Photo of the Month – January

flowerNikon D800
Nikkor 105mm f/2.8
105mm, 1/60 Sec at f/8, ISO800
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.7
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.10.2

So its now the end of January and time for my first picture of the month.  Last year I ended on a quick snap from my iPhone, this time I am going to show one of my rejects from a macro photography day I did.

These flowers are really tiny and the shooting conditions were less then ideal, with wind moving the blooms.  I used a mix of daylight and balanced flash, but this did not freeze the picture.

Still I thought with the degree of blur in this shot, it made it look quite romantic, so while not technically correct it is artistically pleasing.

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Are all RAW files the same

National Railway Museum-2It used to be that a RAW file was just that, the raw data from the sensor, which you imported into your favourite RAW processor and dealt with as you saw fit.

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.

Victorian GardenOne 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.

 

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Apple Updates

OS X MavericksThe 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.

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Photography Show 2015

Joe McNallyI 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.

Leica T 701

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.

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Digital Darkroom – My next purchase

Austin7 in Large FormatSince 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.

Epson ScannerSo its with that thought I have started to investigate scanners, and as with my printer, i’ll hope to get a good deal at the Photography show at the NEC in March.

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Looking at 20mm

Royal Carriage

Royal Carriage

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.

IMG_0150.JPG L1103051.jpg 1560093

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.

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Fuji and the X Trans Sensor

Fuji X100sSince its release, people have loved and hated the Fuji X Trans Sensor.  Its brave to come up with a different type of sensor and doing so has advantages and brings its own problems.

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.

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Family News Update

D800 Tests Birds on the ArchWe 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.

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Terry White’s 30 Creative Cloud Tutorials in 30 Days

Import export LightroomMany photographers use Adobe Lightroom and/or Adobe Photoshop in their workflow.  If you do its highly likely then you subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

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.

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General Purpose Compact or Dedicated Tool

Sony RX1With 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.

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