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Win A Copy Of DxO PhotoLab 5 or FilmPack 6 Software!

Win A Copy Of DxO PhotoLab 5 or FilmPack 6 Software!

We’ve tamed up with DxO to give you the chance to win either a copy of the brand-new PhotoLab 5 or FilmPack 6 photo editing software.

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Competitions

 DxO PhotoLab 5 software

We have a brand-new photography competition for you to enter, sponsored by our friends DxO, who are giving you the chance to win either PhotoLab 5 or FilmPack 6 software (we have 3 copies of each to give away). 

Prizes Up For Grabs:

More information on how to enter and what prizes are up for grabs can be found below. 

 

How Do I Enter?

To be in with a chance of winning, we want to see your photos that fit the theme ‘lines and circles’. We’ve chosen ‘lines and circles’ as DxO has introduced a new way for editing photos in PhotoLab 5 and that’s with Control Lines. This new tool complements the technology’s existing Control Points by allowing users to carry out touch-ups on large areas with an easy-to-use selection method.

Think shapes, long roads, lines of trees, roundabouts, road signs… anything goes so long as it fits the theme.

Simply submit your photos over in our competition forum before midnight on 17 November 2021 for the chance to win one of the top prizes DxO are giving away. 

Enter Now

 

Closing Date & Entry Details 

The competition closes at midnight on 17 November 2021. Entries added after this time will not be counted. 2 entries are allowed for free members and up to 4 entries are allowed for Plus members. Anyone who submits more images than they are allowed to will be disqualified. Entries posted on the bottom of this article will not be counted! Please use the competition forum topic.

 

More On The Prizes Up For Grabs…

PhotoLab 5

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 now sets the standard for image quality. The software offers users the most powerful correction and processing solutions on the market, with automated features that can be turned off and adjusted as required. The software offers unparalleled optical corrections through its exclusive lens sharpness technology and many other tools, all of which are designed to inspire artistic expression without compromising on image quality.

 

FilmPack 6

 

The latest version of DxO FilmPack 6 introduces new films, cinematographic renderings, and Fujifilm in addition to support for X-Trans RAW files (Beta). It features a wide array of new effects as well as Time Machine, a unique and interactive introduction to the history of film photography.

 

Good Luck!

 

T&Cs:

By entering the competition, entrants agree to be bound by the rules and by any other requirements set out on ePHOTOzine.

  • The following people are excluded from entering the competition: (1) Direct and indirect employees, staff and their relatives of the supplier of the prize or prizes (2) The publishers of ePHOTOzine (3) Advertisers or sponsors of ePHOTOzine.
  • Only two entries per competition are allowed per free member, 4 entries are allowed per Plus member.
  • We reserve the right to remove images that have not been submitted correctly, ie too small. There isn’t a maximum file size or dimension restriction for entries.
  • All entries must be submitted through the ePHOTOzine competition forum web page and will not be accepted via any other means, eg, post, fax or e-mail.
  • No responsibility is accepted for incomplete entries due to server error or other causes beyond our control.
  • One winning entry will be chosen, by an ePHOTOzine or guest judge. This will be the image which, in the judge’s opinion is the most original and of the highest quality and meets the theme. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • ePHOTOzine reserves the right to disqualify incomplete or illegal entries.
  • The prize winner will receive the prize as featured in the corresponding month’s competition. There is no cash alternative to the prize as stated.
  • This competition is open to UK entries only. Those based outside the UK can enter if they have a UK address that the prize can be sent to, such as that of a friend or relative. Please update your portfolio with the UK address. 
  • The deadline for entering the competition is midnight (GMT) on the last day of the calendar month in which the competition is being held unless otherwise stated.
  • The winner or winners will be notified by e-mail within 28 days of the end of the competition. The winner’s details will be posted on ePHOTOzine within 28 days of the end of the competition.
  • The winner must acknowledge his or her win within three weeks of being notified via email or the prize may be re-allocated to the next-placed winner.
  • All entrants agree that their name and images can be displayed and used in promotion for future competitions on ePHOTOzine. The winning entry may be used by the sponsor as a promotional image. The terms of this would be agreed with ePHOTOzine and the sponsor before the prize is announced. By entering the competition you have confirmed you have authorised this.
  • The name of the winner may be published on ePHOTOzine after he or she has acknowledged their win.
  • We reserve the right not to hold a competition in any given month.
  • ePHOTOzine only provides the means of entry to the competition and does not normally supply the competition prizes. The sponsors are therefore liable for the prize.
  • We reserve the right to modify these rules without notice. (Last modified: 8 Apr 2020)


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DxO Introduce PhotoLab 5 With Improved Local Adjustment Tools & Support For Fujifilm X-Trans Sensor Cameras

DxO Introduce PhotoLab 5 With Improved Local Adjustment Tools & Support For Fujifilm X-Trans Sensor Cameras

Sreenshot Photolab 5 U Point Sensitivity Copy |
 

DxO has updated its popular photo editing software, PhotoLab 5, with enhanced tools, a more powerful PhotoLibrary and for the first time, Fujifilm cameras with the X-Trans sensor are supported. 

It might only be in BETA but Fujifilm fans will be happy to hear that 18 Fujifilm cameras are now supported by PhotoLab 5 which includes the X-E4, X-S10, X-T4, and X100V. Plus, 605 DxO modules have been made available along with support for newer Canon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony and Panasonic cameras.

“We are very happy to finally open our doors to the community of Fujifilm photographers,” said Jean-Marc Alexia, VP Product Strategy. “Our goal is to offer them the best solution available in terms of image quality. To this end, we have created a website specifically dedicated to collecting their feedback. We can’t wait to hear what they think.”

Fujifilm photographers are welcome to submit their feedback and comments via the DxO website

As for tool upgrades, DxO users now have access to Control Lines when using the retouching tools that harness DxO’s U Point technology. Previously, Control Points could be used to apply specific edits but now, with Control Lines, these adjustments can be applied to larger areas. Plus, Control Lines and Control Points are now equipped with sensitivity settings. RAW editing is now also up to 4X faster for MAC uses and 1.5X quicker for those using Windows.

In the PhotoLibrary, PhotoLab 5 now processes IPTC and EXIF data and a keyword tree has been introduced that orders keywords alphabetically and tells you how many images have a particular keyword applied to them. If you’ve used PhotoLab software previously, you’ll also notice that the tools in the PhotoLibrary have been reorganised so they’re easier to access. 

To learn more about the new tools and updates found in PhotoLab 5, take a look at our reviewDxO PhotoLab 5 Software Review

You can also win a copy of DxO PhotoLab 5 or FilmPack 6 in our latest competition

 

Pricing & Availability 

DxO PhotoLab 5 (PC and Mac) is available now from the DxO online store at the following introductory prices until 14 November 2021:

  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition: £99.99 instead of £129
  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition: £149.99 instead of £199

The DxO PhotoLab 5 license does not require a subscription and can be installed either on two workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition) or three workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition).

DxO PhotoLab 3 and DxO PhotoLab 4 users can purchase an upgrade to DxO PhotoLab 5 by logging into their customer account. Users who have a version of the software older than DxO PhotoLab 3 are not eligible for an upgrade and will need to purchase a new license.

A full, one-month trial version of DxO PhotoLab 5 is available on the DxO website.

 

From DxO: 

Sreenshot Photolab 5 Control Line Copy |
 

DxO PhotoLab now sets the standard for image quality. The software offers users the most powerful correction and processing solutions on the market, with automated features that can be turned off and adjusted as required. The software offers unparalleled optical corrections through its exclusive lens sharpness technology and many other tools, all of which are designed to inspire artistic expression without compromising on image quality.

 

U Point technology: New pointer – Control Lines – and improved sensitivity settings
DxO is further advancing the most efficient and intuitive local retouching and adjustment technologies available by adding a second type of pointer: Control Lines. This new tool complements the technology’s existing Control Points by allowing users to carry out touch-ups on large areas with an easy-to-use selection method. To make them even more precise, Control Lines and Control Points are now equipped with sensitivity settings. Photographers can easily adjust the effect of their edits based on the luminance and chrominance of the targeted areas.

 

A PhotoLibrary packed with metadata and keyword management features

PhotoLab 5 now processes IPTC and EXIF data and third-party application synchronizations. It also includes advanced means of keyword prioritization via an interactive tree structure. In addition, this new version optimizes the software’s photo library management tools by reorganizing them.

 

Sreenshot Photolab 5 Iptc Copy |
 

DeepPRIME: more efficient and up to 4 times faster
Trained by deep learning methods using millions of images analysed in DxO laboratories over the past 20 years, DxO DeepPRIME technology uses artificial intelligence to develop RAW files. It drastically improves digital noise reduction while ensuring more efficient demosaicing. Traditionally, these two operations have been carried out separately, each introducing flaws that adversely affect the quality of the other. With deep learning, DeepPRIME takes a holistic approach that combines the two steps into one.

The deep-learning approach of DxO PhotoLab 5 and DeepPRIME, in particular, has been significantly optimized in terms of reactivity as well as processing and export times. These improvements are available to everyone and are up to 4 times faster for Apple Silicon Mac users and 1.5 times faster on the best Windows architectures.

 

Support for Fujifilm X-Trans sensors (Beta)
For the first time ever, DxO PhotoLab 5 now supports Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras. From the recent X-E4, X-S10, X-T4, and X100V through to the older X-E2 and X-70, no fewer than 18 Fujifilm cameras are now supported. In addition, 605 new DxO modules have been made available. Created through the exclusive DxO Labs calibration process, these modules automatically remove optical defects such as distortion, chromatic aberrations, vignetting, and lack of sharpness.

 

Support for even more equipment
DxO PhotoLab 5 supports 26 new cameras: Canon EOS Ra, DJI Air 2S & Mini 2, Fujifilm X-E2, X-E2S, X-E3, X-E4, X-H1, X-Pro2, X-Pro3, X-S10, X-T1, X-T2, X-T20, X-T3, X-T30, X-T4, X100F, X100T, X100V, X70, Nikon Z fc, Olympus PEN E-P7, Panasonic GH5 II, Pentax K-3 III, Sony ZV-E10.

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DxO PhotoLab 5: Everything You Need To Create Spectacular Images

DxO PhotoLab 5: Everything You Need To Create Spectacular Images

– Partner Content – 

DxO PhotoLab 5

From day one, DxO has stood out for its expertise in image quality and with every PhotoLab update, the French company’s lead on rival software gets just that little bit bigger. 

DxO was the first company to incorporate optical corrections based on laboratory-calculated mathematical models into its software and this revolutionary attitude to innovation still continues today with the introduction of PhotoLab 5 which expands and improves on tried-and-tested tools while adding features photographers will soon learn they can’t live without. 

With enhanced local adjustment tools and a more powerful PhotoLibrary, DxO is not afraid to look at what its software offers, assess its abilities and continuously improve on them. This includes the U Point technology DxO purchased from Google back in 2017 which lets users make complex selections in just a few clicks as well as applying enhancements to the PhotoLibrary which ensures photographers have an end-to-end image production workflow that includes everything from organisation to export.

DxO has also made a name for itself through its de-noising algorithm, PRIME, which is designed to reduce noise without diminishing colours – even at extreme ISO values and in PhotoLab 5, the DeepPrime denoising tool has been improved so it’s up to four times faster than what previous versions of the software offered.

 

“DxO PhotoLab 5 offers unparalleled optical corrections through its exclusive lens sharpness technology and many other tools, all of which are designed to inspire artistic expression without compromising on image quality,” DxO. 

 

DeepPRIME: Develop RAW Files Up To 4X Faster

Trained by deep learning methods using millions of images analysed in DxO laboratories over the past 20 years, DxO DeepPRIME technology uses artificial intelligence to develop RAW files. It drastically improves digital noise reduction while ensuring more efficient demosaicing. Traditionally, these two operations have been carried out separately, each introducing flaws that adversely affect the quality of the other. With deep learning, DeepPRIME takes a holistic approach that combines the two steps into one.

The deep-learning approach of DxO PhotoLab 5 and DeepPRIME, in particular, has been significantly optimized in terms of reactivity as well as processing and export times. These improvements are available to everyone and are up to 4 times faster for Apple Silicon Mac users and 1.5 times faster on the best Windows architectures.

 

Control Line in PhotoLab 5

 

U Point Technology: The Future Of Photo Editing Just Got Even Better

DxO is further advancing the most efficient and intuitive local retouching and adjustment technologies available by adding a second type of pointer: Control Lines. This new tool complements the technology’s existing Control Points by allowing users to carry out touch-ups on large areas with an easy-to-use selection method.

To make them even more precise, Control Lines and Control Points are now equipped with sensitivity settings. Photographers can easily adjust the effect of their edits based on the luminance and chrominance of the targeted areas.

 This feature, which millions of photographers love for its easy-to-use design, lets users make complex selections with minimal effort, speeding up workflow and making photo editing a breeze. 

DxO’s U Point technology is also fully integrated into PhotoLab’s non-destructive workflow so any mistakes you want to undo or any edits you want to tweak – you can.

 

PhotoLab 5 Library

 

PhotoLibrary: Organise, Manage & Sort Photos With Ease

PhotoLab 5 now processes IPTC and EXIF data and third-party application synchronisations. It also includes advanced means of keyword prioritisation via an interactive tree structure. In addition, this new version optimises the software’s photo library management tools by reorganising them. 

 

Support for Fujifilm X-Trans Sensors (Beta)

For the first time ever, DxO PhotoLab 5 now supports Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras. From the recent X-E4, X-S10, X-T4, and X100V through to the older X-E2 and X-70, no fewer than 18 Fujifilm cameras are now supported. In addition, 605 new DxO modules have been made available. Created through the exclusive DxO Labs calibration process, these modules automatically remove optical defects such as distortion, chromatic aberrations, vignetting, and lack of sharpness.

Last, DxO PhotoLab 5 supports 7 additional cameras: Canon EOS Ra, DJI Air 2S & Mini 2, Nikon Z fc, Olympus PEN E-P7, Panasonic GH5 II, Pentax K-3 III, and Sony ZV-E10.

DxO PhotoLab 5

Pricing & Availability 

DxO PhotoLab 5 (PC and Mac) is available now from the DxO online store at the following introductory prices until 14 November 2021:

  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition: £99.99 instead of £129
  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition: £149.99 instead of £199

The DxO PhotoLab 5 license does not require a subscription and can be installed either on two workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition) or three workstations (DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition).

DxO PhotoLab 3 and DxO PhotoLab 4 users can purchase an upgrade to DxO PhotoLab 5 by logging into their customer account. Users who have a version of the software older than DxO PhotoLab 3 are not eligible for an upgrade and will need to purchase a new license.

A full, one-month trial version of DxO PhotoLab 5 is available on the DxO website.

DxO PhotoLab 5 Free Trial

 

 

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DxO PhotoLab 5 Software Review

DxO PhotoLab 5 Software Review

PhotoLab 5
 

Quick Verdict

DxO PhotoLab 5 brings additional/improved tools to an already excellent line-up of photo editing and management tools but we can still see where improvements could be made to the Photo Management section of the software. Having said that, the fact that it’s built into the user interface alongside the photo editing options does mean you’re not switching in and out of different programmes and it is really easy to use. Plus, the addition of EXIF editing along with the new ‘keyword tree’ makes it a better photo management tool overall. 

The minimal upgrades might not be enough to persuade everyone to upgrade/switch but we can see many of those who are already using DxO PhotoLab 5 finding the updates to the software useful. As a result, DxO PhotoLab 5 still comes ‘Highly Recommended’.

– Cons

  • Minimal updates
  • PhotoLibrary options could still be improved 

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 is the latest version of the French company’s photo editing software that also combines a photo library/management tool within the same user interface. With version 5 comes updates to both areas of the software so we’re putting it to the test to find out just how easy it is to organise and edit our photos with the new software. 

We’ll mainly be focusing on ‘what’s new’ in DxO PhotoLab 5 so if you do want more of an overview of what the PhotoLab software is, have a look at our previous reviews and take a look at the DxO website

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 Features

The introduction of DxO PhotoLab 5 brings improvements to local adjustment tools as well as an updated PhotoLibrary. You also get a speedier RAW file development tool and support for additional cameras including the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor camera range which is a first for the software. 

New Features:

  • RAW editing speed improvements 
  • Support for Fujifilm X-Trans RAW files 
  • Selective metadata copy/paste
  • IPTC editing
  • Keyword tree
  • EXIF editing
  • Metadata display
  • Selective metadata-export options
  • Standard metadata copy/paste
  • Control Lines (U POINT Technology)
  • Selective application of Control Points and Control Lines

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 Handling & Performance

PhotoLab 5
 

When you first launch DxO PhotoLab 5 you are asked how many of the automated features you’d like to appear in your workspace so more experienced photo editors can choose to work in a less cluttered workspace with options to toggle palettes and automated features as needed. 

As with version 4 of the software, PhotoLab 5 offers two interfaces: PhotoLibrary and Customise so where you organise photos and edit them are kept separately. 

Those who have used previous versions of PhotoLab will be familiar with the setup and those who have used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop will also see some similarities between the brands. The grey tones used for the user interface are great for photo editing as the neutral tones won’t affect the colours/tones of the images you are working on. You can also move/remove/add panels so you can customise the workspace to show only the tools you need. 

 

PhotoLab 5
 

As we’ve taken a look at previous versions of DxO PhotoLab, we won’t be going into too many details about the overall performance and layout as you can see our comments on this in our previous reviews but, before we take a look at the new features on offer in DxO PhotoLab 5, we thought we’d summarise what we think of DxO PhotoLab overall and it’s a really great piece of photo editing software that’s backed up by a comprehensive photo library/management tool. The in-built PhotoLibrary means you can organise and then edit your images all in one place without having to switch in-and-out of different software and DxO has added new tools that improve how the PhotoLibrary works. The Customise tab where you make all of your edits is still easy to use and has plenty of tools that make improving your photos a straightforward process. Plus, tools such as the HSL colour wheel just make the whole process a bit more fun and the Control Points which use the in-built U-Point technology are still excellent tools for speeding up your workflow, especially with the introduction of Control Lines which we’ll be looking at in more detail. 

As for performance, we didn’t experience any issues with lag or loading which is a positive. 

 

Right. Let’s have a look at the new tools and improvements…

 

U Point Technology: New Pointer & Control Lines 

PhotoLab 5
 

We’ve never had a bad word to say about the U Point Technology built into DxO PhotoLab as it’s fun to use and makes applying/editing masks for specific photo edits a really simple process. Now, when you have a large area you want to edit you can use the ‘Control Lines’ option as this selects larger areas faster. Both Control Points and the new Control lines are also equipped with sensitivity settings so you can use luminance (light) and chrominance (colour) sliders to adjust how strong the effect you’re applying is. As before, you access these going to the Local Adjustments panel and right-clicking anywhere on the image. 

 

PhotoLab 5
 

All of these edits are non-destructive so you can click on the points/lines you’ve applied to tweak them and there’s a history panel so you can go back to specific edits you’ve made if you need to. There’s still no Layer system built-in but, really, it’s not needed as you can apply multiple masks/control points to one image which can all be individually adjusted. 

 

PhotoLibrary Improvements

PhotoLab 5

 

This was one area we thought DxO was lagging behind in when you compare it with other software which does a similar thing such as Lightroom or Excire Foto. This part of the software indexes your photos that contain images but unlike other photo management software, you can’t import images. Instead, you work on the images from the files on your computer but you can create Projects should you want to. 

PhotoLab 5 now processes IPTC and EXIF data, something previous versions didn’t do, and you can edit/add IPTC data but Metadata is still not editable. We do see an improvement in keywording, though, with a keywords list that is ordered alphabetically/numerically so you can see how many images have a specific keyword attached to them. It’s also really easy to add new keywords to images but the method isn’t quite as fluid as it is in other photo management software. There aren’t any preset keywords either – you have to add them all yourself. However, it’s good that DxO has reorganised the PhotoLibrary so all of the Metadata and Keyword information can be found to the right of the user interface which was missing in previous versions. 

Overall, the best way to describe the PhotoLibrary is ‘a bit basic’ but DxO is great at bringing new features/improvements to PhotoLab so perhaps this is an area they will continue to work on. 

 

DeepPRIME: Developing RAW Files Quicker

DxO PhotoLab has always offered excellent RAW file editing and improvements this time have come in terms of speed with the noise removing process alongside ClearView and Colour Rendering been up to 1.6X faster than PhotoLab 4. To be fair, we didn’t really experience speed issues when using previous versions but any improvement that speeds up workflow will be welcomed by users. Those who use Macs will see speed improvements of up to 4.5X. 

An improvement that won’t be applicable to everyone but will please Fujfilm fans is the fact that DxO PhotoLab 5 now supports Fujifilm X-Trans sensor cameras as previously, DxO’s RAW demosaicing process wasn’t compatible with the colour filter array the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor used.  Additionally, DxO PhotoLab 5 now supports the Canon EOS Ra, DJI Air 2S & Mini 2, Nikon Z fc, Olympus PEN E-P7, Panasonic GH5 II, Pentax K-3 III, and Sony ZV-E10.

 

PhotoLab 5

 

Value For Money

DxO PhotoLab 5 (PC and Mac) is available now from the DxO online store at the following introductory prices until 14 November 2021:

  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ESSENTIAL Edition: £99.99 instead of £129
  • DxO PhotoLab 5 ELITE Edition: £149.99 instead of £199

The Elite version unlocks extra features/tools so it’s worth taking a look at the comparison table over on the DxO website to see if the extra money is a justified spend for you. There’s also a 30-day free trial available so you can test out the software before parting with any cash.

One bonus that comes with a DxO PhotoLab 5 purchase is that it’s a one-off fee which makes it rather good value for money when you compare it to Adobe’s monthly/yearly memberships which give photographers access to their software.

Alternative RAW editors include On1 Photo RAW which is available for around £70-90 and Corel AfterShot Pro 3 available for around £64. You may also want to take a look at Serif Affinity Photo which offers RAW editing, plus much more, for under £50. ACDSee Photo Studio Professional is priced at $99.99 and Zone Photo Studio X is available for $4.99 a month. 

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 Verdict

DxO PhotoLab 5 brings additional/improved tools to an already excellent line-up of photo editing and management options. Plus, for those who are new to photo editing or are looking to upgrade from a more basic photo editor, tools such as DxO’s U Point control make applying edits an intuitive and quick process. As it’s subscription-free, it might also tempt those who have used Adobe products across. 

Improvements in the Photo Management section of the software are welcomed with EXIF editing now available and the introduction of a keyword tree speeding the organisation process up but it still doesn’t feel quite as efficient as other photo management software we’ve used. However, the fact that it’s built into the user interface alongside the photo editing options does mean you’re not switching in and out of different programmes. 

The minimal upgrades might not be enough to persuade everyone to upgrade but those already using DxO PhotoLab 5 will find the updates to the photo management section useful and the U POint technology will always be impressive. As a result, DxO PhotoLab 5 still comes ‘Highly Recommended’.

 

DxO PhotoLab 5 Cons

  • Minimal updates
  • PhotoLibrary options could still be improved 

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Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review

Sony Xperia 5 III Smartphone Review

P1010020 | 1/125 sec | f/3.5 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

 

Quick Verdict

The Sony Xperia 5 III smartphone shares some of the excellent features found on the more expensive Sony Xperia 1 III but in a smaller, easier to hold body that’s also got a better price tag. The camera is great, taking true-to-life photos and if you have the patience to learn how to use the Pro Mode then you’ll capture even better shots. If you can get on with the unusual dimensions and want a smartphone with premium tech that’s not priced at over £1000, the Xperia 5 III could be for you. 

+ Pros

  • Good screen 
  • Good image quality 
  • A useful line-up of cameras 
  • Compact shape
  • Excellent battery life 

– Cons

  • Still quite expensive
  • No wireless charging
  • The design won’t be for everyone

 

 

The Sony Xperia 5 III updates the Sony Xperia 5 II and as its predecessor did with the Sony Xperia 1 II, The Sony Xperia 5 III shares quite a few of the specs found on the Sony Xperia 1 III but as a price point more of us can afford.  

It’s priced at around £899 which is still quite expensive and £100 more than the Sony Xperia 5 II was priced at launch so we’re going to be taking a close look at this new smartphone to find out if the price equates to good value for money or if your cash will be better spent elsewhere. 

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Features

P1010011 | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | 14.0 mm | ISO 200
 

The Sony Xperia 5 III features the same cameras as the Xperia 1 III but there’s no time-of-flight sensor for judging depth and it has a 6.1-inch screen as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. A new 30W charger is included in the box of the Xperia 5 III, too. 

As for the cameras, you get a 16mm ultra-wide, 24mm wide and a 70-105mm telephoto lens (all 12MP) with 20fps continuous shooting on offer as well as Sony’s Dual PDAF technology. There’s a 6.1-inch, tall and long 21:9 ratio screen (a USP of Sony smartphones), a 3.5mm stereo jack and a 4500mAh battery (improved over the Xperia 5 II). You also get 4K video, a Pro video mode, two memory options that are expandable with a MicroSD, water/dust resistance and an 8MP 24mm selfie camera. 

If it’s all sounding a bit familiar, that’s because quite a few of the specs are shared with the Xperia 5 II:

 

SpecsSony Xperia 5 IIISony Xperia 5 II
Rear Camera12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
Front Camera8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
Display6.1″ OLED display6.1″ OLED display 
Video4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)4K, FullHD (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
USBUSB-CUSB-C
Battery4500mAh (no wireless charging)4000mAh (no wireless charging)
Weight168g163g
Dimensions157 x 68 x 8.2mm158 x 68 x 8mm
Memory128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Key Features:

  • Triple Rear Camera: 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm – 105mm f/2.8 (telephoto) with Dual Pixel PDAF, 3x/4,4x optical zoom, OIS, 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Display: 6.1″ OLED display
  • Zoom: 3X-.4X optical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • Pro video and camera modes 
  • Video: 4K 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p (5-axis gyro-EIS, OIS)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Type-C USB
  • 4500mAh battery with fast charging but no wireless charging
  • 128GB/8GB RAM or 256GB/8GB RAM (microSDXC slot for expanded storage)
  • Dimensions: 157 x 68 x 8.2mm
  • Weight: 168g

 

Sony Xperia 5 III Handling

P1010022 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As mentioned, if you’ve read our review of the Sony Xperia 5 II or have held it in your own hands, you may be experiencing some deja vu as they are very similar in looks and specs. In fact, the Sony USP of a 21:9 aspect ratio display has been around for some time now which means you get a narrow smartphone with a big screen but the dimensions still won’t suit everyone. It does fit well in the hand, though, and you can easily control the smartphone one-handed. It’s also easier to hold and use than the Xperia 1 III it it shares specs with. 

The rounded edges/corners remain which makes the smartphone comfortable to hold and there’s still a chin as well as a slight bezel where the selfie camera sits at the top but along the sides, it’s pretty thin. 

On the right side of the smartphone, there are volume controls, a Google Assistant button and a shutter button for when you’re taking photos in a landscape orientation. There’s also a fingerprint sensor sandwiched in between these buttons as there’s not one built into the screen.

Turn your attention to the bottom of the Xperia 5 III and you find a USB-C port and on top is a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can charge your smartphone and use your headphones at the same time. 

On the back sits the triple camera housing which sits pretty flush to surfaces so there’s no rocking when it’s placed down but the back is a magnet for fingerprints (it doesn’t have the lovely matt finish the Xperia 1 III has) and its slipperiness means it has a habit of sliding so we recommend popping a case on it for added protection. 

 

P1010014 | 1/100 sec | f/3.2 | 26.0 mm | ISO 200
 

As for the display, it’s covered in Gorilla Glass 6 so it’ll be slightly more prone to scratches/cracks than the Xperia 1 III which has Gorilla Glass Victus but brightness levels are good and colours are accurate. There’s also a 120Hz refresh rate available for selection in the settings which will improve your viewing experience. For those creating visual content, there’s a Creator mode that will provide even better colour reproduction. 

It’s good to see an official IP rating which means the smartphone will survive a dunking up to 1.5m for 30 minutes and the 4,500mAh battery is impressive, providing plenty of power for a day’s use and improving on the 4000mAh battery found in the Xperia 5 II but it’s a shame wireless charging is still missing from a device at this price level. 

The camera set-up is similar to that on the Xperia 1 III with just the time-of-flight sensor which is used for judging depth missing but this didn’t cause any problems. However, as we’ve come to expect from Sony, you get some nice camera features built-in including Phase Detection Auto Focus, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), ZEISS optics and eye-tracking. 

Sony Xperia 5 III Camera Features:

  • 12 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide) with Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.3, 70mm and f/1.8 105mm (telephoto) with PDAF, 3x-4.4x optical zoom, OIS
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) with Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.0 24mm Wide Angle Lens
  • Zoom: 3X and 4.4Xoptical zoom (telephoto lens)
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Phase-Detection Autofocus
  • 20fps burst mode
  • Pro video and camera modes 

 

The camera app is very similar to other camera apps you’ll have used with basic modes such as panorama, selfie assistance and creative filters built-in. There are also round buttons to switch to the different lenses, modes found across the top of the screen and a big shutter button. You can click the screen to focus and adjust the exposure of an image, too. You’ll occasionally see a symbol pop up which is the AI looking at the scene in front and ensuring the optimal settings are selected to capture the best photo. 

To access the many Pro modes that are built-in you have to click the ‘basic’ wording that’s found top right. When you do, a wheel with various options such as P, S, M and Auto will appear along with explanations of what they’re used for. The tools on offer are in abundance and it can take some time to get used to how they all work but if you have the patience to harness their power, your photos will improve. The only mode you can’t access is aperture priority (there isn’t one) and you won’t find a dedicated night mode either. 

The two zoom lenses on the telephoto sensor is a different approach but there’s no real difference in speed when you compare with other smartphones that have separate telephoto cameras. 

 

P1010025 | 1/160 sec | f/4.0 | 17.0 mm | ISO 200
 

Video is captured in 4K at 24/25/30/60/120fps and HDR,1080p with 5-axis gyro-EIS and OIS to keep footage steady and you get access to a Pro video mode should you want more control over the settings used. 

Some will be impressed with the Pro modes on offer and use them all of the time but for most, the normal auto mode will be their go-to choice as it’s simpler to use and produces great results without too much effort. 

Battery life – The 4500mAh battery is really great and you’ll easily get a full day’s use out of the smartphone. It does support fast charging but not wireless. 

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5 Top Autumn Garden Photography Tips & Ideas

5 Top Autumn Garden Photography Tips & Ideas

You don’t have to head to a place that’s bursting with beautiful landscapes to shoot some autumn-inspired shots as your own garden can give you just as many interesting autumn subjects to photograph. An even better reason to stay close to home is if the weather suddenly takes a turn for the worse you only have to take a few steps to be back in the warmth, you have your kettle close to hand and you can even continue shooting some subjects from inside your house.

 

1. Leaves / Trees

Trees

 

You can’t talk about photography in autumn without mentioning trees and leaves and it’s a subject we’ll be looking at a lot over the coming month so keep an eye out for tips on shooting macros, using backlight and much more with Autumn leaves
 

2. Berries

Berries

 

If you have a few plants that give berries at this time of year, they should be ripe by now and ready to photograph. If they’re a dark colour, try underexposing your shot slightly to deepen their shade and use a polarising filter to cut down on shine/reflections.
 

3. Portraits

Portrait

 

Kids wrapped up in hats and coats, particularly when they’re throwing leaves around, scream autumn. Keep your shoot informal and try not to shoot too many posed shots. In fact, if you’re photographing your own children playing around in your garden just leave them to it and shoot candids as they play.

If you don’t want the colours of the foliage to take over the shot, longer focal lengths, particularly with a wide to moderate aperture, can help, blurring and giving your background a nice bokeh effect as well as flattering the features of who you’re photographing. You can use out of focus foliage as a frame too, adding a spot of colour to the foreground of your autumn portrait shot.

Even though early morning and the later afternoon is a good time to shoot, autumn light tends to be lower all day so you can get away with shooting during the day if you need to.

 

4. Birds

Bird

 

Some birds begin to migrate at this time of year which means you may have new species of birds visiting your garden.

Birds are easily spooked so you need to keep still and if you can, be hidden. Try shooting from an open window from your house, set up in your shed or if you have one, use a hide. If you work from inside and are shooting through the glass rather than an open window, make sure your lens is as close to the glass as possible and turn your room lights off to minimise reflections. You also need to be in a position that’s quite close to where the birds will land as even though you’re using longer lenses, they are really tiny and can look lost among your background if you don’t get close enough.

Some cameras can be controlled via a Smart Phone which means you can set the camera up in your garden and head back in to the warmth of the house where you can release the shutter remotely from. 

Make sure you pay particular attention to the tips of feathers, particularly on the tails, as these can easily become out of focus when trying to get the right balance between a blurred background and sharp subject. You may need to switch to manual focus, so you can set the focus point more precisely. Light at this time of year can be low so be prepared to switch your ISO up and remember to use a high enough shutter speed to keep your subject sharp. Most small garden birds move quickly and tend to twitch and turn their heads frequently so you need a quick enough shutter speed to stop the movement becoming blurred.

We have more tips on photographing birds in our technique section

 

5. Mushrooms

Fungi

 

If you have any damp, dark areas in your garden or have a compost bin, you’ll find fungi specimens are now springing up. You’ll find more whole specimens in the morning but as you’re in your garden it’s quite easy for you to pop out at any time in search of photography-worthy mushrooms.

 

Quick tips for mushroom photos:

  • As well as single specimens, capture mushrooms in an odd group which is more pleasing to the eye and adds interest to your shot
  • Contrast white mushrooms with backgrounds of moss and leaves
  • Blur backgrounds out of focus
  • Look under the mushroom for interesting textures
  • Light the underbelly by directing light into the scene with a reflector
  • If using wider apertures, check your shot as your subject can end up with parts that are out of focus 

For more, have a look at this tutorial: Fungi Photography Tips.   

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5 Essential Photo Tutorials To Get You Ready For The Autumn Season

5 Essential Photo Tutorials To Get You Ready For The Autumn Season

Here are five photography tutorials that’ll fill you with tips and ideas for shooting during the autumn – with the orange shades of the leaves, it’s a really pretty season for photos.

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General Photography

Autumn Leaves

 

As the weather’s getting cooler and trees are losing their green tint to shades which are much warmer we thought it would be a good idea to bring ten of our popular autumn photography tutorials together in one place. That way when you’re planning a day of autumn photography you don’t have to go all over the web searching for ideas and suggestions.
 

1. Autumn Macro Tips With A Compact Camera

Just because you’re using a compact camera doesn’t mean you can’t shoot some interesting, autumn-themed macro shots. Here are some tips and hints to help compact users perfect their technique.

 

2. Photographing Reflections During Autumn

With such bold colours on offer, autumn’s the perfect season for capturing reflections. We have tips on capturing a mirror-like reflection as well as advice on shooting more abstract style shots.

 

3. Autumn Garden Photography Tips

Your garden is full of autumn photography subjects which means you can stay close to home and still capture the season with your camera and lens.

 

4. Tips On Shooting Autumn Landscapes

Capture the autumn season with your wide-angle lens and you’ll soon have a collection of autumn landscapes that really pack some punch.

 

5. Autumn Shooting at Arboretums

Here are a few tips on photography in an Arboretum. With trees all around and wildlife and flowers abundant, there’s no excuse not to break the camera out!   

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5 Top Tips On Photographing Shop Signs & Window Displays For A City Photo Project

5 Top Tips On Photographing Shop Signs & Window Displays For A City Photo Project

Shop Sign

 

Previously, we’ve spent some time looking for interesting shop fronts to photograph but now we want you to lift your eyes a little higher in search of a good shop sign and pay more attention to what’s actually on display in the windows. 

Displays in shop windows are designed to grab our attention and steer us towards the entrance of the shop in hope we’ll part with our money. Some stores, particularly at Christmas, spend hours planning and then preparing their window displays. A lot of thought goes into how to use the space, what colours the mannequins should wear and how they should be posed making them an interesting photographic project as you walk down the High Street.
 

1. What Gear Do I Need?

A medium zoom lens will get you close to the signs without you having to borrow some ladders off a window cleaner and it’ll also work for capturing shop windows too. You’ll also need to carry a tripod if you plan on returning later in the evening when the neon’s get switched on. It’ll also help if you have a camera that performs well in low light and if you don’t want the street reflected in your shot take a polariser along as well.  

 

2. Have A Walk Along The High Street

There are lots and lots of shops on the High Street which means you don’t just have to settle for the first shop you come across. Spend some time really looking at the displays paying attention to the colours, poses and other items they use to really make the window stand out. Remember, a more interesting display will give you a better-looking image so a short observation walk is worth it. See if you can find shops that aren’t chains. In Sheffield, there are several retro clothing stores and a joke shop which always have unique and sometimes entertaining window displays. Fancy dress shops are another one that’s almost guaranteed to have a loud and amusing window display to photograph.

 

3. Minimise Reflections

Unless you want a photo that shows the display as well as what’s happening on the street, which can work well sometimes, you’ll need a way to minimise the reflection. Stepping further away from the window and using your zoom lens to fill the frame can help but the simplest and if you’re on the edge of a road also the safest way to do it is to fit a polarising filter. This will reduce the reflection and give you a clear shot of what’s inside. If you find the sun causes glare just move your feet to remove the problem or if that doesn’t work come back later on when the sun’s changed position.  

 

4. Work From A Higher Level

When it comes to signs when you stand on the street and look up at them, it’s fine when you’re looking for the nearest bakery but in your photos, it won’t always work. To combat this, just step a little further back or better still find something to stand on that will give you a little more height. You could try holding the camera above your head but this won’t help you with framing unless you have a camera that features a vari-angle LCD screen. 

 

5. To Zoom Or Not To Zoom? 

If a sign’s particularly interesting or amusing zoom right in and fill the frame with the sign. Or are you going to put them into context showing some of the street or the shop front in the shot? If you do include the store pop on a polariser so you don’t catch your reflection in the windows. This works particularly well with old buildings or with unique stores that have displays that will add to the image.

Standing at one end of the High Street quite close to the buildings looking up will give you the chance to capture several signs all in one shot or try waiting until the sun’s began to set and photograph the many neon signs that decorate our streets. Just watch for camera shake as you’ll be using slightly longer exposures and take a look around your image to see if there’s any flare from some of the lights. Having said that, this can work well sometimes, especially on wet evenings.  

In busy towns and cities, you’ll find plenty of signs, often grouped together, along the tall buildings that line the streets. If possible, find a higher spot, as you do when shooting a cityscape, and use a wider focal length to capture the signs and buildings in one image. They can look busy, but the bright signs and bustling surroundings will really sum up the feeling of a busy city. 

 

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5 Top Gig Photography Tips Every Music Fan Needs

5 Top Gig Photography Tips Every Music Fan Needs

Here’s how you can still produce great gig images even when the lights are low.

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Portraits and People

Gig photography

 

 

1. Gear Suggestions

For larger shows pocket a superzoom compact but if you’re going to a smaller venue you’ll probably be able to take a DSLR in with no issues but do check the venue’s rules on camera equipment as some are stricter on what size camera you can take in than others. Whatever camera you take you’ll want it to have a good ISO range as you’ll be working in very low light situations. When it comes to lens choices, a prime lens around the 50mm mark will serve you well.
 

2. Exposure & Stage Lighting

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face at a gig is getting the exposure right under stage lights, as different coloured lights and often harsh backlighting and smoke will all pose problems. You will need to set your camera to its maximum aperture if you can and set the ISO as low as you can while still maintaining a suitable shutter speed under the conditions. Smaller venues where conditions tend to be darker than in arenas will demand higher ISO levels to reduce motion blur and camera shake as using a support is out of the question.
 

3. Focusing Tips

Another point to remember is that autofocus may struggle in low light conditions but to be honest, it will generally be more reliable than focusing manually if your subject is moving and the light levels are low. Spot metering can be useful, particularly if you’re shooting a strongly backlit subject, as you’ll find at many gigs. Just make sure you adjust your camera’s exposure compensation setting to achieve the correct exposure if you choose to work this way.

 

Gig Photography

 

4. Flash Or No Flash?

When you’re shooting from the crowd, you will often be too far away for flash to be of any use. Also, many people believe that they shouldn’t use flash because ‘it spoils the atmosphere’ but this is a common misconception as if you can get close enough for it to be useful, you can achieve some good results. The key is to ensure that the flash exposure is well-balanced with the ambient light. This will result in exposures with bags of atmosphere, colour and it will also allow you to freeze the action. Of course, it will depend on how appropriate using flash is too. A quiet gig with an acoustic performer may not be the right kind of atmosphere to start blitzing away with flash, plus the venue you’re at may have rules on not using flash during performances so it’s always worth checking. 
 

5. Shutter Speeds

If you’re photographing an acoustic performer sat on a stool, or stood at a microphone, you will be able to get away with shutter speeds that are quite slow. However, try using a shutter speed that equals the focal length of your lens if you don’t have image stabilisation, or of at least half the focal length if you do. If the performers are more lively, you will need much faster shutter speeds to freeze the action. 

One final point: Arrive early, get a good spot and don’t move. Also, remember that you’re supposed to be there to enjoy yourself too!

   

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5 Top Tips On Photographing Storms

5 Top Tips On Photographing Storms

Rain-soaked walkers

 

Shooting in stormy weather can produce some great shots, but you need to know a few things before you start hitting the shutter button.

 

1. Safety First

Firstly, be very careful if there’s thunder and lightning as this can potentially be very dangerous for you and your equipment. Make sure you are a safe distance away from the storm and don’t stray too far away from your car or home, just in case. It’s always worth reading up on lightning safety tips and if it’s possible, consider shooting from inside.
 

2. Long Exposures

As you’ll increase your chance of capturing lightning if you use a longer exposure, a tripod will be needed to stop shake spoiling your shots. If your camera has a Bulb setting, and you have a way to keep the shutter open, use this method to increase your chances further. If not, around a 30-second exposure should be fine.

Storms can occur at any time of day but trying to use longer exposures during the day can lead to overexposed skies so wait for an evening storm when the sky’s darker.
 

3. Timing

The process of shooting storms can be a bit hit and miss, however, as Pete mentioned in a previous article, you can determine roughly when to fire the shutter by working out the direction of which the storm is moving.

Pete said: “In nature, light travels faster than sound, so lightening strikes first followed by thunder, but us photographers can reverse the process (wait for thunder then count the time between that and a lightning strike) to time a shot and predict roughly when lightning will strike.

When you hear thunder count in seconds the gap before the lightning strike(s). If after the next rumble the lightning strike’s quicker, it’s likely that the storm is moving towards you and strikes will become more frequent until it passes over.”
 

4. Lightning

To capture lighting, you need patience. Set your camera up on a tripod and aim it at where the storm seems to be. Look where the lightning appears and set your camera up facing that general area as lightning tends to strike intermittently in the same area. You should use a small aperture, f/16 or f/22 if possible. Use a long exposure as mentioned earlier to increase your chances of capturing lightning. You may find you need to focus manually as autofocus can struggle in dark conditions.

You’ll need a piece of card to cover the lens which you can remove when you think lightning’s about to strike and hold back in place when it’s happened. Timing is everything but after a few strikes, you should get the hang of it. 

 

5. Clouds

It isn’t all about lightning though, storm clouds can also make very provoking photos too. To add more interest, use objects such as trees on the horizon line. This will also add scale to the shot, further enhancing the size of the storm clouds above.
 

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