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PC News and Reviews

ARRI and Angelbird Teamup for CFast 2.0 Memory Card

September 30, 2018 — by Wccftech.com0

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ARRI is introducing the ARRI Edition AV PRO AR 256 CFast 2.0 card by Angelbird. The card has been designed and certified for use in the ALEXA Mini and AMIRA camera systems and can be used for ProRes and MXF/ARRIRAW recording.

Angelbird and ARRI Create CFast Memory card for high-end productivity and Camera Work

ARRI has worked closely with Angelbird Technologies GmbH, a hi-tech company based in Vorarlberg, Austria. Angelbird is no stranger to film production, and some of their gear can be found at ARRI Rental European locations. The company’s young yet experienced team has a passion for quality and great attention to detail.

transcend-sd-500sRelated Transcend Unveils New High Speed SD and MicroSD Cards

“Many of the CFast cards we tested delivered good results, but it usually takes the manufacturers a few attempts to stabilize their performance for high data-rate write patterns, Angelbird really stood out-they listened to us closely and quickly determined which parameters they had to tweak.”

Oliver Temmler – Product Manager for Storage Media at the ARRI headquarters in Munich, Germany.

For the ARRI Edition CFast card, the Angelbird team did not want to settle for “good enough” but went straight for “the very best.” They developed an ARRI-specific card that uses a combination of thermally conductive material and so-called underfill, to provide superior heat dissipation from the chips, and to secure the electronic components against mechanical damage.

The result is a rock-solid 256 GB CFast 2.0 card, with super-stable recording performance all the way across the storage space, making it the perfect addition to an ALEXA Mini or AMIRA camera setup.

Pricing And Availability

The ARRI Edition AV PRO AR 256 memory card by Angelbird is available exclusively from ARRI and other sales channels offering ARRI products. Unfortunately we cannot find pricing and as always will update if any futher information is given. Also tell us in the comments if you are interested in more professional video products like this or if it is out of our scope!

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Tech News

DJI's leaked Mavic 2 drone will come in 'Pro' and 'Zoom' versions

July 29, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Monty_f, Twitter

What little mystery surrounded DJI’s upcoming Mavic 2 drone appears to have evaporated. Numerous UK residents have noticed that the latest Argos catalog includes a prominent ad for the Mavic 2 that reveals just about everything, including some clarifications on past leaks. It doesn’t appear to have a removable gimbal, alas. Instead, there will be separate Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom models tailored to specific needs. The ‘regular’ Zoom model would include a 2X optical zoom lens for aerial close-ups, while the Pro would pack a Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch sensor and no zoom. You’d have to decide whether quality or flexibility is your main focus.

Other details? The listing confirms 360-degree collision awareness (here described as “omnidirectional obstacle sensing”), a brisk 45MPH top speed and a 31-minute flight time comparable to the Mavic Pro Platinum. There’s no mention of the video recording quality (presumably 4K), although the drones would transmit live 1080p video at distances of up to five miles. And pricing remains a mystery. It could come in around the existing Mavic Pro price range of $999 to $1,099, but that’s far from guaranteed.

Just when the Mavic 2 line would show up is another story. DJI has indefinitely postponed a launch event that was supposed to take place on July 18th, and there’s clearly been nothing since then. The mere presence of the drone in the catalog doesn’t ensure that a launch is around the corner, either. You may still be waiting a while as a result — you’ll just have a decent idea of what to expect whenever the Mavic 2 does arrive.

@OsitaLV better quality image pic.twitter.com/UWuj6k56WE

— Monty_f (@monty_f) July 28, 2018

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Amazon's facial recognition identified lawmakers as lawbreakers

July 26, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Amazon

The ACLU put Amazon’s Rekognition facial scanning software to the test and the results were more than a little troubling. Comparing “every current member of the House and Senate” against a database of 25,000 publicly available mugshots, Amazon’s software identified 28 lawmakers as folks who’d been arrested for a crime. The test cost $12.33.

Given what we’ve seen about facial recognition’s shortcomings, especially in regards to people of color, the following might not be all that surprising: The false matches included six members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Most notably, civil rights activist and representative John Lewis from Georgia. “Nearly 40 percent of Rekognition’s false matches were of people of color, even though they make up only 20 percent of Congress,” according to the ACLU.

We’ve already seen how the public has reacted to Amazon’s face-scanning tech. Since May, civil rights groups have been pressuring Amazon to stop selling the software to law enforcement. Amazon has pitched Rekognition as a way to link not only stationary cameras, but body-worn cameras as well, offering a comprehensive way to track a subject. Both the ACLU and investors have pressured Amazon to not sell the tech to law enforcement.

Expectedly, Amazon deflected. The ACLU used the default 80 percent confidence interval for its experiment, which Bezos and Co. told The Verge wasn’t accurate enough: “While 80 percent confidence is an acceptable threshold for photos of hot dogs, chairs, animals and other social media use cases, it wouldn’t be appropriate for identifying individuals with a reasonable level of certainty.” Instead, Amazon recommends using a non-default 95 percent confidence interval — something it can’t guarantee its customers will do. Amazon making that option the new default could help do some damage control.

“Our test reinforces that face surveillance is not safe for government use,” Jacob Snow, the ACLU’s technology and civil liberties attorney for Northern California said. “Face surveillance will be used to power discriminatory surveillance and policing that targets communities of color, immigrants and activists.”

The last time this sort of thing happened, Amazon dug its heels in and said it’d “suspend” access to Amazon Web Services-based features if a customer “abused” them, more or less shrugging off any other responsibilities. If Prime Day protests didn’t send a message that some are clearly fed up with Amazon’s tactics overall, maybe political pressure will.

Are you sure those matches were false? https://t.co/l5q5rbxlpd

— Peter Gleick (@PeterGleick) July 26, 2018

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The rise, fall and return of the smartphone megapixel race

July 25, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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Sony recently unveiled a smartphone camera sensor with the highest resolution yet, a jaw-dropping 48 megapixels. That’s more than the resolution of its $3,000, 42.4-megapixel A7R III mirrorless camera, which has a sensor eight times larger. It sounds great, but you might have forgotten that Nokia’s 808 PureView smartphone, with a 41-megapixel camera, was released way, way back in 2012. Why didn’t modern smartphone cameras follow Nokia’s lead?

As Apple has demonstrated over the years, from the iPhone 4s and forward, you get more benefits with other features, like dual cameras and sensors with bigger, more light-sensitive pixels. Those deliver better low-light shooting, more bokeh, faster speeds, zoom capabilities and improved video. However, Sony now believes you can have all that and high resolutions, too. Its Quad Bayer tech, reportedly used in Huawei’s P20 Pro camera, might help big-number megapixels make a comeback — and this time, they’ll be far more useful.

Nokia’s 41-megapixel 808 PureView

Smartphone cameras have steadily gained megapixels over the years. In 2010, Nokia unveiled the N8 Symbian smartphone with an “unparalleled” 12-megapixel camera, and that same year, Sony launched the 16-megapixel S006 phone.

In 2012, however, Nokia massively raised the stakes with its PureView 808, a Symbian smartphone with a crazy 41-megapixel camera.

It’s frustrating to think that Nokia didn’t take better advantage of such cutting-edge technology, but it was a lousy smartphone with a superb camera. The sensor was just under an inch in size, close to those found in Sony’s $1,200 RX100 Mark VI camera. It was also equipped with an f/2.4 Carl Zeiss prime lens, a great mechanical shutter with a dedicated button and digital zooming that was actually useful with all that resolution.

While you could take full-resolution shots at 38 megapixels, your best bet was shooting eight-megapixel PureView shots. PureView oversampled the full sensor to deliver smaller, razor-sharp images with minimal noise. It also used the same tech to give you lossless zooming and capture 1080p video at up to 30 fps with stunning quality.

“It’s clear that Nokia’s 808 PureView represents a revolution in terms of stills and video performance — not just for camera phones, but for the entire imaging industry,” Engadget’s Mat Smith said.

Low-light performance was also “spectacular” for the time, he added. Despite the high resolution, the large sensor had 1.2 micron pixels as large as the ones on its then-rival, the eight-megapixel HTC One X. Combined with PureView’s oversampling, that yielded relatively noise-free images in dim shooting conditions. Its low-light shooting performance is underwhelming compared to 2018 smartphones from Apple, Samsung and Huawei, but that’s more about the leaps in sensor technology in the last six years.

The big problem with the 808 PureView was the terrible, aging Symbian software that powered it, which we called “laughably tragic.” Another issue was the form factor — most smartphone cameras have 8mm sensors, and Nokia’s was nearly three times larger (1/1.2 inches). That

Tech News

Nikon confirms new full-frame FX mirrorless cameras and lens mount

July 25, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

NIkon

It’s official: Nikon will soon launch a full-frame mirrorless camera system with a brand a new lens mount. In a press release, it announced that it’s developing a “next-generation full-frame (Nikon FX-format) mirrorless camera and Nikkor lenses, featuring a new mount,” adding that “professional creators around the world have contributed to the development.” As expected, it’s also working on an adapter that will let you use existing full-frame Nikon F-Mount DSLR lenses with the cameras.

Nikon hinted that the new mount would allow it to make the lenses and cameras slimmer and smaller. “The new mirrorless camera and Nikkor lenses that are in development will enable a new dimension in optical performance with the adoption of a new mount,” says the press release.

Nikon is just confirming what we already strongly suspected, considering that yesterday, its European division unveiled a teaser video with shadowy glimpses of the camera. It also set up a website called “In Pursuit of Light,” which had the apparent release date of the camera (August 23rd) hidden in the HTML code. However, Nikon has yet to confirm the specs, date and price, or even shown an official image of it yet. More details will reportedly come on a dedicated website at a later date.

For the rest of the story, we’re relying on rumor sites, which have been pretty accurate up to this point. Nikon will supposedly release two cameras, a $4,000 48-megapixel model, and a $2,500, 25-megapixel “budget” version. Those compare roughly to Sony’s 42.4-megapixel A7R III and the 24-megapixel A7 III, though both Nikon models would be more costly and have higher resolution.

As I wrote last month, Nikon and Canon are under extreme pressure to catch Sony in the mirrorless category. Both companies are way, way late to the game, so Nikon will have to at least match Sony’s current models to have any kind of a chance. The $2,000 A7 III, for one, is a stellar performer, and Sony has 63 native FE lenses for it, while Nikon is starting from scratch with its own system. The adapter will help, but they generally degrade optical and mechanical performance compared to native lenses.

If Nikon builds a mirrorless version of the D850 DSLR, with similar specs, that will be a good start. It did say that “soon, Nikon users will have two industry-leading camera systems to choose from, giving consumers the choice to enjoy the unique values that each system offers.”

It also emphasized the “reliability and trusted performance” of its DSLR models, and said that professional creators helped contributed to the development of the new system. Canon and Nikon pros have often decried the durability and handling of Sony cameras, so if Nikon can nail that part with its own mirrorless models while offering comparable tech, it may be able to keep those valuable customers in

Tech News

Iris scanner AI can tell the difference between the living and the dead

July 24, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

A. Czajka, P. Maciejewicz and M. Trokielewicz

It’s possible to use a dead person’s fingerprints to unlock a device, but could you get away with exploiting the dead using an iris scanner? Not if a team of Polish researchers have their way. They’ve developed a machine learning algorithm that can distinguish between the irises of dead and living people with 99 percent accuracy. The scientists trained their AI on a database of iris scans from various times after death (yes, that data exists) as well as samples of hundreds of living irises, and then pitted the system against eyes that hadn’t been included in the training process.

It’s a trickier process than you might think. Dead people’s eyes usually have to be held open by retractors, so the researchers had to crop out everything but the iris to avoid obvious cues. The algorithm makers also took care to snap live photos using the same camera that was used for the cadaver database, reducing the chances of technical differences spoiling the results.

There’s a catch to the current approach: it can only spot dead eyes when the person has been deceased for 16 hours or more, as the differences in irises aren’t pronounced enough in the first few hours. A crook could theoretically kill someone, prop their eyes open soon afterward and unlock their phone. However, this would limit the amount of time they could use this method. You may not want to make too many enemies, in other words — just take comfort in knowing that your data could one day be secure against grave robbers.

Tech News

Catching the ISS's fleeting pass between enormous sunspots

July 24, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Astrophotography requires abundant patience and planning, but as Spanish photographer Dani Caxete has shown, you sometimes need quick reflexes, too. His entry in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 contest shows the International Space Station (ISS) superimposed on the sun, in between two large sunspots. He didn’t have a lot of time to grab it — traveling at 5 miles per second, the ISS took just 0.5 seconds to pass in front of our star.

You have to be in the right place at the right time too, of course. Caxete uses an app called CalSky, tells you where to be in order to capture celestial bodies like satellites, the Sun, Moon and planets like Mars. It told him that the space station would pass directly in front of the Sun at 11:34:45 AM on September 5th, 2017 at a precise location near a road in Madrid, Spain.

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In a fun video (above), Caxete documented his day capturing the photo. It shows him heading toward the shooting location, intercut with footage from the ISS as it passed the USA and Atlantic ocean on its way to arriving between Madrid and the mid-day sun.

Caxete set up his modest, but sharp Long Perng 80mm f/6.8 refractor telescope, attached to a 24-megapixel Nikon D610 full-frame DSLR. With the scope pointed directly at the sun and a filter to drastically lower its brightness, he captured five images of the ISS passing in front of the sun. The best is the one shown above, with the ISS transiting directly between the sunspots AR 12674 and AR 12673 that flared during September 2017.

The photo is entered in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 contest, which features a number of photos from some of the best astrophotographers in the world. Many of them are amateurs with relatively modest equipment, as the competition bars images submitted to photo agencies, or those that contain data from professional research observatories. The winner will be picked on October 23rd, and featured in an exhibition of the winning images over the last 10 years at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.

Tech News

Nikon teases its first full-frame mirrorless cameras

July 23, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Nikon

If you thought Nikon was going to introduce its first full-frame mirrorless cameras without some fanfare, you had another thing coming. Nikon has posted a teaser video and “In Pursuit of Light” campaign website that might just hint at what its first pro-oriented mirrorless cams will look like. Provided the brief view is representative, it backs up a number of rumors, including the large mounting format (which could support super-bright f/0.95 lenses), an electronic viewfinder and a more ergonomic design. The lineup could be public as soon as July 23rd, so you may see much more in the near future.

To recap, Nikon is reportedly working on two models aimed at pro photographers who’d otherwise be tempted by a Sony A9 or A7 III. The flagship would pack 45 or 48 megapixels, while a step down would include ‘just’ 24 to 25 megapixels. You’d have a high-resolution 3.6-megapixel electronic viewfinder for composing shots. You could also expect many of the creature comforts associated with modern high-end cameras, such as 5-axis in-body image stabilization, more than 400 autofocusing points and 4K video.

Whether or not Nikon succeeds is up in the air. The pricing would be competitive at roughly $4,000 for the 48-megapixel model with a kit lens and $2,400 for its 25-megapixel counterpart, but the aftermarket lens selection may be slim at first. You’d see a standard 24-70mm f/4 zoom lens as well as fixed 35mm and 50mm options, and… that’s it. Telephoto, macro and other more specialized lenses would be in the works, but would have to wait. And that’s a bit risky. While Sony was criticized for having few lenses when its first mirrorless cameras arrived, it now has a fairly robust ecosystem that accommodates most shooting demands. While Nikon’s rumored hardware is still leaps and bounds above the ill-fated 1 series cameras, it may be some time before you see full-time photographers switching to this system.

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Sony unveils world's first 48-megapixel smartphone sensor

July 23, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Sony

Is it best to have a high-resolution smartphone camera sensor or a lower-resolution one with better light sensitivity? Sony says you can have both with its latest stacked CMOS image sensor. The IMX586 has the “industry’s highest pixel count” with 48 megapixels, bettering high-end cameras like its own A7R III, all squeezed into a phone-sized 8.0 mm diagonal unit. At the same time, four adjacent pixels can be added together during low light shooting, yielding a 12-megapixel sensor that delivers “bright, low noise images,” Sony said.

Putting 48 megapixels on a chip that size yields a 0.8 micron pixel pitch, which would normally give you high resolution but poor nighttime shooting capability. However, Sony’s “Quad Bayer” color filter array can also merge four pixels into one. That yields an effective pixel pitch of 1.6 micrometers, significantly better than Google’s Pixel 2 XL (1.4 microns), one of the best low-light smartphone cameras out there.

Quad Bayer sounds much like the “Pixel Fusion” tech used by Huawei in its P20 Pro smartphone. It reportedly uses Sony’s 40-megapixel IMX600 to deliver high resolution images, but can also join four pixels together to create a 10-megapixel sensor with much better light-gathering capability.

Sony’s signal processing tech also allows fast output speeds and dynamic range “four times greater than conventional products.” To wit, it would let you record 4K (4,096 x 2,160) video at 90 fps, and 1080p at a time-stopping 240 fps.

Sony, which spun off its image sensor division in 2015, currently dominates sensor sales for both smartphones and premium DSLR/mirrorless cameras. Last quarter, it vowed to maintain that position by spending up to $9 billion developing new tech. First samples of the 48-megapixel chip will arrive in September 2018, but Sony generally reserves new sensors for its own devices — so you might see it appear first in Sony’s Xperia XZ line of premium smartphones.

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Dr. Julius Neubronner's fantastic flying cameras

July 20, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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The first aerial photograph was taken in 1858 by Frenchman Gaspard-Félix Tournachon, also known by his alias Nadar, from a tethered gas balloon suspended over Paris. While the images captured on this flight have since been lost to time, there are plenty of surviving examples of aerial photographs shot during the latter half of the 19th century. In addition to balloons, kites and rudimentary rockets were used to send cameras skyward. Even Alfred Nobel was drawn to the practice, with one of his last patent applications being for a method for rocket photography. It’s hard to grasp how challenging this was at the time. We need only load up Google Earth to see our house from space, or buy a hobbyist drone to capture our own aerial panoramas. Long before satellites and quadcopters, though, Dr. Julius Neubronner started strapping cameras to pigeons.

Credit: Library of Congress / Bain News Service photograph collection

Julius Neubronner was an apothecary, which to his time was the equivalent of a pharmacist today. It was a family business, and homing pigeons were counted amongst its employees. Just as his father had done before him, Neubronner used pigeons to send and receive medicines and messages. As the story goes, sometime around 1903 Neubronner sent one of his pigeons out on assignment only for it not to return. The bird wasn’t taken ill and preyed upon, however, eventually turning up a month later in suspiciously good condition.

Neubronner grew curious about the movement and habits of his pigeons when they were away from home, and being an avid photographer, he saw how his hobby might be useful in answering some of his questions. Inspired in part by the Ticka Watch Camera and the quality of test photos he took on a speeding train and a sled ride, he began devising his own miniature camera that could be attached to pigeons via a harness. What he ended up with was a light wooden camera and pneumatic timer that engaged the shutter at set intervals. He filed the first patent for his invention in 1907 with the German patent office and its counterparts in France, Austria and the UK. The German bureau initially refused to grant it, believing what he described to be impossible. A camera was far too heavy for a bird to carry. This changed the following year when Neubronner provided the patent office with photographic proof from his flying friends.

Credit: Rorhof / Stadtarchiv Kronberg Neubronner’s dovecote and darkroom carriage Franz Maria Feldhaus, Ruhmesblätter der Technik

Between 1908 and 1909, Neubronner’s pigeon camera was covered in various newspapers, including the New-York Daily Tribune, The Columbian, the Los