Leica Ultra-Robust Product Variant with Kevlar Armor Available Now



On November 4, as part of the Celebration of Photography in Wetzlar, Leica Camera AG announced a product variant of the full-frame compact camera Leica Q2, available as of now. The Leica Q2 Report continues a long tradition of Leica cameras that are specifically geared towards the challenging working environments of reportage and press photographer – offering maximum precision and reliability even in the most adverse conditions.

Instead of the traditional leather trim, Leica Q2 Reporter is equipped with a ‘body armor’ made of Kevlar, a synthetic material widely used in the production of high-grade protective clothing. This is perfectly complemented by the camera’s matte-green finish, achieved with a particularly scratch and abrasion resistant paint. The result is an exterior that is both hard-wearing and discreet.

The Kevlar trim, which is characterized by a distinctive weave pattern, effectively protects the camera against mechanical, chemical and thermal hazards. Although the fabric is initially near black, exposure to UV rays will gradually change its tone, until it closely matches the camera’s paint finish. In addition, the Kevlar fibers become slightly more raised over time, which further improves the photographer’s grip on the camera.

The camera’s overall design shows that a strong emphasis has been placed on an unobtrusive appearance: the red Leica logo on the front has been omitted; the engravings and operating elements are discreetly inlaid, so that neither their purpose – nor the camera’s true value, are immediately apparent.

The Leica Q2 Reporter is now available at specialist retailers.


Roland Announces Aerophone AE-20 Digital Wind Instrument



Roland announces Aerophone AE-20, the latest member of the company’s innovative family of digital wind instruments. Aerophone AE-20 delivers all the playability and expression of the flagship Aerophone Pro in a more compact and streamlined design. Offering a rich musical experience with premium details and Roland’s most advanced streamlined design. Offering a rich musical experience with premium details and Roland’s most advanced sound engines, this inspiring instrument brings next-level power and versatility to wind players everywhere.

Developed in collaboration with leading wind synth artists, Aerophone AE-20 is a top-flight instrument with uncompromising musical response. It features the core sounds and expressive control of Aerophone Pro, along with the premier model’s acclaimed key touch, refined playability, and go-everywhere design.

Aerophone AE-20 provides a wide range of stunningly authentic acoustic instrument sounds at the touch of a button. Soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxes are on hand, plus clarinet, flute, trumpet and more. Violin, cello, and other string instruments are also included, along with world instruments like erhu, shakuhachi, and bagpipes. Backed by Roland’s SuperNATURAL technology, every playing nuance is fully translated with lifelike dynamics, articulations and overtones.

The versatility of Aerophone AE-20 extends even further with the ZEN-Core Synthesis System, the same advanced sound engine found in professional Roland keyboards like FANTOM and JUPITER-X. Everything from traditional analog synths to modern digital voices are available, all carefully curated for the unique articulations and extended dynamic range of a wind instrument.

Aerophone AE-20 lets wind players step right into their musical flow with a familiar reed-style mouthpiece, immediate response, and natural pitch and vibrato control. The breath and bite sensors are customizable and ultra-sensitive, and its possible to reconfigure the fingering for sax, clarinet, flute, recorder, or a personal setup. Instant transposition and a five-active range enables players to cover any style without the range limits found with traditional acoustic instruments.

Aerophone AE-20 features an onboard speaker for grab-and-go playing, as well as a headphones jack for quiet practice sessions. There’s also a line output for connecting to a stage amp or PA while performing, plus USB-MIDI for music creation with popular MIDI production apps.

Aerophone AE-20 comes with onboard Bluetooth connectivity for wireless integration with mobile music apps from Roland and others. The Aerophone Lesson app helps users get started right away, even if they’ve never played a wind instrument. The Aerophone Pro Editor unlocks the full potential of Aerophone with deep customization of sound and performance settings. And with Bluetooth audio streaming, users can play along with music and instructional videos through the Aerophone’s sound system.

With Roland Cloud, players can take the Aerophone experience even further with Sound Packs created by wind instrument experts and music production apps like Zenbeats and Zentracker. Roland Cloud is also home to many other powerful music tools, including software versions of the most revered keyboard and rhythm instruments in Roland’s storied history.


Skydio Announces Autonomous Cinematography at CES 2022



Skydio the leading drone manufacturer and world leader in autonomous flight technology announced a new groundbreaking autonomous flight capability, Skydio KeyFrame. Skydio Keyframe is an AI skill that allows a user to design and capture smooth, complex camera moves with just a few taps.

Skydio also announced the availability of Skydio 2+ a drone which builds on the industry-leading autonomy of the Skydio 2 drone important hardware and software improvements. Effective today, Skydio is also offering a new, enhanced protection plan available to all Skydio 2+ users, Skydio Care.

Skydio KeyFrame makes creating mind-bending cinematic shots easy for anyone.

Manual drones are hard to fly, easy to crash, and unusable in environments with high GPS or compass interference – making it nearly impossible for even expert pilot to create dynamic, smooth, and creative shots in complex environments. With the introduction of KeyFrame, anyone can design impossible camera motion that is smooth, precise, and repeatable.

The pilot chooses their KeyFrames with just a few taps, and Skydio Autonomy creates a continuous smooth camera path between them. Once the KeyFrames are set, the user can play it back, forward or backwards, as many times as they want at whatever speed they choose.

“One of the main things that sets professional productions apart is the motion of the camera. With the help of cranes, jibs, and large production crews, Hollywood productions due really unique, interesting things. In the hands of an expert pilot, drone footage can be very cinematic,” said Skydio CEO, Adam Bry. “KeyFrame makes this capability accessible a new wave of creators. Hollywood quality cinematography, available anywhere, anytime.”

Skydio 2+ introduces enhanced wireless range and battery life to get the most out of every adventure.

In 2019, Skydio 2 made autonomous flight accessible like never before. Skydio autonomy enabled exciting creativity for everything from solo-creativity, to incredible travel and landscape videography, to capturing motor and action sports. Skydio 2 enabled enterprise customers to perform higher quality inspections faster with minimal pilot training with the launch of Skydip 3D Scan, a first-of-its-kind adaptive scanning software to automate the data capture process needed to generate 3D models with comprehensive coverage and ultra-high resolution.

With extended range, a more robust wireless connection, and longer battery life, Skydio 2+ allows solo creators, outdoor adventurers, athletes, prosumers and hobbyists – at any skill level – to get the most out of Skydio groundbreaking autonomy.

Starting at a base price of $1,099, Skydio 2+ builds on the company’s industry-leading 360° obstacle avoidance and unprecedented ease of use, adding two omnidirectional external antennas to extend the drone’s range from 3.5 km to 6 km. The Skydio 2+ Battery now offers 20% more flight time, while the Skydio 2+ Beacon boasts an extended 3 km range.


Blink Tech Turns Mobile Phones into a Fully Automated Cameraman at CES 2022



Blink Tech Inc., a Silicon Valley based AI startup, is revolutionizing the video recording experience as its core technology focuses on turning your mobile phone into a fully automated cameraman by leveraging AI and computer vision.

Traditionally, we use our mobile phones as the only tool and medium to capture a video recorded experience, while teams and institutions use video equipment that are often bulky and expensive. Thus, whether it is the price point, or lack of accessibility that contributes to your pain points of not being able to effortlessly capture your experiences, not to mention actually enjoying the experiences yourselves, Blink Tech is here to help offer you a one-stop-shop tool that is at your fingertip to capture any experience in full automation with tailored capability to zoom in and out as well as live streaming. The video clips are then uploaded to cloud live for you to revisit with data analytics functionalities that analyze motion, speed, etc. currently being built out.

Blink Tech developed a smart and rotatable phone mount along with an AI app, which essentially enables smart phones to automatically record sports games such as soccer or basketball games. In addition, it supports live sports game streaming over the Internet and can help customers edit and analyze recorded game videos from the cloud side. To date, this is the first smart recording solution based on smart phones.

Ultimately, all consumers can leverage Blink Tech’s product for day-to-day capturing of life moments, not just limited to sports, but capturing your families, friends, events that you attend or any other memories that you want to take charge of effortlessly and lively.

Blink Tech Inc., is based in Mount View, California consisting of a group of passionate, consumer-oriented tech entrepreneurs and industry veterans aiming to disrupt the video consumption and consumer electronics space.


Roland Pro A/V Announces New Products to Enhance the Quality of Livestream Production



Roland, a leading manufacturer of professional audio, video, and electronic musical instrument gear, announces three new products to help livestreamers take their productions to the next level.

AeroCaster

AeroCaster is an innovative, easy-to-use system that allows anyone to create a wireless multi-camera streaming setup using mobile devices. The system consists of the AeroCaster VRC-01 hardware control surface and audio interface, the AeroCaster LIVE app for iPad, and the AeroCaster Camera app for iOS and Android mobile devices. Leveraging the convenience and mobility of wireless connectivity, AeroCaster opens up a new world of creative possibilities for any livestreaming application, from online talk shows and music performances to live commerce, remote education, and beyond.

AeroCaster lets users switch wireless camera feeds from smartphones and tablets, plus screen shares from computers and mobile devices. The system supports up to four wireless devices at once, along with the camera on the host iPad. Roland’s advanced video technology is also available for adding graphics, titles, video clips, photos and more. Operation is quick and intuitive, with a direct streaming connection to YouTube, FacebookLive, Twitch, and custom RTMP channels over Wi-Fi or 4G/5G cellular networks.

UVC-02 Web Presentation Dock

Using web conferencing platforms to conduct business has become regular part of life.But the quality of built-in computer webcams and microphones leaves a lot to be desired. The UVC_02 Web Presentation Dock helps users bridge that gap, providing a simple and affordable solution to level up virtual presentations with better quality audio/visual gear and more control.

The compact UVC-02 is a desktop control hub that allows the user to connect a high quality HDMI camera, pro microphone, and other audio sources and send them directly to computer-based meeting and streaming platforms via a single USB cable. It also includes a panel full of hands-on knobs and switches, providing quick hardware control of levels, audio and video muting, sound effects, and more.

CGM-30 Gooseneck Microphone

The CGM-30 Gooseneck Microphone plugs directly into the XLR input on the UVC-02 Web Presentation Dock, providing a high-quality desktop solution that eliminates the need for an external mic and stand. It also works with the Roland VR-1HD AV Streaming Mixer and any other product with a phantom-powered XLR microphone input on the top panel.


Crazy Tube Circuits Announced Crossfire Pedal



Crazy Tube Circuits announced the Crossfire pedal. Crossfire is inspired by one of the most iconic pedal – amp combinations in guitar history.

The left side is voiced after the blackface amps that defined clean electric guitar sounds. Following the circuit path to the exact detail Crazy Tube Circuits managed to include all the essential sonic ingredients. From the big bold lows, sparkly highs, and slightly scooped miss, to the powerful sound of a solid state rectified 4x 6L6GC power amp or the sponginess of a tube rectified 2x 6L6GC power amp selectable through the headroom switch.

Match that to the green mid-hump overdrive we’ve all grown to love upon its inception in the late 70s, found on the right side. Crazy Tube Circuits chose to accurately recreate the circuit of this classic overdrive but with the addition of some of the most common modifications the pedal has seen throughout the years of its mass production or boutique variations.

A clipping toggle switch selects between symmetrical (original) or asymmetrical clipping for enhanced touch-sensitive drive characteristics while a gain toggle adds more gain and alters the low frequency response making it reminiscent of placing two of the same overdrive pedals in series. An internal switch offers additional headroom by providing 18V DC to the overdrive circuit.

WARNING: This unit was designed for 9V DC input only. Do not use a higher voltage power supply.

A passive effects loop gives you the option to connect your beloved pedals in the signal chain building your ideal rig or use the two sides independently (send is the output of the overdrive side, return is the input of the amp side). When both sides are in bypass mode the loop is true bypass as well, so your signal won’t be affected at all.


Newfangled Audio Holiday Sale!



Newfangled Audio is having a Holiday Sale. You can get 50% off Elevate Mastering Bundle, Generate Polysynth, and all other plug-ins!

Elevate Mastering Bundle: Mastering Limiter with a Brain and much more. Apple Silicon Native! $99!

Developed by Newfangled Audio, Elevate maintains subtle dynamics and improves the tonal balance of your mix.The adaptive limiter analyzes 26 frequency bands and alters the gain, speed and transients for each band in real time. The result is a transparent, natural sound, no matter how hard you push it.

Elevate utilizes 26 critical filter bands modeled from the human ear. Each of the bands are spaced to give maximum control over how the sound hits your eardrum. Draw curves, solo bands and manipulate are the transient attack for each individual band to bring out particular instruments such as kick or snare drums.

Generate: Beautifully complex pads. Warm moving keys. Jittery sequenced basses. Out of control leads. Textures, oh my God, textures. Take Chaos to the next level with Generate. $79!

Effect the Chaos. Generate’s voice is followed by an unparalleled EQ, Chorus, Delay, Reverb, Limiter, all to launch your chaotic sounds into outer space or right into your listeners faces.

Shape the Chaos: Generate’s chaotic generators are routed through your choice of 5 wavefolders: a model of the Buchla 259, a bend model of the 259, a wave folder version of our Saturate mastering plug-in, or novel Animated of Fractal wave folders, each adding unique overtone and modulation options.

Pendulate: Chaotic Monosynth. Added Triplets! Apple Silicon Native! FREE!

Bored of the same old synth sounds? Newfangled Audio’s Pendulate is refreshingly different. Pendulate is a chaotic mono synth that uses a brand new double-pendulum-oscillator to create previously unheard sounds – biting basses, searing leads, and gritty textures. It can smoothly fade from a sine wave to total chaos, with an expanse of territory to explore in between.

Saturate: Spectral Clipper. Apple Silicon Native! $25

Saturate is the perfect tool for adding some grit to an instrument of mix, either to transparently reduce the dynamic range, or to overdrive it and make it gel. Its unique detail preservation algorithm allows you to overdrive or clip individual sources, or entire mixes, in a way that allows them to continue to sound clear and pleasant – and without losing the find detail that you do with other clippers.


Gibson Introduces Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V



Gibson Custom Shop is proud to pay a tribute to a true guitar hero with the release of the Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V, based on Johnny’s personal and most well-known Firebird guitar. It’s not often that a guitar captures the essence of an artist, but Johnny Winter’s 1964 Firebird V perfectly matched his style and persona. Only a guitar as cool as the Firebird could keep up with the rip-roaring power and lightning-fast licks of the legendary guitarist Johnny Winter. The Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V has been meticulously crafted for fans to experience worldwide at authorized Gibson dealers and at www.gibson.com.

The Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V isn’t just a reissue, it’s a complete replication of an iconic guitar. From the plugged holes and removed Maestro Vibrola, to the faded Firebird logo on the pick guard, right down to the missing reflector on the rhythm tone knob, this 1964 Firebird V in Murphy Lab custom-aged Polaris White finish brings Johnny’s original 1964 Firebird V to life for a new generation of players.

For the release, Gibson teamed with legendary, late photographer Mick Rock to include key photos in the guitar package. Mick provided iconic Johnny Winter photos, as well as the cover art for Winter’s Captured Live album. In honor of Mick Rock, each Johnny Winter 1964 Firebird V guitar will come with a signed Johnny Winter print.

American singer and guitarist Johnny Winter was renowned across the globe for his high-energy blues rock albums and live performances. Johnny Winter played Woodstock and jammed with everyone from Muddy Waters to Jimi Hendrix to Willie Dixon to Albert Collins to John Lee Hooker to Janis Joplin to Steve Ray Vaughan and many more. The unofficial torchbearer for the blues, Johnny Winter also championed and aided the careers of his idols Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.

Winter both created and produced multiple GRAMMY Award-winning blues albums and revitalized the career of legendary blues artist Muddy Waters producing and also playing on Waters’ GRAMMY-Award winning albums Hard Again (1977), I’m Ready (1978), and Muddy “Mississippi” Waters Live (1979).

Several of Winter’s own albums were also nominated for GRAMMY Awards-Guitar Slinger (1984) and Serious Business (1985) Let Me In (1991) and I’m a Bluesman (2004). For his 19th and final studio album Step Back (2014), Winter collaborated with a number of guest musicians including Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Joe Perry, Leslie West, Dr. John, Brian Setzer, and more. Johnny Winter posthumously won the GRAMMY Award for “Best Blues Album” for Step Back (2014) – produced by Paul Nelson and Winter was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.


Nikon Announces NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens



Nikkon announced the NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8, the latest lens to expand the impressive NIKKOR Z portfolio, putting the potential for boundless creativity and maximum versatility into the hands of enthusiasts. The NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is an affordable and appealing choice for those ready to step up to a full-frame medium zoom lens with the benefits of a constant f/2.8 aperture including gorgeous, softly blurred backgrounds and excellent low light capability.

“Since the beginning of this year, we have announced numerous NIKKOR Z lenses for all levels of creators,   which have been commended for their unrivaled quality and edge-to-edge sharpness,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “Now we are continuing this winning streak by adding an extremely enticing option for enthusiasts in the rapidly growing full-frame market.”

The new NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is an attractive value for all types of photographers and creators, providing a lightweight lens with a versatile focal range and an f/2.8 constant aperture, all for an affordable price.  Capable of everything from impressive portraits with a soft background blur to extremely detailed landscape photos, striking low-light ambience or a small-footprint video production, the 28-75mm f/2.8 covers it all. The fixed aperture of f/2.8 enables a pleasing depth of field with natural bokeh to emphasize the focus on the subject. The lightweight lens weighs only 1.2lbs (565g), making it incredibly easy to pack, carry casually or wield for an all-day event. When paired with a Nikon Z 5, the new 28-75mm f/2.8 creates a compelling combination as a carry-anywhere, cost-effective full-frame kit, or paired with the Z 6II to step up content creation to the next level.

The NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 offers many of the benefits of its highly acclaimed sibling, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. While both lenses are extremely versatile options and serve as staples in every photographer’s bag, the 28-75mm f/2.8 is approximately 30% lighter with a slimmer profile. The lens features a control ring for maximum customization, and excels in video creation due to minimal focus breathing and near-silent operation. The new 28-75mm f/2.8 also features a minimum focusing distance of only 0.19m (at 28mm), making it a great option for cuisine, table-scapes and intricate fashion.

Primary features of the NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8:

The NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8 delivers incredible sharpness and a bright f/2.8 aperture, affording the ability to shoot in low light or produce images with a natural and pleasing bokeh.

The lens weighs only 1.2 lbs oz (565g), which is 8.4 oz lighter than the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. In addition to its portability, the lens is well-suited for gimbal use for content creation and video productions.

The minimum focus distance of 0.62ft (0.19m) allows users to capture intricate details.

By employing a stepping motor (STM) with superior response, the lens quickly focuses on moving subjects during still-shooting or video recording. The extremely quiet STM greatly reduces the level of lens drive and operational sounds during focusing and video recording.

With the control ring, users can focus manually or change ISO sensitivity, aperture and exposure compensation in stills and video. The smooth rotation enables precise focus control. The knurling employed improves operation.

The lens is sealed to prevent dust and water droplets from entry, enabling use in everyday circumstances without worry. It also features antifouling coating for easy cleaning.


Sony Electronics’ Airpeak S1 Professional Drone Now Available to Order



Sony Electronics announced the availability and timing of the company’s first-ever professional drone, “Airpeak S1.” The introductory model in the new Airpeak line, the SI is the world’s smallest drone that can be equipped with a full-size mirrorless interchangeable-lens Alpha camera, opening up a new world of creative possibilities for cinematographers and other visual storytelling professionals. Pre-sale opened on December 1, 2021, with an expected customer ship date of December 24, 2021.

Introduced to the public for the first time earlier this year, Airpeak S1 drone is designed for the professional user, and is compatible with a wide range of Sony’s camera bodies including the Alpha 1, Alpha 7S series, the Alpha 7R series, the Alpha 9 series, FX3 and others. It leverages the proprietary technology and delivers for smooth maneuverability at high speeds with highly stable wind resistance, enabling high-quality aerial images and video content.

“We’re excited to make the new Airpeak S1 drone available for purchase, and for the amazing possibilities this drone opens for cinematographers,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “The drone’s compact size, new software features and advanced imaging, sensing, AI and robotics reflect the high quality the industry respects Sony for, and enables content creators and commercial professionals to capture images and video not possible before.”

The drone includes “Airpeak Flight” iOS-based application which integrates and monitors all hardware related to the drone, giving the operator real-time status display and updates on screen. “Airpeak Base” web application is also available, allowing the operator to manage the equipment, create advanced flight plans, run the same pattern repeatedly, and fully manage and troubleshoot flight logs. For multiple operators, Airpeak S1 also includes a dual operation mode so one user can operate the drone as another operates the gimbal and camera, while each can monitor the content being recorded. An optional cloud service “Airpeak Plus” is available by paid subscription and provides additional data storage, advancing geofencing options, and import/export of flight logs.

Airpeak S1 suggested retail price is around $9,000.00 and will ship with two (2) pairs of propellers, a remote controller, two (2) batteries and a battery charger. A third party gimbal made specifically for Airpeak S1 will be sold separately. Pricing for Airpeak S1 accessories can be found at electronics.sony.com/more/airpeak. The optional “Airpeak Plus” subscription service will retail for around $300.00 for a 12-month period, with the optional “Protect Plan” coverage also available.