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Out of nowhere, Kodak releases a smartphone with ancient hardware

If there was a company that has been trying to catch up to the present, it is Kodak. The iconic maker of film cameras has been trying to reinvent itself for sometime to stay relevant. To that end, Kodak thought of doing what everyone is doing. The company launched a smartphone. Behold! The Kodak Ektra.

The phone launched in India for a price of Rs 19,990 and will be a Flipkart exclusive available from 18th July from 4 PM. It was
already available
in US and Europe since last year.

The Kodak branding means the phone is centered around photography. At the heart of the phone is a 21-megapixel fast focus camera with f/2.0 aperture. On the front is a 13-megapixel front camera with f/2.2 aperture and phase detection autofocus.

The phone also sports a custom camera app which comes with a SLR-style scene selection dial that can be controlled using haptic touch. The scenes available for selection include HDR, Landscape, Portrait, Macro, Bokeh, Night-time, Panorama and a smart Auto mode. There is also a manual mode to adjust the aperture, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed. There is also support for RAW images.

The camera on the phone also uses ARCSOFT Night Shot technology to apparently take high quality low-light shots. This is achieved by the use of Kodak-certified lens coating that enables more light to reach the sensor without increasing ISO noise, brightening underexposed areas and stabilising blur from slow shutter speeds. Dynamic Focus and Object Tracking give additional control over the camera focus while crisp, clear images are guaranteed through automatic Image Noise Reduction features, reducing the need for extensive post-editing.

On the body of the phone is a dedicated shutter button mimicking the horizontal style of traditional cameras. The device also features a Super 8 app, providing professional effects reminiscent of Kodak’s iconic Super 8 film stocks.

The phone is powered by a 10-core processor by MediaTek coupled with 3GB of RAM and runs on, wait for it, Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The phone is al
so comes
with the Snapseed app
editing photos on the go. The phone has 32GB of inbuilt memory which can expanded. The package is powered by a 3,000mAh battery with USB 3.0 Type-C fast charging.


Bee Brains May Be the Model For the Next Evolutionary Leap in Camera Technology

Photo: Getty

The beleaguered honey bee is normally championed for its vital powers of pollination but a new study shows that we could soon be thanking them for inspiring more accurate color imaging in digital photography.

A group of researchers
published the results
of their investigation into how bees perceive color today in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
). Their findings call into question previous assumptions about bees’ perception and they claim that this research could be integrated into cameras to produce a better representation of natural light.


In the past, scientists have questioned how it is that a honey bee can recognize the same colors on a flower that it has already visited, even though the ambient light is constantly changing. The accepted solution was that like humans, bees have the capacity for
chromatic adaptation
. Even if a red object is illuminated by green light, it is still understood to be red. A theorem called the
Von Kries
transform gave us a mathematical basis for this idea and it was applied to camera technology to maintain color constancy. If you use a crappy digital camera, colors will look unnatural. But a camera with high-quality sensors and white balance options gives us an image that’s closer to what we perceive with our own eyes.

What this new research suggests is that bees have a different way of processing colors than we previously believed. Bees have two main compound eyes that directly observe the flowers they’re targeting. But on top of their head, they have three ocelli pointed at the sky. Each ocelli has two color receptors that sense ambient light. In a press release, lead author Dr. Jair Garcia explains:

Physics suggests the ocelli sensing of the colour of light could allow a brain to discount the naturally coloured illumination which would otherwise confuse colour perception. But for this to be true the information from the ocelli would have to be integrated with colours seen by the compound eyes.

The neural tracings of the ocelli were mapped and it was found that the neural projection was being directed to the color processing areas of the bee’s brain. The scientists reasoned that parallel visual pathways were feeding into the higher-order visual processing centers of the bee’s brain. When mathematical models of their hypothesis were compared to observed behavior, they concluded that they were correct.


Adrian Dyer, one of the coordinators of the research, says, “this discovery on color constancy can be implemented into imaging systems to enable accurate color interpretation.” High hopes are had for an integration of these computational models into drones, cameras, and robots in order to create better color constancy in outdoor settings.

Now that killer drones could be improved thanks to the honey bee, can we get some more government support for saving these guys?



Canon drops the EOS 6D Mark II full-frame DSLR

The Canon 6D finally has a successor as the camera maker announced the Mark II version of the DSLR. The original launched back in 2012, which was a really good entry-level DSLR with a full frame sensor.

The new 6D Mark II takes things a step ahead and now comes with a 26.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor paired to 45-point cross-type autofocus system with Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. It also features Canon’s latest DIGIC 7 image processor, can shoot 1080p videos at 60p, ISO range of 100 to 40,000, and tilting touchscreen display which is definitely going to be an attraction point.

Being a photographer myself, I love shooting with my DSLR. Probably one of the features that I really miss is a vari-angle display. It not only helps in taking pictures at difficult angles, it’s also useful when making videos.

Other features of the 6D Mark II include continuous shooting of 6.5 fps, with a maximum burst of 21 frames for RAW photos and 150 for JPEG. Of course, you get dust and water-resistance, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth and as well GPS.

I think this will be a great option for photographers who want to jump on to full frame at a lower cost. Sadly there is no 4K video support which might disappoint a few fans. It will be available starting next month at $1,999 (roughly Rs 1,30,000) for the body only. There are kit options as well including a Canon 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens for $2,599 (roughly Rs 1,69,000) and $3,099 (roughly Rs 2,00,000) with the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens.

Official India pricing is yet to be revealed.


Canon Might Finally Fix All the Problems In Its Cheapest Full Frame Camera

All images: Canon

Canon is finally launching a new full frame camera. The $2000 Canon 6D Mark II is the first ever refresh to Canon’s cheapest full frame camera, the Canon 6D (now Canon 6D Mark I), and it might actually fix all the Mark I’s problems.

The original 6D launched back in 2013, and, at the time, was one of the cheapest full frame cameras you could buy. Professional shooters and serious hobbyists prefer full frame cameras over cheaper and lighter cropped sensor and micro four third cameras because the larger camera sensor allows you to shoot more of what you’re looking at and provides a better field of view. They’ve particularly preferred the original 6D over other cheap full frame cameras because it was perfect for astrophotography as its sensor was super sensitive, capturing more light than other full frame cameras.

Full frame pro cameras tend to avoid an articulating display because it could break off and might harm any weather sealing. That hasn’t stopped camera users from begging for one.

But the original 6D had some big drawbacks that make it feel positively ancient nowadays next to full frame offerings from Nikon and Sony. In particular, it has a static display with zero articulation and a measly 11 points for autofocusing. The first is terrible if you’re trying to use the 6D to shoot video (which it was initially promoted as being great for), and the latter is terrible as it makes it nearly impossible to shoot action or sports.


The 6D Mark II changes that. The display on the back of the camera is fully articulated-a first for a Canon full frame camera-and it has 45 point autofocus. Those are both huge improvements commonly found in the pricier cropped sensor Canon cameras
like the 80D
. The Canon 6D Mark II also has a 26.2 megapixel sensor and the ability to autofocus in video mode.

Those are all wishlist items for Canon fans who have been waiting for the 6D Mark II, but if you’re such a fan you’ll be disappointed to learn that the 6D Mark II lacks some of the other dream features. RAWs go straight to a single SD card slot-no dual slot and no Compact Flash slot. It also doesn’t shoot 4K video. When asked why Canon told Gadgetlayout and other reporters that “4K is a conversation. On cameras like this, it’s a very heavy format and very large file.” In layman’s terms-Canon felt that the size and complexity of a 4K shooting mode weren’t worth having in its entry level full frame camera at this time.

If you want that or the better file backup the dual SD card slots afford you’ll need to shell out for a pricier camera like the Canon 5D Mark IV or that slick new Sony a9.


The new Canon 6D Mark II will start shipping in July and the body alone will retail for just $2000. That’s a full $100 less than the original 6D’s launch price-a very attractive option if you’re like me and have been pondering selling all your Canon glass (lenses) to pick up a Sony a7r II or just upgrading to a Canon 5D Mark III or Mark IV.

In addition to the (finally) updated 6D, Canon has also announced an update to its cheapest DSLR. The Canon EOS Rebel SL1 will be ramping down production as the new Rebel SL2 takes its place. The SL2 will have 9 autofocus points and a 24.2 megapixel sensor that’s identical to the one found in the Canon 77D.

Super affordable DSLRs tend to age much faster than fancier ilk like the 6D, with their autofocus and low light abilities improving dramatically with each iteration-which means if you love a cheap camera and have no desire to lean into the micro four third ecosystem than something like the new SL2 could be right up your alley. As with the Canon 6D, it goes on sale in late July of this year. Yet the body alone will retail for just $550.


Back to the basics: Nokia’s next phones will have Zeiss optics cameras for a better imaging experience

Back when not all phones were smart, Nokia’s feature phones sported the best camera tech one could ask for at that time. Where most languished with
VGA sensor, Nokia upped the ante with 2-megapixel, 5-megapixel, even a whopping 41-megapixel camera thanks to its collaboration with Carl Zeiss, the legendary camera optics brand. With the eventual downfall of Espoo, Carl Zeiss too became obscure in the face of newer suppliers like Sony, Largan and more.

However, as Nokia is now resurging once again under the
stewardship of HMD Global
, it has not forgotten its old allies. HMD Global announced that cameras on Nokia’s new phones will return to

the good

ol days” through a partnership with Zeiss optics.

Like the past Nokia phones, Zeiss optics will enhance the imaging experience of the phone. To know how better, one only has to look at the old Lumia phones and the images shot from them. They were at par with some of the best cameras that came out that time. Remember the
Nokia 808 Pureview
with a 41-megapixel camera?

But what is new in this is the fact it will be the first time that a Zeiss-powered camera will feature on a Nokia branded Android phone.

With the partnership, Nokia will look to

set new imaging standards within the smartphone industry”. It will take the existing technologies such as PureView further and set a new benchmark in smartphone imagery.

HMD Global’s CEO, Arto Numella said,

Collaborating with ZEISS is an important part of our commitment to always deliver the very best experience for our customers. Our fans want more than a great smartphone camera, they want a complete imaging experience that doesn’t just set the standard but redefines it. Our fans expect it and, together with ZEISS, we’re delivering it

co-developed imaging excellence for all.”

We are yet to learn which Nokia phone will come with Zeiss optics and how exactly will the partnership improve the experience. However, if a tweet from Zeiss Camera Lens is anything to go by, the next Nokia phone could very well be the first to come with the support.

Rumours already state that the next Nokia phone, the Nokia 9 will sport a dual camera setup and the tweet from Zeiss somewhat confirms that.


Canon launches ‘EOS 6D Mark II DSLR’ camera in India

Aiming to bring a “sense of genius” in photography, digital imaging company Canon India on Monday unveiled ‘EOS 6D Mark II,’ a new camera to become part of its ‘EOS full-frame DSLR’ line.

Featuring 26.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor, the camera delivers clear images even under low-light conditions and its ‘Dual Pixel CMOS AF’ technology provides high-performance focus tracking in ‘Live View’ mode.

The ‘EOS 6D Mark II’ is priced at Rs 132,995 (for the body), Rs 184,995 with ‘EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM’ lens and Rs 202,995 with ‘EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM’ lens.

The camera exhibits a well-rounded feature set with extensive additions for photographers to create high-quality images through the full-frame DSLR functions, packed into a light weight and compact body.

“At Canon, we have always focused on providing a cutting-edge technology to our customers with our innovative offerings. Building on the legacy of its predecessor the EOS 6D, we are for the first time making an articulating LCD on a full-frame DSLR camera,” Kazutada Kobayashi, President and CEO, Canon India, said in a statement.

“With the launch of such evolutionary products, we foresee our numbers to grow and achieve more than 50 per cent in the DSLR segment by the end of this year,” he added.

Sporting a 3-inch, vari-angle touch-screen LCD monitor, the device comes with a 7560 pixel (RGB+IR) metering sensor and a colour detection AF that enables consistent and accurate exposure in various lighting conditions.

“With a full-frame sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF and vari-angle touch panel, the EOS 6D Mark II, will appeal to both still and video audiences allowing them to experience the world of full-frame imaging in new and interesting ways,” Eddie Udagawa, Vice President of Consumer Imaging and Information Centre, Canon India, told reporters here.

The battery life of the device can be extended to accommodate longer shooting hours with the optional battery grip (BG-E21) which houses 2 pieces of LP-E6N batteries.

The ‘4K Time-lapse’ movie function will enable movie-makers to capture moods and moments by combining still images shot at intervals over time.

‘EOS 6D Mark II’ provides Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for users to transfer images and videos from the camera to smart devices and upload them onto the ‘Canon Image Gateway’, social media platforms and Cloud storage.


How the OnePlus 5 Camera helped us take better photos at The Champions Trophy

We have all been there at some point in our lives. A bustling crowd eager to get in, seats that are too far from the action or the continuous chitter-chatter of passionate fans. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I am talking about a cricket stadium. It’s akin to making your way through maddening rush of crowds to watch what seems like little ants play dress up from far away.

Nothing can save you from the frustration of the crowds but there is one thing that can help you get some decent pictures out of the trip at least. Smartphones have evolved over the years to become more than just you everyday communications tool, it’s become a window to your life. It’s often said the best camera is the one that you have at the moment with you and it definitely helps to have one which is actually good at what it does.

Chances are you may have seen some of our pictures from the
Shot for Gadgetlayout campaign
, where we put the OnePlus 5 camera through its paces. Some of these pictures were shot at the India Pakistan cricket match during the champions trophy and a lot of these images wouldn’t have been possible without the zoom on the camera.

A lot has been talked about when it comes to the camera on the phone. One minute, it had 2X optical zoom, the next it had 1.6X with the rest of the numbers filled in using SmartCapture multiframe technology. In fact, the company did not have a very good run up to the launch of the phone, with accusations of benchmark tampering, iPhone design clone and the lossless zoom being talked about with fervour.

Away from the madness, in our little corner at the stadium we were distant from these murmur’s and just using the camera without any preconceived notions of what it was and what it wasn’t.

Look at this picture for instance:

This was shot from the stands a fair distance away from the presentation. It may not be the sharpest picture but it still does retain some valuable detail. This was captured with the zoom set to 2.0X or more accurately 1.6X. It doesn’t seem like much but the very fact that we were able to get a usable shot from far away in the stands is impressive.

This is another picture we managed to snag from far off. This commotion was captured a fair distance away from us to the right, again with the zoom set to 2.0X. The zoom on the camera won’t blow people away but it does have the ability to get usable shots and with a little bit of post processing, we may get a good picture out of it.

Now I am not trying to defend OnePlus here, nor I am making an asinine argument about having zoom as opposed to none. What I am trying to say is that the Zoom on the OnePlus 5 camera did end up helping us out while shooting photos of the match, while many of these will seem nothing special on first glance, nearly all of them were taken from a fair distance away.


Unseen Photos of Mount St. Helens Eruption Found in Forgotten Camera

Image: Kati Dimoff

A vintage camera from the early 20th century containing a roll of undeveloped film has yielded an extraordinary set of images showing the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, considered among the disastrous volcanic eruptions in US history.

Whenever photographer
Kati Dimoff
finds herself in southeast Portland, she stops into the Goodwill on Grand Avenue and checks the film cameras for undeveloped rolls of film. On May 26th, she found an Argus C2 camera dating back to around 1938, containing a damaged roll of Kodachrome slide film. She took it to Blue Moon, a company that specializes in processing discontinued film.

Image: Kati Dimoff

“[W]hen I picked up the prints on Monday June 12th, there was a note on the package that said ‘is this from the Mt St Helens eruption?’,” noted Dimoff in an email to Gadgetlayout.


Indeed, some of the shots showed Mount St. Helens way off in the distance with small puffs of ash from what appears to be the beginning of the eruption, with the Longview Bridge in view, “so it must have been shot from just off highway 30,” said Dimoff.

Image: Kati Dimoff

“Two of the shots showed a larger ash cloud, with John Gumm elementary school in the foreground (in St. Helens, Oregon).” Those images are reproduced below.

Image: Kati Dimoff

Image: Kati Dimoff

No doubt, it’s a rather remarkable event to find sitting forgotten in an old camera. Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, sending a massive plume of ash into the sky and leveling the surrounding forests. Nearly 60 people were killed in the explosion, which caused about $1.1 billion in property damage.

“When I realized my found film had images of the eruption, it felt like it was meant to be.”

“Mount St. Helens is my favorite place,” Dimoff wrote. “My family makes a daytrip up to Loowit Lookout every summer. It feels sacred there. So, when I realized my found film had images of the eruption, it felt like it was meant to be. Also, I was curious how it could be that anyone would shoot images of the eruption (which was such an iconic time here in the Pacific Northwest) and not run right out and get them developed. Instead, leaving them in the camera and somehow forgetting about it for 37 years.”

Image: Kati Dimoff

In addition to the eruption, the camera included a shot of a family in a backyard. The photo was published in the
newspaper, which attracted the attention of Mel Purvis, and for good reason-that’s him in the photo, along with his late wife Karen, his grandmother Faye and his son Tristan. Purvis contacted the paper and told them that the camera belonged to his grandmother. Dimoff will be returning the camera back to the family.


“I’m a very sentimental person, and I love old photographs,” said Dimoff. “This chance happening has been really special.”


Senior photographer Udit Kulshrestha on the OnePlus 5 camera

Why do we say the OnePlus 5 is the flagship killer of this year? It is definitely not because of the maxed out spec sheet. It is not the design either. It is actually what OnePlus did with the camera on the OnePlus 5 that sets it apart from the rest of the phones that are trying to match up to the rivals.

As you might know, the OnePlus 5 uses a dual camera stack on the rear. OnePlus has gone for a widescreen and telephoto lens combination to offer lossless zoom and the bokeh effect. The OnePlus 5 uses a custom Sony IMX 398 sensor for the 16-megapixel, 28mm widescreen camera and a Sony IMX 350 sensor for the 20-megapixel 36mm telephoto lens. But these are just numbers. We gave the phone to an award-winning professional photographer, Udit Kulshreshtha, who used it to do a shoot of the Taj Mahal and the life around the iconic structure. And he couldn’t stop gushing about how good the camera is.

“I think the OnePlus 5 has a brilliant camera and even the selfie camera is very good. Even the processing is very, very fast. I could click so many picture, so fast, it was amazing. I also tried out the time lapse and the slow motion and the quality was amazing,” he told to dia.

Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha



Camera: OnePlus 5

Photos from the OnePlus 5 can easily be passed off as professional grade photographs. The quality is dangerously close to DSLR images. And unlike the bulky DSLRs, the OnePlus 5 is quite discreet and does not weigh much.

“First, there’s the weight of the phone. Second it’s non-intrusive. That makes it very convenient. And that is one reason why I would personally use the phone over a DSLR. If you want to click and you don’t want to intrude into anyone’s privacy and get noticed. Nobody expects you to take a great picture with a phone camera and you are not taken seriously as a photographer. That is something that I wanted to pursue. Especially in the premises inside the Taj Mahal, there is massive security checks where you can’t carry heavy equipment inside. So you can’t carry bags and all the lenses with you inside. It becomes a pain. There have been times when I had to go back to the locker, put in the bags, then come back, wasting time, wasting light. Here I had a phone and nobody bothered about it. Nobody takes you as a serious photographer per se. That is one reason,” Udit told.

Having a high quality smartphone camera, also helped him avoid the camera-centric reactions that people tend to give when they notice a DSLR pointing at them.

Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha



Camera: OnePlus 5

“If you look at the
shot of the muslim locals who were washing their hands in front of the Taj Mahal
, the moment there would have been a camera, the reaction would have changed. They would have put on a camera induced reaction which I wanted to avoid,” he said.

But more than the quality, it is the availability of the lossless zoom which sealed the deal for him.

“Physically, I’m a big man and the presence gets noted. So you need a certain distance where after which the person starts noticing you. That comfort distance for me I could afford through the zoom,” he quipped.

“If I’m not wrong, it’s a 24mm lens that the phone has which is quite wide. A lot of times when I was on 1X and wanted to go closer, 1.4X to 2X was the right distance for me to go without being intrusive. When I was
shooting only the dome and not the minarets of the Taj Mahal
, there I used the zoom feature of the OnePlus 5,” he added.

The OnePlus 5 also comes with a Pro Mode which allows for tweaking the controls manually. Udit points out that once he figured out the Pro Mode, he consistently used to it compose professional photos for the shoot.

Photo Credits: Udit Kulshrestha



Camera: OnePlus 5

“I tested out the phone initially and I figured out there’s a pro mode in the phone which helps you shoot RAW. Also, it allowed me many manual controls like exposure compensation, shutter speed and white balance. I had options of either shooting in landscape or in macro, so these were controls which helped me do more,” he said.

The Histogram feature inside the Pro Mode also helped.

“Even the presence of the histogram helped. A lot of times, what happens is the screen gets less optimised on usage, even when you have put on a screen guard and sometimes there is so much bright light, you cannot see what is actually coming on the screen. When you see the histogram, you are able to figure out what is the right exposure. As professionals, we can read which are the dark areas, which are the highlight areas, that’s where it helps, whether I want to make a bright picture or a darker picture. It helps you check if you are overexposing the picture,” Udit mentioned.

What this reveals is the fact that OnePlus has nailed the imaging experience with the OnePlus 5. The features the phone camera offers is enough to compose professional-grade photos at blazing fast speeds. If that is not reason enough to rush online and book the OnePlus 5, what is?


Is there a need for a DSLR when you have the OnePlus 5? Raghav Goswamy answers

Fashion and fine art photographer Raghav Goswamy had the OnePlus 5 with him when he went out to shoot the sunset over the iconic Jama Masjid for Shot For Gadgetlayout and in the process, he realised he has a potential DSLR replacement with him. While he usually carries around his bulky Nikon D810, this time around, his hands were free from carrying the weight and that showed in the photos he took.

Also Read:
An evening at the Jama Masjid through the eyes of the OnePlus 5

Raghav pointed out that smartphones have an edge over DSLRs, particularly because it is so commonplace that it can blend in with the surroundings.

“The basic edge being the size and how common it is to have a phone these days. Everyone has a phone, so you can carry it most places, without heavy equipment. It’s much less intimidating than a DSLR or any big camera and since people have become accustomed to phones around them they’re fairly comfortable in their presence,” he said.

As a phone too, the OnePlus 5 is not a bad deal. In fact, it has been proven to be the fastest Android phone currently in the market. The OnePlus 5 packs Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor coupled with a whopping 8GB of RAM. The folks over at OnePlus have also tweaked the display to reduce touch latency, making scrolling and swiping feel better. This resonated with Raghav when he used the phone to shoot.

“Its an extremely refined phone, in my opinion. At no point did I experience any lag or trouble. The battery specifically charges in no time and lasts super long,” he illustrated.

According to him, the phone also makes it easy to compose good photographs.

Raghav said, “It does make things easier for a photographer , as the auto mode gives a good detail of the highlights and shadows that you see in reality. Whatever little needs to be compensated, is very easily done through the pro mode that the camera on the phone offers.”

And for a person more used to wielding bulky cameras, the OnePlus 5 is a blessing indeed. The phone, which incidentally got one of the highest ratings by imaging experts, DxO Mark, has superior image processing capabilities. The result are the photos you saw on Shot For Gadgetlayout.

“Apart from the grip and handling, there isn’t much of a difference. Phone cameras have surely come a long way. On a day to day basis, there isn’t really a need to carry a professional dslr for images. Specially with the built in RAW mode on the OnePlus 5 , you get very detailed files of the images, that have the capability to be enhanced to a very high extent. On its own, just with the stock app,and even without any external editing apps, it’s a very powerful and equipped camera. Specially considering it’s on a phone. ” Raghav said.

One of the best things about a DSLR camera is the fact that you can zoom in without noise creeping in. The OnePlus 5 has attempted to emulate it on a micro level. The twin lenses are used to go up to 1.6x optical zoom.

“Normally zooming in too much on phones is a hassle, because the images tend to get grainy. I did use the feature in a few of my images though, and was surprised to see barely any difference. Especially when I clicked them on RAW , because I could edit them and correct whatever little difference I saw, once I was done clicking,” he revealed.

Raghav Goswamy
is a young and talented fashion and fine art photographer based out of New Delhi and Mumbai.