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Posted 10/21/21
Sony’s latest full-frame mirrorless camera, the Alpha a7 IV, seeks to redefine what it means to be an all-around full-frame mirrorless camera. Inheriting a BIONZ XR image processor and AI-based AF from Sony’s Alpha 1 flagship camera while unveiling an all-new 33MP Exmor R image sensor, the a7 IV promises to be an attractive mid-tier entry into Sony’s full-frame mirrorless system. With special attention paid to advancing photo and video functionality, the a7 should appeal to hybrid creators looking for a camera capable of bridging the still-video divide with ease. Alongside the new camera, Sony has announced two new flashes: the HVL-F46RM and HVL-F60RM II wireless radio flashes.    Alpha a7 IV The a7 IV is built around a 33MP Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which provides an instant boost in resolution over Sony’s existing entry-level full-frame cameras. Pushing the a7 IV further into new territory for what Sony describes as a “basic” camera is the inclusion of a BIONZ XR image processing engine, Sony’s most advanced to date and the same used by the Alpha 1 and a7S III cameras. Together, they provide 15 stops of dynamic range for accurate color rendering for still and video capture. Ready for nearly any lighting environment, the a7 IV has a native ISO range of 100-51200 which can be expanded to 50-204800 when shooting stills or 100-102400 when shooting video. The benefits of the a7 IV’s top-tier processor become especially impressive when considering the AF capabilities of this camera. Real-time Tracking locks on and keeps pace with fast-moving subjects, thanks to Sony’s latest subject recognition algorithm, which uses color, pattern, and subject distance to process spatial information at lightning-fast speeds. Sticking true to the all-around appeal of this camera, Real-time Eye-AF for humans, animals, and birds are all included to help lock focus across subject types. The a7 IV even quickly re-detects a subject’s eye after it has left and returned to the camera’s frame. Matching the Alpha 1’s 759 phase-detection AF points, the a7 IV boasts 94% image-area coverage to keep subjects in focus regardless of where they are in the scene. In low-light environments, autofocusing remains reliable down to EV-4 when using AF-S mode. Equally helpful when working in low light or shooting handheld is its 5-axis in-body image stabilization, which provides 5.5 steps of correction to keep image capture sharp. For scenarios that require absolute precision, AF Assist allows autofocusing to get you in range before letting you tweak focus manually to nail the exact plane of focus your image requires. Complementing the a7 IV’s advanced autofocusing is the Focus Map function, which allows you to pre-visualize depth of field and select the correct aperture to keep subjects in the focal plane of your lens. In-focus areas are displayed normally, while objects behind the plane of focus are displayed with a blue tint and objects in front of the plane of focus are displayed with a red tint. Another unique focusing function is Focus Breathing Compensation, which smoothes focus transitions to maintain a consistent field of view and composition when racking focus during recording. The a7 IV is capable of shooting bursts of images at up to 10 fps while using AF/AE tracking in either manual or electronic shutter modes. Two memory card slots provide expanded capture and backup options. Both slots accept UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards; one slot also accepts CFexpress Type A cards. When paired with a CFexpress Type A card, the a7 IV’s buffer sits at a near-unbelievable 828 uncompressed raw files or the entire memory card capacity for all other file formats. Keeping with the theme of elevated performance, the a7 IV features a 3.68m-dot QVGA OLED viewfinder (1.6x the resolution of the a7 III’s EVF) for crisp and clear pre-imaging. Its refresh rate can be boosted from 60 fps to 120 fps when recording fast-moving subjects. Also, its 3.0" 1.03m-dot touchscreen LCD features a side-opening vari-angle design that’s great when working from high, low, or front-facing angles. In terms of video, internal 4K 60p recording is possible at 10-bit 4:2:2. To combat overheating, a graphite material has been incorporated into the image-stabilization unit, allowing continuous recording for more than an hour. S-Cinetone, adopted from Sony’s professional cine cameras allows you to achieve colors akin to the Sony FX9 or FX6 cameras quickly. Creative Looks are also available for quick application, cutting down on time in post. Embracing its identity as a hybrid photo-video camera, the a7 has incorporated a Still/Movie/S&Q dial to change quickly between shooting modes, and a total of 169 functions are assignable over 18 custom keys to further streamline use.    HVL-F60RM II (left) and the HVL-F46RM (right) Accompanying Sony’s latest mirrorless camera are two new wireless radio flashes: the HVL-F60RM II and the HVL-F46RM. The output of each flash can be linked to the face detection and WB settings of compatible cameras to simplify operation and speed up workflow. Full on-camera control is also possible when using select cameras so you can set up your light wherever you need it and control it from your camera. For capturing motion, the HVL-F46RM can produce up to 60 consecutive flashes at 10 fps or 320 flashes with a 2 second recycle time while the HVL-F60RM II can produce up to 200 consecutive flashes at 10 fps or 240 flashes with a 1.7-second recycle time.   What do you make of Sony’s latest mirrorless camera and flashes? Do you plan to add any or all of them to your collection? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 02/24/21
Profoto has unveiled the Pro-11 2400 AirTTL Power Pack, adding AirX connectivity as well as a variety of internal and external design upgrades to its flagship power pack. A familiar sight on fashion, action, and high-speed photo sets, Profoto’s power packs have earned their namesake, providing dependable, top-tier performance on some of the most demanding jobs in the photo industry. Capable of firing as fast as 1/80,000 second, the Pro-11 is equipped to capture even the most elusive subjects with ease. The addition of AirX functionality not only opens the door to wireless communication with AirX-enabled devices, but also simplifies firmware updates, making it easier than ever to ensure your gear is working at the highest possible level. What's New? AirX Compatibility Adding AirX Bluetooth functionality places the Pro-11 in the company of Profoto’s most technologically advanced lighting tools and “future-proofs” its operation. The AirX App can be used to adjust settings using mobile devices from a distance of up to 100 feet Firmware updates can now be performed without needing to go through the hassle of a USB interface Joins A10 and B10 strobes to form the basis of an AirX ecosystem AirX supports all legacy Air and AirTTL equipped devices Redesigned Exterior The Pro-11 maintains a familiar design while implementing a number of tweaks to streamline workflow on set. Bolder, brighter, easier-to-read typeface on the LCD for monitoring settings Improved buttons in line with Profoto’s latest light models Minor changes to user interface for adjusting settings New sound cues Upgraded Interior A number of tweaks under the hood have been added to the Pro-11 to improve safety and performance, including: Protective earth is now separated between flash circuits and logic to reduce the risk of exploding flash tubes Creepage distances between high-voltage circuits and protective earth are increased to reduce risk of short circuit from internal condensation Dump circuit redesign New panel, flash, and power circuit boards Taking the Best from the Pro-10 The Pro-11 shares many of the features that have made its predecessor a rental-house favorite, including its 2-outlet, 2400Ws design, 0.02-0.7s recycle times, and 11-stop power range in 1/10-stop increments. Capable of quick bursts up to 50 flashes per second, the Pro-11 can handle even the fastest subjects with ease. In addition to its built-in wireless capabilities, the Pro-11 also features a ¼" sync socket and USB port. For continuous applications, it can provide a maximum power of 2 x 500W. A fan is incorporated into its build for cooling. Profoto Ecosystem The Profoto name has become synonymous with the highest-quality lighting tools available to professional photographers. The Pro-11 is compatible with multiple heads and more than 120 light-shaping tools capable of producing nearly any lighting setup you can imagine. By leveraging the power of AirX, AirTTL, and Air technologies, the Pro-11 can be seamlessly integrated into existing Profoto lighting kits, adding a boost of power and the latest technology to personal and rental kits alike. Have you used Profoto’s power packs on set? Share your experiences and thoughts on the company's latest flagship in the Comments section, below!
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Posted 10/13/20
Canon has announced a new powerful on-camera flash unit with a xenon bulb for consistent output and a rechargeable Li-ion battery that will enable up to 335 flashes per charge. Designed for professionals and advanced amateurs, the Canon Speedlite EL-1 provides a Guide Number of 197' at ISO 100 and 200mm, which is comparable to that of the 600EX II-RT Speedlite. Canon Speedlite EL-1 The new EL-1 has a range of 24-200mm with a fast recycling time of 0.1-0.9 seconds. It also features an LED modeling lamp with adjustable brightness and color temperature controls. With a fully charged battery, the modeling light will run for three hours and can be turned on and off by double-tapping the camera’s shutter button. This impressive flash unit brings with it an improved user interface with a new LCD panel, a menu system with simplified options and control layout, as well as a new joystick controller. Efficiency features such as an active cooling system and improved thermal management enable longer operation times, and its power-output range, from 1/8192 to 1/1, provides versatile and power-saving settings when needed. Built to be strong, the EL-1 offers the same dust and water resistance as Canon EOS-1D series cameras and features a new high-durability glass flash tube. The flash head can swivel a full 180° with bounce up to 120° and provides a built-in catch light panel and wide-angle panel. The SBA-EL Bounce Adapter and SCF-EL Color Filter Set  are included, and the EL-1 is compatible with the Canon RT series of Speedlite products. Wireless second-curtain sync is supported, and the CP-E4N Battery Pack is compatible. Finally, the new rechargeable LP-EL Battery Pack that comes with the EL-1 utilizes the same LC-E6 Battery Charger used to charge the batteries on numerous Canon cameras. EOS M50 Mark II Mirrorless Digital Camera Canon has also announced the new EOS M50 Mark II Mirrorless Digital Camera, which is an upgrade of the EOS M50 featuring dual pixel CMOS AF improvements aimed at enticing content creators and vloggers. The new M50 Mark II still provides impressive 24.1MP image quality and the powerful DIGIC 8 image processor, as well as 4K UHD 24p and HD 120p for slow-motion video, but autofocus and Eye Detection advancements now enable faster focus lock and eye recognition at greater distances. Eye Detection can also be used during video with Movie Servo AF and you can use Eye and Face Detection during Servo AF. EOS M50 Mark II Mirrorless Digital Camera Paired with EOS Webcam Utility software, the M50 Mark II can be used as an easy webcam alternative, and the camera offers clean HDMI output for high-resolution, high-frame-rate streaming. The vari-angle touchscreen LCD is convenient for vlogging with Touch Record Control and enables versatile composition viewing including Vertical Video. The M50 Mark II has a 2.36 million dot OLED EVF, Silent mode for quiet operation and, of course, built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It is available as a body only or paired with a 15-45mm lens in a white or black finish. Ask any questions in the Comments section, below, and let us know which of these new Canon imaging products interests you the most.
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