Archive for July, 2017

EyeEm 2017 Photography Awards finalists revealed

29 Jul

EyeEm has revealed the finalists for its fourth annual photography contest, the largest competition of its kind. Chosen from more than 590,000 submissions, these photos are contending for the top spot in one of five different categories: ‘The Street Photographer,’ ‘The Great Outdoors,’ ‘The Portraitist,’ ‘The Architect,’ and ‘The Photojournalist.’ The 100 selected photos can be viewed on EyeEm’s awards website.

According to EyeEm, more than 88,000 photographers from around the globe submitted photos for consideration. The images chosen from the submissions will be judged by a panel of judges that include National Geographic Traveler’s Director of Photography Anne Farrar, Refinery29’s photography director Toby Kaufmann, BBC Picture Editor Emma Lynch, EyeEm’s 2016 winner Zacharie Rabehi, and others.

The contest’s winners will be revealed in Berlin at the 2017 EyeEm Photography Festival running from September 15 to 17, with the announcement itself happening on September 16. The awards ceremony will take place at the Radialsystem V; those who want to attend can still order tickets.

Via: EyeEm

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Blackmagic Video Assist 4K review

28 Jul

If you find yourself wondering ‘why would I even want an external monitor/recorder’ then I’d suggest you spend a few moments reading our article on the topic. The short answer is that it’s a great way to expand the tools for, and maximize the quality of, video capture on your current camera.

The Video Assist 4K is the larger of Blackmagic Design’s current monitor/recorders. It features a 7″, 1920 x 1200 pixel display and the ability to capture up to UHD/30p video in 10-bit 4:2:2 quality. It can accept video across HDMI or 6G-SDI inputs and offers outputs for when you want to include it in a more complex setup.

It’s been on the market since April 2016 so it doesn’t match the spec of the latest 4K/60p capable competitors, nor can it cope with the wider-screen DCI flavor of 4K but, through a series of firmware updates, Blackmagic has been adding features to this sub-$ 1000 monitor/recorder.

And, since it’s likely to be a while before a majority of brands offer cameras capable of 4K/60p, its age doesn’t weigh too heavily against it, unless you want to shoot the more cinema-like 1.85:1 DCI aspect ratio.

The Video Assist 4K can record in a variety of popular codecs, so that the files are immediately ready for use in Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro or AVID Media Composer. All the Apple codecs and the 220 and HQX versions DNx are captured in up to 10-bit detail.

Apple codecs
  • ProRes Proxy
  • ProRes 422 LT
  • ProRes 422
  • ProRes 422 HQ

AVID codecs
(in either Quicktime or MXF wrapper)

HD Codecs

  • DNxHD 45
  • DNxHD 145
  • DNxHD 220x
4K Codecs

  • DNxHR LB
  • DNxHR SQ

It’s also a fairly well-connected little beast, though, which makes it easy to hook up to most cameras.

Inputs Outputs
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 6G SDI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 6G SDI
  • 2 x Mini XLR (balanced)
    with phantom power
  • Over HDMI
  • 3.5mm headphone socket

Batteries and storage

Unlike the Atomos recorders, which tend to use Sony L-series-style batteries and write to SSD drives, the Blackmagic uses Canon LP-E6 batteries and writes to SD cards. This use of more photographer-friendly formats has both advantages and disadvantages.

The obvious advantages are that, especially if you already shoot Canon, you may well already have the equipment you need to start shooting. No messing around with cradles to mount the SSD on your computer, you just use the same SD reader you use for stills photography.

The downside is that, until V60 and V90-rated SD cards become more common, even the most expensive U3 cards, for all their promises of transfer rates in the hundreds of MB/s, only guarantee to sustainably write at up to 30MB/s (240Mbps). If you’re capturing video, it’s this sustained write rate that you need to worry about and 4K can easily exceed this figure.

The Video Assist 4K uses common, Canon-style batteries and fast SD card, both of which you may already own and which are very widely available.

As a result, Blackmagic has to publish a list of SD cards it recommends for its higher frame rates and codecs. For most of the better ones, you’ll need a UHS II, U3 card. Given the company’s history of adding features to the Video Assist via firmware, the hope has to be that it’s possible to offer proper support for V60 and V90 cards, but they wouldn’t comment, when asked.

The downside of using the common LP-E6 batteries is that, although pretty powerful in comparison with other DSLR batteries, they’re tiny compared to some of the huge L-series blocks you can get. Consequently, you’ll need a handful of them if you’re planning an extended shoot away from a power supply. I found I was getting 20-30 minutes of capture out of two fully charged batteries. The batteries can be hot-swapped while recording, in the unlikely event of you needing a single clip to last longer than that.

What’s it like to use?

The first thing to get used to is how much size and weight shooting with any external recorder adds. The use of such a big screen immediately limits your ability to ‘run and gun.’ If you’re just trying to grab some quick, on-the-move, on-the-fly footage, the Video Assist will slow you down. However, if you have the few extra moments to consider each shot, it increases the chances of you getting it right as well as increasing the quality of your footage.

if you have the few extra moments to consider each shot, it increases the chances of you getting it right

Its weight means that it’s not easily mounted on your camera. There are plenty of hotshoe-to-tripod mount adapters available and, given the Video Assist’s 928g (2lb) mass (with batteries), we’d recommend the use of the most sturdy ballhead-type adapter you can find. It’s much happier if you have some kind of arm to attach it to your tripod or have your camera mounted in a rig, to which you can then add the Video Assist.

However, one of the benefits you gain for this weight is pretty rugged construction. The Video Assist’s metal and rubber build doesn’t promise any level of shockproofing, but our review unit survived an accidental fall onto pavement and has worked flawlessly since, suggesting it’ll stand up to the rough-and-tumble of shooting in the real world.

Touchscreen interface

In terms of actual use, everything on the Video Assist is operated by touchscreen. It’s pretty responsive, with only the slightest hint of lag and there are few enough options that you very quickly find your way around and learn it in no time at all.

The Video Assist gives you access to adjustable zebra highlight warnings as well as focus peaking, regardless of whether your camera offers these features.

However, the more you think about the way the interface works, the less sense it makes: three of the six button arrayed along the top of the main screen take you to the same menu, some options have left/right arrows with the Off option at the far left, others just have On and Off buttons, with Off on the right. The monitor and audio setup menu is accessed by pressing the ‘Card’ button. Even by the standard of camera menus, it feels like more and more has been added onto the system without any thought given to what a blank-sheet design would look like.

You can select what triggers recording from the main screen but toggling false color, peaking or zebras is an extra button-press away

Some of this may be down to my inexperience, of course. Perhaps more experienced users constantly need to change which input triggers recording or change codec mid shoot, but I find myself needing to toggle False Color on and off far more frequently, and I have to visit a separate menu page each time I want to do so. Revising this design would speed up operation of the Video Assist considerably.

It’s also a little disappointing to see that you can only magnify the central portion of the scene: there’s no way of moving the focused region around, which is awkward if your composition requires an off-center point of interest.

The Video Assist 4K can capture Log footage but apply a LUT to the image it displays. This GIF approximates the effect of applying the F-Log/F-Gamut -> WDR/BT 709 LUT available from Fujifilm.

Overall, though, the Video Assist is really easy to use, even for a novice like me. It was easy enough to upload a LUT using the desktop-based software, meaning I can shoot Log but with a comprehensible preview. Equally, once you get used to shooting with False Colors, it’s awkward to live without them. Which brings us to…


In keeping with its history of adding features via firmware, Blackmagic Designs recently released the long-promised update that brings ‘scopes to the Video Assist. This is a big deal, since scopes are a very powerful way of interpreting the tonal and color distribution in the footage you’re capturing.

The Vectorscope shows you how the color in your image is distributed.

The latest update brings a luminance waveform, an RGB waveform/parade (though only represented in white, so a little hard to interpret) and a vectorscope.

The implementation is not great, however. All scopes are accessed by tapping the histogram at the lower left of the panel and they all take up the whole screen. Two tiny, tiny buttons inconsistent with the rest of the interface let you control over how the waveforms and video appear. The right-hand button brings up two sliders that adjust how bright the video feed is shown in the background and how bright the waves are displayed.

Waveform Waveform overlaid Video PiP

The second acts as a toggle to show the video feed as a small picture-in-picture window, but no way of showing the scopes themselves on anything but the full width of the screen, so you may find you have to toggle them on and off, rather than leaving them open to monitor as you shoot.

Despite this slightly rough-round-the-edges implementation, the addition of scopes is a significant addition to the Video Assist, especially as they’re tools that are generally lacking from the cameras we tend to review. They’re also a free upgrade to any existing owners and coincide with Blackmagic Designs offering a significant temporary price cut on the device, so we’re not going to be too critical of the slightly imperfect integration.


For many people it won’t be obvious why they should go out and spend $ 900 on an accessory that does something their camera tries to do already: preview and capture movies. However, for a certain kind of videography, the Video Assist makes life a lot easier (and the peace of mind it brings, in terms of knowing that your footage is going to be correctly shot is immense).

With a simple L-shaped bracket, you can make a relatively hand-holdable combination with some small cameras (though you’ll need to think pretty hard about stabilization).

And, despite a couple of gripes about its operation, the Video Assist 4K is still a very easy-to-use, well specified device. It means that, for less than the cost of a new camera, you can maximize the quality of the footage you’re capturing from your current one while also gaining access to a host of useful tools it almost certainly hasn’t got.

In addition, shooting in formats such as ProRes and DNx means your footage is in and edit-friendly format, straight out of the recorder, potentially removing a time-consuming transcoding step from your workflow.

$ 900 isn’t a trivial amount of money but, for a great many photographers, it’s an amount they’d be happy to spend on a new lens. And, like a lens, it’s a purchase that will probably outlive your current camera and work happily with whatever you’re shooting in a few years time. Only the lack of 4K/60p or DCI 4K capture and the uncertainty over fast SD card support casts a doubt over its future-proof-ness.

What we like:

  • Captures the best of your camera’s output
  • Adds hugely useful tools to support video capture
  • Durable build

What we don’t:

  • Question mark over future SD card support
  • Increasingly convoluted interface

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Leica chairman contemplates Leica smartphone

28 Jul
Leica chairman of the supervisory board Andreas Kaufmann, image: Leica

Leica is one of the camera makers with the most tradition and, via its strategic partnership with Huawei, already involved in the development of smartphone camera technology. However, it appears chairman of the supervisory board Andreas Kaufmann can imagine the German manufacturer taking things one step further and making its own camera phone.

In an interview with CNBC Kaufman explained how the company has adapted its strategies and diversified the product range as it dealt with the digital revolution in photography. First film was replaced by digital cameras, then the smartphone was adopted as the modern amateur camera, Kaufmann explained.

The next logical step could be a true Leica smartphone. “I am not sure whether the company can do (this) … (But) one dream would be my personal dream: a true Leica phone,” Kaufmann said. “Every smartphone is wrong for photography at the moment,” he told CNBC, explaining that smartphones were generally used vertically but tilted into landscape orientation for photography.

Kaufmann also said that smartphones don’t have the right set up for street photography or video. “The phone nowadays is not fit really for photography … It’s used as a camera, it’s used as a video camera, but it’s not built that way and I think there’s a long way to go still.”

While most average consumers appear to be quite happy with the imaging setup of current smartphones it’s not a surprise the Leica chairman has a slightly different point of view. What do you think? Could a Leica smartphone a better alternative to Apple and Samsung? Let us know in the comments.

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Sample gallery and impressions: Tamron 18-400 F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

28 Jul

The Tamron 18-400 F3.5-6.3 wants to be the only lens you’ll ever need. In my experience, lenses of this nature tend to offer zoom versatility at the cost of sharpness, especially at the telephoto end of the zoom range. But I was pleasantly surprised by how solid this ‘ultra-telephoto’ performs at all focal lengths in bright, direct light.

More specifically, I found it produced adequately sharp images throughout the zoom range with acceptable levels of CA, distortion and vignetting. It’s also a fun lens to use, given its focal length range and reasonable size. As a bonus, it also offers a surprisingly close focus distance at the long end (see image at the bottom of this page).

See our Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 sample gallery

Available for both Canon and Nikon APS-C camera bodies (it offers an equivalent zoom range of 27-600mm on Nikon’s DX format, and 29-600mm on a Canon) I used the 18-400mm with the Canon EOS 80D, and and in terms of size and balance, it proved a good pairing. Despite having a plastic housing, the 18-400mm is reassuringly solid, and unlike some cheaper zooms the mount is made of metal. A small rubber ring around the mount is a reminder that the lens is also moisture-resistant.

Vibration Control is a useful feature given the insane zoom range – I definitely noticed it kicking in while shooting.

The wide, 27mm equivalent. And the tele, 600mm equivalent.

The lens also offers a nifty locking mechanism when zoomed to 18mm. This is a great way to avoid the dreaded ‘lens creep,’ though I found even without using the lock, the lens never crept when left at or near 18mm. The body also offers an AF/MF toggle, in addition to a VC on/off switch.

Overall, the Tamron 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 strikes me as a great and versatile lens for most daylight shooting scenarios. Travelers in particular will find it useful. And though it is heftier than your average kit lens, at 24.9oz / 705g, it shouldn’t weigh you down too much.

I was impressed by the close focus distance when shooting at the tele end.
400 mm | 1/1600 sec | F6.3 | ISO 800

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This video compares a $50 Sony camcorder with a $50,000 RED Epic Dragon

28 Jul

Ever wonder whether a more expensive camera is truly worth the cost? Sam and Niko of Corridor recently set out to compare footage from a $ 50 Sony HD camcorder and the RED Epic Dragon, a $ 50,000 6K cinema camera. As you’d expect, the differences are immediately apparent, cost aside, when the two cameras are put side-by-side: the RED camera’s lens alone is about the same size as the entire Sony camcorder.

The RED Epic Dragon has proven capable many times throughout its life, with perhaps one of the model’s most notable achievements being a trip into space where it was used by NASA astronauts to capture images from the International Space Station. The RED camera has also been used for several major Hollywood movies. The Sony HD camcorder used in the video, however, is a simple model with a low price point aimed at the average consumer.

At nearly 15 minutes in length, the comparison video above runs through several major aspects of both cameras’ footage, looking at things like noise level, exposure, low-light performance, post-processing results and more. As expected, the RED camera dominates in each category. More of the team’s videos can be found on the ‘Sam and Niko’ YouTube channel.

Via: iso1200

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The Vertical ELPH: remembering Canon’s PowerShot TX1 hybrid camera

28 Jul

Buried among the February 2007 announcements of Canon’s PowerShot SD750 and SD1000 Digital ELPHs*, and the A560 and A570 IS was the PowerShot TX1. It took the main features of camcorders at the time, namely the vertical design, rotating display and long-ish lens and put them into a stylish body about the same size as your average Digital ELPH. Add in 720/30p video and it quickly became obvious that the TX1 was created to bridge the worlds of photo and video shooting.

* The SD750 was known as the IXUS 75 while the SD1000 was the IXUS 70 outside of North America.

Behind that metal door was an F3.5-5.6, 39-390mm equivalent lens.

The PowerShot TX1 was based around a 1/2.5″, 7.1MP CCD, which was paired with Canon’s DIGIC III processor. While the F3.5-5.6, 10X zoom lens was quite long for that day, it had a focal range of 39-390mm equivalent, so wide-angle work was out. The lens featured Canon’s excellent image stabilization system – a necessity when capturing video at long focal lengths. Keeping with the stylish look of the ELPH/IXUS lineup, the TX1’s lens hid itself behind a door when powered off.

The 1.8″, 114k-dot LCD could rotate a total of 270 degrees, fitting in perfectly with the TX1’s camcorder-like design.

Canon had to cram a lot of buttons into a small area on the diminutive TX1. The result was a camera with pretty lousy ergonomics. DPReview’s Simon Joinson sums up the TX1’s ergonomic issues nicely in this paragraph:

‘Sexy looks aside, in use the design is nothing short of a disaster, and has the unique ability to make you feel like you have too many fingers on your right hand. Once you’ve mastered not blocking the lens the challenge is to take a picture without jolting the camera, change settings without dropping it, or use it to take a vertically orientated picture at all. It’s better if you use two hands, but not a lot.’

Ouch. Something that came along with the small body was a small battery. The TX1’s CIPA rating of 160 shots per charge was probably the worst I’ve seen in almost 20 years of reviewing cameras.

The TX1 took SD and MMC cards, and you needed a big one to store more than a few minutes of video.

Ergonomics and battery life aside, the PowerShot TX1 took pretty nice photos. Its resolution was competitive with other 7MP cameras, distortion was relatively mild and its noise levels weren’t too bad at ISO 400 (going much higher than that on a compact was a bad idea). As with most compacts, the TX1 had some image quality shortcomings: clipped highlights, purple fringing and redeye were all problems, though the latter could be fixed in-camera.

For those hoping that the TX1 would be a camcorder replacement, it wasn’t. Its 1080/30p video is noticeably softer than what you’d get from an HD camcorder and the use of the Motion JPEG codec meant that each second of video took up 4.5MB on your memory card.

Photo courtesy of

The TX1 didn’t have an HDMI port (but what camera did then?) so if you wanted to hook into a nicer TV, it took a lot of cables. On the right in the photo above are component video cables, which take up one port on the camera. Naturally, you’d want to listen to the high quality stereo sound recorded by the TX1, which required a second cable: the composite one you see above-left. It ended up being quite the rat’s nest.

In the end, the Canon PowerShot TX1 generated a lengthy list of pros and cons and was the recipient of DPReview’s ‘Recommended (but only just)’ award.

Sample Gallery

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Did you actually have a PowerShot TX1 and want to share your memories? Leave ’em in the comments section below! As always, suggestions for future Throwback Thursdays can be left there, as well.

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Meizu Pro 7 Plus comes with dual-cam and dual-screens

28 Jul

Chinese manufacturer Meizu has released its latest flagship smartphone and the Pro 7 Plus is quite a remarkable device in a number of ways. Like most recent high-end devices it comes with a dual-camera on the back. However it also offers a secondary AMOLED display on the back as a standout-feature. It can be used for music playback, date and weather-related information, or as viewfinder when taking selfies with the rear cameras.

In addition the Pro 7 Plus is also the first device to be powered by MediaTek’s new Helio X30 10nm chipset with 10 cores in three clusters. There are also 6GB of RAM, 64GB and 128GB storage options a 3500mAh battery and a 16MP front camera. Images can be viewed on a large 5.7″ QHD AMOLED display.

In the dual-camera the Meizu uses a very similar configuration to the Motorola Moto Z2 Force Edition that was announced two days ago. Two 12MP 1/2.9″ Sony IMX368 sensors with 1.25 µm pixel size, one RGB and one monochrome, are combined for depth-effects and improved image quality. The lenses come with F2.0 apertures and phase detection AF is on board as well.

If you think the Pro 7 Plus might be too large for your liking, there is also the standard Pro 7 with a smaller 5.2″Full HD panel and less powerful MediaTek Helio P25 chipset. The camera setup is the same as on the Pro model though. No information on pricing and availability has been provided yet.

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Sony full-frame CineAlta 4K motion picture camera teased ahead of launch

28 Jul

Sony has teased its video-focused customers with news of an upcoming announcement: it will soon take the wraps off a new CineAlta motion picture camera, one sporting a 36x24mm sensor. There’s still a bunch details forthcoming, but thus far Sony has revealed that the new CineAlta model will be capable of multiple aspect ratios and will be compatible with many existing CineAlta accessories.

Sony has only revealed a handful of details about the camera at this time (below), explaining that it is developing the model ‘through careful research and close collaboration with creative professionals.’ The company doesn’t state when the camera will be available, nor when the full announcement will be made.

Technology highlights and key benefits:

  • Full Frame 36x24mm sensor exclusively designed for this Digital Motion Picture Camera
  • Aspect ratio-agnostic – including Full Frame, Super35 4K 4-perf 4:3 Anamorphic and 4K spherical 3-perf 17:9
  • New image sensor enabling exceptional picture quality
  • Maintains the workflow established with Sony’s 16bit RAW/X-OCN and XAVC
  • Compatible with current and upcoming hardware accessories for CineAlta cameras (DVF-EL200 Full HD OLED Viewfinder, AXS-R7 recorder, AXS-CR1 and AR1 card reader, AXS and SxS memory cards).

Via: DIYPhotography

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6 Helpful Tips for Doing Interior Architecture Photography

28 Jul

Shooting interior architecture photography can be challenging to get just right. Here are six tips to help you have more success with this type of photography.

Interior architecture tips 01

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/200th. One off-camera flash used.

1) Always use a tripod

There are two main reasons why you always want to use a tripod for architecture photography.

First, a tripod will perfectly stabilize your camera/lens setup, which fully mitigates any possibility of motion blur from hand-holding the camera. Additionally, if you’re on a tripod, it’s much easier to make sure your camera is level (I’ll discuss the importance of a level camera later in this article).

Secondly, there’s no good reason NOT to use a tripod (I follow the general rule that, unless there’s a good reason not to have a tripod, I always use one). If you were tracking subjects which required quick movement and recomposition, then a tripod would be a hindrance. But, for architecture photography, your composition will always sit nice and still for you, giving you all the time in the world to set the shot up right. The ideal situation for a tripod.

Interior architecture tips 02

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/120th. One off-camera flash used.

2) Whenever possible, use a flash

If you shoot a room indoors without a flash, you will typically get shadows scattered around the room. Using a flash for interior architecture will help balance the exposure across the entire frame.

This is how I typically use a flash. Put the flash on a tripod or a stand, and place it a few feet away from the camera (on each side of the camera if you use two flashes for larger rooms), and a foot or so behind the camera. Aim the flashes so they are pointing up at the ceiling, but also slightly away from the room you’re shooting. At this angle, the light from the flashes will illuminate the room indirectly (i.e. bouncing off the ceiling and walls), creating a soft, even, fill-in light for the room you’re shooting. Set the flashes manually at half power (one stop below full power) and fire away!

Interior architecture tips 03

This was a tricky shot because my flash was reflecting off the windows no matter where I positioned it. So I took two shots (one with flash and one without) and masked them together in Photoshop. The windows you see in this image are from the shot without a flash, while the rest of the room is from the shot with the flash.

3) When shooting whole rooms, don’t get too wide

When I first started taking practice photos of architectural photography, I used the widest angle lens I could get my hands on to shoot entire rooms. My thinking was that with an ultra-wide lens, I could get more of the room in the frame. But more isn’t always better. I quickly noticed the high level of distortion towards the edges of the frame, especially in smaller rooms where the edges of the frame were at wide angles to the camera.

So, I experimented with different focal lengths and came to the conclusion that between 21mm and 28mm gives you the most practical balance between limited distortion and a wide enough frame to capture the character and presence of the scene. Ultra-wide lenses (i.e. 14 or 15mm) will make the sides of the frame look oddly stretched and off the horizontal plane, even when corrected in post-production.

If you’re in a situation where 21mm won’t capture enough of the scene, a panorama is always an option – which segues nicely into the next tip:

Interior architecture tips 04

This was an extremely dark room, even with all the lights on. So, like the previous image, I stacked two shots: one exposed for the room, and one exposed for the windows, and combined them in Photoshop.

4) Try panoramas for ultra-wide shots

Set up your camera vertically on the tripod (which creates a taller pano). Then, making sure you adequately overlap the scene in each shot, do your best to make the camera rotate on a perfectly level, horizontal plane, with the pivot point being roughly where the lens meets the camera.

If the pivot point is too far forward (i.e. somewhere on the lens), or too far backward (i.e. on the body of the camera), the panorama will appear distorted. For example, in the picture below, the pivot point was on the body of the camera (behind the ideal spot where the lens meets the camera). As a result, the panorama has a weird sort of convex distortion.

Interior architecture tips 05

This is a seven image panorama. See how artificially “rounded” the walls are? This will happen when shooting a panorama if your camera/lens are not properly situated on the tripod.

5) Whenever possible, try to shoot only one or two walls

Two wall shots typically give the viewer the most geometrically pleasant image to view. When three (or more) walls are introduced, the photograph can have a tendency to appear somewhat awkward-looking if you aren’t careful with the composition.

Interior architecture tips 06

21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/120th. One off-camera flash used.

The above shot is a generic two-wall scene, with the walls meeting at a standard 90 degree angle. The image below is the same room, except I backed up several feet to purposely include the third wall on the left edge of the frame.

Interior architecture tips 07

The “third wall” on the left side of this shot creates an unnatural and visually-displeasing scene.

I don’t know about you, but to me, the photo above looks compositionally awkward and disorienting because of the third wall on the left. All of that said, just like the Rule of Thirds can occasionally be broken to make a photo work, sometimes getting three walls in the shot is okay – provided everything is geometrically aligned.

Interior architecture tips 08

A properly-aligned three-wall shot. 21mm focal length, f/11, ISO 100, 1/200th.

6) Make sure your camera is perfectly level

Last, but definitely not least, you will want to make sure your camera isn’t tilted up or down, or tilted to the left or right. Doing so, even slightly, will require post-production cleanup. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Interior architecture tips 09

In this shot, the camera/lens were not level on the tripod. They were slightly slanted down towards the ground, creating the artificially slanted walls.

See how slanted the windows are? Clearly, this is not an accurate depiction of the room, it’s the result of the camera being tilted ever-so-slightly down. Now, see what a difference makes if we get the camera nice and level.

Interior architecture tips 10

Camera/lens properly level on the tripod. 21mm focal length, f/8, ISO 100, 1/120th. No flash (this room had plenty of sunlight to illuminate it without artificial help).

Being level makes a HUGE difference. There are several ways to help you get the camera perfectly level when you compose your shot. Most cameras these days have a built-in level, so when you look into the viewfinder, there are lines across the focusing screen that will tilt when the camera tilts. When these lines are level, you know the camera is level.

You can also use a bubble level that slides onto the camera’s hot shoe. When the little bubble is centered, the camera is level. You can buy a hot shoe bubble level at any photography store for just a few bucks. I use a bubble level because they tend to be more accurate than the lines inside the viewfinder.


Interior architecture tips 11

In this shot, I used Photoshop to remove the camera, lens, and tripod, which were all reflected in the mirror. Sometimes shooting into a mirror is inevitable, and when you do, cloning in Photoshop is a requirement.


As is the case with any type of photography, the most important aspect of getting the shot right is to take your time, and make sure your composition and exposure are exactly what you want. One good thing about architectural photography is that the composition and subject will never move (unless you move it), so there’s no need to rush the photograph.

The post 6 Helpful Tips for Doing Interior Architecture Photography by Jeb Buchman appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Sony a7S II sends 4K video from the International Space Station to Earth

28 Jul

Last December a Japanese rocket brought cargo 249 miles above the Earth to the International Space Station. On that rocket was none other than a Sony Alpha a7S II, which was soon mounted on the outside of Japan’s KIBO module to take photos and videos of the mothership, so to speak.

Mounting a camera to a space station isn’t like putting a GoPro on your handlebars – the a7S II is enclosed in a specially designed aluminum housing with a radiator to keep it at a comfortable temperature in the vacuum of space. It’s mounted on a two-axis gimbal so, unlike prior cameras on the ISS, it’s not constantly looking straight down. The camera itself is basically the same as what you could buy off the shelf, and has an FE 28-135 F4 G OSS power zoom lens attached.

Head on over to Sony’s website to learn more about why the company’s high-sensitivity full-frame camera was chosen and how it all works. You can also find additional 4K videos to enjoy.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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