Monthly Archives: February 2015

NEC launches new 4K UHD SpectraView Reference Monitor for demanding colour-critical applications

necm058NEC has launched the latest in its SpectraView Reference Series, specially created to obtain the best picture quality for professionals that cannot compromise on colour accuracy. The new SpectraView Reference 322UHD display is 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD), 31.5-inch, and has a 3840×2160 resolution.

The SpectraView Reference 322UHD monitor has been designed for all creative professionals, designers, photographers, video editors and anyone who relies on colour accuracy for their visual work. The display offers the latest 4K UHD super resolution, 10-bit IPS-type IGZO technology with wide colour gamut capability. It reproduces 99% Adobe RGB colour space with 14-bit hardware calibration LUT.

“The NEC 31.5-inch SpectraView Reference display sets a new industry benchmark and users that rely on colour-critical displays will benefit from the continuous improvement in this benchmark. This latest display incorporates many exacting requirements to provide complete colour confidence as well as crucial productivity gains,” said Christopher Parker, Product Line Manager of Desktop Displays at NEC Display Solutions Europe.

Key benefits of the SpectraView Reference monitor include:

  • Stunning ‘pixel-free’ ergonomic viewing – delivered by the 10-Bit IPS type LEC backlit panel with IGZO technology
  • A facility to upgrade the capability of the display at any time without the need for external cables or devices
  • A true wide gamut result (102% size / 99% Adobe RGB coverage) together with hardware calibration, 42-bit colour control and gamma correction
  • 5 year warranty with zero pixel defect guarantee for the first 6 months
  • A full height adjustable (150mm) stand with swivel, tilt and pivot functionality ensures perfect individual setup.

The NEC SpectraView Reference 322UHD monitor allows intense viewing with minimal eye strain. The ergonomic set-up and through ‘Picture-in-Picture’ allows for enhanced productivity and multi-platform working. Professionals can be confident in the long term investment through the zero defect pixel warranty for six months after purchase, five year warranty, and can use the extension slot based on OPS Form Factor to upgrade the capability of the display at any time without external cables or devices.

NEC’s Green Vision for sustainability means its 4K UHD products are as eco-friendly as possible, with a combination of low power components, recycled plastics and being free of hazardous materials with several energy saving features.

The NEC SpectraView Reference 322UHD display is distributed by Color Confidence, Europe’s leading colour management specialist and distributor into the digital imaging markets. The new monitor will be available to purchase from Color Confidence from March 2015. For further information, visit www.colorconfidence.com.

Red Sails with DxO – Guest blog written by Chris Jameson

DXO_new

As part of my support for local charities, I print and sell images. So I was pleased to win the confidence of a local business to produce a print for their new client room.

Earlier in the year I had captured a few images of a very misty estuary and sailboat, the lighting conditions were unusual because the mist was producing a red cast similar to sunset but whiter highlights on the water.

The client chose this image for the calm serenity that it portrayed.

The sample print had been A4 size and the client wanted an A3, my main concern was getting both the colour temperature accurate to the conditions and keeping what little detail there was in the image, especially at A3 size.

Fortunately help was at hand in the form of DxO Optics Pro v10. I had recently seen a demonstration of the software at the Wilkinson’s Digital Splash exhibition. I was convinced that the software was going to have an impact on my digital workflow.

Optics Pro software looks at the camera body and lens combination you have used to capture an image (works best in RAW) using the EXIF data. It then makes a series of complicated mathematical calculations to adjust the image for any optical & physical corrections required to bring image closer to your intended capture (it won’t correct human errors such as poor focus etc).

The software is straightforward to use with a very intuitive interface, after interrogating your EXIF file the software goes online to get the camera and lens profile combination used from a large database of files (painstakingly created by testing the majority of lens & camera combinations – check if yours are supported).

After a very short time, I had a result which I was quite pleased with, the options of output are quite wide with file formats such as JPEG, TIFF, DNG supported. There is even a plug-in to write directly into Lightroom.

If you want to start customising how your image file is processed, then there is a section to achieve this which has all the attributes that can be tweaked in logical groups: Essential Tools, Light, Colour, Detail and Geometry. Again all of these areas are quite intuitive but if you do require assistance, the help files are excellent – there are online links, tutorials and much more.

There are options to copy the correction settings you have achieved and also to make your own presets.

I like the option to append output files with DxO – as this helps me understand how I have processed an image.

Preparing the image for printing was the next task which was assisted by the use of the X-Rite ColorMunki hardware and software solution.

For any important project like this, I take the precaution of re-calibrating my monitor/screen and then performing a paper/colour profile (ensuring that ink tanks are all sufficient, as any replacement will change the colour output).

It’s very important for me to get the best print without any problems or errors to keep the printing cost as low as possible, this ensures that I can maximise the donation to the chosen charity for which the project is helping.

Most of my images are landscape, wildlife or RNLI action – so I don’t usually have the opportunity to use a X-Rite ColourChecker Passport at the start of any photography but it will be something that I will definitely look at if I start doing people or groups because of the help it can offer in achieving the desired finished print.

My goal is to grow my photography ability and support for charities, spending more time capturing images with a smoother digital workflow to output helps give me the confidence to push my ability and camera to the limit.

Below are the two images

Red Sails

Left is the RAW file after standard conversion in Adobe Lightroom
Right is the image after import and standard DxO preset application.

There is an improvement in details, especially in the shadows and the colour profile is much warmer – as it was when originally captured.

I now understand the message that DxO quote on the introduction splash screen “Push the limits of your Camera” as it is difficult to actually start finding the limits, if you can’t accurately see what you are capturing.

Written by Chris Jameson @photo_cj

Chris has worked for a number of charities such as Trinity and RNLI. He donates his time and images to local and regional fundraising groups and often sells images, with the proceeds going to supporting charities.

ExpoImaging Improves Popular Rogue Lighting Tools for Photography Professionals

FlashBender 2 Portable Lighting Kit with bag.psd

ExpoImaging, creators of the innovative Rogue FlashBender speed-light modifiers, has today announced a number of new improvements to their range of portable lighting accessories designed specifically for photography enthusiasts and professionals.

Striving for constant product innovation, the team at ExpoImaging focused on improvements that could be made to the Rogue Flashbender including reducing the weight of the reflector and modifications to the attachment strap. As a result, the FlashBender 2 range now incorporates new custom made reflective fabric which makes it 20-30% lighter and a new integrated attachment strap that can be adjusted to fit all popular brands of accessory flashes.

“Photographers’ reaction to the original Rogue FlashBenders exceeded all our expectations,” commented Erik Sowder, CEO of ExpoImaging, Inc. “The FlashBenders’ versatility and portability have made them an integral part of the lighting kit a photographer would take on location”.

Sowder continued, “As great as any product is, we always look for ways to make it better. We developed custom fabrics that would be lighter weight without sacrificing the durability and reflectivity characteristics we demanded. We also redesigned the integrated attachment strap to provide an even tighter grip on the flash whilst still allowing for wide adaptability to multiple flash sizes.”

ExpoImaging has also made product improvements to its best-selling Flashbender XL Pro Kit, a large light portable studio kit, by reducing its weight as well as making improvements to the attachment design.

“The idea behind the original FlashBender XL Pro Kit was to create a larger light source with studio-style control whilst retaining the portability and easy setup fundamental to all the FlashBenders,” explained Sowder. “With the FlashBender 2 XL Pro, we worked hard to decrease the weight of the original XL Pro as well as to further refine its attachment design.  The new FlashBender 2 XL Pro Reflector is 20% lighter.  We know that every bit of weight reduction is welcome for photographers that take lighting equipment on location.”

“We also know that photographers will be pleased by the inclusion of the new XL Pro Strip Grid attachment in the System.  Combining diffusion fabric with a black fabric grid, the Strip Grid provides precise rim and edge lighting control.  It attaches quickly to the front of the XL Pro Reflector and is compatible with the original XL Pro Reflector design. To keep it portable, the System is sized to fit a 43cm laptop compartment, or lay flat to allow more room for lenses and other essential equipment in the gear bag.  We also include a handy Travel Bag,” concluded Sowder.

The Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Lighting System includes:  FlashBender 2 XL Pro Reflector, XL Pro Strip Grid, XL Pro Diffusion Panel, and XL Pro Travel Bag.

New and improved Rogue FlashBender 2 versions include the FlashBender 2 XL Pro System, the FlashBender 2 Large and Small Reflectors, FlashBender 2 Bounce Card, FlashBender 2 Large and Small Softbox Kits and the FlashBender 2 Portable Lighting Kit.

The Rogue FlashBender 2 range is available to purchase through leading photography retailers and is distributed exclusively by Color Confidence. For further information and to purchase your product, visit www.colorconfidence.com.

BenQ Debuts their First Colour Critical Monitor for Photography and Graphic Design Professionals

BenQ1

BenQ has launched a new 24” colour critical monitor designed for photographers and graphic design professionals with an eye for detail, that value colour accuracy.

Developed by BenQ specifically for the colour critical photography market, the BenQ PG2401PT monitor comes complete with Palette Master Software, which has been co-developed with X-Rite – the global leader in colour science and technology.

The new monitor has an impressive 1920 x 1200 resolution that reproduces 99% Adobe RGB colour space. The wide colour gamut offers superb image clarity and detail.

Each monitor has been rigorously factory tested for brightness uniformity, Delta-E and Gamma curve to achieve the highest colour reproduction quality and accuracy.

The ergonomic stand can be set to Tilt, Pivot or Swivel mode. The on-screen display can also rotate automatically for landscape or portrait use.

Key features of the new BenQ monitor include:

  • 5 year warranty with zero pixel defect guarantee for the first 6 months
  • Monitor hood included
  • Individual factory-tested colour calibration report included
  • A 10-bit display panel for smooth shading and colour transitions in natural gradations
  • 14-bit 3D Look-Up-Table and processing for improved RGB colour blending accuracy, resulting in impeccable colour and grey tone reproduction
  • The monitor achieves an average Delta E value of 2 and below, ensuring colour accuracy throughout project workflow as well as providing viewers the truest impression of the original image
  • Input terminals include D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini Display Port, USB 3.0 together with a convenient SD card reader
  • Brightness uniformity support that balances brightness and chromaticity for consistent image viewing across the entire display.

The new BenQ Pro colour critical monitor is available to purchase through leading photography retailers and is distributed exclusively by Color Confidence in the UK, Poland, France, Nordics and Spain.

The new BenQ monitor will be launched with a limited time bundle offer. Purchase the BenQ PG2401PT and receive an X-Rite i1Display Pro calibrator (normal RRP £207 incl. VAT) for only £120 incl. VAT. This offer is valid until 28 February 2015 and the bundle is only available through specialist photo resellers.

For further information, visit www.colorconfidence.com.