Nikon Releasing 900 Dollar Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera?

The post Nikon Releasing 900 Dollar Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

According to Nikkei, Nikon plans to release a mirrorless camera before the 2019 fiscal year is out.

And it’ll likely be a budget option, one that comes in at about half the price of the Nikon Z6.

Here’s the direct (translated) quote from Nikkei:

Nikon will introduce a new mid-price mirrorless camera product in fiscal 2019. The same interchangeable lens can be used in the product that corresponds to a sister model such as the high-end model “Z7” launched by the company in the autumn of [2018]. It is expected that the price will be in the 100,000 yen range, which is easier for the general consumer to pick up than the leading 200,000 to 400,000 yen model. The aim is to develop the demand of users other than existing enthusiasts.

Regarding price: 100,000 yen falls around 900 dollars, which would be a dramatic reduction in price compared to the Z7 and even the Z6, Nikon’s two current full-frame mirrorless models.

A 900 dollar full-frame mirrorless option would likely be welcomed by those DSLR shooters who just can’t afford the current Nikon mirrorless prices, but are looking for something lighter than their current DSLR setup.

But we also have to ask:

What Z-level features will Nikon leave behind in order to cut costs?

First of all, we can’t be sure the new mirrorless option is full frame. The original report doesn’t say this outright. But the claim that the new product “corresponds to a sister model such as the high-end model ‘Z7′” suggests the new camera won’t be fundamentally different. And an APS-C Z mirrorless body would be fundamentally different.

But even if the camera is full frame, other important features might be dropped.

For instance, might we see the loss of an EVF? Personally, I would see this as deeply frustrating. Mirrorless EVFs are one of the strengths of mirrorless systems. I wouldn’t like to see it go.

What do you think? What will this new mirrorless camera be like?

And would you be interested in purchasing it?

The post Nikon Releasing 900 Dollar Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera? appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Jaymes Dempsey.

Lensbaby OMNI Creative Filter System uses ‘Effect Wands’ to create in-camera image effects

Lensbaby has launched pre-orders for its new OMNI Creative Filter System, a kit featuring a screw-on Filter Ring for existing lenses, as well as Effect Wands that magnetically attach to the ring in front of the lens. Each Effect Wand is designed to create in-camera photo effects similar to app filters, but with a greater level of control and repeatability.

The OMNI Creative Filter System is available with 58mm and 77mm Filter Ring options, both of which include step-down rings for use with different existing lenses. The system currently features three Effect Wands: Crystal Seahorse, Rainbow Film, and Stretch Glass. Two magnetic mounts, each capable of holding two Effect Wands each, are included with the kit.

The magnetic mounts attach to the Filter Ring, then the Effect Wands attach to the magnetic mounts. The wands can be repositioned by sliding them around the Filter Ring. According to Lensbaby, the kit is designed to work with the majority of prime and zoom lenses, including both auto and manual focus models, plus the company's own Velvet 56/85 and Burnside 35 lenses.

Below are a collection of sample images captured with in-camera effects from the wands:

Each Effect Wand creates is own unique effects, including rainbows, light streaks, reflections and flares. The complete OMNI Creative Filter System is available to pre-order from Lensbaby for $99.95 USD. The product is currently listed as ‘backordered’ with no clear shipping dates.

Nikon’s president confirms a ‘D5’ mirrorless equivalent is in the works

Japanese business publication Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun has shared a quote from a recent interview with Nikon's CEO, Mr. Toshikazu Umatate, wherein he says a flagship mirrorless camera—equivalent to Nikon's D5 DSLR—will be introduced.

The quote, translated via Google from Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun's paywalled coverage (translated), reads:

Nikon to introduce a top-end model of the mirror-less camera. Time is a non-published, but Umatate Toshikazu president was revealed in response to the interview of the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun. Top-end model of the digital single-lens reflex camera “D5.”

No specific time-frame was given for the impending release, but this marks the first time anyone from Nikon has officially confirmed a pro-style mirrorless camera designed to replace Nikon's flagship D4/D5 DSLR lineup.

Datacolor announces two new SpyderX Tool Kits for an all-in-one color correction workflow

Datacolor has launched two new kits that bundle together some of its most popular color correction tools to simplify the color workflow of photographers from capture to print.

SpyderX Capture Pro tool suite

The SpyderX Capture Pro is a bundle designed to offer the most essential components in a color workflow. It includes Datacolor's Spyder LensCal, Spyder Cube, Spyder Checkr and SpyderX Elite, each of which are designed to play an integral role in the image capture and editing process.

SpyderX Studio tool suite

The SpyderX Studio bundle, on the other hand, includes tools not only for calibrating your camera and monitor, but also your printer. It includes the Spyder Cube, SpyderX Elite and Spyder Print.

If the items in these bundles were purchased on their own, the SpyderX Capture Pro tool suite would cost around $370 and the SpyderX Studio around $675, based on the retail price of the individual components. Through July 14, 2019, Datacolor is selling the SpyderX Capture Pro bundle through its website and authorized retailers for $320 and the SpyderX Studio bundle for $400 as part of an introductory offer. After that, the prices will increase to $400 and $500, respectively.

Press release:

Datacolor Launches SpyderX Tool Kits for Digital Photographers

Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA, June 18, 2019 - Datacolor®, a global leader in color management solutions, announced the launch of two new product bundles for photographers to manage their color workflow: SpyderX Capture Pro and SpyderX Studio. Both include the recently launched SpyderX color calibrator for monitors – the most accurate, fastest (4X faster) and easiest-to-use Spyder, ever.

SpyderX Capture Pro provides all the essentials needed to precisely manage color from image capture through editing, and includes:

  • Spyder LensCal - Calibrate cameras, lenses and DSLR components.
  • Spyder Cube – Set white balance and RAW conversion.
  • Spyder Checkr – Next-level camera color calibration.
  • SpyderX Elite – Professional monitor calibration.

SpyderX Studio is the essential all-in-one photographic workflow solution for precision control from capture, to editing to print, and includes:

  • Spyder Cube – Set white balance and RAW conversion.
  • SpyderX Elite– Professional monitor calibration.
  • Spyder Print – Printer profiling for any printer/ink/paper combination.

Datacolor is kicking off the launch of these two products with a special 20% savings introductory offer. From June 18 through July 14, 2019, you can purchase the SpyderX Capture Pro for $319.99 (reg. $399.99) or the SpyderX Studio for $399.99 (reg. $499.99).

SpyderX Capture Pro and SpyderX Studio can be purchased at spyderx.datacolor.com, Amazon or with authorized resellers.

Make Easy Panoramic Images with Microsoft ICE

The post Make Easy Panoramic Images with Microsoft ICE appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Vista at Dead Horse State Park, Utah. Fourteen images stitched in Microsoft ICE.

You’ve no doubt seen panoramic images and perhaps even know how to make them. Whether using the tools built into programs like Lightroom and Photoshop, or perhaps another dedicated panoramic creation program, or even the sweep-panoramic capability of many cellphone cameras, you’ve used this technique to make images larger than you could make them in a single shot.

In the past, the choice was not as great, and the main stitching programs not as diversified in their capabilities. The programs that did exist to create panoramas were complex, sometimes expensive, and didn’t always work well.

When the first version of Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor), a program from the Microsoft Research Division of the software giant came out, it had all the things I sought in software utilities. It was simple, it worked well, and it was free – bingo! Although other options have come along for photo stitching, I still find ICE, (now at version 2.0.3.0), a favorite.

Panorama images are not new nor a product of the digital age. This image was made from Rincon Point in San Francisco in 1851 using multiple photo plates seamed together.

Image stitching – What is it?

When working with panoramic programs you will read the term “image stitching.” It is an apt phrase for the process by which a series of photos are composited together to make a larger image, much like scraps of fabric stitched together to make a quilt. The mark of a good photo-stitching program is how well it can piece the separate images together without showing the “seams.” Check another box for Microsoft ICE – it does that job extremely well.

The Mars Rover uses robotic cameras and panoramic stitching techniques to make high-resolution images.  NASA Photo

Considerations when photographing a panorama

The quality of a finished product is usually dependent on the raw materials that go into it. The same is true of creating a panorama photo. The better your technique in making the individual images, the better your finished panorama will be.  I will not be doing a deep-dive into panorama photography techniques, as that is a whole subject itself, but instead, I’ll list some of those things you’ll want to consider when making your shots.

One real benefit of ICE is that even with less than perfectly created images, it will still do a respectable job in creating a panorama. Of course, with better images, the result will be better too.

Here are some techniques to help you when shooting your images for a panorama:

Camera settings

As you sweep across your scene, making multiple shots, there will be variations in the light. If you leave your camera in an automatic mode, each frame will be slightly different too. ICE has what is called Exposure Blending and uses an advanced algorithm to compensate for this. Thus, it smooths the seams between individual images. However, if you give it better images to work with the result will be better too.

The best practice is to put your camera in full manual mode, find and set an exposure that is a good average for the scene, and lock that in.  Try to pick an aperture for maximum depth of field as well.

The same goes for focus. Find a point where as much of the image will be in focus, (the “hyperfocal distance,” typically a third of the way into the scene), focus there and turn off autofocus.

Lens selection

There is no “just right” lens focal length to use when making panoramic images. The field of view that represented in your stitched image will be dictated by how many photos you make and the sweep of your pan, not the lens focal length.

One might think a wide-angle lens would be a good choice, as fewer shots would be required. But that’s not necessarily true. The best choice is a lens with the least distortion as any lens distortion will be magnified as you stitch images together. Thus, a good, basic 50mm prime lens could be a great choice.

Sometimes, depending on the scene you want to capture, a longer telephoto might work well. Lens quality and minimal distortion trump wide focal lengths here.

A panoramic tripod head allows you to mount the camera so that the lens nodal point is centered over the pivot point of the pan. Thus, minimizing parallax errors.

Nodal point and parallax issues

Wazzat!!?? Yes, you can get complex very quickly and encounter cryptic terms if you want to when making panoramic photos.  Attention to detail results in higher quality panoramas. And, if you decide to pursue this technique, you will want to learn about these things in time.

Very briefly, the nodal point is the spot within a lens where the light rays converge.  Setting up your camera such that the pivot point of your pan is at that spot will produce an image with the least distortion.  This is most important in images where objects in the shot are both close and far in your scene.

Parallax is the difference in the apparent position of an object when viewed along two different lines of sight.

To see a quick example, hold your hand out at arm’s length with your thumb up.  Close one eye and put your thumb over a distant object.  Now close that eye and open the other. You will see your thumb “jump” off the object to a different position.  This is parallax.

When setting up your camera, pivoting around the nodal point will reduce or even eliminate this. And serious panorama photographers will purchase special panorama tripod heads to get this exact spot for any given lens they might use.

Highly serious gigapixel panorama photographers making images with hundreds of composite images might even use motorized computer-controlled heads like the Gigapan to make their shots.

Check out some of the Gigapan images like this made from some 12,000 individual shots. Alternatively, look at this taken from a similar setup on the Mars Rover.

Bringing it back down to Earth, you need not get nearly that sophisticated if you don’t want to.  There are less expensive heads for panoramic photography if you choose to try that and many Youtube videos and instructional articles on setting nodal points.

For starters, you needn’t even worry about all of that to give panoramic photography a try. The beauty of ICE is that even with something as simple as handheld images shot with a cellphone camera, it does a very nice job of assembling a panorama image.

Step-by-Step

Here are some things to do when making your images for use in a panorama:

  • Consider your composition – Good composition is just as important in making a panorama image as any other photo.  If your cellphone supports the sweep panorama feature, you can sometimes make a shot with it to help pre-visualize what you want to do with your DSLR.
  • Level the tripod – You will know your tripod wasn’t level if you get an “arched” looking composite panorama.
  • Mount your camera in a vertical (portrait) orientation – You will get a taller aspect ratio in your final shot and an image less “ribbon-like” when you assemble your panorama.
  • Hand-marker – Shoot a photo of your hand in front of the camera as the first and last in your panorama sequence. This will make it much easier to determine which images belong to a panorama “group.”
  • Camera Settings – Use full manual exposure and focus for the reasons outlined above.
  • Overlap – As you pan making each shot, overlap each image about a third so ICE will more easily find the match points when making the composite.

This is the screen you will see when first opening Microsoft ICE.

Bringing it into ICE

Bringing your images into ICE and letting it assemble your panorama is the easiest part and a big reason to like this program. ICE accepts most Raw photos, .jpg of course, and even layered Photoshop files.  You will need to know this is a Windows-only program and won’t work on your Mac. However, there are plenty of iOS alternatives. One which is also free and well-regarded is Hugin.  I can’t say I have any personal experience with it, however, being a PC guy.

Here’s where you will find the download for ICE. Be sure you get the proper version, 32 or 64-bit for your particular PC. The program will work in Windows 10, 8, 7 or even Vista SP2. There is a lot of good information as well as an interesting overview video on the page.  The installation usually goes quite smoothly.

After you have the program installed, there are various ways to bring your images in for compositing into a panorama:

  • Running ICE as a stand-alone – ICE can be run just fine as a stand-alone program and you can bring your images in from wherever you have them stored. You can do this either by opening ICE and clicking New Panorama from Images or by opening another window in File Explorer and dragging and dropping the images into ICE.
  • Launching ICE from a Folder – Typically, once you install ICE, if you select all the images you want in your pano from a folder and then right-click, you will see an option to Stitch using Image Composite Editor.  Select that, then ICE will launch with your selected images brought in.
  • Using ICE as an External Editor from Lightroom – You can set-up Adobe Lightroom to use ICE as an External Editor.  This is my preferred way as I often do some basic pre-editing to my shots in LR before bringing them into ICE.  Once you have set-up ICE as an External Editor, select all the images in the pano group you will be using. Then, in the Lightroom menu, click Photo -> Edit In -> Microsoft ICE.  You will have the option to Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments.  Pick that, click Edit, and ICE launches with the images ready for compositing.

There are four basic steps in ICE; Import, (the images have been imported here), Stitch, Crop, and Export.

Four basic steps in ICE

1. Import

If you’ve used one of the three methods above, you’re likely already seeing your images in ICE ready for Stitching. If you are running ICE in stand-alone mode and have not already imported your images, you will see three Options across the top of the screen:  New Panorama from Images, New Panorama from Video, and Open Existing Panorama. Choose the first option, navigate in Windows Explorer to where your images are located, select those that make up the panorama group, and click Open.  Remember, ICE opens Raw files, Tif, Jpg, PSD, and perhaps some other image file types.

You will find that in most cases, the default setting for ICE works well. If you are confused about some of the terms and menu options, you can click Next (at the top right of the screen), and ICE proceeds to the next step using the defaults.

If you choose to try some other things, here are a few options:

Rather than use Auto-detect in Camera Motion, you may wish to use Rotating Motion. It will give you more options for adjustment later. I have not found the Planar Motion options to be useful, (and to be honest, don’t really understand them. Such will be the case with ICE for most people – there are options and terms that will take more knowledge of the process. And, while they might have applications, most times will not be necessary.  Keep things simple, and you’ll most often be pleased with the result.)

This is the Stitch step. Ice has composited individual images.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the Projection options. ICE will almost always choose the correct one by default. If you wish to try the others, go ahead and see what you like best.

2. Stitch

Click Next or select option 2 – Stitch from the menu. The screen will show Aligning and then Compositing Images with progress bars as the work is done.  Depending on the size, number, and complexity of your images, this could go quick or could take several minutes.  Once done, your stitched image will appear.

Depending on the camera motion type chosen, you may have another set of options under Projection with terms like Cylindrical, Mercator, and a collection of other types you may not understand. I suggest trying the different options and seeing which makes your panorama look best and the least distorted. You can also zoom into your image with the slider or by using your mouse scroll wheel. Clicking and dragging above or below the panorama will allow you to adjust the shape further. Try various things – whatever helps to make your panorama look best.

3. Crop

Click Next, or Crop to move on. Here you can crop the image to choose what to include in the finished panorama. Usually, you will have some rough edges, depending on how you shot the images and composited them. If you click Auto-Crop, the program will crop to the largest points where it can make a rectangular image. You can also manually drag the sides of the crop.

Auto-Complete works like the content-aware fill in Photoshop and will try to fill in missing pieces in the image. Sometimes, especially with things like the sky, it works amazingly well. Other times with more complex patterns, not so much.

Give it a try and see if you like the result. You can always turn it off if you don’t like it.

The Crop Step. You can crop manually, Auto crop, and use the Auto Complete feature if you like.

Note how the Auto Complete feature has filled in missing parts of the image at top and bottom.

4. Export

Once complete, you will want to save your resulting panorama.

Because you have stitched together what are often high-resolution images to start with, your panorama file can be huge. That’s great if you need to print a wall-sized poster. If you don’t need something that big, consider turning down the Scale by inputting a smaller number. If you know what size (in pixels) you want the finished image to be, you can also enter that number in the Width or Height boxes, and the other will adjust to maintain the aspect ratio.

For example, to print a 12 x 48-inch poster at 300 dpi, you would need an image 3600 x 14,400 pixels.

If your panorama at 100% is over 20,000 pixels wide, that’s overkill and may result in a much larger file than you need.

Or, if you’ll be displaying your panorama on the web where you may only need a file 2400 pixels wide, why make a monster file?

You can also input numbers into the width or height, and the image will adjust the other setting to maintain the aspect ratio. Your use for the panorama will dictate how large you need to output it.

The Export Step. If you were to export this image at 100% scale as a .tif image it would be 19772 x 5833 pixels and be 149MB. For use on the web, you could drop to something like 2400 x 708 (scale just 12.14%) as a .jpg at 75% quality and it would be just 372k. Export your images according to how you will use them.

You also have the option to choose the file format. ICE can output as .jpg, .psd, .tif, .png, or .bmp. Again consider how you plan to use the image. A .tif file will be much larger than a jpg. If you choose jpg, you can also choose the compression level with the Quality settings.

When you’ve made your selections, click Export to Disk and ICE will give you the option of where to save the file. If you came from Lightroom, you will still need to specify the output location. ICE does not automatically put the resulting panorama back into the Lightroom folder where you started.

One option not immediately evident is the ability to save a panorama project. Before exiting the program, look in the top left corner of the screen for the icons there. The last two, which look like disks if hovered, will say Save Panorama and Save Panorama As. These allow you to save your project as an .spj file. This is an ICE file type which can be loaded back in using Open Existing Panorama from the main menu. This could be useful if you intend to make various output sizes or file types from your original images.

32 images shot in two rows to get more of the sky.

ICE does a great job stitching even more complex images.

The final result of the previous multi-row stitch.

Set your camera in continuous mode and shoot, panning with your subject. Bring the images into ICE and stitch as usual. You can get a sequence like this very easily.

Same technique with continuous mode.

The final result.

Nifty tricks – Video, Tiny Planets, VR, and more

There are a few other things ICE will do beyond simply making panoramas.  It is beyond the scope of this article to outline the specific steps to do these things, but I simply wanted to make you aware of them so you can explore further if you like.

This is a 360-degree pano shot as video and imported into ICE. The video will not be as high resolution. 360-degree panos, however, open VR possibilities.

Video Input

First, your input file can, instead of being a group of still photos, be a video file. Video is lower resolution than images taken with most still cameras, but there may be other reasons you want to use it as an input format.  One of those is multi-image action. (See the sample photos). You can do this with multiple images shot as stills or using a video. Capture the action, input the video into ICE, choose the portion of the video you like and then select the action points you want in the finished pano.

Give this a try, and doing it will make the steps clearer.

ICE can also be used to create “tiny planets.”

Virtual Reality

Use ICE to make a 360-degree pano from still images or a video.  Then create an image that can be viewed as an interactive pano and be rotated by the viewer.  Post it to Facebook or view it on a VR device.  There are numerous online tutorials teaching how to do this.  Drone footage can make for an especially interesting VR image.

Conclusion

Microsoft ICE is powerful, can produce high-quality panorama images, and is very easy to use. It also does a good job when accepting the default choices. ICE can use simple images made handheld from a cellphone or hundreds of images on a Gigapan robotic system with a DSLR. There are also fun things like multi-image motion images, tiny planet creation, and virtual reality possibilities.

Oh yeah…and it’s free!  What’s not to like?

Go download it, give it a try, have fun, and share your images with us in the comments below.

 

panoramic images with Microsoft ICE

The post Make Easy Panoramic Images with Microsoft ICE appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

Shooting with PolarPro’s six-pack ND filter set for the DJI Osmo Pocket

PolarPro filter 6-pack for the DJI Osmo Pocket
$80 | polarprofilters.com

Grand Turk and Caicos, taken early in the morning using an ND16 filter.

DJI introduced the Osmo Pocket, a three-axis stabilized handheld camera, late last year. The portable device is an ideal tool for content creators and casual consumers. It's designed for creating decent video clips and photos on the fly. Since I couldn't bring a drone onboard a recent cruise, I opted to purchase this device to document my journey.

Neutral density (ND) filters are a must-have for anyone aiming to capture smooth, cinematic footage. Selecting the proper one can be tricky, but PolarPro prints out a simple guide on which filter is most appropriate based on weather conditions, including how cloudy or sunny it is outside.

Neutral density (ND) filters are a must-have for anyone aiming to capture smooth, cinematic footage.

More advanced users can access manual settings by connecting their smartphone, accessing the DJI Mimo app and selecting a shutter speed that doubles the frame rate. For example, when applying the 180-degree rule, if I wanted to take advantage of 4K/60fps, I would select a shutter speed of 1/125. One thing to keep in mind is that the Osmo Pocket has a tiny 1/2.3-inch sensor and a fixed F2.0 lens, so you can't control aperture as an exposure variable.

Captured with the PolarPro ND4 filter.

Since I was going to be in the sun, surrounded by water, most of the time on this cruise, I invested in the Standard Filter Six-pack from PolarPro consisting of PL (fixed polarizer), ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32, and ND64 filters. In addition to the polarizer, the ND filters allow 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64 of incoming light to stream into the sensor, respectively. Think of them as sunglasses for your camera.

Selecting the right ND filter slows the shutter for video on the Osmo pocket, and can also add some motion blur to a timelapse for a more dramatic effect. The polarizer enhances colors and reduces reflection and glare on surfaces including water, glass, ice, and snow.

PolarPro's ND filters snap into place easily.

A compact case houses two rows of three filters, arranged by stop. Each filter was a bit challenging to remove, and the case design could be ergonomically improved. Once out of the bearings, though, the clever magnetic design made it easy to snap the filters on and remove them from the Osmo Pocket's camera.

Though they come in a sleek compact case, the ND filters can be a bit challenging to remove at times.

I found PolarPro's filters to be effective at cutting down the glare on water and enhancing hues (polarizer) while also letting me dial in my desired shutter speed for video (NDs). They're a recommended investment for capturing the highest quality footage possible with the Osmo Pocket and minimizing any post-production efforts.

Below are example photos I shot with different filters from the set, along with the story behind each one, which provide some real world examples of where each is useful.

PolarPro PL (polarizer) ND filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: Walking the colorful streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was a highlight of the trip. The sun was completely obscured from this scene, so I opted for the fixed polarizing filter to retain the vivid hues of the buildings.

PolarPro ND4 filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: ND4 filters are recommended for use at dawn or dusk. While sailing along the Atlantic, back toward Florida, this combination of sun setting behind a group of clouds, illuminating an unknown island, and nearby rainstorm caught my attention from the 12th floor deck of the ship.

PolarPro ND8 filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: It was overcast when we visited the only tropical rainforest in the US. The ND8 filter worked great in this situation. (Yokahu Tower in the background.)

PolarPro ND16 filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: When pulling into Puerto Rico, everyone pulled out their cameras to capture Castillo San Felipe del Morro - one of the most impressive historical attractions in the Caribbean. As it was 10:00 am, local time, an ND16 filter was enough for a mostly sunny scene.

PolarPro ND32 filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: A partially-cloudy day, on a tropical resort island in the Bahamas, still calls for the second most powerful filter in the kit.

PolarPro ND64 filter for the Osmo Pocket

About the photo: There were few clouds in the sky at Trunk Cay, a small resort beach located in the Virgin Islands. Since the noon sunlight was bearing down, I used the ND64 to eliminate glare and capture the contrasting dark blue and turquoise patterns in the bay.

Wrap-up

The DJI Osmo Pocket is a fantastic camera that's great for capturing photos and videos while you travel, but PolarPro's standard 6-pack of filters is a valuable addition. As one would expect, the fixed polarizer can make your photos pop thanks to improved contrast, increased saturation, and reduced glare, and unlike screw-in filters it fits perfectly on the Osmo Pocket.

Additionally, the selection of ND filters make it possible to capture more natural looking video when used to dial in the appropriate shutter speed on the camera – something that's particularly useful given that the Osmo Pocket's aperture is locked at F2.0, eliminating the option to use aperture to adjust exposure.

Overall, I found the PolarPro filters to be a great addition to my Osmo Pocket. This 6-pack of filters should definitely be on your list if you want to get the most out of DJI's pint-sized camera.

What we liked

  • Useful range of filters
  • Magnetic design makes it easy to attach and remove filters
  • Good optical quality

What we'd like to see improved

  • Filters can be a bit difficult to remove from case

Dallas photojournalist recounts capturing photo of gunman during yesterday’s shooting

Yesterday morning, a gunman dressed in tactical gear opened fire at the Earle Cabell Federal Building in Dallas, Texas with a semi-automatic rifle. While at the courthouse for a separate assignment, Dallas Morning News photojournalist Tom Fox was caught in the middle of the chaos and managed to capture a stunning image, embedded below, of the gunman as he was running away from the building he had opened fire on.

As Fox explains in the above interview conducted with Dallas Morning News, he was at the courthouse waiting for a defendant to arrive for jury duty when he heard what he believed to be a backfire from a vehicle. What he heard though was the sound of gunshots that were being fired toward the federal courthouse.

After realizing it was gunshots he heard, Fox says he instinctually looked around to discover where the shots were coming from and 'establish a safe perimeter and take a knee [to] see what I could [photograph].'

Shortly after hearing the first shots, Fox says a security guard and another individual, with whom he was talking with earlier, started running in his direction as pieces of granite from the Earle Cabell Federal Building were being kicked in the air from gunfire (the first photo in the embedded tweet below is implied to be the individuals he was referring to in the interview and shows both the gunman [left, in front of the blue sedan] and the granite turning to powder [top of the image, above the security guard's head]).

It was at this point that Fox turned and ran to seek cover. Eventually, he noticed an alcove near the entrance of the building and took shelter behind it (Fox can be seen behind the alcove, just feet away from the shooter, in a screenshot from a video captured by a citizen in an adjacent apartment building in the embedded tweet below [second image]). When he peeked around the corner, he saw an individual down the street. At this point, he took out his telephoto lens and composed a shot when he realized the individual he saw 'looked to be someone that would fit the shooter profile and made some frames.' Fox says it was when the shooter went to pick something up and he saw the nozzle of the gun that he got up and ran to safety.

According to Dallas Morning News, the shooter was shot and killed by federal agents as he was running away from the building he opened fire at. No one else was injured or killed.

Dallas Morning News has put together a video using footage captured by Fox that shows the moments shortly after he captured what has become a viral image in the aftermath of the events. We had originally planned to include it in the article, but the thumbnail used for the video shows the shooter collapsed in a parking lot adjacent to the federal building after being shot by a federal agent, so we decided to link out instead. Bear in mind the video is graphic in nature.

Fox said he thought he 'was gone' in a follow-up interview with Dallas Morning News that dives into more details of the shooting. In 2017, Fox won Dallas Morning News staff photographer of the year.

WANDRD’S new DUO Daypack raised $250K in Kickstarter funding in just 24 hours

Bag company WANDRD has launched its new DUO Daypack on Kickstarter, where it has already greatly exceeded its funding goal. The backpack is designed for 'dawn-to-dusk' use, according to the company, with features for photographers in addition to travellers, commuters, and everyone else.

DUO Daypack features the InfiniteZip system, which involves a single zipper with multiple sliders for accessing the part of the bag that contains the needed item. The bag is described as weather-resistant against rain (and power washers, as demonstrated in the campaign).

The bag's interior features a POP cube that can be expanded to create a 'multifunctional space' within which items, such as a camera, are better protected. The cube includes a padded EVA foam divider for accommodating different types of gear.

Joining the protective cube are a number of pockets, including two padded expansion pockets for lenses, hard drives, or other modestly sized items. Those two slots are joined by small mesh pockets, a large mesh pocket, zipper pockets, and a hidden passport pocket.

The DUO Daypack has a 20L capacity and measures 29cm x 16.5cm x 49.5cm (11.5in x 6.5in x 19.5in) with a weight of 1.2kg (2.6lbs). WANDRD is offering the bag to Kickstarter backers with an 'early bird' price of $175 USD, a discount off the anticipated $219 USD retail price. Assuming the campaign is successful, WANDRD expects to start shipping to campaign backers in December 2019.


Disclaimer: Remember to do your research with any crowdfunding project. DPReview does its best to share only the projects that look legitimate and come from reliable creators, but as with any crowdfunded campaign, there's always the risk of the product or service never coming to fruition.

Spontaneous Photos Versus Staged Photos

The post Spontaneous Photos Versus Staged Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

This is a subject that runs to the very heart of what makes photography special for many people. The convulsions that many had when Steve McCurry decided he was in fact a visual storyteller show just how passionate people are about this subject.

Indeed, a more recent example of this occurred when a photography contest winner was found to have submitted an allegedly staged photo. To a certain degree, we’ve allowed photography to be romanticized by believing amazing photos are all about the moment of capture. That’s certainly an idea many travel or photography magazines have encouraged. In this article, you’ll learn about staged photos, spontaneous photos, and why learning both approaches will improve your work.

A shard of light was used to light this man’s face.

Spontaneous photos

Getting the moment of capture is often what makes or breaks a photo. Landscape photography isn’t always about this, but a lone hiker in your landscape photo can add narrative. Of course, street photography is almost always about moment of capture. So what can you do that will improve your chances of adding that x-factor to your frame?

Visit places with lots of action

If you want to exercise your body, you go to a gym, visit the swimming pool or perhaps go for a run. If you want to get good at taking spontaneous photos, you need to visit places that have lots of decisive moments. These places will train your eye to be razor sharp and alive to the potential of a decisive moment before it happens. This is the opposite of a staged photo.

You’ll want to visit the following places:

  • The local market – Find out where your local market is, and when it’s going to be busiest. Some markets are night markets, while your local fish market will be busiest at the crack of dawn. Vendors preparing their stock, street food being prepared, and interaction with customers all have great potential for a decisive moment.
  • An event – Events are also great places to practice. These can be sports events, festivals, or parties. Again interaction between people caught at the decisive moment. You’ll often need a lens with a longer focal length to be effective in this setting.
  • A busy street – Of course, street photography is what many will think of when you look to take photos with a decisive moment. Get your 50mm prime lens on the camera, and hit the streets looking for interesting characters. It’s often a good idea to choose a location and stop there for a while. Look for those moments of capture to come to you – perhaps against the backdrop of an interesting wall.

An event such as the balloon festival is a chance to capture moments.

Experiment with focal distance

The majority of decisive moment photos you’ll take will be street photos. These will be on the street, or perhaps within a street market. The general rule here is to use a 50mm prime lens, though experimenting with other focal lengths can also give you good results. Using a longer focal length means you can stand in a less noticeable location, allowing the action in front of you to unfold naturally. You’ll also feel more comfortable at a distance, and can anticipate your moments of capture and build your skill for anticipation. Once you have a knack for this anticipation, use wider angles and see how your results turn out. Of course, as mentioned before, sports and often event photography require longer focal lengths to capture the action.

In this photo, a longer focal length of 135mm was used. Markets are great for interactions between people.

Wait for the moment to come to you

This is a little like staged photos, except it’s a natural moment. It could be argued that this is the very opposite of spontaneous, but it is nevertheless a moment of capture. When you take this type of photo you will have a pre-composed frame, and you’re waiting for a person to walk into the right position within your photo. You will need a lot of patience, as you could well be waiting for at least an hour.

  • A frame – Set up your photo and wait for a person to walk into the frame within your photo. This will immediately give your photo a greater narrative. If possible, wait for more than one person to walk into that frame, so you can choose the most interesting subject.
  • A shard of light – A great technique to practice a decisive moment is to wait for people to walk into a shard of light. This gives you a defined condition when you need to press the shutter, so you will need to be fast. Look for an indoor location, and a gap in the roof to let the light through. Then expose at around -2 or -3EV for the background, and normal or slightly underexposed for the sunlit area.

In this photo, the scene was pre-composed. I then needed to wait for people to walk down the path.

Be quick on the draw

Of course, there are times you’re just going to have to be lightning fast. You’ll need to have eyes everywhere, constantly alert to possibilities, and seeing things to the side of you as well. Having your camera setting already setup is essential in this scenario. A more forgiving aperture of say f/8 rather than f/1.8 will also help with quick focus.

In some cases, you will have to use a larger aperture according to the light levels you are photographing in.

If you’ve been practicing in the market where there are many chances to capture a decisive moment, you will get quicker at bringing the camera to your eye and getting the shot immediately – the same skill you’ll have used to capture people walking into a shard of light.

There are times you need to be aware and very fast. These monks crossing the street is a split second moment.

Staged photos

The opposite of spontaneous photos is staged photos. This style of photography will be what you practice regularly if you work with models, or perhaps take pre-wedding photos for people. Of course, the recent controversy surrounding these is centered on travel photography, which is all meant to be natural moments. If you want the most striking photo possible, though, the ability to control all aspects of the photo will give you maximum creativity. So what goes into a successful photo of this type?

Going on a photo-shoot with other members of a photography club can be a great learning experience.

Solo vs the group

The photographer who recently ran into trouble with their winning image allegedly used a staged photo from a group photography event.

Of course, it’s quite possible to make a staged photo look natural, and for it to carry a strong message. In fact, if it doesn’t, you need to go back to the drawing board.

The question is, however, when you’re photographing with a group of other photographers, how much are you in control of the creative process? How much is that photo really yours because you pressed the shutter?

Learning with the group is a great way to improve your work. However, to really allow your own creativity to come to the fore, it needs to be you (and only you) who controls how the photos are staged.

Organizing a photo session with a friend or model where you work one-to-one gives you much more control.

The narrative

Control the narrative, and you’ll get the photo. To be a good visual storyteller, you need your photo to have that strong story as you guide your viewer’s eye through the frame. So you no longer need to capture the decisive moment. Instead, you’re going to create it.

To do that you’ll need to think of the following:

  • Design elements –You can choose your location to perfectly match the photo you want to take. Use frames, or perhaps even create your own frame. Leading lines such as paths or tunnels make for good photos. Good composition skills and a composition that harmonizes with the story you’re going to tell are things you are looking for.
  • The story –This could involve your subject looking off into the distance, cooking some food, or perhaps talking with a friend. The aim is to make these moments look as natural as possible, even though they’re staged.
  • The background – Lastly, the background should look after itself if you have applied the points made for design elements. Nevertheless, keep an eye on the background. Unless you’re in a studio, people can walk into the background of your photo, affecting the narrative of your photo.

This photo has been staged. An off-camera strobe is placed left of the camera to light the ladies face, and the smoke from the cigar.

Micromanage

The management of the photo can go beyond what’s list above. You will want to really micromanage your photo. That means controlling all aspects of it from lighting to what people are wearing in the photo.

  • The time of day – The position of the sun is going to dominate your photo. With staged photos, there is absolutely no excuse for getting this aspect of the photo wrong. The same goes for spontaneous photos as well. You should only be attempting these with the sun in the right position.
  • Lighting – You’ll need to decide whether you want to use natural light only. If if you only use natural light, you still have the potential to use reflective surfaces to bounce light where you want it to be. Beyond this, you can use strobes, and give your outdoor photo a studio look.
  • Clothes – Ahead of the photo shoot organizing with your model what they’ll wear is another aspect that can be controlled. Spend the time liaising with them so that the clothes match the location you have in mind.
  • Location – Where you choose to photograph can be controlled for any type of photo, whether it’s spontaneous or not. You’ll need to think about how this location will play off against the model and narrative you hope to acheive. Do you want the area busy with other people, or would it be better to choose a quieter time of the day?

In this photo, the framing was created by sticking together pieces of rice paper using tape. The chef is making fresh spring rolls, using rice paper.

Creative techniques

Unlike spontaneous photos, you can use creative techniques with your staged photos. In most cases, creative techniques take time to set up – time you only have when you stage the photo. There are many ways to be creative in your work. You don’t always need to use techniques like these. So take the following as some ideas you could use:

  • Light painting – You’ll need to photograph at night, but light painting is a great way of adding interest to your image. You’ll also need a model who can stand or sit very still. Think about the pose position. Some poses are much easier to be statuesque than others.
  • Refraction – Photography using prisms, fractal filters or lens balls can give your photo another twist. Your results with such techniques will be better if you stage the photo.
  • Flour – Throwing flour in the air is a great way to add a more dynamic feel to your photo. You’ll need to combine this with off-camera flash. The flash needs to be directed so it correctly lights up the flour while it’s mid-air.

In this image, light painting has been used to highlight two monks who are standing still for the photo.

The commercial aspect

With staged photos, you are almost certainly aiming at the commercial market. You’ll be photographing with a model who it’s very likely you’ll pay. If you’re new to this type of photography, you might consider building a relationship with your model, where you both give each other time rather than money to build each other’s portfolios.

  • Contests – Contests will ask for the model release of the person in a photo. So, to a certain extent, this rather says a commercial element to the photo is okay.
  • Publishing – It’s always nice to see your work published. Look at the photography type you have produced, and see if you can match that to a magazines style. You may well need to produce a set of images, and even write the article that goes with it.
  • Stock – As long as you can’t tell the photo is staged, staged photos work very well for stock photos. They’ll be model released, so you’re really ready to go. That extra passive income never hurts, and can pay for your next photo shoot.

Why you need to learn both

There is a temptation to say “I’m going to be a street photographer,” and not look to other types of photography. There is merit in becoming the master of your field and not diversifying. However, a model can transition to photography. They have the advantage of knowing what’s going on in front of the camera. Taking the time to take staged photos will allow you to see the potential for spontaneous photos in a different way as well.

Having staged the photo using off-camera flash, and seeing where things should be positioned in your frame is a skill that can be brought across to the more organic environment of street photography. That is to say; you should be a fashion photographer for a day, learn those ideas, and see what you can bring from that across to your street photography.

Conclusion

The desire for that perfect photo is always there. The purist is likely to want to achieve this organically, using honed photographer instincts to get that moment of capture. There is a lot to be said for learning the other side of the coin and getting in touch with your inner visual storyteller.

Which style of photography do you prefer and why? Would you consider photographing in a different way, even for a day? Here at digital photography school, we’d love to see your example photos.

Please let us know if you took them spontaneously, or if you staged the photo. You can even post an image, and see if the community can guess whether you staged the photo or not.

 

The post Spontaneous Photos Versus Staged Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

Video: Canon explains how its new RF lens mount is better than smaller, older mounts

Canon Imaging Plaza, an official Canon YouTube channel dedicated to showing off the latest Canon technologies and cameras, has shared a video highlighting the benefits of its new full-frame RF lens mount and the advantages it has over smaller lens mounts, such as its own EF mount.

The four-and-a-half-minute video uses CGI renderings and example images to show off the various benefits Canon's RF mount offers and the technology that goes into its RF lenses.

A rendering comparison from the video showing how the light can be better controlled through elements when the elements are able to be placed close to the imaging sensor.

The narrator addresses the shorter back focus distance and larger diameter mount, which allows Canon to move the rear-most elements in lenses closer to the sensor, which helps to minimize chromatic aberration and allows engineers to get more creative with lens designs. Having the rear-most lens elements close to the sensor creates its own problems though, which leads the video to Canon's SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) technologies, which are designed to minimize ghosting and flaring in images.

A comparison shot from the video that shows how the shorter back focus distance and larger diameter mount can yield better image quality—especially near the edges of the frame—thanks to better aberration control.

The video also mentions the additional contacts found in the RF lens mount, which are designed to increase the bandwidth of data and power that flows to and from the lens through the camera.

While this video is clearly about Canon's RF mount, the pros (and cons) of larger-diameter lens mounts and shorter back focus distances also apply to Nikon's new Z mount, which is both larger in diameter (55mm to the RF's 54mm) and features a closer back focus distance (16mm to the RF's 20mm).

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