Cataract number one – Mum News

Quick bit of family news. Mum Brown was in hospital today to have one of her cataracts removed.

Once the other one is done and she gets her new glasses she should be able to see much better.

Adobe release Lightroom V10

So this week has been Adobe Max and they have been releasing their new products.

Jasmine in Red, Nikon D800, Elinchrom Flash – edited in Lightroom V10

As is usual; I have not upgraded my main desktop yet, but have upgraded on my laptop. I have a catalogue of my recent shoots on the laptop and after backing it up and putting a copy on my desktop, just in case I need to edit V9, I had a go at editing in V10.

So far, it seems better, slightly faster, I am not seeing the blackout that used to happen for a second when switching to cropping mode, but the big change is the new colour grading section.

Jasmine, Nikon D800, Elinchrom Flash – edited in Lightroom V10 with colour grading

I use the split toning function a lot in Lightroom, and I use it in colour as well as black and white. Its in black and white where you can really notice it. Her is a simple platinum blue applied to the highlights and a warmer brown/orange tone to the shadows.

I would say its worked quite well. I’ll likely wait for a point release in Lightroom and for me to be more familiar with the new tools before I upgrade my main machine and risk upgrading my master catalogue, but things look good.

Arguments on crop factor – 35 mm or Medium Format

Nikon D800, Nikkor 105mm

Since full frame 35mm digital became affordable there have been arguments about format.  

MicroFourThirds and their size and weight advantages.  Increased depth of field; a pro and a con depending on the type of photographs you take.

DX crop against full frame, and now 35mm full frame against cropped medium format.  Over the last couple of years I have seen the argument growing.

Since the release of relatively cheap (and I mean relatively cheap) cropped medium format; I am now seeing arguments about full frame 35mm verses cropped medium format explode on the forums.

It is fascinating that the 35mm crowd are using the same arguments small factor crop proponents  used against them, to defend themselves against the proponents of cropped medium format.

Get the Light Close – edit completed

The question of whether to buy 35mm or medium format I find somewhat confusing, I don’t think of the different formats as competitors.  If you need the dynamic range and a file that can be edited, edited and edited again, then go medium format.  Also medium format and the lens have a certain look that 35mm cannot match.  Cameras like the Nikon D800, D850, Leica SL1, SL2 and lets not forget the high tech killer that is the Sony A7R IV a 61 MP monster, etc; come close in the dynamic range but they still do not have the look that medium format can give you and the endless editing that the files can take.

Hasselblad V Medium Format

If you need medium format buy it, if small format (35mm full frame) will do then use that.

Ultimately I think it comes down to cost and the key features you need.  I love medium format, but at the moment my medium format is film and an old PhaseOne 16 MP back. This is well outclassed by my Nikon D800.

Out of camera jpeg from a Fuji Film GFX 50S

The Fujifilm GFX 50mm and has a nice look to the files but while the sensor is 50 MP the tech is old compared to a Nikon D850 with its 47MP or a Leica SL2 with its 47MP sensor and not in the same league as the new Sony.

While sensor is important what about the glass?

The L mount glass from Leica designed to exceed 60 line pairs per millimetre at 50% contrast is simply unbeatable, but it still does not have the look of medium format.

For my studio work/portrait work I would still lean towards medium format but the Fuji has a flash sync of only 1/125 while the Nikon and Leica have 1/250 with the flash at full power. If your serious about flash then a Hasselblad with a leaf shutter giving you flash sync up to 1/2000. The question is cost. A second hand Nikon D800 and a high quality lens is hard to beat. A second hand Fuji or Hasselblad and portrait lens it going to cost at least three times that.

What are the features you need, what is the look you want, lens draw, depth of field, flash sync, handling, weather sealing, focal length and focus performance, lowlight ability.

I know of some photographers their field of photography means a simple Ricoh GR III is the camera of choice, others a high end PhaseOne. Draw up a budget, pick the focal lengths you need for your work and then look at what’s available, gives the image you want and feels good in the hand.

Remember that now the difference between the worst and best camera is very small and all are very very good.

Website updates and upgrades

We have over the last few days being upgrading the backend of our website.

https://brown-family.org.uk is now available to use; yes we now have a secure site with a signed certificate.

The site now has a new backend SQL Database, now on the latest version.

bandwidth close up computer connection
Photo by panumas nikhomkhai on Pexels.com

Lastly we updated the php.

coffee writing computer blogging
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

So we are now all bang up today.

I hope the upgrades did not affect you too much but its all done now, apart from regular patching no major updates planned for a couple of years.

Choosing a format

Tintern Abbey – shot with a Nikon V1 while walking to find a good place to shoot with my large format camera.

I am going to publish an article I wrote about full frame 35mm and medium format soon but first I thought I would instead of arguing which is best show how the formats can live together.

Nikon V1 10mm f/2.8

First micro formats, smaller then MicroFourThirds.

This will be like the little Pentax system, Nikon’s short lived Series 1 experiment (which I liked), and just about every modern phone. The top two pictures were taken with them.

It means small cameras, small lens, lots of depth of field and a camera you can always carry with you to get the shot. I expect unless someone releases something like a pro version of my V1 then this type of camera is going to become our phones and the rest will disappear.

Olympus OM10 Micro Four Thirds

This is a truly useful format as all the pictures coming from phones prove.

What is the best camera, the camera you have with you.

Now we get to Micro Four Thirds. For many this is the best compromise, we still get small cameras and lens, but true system cameras. With a Micro Four Thirds Camera over the shoulder who needs anything more, and if you do a full frame 35mm would make an excellent companion.

Nikon D200

Now for DX cropped 35mm.

Some would say the perfect compromise. While bigger lens, you get more reach then full frame 35mm but still some of the smallness that a cropped sensor brings.

I have used a pair of Nikon D200’s with there DX 1.5 cropped sensor for many years, shooting event photography, weddings, wildlife, studio portraits, fashion, glamour and art nude. A true allrounder.

Now we get to where all the arguments start. Full Frame 35mm.

Good depth of field control, excellent system choice, the perfect all rounder some would counter to the DX cropped crowd. With modern 35mm digital now hitting 60 mega pixels, who needs medium or large format, and with small mirrorless bodies from Sony, Canon and Nikon you can have a small camera too. The downside is; this is 35mm full frame, the glass is not going to be small, unless your talking slow lens, or none autofocus.

Jasmine in Red

If your willing to carry the glass its hard to beat today. It could be your only camera system, or partner it with Micro Four Thirds when you need to travel light.

So now for the big boys. Medium format.

Hasselblad Fuji RDP100

Now cameras like the Fuji GFX and the Hasselblad X1D the new mirrorless cameras one can argue are easy light and portable cameras, but most need a tripod and care with setup.

Large Format 5 x 4

For any one with a mirrorless medium format then 35mm as a second camera does not make sense. A DX body for when you need something smaller and more portable does make a lot of sense.

Its when you think about what formats make good companions, you get why Fuji are only concentrating DX crop and MF crop. They make good bedfellow.

If you wanted just one camera system what would it be.

If you wanted two what would make good companions.

Ageing Tech – when to upgrade

Apple Powerbook 12 inch, my first photo editing laptop

Its likely that Apple will announce their new iPhone this week, so it made me think; when should we upgrade our ageing tech.

I am now typing this on one of Apple’s latest 16 inch laptops, close to top of the range, I only upgraded once Adobe no longer supported the spec. So far in my computer upgrades, its always been newer software that’s driven me to upgrade. My last laptop lasted twelve years so I saw a major improvement in performance and usability.

I tend to upgrade my phones every three to four years. Currently in our family, my iPhone 6 Plus is still getting heavy use by my wife and it is six years old and working fine. My current phone is the iPhone X.

I am thinking of getting a new phone this year but its likely to be one for Caroline, she likes the larger screen so mine will have to last that little bit longer.

Upgrading cameras I tend to skip about to generations. I switched to digital with the Nikon D200. That was replaced by the D300 and then the D300s. I upgraded when the D800 appeared. So jumped from 10 megapixel cropped format to 36 megapixel full frame. We have now had the D810 and then the big jump to the D850, a camera that really tempted me, it was a significant improvement over the D800. I really hope the D850 replacement is another big jump. Either way I am really going to notice the improvement.

Professional Mirrorless Cameras

We are now entering the stage where professional mirrorless cameras are becoming a thing.

Now I am not getting into the debate of, what is a professional camera. For a street artist that might be a little Ricoh GR compact, or a Leica M Monochrom. For a studio worker its likely a big old slow medium format camera. No here we are talking about good all round professional system cameras that can take a beating and get a job done. Whether its snaps of a rapidly unfolding news event, a simple portrait, sports or wildlife. The good all round camera that we then to call open for these duties is the Pro DSLR. Here we think about the Canon EOS 1D and the single digit Nikon’s ie the current Nikon D6.

Many would say we are here already and have been for a while with cameras such as the Olympus OM1.

Olympus OM-D E-1MX

The current model is quite a beast and I would agree it is a pro level camera with good system support.

As is the Leica SL and some would say the Fuji; but its only when Canon and Nikon step up that many people take notice.

So now we are starting to here rumours about the Nikon Z9, which is believed to be a mirrorless D6. This would make it close to a 50 MP camera, 8fps, and its rumoured to have 8k video support in a pro body.

For these wanting high megapixels there will also be a Z8 which will share its sensor with the D850 replacement.

Interesting times ahead.

Range Finder Options – PIXII

PIXII Range Finder

Range finder options are few and far between. If your want to use film there’s quite a selection to use. I enjoy using my old Leica M4, but film is not for everyone. I have an old digital M8+ and Epson had their RD1/2.

If you want something modern Leica has been the only option until now, with the PIXII. Its an interesting take and a little like a more modern interpretation of the Leica M-D.

Leica M-D Rangefinder

I like the M-D its very like film like, has no screen but you can use your phone. The new PIXII is very similar.

PIXII Rangefinder

No rear screen but you use your phone and an app. At nearly €3000 its half the price of the Leica, it has a cropped DX sensor so has pro’s and cons, but is another option.

Web Services – a Rant

This is less about web services and more about functionality that does not need web services but uses it anyway.

I have a large amount of video media, photographic tutorials, the family favourite movies and TV shows etc.

They are sat on an external hard drive and a copy in Dropbox. We use the Plex app to service these to the TV, and the AppleTV app to our computers and tablet devices; much easier then finding physical media.

It used to be simple, the app on the TV talked to my main computer that had the Plex server app on it and access to the media. Simple and it worked.

But like many companies they have now web offerings and offer other functionality. So now the TV app has to authenticate to their servers out there on the web before it will connect to my server and play my media.

This means now that if Plex have a service outage or my internet is not working I cannot play my media on my TV, very frustrating. Over the last few days we have seen major outages with AWS, Azure etc, causing many online services to fail. Not sure where Plex host there servers but they were out too. So no watching Plex for me last night.

Yes I get it that many people like the extra functionality but the basic stuff, streaming media from a drive in my home to my TV in my home all on the same network should still work!

At least I have coffee.