Saturday, February 25, 2012

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A Dream Fulfilled... Hasselblad 501CM

A Dream Fulfilled... Hasselblad 501CM One of my dreams when I first entered Art school back in the 80's was to own a Hasselblad camera. I've also loved square format shooting and now I have both dreams fulfilled.

This gorgeous camera has hardly been used (I believe it might have had 5 or 10 rolls through it according to the original owner. Everything on this looks like the day it came out of the packaging. All the original instructions and other goodies like the original strap and an original Hasselblad Close Up slide chart.

The camera was made in 1998 and one of the last of the 500 series (which ended production not that long ago in 2005). The A12 6X6 back is one of the newer models that has a dark slide holder which is very handy and the lens looks mint (Carl Zeiss CB Planar T* 80mm F/2.8). In fact I couldn't bring myself to photograph this but with my very best digital combination the 5Dmk2 with the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm F/2.8). I lit it all up with my Elincrom Quadra Rangers as well.

It came also with two Hasselblad bayonet fitted filters (UV and a Linear Polarizer) and also tossed in by my local camera store (Kerrisdale Cameras of Victoria), an old beat up but very clean optically 45 degree finder.

All in all I'm a giddy little boy. I test fired the flash with it and it's so nice to have a leaf shutter (one that I can shoot at any speed).

I can't believe what a difference this is over my Mamiya 645 and how much brighter the finder is.

Can't wait to get this out for some portraits. SO EXCITED!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

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Using Lightroom 4 to create gel effects

Using Lightroom 4 to create gel effects
Figure 1.
The new white balance adjustment brush is a nice new feature to Lightroom 4 beta, but something that also recently came to mind was to use it as a gel effect.

By painting the shadowed areas of my model (left side - figure 1.) and apply a different colour temperature is like using a studio light with a gel. This gives the subject a little more dimension just by varying the temperature of the lights on spot areas of the subject.

On figure 2, this image was a little easier to change the effect of the lighting because I used three light sources in this shot. So I touched up just the light source coming from the right hand with the adjustment brush and using auto mask to ensure I was not affecting the background. I then adjust the colour to be cooler but also tinted it so it had a nice purple/magenta filtered effect.

I'm still experimenting a little with the effect. Going to find some other images to play with this new discovery. I like the idea of not needing to use gels and that I can essentially paint in the colour temperature I want throughout my subject.

More Gel Effects - Lightroom Beta 4
Figure 2.

Friday, February 10, 2012

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Relative Ratios of Camera Sizes to Common Media Sizes

Relative Ratios of Camera Sizes to Common Media Sizes This is a chart I've been meaning to put together for some time. I spent some time researching out all the advertising specs and sizes and finally put it into a chart that shows relative Mega Pixels (MP) to common media sizes.

Part of the reason why I put this together is an informational and educational tool to teach my students of relative sizes to the medias that they would need to publish in. The other part is to settle various arguments and debates when people throw numbers and sizes out there. Relying on my 25+ years in the printing industry, I also verified all the information from the various publication's specification sheets. One thing to note is that this does not take into account of typical cropping that happens in many studios and agencies. Average agency will typically crop out 20-30% of an image with a maximum usually of 40%.

Some conclusions even enlightened me after I did all the math and verified everything. First, the 5Dmk2 as I recalled, does cover a double page Vogue magazine at 100% at their maximum specifications. However cropping is often necessary which means you'll need to generally go larger. 40MP Pentax 645D, Mamiya or Phase One is a more ideal size if a double page spread is needed especially if there's going to be cropping involved.

Secondly, a Nikon D700 is more than capable for a full page Vogue Magazine ad as well. Even allows for a minor amount of cropping. It isn't however ideal for double page spread.

Third and I hear this so often, reproduction for billboard. I know that for a fact publishing billboards myself that the resolution needed is far lower in specifications than what people presume it to be. In the chart it is actually smaller than HD TV and even with double resolution specifications (which is very rare to produce because it really has no appreciable improvement on image quality from it's viewing distance) it's still well within most 12MP camera ranges.

Fourth, a little bit of a surprise to me, is that the D700 or any 12MP camera is just capable of doing a double page spread in the National Geographic (technically just shy, but enough to fudge). A magazine that rarely crops images, and surprisingly only 150 LPI, needs only 300 DPI to reproduces their stunning images.

Now the real question is where is the future of print media going. Online requirements are certainly far lower than these requirements, and eventually the domain of even the 20+ MP camera's days are numbered. Cropping aside, higher and higher MP cameras just don't make a lot of sense considering how much overhead is being wasted. Photographers are also trained not to shoot pictures for cropping, however sometimes art directors make decisions beyond photographers control, even 10% or 20% crops the cropped images still fit within most specifications.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

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OM-D and why I might just get one...



Before I begin, this article covers something that is completely speculative at the moment. I don't normally write about rumoured products, but it seems that this is about 90% certain to happen.

When I made the choice of going mirrorless systems, I had a lot of choices at the time, but I didn't do it because of brand loyalties or changing from them.

Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mirrorless camera with Battery Grip
First off I did this to take the weight off my shoulders with a compact system that could be both something that is in my bag all the time, or to be my very lightweight back-up. Of course back-up cameras should generally be the same system, I was less concerned about that when my entire EP kit with three lenses is less than the weight of my 5Dmk2 with a 70-200 lens.

Secondly, I wanted to also expand my access to other lenses from other manufacturers that the EOS system could not adapt. I bought into the EOS system originally because I wanted to be able to use both Canon and Nikon lenses on it. But although the EOS system is quite adaptable to other lens systems, I couldn't put my Leica rangefinder lenses on it. So the mFT system filled that void.

I chose Olympus over Panasonic because I liked the interface and also size/build. However after handling the GX1 the other day, I'm very impressed with what Panasonic produced (but I'm not going to dump my E-P3 over it). I chose this system over the NEX system as well not because of sensor size either. I could have easily gone to NEX and still have leica compatibility, but because I wanted a decent small form factor camera with decent primes that autofocused, the Sony systems didn't fit the bill (at the time). Even with the NEX-7 now, I still stand by my decision also for the simple fact that there are over a half dozen manufacturers making lenses for mFT.

I currently use my mFT system for about 20% of my work. I also for a case in point used it 100% of one job. Something that I enjoyed doing, but faced some serious limitations with my E-P3.

I'm attracted to the OM-D not because it is SLR like, but I'm hoping that what it provides is things that the E-P3 falls short of in production work. For street and vacation the E-P3 will likely still be great for those (and also a toss in my bag system), but if the OM-D is what I hope it will be, it will fill in the gaps that the E-P3 misses in my current workflow.

At the end of the day, the tools are important in your hand, but you don't see a carpenter use wal-mart tools. They buy quality tools that last, works in their job, and provides the best balance of quality to application of use.

I am a consumerist after all, but I also like to buy tools that fit my workflow best... is the best tool in your hand any camera? Certainly is, but if your job is to make quality pictures, you want to have the best tool you can afford for that application.

Although Olympus has had their woes over the years, seems they are seriously committed to this system:

The family of accessories that are rumoured to be part of the new camera and two new lenses! You can also see how tiny the system is compared to the lenses which are all pretty small to begin with.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

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The Path

The PathContinuing to test and try things out in Lightroom 4 Beta.

One of the main things that I love about both DxO Optics and Capture One is the handling of dynamic range and lighting recovery. Lightroom 4 certainly has caught up finally to these two programs and I'm very pleased with how well they have handled it.

The next thing is to have better control of shadow noise, and I think Lightroom 4 just might be the best RAW processor when it is finally released. I put in my feature request that way, lets hope they implement that one.