DJI Announces the Quieter Mavic Pro Platinum & Sleeker Phantom 4 Pro…

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With great excitement, DJI has announced its new Mavic Pro Platinum and Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Quadcopters, featuring refinements that, for many, will be the cherry on top of the popular predecessor models. When the original Mavic Pro came out, many turned to it for its compact design and advanced features. Well, the new Mavic Pro Platinum retains these aspects, and adds an extended 30-minute flight time and 60% aircraft noise reduction, making it DJI’s most portable and quietest drone yet. The longer distance is achieved by new FOC ESC drivers with sinusoidal current, and the noise reduction by new, aerodynamic-design, 8331 propellers that cut noise by up to 4 dB during takeoff and landing. As with the previous Mavic Pro, you can maximize accessories out of the gate, thanks to the Fly More Combo.

The new Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian has a matte-gray obsidian finish, giving a more elegant, more serious look to what is perhaps the most commonly-encountered professional drone out there, the Phantom 4 Pro. The new obsidian version carries over all the advanced features, adds the new finish, and also features a new robust yet lightweight magnesium gimbal that’s electroplated and coated with an anti-fingerprint layer. The obsidian version comes in in two models, the Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian, which includes a controller with a display, and Phantom 4 Pro+ Obsidian, including a controller with a mobile device clip.

How much of an impact do these updates make for you? What are your overall thoughts? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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LG Announces New V30 Smartphone

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LG unveiled the latest iteration of its immensely popular V-series smartphones today, the highly-anticipated V30. This latest model incorporates many lauded elements of previous versions (nice to see you again, dual rear cameras!), while dramatically enhancing other areas, such as display technology and body design.

Talking about display: instead of the series’ signature “dual screen” setup, the V30 has only one display. But what a display it is. The new, super-sharp 6-inch QHD+ OLED display is a marked improvement over the V20’s screen—which itself was nothing to sneeze at (or on). The new display retains the popular 18:9 screen ratio, only now it’s pushed right to the edge of the device, thanks to LG’s new FullVision technology, giving you more to see and more space to operate.

What hasn’t changed with the V30 is LG’s commitment to the main camera setup. Like its predecessor, the new V sports dual rear shooters that include a 16MP standard field-of-view lens and a 13MP wide angle. The 16MP lens boasts an f/1.6 aperture, which, as of this writing, is better than any major flagship phone on the market.

The V30 has plenty going on under its hood, as well. It comes equipped with a powerful and energy-efficient Snapdragon 835 chipset with 4GB of RAM in support. 64GB of storage is built-in and there’s a microSD card slot for increasing storage capacity up to 2TB. At 3300mAh, the V30’s embedded battery is a step-up from the V20’s, and should provide users with plenty of juice all through the day. Add to the V30 an IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating, wireless-charging capability, and the latest Android operating system, and you have a flagship phone that looks capable of going anywhere and doing just about anything. The new LG V30 is coming soon to B&H and will be available for pre-order and purchase.

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Field Test: Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III

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Since their introduction back in 2014, Olympus’s OM-D E-M10 series cameras have found their ways into the camera bags of many enthusiasts. The new Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III will no doubt be finding its way into the camera bags of yet a new wave of enthusiasts.

Opening photograph captured using a Savage Product Pro LED Light Table

Small enough to palm in one hand, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III body, available in black or silver, or with an M.ZUIKO 14-42mm lens, in black or silver, is a solid, well-designed Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera packed with many of the pro-quality features found in Olympus’s pricier flagship cameras. A metal-alloy body, complemented by well-placed metal control dials, a thumb rest, and molded grip enable this camera to fill your hand securely. If anything, the camera seemingly feels larger and beefier than its actual dimensions (4.7w x 3.3h x 1.8″d). Weight-wise, the OM-D E-M10 MK III with a battery and memory card weighs a mere 0.88 lb. These are just a few of the reasons enthusiasts love this lightweight camera series.

The OM-D E-M10 MK III contains the same 16.1MP MFT Live MOS sensor found in its predecessor, but it’s now powered by a faster Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII image processor that, among other things, enables continuous shooting at up to 8.5 frames-per-second.

Built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization compensates for yaw, roll, pitch, vertical shift, and horizontal shift for capturing impressively sharp stills and video under challenging, low light conditions. Per Olympus, the camera’s 5-axis IS system adds a 4-stop advantage when shooting handheld.

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SanDisk Introduces A1 Class Memory Cards

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Back up your Apple iPhone automatically while you charge it, with the SanDisk iXpand Base. The iXpand Base uses the Lightning-to-USB cable that comes with your iPhone to fast-charge it with 15 watts of power. While your iPhone is charging, the iXpand Base also automatically backs up your photos, videos, and contacts. The iXpand Base can also back up your iCloud photos. If you need to restore data on your iPhone, you can use the SanDisk iXpand Base iOS app (free download from the App Store).

Designed for everyday use, you can place your iPhone on the soft rubber to keep it in place while it’s connected to the iXpand Base. The wrap-around groove keeps your Lightning to USB cable tidy when it’s not being used.

The iXpand Base is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage capacities. It is compatible with iPhones and iPads with Lightning ports and iOS 10+.

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SanDisk Introduces Application Performance Class 1 (A1) Memory Cards

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SanDisk has just introduced the 400GB Ultra UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter, a new microSD card with the Application Performance Class 1 (A1) rating, which can be used in virtually all devices that support microSDXC media, including photo and video rigs, and more. With the A1 rating, this card has been optimized to deliver a faster mobile application performance. This spec also allows the card to manage random IOPS operations so it can quickly open apps and process accompanying tasks such as audio, graphics, saved profiles, and in-app permissions.

SanDisk has built this card with a capacity of 400GB, which provides ample storage space. It is also compatible with the UHS-I bus, features a speed class rating of U1, and supports the Class 10 standard, which provides a minimum write speed of 10 MB/s and certification to capture photos and Full HD video. When downloading content from this card, read speeds can reach as high as 100 MB/s. Also featured is water, shock, temperature, and x-ray protection. If you don’t have a microSD card reader, fear not—an SD adapter is included. If you’ve been looking for a high-capacity microSD card, SanDisk has just delivered with a very worthy option.

Do you have a preferred microSD card you like to use with your mobile or other microSD compatible device? Feel free to share your comments, below.

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Firmware Update for DJI Spark Improves Battery Life, Safety, and Performance

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Coming soon to a DJI Spark above you: a firmware update aimed at improving battery life and enhancing the overall safety and flight performance of your quadcopter. This latest update promises to bolster your Spark’s battery management system, optimizing the way it supplies power during flight, enabling you to stay in the air longer. It also allows for full integration between your aircraft and the DJI Goggles and enhances compatibility with the optional remote, expanding your FPV options and improving the overall first-person-view experience. Other features, such as PalmLaunch and the QuickShot Dronie mode, will receive some fine-tuning as well, all to make your Spark flying experience as safe and satisfying as possible.

Installation of the new update is easy: While connected to the Internet, simply open the DJI GO 4 app and you will be prompted to install. Or you can update the firmware using the DJI Assistant 2 desktop software.

The new update is mandatory and should be completed by users by September 1. If the firmware of either the battery or aircraft isn’t updated by September 1, your Spark will not be able to take off, so make sure you download and update it right away.

To read more about the original release of the DJI Spark, click here.

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Panasonic Announces Highly Anticipated GH5 Firmware Update

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As the summer nears its end, many people were wondering when Panasonic would release the long-awaited firmware update that was promised at the GH5’s official announcement, to unlock some serious features in the flagship mirrorless camera. Well, the wait is over—Panasonic has just announced that firmware 2.0 is scheduled for the end of September, and includes a variety of upgrades and improvements that make the GH5 an even more exceptional option for stills and video shooters. Here are the 12 major tweaks that make this update a must-have for any current GH5 owner

1. ALL-Intra Video Recording Mode

If you want the best of the best when it comes to video quality, the new 10-bit 4:2:2 ALL-Intra setting provides bit rates of up to 400 Mbps in 4K and 200 Mbps in Full HD. This ensures the highest level of detail with a minimum of compression artifacts. This mode will require the use of high-speed SD cards rated to Video Speed Class 60 (V60) or higher.

2. 4K HDR Video Recording

Hybrid Log Gamma is now available as a Photo Style, recording video with a gamma curve that is compatible with the ITU-R BT.2100 standard, making it compatible with a variety of AV equipment that supports the relatively new format.

3. Tethering Support

The GH5 can now shoot tethered over USB, using Panasonic’s LUMIX Tether software for PCs. This provides you with instant playback of files on your computer monitor and can automatically save them to a location on your computer. This software even supports the use of 6K PHOTO and 4K PHOTO modes and can be used to start and stop video recording.

4. Enhanced Anamorphic Video

Record high-resolution anamorphic video with the addition of 6K 4992 x 3744 recording at up to 30p using Long GOP compression, with a 200 Mbps bit rate and 4:2:0 sampling and a 10-bit color depth. 4K 3328 x 2496 recording is available in 4:2:2 10-bit with a bit rate of 400 Mbps, using All-Intra compression. Users will also have access to an Anamophic Desqueeze Display setting for 2.0x and 1.33x lenses. A Video Guide Line setting is available for all video modes, which will help shooters preview their videos for 2.30:1, 2.35:1, 16:9, and 1:1 aspect ratios.

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7 Perspectives of the Eclipse from the Atlas Obscura Eclipse Festival

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My car companion for the last two hours, and B&H Social Media Manager, Michael Hollender handles our SUV deftly around a bend in the dry dirt road. As we clear the hill, we see the recently vacated cow pasture below us. Nestled in the desert valley is a colony of dedicated workers frantically erecting stages, scaffolds, and tents of all sizes. The gentle whir of a generator can be heard across the field.

Above photograph © Michael Hollender

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LandscapeChristopher Witt

These are the very early stages of what would become the Atlas Obscura Eastern Oregon Total Eclipse Festival—or “Nerdstock,” as I like to call it. All day and most of the night on Friday, August 18, and Saturday, the field is transformed into a festival that would culminate in experiencing, for many there, a once-in-a-lifetime event: a total solar eclipse.

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Intel® Announces Falcon 8+ Drone

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The new Falcon 8+ from Intel® is a next-generation multi-rotor designed for professional applications, such as land surveys, industrial inspections, and much more. Considering the inherent difficulty in these applications and the potentially challenging environments involved, Intel went above and beyond to ensure the Falcon 8+ could handle whatever was thrown its way. To start, it outfitted the Falcon 8+ with multiple system redundancies for flight control, battery, comms, and various sensors, ensuring safe, reliable performance even in harsh conditions—including exposure to electromagnetic fields. On the pilot side, the Falcon 8+ is controlled via the newly designed Intel Cockpit™ system, which features a reimagined, tablet-based interface that allows users to execute difficult missions and tasks easily, even in extreme outdoor environments.

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Beyond safety protocols and indomitable design, another reason the Falcon 8+ is such a powerful professional tool is because of its unique V shape. Thanks to this innovative form factor, onboard cameras will be able to capture stable, 180-degree views completely unobstructed—a mission-critical component for inspecting industrial sites, performing accurate structural analysis, or for use in any number of potentially dangerous situations. The design is modular, too, and can support interchangeable payloads up to 1.8 lb, so operators can switch between camera setups, depending on the task.

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Cristina Mittermeier’s Sacred Ecology

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Cristina Mittermeier was hardly seeking to change the world with photography when starting her career as a marine biologist. Trained as a scientist and armed with a degree in biochemical engineering in the exploitation of marine resources from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), in Mexico, Mittermeier’s early work consisted largely of scientific papers filled with the hard data of numbers and words. A prime influence in her work was biologist Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, The Population Bomb, which she read as a teen.

“It terrified me,” Mittermeier says of the book, “because Ehrlich was predicting that planet Earth was going to be overpopulated by the 2000s and we were all going to be starving. So, I went to University to study Marine Biology. Like everybody else, I thought that the ocean was going to feed humanity, and we were going to find out how to do it,” she says.

Yet, in place of such enlightened goals, what she learned was geared more toward how to exploit the ocean. “We’ve done a really good job of it,” she says. “In the past 30 years, we’ve taken out 90 percent of the big fish. When you listen to conversations around fisheries today, they’re figuring out how to sustainably exploit the last ten percent.”

Above photograph: He remembers how, as a five-year-old boy, his entire family was forcefully removed from their ancestral territory in northern Canada and translocated hundreds of miles away, to a land they did not know. His name was taken away and he became “Eskimo 1-602.” After 55 years of hunger, cultural and physical loss, and political struggle, David Serkouak, once known to his kin as “Hiquaq,” is the first Inuit drummer to reach the North Pole. “Tiptoe-dancing over a melting ice-scape, he raised his voice and drummed for joy to be standing at the top of the world,” says Mittermeier. “It was an honor to travel to the northernmost point of our planet with this Inuit elder, and to learn from his own voice how self-determination is the best tool indigenous communities have to face a fast-changing planet.”

Photographs © Cristina Mittermeier

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