Photo of the Month – December

IMG_0170.JPGApple iPhone 6
Apple 4.15mm f/2.2 
4.15mm, 1/500 Sec at f/2.2, ISO32
Post Processed in Adobe Lightroom V5.7
On a MacBook Pro, OS-X 10.10.1

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.

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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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Choosing Camera Formats

Fashion at the Drill HallFull frame or DX; Micro Four Thirds or one inch sensor compacts.  What about Large format or Medium format; or a camera phone or small sensor compact.

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.

Tintern Abbey

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
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Compact System Camera or Single Lens Reflex?

Fuji XEvery week on some forum or the other you will see someone exclaiming that they have ditched their SLR gear and gone mirrorless.

The sales figures for 2014 though still do not show the big pickup in mirrorless sales.  While once again SLR sales are down, they are still vastly greater then CSC sales, which are still not really growing in the western market.   In the far east its a different matter and CSC sales are far better.

The other year I visited a museum that had just had a party of Japanese women visit, every single one of them had something like a Olympus Pen or Nikon J1 round their necks, not one had an SLR.

Certainly as far as sales go here in the UK, its the highend mirrorless that is selling and its selling as companion cameras to SLR users generally.  Though I have noticed more and more of the older generation ditching the SLR for the CSC due to weight concerns.

The big question is are Canon and Nikon going to advance the SLR anymore, because in a few years focus and EVF viewfinders will have reached parity with SLR’s and then where are people going to put there dollars?

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Nikon Quality Control

I know Leica equipment is very expensive but they really understand customer service. Issues are dealt with well.

With the Nikon D750 and its recent flare issues we have now had the last four full frame cameras released with issues. Now problems do happen but Nikons response to its customers has not been good.

Come on Nikon, up your game.

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First Releases of 2015

Lowepro Lens TrekkerThis week we have CES2015, a show that now seems to contain everything from Cars, TV’s to Computers and Drones.

If you get the chance check out the self parking Audi/VW video showing a dog parking a car, very funny.

It’s been the camera and lens announcements I have been listening out for. Particularly Nikon news.

While the camera announcement of the D5500 with its improved fully articulating screen, did not interest me the announcement of a new 300mm f/4 lens did. While I am not in the market for this lens, a good quality f/4 lens is something that Nikon needs more of. Not everyone can afford the fast f/2.8 lens and the slow consumer lens just do not cut it. What we want is a full range of quality zooms and this is something that Nikon have been slow to do unlike Canon.

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