIVE portfolio, with its first solid state portable drive, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C. The new drive brings faster interface speeds with USB-C connectivity and expanded external storage for next-generation computers such as MacBook and the all-new MacBook Pro, perfect for consumers and creative professionals across the world.

Available in 1TB and 500GB capacities, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C delivers super-fast solid state drive performance of up to 540MB/s. It features the speedy 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, taking full advantage of the SSD performance. The included high-quality Type-C to Type-C cable and Type-C to Type-A cable, allows this drive to operate with any computer featuring Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or USB 3.0* ports. Requiring no external power source, the G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C will ensure that high-quality videos, photos and music will be readily available whether traveling in the field, back at home or in the office.

“G-Technology continues to embrace advanced technologies in its line of products, and is excited to announce its fastest portable consumer storage solution to date,” said Mike Williams, vice president, advanced technologies/G-Technology, Content Solutions Group, Western Digital. “The G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C embodies our commitment to delivering products that offer exceptional performance, style, and reliability, while combining SSD technology with the latest USB-C interface ensures users will have the latest technology and performance at their fingertips.”

Plug-and-play for Mac®, this sleek drive is available in space gray and silver, making it a perfect companion for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The MSRP for the 500GB capacity is $229.95 and the 1TB is $379.95*. The product is available for purchase today at G-Technology resellers with the space gray model available exclusively at Apple Stores in early November.

G-Technology also announced today a new rose gold color for its G-DRIVE mobile USB-C line up, adding to its portfolio that also includes space gray and gold. Featuring a fast 1TB 7200RPM hard drive for transfer speeds of up to 136MB/s, the G-DRIVE mobile USB-C is compatible with any Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or USB 3.0 system**. The G-DRIVE mobile USB-C, is available in your favorite Apple colors, now at Apple stores, with rose gold coming in early November. The silver G-DRIVE mobile USB-C is available today at G-Technology resellers. The drives can be purchased at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $119.95*.

“When I am out on location I need fast, reliable portable storage solutions to help keep up with demanding shoots. With sleek designs and super speeds, I know I can count on G-Technology drives as my go-to back up and transfer solutions, wherever I need to be,” said Jeremy Cowart, celebrity photographer and G-Team Ambassador.

The G-DRIVE mobile USB-C and G-DRIVE slim SSD USB-C are easily reformatted for Windows users with the G-Technology Windows Format Wizard. For more information on G-Technology offerings, please visit www.g-technology.com.

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LaCie unveils Thunderbolt 3 desktop storage devices

by on Oct.31, 2016, under Reviews

LaCie has launched three new Thunderbolt 3 desktop storage devices, the 12big, 6big and Bolt3. All three devices are, according to LaCie, the fastest desktop storage solutions currently on the market, making them suitable for storing and editing 4K and 6K video content, among other things. The Bolt3 offers 2TB of storage, the 6big offers up to 60TB, and the 12big offers up to 120TB.

The Bolt is the smallest of the three products, offering speeds up to 2800MB/s. According to LaCie, this model can handle raw video from a Blackmagic or RED camera, and can be used to transcode up to 6K footage using Adobe Premiere Pro or something similar. It only takes about 5 minutes to transfer a terabyte of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ video from the Bolt3 to the 12big.

The LaCie 6big offers speeds up to 1400MB/s and the 12big has speeds up to 2600MB/s. These models can be used to edit uncompressed 10-bit and 12-bit HD videos or multiple streams of ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 4444XQ footage. The company also says raw photos can be accessed and edited in Lightroom without lag. A custom Pelican Storm case will be available for these two models.

The storage devices will be available this quarter starting at the following prices:

  • LaCie Bolt3: $1,999
  • LaCie 6big: $3,199
  • LaCie 12big: $6,399
  • Pelican Case: $349

Press release:

LaCie Announces World’s Fastest Desktop Storage and Complete Thunderbolt 3 Portfolio for Creative Professionals

CUPERTINO, CALIF. – Today, LaCie, the premium brand from Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ: STX), announced its Thunderbolt™ 3 portfolio of storage solutions aimed at helping video professionals excel with ultra high-resolution footage. First, the LaCie® Bolt3 combines Thunderbolt 3 speed with the latest M.2 PCIe SSDs to create the world’s fastest desktop drive. In addition, the LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3 and 6big Thunderbolt 3 are ready to handle massive amounts of content thanks to fast transfer speeds, RAID 5/6 security and enterprise-class drives. These storage solutions, design by Neil Poulton, are ideal companions to the all-new MacBook Pro.

For the Bolt3, LaCie harnessed the breakthrough performance potential of Thunderbolt 3 and paired it with two M.2 PCIe SSDs striped into a 2TB volume. Bolt3 delivers record speeds of up to 2800MB/s and cuts valuable time off of post-production workflows, such as ingesting RAW footage from RED® or Blackmagic® cinema cameras or transcoding 4/5/6K footage using Adobe® Premiere® Pro or DaVinci Resolve. What’s more, videographers can transfer a terabyte of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage from the LaCie Bolt3 to RAID storage—such as the LaCie 12big Thunderbolt 3—in only 5 minutes and 11 seconds*.

The LaCie Bolt3 is engineered for long term reliability—from the enclosure to the internal components—to endure intensive storage tasks. Each product is individually Computer Numerical Control machined from solid aluminum blocks for rigid durability and heat dissipation. Effective cooling helps to ensure long-term component health. The stand securely docks the product with powerful neodymium magnets—and detaches for easy transport.

With up to 120TB of massive capacity, the breakthrough performance of Thunderbolt 3 and RAID 5/6, the LaCie 12big, and the new LaCie 6big help video professionals meet the data demands of 4/5/6K cameras. Both feature Seagate enterprise-class drives with 256MB cache and 7200RPM for superb accessibility, reliability and robust performance.

“From ultra high-resolution cameras to virtual reality to drones, the new experiences that content creators can bring to life are truly exciting,” said Tim Bucher, Senior Vice President of Seagate and LaCie Branded Solutions. “Creating these experiences generates unprecedented amounts of data while requiring extreme performance, and today we’re thrilled to help our customers by offering best-in-class storage solutions that excel in even the most demanding video workflows.”

Thunderbolt 3 speeds of up to 2600MB/s for LaCie 12big and 1400MB/s for LaCie 6big slash time off nearly every post-production workflow task. Users can then edit multiple streams of ProRes 422 (HQ), ProRes 4444 XQ, as well as uncompressed HD 10-bit and 12-bit video. What’s more, photographers can transfer RAW photos quickly and edit in Adobe Lightroom without lag. Plus, with up to 120TB of capacity, the LaCie 12big can store 100 hours of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage in RAID 5*.

With double the video bandwidth of its predecessor, Thunderbolt 3 lets a user daisy chain dual 4K displays or a single 5K display to the LaCie 12big or LaCie 6big. With two 4K displays, users can spread out their workspace by dedicating one display to the timeline and the other to previewing 4K footage, for example. It’s even possible to power a compatible laptop through the USB-C cable**. Additionally, the user can connect to USB 3.0 computers via the included USB-C to USB-A cable.

The LaCie 12big and LaCie 6big are engineered to handle demanding video workflows. Front-accessible drives offer convenient and quick drive replacement and front-facing drive status LEDs help the user keep track of drive health and RAID build status. The aluminum enclosure dissipates heat far better than plastic, while two thermoregulated fans pull heat away from internal components. Both the LaCie 12big and LaCie 6big are protected by a five-year limited warranty that covers drives, enclosure and spare parts.

LaCie has also partnered with Pelican Products to offer custom cases to safely transport the LaCie 12big or 6big to and from set. The Pelican™ Storm Case™ is an injection-molded case made of HPX® high-performance resin that is virtually unbreakable and resistant to dents and shatter. The custom, durable foam configuration houses a LaCie 12big or 6big, multiple LaCie Rugged® drives and accessories such as cords or a power supply. The cases are lightweight, airtight, watertight and backed by Pelican’s lifetime warranty***.

AVAILABILITY
The LaCie Bolt3 will come in a 2TB SSD capacity for $1999.00. The LaCie 6big will come in 24TB, 36TB, 48TB and 60TB capacities starting at $3199.00. The LaCie 12big will come in 48TB, 72TB, 96TB and 120TB capacities starting at $6399.00. The custom Pelican Storm cases start at $349.00. All LaCie Thunderbolt 3 solutions and the custom Pelican Storm cases will be available at LaCie resellers this quarter.

* Based on 764GB per hour of 4K GoPro footage (source) and 764GB per hour of 4K ProRes 4444 XQ footage (source). Quantitative usage examples for various applications are for illustrative purposes.
** Delivers up to 15W to power compatible laptops.
*** See pelican.com/warranty for full details.

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4 Secrets for How to Get Tack Sharp Photos

by on Oct.31, 2016, under Tips and tricks

We’ve all been here before. You get home from an afternoon with your kids in the park, at the ball game, or even a formal photo session only to load your pictures on the computer and realize that many of them are fuzzy, blurry, or just plain out of focus. It’s a problem that has plagued photographers for years. While new cameras offer all sorts of features like 3D focus tracking and real-time face detection to help make sure to get the ultimate tack sharp photos, the fact remains that out-of-focus images are still an issue for just about everyone with a camera.

It’s an unfortunate reality of the way cameras work with incoming light, and until we are all shooting with Lytro-style light field cameras we are all going to have the occasional out-of-focus picture or two. Fortunately, there are a few relatively simple things you can do to make sure your pictures are indeed as sharp as possible.

tips for getting tack sharp photos

Use a fast shutter speed

The world around you is constantly in motion, and having a camera means you are equipped to freeze that motion into a single frame. Depending on what you are shooting the result can sometimes be a blurry mess, which is often the result of a shutter speed that is simply too slow. There’s an old bit of conventional wisdom that says the minimum shutter speed needed to get a sharp image of a still subject is 1/focal length. So if you are shooting with a 50mm lens you need a shutter speed of 1/50th of a second.

Note: Due to the cropped sensor on cameras like the Canon Rebel series or lower-end Nikons the formula becomes 1/(1.5x focal length), so you would need a minimum shutter speed of 1/75 second.

This might sound fast but it’s actually not, especially if you are shooting in low light conditions or with a small aperture on your lens. It gets even worse when your subject is moving, in which case you need a much faster shutter speed! This is why many mobile phone pictures end up looking blurry, in order to let in enough light to get a photo they often use slower shutter speeds.

This jittery squirrel was moving all over the place, so I shot with a speed of 1/180 second to get a sharp picture. tips for getting tack sharp photos

This jittery squirrel was moving all over the place, so I shot with a speed of 1/180 second to get a sharp picture.

Proper settings

The solution is to use a faster shutter speed, which might sound fairly obvious but it doesn’t always work unless you have your camera configured properly. If you shoot in Auto your camera might not know you want to use a fast shutter speed. So shooting in Program or Shutter Priority is a good way to control the shutter speed to make it as fast as you want.

You can also utilize higher ISO settings like 1600 or 3200, which look just fine from most modern cameras if you need a fast shutter and there isn’t much light. Most photographers would take a slightly grainy (noisy) photo that can often be fixed with software like Lightroom or Photoshop over a blurry photo that can usually not be fixed. If you find that you consistently get blurry pictures of your subjects, try increasing your shutter speed and you just may just be surprised with the outcome.

Use a smaller aperture

The lens on your camera is designed to gather incoming light and focus it so you can take a picture. The amount of light it lets in is largely dependent on the size of the physical lens opening. A bigger opening, or aperture, lets more light pass through than a smaller opening, much in the same way a bigger hole in the bottom of a bucket lets more water leak out than a smaller hole. Wider apertures let you use faster shutter speeds and also help you achieve the type of beautiful out-of-focus backgrounds, called bokeh, that are common in portrait, wildlife, or even sports photography.

tips for getting tack sharp photos - family photo

Even though my 85mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8, I shot this at f/2.8 because I wanted a wider depth of field in order to make sure all three subjects were in focus.

Depth of field

One tradeoff that comes into play when using wide apertures, is that your depth of field is much shallower. That means you have a very narrow section of the image that will actually be in focus or tack sharp.  Under very carefully controlled conditions this can be fine and even quite desirable. But in many situations, a thin depth of field can result in more headaches and frustrations than it’s worth.

Shooting with a wide aperture can result in a depth of field that is so narrow a person’s nose could be in focus but her eye might not. One of the best solutions is to just use a smaller aperture. The tradeoff when using smaller apertures like f/2.8, f/4, etc., is that your background won’t be quite as blurry and you will need a longer shutter speed, but if your lighting is good the latter won’t matter. And as for the former, I like to err on the side of caution and go with a technique that will give me a higher chance of having my subject sharp and focused, even if it means a slightly less blurry background.

tips for getting tack sharp photos

Use cross-type focus points

Almost every interchangeable-lens camera has one or more cross-type focusing points. That means they look along the horizontal and vertical axes to make sure things are tack sharp before taking a picture. These points are the little dots or squares you see when you look through the viewfinder of your camera. The ones that are cross-type are usually a bit faster and give you better results than their single-axis counterparts. Of course, you will need to know which of the points on your particular camera are cross-type but a quick online search of your camera model and “cross type focus points” will usually get you the information you need.

tips for getting tack sharp photos cross-type focus points

The center focusing points on my D750 are all cross-type, so I like to use them whenever possible in order to make sure to get maximum sharpness.

Cross-type focusing points are usually limited to a certain portion of the viewfinder. This can present a bit of a problem since normal-type focusing points are what is commonly used to lock focus on objects along the outer edges. A solution I like to use for these situations is the focus-and-recompose technique. I use a cross-type focusing point, often the one right in the center, to lock focus and then recompose my shot to frame it how I want. This does not always work when shooting wide open since even the smallest amount of movement can affect your shot when the depth of field is razor thin. But as I mentioned earlier, if you want tack sharp pictures you should probably stop your aperture down a little bit anyway.

Sharpness is critical when shooting macro pictures, so I used a wide aperture (f/8) and cross-type focusing points to make sure the foreground tulip was tack sharp.

Sharpness is critical when shooting macro pictures, so I used a small aperture (f/8) and cross-type focusing points to make sure the tips of the petals on the foreground tulip were tack sharp.

Use a tripod and Live View and zoom in to 100%

If you’re like me, you spend 99% of your time looking through the viewfinder of your camera as opposed to using the Live View function (where you use the LCD screen on the back of your camera to compose your shot). DSLRs have traditionally been designed for photographers to use the optical viewfinder which is why this method is generally faster and easier to use. But Live View has some very good features as well depending on the type of photos you want to take. If you are doing a lot of action shots like sporting events the Live View function is quite frustrating. But if you shoot landscapes, products, or other types of pictures where your subject remains relatively still, Live View can be a major advantage in terms of getting the sharpest image possible.

Using Live View helped me get this small wooden duck very sharp and focused.

Using Live View helped me get this small wooden duck tack sharp and focused.

Using Live View

The trick to using Live View for getting sharp images is to frame your shot with your camera on a steady surface such a tripod, then zoom in to 100%, using the controls on your camera. This gives you an ultra-close-up look at your image, and you can then use autofocus or manual focus to make sure everything is perfectly tack sharp.

While the autofocus points in the viewfinder do a good job, this type of 100% magnification shows you precisely how in-focus your image will be and helps you get pixel-perfect images. Landscape (and macro) photographers often use this technique, combined with small apertures for a wide depth of field, to get pictures that are much sharper than they could otherwise. It’s a tip that I highly recommend you try, especially if you don’t often shoot in Live View.

tips for getting tack sharp photos long exposure image

I wanted to get this 30-second exposure as sharp as possible. So I first used Live View and zoomed in to 100% to check that the foliage was focused.

Bonus tip: Use Focus-Peaking on mirrorless cameras

Most of the items in this article are geared towards traditional DSLR shooters, but if you use a mirrorless camera there is one handy tool you probably have that gives you a leg up on your traditional-style camera counterparts.

Focus-Peaking is a way for your camera to show you precisely what is tack sharp as you focus your lens. Many, but not all, mirrorless cameras have this capability and it is a fantastic way of making sure you get everything that should be tack sharp focused properly. With Focus-Peaking enabled, as you turn the focusing ring on your lens you will see a swath of dots (usually red or green) travel across the viewfinder. These dots indicate the spots that are perfectly focused, and when you see an outline of dots around the part of your image that you want focused, you can snap a picture and rest assured that it will show up exactly how you envisioned.

You can even use Focus-Peaking in conjunction with autofocus, so it’s another tool in your repertoire to help make sure you are taking the best possible pictures.

tips for getting tack sharp photos - focus-peaking

The edges of the leaves are all outlined in red by Focus-Peaking, which indicates that they will be in focus. Image by Bautsch (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Over to you

Do you have any favorite tips or tricks for getting sharp photos? Are there things I left off this list that you’d like to share with others? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The post 4 Secrets for How to Get Tack Sharp Photos by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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