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Flash photos have a future

Flash photography is going through a renaissance and developments in recent years show just how far it’s come, writes ROGER MACHIN, product manager at Canon SA.

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Previously, photographers were limited by cumbersome power requirements. Nowadays, a studio is wherever they want it to be without the need for a generator – from the beach to the jungle, and everywhere in between.

Battery life has drastically increased, wireless TLL technology has become mainstream, and mixing and matching brands’ wireless control triggers and flashes is common practice for professionals. Competition is also healthy. The industry’s exploration of light through flash is more exciting than ever before, but despite for some, flash raises red flags.

Up to now, flash has been almost exclusively reserved for photographers who’ve mastered the art over many years, but we see it as an essential part in taking your photography to the next level. Customer observations have identified an underlying ‘fear’ about using flash, either through a lack of confidence to achieve their desired outcome or being disappointed with the results from an in-built flash or a cheap flash gun they had bought.

Canon has attempted to tackle just that with the launch of its revolutionary Speedlite 470EX-AI, which features world-first AI Bounce technology, earlier this year.

With the Speedlite 470EX-AI we wanted to democratise flash and provide photographers with the confidence to focus more on the shooting subject in question, and less on how to achieve the desired results. Through the introduction of this world-first AI Bounce technology, our ambition is that more photographers, both enthusiasts and seasoned professionals, will start to experiment, grow their confidence and develop their style with flash so that the market can continue to mature,.

I believe that Speedlite 470EX-AI is the future of flash. It is the first flash in the world to be equipped with AI Bounce – a new Auto Intelligent (AI) function that takes the fuss and uncertainty out of flash photography. This revolutionary new technology intelligently calculates and maneuvers the flash head position automatically to create optimum lighting for outstanding images.

This unprecedented innovation uses a test flash to calculate the perfect angle for natural, flattering illumination, whilst automatically moving the motorised flash head into the optimum position for perfect lighting.

The full-auto mode carefully manipulates the flash head for every new shot, eliminating unwanted shooting complications. It also removes the time needed to evaluate the shot and reposition the flash head manually.

For those with greater experience in flash photography, the semi-auto mode allows the user to set the bounce flash angle for different shooting scenarios. The Speedlite 470EX-AI then automatically adjusts the flash head for different camera orientations. This pioneering technology enhances the opportunity for photographers to be creative with their lighting, whilst achieving consistency in every shot. This is crucial for portrait photographers who regularly alternate between landscape and portrait.

Even the most spontaneous moments can be captured with natural looking lighting, as the Speedlite 470EX-AI recharges rapidly and silently in 5.5 seconds to full power with 4 AA/LR6 batteries, or 3.5 seconds with rechargeable NiMH batteries. This is first-class when swiftly capturing consecutive shots, such as during weddings or parties. The Speedlite 470EX-AI features a high-speed sync function, which enables the flash to be fired several times in rapid succession and thus uses a higher shutter speed than normally possible. This is particularly useful for action shots, or to create a darkened or blurred background for stand-out images.

By rotating the flash head 180 degrees left and right, plus 120 degrees upwards, the AI Bounce flash function enables photographers to adapt to different environments and remove unwanted shadows. The bounce adaptor can be clipped onto the Speedlite 470EX-AI to deliver softer illumination, allowing for much more radiant portrait shots. With this level of control over the flash, photographers can focus on capturing high-quality, well-lit imagery that consistently delivers unrivaled results.

With 19 custom functions, the Speedlite 470EX-AI offers complete creative control as the photographer can personalise the settings in pursuance of capturing beautiful and unique shots. The wireless optical receiver function allows the flash to be used at distances of up to 10m away from the camera. With a built in Speedlite transmitter function or Speedlite with Optical transmitter, further creative capturing is enabled via experimenting with varying lighting scenarios. This is perfect for photographers aiming to develop and create their own lighting style. The dot-matrix LCD panel provides an intuitive interface, guiding photographers to easily navigate the flash settings and select how diffused or concentrated the light is via priority settings. To achieve maximum flash output, shortcut buttons and a control wheel provide fast access to settings, delivering a creative fall-off effect and an even distribution of light across the whole image.

With this innovation, using flash does not have to be intimidating. Photographers can really get creative and feel confident about exploring the use of flash.

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Legion gets a pro makeover

Lenovo’s latest Legion gaming laptop, the Y530, pulls out all the stops to deliver a sleek looking computer at a lower price point, writes BRYAN TURNER

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Gaming laptops have become synonymous with thick bodies, loud fans, and rainbow lights. Lenovo’s latest gaming laptop is here to change that.

The unit we reviewed housed an Intel Core i7-8750H, with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. It featured dual storage, one bay fitted with a Samsung 256GB NVMe SSD and the other with a 1TB HDD.

The latest addition to the Legion lineup has become far more professional-looking, compared to the previous generation Y520. This trend is becoming more prevalent in the gaming laptop market and appeals to those who want to use a single device for work and play. Instead of sporting flashy colours, Lenovo has opted for an all-black computer body and a monochromatic, white light scheme. 

The laptop features an all-metal body with sharp edges and comes in at just under 24mm thick. Lenovo opted to make the Y530’s screen lid a little shorter than the bottom half of the laptop, which allowed for more goodies to be packed in the unit while still keeping it thin. The lid of the laptop features Legion branding that’s subtly engraved in the metal and aligned to the side. It also features a white light in the O of Legion that glows when the computer is in use.

The extra bit of the laptop body facilitates better cooling. Lenovo has upgraded its Legion fan system from the previous generation. For passive cooling, a type of cooling that relies on the body’s build instead of the fans, it handles regular office use without starting up the fans. A gaming laptop with good passive cooling is rare to find and Lenovo has shown that it can be achieved with a good build.

The internal fans start when gaming, as one would expect. They are about as loud as other gaming laptops, but this won’t be a problem for gamers who use headsets.

Click here to read about the screen quality, and how it performs in-game.

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Serious about security? Time to talk ISO 20000

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By EDWARD CARBUTT, executive director at Marval Africa

The looming Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act in South Africa and the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (EU) have brought information security to the fore for many organisations. This in addition to the ISO 27001 standard that needs to be adhered to in order to assist the protection of information has caused organisations to scramble and ensure their information security measures are in line with regulatory requirements.

However, few businesses know or realise that if they are already ISO 20000 certified and follow Information Technology Infrastructure Library’s (ITIL) best practices they are effectively positioning themselves with other regulatory standards such as ISO 27001. In doing so, organisations are able to decrease the effort and time taken to adhere to the policies of this security standard.

ISO 20000, ITSM and ITIL – Where does ISO 27001 fit in?

ISO 20000 is the international standard for IT service management (ITSM) and reflects a business’s ability to adhere to best practice guidelines contained within the ITIL frameworks. 

ISO 20000 is process-based, it tackles many of the same topics as ISO 27001, such as incident management, problem management, change control and risk management. It’s therefore clear that if security forms part of ITSM’s outcomes, it should already be taken care of… So, why aren’t more businesses looking towards ISO 20000 to assist them in becoming ISO 27001 compliant?

The link to information security compliance

Information security management is a process that runs across the ITIL service life cycle interacting with all other processes in the framework. It is one of the key aspects of the ‘warranty of the service’, managed within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The focus is ensuring that the quality of services produces the desired business value.

So, how are these standards different?

Even though ISO 20000 and ISO 27001 have many similarities and elements in common, there are still many differences. Organisations should take cognisance that ISO 20000 considers risk as one of the building elements of ITSM, but the standard is still service-based. Conversely, ISO 27001 is completely risk management-based and has risk management at its foundation whereas ISO 20000 encompasses much more

Why ISO 20000?

Organisations should ask themselves how they will derive value from ISO 20000. In Short, the ISO 20000 certification gives ITIL ‘teeth’. ITIL is not prescriptive, it is difficult to maintain momentum without adequate governance controls, however – ISO 20000 is.  ITIL does not insist on continual service improvement – ISO 20000 does. In addition, ITIL does not insist on evidence to prove quality and progress – ISO 20000 does.  ITIL is not being demanded by business – governance controls, auditability & agility are. This certification verifies an organisation’s ability to deliver ITSM within ITIL standards.

Ensuring ISO 20000 compliance provides peace of mind and shortens the journey to achieving other certifications, such as ISO 27001 compliance.

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