Sony launch UK PRO support

Sony today announced the expansion of its Imaging PRO Support programme to include the UK. The programme is scheduled to start in the UK in September 2016 and continues to gain momentum as an increasing amount of professional photographers are switching to Sony cameras.

Imaging PRO Support offers advice and help to members including a dedicated telephone help desk offering professional photographers support in using their α camera equipment. There’s a free collection and return service for units requiring repairs, plus a free back-up loan unit to keep professional photographers up and running. In addition, members can benefit from a free twice-yearly image sensor cleaning service with filter glass replacement if necessary and firmware check-up to keep their cameras in top condition.

There’s no membership fee for the service that’s offered to professional photographers who own at least two Sony α camera bodies and three Sony α lenses from the qualifying list detailed beneath.

The Sony Imaging PRO support programme is now live in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the United States. Rollout in other European countries is currently under consideration.

Qualifying Cameras and Lenses

Your editor notes with pleasure that he’s not apparently a pro despite several qualifications and a working lifetime in the business covering 40 years, since he doesn’t own the right lenses, having sold several on the list as inappropriate or superceded, and preferring others for practical reasons (for example, using the 50mm SAL macro not the 100mm, and having found the 70-400mm SAL G and 70-300mm SAL G inferior to alternatives, selling the 24mm f/2 CZ SSM because the 28mm f/2 SEL proved far better). I appear to prefer third party glass, or lenses Sony doesn’t class as pro, like the excellent 24-240mm SEL, the little 28mm f/2, the SAL 28-75mm f/2.8 SAM, the SAL 85mm f/2.8 SAM, the 10-18mm SEL, 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 OSS primes for A6000 stabilised video (not listed, and nor is the A6300 which is remarkable when the old NEX-7 is included). Also, exactly why the original A77 – again not easy to use for pro work because of the noise levels, relative to newer ‘amateur’ offerings – is in Group A when the excellent A7 MkII is listed in Group B with the NEX-7 and original A7, who knows? Indeed, why have Group A or Group B?

However, the deal looks pretty good but it’s not for me despite my Sony system including two A7 series bodies one of them the top A7RII, two LA adaptors, two flashguns, one A6000, two A580 bodies, one A700, RX10, RX100MkIII and fourteen Sony lenses (not counting any Minolta A-mount lenses, and of course not counting Tamron, Sigma, Samyang, Canon, Voigtlander or others). I’d have to buy two more expensive heavy lenses, non-OSS lenses, or bulky lenses since Sony’s criterion seems to be the cost of the lenses and not their usefulness to the photographer.

Camera Bodies Group ‘A’

  • SLT-A99(V)
  • SLT-A77(V)
  • ILCA-77M2
  • ILCE-7R
  • ILCE-7RM2
  • ILCE-7S
  • ILCE-7SM2
  • DSC-RX1
  • DSC-RX1R
  • DSC-RX1RM2

Camera Bodies Group ‘B’

  • ILCE-7
  • ILCE-7M2
  • NEX-7

α A-mount lenses

  • SAL100M28
  • SAL135F18Z
  • SAL135F28
  • SAL1635Z
  • SAL1635Z2
  • SAL1680Z
  • SAL16F28
  • SAL2470Z
  • SAL2470Z2
  • SAL24F20Z
  • SAL300F28G
  • SAL300F28G2
  • SAL35F14G
  • SAL500F40G
  • SAL50F14Z
  • SAL70200G
  • SAL70200G2
  • SAL70300G
  • SAL70300G2
  • SAL70400G
  • SAL70400G2
  • SAL85F14Z

α E-mount

  • SEL1670Z
  • SEL2470Z
  • SEL24F18Z
  • SEL35F28Z
  • SEL55F18Z
  • SEL70200G
  • SELP18105G
  • SEL1635Z
  • SELP28135G
  • SEL35F14Z
  • SEL90F28G
  • SEL85F14GM
  • SEL2470GM
  • SEL70200GM
  • SEL70300G

    [i] The programme is designed for professional photographers and as such, applicants will need to provide proof of their revenue stream generated from their photography work. Sony reserves the right to judge individual cases on their merits.

Free software and a cut-price lens

You have until November 3rd to grab a free download of a truly excellent utility for Mac OSX, created by DxO Optics Pro software team – DxO Perspective. It normally costs $19.95 (or local equivalent) as an Apple App store download, but they have made it free for a few days. It’s a fully working, standard version with no time limit.

Download link for DxO Perspective from Apple iTunes, free until November 3rd

Here’s what they say:

“DxO Perspective corrects all kinds of perspective problems, even the most complex. Using its Rectangle tool, when a photo contains two perspective flaws, DxO Perspective’s Rectangle tool immediately reestablishes a full-frontal view of the object — essential when shooting a photo of a poster or painting! In 8-point correction mode, DxO Perspective handles even more complex perspectives: the independent placing of horizontal and vertical guidelines provides highly precise corrections on multiple planes.”

We can vouch for that. Here’s the software window with a straight shot, uncorrected, Sigma 12-24mm zoom on Alpha 99 at 12mm.

perspective-addpoints

Now on this example, you have a choice of adding points to correct both vertical and horizontal perspective (four indexes clicked/moved) which I have done if you examine the faint blue lines, and this will produce an extreme result:

perspective-extreme

However, for this example, you would normally onle correct the verticals and omit the four-square connections. This produces a natural result relative to any other correction method:

perspective-final

This is a 100% correction. DxO Perspective lets you reduce the degree of correction. Here is what they describe as a ‘natural’ look, 75% strength:

perspective-natural75percent

I preferred the result between 90 and 95% correction.

Midi-Pyrenees

You may ask how this differs from Adobe Camera Raw lens correction perspective control, or similar functions within Photoshop (without using special plug-ins). First, DxO Perspective is a stand alone program and does not need Photoshop, it only requires a JPEG to select and work on. Secondly, here’s the result from ACR/LR type correction, kept slightly on the ‘natural’ side of :

Midi-Pyrenees

The greatest difference is that DxO Perspective makes automatic corrections to the vertical aspect and retains the sense of height, at the same time ensuring that the sky is not compressed.

So, enjoy this free download until November 3rd 2013.

At the same time, from 12.00 midnight Eastern Standard Time on October 31st, B&H in New York announced a drop in the price of the Bower (aka Samyang) 8mm f/3.5 fisheye lens for NEX, MicroFourThirds, Samsung NX, Nikon, Canon EOS, Pentax and Alpha mounts – down to as little as $209 for Alpha or NEX:

Bower 8mm fisheye for NEX – but see below!

Bower 8mm f/3.5 lenses from $209

Buy through this link and you support Photoclubalpha in a small way without paying anything extra yourself (indeed, buy any other B&H item after following this link and it will help us).

Here is some advice. The NEX model is basically an Alpha mount optical assembly with a permanently built in extension tube. We advise you to buy the Alpha version, as this is a manual focus manual aperture unchipped lens – use a NEX to Alpha adaptor, doesn’t have to be the expensive official LA-EA1 as this lens uses none of the connections. Then you have a lens which can be used on two systems.

DxO Perspective does not offer a de-fishing function but we’d make a guess that this would be a likely upgrade to the program in the near future and that’s why they are giving it away. DxO Optics Pro software itself is, after all, famous for the inclusion of lens profiles before any of the other programs (or cameras) got this facility.

– David Kilpatrick

 

Adobe gives away legacy Photoshop/Suite (CS2)

If you don’t like using Elements, and can’t afford the latest Photoshop, and have something like a Mac G4 or early Intel series, or a Windows XP machine, Adobe has an unbeatable price for you to download and use Creative Suite CS2.

Free.

The link you need is:

https://www.adobe.com/cfusion/entitlement/index.cfm?pid=4485850&e=cs2_downloads

Be warned that since this link was made public, the server has been down occasionally and the site temporarily unavailable. It has been restored but you may have to retry for a quieter period. This is a popular move from Adobe.

The important element of CS2 for the photographer, Photoshop, is only part of the deal as you also get InDesign, Illustrator and Premiere (pre-HD video).

You can use CS2 for a wide range of photo editing tasks, and although it does not support new Alpha and NEX raw files, it is easy enough to convert these to .DNG (Adobe Digital Negative) format using the DNG Converter. This is also a free download:

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5519 (Windows)

http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5518 (Macintosh)

Free Photo Tools Lite download

OnOne Software has made available an entire free download including Lite versions of 14 of their PhotoTools plug-ins for Photoshop and other image editing programs. All you have to do to obtain the download is visit their website using the link below and provide a valid email address for verification. We have tested the entire OnOne software range – including the full PhotoTools 2 package – with excellent performance on CS4/MacOSX 10.5+.

Continue reading »

Free PhotoTools software for Photoclubalpha readers

OnOne Software has made available an entire free download including Lite versions of 14 of their PhotoTools plug-ins for Photoshop. All you have to do to obtain the download is visit their website using the link below and provide a valid email address for verification. We have tested the entire OnOne software range – including the full PhotoTools 2 package – with excellent performance on CS4/MacOSX 10.5+.
Continue reading »