My Digital Photography

Enhance Your Digital Creativity

Feb
25

Nokia 8 Sirocco features 2x optical zoom and Carl Zeiss optics

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

HMD Global has today launched the Nokia 8 Sirocco. The Sirocco is the new top-end model in the Nokia line-up and comes with a range of improvements over the original Nokia 8 which was only unveiled to the public in September 2017.

The most important change has arguably taken place in the camera module. Where the old model combined an RGB with a monochrome sensor in its dual-camera setup, the Sirocco comes with a secondary tele-lens instead. The main camera features a 12 MP sensor with 1.4 µm pixel size and an F1.75 aperture. The tele lens offers a 2x optical zoom and has a 13MP pixel count and smaller 1.0 µm pixels. At F2.6 the aperture is slower as well.

Dual-pixel AF is on board, too, and, as before, the camera optics have been co-developed in cooperation with Carl Zeiss.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is built for rough conditions. Its front and back are 95% covered by durable Gorilla Glass 5 and HMD Global says the metal body, which is hand-milled from stainless steel, is a lot tougher than its aluminum counter parts. The device is also water and dust resistant (IP67 certified).

Like the original 8, the Sirocoo is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chipset and 6GB of RAM. 128GB of storage can be expanded via a microSD slot. The display has grown from 5.3" to 5.5" and uses now AMOLED technology rather than IPS, but the QHD resolution has remained unchanged.

The Nokia 8 Sirocco will be available in Europe from April for 750 Euros (approximately USD 920). Pricing for other regions has not been announced yet.

Feb
25

Samsung unveils Galaxy S9 with variable aperture and super-slow-motion

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy S series flagship phones, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today and the new devices' cameras deliver what Samsung's teaser videos had been promising: Variable aperture, super-slow-motion and AR emojis.

The main camera features an aperture that can switch between F1.5 for low light shooting and F2.4 in brighter light. The new aperture system is coupled with a 12MP "Super Speed" sensor that features an integrated DRAM module for more processing power when using computational imaging to reduce noise and increase image detail.

The additional processing power also comes in handy for the new super-slow-motion mode. Like recent high-end Sony Xperia models, the Galaxy S9 devices can record HD video at 960 frames per second for 0.2 seconds. That translates into 6 seconds playback time at 30 frames per second. Slow-motion videos can be converted into gifs or set as background videos on the home screen.

The new AR Emoji function allows you to create and personalize emojis based on your own face, using the front camera. In a second step emojis can be animated using facial expressions. You can save up to 18 AR emojis and share them with users of any smartphone, not just Samsung models.

New features aside, the camera specs haven't changed too much compared to existing models. The main camera features optical image stabilization and a Dual-Pixel AF. The Galaxy S9+ comes with a secondary tele-lens, similar to what we've seen on the Galaxy Note 8, allowing for better-quality zooming and a bokeh mode. The longer lens comes with optical image stabilization and an F2.4 aperture. The front camera on both models combines an 8MP pixel count with a fast F1.7 aperture.

Camera aside, the main difference between the two new models is display size. The Galaxy S9 comes with a 5.77" AMOLED display, the S9+ equivalent is a little larger at 6.22". Both screens offer WQHD resolution.

Both models come with a microSD card slot and a headphone jack and are powered by Samsung's Exynos 9 Series 9810 Octa Core chipset. In the Euro-zone the Galaxy S9 with 64GB of RAM will be available from March for 850 Euros (approximately USD 1045). The S9+ is 100 Euros (approximately USD 120)more. No details on pricing in other regions have been released yet.

Feb
25

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

There exists a strange and long standing line drawn in the weird sands of the photo world. On one side of that line you have those who shoot only digital images and on the other, you have those who still swear by analog film. Then there’s a hazy gray area (probably 18% gray) where people like myself reside.

Do you shoot film or digital? Seeing as this is Digital Photography School, I assume the answer to that question likely leans towards the latter. I started out on my photographic journey with a 35mm SLR, then moved to a DSLR and mirrorless, until I now strike a weighted balance between digital and large format film photography.

Why am I telling you all of this? The reason is simple; we all want to make better images and we all want to grow as photographers.

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

Stay with me here….Consider for a moment that instead of choosing sides on that imaginary line between film and digital photography, while pointing out the perceived benefits of digital over film, that there are many lessons to be learned from the film shooter’s mindset.

In this article, we’re going to look at some ways shooting film, or at least with the mentality of film, can help you with your digital photography skills. And no I won’t try to persuade you to jump from one side of the line to the other.

Shoot like it isn’t free

If there’s one thing that has both illuminated the field of digital photography while at the same time stamping out the classical mental focus involved in the craft it is this…

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

This little piece of plastic and silicon cost me about $13 and holds well over a 1000 images when used in my 36.4-megapixel camera. That’s a lot of photographs. What’s more is that it doesn’t end there. I can hypothetically erase and reuse this contraption an unlimited number of times.

My camera will wear out (knock on wood) before this memory card does. Now, compare that memory card to this:

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

This is a box of one of the 4×5 sheet films that I use with my large format camera. It cost me around $40 after it was all said and done. That’s 25 sheets of film that I will have to load into holders under complete darkness, put into my view camera, expose for about $1.60 each, and then bring back home to develop in my darkroom. And that’s just the first phase.

If I want to print images from those negatives I have to either scan them into the computer or print them myself in the darkroom using light-sensitive paper and even more chemicals and equipment.

Which causes more pause before shooting?

So, here we have two entirely different mediums to record what is essentially the same thing. Which one do you think I am more careful with when shooting? The $40 box of film or the $13 memory card?

If I make a mistake in exposure, composition, or anything else when I’m shooting digital there is virtually instant feedback and the error usually costs nothing. With film, the result is hidden and any “Uh-ohs!” are only evident after the fact.

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

I urge you to shoot as deliberately as possible when using your digital camera. Sure, even a well thought out photo can go bad regardless of planning but the more you think about what you’re doing the fewer variables there are in the equation.

Pay attention to what you’re shooting and why. Photograph as if every frame costs you money and I promise that you will begin seeing better results with your digital photos.

Choose an ISO and stick to it

Something that we take for granted with digital photography is the quick application of ISO changes. Usually, a prompt turn of a dial can take you from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 and back again in a few seconds.

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

This is not a bad thing. Changing ISO on a digital camera opens up astounding creative possibilities and lets you get shots you would have otherwise missed when the light changes suddenly.

That being said, it can also spoil us to the point where we crank up the ISO at times when we might possibly find more creative alternatives. Try this to practice – choose an ISO for the day and shoot at only that ISO setting.

Granted, I wouldn’t try this on a wedding shoot…but go out with your camera set to say, ISO 400, and force yourself to think through difficult lighting conditions. You might find you gain a better understanding of the relationships between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO that will help you immensely in the future.

Make a set number of exposures

Before I moved into digital photography I used 35mm film. Most rolls were of the twenty-four exposure variety with some being extended to thirty-six. That seems like a million frames when compared to the two sheets carried in each large format film holder or the eight with my Polaroid SX70.

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

As much as I love my film cameras, I still use digital for over 80% of my “professional” work. Each time I switch back and forth between film and digital I notice a strange change in the way I shoot particular scenes. It goes back to our first point about how film actually costs money with each click of the shutter.

I tend to essentially overshoot a scene with digital. I may take 10 or 12 images of a frame whereas with film I might only make one or two. Why is that? When you think about it, making consistently solid photographs isn’t a matter of firing off a bunch of frames and hoping for the best, though that does work sometimes. Usually, the best images come from the careful execution of each snap and with film you only have a certain number of those snaps in the bank before you have to change things out.

How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset

In an effort to strive for quality over quantity with your digital work, begin thinking in terms of keeping your shot count for a scene in the single digits. No, of course I’m not saying to sell your digital camera short and only shoot 20 or 30 photos at a time all the time.

What I’m suggesting is that you limit yourself to a focused group of purposed photographs instead of firing off a hoard of shots and hoping for the best. Try to shoot no more than 10 images of the same scene and then move on to something else. Make 10 images of that, and then move on again. The key outcome of this exercise is to train (or retrain) yourself to produce a smaller number of total images but a larger amount of usable ones or keepers.

Some final thoughts…

The real conclusion and the true lesson to be gained from all this is for you to learn how to become more deliberate with your photography. Use your camera with purpose, and most importantly remember to slow yourself down from time to time. Slowing down is key.

Being both a film and digital photographer I find the complete flop of my creative mindset changes drastically between the two mediums. Obviously, digital cameras have extraordinary capabilities and offer many benefits over their analog cousins. At the same time, the true nature of photography can be lost when we suddenly find ourselves with limitless shooting capabilities that are often only capped by a camera’s battery life and our own enthusiasm.

Try putting some of these lessons from the world of film to use the next time you find yourself deleting more and more images and finding fewer quality pictures. It just might be that you begin shooting better and get more enjoyment from your digital photography.

The post How to Refresh Your Creativity by Shooting Digital with a Film Mindset by Adam Welch appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
25

Huawei launches MediaPad M5 Pro tablet with M-Pen

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

There won't be a new flagship smartphone from Huawei at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year (the P20, which is rumored to come with a triple-camera, will be launched on the 27th of March). However, the Chinese device maker has just launched a number of new tablets, including the MediaPad M5 Pro which looks like a potentially interesting option for image editing on the go.

The M5 Pro will be available with a 8.4" or 10.8" IPS display. Both screens feature a 2560 x 1600 2K resolution and a screen/body ratio of 82%. On top of that the larger version comes with the M-Pen stylus which supports tilting and shading and offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Huawei says the M-Pen is ideal for note-taking and image editing alike.

If that's true will largely depend on support for the pen in third-party apps. Huawei has not provided any information on this topic yet. In addition a full-size keyboard that is connected via Pogo Pins in combination with a Desktop View mode allow for a PC-like working experience.

In any case, the MediaPad M5 Pro looks like a capable and attractively designed Android tablet all around. The 8.4" version comes with two speakers, the larger model offers a quad-speaker setup and a surround-sound option which has been co-developed with Harman-Kardon. Hi-Res audio is supported when listening through headphones.

The Android OS and Huawei's EMUI 8.0 UI are powered by a Kirin 960 Series processor and a 5,100 mAh battery in the smaller model and 7,500 mAh variant in the 10.8" version - both supporting quick-charge - should provide plenty of battery life. The MediaPad M5 Pro will be available in Champagne Gold and Space Gray. Pricing ranges from 500 Euros (approximately USD 615) for the Wi-Fi version with 64GB memory to 600 Euros (approximately USD 735) for the 128GB LTE model.

Feb
25

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

Filed Under Cameras and Equipment, Digital Photography School

The correct lens for the correct photo is a debate often heard among many photographers. In this article, you’ll see the various merits of three different street photography lenses. The 50mm lens is often thought of as the perfect lens for street photography, perhaps even the only one.

Using different focal lengths can dramatically change the type of photos you take, though. So let’s take a look at which street photography lens might be right for you!

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This photo was taken at 135mm. There is still plenty of context in this scene, even at the longer focal length.

Wide-angle to get in close

This class of lens is usually thought of as a landscape, or architecture photography lens. That may be true, though using it for street photography is equally valid. So why might you use a wide-angle lens in your street photography work?

  • Get close – That famous Robert Capa quote that I’m sure you’ve seen, “If your pictures are not good enough, you’re not close enough.” Well, when you use a wide-angle lens for street photography you’ll have to get close. This will get you closer to the action and will lead to the following.
  • Tell more story – Capturing a wider scene will allow more context to come into your photo. If you can avoid the photograph becoming too cluttered, and you retain a clear focus on the main subject you will likely have a great photo.
  • Interaction – Getting close to your subject means interacting with your subject, most likely a person. They’ll now know you’re taking their photo. How you use this to your advantage depends on you. Building a positive relationship with your subject will enhance your photo, even if that relationship is short.
Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This photo required a wide-angle lens to capture the whole scene. It was photographed at 17mm, and I was close to the people I captured in the image.

The nifty fifty, the classic street photography lens

The icon of street photography, it really is one of the best lenses out there. There are several different options for this lens along with the more expensive variety having a larger aperture. What makes the 50mm lens such a good choice for street photography then?

  • Normal field of view – This lens gives you a field of view that’s close to what your eyes see, a trait desirable for street photos. So you’re not dealing with a distorted view when using this type of lens. This assumes you’re using a full frame camera, crop sensors will give you a longer focal length of around 75mm on a 50mm lens.
  • The Depth of Field – As a prime lens with a fixed focal length these lenses have a large aperture of at least f/1.8. This allows you to create a shallow depth of field, and to blur out the background. This control can really help you take better street photos when it is applied well.
  • Comfortable distance – With this lens you’ll be close to your subject, but not in their face. A 50mm will also include enough of the surrounding scene to allow context in your photo.
  • Fast lens – This lens can be used in low light conditions. The combination of a wide aperture and mid-range focal length make this a fast lens and a good option to use at night.
Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

There’s no getting away from it, the 50mm lens is GREAT for street photography.

Long focal length for the unobtrusive photographer

At the longer focal lengths, you’ll be positioned farther from your subject, far enough that they may not spot you taking their photo. This type of lens is the choice of the paparazzi, although it’s unlikely you’ll be using a lens with the same kind of focal lengths (really long!).

So what are the advantages of standing a bit further back?

  • Capture the moment – When the person you’re photographing is oblivious to your presence, the chance of the moment being natural is a lot higher.
  • Compress the scene – This allows you to focus much more on the subject, but the risk is that you don’t include the area around them so you lose some of the story. It’s still possible to provide context at longer focal lengths, you will just have to stand even farther back.
  • Avoid confrontation – Not everyone wants their photo taken, and photos taken without permission can cause a confrontation if you’re caught. While it’s better to build a relationship with the person you want to photograph, sometimes what they don’t know won’t hurt them. In this case, using a longer telephoto lens allows you to get the photo, without causing a scene.
Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This photo was taken using a 135mm lens. You can see the street vendor preparing food, the outside scene isn’t visible though.

Extra tip

When taking street photos with a long focal length you can sometimes take advantage of a shard of light. This will typically happen when there is a gap in the roof, perhaps in a market. Underexpose your photo at -2 or even -3 EV, with just enough exposure to give detail to your subject, but make the rest of the photo black. This will give some minimalism to your photo, which is a nice effect.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This image was photographed at 180mm, on a camera with a crop factor of 1.6x. The shard of light was used to make the background black, as it is underexposed.

What’s your preferred street photography lens?

Many people will stick to the 50mm lens as their street photography lens of choice, but there are alternatives available. To this day, my favorite street photo was taken at full zoom with a 70-300mm lens.

How about you, do you have a favored lens for street photography? How about trying a different lens, and see how that changes the types of photos you get?

Here at dPS, we love to hear your opinions, so let us know what you think. We’d also love to see your examples of street photos, together with the lens you used to take that photo. Please share in the comments section below.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

Here is a selection of lenses that could be used for street photography.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This is a scene captured using a wide-angle lens, photographed at 17mm.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

The scene was photographed at night. The 50mm lens is fast, and ideal for this type of scene.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

This scene also shows the 50mm lens in action.

Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You?

Even a fish-eye lens can be used for street photography. Though admittedly this photo is also architectural.

The post Which Street Photography Lens is Right for You? by Simon Bond appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
24

How to Compress Time Into One Photo

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

Throughout the history of photography, many photographers have blended multiple exposures into one final image. Obviously, they didn’t shoot the exposures at the same time, but at some interval to achieve something.

One really common purpose is to remove people by shooting several photos and making sure that all areas are covered without any people and then blend all the images into one image. Another purpose of shooting multiple images is bracketing for HDR. Yet a different purpose is to compress a long time into one photo.

Italy Manarola Day to Night

In this article, you will learn how to make an image that compresses a long time-span into one image. It is a bit like a time-lapse movie sequence, but instead of making a movie you create one final image.

Like in time-lapse photography you will shoot several photos shot over a period of preferably several hours to see a change in the scenery. To make it more interesting, you shoot the photos during a change of light, like from daylight to nighttime. When you put such photos together, you get something really fascinating.

Required Gear

To be able to make such a photo you must have a camera and a tripod or similar device. While you shoot, you need to avoid touching the camera more than you have to. Therefore a cable release or remote trigger is recommended.

You will be standing still for several hours and the temperature will most likely change quite a bit. Remember to bring clothes for a change of temperature.

Australia Sydney Harbor View Time Compressed

Where to Shoot

In theory, you can shoot these kinds of photos anywhere and of anything. But since you are putting a lot of time into one single image, it is recommended that you have an excellent composition of an interesting scene.

When to shoot

You should shoot when the light changes the most, which is from daytime to nighttime or the other way around. It is this change that will make it into a remarkable photo. If you just shoot for four hours around midday, you will get a midday photo.

How to Shoot

When you shoot photos that you intend to blend into one final image, it is essential that you make sure to have an almost identical composition in each frame. You can do that by stabilizing your camera, typically on a tripod. Minor pixel shift differences can be handled later in the post-processing phase, but big differences in the composition will be really hard, if not impossible to blend.

You can either use a remote control to trigger the camera for each shot or put the camera into a time-lapse mode. The advantage of triggering the shutter release remotely yourself is that you can time your shots if something interesting happens.

As the light changes, you will need to change the camera settings.

During the daytime put your camera in Aperture Priority mode at ISO 100 and set the aperture around f/8. This mode makes sure that the images have the same depth of field and therefore are identical, except for the change of light. Do a couple of trial shots to make sure you don’t blow out the highlights or the shadows. If the image is too bright or dark, use the exposure compensation to adjust.

As it gets darker, the camera will make longer exposures and when you hit the 30-second mark, you will need to increase the ISO. You will typically end up at ISO 800 or 1600.

Sweden A Mountain Sunset in Sweden

You most likely want to switch off autofocus before it gets dark. It depends on the scenery. City photos often offer good low light autofocus points, while the contrast disappears in landscape photos and makes autofocus impossible. Alternatively, you can use Back Button Focus.

How many photos do you need?

You need at least two different photos, but any number larger than one will work. For my photo of Sydney, I used a couple of night shots. For the morning part, I only used two.

If you shoot the “many people” variation, you will need photos with interesting people in all those areas you want to be populated with people. For the photo of Manarola, Italy I used approximately 60 photos from a batch of around 200.

Switzerland Montreux Compressed Time

How to handle high dynamic range?

Some situations are hard or impossible to capture in one exposure because the dynamic range gets too high. Typically this happens in nighttime city photos or if the sun enters the frame. The difference between the strong light source and the shadows is too great to capture in one single exposure.

In these situations, you must either switch to Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) or do some manual exposure compensation.

How to blend the photos

You can use any layer-based photo editing tool to blend the photos together. I will demonstrate using Photoshop, but Photo Affinity, GIMP or any other similar photo editing tools can do the same.

UK Lake District Time Compressed

The overall process is to pick one of the good photos from the shoot as the base photo. Then you handpick a set of other photos that you want to blend into the base image.

The technique you are going to use to blend is called “Layer Masking”.

Step 1

Put all the photos you have picked into an empty folder on your computer. JPEGs are fine, but you can also use RAW files.

Step 1 image folder with images - How to Compress Time Into One Photo

Step 2

Pick your base photo and open that in Photoshop.

Step 3

Pick another photo with different light. Load that in into Photoshop by dragging the file onto the base image. Position the photo and press enter.

Notice that you now only see the top layer.

Step 3 image drag layer into place - How to Compress Time Into One Photo

Step 4

Add a mask to the top image, by selecting the top layer and clicking Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. You have now added a Black Mask. Notice that you can now see the lower image layer again.

Step 4 image The black layer mask - How to Compress Time Into One Photo

Step 5

Select the layer mask by clicking on the black mask and then select the brush tool. Select white as your brush color and set the opacity to around 50% and hardness to 0%. You want to work with a BIG soft brush for most stuff. When you need to do more detailed work, increase hardness to around 50%.

Step 5 image Select a brush - How to Compress Time Into One Photo

Step 6

Start painting in some areas and see how the image changes. Each time you click the mouse and paint in an area, the more the top image becomes visible. Play around until you see something you find interesting.

Step 7

Add more photos by dragging them into Photoshop one at a time and make sure the new layer is the top one. You can drag it to the top of the stack if it is not. Then repeat steps 4-6 again.

The final image

In the end, you will end up with several layers containing photos from which you have used bits and pieces, to create your own unique and quite fascinating image. In the image of the idyllic alp town of Hallstatt in Austria, I used 18 photos to create my image.

Tutorial image 3 An example of layers

Austria Hallstatt Day To Night

Additional things to consider

8-bit or 16-bit?

Normally you should never use 8-bit mode for image editing, but if you are blending 20+ photos, you will run into serious performance issues at 16-bit, even with a high-performance computer. One workaround is to use 8-bit at the cost of image quality. You can change the mode by going to Image > Mode > 8-bit/Channel. The downside of using 8-bit is that you may end up having banding which is when you can see the colors transition from one to the other (they do not graduate smoothly).

Alignment

You have probably had to adjust the camera while shooting and most likely you will find that the images are slightly misaligned. It may not be more than a pixel or two.

Tutorial image 1 Move tool

You use the Move Layer tool to micro adjust the misaligned layer using the arrow keys.

Addition tip – try to make more than one final image from the same photos, by switching around the night and day photos.

The post How to Compress Time Into One Photo by Jacob Surland appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
24

Fujifilm X-H1 versus X-T2: what does the new camera bring?

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Introduction

The Fujifilm X-H1 sits at the top of the company's APS-C lineup, lifting expectations and capabilities beyond what was offered by the X-T2 that previously held the position.

The price and feature set, as much as Fujifilm's claims, make clear that it's an additional model, rather than a replacement. So just what's changed? What's been added and who does the new model make sense for?

Video

The X-T2 offers 4K video, but the X-H1 takes things to a different level.

Virtually every aspect of the X-H1's video feature set is upgraded compared to the X-T2. Thanks to its larger internal volume it can shoot 4K for longer (15 mins compared to 10), and while the two cameras both impose a modest 1.17X crop, the X-H1 boasts a maximum bitrate of 200Mbps and the option to shoot F-Log internally.

The X-H1's new 'Eterna' film simulation preset is intended to provide a quick and easy way to shoot gradeable, wide dynamic range video footage. For the first time, you can apply dynamic range 'DR' expansion settings in video mode on the X-H1, too. When combined with the DR400%, setting, footage shot using the Eterna preset, Fujifilm says it should deliver a total of 12EV of dynamic range.

Video

Less obvious improvements, but equally significant to serious videographers include a video-specific shutter speed of 1/48sec, which will give a 360, 180 and 90 degree shutter angle for 24, 30 and 60p footage. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. But if you do, you'll appreciate it. Likewise support for time code display, and silent touch operation, which enables exposure control via the rear touch-screen.

Missing are any kind of exposure warnings, which (we're told) would put too much stress on the X-H1's processor.

Revamped AF system

While it uses the same 24MP APS-C X-Trans sensor as the X-T2, the X-H1's on-sensor phase-detection autofocus system has been seriously upgraded. The most obvious improvements are to low-light sensitivity and focus tracking. The X-H1 can now focus down to -1EV (compared to the X-T2's limit of 0.5EV) and phase-detection AF should work even at effective apertures as small as F11 - i.e. when shooting at the long end of the XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 zoom, when combined with a 2X tele-converter.

In terms of tracking, Fujifilm quotes a substantial increase in autofocus hit-rate when faced with low contrast subjects and more reliable tracking during continuous bursts of images. Unlike the X-T2, the X-H1 can also continuously focus while zooming. Both the X-T2 and X-H1's autofocus systems look for horizontal, vertical and high-frequency detail, but whereas in the X-T2, this information is processed in series, the X-H1's AF system benefits from parallel data processing. Quite how Fujifilm has managed this without upgrading the X-H1's processor (which is the same as the one used in the X-T2) is a mystery to us, but it's impressive.

New body design

In terms of its external appearance, the X-H1 looks like a mid-point between the X-T2 and the medium-format GFX 50S. And in a sense (apart from the APS-C sensor) that's exactly what it is. Fuji intends the X-H1 to be more 'friendly' to DSLR users, hence the larger grip and top-plate mounted LCD. The LCD squeezed out the traditional Fujifilm exposure compensation dial, but exposure compensation (if applied) is permanently displayed on the LCD, even when the X-H1 is turned off.

Bigger, heavier, tougher

The X-H1 is a bigger camera than the X-T2 (140 x 97 x 86mm versus 132 x 92 x 49mm) and substantially heavier (673g versus 507g - with a card and battery). The magnesium-alloy body shell of the X-H1 is 25% thicker than the X-T2, too. It's also more scratch-resistant, and substantially stronger. As well as being physically stronger, the X-H1's body is well sealed against the elements, with 68 seals around body seams and control points.

Quiet mechanical shutter

The X-H1's shutter has been redesigned to offer a damped mechanical shutter mode, and electronic first-curtain (EFC) to reduce any risk of shutter shock.

The other advantage is that this makes the shutter itself quieter. In use, both the X-T2 and X-H1 are pretty discreet cameras, but the X-H1 definitely has the edge in situations where the click of a shutter would be unwelcome.

Improved EVF

The X-T2's electronic viewfinder is excellent, and the X-H1's EVF is even better. It's fractionally smaller than the X-T2's finder (0.75X magnification compared to 0.77X) but brighter, and it offers a higher resolution of 3.69 million dots (compared to 2.36 million). A subtle but welcome improvement is the increased responsiveness of the eye-sensor, too. The X-H1's eye sensor can react in as little as 0.15sec, when your eye is raised to the finder (compared to the X-T2's 0.4sec).

Touch-sensitive rear LCD

The X-H1 features the same articulating 1.04 million-dot rear LCD as the X-T2, but it's touch-sensitive, allowing you to do all kinds of things, including place your desired AF point by touch, and quickly review and zoom into captured images with a fingertip.

The touchscreen also enables the X-H1's silent movie shooting operation, which is intended to avoid the vibration and potential for operational noise associated with mechanical click dials and buttons.

In-body stabilization

Despite claiming in the past that it couldn't be done, Fujifilm has added a 5-axis in-body stabilization system to the X-H1. In general, Fujifilm's faster primes - without OI.S. - should offer slightly better stabilization as a result of their larger imaging circle, but ~5EV of correction will be achievable with almost all XF lenses. The X-H1's IBIS also works in video mode, which makes it more useful for 'run and gun' shooting, for example with the company's excellent new MKX cine zooms.

Flickr reduction

New in the X-series is flicker reduction for stills shooting. We've seen this function before in high-end DSLRs, and it works very similarly here: analyzing the fluctuation in brightness of certain artificial light-sources and timing exposure for the peak brightness. This avoids constantly fluctuating brightness when images shot in the same continuous burst. Continuous shooting speed is capped at 7fps in this mode with electronic first-curtain shutter, and 5.5fps with conventional mechanical shutter.

Most useful when shooting indoor sports, flicker reduction is another feature that either you need it or you don't, but if you do, you really do.

Dynamic Range Priority mode

Fujifilm has been putting 'DR' dynamic range expansion settings in its mirrorless and compact cameras for years, but the X-H1 expands on this (no pun intended) with a 'Dynamic Range Priority' mode.

This has two settings: weak and strong, which use the camera's existing DR modes in combination with flattening of the highlight and shadow ends of the tone curve. This gives a flatter, wider DR version of DR200 and DR400% modes, respectively. There's also an 'Auto' setting that selects which level to apply.

Bluetooth + Wi-Fi

As well as built-in Wi-Fi, the X-H1 also includes low energy Bluetooth (BLE) for full-time connection to a smart device. This can either be used to auto-transfer all the images to your smartphone (either at full resolution or as 3MP downsized versions), when you turn the camera off.

Alternatively the Bluetooth connection should make it faster to reconnect the Wi-Fi if you want to choose which files to send.

Same sized battery

The X-H1 has been beefed-up in many respects, compared to the X-T2, but it still features the same battery. In one sense this is great news for X-T2 owners who might be thinking about upgrading to the X-H1, or adding one to their kit. However, the additional demands of the IS system sees the battery life take a small hit, compared to the older model. The X-H1's CIPA rated battery life is 310 exposures per charge, compared to 340 from the X-T2.

Overall

The additional video features mean the X-H1 has even greater appeal to stills/video shooters than the already capable X-T2. However, the in-body image stabilization is in itself going to make the X-H1 look more attractive to some stills-only shooters.

As we've already seen in the comments, the increased size of the X-H1 is somewhat divisive. There are certainly ergonomic benefits to the larger grip but does mean the camera as a whole is substantially larger than previous X-series models. That said, Fujifilm's range of APS-C specific lenses mean the combination of lens and camera is still smaller than the (often more basic) full frame models available around the same price.

Feb
24

How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

Do you want to make sure you get the most details out of your shot? How about making sure none of your post-processing is destructive? It sounds like a really smart way to set up your workflow right?

A workflow is a process that goes from initiation to completion. In the case of photography, that implies from the time of shooting to post-processing. So the first thing you need to do is to ALWAYS shoot in RAW mode. This is a format that changes file extension with every manufacturer but they all share one common thing: raw files store all the un-processed and un-compressed data received on the sensor of your camera when you make a picture.

Intro before after - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Why shoot RAW?

What is the point of that? Well this means that your file can tolerate more post-processing adjustments and that you can alter some of the settings from the image in a non-destructive way.

As I mentioned before, RAW files have different file extensions and therefore need special software to process them. Your camera surely came with a software that handles your files. However, in this article, I am going to show you how to get the most out of them in Photoshop which supports most raw formats either by default or by using a plug-in.

When you open a RAW file in Photoshop you will see that you can adjust the image with the sliders on the tool palette on the right. Start moving those around to recover the most detail you can from both the highlights and the shadows so you can even out the exposure as much as possible. You can also control the tone of the white balance, the saturation and vibrancy of the colors, and so on.

Raw Window - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Tweak the image using the sliders and local adjustments in ACR

Once you have the overall settings adjusted, you can start working the settings in different areas to fine-tune your image.

Use the Adjustment Brush that you’ll find in the Menu bar on the top; you can change its settings like size and hardness on the right. Whatever adjustments you make to contrast or exposure will be applied only to the part where you paint with the brush. This is very useful when you are processing images with a lot of contrast. You can keep going with the other tools like the gradient for other local adjustments.

Raw Brush - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Open as a Smart Object

If you are already familiar with processing RAW files, these are likely your normal post-processing steps, after which you would click the Open Image button so that the photo opens in Photoshop with the applied adjustments. However, there is one more step you can add to your process to really make your images pop. You can open your photo as a Smart Object.

Open Object - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Here’s how to do it. Instead of clicking Open Image, just press the Shift key and that same button will become Open Object, now you can click it. Having done this, the image will open in Photoshop as a Layer. Now right-click the layer thumbnail and choose New Smart Object via Copy and a second layer, containing a second smart object will be created.

IMPORTANT: Don’t just duplicate the layer or you won’t be able to process them independently; every adjustment would be applied to both smart objects!

You can now rename the layers to identify which adjustments you are going to do in each one. For example, I’m doing Highlights and Shadows for my image but maybe for another image, it’s better to call the layers Background and Foreground, it depends on your image and what it needs.

Double processing

Double processing - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

The cool part about Smart Objects is that when you double-click the layer, it will open again in the RAW editor, which means that you are back to all the data to keep processing without loss. You can make the adjustments that you need for a specific part of the image.

Finishing up

Now that you have done the best post-processing for each part is time to integrate it all into one amazing picture! Add a mask to the top layer by clicking the Layer Mask button on the bottom of the Layers Palette. With the layer mask selected you can start hiding the parts you don’t need. Remember that whatever appears in black on the mask means that you will see the layer underneath; whatever is white will show the top layer. I’ll turn off the bottom layer so that you can see what I mean below.

Layer Mask - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

If you find it necessary, you can keep going with your adjustments, as you would normally do in Photoshop. You can add a filter or adjustment layer by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Have a look at these before and after examples!

Before- How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Before

After - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

After

Before2 - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

Before

After2 - How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop

After

The post How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop by Ana Mireles appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
23

Tiffen announces foot operated gas-lift Steadicam Air monopod

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Tiffen has joined the monopod market with the new Steadicam Air line, which uses a gas spring and a foot pedal to help photographers quickly and easily adjust the monopod's height.

The Steadicam Air is a three-section carbon fibre model that features a foot pedal close to the base that, when pressed, assists in lifting the mounted camera to the desired height. The monopod will come in two configurations to hold either 25lb or 15lb, and are suitable for both still and movie photographers.

Of the three sections, one uses a twist lock that allows the top of the monopod to rotate about 360°, while the other two are spring loaded for lifting the camera. A large rubber foot makes it easy to angle monopod without it slipping across the floor.

Here's a look at the Steadicam Air in action:

The Steadicam Air-25 is available now for $500, while the Steadicam Air-15 will go on sale "at a later date" with a price of $400. For more information, head over to the Tiffen website.

Press Release

THE TIFFEN COMPANY INTRODUCES THE STEADICAM AIR

A Lightweight Carbon Fiber Pneumatic Monopod for Photographers and Cinematographers

Steadicam, a division of The Tiffen Company and Master Cinematographers teamed up to release the Steadicam Air, a revolutionary monopod that is gas lift activated by a foot pedal for adjustable height.

Setting a new standard, the Steadicam Air brings versatility back to the monopod. With its gas lift spring, the Air makes it easy for professional photographers and cinematographers to raise their heights and never miss a moment. Available in two different configurations, a 25 lb and soon after a 15 lb weight capacity, the Air is the perfect complement for professional image-makers to stabilize and support their equipment.

What sets the Steadicam Air apart from any other monopod is that it’s gas lift and spring activated. Weighing only 3.5 lbs, the Steadicam Air is made up of three sections including one twist leg lock that allows for a 360 degree rotation. The height adjustment is activated by the rubberized foot pedal which allows for a non-slip operation.

Made of carbon fiber, the Steadicam Air is lightweight and compact making it easy for travel. The Air is accompanied by a deluxe carrying bag with added protection and an ergonomic shoulder strap. It is ideal for nature, wildlife, sports, wedding, venue photographers and cinematographers alike.

The Steadicam Air-25 will be available on February 2, 2018 for $499 USD. The Steadicam Air-15 will available at a later date for $399 USD.

Features:

  • 100% gas lift, spring activated height adjustable monopod – activated by adjustable foot pedal
  • Made of Lightweight Carbon Fiber
  • 3 – Section Monopod with 1 – twist leg lock
  • Allows for full 360 degree rotation without compromise
  • Ergonomic foam padded grip point with debossed Steadicam branding on the handle
  • Removable aluminum top plate with reversible screw thread allowing for 1/4in-20 and 3/8in-16
  • Oversized rubber foot giving you extra stability connected to ball point
  • Quick twist rubberized leg grips
  • Non-slip, rubberized foot pedal allows for easy grip operation. Pedal also folds up with travel purposes and quick transport
  • Collapsed Height = 28in
  • Fully Extended Height = 62.5in
  • Sleek red accents
Feb
23

Kodak Alaris is bringing back T-Max P3200 high-speed B&W film

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Film photographers are celebrating today after news broke that Kodak Alaris will resurrect another popular product: Kodak T-Max P3200 high-speed black-and-white film. After teasing the resurrection on Twitter, a brief press release confirmed the news this morning, revealing that the debut will happen some time next month.

Kodak originally discontinued T-Max P3200 film in October of 2012 due to a severe drop in demand, directing its customers toward the T-Max 400 as an alternative. However, the film photography market has seen an increase in demand over the last few years, and Kodak Alaris is using that demand as proof that products like T-Max P3200 and the soon-to-be-rereleased Ektachrome film deserve another shot.

The 'rebirth' of T-Max P3200 began on social media. In a tweet posted yesterday, Kodak shared an image that reads "Are you in the dark?" followed by a series of numbers that total 3200. The combination hinted at the T-Max P3200 film, which Kodak says can be push processed up to ISO 25,000.

Though the company didn't provide any additional details via that tweet, someone did spot an image shared by Australian film store Ikigai Camera on its Instagram account. The image—which has since been removed, hinting at an 'accidental' leak—showed the T-Max P3200 film box alongside the words, "Welcome back March 2018."

Screenshot from the Kodak Alaris website.

Fortunately, it's not just teasers and leaks anymore. The company followed up the unofficial news with an official announcement earlier today, saying it will begin shipping the product to US stockhouse dealers and distributors starting in March, followed by other markets "shortly thereafter."

The company says the resurrected film is best suited for handheld street photography, as well as night shots and work in any "dimly lit venues where you can't use a flash."

Press Release

Kodak Alaris Revives KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film / TMZ

Multi-Speed B&W Film to be Available in March, 2018

ROCHESTER, N.Y. February 23, 2018 –Kodak Alaris announced today that it is bringing back KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film / TMZ, a multi-speed panchromatic black-and-white negative film. While the nominal film speed of P3200 TMZ is ISO 800, the “P” means it’s designed to be push processed to EI 3200 or higher. This film excels when shooting in low light or when capturing fast action. It is ideally suited for handheld street scene photography, night work, and in dimly lit venues where you can’t use flash.

“It’s no secret that we’ve been looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio” said Dennis Olbrich, President – Kodak Alaris Paper, Photo Chemicals and Film. “Darkroom photography is making a comeback, and B&W Film sales are clearly on a positive trajectory. Given these very encouraging market trends, we believe P3200 TMZ will be a great addition to our lineup”.

Kodak Alaris plans to offer KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film in 135-36x format. Shipments to Distributors and Stockhouse dealers will begin in March in the U.S., with other regions around the world following shortly thereafter.

To learn more, please visit www.kodakalaris.com/go/profilms

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