Fujifilm releases 3.0 firmware for X-T3, brings improved AF for both stills and video

Fujifilm has released firmware version 3.00 for its X-T3 camera system, bringing with it improved face/eye detection, improved autofocus (AF) performance and basic bug fixes.

Firmware version 3.00, preceded by version 2.10, has an improved AF algorithm for both video and stills that detects distant faces more accurately than before. Fujifilm says the feature has been 'enhanced by approximately 30%' but doesn't clarify whether that improvement is in accuracy, speed or some combination of the two. AF tracking is also more accurate, especially when objects come between the camera and the subject, and a new Face Select function has been added to provide priority autofocus on particular subjects when there are multiple faces in the frame.

Fujifilm has also added a new Double Tap Setting and Touch Function that can be turned on within the Touch Screen Setting menu. Other improvements include a new focus frame when the eye detection setting is turned on, improvement of AF/AE are tracking when using the EVF, an update to how the Flicker Reduction mode is labelled and multiple bug fixes.

For more information and to download the firmware, head over to Fujifilm's website.

5 Tips for Photographing Portfolio-Worthy Costume Portraits

The post 5 Tips for Photographing Portfolio-Worthy Costume Portraits appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

There’s been an explosion of interest in photographing costume portraits over the last few years. From movie cosplays to historically-inspired portraits – there’s no end to the kind of costumes that could make their way into your portrait portfolio.

Shooting someone who is playing a role can bring a whole new dimension to your images. It can add depth and vibrancy to your portfolio. People often lose their inhibitions about being in front of the camera if they are pretending to be someone else!

With that in mind, here are my top five tips for creating portfolio-worthy costume portraits.

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1. Be inspired by history

Fabulous costume portraits have been created throughout history, both in photography and in other kinds of art. Julia Margaret Cameron, for example, was a British photographer born in 1815 who used to shoot people dressed up as characters from Shakespeare. Her contemporary, David Wilkie Wynfield, would photograph his friends wearing fancy dress in the style of the great 16th-Century Venetian artist, Titian.

And don’t just stop at taking inspiration from photographer either – there are thousands of years of portraits to take inspiration from. In the portrait above, I took inspiration from a painting called La belle ferronnière by Leonardo da Vinci. Other times I’ve been inspired by different historical artists – Rembrandt lighting is a popular technique amongst photographers too and a great place to start!

Never be afraid to try self-portraiture when you’re experimenting with different lighting and looks inspired by historical portraits. It can take a bit of practice to get it right, and you will almost certainly be your most patient model! The shot above is the result of an hour locked in my studio experimenting with light and self-portraiture. I cannot recommend the Fujifilm camera system and app highly enough for shooting self portraits. You can focus and shoot at the touch of your phone screen!

Costume portraits are a great excuse to step away from the kind of lighting that you would usually use and try something different. If you always use studio lights then how about trying some available light? That’s how artists would have mostly worked in the past, and if it worked for them then it must be worth trying! Equally, if you usually work with available light then perhaps this is an excellent opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and try something tight and controlled with studio lights?

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2. Check the costume faithfulness

I’m not suggesting for one moment that you should become a victim to historical or film accuracy in your costume portraits. But it does pay to just think through all of the elements that your subject is wearing or surrounded by.

In a costume portrait, even more so than a regular portrait, every aspect of the costume and any props contribute to the story being told by the final image. Ideally, nothing should appear in the final image that wasn’t intentionally put there to be a part of the story.

So if you are shooting a portrait inspired by a period of history, or perhaps inspired by a film or comic book, just take a little time to research your inspiration before scheduling a shoot. Check that your costume, accessories, and props aren’t going to be jarring to the story you are trying to tell.

This is where it might be worthwhile working with costume designers if you are new to styling costume portraits. Their expertise and advice on putting together and styling different kinds of costumes could save you an awful lot of time and heartache in the long run! Of course, there are always opportunities to hire costumes from theatres too – it can be a surprisingly cost-effective option.

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3. Set the scene

Think about the scene that you want your character to inhabit. Are they royalty sitting atop a beautiful throne, or are they a post-apocalyptic warrior tracking danger through the forest? Scouting out a location and sourcing props to suit can be half of the fun when it comes to staging a costume portrait!

You can find great locations in the most surprising places. I have shot in front of huge roller shutter doors on industrial estates, in a scrubby bit of forest that looked like a dreamy estate in the final images, and against an old stone wall in my back garden. With the right lighting, lens selection, framing choices, and post-processing the most unexpected locations can look great in portraits.

But, of course, there’s always the option to head into the studio! Taking a subject into the studio and placing them against a plain backdrop can serve to really highlight the story you are telling through their costume and appearance. It puts the focus squarely onto the subject. This style of studio shooting can be a double-edged sword. There’s less room for mistakes in this kind of controlled studio portrait, but the payoff can be more than worth it when it comes to portfolio-worthy images.

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4. Give your subject a character

When people usually sit for portraits they are playing themselves. So when you have someone sit for a costume portrait, it is helpful if you can have them play a role. It can help them to get into character more quickly and easily.

Before you do the shoot – while you’re pulling together your styling and location – think about the character that you’re looking to capture and write down a few thoughts as part of a shoot plan.

Are they a brooding young Victorian poet who lost their love? Perhaps they’re an underground rebel trying to uncover a government conspiracy four decades in the future? This is the driving force behind the entire shoot, so gear everything towards bringing this character to life.

Once you have your subject dressed up and with makeup done, equipped with props, and in the location you have chosen, all these elements should come together to help them portray the character. It’s their portrayal of the character that will shine through, tell the story, and truly make your shots portfolio-worthy.

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5. Don’t forget the post-processing

You’ve styled an amazing shoot in a fantastically atmospheric location with a great team, and you’ve collaboratively told a compelling story. So what is next? Post-processing – that’s what.

The choices you make on the computer or in the darkroom after the shoot really help you focus the storytelling. Good post-processing can help elevate a portrait to something extraordinary.

You can make stylistic choices in post-processing that you may not otherwise make if you were shooting regular headshots or family portraits. For instance, when I shoot images with an apocalyptic theme, I tend to add lots of layers over the top to create a grungy look to the piece. If I am shooting something inspired by a sci-fi movie, then I often choose to push the colors quite hard to resemble the film grading used by cinematographers. Moreover, if I shoot something medieval- or viking-ish, I usually dull all the colors down and make the finished shots look “dusty” and worn.

With practice, you’ll find your style for post-processing costume portraits. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and do something different from your usual approach. Everything about these images is already completely different from how most people would approach a regular portrait. It’s a chance to experiment!

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Now that you’re armed with my top tips for shooting costume portraits, it’s time to try it out yourself! Remember to create a character, set the scene, and think about every element that you’re placing in the image. That way, you’ll tell a compelling and consistent story that shines through in the final image.

I’d love to see your attempts at shooting costume portraits. Post an image in the comments for everyone to see!

The post 5 Tips for Photographing Portfolio-Worthy Costume Portraits appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Charlie Moss.

Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens launches with improved optics

Zhong Yi Optics has launched the new Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens with Sony FE, Canon RF, and Nikon Z-mount options. The new Mitakon lens features an F0.95 to F16 aperture range alongside 10 elements in seven groups, including four extra-low dispersion elements and one ultra-high refraction element, and an 11-blade aperture diaphragm.

This compact prime lens is designed for low-light scenes, according to ZY Optics, which has utilized a new optics design with improved flare resistance for version III. The 50mm F0.95 lens features a metal body, 50cm minimum focusing distance, 67mm front filter thread, and 1.58lb / 720g weight.

Below is a gallery of sample images taken with the Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens:

ZY Optics currently lists the Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm F0.95 III lens on its website for $799 USD. The older Mark II version of the lens is still available to purchase at $519 USD from select online retailers.

Shutterstock AR feature lets customers preview stock images as wall artwork

Shutterstock has announced the launch of its first augmented reality feature. The new tool 'View in Room' has been added to the company's iOS app; customers can use it to preview stock images as virtual artwork on their office or home walls before deciding whether to make the purchase.

The 'View in Room' feature can be used with any of the millions of images available on Shutterstock, according to the company, which powers the tool with its own computer vision technology and the iOS ARKit framework. The feature first arrived as a hack to the future employee hackathon project.

According to Shutterstock, a growing number of its customers are purchasing images to use as artwork or decor. The augmented reality feature enables them to preview exactly what the final product would look like on their wall, eliminating the need to visualize it using less precise methods.

The Shutterstock iOS app can be downloaded from the App Store here.

Capturing volcanoes in Guatemala with the Nikon Z6

The Nikon Z6 is a 24MP full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera which offers excellent stills and video image quality in a tough and lightweight body. Photographer Diego Rizzo took a Z6 to Guatemala recently to shoot the Volcán de Fuego - the most active volcano in Latin America.

Shooting on the slopes of a volcano is rife with hazards, from the obvious risks of explosions and pyroclastic flows, to dust and abrasive grit. Watch our video to see how the Nikon Z6 fared in one of the toughest environments imaginable.

This is sponsored content, created with the support of Amazon and Nikon. What does this mean?

12 Photography Errors You’ll Make When You’re New to Photography

The post 12 Photography Errors You’ll Make When You’re New to Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

It’s a universal truth that everyone has to start somewhere. It’s also true that when you start something new, you’ll make mistakes. All the expert writers on this site will have gone through this process – myself included. In this article, you’ll learn about 12 common photography errors that are typically made, and how you can quickly correct those mistakes. So read on if you want to avoid some of the pitfalls of photography, and fast forward to creating amazing photos!

To demonstrate that everyone has to start somewhere, the photos used here are among my earliest photos. Taken with an SLR camera, and of course in the days of film. There are plenty of mistakes in the set of images in this article. At this point, I certainly knew my way around an SLR camera, but clearly there were still things for me to learn.

1. Crop in the wrong place in pursuit of minimalism

You’ll have heard photography is the art of subtraction. That is, removing unwanted elements from your frame will give you better photos. You’ve arrived at a popular location to take photos, only to find crowds of people there. The solution is to begin your photo, where the head of the tallest person in that crowd ends.

In other words, crop your photo halfway up the side of a building. While this does remove that unwanted element, it leads to a poorly composed photo in the pursuit of minimalism. This could arise from other objects like parked cars, or wires in the wrong place in your image. So what can you do instead of this overly tight composition?

  • Arrive early – One of the best ways to avoid crowds of people or cars is to arrive early. Wake up for sunrise, and get that great angle before the crowds get in the way of it.
  • Multiple photos – Set you camera up on a tripod, and take a sequence of photos of the same scene. Ensure people are moving around. Then stack the photos in Photoshop, and use the median function to remove people from the photo.
  • Cloning – You can use clone stamping to remove elements in the photo you don’t wish to be there. This requires some skill, but can be used to remove wires, people and sometimes larger objects.

This is a photo that would benefit from more foreground being visible. There is too much dead space at the top of the image.

2. Photograph into the light

Not taking the time to plan when you’ll visit a location will lead to this mistake. Perhaps you’re on a walking tour, and your next location is a famous landmark. It just happens to have the sun behind it, with all the interesting detail of the object obscured by bad light. The same is also true when you photograph a person towards the light, unless you’re reflecting light back onto them or using external flash then the portrait is likely to be lacking. So what solutions are there for this problem?

  • Know the light – Do your research on the location you’re visiting, and make sure to arrive when the sun is in the right direction. You can use suncalc for this purpose, it shows the direction of the sun in relation to time of day and geographic location.
  • Change sides – In some cases, you can move to the other side of a building, where you’ll be able to photograph a person from the other direction. This is a relatively simple solution that can improve your results.
  • Light modifiers – The use of reflector discs and or off-camera flash can make portrait photography towards the light possible.
  • Digital blending – Photographing towards the light, when the main subject is larger than you’d be able to light with external flash? You can instead bracket your photos, and use digital blending with your image. This is an effective solution when you want to photograph towards a sunset.

A photo that’s reasonably composed but that would have benefited from being taken at another time of the day. This type of photo would work well during blue hour.

3. Never change your point of view

If all your photos are taken from a standing position, or perhaps seated position when you’re eating, then you’re missing a trick. A change in perspective is a great way to produce much more interesting photos.

That’s not to say there aren’t great photos to be taken in a standing position. A lot of street photography and portrait photography uses this perspective to great effect. There are plenty of other angles to use though, and adding variety to your photography through these angles is a great idea.

Changing your angle might be as simple as kneeling down, or as challenging as finding access to a high vantage point from a nearby building. The worm’s eye view and bird’s eye views can be used to great effect.

You don’t need to photograph straight up or straight down though. Photographing from lower down might emphasize a leading line on the road that much more, or allow plants and flowers to become a more important element within your frame.

Clearly the focus of the image is the roof tiling and the eagles. Area’s to the top and bottom of this image are not needed, and different framing should have been used.

4. Over reliance on post-processing

One of the common photography errors you can make is an over-reliance on post-processing. The aim as much as possible should be to get your result in-camera.

Your camera is, after all, an incredibly powerful creative tool. Of course, it’s important to learn post-processing. If you don’t do so, you’ll be at a disadvantage. It’s a good idea to learn how to use your camera and post-processing in conjunction with each other.

What can happen if you allow your skill in post-processing to outstrip your knowledge of the camera?

  • Fix the photo – Instead of getting the photo right in camera, the idea is to correct mistakes in post-processing. This will stall your progression as a photographer, and it makes you a lazy photographer.
  • New photography techniques – Post-processing can add that “x factor” to your image. So much so, that you may progress more slowly in learning new camera techniques.
  • Transformations – It’s possible to make some quite radical changes to your photo. Compositing images is certainly something you should learn. It’s also possible to just change the sky in a landscape scene to something more dramatic. In doing this, are you as motivated to return to a location many times, until you get a dramatic sky in real life?
  • Filters – Post-processing is all about subtle changes. Overcooking your photo by using a filter at too strong a strength might make your photo stand out, but perhaps not in a good way.

This photo needed to be taken at another time of the day when the sun lights up the building. The lamp to the left also adds nothing and should be removed by changing the angle.

5. Not learning your camera settings

Your camera is fulling of settings that affect your image. A lot of these settings are connected to one another as well. The relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is fundamental to photography. You need to take the time to learn each of these settings on their own, and how changing one of them can impact another setting. The first and most important thing to do here is to stop using your camera on automatic.

One setting at a time

You won’t learn everything at once, but you want to get to the point that you subconsciously know the correct settings to use. It’s a good idea to spend time getting to know one particular camera setting at a time and what it does.

A good setting to focus on is aperture.

Learn how aperture can be used to control the depth of field, blur the background, and perhaps produce a starburst in your photos. Having learnt how this setting works, move onto a new setting and learn that one.

This detail photo would have been improved by using a larger aperture. At the time this sort of lens wasn’t available to me.

6. Not using selective focus

Getting sharp images is an important part of photography. To get the sharpest images you’ll need to learn how to use the focus settings on your camera correctly. One of the most important of these settings is selective auto-focus.

Another of the common photography errors is to let your camera decide where to focus for you.

Instead, you should be in control of this process.

It’s not always the case that you’ll want to have your focus point in the center of the image. Use selective focus, so your camera focuses where you want it to focus. Your camera will have a grid array that can be seen through the viewfinder. Use your camera’s direction controls to move the focus point to the appropriate position, and you’ll be ready to photograph.

The photo uses the rule of thirds, so composition is okay. The tree on the left is somewhat distracting though.

7. Going it alone

Photography is a great past time to practice on your own. It dovetails very well with nice long walks by yourself in the country or city. Indeed you can learn a lot about your craft through self-exploration, and perhaps reading articles on sites such as this one. To only do this would be a mistake though. There are a lot of good reasons to seek out and befriend other photographers. Here are a few things you’ll gain from teaming up with other people.

  • Feedback – One of the best ways to improve as a photographer is feedback. Some of the best feedback you’ll receive is from fellow photographers.
  • Collaborations – Not all photography is easy to achieve on your own. Once you start using off-camera flash to photograph models, working as a team makes sense.
  • Learning – Tapping into the knowledge base of other photographers is invaluable. Different people learn about different things in photography, so being able to share that knowledge helps a lot.

The horizon line isn’t straight, showing this photo was taken too quickly. Another indicator of this is not waiting for the man to move out-of-frame. A rushed photo, and a poor result.

8. Not developing your own style

This is true not just in photography, but in many art forms. It’s easy to look to famous photographers, or perhaps local established ones, and look to emulate their photography. It’s a good idea to learn about how photographers take their images on a technical level. Once you know how other photographers work though, it’s then time to interpret these techniques in your own way.

There are, as mentioned, many benefits to joining a group of photographers, but one potential pitfall is developing their style of photography. Learn what makes their photography work, then spend a bit of time of your own developing a style that suits your work.

A photo that is spoiled by the wire at the top of the frame. Simply moving forward and using the same composition would have removed this wire from the photo.

9. Not learning new techniques

As you progress and become comfortable in your skin, you’ll come to one of the next big photography errors. You’ve developed a style, but then stopped progressing. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re getting attention for the photography you’re now producing.

Photography is always evolving and to stay at the vanguard of the field you need to be learning new techniques. They might not necessarily become your signature style, but learning new ideas allows you to freshen up those styles that are your signature techniques. This might lead to you combining two photography techniques. You might learn a different way of post-processing your images that allows you to improve all the photos you take in the future.

This was once a photo I liked. Today, I know that it really needed a graduated neutral density filter for the sky. This aspect of photography was something I’d not learnt at this point.

10. No main subject

How do you elevate a good photograph into a great one? To do that you’ll need a narrative to your photo, and that means a main subject.

It’s possible to take nice photos of a landscape or abstract detail photos that are very eye-catching. A silhouetted person on the brow of a hill instantly adds more story to your scene, making it a stronger composition. A detail photo with one part of the image that’s different? Now you have a photo with a subject.

Sometimes the main subject will be readily available, like a single tree in a landscape scene. At other times you may need to wait patiently for a person to walk into your scene, thereby giving your scene its subject.

This is an awkward photo that lacks a main subject, and leaves a lot of dead space on the right.

11. Too many distracting elements

In photography, you want to keep it simple. Once you’ve settled on a strong main subject, you need to frame it correctly.

Another regular in the photography errors list is a busy photo. This is often because the background has too many elements, but distracting elements can also extend to the foreground. How can you eliminate extra elements from your scene such as unwanted wires? It’s true that you could use post-processing. On the other hand, you can develop your photographer’s craft. So what options are there?

  • Angle – That means changing the angle, perhaps as dramatically as walking to the other side of your main subject.
  • Focal length – You can also use different focal lengths, longer focal lengths will compress your scene which might allow you to remove things you don’t want from the frame.
  • Aperture – Get stuck on automatic mode and you won’t learn about this. A great way of removing a busy background is to blur it out. You can do this by using a large aperture, the resultant shallow depth of field will blur the background but keep your main subject sharp.
  • Closer – Walking closer to your subject, when that’s possible, means you’ll remove elements from your frame. They’ll now be behind you, but you might need to use a wider focal length to take the photo.

The water makes some nice patterns, but the photo lacks interest. In addition to this, the bottom is overexpose. A well-placed GND filter could have fixed that problem.

12. Bad composition

There are some basic rules of composition, and it’s worth knowing what they are. These are things like the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing. It’s also true that not every photo benefits by doggedly sticking to the rule of thirds, those photos that use minimalism for instance might not work so well. It is a good idea to know what composition techniques work though, and to look at how you can apply them to your photography. When you don’t do this you’ll begin your photographic journey with awkward composition mistakes.

Chloe, I miss you. This is quite a nice photo of this dog. The foot should not have been cut off though, and the angle is clearly from a standing position. Kneeling down might have worked better here.

Cut down on your photography errors!

As you’ll see, there are lots of photography errors you can make. Are there any on this list you’ve made? Perhaps there are other photography errors you’ve made while learning, and you can share them with the community here? As we all know, making mistakes is a part of the learning process.

So now it’s time to pick up the camera, and having read this article, hopefully you’ll know more of the photography errors to avoid!


The post 12 Photography Errors You’ll Make When You’re New to Photography appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Bond.

Fujifilm X-T30 review

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Fujifilm's X-T30 brings the same 26MP sensor, processor and 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 get Fujifilm's latest AF system, along with 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 were cut in order to make the X-T30 the less expensive of the two options a bit later in the review.

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 camera is available in silver, black and the graphite silver version shown in this review.

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.

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 (most of the time).

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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First impressions

Shooting with the X-T30 is a mixed bag. The results are great, but the ergonomics need work.

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Image quality

The X-T30's 26MP sensor offers great out-of-camera JPEGs and flexible Raw files.

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While not class-leading, the X-T30's AF system is speedy and reliable in most (but not all) situations.

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Put simply, you won't find a better video camera in this price range than the X-T30.

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Is the Fujifilm X-T30 right for you?

Whether you're a hardcore videographer, landscape photographer or a soccer mom, we've spelled out what the X-T30 is best suited for.

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Find out if the X-T30 is the midrange stills/video hybrid to beat.

Read more

Sample gallery

View real-world photos taken with the Fujifilm X-T30.

Read more

Choosing a camera Part 2: is a bigger sensor better?

When looking at pixel size, we saw that there's little difference between having a few large pixels and having lots of small ones, once you consider the whole image. This is because sensors have the opportunity to capture the same amount of light per-whole-image, regardless of how many pixels they have.

However, when looking for a new camera, there often is a way of getting more light and therefore better image quality: a larger sensor. This is because, at the same exposure settings, a large sensor is given the same amount of light per unit area, but has a greater sensor area capturing this light.

Key takeaways:

  • Two cameras with the same exposure receive the same light per square mm, and larger sensors have more square mm.
  • Every object in your scene will be projected onto more square mm of sensor if those two hypothetical cameras have the same field of view.
  • This means every object is described with more photons of light, which gives the potential for a cleaner image.
  • Differences in sensor performance mean one camera may over- or under-perform expectations but these differences are usually smaller than the differences made by changing formats.

The effect of sensor size:

In this instance we're comparing the Nikon D810 and the Nikon D7000, which have the same sized pixels but different sized sensors. The D810 has a full-frame sensor that's around 2.3x larger than the APS-C chip in the D7000.

ISO 1600
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D810 (resized: 16MP)
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ISO 3200
D810 whole frame
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D810 (resized: 16MP)
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ISO 6400
D810 whole frame
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D810 (resized: 16MP)
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ISO 12800
D810 whole frame
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D810 (resized: 16MP)
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As you might expect, the two cameras look similarly noisy at the pixel level because they received the same amount of light per square mm and each pixel is the same number of square mm.

But when you downscale the D810's images (as you would if you wanted to view or print at the same size), the benefit of its bigger sensor starts to appear.

Compare the D810's output to the D7000 image from one ISO setting lower and you'll see they look very similar, but with the D810 still a fraction ahead. This is consistent with the 1.2EV difference that the sensor size difference would lead you to expect.

Size differences outweigh performance differences

If shot from the same position, using a lens with the same angle-of-view, every object in the scene will be captured by a greater area on a bigger sensor, so with the same exposure a larger sensor will have more photons shone on it to describe the scene. As such it will tend to look cleaner if you view them at the same size.

There will be some differences in how well each sensor design can turn these photons into a digital signal (even though most modern sensors are excellent), but there are fairly large gaps between most popular sensor sizes, and these size differences tend to be greater than the differences made by sensor performance.

Now this might sound like bigger is always better. But it's not that simple...

2019 Pulitzer Prize photography award winners announced for Breaking News, Feature Photography

Editor's note: Some of the photographs in the winning selections are graphic in nature. We have taken the liberty to censor a few of the more graphic images and provide uncensored links in the gallery description, but even some of the uncensored images are tough to look at. Please keep this in mind when proceeding through the award-winning images.

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced, including two in their respective photography categories: the photography staff of Reuters for Breaking News Photography and Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post for Feature Photography. Both winners have been awarded $15,000 each.

The photography staff of Reuters was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their 'vivid and startling visual narrative of the urgency, desperation and sadness of migrants as they journeyed to the U.S. from Central and South America,' it was announced. The photography staff of Reuters was awarded the Feature Photography Pulitzer Prize in 2018, as well. Below is a gallery of the winning photographs in the Breaking News Photography category:

Reuters congratulated the winners on Monday. The publication's Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement:

While it’s gratifying to be recognized for the work, public attention should be focused more on the people about whom we report than on us: in this case, the Rohingya and the Central American migrants.

In addition, Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his 'brilliant photo storytelling of the tragic famine in Yemen, shown through images in which beauty and composure are intertwined with devastation.' The work was moved from the Breaking News Photography to the Feature Photography category by the Pulitzer jury. Below is a gallery of the winning photographs in the Feature Photography category:

Tugnoli was joined by Craig F. Walker of The Boston Globe and Maggie Steber and Lynn Johnson of National Geographic, who were nominated as finalists. In the Breaking News Photography category, the photography staff of Associated Press and Noah Berger, John Locher and Ringo H. W. Chiu of Associated Press were nominated as finalists.

Photo credit: Photos by their respective photographers/organizations, used with permission from the Pulitzer Prize organization

Aerial Time Lapse Basics with DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Specific Examples

The post Aerial Time Lapse Basics with DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Specific Examples appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

Drones can capture images and footage you might have only dreamed of in the past. Now that ability is easily extended to time lapse photography.

I prefer to refer to my drone as a flying camera. While there is certainly some fun to be had in the simple joy of flying around and looking at stuff from high up, I use my drone primarily to create images and footage with an eye toward cinematic appeal. Time lapse imagery can convey a sense of place that still images and videos lack.

The Basics

This post is written based on experience with the latest model DJI Mavic 2 Pro. While manufacturers differ how they handle time-lapse creation, the tips below are meant to introduce you to what’s available. Some tips will be specific for this model but I will also offer more tips for aerial time-lapse creation in general.

Some drone manufacturers will compile the time lapse video for you while others simply record each individual photo, allowing you to compile the video yourself.

It’s important to note that all experimentation and practice should be done in an open space, away from people, buildings, pets and in accordance with all laws and regulations for your location. I practiced over land many, many times before I felt confident using the automatic modes for time lapses over water.

Tips Before Getting Started

Check exposure and anticipate

Changing exposure during a timelapse shoot, be it on land or in the air, is often a tricky endeavor. I suggest, when getting started, to anticipate your lighting situation and not attempt to change exposure during a timelapse shoot if your drone allows it.

It can be difficult to make exposure adjustments depending on your brand of drone (and some don’t allow it at all) – it’s hard enough to safely fly a drone while shooting. Try not to add too much complexity on top of that.

Try different interval timings and drone speed, 2 seconds is a lot different than 10 seconds

The speed of your drone, distance to objects and the length of your interval will have a large impact on your time lapse. There’s a reason DJI limits the speed of the drone in certain modes (explained below) to 4.5MPH. Anything faster than that and the video shows way too much motion to be palatable.

But if you’re flying slow, a 10-second interval might be ideal for helping show the movement of slow-moving clouds or shadows.

Let me show you the difference between a 2-second interval (at 1.6MPH) and a 5-second interval (at 4.5MPH) while a drone circles me.

It’s going to take some experimenting to get it right.

Look at your total time to create 

DPS writer, Ryan Chylinski, explains the importance of shoot length in this helpful post. When flying a drone, it’s even more important to make sure you don’t run out of card space and that you judge the movement of your drone compared to the total time it will take to shoot your time lapse.

Will you cover too much ground? Will your drone still be in line-of-sight (which most countries require as part of drone flying regulations)? What obstacles might your drone encounter when flying that long?

Plan ahead to avoid simple mistakes.

Point one way, film another

Facing one direction while flying another can offer a dynamic look to your video, rather than simply flying straight ahead. You can use a backward facing drone to get a typical pull-back shot or point slightly off of perpendicular for a dolly shot, such as the sunrise below.

Leave yourself time to return home

Do you have enough battery to shoot and return?

This is one of the most important question to ask. Some drones will warn you, but some won’t.

I had a frightening experience when I misjudged distance and return time while shooting a time lapse over water and nearly lost my drone (and polluted the environment). Midway through the flight I aborted the shoot and returned with a safe margin of battery, but I lost the shot.

Work altitude shifts into your scene

Altitude shifts are a like using a typical slider, but on steroids. You’re not limited to the four or 10 feet of a ground-based slider so the changes can be over a much larger distance. You also don’t need to stay moving parallel to the ground the whole time.

Here’s a simple example of a pullback that covered about 1000ft over land/water while steadily climbing 140ft in altitude.

Fly smooth

Using a pre-built, computer-controlled mode, like the ones mentioned below, help ensure smooth flight and operation. If you are controlling your drone manually while shooting a time lapse, ensure that your movements are slow and steady, allowing for your camera to shoot enough photos for a smooth video.

Here’s an example of what happens when I panned down then up too fast while shooting.

Result: Ruined video. Also, to my liking, the pan left and right are too fast.

DJI’s different methods – What do they mean?

DJI fits all of their time lapse modes into a section it calls Hyperlapse. Hyperlapse is just a cool sounding phrase meaning a moving time lapse. The Hyperlapse modes will all shoot and compile the video for you, typically in 1080p and 25 frames per second. You can also choose to save the individual RAW files if you wish to use your own time lapse software.

Safety Note: While the drone uses its side, front, rear, top and bottom sensors to detect objects, it still requires your attention at all times. If it finds an object in its path, it will stop shooting. It is very important to remain in control of the drone and ready to intervene. In Course Lock and Waypoints modes, if you make any adjustment to the controls of the drone, it will exit those modes and stop shooting.

Course lock

Course lock is the mode I use most often and it’s the one I’m going to start with. It allows you to aim the drone in one direction for flight and then either point the camera any way you like, or choose a subject to be tracked.

You start by setting course and then the interval, video length and speed. Each item is set by first tapping it and then moving the slider accordingly.

Setting the course is as simple as pointing the drone in the direction you wish to go and tapping the lock icon next to interval, video length and speed. In this case, I pointed the drone directly at the sun. The little image of a lock means my course is locked.

Next, you’ll want to point the drone’s camera in the direction you want to film. Then adjust the shooting settings.

In this example, I left the interval at 2 seconds but then set the video length to 15 seconds.

With that change to video length and interval, the app shows me how many photos it will take and the length of shooting.

After that I set the speed to 3.4MPH.

All that is left is to hit GO and watch the scene unfold! (Notice the course lock section still shows the drone’s intended direction toward the sun.)


Free Mode is straight forward and gives you the most control. After setting the shooting interval and video length as you would in Course Lock Mode, you are free to fly any which way you please. Up, down, backward, forward, left and right.

But be warned: fast course changes or high speeds will cause your video to be anything less than smooth.

At any time you can press the C1 button (on the underside of the controller) to lock course and speed.

As Free Mode can be used while the drone is on the ground, you can actually use it as a still camera for time lapse.


As you saw in the videos up top, choosing your speed and interval is important for Circle Mode.

Start by setting the distance from your subject for your drone. Ensure the circle your drone will subscribe in the sky does not encounter any obstacles. If need be, adjust your drone’s height or distance from your subject to achieve the framing you desire.

Next, select Circle Mode from the Hyperlapse options.

Now set your interval, video length and speed as described in the Course Lock Mode. Then select the direction your drone will fly; either clockwise or counterclockwise.

Above these settings, the program will tell you how long the shoot will take and how many frames will be shot. In the example, that will be 5 minutes and 48 seconds to take 175 frames.

Most importantly, choose your subject! You do this by drawing a box on the screen by pressing and dragging until it highlights your subject.

Press GO and your drone will start snapping and moving. When it is finished, you will see a screen as the drone creates (synthesizes in DJI speak) the video.

In the example above, you will notice the path the drone took, which is a very pretty circle (with my initial flight path to get the drone in place mixed in). All Hyperlapse modes require this video synthesizing and the length of time depends on the number of shots. Until video creation is complete, you cannot take any photos or video, but you can fly the drone as normal.


Waypoints Mode is a bit trickier to work than the others, but offers a lot of control and unique results.

After selecting Waypoints Mode you will set your interval and video length as the other modes. You will then set the waypoints your drone will fly. You can set up to five waypoints and a minimum of two.

To do this, fly to the first waypoint, orient your view as you like and press the + symbol in the Hyperlapse tray at the bottom of the screen to lock that waypoint. Continue this method, flying to each waypoint and pressing +.

In this example, I have set two of my five waypoints and will continue adding until all five are set. The map on the left side shows each waypoint with a number and the direction the camera will face.

When you are finished plotting each waypoint, you have the choice to fly the waypoints in order marked or in reverse. If you choose “In Order”, the drone will fly itself to the first waypoint and begin. Otherwise, the drone will begin at the last waypoint selected and fly backwards (but will pay attention to your selected camera orientation for each waypoint).

While the drone flies, you will see the waypoints on the map along with a timer showing how long the drone has been flying and the total time it will fly the route. Next to that is the number of images taken followed by the total images to be shot.

More Examples

Course Lock while facing perpendicular to flight path

Course Lock while flying backward

Course Lock while flying backward with an upward pan for clouds


Time Lapse videos from a drone offer a unique and sometimes challenging option. They take planning not only to consider the subject matter and lighting, but also for the safe operation of your drone while it is taking photos.

Each mode offers different options and it’s best to play with them in a safe environment to get the hang of what you can accomplish.

Have fun and post some examples as you try out this technique. I’d love to see them!

The post Aerial Time Lapse Basics with DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone Specific Examples appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Peter West Carey.

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