The Basics of Simulating Vintage Film in Lightroom

The post The Basics of Simulating Vintage Film in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

Like all forms of art, photography can be a complex and contradictory medium. It’s straightforward yet complicated; personal but at the same time wholly based in exhibitionism. In recent years perhaps the weirdest and paradoxical event to happen in the world of photography is the idea of simulating film photographs with our digital photography. Think about it for a second or two. We’ve moved (for the majority) from using physical photographic film to digital sensors, and still, we are searching for the feel and aesthetic quality of the very process we left behind.

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A digital photo split toned for yellow in the shadows and blue in the highlights. Faded and then finally grain added to approximately simulate ISO 800 film.

We’ll leave the discussion of the currently popular “analog renaissance” for another day. For now, let’s talk about how you can go about simulating the look of a photographic film. More specifically, creating vintage or expired film looks using Adobe Lightroom. Adobe has made a couple of big updates to Lightroom lately that make working towards that “vintage film look” more effective and easier than ever before! Simulating the look of any film consists of four core dimensions: color, contrast, and grain. Before we get into the “how” of simulating film in Lightroom, let’s first briefly talk about some of the confusion surrounding film photography in general.

Film photography is full of variables

There’s a misconception that the look of film is set in stone; meaning that “XXX type of film always looks like this and XXXX type of film always looks like this.” Nothing could be further from the truth! There are all kinds of factors which play a roll (film humor) in how the final negative or print appears to the viewer.

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A Nikon F3 35mm film camera. Shot with a digital camera…made to look like a vintage film. Ironic.

The age of the film, how it was stored, type and temperature of chemicals used in development, the duration of development, even how we agitate the chemicals around the film all play a major part in how the finished film appears. Also, when it comes to the final print, there are even more variables that can affect the look of the picture. The reason I’m saying all of this is to make sure you understand that simulating the look of vintage films has just as much to do with your creativity as it does with understanding the basics of how film works. There is no explicit right or wrong! So relax and let’s get to work learning how to simulate the look of vintage film in Lightroom.

Color

Color is the most effective part of the simulation process and there are many routes we can take to manipulate the colors of our vintage film simulations. The “vintage look” comes about literally by the progression of time. As the light-sensitive emulsion of the film degrades, it produces all sorts of funky color tones and nuances. To simulate this effect of color aging, we will use the tried and true Split Toning Panel and also one of the biggest and newest features to come along for Lightroom: Creative Profiles.

Split Toning

Don’t worry, split toning can look a little intimidating but it’s really not! Split toning is just a way for us to add in specific color tones to the shadows and highlights within our photo.

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To change the color tone of the highlights move the highlights color slider to the color tone you like or select it from the color palette.

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You can also change the saturation of the highlight colors by using the saturation slider. The same goes for the color toning of the shadows as well.

The balance slider is just a way for us to control the bias of the split toning to favor either the highlights or the shadows. Moving the balance slider towards the left makes the shadow toning more prominent while sliding it to the right makes the highlight color stand out. There are limitless combinations of colors and saturation balances so feel free to experiment. Just remember that using complementary colors for the shadows and highlights (blue and orange, yellow and violet) are always a good choice when it comes to split toning. Also, color changes in an expired film are usually quite subtle so keep that in mind as well as your tone.

Creative Profiles

One of the coolest and most versatile new features to come along for Lightroom recently is the introduction of “Creative Profiles.” Profiles have long been a part of Lightroom, but now we have the option to apply our own custom profiles that we’ve either bought or made ourselves. To learn more about the full power of Adobe’s Creative Profiles check out another one of my articles here. For our purposes, Creative Profiles allow us to introduce color grading to our vintage film simulations.

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The great things about creative profiles are that they apply themselves without disrupting any of your development settings. What’s more, you can dial in the strength of the profile using the density slider. Being able to use controllable color grading with creative profiles not only opens up a whole new world when it comes to simulating vintage film but in all areas of your post-processing workflow.

Contrast

Unlike color, simulating the contrast of vintage film in Lightroom is more or less a straightforward idea. Generally, as the emulsion of a photographic film ages its contrast usually decreases. This is due to the breakdown of the light sensitivity of the film.

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A 4×5 large format negative

The amount of contrast lost depends on a number of things such as the age of the film, the way it was stored, and the actual type of the film itself. The take away from this is that a good guideline for vintage film simulations is to essentially “fade” the image by decreasing its contrast. You can achieve this in a few ways. The most simple being to use the contrast slider to lessen the contrast. However, there’s a more precise and arguably more appealing way to fade the photo; by using the tone curve.

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To decrease the contrast and ultimately simulate the fading of an image all we need to do is take the control point at the bottom left of the tone curve and move it directly upwards. This controls the luminance values of the darks in the photo and makes those areas appear lighter which in turn makes them less contrasted. In most cases, you’ll want to add at least one more control point to the right of the one you’re adjusting and pull the rest of the tone curve back down. Of course, this is completely subjective. Feel free to add other control points and play around with the tone curve to really control the way your fades appear within your photo. Remember, there is no correct amount of fading so experiment as much as you like!

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Grain

The final facet of our vintage film simulation routine is to add in and control simulated grain to our photos. Not to be confused with digital noise, film grain is a direct result of the visibility of the individual silver crystals present in the films light-sensitive emulsion. The more/larger the crystals which present in the emulsion, the more sensitive the film to light and the higher it’s ISO rating. While the overall appearance of grain depends on a vast array of variables, a general rule is that the higher the ISO of the film the more pronounced the film grain becomes. So if you are attempting to make your simulations appear as a highly light-sensitive film such as ISO 1200 or ISO 3200, the more grain needs to be added to your simulations. If you are shooting for a lower ISO film for your vintage film simulation, say an ISO 80 or ISO 100 speed, you add less grain or even none at all. Here’s an image from a medium speed expired 35mm film, Kodak Tri-X 400. It was developed at a higher temperature and agitated quite a bit to bring out more of the grain.

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To control the presence of the grain we add in Lightroom we are presented with three sliders: amount, roughness and size.

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When you think about each of these sliders, it’s easy to visualize how they affect your image if you imagine them as physically controlling characteristics of the light-sensitive silver crystals of the film’s emulsion. The Amount slider would add in more or less crystals. Roughness is how raised or bumpy those crystals appear. Lastly, the Size slider controls how large or small those crystals seem. I know…that might still be a little confusing. So I’ve made up a quick guide for adding in your grain and given a couple of common real-world 35mm film stocks as reference points:

  • ISO 50-100(Kodak Ektar 100, Ilford FP4 Plus, Fujichrome Velvia 50)
    Amount: 15
    Size: 10
    Roughness: 10
  • ISO 200-400(Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford HP5 Plus)
    Amount: 30
    Size: 10
    Roughness: 10
  • ISO 800-1600(Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 800, Fujifilm Superia 1600, Kodak Portra 800)
    Amount: 45
    Size: 40
    Roughness: 15
  • ISO 3200 and above(Kodak T-Max P3200, Ilford Delta 3200)
    Amount: 60
    Size: 40
    Roughness: 45

Lightroom automatically sets the “size” and “roughness” sliders to 25 and 50 respectively. If you add ANY amount of grain to your photo remember that those defaults are set out of the gate. Also, something to keep in mind, the amount of grain added largely depends on the original digital ISO of your photo. The values listed above are merely baseline approximations.

Vintage film simulations: Why?

Even as we steep in the digital waters of today’s modern photography world, I still have a love and lust for shooting film. Film, especially expired and vintage film, carries an aesthetic that goes beyond digitized image files of “1’s” and “0’s”. Speaking just for myself, the majority of my professional work consists of digital photography – not film. To that end, I’m sure that some of you are still thinking, “If you want the look of film, just shoot film.” Yes, I understand that even at its most basic applications, film photography isn’t for everyone. That’s why being able to approximate the looks of so many different types of film in Lightroom is such a wonderfully paradoxical thing. We can still enjoy the accessibility and convenience of digital photography without wholly sacrificing the “feel” of film. What’s more is that thanks to the recent advances of color profiles in Lightroom, we can now blend and mix our settings until we reach that perfect imperfectness which captures the organic unpredictability of vintage film. Which, when you think about it, should grant each of us the realization of how extremely fortunate we are to be living in such a cool time to be photographers.

Test out the ideas in this article and try some vintage film simulations of your own. Be sure to post your results in the comments. We’d love to see them!

 

You may also find these articles on vintage techniques helpful:

How to Add a Toy Camera Effect to Your Digital Images Using Photoshop

How to Mimic a Digital Cyanotype Using Photoshop with Ease

How to Create a Lithography Effect Using Photoshop

How To Mimic a Cross-Processing Effect in Photoshop

How to Mimic Lomography in Photoshop with Ease

The post The Basics of Simulating Vintage Film in Lightroom appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Adam Welch.

Canon EOS RP shooting experience: better than the specs suggest

The EOS RP combines a large sensor, simple interface and excellent JPEG color, making it easy to shoot in even the most unexpected situation.
24-105mm F4L IS | F4.5 | 1/80sec | ISO 3200

I got a chance to shoot with the EOS RP just before its launch and my impression is that it's a much better, and potentially more significant, camera than its specifications reveal.

If you've only seen the specs, it'd be easy to dismiss the RP out-of-hand. The sensor from the 6D Mark II isn't going to go down as one of Canon's better efforts: 1080 video and fairly limited dynamic range rather undermine the considerable appeal of Dual Pixel AF. Surely if it's just that old chip, in the midst of a stripped-down version of the slightly underwhelming EOS R body, it's not even worth taking seriously?

Canon EOS RP Key Specifications

  • 26.2MP Dual Pixel CMOS sensor
  • 4K/24p (from APS-C crop region)
  • 4 fps continuous shooting with continuous AF (5 without)
  • Pupil detection AF in continous/Servo AF mode
  • AF rated to -5EV
  • Digic 8 processor
  • 2.36M dot OLED viewfinder
  • Fully-articulated 1.04M dot touchscreen
  • Twin command dials

Having spent a little time shooting with it, I think that's premature. It's not going to win any awards for technical performance but I'm going to argue that the RP is more than the apparent sum of its parts. In a mirrorless format, the dependable performance of Dual Pixel AF plays a greater role than it does in the 6D II. The RP can also shoot 4K (albeit only from a crop). But there are three things that stood out to me about the RP: firstly, it has much of what the EOS R did well, but less of what it got wrong. Secondly, it gains the excellent beginner-friendly interface from the recent Rebel cameras. And finally, it's really, really well priced.

History repeating?

Just over 15 years ago, Canon introduced the EOS Digital Rebel (EOS 300D to most of those outside North America): the first sub-$1000 DSLR. And, even at launch, the company predicted '[it] will be seen as the point in history when the SLR market shifted irrevocably to digital.'

An awful lot has changed since the 300D's launch, including both the predicted switch to digital and a subsequent (and similarly irreversible) shift away from standalone cameras to smartphones. But, while no camera maker is talking about the '400-500% growth' in, well, anything really, there is a market that most companies are expecting to grow: full frame.

The twin command dials on the top of the camera set it aside from the Rebel series of mass-market DSLRs, but there's a hint of the same spirit in the interface and Canon's pricing.

The EOS RP looks like Canon's attempt to repeat the same trick. At $1300 body-only it is, by some $400, the cheapest ever full-frame camera at launch. And, perhaps tellingly, its MSRP is comparable with the Digital Rebel if you take inflation into account ($900 in 2003 dollars would now be within $75 of the RP's launch price).

The EOS RP's launch price is comparable to the original Digital Rebel's, if you take inflation into account

Of course the downside is that there was a $100 kit zoom option for the Rebel, whereas the only options for the RP are to pay an extra $700 for an EF-mount 24-105mm F3.5-5.6 lens and adapter, or $1100 for the RF-mount 24-105mm F4L IS, which rather reduces its 'full-frame for the masses' appeal. (Though, in a rather unusual move, Canon USA is immediately offering discounts on some of those bundles).

In the hand

Despite looking pretty similar to the EOS R, as soon as you pick it up you notice how much smaller and lighter the RP is. It doesn't have the heavy solidity of the R but still confers the familiar rugged plastic feel of a high-end Rebel, or even the EOS 77D. Better still, it retains the two command dials from the EOS R (one on the top of the camera, just behind the shutter button, the second on the rear shoulder). This immediately makes it a camera where it's easy to play around with your main exposure parameters, taking it out of Rebel territory.

There's an optional add-on riser for the EOS RP. Note also the ability to flip the screen in towards the body: making it easier to keep the screen safe if you've got the camera stuffed in a bag to keep with you.

There's an optional add-on plate that adds a bit more depth to the camera if you find your little finger extending awkwardly off the bottom of the front grip. I didn't find any advantage to it, personally, but I know that several other people at the launch event did. It comes in a choice of colors (the version with the red accents goes nicely with the red ring on the RF 24-105, I reckon), and it's been designed so that you can still access the battery and SD card with it attached, thanks to a hatch the size of a car door.

Even with the optional grip extension, you can still access the battery and SD card. Note that the knurled nut that screws the extension into the tripod socket itself has a tripod socket, keeping everything on the optical axis.

The viewfinder spec is dropped a little, compared with the 'R.' The RP's display offers the same 2.36M dots as the Sony a7 III, and it's nice enough to shoot with even if it isn't as detailed as its big brother. Like the EOS R, the rear screen (or a subdivision of it) can act as an AF touchpad, and that's definitely the easiest way to set focus. And, unlike any of its immediate peers, the rear screen is fully articulated, flipping out to the side for waist-level, low angle or video shooting.

Other changes over the EOS R include the ability to use Pupil Detection AF and small point AF in continuous (Servo) autofocus mode. That might sound like a small thing but it means I could mostly just stick to Face + Tracking (+ eye) mode most of the time, rather than having to jump back and forth between area modes when I switched between single and continuous AF.

Eye AF Performance

One thing I suspect a lot of people will want to know is 'how well does Eye AF work?' Several brands now offer some form of eye detection AF, but it's the implementation in the recent Sony models that has really impressed us. Once you've got used to the ability to just look at your subject, your framing and their expression, without having to give any thought to focus, it's hard to go back to a camera that isn't as easy to use.

The EOS RP's eye detection might not be quite as uncannily good as the recent Sony implementation, but it was still able to find and retain my subject's right eye in this shot, despite it being partially obscured.
EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM | F4 | 1/125sec | ISO 640

My initial thoughts are mixed: the Canon implementation isn't as responsive in finding a subject's eye: it's quick but hasn't got the same uncanny 'I hadn't even realized they were looking towards the camera' immediacy as the latest Sonys. Equally, the RP seems slightly more prone to temporarily losing eyes and either reverting to Face Detection or grabbing the person's other eye. Overall the RP is good at finding eyes and focusing on them without any user intervention (or need to hold down a function button). It also lets you use the four-way controller to choose between the left and right eye (though only if it's recognized both eyes).

I'll need to check through all the images I shot to ensure that Eye AF has focused as well as I'd like, but from a usability point of view, it's a valuable addition, particularly on a camera that's intended to be accessible and user-friendly.

Ease-of-use

On the subject of ease-of-use, I'm pleased to see the EOS RP gain the 'Feature Assistant' simplified menus seen on cameras such as the Rebel T7i (again pointing to the idea of this being essentially a FF Rebel). These provide a results-orientated way of interacting with the camera so that, for instance, in Aperture Priority mode, it advises you how to get greater or shallower depth-of-field, rather than just showing the F-number. And, like on the Rebel, the camera guides you to use the dials and shows you what setting is being changed, so that you can learn what settings you're changing, rather than getting stuck in 'simple' mode forever.

The EOS RP has a variant of the outcome-orientated 'Feature Assist' interface from the Rebel series [Rebel T7i example shown].

The RP takes this one step further by offering a results-focused interface for its in-camera Raw processing mode. So, rather than being confronted with a slew of icons with perhaps obscure names such as 'Len aberr correction' it gives you the option to make the image brighter or darker, or to make it warmer or cooler. Just as with 'Feature Assistant' the more complex options are still available, but you access them through the menu, rather than encountering them directly from Playback mode.

The camera's AF tracking mode isn't faultless, but it stayed focused on this flower's stigma as I recomposed, making it easy to grab a shot with focus exactly where I wanted it.
24-105mm F4L IS | F4 | 1/320sec | ISO 100

This simple reprocessing mode, along with the pretty robust-feeling Bluetooth-mediated Wi-Fi system used across recent Canons, should make it about as easy as possible to shoot high quality images then transfer them to your phone. Canon has also made an iPad version of its Digital Photo Professional software, to allow processing of the camera's CR3 Raws without ever having to go back to your computer.

Disappointing DR, joyous JPEGs

Having talked so much about ease-of-use, it's pretty clear who Canon has built the RP for. The kinds of users who shoot Raw to provide the maximum processing flexibility aren't likely to be impressed if there's as much noise lurking in the deep shadows as there was on the 6D Mark II. But for anyone shooting JPEGs (or re-processing their Raws within the constraints of the camera's JPEG engine) the RP will be able to produce really good images, with attractive color and the tonal quality and depth-of-field control that full-frame can bring.

And, even if dynamic range isn't class-leading, the 6D Mark II's low light performance is beyond reproach.

The EOS RP won't be the first choice for committed videoheads but it shoots pleasant images and brings the low light capability, depth-of-field control and tonal quality that full frame can offer.
24-105mm F4L IS | F6.3 | 1/100sec | ISO 1600

The camera's middling video capability (4K/24p from an APS-C-sized crop) is the other obvious shortcoming in the camera's specifications. It's a step up from the 6D Mark II, but still not much to crow about. But still, having spent most of my time focused on stills shooting, I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions just yet. The slow, contrast detection autofocus in 4K mode isn't very promising, though.

Battery life from the EOS M50-style LP-E17 isn't likely to be anything special, either (I'd guessed around a 220 shot-per charge CIPA rating, based on half-a-day's use: it's actually 250). This means you're likely to get a day's casual shooting if you're a committed photographer and rather longer if you're just taking shots here and there, and photography isn't your main focus. The camera charges pretty quickly over USB-C, so you can gain some flexibility by having some kind of power bank and appropriate cable with you if you're going to be away from the mains for a while.

Is it enough?

Of course, despite the impressively low launch price, the RP isn't without competition. Sony's habit of keeping older models in its lineup, then continually dropping the price means you can currently get an a7 II for around $1000 and an original a7 with lens for the same money. But, for all the apparent technical limitations, I think a lot of people might choose the Canon's more accessible shooting experience and attractive JPEGs over what now look like Sony's works-in-progress models.


Sample Gallery

Pixelmator Pro 1.3.1 released with Portrait Masks for images captured in iPhone Portrait mode

Image editing app Pixelmator Pro has been updated to version 1.3.1, gaining Portrait Masks for images taken using the iPhone's Portrait mode in iOS 12. With Portrait Masks, any iPhone Portrait mode imported into Pixelmator Pro is automatically opened with a layer mask made from the depth data.

The new feature makes it possible to rapidly isolate the portrait's foreground from the background, enabling users to replace the background or make other quick adjustments. Pixelmator demonstrated the feature in the video above.

In addition to the Portrait Masks feature, Pixelmator Pro 1.3.1 adds new keyboard shortcuts for duplicating layers, organizing content, making selections, and more. As well, the editor now uses tabs by default. Finally, the update also adds a new 'Comics' effect under Stylize for applying a comic book style to images. The update's full changelog is available here.

Pixelmator Pro can be purchased from the Mac App Store for $39.99.

Canon shows forthcoming RF lenses including radical 70-200mm F2.8 IS

Introduction

Alongside the EOS RP, Canon has announced the next six lenses it plans to introduce for its RF mount. Don't be fooled by the timing: although they are being announced with the RP most of these lenses are not being targeted at entry-level or even mass-market customers.

Canon has already said it's working on a full frame mirrorless camera aimed at professionals, and most of today's development announcements make clear it intends to have appropriate lenses ready to suit it. All six lenses will be formally launched by the end of 2019, the company says.

Details are pretty scant right now (technically Canon is only announcing its intention to develop these lenses), but mockups of all six were on show at the pre-launch RP event.

RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

To us the most exciting lens to be revealed is the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS. Part of our excitement is that a 70-200mm F2.8 is one of the workhorses of any system. Pros and enthusiasts use these lenses for a whole range of shooting situations, from portraiture to sports, so it's an essential ingredient for a system trying to appeal to high-end shooters.

Another piece of good news is that the lens uses Canon's Nano USM lens motors. The company is a little cagey about exactly how these work, other than that they provide linear, rather than the rotational motion of the ring-type USM motors used in DSLR lenses. What we do know is that the fastest and smoothest focusing lens in the RF system so far (the 24-105mm F4L IS) is powered by Nano USM, which bodes well for the 70-200mm.

RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS compared to the EF 20-700mm

Oh, and the other interesting thing about the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS? It's TINY. Here we've shot it alongside the most recent EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS and you can see just how much smaller it's going to be. Unless the 'pro' RF model ends up being huge, this is going to make an impressively compact combination.

Canon's engineers wouldn't be drawn on exactly how they've managed to make it so small, beyond pointing us back to the claimed benefits of the short and wide lens mount. There may well be something more complex going on: we'll find out when it's formally released but we were given the distinct impression that it's not a diffractive optics (Fresnel) design.

RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM

Another great pro workhorse is the 24-70mm F2.8 and Canon's going to launch one of those, too. We've had no details about specifics but it's a sensibly-sized lens, even if it isn't as impressively small at its tele counterpart.

Canon has confirmed that it's working on an in-body stabilization system

Like the 70-200mm the 24-70mm has built-in image stabilization and Canon has confirmed that it's working on an in-body stabilization system for future camera models that will work in conjunction with this. So you'll get stabilization on all RF bodies and even greater stabilization on others.

Like the 70-200mm, the 24-70mm will be driven by a Nano USM focus motor.

RF 15-35mm F2.8 L USM

The last in the cover-the-bases pro lineup is the 15-35mm F2.8. Canon says the RF lens mount allowed them to make it a 15-35mm, rather than starting at 16mm.

Again the lens is small and stabilized and, like the other two F2.8 zooms, will be driven by a fast, silent Nano USM motor.

We only wonder whether it needs more prominent markings to make it easier to distinguish from the 24-70, when they're placed next to one another in a camera bag.

RF 85mm F1.2 L USM

While the trio of F2.8 lenses are all pretty compact, the same can't be said of the 85mm F1.2. We thought the RF 50mm F1.2 was big (in part because we've only had the mid-range EOS R to mount it on, so far), but perhaps not unreasonably, the 85mm F1.2 is even bigger.

We've been impressed by the optical performance of the 50mm F1.2 so far. And, while we can't be sure how much of that can be ascribed to the short, wide lens mount, Canon is clearly doing something right. A super-fast 85mm prime that can be confidently shot using off-center AF points is likely to be an exciting prospect as a portrait lens, even if you don't always opt for for the hairbreadth depth-of-field that F1.2 can give you.

On the subject of focus, like the RF 50, the 85mm's focus elements are too big and heavy for the use of a Nano USM motor, so it's based around slightly less snappy ring-type USM drive.

RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS

The 'DS' designation is new for Canon. Sadly it doesn't mean we should expect avant garde engineering and styling. Instead, it stands for 'Defocus Smoothing' and promises improved bokeh, compared with the standard version.

If that makes you think of apodization elements (essentially an element that's progressively darker towards the edge to prevent bright-edged bokeh), then the things we were told in our interview with senior engineers will only confirm that assumption.

The DS was the only lens not shown in mockup form as we've been told that not all the design decisions have been made yet. Despite this, a computer rendering of the lens has been issued: it says 'Defocus Smoothing' on the front, whereas the non-DS version does not.

RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

The only lens not clearly aimed at a high-end audience is the RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM. It's designed as a do-everything travel zoom, giving a 10x zoom capability.

We've mounted it here on the EOS RP and you can see it's well matched (many of the other RF lenses have a wider diameter, and as a result lift the RP body off the ground if you haven't attached the optional grip extension).

The two most obvious features are its comparatively small size and comparatively slow aperture range. We stress 'comparatively' when it comes to aperture, since you'd need a 15-150mm F2.5-4.0 on Canon APS-C to be equivalent, and few keen photographers would turn their noses up at such a lens. The other thing to notice is that it has only two rings, so we wonder whether the 'focus' ring will double as a custom ring when in AF mode.

Summary

The addition of these six lenses will extend the RF system to ten lenses by the end of 2019. With the three F2.8 zooms, 50 and 85mm F1.2s and the monstrous/rather cool 28-70mm F2, it means seven of the options have a distinctly high-end feel to them (and, we suspect, will have price tags to match).

This may leave EOS RP and many EOS R users a little short of choice (or push them towards adapting EF DSLR lenses), but makes very clear that Canon is gearing up for a pro-level RF camera sooner, rather than later.

Walking the Line – How Using Line in Photography Can Enhance Your Images

The post Walking the Line – How Using Line in Photography Can Enhance Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

Defined in Wikipedia as the “marks that span a distance between two points,” lines on their own don’t sound particularly enthralling. But when you think about it, the very basis of visual arts centers on the use of line. Take painting for instance; many paintings start as line drawings. These lines intersect to form shapes. The shapes are then filled with tone and color and the process continues, building on the scaffold of line to create an image.

It’s no wonder that line is probably the most versatile of the elements of art. In photography, every photograph hinges upon the reproduction of a scene constructed by lines. Even the physical edges of a photograph are dictated by the lines of the photographic frame it is within.

By deliberately incorporating different types of line into an image, a photographer can take greater control over the way an image gets read. Here, we’ll look at the different types and characteristics of line and why you should prioritize them in your photography.

Why use line?

As one of the intrinsic elements of art, line appeals to our innate understanding of the visual landscape. Delineating shape and form, line constructs a narrative in an image, guiding a viewer’s eye around a photograph. The use of various forms of line set the emotional tone of an image while leading lines create an optical entry and exit point. By mindfully incorporating line into your photography you can take control of the viewer’s gaze, therefore, maximizing presence and impact.

Types of line

Trees, buildings, roads, or rivers – line takes on a new life depending on the environment. Focusing on specific types of line creates connections with a viewer and builds images that have depth and substance.

Horizontal

The horizon is the line that separates the sky from the earth. Derived from the Greek words for “separating circle,” “to divide” and “to separate,” the horizon dictates the way we orient ourselves. It marks the furthest distance the eye can see. If the horizon is obscured, the resulting junction of earth and sky is called the visible horizon. Nevertheless, the horizontal line is innately linked to nature.

Horizontal lines read as an organic presence in a photograph. Our associations with the gradual rise and fall of the sun over the horizon evokes a sense of time and rhythm. Because humans generally sleep horizontally, we associate horizontal lines with relaxation, rest and stability.

That said, the majority of travel functions on a horizontal trajectory, meaning that horizontal lines can also denote a sense of motion. In situations involving panning or slow shutter speed photography, the path of the horizontal line anchors the image to a readable axis, accentuating motion through motion-blur and adding a unique dynamism to an image.

Vertical

The vertical line has come to be seen as a symbol of quiet endurance. Maintaining the integrity of a photograph through our visual associations with strength, vertical lines add vitality to a photograph.

As mentioned before, humans sleep horizontally and stand vertically, creating a visual association between energy and the act of being upright. The exclamation mark is another example of this. Its’ vertical stroke suspended above a full stop to communicate action and energy at the end of a sentence.

Though associated with steadfast urban structures, the vertical line can still hearken back to nature, delineating growth over the passage of time. The epigeal seed pushing through the earth follows a vertical path in the direction of the sun, cultivating a juxtaposition between the urban and natural environments.

Diagonal

As one of the first Western artists to focus entirely on non-representational forms of painting, Wassily Kandinsky experimented heavily with the geometrical elements that make up an artwork. Published in 1926, Kandinsky wrote extensively on the artistic attributes of line in his book Point and Line to Plane. In the book, he stated that “the third line is the diagonal which, in schematic form diverges from both [vertical and horizontal line]…at the same angle…a circumstance which determines its inner sound…diagonal line is the most concise form of the potentiality for endless…movement”.

A painting by Wassily Kandinsky courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Often diminishing from the foreground into the depths of a photograph as leading lines, diagonals lift an image off the page. When repeated in close conjunction or zig-zagged, diagonal lines create a vibration that plays with our vision like an optical illusion.

Free from the constraints of vertical/horizontal orientation, the diagonal line operates as a visual hive of activity. While solid horizontal and vertical lines imply stasis, the diagonal line teeters between the two, generating a palpable sense of kinetic energy.

Curved

From the event of the early human, curves have held a particular fascination in the visual arts. Simple to create, yet visually complex, the decorative use of curves has been discovered on countless examples of ancient art.

Megalithic art featuring curved demarcations courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Adopted as a traditional art concept in Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, many figures were sculpted on the double-curvature of the S. This S curve was proclaimed as the “line of beauty” by 18th-century painter, satirist, and writer, William Hogarth. Hogarth said that the curve signified liveliness and activity, as opposed to “straight lines, parallel lines, or right-angled intersecting lines, which signify stasis, death, or inanimate objects.”

As a line, curves join point A to point B. The difference lies in the path the curved line takes, traveling in bends and dips before arriving at a destination. A curved river winding through a landscape may connect the foreground with the background, but it does so in its own time, imparting a sense of calm and ease.

Implied lines

Perhaps the most intriguing line of all, implied lines are implied by other visual components in an image. Gesticulations, points of interest, lines of sight, arrows, similarities and movement all create implied lines. These implied lines tow the viewer’s eye from one point to the next within a frame.

Without the strict use of a physical line, implied lines lend momentum and narrative to an image. Think of ancient astrologers joining up the stars with implied lines to create celestial beings. Or, the movement of a car in a particular direction, sweeping the viewer’s eye along with the subject. Neither example makes use of a dedicated line. However, each has the effect of composing a network of lines that make the image more interesting and readable.

Characteristics of line

Along with the different types of line, there are different characteristics of line. Thick, thin, soft, and hard. These characteristics govern the nature of a line, adding depth and interest to an image.

Width

The width of a line refers to its thickness. Dictated by their real-life physicality, thicker lines are stronger and have a bolder presence. A thin line is easier to break and therefore has more delicate connotations. Width also refers to the tapering of a line. A line that disappears into the background of an image creates a visual illusion of depth. A line with an uneven or jerky width denotes a sense of playfulness, texture or unrest.

Length

Length covers the overall length of a line. A short line indicates immediacy or action. Long lines denote a feeling of space and calm. Length also dictates the continuity of a line. A broken line gives the impression of movement, like the imprint of footsteps in the sand. Continuous lines, like those often found in landscapes, are more relaxed.

Feeling

The feeling of a line dictates its visual tactility. Visual tactility is the way a viewer feels about a subject just by looking at it. Over a lifetime we compile a mental bank of the physical sensations we encounter. When stimulated visually to access this mental bank, we mentally experience sensation without actually touching a subject. For example, a picture of a line tapered to a sharp point can stimulate the impression of a pin-prick. By exploiting the tactile characteristics of line (such as roundness or roughness), a photographer can appeal to a viewer physically as well as visually.

Direction

As discussed above, line can sprout from any direction. Depending on the subject (and the orientation of the camera), line can be vertical, horizontal, diagonal or curved. The direction of the line dramatically alters the reading of an image, creating (or deconstructing) a scene. For example, a horizontal line evokes a sense of nature and time, whereas a diagonal line charges an image with energy.

Focus

The focus of a line is much like the measure of focus in a photograph. Some lines can be sharp, others blurry or fuzzy. The focus of a line illustrates how smoothly it blends into other segments of a photograph. A sharp line is an abrupt contrast, commanding attention. A blurry or faint line is more subtle, easing from one subject to the next, creating a gentle transition between subject matter.

Color

A vast number of emotional associations are connected with color. Rooted in both cultural and universal experience, studies show that different colors have different influences on the brain. This means that a viewer will have a different visual experience based on the color make-up of a photograph.

The color of a line contributes significantly to the reading of a photograph. For example, a yellow line could signify energy or allude to danger. A blue line could signify calm or water. Connotations like these shape the outcome of an image, creating harmony (or disharmony) and adding impact.

Emotion

Emotional connotations govern the experience of a viewer. For example, jagged lines foster an impression of energy and unrest whereas a serpentine S curve cultivates a more relaxed atmosphere.

From urban abstracts and landscapes to the human form, line appeals to our senses on a psychological level. Whether it be curvy, horizontal, jagged or diagonal, our innate associations make line a valuable tool to convey emotion.

Conclusion

As painter Jean-Michel Basquiat once said, “every line means something.” For an effective image, different components of composition must come together to form a cohesive body of information. As one of the most versatile elements of design, line speaks to our sense of the world. Through the mindful combination of the types and characteristics of line, you as a photographer can convey a unique experience to a viewer on both a conscious and subconscious level.

The post Walking the Line – How Using Line in Photography Can Enhance Your Images appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Megan Kennedy.

DPReview TV: Fujifilm X-T30 first impressions review

The new X-T30 may not be Fujifilm's flagship model, but it arrives with some very impressive features and specifications. Chris and Jordan have been shooting it for a few days and share their first impressions, along with a look at an iconic new building in their hometown of Calgary, Alberta.

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Fujifilm X-T30 review in progress

Fujifilm's new X-T30 brings much of the feature set of the high-end X-T3 at a more reasonable price. If that sounds familiar, it's because the relationship between the X-T20 and X-T2 was the same.

With the X-T30 you receive the same 26MP sensor and processor as the X-T3, a more advanced AF system (which the X-T3 will soon gain via firmware update,) plenty of direct controls and a tilting touchscreen, all in a smaller body. The X-T30 also comes at a significantly lower price than the X-T3, with the body priced at $899, versus $1499 for the X-T3. We'll discuss what features are cut in order to make the X-T30 the less expensive of the two options a bit later in this article.

Key specifications

  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI-CMOS 4 sensor
  • X-Processor 4
  • Hybrid AF system has 425 phase-detect points spread across the entire frame
  • Burst shooting at 30 fps with no blackout (but 1.25X) crop using electronic shutter; 20 fps without crop
  • 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder w/0.62x equiv. magnification and 100 fps refresh rate in boost mode
  • 3" tilting touchscreen display
  • Dedicated drive, shutter speed and exposure compensation dials
  • Joystick for AF point selection
  • Eterna Film Simulation mode
  • DCI and UHD 4K/30p capture using full width of sensor
  • 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording or 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output
  • USB-C socket with headphone support
  • Single SD card slot (UHS-I only)

That's a lot of camera for under $900 body-only. If you'd like to add a lens, you can get the camera and the 15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS Power Zoom lens for $999, or with the excellent 18-55 F2.8-4 lens for $1299. The traditional black and silver models will be available in March, with the 'charcoal silver' model shown in this review coming in June.


What's new and how it compares

The X-T30 borrows the sensor and processor from the more expensive X-T3, and that's great news. It has a more advanced AF system (for now) and impressive video specs for its price range.

Read more

Body and handling

For a $900 camera, the X-T30 is surprisingly well-built. It has a tilting touchscreen LCD, nice EVF and direct controls that make it a pleasure to use.

Operation and controls

In addition to four customizable buttons you can also 'swipe' the X-T30's LCD in one of four directions to adjust settings. The camera offers two different customizable menus so you can set it up the way you'd like.

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Fujifilm announces the FinePix XP140, its latest ruggedized point-and-shoot

Fujifilm has announced the impending release of the FinePix XP140, its latest rugged point-and-shoot that adds new automated features and improved durability against the elements.

The compact camera is waterproof to 25m / 82ft, shockproof up to 1.75m / 5.9ft, freeze-proof to 10°C / 14ºF and dustproof. Compared to its predecessor, the XP130, this is an improved waterproof depth of 5m / 17ft, with all of the other stats staying more or less the same. The XP140 also includes a more pronounced grip for better handling in rough environments.

At the heart of the XP140 is the 16.4 megapixel 1/2.3-inch backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor with a maximum sensitivity of ISO 12800, a stop higher than the XP130. In front of the sensor is an optically stabilized Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens that starts at 28mm (35mm equivalent). With Fujifilm's Digital Zoom technology, the camera reaches 10x zoom.

An example of a scene using Fujifilm's Eye Detection mode.

New to the XP140 is Fujifilm's evolved Scene Recognition Auto mode, which 'can detect a main subject within a scene and automatically optimize the camera setting[s].' Also included is an 'Eye Detection' feature that focuses on subjects' eyes and other auto-intelligent modes including a timer mode that automatically triggers the shutter when the camera detects a smile.

Fujifilm has also included 17 of its 'Advanced Filters' including its Rich & Fine and Monochrome (NIR) presets.

On the connectivity front, Fujifilm has included Bluetooth for easy connection to smartphones via its Fujifilm Camera Remote app and Instax printers.

The FinePix XP140 will be available at authorized Fujifilm retailers in yellow, blue in the United States and yellow, blue, lime, white and dark silver in Canada. It's expected to be released in March 2018 for $229.95 USD / $239.99 CAD.

FUJIFILM EVOLVES ITS RUGGED XP SERIES FURTHER WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW FINEPIX XP140

Developed for adventure, the latest camera in the XP series boasts a variety of updated automatic shooting functions in a compact and lightweight design, with added protections to combat the elements.

Valhalla, New York, February 14, 2019 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the launch of the FUJIFILM FinePix XP140 (XP140), the latest rugged camera in the XP series. The newest addition includes upgrades to the construction of former models in the XP series, making it waterproof to 82 feet, shockproof from up to 5.9ft1, freeze-proof to 14°F and dustproof-- the ideal accessory to capture any adventure.

The compact camera weighing in at only 7.3oz2 (207g) also features powerful image quality made possible with its FUJINON lens, which incorporates Fujifilm’s renowned color reproduction technology and 16.4 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The XP140 also comes with variety of automatic functions such as main subject recognition and an easy-to-use interface, making it an ideal choice for a wide variety of shooting situations with ease-of-use for photographers of all levels

Four Rugged Features: Waterproof, Shockproof, Freeze-proof and Dustproof The XP140 complies with waterproof and dustproof protection standards of products, stipulated by IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The XP140 is waterproof to 82 feet, which is 25% improvement from its predecessor XP model. With its stylish design enhanced, the XP140 is easy-to-use during outdoor activities with features including a grip and a double-locking mechanism for the battery compartment. With the XP140, users are able to enjoy capturing their adventures without worrying about water, sand or dropping the camera -- making it the perfect camera for users looking for their first, serious camera experience as well.

High-Performance Sensor and Lens for Premium Image Quality Equipped with a CMOS sensor and FUJINON’s 5x optical zoom lens with the zoom range starting from 28mm (35 format equivalent) on the wide-angle side, the XP140’s optical zoom range will reach up to 10x with Fujifilm’s Intelligent Digital Zoom technology. The camera also has an optical image stabilization mechanism and output sensitivity as high as ISO12800 (one stop higher than the XP130 model) to produce sharp images free of noise even in low light conditions. Fujifilm’s years of experience are reflected within its color reproduction technology, which ensures beautiful colors in any condition.

Versatile Automatic Shooting Functions to Support Your Photography Experience With evolved ‘Scene Recognition Auto’ mode, the XP140 can detect a main subject within a scene and automatically optimize the camera setting. The ‘Eye Detection’ feature helps to capture portraits easily by automatically focusing on the eyes of the subject. A variety of other auto-intelligent features such as the self-timer mode – which automatically releases the shutter when detecting a smiling face-- helps capture instant moments. The camera also features 17 variations of ‘Advanced Filters’ including the new “Rich & Fine” and “Monochrome (NIR)”. These selections are fully assisted with an implemented unique live-view interface.

Bluetooth® Pairing and Wireless Connectivity for Automatic Photo Transfer and INSTAX® Printing Bluetooth® compatibility allows automatic and instant image transfer to smartphones and tablet devices by easy paring registration. The technology also syncs the time and location information from your device and attaches it to images, as well as enables remote shooting function via application. To utilize this feature, users can download the free “FUJIFILM Camera Remote” app to their smartphone or tablet device and easily transfer photos and videos in the camera to the device and download directly. For INSTAX SHARE SP printer users, images can be transferred from the camera directly to the INSTAX SHARE SP printer for quick printout.

Availability and Pricing The FinePix XP140 will available in yellow or sky-blue in the U.S and available in sky blue, lime, yellow, white and dark silver in Canada. It is anticipated to be released in March 2019 for USD $229.95 and CAD $239.99.

Fujifilm announces firmware version 2.00 for its X-T100 and X-A5 camera systems

In addition to a barrage of product announcements, Fujifilm has also updated the firmware for its X-T100 and X-A5 camera systems.

Both cameras will receive firmware 2.00 sometime this month, which will include three new and improved features.

The first of the three major features in the updates is a new 'Bright Mode,' which Fujifilm says 'provides a brighter and more vivid image when using the Advanced SR Auto mode.' If the future isn't wanted, it can easily be turned on and off with a tap on the LCD touchscreen on either camera.

Fujifilm has also added its Portrait Enhancer Mode to the X-T100 and X-A5 in these updates, which makes it easy to select from three levels of skin tone enhancement using the touchscreen.

The last major addition is a new Night+ Setting. This new setting automatically adjusts ISO, brightness and vividness of the picture to better render the image in low or poor light situations.

Firmware version 2.00 for the X-T100 and X-A5 and instructions on how to install it can be found on Fujifilm's website.

Weather-resistant Fujifilm 16mm F2.8 lens to ship in March for $399

The Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a compact and lightweight wide-angle prime for the company's APS-C mirrorless bodies. The lens is equivalent to 24mm when mounted on an X-series camera, such as the new X-T30. It contains a total of 10 elements (two of which are aspherical) and nine rounded aperture blades.

The lens, which weighs just 155g/5.5oz, uses a stepping motor for 'fast and quiet autofocus' and can focus as close as 17cm/6.7in. The lens is weather-sealed at nine points around the barrel and can function at temperatures as low as -10°C/+14°F.

The XF 16mm F2.8 R WR will be available in black in March, with the silver version to follow in May. The suggested retail price for both is $399.

Take a look at our initial impressions of the new Fujifilm 16mm F2.8

Press Release

FUJINON XF 16mmF2.8 R WR Lens

Designed to deliver the high performance resolution from Fujifilm’s X-TRANS CMOS sensors through its precise optical design, the XF16mmF2.8 R WR adopts an internal focusing system and stepping motor to provide extremely fast and near-quiet auto-focusing. Although light and compact, the design incorporates metal components on the exterior of the lens, while interior is sealed around the barrel in nine different locations to ensure durability and weather-resistance to the surrounding environment. The XF16mmF2.8 R WR joins the collection of affordable, compact, and lightweight lenses within the FUJINON XF Lens System, making it the perfect companion to the XF23mmF2 R WR, XF35mmF2 R WR, and XF50mmF2 R WR lenses.

  • High Resolution Performance: Edge-to-edge sharpness from the center to the corners of the frame is achieved by the precise arrangement of 10 lens elements in 8 groups. This lens also includes two aspherical elements, which assist in suppressing the image degrading effects of chromatic aberration and field curvature imperfection.
  • Compact, Lightweight and Stylish design: Weighing in at 5.47oz (155g) and measuring just 1.79in (45.4mm) in length, this lens offers up the renowned image quality and refined style associated with the FUJINON XF family of lenses. With its metal exterior, precise click stops, and smooth dampening, this lens offers incredible image quality in a durable, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • Fast and Quiet Autofocus: The inner focusing AF system uses a stepping motor to move focusing elements into place through precise electrical pulses in order to achieve fast and near-silent autofocus performance.
  • Weather and Dust Resistant Durability: The lens is designed to operate in temperatures as low as 14° Fahrenheit and is sealed at nine points around the barrel, making it both weather and dust resistant.

FUJINON XF16mmF2.8 R WR Optional Accessories:

  • 49mm Front lens cap (FLCP-49)
  • 49mm Protect filter (PRF-49)

FUJINON XF16mmF2.8 R WR Specifications:

  • Lens construction: 10 elements, 8 groups (includes 2 aspherical elements)
  • Focal length (35mm format equivalent: f=16mm (24mm)
  • Angle of view: 83.2°
  • aperture: F2.8
  • aperture: F22
  • Aperture control
  • Number of blades: 9 (rounded diaphragm opening)
  • Stop size: 1/3EV (19 stops)
  • Focus range: 17cm and beyond
  • magnification: 0.13x
  • External dimensions: Diameter x Length: Approx: Φ60.0mm x 45.4mm
  • Weight (excluding caps, hoods): Approx. 155g
  • Filter size: Φ49mm10

Availability and Pricing

The FUJINON XF16mmF2.8 R WR lens is expected to be available in black in March 2019 or silver in May 2019, at a suggested retail price of USD $399.95 and CAD $499.99.

Fujifilm XF 16mm F2.8 R WR specifications

Principal specifications
Lens typePrime lens
Max Format sizeAPS-C / DX
Focal length16 mm
Image stabilizationNo
Lens mountFujifilm X
Aperture
Maximum apertureF2.8
Minimum apertureF22
Aperture ringYes
Number of diaphragm blades9
Optics
Elements10
Groups8
Special elements / coatings2 aspherical elements
Focus
Minimum focus0.17 m (6.69)
Maximum magnification0.13×
AutofocusYes
Motor typeStepper motor
Full time manualYes
Focus methodInternal
Distance scaleNo
DoF scaleNo
Physical
Weight155 g (0.34 lb)
Diameter60 mm (2.36)
Length45 mm (1.77)
SealingYes
ColourBlack, silver
Filter thread49 mm
Hood suppliedYes
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