Tag Archives: sales

End of life for Denoise Projects, and special offer

18 Jul

The imaging software industry is in motion. While companies like Serif (makers of Affinity-branded software) and Macphun are making a dash from the Mac to the Windows platform, and following Google’s recent abandonment of the Google Nik Collection of plug-in and stand-alone applications for tasks such as black and white conversion, colour adjustment, film simulation, sharpening and denoising, another applicant for this market is now showing signs of slowing down.

Like Google, Macphun and others, German publishing house Franzis also develops a variety of tools in its “Projects” series for the above tasks, each usually sold separately. Among them are tools for HDR and focus stacking, and Franzis also develops and sells other imaging software not branded as “Projects”, and is the German distributor of Silkypix raw processing software.

Franzis has now announced discontinuing Denoise Projects Professional, a specialised program and plug-in for removing digital image noise. It is unclear if other discontinuations will follow.

According to the publisher, Denoise Projects automatically detects and removes “all” seven types of noise. Other Franzis Projects products work with a high floating point bitrate, and the tech specs for Denoise Projects imply that it requires 32 bit GPU acceleration, while the FAQ mentions it can save 32 bit TIFF. It was not explicitly stated whether 32 bit floating point processing is used internally.

Those interested can find a 70% off offer here.

Most frequently returned new cameras 2014

1 Mar

Once again, the time has come for me to present the list of most frequently returned cameras, just as I did for 2013. Once again, the reasons why cameras are being returned are not known, and there are some obvious cases and some mysterious ones. Most interestingly, this year has a black horse, a camera that has apparently fallen off everyone’s radar but is being exceptionally well received by customers.

And that shall be the cliffhanger by which I hold your attention through the rest of the list. Overall, return rates have markedly increased over last year, showing that customers are even more reluctant to hang on to cameras amid ongoing economic crisis and market saturation. Online retailers are apparently still accepting cameras back in large and increasing numbers, but are also cracking down on serial returners. According the data I have (which probably overestimates returns), typical return rates in 2014 were in the range 10-30%.

The most returned camera for which a sufficient sample size was available was the Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II – a large sensor compact camera, you may recall, that had a worse sensor than its smaller brother, the G7 X. Similar return rates were experienced by the Fujifilm X30 and Panasonic GM5. Not good time to be a small camera, apparently. However, the Nikon D3300 did not fare much better, nor did the Canon PowerShot G7 X itself. Somewhat surprisingly, the Sony a5100 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 were also frequently returned. The Sigma DP2 quattro is less of a surprise given the angry noise from Sigma users over the new sensor and the abandonment of Sigma’s unique selling point.

Among the less often returned cameras, we find the Samsung NX30, Olympus PEN E-PL7, Sony RX100 III and Nikon D750 at between 12 and 15% returned. The top five of least returned cameras are made up, in ascending order, of the Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D810, Olympus OM-D E-M10, Sony a6000 (8% returns – perhaps this the model that buyers of the oft-returned a5100 eventually turned to). Finallly, the grand winner and black horse of the contest, as promised, is the Sony A77 Mark II. It seems to have been liked by almost everybody that bought it, being returned by only 3.8% of customers (or fewer, since this should be an overestimate). Just as Sony are slowly backing out of the DSLT niche, they apparently managed to deliver a nigh-perfect camera. Shame, but congratulations nonetheless!

The value of camera classification

18 Feb

Before I begin my main theme for the coming days or weeks, I would like to opine briefly on the merit of classifying cameras according to the level of skill or depth of involvement of the prospective owner. Cameras are variously described as “beginner”, “entry level”, “amateur”, “enthusiast”, “semi-professional”, etc. The idea transported by such classification is that you can be seen as a more advanced photographer if you own a more expensive camera, and that, accordingly, you should pay as much for a camera as your purse possibly permits. There’s no doubt in my mind that this strategy works marvellously on the common male ego.

However, what seems to have worked better in the market more recently is to put the latest technology into the latest camera. This has been evident in Pentax’ portfolio for years – at least since the K-x was launched with a sensor that was vastly superior to the higher-tier K-7, but certainly since the K-30 debuted features the K-5 did not have – but has crept into other camera makers’ line-ups more recently. Both Olympus and Samsung for some time have released cameras alongside each other that differed in certain details (such as raised grip vs. flat grip), but had the same sensor. The E-PM2 for some time was a noted bargain for this reason, as the NX500 is now. More recently, the OM-D E-M5 II launched with a ground-breaking feature that according to what’s known at this point of time Olympus will not retro-enable in its flagship, the OM-D E-M1 (or perhaps can’t). Pentax is allowing the K-S2 to leapfrog its entire existing line-up with a fully articulated display while its other camera lines may not be refreshed until late 2015.

There’s no doubt that with the saturation of the DSLR market at a time of general recession, and smartphones eating the point’n’shoot category, camera makers are under more fire than ever to innovate while keeping slim product lines. This leads to a break-down of camera classification, and at this point, it’s often better to buy the more recent camera within the system of choice than to rely on “enthusiast” vs. “semi-professional” type labels that mostly serve to pad (for what it’s worth) the manufacturers’ pockets with the money of the gullible.