Monday, December 30, 2013

Japan Mid-Tier Camera Makers Face Shakeout as Smartphones Shatter Mirrorless Hopes -

Japan Mid-Tier Camera Makers Face Shakeout as Smartphones Shatter Mirrorless Hopes

TOKYO — Panasonic Corp and Japan's other mid-tier camera makers have a battle on their hands to win over a smartphone "selfie" generation to mirrorless cameras that held such promise when they were launched around five years ago.

Panasonic, like peers Fujifilm Holdings and Olympus Corp, has been losing money on its cameras since mobile phones that take high-quality photos ate into the compact camera business. This year, compact camera sales are likely to fall more than 40 percent to fewer than 59 million, according to industry researcher IDC.

Meanwhile, sales of mirrorless cameras - seen as a promising format between low-end compacts and high-end single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras - are sputtering as buyers put connectivity above picture quality.

A 40 percent drop in Panasonic's overall camera sales in April-September left the imaging division vulnerable as the company's mid-term plan to March 2016 demands unprofitable businesses turn themselves around or face the axe.

"If you look mid-to-long term, digital camera makers are slipping and the market is becoming an oligopoly," said Credit Suisse imaging analyst Yu Yoshida.

Panasonic held 3.1 percent of the camera market in July-September, down from 3.8 percent a year earlier, according to IDC. Canon Inc, Nikon Corp and Sony Corp controlled over 60 percent between them.

"Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last - and only Canon, Nikon and Sony fulfil that criteria," added Yoshida.

Canon and Nikon dominate the SLR camera market, while Sony could survive any shakeout thanks to its strength in making sensors for a number of camera manufacturers as well as collaboration with its smartphone division.


Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus are trying to fend off the smartphone threat by cutting compacts, targeting niche markets such as deep-sea diving, and launching the higher-margin mirrorless models.

The mirrorless format promised mid-tier makers an area of growth as the dominance of Canon and Nikon all but shut them out of SLRs, where Sony is a distant third. Neither Panasonic nor Fujifilm makes SLRs, and Olympus stopped developing them this year.

Mirrorless cameras such as Panasonic's Lumix GM eliminate the internal mirrors that optical viewfinders depend on, so users compose images via electronic viewfinders or liquid crystal displays. This allows the camera to be smaller than an SLR, while offering better quality than compacts or smartphones due to larger sensors and interchangeable lenses.

"SLRs are heavy and noisy, whereas mirrorless are small and quiet. While some people say SLRs still have better image quality, mirrorless (cameras) have improved to the point where they're equivalent, if not superior," said Hiroshi Tanaka, director of Fujifilm's optical division.

Critics grumble that LCD screens can never compete with the clarity of an optical viewfinder, and that picture-taking speeds are too slow for fast-action subjects such as sports.

Nevertheless, the mirrorless format has been a hit in Japan since Panasonic launched the first domestically produced model in 2008, the G1. They made up 36 percent of Japan's interchangeable lens camera shipments in January-October, according to researcher CIPA.

But the format is yet to catch on in the United States and Europe, where shipments made up just 10.5 percent and 11.2 percent of all interchangeable camera shipments, respectively, and where consumers tend to equate image quality with size and heft.

Sales, which globally are less than a quarter of those of SLRs, fell by a fifth in the three weeks to December 14 in the United States, which included the busy 'Black Friday' shopping week, while SLR sales rose 1 percent, according to NPD, another industry researcher.

"I would focus on the detachable lens market proper, excluding mirrorless, and focus on connectivity," said Ben Arnold, director of imaging analysis at NPD. "How do you bridge that gap between high photo-capture quality and high-quality camera devices and the cloud where every amateur photographer's images live?"


Panasonic, Olympus and Fujifilm do not yet have a definitive answer.

Consumers don't want to connect cameras to phones, analysts say; they want a single interface that can instantly upload photographs to social networking sites such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.

Sony's compromise is its two QX lenses released this quarter. These come with their own sensors and processors, and clip onto smartphones through which the user operates them wirelessly. They are pocket-sized and produce photographs of a quality rivaling that of a compact camera.

"There was a lot of internal disagreement over the product. It's the kind of product you either love or hate," said Shigeki Ishizuka, president of Sony's digital imaging business.

But Sony appears to have connected with consumers as demand soon outstripped production. Some are even using the lenses in a way Sony didn't intend: placed at a distance while they press the shutter on their smartphone to take self-portraits, or selfies.

"We had no idea how much the QX would sell initially when we put it out. We didn't set any targets," said Ishizuka.

It is little surprise Sony was the camera maker to break the mould as it is the only one to also have a profitable smartphone division.

"There are so many consumers that were hungry for Sony to do this," said Chris Chute, IDC's digital imaging research director. "They've (waited for Sony) to come out with something really innovative, almost like the Walkman (portable music player)."

(Editing by Christopher Cushing and Edmund Klamann)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop |

These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop

Jeremy Jackson, a photographer from Virginia, USA who goes by the handle of tackyshack on Flickr is one of the first light painting masters I got to meet here on DIYP. And what a ride it has been. Jeremy's recent feature on Sploid encouraged me to check his Flickr stream again, and I was lost there for way too long.
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
Light painting, for the ones who are not familiar with the term is the art of doing long exposures while waiving different sources of light at various object (including the camera). The hard core artists (like tackyshack) never ever use Photoshop, and this is the case with the photos displayed here.
We are going to have a full light painting resource list at the bottom, but till then, sit back and enjoy this miraculous SOOC (strait out of camera) explosion.
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
On his flickr Profile Jeremy explains that "all of my photos are straight out of the camera. No photoshopping aside from an occasional rotation or crop.
I am amazed by what can be done with long exposure and light sources. The techniques are endless. Considering painting with light is the art of making space and time your canvas and using light as your medium, a lot of potential lies in this basic definition."
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
These Incredible Light Paintings From Tackyshack Have Nothing To Do With Photoshop
If you find this as fascinating as I do, and wanna have a go, you can visit our Complete Guide to Light Painting it has everything from basics, through fireworks, stencils and much, much more.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Check out Amazon's Gift Suggestions for Photographers!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Your Camera is Ruining Your Memory - Cameras

Your Camera is Ruining Your Memory

These days, more and more musicians are actively discouraging the use of cameras and mobile phones at their concerts. While it might seem counterintuitive for artists to restrict the use of devices that help create buzz and drive the artist's image, many musicians would prefer their fans to actually enjoy the show, rather than worrying about recording shaky video and awful audio for posterity.

The prioritization of the camera over the experience is now common when celebrating everything from childhood milestones, to family holidays, to everyday dinners—all thanks to the meteoric rise of Instagram and its ilk.

Obviously, there's a distinct line between watching a your child's first steps or a live concert through your iPhone screen and snapping the occasional photo or a few seconds of video. But the problem is pervasive enough that a few artists have gone so far as to ban phones outright.

Besides the potentially distracting nature of glowing cellphones at eye level, a recent psychology study claims that the act of photographing has adverse effects on the photographer's memory. In Fairfield University's experiment, subjects were guided through an art museum, one group taking photos, the other simply making memories. Interestingly, the participants who photographed the exhibits recalled fewer details and museum characteristics than the others.

While it isn't particularly surprising that concentrating on taking a photograph might shove actual thoughts about the subject to the backburner, the study did find one interesting conclusion: When the participants zoomed in on specific areas of their subjects, their memories of the entire exhibit were just as good as those of the camera-deprived guinea pigs. (Though Fairfield's study didn't cover it, we have to imagine the increased focus on composition also resulted in better photographs.)

While it's ironic that the act of recording an event actually impairs our memory, the problem isn't photography itself—it's how we interact with technology. Without even thinking about it, we hand a machine the responsibility for recording our memories, not realizing that a photo just isn't the same thing.

So before you whip out the camera to document your kid's birthday, a visit to MoMA, or your favorite band's concert, take a moment to make sure all your senses are fully engaged.

Oxbow Bend
Did these guys truly capture this gorgeous moment? Since they're taking their time and actively composing their frame, they actually might have. [Credit: Wikimedia Commons, National Park Service]
View Larger

Via: Fairfield University

[Hero image: Flickr user "jgoge123"]

Photo-taking may hinder memories, study says -

Eyes are better at mental snapshots than cameras, study suggests

What you take photos of may not be the same as what your brain remembers.
What you take photos of may not be the same as what your brain remembers.
(CNN) -- I've got hundreds of photos from my recent Europe trip, split between a smartphone and a big camera. A lot are shots of the same thing -- my attempt to get the perfect lighting on a fountain or a cathedral, for example -- so that I'll have these scenes to remember always.
So I was interested to read a new study in the journal Psychological Science suggesting that the act of taking photos may actually diminish what we remember about objects being photographed.
"People just pull out their cameras," says study author Linda Henkel, researcher in the department of psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. "They just don't pay attention to what they're even looking at, like just capturing the photo is more important than actually being there."
At the same time, she found that zooming in on objects helps preserve people's memory of them, beyond just the detail on which they zoomed.
Henkel's father is a photographer, so she has been hanging around photos and taking photos all her life. She wanted to see if snapping photos of objects would impact people's memories of what they saw at a museum.
This study had a small sample size: 27 undergraduates participated in the first part, and 46 in the second. Both groups were mostly women. In order to strengthen the conclusions, this research would need to be replicated with a lot more people and a more balanced sex ratio, not to mention a wider range of demographic characteristics such as age.
But this is an interesting start. It underscores the point that there are different ways that the brain processes information: At an automatic level, by taking pictures, and at a more meaningful level, by focusing on a specific object or something with a personal association, said Paul D. Nussbaum, clinical neuropsychologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
It's that deeper level that enables memories to form, Nussbaum said in an e-mail.
"The more we engage our brain into processing a stimuli and the more personal that processing is, the more solid the memory formation and recall," he said.
Photos impairing memory?
For the first experiment, participants went to the Bellarmine Museum of Art. One-third of them had never been to the museum before. They visited 30 objects, spanning such media as painting, sculpture, jewelry and pottery.
One group of students was instructed to read the name of each object out loud, look at the object for 20 seconds and then take a photo of it. The other participants looked at an object for 30 seconds without taking a picture.
The following day, participants were asked to write down the names of all objects they remembered from the museum, and to indicate which they photographed. They could describe any objects whose names they could not recall.
Then, they were given a list of 30 objects and were asked to indicate which they had seen, which they had photographed and which were not on the tour. They also answered questions about details of objects, and completed a photo-recognition test of objects they may or may not have seen.
Henkel found that people performed worse on memory recognition tasks in reference objects they had photographed, compared to objects they had observed with their eyes only. Similarly, they appeared to remember fewer details about what they photographed, compared to the ones they had only seen.
"When we distract ourselves and count on the camera to remember for us, then we don't remember as many objects," she said. "We don't remember as many details about the objects."
Zooming protecting memory
The second experiment gave participants 25 seconds to view each object, in addition to extra time for photographing when that was asked of them. That meant they had extra time with objects that they had to photograph. Some were also asked to zoom in on specific parts of the objects.
The next day, it was time to test their memory: Participants had to indicate, from a list of names of art objects, which were part of the tour they had been on.
For objects they remembered, participants were asked to say whether they had photographed the object or just seen it, and answer two questions about visual aspects of the object.
Henkel found a similar effect as in the first experiment: Photographed objects tended to be associated with a decline in memory about them.
But here is the twist: Zooming in on one part of the object preserved participants' memory about that entire object, not just the part on which the camera zoomed. Accuracy was about the same, regardless of whether participants just observed objects or zoomed in on individual parts.
Henkel explains that when you zoom in on part of an object, it's drawing your visual attention there, but you're also thinking about the object as a whole.
"So what your eyes are doing, what the camera is doing, is not the same thing as what your brain is doing," Henkel said.
In other words, when you spend the extra time and attention to zoom in on something, you're likely to remember aspects of it as well as if you had just observed it without a camera.
The bigger picture
OK, so maybe it's a little more complicated than just "taking photos is bad for your memory." That's good news, since people took more than 3 billion photos in 2012, according to an estimate cited in the study, and 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily.
Still, says Nussbaum, "I wonder sometimes how much we may be missing when we rely so much on technological gadgets rather than using our brains."
Henkel points out that the advent of digital photography has overstepped the age-old traditions of printing photos out, putting them in scrapbooks and sitting around with your family and looking at them. That sounds a little like using a paper map.
But maybe those photo-related activities that make us take time to reminisce do enhance our memory of the experiences we have tried to photograph so diligently.
"If we're going to going to rely on that external memory device of the camera to remember for us, we've got to take that extra step and look at it," Henkel says.
Keep that in mind this holiday season when you take hundreds of photos with with friends and family.
They're worth a second look.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Creating a Border in Lightroom

1-Select the Photo or Photos you want to stroke.
2-Go to the PRINT Module
5-Select the Color of the Border
6-Select the Width of the Border
7-Make sure nothing else is turned on and that no watermarks, file info or text is displayed on the photo.
In PRINT JOB change the PRINT TO: from Printer to JPEG FILE
8-Press print to FILE at the bottom of the page
9-Select the Folder where you want your pictures, I suggest that you put them in the SAME FOLDER so you can find them easier.
10-Go to the folder where you placed them in LR in the LIBRARY MODULE
11-SYNCHRONIZE THE FOLDER - Your photos should appear with strokes but also white borders
12-select the first photo
13-go to the DEVELOP MODULE
14-Select CROP
15-Turn off the lock
16-bring the crop lines to just outside the strokes

This works and you can make a preset for most of the work in steps 3-8

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Focus Stacking with Helicon Remote & Focus

I first heard about focus stacking a few years ago.  I thought is would be a cool way to try out extending the "in focus" depth of field on an image.  I tried a few times on my own but did not really succeed.

My Dad always told me you need the right tools for the job, enter Helicon with two programs called Remote and Focus.

Remote, is just that, a remote control for your camera.  Looking at all the bells and whistles on the screen can intimidate you but basically all you really need to know is how to set a close focus point and a far focus point.  The software and camera do the rest!

When the images are collected, you can push a button that opens them in Focus.  Another one button press will assemble the images so that the "in-focus" parts of each are visible in the final product.

Practicing with the software for a just a few shots will make you look like an expert.

Watch for more to come!

See some of my first images here:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

18 Photography Apps Each Smartphone Photographer Should Consider |

18 Photography Apps Each Smartphone Photographer Should Consider

If you stop to think about it, that little eye on the world on the back of your smart phone is a technological wonder-- particularly if you grew up in an era when leaving the house or office meant nobody could reach you until you surfaced somewhere with a land line. Even when compared to point-and-shoot digital cameras of just a few years ago, these cameras which are constantly with us keep advancing at an incredible rate, creating images often indistinguishable from those taken with our DSLRs.

But it's not perfect-- and never can be--.since perfection means drastically different things to different people, Thanks to ambitious app creators, though, we can trick out our smart phone cameras with a seemingly endless supply of options. From filtering and sharing, to editing and correcting, if there's something you want your smart phone camera to do, chances are there's an app for that.


I don't think there could ever be a definitive list of the best and worst-- what follows are my own personal impressions. Also, this is not a ranking. The apps listed appear in no particular order.


I guess this one goes pretty much without saying (yet I'm saying it anyway). Combining the ease of retro filters with social media, Instagram-- if based solely on the numbers-- is the reigning champ of photography apps. Available in iOS and Android platforms, Instagram currently boasts over 150 million users in 25 different languages. Like many photography apps, Instagram allows for live filtered previews for taking in-app photos, as well as importing your own photos from the Camera Roll for post processing. If you're anything like I am, you've latched onto two or three filters that you actually use and never give the rest a second thought. Available free for both iOS and Android.


Camera +

This is, by far, my favorite photo app. I almost never take in-app photos, preferring to use my iPhone's native camera for capture, and apps for editing. In addition to a wide variety of cropping tools, all of the filters (scenes) and presets are customizable by adjusting their intensity or by stacking them. Since these edits are happening on such a small screen, an intuitive, user-friendly interface is essential for me. Camera+ has that. This app gets high marks for ease-of-use. Available only on iOS ($1.99 for iPhone and $4.99 for iPad).


Pocket Light Meter

Speaking of user-friendly interfaces, Pocket Light Meter is a great tool for both seasoned photographers, as well as those working on their lighting skills. I realize that a lot of photographers-- mostly those who first came into photography in the digital age-- look at light meters as if they are fossils from a bygone era. They'd rather rely on bracketing, test shots, and their camera's LCD to achieve proper exposure. Personally, I'd rather take a quick meter reading to give myself a good starting point. Pocket Light Meter helps me do that, collecting accurate ambient readings, based on user-input values for shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Available for iPhone only, $1.99 to remove ads-- $5.99 to remove ads and buy developer a pint.


Foto Meter Pro

FMP is another great light meter app. This one comes in particularly handy for people shooting with vintage film or lomography cameras. With a retro, analog feel to it, users have the option of taking reflected or incident light readings, displaying accurate shutter speeds after adjusting aperture and ISO rings. A timer function helps with slower shutter speeds and long exposures. Available free for both iPhone and iPad.


Retro Camera

This was one of my very first photo apps when I got my first Android smart phone several years ago, and it was the first photo app I installed when I switched to my iPhone a few years after that. With six vintage or toy cameras/effects to choose from, anybody who has ever had an appreciation for film or old cameras will have fun with this app. Available for both iOS and Android platforms.


CameraBag 2

By now you may be noticing a pattern. My favorite apps have clean, simple, interfaces, and CameraBag is no different. Large-size previews of easy-to-apply filters are nothing new, but CameraBag's slider control allows for easy, intuitive adjustments to the intensity of the filters. The slider control can be set to adjust exposure, shadows, highlights, vignettes, color temperature, and contrast. With over 60 in-app filters, plus an online "style library," the possibilities seem endless, yet not overwhelming. Available for both iPhone and iPad.



While I still use Hipstamatic once in a while, updates and in-app purchases have let this app get a little out of control. Designed around a pretty wide assortment of vintage themes, each "Hipstapak" includes camera skins, flashes, films, and filters-- all of which become interchangeable with each other. With ten different Hipstapaks to choose from you can see how having so many possibilities at your fingertips can get a little unruly.  On the positive side, prints can be ordered directly from within the app.


Photoshop Touch

Once available only for the iPad, this app is now also compatible with both the iPhone and Android platforms. While I don't use it that often, it's a great handheld adaptation of the desktop software we all know and love. Unlike most editing apps, Photoshop Touch brings the functionality of layers and adjustments to your handheld devices. Available for both Android and iOS, $4.99 for phone and $9.99 for tablet.


Photoshop Express

Also from our fine friends at Adobe, PS Express is more basic than PS Touch, but still packs a punch as far as convenience goes. The straighten function is a useful tool that you won't find in very many apps. Available for iOS, Android, and Windows Tablet. Base version is free, but add-ons can get pricy.


Wood Camera

Once again, a simple, intuitive interface wins me over-- especially when it can do as much as Wood Camera can. This app provides some great editing tools, including image rotation, cropping, and filters, but its tilt shift correction really sets it apart. Tilt shift distortion is created when the surfaces of the subject and lens are no longer parallel. Think about what happens when you lean back to take a photo of a tall building. The more you lean back-- pulling your lens away from a parallel view-- the more the distortion. This function corrects that. Available only for iOS, $3.99 in the App Store.


Paper Camera

Because even "serious" photographers need to flex their whimsy once in a while. This one is kind of quirky, including live-view filters like Cartoon, Halftone, and Sketch. Available only for iOS, $1.99 in the App Store.


Camera Awesome

Created by SmugMug, this app lives up to its name, perhaps packing in more features than just about any other photography app. Oddly enough, for me that is just as much a downside as it is an upside. If I shoot something with my phone that needs that much editing, I'll usually do it on a computer, rather than tap it out on my phone or tablet. Remember, though, that this is just personal preference. There is no denying the quality of this app. I know a lot of people who love this app and use it regularly. For my phone, I prefer to keep it simple. Available for both iOS and Android. Base version is free, but unlocking full functionality will require in-app purchases.



This app does one thing and does it really well. If you're a fan of shallow depth of field (DOF) this app is for you. Smart phone cameras don't usually create a shallow DOF. With TaDaa, once you have either taken or imported a photo, you can create beautiful bokeh and DOF with just a few taps. Available only for iOS, free in the App Store.


Face Tune

Some of the most common necessary edits are to the face. Face Tune, with its simple, fingertip-driven interface, helps you cover blemishes, whiten teeth, enhance the eyes, and smooth the skin. Available only for iOS, $2.99 in the App Store.


Path On

If you like adding text to your images, Path On gives you the option of not only selecting where it goes, but the direction as well. Open your photo in the app. Drag your finger along the path you wish the text to take. Enter your text and the app does the rest. Available only for iOS, $1.99 in the App Store



Just recently released by Help Portrait founder Jeremy Cowart, this blending of photography, inspiration, and social media has the unique aspect of not only sharing images, but connecting users with the inspirations behind the photos and the challenge to see what they can do with similar themes. Currently only available for iOS, $1.99 in the App Store.



Pressgram was launched back in September, partially as a response to Instagram's increasingly confusing terms of service-- particularly as it related to copyright and ownership issues. Pressgram came out of the developer's desire to share filtered images without worrying about how the corporation behind the app might be making commercial use of those images. Similar to Instagram in some ways, the huge difference here is the seamless Word Press integration. Currently available only for iOS, an Android version is in development. Free in the App Store.


Triggertrap Mobile

TriggerTrap started out as a triggering hardware system, but has since
expanded to include a smartphone-controlled app. While the main purpose
of the app is to connect to an external DSLR, the free version also
offers control over an internal smartphone camera. The free version can
do various types of time lapses, as well as trigger the camera with sound,
light, and movement.

Triggertrap Mobile


Wait a minute. A list of eighteen items? Not fifteen? Not twenty? I know-- my sense of balance and order is thrown off a little bit also. This originally started out as a list of my 20 favorites, but it turns out that two of them are no longer available for download. I chose to leave the list as is, rather than pick two random apps out of the air, just for the sake of making a more tidy package.

I have no doubt that I've missed many of your favorites. Feel free to tell us about them in the comments.

About The Author

Jeff Guyer is an Atlanta, GA photographer specializing in commercial and portrait photography, as well as weddings, sports, and street photography. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter, or check out his work at Guyer Photography.

There is a new "Lord of Darkness" (Nikon Df DxOMark test scores, low light ISO comparison with D800, 6D) | Nikon Rumors

There is a new "Lord of Darkness" (Nikon Df DxOMark test scores, low light ISO comparison with D800, 6D)

The Nikon Df has better low light performance than the D4

DxOMark published their test results for the Nikon Df camera ($2,746.95) and it seems that Nikon were able to further improve the low light performance of their 16Mp sensor: the Df score is 3279 vs. 2965 for the D4 (the D3s score was 3253). The Df's sensor dynamic range performance is identical to the D4 (the D610/D800 still have better dynamic range). Few other comparisons:

Nikon-Df-DxOMark-comparison Nikon-Df-vs-Canon-DxOMark-test-score


Their conclusion:

"Nikon certainly threw a curve ball with the Df. One the one hand it has the first-rate sensor of the D4 in a much more compact and lighter weight body, but the choice of retro controls appears to be a step backwards.

They make sense with older manual focus lenses, with their manual aperture rings, providing they can be focused accurately but models like the F100 and F6 are proven over those earlier models when used with autofocus lenses, and that includes the current G-series (which lack aperture rings).

As it stands, Nikon may find the Df sidelined by both the D800, and the D600, which is a pity as the sensor is a superb performer in low light."

There is a new "Lord of Darkness"

The Nikon Df currently has the best low-light performance in the DxOMark database:

Here are some high ISO comparisons shots of the Nikon Df vs. the D800 vs. the Canon 6D sent by a reader (click for larger view):

Nikon Df vs D800 vs Canon 6D high ISO comparison 1

ISO 100, 5 stops underexposed and pushed +5EV in LR, 100% crop

Nikon Df vs D800 vs Canon 6D high ISO comparison 2

ISO 12,800, 100% crop

Nikon Df vs D800 vs Canon 6D high ISO comparison 3

ISO 102,400, 100% crop

Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2,0/135 ZF.2 test results

DxOMark also tested the Carl Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* 2,0/135 ZF.2 lens (currently in stock for $2,122):

"The fixed 135mm focal length isn't as popular as it was once mainly due to lenses like the 70-200mm f/2.8. Nevertheless, fast lenses like this are making a comeback. The Zeiss Apo Sonnar T* is without doubt one of the finest 135mm f2.0 lenses ever produced, and at $2,200, even the price doesn't seem unreasonable for quality like this."


Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Nikon Df Retro Full Frame Camera

I was lucky enough to get a loaner of a brand new Nikon Df.  This is Nikon’s first Retro camera and it quite beautiful to see!  

The camera came with a special edition 50mm 1.8 kit lens. When I picked it up I was surprised at the light weight, I though it was a demo that was hollow!

At first look, I became a little overwhelmed seeing all the retro dials and wondered if the camera would be easy to use, but within five minutes of exploring it, I was very comfortable and easily remembered where everything was.

All the dials are analog, with the exception of the aperture dial which I call a crossover, the dial is analog but the readings are digital.

I found the camera to be very responsive.  The images are outstanding but they should be since this camera shares its sensor with the top of the line Nikon D4.

What I love:

The camera feels great in your hand.
All the dials have a lock, so you can’t accidentally change them.
When you turn the camera on, all the settings are displayed on the LCD nice and big so even I can see them!
Focusing is quick and accurate
Images are superb!
Images are superb!
Images are superb!
I enjoyed experimenting with the in camera editing.
The camera is a real eye catcher and people notice it.  I made a few new friends that approached me to ask about the camera!


The on / off dial might be easier to use if there was a little lever on the front of it, rather than being completely round.  I found that sometimes I needed two fingers to turn it on.  The lever would make this a one finger operation.

The program mode dial is a little cumbersome to change, you have to lift to turn and its a bit awkward for me.  I also found that while trying to change to one mode I accidentally got another.  This could possibly be partially my fault because I need new reading glasses.

The placement of the camera strap connector on the shutter side of the camera seems to get in the way of your grip.  I found myself putting the strap between my index and middle finger.  Using a Rapid Strap solves this problem.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DIY product photography using iPads for light painting (VIDEO)

DIY product photography using iPads for light painting (VIDEO)

Photographer Laya Gerlock has proven that you don't need a high-end lighting rig to take excellent product photos. In fact, he manages to take professional looking photos using just an iPad and an iPhone as light sources — by using them for light paintings.
As demoed in the video below (and furthered at DIY Photography), Gerlock sets up his rig with the camera on a tripod, and roughly a 20 second exposure at f/8, ISO 200. You can see his actual technique in the clip, but it involves him first using his iPhone or a flashlight to light the subject directly, and then the iPad is used to light paint a background.
In order to get those patterns on the iPad, Gerlock said he used "an app in my iPad which had some cool patterns to use as a catchlight, then I saw a pattern which I knew would look great if I used it for lightpainting." You can use apps like SoftBox Pro, or just make images like that yourself, and load them up for free.
It's a straightforward way to play with interesting looking product photography, and one that uses items there's a pretty good chance you already have.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Photograph a Smoking Lightbulb – PictureCorrect

How to Photograph a Smoking Lightbulb – PictureCorrectlight bulb photography

Guide to Photographic Photo Paper

Guide to Photographic Photo Paper

Photographic photo papers are designed to produce a high quality image in an effort to best reproduce the photographed object. How good or bad the paper is at meeting this objective will depend on the type of printer, type of ink and of course the subject of this guide; the type of photo paper. In this guide we will explain the various considerations to take into account when evaluating your options.

Inford Photo Paper

Inkjet Vs. Laser Photo Paper

The mostly widely adopted technology by the professional printing community is the Inkjet printer technology. Laser printing is able to outperforming Inkjet printing in terms of speed, but it lacks the accuracy that high quality photographs require. Laser uses melted powder-like substance in CMYK colours, while Inkjet uses the same colours though liquid ink form that are delivered to the paper by means of small jets (hence Ink-Jet). This method of printing can achieve 2880Dpi vs. 720Dpi commonly found in laser printers. Therefore from here on, the various parameters for choosing photo paper will refer to the Inkjet type.

Photo Paper Brands and Printer Profiles

Most printers will support universal compatibility. The fact that you own a major manufacturer's brand of printer does not limit you to its range of printed media. For example, an HP printer will naturally support its range of papers as well as these papers produced by other manufacturers. The difference lies in the setting part of the printing process, in which you have to decide on paper size, quality, finish and other printing attributes. Choosing your own printer's brand of paper will mean that settings are pre-configured, though do not let this put you off from considering other brands. Many manufacturers and particularly the professional niche players the likes of Ilford, Hahnemuehle, Innova, etc. are able to provide you with a colour profile file. This computerized file will adjust the printer settings for you. During your research, keep an open mind as to your options and consider photo paper from various brands as long as they meet your criteria.

Photo Paper Finish

The first aspect that consumers often evaluate is the photo paper finish. It is a translucent chemical coating that is designed to improve the appearance of the print which otherwise may appear dull. The problem lies in the inconsistent terminology that brands use to describe their finish and the headache of making sense of which is which. Common options include matt, glossy and satin, but when consumers come across terms such as semi-gloss, pearl, luster and other finishes, confusion is likely to occur. Here are the most common options you will come across.

  1. Glossy – The most widely used finish is the glossy finish which comes in degree of glossiness from normal to high glossy. The shine from the chemical coating helps distinguish the smallest details of the photograph, however the resulting glare makes viewing the print from certain angles challenging on occasion.
  2. Matt – Depending on the brand, you will come across this finish as Matt or Matte. It is situated on the other side of the scale with zero glossiness. The lack of expensive finish makes the photo paper slightly cheaper to produce and more affordable to buy which helps explain why it is commonly used in brochure and flyer printing. It is also commonly used when printing black and white photos, as glossy finish can diminish from the photo's credibility.
  3. Satin – The satin finish is situated precisely in the middle, between the glossy and matt finish. It benefits from a level of glossiness, but nowhere near that of the actual glossy finish. Certain brands such as Epson call their range of satin finish, semi-gloss so the best description will be a toned down glossy finish.
  4. Pearl and Luster – These are offered by the more professional manufactures and represent a type of satin finish with a textured feel. The normal satin or semi-gloss finish is flat, but these two include a delicate texture to make the print feel more special when held.

Photo Paper Quality

The quality of photo paper is measured in colour range, archival properties, instant dry to touch and other factors of quality. It is the 'receiving layer' that determines it. This chemical layer is designed to receive the huge amounts of ink laid by the printer during the printing process. Without one, the paper will soak from ink, the ink will penetrate to the other side and will fade in a matter of months. Basically, the result you get when printing a photograph on copy paper. There are two common type of receiving layer that cover most photo papers:

  1. Cast Coated Receiving Layer – The cast coated receiving layer is commonly found in the budget and "Every Day" range of the various manufacturers. It yields satisfactory results, but often may appear slightly duller than the Micro Porous alternative. Because there is no barrier coating on the paper, ink sinks deeper into the product and will fade quicker with time. Cast coated paper is instant dry but if pigmented inks are used (especially black), may be susceptible to some smearing. Cast Coatings have limited archival properties.
  2. Micro and Nano Pores Receiving Layers – These two are the ones used in the professional and high-end range of the various manufacturers. In complete contrast to the previous type, the ink sits within nanoscopic pores in the chemical so it is instant dry and the archival potential is much improved. It is the receiving layer choice of most photographers.

Photo Paper Weight
The last consideration that consumers are faced with is the weight of the paper measured in GSM or if you will, the weight of paper per one square meter of area. Contrary to what you might think, GSM does not equal quality of print but higher GSM leads to thicker photo paper which at times can be useful but in other times, a waste of money. As a measure of paper density, higher GSM weight feel thicker when held hence you will often come across greeting card papers boasting GSM weight on the high end of the spectrum, while prints with low keepsake potential such as brochures that will likely be discarded quite quickly will feature more modest GSM weight.

We hope this has helped evaluate your photographic photo paper options.

This guest post was written by Joseph Eitan, the managing director of Photo Paper Direct. Joseph has over 25 years experience working in the paper and printing industry as the managing director of several companies.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 - Holiday Guide: Best DSLR Cameras of 2013
Holiday Guide: Best DSLR Cameras of 2013
by Laura Hicks -  11/12/2013

High-end DSLRs typically offer the best overall performance and control a photographer can ask for. But that level of functionality usually comes at a higher price. These cameras use mirrored through-the-lens viewing systems (though some offer Live View shooting through the LCD), and feature interchangeable lenses.

Always known as the workhorse of the photography world, DSLR cameras have become increasingly more available than ever before. This has created a new brand of buyers called "prosumers." These buyers are looking for a camera with maximum flexibility, creativity and rugged design. In a class of cameras that has generally been reserved for the professional photographer, all of the major manufacturers have now released DSLR cameras that are suited for use from the budding photographer to the creative professional. Check our picks this season's top performing DSLR cameras.

If you don't see the perfect camera in the list we've provided, be sure to seek out buying advice in our "What Camera Should I Buy?" discussion forum. Our forum members, moderators, and staff will graciously offer their insight in helping you pick the best camera for you.

#1 Canon EOS 5D Mark III

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III has been a fan favorite amongst creative professionals for well over a year now. It offers all the benefits of the Mark II along with some notable AF and speed improvements.

As a serious professional photographer, there is so much to love about the Mark III. Canon pulled out all the stops for this full-frame DSLR. This supercharged camera has the ability to produce amazing images with its 22.1MP CMOS sensor. With the ability to produce beautiful HD quality video, the only thing standing in your way might be the $3,400 price tag.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Canon EOS 5D Mark III Review

#2 Nikon D800

Nikon introduces the D800 as the highest megapixel DSLR in their lineup. With an unheard of 36.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor, we are surprised the pixels aren't falling off the sensor. Speaking of sensors, Nikon has unleashed a newly designed sensor for the D800. It promises to have great dynamic range and extraordinary color sensitivity. Priced at a mere $2800, this camera makes us wonder if medium format digital camera companies are getting a little worried.

Thinking about the D800, but the camera seems a bit much for your needs? Check out the Nikon D600 (new for $1900). It's a great camera as long as you don't pick up one that has dust issues (refurbished for $1500). Want to avoid the dust issue? Try a D610 with a new shutter mechinism for $2,000 instead.  

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Nikon D800 Review

#3 Pentax K-3

The Pentax K-3 entered the market with little fanfare, but quickly impressed me. In a head-to-head competition against the Nikon D600, the Pentax K-3 outperformed its competition when it came to color quality. Image sharpness of the two cameras was a near match. The Pentax K-3 boasts a 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 8.3 fps continuous shooting, selectable (on/off) anti-aliasing (AA) filter, and dual card slots. The K-3 also features an enhanced video recording including the ability to change from still image to video recording with the flip of a switch to capture full HD movie recording in H.264 format.  

The Pentax K-3 is available for $1300 (body only) just in time for the holiday season.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10 (initial reaction)

Read the Pentax K-3 Comparison (full review in process)

#4 Canon EOS Rebel 70D

The EOS 70D is Canon's latest addition to its midrange DSLR line, targeting "advanced amateur photographers and photo hobbyists". The camera retains an APS-C sensor and 1.62x crop factor like its stable mate 60D; resolution increases an insignificant 2 megapixels to 20. More importantly, the new camera features a Canon DIGIC 5+ image processor and the 3-inch articulating LCD monitor acquires touchscreen functionality. The native ISO range extends an additional stop on the high end from 100 to 12800 and is expandable to 25600. The autofocus system features a new dual pixel CMOS phase detection design that permits continuous AF during video capture, and incorporates 19 focus points instead of 9 on the earlier camera - with all 19 being cross focus, including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point.

Fantastic video, however, is what the 70D does best. This is the first DSLR at this price point with video quality that will appeal to budding videographers and budget minded independent filmmakers. Purchasing this camera with the 18-55mm IS kit lens retails at only $1100.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Canon EOS Rebel 70D Review

#5 Nikon D7100

The D7100 is in many ways Nikon's way of showing that APS-C DSLRs still have a place in the world despite how much the ILC market has grown. The camera boasts  24.1MP sensor, 51 point autofocus system, that can autofocus down to f8, 7fps shooting, a 3.2 inch 1,229K dot LCD, ISO 100-6400 natively, dual SD card storage, and weather sealing.

The D7100 is light and compact--especially when compared to the DSLRs listed above. The camera is great for budding photographers and professionals on a budget. The D7100 has a price tag of $1,150 for the body only.

Rating Average: 9 out of 10

Read the Nikon D7100 Review

Want to know which cameras are tops in the minds of DigitalCameraReview's readers? Check out our Most Popular Cameras list, based on traffic across our site!