AI makes latest PortraitPro deal worth having

We’ve been testing, reviewing and occasionally using this software for years now – occasionally because portraits are not mainstream for your editor, most faces are in editorial contexts where no modification is acceptable (even when it’s just a royal jumper). But for those who must keep family or paying clients happy, in this era of completely modified selfies and altered perceptions of what a portrait should be, the latest AI version has real value.

You can get maximum download discount of 50% plus an extra 10% by using Cameracraft‘s code CCV245

If badly out of focus faces within a group can be recovered, reflections removed from glasses, and smiles improved without the £10k my dentist suggests is necessary to replace teeth you can’t even see… take a look at this full info. – David Kilpatrick

  • Key New Features
  • Mouth Inpainting & Teeth Replacer
  • Glasses Reflection Remover
  • Face Recovery
  • Skin and Hair masks
  • Improved workflow
  • New gender and age detector

This is Face Recovery, though the lass has become a bit long in the tooth – the AI teeth are more realistic than any amount of focus retrieval and sharpening plus retouching could achieve in a few minutes.

This is Mouth Inpainting.

And this is Glasses Reflection removal, which again is a task not to be relished in Photoshop, and the top end version of PortraitPro (Studio Max) can handle in groups, in a series of shots where it’s having a similar effect.

This pair shows a cumulative but very subtle effect from the improved workflow, and it clearly compensates for failings in the colour management and lighting. It’s impressive to note that PortraitPro started life being a very obvious process, and our advice was always to turn the default sliders down rather than up. It has matured considerably. The new workflow has improved gender and age detection, and Studio Max is well-tuned to Apple Silicon to make optimum use of CPU, GPU and RAM.

PortraitPro 24 Editions

PortraitPro Standard is standalone software for photographers working with JPG or 24-bit TIFF files.

PortraitPro Studio is for photographers who work directly with RAW files or want the higher quality of 48-bit colour files, supports conversion between different color spaces, and provides JPEG/TIFF embedded color profile support. Offers Batch Dialog.  

PortraitPro Studio Max For professional photographers or those working with a large number of images. Full Batch Mode to speed workflow greatly.

Compare the different editions: anthropics.com/portraitpro/editions

Availability and Pricing

PortraitPro 24 editions are available from: anthropics.com/portraitpro

Remember to use Cameracraft’s code CCV245 for maximum discount! This can also be used for PortraitPro Body, Landscape Pro and the user-recipe Smart Photo Editor.

Sony release A7C upgrades to II and R versions, new 16-35mm GM

Sony has announced the launch of its two new Alpha 7C compact full frame cameras, and version II of the ƒ2.8 wide-angle G-master 16-35mm zoom. But the cameras do look good with the 50mm f/1.2 G Master – a bit of a classic photojournalist’s combo.

Alpha 7C II key features: 

  • Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R® CMOS sensor similar to A7IV, with approximately 33.0 effective megapixels
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 to 51200 for both still images and movies (expanded ISO 50 to 204800 for still images)
  • Same AI-processing unit as the A7R V

Alpha 7C R key features

  • Full frame image sensor with approximately 61.0 effective megapixels similar to A7RIV, IVa and V
  • Same AI-processing unit as the A7R V

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II key features: 

  • World’s smallest and lightest high-resolution f2.8 wide-angle zoom lens 
  • Fast and precise AF that brings out the best in advanced bodies 

The new products will be available to purchase from September 2023 at a variety of Sony’ authorised dealers throughout Europe, for an estimated retail price of: 

  • Alpha 7C R: £3,200 / €3,732
  • Alpha 7C II: £2,100 / €2,449
  • FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II: £2,400/ €2,799

Our comments before handling and using these: first of all, they are welcome and affordable specifications though the full A7 body is better ergonomically and in controls. The A7CR has seven-stop Steady Shot Inside as does the II, but also Pixel Shift Multi Shooting, something unexpected in the smaller body. Having said this, these bodies have only a single SDXC UHS-II card slot and both feature the same small (0.70X with 50mm) 2.35 million pixel OLED EVFs – far lower resolution, less tolerant eyepoint and apparently smaller size compared to the mainstream A7IV/RIV+ models. If the eyepiece (ocular) glass design is similar to the A7C, it’s also likely to be zonally unsharp and demand very accurate centering of the eye.

Sony’s current emphasis on video and vlogging, fortunately not emphasised in the press info which major instead on the travel friendly aspect of these bodies for still shooting, does mean they have microphone and headphone jack sockets as well as the audio functions found in the Multi Interface shoe.

As for the 16-35mm GM II, it may be the claimed smallest and lightest but taking 82mm filters makes it about as kit-friendly as any larger lens if you use a filter system, and even screw-in filters like a convenient polariser end up taking loads of space in typical 82mm size packaging or keepers. Perhaps a 16-35mm f/4 G or even GM series II might be on the way. Maybe the qualification of the claim with the words ‘high resolution’ is s clue – there may be smaller and lighter competitors which Sony believes they can prove to be lower in resolution, and they must have tested every single one of them to make this claim! The A7C II body is offered as a kit with the 28-60mm collapsible lens, slow but useful for travel – the A7CR does not come as a kit, perhaps an indicator of Sony’s own view about using this budget lens on 61 megapixels.

Sony 20-70mm f/4 G – a new type of lens

The 20-70mm f4 Sony G looks interesting though the UK price of £1400 is a bit over the top (under $1100 in the USA) – maybe allowing for further losses pounds vs dollar. It’s over twice the price of the Panasonic 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 – maybe not comparable but the Lumix lens is regularly discounted by 25% or more, and partly due to being sold as a kit lens with full frame body some white box new lenses have been at 40-50% discount. It’s unlikely the Sony will be bundled as a kit lens. Even at the UK price, it looks attractive for anyone like me who might consider working with just a two-kens kit, this and the 70-300mm G. At the moment I use 17-28mm and 28-75mm f/2.8 Tamron lenses to cover the practical range this one lens almost manages, though there’s a fair gap between 17mm and 20mm.



In the specification there’s one oddity – the stated minimum focus distance and magnifications. Most wide to portrait zooms focus closer at the wide angle end. Apparently this one does the reverse, and the 0.39X close-up image scale is based on 25cm at 70mm (it’s a mystery why the specs bother to say AF and MF distances, when there’s no difference – 25cm either way!). Here’s from the spec:

MINIMUM FOCUS DISTANCEWide: 0.30 m / Tele: 0.25 m (AF), 0.25 m (MF) (Wide: 0.99 ft / Tele: 0.82 ft (AF), 0.82 ft (MF))MAXIMUM MAGNIFICATION RATIO (X)0.39

Well, 30cm at 20mm focal length is just OK; my yardstick for min focus is that I like to see it just less than 10X focal length, so for an 85mm lens I want to get 0.85m if possible, like having anything closer and don’t like ones which only manage 1m. With a 20mm focal length 20cm close focus is desirable. The Tamron 17-28mm as an example manages 19cm at 17mm, it’s just OK, but can’t shoot any real close-ups as the largest c/u scale in 1:5.2 or 0.19X. The Sony 20-70mm manages 1:2.56, getting on for half life size, by focusing closer at 70mm than it does at 20mm.

This is such an unusual overall mix of zoom/focus behaviours that I really do want to try this lens and understand how.

The other unusual statement about the lens is that the zoom and focus design minimises breathing (desirable) and axial shift – well, I’ve not seen a zoom with axial shift, image wandering off centre when you zoom or focus, since the days of pioneering 1970s consumer glassware. Especially not a non-stabilised zoom, like this. Stabilisation has been the main reason any lens shifts off axis.

The lens weighs 488g which is great, takes 72mm filters which is not great but matches some other Sony lenses, and the size as you can see from the images here is convenient though not a single PR image sent to me shows it with a lens hood which could have some impact on bag/pocket ability. One thing’s for sure, if the dual linear motor focusing is as good as claimed, f/4 will not be a big loss over f/2.8 and carrying one lens in place of two will make this a winner for travel, landscape and urban shooting. It’s due to be in UK stores from March 3rd.

– David Kilpatrick

Download or read through our July-August edition free

Cameracraft is received exclusively by subscribers and members of The Guild of Photographers. It’s easy to get single copies or subscriptions from this site, and in addition to the printed magazine digital delivery is an eco-friendly low cost alternative which fully supports our unique magazine.

After our subscribers receive their copies whether digital or printed, we wait a couple of weeks before releasing this viewable and downloadable PDF version. It’s a good quality too with the PDF created at Retina screen resolution so you can zoom in or use a large screen. To download and keep you may need to right-click if the PDF opens in a browser window – it’s normal now to have an extension installed which does this. You will however get a better choice of view modes by saving an opening using Adobe Acrobat. Select Two Page view to see the spreads properly, and expand your window to fill your screen. Don’t select ‘Full Screen’ mode as for some reason Adobe make this disable the two-page view!

Your downloaded PDF will include all email and URL links from the text on the pages.

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Read here using the navigation tools. Download using the link below the embedded version.

Luminar Neo’s new portrait background removal

Luminar Neo has gained a new tool – Portrait Background Removal, enabling the background behind a subject to be made transparent in one click. Careful hair-by-hair selections are done by trained neural networks.

Portrait Background Removal tool can be found in the Luminar Neo Layer masking options. 

It offfers:

  • Remove Background without Layering. Just open Luminar Neo, load an image, and select Portrait Background Removal.
  • Get clean assets for composing. Any portrait you edit can be exported as a PNG with a transparent background, a great base for seamless photo composing.
  • Create realistic portraits with AI that’s precisely trained on people. AI scans the image to find and select human figures as accurately as possible. Luminar Neo has an option to edit several images in a click with custom saved Presets, so editing event portraits becomes faster.
  • Achieve precise selections without extreme effort. The portrait and the background are highlighted in different colours. A Transition Brush refines the edges by removing unnecessary elements where the portrait and background touch. The Object Brush revives portrait details that may have been eliminated by the neural network, while the Background Brush helps to additionally remove parts that aren’t detected by the AI. 

Luminar Neo is available as a one-time purchase or as a subscription. The new architecture is flexible, so it can be easily updated in the future. Luminar Neo is available in both the Microsoft Store and the macOS App Store. Luminar Neo works as a plugin, so you can keep your images in your preferred photo editor while still benefiting from its powerful AI tools.

Additionally, the brand-new Luminar Share mobile app allows you to quickly and seamlessly transfer images from your phone to your computer. Take a photo, edit it, and post it to social media without third-party programs that reduce quality. Luminar Share is available on the Google Play Store and the macOS App Store.​​

To learn more about Luminar Neo and sign up for updates, visit http://skylum.com/luminar-neo

Sigma 16-28mm f2.8 E and L mount

The companion for Sigma’s highly regarded 28-70mm f/2.8 compact zoom adds an unbroken range down to 16mm while retaining a small c. 77x100mm size, 72mm filter fit, and 450g weight. It is announced today and will be available to buy from June 17th for £749.99 (UK SRP) or $899 (US retail before tax).

The new 16-28mm seen fitted to Sony’s compact A7C, with the companion 28-70mm left. The two lenses together weigh only 920g.

The full-frame Sigma 16-28mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary offers a promise of exceptional optical quality with a faster constant maximum aperture in barrel size similar to existing f/4 16-35mm designs. Special attention has been given to field curvature correction for edge-to-edge sharpness, important in wide-angle views – this is enabled through the use of a built-in lens profile, correcting distortion and vignetting in-camera or during raw image processing. 

It uses five FLD (fluorite-like glass) elements and four aspherics to minimise chromatic and off-axis aberrations. The lens has an inner zoom mechanism that keeps overall length and the centre of balance constant, improving performance when zooming during a gimbal take. The 72mm filter thread is larger than the 67mm of the similarly light and small 28-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary.. At just 100.6mm long (L-mount version) and 450g it’s appealing for outdoor, social, street and travel photographers who want a lightweight outfit for day-long use.

The lens is constructed using aluminium and thermally stable polycarbonate, performing well in temperatures from the arctic to the equator, and has a dust and splash resistant mount. AF uses a proven stepper motor compatible with high-speed AF, DMF and AF or MF modes with an MF switch on the side. It focuses down to 25cm with a maximum image scale of 1:5.6, 0.17X and has a nine-blade rounded aperture. On the L-mount version only, linear and non-linear focus ring behaviour can be set using the USB Dock UD-11.

The lens is supplied with front and rear caps and a bayonet mounted petal lens hood. Sigma WR or WR Ceramic,WR UV and WR Circular Polarising 72mm filters are optional extras.

Sigma UK – https://sigma-imaging-uk.com

Product information – https://sigma-global.com/jp/lenses/c022_16_28_28

Get the latest Cameracraft issue from Pocketmags now!

We popped printed January/February 2021 issues in the mail on December 30th for everyone – UK and worldwide – and now the edition can be found on Apple, Android, Kindle, Windows, PDF download here:

https://pocketmags.com/quickbuy/f2-cameracraft-magazine/janfeb-2021

We kick off the year with a fascinating UV-flash hair fashion cover and portfolio, meet the homeless of the Home Counties, examine the case (or not) for bothering to shoot stock photos, see flowers frozen in time, profile the Camera Crazy lady, test the new Sigma 105mm macro and Tamron 28-200mm and the Sony A7C.

photokina calls it a day

Received from the organisers today – and we don’t honestly see that it will return in the same form, ever. Perhaps some other technology show, as it already encompassed digital comms, design, film-making, 3D printing and many other non-photo things. Or perhaps – is it too much to hope? – a show once again mostly about photography:

90 years of photokina – 1924 to 2014. The final one was in 2018.

photokina will be suspended until further notice 

After 70 years, decreases in the imaging market force a hard cut 

In view of the further massive decline in markets for imaging products, Koelnmesse has decided to discontinue organising photokina at its Cologne location for the time being. “Unfortunately, at present the framework conditions in the industry do not provide a viable basis for the leading international trade fair for photography, video and imaging,” according to Gerald Böse, President and Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse. “This hard cut after a 70-year shared history was very difficult for us. The trend in this industry, with which we have always had a close and trusting partnership, is very painful for us to witness. But we are facing the situation with a clear, honest decision against continuing this event, a decision to which, unfortunately, we have no alternative.” 

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, the imaging market was already subject to strong upheaval, with annual declines in the double digits. The momentum in this direction intensified massively in 2020, most recently reporting a decline in the 50-percent range. Recently, these developments have had a profound effect on photokina, which – in Cologne since 1950 – for generations has been the top address for the imaging industry and ranks among the most favourably and emotionally charged brands in the trade fair world. 

Since 2014, Koelnmesse, together with the German Photo Industry Association, has taken its cue from downward market trends, responding with adjustments to the underlying concept of the trade fair as well as considerable investment in new exhibitor and visitor segments. “These changes in conceptual design, along with a shift in intervals and a change of dates, did not fundamentally improve the situation of the event,” says Oliver Frese, Management Board member and Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse. “While there are more photographs taken today than ever before, the integration of smartphone photography and videography, together with image-based communication, e.g. via social media, was not able to cushion the elimination of large segments of the classic market. As a result, the overall situation is not compatible with the quality standards of photokina as a globally renowned brand representing the highest quality and professionalism in the international imaging market.” 

Koelnmesse has made its decision in close coordination with the German Photo Industry Association. Kai Hillebrandt, Chairman of that association, remarked: “Our partners in Cologne have done everything in their power to maintain photokina as the leading global trade fair. Nonetheless, an event held in 2022 could not have met the expectations of the entire imaging community that those efforts were intended to serve. That is why we, on behalf of our association, are joining them in taking this regrettably unavoidable step. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the team in Cologne for a tremendous 70 years together!” 

Your contact: 

Guido Gudat 
Vice President Corporate Communications 

Lenses For Hire (UK) adds Sony FE range

Sony reaches a Hire level 

Sony full-frame mirrorless system owners keen to find out how good the fast Sony GM lenses are can now hire from Lenses For Hire for as little as £69. The hire service has been evaluating the demand and quality of the Sony offering, and recently decided to add the system alongside their regular Canon and Nikon professional stock.

A three-day shoot with the 24-70mm f/2.8 FE GM OSS, delivered on a Thursday and picked up on the Monday by courier, would cost under £100 including insurance and carriage both ways and only £69 direct from the Maidenhead hire specialists. 

System lenses stocked include the new 12-24mm f/4 G, 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, 24-105mm G OSS, 90mm f/21.8 OSS macro, 70-20mm f/2.8 GM OSS, new GM 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OSS and the versatile travel-friendly 24-240mm. 

Tele converters, the latest Metabones Mark V Canon EF adaptor and accessories are offered. Sony A7II, A7RIII, A7SII and A9 bodies can be hired from £94. 

With GM lenses costing from £2,269 upwards an affordable hire period helps you make the right buying decision, saves you money and gives you the best choice for your work. 

Contact: 

Lenses For Hire Ltd 

www.lensesforhire.co.uk 

[email protected] 

+44(0)1628 639941 – or UK only 0800 61 272 61 

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