Topaz Labs provided us with a pre-release copy of Sharpen AI a while back so we could try it out.
Loading a slightly blurry portrait into the software and seeing the results left me extremely impressed.
In fact, Topaz is using the exact portrait I tested the software with as a sample image on Sharpen AI's product page.
Because of downsizing, the image above doesn't really showcase what Sharpen AI can do. Here's a closer look at the difference.
To get an even better idea of the difference, download the rull resolution original image here and then run it through the trial version of the software. Pay special attention to the subject's face/glasses and necklace pendant after adjusting Sharpen AI's parameters.
The great thing about machine learning algorithms is that they get better over time. I'm excited to see how far this type of technology will take us considering how well it works right now. [Sean]
From Topaz Labs:
We've all had the disappointing moment where your "perfect photo" is blurry, out-of-focus, or just not quite sharp enough.
You viewed the image in your camera and thought you had captured the perfect moment, only to be disappointed once you see the photo on your computer screen.
Now there's a solution.
Introducing Sharpen AI
Sharpen AI is the only sharpening tool to understand the difference between detail and noise by learning through millions of images.
This means it will focus on sharpening the things you actually want to sharpen, rather than artifacts or noise.
Use it to create beautifully sharp images from even handheld, low-light, and fast-moving photos - try Sharpen AI today!
Get Sharpen AI today for the special introductory price of $59.99, originally $79.99, available until March 15th.
Sharpens and Defines
Most commercial sharpening tools will sharpen everything in your image - including noise.
Sharpen AI only sharpens the things you want and brings out the detail and definition in your shot.
It only sharpens the good stuff.
When shooting a moving object or in a low-light scenario, motion blur is a common problem.
Sharpen AI uses machine learning to stabilize motion blur in your images for a crisp clear result.
Theoretically, there is no way to recover lens blur in your photos.
Sharpen AI remembers patterns in your image and can rescue a blur within ten pixels.
When your image is just slightly out of focus, Sharpen AI provides the solution.
How does this compare to other products?
Unlike other sharpening products, like Photoshop Shake Reduction, Sharpen AI is the first product to use machine learning to fill in the details that other sharpening tools leave out.
The AI technology delivers a crisp, clear image that is full of detail.
On February 28, 2019, Samyang Optics, a global optics brand, launches its first two lenses in Canon RF mount: : MF 14mm F2.8 RF MF 85mm F1.4 RF, as part of the ‘Spring Collection’.
Responding quickly to the latest camera market with advanced technology
As there are currently no Canon EOS R EOS RP camera lenses from brands other than Canon itself, Samyang’s new RF mount launch announcement is a fast response to customer demmarket trends.
It also proves the competitiveness of Samyang as a leading optical manufacturer.
Launching two RF mount lenses from the viewpoint of end users
Samyang’s existing line-up includes a wide variety of lenses, from ultra-wide angle to telephoto.
Their first two RF mount lenses reflect key models in the existing wide-angle telephoto lens line-up, which shows Samyang’s commitment development strategy, based on consumer demconvenience.
The Samyang MF 14mm F2.8 RF is an ultra-wide-angle, manual-focus lens with excellent sharpness, even at its maximum aperture.
The 115.7° wide angle of view is suitable fshooting landscapes, interiors, etc.
the lens hood effectively blocks unwanted light so you can shoot freely.
The Samyang MF 85mm F1.4 is a cherished lens design, loved by photographers fits beautiful bokeh.
The new MF 85mm F1.4 RF is ideal ftop quality portraiture still images with its vivid colours smooth out-focus quality.
Both lenses minimise aberration unnecessary light dispersion through the use of Samyang’s exceptional optical technology Ultra Multi Coating (UMC).
In addition, a new exteridesign weather sealing provide a contemporary simple look that matches well with mirrorless cameras, along with protection from light rain snow.
The first two RF lenses from Samyang will be displayed at CP+ 2019 (an international comprehensive camera photo imaging show in Japan / Feb 28th – Mar 3rd) Samyang will provide hands-on experience to visitors during the show.
The MF 14mm F2.8 RF & MF 85mm F1.4 RF will be available soon on the market.
Ultra-fast speed, designed for professional and industrial use, supports future evolution of digital devices
High reliability in extreme conditions thanks to TOUGH performance and smart software
New CFexpress card reader, MRW-G1, takes full advantage of Sony CFexpress Type B’s high-speed performance
The CFexpress Type B memory card and the CFexpress Card Reader are expected to be in the market in early summer 2019.
Sony Electronics Inc.
today announced the development of the CFexpress Type B memory card (CEB-G128), a new ultra-fast next generation memory card  that is ideal for professional and industrial use.
With its super-fast speed of up to 1700MB/s (read) along with highly reliable toughness, this memory card supports the future evolution of digital devices.
Enhancing Sony’s high performance, value-added memory card line-up, the CFexpress Type B is designed based on a new specification which adopts the latest interface, PCIe  Gen3, standardized by the CompactFlash Association.
The Sony CFexpress Type B memory card offers a 128GB capacity, with higher capacity models of 256 GB and 512 GB planned for the future.
The Sony CFexpress Type B memory card is roughly 3 times faster than Sony’s fastest CFast memory card (with 530MB/s read speed).
With a write speed of up to 1480MB/s, this card meets future requirement needs for secure industry data-recording or requirements from professionals to capture hi-resolution images or high-bitrate video.
With a read speed of up to 1700MB/s, even large-sized data files can be transferred quickly, when compared to existing memory cards.
For example, when making copies or backing up large-sized data from multiple memory cards, transfer time will be dramatically reduced enabling greater efficiency.
The new CFexpress Card Reader, MRW-G1, is optimized for Sony CFexpress Type B memory card and takes full advantage of the card’s fast read speed.
This reader is also compatible with Sony XQD card G series and M series.
The Sony CFexpress Type B memory card has superior strength, surpassing the CFexpress standard by a factor of three, being able to withstand 70N of force in bend, and five times greater reliability for enduring falls from up to 5m high.
The card is also temperature proof , X-ray proof , anti-static  and has a UV guard so it can support usage in tricky or tough environments .
Peace of mind
Media Scan Utility and Memory Card File Rescue are available as a free download to Sony CFexpress card users.
Media Scan Utility is PC software that automatically scans your Sony CFexpress memory card every time you connect it to a PC via your MRW-G1 card reader8.
The software keeps you informed of the condition of your card and lets you know if you’re nearing or have reached the flash memory limit.
Memory Card File Rescue eradicates every photographer’s worst nightmare – deleting photos accidentally and losing your precious work.
The software recovers accidentally deleted files including RAW or high-resolution images and videos, so your work is safe from whatever obstacles are thrown your way.
The Sony CFexpress Type B memory card and the CFexpress MRW-G1 Card Reader are expected to be available in summer 2019.
 Based on Sony internal testing. Actual performance may vary and is dependent on environment and usage.
 Based on memory card standard announced from the CompactFlash Association in 2017 as the next generation of XQD memory card and CFast memory card. CompactFlash is a trademark of CompactFlash Association.
 PCIe is a registered trademark of PCI-SIG.
 Based on Sony internal testing, memory media can operate in temperatures between -13 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) and 185 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius). Actual performance may vary based on environmental conditions and usage.
 Based on Sony internal testing, memory media is in conformance with ISO 7816-1 X-ray screen testing. Actual performance may vary based on environmental conditions and usage.
 Based on Sony internal testing, memory media is anti-static certified to IEC 61000-4-2 standard. Actual performance may vary based on environmental conditions and usage.
 Based on Sony internal testing, memory media is in conformance with ISO 7816-1 ultraviolet ray irradiation testing. Actual performance may vary based on environmental conditions and usage.
 MRW-G1 is required to scan Sony CFexpress memory card.
New AI-Integrated Platform Can Help Photographers Advance Their Craft, Save Time with an Improved Workflow as well as Easily Organize and Share Their Photos
MELVILLE, NY, February 27, 2019 – In 2017, approximately 1.2 trillion photos were taken; turning millions of people into prolific photographers1, who are spending a tremendous amount of time arranging and searching through their library of photos.
To help photographers streamline their workflow and continually improve their craft, Canon U.S.A., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the company’s first online photo-community platform – RAISE.
This new platform utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to help photographers organize and categorize their photos through auto-tagging.
Features and benefits of RAISE include:
Organize – Through the use of Canon’s AI engine, photos uploaded to the platform can be auto-tagged through category and subject tags, as well as photo-centric tags such as the composition, style, emotion and color. Users can upload high-resolution JPEG images to the platform and all photographers retain ownership of all images uploaded to RAISE.
Explore – Photographers can receive insights from the RAISE community to learn and help improve their skills to step-up their photography. They can also draw inspiration from the platform with a feed personalized for them based on their own uploaded photos, tags and preferences.
Share – Photographers can create Collections within RAISE to privately share with current and prospective clients as well as loved ones, who may not be a part of the RAISE community. A photographer’s work can also be shared publically within the community to receive recognition as well as photo-centric compliments from other photographers, like “great lighting,” beautiful composition,” etc.
An Adobe Lightroom plugin version of RAISE, which is compatible with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, is currently scheduled to be released next month.
This will further enhance the usability of the RAISE features such as auto-tagging images within a user’s Lightroom library through RAISE collections in the platform.
“Creativity is born from community – from collaboration with like-minded individuals,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc.
“With RAISE, we are building that community for photographers.
Through this new platform, photographers from all different professional backgrounds and skill sets can come together to share their talents and connect with others in the community.
Simply put, we hope RAISE will inspire the next generation of photographers to RAISE the bar and propel their creativity to new heights.”
The new platform along with Canon’s latest solutions will be showcased at this year’s Wedding Portrait & Photography Show (WPPI) in Las Vegas from February 27 - March 1 in the Canon booth #121.
For more information about RAISE and/or to join the community, please stop by the Canon booth at WPPI or visit, raise.usa.canon.com.
Being a surfer enthusiast in Savannah, GA is a rough life; the waves found along Tybee Island (the nearest beach) are rarely conducive to "hanging ten."
Such is the story of Dagny, someone who loves to surf but rarely finds conditions here favorable for her pursuit.
On this day, however, the waves were "ok" and Dagny had just finished about an hour of surfing along a nearby shoreline.
She had obviously been having fun.
I, on the other hand, had been plagued by one issue after another since arriving at the beach at 9:00am. Let me explain.
When I arrived at the south end of Tybee Island to meet Dagny at 9:00am, there was a fairly dense fog along the shoreline.
Dagny wanted to do some surfing but also wanted a picture, so the first question to answer was, "Which do we do first?"
Since the waves were looking good to Dagny and the fog was looking questionable from a photographic standpoint, I told her to go ahead and surf and I would signal to her when I was ready to start shooting.
This would allow me time to scout out a suitable location, set up my lighting gear and hopefully give the fog some time to clear.
In hindsight, telling Dagny to hit the waves ahead of our shoot had another great benefit; it allowed me time to methodically work through the problems I was destined to face without having an increasingly impatient subject stare on with resentment for stealing her away from the best waves of the day.
When shooting at the beach, I generally prefer to transport only the items I intend on actually using to the sandy location.
This approach lessens the amount of cleanup necessary once the shoot is finished.
However, a downside of this technique is that if technical issues are experienced, one is required to go all the way back to the car to retrieve backup items.
As I would come to realize, that's a pretty major downside.
After scouting out a good location on the beach, I went back to my car in a [relatively] nearby parking lot to plan out my gear needs.
At that time, it was still quite foggy and I was unsure if it would clear completely before we started shooting. I decided that limiting the amount of space between the subject and me would be a good idea for optimal contrast.
Therefore, I opted for a Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens on my Canon 5D Mark III instead of the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens I had originally planned on using.
Backup #1 [Lens]: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens (for Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM)
To allow me to shoot at my max flash sync speed (for these studio strobes, that's 1/160 sec), I put a 4-stop neutral density filter on the lens knowing that it wouldn't be enough density to allow me to use a wide-open aperture at my base ISO (100), but it would allow me to use a wider aperture than I would have been able to without the ND filter in place.
I'm always leery about using a softbox and/or umbrella on the beach because, even with sand bags in use, the large surface area of those modifiers can cause significant problems when wind is added to the equation.
However, I love the soft light I get with softboxes and umbrellas, so they are generally my first choices if the weather allows for their safe use.
The beach wasn't as windy as it has been in the past, but... I still didn't think it was a good idea to attach what amounts to a sail to my light stand.
Therefore, I opted to mount a Mola Demi Beauty Dish (with Opal Diffuser) to my White Lightning X3200 studio strobe, powered by a battery pack.
The 22" diameter, sturdy metal modifier has proven to be a solid choice in the past in windy conditions, so I was glad I brought it.
After transporting my light stand, studio strobe, beauty dish, battery pack, power cord, radio trigger with cord and two sand bags to the beach, I plugged everything in, turned on the battery pack/strobe/radio trigger and pushed the "Test" button on my trigger to fire the strobe.
Ok Sean, let's work the problem. Are the trigger and receiver on the same frequency? Yes. Am I sure I turned on the trigger? It doesn't appear to be blinking (a sign that it's on). I pressed the receiver button again (which should trigger the strobe in addition to turning the unit on), but nothing happens.
"Ahh, the batteries in my receiver are dead."
So, off to the car I went. While I did have some extra batteries in the car, I chose instead to grab a different radio receiver as the batteries are somewhat difficult to replace in these things.
And, back to the beach.
Backup #3: Radio Receiver #2 (for Radio Receiver #1)
With the new radio receiver plugged into the studio strobe (and blinking), and everything powered on again, I hit the test button on my trigger and... again, nothing.
However, a quiet moment between the waves and various beach sounds reveals a barely audible beeping coming from my battery pack.
It doesn't usually beep, so my guess is that it's trying to tell me something (later tests would reveal that my battery pack's battery had just failed).
Once again, it's time to go back to the car with a nearly 20 lb battery pack so that I can return with its replacement (an identical unit).
Backup #4: Battery Pack #2 (for Battery Pack #1)
After returning to the beach with the new battery pack, plugging everything back in and turning everything back on, I hit the test fire button on my trigger.
This is getting old. At this point, everything I've replaced has been a validated problem.
The radio receiver's batteries were dead and the unit was replaced with a working one.
The battery pack's battery had failed (even though it had been charging all night).
Now, even with those issues resolved, my strobe still wouldn't fire.
In one last Hail Mary attempt, I dragged my White Lightning x3200 back to the car to replace it with a Whilte Lightning Ultrazap 1600 that I had also brought along.
Backup #5 [Studio Strobe]: White Lightning Ultrazap 1600 (for White Lightning x3200)
After returning to the beach with the new studio strobe, I once again plugged everything up, turned everything on and hit the test fire button.
Success! The flash fired just as Dagny was walking to our shooting location. She needed a break from surfing, and her timing could not have been better.
Camera settings for the shot atop this post were f/3.2, 1/160 sec., ISO 100 (with a 4-stop ND filter).
The fog had mostly cleared by the time this image was taken, so I wouldn't have technically needed to use the Sigma 50mm Art lens in place of the Canon 135mm f/2L, but I liked the view I was getting at 50mm, so I think it worked out for the best.
I performed basic edits in Adobe Camera RAW and changed the color tones of the highlights and shadows and, after importing to Photoshop CC, I used the Content Aware Move Tool to reposition the three birds for better framing (they were originally more spread out and lower/closer to the left edge of the frame).
I also used the Content Aware Healing brush to remove a very long zipper pull that was flapping in the wind.
If you'd like to see what it was like on the shoot after all the problems had been worked out, check out this behind-the-scenes video.
This was one of those shoots were everything that could go wrong seemed to do just that. However, having a backup of everything (I also had a backup camera along) meant that I could deal with the problems that cropped up and ultimately capture an image that I was very proud of.
When shooting on-location, do yourself a favor – bring a backup of every vital piece of equipment you're taking. You'll often find yourself falling back on one of your backups.
And someday, you may find yourself needing a backup for everything.
A larger version of the image can be seen on Flickr.