Page 1

RUTTING: GO SHOOT DEER WHERE TO HEAD

TOP SPOT IT’S TIME TO EXPLORE LIVERPOOL

Advanced THE MAGAZINE THAT TAKES YOUR IMAGES SERIOUSLY

PHOTOGRAPHER

ISSUE 35 £4.95

WWW.ADVANCEDPHOTOGRAPHER.CO.UK

ESSENTIAL TIPS

HEAVENS

ABOVE

Expert night-time photo advice to get you starry-eyed

TECHNIQUE

TAKE A WIDER VIEW

Top tips for making brilliant panoramas

BIG TEST

Full review of Olympus’s flagship PEN

COVER STORY The Th he full full story of how a reader made the front page COMPARISON COMP TEST

TECHNIQUE

NIKON N V2 V LIGHTING Y PE PENTAX Q10 ACADEMY

Two T Tw o tiny CSCs CS SCs battle it out out. Is small beautiful? Make the most of indoor light AP35-001 (COVER)hbljc.indd 1

GROUP REVIEW

SUPER WIDES

Five independent wide zooms omss tested. We pick the winner 15/8/13 17:18:33


SPECIAL TRIAL OFFER

SAVE OVER 50% ON THE USUAL COVER PRICE Just

£7.50 a quarter Advanced Photographer is published 13 times a year

Call us today to claim 3 issues of Advanced Photographer for just £1. Then continue your subscription at £7.50 a quarter by Direct Debit – saving over 50% on the usual cover price. Advanced Photographer is the only monthly photo magazine dedicated to advanced enthusiasts. Every issue keeps you up to date with the latest trends and techniques, showcases inspirational pictures and delves into products for reviews you can trust.

Don’t miss an issue, subscribe today

Call 01371 851896

or subscribe securely online at www.brightsubs.com TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Please allow 28 days for delivery of your first issue. This offer is valid for UK addresses only and is for 13 issues of Advanced Photographer. For overseas subscription prices please call +0044 1371 851896 or visit www.brightsubs.com *£7.50 per quarter only valid when subscribing by Direct Debit. Lines open 9am–5.30pm Monday–Friday.

46 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-046 (SUBS)ljc.indd 46

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

15/8/13 17:22:17


Welcome

WILL CHEUNG FRPS, EDITOR

Will has worked in photo mags for over 25 years and been taking pictures for even longer. His photographic interests are very broad, from nature to portraits.

I’m sorry to put a kink in your day, but the summer’s over – well, almost! We’ve had the last bank holiday and the nights are getting longer by the day. But for some photo subjects, the long nights are an advantage and that’s why this issue we focus on the heavens. I figured the inspiration of Kris Williams’s work, together with some advice from us and some time to fine-tune your own technique, and you’ll be ready for when it’s cold. Then the amount of time spent outside will be kept to a minimum. We also feature panorama photography and the brilliant work of Andy Wharton will certainly get you thinking about the wide-format approach in a fresh way. Personally, I love shooting panoramas, but I usually take the minimalist handheld approach. It’s not 100 per cent fail-safe but if there’s a photogenic scene stretching out in front of me, I usually shoot a panorama. There’s no cost and I usually have ample memory. I might not even ever work on the shots but at least I have them. Just in case. Learn how you can enjoy the subject too. In Photo Kit, our main camera test is the impressive Olympus E-P5. It’s a Micro Four Thirds camera and despite its decidedly retro look, it’s jammed full with up-to-the-minute technology. Perhaps it’s lenses rather than cameras that appeals, in which case we have part one of a wide-angle zoom lens test. This issue we kick off with independent options, with marquee versions coming next issue. Enjoy the stars and we’ll see you again next time.

Will Cheung FRPS, Editor

3 ISSUES FOR £1 AND THEN SAVE OVER 50% ON THE NORMAL COVER PRICE

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-003 (WELCOME)ljc.indd 3

SEE PAGE 46 ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 3

15/8/13 17:04:07


Subscribe

to Advanced Photographer

Contents

64

COVER SHOOT: Who won?

The cover story... The cover image was shot by Jack Ventura at an exclusive cover shoot-out at the Hasselblad Pro Centre Studio using Hasselblad cameras and broncolor lighting. For the full behind the scenes story, turn to page 64. Hasselblad H5D with a HCD 35-90mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens at 55mm. Exposure 1/50sec at f/9, ISO 100

SEE PAGE 46 FOR DETAILS

http://on.fb.me/14g8qpz

52 LIGHTING: The natural look

Inspiration, technique, opinion 6 UPFRONT Your chance to read about the latest gadgets and gizmos arriving on the marketplace, from lenses, flashes and filters to three-legged monopods! 10 TWINKLE TWINKLE: INSPIRE Star-struck Kris

Williams balances a regular day job with stints on the dark side as a semi-pro photographer, chasing elusive star activity in the night sky.

18 CATCH A FALLING STAR: CAPTURE Get

SEE PAGE 62 FOR DETAILS

4 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-004-005 (CONTENTS)hb.indd 4

31 EXPOSED Turning to the dark side too is editor Cheung, who can often be found stargazing, tripodmounted camera to hand and his Kindle in the other hand. When not cursing the designers at Nikon that is. 32 STRETCHING THE TRUTH: INSPIRE

Andy Wharton doesn’t just stretch it in fact, he spins it right round, baby, creating impressive 360° views.

40 WHAT A STITCH UP: CAPTURE What makes a

ready to land yourself some superstar shots with our photographer’s guide to the galaxy.

good panoramic shot? Read on to find out where to look, how to shoot and stitch.

26 TOP SPOT: LIVERPOOL Jump on the

46 SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS Bag yourself a

ferry across the Mersey to build yourself a great city portfolio (Scouse accent not required).

bargain and your regular dose of photo inspiration and advice with a subscription to your favourite mag.

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

16/8/13 09:58:52


Contents

32 INSPIRE: A wider view

74

OLYMPUS PEN E-P5: Your new backup?

10

INSPIRE: Starry nights

88 SUPER WIDE-ANGLES: Third-party brands Photo Kit: the latest gear tested 48 GO SHOOT: DEER RUT If you’re a male deer,

64 BRON COVER SHOOT

52 LIGHTING ACADEMY

One superb landscape shot could land you a goody bag and a place on an exclusive shoot for five Advanced Photographer readers at a stunning UK location.

now’s the time to assert your dominance – and that makes for great photo opportunities in deer parks around the UK. We’ve all the technique and tips you’ll need for a successful shoot. Let’s take it indoors and find out how pro John Denton works with just natural light, and the occasional reflector.

58 PHOTO 24 With time

to reflect, a Photo 24 survivor tells us his story, marvels at the camaraderie and shares his photos from the event.

61 RAW MASTERCLASS

If lens flare is coming between you and the perfect shot, take two and then let Lightroom and Photoshop remedy the situation.

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-004-005 (CONTENTS)hb.indd 5

74 OLYMPUS PEN E-P5

Six finalists, three Hasselblad cameras, two beautiful models, plus a pile of broncolor lighting kit, all in one pro studio, adds up to a shoot-out. The prize? The front cover of this magazine!

First impressions were good, and the initial ‘getting to know you’ phase was going pretty well, but is Ian Fyfe’s relationship with Olympus’s latest model blossoming or has it faded already?

71 COMPETITION

84 NIKON 1 V2 VS PENTAX Q10

114 NEXT ISSUE There’s mortar architecture photography than tilt-shift lenses, you know. Find out what in issue 36, which is packed with technique, advice and inspiration on everything from shooting your car to autumnal colour, plus the Fujifilm X-M1 and wide-angle zooms on test.

All good things come in small packages, or so we’re told, and it seems Nikon and Pentax believe it. Their latest CSCs are among the smallest on the market, but they both boast a lot of technology. We find out which packs the biggest punch.

84

88 SUPER WIDE-ANGLE ZOOMS While you can stick

with your camera brand when choosing a super wide optic, there are plenty of third-party options out there. We put five through their paces.

Want to read Advanced Photographer on your iPad? Save up to 35% by subscribing at the App Store today!

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 5

16/8/13 10:01:04


INSPIRATION

Bird life

Seiriol’s Starlight – Black Point, Penmon, Anglesey. “The Milky Way stretching across the sky beyond the lighthouse at Penmon on a particularly clear night.” Sony A550, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 at 10mm, 30secs at f/3.5, ISO 1600 – torchlight used to light-paint/expose the foreground

10 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-010-017 (INSPIRE - KRIS WILLIAMS)ljc.indd 10

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

14/8/13 09:41:38


INSPIRATION

Bird life

THE SKY

The wonders of the night sky have long fascinated mankind and you can understand why when you can get shots like these by Kris Williams WORDS ANNA HENLY PICTURES KRIS WILLIAMS

S

tar-struck Kris Williams is losing sleep over his photography – he shoots breathtaking star trails above his favourite Welsh beauty spots. “I’ve a lengthy commute to my full-time job as an account manager in telecoms, so photographing outside work hours makes sense. If I’m blessed with clear skies and a new moon then I make the most of it and go out every night. I take early naps when I get home from work, before rushing out again with my camera. It gets easier in winter.” Kris, 38, is based in Beaumaris on the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. With

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-010-017 (INSPIRE - KRIS WILLIAMS)ljc.indd 11

Snowdonia in his back garden and endless coastline, he happily focuses on scenery. Although Kris became fascinated with image making as a teenager, it wasn’t until 2008 when he embarked on a road trip through the Italian Alps that he rediscovered his passion for landscape photography. Frustrated by the shortcomings of his camera phone, he splurged his Christmas bonus on a Sony A200 DSLR. The investment paid off: he won a Flickr competition which resulted in his shot being published in the Tate Modern’s Colour Chart exhibition.

ISSUE ISSUE3535ADVANCED ADVANCEDPHOTOGRAPHER PHOTOGRAPHER 11 11

14/8/13 09:42:10


INSPIRATION

In the air

spinning around WORDS CHARLOTTE GRIFFITHS PICTURES ANDY WHARTON FRPS

32 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-032-039 (INSPIRE - ANDY WHARTON)hb.indd 32

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

14/8/13 10:39:20


INSPIRATION

In the air

THE TIMES BAR, YPRES “I took three panoramas at this session resulting in a total of 126 images.” Nikon D300, 10.5mm fisheye lens, six shots stitched out of 45 taken.

Panoramic enthusiast Andy Wharton specialises in capturing 360° views of his life

O

ne piece of photographic wisdom goes as follows: when taking a photo, if you’re not standing out from the crowd by being a little unusual in your choice of perspective, chances are your pictures won’t stand out either. Panographer and panoramic specialist Andy Wharton stands out more than most as he can often be found spinning in complete circles to assess a location for his 360° views of the world – but the pure brilliance of his images is the perfect pay-off for having to indulge in this unusual behaviour. “I first got involved with photography when I was asked to write software to manage the Solihull Photographic Society’s

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-032-039 (INSPIRE - ANDY WHARTON)hb.indd 33

Annual Exhibition,” Andy explains. “Having watched thousands of images assessed at these sessions, I eventually thought it was about time I tried – so I bought a camera and started entering exhibitions.” Andy’s journey continued with club competitions and challenges to produce panels for Royal Photographic Society distinctions, before submitting a successful Fellowship panel that included his trademark panoramas. A founder member of Arden Photo Group, Andy was originally introduced to the technique by Bob Moore FRPS, who’s well known in the camera club world as an informed expert in many photographic disciplines – including the creation of these

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 33

14/8/13 10:40:09


LIGHTING A C A D E M Y

A smoking shack shielded Nikki from the sunlight and created an even light effect.

52 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 34

AP35-052-056 (LIGHTING ACADEMY)ljc.indd 52

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

14/8/13 16:00:51


LIGHTING A C A D E M Y

Part 35

Last issue, pro lighting expert John Denton demonstrated his use of natural sunlight. This issue he steps indoors WORDS & PICTURES JOHN DENTON

Taming bright sunlight using a reflector outdoors is one thing, but you also have to be able to get professional looking results with natural light indoors. So in this article, I’ll show you how I work with interiors. We were in a hotel, which offered a few locations to play in, although this shot 1 was taken just outside using the cover of the smokers shack to give the even light and shot at f/2.8 to throw the background out of focus. This was taken at the 200mm end of the 70-200mm lens and ISO 200 gave me a 1/1000sec. I love how the soft light and reflective nature of the pose produce a beautiful gentleness. The hotel has some fantastic large windows that were facing into the sunshine. The hard light pouring through made for an interesting pattern on the carpet. Model Nikki was happy to lie in the sun 2 so she was lit on her face and body and the shadow and highlights pattern framed her nicely. Once again we exposed for the highlights so the shadows were rendered a deep black. Taken on my old Nikon 18-70mm kit lens that only gave me f/4.2 but at ISO 200, this still led to 1/1000sec.

I love my high-quality lenses for a reason, but this little lens has been a key part of my kit for many years. It’s just about falling apart but still struggles on. Here’s another reason why I have the 18-70mm lens with me all the time. Overleaf is an image 3 of Nikki sitting in a chair in the hotel foyer with the main door behind me. I had just enough room to sit at her feet and shoot up with the lens wide at 18mm. This can lead to distortion, but it worked here, with her skirt providing the leading lines. The light was coming mainly from the window camera left and what you see behind her is a large mirror reflecting the scene but also bouncing light into the lens. This produced a nice softness to the image and the ‘milky’ appearance you see. The reflector to my right added a little to the shadow side producing an overall exposure of 1/125sec at f/4 and ISO 800. It was important with the pose not to let Nikki’s right arm stray too close to the window and become blown out. That meant it had to run along the arm of the chair and we ran the risk of it appearing over large in the frame. Nikki’s elbow is pulled as close to the back of the chair

2

1

Hard light pouring through a large window created this interesting shadow pattern on the carpet so we arranged Nikki on it, ensuring her face and body were nicely lit. I exposed for the highlights to keep the shadows a deep, dark black.

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-052-056 (LIGHTING ACADEMY)ljc.indd 53

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 53

14/8/13 16:01:29


BRONCOLOR

Cover shoot

BRONCOLOR COVER SHOOT Two beautiful models, a professional studio equipped with broncolor lighting kit, three Hasselblad H5D-50 cameras with lenses and six Advanced Photographer readers with a mission: to take a picture good enough to grace our front cover. Here’s the story of the shoot WORDS WILL CHEUNG PICTURES VARIOUS

T

he opportunity to shoot in a professional studio with some of the best cameras and lighting that money can buy does not come along very often, but that’s exactly what six Advanced Photographer readers enjoyed recently. Not only did our readers get to use broncolor flash lighting and the latest Hasselblad medium-format H5D-50 cameras, they had the support of experts to assist with setting up and using the kit. If there’s a photographic heaven, this is surely it. And to add an extra bit of spice to the proceedings, their mission was to shoot

64

ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-064-069 (BRON COVER SHOOT)ljc.indd 64

an image good enough for the magazine’s front cover. The kudos of getting the front cover image is beyond measure, but there was also a return visit to the Hasselblad Pro Centre studio, shooting one-to-one with a pro model, up for grabs. With the day rate for the studio alone at £390 (ex VAT) you can see this is a prize well worth winning. Our six readers qualified for the cover shoot-out by submitting three portrait images to demonstrate their skills, and that’s why in late July they turned up at the Hasselblad Pro Centre studio in London for

a great day’s photography using some of the world’s best kit. The day itself was dry, bright and warm, which was good news so the option of shooting outdoors was available. After an introduction by Advanced’s editor, Will Cheung (me!), which included an overview about the kind of pictures needed for a successful front cover, it was over to Chris Cooze and Nicky West, Hasselblad technicians for a hands-on introduction to the H5D-50 and lenses. Next broncolor manager Chris Burfoot

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk w

15/8/13 12:47:17


BRONCOLOR

Cover shoot IMAGES Our six finalists had the run of the Hasselblad Pro Centre Studio, equipped with a wide selection of broncolor mains flash lighting kit including the amazing Para 222, a parabolic reflector in which there is a focusing rod so the head can be positioned to vary the resulting light.

took over the reins, for a briefing on the lighting gear. For this shoot, we had the use of a Move kit for location shooting and the Scoro power pack and heads for indoors. Given that our six readers had never used the gear before, the briefing and the chance of getting hands on were crucial aspects of the morning, because there’s nothing more challenging than using unfamiliar kit, even with expert help on hand. Briefing over, the six photographers were divided into two groups. One group was going to work in the main studio, while the other had the option of venturing outdoors or using another area of the studio. After lunch, the groups were swapping over so everyone was going to experience both situations and get to shoot each model, Lacey and Sam. Of course, both groups would have technical support. With two groups working in tandem that meant everyone had around 40 minutes to get their shots of each model. That might sound

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-064-069 (BRON COVER SHOOT)ljc.indd 65

plenty, but you have to remember this time included briefing the model, ensuring the make-up was perfect and choosing an outfit, as well as arranging the light so there was not a moment to lose. The H5D-50s were set to shoot Raw files only for later processing in Hasselblad Phocus software. The files from each

photographer’s shoot were downloaded from the CompactFlash cards straight onto a hard drive for judging back at the Advanced Photographer office. Picking an image for the cover is not just about photographic quality it’s about what suits the format. With over 700 images to choose from, picking just one took a while…

About Hasselblad Our six photographers all got to use the Hasselblad H5D-50 medium-format camera for the day and a selection of HC lenses, including the 80mm f/2.8, 150mm f/3.5, 210mm f/4 and 35-90mm f/4.5-5.6. The H5D-50 offers 50 megapixels of resolution, has a 16-bit sensor measuring 36.7x49.1mm and produces images measuring 6132x8176 pixels. The image quality it produces, as you can see here, is outstanding.

Its feature line-up is extensive. Among its highlights is an advanced autofocus system with something called True Focus with Immediate Focus Confirm. This feature really comes into its own when you want to pinpoint sharp focus with an off-centre close subject, when using conventional AF lock can mean out of focus results. For more about the Hasselblad system, see www.hasselblad.com.

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER

65

15/8/13 12:48:08


Photo Kit

OLYMPUS PEN E-P5

Olympus PEN E-P5 Do first impressions last? Ian Fyfe finds out when he gets the PEN E-P5 back and treats it to a wild day out

WORDS & PICTURES IAN FYFE

KEY FEATURES 16.1 MEGAPIXELS MICRO FOUR THIRDS SENSOR £899 BODY ONLY 9FPS 1/8000SEC TOP SHUTTER SPEED WI-FI CONNECTIVITY WWW.OLYMPUS.CO.UK

DUAL DIALS In a first for an Olympus PEN, the E-P5 has two command dials to provide DSLR-like control of the shooting settings. As you’d expect, they control aperture and shutter speed, but if you switch the lever on the back, they can also control the ISO sensitivity and white-balance.

74 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-074-081 (OLYMPUS REVIEW)_ifljc.indd 74

CUSTOM CONTROL Within the menus, you have the option to assign custom functions to many of the buttons, not just the Fn button. For each button, you can choose from a total of 16 different functions, but metering mode and AF mode are not included in these, so onetouch access to these isn’t possible.

OPTIONAL VIEWFINDER Released alongside the E-P5, this new optional viewfinder sits in the hotshoe. It sticks out a long way from the camera body, so when holding the camera against your face for stability it can press on your eye socket, but the 2.36 million dot display gives you a lovely image to work with.

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

14/8/13 17:24:22


Photo Kit

OLYMPUS PEN E-P5 The Olympus limelight has been focused on the OM-D E-M5 for the last 18 months, with the PEN range loitering in the shadows behind. But with the E-P5, the PENs have a new flagship, and with specifications that more than match the OM-D, it’s lined up to take centre stage alongside its bigger brother. I previewed the E-P5 earlier in the year, and my first impressions were good. Now I’ve had a chance to spend more time with it, including an Olympus Experience day at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey; the fast-moving animals make a good test for any camera. So have those first impressions lasted? The innards of the E-P5 are largely the same as the OM-D; the same 16.1megapixel sensor is combined with the same TruePic VI engine and features the same five-axis image stabilisation. But the outside is quite different. For a start, it’s a PEN, so it’s smaller; the absence of a viewfinder makes a big difference, and it’s considerably thinner thanks to the super-slim tilting LCD screen. Strangely though, it’s no lighter than the E-M5, and it adds a good 50g onto the weight of its predecessor, the E-P3. The controls have also had a considerable overhaul compared with the E-P3. Most notably, there are two command dials that can be used for up to four functions in what Olympus calls 2x2 control. Flick the lever on the back, and you can set the dials to control either aperture and shutter speed, or ISO and white-balance. When I previewed the camera, I thought this was fantastic. Now I’ve used it more, I’m not so sure. I still think the concept is clever, and it beats having to open a menu to change the ISO if this is the alternative, but when I’m framing up my subject in the viewfinder and about to dial in settings, I don’t want to have stop and check the position of the lever. But that’s what I found myself doing. This checking step added a moment or two to my shot preparation that isn’t necessary with a dedicated ISO button. Luckily, this lever can be customised. You can’t designate functions to it at will, but there are several preset options. It can serve as a quick switch between auto and manual focus, or you can set it up so that the movie record button around which it pivots is a custom function button. This was the most useful set-up for me, since I could assign ISO to this button and avoid the dial confusion. An equally useful alternative would be to assign it as the AEL/AFL button so that this is placed next to your thumb like on a DSLR. There are plenty of settings that can also be assigned to a function button on the top plate and several buttons on the

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-074-081 (OLYMPUS REVIEW)_ifljc.indd 75

ANATOMY OF...

Olympus PEN E-P5 FROM THE TOP The in-built flash 1 can be used with a maximum sync speed of 1/320sec – with an external flash you have to settle for 1/250sec. To the right of the hotshoe is the mode dial 2 , which provides direct access to the Art Filters and Picture Story mode as well as other shooting modes. The back dial 3 doubles for zooming in and out in playback mode if you prefer not to use the touch function for this, and in shooting it’s well placed under your thumb. An on/off switch 4 sits on the top plate of the E-P5 rather than on the back as with the OM-D.

2 1

4 3

FROM THE FRONT The handgrip 1 is nicely shaped for comfort, although it’s the thumb grip on the back that provides the most purchase. If you are going to handhold something like a 75-300mm lens for a long time, it becomes less comfortable, and there’s no option to fit a larger grip or battery grip as with the OM-D. The front control dial 2 sits just below the shutter button for easy use with your shutter finger. The 16.1-megapixel sensor 3 is the same as that in the OM-D, and is also stabilised in five axes. There’s also a physical shutter that comes over the sensor at the time of shooting. The AF assist lamp and selftimer indicator 4 sits at the foot of the distinctive PEN F ‘step’.

4

2

3 1

FROM THE BACK The three-inch tiltable LCD touch screen 1 is said to be fingerprint resistant, although this isn’t borne out in practice. It’s lovely to use though, particularly for viewing captured images. It can also be used for framing, but if you prefer, there’s the optional £250 VF-4 electronic finder that attaches to the hotshoe 2 – this means you can’t use a flash or other accessories at the same time though. The lever 3 saves space on a compact body by giving the dials multiple functions, and its role can be customised to an extent. The magnify button below 4 activates Super Spot AF for more accurate focusing. The OK button 5 opens the live control menu for settings that don’t have direct access buttons.

2

3 4 1 5

AT A GLANCE SPECS STREET PRICE £899 body only SENSOR 16.1-megapixel Micro Four Thirds with TruePic VI engine IMAGE DIMENSIONS 4608x3456 pixels STORAGE SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible ISO RANGE 200-5000 (100-25,600 extended) EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-3EV, AEB 2 to 5 frames in 0.3, 0.5 or 0.7EV steps, 7 frames in 0.3 or 0.7EV steps

METERING PATTERNS ESP, spot, centreweighted, highlight, shadow AUTOFOCUS Single AF, continuous AF, single AF+MF, AF tracking, Super Spot AF SHUTTER 60secs-1/8000sec SHOOTING SPEEDS Single, continuous H 9fps, continuous L 5fps DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 122.3x68.9x37.2mm WEIGHT 420g including battery and card

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 75

14/8/13 17:25:09


Five optics pushed to the extreme to find out which third-party zoom deserves to be in your kit

SUPER WIDE ZOOMS

KEY FEATURES

ULTRASONIC FOCUSING LIGHTWEIGHT AND COMPACT FITTINGS FOR ALL DSLRS £370

Sigma EX 10-20mm f/4-5.6 DC HSM Sigma makes two 10-20mm zooms, both for APS-C cameras only. This is the cheaper of the two with a street price of £370 and a variable maximum aperture from f/4-5.6. The other Sigma 10-20mm has a constant f/3.5 aperture and costs around £100 more. The specification of this f/4-5.6 version makes for a well-judged all-rounder. At 10mm, it’s just about as wide as they come with a field-ofview covering 107° on 1.6x format (Canon) and 110° on 1.5x (Nikon/ Pentax/Sony). At the 20mm end, it offers a small but useful overlap with standard zoom lenses. The maximum aperture is modest, compromising

SIGMA 10-20MM STREET PRICE: £370 CONTACT: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com FORMATS: APS-C 1.5x and 1.6x OPTICAL DESIGN: 14 elements in 10 groups GLASS TYPES: 3x SLD, 3x aspherical APERTURE RANGE: f/4-5.6 to f/22 DIAPHRAGM: 6 rounded blades ANGLE OF VIEW: APS-C 1.6x 107° to 68°; APS-C 1.5x 110° to 71° MINIMUM FOCUS: 0.24m (from sensor) MAXIMUM REPRODUCTION RATIO: 1:6.7 AUTOFOCUS: Ultrasonic HSM MANUAL FOCUS: AF/M switch FILTER SIZE: 77mm non-rotating WEATHER SEALED: No DoF SCALE: No DIMENSIONS WxL: 84x81mm WEIGHT: 465g ACCESSORIES: Hood and case supplied FITTINGS: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, Sony

WORDS RICHARD HOPKINS

88 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER ISSUE 35

AP35-086-095 (ZOOMS)LJC.indd 88

ABOVE Super-wide lenses are usually very sharp in the centre, but more prone to softness around the edges and corners, especially at lower f/numbers. Stopping down to f/8 is usually optimal.

low-light ability somewhat, but those looking for more depth-of-field will be stopping down a bit anyway, and this also ensures best optical performance. Limiting the aperture to f/4-5.6 certainly keeps the size, weight and cost down too, and the result is a neat and compact lens. Build quality is very high, finished in Sigma’s traditional velvety black rather than its newer smooth surface. Zoom and focusing rings are very smooth and finger-light. Sigma’s ultrasonic HSM focusing is fast and effectively noiseless, with full-time manual override. All aspects of mechanical performance are excellent. There’s no depth-of field scale, which would have been nice, even if it only applied to one focal length (as it does on the 12-24mm) for hyperfocal distance setting. Filter fans will be pleased about the 77mm fitting size. The lens extends very slightly as it zooms towards the long end, only by about 5mm, but the front doesn’t rotate at any time. A petal style lens hood is supplied.

There are 14 elements in 10 groups, including three made from premium SLD glass and three with aspherical surfaces. Two of those are of the hybrid variety, with a plastic aspherical cap bonded to glass – effective, and cost effective, too. Optical performance is a tale of two halves – the centre, which is always of a high order, and edge sharpness that is markedly lower. In the centre of the frame, from maximum aperture through to f/11, sharpness never falls below Excellent. It’s very slightly weaker at the 20mm end, as is often the case, but there’s very little in it. The edges, however, start from a lower position at full aperture, especially at 18mm f/4. Sharpness improves significantly at f/5.6, and there’s another good jump at f/8, by which time it’s comfortably into the Very Good zone, and this is held to f/11 with only a modest decline at f/16. Optimum aperture for best sharpness across the frame is f/8, though peak resolution was measured at f/5.6, in

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

15/8/13 10:30:53


Photo Kit

SUPER WIDE-ANGLE LENSES

SIGMA 10-20MM % MTF AT 36 LINES-PER-MM (APS-C)

75417853786171616052 77527853786370616155 7359746270626055 f/4

f/5.6

f/8

f/11

20mm

POOR FAIR

GOOD V. GOOD EXCELLENT

100 090 080 070 060 050 040 030 020 010 000

f/5

f/16

f/5.6

f/8

f/11

f/16

100 090 080 070 060 050 040 030 020 010 000

Centre

f/5.6

f/8

f/11

Edge ANALYSIS USING IMATEST SOFTWARE (WWW.IMATEST.COM)

14mm GOOD V. GOOD EXCELLENT

100 090 080 070 060 050 040 030 020 010 000

POOR FAIR

POOR FAIR

GOOD V. GOOD EXCELLENT

Sharpness 10mm

f/16

ABOVE This Sigma shows classic wide-zoom sharpness characteristics, with Excellent levels in the centre from maximum aperture. This standard is held throughout the zoom and aperture range, with a modest dip around 20mm and at f/16. Edge sharpness lags noticeably, especially at the wide end and lower f/numbers. VIGNETTING 10MM F/4

14MM F/5

20MM F/5.6

ABOVE Vignetting performance is typical of a wide zoom on APS-C format. It’s strongest at 10mm, recording 1.3EV in the corners at f/4, and this falls to 1.0EV at 20mm f/5.6. Vignetting is also substantially reduced by stopping down and at mid range apertures it’s never really a problem at all, helped along by the smaller APS-C format that is more forgiving of vignetting issues, and the Sigma scored as Very Good overall. DISTORTION 10MM

14MM

20MM

ABOVE There’s strong barrel distortion evident at 10mm, measured at +3.5%, scoring a Poor rating. This is par for the course with a wide zoom and is quite noticeable with critical subjects like architecture with straight lines near the edges of the frame. Distortion soon disappears at longer focal lengths, turning to mild pinchushion of -0.6% at 14mm, and holding that at 20mm, lifting the overall rating to Good. Distortion is not reduced by stopping down, but is easily corrected in post-processing.

the centre at 10mm, where a high figure of 121 lines-per-mm was recorded. Naturally there are the usual aberrations, though nothing untoward for this type of lens. Strong barrel distortion of +3.5% is obvious at 10mm, though this quickly disappears and turns to mild pincushion from 14-20mm. Vignetting is not nearly so hard for lens designers to manage on the smaller APS-C format compared to full frame, and here the Sigma had a worst figure of 1.3EV in the corners of the image at 10mm f/4. Stopping down to f/5.6 improved things considerably. Chromatic aberration rated as Good, with a typical figure of 7.1 microns around the edges that didn’t vary much, though it’s a little bit lower at 20mm. So no surprises there really, with some quite typical scores on the aberrations front, and they can all be very effectively magic’d away in post-processing.

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk

AP35-086-095 (ZOOMS)LJC.indd 89

THE VERDICT There’s a lot to like here. The overall specification is fairly middle of the road, but another way of putting that is well rounded and balanced. The focal lengths covered are adequate, and the aperture range just about okay for most things. The mechanical package is excellent for sure – compact and light, very well made and the lens is generally an allround smooth operator that’s great to use. The ultrasonic AF is particularly good. However, the meat of the matter is optical performance and here it faltered. Sharpness in the centre of the frame is always of a very high order – no problem there at all – but at the edges things didn’t get properly good until around f/8, and that’s a bit of a shame.

HOW IT RATES FEATURES

22/25

All-round good spec, gets the job done. Ultrasonic AF, 77mm filters, hood supplied

HANDLING

25/25

One of the best – nicely proportioned, well made, light and smooth operating

PERFORMANCE

22/25

High central sharpness at all times, though edges only catch up at mid-range apertures

VALUE FOR MONEY

22/25

One of the cheapest super-wides at £370

OVERALL

91/100

It’s good. If edge sharpness was a little bit better, this lens would be a runaway winner. PROS Sharp centre, great handling, price CONS Edge sharpness lags a little

ISSUE 35 ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHER 89

15/8/13 10:41:32


Download Advanced Photographer worldwide on your iPhone & iPad

Get Advanced Photographer delivered straight to your iPhone or iPad each month Save over 35% on the UK print prices Access back issues instantly SINGLE ISSUE

£3.99

Save nearly 20% on the UK print price

6 MONTHS

£21.99

Save over 30% on the UK print price

12 MONTHS

£39.99

Save over 35% on the UK print price

HOW IT WORKS Head to the App Store, search for Advanced Photographer and choose your subscription deal. Buy the new issue, a back issue, or sign up for a subscription – it’s up to you!

www.advancedphotographer.co.uk On Twitter? Follow us at www.twitter.com/AdvancedPhotog AP30-084 (IPAD APP)hb.indd 84

16/8/13 12:45:31

Advanced Photographer 35  

Sample issue of Advanced Photographer 35