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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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News fatigue shifts Google searches in SA

Google search trends in South Africa reveal a startling insight into news appetite, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The big searches of the year no longer track the biggest news stories of the year, suggesting a strong dose of news fatigue among South Africans.

“People ask, why are the Guptas not on the list of Google’s top searches?, says Mich Atagana, head of communications and public affairs at Google South Africa, “The Guptas are not on the list because South Africans are not actually that interested. South Africans are looking for things they don’t know. From a Gupta point of view, we’ve been exhausted by the news and we know exactly what is going on.”

Google South Africa announced the results of its 2018 Year in Search, offering a unique perspective on the year’s major moments.

“Four years ago, there were almost no South Africans on the personalities list,” says Atagana. “Over the years, South Africans have gotten more interested in South Africa, in searching on Google.”

That isn’t to say that international searches – like Meghan Markle – are not heavily searched by South Africans. But  they feature lower down on the lists.

From the World Cup to listeriosis, Zuma and Global Citizen, South Africans use search to find the things they really need to know.

These are the main trends revealed  by Google this week:

Top trending South African searches

  1. World Cup fixtures
  2. Load shedding
  3. Global Citizen
  4. Zuma
  5. Winnie Mandela
  6. HHP
  7. Listeriosis
  8. Black Panther
  9. Meghan Markle
  10. Mac Miller

Trending personalities

  1.    Jacob Zuma
  2. Cyril Ramaphosa
  3. Sbahle Mpisane
  4. Kevin Anderson
  5. Malusi Gigaba
  6. Ashwin Willemse
  7. Patrice Motsepe
  8. Cheryl Zondi
  9. Shamila Batohi
  10. Mlindo the Vocalist

Top Questions

  1. How did Avicii die?
  2. How old is Pharrell Williams?
  3. What is listeriosis?
  4. What is black data?
  5. How old is Prince Harry?
  6. How much are Global Citizen tickets?
  7. How to get pregnant?
  8. What time is the royal wedding?
  9. What happened to HHP?
  10. How old is Meghan Markle?

Top ‘near me’ searches

  1. Jobs near me
  2. Nandos near me
  3. Dischem near me
  4. McDonalds near me
  5. Guest house near me
  6. Postnet near me
  7. Steers near me
  8. Spar near me
  9. Debonairs near me
  10. Spur near me

Top women

  1. Winnie Mandela
  2. Meghan Markle
  3. Sbahle Mpisane
  4. Aretha Franklin
  5. Khloe Kardashian
  6. Sophie Ndaba
  7. Cheryl Zondi
  8. Demi Lovato
  9. Lerato Sengadi
  10. Siam Lee

The Year In Search 2018 minisite can be found here.

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Smartphones dip in 2018

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to decline by 3% in 2018 before returning to low single-digit growth in 2019 and through 2022.

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While the on-going U.S.-China trade war has the industry on edge, IDC still believes that continued developments from emerging markets, mixed with potential around 5G and new product form factors, will bring the smartphone market back to positive growth.

Smartphone shipments are expected to drop to 1.42 billion units in 2018, down from 1.47 billion in 2017. However, IDC expects year-over-year shipment growth of 2.6% in 2019. Over the long-term, smartphone shipments are forecast to reach 1.57 billion units in 2022. From a geographic perspective, the China market, which represented 30% of total smartphone shipments in 2017, is finally showing signs of recovery. While the world’s largest market is still forecast to be down 8.8% in 2018 (worse than the 2017 downturn), IDC anticipates a flat 2019, then back to positive territory through 2022. The U.S. is also forecast to return to positive growth in 2019 (up 2.1% year over year) after experiencing a decline in 2018.

The slow revival of China was one of the reasons for low growth in Q3 2018 and this slowdown will persist into Q1 2019 as the market is expected to drop by 3% in Q4 2018. Furthermore, the recently lifted U.S. ban on ZTE had an impact on shipments in Q3 2018 and created a sizable gap that is yet to be filled heading into 2019.

“With many of the large global companies focusing on high-end product launches, hoping to draw in consumers looking to upgrade based on specifications and premium devices, we can expect head-to-head competition within this segment during the holiday quarter and into 2019 to be exceptionally high,” said Sangeetika Srivastava, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

Though 2018 has fallen below expectations so far, the worldwide smartphone market is set to pick up on the shift toward larger screens and ultra-high-end devices. All the big players have further built out their portfolios with bigger screens and higher-end smartphones, including Apple’s new launch in September. In Q3 2018, the 6-inch to less than 7-inch screen size band became the most prominent band for the first time with more than four times year-over-year growth. IDC believes that larger-screen smartphones (5.5 inches and above) will lead the charge with volumes of 947.1 million in 2018, accounting for 66.7% of all smartphones, up from 623.3 million units and 42.5% share in 2017. By 2022, shipments of these larger-screen smartphones will move up to 1.38 billion units or 87.7% of overall shipment volume.

“What we consider a so-called normal size smartphone has shifted dramatically in a few short years and while we are stretching the limits with bezel-less devices, the next big switch to flexible screens will test our imaginations even further,” said Melissa Chau, associate research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “While this category of device is still nascent and won’t see major adoption in the year ahead, it’s exciting to see changes to the standard monoblock we are all so used to carrying.”

Platform Highlights

Android: Android’s smartphone share will remain stable at 85% throughout the forecast. Volumes are expected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% with shipments approaching 1.36 billion in 2022. Android is still the choice of the masses with no shift expected. Android average selling prices (ASPs) are estimated to grow by 9.6% in 2018 to US$258, up from US$235 in 2017. IDC expects this upward trajectory to continue through the forecast, but at a softened rate from 2019 and beyond. Not only are market players pushing upgraded specs and materials to offset decreasing replacement rates, but they are also serving the evolving consumer needs for better performance.

iOS: iOS smartphones are forecast to drop by 2.5% in 2018 to 210.4 million. The launch of expensive and bigger screen iOS smartphones in Q3 2018 helped Apple to raise its ASP, simultaneously making it somewhat difficult to increase shipments in the current market slump. IDC is forecasting iPhone shipments to grow at a five-year CAGR of 0.1%, reaching volumes of 217.3 million in 2022. Despite the challenges, there is no ambiguity that Apple will continue to lead the global premium market segment.

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