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Photo FOMO: MagMod launches quick set softbox, Fujifilm gets new firmware

MagMod MagBox: The Radically Awesome Universal Flash Softbox System

Afraid of missing out on the latest photo industry news while you’re out, well, actually taking pictures? Photo FOMO is all the news you might have missed this week, published on the weekends. Alongside the biggest stories of the week, like our review of the DJI Ronin-S gimbal, the new SD card standard that enables 128TB SD cards, and Sony’s launch of its 400mm f/2.8 lens, find briefs on the latest in accessories and photo industry news from this week with Photo FOMO.

MagMod blows through Kickstarter goal for quick setup flash softbox system

MagMod flash modifiers grip the front of the flash using magnets for quick, versatile light adjustments. The company’s latest venture is for a fast setup softbox — and if the Kickstarter campaign is any indication, photographers are pretty excited about it. The MagBox, MagShoe, and MagRing are designed for modifying an off-camera flash — or flashes.

The MagRing uses the company’s magnet mount to pair two flashes together. This, the company claims, gives photographers the power of a studio strobe while maintaining the portability of using a flash system, since the two flashes can fire together for a greater light output.

The MagBox connects to the MagRing via magnets, while the front of the softbox can swap out different fabrics for diffusion and grid modification also, of course, with magnets. MagMod also added a new modifier panel called a lens that creates an effect similar to a beauty dish. Grids can also snap into the base of the softbox. The company says the 24-inch MagBox sets up in seconds.

Putting it all together, the MagShoe holds the off-camera flash on a light stand or tripod for using with MagMod modifiers or an umbrella. The MagShoe uses a quick trigger grip to adjust the position of the flash and a thumb lock to keep the flash in place.

Like other MagMod products, the three new products are launching on Kickstarter, though reaching five times the original goal helps negate some (not all) of the crowdfunded risk. The campaign continues through August 22, with the MagShoe starting at $49, the MagBox at $199, and all three for $250.

Instagram is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion

When is buying something for $1 billion considered a steal? When it gets valued at 100 times that just six years later. According to data gathered by Bloomberg Intelligence, Instagram is estimated to be worth more than $100 billion dollars — $99 billion more than Facebook purchased it for back in 2012.

Earlier this month, Instagram surpassed more than 1 billion active users and it’s on track to surpass more than 2 billion users within five years.

X-rays could bring nearly 200-year-old images back from destruction

Western-led research team uncovers lost images from the 19th century using 21st century tech

The daguerreotype is among the very first types of photographs, but the images easily degrade with time. Researchers from Western University in Canada, however, have found a way to take old daguerrotypes faded to the point of being indistinguishable and recover the image that was once on the plate.

The process has to do with how the original photo was taken — while several chemicals were used in the process, once exposed, the silver plate was developed from mercury fumes. The researchers used X-rays to find traces of that mercury, which revealed the details that were once in the image. The process isn’t as simple as getting an X-ray at the dentist — the team used micro X-rays that are thinner than a strand of hair, which meant the process takes about eight hours an image. But, for historically significant images, the process can re-capture the details that have faded from the plate.

Polar digitizes instant film for sharing in person and online

Smartphone snapshots of instant film is a popular way to easily share the physical prints on social media, but the quality suffers. A new app called Polar aims to up the quality when quickly digitizing those instants. Polar detects images inside a frame, and crops and color corrects. The app can also remove fingers if holding the edge of the image in place.

The app launched earlier this month on iOS, with the latest update bringing color correction options. Other scan apps like Adobe Scan can turn a smartphone into a quick scanner, but Polar’s focus on instant photos could be appealing to some users. The app is a $3 download from the App Store.

Budget Fujifilms get even better with firmware updates

Fujifilm is bringing more features to the company’s beginner-friendly entry line with firmware updates to the X-A5, X-A3, and X-A20. The updates bring bug fixes and performance improvements, including one feature found on the higher-end Fujifilm cameras.

The X-A5, with the latest firmware, gets a new autofocus algorithm, the same one found on the X-T100, which the company says improves both speed and accuracy. The maximum recording time for video has also increased to 30 minutes, though separated into multiple files once the size reaches 4GB. The update also improves LCD visibility and HDMI output, eliminating the earlier time limit on the latter.

The X-A5 along with the X-A3 and X-A20 also get a bug fix for what Fujifilm calls a rare interval timer error, and an update that defaults the ISO to Auto inside P, S, A, M and Adv. modes.

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