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Updated Apple Mac Pro Announced

In the last few days we’ve seen a couple of announcements from Apple regarding their computer range, with the much anticipated Mac Pro workstation and the ultralight Macbook Air systems seeing significant updates. With one of the most dramatic departures from conventional design seen in many years from Apple, the new Mac Pro is a striking unit, targeting professionals seeking the utmost power, speed and flexibility.Mac Pro 2013

From Apple:

June 10, 2013—Apple® today showed a sneak peek into the future of the pro desktop with a first look at the next generation Mac Pro®. Designed around a revolutionary unified thermal core, the Mac Pro introduces a completely new pro desktop architecture and design that is optimized for performance inside and out. With next generation Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, Thunderbolt 2, PCIe-based flash storage, and ultra-fast ECC memory, the new 9.9-inch tall Mac Pro packs an amazing amount of power into an incredibly small package.

“With the latest Xeon processors, dual FirePro GPUs, ECC memory, PCIe-based flash and Thunderbolt 2, all built around a revolutionary thermal core, the next generation Mac Pro is the most radical Mac yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “All this performance and expandability is packed into a dramatic new design that’s one-eighth the volume, and best of all, it will be assembled here in the USA.”

The next generation Mac Pro is architected around an ingenious unified thermal core that allows the desktop to efficiently share its entire thermal capacity across all the processors. The result is a pro desktop with breakthrough performance packed into a design that is one-eighth the volume of the current Mac Pro. Next generation Intel Xeon E5 processors with up to 12 core configurations deliver double the floating point performance. With two AMD FirePro workstation-class GPUs, the all-new Mac Pro is up to 2.5 times faster than the current Mac Pro and delivers up to an amazing 7 teraflops of compute power. The new Mac Pro also features PCIe-based flash storage that is up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives and includes the latest four-channel ECC DDR3 memory running at 1866 MHz to deliver up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth.* With all that power, the new Mac Pro lets you seamlessly edit full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background.

The next generation Mac Pro is the most expandable Mac® ever built. With six Thunderbolt 2 ports that can deliver up to 20Gbps of bandwidth to each external device, Mac Pro is perfect for connecting to external storage, multiple PCI expansion chassis, audio and video breakout boxes, and the latest external displays, including 4K desktop displays. Each of the six Thunderbolt 2 ports supports up to six daisy-chained devices, giving you the ability to connect up to 36 high-performance peripherals. Thunderbolt 2 is completely backwards compatible with existing Thunderbolt peripherals, and allows you to transfer data between Macs faster and easier than ever.

*Performance claims are based on technical specifications of preproduction Mac Pro hardware as of June 2013.

Pricing is Australia is yet to be announced.

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Metabones Speed Booster Now Available

Camera Hire has just added a Metabones Speed Booster to its hire inventory. The Speed Booster enables the mounting of Canon EF lenses to Sony NEX-mount cameras, such as the Sony NEX-FS700.

Metabones Speed Booster
The Metabones Speed Booster

The Metabones Speed Booster increases your maximum aperture by 1-stop, and shortens the focal length of your lenses by 0.71x. Because the Sony FS700 crops lenses by 1.6x, the Speed Booster effectively eliminates this crop, giving you back your wide-angle perspective.

From Metabones:

Metabones® and Caldwell Photographic jointly announce a revolutionary accessory called Speed Booster™, which mounts between a mirrorless camera and a SLR lens. It increases maximum aperture by 1 stop (hence its name), increases MTF and has a focal length multiplier of 0.71x. For example, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II lens becomes a 59mm f/0.9 lens on a Sony NEX camera, with increased sharpness. The faster F-stop allows for shallow depth-of-field and a lower ISO setting for decreased noise.

Speed Booster is also particularly pertinent to ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses. The combined focal length multiplier of Speed Booster and an APS-C mirrorless camera is approximately 1.09x, making the combination almost “full-frame”. Full-frame ultra-wide-angle SLR lenses largely retain their angle-of-view on an APS-C mirrorless camera when Speed Booster is used.

The optics of Speed Booster is designed by Brian Caldwell, PhD, a veteran of highly-corrected lens designs such as the Coastal Optics 60mm f/4 UV-VIS-IR APO Macro lens with exemplary MTF performance (focusing done with visible light requires no correction whatsoever for the full spectrum from UV to IR).

Speed Booster serves double-duty as a lens mount adapter, from Canon EF lens (but not EF-S) to Sony NEX, with auto-aperture, image stablization, EXIF and (slow) autofocus support for late-model (post-2006) Canon-brand lenses.

The Metabones Speed Booster is now available for hire from Camera Hire.

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Adobe Lightroom 5 Released

Adobe Lightroom 5
Adobe Lightroom 5


Adobe has just released its latest update to Lightroom. Highlights include the addition of new editing tools, an advanced healing brush, as well as an updated process for sharing stills and video.

Press Release from Adobe:

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced the availability of Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 5 for Mac OS® and Windows®. The product is available as an individual license or as part of Adobe Creative CloudTM. Designed for both photography enthusiasts and professionals alike, Lightroom 5 adds critical photo editing capabilities and creates groundbreaking workflows. Lightroom 5 was initially released as a free, public beta in April 2013.

“Lightroom was originally conceived through the requests of Adobe customers, and this feedback continues to drive each new iteration,” said Winston Hendrickson, vice president of products, Creative Media Solutions, Adobe. “As the digital photography landscape advances and evolves, Lightroom is the best solution for photographers and passionate hobbyists who want to get the most out of their digital images.”

New Features in Lightroom 5

Lightroom 5 adds powerful new editing tools to help photographers create better images faster. The Advanced Healing Brush enables customers to fix irregularly shaped imperfections such as dust spots, splotches, and other distractions with the precision and flexibility of a fine brush. The Upright tool analyses each image to automatically straighten objects such as buildings and level horizons. Radial Gradients offer customers the control to make photo subjects stand out by applying off-centre and multiple vignettes in a single image.

Lightroom 5 also brings extended sharing and publishing capabilities. New video slideshows enable customers to combine still images, video clips and music in a creative HD slideshow that can be viewed on almost any device. Updates to the Book module bring the ability to create, personalise and print elegant photo books from a variety of tailored, easy-to-use templates, as well as create customer-specific templates.

Smart Previews, new in Lightroom 5, enable photographers to make edits to their images offline, without bringing their entire library of original files with them. Edits and metadata changes to Smart Preview files are automatically applied to the original images when they are reconnected.

Lightroom 5 is now available at $186 Aus for the full version, or $99 Aus for those upgrading from a previous version of Lightroom.

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Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Extender Lens Announced

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS Extender Lens

The much anticipated Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Extender lens has finally been announced by Canon. The lens features a built-in 1.4x extender, transforming the lens into a 280-560mm f/5.6, and a 4-stop Image Stabiliser. Availability in Australia is expected by the end of May 2013.

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS Press Release:

Canon announces today the launch of a new addition to the company’s line-up of interchangeable EF lenses for use with Canon EOS-series SLR cameras: the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x. The groundbreaking L (luxury)-series lens, the world’s first1 super-telephoto zoom lens to incorporate an internal extender, delivers enhanced convenience and exceptional imaging performance on par with large-diameter super-telephoto prime lenses. Covering a wide zoom range from 200–560 mm, the new lens supports the advanced needs of professional photographers and contributes to expanding the possibilities in imaging expression.

Featuring a built-in 1.4x extender that employs eight lens elements in four groups, the new Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x enables users to instantly change the lens’s zoom range from 200–400 mm to 280–560 mm with the single flip of a switch.2 In addition, the super-telephoto zoom lens realises high image quality even when the extender is in use.3 Offering superior convenience, the model is particularly useful for capturing sports, nature and other types of photography involving weight and shooting-space restrictions that limit the amount of equipment that can be brought to a location, or in situations where users are unable to get close to a subject.

Through a simple one-touch operation, the zoom range of the EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x can be extended without having to switch lenses, eliminating the risk of dust or moisture entering the lens or camera when changing lenses. In addition, with the attachment of an external 1.4x extender (sold separately), users can realise image capture up to a maximum focal length of 784 mm and auto-focusing at a maximum aperture of f/8.4

The Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x incorporates a new optical design that makes use of a fluorite lens and four UD (ultra-low dispersion) lens elements, which effectively correct for colour aberrations across the entire zoom range, making possible high-resolution, high-contrast imaging performance comparable to that made possible by large-diameter super-telephoto prime lenses. Greatly minimising the occurrence of flare and ghosting, the new lens employs optimal lens positioning and coatings, as well as Canon’s proprietary SWC (Subwavelength Structure Coating) anti-reflection coating technology.

In order to equip the new lens with an internal extender, Canon newly developed a compact IS unit that delivers image stabilisation equivalent to approximately four shutter-speed stops.5 The EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x allows users to select from three different IS modes, including IS Mode 2, which is ideal for photography where panning is necessary, such as when shooting motor sports and moving trains; and IS Mode 3, which provides optimal image stabilisation when capturing fast-paced action, such as sports.

The new super-telephoto zoom lens has been thoroughly reduced in weight through the liberal use of magnesium alloy and features a construction that ensures a high level of durability and ruggedness in the face of harsh shooting conditions to satisfy the demands of professionals.

The Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x super-telephoto zoom lens is expected to be available in Australia from the end of May with pricing at dealer discretion.