Ashley Roberts for Fault Magazine
Wed, 23 May 2018 13:57:00 ZHTC unveils the U12+: Brings back the dual-camera and adds 4K 60p video
With the release of the HTC One M8 in 2014, HTC was a true dual-camera pioneer; unfortunately, that phone was also slightly ahead of its time. The One M8's camera only had a lukewarm reception, and overall the device did not prove to be particularly popular. As a consequence, HTC dropped the dual-camera concept after the M8... until now. HTC has finally rejoined the ranks of dual-camera proponents with the launch of the brand new HTC U12+.
Building on the camera performance of last year's U11+, the new model appears to have a lot to offer mobile photographers.
The main camera features a 1/2.55″ 12MP sensor with stabilized F1.75 aperture lens and 27mm-equivalent focal length. The secondary 2x optical zoom camera features a 16MP pixel count and 54mm equivalent focal length. The aperture is F2.6. The autofocus combines PDAF and laser technology and there are also a “Pro” photography mode for manual control and RAW-support, as well as a background-blurring portrait mode.
On the video side of things, the HTC U12+ is capable of capturing movies at 4K resolution and 60 frames per second which is still quite an unusual feature on a smartphone. 240 fps slow-motion is available at 1080p Full-HD resolution. The front camera also comes with a dual-camera setup. However, unlike the main shooter it is not optimized for zooming but instead designed for creating a natural-looking bokeh effect in portrait mode.
Here's a quick video into to the new smartphone and all its "bigger, bolder and edgier" features:
Other specifications include Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM and a 18:9 6-inch Super LCD6 display that supports HDR10 and DCI-P3 and comes with a 1,440 x 2,280 pixel resolution. The phone comes with 64GB or 128GB of storage that can be expanded via microSD card, and all components are housed in an IP68 certified body.
With the addition of the secondary tele-camera, on paper the new HTC looks like a very solid upgrade over its predecessor. We'll have to wait and see what the camera is capable of in real-life shooting situations.
Wed, 23 May 2018 13:37:00 ZYou can now favorite images in Google Photos
Google Photos is the default online image management platform for many mobile and desktop users, but until now, it's been lacking one pretty basic feature that is available in most comparable applications: the ability to favorite photos.
Today Google closed this glaring gap in the Photos feature set, announcing via Twitter that it is rolling out a feature that allows users to tap a star in the upper right corner of any photo in their library. This automatically adds the image to the new Favorites album, making it easier to manage your most cherished images.
It’s OK to play favorites. Rolling out this week, tap the ⭐️ button to mark a photo as a favorite. Head to the Albums tab and view all your favorites in one place. pic.twitter.com/eWnSMDKQ72— Google Photos (@googlephotos) May 21, 2018
Additionally, you'll soon be able to "heart" photos that have been shared with you. This is essentially the Google Photos equivalent to a Facebook-like, and adds a social network element to the service.
These features come in addition to improvements announced at Google's recent I/O developer conference, and should help develop Google Photos into a service that has something to offer for everyone—from casual shutterbugs to seasoned enthusiast photographers.
Wed, 23 May 2018 13:00:00 ZApollo app for iOS uses dual-cam depth map to create impressive lighting tricksApple's dual-camera setup can create a depth map to simulate background blur - but now, someone's figured out how to simulate lighting effects with an impressive level of control.
Apple's dual camera devices (the 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X to be precise) generate a depth map to create the effects of Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting that we've all come to know well. Whether you love, hate or feel generally 'meh' toward fake background blur, things get interesting when Apple makes that depth map information available to third party app developers. Enter Apollo: Immersive illumination, a $1.99 iOS app with an unusual name and a few interesting tricks up its sleeve.
Apollo uses the depth map not for background-blurring purposes, but to allow users to add realistic lighting effects to photos after they're taken. Up to 20 light sources can be positioned throughout an image, with the ability to adjust intensity, color and distance. With the depth information provided, light sources interact with subjects in a three-dimensional fashion, and can even be positioned behind a subject to create a rim light.
It's hard not to be a little taken aback the first time you drag a light source around your image and see how it interacts with your subject
It's essentially an interactive version of Apple's Portrait Lighting, which applies different light style effects to images. Apollo's effects are highly customizable, and with so many parameters to play with it's naturally quite a bit more complicated to use than Apple's very simple lighting modes.
We've been messing around with the Apollo app (for an admittedly short period of time), and have to say we're impressed with what it's capable of - but that doesn't mean we don't have a few requests for the next version.
It's hard not to be a little taken aback the first time you drag a light source around your image and see how it interacts with your subject(s). You are able to adjust the color, brightness and spread of your source, which are all fairly self descriptive.
You can also change the 'Distance' of your light, or it's position in Z-space; this means you can move the light to be closer to you, the photographer, or further away into the background of your scene.
Lastly, there are two global adjustments, 'Shadows' and 'Effect Range.' Shadows essentially controls overall image brightness, though it biases toward the darker tones. Effect Range adjusts the brightness of all of your lights simultaneously in the image, though keeping the brightness ratios between them constant as it does so.Along the bottom are the parameters you're allowed for each light source you create (up to 20). Two global adjustments are 'Shadows' which adjusts overall brightness and Effect Range which adjusts the brightness of all lights simultaneously.
Overall, it's an incredibly neat - and kind of addictive - first effort. But there are a few things that we'd like to see addressed in future versions.
Currently, every new 'light' you create starts out with a certain set of default parameters. This is alright, except for the fact that the default color is a yellowy tungsten sort of thing; it should really just begin as 'white.'
Also, if I've already tuned in a 'light' and just want another one based on those, it'd be nice to be able to duplicate one that I've already created instead of having to start from scratch each time.
And once you've finished with your new creation, you can save it out as a JPEG - but there's no way to save the lights themselves so that you can come back and tweak later. Each time you exit to tackle another image, the app asks you, 'Close photo and discard all changes?' Well, I'd rather not discard them, but if I have to, then I suppose that's that.
Lastly, it doesn't look like there's any way to preserve the blurriness of the background once you've added your lights. It'd be great to be able to still take advantage of the depth map and progressive blurring while adding in your own lighting sources.
Okay, so those are some fairly major requests on our part. But we make them because we're really blown away by what the app already offers, and are excited to see how it evolves. It wasn't so long ago you'd need a powerful workstation and some serious software skills to manipulate lighting in the same way that this app does with a few taps and drags.
If you have a dual camera iPhone and want to give the Apollo app a try, head on over to the App Store yourself and take it for a spin.
Tue, 22 May 2018 20:10:00 ZThe new ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 features a 100% Adobe RGB 4K display
ASUS has unveiled its new ZenBook Pro 15: a lightweight laptop that packs some seriously impressive specs, including a 4K factory-calibrated display and, despite its thin 18.9mm frame, up to an 8th-generation Intel Core i9-8950HK hexa-core processor.
The model offers excellent hardware options targeting video and photo professionals, in addition to gamers. The new ZenBook Pro 15 offers a 15.6-inch IPS multi-touch display in 1080p and 4K 3840 x 2160 resolutions, both of which feature 100% Adobe RGB color space and 95% NTSC color gamut, integrated ASUS Calibration, and the promise of "pin-sharp accuracy."
If the Intel Core i9 chip—which is fairly uncommon in laptops—is a bit too rich for your blood, buyers can choose a quad-core Core i5 or six-core Core i7 processor instead. RAM can be customized to either 8GB or 16GB, and storage maxes out at 1TB SSD. Finally, graphics are delivered via an NVIDIA GTX 1050 with up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and a dual-fan cooling system with three heat pipes promises to efficiently keep the laptop cool during a heavy editing session.
Despite the high-end hardware, the company claims the model's 71Wh battery coupled with "clever ASUS thermal engineering" results in a runtime of up to 9.5 hours per charge. The laptop also features fast charging for bringing the battery from 0 to 60% in 49 minutes.
Other key features include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a microSD card slot, HDMI, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Harman Kardon audio, a NanoEdge ultra-slim bezel and aluminum unibody, silver keyboard backlight, integrated fingerprint sensor, and an overall weight of 1.86kg / 4.1lbs.
Though ASUS has unveiled the new ZenBook Pro 15, it hasn't yet revealed the price. While we wait for that, you can learn lots more about the new laptop over on the ASUS website.
Tue, 22 May 2018 19:57:00 ZCanon is now selling CMOS image sensors, including a 120MP APS-H beast
It looks like Canon is getting into sensor sales. The three specialized CMOS sensors the company has been recently showing off—including a 120MP APS-H model and an ultra-low light sensor—have been listed for sale by special order through Canon, and through Phase 1 Technology Corp in the US. As far as we know, this is the first time Canon has publicly gotten into the semiconductor business.
That in and of itself is big news, despite the fact that these sensors are likely meant for security, machine vision and, say, astrophotography camera makers. There's the 120MP APS-H sensor, which outputs images measuring 13280x9184 pixels; there's a 2/3" 5MP global shutter sensor that boasts "remarkably wide dynamic range"; and, finally, a 2.2MP full-frame unit with 19µm high-sensitivity pixels designed for extreme low-light shooting. All three are available in RGB and monochrome variations.
B2B sensor sales like this usually require you purchase more than one sensor, so at-home camera makers may not be able to get into the action, but we've contacted the company for a quote so we can share the price with you all the same. We'll update this article if and when we hear back. In the meantime, you can find more information about all three sensors on the Phase 1 Technology Corp website.
Canon 120 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
- 120MXSC: RGB
- 120MXSM: Monochrome
Ultra-High Resolution CMOS Sensor
The 120MXS is an ultra-high resolution CMOS sensor with 13280 x 9184 effective pixels (approx. 60x the resolution of Full HD). It has a size equivalent to APS-H (29.22mm x 20.20mm), and a square pixel arrangement of 2.2µm x 2.2µm with 122 million effective pixels. Ultra-high-resolution is made possible by parallel signal processing, which reads signals at high speed from multiple pixels. All pixel progressive reading of 9.4 fps is made possible by 28 digital signal output channels. It is available in RGB or with twice the sensitivity, in monochrome.
- Sensor size: APS-H (29.22mm x 20.20mm)
- Filter types:
- 120MXSC: RGB
- 120MXSM: Monochrome
- Number of effective pixels: 13280h x 9184v, approx. 122MP
- Pixel size: 2.2µm x 2.2µm
- Progressive Scan
- Rolling Shutter
- 188pin ceramic PGA
- 120MXSC (Green): 10,000e/lux/sec
- 120MXSM: 20,000e/lux/sec
- Saturation: 10,000e @ gain0.5x
- Output Channels: Data 28 lanes, Clock 14 lanes
- Dark Random Noise: 2.3e rms @ gain x8, Room Temp.
- Dark Current: 8.1e/sec @ gain x8, 60°C
- Number of output channels: Data 28 lanes, Clock 14 lanes
- Main clock frequency: 45MHz (Recommended)
- Output format: 720Mbps in LVDS output 9.4fps @ 10 bit
- Built in column amplifier (Pre-amplifier gain mode: x0.5, x1, x2, x4, x8)
- Serial communication
- All pixel progressive scan reading function, Region of Interest (ROI) reading function (Vertically)
- Vertically intermittent reading function (1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/5, 1/7, 1/15)
- Power consumption: 2.5W (under recommended operating conditions)
- Power supply voltage: 1.7 V, 3.5 V
- Package size: 55.0mm x 47.8mm x 4.49mm
Canon 5 Megapixel Global Shutter CMOS Sensor
- 3U5MGXSC: RGB on-chip color filter
- 3U5MGXSM: Monochrome
Global Shutter CMOS Image Sensor
The 3U5MGXS global shutter image sensor employs a new pixel design introducing new drive readout and light guiding technologies significantly expanding the full well capacity, reducing noise, and contributing to remarkably wide dynamic range with a power consumption of 500mW. Equipped with a global shutter and all pixel progressive reading at 120fps, the 2/3" sensor size, and pixel size of 3.4µm with 5.33 million effective pixels (2592 x 2056) easily allow for applications in machine vision and other industrial environments where smaller size and high performance are required. It is available in RGB and Monochrome.
- Sensor size: Approx. 2/3 inch (8.8mm x 7.0mm)
- Number of effective pixels: 2592h x 2056v, approx. 5.3M
- Filter types:
- 3U5MGXSC: RGB on-chip color filter
- 3U5MGXSM: Monochrome
- Pixel size: 3.4µm x 3.4µm
- Maximum Frame Rate: 120fps
- Global electronic shutter function
- Progressive scan
- Main clock frequency: 36MHz (Recommended)
- 3U5MGXSC (Green): 30,000 e/lx/sec @Analog gain x1(TBD)
- 3U5MGXSM: TBD
- Saturation: 14,000e gain x1 (10 bit 60 fps) (TBD)
- Output Channels Data: 12 lanes, Clock 2 Lanes
- Output from LVDS: Maximum output of 864Mbps
- Analog gain: 0 to 36dB
- Digital Gain: 0 to 24dB
- Dark Random Noise: 2.6e rms @ Analog gain x4(TBD)
- Dark Current: 1.3 e/sec @Analog gain x4, Room Temp
- Maximum Dynamic Range: 74dB (TBD)
- Function: ROI function (8 region) Inverted output function (horizontal and vertical)
- 180pin ceramic LGA
- Power consumption (Typ): 500mW (full pixel scan at 60 fps)
- Power supply voltage: 3.3V, 1.2V
- Package size: 19.0mm x 18.1mm x 2.5mm
- Exposure control by external trigger
Canon 19µm Full HD CMOS Sensor
- 35MMFHDXSC: RGB
- 35MMFHDXSM: Monochrome
Full HD, High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise Imaging
The 35MMFHDXS CMOS sensor delivers highsensitivity, low-noise imaging performance, even in exceptionally low-light environments. The sensor's pixels and readout circuitry employ new technologies that reduce noise, which tends to increase as pixel size increases. High sensitivity and increased well depth have been achieved through a larger pixel size of 19µm x 19µm (square) with proprietary device design technologies. The 35MMFHDXS CMOS sensor is available in RGB or Monochrome.
- Sensor size: 35mm film size (36.48mm x 20.52mm)
- Number of effective pixels: 2000h x 1128v, Approx. 2.2MP
- Filter types:
- 35MMFHDXSC: RGB
- 35MMFHDXSM: Monochrome
- Pixel size: 19µm x 19µm
- Progressive scan
- Rolling shutter
- Serial communication
- 180pin ceramic PGA
- 35MMFHDXSC (Green): 1,100,000e/lx/sec @gain x1
- 35MMFHDXSM: 2,100,000e/lx/sec @gain x1
- Saturation: 61,000e @gain x1
- Dark RN: 2.2e rms @gain x16, around 35°C
- Dark Current: 250e/sec @gain x16, 60°C
- Simultaneous reading of vertical 4 lines
- Drive frequency: 16ch x 18MHz (Recommended)
- Output format: Source follower output (Analog)
- Built in column amplifiers: (Basic pre-amplifier gain: x1, x4, x16)
- Power consumption: 2.2W (At 60 fps under recommended operating conditions)
- Power supply voltage: 5V, 3.3V, others
- Package size: 60.9mm x 44.6mm x 3.57mm
Digital Photography School
Wed, 23 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000Why You Should Find Your Own Photography Style and Not Conform to Social Media Trends
Everyone is a photographer. We all love to use our phones, tablets, or cameras to take photos. What’s more, we all share them and publish them for the world to see. This phenomenon has changed photography and photographers.
Not so long ago you needed to have a camera to be able to take a photo, there was no other way. Before the explosion of social media sites hit the internet is was decidedly more difficult to get your pictures published.
Go Beyond Social Media Norms
With the rise of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the proliferation of other media sharing websites, we are seeing and sharing more and more photographs every day. Standing out in such an enormous global crowd is not easy.
So how do you create a unique photography style which does not look the same as most of what’s already out there? Because, let’s face it, so much of it is so similar (and dull.) There are tons of pictures of pets, sunsets, selfies, kids and food, food, food.
Most successful photographers concentrate on one style. This can take years to develop. Dedication and experimentation are keys to attaining a photographic look and feel that is uniquely yours and will be recognized as such. Mastering any form of creative expression does not happen easily or without a lot of practice.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Get Into a New Zone
You need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Don’t just keep photographing the same things, in the same way, that you are comfortable with already. Push yourself to do things with your camera that you’ve not experimented with before. Step out and photograph subjects you’ve wanted to but not have been bold enough to do so. You never know what you will discover by trying something different.
Don’t give up easily either. Giving up will not get you anywhere if you haven’t first shown some commitment to producing some photographs you are content with.
As a young man, I was painfully shy. I loved photography, but could never bring myself to photograph people. My sister encouraged me. She told me my photos were excellent, but really lacked the inclusion of people.
She was not so happy when she became my subject. I also started photographing friends as we hung out together and became somewhat comfortable photographing people that I knew.
Shortly after I landed a job in the photography department of a daily newspaper, I quickly realized that if I wanted to keep my job I would have to overcome my fear (yes, it was a real fear) of photographing strangers. Everything in me wanted to keep the job at the paper and to succeed as a photographer, so I pressed on and challenged myself to break through.
Now my main love in photography is taking pictures of people. Often they are people I do not know.
Most people will not face the same test to develop their photography abilities as I was confronted with. But I hope my story can inspire you to press on trying new things with your photography and to persevere in going beyond your comfort zone.
Experience and Experiment
As you experiment, keep in mind that your worldview is unique. No one else sees or experiences the world quite the same way you do.
Think about how you can express this through your photography. What do you see that someone else might not? Why do you feel a certain way about the subjects you are photographing? No one else will feel just the same.
Connect with your subject, whether it’s a person, a pet, a landscape or your lunch, and photograph it with feeling. More often than not you will create a strong, more unique image than if you just take a quick snapshot.
Go Beyond Your Gear
As you seek to develop your own unique personal photography style try not to concentrate too much on your equipment. Pouring all your attention into what you’re doing with your camera will not help you connect with your subject and you will produce less dynamic photographs. No matter how technically correct your images are, they will often be rather dull if you are not connecting with your subject.
However, the more comfortable you are with your camera, and the more proficient in knowing what it’s capable of and the best settings to use will help you immensely.
Loving your camera and knowing it well, so you can use it as an integral part of your creative process, will assist you in developing your photography style. The more focused you are on trying to figure out which lens to attach and what shutter speed will be needed, the more likely you are to disconnect with your subject. The more familiar and comfortable you are with your camera the better.
Have Precise Control
Anyone who’s read my articles watched my videos or taken my workshops or online courses will know I always encourage the use of a camera in Manual Mode. Being in precise control of the equipment you are using will definitely facilitate your unique creative growth.
Using settings which give your camera control of the exposure (auto modes) will give you results like everyone else who relies on these settings. In Manual Mode you have the choice to expose your photos as you like, not always as your camera dictates.
You are Unique – Create Unique Photographs
Experiment! Take time and work with a purpose and a goal in mind. Be inspired to step beyond creating just another snapshot for your social media posts and make a point of producing strong photographs expressing your unique perspective of the world you live in.
It’s not easy to do. But press on and don’t give up. Make a start with your first ideas and keep at it. Be flexible and adapt as you develop.
At first, you might love the topic or photography style you’re working on and later find you are drawn to a something a bit different. Go with the flow, so long as you are continuing to produce photographs you are happy with and you can see a progression in what you are doing.
To learn the story behind some of these photographs please check out this video:
I’d love to know how you are developing your photography style, whether you are inspired by this article and just starting out, or if you’ve been working on your own particular style for some time. Please share your thoughts and photos in the comments section below.
The post Why You Should Find Your Own Photography Style and Not Conform to Social Media Trends appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tue, 22 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R III
Two of the hottest mirrorless cameras you can get your hands on right now are the Sony a7R III and the Fujifilm X-H1. My husband owns one and I have the other. In the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with our new cameras and have noticed quite a few similarities and differences. This is by no means a comprehensive camera comparison, but some of the main differences will be highlighted below.
My husband and I are both photographers who have always been in opposite brand camps. We were Nikon versus Canon during the height of the DSLR. Now in the mirrorless world, we are Fujifilm versus Sony. I’m a full-time photographer specializing mainly in food and architecture photography, while my husband is a part-time assistant photographer.
Our differing photo needs and styles have partially dictated our camera brand loyalty. I prefer Sony for its higher megapixel count for architecture photos and also its more flexible lens selection. Meanwhile, my husband loves Fujifilm for their rangefinder design and film simulations.
One thing we can agree on is that we both have an interest in making more videos. That is why we specifically choose the Sony a7R III and Fujifilm X-H1 as our new cameras. Note that at the time, the Sony a7R III was the newest camera on the market–there wasn’t yet a Sony A7III or a Sony a7S III, both of which are arguably better cameras for video.
Before we talk about differences, the Sony a7R III and Fujifilm X-H1 do have many features in common. First, both cameras have enhanced, on-par video recording capabilities. They shoot in 4K and 120 fps slow motion video, and both cameras offer in-camera image stabilization (IBIS). Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are available on both cameras to facilitate quick transfers to cell phones or tablets.
Physically, both cameras have dual SD card slots for more storage flexibility. There’s also focus peaking to help highlight areas that are in focus, which is especially helpful when using manual-focus lenses. Finally, there are tiltable touchscreens on both cameras. However, touchscreen capabilities are quite limited and you can’t perform full camera operation with them.
Here is the same scene, shot with both cameras for comparison.
In terms of things that neither camera offer, the list isn’t terribly long. But ideally, both cameras would offer a more flexible tilt and swivel screen. Built-in GPS for geotagging photos is also missing.
Finally, both cameras come with hot-shoe mounts for attaching an external flash. However, neither camera comes with a built-in flash.
Sony a7R III Benefits
Larger Sensor, More Megapixels
The biggest difference exists in the cameras’ sensors. There’s a full-frame, 42.4-megapixel sensor on the Sony, while the Fujifilm has an APS-C 24.3-megapixel sensor. Currently, Fujifilm does not make any full-frame mirrorless cameras, although that will change when the X-T3 comes out in late 2018.
Depending on your photography style, more megapixels is a generally a good thing. Although, it does require using SD cards and hard drives with significantly more storage space for those large file sizes.
Super High-Resolution Composite (Pixel Shift)
Speaking of resolution, there’s a new feature on the Sony a7R III called Pixel Shift. In short, this increases image resolution by 4 times. You still have to shoot individual images and stitch them together in post-production using the included software. The result is a super high-res image that’s great for shooting landscapes or buildings.
Longer Battery Life
Mirrorless cameras have long been criticized for having poor battery life. Luckily, Sony responded positively by putting a new Z-battery in the a7R III. This battery isn’t cheap, but it offers a much longer battery life than the X-H1 at 650 shots versus 310 shots.
Hyperlapse Filming Mode
One thing many Sony shooters miss from the a7R II is the PlayMemories App that added built-in features such as time-lapse shooting. However, time-lapse can still be taken on the a7R III if you use the S&Q setting.
This allows for shooting slow motion or fast (hyper-lapse). If you do the latter, this is essentially a hyper-lapse that is taken in camera. Just be sure to adjust the settings in the camera, as S&Q can be set to shoot slow motion or hyper-lapse videos.
Since recording accurate sound is a big part of video-making, it’s essential to have a headphone jack. This is present on the Sony a7R III but is oddly missing from the Fuji X-H1.
Bigger Buffer for JPGs
The X-H1 is a faster camera when it comes to shutter speed and frames per second (more on that below). But the Sony has a leg up when it comes to JPG buffering, or how many more JPGs you can shoot before waiting in burst mode. It’s 82 shots on the Sony a7R III compared to 40 shots on the Fuji X-H1.
Sony – The Sony a7R III has a native ISO sensitivity range of 100 to 51,200. When extended, the Sony can reach ISO 50 to 204,800 for stills, or 102,400 for video.
Fuji – Meanwhile, the X-H1 has a slightly smaller range of ISO 200 to 12,800 or an extended ISO range of 100 to 51,200 for stills or 25,600 for video.
Bigger Lens Selection
When it comes to lenses, Sony has a wider array of choices compared to Fujifilm. If you need traditional focal lengths such as the 16-35mm, 24-70mm, or 70-200mm, you’ll want to go with Sony.
Fujifilm X-H1 Benefits
Top LCD Display
The X-H1 takes on the look of a DSLR camera, departing a bit from Fujifilm’s more classic rangefinder design. Part of the DSLR look includes a top LCD display where you can easily see your camera settings. In practice, that may or may not be helpful since the pop-out LCD can also show your camera settings.
Faster JPG and RAW Shooting
Interestingly, the Fujifilm X-H1 is quite a bit faster than the Sony a7R III. The X-H1’s shutter is faster at 1/32,000th versus 1/8000th when shooting wide open in bright light. Also, the X-H1 has faster RAW and JPG shooting in burst mode (14 FPS for the Fuji as compared to 9 FPS on the Sony).
Despite being a crop sensor camera, the X-H1 is set up better for taking night photos. It has a long exposure of up to 900 seconds (15 minutes), compared to 30 seconds on the Sony a7R III.
Built-In Film Simulations
Fujifilm has been mastering color profiles long before digital cameras even existed. Many color profiles from film days have been added into digital cameras in the form of built-in film simulations. Six have existed until the X-H1 which saw the addition of the brand new Eterna film simulation. If you’re a fan of Fujifilm colors, this could be a big selling point.
Here is a video comparison going over some of these things as well:
Both the Fujifilm X-H1 and Sony a7R III are fantastic digital photography tools that offer lots of features for those looking to up their photo or video game. Which is best for you depends largely on your photography style. What do you like to shoot, and what are the basic tools of the trade that you need to make that happen?
As a commercial architecture, food, and event photographer, I need the extra megapixels, ISO range, and lens choices offered by Sony. However, these features aren’t as critical to my husband, an editorial photographer who values the physical aesthetic and experience of shooting with a Fujifilm camera as much as the image quality.
Here are some more images of the same scene for comparison:
The post Camera Comparison – The Fujifilm X-H1 Versus the Sony a7R III appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Tue, 22 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000Fixing Your Photos with the Lightroom Spot Removal Tool
Lightroom’s suite of editing tools is not as comprehensive as its big brother Photoshop But the program does offer a host of options for fixing photos that cover most of the corrections you are likely to need on a daily basis. You can, of course, use Lightroom for basic operations like adjusting white balance, changing exposure, and converting images to black and white. But there are much more advanced features as well, such as the Spot Removal Tool.
This tool is a quick and easy way to remove blemishes and imperfections. It doesn’t have the same level of depth and customization as similar options in Photoshop, but with a little practice, it should suffice for most situations in which you are likely to need it.
To access the Spot Removal tool, first, click on the Develop module and then press the Q button (the keyboard shortcut). Or you can click on the circle icon with a small arrow pointing to the right just below the histogram at the top of the panel on the right-hand side.
Once you are in the Spot Removal panel it might be tempting to start clicking away at every spot and blemish on your images. But understanding some of the options available to you will help you use the tool more effectively and result in better edits.
The Spot Removal tool has two main options, Clone and Heal. Each of these has three sliders that you can change: Size, Feather, and Opacity. Before getting into the differences between cloning and healing, let’s take a look at the three options they have in common.
This changes, as you might have guessed, how big the edit is going to be. Larger sizes are suited for bigger edits, while pinpoint accuracy can be obtained by making the tool as small as you need it to be.
You might be tempted to slide left and right to change these values, and that certainly works just fine. But you can also type precise numbers between 0-100 or just scroll up and down using the mouse wheel to see the brush automatically grow and shrink until you get it to where you want. You can also use the square brackets [ and ] on the keyboard to adjust the brush size.
This slider lets you control how gradually the Clone or Heal edits are implemented. Sliding all the way to 100 means your edits will gradually fade out near the edge of the tool. A value of zero indicates that there will be no feathering whatsoever.
This will result in a harsh edge around your edits that will be easy to spot so I don’t usually recommend it. Instead, try for a value of around 50 and adjust it to your taste. Similar to the Size parameter you can adjust this with the mouse by holding [shift] and scrolling up and down, which I find much easier to use than the slider.
The opacity is a way for you to specify how transparent your edits will be. A setting of 100 is totally opaque and nothing will show through, whereas lower values will lessen the overall impact of the tool.
There might be instances in which you don’t want to completely remove a spot or blemish but mask over or fade it just a little, and in that case, set an opacity of 25 or 50 (this works well for portrait retouching, lightening circles under eyes and wrinkles without completely removing them).
Hearkening back to the earlier days of Photoshop, the Clone tool is one of the most often-utilized features for beginning or even more advanced photographers who want to tidy up their pictures. The basic function is pretty straightforward since all it does at a fundamental level is copy, or clone, one part of a picture and put it on top of another part. This is great for situations with textures, patterns, or colors that are highly similar or where duplicating one portion would not be easy to detect.
Using the Clone Tool
This picture of a squirrel (below) has a stick on the right-hand side that I would like to remove. The Clone tool is a good way to do it. To fix something like this you can either shrink the tool so it’s small and brush it over the imperfection or increase the size to be much larger and click just once.
Each situation is going to call for a different type of edit but in general, I like to use a larger brush and click once because it usually results in edits that aren’t as visible in the final result.
Lightroom tries its best to get your initial clone edit just right by taking what it thinks is a sample of a similar portion of your image. But as you can see below it doesn’t always work.
Adjusting cloning results
You don’t have to be content with the initial results though, as Lightroom lets you refine and tweak the cloning options until you’re satisfied.
There is an Overlay setting for the Clone tool. It is a white circle indicating the location from which the Clone Tool is selecting to copy. As well there is another circle showing you where it is being pasted. In the lower-left portion of the Develop module is a tiny little option picker that says “Tool Overlay” with four choices: Auto, Always, Selected, and Never. My personal preference is to go with “Never” and use the “H” key to show and hide the Tool Overlay as I need it.
As you use the Spot Healing tool you will see little gray circles pop up all over your image, which shows you the places where you have edited your image. If you don’t see these tiny pins press “H” to show them, and then click on one to show the white circles showing you where the edits are being taken from and applied. You can see an example of this in the image below.
Once you see where Lightroom is grabbing the part of your image that it’s using to fix a blemish, it’s easy to fine-tune it to get the results you are looking for. Use your cursor to drag the bright circle around the image until you find a spot that would be better-suited for filling in the blemish. You can also adjust the sliders while you have your editing point selected to see in real-time what happens when you change things like size, feather, and opacity.
One issue that you might encounter when using the Spot Removal Tool is that it’s not always easy to see where the spots in your picture are actually located. Fortunately, Lightroom has an option that can help you in this regard.
If you click the “Visualize Spots” button in the lower-left corner of the Develop module (make sure the Spot Removal tool is selected), you will see a black-and-white version of your image with areas of high contrast highlighted. If you do not see this option, activate your toolbar by pressing T on the keyboard.
You can also simply press the A key to activate the Visualize Spots view. Use the slider to fine-tune the amount of contrast visible, and doing so will show you where some of the imperfections are located that you might have missed.
Some of the spots on the above image are easy to see, but others are visible only upon closer inspection. Snuffing out all the blemishes, which are really dust on the front of my camera lens, would be a time-consuming process without the Visualize Spots option enabled. Doing so makes it easy to see every mote and speck that I need to fix with the Spot Healing tool.
The finished image, after some clicking and editing, is much improved. I even decided to leave in the streak of lens flare on the left side because I liked the effect, you could remove it if you wanted to by using the same tools.
While similar to the Clone tool, the Healing brush operates in a slightly different way. It takes textures and tones from a source portion of your image and blends it with the area you want to fix. It’s not a direct 1:1 copy of the source, like the Clone tool, and as such it creates results that are often a little more refined and effective in terms of removing problems and blemishes.
The Heal tool has the same options as the Clone tool (Size, Feather, and Opacity) but because the nature of the tool is somewhat different. The Opacity doesn’t function in exactly the way you might expect. It still adjusts how much of the source spot is stamped onto the blemish you want to remove but because it’s blending textures, colors, and patterns even a 100 value of Opacity means that you won’t see quite the same results as the Clone tool.
To fix a picture using the Heal tool, click on any spot you want to remove (or click and drag if it’s more than just a single spot) and Lightroom takes care of the rest. If the spot is not fixed to your liking, press H to show the Tool Overlays and edit as you see fit by dragging the source that is being copied and adjusting the Size, Feather, and Opacity.
Note: One other thing you can do with the Lightroom Spot Removal tool is to draw a line or shape. Your cloning area is not just limited to a circle anymore as it once was in LR.
The picture below shows the result of using the Heal tool to remove about a dozen blemishes and imperfections on a photo of some mushrooms. All this was done in under five minutes using only the Heal tool, and it illustrates how simple and effective this type of editing can be.
The Photoshop Solution
I often use the Lightroom Spot Removal Tool to fix little things in my images, but for real in-depth editing, you might want to turn to Photoshop. There you can really dig in with layers and the advanced editing tools that program offers.
For most photographers, whether professional or casual, the options in Lightroom will usually suffice. That’s what I find myself using almost every time I need to tweak a picture. Give it a try and you might be surprised at what it can do for you too.
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Mon, 21 May 2018 19:00:00 +0000How to Take Amazing Photos Using the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit
Water droplet photography is a dream for almost every creative photographer. When a water drop collides with another drop, it creates beautiful crowns and other shapes that look fabulous. Capturing those moments is a very satisfying experience for a photographer.
Until now it was not easy to create such shots, but thanks to the advancement of technology, now we have some gadgets that could make this process almost effortless for us. One such gadget is the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit which is the world’s first water drop photography gear that can be controlled by your smartphone.
It not only controls the size and timing of drops with great precision, but it also controls your camera or flashes so that you can focus on other creative tasks like lighting, background, and different settings to create unique pieces of art.
So, let’s find out how you can create extraordinary splash photographs using this amazing device.
Photo credits: In this article, we are featuring examples done by myself, as well as three photographers and MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit customers; Andrea Laybauer (a specialist who shoots drops and splashes), Jos Daanen (a primarily wildlife photographer), and Paul Lindqvist (a specialist in food, stop-motion products, and portraits).
What you need:
A Quiet Room:
First, you’ll need a room that can be darkened where you can create a lot of mess in that room. It’s better to choose a spare room as you may need to keep your equipment setup for a few days.
Camera and Lens:
You can use any DSLR camera for water droplet photography, or any other camera that has manual controls. Lens choice is important as you need one with a longer focal length and shorter minimum focusing distance so your camera is safe from water splashes but you can still fill the frame with splashes. I found that a 100mm macro lens is the best option for this project.
Next, you need flashes with manual control over power. You are going to use the flashes at the lowest power setting so you need a minimum of two flashes. If you have more, that is even better.
You may use a glass bowl, wine glass, or a designer cup. But if you don’t want to show the container in the picture you need around an 8×12″ glass tray with two-inch depth. You can get it from your local aquarium shop (or a similar baking dish).
You also need some colorful background images. Go to Google and search for “blur abstract background” and you’ll get an idea about what type of images you require. You can buy similar images from stock sites or there are some sites that provide images at no cost. You now have two options, you can print these images on paper or transparencies.
MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit:
Finally, you need a MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit to control the water drops and your camera. It comes with a holder kit so you can easily fix it on a tripod.
Other than these items, you need a few more things like a milky white acrylic sheet (Plexiglass) to attach backgrounds. Something to hold the acrylic sheet, a dry cloth, some clamps or clips and a shutter release cable.
Now you have everything ready, so let’s start. First, place the acrylic sheet as the background, making sure to leave at least two feet at the back for placing the flashes. Now place a tripod at the front of this and attach the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit on it. The distance between the background and the point where your drop will fall should be around 12-15 inches.
Now put your water container below it and ensure that the drop falls in the center of this container. Also, align your background with it.
Next place your flashes. If you are using transparencies for the background, place the flashes behind the glass, at a distance of around 12 inches. If you are using a paper background, place the flashes at a 45-degree angle on both sides. Make sure to cover your flashes with a plastic bag.
One flash will be the master and it’ll attach with MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit and the other flashes will be in slave mode so they fire automatically when the master flash fires.
Lastly, fix your camera on a tripod and attach a shutter release cable. It’s better to create this setup on a table because you need to work for a long time and if this setup is on the ground, you’ll get tired quickly.
At this point, you may want to take a break and have coffee but if you are like me, you probably dying to see your first image. So, let’s talk about all the settings.
First, set your flashes at 1/32 power. If you are using four flashes, you may need to lower the power to 1/64 or 1/128. The lowest power setting will give you shortest flash duration and your photos won’t have any motion blur.
Next set your camera to Bulb Mode, set ISO to 100, choose an aperture between f/11-f/16 and attach the shutter release cable. Now put a pencil or something else where your drop will fall and focus manually on that spot, and leave the camera.
You can also control your camera using the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit, but it’s always better to set your camera to Bulb Mode and fire flashes instead. It will give you accurate results as there will be no shutter lag.
Lastly, you need to do the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit settings. You are going to set the size of the first drop, the delay between two drops, size of the second drop and finally the flash firing time. Open the MIOPS Mobile app on your phone and you’ll find some settings. Set the first drop size to 25 milliseconds, the second drop size to 50 milliseconds and delay to 100 milliseconds. Finally set Trigger to 350 milliseconds and set mode to flash.
These settings are just a starting point and you need to do some fine-tuning. If your nozzle is too high or low, you need to change delay time according to that. For the above settings, the distance between nozzle and water container is around two feet.
Now you need to open the shutter using the shutter release cable and tap on the Start button in the app and close the shutter when flashes are fired. Since your room is dark and you are using a narrow aperture, the ambient light won’t affect the shot.
So, take a shot and check if the lighting is good or not. If your picture is too dark, increase the ISO or move the flashes a little bit closer. Keep in mind that you should not increase the power of your flashes above 1/32 or you’ll start getting motion blur. If your picture is too bright, lower the flash power to 1/64 or 1/128 or move them back.
Once the light is okay, take another shot and see if it’s properly focused. If not, focus again.
When everything is set and you get your first shot, it’s time to do some experiments to create different masterpieces. Change the size of drops to see what difference it makes. Remember that first drop size won’t make any major difference, it’s the size of the second drop what will create different shapes. Now change the delay time, every time you change it, you’ll get different shapes.
Now experiment with both drop size and delay between drops. Each change will give you different results. Just keep in mind that you should make small changes like 5-10 milliseconds.
Once you understand the process and take enough shots, experiment with different backgrounds and light positions. You can place the flashes at the back and front or you can use gels on them to get different results.
Finally, I am going to tell you a little secret to get outstanding photos. If you add a few drops of liquid soap to the water, you’ll start getting some totally unique shapes.
You can check the following slow motion video to see how MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit generates a water drop collision and how the result looks:
So, let’s get started, please share your masterpieces in the comment area below.
More about the photographers:
Jos Daanen is primarily a wildlife photographer. He did his utmost best to get some collisions of droplets… For these featured photos, he ordered the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit unit which was released at the beginning of 2018.
Paul Lindqvist is a commercial photographer who specializes in food, stop-motion, product photography, and portraits. He loves using technology to create his images, and always find new ways to use it to his advantage. View his website and Instagram
Disclaimer: MIOPS is a paid partner of dPS.
The post How to Take Amazing Photos Using the MIOPS Splash Water Drop Kit appeared first on Digital Photography School.
Mon, 21 May 2018 14:00:00 +0000Tips for Doing a Summer Project 92 to Get You Out Shooting
You’ve heard of the fabled Project 365, right? A photo a day for a year. We’ve even posted theme ideas here on dPS for those interested in a long-term project. But what about if you know that you aren’t going to make it all year, especially when the weather turns ugly and you love shooting outdoors? Enter, the Summer Project92.
What is it?
The idea is the same as the Project 365 but with a larger emphasis on getting outside and exploring your world with a camera. Keeping this project short and simple will hopefully encourage you to pick up that dusty camera and head outside. Smartphone, drone, underwater…it doesn’t matter the type of camera you are using, the point is to use it!
If you sometimes get stuck when looking for subjects, I have a list of weekly themes that should help give you some motivation. There are 13 weeks and one day to summer with the first day being June 21. So I’m going to follow the sun on this one and make all weeks start on a Thursday, just to mix it up.
- Week 1 – June 21st – Blooming – There are tons of flowers out there, just begging for a portrait.
- Week 2 – June 28th – Endless Sunshine – I know it seems like the days last forever, but they are actually getting shorter, so get out there and shoot how it feels.
- Week 3 – July 5th – It’s the Small Things – Time to get up close and personal with the little things that make nature and summer unique.
- Week 4 – July 12th – Daydreams – Most of us don’t get the entire summer off work, but that shouldn’t stop you from daydreaming.
- Week 5 – July 19th – Sunsets – A whole week of sunsets? Why not! You can throw in some sunrises too if you like.
- Week 6 – July 26th – Patterns – Look for the repetitions in life.
- Week 7 – August 2nd – Playfulness – Get playful with your shots, either of people and/or animals at play or create a playful scene.
- Week 8 – August 9th – Heat – Oh my, is it ever hot out there!
- Week 9 – August 16th – Bring on the Night – Yes, a whole week of night photography! It’s a good way to avoid the heat sometimes.
- Week 10 – August 23rd – Summers of the Past – This is a chance to dig up some memories and archive those prints from your past. Find seven favorite photos from summers of the past and share them digitally.
- Week 11 – August 30th – Roadtrip – All things cars or camping or hotels/motels or the open road.
- Week 12 – September 6th – Family and Friends – What’s summer without good people around you to enjoy it with?
- Week 13 – September 13th – Foods of Summer – Plan ahead as you might want to shoot this one on food as the summer progresses (yes, I allow that kind of cheating in my photo projects).
- That Extra Day – September 20th – Transitions – All good things come to an end unless you are already thinking about doing a fall project?
If you don’t want to follow the schedule above, that’s just fine. There are no hard and fast rules about what to shoot and when. Although might I suggest that if you post your photos on social media, that you use the hashtag #SummerProject92? That way those of us who want to feel inspired (me!) will be able to find and comment on your work more easily.
A blog, Tumblr, Instagram…the format doesn’t matter. What matters is to get out there and start shooting and sharing. And enjoy your summer! Psst, might I suggest posting some results in the dPS Facebook Group?
Forgive me for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere as I realize you are about to head into winter. You can start a #WinterProject92 and we’ll catch up with you in about six months.
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