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How to Show More with Your Photographs by Thinking Outside the Frame

19 Feb

In its simplest form, a photograph is a representation of a very limited part of space at a very limited point in time. This article is about choosing which tiny bit of reality to represent and how that choice can make a photograph into much more than just a record of time.

01 photography tips thinking outside the frame

The most obvious elements of any photograph are the subject, the foreground, and the background. The light and the time it takes to create the photo are equally essential. In this article, I’ll be focusing on an ingredient which may be less obvious, sometimes even overlooked, but never absent: the frame.

What is the frame?

By frame, I don’t mean a picture frame, but the edges of the photo.

02 photography tips thinking outside the frame

Take a look at the photo above. What’s going on? There’s the subject (a cat) the foreground, a bench, the background (a pink wall) and a branch of some kind. So what does the frame have to do with all this?

The frame of a photograph is what separates the obvious from the inferred. It’s part of why a good photograph means different things to different people because that which is inferred is subjective.

Consider the photograph of the cat again. The cat is about to pounce, which means that there’s something going on outside the frame. Maybe another cat is walking by, or maybe there’s a delicious-looking bird on the ground.

What’s outside the frame is just as important

03 photography tips thinking outside the frame

What is left outside the frame can tell a story of its own or be an essential part of the subject of the photo? By creating tension between the obvious and the inferred you wield a powerful tool to make even better photographs. Every image has a relation to the rest of the world, even though the immediate surroundings aren’t obvious or don’t seem to add anything.

04 photography tips thinking outside the frame

So how do you start thinking outside the frame?

I will show you a few examples so you get the idea.

1 – Make it obvious

The obvious way is to make it clear that there is something outside the frame that isn’t being shown. The easiest way to do this is to capture an interesting gaze or photograph a detail.

05 photography tips thinking outside the frame

In the image above, the groom is not looking at the camera, but towards something more interesting outside the frame. For those who recognize the setting, it may be obvious that he is looking towards the church door, which will soon reveal the bride; for others, the interpretation could be different.

06 photography tips thinking outside the frame

These photos show a part of something larger. The hands suggest a person, and might even reveal something about that person. The spiraling tree creates a looping line that continues outside the frame.

2 – Tie the subject to the setting

The scene inside the frame can be tied to a larger setting without the subject directly or indirectly touching the frame. This can make the subject seem large or small, create an open or claustrophobic feeling, or give the surroundings a sense of continuity.

07 photography tips thinking outside the frame

Take a look at the photo above. By surrounding a tiny subject with a single, strong color, that color almost always feels like it continues on and on. In this picture, does it give you a sense of comfort or claustrophobia?

08 photography tips thinking outside the frame

The idea with the photo above is somewhat similar, but the feeling of it is quite different. Here is a playful animal in its seemingly limitless element, suggesting unlimited enjoyment. Or do you see something quite different?

3 – Use pattern or rhythm

By using a pattern or rhythm in the photo, you can create an effect that allows the viewer to imagine infinity. The idea is the same as in the example above, but the execution and effect are different. Here, the pattern or rhythm itself can be the subject, and it’s that subject that leads the viewer outside the frame.

09 photography tips thinking outside the frame

The pattern of cracked sea ice works like a block of color. But since it’s more interesting than just a single color, it can stand by itself and let the eye wander through the details in the photo and the mind continue beyond.

10 photography tips thinking outside the frame

A seascape like the one in the image above can suggest an infinitely large ocean just by showing an unbroken horizon. The ocean doesn’t only continue into the photo, though, it also continues sideways and beyond the edges of the photo. The rhythm of the clouds emphasizes this illusion.

4 – Reflections

Reflections are also an effective way of suggesting a wider world outside the constraints of the photograph. It’s a more direct way of pointing to the wider context.

11 photography tips thinking outside the frame

Concrete walls can suggest many things, but thanks to the reflection in the window it becomes quite clear that the photo is not taken in a concrete jungle, but in a verdant and sunny place. Reading the expression on the subject’s face becomes quite different thanks to the wider context.

Conclusion

Photography is always about choices, conscious or not. The more photography you do, the more deliberate your choices will become. Being aware of this gives you more control over your creative process. The creative decisions you can make based on those choices is what makes photography art.

How you frame your photographs is just one of the things to keep in mind when you photograph.

Do you pay attention to what you leave out when you take a photo? Do you have any examples or thoughts you’d like to share about how you’ve used the frame and what’s beyond as an element in your photography? I’d love to hear about it and see your photos in the comments below.

The post How to Show More with Your Photographs by Thinking Outside the Frame by Hannele Luhtasela-el Showk appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

19 Feb

Let me point out from the start, it doesn’t matter what camera you use. From a fancy DSLR to your phone you can use these lighting tools to improve your photographs.

Photography and light go hand in hand. Simply put; if there is no light, there is no photograph.

Sunrise - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

Light is so important to great photography I’m going to ask you to put your camera down for a moment and observe. Really look at the light. The color of it, the way it’s falling on people and things. What shadows are being created?

Try looking at these different times of the day:

1. Early morning before the sun rises and while it rises

The color of light - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

You’ll see the light change from a cool blue to red, orange, and yellow light in the early morning. It will shift from a soft shadowless light to one that gives shape and texture to everything it touches. If the weather is right, you’ll witness the same in reverse, going from warm to cool at the other end of the day (sunset)!

Shape texture - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

Budding photographers tend to photograph the actual sunrise or sunset. It is beautiful to be sure. Instead, try looking at what the sun is doing to the trees or the plants or a person’s face and clothing. When the sun is low in the sky it creates gorgeous shapes and textures. On a beach, look at the texture of the sand or the shape of rocks and shells scattered here and there.

2. High noon

Raccoon eyes - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

High noon is a time better left to gunslingers! This can be the worst time for photography. It is the same light you see in office spaces with overhead lighting. It will give your portraits unflattering raccoon eyes like the image above.

What are you to do then? There are two easy solutions. Turn on your flash is one possibility. The second is head into the shade outside and use window light indoors.

3. Window light

Window light is beautiful directional light. What’s directional? This means the light is coming from one direction, one source.

What we too often see is a person standing with their back to a bank of windows with their faces dark or the outdoors completely white. Instead, place your subject perpendicular to the window using the light to illuminate one side of their face. You can use window light with equally effective results whether photographing a person or an object.

Window light - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

You’ll want to try using this kind of light when the sun is not shining directly through the window. Pick a cloudy day, use a north-facing window, or shoot after the sun has moved overhead away from the window.

4. Stormy weather

The light changes as you move into and out of a storm. Watch how the color of flowers, leaves, and even cars comes to life during these times of shifting weather. You can add saturation in Photoshop to images today, but you will find it far more realistic if you can capture the saturated color you enjoy at the end of a rainfall.

After the storm - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

And don’t be shy about heading out into a snowfall or rainstorm with your camera in tow. You will discover a whole new world most folks hideaway from. You will bear witness to people and scenes not normally seen. I guarantee people will exclaim, “Wow, how did you get that shot?!”

5. The Seasons

Your observations of light will inform you of many things. I imagine you will start to see things I don’t see as well. That’s my hope. One other thing you might observe is that light changes over the course of the year too.

Fall color - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

For example, the sun’s position in the sky changes. During the summer here in southern Ontario the sun rises directly out my back door facing east. Come November, that same ball of fire is rising about 45 degrees further south or to my right. So, it is now lighting things from a very different angle than it was in June, creating different shapes and textures on objects in the same space. How cool is that!

Another piece of the lighting puzzle I’ve discovered is the light becomes clearer and sharper almost overnight moving from August to September. The muggy air of August creates a softer light because it is filled with particulate scattering the light around. As the air cools in September the air is fresher and cleaner giving us a sharper light. This is in southern Ontario, but I guarantee the same effects will occur at some time in your neck of the woods.

Brave the weather

People in these parts complain when it hits -20 Celsius. That’s the time to grab your camera and head out into the world. We get a lot of gray weather during our winters. Ninety percent of the time when it’s very cold we get crisp, clean, beautiful light with these gorgeous blue skies.

Cold morning - Exploring the Fundamentals of Light to Improve Your Photos

I recognize I’m talking about my home, but I ask you to start observing what effect the seasons and the weather have on the light in your area. Which times excite you visually? When does the color jump out at you? Perhaps you like the softer light?

Conclusion

I encourage you to observe and then explore different light to discover your preferences. If you’re excited, you will start creating stronger images you want to share.

Let’s finish with a challenge to share. It’s hard to put your photographs out there. The thing is, with whatever medium you choose to express yourself, you bring a unique vision to the world.

What is truly fantastic about photography is that seven or 70 of us can photograph the same scene, and we will typically all come up with a different perspective. When we share, we learn. My recommendation? Be yourself and share. Start by posting an image in the comments below and tell us about the light you used to create it.

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8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

18 Feb

If you are a photographer, you probably heard that the camera doesn’t take a good picture, the person behind the camera does. It’s true because with right knowledge and practice you can take great photos with an entry level camera or even a mobile camera. But if you don’t have an idea about lighting, composition or the features of your camera, the world’s most advanced camera can’t take good photos for you.

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

But when it comes to some special equipment, this phrase sometimes doesn’t apply. One piece of such equipment is called the MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger. This high-speed photography trigger can take photos at a precise moment which just impossible doing your own.

The trigger has various modes like lightning, sound, laser, time-lapse, scenario and DIY that can help you to take some outstanding images which you may have seen only on the internet previously. It can trigger your camera or fire the flashes and you can control everything using your smartphone.

So, let’s see what we can do using this wonderful high-speed trigger.

1. Popping Balloons

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

When you burst a water-filled balloon, the water inside the balloon makes a shape similar to the balloon for a few moments before it falls on the ground. It happens so fast that you can’t see it happening live but you can capture it using your camera.

The MIOPS Smart Trigger has a sound mode for this kind of photography. As soon as you pop the balloon, it will trigger your camera or flash. You can change the sensitivity so it doesn’t trigger with other sounds and it also gives you the option to set a delay time for triggering so that it clicks at the exact moment you want.

The sound mode can be used to photograph bursting balloons in different ways. For example, you can place sunglasses or a hat on a water-filled balloon, burst it, and capture the shape of the water wearing a hat and glasses. Or you can burst a balloon with an arrow or a dart, fill the balloons with different colored water, and take different shots and merge the images into one. The possibilities are endless.

2. Lightning

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

Lightning is the most beautiful natural phenomena. But it’s extremely difficult to photograph because you have no idea of when and where it will strike and chances of missing the moment are very high.

MIOPS Smart Trigger has a lightning mode for this scenario. All you need to do is set your camera on a tripod, attach this trigger, start lightning mode and leave your camera. When lightning strikes, it will trigger the camera automatically and capture that beautiful moment.

3. Paint Sculptures

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

You can create amazing paint sculptures and satisfy for your artistic soul with the help of this sound trigger. Do do this, you need to put a rubber sheet on a speaker, put some watercolors on it and play sound. The sound will generate vibrations on the rubber sheet and because of that paint will jump up and make different shapes.

With the help of sound mode of the MIOPS Smart Trigger, you can focus on creating different sculptures by experimenting with quantity, density, and placement of colors. Thus you leave the tough job of clicking at the perfect moment to the MIOPS.

4. Dancing Colors

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

It’s just like paint sculptures, but you can use dry colors instead of watercolors and create totally different results.

5. Water Droplet Refraction

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

Imagine capturing our Earth or even the entire universe inside a drop of water. Yes, it is possible.

MIOPS Smart Trigger has a laser mode that can help you to take such pictures in the easiest way. All you need to do is create a setup to release water drops and place a picture in the background that you want to capture inside the drop. When the drop comes in front of the camera and breaks the laser beam, the camera will capture it automatically.

6. Water Galaxy

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

When you spin a water-soaked ball, the water comes out from the ball and creates a beautiful galaxy shape which looks amazing.

You can capture this moment by using the laser mode of MIOPS Smart once again. When the ball comes between the trigger and the laser, the camera will shoot automatically.

7. Collision in Mid-air

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

Imagine a scenario where two glasses filled with colored water or paint collide in mid-air and create a beautiful splash. MIOPS Smart Trigger’s sound mode helps you to take such pictures, as seen above.

8. Action Sports Photography

8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger

You can capture high-speed action sports like a cyclist in mid-air or someone jumping on a skateboard with the help of the laser mode of this trigger. It’s very useful when you are performing the action yourself and shooting it too. Just set the MIOPS Smart Trigger to laser mode and start doing actions and leave the rest to the MIOPS.

Finally

You can also photograph birds or insects using laser mode. Just set the laser near the bird feeder and when a bird will come for feeding, the camera will capture it. Also, you can shoot fireworks with the lightning mode. The possibilities are endless, you just need to use your imagination.

In addition to this, MIOPS Smart also works as intervalometer in time-lapse mode and clicks images on a set interval to convert to time-lapse videos. Using HDR mode you can capture bracketed images and merge them into HDR. You can check the MIOPS Smart User Manual to learn more about the MIOPS Smart Trigger.

Disclaimer: MIOPS is a paid partner of dPS.

The post 8 Amazing Photography Tricks You Can Do With a High-Speed Camera Trigger by Ramakant Sharda appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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More than a speed light: Shooting with the Rotolight Neo 2

18 Feb

Introduction

One Neo 2, lit by another Neo 2.

Artificial lighting falls into two categories: Continuous and strobe. Continuous lighting is a great option for beginning photographers, because you can see your results before tripping the shutter (also, they’re handy for the whole ‘video’ thing). Unfortunately, the continuous lights of yesteryear were very power hungry and put out a ton of heat to get light levels that even approached a small, battery-powered strobe.

The advent of LED lights changes this somewhat, offering users a more convenient means of entry into the world of continuous lighting. But their power output still pales in comparison to even a low-end hotshoe flash. Plus, even basic studio strobes come with modeling lights to help with setup, and many on-camera flashes now have LED lights for video shooting in dim conditions.

But Rotolight has come from the other direction; instead of a strobe that happens to include a continuous light source, the Neo 2 is a continuous light source that happens to be capable of strobing at a respectable power output.

The Neo 2’s high-speed sync feature allowed me to get some nice fill-light on Allison’s face at a wide aperture while still exposing for the direct-sun highlights in the scene.
Nikon D5 | Nikon 105mm F1.4G @ F2.8 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 100
Photo by Carey Rose

Designed to be versatile for both on-the-go photographers and videographers, the Neo 2 packs a ton of neat features into a truly portable package. Let’s take a closer look.

Key features

  • Continuous light power of 2000 lux at 3 ft
  • Strobe power of F8, ISO 200 at 3 ft (AC power – roughly half this on batteries)
  • Zero recycle time for strobe work
  • Built-in Elinchrom Skyport receiver for remote high-speed sync triggering (up to 1/8000 sec)
  • Battery or AC power
  • 85,000 full-power flashes or 1.5 hours continuous light on battery power
  • Color temperature adjustable from 3150 – 6300K

Of particular interest to me was the ability to control color temperatures without using gels, the wireless triggering with high-speed sync (HSS) capability, and the lack of any sort of recharge time, even on batteries.

I’m primarily a stills photographer, so I brought along a set of Neo 2’s to a few situations where I’d ordinarily be tempted to use a speedlight. In some ways, they’re hugely impressive, but in others, well, there’s a little ways for Rotolight to go.

Getting started with continuous light

The Rotolight Neo 2’s controls – two clickable rotary dials and a power switch.

As a continuous light, the Neo 2 is really straightforward. You hit the power button on the back of the light; one rotary knob controls the brightness, and the other controls the color temperature. Because the color temperature is varied depending on a ratio of brightness between cool and warm LEDs on the panel, a mix of the two – around 4100K – will give you maximum light output.

When I was wrapping up our iPhone X review, I wanted to take a photograph of the phone being splashed with water, but I wanted to be able to fire the fastest bursts I could to catch just the right moment. That’s tough with a traditional strobe, but perfect for continuous lighting.

Sony a9 | Sony 90mm F2.8 Macro | ISO 6400 | 1/1000 sec | F5.6

I took this shot in an office building lounge area, with some ambient light, the Neo 2 directly behind the subject and firing back at the camera at full power, and my cell phone LED giving a bit of kick to the corner of the phone closest to the camera.

I set a Sony a9 to shoot at its maximum rate of 20fps (which uses an electronic shutter, and therefore is incompatible with traditional strobes anyway), and fired away as my coworker nervously emptied the cup of water from an exaggerated height. The end result, though a little noisy because of the shutter speed I wanted, has all the drama I was envisioning.

Here’s another example of using the Neo 2 in continuous mode in the same room, but with a different subject.

Fujifilm X-H1 | ISO 200 | 1/100 sec | F1.4
Photo by Jeff Keller

Part of what makes a continuous light so fun and easy to use is the instant feedback of how the image looks, and with the Neo 2, it’s small enough and powerful enough to be great for product work. This could be particularly valuable for those who aren’t necessarily comfortable with flash photography, but are looking to up their production value for an eBay or Etsy store.

Then I took our Neo 2 set into the studio for some macro shots, and things weren’t so straightforward any more.

Strobe time

This is the time where I advise you to do what you really should do anyway: read the manual. While the Neo 2’s are perfectly intuitive just as constant lights, using them in flash mode is a little tricky at first, particularly if you’re using the optional Elinchrom Skyport radio controller.

But after some reading (and re-reading) of the manual and a healthy dose of trial and error, I was able to consistently control each of the Rotolights independently in terms of flash output, color temperature and modeling light output right from the transmitter.

Fujifilm X-T2 | Fujifilm XF 80mm F2.8 Macro| ISO 200 | 1/250 sec | F5.6

Though the HSS capability of the system is limited to whichever system you choose at purchase, our Nikon transmitter worked perfectly fine on a Fujifilm X-T2 up to that camera’s maximum sync speed.

For the above image, one Rotolight was behind the subject to the right, with one of the included diffusion panels on the front so that individual LEDs aren’t discernible, and I set the color temperature to the cooler side. There’s an additional Rotolight off camera left providing some fill, and the extra highlights you can see in the reflections off of the iPhone’s lenses are non-dimming ceiling lights.

Overall, it’s a nice system for macro work, but if you require really deep depth of field, your ISO will climb quickly (a later shot with this same setup at F22 required ISO 3200). But at the very least, for macro work, you can place the lights very close to your subject.

Balancing with daylight

One of the main issues with using continuous LED lights as a one-stop shop solution for lighting became apparent anytime you took them outdoors. Without a huge panel and accompanying huge battery, overcoming sunlight or even bright overcast conditions was a non-starter, and you really were just better off with a strobe. The Rotolight Neo 2’s, it turns out, split the difference nicely.

Rotolight Neo 2
Nikon D700 | F4 | 1/125 sec | ISO 200
Ambient Only
Nikon D700 | F4 | 1/40 sec | ISO 200

Although I tend to like each of these images for different reasons, you can clearly see that the single Neo 2 off to camera left changes the feel of the scene entirely. By raising my shutter speed to take the background brightness down, I can ‘shape’ the light effectively with the Rotolight, while still maintaining context. Plus, with high speed sync, I could use the Rotolight to overpower the ambient entirely in this situation, if I wanted to.

Let’s look at how the Neo 2 copes with a much brighter scene involving direct sunlight.

Ambient only
Nikon D5 | F2.8 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 100
Rotolight Neo 2
Nikon D5 | F2.8 | 1/1000 sec | ISO 100

In this situation, I exposed for the brightest highlights in the scene while still maintaining a fairly shallow depth of field. Then I brought in the Neo 2 at maximum power to see if it could keep up – I really like the effect it has here. It’s soft, but the added fill light looks almost like it could be a reflection off of another building.

But for this situation, I needed to place the Neo 2 pretty darn close to my subject. This was necessary because, over the course of using our Neo 2’s, they would completely synchronize with our Nikon’s all the way up to 1/8000 sec – but between 1/1000 and 1/2000 sec, I started to notice a reduction in the light’s intensity.

A mediocre BTS photo, courtesy of my cell phone, shows how close the Neo 2 was to the subject.

As it happens, this 1/1000 sec shutter speed made for a good exposure for the ambient in this scene while still allowing the Neo 2 to operate optimally. But it should be pretty apparent that in bright conditions, you’ll struggle with framing your subjects wider than just head-and-shoulders with the Neo 2, to say nothing of trying to get a second evenly lit person into the scene.

The recycle time

Instant recycle time means 11fps bursts with flash are as easy as it is for Andrew to juggle this soccer ball.
Nikon D5 | Nikon AF-S 14-24mm F2.8 G | ISO 6400 | 1/1000 sec | F2.8
Photo by Carey Rose

For the above casual demo, I wanted to see just how effective and reliable the Neo 2’s were when shooting bursts. With zero recycle time and 85,000 full power flashes per battery charge, sports and action could be a really neat use case for these lights.

I cross-lit Andrew with two Neo 2’s – one upper camera left, one lower camera right. Check out the illumination on the grass in the lower right to see just how consistent the output is, even as the stadium lights caused some flicker at these shutter speeds.

ISO 6400 | 1/800 sec | F2.8
Photo by Carey Rose

It should be noted, though, that the D5 was set to 11fps instead of its maximum of 12fps – with the current setup, the Neo 2’s would occasionally fail to fire during the D5’s highest burst speed. That said, having 11fps at my disposal as Andrew went through a few penalty kicks still gave me lots of options to choose from.

Thoughts and takeaways

The Rotolight Neo 2 is a really clever device, and the more I use them, the more I enjoy them. I can envision myself really taking advantage of their versatility in a previous job of mine; I could use them as indoor interview lights for an on-location video, and then bring them outdoors to get a nice portrait of the subject to go along with the video. Two uses, one solution, and my bag is that much lighter.

Again, a Neo 2 lit by another Neo 2.
Nikon D750 | Micro-Nikkor 55mm F2.8 AI-s | ISO 100 | 1/125 sec | F8

The quality of the light is nice and soft, and the instantaneous recycle time and long battery life (for strobing) are appealing. The consistency of color accuracy, even during burst shooting, impresses further.

There’s also a litany of features that are far beyond the scope of this experience; impressive lighting simulations, like the glow of a fire or flashes of lightning, are built-in. The CRI (color rendering index) is very high, good enough for broadcast television.

And yet, I can’t help but feel that these are a bit of a niche product, that their appeal will be limited. For people that are primarily stills shooters, smaller, cheaper, battery-powered flashes will offer you far more power (you may need to get some light modifiers to approach the softness of the Neo 2’s).

For dedicated video shooters, you may find you need more power if you’re in bright conditions. For beginners just getting into artificial lighting, there are basic LED light panels all over the Internet for less than the cost of a tank of gas.

Despite all of this, I think that the Rotolight Neo 2’s have their place as a high-end, portable and versatile lighting solution, admittedly for a very specific type of customer. And more than anything else, I’m excited to see how Rotolight continues to develop this technology into the future.

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Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

18 Feb

Whether you are traveling abroad or within your own country, there are several mistakes that I’ve seen travel photographers make that hinder the process of making memorable photos.

Five Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

Mistake #1: Not being aware of cultural sensitivities and laws

When you travel to another country it’s easy to forget that the people there may see certain things differently than you. For example, in China, you will see signs up in temples asking you not to take photos. So it should be fairly obvious that doing so may cause offense.

Others are not so obvious. Did you know that in Spain the law prohibits photographers from taking photos of people in public without permission unless they are taking part in a cultural event such as a festival? That’s right, Spain is not a great place to be a street photographer (although that doesn’t stop people from doing it).

Unless you know this, you probably think taking candid photos of people in Spain is perfectly okay (as it is in most other places). Once you understand the attitude (and the law) towards photographing people in Spain, you can adjust your behavior to fit in with local expectations and behavior.

If you want to create a street photo of somebody, it’s best to stop them and ask for permission. That way you protect yourself and (added bonus!) keep out of trouble with the police.

Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

I made this street portrait in Cadiz, Spain after asking the street vendor if I could take his photo. If I had tried to take a photo without him noticing it would have been illegal, and if he had called the police I would have been on the wrong side of the law.

Some countries have laws forbidding the photography of certain buildings, like airports. Did you know that photographers have been arrested, jailed, and accused of spying in Greece for photographing an airshow at a military base? If you’re going to Greece it’s a good idea to know which buildings are out of bounds for photographers. Make sure you’re aware of any legal restrictions in your country of travel.

Mistake #2: Being disrespectful to local people

When you travel somewhere new, especially somewhere that is exotic to you, it’s easy to treat people as if they were laid out, like colorful extras in a movie scene, for you to take photos of. That is not true, and it’s disrespectful and unkind to act as if it is. Imagine how you would feel if somebody from another country came and tried to take photos as you went about your daily life, without consideration for you and your feelings.

It seems to me that a big part of the problem is when people travel through other countries without interacting with locals in anything other than a commercial context, such as renting a hotel room or eating in a restaurant. Sometimes this is down to language – it’s hard to strike up a conversation in China if you don’t speak Chinese, for example.

But your travels (and life in general) can become a lot more interesting if you are open to non-commercial experiences with local people. Try having conversations with people about their hopes and dreams, what they do for a living, how they like living in their town and similar topics. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the places you’re traveling through when you do.

Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

A Spanish friend of mine invited me to see a farm owned by a member of her family. I would never have gotten to see the farm or make this photo if we didn’t know each other.

Language study is an excellent way to meet local people. I have many good friends in Spain and South America that I met online through websites aimed to help people learn other languages. I’ve met most of them in person and learned a lot about their culture and countries in the process.

Mistake #3: Not putting safety first

Another mistake I’ve seen photographers make is forgetting to take care of their personal security or failing to take appropriate precautions to guard their gear against theft.

Most photographers travel to most places without any security problems, but there is always the potential for something to go wrong, especially if you don’t put much thought into your personal safety and the security of your camera and computer equipment. Some countries are safe, others can be dangerous, so make sure you do your research beforehand and take any appropriate precautions.

A good travel insurance policy that covers your gear (check the fine print) will help give you peace of mind if the worse does happen.

Mistake #4: Taking too much gear

We’ve all seen the type of photographer that walks around with a large dSLR camera and telephoto lens, perhaps even two, swinging from their side.

At the other extreme are photographers who travel with just one camera and one lens. When I worked at EOS magazine we published an article about a photographer who traveled to India with one camera and a single 50mm lens. He made some beautiful images so the approach worked for him.

Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

During a recent trip to China, I calculated afterward that I had used my 35mm lens for 73% of the photos, including the one above. That tells me that I probably could have taken just that lens and still enjoyed a very productive journey.

There’s nothing wrong with taking lots of gear, especially if it works for you. Professionals often take lots of lenses so they know they are covered for just about any situation they may encounter. But there are a couple of things worth considering.

  • The first is that a large camera and lens combo is an obvious target for theft. Smaller cameras attract less attention and don’t look as expensive.
  • The other consideration is creative. If you have too much gear it’s heavy to carry around and you can waste time trying to decide which lens/camera combination to use.

The key is to think in advance about the subject matter you intend to photograph and what gear you’ll need for it. If you are into long exposure photography, for example, then you’re going to need a tripod, cable release and neutral density filters.

If you are photographing people, you need to decide what lens or lenses you are going to use for portraits. If you are photographing local architecture, you will probably need a good wide-angle lens. If you are going to walk around all day taking street photos, a small camera and lens are much less tiring than a large DSLR with a telephoto zoom.

You get the idea. Ultimately, you need to find the right balance between taking enough gear to meet your needs and taking too much. Also, if security is a concern, you may want to consider leaving your more expensive gear at home.

Mistake #5: Not doing enough research

If there’s one mistake that links all the others, it’s this one – not doing enough research. It’s important because it makes you aware of any local laws or cultural sensitivities you need to know (mistake #1).

As part of your research, you may get in touch with local people (mistake #2) who can give you advice or help you gain access to places or events you would never know about otherwise. Some photographers go even further and work with a fixer – somebody who introduces you to other people, translates if necessary, and acts as a bridge between you and the local culture.

Research alerts you to any security considerations (mistake #3). It helps you decide what gear you need to take, and avoid overload caused by taking too much equipment (mistake #4).

In other words, doing your research is a key part of avoiding the mistakes that many travel photographers make.

Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes Made By Travel Photographers

Research also helps you find interesting places to photograph, such as this ancient fishing village in north Devon.

Conclusion

These mistakes are based on my observations of other photographers while traveling. But what mistakes have you seen other photographers make? What mistakes have you made yourself? I’m looking forward to hearing your responses in the comments section below.


The Candid Portrait

If you’d like to learn more about street and travel photography then please check out my popular ebook popular ebook The Creative Portrait.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 sample gallery

18 Feb

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We’ve had some time to shoot around with Panasonic’s freshest interchangeable lens camera, the GX9. This rangefinder-style camera features a tilting EVF and a 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor with no low-pass filter. It also gains Panasonic’s new L.Monochrome D mode photo style, which offers deeper blacks and richer gradation than the camera’s other monochrome modes. We put the new black-and-white mode to work and started to get a feel for how it handles out and about; take a look at our full gallery.

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Behind the scenes: Shooting a motion time-lapse in the Canadian wilderness

17 Feb

Back in summer 2017, I went on a six week adventure to British Columbia and Alberta in order to capture Canada’s beautiful landscapes in the most impressive way possible. I wanted to make a time-lapse film that raises more awareness of our planet and our environment.

Planning

When it came to logistics, I tried to be as prepared as possible for this 6-week trip, and did tons of research ahead of departure. I knew I probably wouldn’t have a whole lot of internet (or time to waste on the internet) in the Canadian wilderness, and wanted to be prepared to just take things as they came. So I collected locations that I discovered on Google, on Instagram, or on other photographers’ portfolios, and created a long list of spots that were worth checking out.

I didn’t have a specific shot list. I just tried to capture the most beautiful scenery and moments that I could find along my adventure. However, I paid a lot of attention to interesting details around me instead of going for spectacular vantage points only. That’s how the whole moody intro sequence was conceived. By stepping closer to the subject, I tried to approach time-lapse in a slightly different way than you see in your typical, ‘epic’ time-lapse films online.

Challenges

I guess my biggest challenge with shooting this project was my own safety—doing all of alone, in an area packed with grizzly bears, was pretty scary.

Hiking alone comes with a risk that I always had to bear in mind. I carried bear spray at all times, and tried to let the bears know that I was there by creating a lot of noise on the hiking trail (they can get really dangerous when they’re startled). When I set up a time-lapse shot, I always had to have an eye on my surroundings and make a lot of noise by singing or talking to myself. Over the course of my trip, that risk was something I got used to.

Being all alone also didn’t make it possible for me to camp out on location. Obviously because it is very risky, but most of all because I simply couldn’t carry camping gear along with my camera gear and slider all by myself.

As a result of this, I had trouble getting to the best possible location at the best times of day. In order to shoot at sunset or sunrise, I either had to find a location that was fairly close to the parking lot, or take the risk of hiking up or down in the darkness with my head lamp as the only light source.

This is all of the gear I brought with me into the Canadian wilderness

Gear

Since I was all alone on this mission and wanted to hike out to locations a lot, I had to keep my gear package as compact and efficient as possible. I packed my Sony a7S II and Nikon D5100 (as backup camera) together with a newly purchased Canon 16-35mm F4 and Rokinon 14mm F2.8, as well as two cheap vintage lenses: an SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 and an SMC Pentax-M 100mm F2.8.

As you might have noticed, my camera package was pretty humble. That was all I had and all I could afford, and honestly—that was all I needed.

A great Sony camera with only 12 MP paired with a sharp Canon wide-angle lens that could almost do anything on location. This lens is my absolute favorite due to its great flexibility for wide three-dimensional time-lapse movements. The Rokinon lens is well-known for its night- and astrophotography abilities, as it has just little amount of coma and is wide enough to capture almost the whole night sky. The Pentax lenses are actually my first lenses I’ve ever bought. Obviously, they’re old, cheap, and not the sharpest; they’re also small, light, and capable of projecting an image onto my sensor I was totally happy with.

In contrast, my time-lapse gear was downright extravagant thanks to a sponsorship from the innovative company eMotimo. They gave me a loaner for a great package for the duration of my whole trip: The spectrum ST4 is a newly designed 4-axis motion control system that, combined with the iFootage Shark Slider S1, simply can do it all—slide, pan, tilt and even pull focus in video or time-lapse shooting mode.

Using a Playstation Controller, I could easily set up literally any shot I wanted, and the ability to set keyframes in between the start and end point of my programmed shot gave me ultimate control over my composition. Additionally, an innovation that I’ve never seen before is a mountable extra motor to automatically pull the focus as the time-lapse is running. There are many ways to mess around with that: one I used was to shift focus from an interesting foreground to the revealing scenery in the background.

Another great feature worth mentioning is the ability to repeat a programmed movement at different speeds. This allowed me to record shots at different frame rates, but still have the exact same camera movement in each.

Since I couldn’t get the idea out of my head to combine a moving time-lapse shot with a real time video, with both shots having the very same camera movement, I did exactly that in the final shot of ALIVE. I recorded the whole scenery in dynamic time-lapse except for the person (me) being recorded in real-time video 25fps. Even though it took a lot of time perfectly masking out the person in post production, this shot probably wouldn’t have been possible without the spectrum ST4.

With all the flexibility of the motion control devise I felt an enormous freedom as a time-lapse photographer and could explore further ways to creatively make use of its features. However, this turned out to be a weakness as well, as I often found myself tempted to design way too sophisticated time-lapse shots. In this case, the inorganic/mechanical camera motion often drew way too much attention when watching the processed time-lapse sequence making the scenery appear surreal.

So in the process of my trip I learned that less is more in this case. It is way more important so be at the right spot at the right time—which is ultimately what I was seeking for my whole adventure.

Editing

In the editing process of ALIVE it was certainly very hard to come up with an edit as I had to choose the best among 149 time-lapse shots I recorded on my trip. Since I wanted to keep my film under 4 minutes, I forced myself to make some hard decisions. That turned out to be a pretty emotional process because every shot has a background story that connects to me personally.

It just often felt super frustrating to kick out a shot for which I woke up at 4 a.m. and hiked up a mountain for two hours in order to be there for sunrise.

A Story

Let me conclude my little behind the scenes tale with a story from Lake O’Hara, one of the most captivating landscapes I have ever experienced in person, and the final shot of the film. I decided to hike up to this incredible viewpoint for sunset and kept shooting until there was no light left to work with. That was the moment when I found myself alone in the darkness on the edge of a cliff.

The final shot of the film, captured above Lake O’Hara at sunset.

Should I take the risk of hiking down the steep and forested trail in the darkness potentially ending up as grizzly bear food? Or should I rather just stay up here all night and do another time-lapse of the milky way? Without camping gear and food, I stayed and spent another 5 hours in the cold darkness until the sun came back up.

Even though this shot of the milky way didn’t even make it into the final film, there is nothing I regret about staying up on this mountain all night all alone without a tent in bear territory… simply because it was one of these adventures that made my trip so unique.

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How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

17 Feb

Photography can be traced back all the way to the camera obscura; which was an aid for artists who could then draw their subjects from the projection created by the light passing through the pinhole. Following that tradition, in this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a drawing by outlining the subject from your digital photo to create a fun, cartoon-like image.

Deer cartoon - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Getting started

You can use this technique on any photo you want and apply it to any subject you like. However, I find it best, especially for your first attempt, that the subject is well defined or isolated so it’s easier for you to outline it. I also personally prefer and recommend that the image is not too busy. So, once you have chosen your photo, open it in Photoshop.

Outline the subject

To trace your subject you are going to use the Pen tool. The way it works is that you create anchor points with each click. A straight line then connects those points. Do this all around the subject.

Once you have this, change the Pen tool to the Convert Point Tool, which you can find by holding down on the Pen until the drop-down menu opens. With the Convert Point, you can curve the straight lines to make it fit the silhouette best. Just click on the anchor point and start dragging it. From each anchor point, you will have to handles, each one to control the line in each direction of the anchor.

Pen Outline - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

This will help you get a smoother silhouette and avoiding unnecessary bumps that you would get if you only trace by adding anchor points.

Straight lines - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

A straight line.

Curve - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Using curved lines.

Create your outline

Once you have outlined the silhouette of the subject, create a new layer. You can do this by going to the top Menu > Layer > New Layer. You can rename it as “silhouette” or “outline” just to keep things tidy, as you will be creating more layers further along.

What you’re going to do next is turn this path into a drawing, more precisely, the line that borders your drawing. Therefore, you can choose which color it will be and how thick you want it. To set it you need to go to the Brush tool and select a hard brush as thick as you want. I’m doing 8px in this case.

You can also choose the color by clicking on the foreground color at the bottom of the tool palette, for this example, I’m using black. Turn off the background layer (click the little eye icon) so you can see how it will look like and then choose your settings.

Silhouette - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Now that you have this ready, leave the new layer active go to the path palette. If it’s already opened you can open it by going to the top Menu > Windows > Path. In there you will see that a Work Path has been created, the icon will show the image as a grey rectangle and the path is the silhouette you traced.

Next, right-click on the Work Path and choose Stroke Path. A pop-up window will appear, make sure the Brush option is selected and click OK.

Stroke Path - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Adding details

You have a border or a silhouette now, but you still need details. Each one will be a new layer and a new path, that way you have it separated and can, therefore, control it more precisely.

If you want two details on the same layer, for example, to keep the two ears in one layer so that any changes apply equally, then you keep working in the same layer. But you do need to create a new path for each one.

Notice here that I have my background layer which is my original image; a Layer 1 that corresponds to the Work Path which is the outline; and a Layer 2 that contains Path 1 and Path 2 which are the two details of the ears. This is why I suggested earlier that you should rename the layers and the paths to keep track of them easier. Continue doing this as many times as you need to finish your drawing.

Layers and Paths - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Apply a filter

Once you’re finished with this, duplicate the background layer. With this new layer active, go to the Work Path (the one that has the outer line of the drawing) and right-click it. From the drop-down menu, choose Make Selection. This will select your subject so that the filter you’ll apply next doesn’t affect the background, otherwise the entire will turn into a cartoon.

Now go to the top Menu > Filter > Filter Gallery. A window will appear with all kind of filters that you can apply and a preview image. In this case, you’re going to select the one called Cutout from the Artistic Filters. On the right side there are sliders to refine the effect, just move them around until you are satisfied. I’m going to do it as Number of levels 7, Edge simplicity 5 and Edge fidelity 2. When you’re done just click OK.

Cutout - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop

Other tricks

You can also multiply your cartoons, apply modifying layers to change colors or saturation, and anything else you can think of! And the best part is that you can do this to any kind of photo, here are some other examples; share yours as well in the comments!

Three deers - How to Turn Your Photo into a Cartoon Drawing Using Photoshop


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Hands-on with Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 / TZ200

17 Feb

Hands-on with Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 (TZ200)

The Panasonic Lumix DC-ZS200 is a powerful, pocketable travel zoom compact camera, with an impressively long lens. We’ve had our hands on one – click through for a closer look.

20MP 1″-type sensor

The ZS200 is built around the same 1″ 20MP BSI-CMOS sensor as its predecessor the ZS100, which immediately makes it a cut above traditional superzooms that sacrificed (among other thing) sensor size for lens reach.

15X optical zoom lens

The ZS200 scores over its predecessor in a few ways, but the most obvious upgrade is to the lens. While the ZS100’s zoom range of 25-250mm was pretty good, the ZS200 turns things up to 11, spanning a much wider range, of 24-360mm (equiv).

Comprising 13 elements in six groups, this complex lens contains three extra low-dispersion elements and five aspherical, plus one that’s both extra low-disperson and aspherical. That’s pretty impressive for such a small camera.

Also updated compared to the ZS100 is minimum focus, which has been reduced to 3cm from 5cm (at 24mm equiv). Distortion at such a close distance (and at such a wide focal length) will be pretty wild, but for flowers, bugs and other organic subjects, it should be fine.

15X optical zoom lens

The extra zoom range doesn’t come free though, and at F3.3-6.4, the ZS200’s lens is slightly slower across its focal length span than its predecessor (shown above, on the left). The longer lens contributes to a slightly greater bodyweight, too. The ZS200 weighs 340g with a card and battery installed, compared to 310g for the ZS100.

This side-by-side shot shows off our ZS200’s ‘gunmetal’ finish. Not quite gray, not quite silver, we think it looks rather nice. Good old black will still be an option when the camera ships next month.

4K video

The ZS200 offers 4K video recording at 30p and 24p. Familiar 4K Photo features like Post Focus are available, in addition to a couple of new modes which were also introduced into the DC-GX9.

Auto Marking analyzes a 4K video clip and automatically marks points at which it detects action, and Sequence Composition (illustrated above in a Panasonic-supplied example shot with the DC-GX9) is a 4K Photo feature that allows you to composite multiple frames of a moving subject in front of a static background into a single 4K-resolution still image.

2.3 million-dot EVF

Here at DPReview we love a good EVF, especially in pocketable travel cameras, where it can really make a difference to handling in bright light. The good news is that the ZS200’s EVF is improved quite a bit over its predecessor. Resolution has been upped to 2.3 million dots, and magnification has been increased from 0.45X to 0.53X (equiv).

The bad news is that the viewfinder is still field-sequential, so the rainbow effect is alive and well, and shooting with a 0.53X magnification finder is still a bit like watching a television from the end of a hallway. As such, while the ZS200’s EVF is much nicer than its predecessor’s, it’s not a match for the OLED finders in some competitors, such as Sony’s RX100-series.

1.24 million-dot touchscreen

Keeping the ZS200’s electronic viewfinder company is a fixed 3″ rear LCD, which boasts 1.24 million dots and touch-sensitivity. As such, placing your desired AF point is as easy as simply tapping the screen.

We’re also pleased to see that Panasonic has included its ‘Touch Pad AF’ feature to the ZS200. In essence, this is exactly what it sounds like – with your eye to the viewfinder, the ZS200’s rear LCD can be used as a touch-pad to position the AF point. Pretty neat. And as you can see, despite the touchscreen, the ZS200 still has enough direct-access buttons to satisfy someone used to more traditional user interfaces (or someone wearing gloves).

Depth-from-Defocus (DFD) Autofocus

The ZS200 features a version of Panasonic’s Depth-from-Defocus autofocus technology. In very simple terms, DFD uses known blur characteristics of Panasonic lenses to work out whether a subject is front or back focused, before driving the focusing group to achieve focus. This reduces the characteristic focus ‘hunting’ of a typical contrast-detection AF system, by increasing the processor’s confidence that it’s moving things in the right direction.

While we haven’t had the chance to properly test the ZS200 (or use it much outside of a conference room and our upper floor balcony), AF speed is impressive at all focal lengths, albeit with some very slight ‘wobble’ when focus is acquired at long telephoto settings. In theory, the ZS200 should be capable of continuous autofocus at up to 6 fps – something we’re keen to try out when we receive a final production camera.

Increased battery life and Bluetooth Low Energy

Built-in Wi-Fi is to be expected these days, but we’re pleased to see that Panasonic has also included low-energy Bluetooth (BLE) in the ZS200. This allows for ‘aways on’ functionality, enabling easy remote trigger functionality from a smartphone without a huge hit in battery life.

Battery life is actually something of a strength of the ZS200. Usually when features get added to a camera, battery life goes down. Not so with the ZS200. Panasonic tells us that improvements have been made to power management, which have paid off in a CIPA rating of 350 shots (compared to 300 from the ZS200) when the LCD is used, and ~250 when shooting with the EVF.

Putting the camera into ‘Eco’ mode should ensure ~300 shots between charges, regardless of shooting style.

What do you think?

So what do you make of the Panasonic Lumix ZS200? Did one of the best travel zoom compacts just get better, or are you ambivalent about the extra zoom reach and slower lens? Let us know in the comments.

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Fujifilm X-H1: What you need to know

17 Feb

Introduction

The Fujifilm X-H1 arrived in the last few hours of February 14th, at least out here on the West Coast in the US, making it a Valentine’s gift that came in just under the wire for the Fujifilm faithful. It’s deserving of a big red bow with a range-topping APS-C 24MP X-Trans sensor, sitting above the X-T2. It builds on many of the X-T2’s features by adding in-body image stabilization, a touchscreen and enhanced video options. Here’s a detailed look at everything that’s new and improved.

Image Quality

Given the camera’s pedigree and the initial results we’ve seen, the X-H1 looks highly capable of great image quality. The sensor, shared with the X-T2, has already shown itself to have performance comparable with the best of its APS-C peers, both in terms of dynamic range and noise performance at high ISO settings.

Throw in Fujifilm’s excellent film simulation modes (plus a bonus new one!), and you’ve got a mighty tempting camera for stills shooters. However, the camera’s unique X-Trans color filter pattern is worth taking into account – your results will vary greatly depending on your Raw conversion software.

Further enticing stills photographers is the X-H1’s healthy 14 fps burst rate with electronic shutter and 8 fps with mechanical shutter (which can be boosted to 11 with an optional grip). Buffer depth looks reasonably good too, allowing for 40 JPEG shots or 23 uncompressed Raws (27 compressed). Fujifilm also promises autofocus improvement, with better performance in low light and at smaller apertures. All excellent news.

Image Stabilization

Despite Fujifilm previously suggesting that it couldn’t be done, the X-H1 offers in-body stabilization rated up to 5 stops. Unusually, Fujifilm says the system works better with non-IS lenses because they project a larger image circle and tend to be neither too long nor too wide, both of which are harder to stabilize. With such a lens, up to 5.5 stops of stabilization can be achieved.

Viewfinder and rear LCD

Comparing to the X-T2, the X-H1 gets a higher resolution viewfinder: a 3.69 million dot OLED panel with 0.75x magnification to the X-T2’s 2.36 million dots and 0.77x magnification. Like the X-T2, the X-H1 provides a 3″ 1.04 million dot rear LCD that tilts upwards and downwards, but of course, adds touch sensitivity where the X-T2 has none.

The X-H1, like the X-T2, also comes with a ‘Boost’ mode that increases the viewfinder refresh rate from 60Hz to 100Hz for a smoother look.

Touchscreen

The X-H1’s touchscreen is all-around nice to have, allowing you to place a focus point with a tap, tap and acquire focus, or acquire focus and shoot all with one touch. It’s also usable as a touchpad with the camera to your eye. That said, we have a word of caution – in our initial use of the touchscreen both setting focus points and touchpad operation, the screen has felt noticeably laggy.

The LCD also provides touch control of the camera’s Q.Menu, and in playback mode offers quick access to 100% image viewing, along with gesture-controlled swiping and scrolling. As in the X-E3, a swipe across the shooting screen acts as a Fn button shortcut.

Video specs

The latest generation of flagship mirrorless cameras take video very seriously, and Fujifilm has definitely gotten the memo. The X-H1 offers DCI 4K in 23.98p and 24p, as well as UHD 4K in 23.98/24/25/29.97p. Where the X-T2 requires an external recorder to use flat Log capture, the X-H1 allows for internal F-Log recording. The camera offers bitrates of up to 200 Mbps and 24-bit audio (vs 16-bit on the X-T2).

Plenty of other goodies are on offer for videographers, like a new Eterna/Cinema film simulation mode, slow motion 1080p capture, and the ability to record full HD internally while outputting 4K over HDMI. Autofocus in movie mode is still a bit of a question mark, but rest assured we’ll be putting it to the test in short order.

Video interface and usability

In a further nod to the X-H1’s cinematic leanings, Fujifilm’s included specific shutter speed options in video mode that directly correspond to 90, 180 and 360 degree shutter angles on more dedicated video cameras. In other words, instead of being stuck with shutter speeds of 1/25 sec, 1/50 sec or 1/100 sec for shooting 24p video, you can choose 1/24 sec, 1/48 sec, 1/96 sec, and so on.

Touchscreen benefits aren’t limited to stills applications either – Fujifilm put a lot of thought into adding touch control for video shooters. Movie Silent Control disables the aperture ring, shutter speed dial and ISO dial, shifting those settings to touch control. This makes it easy to leave settings dialed in for stills, and then jump quickly to video shooting with separate settings. It’s a great feature to have if you’re, say, shooting stills and video at the same time at a wedding reception, but our initial impression is that the interface itself feels a bit fiddly.

It’s worth noting that the newly announced X-mount versions of Fujifilm’s MK cinema lenses will work beautifully on the X-H1, as you can see your aperture as T-stops rather than F-stops.

Unfortunately, despite all the strides Fujfilm’s made for video users, there’s a notable lack of exposure aids of any kind – you don’t even get zebra warnings, much less waveforms.

Who’s it for?

It’s not totally clear-cut who this camera is for. High-end stills shooters who want an X-T2 with stabilization may feel that their ship has finally arrived. But with so much emphasis on video features, is this a camera that’s better suited for photographers who need to shoot video along with their stills?

Fujifilm tells us it’s a camera for both parties. Like the Sony a6500, it acts as a step-up model even if you aren’t planning on shooting video (a step-up model that happens to be VERY capable in the video department). So if you’re a stills shooter who buys one, do us a favor and give the movie mode a try – it looks pretty darn good so far.

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