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Feb
22

Tokina unveils the FíRIN 20mm F2.0 FE AF autofocus lens for Sony E-Mount

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 12 hours after Nokishita shared some leaked photos and specs of the unreleased lens, Tokina has officially announced its latest piece of Sony E-Mount glass: the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF.

The new lens is only the second prime lens in the FíRIN series of lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras, and it's actually a followup to the first. The original FíRIN 20mm F2 FE was a manual focus lens, and the new AF version uses an identical optical design. But it doesn't so much replace the old lens as sit next to it in Tokina's lineup, giving users "two options ... to choose [from] according to the purpose and style of shooting."

Like its predecessor, the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF boasts 13 lens elements in 11 groups, including two aspherical elements and three Super-low Dispersion elements that promise to do away with as much spherical aberration, distortion, and chromatic aberration as possible.

Unlike the manual focus version, this lens features a ring-type ultrasonic motor coupled with a GMR sensor for fast and silent focusing, and Tokina promises full compatibility with Sony's Fast Hybrid AF system and all AF function settings, "providing the same AF performance as with common E-mount AF lenses."

The FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF lens is tentatively scheduled to arrive at the end of April for Japanese customers, and end of May worldwide, but if you happen to be at CP+ next week, you can check out a prototype of the new lens at Tokina's booth.

No pricing info has been released as of yet.

Press Release

New Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF

February 22nd, 2018 – Kenko Tokina Co., Ltd. is proud to announce the new Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF, the second prime lens in Tokina’s premium lens series “FíRIN” for mirrorless cameras.

Overview

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is the long-awaited autofocus version of the existing FíRIN 20mm F2 FE super wide angle lens for full-frame Sony E-mount. Adopting the same optical design as in MF model, now we offer two options for end-users to choose according to the purpose and style of shooting.

Optical performance

Being optimized for full size camera sensors in terms of size and resolving ability, the optical design adopts 2 aspherical elements and 3 lenses molded from Super-low Dispersion glass to significantly reduce any type of aberration including spherical aberration, distortion and chromatic aberration while assuring high resolution and stunning performance even at wideopen aperture.

Functionality

Keeping along with the basic development concept of the previous model FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is made compatible to autofocus and other functions of the camera providing perfect functionality and usability for the photographer.

Ring-shaped ultrasonic autofocus motor

For AF drive system FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF adopts quick responsive and silent ring-shaped ultrasonic motor. Coupled with GMR sensor AF performs fast and accurate focusing.

Full compatibility to AF system

FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is fully compatible with Fast Hybrid AF system and all AF function settings, providing the same AF performance as with common E-mount AF lenses. Fine manual focus adjustment is also possible.

MF Assist function

Accurate focusing is supported by compatibility to MF Assist function, when fine focusing adjustment is operated by manual rotation of the focusing ring with the simultaneous interlocking with image enlarging function and bar distance display on the monitor.

Optical correction

Due to the data transmittance ability via electric contacts the camera obtains necessary data from the lens chip to correct shading, distortion and lateral chromatic aberrations. Optical corrections can be done by the camera as well.

Image Stabilization

By transmitting focal length data FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF is able to get maximum use of In-Body Image Stabilization function of the camera.

* When in-built camera flash is used vignetting may occur. Please use external flash.

About sales release:

Sales release in Japan: end of April, 2018 (tentative)
Sales release worldwide: end of May, 2018 (tentative)

A prototype of Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF will be displayed at CP+2018
Kenko Tokina booth location: Exhibition Hall(1F), booth # G-57

Feb
22

New Sony release cable enables dual-shooting with the RX0

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

In addition to the new HVL-F60RM wireless flash, Sony also debuted a new release cable that might be of interest to owners of the company's ultra-compact DSC-RX0 sort-of action cam. The VMC-MM2 cable is Sony's "convenient dual-camera shooting solution" for users who want to shoot with their Sony ILC and RX0 at the same time.

The cable is used to sync your Sony alpha (or Cyber-shot) camera up with an RX0 enable simultaneous photo/video capture using only the main camera’s release button. To quote Sony:

This form of dual-camera shooting is especially useful for wedding, event and press conference photographers and journalists. It offers the opportunity to capture multiple perspectives using different angles of view that can be edited and packaged into an impactful series of work.

The new VMC-MM2 release cable will be available starting in April for $50 USD (or €55).

Press Release

Sony Introduces Dual-camera Shooting Solution for RX0 with Launch of new Release Cable

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2018 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced the latest addition to its family of RX0 solutions with the launch of a new Release Cable, model VMC-MM2.

Helping to break down barriers to shooting style and image expression, the VMC-MM2 is a new solution for convenient dual-camera shooting, freeing the user to capture two different perspectives simultaneously.

The ultra-compact dimensions and superb image quality offered by the RX0 make it the ideal accompaniment to other cameras for dual-camera capture. By mounting an RX0 to the Multi Interface Shoe™ 1 or bracket/rig, users can use the RX0 to shoot high quality images concurrently with their main Sony α™ or Cyber-shot® camera body2. The VMC-MM2 cable realizes simultaneous photo/movie shooting3 with just a single press of main camera’s release button. This enables the user to capture one moment in two different ways, with a variation of angle of view, depth of view or frame rate. The cable also has a coiled design with a right-angle connector to minimize clutter and keep it clear of the EVF during shooting.

This form of dual-camera shooting is especially useful for wedding, event and press conference photographers and journalists. It offers the opportunity to capture multiple perspectives using different angles of view that can be edited and packaged into an impactful series of work.

Pricing and Availability

The new VMC-MM2 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $50 US or $60 CA.


1 Shoe Mount not included

2 Refer to the Sony support page for camera compatibility information http://www.sony.net/acc/mm2/

3 To synchronise movie REC/STOP, the main camera must assign “Movie w/ shutter” to its release button

Feb
22

Sony announces new flagship guide number 60 HVL-F60RM wireless flash

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Sony just released a new flagship radio-triggered wireless flash for its full-frame E-Mount cameras. The HVL-F60RM has a built in radio receiver, which means it can be triggered simply via a FA-WRC1M Wireless Radio Commander attached to your E-mount body. It's a powerful unit with a guide number 60m at 200mm, ISO 100. The flash covers a zoom range of 20-200mm and promises to provide "uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220 flashes."

The HVL-F60RM does not replace the HVL-F60M flash, which remains in Sony's lineup for A-mount cameras. The RM version is designed specifically for E-mount (though it will work with A-mount, but without AF Assist), but even for A-mount it has the added benefit of not requiring a separate radio receiver mounted to the flash to be triggered wirelessly.

Several improvements have been made to make the RM version worth your money. First, you don't need a separate radio receiver attached to your flash. Also, heat resistance has been increased by "as much as" 4x, recycle time has been reduced to 1.7 seconds, and a new External Battery Adaptor (the FA-EBA1 seen in the gallery above) can drop that recycle time even further to just 0.6 seconds.

Additional features include non-directional wireless radio communication from up to 30 meters away, support for up to 15 flash units (assigned to up to 5 groups) when the flash is mounted to a compatible camera and used as a transmitter, an LED Light and AF Illuminator, and a dust and moisture resistant design that "allows flash shooting even in challenging environments." But there's one important thing to keep in mind...

No truly usable AF Assist

Sony removed the AF assist beam from the original HVL-F60M that projects a red grid upon your subject to quickly help the AF system achieve focus on subject in total darkness, say, on the dance floor at a wedding. This is a huge omission and sad oversight. We have yet to see if any light is triggered - Sony's claim that there's an AF illuminator indicates that at least some AF assist light is triggered. But a blinding LED is not what subjects at events in the dark want thrown in their faces. Instead, Sony should've built in a an AF assist grid that's projected onto nearby subjects for quick AF in low light. Since Sony's AF pixels on most modern a7/a9 bodies actually use blue color filters, a blue AF assist grid would be ideal, and wouldn't even bother subjects you're focusing on significant.

We hope Sony develops a radio transmitter that projects a blue grid for AF-assist in the future, for fast AF in total darkness

Sadly, all Sony E-mount cameras will do with this flash is project a bright LED on your subject for focus, making it difficult to shoot professional events in low light. That's a huge shame, and our last remaining hope is that Sony develops a radio transmitter to be mounted on-camera that projects this AF grid to help achieve focus quickly.

Here's a quick video intro to this new flash:

To learn more, head over to the Sony product page for either the HVL-F60RM flash or the FA-EBA1 external battery. The HVL-F60RM costs $600 USD (€700), while the FA-EBA1 External Battery Adaptor will run you $250 USD (€300). Both products will begin shipping in April.

Press Release

Sony Launches New Flagship Guide Number 60 Flash

New HVL-F60RM Combines Overwhelming Continuous Flash Performance with Advanced Operability and Wireless Control

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22, 2018 – Sony Electronics, a worldwide leader in digital imaging and the world’s largest image sensor manufacturer, has today announced a new flagship addition to its digital imaging range with the launch of the HVL-F60RM Flash.

Addressing the needs of the increasing numbers of professional photographers adopting the Sony α system, the HVL-F60RM offers high-power flash output, reliable continuous performance and advanced control features with integrated radio control options.

The HVL-F60RM has a guide number of 60[i] and covers illumination angles from 20mm[ii] to 200mm[iii] providing uniform wide-range zoom coverage without shading with continuous shooting up to 220[v] flashes. The use of heat resistant materials and the deployment of new advanced algorithms means that heat resistance has been increased by as much as 4x[iv] compared to the previous model, HVL-F60M.

Further improvements have been made to the recycle time which has been reduced to 1.7 seconds[v] or just 0.6 seconds[v] with the new External Battery Adaptor, product code FA-EBA1. A unique benefit of previous Sony flashes, Quick Shift Bounce is included, allowing the photographers to quickly shift from horizontal to vertical orientation, 90 degrees left or right, upward by up to 150 degrees, and downward by 8 degrees for flexible positioning and optimum lighting for a wide range of scenes.

Independent light output level (LEVEL -/+) buttons allow direct control of output or compensation, supporting an efficient workflow. A comprehensive display facilitates adjustments and flash output level confirmation, and also provides intuitive access to flash output settings for paired wireless flashes.

Functions can be freely assigned to the unit’s four-way controller, center button, and control wheel for easy access when required. Furthermore, TTL flash output can be memorized and recalled in manual mode when needed for immediate use or use after minor adjustment. This is another feature that can simplify manual workflow and save time.

The dust and moisture resistant design[vi] of the HVL-F60RM allows flash shooting even in challenging environments and a new optional Rain Guard[vii], product code FA-RG1, provides added protection to the connection between the flash and camera[viii]. Another example of the complete attention to detail that has gone into the design of the HVL-F60RM, is the metal foot of the Multi Interface Shoe™ connection which has been re-designed for increased rigidity and reliability.

A pre-requisite for leading-edge studio set-ups, the wireless radio communication is non-directional so receiver flash units can be positioned anywhere up to approximately 30 meters[iii] away from the camera, even in situations where reflectors or other obstacles would interfere with optical communication. A HVL-F60RM mounted on a compatible camera[ix] functioning as transmitter can be paired with off-camera units functioning as receivers. Multiple flashes are supported with the user able to use up to 15 flash units, assigned in to up to 5 groups[x] or wireless flash control and the use of a pairing system effectively prevents interference from other electronic devices.

Pricing and Availability

The new HVL-F60RM will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $600 US or $730 CA.

The new FA-EBA1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $250 US or $330 CA.

The new FA-RG1 will be available in North America in April, 2018 priced at approximately $25 US or $30 CA.


[i] 200mm at ISO100 in metres

[ii] 14mm with wide panel

[iii] 35mm full-frame equivalent

[iv] Sony test conditions

[v] With Ni-MH batteries, Sony test conditions

[vi] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof

[vii] Not to completely protect against water ingress. When the camera is held in the portrait orientation or at a tilt for photographing, in particular, it may fail to protect water ingress

[viii] With this unit attached, the camera may fail to record audio during video shooting, depending on the model. For the camera models to which this precaution applies, visit http://www.sony.net/acc/rg1/.

[ix] Refer to the Sony support page for camera compatibility information. http://www.sony.net/flash/f60rm/

[x] In the Group flash mode. Up to 3 groups in the TTL or Manual flash mode

Feb
22

5 Tips for Doing Photography in National Parks

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

I am a national parks buff – I mean I am really crazy about traveling to national parks all over the world. As a family, we have been known to pack our bags at the drop of a hat, load up the car and head out for a visit to our fabulous national parks. National parks provide some of the best landscapes and vistas you can find.

Because much of the land and natural resources are protected, you really get to see nature at its very best. There is so much to see, do, explore, and of course, photograph. Photography in national parks offers incredible opportunities to create some amazing photos and memories!

Photography in National Parks -1

Additionally, there are a huge number of photographers who make a living photographing landscapes, animals, and vistas in these national parks – talk about it being a dream job.

But photography in the national parks is not an easy slam-dunk. There is a lot of preparing to do before and during a photography trip to a national park. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip to photograph your favorite national park.

#1 Preparation for a national park photography trip

Let’s just start from the very basics on how to prepare for a trip to photograph national parks. First and foremost, the National Park Service in the United States has a certain set of rules and guidelines for photography in the national parks. Before you plan a trip specifically for photography, make sure you have familiarized yourself with the latest rules and regulations.

This article in Backpacker Magazine is quite informative, but if you are confused on what is allowed and not allowed, feel free to call the park services directly. The rangers in almost all the parks we have visited have been very well informed and are very helpful with rules around photography. In a nutshell:

  • Drones essentially are banned from National Parks and if caught, you can be fined.
  • Permits are not needed if you are using basic tools (tripod, camera, and a lens) to photograph vistas that are accessible to the public.
  • Permits are needed for commercial filming (still and video) and sets that involve props and/or models.
  • You will likely need a permit to enter an area not accessible to the public.
  • Backcountry rules may differ from front country rules, so definitely call the park to confirm.

Keep in mind that these rules are applicable for parks here in the US. If you are traveling outside the US, check with the local park authorities and/or check in other travel forums. Being prepared is an added bonus that will really pay off in the long run. The last thing you want is to get to your location only to find out that you don’t have the right paperwork and/or permit.

Photographing National Parks -2

Parks in India don’t have much of a hiking concept – most people prefer to go on safari to see the wildlife.

For example, parks and historic monuments in India that require an entrance fee have specific fees for Indians versus foreign tourists and an additional fee per camera (still and video). Some places don’t even allow camera bags and tripods – you have to check your camera bag pack into a locker prior to entry to the park.

#2 Rules and Regulations – Dos and Don’ts

Along the lines of rules and regulations, there are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to visiting and photographing inside national parks. Most parks are very good about letting you know what is allowed and what is not allowed. Signs, posters, and even handouts are available in plain sight. Playing ignorance is not an option and isn’t going to let you off the hook.

Stay away from wildlife and help them remain wild

My friend works for the Yellowstone National park and every spring she puts up this message on her Facebook page, “Welcome to the season of the crazies. May this season be shorter than the last!”

While it might be amusing and make you smile, this is quite serious to the men and women who work at Yellowstone. People (a.k.a visitors and some photographers) seem to want to go to any lengths to get a selfie or award-winning photograph with bison, bears, and the hot thermal features that Yellowstone is so famous for.

People have lost their lives trying to get the perfect shot! Nothing is worth losing your life over and endangering the lives of innocent animals whose habitats we are encroaching upon. (Note: if an animal attacks you, it may get put down, so by not following the rules you’re endangering their lives as well as your own.)

 Photographing National Parks -7

It is amazing how many people think that just because bison are herbivorous it is safe to get close to them! The people in the car did something right by just stopping the car to let the bison go and taking photos from inside the vehicle!

Never feed wildlife just for the sake of a photo

I have seen this happen time and time again. One time, my daughter was so angry to see a group of people who were feeding a bunch of squirrels lettuce and nuts, that she went up and chastised them and reported them to a ranger! Any activity that alters the natural behavior of animals is unacceptable no matter what the reason.

Never jump the fence and get off the trail

Getting off trail affects the land, the soil, and the environment. Trail markings are there to keep visitors safe and out of harm’s way. Every season rangers and outdoor crew hike the trails to ensure they are safe and can handle visitor foot traffic.

Yet people seem to ignore the signs to stay away so that they can get the epic shot – standing on the edge of a rock, diving into a pond at the base of a waterfall, or climbing the face of a mountain and take a selfie.

Photographing National Parks - 11

This is pretty much the scene at most of the waterfall/bridges in Yosemite National Park – but what you don’t see here is that there is an even bigger crowd on the other side of the bridge climbing on slippery rocks with the most illogical footwear!

#3 Playing fair and playing well with others

I really love reiterating this one time and time again. Over Christmas break, we traveled as a family to Zion National Park. If you have been to Zion you know that capturing the sunset against the Watchmen tower formations are iconic and almost every photographer (amateur or professional) is looking to capture that epic sunset.

Crowds start to gather almost an hour or more before sunset and getting a prime spot can get competitive and sometimes ruthless! There is also a path that leads down from the bridge to the water’s edge for tourists and anyone looking to hike along the river. One evening we were waiting for the sun to set, cameras ready to fire, when a few families decided to walk down to the river essentially getting into the frame of each and every photographer waiting on the bridge above.

Suddenly someone in the group decided to shout at the visitors – essentially asking them to leave the area. I was so mortified and embarrassed about being on that bridge that day with all those people. The National Parks and all its beauty is for everyone to enjoy – being a photographer does not take precedence over being a visitor taking in all of Mother Nature’s beauty. Thankfully a few others felt the same way and spoke up to let the photographer know we didn’t agree with his sentiments.

Long story short, be respectful and aware of your surroundings. These special areas are for all to enjoy – you don’t have special privileges just because you have a camera (however big or small). Most people are well aware of photographers and if they see you all set up, will try and avoid getting into your shot or quickly move away. If this doesn’t happen, just move or patiently wait it out. I never ask people to move just because they are in my shot, especially in national parks.

Article Photographing National Parks -10

A typical scene in Yosemite waiting to photograph Half Dome right at sunset.

Photographing National Parks -12

Those people right by the water – they have the right idea – getting out and enjoying their National Parks. It is we photographers that sometimes don’t quite know how to have fun.

#4 Making the most out of the trip

Before heading out, do some research on what the areas are famous for. Is it the epic vistas? Is it the magical sunset and sunrise glows? Or maybe it’s the wildlife? What are some of the famous monuments and landscapes to photograph and what are some of the lesser known areas?

Just because an area is not on the “must photograph list” does not mean it is not spectacular in its own right. Once you know what all YOU want to photograph, plan your time wisely. Look for road closures and construction notices. If possible stay in the park. This eliminates the need to travel into and out of the park daily – some of the popular parks have major clogs at the entrances especially during popular times. This can cause a lot of traffic delays and you might just miss that epic sunset (and I speak from experience!).

#5 Getting the shot

Now that you have planned your trip, figured out what and where you want to photograph, you understand the rules and know what to do and what not to do, here are some ways you can actually get those epic photographs.

Get out before sunrise and stay out after sunset

Get out when it is still dark outside and experience a different side of the park. Chances are the only other people out at this time of the day are photographers and people who really want to enjoy some quiet and solitude. This is a time when the park is quiet and animals tend to be out and about.

Morning mist, if present, adds so much interest and drama to a photo. In addition, the wind is usually calm at this time of day, making for easy reflection shots. The same holds true for sunset shots. The average person will spend a few minutes admiring the sunset and get back inside. Stay out past sunset and you have some incredible lighting all to yourself!

Photographing National Parks -3

Yellowstone in the winter after the sun sets is the place to really enjoy all the wildlife. Coyotes enjoy a bison kill.

Find your primary subject and then try something new

When you find an interesting subject, try to look at it from different angles. This not only will change your perspective, but also allow you to see how the light affects and changes the image. Try it with the sun on the side, at the back, and in front by simply moving your feet.

Photographing National Parks -8

I am not an equestrian photographer by any means, but when we came across the wild horses in Roosevelt National Park, I just had a mental picture of photographing them galloping across the road. Sure enough, while we pulled over to admire them, a few folks just drove on by and the horses got spooked and took off! So I got the shot I wanted!

Enjoy your surroundings beyond your viewfinder

I am very very particular about this! There have been numerous occasions where I have not looked past the viewfinder and come home feeling frustrated and irritated. Travel and the outdoors mean the world to me, photography is just icing on the cake. If I don’t get to enjoy my cake, just filling up on the icing, it is a moot point, don’t you agree?

So during the day when the light is not that great, I try to put the camera in my backpack and enjoy time with my family hiking the park. Plus this gives me a chance to scout locations to visit later in the trip, specifically for photography.

Hike into the backcountry – away from the crowds

I find that most people in the parks stay in or near their cars when taking pictures. To get a different picture (literally) find a trail and head out. You may find that you can leave the crowds behind, have a better experience, and make better pictures.

Be sure to plan ahead by checking out the park’s map for safety tips and any route closures. And of course, follow all safety rules of hiking in the trails and in the backcountry.

Photographing National Parks -6

As a family, we really love to camp and backcountry really gives us the opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy the outdoors together. Gear is obviously not a priority here – so this was shot using a small 35mm film camera – a perfect companion for a 5-day camping trip.

Conclusion

I hope these tips were helpful. One of the most important events in history was the establishment of the world’s first national park on March 1st, 1872. Since then, thousands of national parks, national monuments, and preservation areas have been set aside for the enjoyment and pleasure of the common person.

So get out there and enjoy nature while creating some amazing photos and share your images of national parks near you in the comments section below.

The post 5 Tips for Doing Photography in National Parks by Karthika Gupta appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
22

Leaked: Tokina to announce Opera 50mm F1.4 FF and FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF lenses

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

It seems Tokina is preparing to release two new lenses at CP+, and thanks to some last-minute photo and spec leaks courtesy of Nokishita, we get a peek ahead of schedule. The leaked lenses are the Opera 50mm F1.4 FF for Canon EF and Nikon F mount, and the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF for Sony E-Mount.

Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF

According to the leaked specs, the Tokina Opera 50mm F1.4 FF will be dust and weather resistant and features an ultrasonic motor, a focus ring that rotates the same direction as that of a genuine Canon or Nikon lens, and an electromagnetic iris system for Nikon shooters (a first for Tokina).

It's allegedly scheduled for announcement on February 28th, but won't ship until September of 2018.

Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF

Meanwhile, the new Tokina FíRIN 20mm F2 FE AF will replace the FíRIN 20mm F2 FE MF lens released in September of 2016, and judging by the name alone, you can bet the new lens will add autofocus capability to its 1.5-year-old manual focus predecessor.

Leaked specs indicate this lens will be largely unchanged from the 2016 version otherwise. Identical specs include: 13 lens elements in 11 groups, 62mm filter thread, minimum focus of 0.28m, and a 9-blade aperture. Somehow they've managed to trim the weight down from 490g to 464g, but we'll have to wait for official specs to confirm that (and our assumption about the addition of autofocus).

The new FíRIN 20mm F2 will allegedly be announced officially within 24 hours, and ships at the end of April.

Feb
22

Tips for Getting Sharper Real Estate Interior Photographs

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Photography Tips and Tutorials

Photography is a key part of advertising a property for real estate sales. But just as stunning images show the property looking its best, the opposite is also true. Poor photography, with blurred, sloping rooms, and out of focus images does little to inspire viewings.

Here are some basic, but important, steps to help you improve the quality of your interior photos. You’ll see what causes photographs to turn out blurry, and get some handy tips on equipment and techniques to avoid falling into these traps.

Preparing for the shoot

The best techniques for getting sharp photographs can be let down by poorly working equipment, or badly chosen or untidy scenes. So it’s important to start your session with good preparation and follow your check-list. Here are a few things that should be on your list.

1. Check your equipment

Make sure your equipment is okay, batteries are charged, extra lights working, tripod joints tight and in good condition, and that the lens is completely clean. Loose tripod joints, broken lights, and dirty lenses make problems for you later, so good preparation is worthwhile.

2. Make sure everything is clean and tidy

Dirty windows still look dirty in photographs, so take a household cleaning cloth and some glass cleaner. Cleaning everything is always easier than removing debris in post-production.

3. Set the scene

Tidy and set the scene, removing unwanted items from window sills, adjusting furniture positions and cleaning the windows. Don’t forget to look through the window too – a washing line of underwear probably isn’t what your client wants to see!

Think about the final image and what you want, then keep that in your mind throughout the photography session.

Using a tripod

Three common issues ruin a real estate photograph: blur, poor focus, and sloping rooms.

Blur and bad focus often come from camera movement during the long exposures you need when photographing interiors. Rooms appear sloping when the camera is not level.

You can resolve all three problems by securely mounting the camera on a sturdy tripod, which is why a tripod is highly recommended when photographing interiors.

Here are some pro tips for using a tripod:

  • Hang your camera bag from the center of the tripod (if it has a hook, as seen above) to increase stability.
  • Set the tripod exactly where you’ve decided to take the photographs, and extend the thicker sections of the legs first as they provide most stability. Avoid extending the center column as this is the least stable section and will reduce the stability of the tripod.
  • Give the tripod a gentle prod to make sure it won’t slip on the floor or wobble.
  • Mount the camera on the tripod, ensuring that the base plate and mounting are tight and cannot move around.
  • Adjust the tripod head until the camera is perfectly level and the image doesn’t slope to the left or the right. By getting the camera level, you ensure the room won’t look as if it slopes sideways.

For more on getting sharp images with a tripod, read: 5 Tips to Get Sharp Photos While Using a Tripod.

Eliminating sources of camera shake

There are also other sources of blurriness in photos. One of these is called mirror shake.

DSLR cameras have a mirror which sits in front of the camera sensor and helps you see the view through the lens by reflecting the image up to the eyepiece (through a prism). The mirror snaps up and out of the way when you take the photo, creating vibrations that can cause blurring.

You can eliminate this problem by setting it in the up position before taking any photographs. Look in your camera menu for the Mirror LockUp setting.

Left: The mirror is down in this image. Right: the mirror is up here exposing the camera’s sensor.

Conclusion

With good preparation and technique, and the right equipment, you can consistently get sharp, crisp interior photographs. When you set out to capture that image, remember:

  • Set the scene by making the room look neat and clean.
  • Make good use of a tripod.
  • Choose an appropriate lens.
  • Keep your camera stable and free from vibration.

The video tutorial expands on some of these tips, as well as showing other helpful hints for getting sharp photographs like choosing an appropriate lens and focusing correctly.

Watch the video to learn more about tripods, lenses, focusing, and keeping the camera steady.

Please share any other tips you have for taking sharper interior photographs of real estate in the comments area below.

Disclaimer: HDRsoft is a paid partner of dPS

The post Tips for Getting Sharper Real Estate Interior Photographs by David Robinson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
22

How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Filed Under Digital Photography School, Post Production Tips

What is it that makes one picture appear dull and another more striking? What is it that makes some tones appear detailed and others smooth and transient? The answer to both of these questions involves the issues of color hue, color purity, and tone distribution.

Prague A - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

This street scene in Prague is the original underexposed camera image.

Prague B - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

The same image after tonal and color adjustments have been applied.

The science of color and tone

All color detail is determined by these three elements. In the Photoshop/Lightroom world, you’ll recognize these terms as HSL or Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. The world of photography is both an art and a science. The science part is filled with graphs, measurements, and strange words that most people don’t encounter every day.

These terms come from the scientific vocabulary of engineers, chemists, and mathematicians in the photographic trade. When digital cameras were introduced to the general public years ago, suddenly everybody could push around the colors and tonal range in their own pictures. While Adobe Photoshop provided a serious workshop, it showed up with a boatload of technical color science terms.

Unfortunately, if you don’t fully understand the terms, you may not be taking full advantage of the controls they provide. In this article, I’ll do my best to bring these terms down to Earth and make them understandable. We’ll get past the technical jargon and get into the practical application of these terms.

Hue, Saturation, and Lightness

Hue, Saturation, Lightness (luminance) are the irreducible minimum building blocks involved in good color editing and reproduction. While there are many more issues to be addressed in the processing of an image, these three are the make-or-break elements that must be understood and adjusted if you want your color images to catch a viewer’s eye.

Incidentally, when editing your images, these elements should be addressed in that very order; value (hue), intensity (saturation), and tonality (luminance). While hue and saturation concern color, luminance refers to the tonal structure of an image; pretty much an issue of dark versus light.

The Saturation slider affects the intensity of the color in an image. This is a powerful tool; exercise restraint.

Genoa A - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

The Saturation effect on a Genoa Italy cathedral – normal saturation levels.

How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Genoa B - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

None.

HSL Dialog Sat Low - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Genoa C - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Oversaturated.

HSL Dialog Sat High - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

A Primer on Image Detail

Contrast usually refers to the overall light-to-dark extremes of an image but the real power of post-production editing is in pushing the tonal values around inside the overall range.

But if you really want to make the detail in your image stand out, you must adjust the internal contrast of the image. The biggest difference-maker adjustment should be the middle tones of your images; tones in-between the lightest and the darkest in your image.

TrafalgarSq A - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Trafalgar Sq O Levels - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

The middle slider in Photoshop’s Levels dialog is referred to as the gamma slider. Gamma is another one of those legacy scientific terms that you can think of as a “mid-tone” adjustment. Moving this elementary slider from left to right actually shifts the entire middle range of tones from lighter to darker.

TrafalgarSq B - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

This picture of the King Charles statue in London’s Trafalgar Square is backlit and was dark, but a simple middle tone adjustment opened up the shadows and revealed hidden detail.

TrafalgarSq A Levels - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Photoshop’s Levels tool is the most basic of tonal controls. There are actually several much more effective tonal shaping tools available in Photoshop and even more comprehensive controls in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom. We won’t get into a thorough discussion of these tone adjustment tools and workflow recommendations in this article (perhaps at a later time).

Leaves A - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Leaves B - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

This picture of winter leaves was fairly well exposed but required both tonal and color adjustments to reveal the rich colors in the original scene.

Camera Raw dialog - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Editing for Tonality

There’s a reason why tone adjustment should be your number one issue in image preparation; even more critical than color accuracy.

Your eyesight has tonal perception and interpretation capabilities that far exceed the dynamic range of any digital camera. Make no mistake, capturing seven stops of light range is an amazing feat. But capturing this wide range of tones doesn’t automatically translate into detail, image definition, or good tonal distinction.

Properly reassigning those internal tones to more closely match what your eyes see is where the real editing magic happens. Hang with me here because this will get a bit involved, but I think it will definitely be worth your time.

LinearCapture Eye Camera - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

This chart shows the difference between the way your eye registers light and how your camera records it.

Camera View – Human View

Your camera’s image sensor records light quite differently than your eye perceives it. The camera actually records a lot of data from the lighter portion of the scene and very little data from the darker portion. The image sensors capture light in a linear fashion. Unfortunately, humans view the lighting in scenes in a logarithmic fashion.

You might say that original camera files usually benefit from a “fashion” adjustment, generally lightening the middle tones. Camera images that don’t get their tonal values adjusted almost always lose detail in the darker areas of the image. Virtually all camera images benefit from internal adjustments.

Chrominance and Luminance Explained

Chrominance deals with the color component of an image while luminance deals with the contrast or tonality component of an image.

Chroma refers to the color in an image while luma describes the non-color or tonal part. Achromatic is a fancy scientific word that is pretty simple to understand. Remember your high school English… the prefix “a” means “without,” so a-chromatic literally means without color.

In the HSL model of color, hue, and saturation fall in the chrominance column while tonality and contrast are on the luminance column (the structural or tonal backbone of an image).

Basic Luminosity Adjustments

Where does the term “luminance” come from? Light is measured in lumens. A lumen is the smallest measurable unit of light visible to the human eye. Luminosity then is the measure of lumens reflecting from (or transmitted through) a light source and perceived by your eye. The more lumens, the brighter the light. Light measurements are also made in increments called candelas. A candela is roughly the value of light produced by a single household candle.

Photo by Akshay Paatil on Unsplash

Just as “horsepower” is a carryover index of a measurement of power (relating to the pulling strength of multiple horses) candelas is an index of the cumulative light emitted from multiple candles. These legacy terms are sometimes confusing, and it would be nice if photographic color science terminology were simplified for those just entering the process, but until then, you’ll have to get acclimated.

I’ll take it slow, as you can easily drown in the scientific terminology minutia. I’ll keep the terminology on a basic digital imaging level so that you can make practical use of what you learn.

Basic Color Science

Ryb-colorwheel

As stated before, all color is composed of three elements; value, intensity, and luminosity. Value (or hue) refers to the “color” of color, or what differentiates red from orange or purple. Intensity (or saturation) refers to the purity color, distinguishing pastels to pungent colors (the more white light is combined with pure color, the more the color strength is diluted). Luminosity is the measure of the brightness and relates to the image’s lightness or darkness.

Hue (value) differentiates one color from another. Saturation (intensity) determines the purity of color. Luminosity (brightness) determines tonality.

The detail in digital imaging terminology is the degree to which colors and tones distinguish themselves from each other. While hue, saturation, and luminance all play a significant role in detailing an image, the heavy lifting of detail is done by luminance or the shaping of the internal tones in an image. Detail is a product of contrast, and contrast is almost completely controlled by the luminance element. This is why post-production professionals perform all their sharpening adjustments in the luminance channel exclusively.

Shadows Highlights dialog - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Photoshop’s Highlight/Shadow dialog box

Camera Raw dialog - How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality

Adobe Camera Raw main dialog.

Shaping Light

Contrast, like audio equalization, cannot be effectively accomplished by using a linear (bass-treble) type control such is the luminance slider in the HSL panel which simply lightens or darkens an image. The effective shaping of an image requires the individual adjustment of five specific tonal regions of an image; highlight, quarter-tone, mid-tone, three-quarter tone and shadow. I use a variety of controls to shape my tonal contrast.

Ansel Adams once stated, “Half the image is created in the camera, the other half is created in the darkroom.” Though you may never use a darkroom to produce a photographic image, the essence of his statement is still true. Capturing pixels with your camera is only your first step in producing a good picture, what you do with the image that comes out of your camera will determine your skills as a photographer.

Digital photography provides almost limitless avenues for personal expression. Shaping the color and tonality in your images is the backbone of great photography. Determine to learn something new about this fabulous art form every day. Push pixels around and stay focused.

The post How to Understand the Science of Photography and Technical Terms for Mastering Image Tonality by Herb Paynter appeared first on Digital Photography School.

Feb
22

Panasonic GX9 added to ‘Best Cameras under $1000’ buying guide

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

We've added Panasonic's newest mirrorless camera - the midrange DC-GX9 - to our 'Best Cameras under $1000' buying guide.

Feb
22

Tamron announces 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD for full-frame DSLRs

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Tamron is introducing a stabilized 70-210mm F4 tele-zoom for full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs. The lens uses an internal zoom mechanism so that the overall length never changes as it's operated and a ring-type ultrasonic motor. It also offers moisture-resistance, up to 5 stops of stabilization and a close focusing distance of 0.95m/37.4in. The 70-210mm F4 includes 20 optical elements in 14 groups, including 3 low-dispersion elements to reduce chromatic aberration.

The 70-210mm F4 is compatible with Tamron's 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, as well as the company's Tap-in Console for easy firmware updates. Arriving this April in Canon and Nikon mounts, the 70-210mm F4 will sell for $800 – quite a bit cheaper than the offerings from those two manufacturers.

New F/4 telephoto zoom lens featuring superb optical performance and a lightweight and compact body for easy portability

70-210mm F/4 Di VC USD (Model A034)

February 22,2018, Commack, New York— Tamron announces the launch of the 70-210mm F/4 Di VC USD (Model A034), a compact telephoto zoom lens for full-frame DSLR cameras. Model A034 provides superb optical performance throughout the entire zoom range and features a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1, the highest in its class.* The design includes an internal zoom mechanism that provides solid mechanical construction and stable, reliable operation. Model A034 also employs a Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) design, which enables high-speed and high-accuracy AF performance as well as powerful VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization for flexible and versatile use in various situations. For dependable outdoor use, the new telephoto zoom is equipped with Fluorine Coating and Moisture-Resistant Construction. The lens will be available in Canon and Nikon mounts in April at $799.00.

*Among 70-200mm F/4 class interchangeable lenses for full-frame DSLR cameras (as of January 2018: Tamron)

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

1. High-performance telephoto zoom lens with a constant maximum aperture of F/4
Leveraging Tamron’s years of knowhow developing telephoto zoom lenses, Model A034 achieves superb optical performance with high contrast and resolution. The optical construction (20 elements in 14 groups) uses three LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements to effectively compensate for axial and transverse chromatic aberrations, thereby ensuring crisp and crystal-clear image quality across the entire frame. Furthermore, Model A034 features a constant maximum aperture of F/4 throughout the entire zoom range, thus providing superior control over depth-of-field and excellent bokeh. Compared to large aperture telephoto zoom lenses, the new A034 is lighter with a weight of just 30.3 oz. and is more compact with a total length of only 6.8 in. for excellent portability. The lighter weight and smaller size make this new lens easier to carry and instantly spring into action.

2. Class-leading magnification ratio and MOD (Minimum Object Distance)
Model A034 boasts the highest-in-class maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1 and the shortest-in-class* MOD of 37.4 in. The shorter working distance enables photographers to capture close-up images of small objects like flowers while using a telephoto zoom.

*Among 70-200mm F/4 class interchangeable lenses for full-frame DSLR cameras (as of January 2018: Tamron)

3. Highly reliable internal zoom mechanism
Thanks to an internal zoom mechanism, the physical length of the A034 does not change during zooming, thereby minimizing changes in the center of gravity and providing more stable use and operation. In addition, it’s not necessary for the photographer to move backwards even when shooting space is limited, for instance, when photographing through a wire mesh fence at a zoo. So-called “zoom creep” is impossible because the overall length never extends. Furthermore, the design provides a very robust and sturdy feeling, and the non-rotating front element makes the use of polarizing filters much easier.

4. High-speed Dual MPU (Micro-Processing Unit) control system delivers responsive autofocus performance plus outstanding VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilization
The Dual MPU system includes two high-performance MPUs (micro-processor units) dedicated to VC processing and lens system control. Both MPUs have a DSP (Digital Signal Processing) block that provides high-speed digital signal processing, improving the computing power of the entire system. This new control system achieves high-speed and precise AF performance as well as assured VC effects.

Excellent autofocus performance
Model A034’s AF drive system uses a USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) ring-type ultrasonic motor for outstanding responsiveness and to ensure fast, precise focusing. Plus, the new zoom is equipped with a Full-time Manual Focus override mechanism that enables a photographer shooting with AF to instantly make fine manual focusing adjustments without switching the AF-MF mode switch.

Outstanding vibration compensation effects
The new A034 is equipped with Tamron’s proprietary VC system and achieves the CIPA image stabilization performance level of 4 stops.* Even in low light or with slow shutter speeds, photographers can enjoy shake-free handheld shooting with ease and comfort.

*CIPA Standard Compliant. For Canon: EOS-5D MKIII is used; for Nikon: D810 is used.

5. Fluorine Coating
The surface of the front element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water-and oil-repellant qualities. The front surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, dust, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. The coating also provides an enhanced level of durability, and will sustain its effectiveness for years.

6. Moisture-Resistant Construction
Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to prevent infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops to provide Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature affords an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions.

7. Compatible with Tamron teleconverter
The new lens is also compatible with the TELECONVERTER 1.4x (Model TC-X14) and TELECONVERTER 2.0x (Model TC-X20), which increase the focal length of the lens to 1.4 times and 2 times the original, respectively. Both teleconverters are carefully designed and constructed to provide outstanding high image quality.

Note: For more detailed information about teleconverters, please refer to the Tamron website.

8. Compatible with TAMRON TAP-in ConsoleTM, an optional accessory
The new A034 is compatible with the optional TAMRON TAP-in Console, an optional accessory product that provides a USB connection to a personal computer, enabling users to easily update a lens’s firmware as well as customize features including fine adjustments to the AF and VC.

9. Optional tripod mount compatible with Arca-Swiss style quick release plates
For rapid attachment to a tripod, an Arca-Swiss style tripod mount is available as an optional accessory. Featuring a hinge-type ring section, connection is easy even when the lens is mounted on a camera. To maximize the advantages of the small and lightweight F/4 zoom lens, the tripod mount is made of lightweight, sturdy magnesium alloy.

10. Electromagnetic diaphragm system now used also for Nikon-mount lenses
An electromagnetic diaphragm system, which has been a standard feature for Canon-mount lenses, is now employed in Nikon-mount lenses.* More precise diaphragm and aperture control is possible because the diaphragm blades are driven and controlled by a built-in motor through electronic pulse signals.

*Available only with cameras compatible with the electromagnetic diaphragm (D5, D4s, D4, D3X, Df, D850, D810, D810A ,D800, D800E, D750, D600, D610, D300S, D500, D7500, D7200, D7100, D7000, D5600, D5500, D5300, D5200, D5100, D5000, D3400, D3300, D3200, D3100). (As of January 2018; Tamron)

Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length70–210 mm
Image stabilizationYes
CIPA Image stabilization rating4 stop(s)
Lens mountCanon EF, Nikon F (FX)
Aperture
Maximum apertureF4
Minimum apertureF32
Aperture ringNo
Number of diaphragm blades9
Optics
Elements20
Groups14
Special elements / coatings3 low-dispersion elements + fluorine coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.95 m (37.4)
Maximum magnification0.32×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeRing-type ultrasonic
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleYes
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight859 g (1.89 lb)
Diameter76 mm (2.99)
Length175 mm (6.89)
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Zoom methodRotary (internal)
Power zoomNo
Zoom lockNo
Filter thread67 mm
Hood suppliedYes
Tripod collarNo
Feb
22

Tamron is working on a 28-75mm F2.8 lens for full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras

Filed Under News: Digital Photography Review

Tamron is working on a fast standard zoom lens for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras. Details are thin at this point, but the 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD will offer a minimum focus distance of 19cm/7.5in at wide-angle, will measure 11.7cm/4.6in long and weigh in at 19.4oz/1.2lb. Tamron claims the lens will offer excellent optical performance and high-quality bokeh. An 'RXD' stepping motor autofocus unit provides quiet operation for video applications, and the whole thing will be moisture-resistant.

Press Release

Tamron announces the development of a high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras

28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036)

February 22, 2018, Commack, New York - Tamron announces the development of a new high-speed standard zoom lens for Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras, the 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036). This signals Tamron’s plans to further expand and improve its lens lineup for full-frame mirrorless cameras, in addition to its lenses for DSLR and other mirrorless camera formats.

Model A036 delivers superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh). Photographers may enjoy dynamic wide-angle expressions like never before thanks to a minimum object distance of 7.5 in at the wideangle zoom setting. Usefulness and versatility are enhanced by its compact size and light weight, measuring only 4.6 in and weighing 19.4 oz. Model A036 incorporates an all-new high-speed and precise AF driving system. The RXD (Rapid eXtra-silent stepping Drive) stepping motor unit operates with remarkable quietness, making it perfect for video use. The lens also features Moisture-Resistant Construction that is helpful in outdoor photography, plus hydrophobic Fluorine Coating that is highly resistant to fingerprints and debris. In addition, A036 is compatible with the “Direct Manual Focus (DMF)” system feature of Sony cameras, enabling this new zoom to take full advantage of the advanced functions that ensure comfortable user experiences.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

1. Superb optical performance, including both outstanding image quality and beautiful background blur effects (bokeh), provided by fast F/2.8 aperture.

2. Comfortably light weight (19.4 oz.) and compact (4.6 in).

3. Close-focusing; Minimum Object Distance: 7.5 in at wide-angle setting and 15.3 in at the telephoto position.

4. All-new “RXD” stepping motor AF unit is extremely quiet and therefore perfect for video capture.

5. Exciting next-generation design keeping the brand consistency that is ergonomically superb.

6. Moisture-Resistant Construction and Fluorine Coating for weather protection.

7. Compatible with the “Direct Manual Focus (DMF)” feature that enables Sony cameras to instantly switch between autofocus and manual focus.

* Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typeZoom lens
Max Format size35mm FF
Focal length28–75 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountSony FE
Aperture
Maximum apertureF2.8
Aperture ringNo
Optics
Special elements / coatingsFluorine coating
Focus
Minimum focus0.19 m (7.48)
AutofocusYes
Motor typeStepper motor
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight550 g (1.21 lb)
Length117 mm (4.61)
SealingYes
ColourBlack
Zoom methodRotary (extending)
Power zoomNo
Zoom lockNo