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DxO Optics Pro is in the news today with their 10.3 release. Olympus also announces a handsome new travel camera with a 24X zoom and RAW support. And finally, Adobe released Photoshop Mix 1.5 with added support for Adobe Ink and the Cloud Clipboard.

DxO OpticsPro 10.3 Supports New Cameras, Adds Features

The latest update to DxO's image-processing software features support for the Nikon D5500, Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, and Olympus PEN E-PL7, as well as new correction tools and an improved user experience.

dxo-optics-pro-10pt3-web.jpg

The Mac OS X version also offers a new drag-and-drop feature that allows photographers to directly open a folder by dragging it into the Image Browser, providing quicker access to images. The correction tools have been revisited, now adding greater finesse and ease to DxO OpticsPro. The Horizon slider now makes small rotations easier to perform, and the Dust tool is also easier to use.

DxO OpticsPro v10.3 is now available in the DxO online store at a special discount through March 31, 2015.

Olympus Announces the New Stylus SH-2

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 features a 24x wide-angle optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for remote shooting and sharing with a smart device, RAW capture capability, and 5-Axis Image Stabilization that supports both still image and video capture. The SH-2 also adds new Nightscape Modes for night scenes and portraits.

oly-sh-2-with-case.jpg

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 will be available in April at an estimated street price of $399.99 (available in Black and Silver). For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus site.

Adobe Updates Photoshop Mix 1.5 for iPad and iPhone

Adobe has released Photoshop Mix 1.5 with added support for Adobe Ink and the Cloud Clipboard, allowing users to browse an album of their creative assets that can be pasted into an image in Photoshop Mix with one touch of the stylus. Photoshop Mix also now supports Wacom and Pencil styluses.

Also new in this update is the ability to merge images. In Overview, drag one image on top of another to combine them into a single image. Also, when the app is launched, prior to signing-in, users will get a quick hands-on demo of how to cut out part of one photo and add it to another to create a combination image.

Photoshop Mix is a free app for the iPhone and iPad and is built with Adobe's Creative SDK to integrate a seamless mobile workflow with Creative Cloud.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: E-M5 Mark II Hands On Review, Beta Testing Photos for OS X, Who Let the Air Out of the Latest MacBook? All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Iridient Developer 3.0 Released - Some of the key new features introduced in Version 3 include multiple new demosaicing algorithms for both Bayer and X-Trans sensors, new Clarity adjustment for enhancing midtone contrast, new options for adjusting overall tonality including an adaptive "Fill Light" style exposure adjustment and pixel neighborhood adaptive highlight/shadow adjustments,several new monochrome mixer conversion methods, a greatly simplified colour management setup, two new monochrome toning methods including Split Toning and Mono Tone, and much more. This final 3.0 release also adds support for RAW images from the Olympus E-M5 Mark II shot in the 40 megapixel high resolution mode.  (Source: Photography Blog)

In other news... Apple's radical 12-inch MacBook is the slimmest, lightest MacBook ever - Apple reveals a new 12-inch MacBook, a radical revamp that shakes up the winning MBA design by dumping virtually every conventional port--Thunderbolt, the SD card slot, a power connector, everything--in favor of a pair a single USB Type-C connection and an audio jack. That, paired with numerous other advances, helped the 12-inch MacBook become the slimmest, lightest MacBook ever--and it's silent, too. (Source: Macworld)

E-M5MarkII_BLK_top_M14-42EZ_BLK.jpg

Story #1 - Hands On Review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - Beautifully crafted, intelligent inside, the latest mirrorless offering from Olympus might be their best camera yet. I discuss why in this segment of the show. You can also read my article about High Res Shot, one of the standout features of the E-M5 Mark II, at c't DigiPhoto.

Story #2 - Beta Testing Photos for OS X - you can join the OS X beta program and test the latest version of Photos. I provide my first impressions.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Photoshop CC Essential Training with Julieanne Kost. For my money, Julieanne is the best Photoshop trainer in the business. And she shines in this tutorial.

You can watch Julieanne in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Julieanne's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News

News from Red River Paper: Have you made your archive 6 prints yet for 2015? The best backup system in the world is high quality prints properly stored. I recommend that photographers do a print run of their best twice a year. Here's why.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (33 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until Sept!

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Even though the Apple Watch was the star of the show today, Apple's introduction of the new MacBook was a bonus that I was happy to see. And I think from a consumer perspective, it's an interesting machine.

new-macbook-2-models.jpg

Weighing in at just 2 pounds, the MacBook features a 12-inch LED-backlit display, 2304-by-1440 resolution at 226 pixels per inch (Retina display), Intel HD Graphics 5300, and a single USB-C port featuring USB 3.1 Gen 1.

It's that last feature that really shows the direction Apple is offering to its customers: a truly wireless world. Photographers who embrace the new Photos for OS X app don't need Thunderbolt and standard USB 3.0 ports. Your images live in iCloud and are available on all of your devices. No wires required.

The demise of Aperture fits perfectly into this scenario. My current libraries live on large hard drives connected to MacBook Pro 13 and 15 inch laptops via Thunderbolt. You could even say that I'm now officially old school.

But the fact of the matter is that the new iCloud/Photos/MacBook vision is for consumer photographers, not serious enthusiasts, and certainly not pros. A wireless world would not have worked for me when I was on assignment in Cuba. And there are many similar situations that I face every year.

I think 2015 is an exciting time for consumer snapshooters. It's going to be interesting to see how it shapes up for the rest of us.

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You can start testing the Photos app today by enrolling in the OS X Beta Program that lets you install the upcoming version of Yosemite.

photos-welcome-web.jpg

The process is easy. Here are the basic steps:

  • Designate a Mac for beta testing. I recommend that you do not use your primary work-Mac for this purpose.
  • Enroll in the OS X Beta Program and download the Yosemite Beta Access Utility.
  • Run the utility and install OS X 10.10.3 that includes Photos
  • Start experimenting with the application.

If you're an iCloud user, Photos can tap your library online. I advocate this as a starting point for learning the application. You can convert Aperture or iPhoto libraries to Photos as well, but I would save that for later once you've made a decision about how you're going to proceed.

photos-albums-view-web.jpg I recommend becoming familiar with Photos by using your iCloud library.

Plus, by using your iCloud library, you can witness one of Photos' most powerful features, automatic updating of edited images. For example, I converted an image to B&W in the Photos app on my laptop, then viewed it on my iPhone. The image appeared in monotone there too, just like on the Mac.

In the end, who knows how we'll integrate or not integrate Photos into our workflows. But we won't know where to begin unless we give it a good test drive.

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Hotel Windows

During my Southern California tour, I had a meeting in Los Angeles. I arrived a bit early, so I hopped on the hotel elevator to explore a bit. Sure enough, I discovered a great vantage point with a view of planes coming in to land at LAX.

airplane-landing

As with most hotels, I had to shoot through a window. I know some photographers don't like to do this, but I don't mind. I selected my Olympus 45mm f/1.8 prime lens and positioned the camera squarely against the glass. I made sure the area that I was shooting through was clean. Then I used the camera's electronic levels for correct alignment.

Generally speaking, images captured through thick glass lose contrast. Airplane windows are another example of this. But that's easy to restore in post production. Shooting in RAW provides you with a deeper set of image adjustment options.

Not long after I recorded this image, it was time for our meeting. I hadn't planned on taking pictures that afternoon. But thanks to hotel windows, I left the venue with something more than a firm handshake.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Tips for Seamless Panoramas, Behind the Scenes at the Havana Club Cafe set for my lynda.com movie, Canon and Nikon news. All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Nikon D7200 boasts low-light AF improvements and increased buffer depth - With a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor it offers a very slight resolution increase over its 24.1MP D7100 predecessor, and like that model it lacks an optical low-pass filter. Also, a next-generation 51-point AF module with increased low-light sensitivity, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and an improved 100-shot buffer depth when shooting JPEGs at 6 fps (18 14-bit or 27 12-bit Raw files). Other notable features include 1080/60p video recording, improved battery life of 1100 shots per charge and a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. The D7200 will be available in April as a kit with the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for $1699.95, or body-only for $1199.95.  (Source: DP Review)

In other news... Review: The Canon 11-24mm f/4L is Pricey and Heavy but Unmatched Optically - The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM officially holds the title of the widest rectilinear full-frame SLR lens with its 126º05' diagonal widest angle of view. And there's no mistaking the lens for anything less than an extreme wide-angle lens given its huge and gorgeous 108mm bulbous front element. Is it worth $3,000? This review helps answer. (Source: PetaPixel)

Story #1 - Tips for Seamless Panoramas - Yes, your iPhone works great for capturing panoramas. But if you want higher resolution and more tonal control, stitching together frames from your digital camera is the answer. Here a a few tips to ensure the best quality possible.

  • Use a tripod... properly.
  • It's easiest with the sun to your back.
  • Why manual exposure just works better.
  • Lock in your focus and keep it there.
  • Don't forget to overlap!
  • Mark first and last frame.
  • Shoot RAW.

havana-cafe-set.jpg

Story #2 - Behind the Scenes at the Havana Cafe Set - I'm at lynda.com this week recording the finishing bits for my "Photographer in Cuba" movie. They've designed a special set for our recording, and I thought it would be fun to chat with the producer, videographer, and lighting director about the preparations involved for this project. I hope you enjoy the conversation.

News from Red River Paper: Have you made your archive 6 prints yet for 2015? The best backup system in the world is high quality prints properly stored. I recommend that photographers do a print run of their best twice a year. Here's why.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (28 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The Week Ahead

I'm on the road again, this time to Southern California.

driving-in-to-the-storm-web.jpg The drive south on I-5 was exciting on Saturday, with a series of rainstorms to entertain me.

I begin the week in Santa Barbara by meeting with the c't Digital Photography editorial team from Germany. I'm hoping to record a segment for Tuesday's podcast as we sit around the work table. I think you'll enjoy hearing how they run their operation in Europe, and why I'm such a strong supporter of c't Digital Photography Magazine.

After that, I'll drive down to Carpinteria and work with the lynda.com film crew to record the studio sessions for my movie about Cuba. They already have the content I recorded from the trip, and now I'll telling my stories on a set we've designed, complete with Cuban artwork that I've brought back.

I'm hoping to record a worktable chat with the film crew while I'm there. I'm thinking that will be a fun segment for next week's podcast.

I'll then head back to Northern California near the end of the week. The Golden State Warriors will be back in town from their road trip, so I'm going to watch the Splash Brothers take on the Mavericks Friday night at Oracle Arena.

I'll be sharing some "behind the scenes" here, so stay tuned.

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For the Jan. 2015 Photo Assignment, TDS shooters faced the sun and raised their cameras. See for yourself in our gallery, Backlighting. (Amazing images...)

ernesto-pono-jan2015-pa.jpg


Photo by Ernesto Pono. See all of the great images from this month's assignment by visiting the gallery, Backlighting.



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One Button Auto Bracketing

olympus-menu-custom-button

Thanks to the dynamic range of RAW files, we don't have to rely on auto bracketing these days for perfect exposures. But this function is still vital for compositing HDR images.

To save myself the trouble of digging through the menu system every time I want to capture a sequence for merging later, I've programmed the Fn2 button on my Olympus OM-D E-M10 to quickly turn on and off this feature.

olympus-menu-program-fn2

I've noticed that I'm using auto bracketing more recently thanks to the excellent image stabilization system that allows me to capture HDR sequences by hand without a tripod. If I see something I want, I press the Fn2 button to enable the setting, capture the series, then press the button again to turn it off. Simple.

You can program many cameras to do this. I'll show you how on the OM-D E-M10 because that's what I carry with me. But Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Fujifilm, and others also provide similar capability. Here are the steps.

olympus-menu-setting-bracketing

  • Turn on the camera and press the Menu button.
  • Navigate down to the Gear menu and select GearB: Button/Dial (top illustration).
  • Choose Button function.
  • Navigate down to Fn2 Function and open (middle illustration).
  • Choose BKT from the menu options, press OK, press Menu twice to back out.
  • Back at the Main screen, navigate up to Camera2 and choose Bracketing.
  • Turn Bracketing on, then navigate to the right to set the number of frames and EV. I recommend "5f 1.0EV" (bottom illustration).
  • Press OK, then press the Menu button twice to exit.

Test your setting by pressing the Fn2 button and checking the LCD screen. You should see a white square at the top of the screen that reads "BKT." And at the bottom of the LCD, there should be a series of green dots showing the number of frames for the bracket on the exposure compensation scale. Press Fn2 again, and they will go away.

You're now set to capture an HDR sequence whenever presented with the opportunity.

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This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Selling your excess photo gear for fun and profit, New Panasonic micro four thirds lenses, My favorite mirrorless accessory is made by Canon, Photo book giveaway! All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Panasonic introduces Lumix G 30mm macro and new 42.5mm portrait prime - The 42.5mm F1.7 isn't quite as fast (or presumably as expensive) as the existing Leica Nocticron 42.5mm F1.2. It does offer Power O.I.S. stabilization and is also compatible with 240 fps drive AF. It will be offered in black and silver versions. No pricing has been given for either lens but they're scheduled to become available in May.  (Source: DP Review)

In other news... Konost Hopes to Launch 'The World's First True Digital Rangefinder' - "But Leica already makes quality digital rangefinder cameras," you may be thinking to yourself. That's correct, but Leica's offerings are digital cameras with mechanical rangefinder systems. By "true digital rangefinder," Konost means it is turning its back on the age-old system of mirrors and prisms used in mechanical rangefinder cameras and instead opting for a digital rangefinder system powered by a secondary image sensor. (Source: PetaPixel)

sell-your-stuff.jpg

Story #1 - Sell Your Stuff - If you've been shooting for any amount of time at all, then you've probably acquired a bit of excess gear that you're not using on a regular basis. Here's a quick guide to options for selling excess equipment to build a fund for the new stuff you need.

Story #2 - Why I Added a Canon TTL Flash Cord to my Mirrorless Kit - Certain things just aren't meant to be compatible, but the unlikely works when it comes to using a Canon dedicated flash cord with Olympus, Panasonic, and Fujifilm mirrorless cameras.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Portrait Project: Enhancing an Environmental Portrait of a Model with Chris Orwig. Chris walks you through a portrait editing workflow using Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop.

You can watch Chris in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Chris' movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Story #4 - Book Giveaway! - Our friends at Rocky Nook Publishing are giving away two print copies of "The Portrait, 2nd Edition." All you have to do to enter is visit http://www.rockynook.com/portrait-2nd-edition-giveaway/, enter your name and email address, and cross your fingers. You have one week to participate. Giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:59PM PST. The winners will be contacted by email, and I'll also post on our TDS Facebook page.

Story #5 - TDS Photo Workshop Bodie and the Eastern Sierra Registration Forms Have Been Sent - We're currently booking for the June 11-13 photo workshop. If you were on the Reserve List, you should have received your registration form. If you'd like to participate, but are not on the reserve list, just go to the TDS Workshops Page and use the Send Me Info Form. I'll get you a registration form right away.

Virtual Camera Club News

Photo Assignment for February 2015 is "Good Bye". This is our last photo assignment. I discuss why in this segment.

News from Red River Paper: Have you made your archive 6 prints yet for 2015? The best backup system in the world is high quality prints properly stored. I recommend that photographers do a print run of their best twice a year. Here's why.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (31 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.