Leica M10

On a bright summer morning walking down a woodland lane, shooting into the sun is not a good idea, the high contrast, risk of flare generally will not result in a good image, but sometimes, just sometimes it works.

Nikon Z8? : The real D8xx mirrorless camera

With the announcement of the pro spec Z9, rumours abound about the Z8, the mirrorless version of D8xx line.

Bonnie taken with Nikon D800

The Z7 is good but it is a prosumer camera, missing a few things the D850 has, around memory banks and focus modes.

The question is going to be resolution. Everyone says it has to match or beat Sony’s latest 60MP wonder, we know they are testing 45MP sensors and in reality as we are talking area, 45MP is not much different to 60MP but if they release it as 45MP it will be seen on the internet as a failure. The Canon R5 is 45MP and for now I think that makes sense, but I feel Nikon will get a kicking if they go that route.

Spring Walks

We had a lot of rain this spring, the warmer weather caused by global warming in the arctic is causing cooler wetting weather to be driven south to us.

We still had some nice days and when we have a nice Sunday morning I am off shortly after dawn with our hound, Ted the Greyhound, over the fields with a camera over my shoulder.

Over the years since moving here I have been collecting pictures of the local fields, some freshly ploughed, some full of crops, others past their past.

I don’t always come back with any pictures worth showing but sometimes I get lucky.

If you go for a walk take a camera, you may surprise yourself and get a really nice picture.

Nikkor Z Mount Lens – Roadmap

Image from https://nikonrumors.com/2021/01/17/updated-nikon-nikkor-z-mirrorless-lens-roadmap-2.aspx/

Building out a new system is hard work. For those already in the Nikon system the adapter to use our existing F mount lens goes a long way, but until a few key more lens are released, Nikon is playing catch up on the lens.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, Profoto flash with CTO Gel and a shoot through Umbrella.

I’ll forgive Nikon somewhat, as the lens they have released have been out of this world, the 70-200mm f/2.8 is close to being the best zoom lens ever, and there is nothing standard about the 50mm f/1.2.

Everyone has their own idea of the ideal lens set, and Nikon are offering us the standard trinity of zooms, the f/2.8 set that take us from 14mm to 200mm.

I want to see a high quality 70-200mm f/4 but also a 24-105mm f/4. Canon already have a great 24-105mm f/4 and it makes a great all purpose lens.

I would be happy with a 24-105mm f/4, a 50mm f/1.2 and a 85mm f/1.4 for my needs. In fact I would happy trade the 24-105mm for a high quality 35mm f/2 and use that as my general day to day lens, with the 50mm and the 85mm used for studio and location portrait shoots.

The system is growing nicely, complete a nice set of f/4 zooms and the 400mm and 600mm telephotos and its well on the way, and more professionals who are currently not Nikon users but want to go mirrorless would consider it.

With these lens, give me a body that matches the D850 in features with the latest sensor tech and I may jump myself from my DSLR.

Getting Colour Temperature – do we need to get it right?

White balance card

If you shoot jpeg then yes get it right in camera, but for us RAW shooters why should we bother?

Its easy to fix it post but come on, who wants to have to colour correct all the images you took on your last shoot, yes with Adobe Lightroom you an fix one and then replicate it across, but its just another job you have to get done.

Get it right in camera.

Once you have everything correct its then easy to work from a common starting point and colour grade to how you want it.

How card slots do you need in a camera

CF Cards were relatively physically robust, SD cards less so. Many pros and amateurs like having two card slots. Writing RAW to one and Jpg to another for backup. A few recent cameras have had a lot of flack for not having two card slots but card technology has improved a lot recently.

While CF and SD cards are prone to failure the new designed XQD and CFexpress have had no recorded failures due to hardware. Now all cards have a recommended number of read writes, and it is when you exceed these you start to get errors. Errors with these new cards are due to exceeding these recommendations.

If your camera uses one of these new types of card I would be less worried about needing two slots for safety. Some photographers who after a shoot hand a card to a third party but also need a copy for themselves then yes there are ways cases for two slots, sometimes event photographers will print out a quick jpg and sell to the client on the day so having jpegs to one card and raw to the other is handy from a work flow perspective, but for many of us one card slot is now enough.

No matter how many card slots you have I would recommend you replace your cards regularly. It is likely now age and exceeding the number writes that will get you rather a the card failing early.

Focus Stacking

Fountain Pens

When shooting still life or macro, depth of field is limited. This was shot with daylight, and a little bit of fill flash from a low power studio flash head and a shoot through umbrella.

I wanted to shoot at f/8 which would give me reasonable quality, depth of field and not have the shutter speed drop too much. But even f/8 would not give me enough depth of field. so I decided to have a go at a technique that I had read about and see a landscape photographer user on a Youtube video but never tried my self.

A technique I do use is to merge several images together to create large panoramic. The technique I chose to use this time was to create more depth of field. Its called photostacking and is automated now in Photoshop.

I took several images in succession but focused at different points in the image. After a quick edit for colour, contrast and exposure. I imported these as separate layers into Photoshop.

Once in Photoshop, the first step is to make sure they are all aligned correctly. Now I was shooting on a tripod, but sometimes even the best lens do something called ‘focus breathing’ and the field of view changes ever so slightly.

With each layer selected go, Edit , Auto-Align Layers and I chose Auto. This will then line up everything to the best of its ability.

Now you are ready to merge the layers into a single image layer taking the parts that are in focus from each layer. Its quite easy and automated.

Again with all layers selected, go to Edit and select Auto-Blend Layers.

Select Stack Image and ensure that the Seamless and Content Aware tick boxes are selected.

It will now generate a new layer based on the parts in focus. It will do a reasonable job but will not be perfect, you may have to tweak the layer masks it generates slightly. Save it and go back into Lightroom for a final edit.