Ashley Roberts for Fault Magazine
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 14:00:00 ZFujifilm X-H1 versus X-T2: what does the new camera bring?
The Fujifilm X-H1 sits at the top of the company's APS-C lineup, lifting expectations and capabilities beyond what was offered by the X-T2 that previously held the position.
The price and feature set, as much as Fujifilm's claims, make clear that it's an additional model, rather than a replacement. So just what's changed? What's been added and who does the new model make sense for?
The X-T2 offers 4K video, but the X-H1 takes things to a different level.
Virtually every aspect of the X-H1's video feature set is upgraded compared to the X-T2. Thanks to its larger internal volume it can shoot 4K for longer (15 mins compared to 10), and while the two cameras both impose a modest 1.17X crop, the X-H1 boasts a maximum bitrate of 200Mbps and the option to shoot F-Log internally.
The X-H1's new 'Eterna' film simulation preset is intended to provide a quick and easy way to shoot gradeable, wide dynamic range video footage. For the first time, you can apply dynamic range 'DR' expansion settings in video mode on the X-H1, too. When combined with the DR400%, setting, Fujifilm says that footage shot using the Eterna preset should deliver a total of 12EV of dynamic range.
Less obvious improvements, but equally significant to serious videographers include a video-specific shutter speed of 1/48sec, which will give a 360, 180 and 90 degree shutter angle for 24, 30 and 60p footage. If you don't know what that means, don't worry about it. But if you do, you'll appreciate it. Likewise support for time code display, and silent touch operation, which enables exposure control via the rear touch-screen.
Missing are any kind of exposure warnings, which (we're told) would put too much stress on the X-H1's processor.
Revamped AF system
While it uses the same 24MP APS-C X-Trans sensor as the X-T2, the X-H1's on-sensor phase-detection autofocus system has been seriously upgraded. The most obvious improvements are to low-light sensitivity and focus tracking. The X-H1 can now focus down to -1EV (compared to the X-T2's limit of 0.5EV) and phase-detection AF should work even at effective apertures as small as F11 - i.e. when shooting at the long end of the XF100-400mm F4.5-5.6 zoom, when combined with a 2X tele-converter.
In terms of tracking, Fujifilm quotes a substantial increase in autofocus hit-rate when faced with low contrast subjects and more reliable tracking during continuous bursts of images. Unlike the X-T2, the X-H1 can also continuously focus while zooming. Both the X-T2 and X-H1's autofocus systems look for horizontal, vertical and high-frequency detail, but whereas in the X-T2, this information is processed in series, the X-H1's AF system benefits from parallel data processing. Quite how Fujifilm has managed this without upgrading the X-H1's processor (which is the same as the one used in the X-T2) is a mystery to us, but it's impressive.
New body design
In terms of its external appearance, the X-H1 looks like a mid-point between the X-T2 and the medium-format GFX 50S. And in a sense (apart from the APS-C sensor) that's exactly what it is. Fuji intends the X-H1 to be more 'friendly' to DSLR users, hence the larger grip and top-plate mounted LCD. The LCD squeezed out the traditional Fujifilm exposure compensation dial, but exposure compensation (if applied) is permanently displayed on the LCD, even when the X-H1 is turned off.
Bigger, heavier, tougher
The X-H1 is a bigger camera than the X-T2 (140 x 97 x 86mm versus 132 x 92 x 49mm) and substantially heavier (673g versus 507g - with a card and battery). The magnesium-alloy body shell of the X-H1 is 25% thicker than the X-T2, too. It's also more scratch-resistant, and substantially stronger. As well as being physically stronger, the X-H1's body is well sealed against the elements, with 68 seals around body seams and control points.
Quiet mechanical shutter
The X-H1's shutter has been redesigned to offer a damped mechanical shutter mode, and electronic first-curtain (EFC) to reduce any risk of shutter shock.
The other advantage is that this makes the shutter itself quieter. In use, both the X-T2 and X-H1 are pretty discreet cameras, but the X-H1 definitely has the edge in situations where the click of a shutter would be unwelcome.
The X-T2's electronic viewfinder is excellent, and the X-H1's EVF is even better. It's fractionally smaller than the X-T2's finder (0.75X magnification compared to 0.77X) but brighter, and it offers a higher resolution of 3.69 million dots (compared to 2.36 million). A subtle but welcome improvement is the increased responsiveness of the eye-sensor, too. The X-H1's eye sensor can react in as little as 0.15sec, when your eye is raised to the finder (compared to the X-T2's 0.4sec).
Touch-sensitive rear LCD
The X-H1 features the same articulating 1.04 million-dot rear LCD as the X-T2, but it's touch-sensitive, allowing you to do all kinds of things, including place your desired AF point by touch, and quickly review and zoom into captured images with a fingertip.
The touchscreen also enables the X-H1's silent movie shooting operation, which is intended to avoid the vibration and potential for operational noise associated with mechanical click dials and buttons.
Despite claiming in the past that it couldn't be done, Fujifilm has added a 5-axis in-body stabilization system to the X-H1. In general, Fujifilm's faster primes - without OI.S. - should offer slightly better stabilization as a result of their larger imaging circle, but ~5EV of correction will be achievable with almost all XF lenses. The X-H1's IBIS also works in video mode, which makes it more useful for 'run and gun' shooting, for example with the company's excellent new MKX cine zooms.
New in the X-series is flicker reduction for stills shooting. We've seen this function before in high-end DSLRs, and it works very similarly here: analyzing the fluctuation in brightness of certain artificial light-sources and timing exposure for the peak brightness. This avoids constantly fluctuating brightness when images shot in the same continuous burst. Continuous shooting speed is capped at 7fps in this mode with electronic first-curtain shutter, and 5.5fps with conventional mechanical shutter.
Most useful when shooting indoor sports, flicker reduction is another feature that either you need it or you don't, but if you do, you really do.
Dynamic Range Priority mode
Fujifilm has been putting 'DR' dynamic range expansion settings in its mirrorless and compact cameras for years, but the X-H1 expands on this (no pun intended) with a 'Dynamic Range Priority' mode.
This has two settings: weak and strong, which use the camera's existing DR modes in combination with flattening of the highlight and shadow ends of the tone curve. This gives a flatter, wider DR version of DR200 and DR400% modes, respectively. There's also an 'Auto' setting that selects which level to apply.
Bluetooth + Wi-Fi
As well as built-in Wi-Fi, the X-H1 also includes low energy Bluetooth (BLE) for full-time connection to a smart device. This can either be used to auto-transfer all the images to your smartphone (either at full resolution or as 3MP downsized versions), when you turn the camera off.
Alternatively the Bluetooth connection should make it faster to reconnect the Wi-Fi if you want to choose which files to send.
Same sized battery
The X-H1 has been beefed-up in many respects, compared to the X-T2, but it still features the same battery. In one sense this is great news for X-T2 owners who might be thinking about upgrading to the X-H1, or adding one to their kit. However, the additional demands of the IS system sees the battery life take a small hit, compared to the older model. The X-H1's CIPA rated battery life is 310 exposures per charge, compared to 340 from the X-T2.
The additional video features mean the X-H1 has even greater appeal to stills/video shooters than the already capable X-T2. However, the in-body image stabilization is in itself going to make the X-H1 look more attractive to some stills-only shooters.
As we've already seen in the comments, the increased size of the X-H1 is somewhat divisive. There are certainly ergonomic benefits to the larger grip but does mean the camera as a whole is substantially larger than previous X-series models. That said, Fujifilm's range of APS-C specific lenses mean the combination of lens and camera is still smaller than the (often more basic) full frame models available around the same price.
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:18:00 ZTiffen announces foot operated gas-lift Steadicam Air monopod
Tiffen has joined the monopod market with the new Steadicam Air line, which uses a gas spring and a foot pedal to help photographers quickly and easily adjust the monopod's height.
The Steadicam Air is a three-section carbon fibre model that features a foot pedal close to the base that, when pressed, assists in lifting the mounted camera to the desired height. The monopod will come in two configurations to hold either 25lb or 15lb, and are suitable for both still and movie photographers.
Of the three sections, one uses a twist lock that allows the top of the monopod to rotate about 360°, while the other two are spring loaded for lifting the camera. A large rubber foot makes it easy to angle monopod without it slipping across the floor.
Here's a look at the Steadicam Air in action:
The Steadicam Air-25 is available now for $500, while the Steadicam Air-15 will go on sale "at a later date" with a price of $400. For more information, head over to the Tiffen website.
THE TIFFEN COMPANY INTRODUCES THE STEADICAM AIR
A Lightweight Carbon Fiber Pneumatic Monopod for Photographers and Cinematographers
Steadicam, a division of The Tiffen Company and Master Cinematographers teamed up to release the Steadicam Air, a revolutionary monopod that is gas lift activated by a foot pedal for adjustable height.
Setting a new standard, the Steadicam Air brings versatility back to the monopod. With its gas lift spring, the Air makes it easy for professional photographers and cinematographers to raise their heights and never miss a moment. Available in two different configurations, a 25 lb and soon after a 15 lb weight capacity, the Air is the perfect complement for professional image-makers to stabilize and support their equipment.
What sets the Steadicam Air apart from any other monopod is that it’s gas lift and spring activated. Weighing only 3.5 lbs, the Steadicam Air is made up of three sections including one twist leg lock that allows for a 360 degree rotation. The height adjustment is activated by the rubberized foot pedal which allows for a non-slip operation.
Made of carbon fiber, the Steadicam Air is lightweight and compact making it easy for travel. The Air is accompanied by a deluxe carrying bag with added protection and an ergonomic shoulder strap. It is ideal for nature, wildlife, sports, wedding, venue photographers and cinematographers alike.
The Steadicam Air-25 will be available on February 2, 2018 for $499 USD. The Steadicam Air-15 will available at a later date for $399 USD.
- 100% gas lift, spring activated height adjustable monopod – activated by adjustable foot pedal
- Made of Lightweight Carbon Fiber
- 3 – Section Monopod with 1 – twist leg lock
- Allows for full 360 degree rotation without compromise
- Ergonomic foam padded grip point with debossed Steadicam branding on the handle
- Removable aluminum top plate with reversible screw thread allowing for 1/4in-20 and 3/8in-16
- Oversized rubber foot giving you extra stability connected to ball point
- Quick twist rubberized leg grips
- Non-slip, rubberized foot pedal allows for easy grip operation. Pedal also folds up with travel purposes and quick transport
- Collapsed Height = 28in
- Fully Extended Height = 62.5in
- Sleek red accents
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 19:02:00 ZKodak Alaris is bringing back T-Max P3200 high-speed B&W film
Film photographers are celebrating today after news broke that Kodak Alaris will resurrect another popular product: Kodak T-Max P3200 high-speed black-and-white film. After teasing the resurrection on Twitter, a brief press release confirmed the news this morning, revealing that the debut will happen some time next month.
Kodak originally discontinued T-Max P3200 film in October of 2012 due to a severe drop in demand, directing its customers toward the T-Max 400 as an alternative. However, the film photography market has seen an increase in demand over the last few years, and Kodak Alaris is using that demand as proof that products like T-Max P3200 and the soon-to-be-rereleased Ektachrome film deserve another shot.
The 'rebirth' of T-Max P3200 began on social media. In a tweet posted yesterday, Kodak shared an image that reads "Are you in the dark?" followed by a series of numbers that total 3200. The combination hinted at the T-Max P3200 film, which Kodak says can be push processed up to ISO 25,000.
Though the company didn't provide any additional details via that tweet, someone did spot an image shared by Australian film store Ikigai Camera on its Instagram account. The image—which has since been removed, hinting at an 'accidental' leak—showed the T-Max P3200 film box alongside the words, "Welcome back March 2018."Screenshot from the Kodak Alaris website.
Fortunately, it's not just teasers and leaks anymore. The company followed up the unofficial news with an official announcement earlier today, saying it will begin shipping the product to US stockhouse dealers and distributors starting in March, followed by other markets "shortly thereafter."
The company says the resurrected film is best suited for handheld street photography, as well as night shots and work in any "dimly lit venues where you can't use a flash."
Kodak Alaris Revives KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film / TMZ
Multi-Speed B&W Film to be Available in March, 2018
ROCHESTER, N.Y. February 23, 2018 –Kodak Alaris announced today that it is bringing back KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film / TMZ, a multi-speed panchromatic black-and-white negative film. While the nominal film speed of P3200 TMZ is ISO 800, the “P” means it’s designed to be push processed to EI 3200 or higher. This film excels when shooting in low light or when capturing fast action. It is ideally suited for handheld street scene photography, night work, and in dimly lit venues where you can’t use flash.
“It’s no secret that we’ve been looking for opportunities to expand our portfolio” said Dennis Olbrich, President – Kodak Alaris Paper, Photo Chemicals and Film. “Darkroom photography is making a comeback, and B&W Film sales are clearly on a positive trajectory. Given these very encouraging market trends, we believe P3200 TMZ will be a great addition to our lineup”.
Kodak Alaris plans to offer KODAK PROFESSIONAL T-MAX P3200 Film in 135-36x format. Shipments to Distributors and Stockhouse dealers will begin in March in the U.S., with other regions around the world following shortly thereafter.
To learn more, please visit www.kodakalaris.com/go/profilms
Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/kodakprofessional
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:40:00 ZEx-Lexar execs have launched a new memory card company, here's why you should care
ProGrade Digital is a brand new memory card brand founded by former executives of memory maker Lexar.
In June 2017 parent company Micron unexpectedly announced the end of Lexar, but the brand was shortly after acquired by Chinese company Longsys. Now, a group of former executives from both managerial and technical backgrounds has teamed up to produce and market high-quality memory cards, directly competing with Lexar itself and other high-profile storage brands, such as SanDisk.
Initially the new company will offer two lines of cards: The CFast 2.0 cards will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacities for $230, $350, and $700, respectively, and offer transfer speeds up to 550MB/sec. The UHS-II SD-card line comes in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities for $55, $95, and $190, respectively, delivering speeds of up to 200MB/sec.
ProGrade says the controllers in all cards are optimized for use in professional cameras, and will each be tested from component-level down to individual memory chips before leaving the factory. Add a three year warranty into the mix, and the new cards look like an enticing alternative to the established brands for photographers who demand maximum reliability.
The brand was officially announced last week, but rather than simply cover the news, we decided to send ProGrade a few questions instead. Specifically, we wanted to know what sets the brand apart, how they expect to compete with the big guys, and why they started the company in the first place.
Mark Lewis, Vice President Marketing for ProGrade Digital, was kind enough to answer these questions:
Do we really need another memory card company?
Yes. With Micron’s sale of the Lexar brand and Western Digital’s purchase of SanDisk, there seems to be a shift in market focus for these two iconic brands and the future is uncertain.
Their decisions to realign product lines and focus solely on higher margin industrial and OEM SKUs opens up an opportunity for a new player—one with laser-focus on the professional market and whose intent it is to fill the void and service this market of professional photo, video and cinema customers. We at ProGrade Digital are that new digital memory card company who will champion their cause.
How will your company be different than the rest?
We bring several competitive advantages to help us stand apart. First, it’s about the people involved. At the executive and engineering level our team brings extensive experience, having worked for numerous years with leading components suppliers and vendors in the design and delivery of precision products specifically for this niche. Our marketing and sales group also has deep roots within the imaging industry, including professionals who not only produce still and motion capture for ProGrade Digital, but who also regularly create for private clients. Plus we acknowledge our growing family of influencers and ambassadors from both the still and motion capture worlds, individuals whom you will soon be reading more about.
The second way that we will stand apart from the competition is our product. I’ve already touched on the fact that, through our past employment, we bring a deep level of experience having built integrity into both the Lexar and SanDisk product lines. Our work here with ProGrade Digital not only lets us expand upon that foundation but, as a smaller firm, we now have the latitude and drive to make even better products specifically for the imaging markets. Two such ProGrade Digital imaging industry firsts include 100 percent in-factory test (to help us sustain a goal of zero percent failure), plus laser-etched serial numbers on each memory card. The serial number enables us to track firmware, controller and memory type. This ability to track a card’s manufacture gives us one more tool for being that much more proactive when it comes to supporting our customer base.
Other product strengths: as executive members of the SD Association and Compact Flash Association (CFA) we work with device manufacturers and other industry leaders on the development of new technologies. ProGrade Digital products are competitively priced, and distribution is limited so that we may preserve quality and control, plus maintain a direct relationship with our customer.
How can a David hope to compete against a Goliath?
If you know the story about David and Goliath you may recall that, despite Goliath’s physical size, level of experience and massive army to back him up, it was a young, small and nimble David who took precise aim and used the right weapon. ProGrade Digital is tightly focusing on a customer that we know, and specifically developing best-in-class products able to meet the needs of the professional imaging market.
What's the future for card form factors such as SD, CFast, CFexpress and XQD?
The future for all memory cards continues to evolve. It is difficult to predict exactly what will happen to any particular form-factor, but the standards work currently being developed by the two memory card associations will help drive the direction.
Specifically, plans are in the works to move to the PCIe interface; the PCIe interface will allow for speeds to advance beyond some of the limits of the SATA interface. Of particular note are efforts being done by the Compact Flash Association (CFA) on the CFexpress form-factor. Their work has support from the major device manufacturers, and ProGrade Digital is at the forefront of those developments. As new standards gain in popularity, I believe that we will see some current form-factors slowly begin to phase out.
A big thank you to Mark for taking the time to answer these questions. If you want to learn more about this new memory card company or browse through ProGrade's whole product line, head over to the ProGrade Digital website.
ProGrade Digital Launches New Line of Professional-Quality Memory Cards and Card Readers for Use with Digital Cameras, Camcorders and Cinema Cameras
Former Lexar Executives Start New Company: Pledge to Focus on Developing and Marketing Products of Superior Performance, Quality and Reliability
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Feb 15, 2018 8:00 am EST-ProGrade Digital, anew company founded on a mission to provide the highest quality, professional grade memory cards and workflow solutions available, today announced a new line of products designed to uniquely fill the needs of today’s high-end DLSRs, camcorders and digital cinema cameras. Memory cards will be offered in a variety of formats and industry-leading capacities. The company will also design and market a selection of card readers, starting with a CFast & SD Dual Slot Workflow Reader that boasts a USB 3.0, Gen. 2 transfer protocol. ProGrade Digital’s new memory cards and card readers will become available in the month of February at www.progradedigital.com, Amazon.com and B&H Photo and Video
ProGrade Digital was founded by former executives from Lexar who held management or technical leadership positions at the company recognized as the pioneer in memory card development for digital photography. The team has more than 60 years of combined experience in the design, development and manufacture of memory cards gained while working for Lexar, SanDisk and other firms. Leveraging its experience and industry relationships, the team will focus exclusively on developing and marketing memory cards, card readers and software optimized for use within professional cinema and photography markets.
“Our goal is to be the professional’s source for top performing, professional grade memory cards and workflow solutions,” says Wes Brewer, founder and CEO of ProGrade Digital. “We will be committed to focusing our efforts on the digital imaging pro who is meticulous about his equipment and workflow-delivering the best service, plus best product quality and reliability.”
Memory Card Key Features
- Professional-level capacities for CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II memory cards
- Optimized controllers specifically designed for use in professional-grade cameras
- Rigorous full-card testing with serialized tracking of key components and manufacturing data for the highest quality control
- Component-level testing down to individual memory chips for optimal quality
- 3-year warranty
Card Reader Key Features
- Dual slot reader for CFast 2.0 and SDXC UHS-II card formats
- USB 3.0 Gen. 2 transfer speed of up to 10Gb/second
- Supports concurrent full-speed flow of data from cards in each slot
- Portable and compact
- Includes two 18″ connection cables: one for Type A to Type C and one for Type C to Type C
- Magnetized reader bottom firmly connects reader to laptop (using included metal mounting plate)
- 2-year warranty
ProGrade Digital memory cards are designed to provide the highest levels of performance, quality and reliability in high-end DSLRs, camcorders and digital cinema cameras from manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, Sony and Blackmagic.
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:17:00 ZSigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art will cost just $1,300, seriously undercuts Nikon
When Sigma announced the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens, the company held off on sharing pricing or availability. Fortunately, Sigma didn't make us wait long, revealing today that the ultra-wide angle zoom will ship in mid-March for the very reasonable price of $1,300.
Sigma is not being bashful about this lens. The press release announcing the price and availability of the new Art lens reads:
Designed for 50-megapixel plus cameras, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art achieves the legendary Art lens sharpness with three FLD glass elements, three SLD glass elements, and three aspherical lens elements, including one 80mm high precision molded glass aspherical element. With near zero distortion (less than 1%) and minimal transverse chromatic aberration, flare and ghosting, the new Sigma 14-24mm offers constant F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom range and delivers optimal image quality at every focal length and shooting distance. The high-speed, high-accuracy autofocus allows photographers to capture incredible, in-the-moment images that set a new standard in the era of outstanding high-resolution.
Here are a few sample images from Sigma that purport to show off this optical prowess:
The lens is available in Canon, Nikon, and Sigma mounts, with the Canon version boasting compatibility with Canon's Lens Aberration Correction function and the Nikon version featuring a brand new electromagnetic diaphragm. All mount options also feature Sigma's "Sport line level dust- and splash-proof design."
It seems Canon users have a new ultra-wide zoom option, while Nikon users have been handed 600 very good reasons to consider the brand-new Sigma over Nikon's own 11-year-old AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm F2.8G ED that goes for $1,900.
Sigma Announces Pricing & Availability for Its New 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art Lens
The ultra-wide angle zoom will begin shipping in mid-March for a retail price of $1,299.00 USD
Ronkonkoma, NY – February 23, 2018 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced that the latest addition to its Sigma Global Vision lens offerings, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art, will be available in mid-March for $1,299.00 USD through authorized US retailers. Designed for 50-megapixel plus cameras, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art achieves the legendary Art lens sharpness with three FLD glass elements, three SLD glass elements, and three aspherical lens elements, including one 80mm high precision molded glass aspherical element. With near zero distortion (less than 1%) and minimal transverse chromatic aberration, flare and ghosting, the new Sigma 14-24mm offers constant F2.8 brightness throughout the zoom range and delivers optimal image quality at every focal length and shooting distance. The high-speed, high-accuracy autofocus allows photographers to capture incredible, in-the-moment images that set a new standard in the era of outstanding high-resolution.
In addition to outstanding optical performance, the 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art features the Sports line level dust- and splash-proof design with special sealing at the mount connection, manual focus ring, zoom ring and cover connection, allowing for the lens to be used during varying weather conditions.
The new Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art lens supports Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts and works with Sigma’s MC-11 Sony E-mount converter. The Nikon mount features brand new electromagnetic diaphragm, whereas the Canon mount is compatible with the Canon Lens Aberration Correction function.
Full technical specifications can be found on the Sigma website at: https://www.sigmaphoto.com/14-24mm-f2-8-dg-hsm-a.
Digital Photography School
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000How to Compress Time Into One Photo
Throughout the history of photography, many photographers have blended multiple exposures into one final image. Obviously, they didn’t shoot the exposures at the same time, but at some interval to achieve something.
One really common purpose is to remove people by shooting several photos and making sure that all areas are covered without any people and then blend all the images into one image. Another purpose of shooting multiple images is bracketing for HDR. Yet a different purpose is to compress a long time into one photo.
In this article, you will learn how to make an image that compresses a long time-span into one image. It is a bit like a time-lapse movie sequence, but instead of making a movie you create one final image.
Like in time-lapse photography you will shoot several photos shot over a period of preferably several hours to see a change in the scenery. To make it more interesting, you shoot the photos during a change of light, like from daylight to nighttime. When you put such photos together, you get something really fascinating.
To be able to make such a photo you must have a camera and a tripod or similar device. While you shoot, you need to avoid touching the camera more than you have to. Therefore a cable release or remote trigger is recommended.
You will be standing still for several hours and the temperature will most likely change quite a bit. Remember to bring clothes for a change of temperature.
Where to Shoot
In theory, you can shoot these kinds of photos anywhere and of anything. But since you are putting a lot of time into one single image, it is recommended that you have an excellent composition of an interesting scene.
When to shoot
You should shoot when the light changes the most, which is from daytime to nighttime or the other way around. It is this change that will make it into a remarkable photo. If you just shoot for four hours around midday, you will get a midday photo.
How to Shoot
When you shoot photos that you intend to blend into one final image, it is essential that you make sure to have an almost identical composition in each frame. You can do that by stabilizing your camera, typically on a tripod. Minor pixel shift differences can be handled later in the post-processing phase, but big differences in the composition will be really hard, if not impossible to blend.
You can either use a remote control to trigger the camera for each shot or put the camera into a time-lapse mode. The advantage of triggering the shutter release remotely yourself is that you can time your shots if something interesting happens.
As the light changes, you will need to change the camera settings.
During the daytime put your camera in Aperture Priority mode at ISO 100 and set the aperture around f/8. This mode makes sure that the images have the same depth of field and therefore are identical, except for the change of light. Do a couple of trial shots to make sure you don’t blow out the highlights or the shadows. If the image is too bright or dark, use the exposure compensation to adjust.
As it gets darker, the camera will make longer exposures and when you hit the 30-second mark, you will need to increase the ISO. You will typically end up at ISO 800 or 1600.
You most likely want to switch off autofocus before it gets dark. It depends on the scenery. City photos often offer good low light autofocus points, while the contrast disappears in landscape photos and makes autofocus impossible. Alternatively, you can use Back Button Focus.
How many photos do you need?
You need at least two different photos, but any number larger than one will work. For my photo of Sydney, I used a couple of night shots. For the morning part, I only used two.
If you shoot the “many people” variation, you will need photos with interesting people in all those areas you want to be populated with people. For the photo of Manarola, Italy I used approximately 60 photos from a batch of around 200.
How to handle high dynamic range?
Some situations are hard or impossible to capture in one exposure because the dynamic range gets too high. Typically this happens in nighttime city photos or if the sun enters the frame. The difference between the strong light source and the shadows is too great to capture in one single exposure.
In these situations, you must either switch to Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) or do some manual exposure compensation.
How to blend the photos
You can use any layer-based photo editing tool to blend the photos together. I will demonstrate using Photoshop, but Photo Affinity, GIMP or any other similar photo editing tools can do the same.
The overall process is to pick one of the good photos from the shoot as the base photo. Then you handpick a set of other photos that you want to blend into the base image.
The technique you are going to use to blend is called “Layer Masking”.
Put all the photos you have picked into an empty folder on your computer. JPEGs are fine, but you can also use RAW files.
Pick your base photo and open that in Photoshop.
Pick another photo with different light. Load that in into Photoshop by dragging the file onto the base image. Position the photo and press enter.
Notice that you now only see the top layer.
Add a mask to the top image, by selecting the top layer and clicking Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. You have now added a Black Mask. Notice that you can now see the lower image layer again.
Select the layer mask by clicking on the black mask and then select the brush tool. Select white as your brush color and set the opacity to around 50% and hardness to 0%. You want to work with a BIG soft brush for most stuff. When you need to do more detailed work, increase hardness to around 50%.
Start painting in some areas and see how the image changes. Each time you click the mouse and paint in an area, the more the top image becomes visible. Play around until you see something you find interesting.
Add more photos by dragging them into Photoshop one at a time and make sure the new layer is the top one. You can drag it to the top of the stack if it is not. Then repeat steps 4-6 again.
The final image
In the end, you will end up with several layers containing photos from which you have used bits and pieces, to create your own unique and quite fascinating image. In the image of the idyllic alp town of Hallstatt in Austria, I used 18 photos to create my image.
Additional things to consider
8-bit or 16-bit?
Normally you should never use 8-bit mode for image editing, but if you are blending 20+ photos, you will run into serious performance issues at 16-bit, even with a high-performance computer. One workaround is to use 8-bit at the cost of image quality. You can change the mode by going to Image > Mode > 8-bit/Channel. The downside of using 8-bit is that you may end up having banding which is when you can see the colors transition from one to the other (they do not graduate smoothly).
You have probably had to adjust the camera while shooting and most likely you will find that the images are slightly misaligned. It may not be more than a pixel or two.
You use the Move Layer tool to micro adjust the misaligned layer using the arrow keys.
Addition tip – try to make more than one final image from the same photos, by switching around the night and day photos.
Sat, 24 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop
Do you want to make sure you get the most details out of your shot? How about making sure none of your post-processing is destructive? It sounds like a really smart way to set up your workflow right?
A workflow is a process that goes from initiation to completion. In the case of photography, that implies from the time of shooting to post-processing. So the first thing you need to do is to ALWAYS shoot in RAW mode. This is a format that changes file extension with every manufacturer but they all share one common thing: raw files store all the un-processed and un-compressed data received on the sensor of your camera when you make a picture.
Why shoot RAW?
What is the point of that? Well this means that your file can tolerate more post-processing adjustments and that you can alter some of the settings from the image in a non-destructive way.
As I mentioned before, RAW files have different file extensions and therefore need special software to process them. Your camera surely came with a software that handles your files. However, in this article, I am going to show you how to get the most out of them in Photoshop which supports most raw formats either by default or by using a plug-in.
When you open a RAW file in Photoshop you will see that you can adjust the image with the sliders on the tool palette on the right. Start moving those around to recover the most detail you can from both the highlights and the shadows so you can even out the exposure as much as possible. You can also control the tone of the white balance, the saturation and vibrancy of the colors, and so on.
Tweak the image using the sliders and local adjustments in ACR
Once you have the overall settings adjusted, you can start working the settings in different areas to fine-tune your image.
Use the Adjustment Brush that you’ll find in the Menu bar on the top; you can change its settings like size and hardness on the right. Whatever adjustments you make to contrast or exposure will be applied only to the part where you paint with the brush. This is very useful when you are processing images with a lot of contrast. You can keep going with the other tools like the gradient for other local adjustments.
Open as a Smart Object
If you are already familiar with processing RAW files, these are likely your normal post-processing steps, after which you would click the Open Image button so that the photo opens in Photoshop with the applied adjustments. However, there is one more step you can add to your process to really make your images pop. You can open your photo as a Smart Object.
Here’s how to do it. Instead of clicking Open Image, just press the Shift key and that same button will become Open Object, now you can click it. Having done this, the image will open in Photoshop as a Layer. Now right-click the layer thumbnail and choose New Smart Object via Copy and a second layer, containing a second smart object will be created.
IMPORTANT: Don’t just duplicate the layer or you won’t be able to process them independently; every adjustment would be applied to both smart objects!
You can now rename the layers to identify which adjustments you are going to do in each one. For example, I’m doing Highlights and Shadows for my image but maybe for another image, it’s better to call the layers Background and Foreground, it depends on your image and what it needs.
The cool part about Smart Objects is that when you double-click the layer, it will open again in the RAW editor, which means that you are back to all the data to keep processing without loss. You can make the adjustments that you need for a specific part of the image.
Now that you have done the best post-processing for each part is time to integrate it all into one amazing picture! Add a mask to the top layer by clicking the Layer Mask button on the bottom of the Layers Palette. With the layer mask selected you can start hiding the parts you don’t need. Remember that whatever appears in black on the mask means that you will see the layer underneath; whatever is white will show the top layer. I’ll turn off the bottom layer so that you can see what I mean below.
If you find it necessary, you can keep going with your adjustments, as you would normally do in Photoshop. You can add a filter or adjustment layer by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of the Layers Palette. Have a look at these before and after examples!
The post How to Create with a Good Workflow Using Smart Objects in Photoshop by Ana Mireles appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000Weekly Photography Challenge – Headshots
You don’t need a fancy studio or lights to do good headshots, but there are a few things you need to get right like the lighting and posing.
Here are some tips for both to help with this week’s challenge:
- How to Make Headshots That Glow
- 3 Reasons to do Headshots with Natural Light
- How to Pose People for Headshots
- 3 Steps to Professional-Looking Headshots Using One Flash
- Video Tutorials – Portrait Posing Tips
Weekly Photography Challenge – Headshots
Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge. Sometimes it takes a while for an image to appear so be patient and try not to post the same image twice.
Share in the dPS Facebook Group
You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.
Fri, 23 Feb 2018 13:00:00 +0000Video Tutorials – Portrait Posing Tips
Taking portraits is a challenging genre of photography, but add in posing and it can seem insurmountable if you’re just starting out in photography. Here are three videos I found to help you with some portrait posing tips. Practice with a friend and see tell us how it goes.
How to pose a single portrait
In this video excerpt from a Lynda.com class, you’ll see how the photographer works with a single model. She helps him get comfortable in front of the camera and create poses that are flattering to him.
How to pose (direct) couples
In this video from Mango Street, you will see how to gently direct a couple in how to pose. Giving them a few suggestions and tips and letting them fall into their own comfortable pose makes the images look more natural.
How to pose people to get rid of a double chin
Finally, in this last video, photographer Joe Edelman shows several tips for posing to flatter your subject and get rid of or minimize a double chin. Where you position the camera is also important, taking a higher position can be helpful for posing.
Thu, 22 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +00005 Tips for Doing Photography in National Parks
I am a national parks buff – I mean I am really crazy about traveling to national parks all over the world. As a family, we have been known to pack our bags at the drop of a hat, load up the car and head out for a visit to our fabulous national parks. National parks provide some of the best landscapes and vistas you can find.
Because much of the land and natural resources are protected, you really get to see nature at its very best. There is so much to see, do, explore, and of course, photograph. Photography in national parks offers incredible opportunities to create some amazing photos and memories!
Additionally, there are a huge number of photographers who make a living photographing landscapes, animals, and vistas in these national parks – talk about it being a dream job.
But photography in the national parks is not an easy slam-dunk. There is a lot of preparing to do before and during a photography trip to a national park. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a trip to photograph your favorite national park.
#1 Preparation for a national park photography trip
Let’s just start from the very basics on how to prepare for a trip to photograph national parks. First and foremost, the National Park Service in the United States has a certain set of rules and guidelines for photography in the national parks. Before you plan a trip specifically for photography, make sure you have familiarized yourself with the latest rules and regulations.
This article in Backpacker Magazine is quite informative, but if you are confused on what is allowed and not allowed, feel free to call the park services directly. The rangers in almost all the parks we have visited have been very well informed and are very helpful with rules around photography. In a nutshell:
- Drones essentially are banned from National Parks and if caught, you can be fined.
- Permits are not needed if you are using basic tools (tripod, camera, and a lens) to photograph vistas that are accessible to the public.
- Permits are needed for commercial filming (still and video) and sets that involve props and/or models.
- You will likely need a permit to enter an area not accessible to the public.
- Backcountry rules may differ from front country rules, so definitely call the park to confirm.
Keep in mind that these rules are applicable for parks here in the US. If you are traveling outside the US, check with the local park authorities and/or check in other travel forums. Being prepared is an added bonus that will really pay off in the long run. The last thing you want is to get to your location only to find out that you don’t have the right paperwork and/or permit.
For example, parks and historic monuments in India that require an entrance fee have specific fees for Indians versus foreign tourists and an additional fee per camera (still and video). Some places don’t even allow camera bags and tripods – you have to check your camera bag pack into a locker prior to entry to the park.
#2 Rules and Regulations – Dos and Don’ts
Along the lines of rules and regulations, there are some basic dos and don’ts when it comes to visiting and photographing inside national parks. Most parks are very good about letting you know what is allowed and what is not allowed. Signs, posters, and even handouts are available in plain sight. Playing ignorance is not an option and isn’t going to let you off the hook.
Stay away from wildlife and help them remain wild
My friend works for the Yellowstone National park and every spring she puts up this message on her Facebook page, “Welcome to the season of the crazies. May this season be shorter than the last!”
While it might be amusing and make you smile, this is quite serious to the men and women who work at Yellowstone. People (a.k.a visitors and some photographers) seem to want to go to any lengths to get a selfie or award-winning photograph with bison, bears, and the hot thermal features that Yellowstone is so famous for.
People have lost their lives trying to get the perfect shot! Nothing is worth losing your life over and endangering the lives of innocent animals whose habitats we are encroaching upon. (Note: if an animal attacks you, it may get put down, so by not following the rules you’re endangering their lives as well as your own.)
Never feed wildlife just for the sake of a photo
I have seen this happen time and time again. One time, my daughter was so angry to see a group of people who were feeding a bunch of squirrels lettuce and nuts, that she went up and chastised them and reported them to a ranger! Any activity that alters the natural behavior of animals is unacceptable no matter what the reason.
Never jump the fence and get off the trail
Getting off trail affects the land, the soil, and the environment. Trail markings are there to keep visitors safe and out of harm’s way. Every season rangers and outdoor crew hike the trails to ensure they are safe and can handle visitor foot traffic.
Yet people seem to ignore the signs to stay away so that they can get the epic shot – standing on the edge of a rock, diving into a pond at the base of a waterfall, or climbing the face of a mountain and take a selfie.
#3 Playing fair and playing well with others
I really love reiterating this one time and time again. Over Christmas break, we traveled as a family to Zion National Park. If you have been to Zion you know that capturing the sunset against the Watchmen tower formations are iconic and almost every photographer (amateur or professional) is looking to capture that epic sunset.
Crowds start to gather almost an hour or more before sunset and getting a prime spot can get competitive and sometimes ruthless! There is also a path that leads down from the bridge to the water’s edge for tourists and anyone looking to hike along the river. One evening we were waiting for the sun to set, cameras ready to fire, when a few families decided to walk down to the river essentially getting into the frame of each and every photographer waiting on the bridge above.
Suddenly someone in the group decided to shout at the visitors – essentially asking them to leave the area. I was so mortified and embarrassed about being on that bridge that day with all those people. The National Parks and all its beauty is for everyone to enjoy – being a photographer does not take precedence over being a visitor taking in all of Mother Nature’s beauty. Thankfully a few others felt the same way and spoke up to let the photographer know we didn’t agree with his sentiments.
Long story short, be respectful and aware of your surroundings. These special areas are for all to enjoy – you don’t have special privileges just because you have a camera (however big or small). Most people are well aware of photographers and if they see you all set up, will try and avoid getting into your shot or quickly move away. If this doesn’t happen, just move or patiently wait it out. I never ask people to move just because they are in my shot, especially in national parks.
#4 Making the most out of the trip
Before heading out, do some research on what the areas are famous for. Is it the epic vistas? Is it the magical sunset and sunrise glows? Or maybe it’s the wildlife? What are some of the famous monuments and landscapes to photograph and what are some of the lesser known areas?
Just because an area is not on the “must photograph list” does not mean it is not spectacular in its own right. Once you know what all YOU want to photograph, plan your time wisely. Look for road closures and construction notices. If possible stay in the park. This eliminates the need to travel into and out of the park daily – some of the popular parks have major clogs at the entrances especially during popular times. This can cause a lot of traffic delays and you might just miss that epic sunset (and I speak from experience!).
#5 Getting the shot
Now that you have planned your trip, figured out what and where you want to photograph, you understand the rules and know what to do and what not to do, here are some ways you can actually get those epic photographs.
Get out before sunrise and stay out after sunset
Get out when it is still dark outside and experience a different side of the park. Chances are the only other people out at this time of the day are photographers and people who really want to enjoy some quiet and solitude. This is a time when the park is quiet and animals tend to be out and about.
Morning mist, if present, adds so much interest and drama to a photo. In addition, the wind is usually calm at this time of day, making for easy reflection shots. The same holds true for sunset shots. The average person will spend a few minutes admiring the sunset and get back inside. Stay out past sunset and you have some incredible lighting all to yourself!
Find your primary subject and then try something new
When you find an interesting subject, try to look at it from different angles. This not only will change your perspective, but also allow you to see how the light affects and changes the image. Try it with the sun on the side, at the back, and in front by simply moving your feet.
Enjoy your surroundings beyond your viewfinder
I am very very particular about this! There have been numerous occasions where I have not looked past the viewfinder and come home feeling frustrated and irritated. Travel and the outdoors mean the world to me, photography is just icing on the cake. If I don’t get to enjoy my cake, just filling up on the icing, it is a moot point, don’t you agree?
So during the day when the light is not that great, I try to put the camera in my backpack and enjoy time with my family hiking the park. Plus this gives me a chance to scout locations to visit later in the trip, specifically for photography.
Hike into the backcountry – away from the crowds
I find that most people in the parks stay in or near their cars when taking pictures. To get a different picture (literally) find a trail and head out. You may find that you can leave the crowds behind, have a better experience, and make better pictures.
Be sure to plan ahead by checking out the park’s map for safety tips and any route closures. And of course, follow all safety rules of hiking in the trails and in the backcountry.
I hope these tips were helpful. One of the most important events in history was the establishment of the world’s first national park on March 1st, 1872. Since then, thousands of national parks, national monuments, and preservation areas have been set aside for the enjoyment and pleasure of the common person.
So get out there and enjoy nature while creating some amazing photos and share your images of national parks near you in the comments section below.