My photographs of the months have been from a variety of equipment over the last year, from Hasselblad, Nikon, Leica, but over Christmas we went for a winters walk round some of the local villages, like many people whilst I had no camera with me I did have a modern smart phone. At several points during the walk I just grabbed my phone and held it above the hedges and took quick snaps. I would not call any of these high art but its surprising what you can to do today with phone, so for my last picture of the month of 2014 here is a quick snap from my phone.
Today a RAW file is not always quite what it seems. Many cameras now do a degree of processing to the raw data pipeline.
Most cameras do a degree of noise reduction, something I dislike as third party programs are generally much better. Most Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras can have this turned off in the settings, but some do not act quite as you expect. I have a love and hate relationship with the Nikon V1, if you turn off the noise reduction it does just that, except if you have the ISO set above 400 ISO, go any higher and it turns on even if you have it set off!
The Fuji X Trans Sensor is another good example of a ‘difficult RAW file’. As I mentioned the other day Adobe and the other big RAW processing companies have now got a handle on it but to begin with you were better off shooting jpg, the greens were very difficult to get right.
Then we have the subject of in camera correction. Its much easier now to build a lens with some distortion and correct in software, engineer the lens to correct issues that are difficult to correct in software and for things that are simple to correct in software, allow the lens to distort in a controlled way. This gives us cheaper smaller lens that produce excellent image quality. Some purists hate this but more and more camera manufactures are going this way.
One other setting you can find on cameras is compression settings, many cameras have three options for saving RAW files, uncompressed, loss-less compressed and lossy compressed, but a few do not give you the option. The biggest culprit of this is Sony, their highend cameras shoot in 14 bit but then save the raw file as a lossy 11 bit file, it does not give you the option. If you get the shot right in camera then no problem but if its slightly off or if you intended to do extensive post production in photoshop then you would be better off with another camera that gives you all your bits.
So in answer to the question; no not all RAW files are the same.
The last few weeks has seen a number of bugs and security issues announced by security investigators for Windows, Unix and OS X (which is Unix but people forget because of the pretty easy to use interface).
Last week one of the three bugs was patched and today saw the release of 10.10.2 which fixes the other two. If you have a Mac with the latest OS please update now.
Windows fixes will be coming soon, its just a shame that the security investigators released their findings to the world before all machines could be patched.
iOS also had an update today so its been a busy day, backing up all my machines, and updating them.
I finally booked my tickets this weekend for the big Photography show of 2015 in the UK. Yes its time for the Photography Show at the NEC.
Last year I bought my new printer there, getting a really good deal, this year I am looking at scanners.
The big thing for me is that Leica will be there. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the Leica T, the new X3 and of course comparing the Leica ME with the Leica M 240. I have a Leica M8 and would love a newer version. I can afford the ME but the M 240 is a bit of a push so it will be nice to see how much an improvement over the M8 they are and if I would be happy with an ME or need to keep saving for the M 240.
Its also going to be interesting comparing the Leica T and X3 with the Fuji X100T. I feel the Leica will have the edge on image quality but with the viewfinder the X100T may just top it. The big advantage of the T is I can use my current Leica glass.
Since moving house, I now have my own dedicated office, computer, calibrated wide gamut reference monitor, tablet and pen for editing, and a wide carriage pigment ink printer. This is my digital darkroom, and it can do everything I want in the digital area.
But its not just digital I shoot, I also shoot analogue, in the shape of large format film, medium format film and still on the odd occasion 35mm film.
The cost for this is high, good quality scanning is expensive, and even basic quality scanning is not cheap. Film development though is still relatively inexpensive.
Currently when I shoot film it gets posted off for a film and scan service, and I get back the negs and a CD. If I invested in a good quality scanner I would quickly save money and would possibly find myself shooting more film. Then if any image was particularly good I could get it re-scanned by a professional bureau which is what I still have to do now despite getting the images scanned after development.
As I have mentioned in the past, now having a full frame 35mm SLR, I have started to look at a new wide angle to suit.
I have the standard full frame zoom going from 24-70mm, and there are a couple of tempting zooms plus the 24mm PC lens that Nikon make, but these are all pricey.
The 20mm f/1.8 prime gets very good reviews, has little distortion and is a far cheaper and smaller offering to most of the alternatives, I think i’ll have to see if my local camera shot has a copy to test.
Since its introduction people have come down hard on Adobe, as they have had a lot of difficulty coming to terms with the sensor and getting the best from its RAW files.
Well its seems the worst is now over and even some of the biggest critics of the Fuji sensor are saying that the results are now acceptable using Adobe products.
So if your like me and have a secret fondness for a Fuji X100, now might be finally the time to give one a try.
We are now in the middle winter and we are still trying to catchup in the garden. Sunday saw us both in the garden again with Caroline trimming shrubs after cleaning out the chickens while I was up a ladder trimming and removing branches from a few of the over grown trees.
Our first year we mainly maintained the garden. The major changes were removing two large conifers that were too close the house.
We also added the vegetable plot and replaced the old wooden shed at the bottom with a chicken coop.
This month we got onions planted and the potatoes are in the shed getting ready to chit.
We still have a few more trees to trim but we are running out of time. One of the trees in the front garden is already coming into bud so will have to leave that now to next winter.
If you do then I suggest you check out Terry White’s Tech Blog at the moment as he is publishing 30 tutorials in 30 days on various techniques on many of the Creative Cloud products.
Check it out here, you may learn something new.
With my eternal search for the perfect compact I read an article from Ming Thein on his recent thoughts on compacts. This really made me think about what I want in a compact.
Its true now that the small sensor cheap compact has been replaced by the common smart phone. So what we want from a compact is far more. The problem is we want small, high image quality, fast lens and a range from 20mm to 300mm, oh and if it will fit into a office shirt top pocket.
Now all of this is not possible but it leads us to cameras like the Panasonic LX10o, or the Sony RX100, where possibly we should be looking at cameras like the Fuji X100 and the Sony RX1, a scalpel of a camera rather an something that tries to do it all.
Every week on the forums you see camera A is better then camera B, format size W is better then X, yet in many ways its difficult to compare different formats.
If I had to pick just one then it would be an impossible job.
I much prefer to have a selection of tools available, I was jealously reading the other day about a professional photographer who had grab bags all packed and ready to go for Medium Format, DX mirrorless (Fuji), and a large sensor compact. Depending on how he felt, where he was going and what the shoot was for, he would just gab the appropriate bag and go. He also had grab bags for different lighting solutions!
So money no option what would I go for.
Well for landscape I would have and I do have Large Format and Medium Format. Large Format is not common today and is difficult and challenging to use. Many would say you can get the same results with full frame 35mm and a high quality PC lens. If your having to walk a long distance though a full frame mirrorless solution is a great compromise.
Studio I use a mix of equipment, either full frame 35mm or Medium format.
Street shooting is my little Leica, small and not screaming photographer is the ideal, Fuji mirrorless and Microfourthirds is also idea.
So for my formats it would be:
- Large format 5 x 4 inch
- Medium format 6 x 6 cm
- 35mm Full frame SLR for Wildlife
- 35mm Full frame Mirrorless for everyday
- Microfourthirds for travelling light.
Oh course I am now going to ignore the above and mention some cameras. What would I like to own looking at the cameras available today.
- Large format – Ebony
- Medium format – my Hasselblad and I would also add a Leica S
- Full frame 35mm – Nikon D4 & D810, Leica M 240
- DX ( ok so not on my list but I love the …) – Fuji X100T
- Microfourthirds – Olympus OM-D E-M10