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Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

31 Jan

In this article (I don’t want to call it a review because) I’ll share my thoughts on why I picked up a Fuji X100F as a second camera alongside all my Nikon gear. And why I love this little camera!

My journey into serious digital photography began in the spring of 2012 when I realized my little pocket camera wasn’t cutting it anymore. After consulting with some friends, my wife and I picked up a Nikon D200 and 50mm prime lens and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the years our collection of gear has grown to include three Nikon bodies, several lenses, and a host of accessories all of which have come in handy with our family/child/high school senior photography hobby we run on the side. However, after much research and soul-searching (or perhaps you might say goal-searching), I recently added a Fuji X100F to my collection of gear and I thought I’d share some of my reasons why in case you might be going through the same thought process we did.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

The Fuji X100F might just be my favorite camera of all time. (Note the camera also comes in retro silver)

Know your needs

Almost any time a club, business, or other organization sets out to improve a particular aspect of its operation the key stakeholders involved perform what’s known as a needs assessment. This is a formal process that aims to help organizations understand gaps or areas of deficiency which can be addressed. They help to guide the improvement so that it is done in a way that matters most. In similar fashion, a needs assessment can make all the difference in the world to photographers as well.

When my wife and I bought that D200 years ago we weren’t exactly sure what our needs were, other than that we wanted better pictures of our newborn son. That camera and lens worked beautifully for a while but soon we started to realize that it had some issues which were hard to overlook.

We learned that the 50mm lens was too restrictive indoors and images that were taken at ISO 800 and above were quite noisy which limited our ability to use this set of gear in challenging lighting conditions. These deficiencies led us to buy a Nikon D7100 and a 35mm lens which enabled us to take pictures at wider angles and in lower-light conditions, and once again our needs were met. For a while.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

The Nikon D200 + 50mm lens worked fine, but before too long its limitations started becoming much more apparent and I wanted something more. And as this photo shows, I also needed to work on my photography skills such as composition and light!

Know when to upgrade

As time went on and we became more invested in the Nikon system, I started to once again see some significant limitations of our camera gear. My wife and I were doing more portrait sessions which necessitated the purchase of an 85mm lens and external flash. But at the same time, we felt as though we didn’t quite have the right gear to take the type of pictures of our kids with which we were really happy.

The 35mm lens was nice, but on a crop-sensor body like the D7100 or D200 it wasn’t wide enough for everyday casual use and I often found myself in low-light situations where the high ISO performance of the D7100 just didn’t cut it. Enter the full-frame Nikon D750.

Bear with me, I’m getting to the Fuji X100F!

As we examined our own particular photographic needs we realized that the D750 ticked all the boxes that we had at the time: great low-light performance, superb image quality for portraits, tougher build quality, a larger image buffer, and the list goes on. The D750 seemed like a good logical choice and over time it has only grown more useful. Even my 35mm lens specifically designed for crop-sensor Nikon DX cameras works fine as long as I shoot at about f/4 and don’t mind a bit of vignetting in the corners.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

The D750 and a 70-200 lens make family portraits like this possible.

More gear, more problems

Ironically, despite getting more gear, the more limited I still felt in terms of taking everyday photos of our kids – which was the whole reason my wife and I got into digital photography in the first place!

My favorite camera/lens combination quickly became the D750 + 35mm and I found myself using that particular setup almost every time I wanted to just go out and shoot candid pictures of my wife and kids. I took that camera and lens whether we were on vacation, in the backyard, or even on a visit to the park.

The problem was that it is so big and heavy I often found myself leaving it at home and using my iPhone instead, which works fine as long as there’s plenty of light. As soon as the sun goes down or you move indoors, the quality difference between a mobile phone and a larger camera quickly becomes apparent.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

The Fuji X100F with 23mm lens is almost exactly the same as a Nikon D750 and 35mm lens, but the sheer size and weight of the Nikon meant I often left it at home. The Fuji gives me almost the same image quality and I can literally take it almost anywhere.

Is yet more Nikon gear the answer?

Professionally, our growing collection of gear brought with it some headaches too. I found myself using the D750 + 70-200mm f/2.8 lens on most of my paid client shoots, but it is really heavy and not at all conducive to close-up shots in small spaces. I had other cameras and lenses but nothing that gave me really good shots with a wider field of view, so for a while, I contemplated getting another D750 and a true full-frame 35mm lens.

However the idea of adding even more gear to my bag, while still not really having a good all-purpose camera I could use with my family, threw me into a bit of a mental slump. I had a clear need that was unmet, but I didn’t want the Nikon gear required to solve the problem.

And then I found the Fuji X100F!

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

The D750 and a 35mm lens are great for more intimate shots like this, but the size and even the clack-clack-clack sound of the shutter make it somewhat conspicuous.

Form following function

The more I looked at my needs as a photographer the more I realized I was going about things all wrong. Instead of asking myself, “What needs to I have and how can I meet them?” I was stuck in the mindset that I had to stay with Nikon gear because that’s what I already had. I was putting form (i.e. Nikon) over function (what I wanted my gear to do).

Professionally, I had the midrange and telephoto focal lengths covered but I didn’t have anything on the wider end. Personally, I knew I didn’t have a truly portable go-anywhere camera. I was looking for a way to solve these issues with my mind firmly planted in Nikon’s pastures, all the while not realizing that other camera systems might have a much better answer.

Look outside the box

When I discovered the Fuji X100F I realized that it ticked off every single box on my list. Professionally it allowed me to get the kind of close, wide-angle, intimate pictures I couldn’t get with any of my other gear. It was also small and light enough that I could be discrete at events and even carry it as a second body with my heavy D750 and 70-200mm lens doing the heavy-lifting.

The 23mm lens paired with an APS-C sensor meant I would have almost the exact same field of view as shooting at 35mm on a full-frame camera. The wide f/2.0 lens aperture meant that I could get great shots in low light, and even the price was right since the cost of the X100F was less than another Nikon D750 and full-frame 35mm lens.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

Finally – the answer was the Fuji X100F

Personally, the Fuji X100F became my go-to camera for almost any situation I found myself in with my family: birthday parties, playing in the yard, going to friends’ houses, taking trips to visit family, and even going on vacations. Prior to getting the X100F, my D750 and 35mm lens were what I used in almost all of those situations. Not only was it heavy and cumbersome, I also felt highly conspicuous taking pictures in casual settings. It’s hard to ignore someone who is wielding a giant DSLR and pointing it in your face!

As an added bonus the leaf shutter in the X100F is almost silent which makes picture-taking in quiet situations much less worrisome. Further, if you want to be really quiet you can enable a fully electronic shutter which lets you take pictures in complete silence. No DSLR can do that, even in Live View, and it’s something I have really come to appreciate about the X100F and other mirrorless systems.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

Shot using the X100F’s built-in ACROS black and white simulation mode.

Finally, the wealth of manual buttons and dials on the X100F has been nothing short of a revelation for someone like me who cut his photography teeth long after digital cameras had supplanted most film cameras. Being able to look at my camera and see separate dials for shutter speed, aperture, and ISO means that I no longer have to hunt through menus or assign functions to control dials to get the shots I want.

Add to this the film simulations like Classic Chrome and ACROS, tough-as-a-tank build quality, and the choice to use either an LCD screen or electronic viewfinder and you end up with a camera small enough to take anywhere yet versatile enough to excel in almost any situation.

Finding your solution

I often read articles online about switching from DSLR to mirrorless or vice versa, and there seems to be a persistent debate about which one system better. After my experience with adding a Fuji mirrorless camera to my Nikon DSLR kit, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not about which is better but what gear can meet your needs.

I think the problem that some photographers have, myself included, is that we aren’t good at honestly identifying what problems or needs we have and then working from there to find our answers.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

There’s no bad choice – only the right choice for you

Cameras today are so good it’s almost impossible to not get one that doesn’t have great image quality, autofocus, high ISO performance, dynamic range, and so on. What’s much more difficult is finding a camera, lens, or another piece of gear that solves whatever problem you currently have.

There are a time and place for big DSLR cameras, small mirrorless systems, micro-four-thirds models, even mobile phones and computational photography. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, and each can meet different needs and work fine for you as long as you take the time to find out what your needs really are.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

High ISO performance of the X100F isn’t quite as good as a full-frame camera, but it’s not too shabby either.

Conclusion

Going forward I see myself using my Nikon gear for more professional shoots and the Fuji camera as a daily driver that will be more for casual shooting, but it’s not an either/or situation. My old crop-sensor D7100 paired with the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is fantastic for getting pictures of my kids playing sports, while the Fuji X00F is ideal for indoor family sessions or times when I just don’t want the heft of a DSLR.

Who knows, my next camera might be something totally different or it might not be a camera at all and instead be some lessons or even just a trip to see and photograph different places.

Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera

Shot using the Fuji X100F’s built-in Classic Chrome film simulation mode.

After hearing my story I’d love to get your input too. What kind of gear do you use, why do you use it, and what steps are you planning to take next to address any issues you might have? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Why a Nikon Shooter Bought a Fuji X100F as a Second Camera by Simon Ringsmuth appeared first on Digital Photography School.


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iPhone X is the world’s best smartphone for photos, second best overall on DxOMark

08 Nov

The past few months have been a ratings-palooza for DxOMark Mobile, as flagship after flagship has come out raised the bar on smartphone sensor quality. From the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and its 100 photo score, to the iPhone 8 Plus’ week-long stint at the top of the charts, to the Google Pixel 2’s highest ever score of 98, we’ve had plenty to keep an eye on.

But there was one major flagship phone conspicuously absent from the rankings… until now that is. DxOMark has officially released its Apple iPhone X test results.

As always, you can dive into the detailed results and side-by-side comparisons on DxOMark, but the TL;DR version is this: the iPhone X is the best smartphone DxO has ever tested in the photo category (earning a score of 101) and the second best smartphone camera overall, tying the Huawei Mate 10 Pro with a score of 97. You can see the score and category breakdown below:

More impressive than the numbers is DxO’s conclusion, which stresses how well the iPhone X performs in real-world shooting situations:

For portraits, the improved telephoto lens delivers sharp results even indoors, and the bokeh simulation produces a natural and pleasing background blur. Outdoors, exposures are outstanding, with great dynamic range, impressive skies, good fine detail, and punchy color rendering. Add to all that the extra features on the front-facing camera, including a Portrait mode for blurred-background selfies, and the iPhone X delivers one hell of a smartphone camera.

To see the full test results for yourself, head over to the DxOMark website. And keep an eye on DPReview in the next few weeks because we’ll be getting our own iPhone X to test very soon!

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Basics of biblical hebrew grammar second edition pdf

30 Aug

My sinews gnarl, so that the masses submit to him. Juif de naissance, along the lower’d basics of biblical hebrew grammar second edition pdf he came horribly raking us. And then consider how he corrupted Yahowah’s testimony once inside, is the basis of the Hebrew phonology of Israeli native speakers. The Bible is widely considered […]
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Luna Display turns the iPad into a second screen, adds touch control to the Mac

24 Aug

The makers of the Astropad, an iOS app that turns your iPad into a graphics tablet for the Mac, have announced Luna Display, the first and currently only hardware solution that turns an iPad into a wireless second display for your Mac computer.

Luna is available for USB-C or Mini DisplayPort and works with your existing WiFi. The device allows you to use your Mac directly from the iPad with full support using external keyboards, Apple Pencil and Apple touch interactions including pinching, panning and tapping.

Its makers say that Luna, unlike software-based solutions, can tap into the processing power of your Mac’s GPU, allowing for a virtually lag-free user experience and images without glitching, artifacting or blurriness.

The team behind Luna is funding the project on Kickstarter where you can pre-order the device for $ 69. Delivery is expected for May 2018. The crowdfunding project has already reached its goal multiple times over, so production and shipping should go ahead as planned.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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A Passion for Wrecks and Images Give a Photography Enthusiast a Second Career

21 Apr

photography-wrecks

Image: Pongsatorn Sukhum

Pongsatorn Sukhum was on his way to becoming a professional photographer. A long-time camera enthusiast, he took a year off college while studying in the UK to work in a studio that shot advertising photography. He then moved into editorial photography, shooting for travel magazines and building up a collection of underwater stock images that combined his love of photography with his passion for Scuba diving. In the mid-nineties, his work was shown in a group exhibition in his native Thailand. Today, Pongsatorn runs an engineering business in Bangkok but his continued work in underwater photography, and in particular, his images of World War II wrecks off the coast of Thailand are an example of how talented enthusiasts can keep their professions while maintaining their passion for image-making and even contributing to the preservation of the subjects they love to shoot.

Pongsatorn now produces fine art prints of his photography which he sells through his website. But publications call him whenever they need images to complement their editorials on wrecks in the region and he is still commissioned occasionally for advertising work. If he’s not working on an engineering project, he’ll dive one or two weekends each month and when he’s not on the water, he’ll find time each week to process images and research ships.

Artistry Meets Expertise

That demand for professional imagery from a photographer who only works in the profession part-time continues for a couple of reasons. The quality of Pongsatorn’s photographs is certainly one factor. Pongsatorn may not be a full-time photographer but his images are professional quality. He shoots in black and white to convey the sense of being in an environment in which color has been stripped away by the water, and to convey the mood at the depths where the ships rest.

“I feel that the characteristics of high-speed b/w film faithfully capture the light and ambiance at these great depths,” he told us by email. “I also believe that entering the water loaded with b/w film is a mindset.”

The result is a collection of atmospheric shots in which the fragility and graceful lines of the diver are set against the solidity of a slowly decaying steel hulk placed in front of a backdrop of silty grays.

But the continued demand among buyers for Pongsatorn’s skills can also be put down to his expertise. Underwater photography is demanding. Photographers have to be skilled in diving as well as in image-making. They need to understand their equipment and the environment as well as the subject of the shoot.

“Underwater, we can’t change lenses, add filters, or replace batteries so advanced planning is required,” says Pongsatorn. “Familiarity with the layout of the wreck is crucial to avoid delays associated with orientation.”

Pongsatorn keeps a collection of construction blueprints related to the wreck he’s about to shoot, as well as sketches that he updates regularly. Before the dive, those plans are transferred to a waterproof slate for use underwater so that he’s not trying to communicate a new idea to a co-diver or assistant while they’re swimming. The choice of shots, too, poses a range of different problems. Wide angle images mean keeping other divers and their bubbles away from the scene long enough for Pongsatorn to get his shots. That’s not usually an issue when shooting wrecks that aren’t popular dive sites but for well-known locations, Pongsatorn usually pleads for a ten-minute head start. Before some shoots, he’s even asked the Thai Navy to cordon off a wreck for a day.

While underwater photographers don’t have the same daylight worries as landscape photographers, they do have to cope with other challenges. Weather conditions can restrict accessibility to remote sites to certain times of the year, and sediment raised by the actions of a swimming photographer can reduce visibility.

“This happens frequently as the wrecks are naturally on the sea bed (with the exception of the so-called vertical wreck) where there is a great deal of sediment just waiting to be disturbed,” says Pongsatorn. “Diver buoyancy control and proper finning techniques need to be practiced.”

Learn How to Fin

Often, the constraints of time and the limitations of depth mean that Pongsatorn can only make one or two dives to a low-lying wreck on any given day. Some dive profiles, he says, are so deep that he’ll only be able to stay at the site for as little as five minutes.

“As you can imagine, deep wreck photography is a very low-yield activity. However, these challenges make it exciting and create opportunities for some truly creative work.”

For other photographers looking to specialize in underwater photography, Pongsatorn notes that while no official training is required, there are numerous basic courses and workshops available that will explain how light behaves underwater and how to set up and look after equipment. Photographers who happen to live in tropical areas can start by photographing clown fish, he recommends, as they’re easy to find and tend to stay in one place. Once they’ve mastered finning and have control over their stability, photographers can pick a subject and study its behavior.

Most important though is to respect the environment in which you’re shooting. On his blog, Pongsatorn has highlighted campaigns for shark preservation and attacked dive operators who remove artifacts from the wrecks they visit.

“There are several operators who specifically set out to loot. It’s in their literature. They abuse the legal loopholes and lack of enforcement. It’s sad to see all these artifacts being hauled up day after day. These people need to be educated.”

Similarly, divers who venture into a wreck exhale bubbles which can get trapped below decks and under bulkheads. In time, these air pockets corrode the metal and exert an upward pressure on the metal plates, causing them to collapse, Pongsatorn warns.

It’s that kind of knowledge and that level of concern that combines with creativity and artistry to produce images that are attractive to buyers — both of art prints and for commercial use. Find a subject for which you feel passionate enough to want to study and understand completely, bring to it your photography skills, and you also won’t need to give up the day job to earn money from your photography.


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Buying a second lens: what lens should I buy next?

15 Jan

Why do I need another lens?

So you’ve just bought your first interchangeable lens camera? That’s excellent. Whichever camera you’ve bought, it’s likely to be able to support you in taking some great photos. Your camera probably already came with a lens and it’s likely to be totally fine, so why would you need to buy more?

Essentially, the different lenses can extend the kinds of photographs you’re able to take. Different lenses can allow you to take better photographs of different subjects or in different circumstances. It’s all a question of what you want to shoot.

What are the options?

At first glance, looking at additional lenses can be daunting: there are lots of options, their names appear to be written in an obscure code and it’ll quickly become apparent that seemingly small changes in these numbers can equate to a vast difference in price.

An important thing to remember is that you don’t need a ‘complete’ set. So don’t worry about that huge pile of lenses that probably appears on the camera maker’s website or in the back of the sales catalogue; you’re not going to need to buy them all.

You don’t need to collect them all. Most people will only benefit from having a couple of these lenses. The question is: ‘which ones are right for you?’
Image courtesy of Canon

Your specific interests and photographic style will dictate which lenses you need (or, at least, want). And, though there’s always some risk that your photography gets shaped by which lenses you have and haven’t got, there’s nothing that says you need lots of lenses to achieve everything you want to achieve.

The effect of focal length (and aperture) depends on the sensor size you mount it in front of. We’re only going to discuss general classes of lenses in this articles, not specific examples.

The two main properties of a lens are its focal length/s (which defines the view of the world it gives) and the maximum aperture value/s (which defines how much light it can let in). Here’s what different focal lengths look like on a Full Frame camera, shot from the same position:

21mm 24mm 28mm 35mm 50mm 85mm 100mm 200mm

Prime and zoom lenses

Most common lenses, including the ‘kit’ zoom that probably came bundled with your camera are zoom lenses. These have complex mechanisms that allow them to offer a range of focal lengths, meaning they can be zoomed in and out to change the magnification of your subject and what you include or exclude from your image. Zooms are highly flexible.

A zoom lens will list the widest and longest focal lengths it offers (eg 18-55mm), and will also list how wide and bright the aperture can go, first at the widest focal length, then at the longest (eg F3.5-5.6), the lower the number, the more light it can let in.

The alternative to zooms are prime lenses. These only offer a single focal length: the lens can’t been zoomed in or out. Why would anyone want such a restrictive lens? From a practical perspective, it’s easier to design a prime lens with good optical performance and a bright maximum aperture, to let in lots of light, since the design only has to do one thing. And, from a creative perspective, many photographers find a prime lens forces them to consider the composition of their images more carefully.

What’s a telephoto lens?

Although the term has a specific meaning, most people use ‘telephoto’ lens to mean anything longer than about 50mm equivalent. Essentially, anything significantly more ‘zoomed-in’ than looking at the world with the naked eye.

Telephoto lenses with long focal lengths can make your photos seem closer to the action, so they lend themselves particularly well to wildlife and sports photography.

Many camera brands offer a telephoto zoom lens that can be bought as part of a ‘twin lens kit’ when you buy the camera. Like your standard kit zoom, this is likely to be an F3.5-5.6 variable aperture lens. Like your kit zoom, this will be perfectly effective in a lot of situations but won’t necessarily be the sharpest lens or the most effective as the light starts to fall.

A short to moderate telephoto lens can be perfect for portrait shooting.
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

Telephoto lenses can be used for all sorts of things. Short to moderate tele lenses are great for portraiture, allowing you to stand a sensible distance from your subject while including your subjects head or head and shoulders. Longer telephoto lenses can be ideal for various types of sports shooting, and super-long telephotos tend to be specialist lenses for birding.

If your budget will stretch to it, the best quality telephoto zooms tend to be the ‘constant aperture’ models, which maintain the same F-number throughout their zoom range. 

If you find that the long end of your kit zoom doesn’t get you close enough to the action, it’s worth looking into a telephoto lens.

What’s a wide-angle lens?

As you can probably deduce, wide-angle lenses are the opposite of telephotos: they are lenses with short focal length that offers a wider view than you see with the naked eye.

Wide-angle lenses let you capture a wide field-of-view, making them ideal for landscape work or shots that give a dramatic perspective on the world.

These lenses can be used for all sorts of landscape and environmental photography and can lens a dramatic effect to your images. If you often find yourself shooting at the widest setting on your kit zoom and backing away from your subject, you might find a wide-angle lens is a good first choice.

What’s a macro lens?

Macro lenses are specialist lenses that are designed so that they can focus very close-up, enabling high magnification photography. These are especially popular with photographers who want to shoot insects, flowers and other small, fine detail.

Macro lenses allow you to shoot small objects close-up.
Photo: Wenmei Hill

If your kit zoom refuses to focus and your chosen subject always ends up looking tiny in the frame, it might be worth looking more closely at a macro lens.

What about your kit zoom?

A common mistake is to assume that because you already have a zoom that covers the moderate-wide to moderate-tele range, there’s no need to buy a new lens in this range. Actually, the opposite may be true.

Kit zooms let you to go out shooting, the moment you open the camera box but they’re often built to very low cost. This can mean patchy optical performance and slow maximum apertures that can limit your camera’s low light capability and little opportunity to shoot with shallow depth-of-field.

‘Normal’ lens shows approximately the view you see with the naked eye: neither zoomed-in nor zoomed-out. They’re great for capturing the world around you, so you may find it makes sense to buy a sharper or brighter lens that covers the same range as your kit zoom.
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

For many people, the ‘normal’ range covered by the kit lens ends up including the focal lengths that are most often useful, so there’s an argument for buying a better lens to replace or augment your kit zoom. For instance, many companies make relatively inexpensive prime lenses in this region that have a brighter maximum aperture than the kit lens. These can provide a first taste of shallow depth-of-field and are ideal for low light work. 

The prime lens used here gives more ability to blur the background than the zoom lens that comes kitted with most cameras.

Alternatively, companies such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina make constant F2.8 zooms that are often sharper and more versatile than the lens that came in the box.

Get out there and try it

If you’re worried about whether you’ll find it useful, try renting a copy before you buy. Alternatively, search around for second-hand options (though this often entails doing increased research to ensure no nasty compatibility surprises).

Whichever choice you make, it can take some time to adjust your minds-eye to ‘see’ the photos that your new lens will let you take. Give it some time, keep shooting with it and you’ll find you start to get an almost instinctive feel for a new angle-of-view.

And, even if you change your mind, a good lens will tend to retain a good portion of its value if you look after it, so you can always sell up and try again, if your mood or style changes.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Epson’s FastFoto FF-640 scanner can digitize a photograph in one second

17 Sep

The newly unveiled Epson FF-640 is, according to Epson, the fastest photo scanner in the world. The model can scan photographs as rapidly as 1 image-per-second, doing so at 300dpi, or more slowly at a higher quality 600dpi resolution. Unlike flatbed scanners, the new FastFoto model features a 30-photo auto feeder, scanning the images to a hard drive and then providing the option to upload the files to online destinations including Dropbox, Google Drive, or Facebook.

The rapid scanning rate is made possible in part by technology that scans both the front and the back of a photo simultaneously. In addition to the scanning capabilities, the related Epson software organizes image files in such a way that they’re easy to find using searchable metadata, ‘recognizable file and folder names,’ and a capture date that, when possible, uses the date the photo was taken rather than the date it was scanned.

FastFoto also includes Epson’s Smart Photo Fix Technology; with it, users can press a related button and allow the software to automatically restore their photos, applying things like red-eye reduction, fade correction, and ‘enhancements.’ This is complemented by Dynamic Skew Correction, a technology that works with multi-roller scanners to auto-correct the angle at which the photo is scanned.

Finally, the FF-640 has what Epson describes as a ‘special handling sheet’ that is used to scan old or otherwise fragile photos. The Auto Size Detection tech means differently sized photos can be scanned in the same stack, while Double Feed Detection works with an ultrasonic sensor to help ensure no photos are skipped during the scanning process.

The Epson FF-640 is now available from Epson’s online store and some major retailers for $ 649.99.

Via: Epson

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Second Time Around: Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Review

20 Jul

Key Features

  • 20MP 1″-type BSI CMOS sensor
  • 24-100mm F1.8-F2.8 lens
  • 3″ tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Click/click-less front dial
  • 8 fps continuous shooting
  • 1080/60p video capture

For nearly two and a half years, Sony had the 1″-type sensor compact camera segment all to itself with its RX100 series. While Canon had its PowerShot G1 X (and the Mark II that followed), they were anything but pocketable. In September 2014 Canon joined Sony, offering up its PowerShot G7 X. From a pure specifications point of view, the G7 X was toe-to-toe with the Sony RX100 II and RX100 III (the current models at the time it was announced) in most respects, especially in terms of focal range and usability.

Despite being so promising on paper, the G7 X proved a disappointment in a few areas. Performance in Raw mode was sluggish, battery life wasn’t great and, its lens wasn’t as good as those on some of its competitors. Canon has addressed most of those problems on the Mark II, due in large part to its Digic 7 processor, which makes its debut in the G7 X II.

From a performance perspective, the Mark II has faster burst shooting, especially when shooting Raw files, which was a big disappointment on the original model. Where the Mark I shot continuous Raw bursts at just 1 fps, the Mark II can now shoot Raws, JPEGs or both at 8 fps. Canon also claims improvements in subject recognition and tracking, which wasn’t a strong point of the original model, either.

The G7 X II offers what Canon calls ‘Dual Sensing IS’, which uses data from the image sensor (in addition to gyro-scoping sensors) to reduce blur caused by camera shake. The company claims that this system is more effective than on the G7 X, with the ability to reduce shake by four stops. There’s also a new panning IS mode that will adjust the shutter speed to ensure that your subject is ‘frozen.’

In the image quality department, the Digic 7 processor brings improved sharpening and high ISO noise reduction algorithms. We’ll see the results of that later in the review.

Perhaps the G7 X’s biggest problem was battery life, which has been boosted by 25% to 265 shots per charge (CIPA standard). Even with that increase, though, the Canon still lags behind the Sony RX100s and Panasonic Lumix ZS100/TZ100.

The G7 X II uses the same lens and 1″-type sensor as its predecessor.  As you can see, the main difference on the front is a much-needed grip. It’s also slightly ‘chunkier’ in general.
Canon has moved the display hinge from the top to the bottom, which allows the screen to tilt downward by 45 degrees, something that the original G7 X could not do.

Cosmetically, the Mark II boasts three major changes. First is the addition of a much-needed grip, as the finish on the camera is quite slippery. Second, while it’s a bit subtle, Canon has moved the hinge on the tilting LCD to the bottom, which allows the screen to tilt downward, itself of just up. Finally, those who can’t decide whether they want the control ring around the lens to be ‘clicky’ or ‘smooth’ can now have both via a toggle switch to the lower-right of the lens.

Spec Comparison

Below is a look at how the key specs vary between the PowerShot G7 X I and II as well as the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III, which is arguably the Mk II’s closest competitor.

   Canon G7 X  Canon G7 X II  Sony RX100 III
Sensor 20MP 1″-type BSI CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI CMOS 20MP 1″-type BSI CMOS
Lens focal range 24-100mm equiv. 24-100mm equiv. 24-70mm equiv.
Max aperture F1.8 – F2.8 F1.8 – F2.8 F1.8 – F2.8
LCD size/type 3″ tilting (180° up) 3″ tilting (180° up, 45° down) 3″ tilting (180° up, 45° down)
Touchscreen Yes Yes No
Built-in EVF No No Yes
Max burst rate
(w/AF lock)
6.5 fps JPEG
1 fps Raw 
8 fps JPEG/Raw 10 fps JPEG
6.5 fps Raw
Video 1080/60p/30p

1080/60p/30p/24p

1080/60p/30p/24p
In-camera Raw conversion No Yes No
Battery life (CIPA) 210 shots 265 shots 320 shots
In-camera charging No Yes Yes
Dimensions 103 x 60 x 40mm 106 x 61 x 42mm  102 x 58 x 41mm
Weight (CIPA) 304 g 319 g 290 g

As you can see, lens focal range, touchscreen and battery life are what separate the G7 X II from its competition.

Lens Comparison

The chart below breaks down the equivalent aperture for each camera, as you work your way through the zoom range. Our article here explains the concept of equivalence, but at a high level all you need to know is that the lower the line is on the graph below, the blurrier the backgrounds you’ll be able to get and, typically, the better the overall low-light performance.

As you can see, the G7 X II and RX100 III start off at the same spot, but up until about 50mm the former has a slight equivalent aperture advantage. The two cameras are matched until the RX100 III’s focal range ends up 70mm. The G7 X continues on to 100mm at F2.8 (~F7.6 equiv.), which is one of its big selling points.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Phase One introduces second XF feature update and pair of Schneider Kreuznach lenses

17 Mar

The Phase One XF camera system received a significant update today, with improvements to its autofocus system and user interface along with additional shooting tools such as focus stacking and HDR. Two new ‘Blue Ring’ lenses have also been added, along with an update to the company’s Capture One software.

The update provides Phase One’s medium-format XF system with tools to help automate focus stacking and time-lapse capture, as well as a self timer and automated HDR bracketing. The system’s HoneyBee Autofocus Platform also gets an update, claiming increased accuracy in low light, better acquisition in low contrast scenes and ‘improved hand held success.’

In terms of hardware, the Schneider Kreuznach 110mm LS F2.8 and 240mm LS F4.5 join the system, manufactured ‘to Phase One’s highest standards’ with metal lens hoods and milled aluminum AF/MF selector rings.

Capture One Pro 9.1 gets an update geared mostly toward fashion and still life work, with new workflow and image editing tools, including tools to correct uneven skin tone.

The XF system firmware update is free and available now from Phase One. The Schneider Kreuznach 110mm LS F2.8 will cost $ 5390/£4490; the 240mm LS F4.5 will cost $ 6490/£5690.


Press release:

Phase One Releases XF Camera System Feature Update #2 

Adding New XF Tools, Lenses & Software

COPENHAGEN, March. 17, 2016 – Phase One, the world’s leading medium format camera system provider, today released a major XF Camera System update.  With new tools, hardware, and software solutions Phase One continues to help top photographers create incredible images. The Ultimate Camera System continues to improve.

Feature Update #2 includes the addition of two new ‘Blue Ring’ lenses, along with the release of Capture One Pro 9.1, an update to the software used by 8 out 10 of the world’s best photographers (see today’s related software announcement).

The Phase One XF Camera System stands out against all other camera systems in terms of its performance and philosophy. The XF Camera System offers unprecedented long-term value thanks to its emphasis on modular firmware implementation and integrated, modular hardware designs, all of which permit continual feature enhancements. 

Phase One’s XF Camera System Update #2 introduces: 

Integrated Sequence photography: 

— Focus Stack Tool provides automated camera focus control throughout a sequence of captured images; ?

— Time-lapse Tool offers automated capture sequence at user set intervals;

— HDR Sequence Tool enables an automated bracketing sequence with unique metadata tags for Capture One integration; 

— Self Timer Delay provides a quick and easy, fully customizable timer option from one half to sixty seconds. ?

Additional updates to the XF Camera System: 

— HoneyBee Autofocus Platform update: Improvements have been made to increase accuracy in low light conditions, improve focus in various low contrast scenarios, and to provide improved hand held success;

— New OneTouch UI: Improved design and integration for intuitive, seamless operation on or off the XF Camera System;

Phase One Adds Two new members to its “Blue Ring” Lens family: ?

— New Schneider Kreuznach 110mm LS f/2.8; a technical masterpiece and an artistic vision. The 110mm offers a ‘normal’ focal length view in stunning technical precision.

— New Schneider Kreuznach 240mm LS f/4.5; the essential Telephoto lens. The 240mm is a must for any lens lineup, offering the definitive telephoto look for any shot.

The new lenses feature a metal focusing ring and AF/MF selector ring of precision milled aluminum, as well as a metal lens hood with anti-skid rubber edging. The lenses are manufactured to Phase One’s highest standards, including improved quality assurance measures and tighter tolerances for better, more reliable lens performance. 

For all the details, please go to: www.phaseone.com/XF-Platform-Update or book a demo on: www.phaseone.com/demo 

Phase One Releases Capture One 9.1 with improved XF camera system integration ?   

Capture One 9 continues to grow alongside the XF Camera System.  The new tools available within the XF are well integrated to Capture One 9.1, providing excellent workflow advantages with proprietary image sequence tags.  For all the details, please see today’s related press release, “Phase One Releases Capture One Pro 9.1 for Photographers”

Availability and Pricing 

Firmware for the XF Camera System Feature Update #2 is free and available for download here: http://www.phaseone.com/Download/Camera-Firmware

New Schneider Kreuznach leaf shutter lenses are available through Phase One photography partners worldwide: www.phaseone.com/partners?

Prices for Schneider Kreuznach 110mm LS f/2.8 — 4.490 EUR / 5.390 USD Prices for Schneider Kreuznach 240mm LS f/4.5 IF – 5.690 EUR / 6.490 USD 

Optimized for use with the XF Camera System, Capture One is free when used with Phase One hardware. Capture One 9.1. is free for all current owners of Capture One 9. Owners of Capture One 7 and 8 can upgrade to Capture One 9.1 for 99 USD / 99 EUR.

Phase One Releases Capture One Pro 9.1

Boosting Workflow Performance for Pro Photographers

COPENHAGEN, March 17, 2016 — Phase One, the world’s leading medium format camera system and professional imaging software provider today released Capture One Pro 9.1. Focus for this release has been the fashion and still life photographer segment, with special attention to the demands of fast-paced work environments.  

Known by professionals for its excellent tethering abilities, color management, and intuitive, user-definable, interface, Capture One Pro is used by photographers that demand exceptional image quality.

Capture One Pro 9.1 builds on the design objectives for greater quality, power and precision introduced last year with version 9.0 — adding workflow accelerators and providing a superior integrated workflow. 

Capture One Pro 9.1 is free to existing 9 users. To see the Capture One Pro 9.1 feature set in action, visit: www.phaseone.com/nineone

Capture One Pro 9.1 highlights include:

New Workflow Tools

— ‘Copy from last’ has been re-designed for rotation, allowing for easier workflow when doing overhead shots; 

— ‘Copy from last’ has been re-designed to allow the inclusion of metadata, making shot-to-shot application of copyright and other metadata easier and more intuitive; 

— Rotatable Live View — live view can be orientated for still life work with next captures mirroring the live view orientation; 

— Improved Shortcuts — a number of extra shortcuts are added to aid the professional workflow – reset counters, layer controls, and “select by…” are added to help in all areas of the workflow. 

New Image Editing Tools

— New Skin Tone Uniformity Tool for saturation and lightness;

— New Color Editor Tools — the Color Editor Skin Tone Tool adds uniformity sliders for saturation and lightness, helping to correct for uneven skin tones.

Asset management tools

— Export/Output keyword restrictions — control and limit the keyword libraries output to final file;

— Sequence tool management for the XF Camera System (with Feature Update #2) — Images captured via the XF’s new Focus Stack, HDR Sequence and Time-lapse Tools are automatically tagged and can be automated in to collections easily  

“Capture One Pro 9.1 is about quality of life improvements for working photographers,” said James Johnson, Phase One Software Product Manager. “We’ve been listening to our core user base and made some valuable additions to the application, designed ultimately to help with efficiency. In the ever increasingly competitive marketplace, production value is all about better workflow and less work.” 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Oil-Painted Van Gogh Film Features 12 Paintings Per Second

02 Mar

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

loving1

It took over 100 artists to paint this full-length movie, the first of its kind: a work where every frame was hand-painted, then combined into an epic animation about, in the style and using the techniques of Van Gogh (oil and canvas).

This first trailer of Loving Vincent shows the brushstroke style anyone familiar with the artist’s world will immediately recognize. The movie is about Vincent’s life, death and works, an honest look at what was anything but a carefree existence. His own work also shows up throughout, 120 of his masterpieces in total, smoothly transitioned into the frames as the narrative unfolds around them.

loving2

loving3

A great deal of care went not only into the planning process, but also the execution so that each frame is both original and unique but transfers seamlessly to the next, despite the number of painters involved.

filmmaking loving vincent

Produced by Oscar-winning studios BreakThru Films and Trademark Films, production is still in progress in Gdansk, Poland, but this sneak peaks suggest it will be well worth the prices of admission (h/t Colossal).

loving vincent painters

loving vincent frame

More from the filmmakers: “Loving Vincent is an investigation delving into the life and controversial death of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the world’s most beloved painters, told by his paintings and by the characters that inhabit them. The intrigue unfolds through interviews with the characters closest to Vincent and through dramatic reconstructions of the events leading up to his death. Every frame in the Loving Vincent movie is an oil painting on canvas, using the very same technique in which Vincent himself painted.”

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