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Willkommen in der neuen Dimension

Maskenzauber - Carnival Venetian Style in Hamburg

Most enchanting masks and costumes as every year!
The album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/albums/72157680175289796

If you missed it last year, see the video (4K):

Please select fullscreen and the desired resolution (available up to 2160p) in the player's button bar for best viewing experience.
You can find the original UHD file (5GB) for download below the player on the Vimeo page (Vimeo account required).

The fire show after the mask's walk is available as well here, starting at 07:27: https://youtu.be/oC-_bKITXLQ?t=7m27s

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Laowa 7.5mm - world's widest rectilinear f/2 mFT lens


Just arrived - the latest prototype of the world's widest rectilinar f/2 Micro Four Thirds lens - the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 mFT.

During Photokina 2016, Venus Optics presented first prototypes of two new ultra wide angle lenses - the Laowa 15mm f/2 for full frame and the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 for mFT. Although I left mFT some years ago in favor of full frame, I still appreciate mFT in situations where more compact and lightweight gear is required - e.g. when recording 4K footage on a drone. I found the Yi M1 quite interesting (see my review here) but had to recognize, that it uses only a crop of it's 20 MP sensor for 4K video which makes it quite hard to find lenses that provide a very wide angle even in 4K mode. Before the Laowa appeared, you could find in this focal range only fisheye lenses or the heavy and expensive Lumix Vario 7-14mm zoom. It is also worth mentioning that you can use standard filters with a filter thread of 46mm (an earlier prototype shown on the Photokina used 49mm but 46mm will be the final diameter) and the lens hood is removable.

This is, how this little 170g gem looks on the Yi M1 mirrorless:


But before putting it on a drone, I took it around for some photos in Hamburg's Hafencity and it's new town landmark, the "Elbphilharmonie", where it could demonstrate it's extreme viewing angle of about 110° combined with good low liight capabilities and even some potential to play with depth of field. In all following photos there was not any electronic correction for distortion, chromatic aberrations (CAs) or vignetting used. If you click on the photos, the flickr photo page will open so that you can see EXIFs and select higher resolutions including full size.

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Need a new Display? Smartwatches become suitable for daily use!


Smartwatches get more and more powerful and meanwhile prove usefulness not only for nerds. Beside the popular models from Samsung, Apple, Huawei et al you can find Chinese gadgets that cost only a fraction and provide even more power and features. Here we take a closer look to the LEMFO LEM5 - enriched with some useful tips.

If you look at the main specs, this little gem looks really impressive:

  • 1.39" OLED round display 400*400 in resolution
  • MT6580 quad core processor, 1.3 GH
  • RAM 1GB + 8GB flash memory (~6GB available)
  • OS Android 5.1
  • GPS / WiFi / Bluetooth 4.0
  • Cellular phone: 2G: GSM 850 900 1900 2100 MHz / 3G: WCDMA 850 1900 2100 MHz
  • 50+ styles of clock faces
  • Heart rate monitor, pedometer and sedentary reminder
  • 450 mAh battery


LEMFO LEM5 - available colors

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YI M1 Mirrorless vs. Sony A6300 Comparison Review

Sony A6300 vs. YI M1

One of the few suprises on this year's Photokina was the new and first Chinese mirrorless camera from YI Technology, the M1. Some voices saw it on par even with Sony's A6300. This made me curious and inspired me to take a closer look.

UPDATE 1:
There is a new firmware 1.0.20.-int from 28th November 2016 that adds several features and some fixes. Release Notes:
NEW
1. Adding live view interface for video mode, long - press the REC button for 2 seconds to enter. The original one click recording video function is still retained.
2. Adding ISO upper limit setting function of ISO AUTO option. Valid for P / A / S mode.
3. Adding GUI MF function for 42.5mm F1.8 lens.
4. Adding EIS menu for video mode. EIS off by default when recording 4K video.
5. Adding file storage status indication. When the file is written to the memory card, the original location for remaining number will display the corresponding Icon.
6. C-AF video performance improved. Continuous autofocus performance is further enhanced.
7. 4K Video performance improved.
8. Adding German menu.

FIXED
Fixed some known bugs, and improved the overall stability of the system.

YI's first Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera features the Sony IMX269 sensor, capable to deliver 12 bit raw photos with 20 MP and 4K video with 30 fps. You find this sensor also in the Lumix GX8 and the Olympus PEN-F. Beside some Chinese sellers, the YI M1 meanwhile is offered also in the U.S. with prices between $499 (body with 12-40mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens) and $699 for the double lens kit including also a 42.5mm f/1.8 macro capable portrait prime lens. You may see the camera for about 2/3 of these prices in some Chinese stores but this is not the international model. I ordered the international double lens kit directly from China, it gets delivered in a nice packaging:

YI M1 double lens kit

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VISTA PORTUGAL 4K

Filmed in Nazaré, Setubal, Arrábida, Cabo Espichel, Lagos, Fuseta and Praia da Marinha, Portugal using a Sony A6300 on DJI Matrice 100. Music composed and performed by Lars Rühmann. Original file available as download on Vimeo if you have an account there. Please switch player to full screen mode and choose next higher (compared to your physical display) available resolution by clicking on the "HD" symbol, e.g. "2K" for a full HD 1920x1080 display.

For more information on aerial applications, please visit www.KopterKraft.com.

 

ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 - Another Jewel in the Batis Crown


If you are looking for a lightweight full-frame lens with very wide field of view, fast autofocus and large aperture for landscape, astro and architectural photography, the third member of the Batis family may be the ideal lens for you. On top you get dust and spray protection.

After the felicitous Batis 25 and Loxia 21, I was very curious to see, what level of excellence ZEISS can deliver in the 18mm focal length range. As you may already know, Batis lenses are developed specifically for the short flange distance and filter stack of Sony's mirrorless full frame E-Mount cameras, the Alpha7-series. In contrast to the Loxia line, the Batis line comes with fast autofocus and an OLED display providing information about distance and depth of field when using the manual focus option. The Batis 18 incorporates a Distagon floating elements design with 11 elements (several aspherical and special glass). Despite that complexity it comes in a compact housing and weighs only 330g. Click here for further details.


ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 on Sony A7RII

Bokeh

Usually I start my reviews with a deeper look into sharpness / details. This time I will focus on bokeh first, as there are not many super wide angle lenses starting with an f/2.8 aperture. Despite other ultra wide lenses like the Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 or the Zeiss FE 16-35 f/4, the Batis 18 still provides some options to play with depth of field arranging an object sharply in the close-up range with a nice background blur.

A first example you can see already as title image fo this article, here are further samples at f/2.8:

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Sony World Photography / Zeiss Photography Awards Winners 2016


Right: Tamina-Florentine Zuch, Winner of Zeiss Photography Awards; Left: Michael Schiehlen, Senior Director Sales & Marketing, Camera Lens Division, ZEISS

London, 21 April 2016 - The winners of the Sony World Photography Awards and the ZEISS Photography awards have been announced in an awards ceremony.

The Sony World Photography Awards (SWPA) is the world’s biggest photography contest and in 2016 the new ZEISS Photography Awards runs alongside, both organized by the World Photography Organisation (WPO). The SWPA has five competitions with categories across all genres of photojournalism, fine art and commercial photography.


Awaiting the Sony World Photography Awards 2016 in London

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