Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Happy Day For Photographers

Sony Alpha a6000First, Sony announced firmware updates to their A6, A7r, A7s and a6000 mirrorless cameras. In particular, the a6000 received a significant feature enhancement. Then, Adobe also just announced Creative Cloud 2015. The update includes new features in Photoshop CC, and some bits of it has made its way to an updated Lightroom CC too.

Sony’s update to the a6000 brought two main enhancements, speedier startup time and new XAVC-S video recording mode. I timed my a6000 before the firmware update and averaged about 2.2 seconds over several tries. After the firmware update, the startup time was reduced to about 1.9 seconds. A strange little thing, at least to me, is that the preview picture will show up on the LCD display slightly earlier, at reduced brightness, before the the display wakes up to full brightness a fraction of a second later. It’s as if the display backlight had only been partially activated.

The bigger enhancement in the new a6000 firmware is really about the XAVC-S video recording mode. This brings 50p and 25p (60p, 30p and 24p in NTSC mode) recording at 50 Mbps rate. The a6000, of course, shoots only Full HD 1080p video, but the XAVC-S codec should still bring significant improvements to video quality. The XAVC-S codec is big thing, because the newer but lower end a5100 already does XAVC-S, so there are some users who are a little torn between choosing the a5100 or a6000.

Now, if only 4K video could somehow also be activated through firmware.

I’ve been quite pleased that Sony has properly supported Mac OS X in delivering firmware updates to their cameras. They provide a version of the firmware update tool that works perfectly all versions of Mac OS X, including the current OS X 10.10.

The other nice bit is that they continue to support cameras like a6000, even with new enhancements. Sony DSLR cameras are often supported with new firmware updates, but their lower-end range like the CyberShots are usually not supported with firmware updates unless there is some pretty nasty bug. The a6000 is kind of neither here nor there, falling somewhere in-between a CyberShot camera and the full-frame A-series mirrorless DSLRs.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud 2015 is a big update. I only have the Creative Cloud Photography plan, so it’s primarily only the Photoshop CC updates that apply to me. Quoting Adobe:

In Adobe Photoshop CC, Artboards lets you make multiple layouts of different sizes in a single document, and the new Device Preview shows how designs and interactivity will look and adapt on mobile. The Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush, and Patch tools have been turbocharged with Mercury Graphics Engine enhancements, so you get results up to 120 times faster than you would if you were using CS6. And be sure to check out the new Photoshop Design Space (Preview Technology), a streamlined experience optimized for designing websites and mobile apps. — http://blogs.adobe.com/creativecloud/the-2015-release-of-adobe-creative-cloud-is-here/

Photoshop also includes a Dehaze feature, available in the updated Lightroom CC as well, allowing users to eliminate fog or haze from images, or add more of them for artistic effect. Dehaze is quite impressive, as you can see a test on Petapixel.

Note that if, while attempting to update or install Photoshop CC, you receive an error like this:

ERROR: DW021: Payload {2614BC86-757D-4293-9E25-E4E16F370A9E} Photoshop Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 Core 16.0.0.0 of version: 9.0.0.7 is not supported by this version: 9.0.0.6 of RIBS

The error may be due to your Creative Cloud app itself being outdated and itself needing an update. If you aren’t prompted to update Creative Cloud app, then Sign Out (not just quit) and Sign In again to Creative Cloud. You should see the update now. You can try this Sign Out and Sign In step too if you somehow do not see the Creative Cloud 2015 updates.

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