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Month: May 2018

UK drone flying restrictions given legal backing

The new measures are designed to keep small drones and large manned aircraft well apart

Remotely flying a camera around in the sky, thanks to the affordability and sophistication of drones, is one of the newest and most exciting avenues for photography. You can buy a camera-equipped drone for well-under £100 and ones with decent photo quality start at £100-150. However, it’s not a free-for-all in the skies and concerns about safety are beginning to impact on even the hobbyist drone flyer.

New UK laws to keep drones safe and away from conventional aircraft

The UK government has announced new legal measures aimed at deterring drone operators from flying their aircraft irresponsibly. New laws will mean many hobbyist drone flyers will need to register their aircraft with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and take an online safety test. The main aim is to protect passenger aircraft in airspace near to airports and aerodromes. Statistics suggest there have been nearly a 100 near-misses in the UK alone last year.

Altitude and distance limits

The first of the new regulations to come into force will happen on 30th July. By default, it will be illegal to fly a drone above 400ft (120m) or closer than 1km (0.6 miles) to an airport or aerodrome. Prior to that date the 400ft altitude limit has only been a recommended best-practice limit, as stipulated by the CAA and NATS (UK air traffic control) backed Drone Code. Many low cost drones are capable of exceeding this limit easily.

A DJI Spark like this can be bought for as little as £300 and will happily sail past 120m (400ft) above you or fly out of visible sight.

In the words of the government press release; “Drone users who flout the new height and airport boundary restrictions could be charged with recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft. This could result in an unlimited fine, up to five years in prison, or both.”

Safe and responsible drone flying – the Drone Code summarised:

  • Make sure you are familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions for the operation safe operation of your drone
  • Keep below 120m altitude
  • Keep well away from airports and airfields
  • Keep your drone in visual sight at all times
  • Keep a minimum 50m distance from people and properties you don’t have control over
  • Keep 150m away from any built-up areas or crowds
  • Be aware that you are responsible for the safe and responsible flight of your drone. You could be liable for criminal prosecution if you fly dangerously or irresponsibly

Drones heavier than 250g

Later, from 30th November, operators of any drone with a take-off weight of 250g or more will have to register their drone with the CAA and pass an online safety test. Most drones fitted with cameras capable of good quality stills and video photography exceed the 250g threshold. If you don’t comply with the registration and test requirement you risk a £1,000 fine. It’s not yet clear if the online test will carry a fee or not. Currently, drones exceeding 20kg require licensing and must only be flown by people licensed to be qualified operators.

Zerotech’s Dobby is a rare example of a drone with a competent camera built in, totalling less than 250g

The new regulations are being brought into law through an amendment to the Air Navigation Order (2016). A quick perusal of social media sites specialising in drone discussion reveals a split in reaction to the news. Some drone flyers whose main interest is flying as high and as far as possible are, naturally, disgruntled. But other drone enthusiasts believe the regulations were inevitable and many already stick within the limits to be enforced anyway and hope that their hobby, or even profession as commercial drone operators, will be protected from bad publicity generated by irresponsible drone flying. However, whether the new regulations can be enforced effectively is greeted with widespread cynicism. While more sophisticated drones equipped with GPS positioning receivers usually record a log of their flightpath, containing valuable evidential information, other large and powerful drones don’t.

Airline pilots say measures don’t go far enough, literally

While the changes are designed to protect passengers and pilots flying big planes, the pilots trades union, the British Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA), has been critical of the 1km airport boundary, saying it should be more like 5km. Apparently, an airliner could quite legitimately be well under 400ft 1km from the runway.

Because the drone industry, both for recreational and commercial flying, is estimated to be worth over £40 billion by 2030, the government stresses that it does not intend to hinder the responsible operation of drones.

Taking your drone abroad to fly is now increasingly common but there are no internationally agreed drone flying rules. Nevertheless, the same 250g weight threshold and 120m altitude limit do seem to be mentioned frequently in local regulations around the world.

Datacolor launch colour management survey

The survey aims to capture a snapshot of the UK photography community and explore their colour management usage and knowledge.

 Zurich, Switzerland – 30 May 2018 – Datacolor, a global leader in colour management solutions, has launched a survey to explore UK photographers’ usage and knowledge of colour management in their photographic workflow. The survey aims to capture a snapshot of the UK photography community in order to detail insights into how colour management is incorporated into their workflow and discover their opinions on the impact it has on the quality of their work.

Survey participants will be entered into a prize draw to win a Spyder5 upon completion of the survey.

To complete the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/datacolorsurvey

Save on perfect colour

Until June 6th, customers can save over £130 on Spyder products through qualified retail stores as well as Datacolor’s online shop. The promotion runs in conjunction with the FUJIFILM Fotoservice pro product, where customers can save 50% on a FUJIFILM Fotoservice pro product when they purchase a qualifying Spyder product.

Spring promotion information can be found here.

 FUJIFILM Fotoservice pro promotion information can be found here.

Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs

Copyright IWM

 

IWM London
21 September 2018 – 31 March 2019

Free exhibition
#MakingANewWorld

New exhibition of black and white photography reveals the optimism and ingenuity of a post-war world

In the years following the First World War, countries, cities, societies and individuals had to regenerate and rebuild themselves on an unprecedented scale – but from devastation and loss, a new world emerged.

Exploring the theme of renewal in relation to individual, societal and global recovery, Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs (21 September 2018 – 31 March 2019) highlights the ways in which lives, landscapes and national identities recovered, evolved and even flourished in the aftermath of war. Examining the complex processes of reconstruction, this major exhibition at IWM London includes over 130 black and white photographs, documents and objects from the museum’s extensive collection.

The exhibition charts the initial optimism that followed the end of the First World War, as well as the realities of displacement, demobilisation, social change and the fall of empires. Many individuals found themselves in new nations as borders were re-drawn and empires disbanded, but while the devastating effects of war were felt on both sides, developments in materials and new technologies also led to innovations. Military equipment was repurposed for civilian use and advances in medicine and plastic surgery enabled the reconstruction of the human body.

From images of refugees returning to ruined homes, through the reconstruction of Ypres, to battlefields depicting the villages that ‘died for France’ and were never rebuilt, these rarely seen photographs from this little-explored time period reveal the extent of destruction and change in war-torn Europe and beyond.

Alan Wakefield, Head of First World War and Early 20th Century Conflict at IWM, said: “Drawing primarily on IWM’s rich and varied photography archive, this new exhibition presents images from both official and personal collections, giving insight into the innovation, opportunism and resourcefulness that shaped the rebuilding and regeneration of the post-war world. Both surprising and inspiring, the exhibition highlights the resilience and ingenuity of the human spirit in a time of unprecedented social and political change.”

Renewal: Life after the First World War in Photographs is part of Making a New World, a season of innovative exhibitions, installations and immersive experiences taking place across IWM London and IWM North between 27 July 2018 and 31 March 2019. The free season will explore themes of remembrance and how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.

Guard yourself from fake memory cards

With a trained eye you can spot that the ‘4’ in 64GB is not the same typeface as on a genuine SanDisk card.

Fake or counterfeit memory cards that look like premium branded product, including convincing retail packaging, are a problem that everyone should take seriously.

What is a fake or counterfeit memory card?

Ciunterfeits will often look just like the real thing. Even slick retail packaging can be faked. Fake cards will often not have as much actual storage capacity as they claim and read/write speeds will be a lot slower. It may also be possible to spot visual clues as well. The counterfeiters can make cards that have much smaller usable capacity appear to contain a much higher capacity. These hacked cards work at first but once the memory has been used up, files already on the card start to be overwritten, causing file corruption.

Fake memory cards can do this to your files

About 18 months ago I saw a good deal on eBay for a 64GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 microSDXC memory card – ideal for my phone, I thought. It arrived and came, as advertised, in retail packaging. I was pleased. Much later, when downloaded music started playing back unreliably, and then photos and videos started to get corrupted, did the consequences of receiving a fake memory card come home to roost. By then the eBay seller was long gone and it was far too late to get any recompense.

A genuine SanDisk card

Before I suspected my card of being a fake, I thought it was only faulty. I tried scanning it for errors on my PC. Errors were found and, according to Windows, were fixed. But the problems eventually returned. Next, I tried a ‘slow’ re-format of the card, as opposed to a ‘quick’ format option. A quick format only reinitialises the table of contents, not the actual data across the entire card space. By un-checking ‘quick format’ you will reset all sectors on the card. This method should, in theory, uncover any bad sectors. But the reformat seemed to work fine. Surprise, surprise, file corruption eventually returned.

Suspecting your card is a fake

By this time I did some more simple tests. Copying large files to and from the card showed that the read speed was, incredibly, only 3MB/second and the write speed was, perversely, faster, but still a lethargic 7MB/second.  A 64GB SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 microSDXC card should allow data to be read at around 80MB/sec and written at 50MB/sec. It was beginning to dawn on me that this wasn’t a real SanDisk Extreme card, but a counterfeit. Later on I also spotted that one of the typefaces on the card itself did not match that of a genuine card.

Get the evidence for a refund or replacement

You can avoid an experience like this easily. All you need to do is test your brand new memory card as soon as you receive it. Don’t delay; the sooner you know the card is a fake, the better your chances are of getting recompense. Only buy via respected or protected sources; eBay and Amazon, for example, will help you get a refund or replacement even if the original seller does not cooperate. All you need is proof your card is fake. Here is how to do exactly that.

Green means good – this card has passed the test

 

After doing a little research I decided to use a free Windows utility called a h2testw which you can download from Softpedia: http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/System-Miscellaneous/H2testw.shtml. Mac users can use a similar utility called F3 downloadable from http://oss.digirati.com.br/f3/

Confirmation it’s a fake

The h2test2w utility writes to every sector in the card’s memory map as well as verifying and speed testing. It is capable of overcoming false capacity hacking of the card’s specifications. After running the utility it was clear that my 64GB SanDisk Extreme card was a fake, with only 8GB capacity, despite appearing to Windows and my phone as a 64GB card.

Red means trouble and a large proportion of the stated card capacity is non-existent.

I’d also recently bought a couple of other cards, one of which was another steal of a deal on an eBay auction; a Panasonic V90 U3 64GB SDXC card, which normally sells for £200. My £55 auction win needed urgent validation! Thankfully, it passed the test with flying colours. I already had one of these cards so tested that as well and the results were pretty much identical.

The testing process can take a while, depending on the speed of the card, but it’s a great way to make sure you’re getting what you paid for. It can also serve to identify a genuine product that is non-maliciously faulty. I will be testing all new card purchases from now on.

 

PNY to launch microSDXC ELITE 512GB at Computex 2018

 

Computex 2018 will take place in Taipei from 5th – 9th June 2018. PNY Technologies will showcase several new products at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, including the PNY microSD Elite 512GB card. This microSDXC card will offer a powerful solution for users looking for expanded storage capacity and fast transfer speed.

London (UK), 24th May, 2018 – PNY Technologies, a global consumer electronics and data storage technology leader, announced today the expansion of its microSDXC card line-up by introducing the PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC™ card. The card’s 512GB capacity is the highest available in the market today. The development of such capacity is needed due to today’s demand for expanded storage, whether for videos, high-resolution images, or music and document storage.  

Thomas Climer, Senior Director of Marketing at PNY, said: “Our ongoing focus is to provide our customers with the product and performance needed to fully live life-on-the-go. Our lives today are more mobile than ever before – the need to continuously record videos, take photos and store data anytime, anywhere and without stopping for downloads is so vital. Simply put, we want to provide our customers with the ability to continuously create new memories, without worrying that they’ll run out of space.”

Ideal for Android™ smartphone and tablet users, drones, action cameras, dash cameras and more, the world’s highest-capacity card can hold up to 80 hours of Full HD video content1 or over 100,000 photos2. PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC card is rated U1 and performs at up to 90MB/s transfer speed3.

“With the ever-increasing demand for storage and minimised media transfer speeds, users require the highest possible performance,” said Samy Benarfa, PNY EMEA Senior Director Sales & Marketing for Consumer products in Europe. “Placing these requisites at the forefront, we have enhanced our portfolio with the Elite 512GB microSDXC card, currently offering the largest storage capacity in the market, to satisfy customer needs.”

Sean Parker, a PNY Photo ambassador, commented: “In my field of work, I often find myself in extreme environment conditions! I need to make sure I am prepared and ready to capture the moment regardless of these external conditions. The PNY Elite 512GB microSDXC card brings me this confidence, knowing that I can record over 80 hours of Full HD video, transfer over 100,000 photos at speeds of up to 90MB/s. PNY Elite 512GB microSD card is my memory card of choice as I know that I will not ‘miss the moment’”.

Find the new microSDXC Elite 512GB on pny.com.

1GB = 1 billion bytes. User-available storage may be less than total listed.
1Based on data-rate of 13Mbps.
2Based on 18MP estimated at 4.7MB file size. Results may vary based on host device, user settings, file attributes and other factors.
3Up to 90MB/s  read speed, write speed is lower. Based on PNY internal testing; performance may be lower depending on the host devices and user’s settings and configurations.
©2018 PNY Technologies Inc. All rights reserved.

PNY, PNY logo, and PNY Elite are registered trademarks or trademarks of PNY Technologies Inc in the U.S. and/or other countries. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

About PNY Technologies

Established in 1985, PNY Technologies®, Inc. celebrates over 30 years of business excellence as a leading manufacturer and supplier of Flash memory cards, USB Flash drives, solid state drives, cables, computer memory upgrade modules, NVIDIA® GeForce® consumer graphics cards and NVIDIA® Quadro® professional graphics cards. The company’s Photography-Videography, Mobility, 3D Gaming-Visualisation and Business solutions are widely available from major retail, e-tail and wholesale outlets internationally. Headquartered in the USA, PNY maintains facilities in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

Panasonic offers enhanced LUMIX performance with firmware updates

May 2018 – Panasonic is announcing exciting new firmware updates for three LUMIX models – the DC-GH5, DC-GH5S and the DC-G9. These updates offer users enhanced performance and usability, such as improved Autofocus performance, new monochrome Photo Styles and upgraded sound quality for video shooting.

LUMIX DC-GH5 – Firmware Version 2.3

  • Improved AF performance – increased tracking AF performance, allowing users to easily follow their subject while recording movies
  • Monochrome D & Grain effect – The new L. Monochrome D captures even darker tones and greater contrast, with grain effects available in different strengths for all monochrome settings – a fantastic addition to the many black and white options of LUMIX cameras
  • Live View Boost – viewfinder screen and LCD monitor can be displayed brighter than the image recorded, allowing users to check the composition in low-light environments and helping to frame their perfect shot
  • MF Assist – more accurate manual focusing for stills or moving images, thanks to up to 20x magnification available in MF Assist mode
  • Night Mode – camera screen displays all information in red, so photographers and subjects are not disturbed by white light emission
  • Like 709 & V-LogL improvements – Like 709, V-LogL* and V-LogL* View Assist in Photo Style can now be used for still photo shooting and time lapse video. [LUT Monitor Display*] and [LUT HDMI Display*] can be used in playback mode to check the appearance.
  • Enhanced sound quality – sound quality has been improved by optimising the performance of the internal noise cancelling microphone

*Upgrade Software Key DMW-SFU1 is required – sold separately.

LUMIX DC-GH5S – Firmware Version 1.1

  • Improved AF performance – the autofocus for lowlight and low-contrast photo shooting has been improved
  • Monochrome D & Grain effect – The new L. Monochrome D captures even darker tones and greater contrast, with grain effects available in different strengths for all monochrome settings – a fantastic addition to the many black and white options of LUMIX cameras
  • Enhanced sound quality – sound quality has been improved by optimising the performance of the internal noise cancelling microphone
  • Better Control of Video Settings – Vector Scope can be displayed on the screen while adjusting white balance

LUMIX DC-G9 – Firmware Version 1.1

  • Improved AF performance – enhanced tracking AF performance allowing users to easily follow their subject while recording movies
  • Monochrome D & Grain effect – The new L. Monochrome D captures even darker tones and greater contrast, with grain effects available in different strengths for all monochrome settings – a great addition to the many black and white options of LUMIX cameras
  • Live View Boost – viewfinder screen and LCD monitor can be displayed brighter than the image recorded, allowing users to check the composition in low-light environments and helping to frame their perfect shot
  • MF Assist – more accurate manual focusing for stills or moving images, thanks up to 20x magnification available in MF Assist mode
  • Improved High Resolution Mode – photographers will appreciate the expanded aperture range of the G9’s high resolution mode – from F8 to F11 – and the improved motion correction
  • Enhanced sound quality – sound quality has been improved by optimising the performance of the internal noise cancelling microphone

Further details and downloads

To update the LUMIX DC-GH5, DC-GH5S and the DC-G9, the following links will be active from May 30th, 1:00 UTC to download the firmware:

LUMIX DC-GH5 Firmware Ver.2.3
http://www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/gh5_firmware.html

LUMIX DC-GH5S Firmware Ver.1.1
http://www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/gh5s_firmware.html

LUMIX DC-G9 Firmware Ver.1.1
http://www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/g9_firmware.html