Sigma announces 60mm M43 and NEX lens
Sigma has announced a 60mm f/2.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds and NEX system cameras. It offers a 35mm equivalent focal length of 90mm/120mm (NEX/MFT) and the lens has a rounded aperture diaphragm, a minimum focus distance of 19.7 inches and the maximum magnification is 1:7.2. It may be possible to address this for underwater use with diopters.This lens also contains Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass, which helps minimize axial and transverse chromatic aberration and a linear AF motor. The Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN lens has a 46mm filter thread. Prices and availability are still to be confirmed.
Dolphins support dying pod member
The Marine Mammal Science journal has posted an abstract of a paper that shows a group of dolphins trying to collaborate in order to support a dying member of their pod. The Korean researchers witnessed the event in the East Sea off the coast of Ulsan, in South Korea. During a survey, they saw 10 long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) trying to save the life of another adult by forming a raft to keep the stricken dolphin afloat. One of the rescuers actually turned over to better support the ailing dolphin, while another used its beak to try to keep the dying dolphin’s head up. These behaviors have been seen in individual animals in the past, but never as a collaborative exercise.
NY Times offers portfolio reviews
The New York Time’s Lens blog is offering 160 amateur photographers the opportunity to have their portfolios reviewed by an expert panel including leading photo editors, museum curators, book publishers and gallery owners. The newspaper is asking for submissions of a maximum of 20 images for review and selection. The 160 portfolios selected will be invited to attend a series of one-on-one meetings at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism on West 40th Street in Manhattan. These will be held on Saturday and Sunday 13 and 14 April 2013. Portfolios for consideration must be submitted by 13 February, with full details for submissions on the paper’s blog.
ITU approves new video standard
The goal of bringing 4k video to future broadband networks, while also making streaming HD video available even on bandwidth-constrained mobile networks, has come one step closer with adoption of the H.265 standard, also informally known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), by the ITU yesterday. The new standard will enable publishers to stream 1080p video with about half as many bits as required today which could also mean that in places where there is good broadband connectivity, 4K streaming could be possible with connection speeds of 20-30 Mbps of bandwidth. A team within the ITU continues to work on developments within HEVC including support for 12-bit video, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 chroma formats, scalable video coding as well as stereoscopic and 3D video coding.
Researchers use AUVs to find and monitor whales
Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have used two autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) equipped with digital acoustic monitoring equipment to detect 9 North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the Gulf of Maine, National Geographic reports. The AUVs process and classify the whales’ acoustic signatures, then surface every two hours and transmit the positions of the whale calls to shore-based computers. In future, this information could then be used to reroute shipping away for the whales.
CBS interviews giant squid film advisor
CBS News has aired an interview with Edith Widder, oceanographer and marine biologist, who was part of the team that captured the first footage of giant squid in their natural habitat off the coast of Japan. In it, she talks about the techniques that allowed the team to get the groundbreaking footage:
“Unfortunately, we do go out with remote-operated vehicles that do scare them away, but the submersibles and the camera system I was using are unobtrusive and I think that will allow us to see a whole lot more. … We were exploring in a different way than ever before,” she said. “In the past we were scaring them away. (Our team) used a red light that they can’t see and an optical lure to draw them in towards us.”
Philip Bloom tests Canon 1DC SLR
Filmmaker Philip Bloom has posted an extensive review of the Canon 1DC SLR camera onto Vimeo. The review uses graded 4K footage scaled down to 1080 HD video, so is not an actual representation of what the 1DC is capable. Bloom has said that he will add some WETRANSFER links for native 4k footage soon.
Wetpixel spoke to the Canon representatives at DEMA last year, and they pointed out that the 1DC has the same internals with respect to still photography as the 1DX, but an improved video pipeline. Bloom asks: “Is it worth the money though? After all this is a DSLR that thinks it’s a video camera. A first. Also the first DSLR to shoot 4k and it’s internally!”
Google and photography: Some changes ahead
It would seem that one of the consequences of Internet giant Google’s acquisition of Nik Software is that the latter’s Color Efex Pro plug-in is no longer compatible with Nikon’s Capture NX2 image processing software. Nikon Europe announced that:
“Shortly after the acquisition of Nik Software by Google in September 2012, Nik ended sales of the Color Efex Pro plug-in for Nikon Capture software.”
Version 4 of the plug-in is now incompatible with Capture NX. Since Nik Software had been responsible for the development of the NX platform, this must raise questions about the viability of Capture NX’s platform. Elsewhere, the British Journal of Photography reports that Getty Images has granted Google a license deal that offers Google Drive users access to some 5,000 iStockphoto images for free. Photographers whose images were used were apparently paid a non-negotiable fee of $12, and all embedded image data , including copyright notices was removed from the images.
- In Pictures: National Nest Box Week (via BBC)
- New owl species is described (via BBC)
- Wildlife photos: How to take the best shots (via BBC)
- Katy Danca Galli Joins DPG Team as Photo Editor (via DivePhotoGuide)
- Video: Dive into “Baja” (via DivePhotoGuide)
- Beneath the Sea 2013 Photo Competition Results Announced (via DivePhotoGuide)
- Photo Exhibition to Feature All Possible Photos (via DivePhotoGuide)
- VIDEO: Driver finds owl stuck in car grille (via BBC)
- Yawning Goby (via DivePhotoGuide)
- Mothers shape elephants’ future (via BBC)