Page 1

News Tests Clubs

Exhibitions

Techniques

Interviews

Competitions

Reviews

Photography Produced by

Issue 43 17 April – 11 May

news

Your FREE newspaper packed with the latest news, views and stories from the world of photography

First tests

Shoot days out…

Our award-winning kit reviewed on page 46

… and win £200 to spend on exhibitionquality prints on page 3

Fujifilm X-T20 Top-of-the-range mirrorless tried and tested on page 40

GET YOUR

FREE DIGITAL EDITION every month*

*at absolutephoto.com

WIN!

A Samsung 128GB memory card

Enter the competition on page 56

Photo 24 is on! 1 & 2 JULY

Photography News has joined forces with leading imaging brand Fujifilm to bring you this year’s Photo 24 Now in its fifth year, Photo 24 is a free imaging event in London for readers of Photography News. The concept is simple: we kick off at noon one day and finish literally 24 hours later. It’s the chance for a load of like-minded folk to just indulge their passion for photography in one of the world’s most iconic and photogenic cities. People on the event can stay for the whole of it – and a great many do 24 hours – while others come along for

the daylight hours, go home to bed and rejoin us the following morning, and some come for just a few hours. Once you are on Photo 24 the day is yours; while we offer photo walks, contests and meet-ups, you can do your own thing. We will also be offering optional paid-for photo opportunities. This year, thanks to our association with Fujifilm, you will get the chance to try out its new mirrorless X-series cameras, or if your eye is on

something bigger then you can try the medium-format GFX 50S, a camera that is attracting huge attention from enthusiasts and professional photographers alike. So, if Photo 24 appeals – this year starting at 12 noon on Saturday 1 July and ending 24 hours later – now is the time to register. For more details see page 9. absolutephoto.com

Nikon D7500 just announced Nikon’s very latest camera is an enthusiast model with features borrowed from its topend APS-C model, the D500. It shares the same 20.9-megapixel sensor and super-fast EXPEED 5 image processor. Continue reading on page 3


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


3

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

News News in brief Go Deluxe with Lee Lee Filters’ Deluxe kit is made up of the key 100mm filters you need for scenic shooting and the filter holder with 105mm filter ring attached. Five filters are included: Landscape Polariser, Big Stopper and three NDS graduate filters. The 100mm Deluxe filter kit retails at £605.58; a saving of more than £80 on the individual items (lens adaptors are extra). leefilters.com Sigma confirms pricing and availability Sigma has announced the price of the 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM lens, which will be available in April with a recommended price of £799.99 in both Canon and Nikon mounts. sigma-imaging-uk.com

Nikon’s D7000 series gets a new addition

Vanguard wins design awards Vanguard has bagged three Red Dot design awards for the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CT Carbon Fibre Tripod, Alta Sky 51D Backpack and VEO Discover 46 Backpack. The awards were given in recognition of high design quality, expressing innovation in form and function in an exemplary manner. vanguardworld.com

Nikon has unveiled the D7500, a DX-format DSLR which inherits several pro features from the flagship D500; including its 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, Nikon’s EXPEED 5 processing engine and a native ISO range of 10051,200, which can be extended to an equivalent of 1,640,000. Aimed at aspiring enthusiasts the D7500 has a 51-point AF system and offers eight frames-per-second shooting so is ideal for a range of subjects including portraits, sports, action and wildlife. Thanks to the inclusion

Instant addition Joining Fujifilm’s line-up of Instax instant cameras is the Instax Mini 9. This features a close-up lens, high-key mode and selfie mirror. It will be available from May, in five different colours, and will be priced at £77.99. fujifilm.eu/uk

of Nikon’s SnapBridge connectivity you can transfer and share your images on the go. The inclusion of 4K video and 4K time-lapse movie means you can get creative with more than just stills. The D7500 has 100% viewfinder coverage and also features a 3.2-inch tilting touch screen monitor, allowing you to operate AF and shutter-release functions when shooting in Live View by using the touch controls. The new camera offers the same image quality as the

Hahnemühle Photo Gloss Hahnemühle has added a new light white barite paper to its photo range. The Photo Gloss Baryta 320 features an enhanced coating with a glossy surface and replaces the Harman by Hahnemühle Gloss Baryta. It will provide deep blacks and shiny colours and offer darkroom properties of traditional barite paper for the fine-art print. The Photo Gloss Baryta 320 will be available from April in standard sheet and roll formats. hahnemuehle.com

D500, but in a more lightweight body, weighing just 640g. Its design also has a deep grip and the body is weather sealed for shooting in a variety of conditions. The D7500 is expected to be available from June with a recommended body price of £1299.99. Alternatively it will also be available as a kit with the AF-S DX 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens for a recommended price of £1599.99. nikon.co.uk

Win prints worth £200 Photography News has teamed up with expert photo printers LumeJet to bring you the chance of seeing your favourite photographs in glorious print. Win this free-to-enter contest and you have £200 to spend on the LumeJet website. LumeJet is passionate about printing great photographs and uses its own developed S200 printer for high-end photographic and commercial print use. Using its innovative and home-grown photonic technology, LumeJet is able to deliver beautiful prints, faithfully reproducing the photographer’s art to achieve extraordinary colour fidelity and superb tonality, with great longevity.

This month’s theme is Days Out, which gives you huge scope in terms of subject matter; and one cracking shot can scoop you the prize of £200 worth of LumeJet prints. Your entry might be taken at a theme park, or on a trip to the coast or a portrait shot at a living museum. Free your imagination and upload your entry before the closing date. Upload images to flickr.com/ groups/3435136@N23/. There is no fee to enter but you will have to join flickr.com, which is free. Only one photograph per person can submitted and the entrant must also be UK based. Images should be 1500 pixels across and we will contact you if we need higher

resolution files to judge or publish. The editor’s decision is final and for terms and conditions please see absolutephoto.com The closing date for entries is 7 May 2017 and the winner will be announced in PN issue 44 out from 15 May 2017. The winner of last month’s At Home contest is Ceri Jones: congratulations and well done to him.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


5

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

News

Back to the future with Canon

Incredible as it may seem, the EOS System has been with us for three decades now, and to celebrate that achievement Canon organised an event in London. While highlighting the heritage aspects of the anniversary, the event was firmly focused on the numerous technical advances that have taken place throughout the last 30 years. There was also the opportunity for a tantalising look ahead, provided by a first chance to get hands on with the latest EOS models. Photography News sent writer Terry Hope along to the event last month. Here’s what he had to say. “The venue was the iconic former Underground railway station at Aldwych, normally firmly off limits with the platforms located a full 119 steps below ground. Closed in 1994, it’s now a time warp full of fascinating memorabilia, such as vintage posters and Edwardian-era tiled signage, and it created a unique setting for a trip down memory lane. “As guests, who included journalists, working photographers, bloggers and Canon technical experts, mingled in the old ticket hall area before heading down, they were able to

National Photographic Survey Calumet has launched the first ever national poll of the photography industry. “Photography is both a hobby and profession, which visually records the world around us. This survey aims to shed some light into the latest trends and habits of the modern-day photographer,” says Jon Warner, managing director of Calumet Photographic. Have your say in the poll at calphoto.co.uk/nps; you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a Fujifilm X-Pro2.

peruse a table heaving with every EOS model from the past 30 years, around 100 of them, the first being the silverhalide era EOS 650 SLR. There was also the EOS IX, an SLR that utilised APS film, and the EOS 5, a 35mm SLR that came with an innovative eyecontrolled focusing feature. Signalling the changes to come you could also view the EOS 300, the memorable model dating from 1999 that finally brought DSLR prices down below £1000 for the first time. “Coming up to date, all the current models were also on display, including the freshly announced EOS 77D and 800D models. “As privileged visitors we could borrow Canon EOS cameras of our choice and were escorted around the station to shoot scenarios set up with models in 1940s dress, a nod to the time during the Second World War when the platforms here were used by Londoners as an air raid shelter. Way below ground there was even a vintage tube train parked in the platform, the perfect backdrop for a series of poses. “We also had access to stretches of the old tunnels and could marvel at the overall sense of gently

managed decay, all of which made for extraordinary pictures. The icing on the cake, once everyone had recovered from the climb back up to ground level, was a ride on a vintage London bus to a bar, where there was yet another opportunity to look at and handle the full EOS range, while Canon experts were again on hand to demonstrate the capabilities of the latest range of Canon PIXMA printers. “Overall it was a timely reminder of the heritage of an iconic brand, conceived against a memorable setting with a chance to shoot with the latest EOS models. A fabulous concept and a get together that no-one who attended will ever forget.”

Canon launches merchandise Canon UK, for the first time, recently launched a special merchandise collection, which was on display at The Photography Show. The Canon merchandise range includes T-shirts, hoodies, jackets, a cap, umbrella, baby bibs and more. You can show off your love for Canon or find a fun gift for friends and family. There's even a miniature Hansa Canon model. See the full range at store.canon.co.uk canon.co.uk

canon.co.uk

Save cash on Landscape Pro PN readers can save 10% off Landscape Pro, the world’s first intelligent landscape editing software. Key features include: • Sky controls: replace sky, change clouds and colour, cast cloud shadows. • Lighting: change light source, temperature, time of day, go from dawn to sunset. • Automatic area selection: tag areas such as sky, trees, buildings, grass, sand, rocks, water. • Targeted editing: specially designed controls for different areas. • Distance controls: highlight objects, add fog. • One-click presets: wet sand, stormy water, red sunset, lush trees. • And more... A free trial is downloadable from the website and to get your PN discount when you buy it, enter the code PN42a.

calphoto.co.uk landscapepro.pics


6

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

News

Canon macro magic The Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens is designed for use with Canon APS-C DSLR cameras and is the first lens of its kind in the EF-S lens range to feature Canon’s built-in Macro Lite technology. The 35mm macro lens offers 1:1 magnification and can focus as close as 30mm. Furthermore it features an optical image stabiliser with Hybrid IS, which compensates for angular and linear movement. It’s also got an STM focus motor for fast and quiet focusing, particularly useful for video capture. Available from May, the EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM has a price of £399.99. Also new from Canon is the PowerShot SX730 HS. Adding to its PowerShot SX Travel series, this pocketable compact camera features a 20.3-megapixel sensor, a DIGIC 6 processor and offers Full HD video and a continuous shooting speed 5.9fps. Its also got a wide-angle lens which features a 40x optical zoom and 80x ZoomPlus and will be available from May for £379.99. canon.co.uk

Nikon unveils 100th anniversary products

Fujifilm firmware update

This year, on 25 July Nikon will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. To mark the occasion a range of commemorative models and products has been launched, which includes limited edition cameras and a crystal Nikon Model I. The D5 100th Anniversary Edition has a dark metallic grey finish, as well a stamp which notes Nikon’s contribution to space studies and exploration; it also comes with an anniversary booklet. The D500 100th Anniversary Edition has a metallic grey finish and comes

Fujifilm has launched new firmware updates for the X-T2 and X-Pro2, which offer 33 functional operational updates. The first update X-T2 version 2.00 and X-Pro2 version 3.00 is available now and includes updates such as offering ISO 125 and 160, faster Face Detection AF, short EVF display time-lag (for the X-Pro2) and more. The second update, X-T2 version 2.10 and X-Pro2 version 3.10 is due to be released in late May. fujifilm.co.uk

Zeiss Batis Sony E-mount lens Zeiss has introduced a compact, portrait telephoto lens for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless E-mount cameras. The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 is the first 135mm autofocus focal length for Sony’s A7 system with E-mount. It features an optical image stabiliser and OLED display, which offers precise depth-offield visualisation. With a metal housing, the lens has a robust design and also features a dust and dirt shield. The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens will be available from May 2017 for £1749 from specialist dealers. zeiss.co.uk

with a metal case, a special body cap and leather strap which feature the 100th Anniversary logo. Also included in the 100th Anniversary range is a Nikkor 70-200E, Nikkor Triple F2.8 Zoom Lens Set, Swarovski Crystal Creation Nikon Model I, Pin Collection, Miniature Nikon F Camera, Premium Camera Straps and WX 7x50 IF, WX 10x50 IF and 8x30 II binoculars. Visit the Nikon 100th Anniversary website for more information. nikon.co.uk

Square up with B+W B+W has announced new ND Square filters, plus XS Pro Screw-in Filters. The new square filters are priced at £125.95 and are available in four different densities: two, three, six and ten EV, with a size of 100x100mm. The filters feature a special polished glass, thin-film technology, a three-layer combination coating, which optimises the filter, as well as a multilayer anti-reflection component. The outer later of the filter also repels dirt and water and, thanks to its stable design, it can't warp or distort and is resistant to scratches. manfrotto.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


9

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

News

Book your place on Photo 24 now! In association with

Try a Fujifilm camera – for free! At appointed times during the 24 hours a range of Fujifilm mirrorless cameras including the X-T2, X-Pro2 and medium-format GFX will be available to borrow for free. To partake in this loan scheme you will need your current driving licence as a deposit. No licence, no nice camera to play with: so if this aspect of Photo 24 appeals make sure you have your driving licence with you. Once you have the camera you can load your own SD card and get some time taking pictures. Of course, if you need help, tech support or buying advice, Fujifilm product specialists will be hand. Clearly loan stock is limited so it will be on a first come, first served basis and there will be time limits on how long you can have a camera for so we can be fair to fellow Photo 24ers. So, if you’re thinking of a mirrorless camera, whether APS-C or mediumformat, or adding one as a backup to your existing DSLR system this is a great opportunity to try a Fujifilm camera in real picture taking situations.

And there’s more...

Photo 24 is our annual free photographic jamboree in London, this year sponsored by iconic imaging brand Fujifilm. It is an opportunity to spend 24 hours with fellow camera enthusiasts enjoying the photographic delights of London. With incredible buildings, bustling streets and interesting markets, the opportunities are endless. And there’s the unexpected too – a couple of years ago we coincided with a mass public demonstration that proved great for pictures. Firstly, our apologies about the original date we publicised. Our provisional date was 23 June but due to circumstances beyond our

control – and we can’t even blame Brexit! – it had to be changed to 1 and 2 July, noon start. Sorry about that. Photo 24’s popularity is growing year by year and we expect interest to be high. With logistics and health and safety, numbers attending the event are limited to 250. We are open for applications now and the closing date is midnight, Sunday 7 May 2017. After that, to be fair, we will be picking out names at random and be confirming successful applicants as soon as that is done. Unsuccessful applicants will be put on a waiting list. If you apply as a small group or as a couple, fair consideration will be given, ie. if

you apply as a group of four, you will get four places. Incidentally, if you are signing up as a single and want some company for Photo 24 there will be the chance to buddy up with fellow photographers so don’t worry if this is a concern. If all this sounds absolutely brilliant and the idea of staying up for 24 hours (you can actually stay for as long as you like) enjoying photography in London right up your street, please go to absolutephoto.com and you’ll see Photo 24 there. Fill in your details and that’s it. absolutephoto.com

Get a place on Photo 24 and there’s the opportunity to book a spot on an optional event or two. Prices depend on the event and will only go ahead if sufficient numbers book. More details will be supplied to those who secure a place on Photo 24. At the moment we are looking at the chance to climb the 02 Arena with cameras. Normally, only mobile phones are allowed on climbs up the 02 but that is changing and photographer-friendly sessions are being offered. We have a provisional slot to do the climb at sunset and shoot from the top. The highest point is 52m high so gives impressive views of the Thames and Canary Wharf. Leaving the photo ops aside, the climb is also a great experience. We’ve booked two vintage London buses to offer photo ops (not as transport!) in the early hours of Photo 24. Parked in Piccadilly Circus, near the London Eye and around Whitehall, they’ll offer the chance for unique pictures. We are still working on more optional events and again, full confirmed details will be provided to those who secure a place on Photo 24, so go to absolutephoto.com and submit your name now.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

10

Awards Photography News Awards 2015

Award winners 2016

The UK’s imaging industry was encamped at the Birmingham NEC for a few days in March for The Photography Show – the perfect opportunity for PN’s editor, Will Cheung, to hand over the Awards trophies to our winners. Apologies for his smiling fizzog appearing so many times on this spread...

ds of Canon UK ft) and Sam Rowlan the Canon Daniel Benjamin (le ye Compact of the ar, collected Awards for best standard s ar’ ye the d an II rk PowerShot G7 X Ma M. 24-70mm f/2.8L II US zoom, the Canon EF

Sara Marshall of Nikon UK collects Awards for the Advanced DSLR of the year, the D500, and the Superzoom of the Year, the Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR.

The Sony A77 II was voted Consumer DLSR of the Year and the prize was collected by Arnaud Gutleben of Sony UK.

Olympus won Consumer CSC of the year with its Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II while the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was voted Professional CSC of the year. Olympus’s Georgie Pavelin collected the prizes.

Emma Baynes of Zeiss UK collects for Prime telephoto winner, the Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4. Graham Armitage (centre) and Paul Reynolds of Sigma Imaging receive Awards for the best Wideangle zoom, Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art, and Prime: Wide-angle Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.

Best Tripod: Travel went to the Benro FTA18CC Travel Angel. Mark Hoskins of Macgroup is the smiling chappie here.

Manfrotto won two Awards. Best Tripod: Aluminum went to the Manfrotto 290 Dual Aluminium 3-section while the Manfrotto Professional Roller Bag 50 won Roller case of the year. Sarah Bayley and Darren Long of Manfrotto UK picked up the prizes.

The Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod 401C won best Tripod: Carbon-fibre, and Paul (centre) and Tony Kench collected the prize.

Fujifilm’s Theo Georghiades and Jeannie Corby accept Awards for advanced CSC: Fujifilm X-T2; best innovation: Fujifilm GFX; best prime standard lens XF35mm f/2 R WR; and best launch, Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Regular winners Hasselblad do it ag ain, this time with X1D, voted Mediu the m-format camera of the Year. Simon Coleman (left) an d Mark Witney co llect the award.

Jane Nicholson and Jerry Martin of Intro 2020 for lenses: Telezoom – Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Di VC USD G2; Macro SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD; and Video – Samyang 50mm T1.3 ED AS UMC CS.

Best Portable Fla sh Elinchrom ELB 40 Award was won by the 0 with Quadra HS collected by Ch head, ris Whittle of Eli nchrom.

The winner of the On-camera Flash category was Pixapro Li-ION580 ETTL and the prize was collected by Ling Tan of Essential Photo.

The Profoto D2 won Monobloc Flash and the Profoto Pro-10 won Mains Flash Power Pack Awards. Matt Wilson (left) and Neil March bask in their glory.

Paul Genge of Johnsons Photopia wins the Continuous Light Award for the Westcott Flex Bi-Color mat.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

11

Awards

The Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro was voted winners of the Studio/ Lighting Accessory category. John Baker of Rogue and Shemaine Rose of Rogue’s UK distributors Color Confidence collect the prize.

Regular winners of the Filter category do it again with the Lee Filters Big Stopper. Here’s Ralph Young of Lee filters picking up the prize.

Hahnemühle’s Heidi Wilson and Simon Waller collect the trophy for its Hahnemühle William Turner 310gsm paper, winning Inkjet Media: Fine Art Finish.

The team from BenQ great value PV270 Pro 27in IPS won the Monitor Award and we have Jason Lee and Fanny Wang of BenQ getting the trophy.

Jessops collect

ing its Awards fo

r Best retailer an

d Best Training

provider.

G-Technology G Drive ev RaW was voted Movie Accessory of the Year, and Oli Smith of G-tech is seen here with the trophy.

Last year’s winner Zenfolio repeat the feat this year to win Photo Website Provider. Zenfolio’s Arnaud Collin and Adam Edwards enjoy the winning feeling.

X-Rite ColorMunki Display
was voted Colour Management Device winner and we see Liz Quinlisk and Matt Chilton of Xrite collecting the trophy.

A new category, 36 0° Camera of the ye historic brand na me Kodak for its Pix ar, was won by a pro SP360 4K. Th prize was collecte e d by Mariame Cis se of JK Imaging.

Serial winners Loxley Colour do it again for Best Processing Lab, with Calum Thompson from Loxley stepping forward to collect the Award.

CEWE Photobooks was voted Best Book Service of the year and Sarah Brockhurst of CEWE was on hand to collect the prize.

Epson’s SureColor SC-P600 won the Inkjet Printer Award and the prize was collected by Dom Gurney from Epson.

Best Shoulder/Sling bag winner was the Nest Hiker 30 and Antony Edwards of UK Digital collected the Award.

Winners not present PHOTO BACKPACK Lowepro Pro Runner BP 350 AW II MEMORY CARD PNY Elite Performance SDXC UHS-I/U3 EXTERNAL STORAGE DEVICE Samsung Portable SSD T3

Louise Hill of PermaJet receives the prize for PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315gsm, winning Inkjet Media: Photographic Finish. Calumet Rental was voted Best Hire Centre. Jon Warner of Calumet is pictured getting the Award.

Best Insurance Provider was won by Aaduki Multimedia Insurance and the company’s Paul Newberry picks up the prize.

MOVIE CAMERA OF THE YEAR Blackmagic Pocket Cinema


12

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

News © Tim Cornbill

Operation Camera

The Army Photographic Competition has launched a new category for 2017, Operation Camera, which for the first time invites the public to enter. “We’ve got great photographers in the Army,” said command master photographer WO1 Will Craig, “but we realised that lots of other people have fabulous photos of what we do, including members of the public and our colleagues in the Royal Navy and the RAF.” The competition is looking for quality images around the theme of the British Army that can be used to promote the Army in both print and online (check competition T&Cs before entering). Entry is open until 27 September 2017 and images submitted must have been taken between 26 October 2016 and the closing date. army.mod.uk/photocomp © Corporal Tim Jones © Corporal Tim Jones

Sony World Photography Open category winners revealed The 2017 Sony World Photography Awards received over 105,000 entries to its Open competition and has revealed the ten winners. They include UK photographer Tim Cornbill who won the Architecture category. Tim, along with the nine other winners, will receive a Sony A7 II and will go on to compete to be named the Sony World Photography Awards’ Open Photographer of the Year. The winner will then receive a trip to the awards

ceremony in London, plus $5000. The overall winner, as well as the winner of the Professional competition, will be announced on 20 April. The Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr – 2017 Exhibition will then be open from 21 April to 7 May at Somerset House in London and then begin its worldwide tour. worldphoto.org

© David Magnus

pinholeday.org

Proud Galleries has launched The Beatles Unseen: Photographs by David Magnus at Proud Chelsea. The exhibition, which runs until 14 May 2017 offers a candid insight into The Beatles recording at the EM1 Studio 1 in Abbey Road and also features previously unseen photographs. proudonline.co.uk

© Andrés Fontana

Now in its 17th year, World Pinhole Day encourages photographers from all over the world to embrace the unpredictability of shooting with a pinhole camera and be part of something special. The organisation asks photographers to submit one image, taken with a lensless camera and captured on Pinhole Day, Sunday 30 April. Last year, 2599 people from 78 countries submitted their shots to the Pinhole Day website, which now hosts 37,741 images from previous years. To get involved all you need to do is take a pinhole image on 30 April, scan it and upload it to the Pinhole Day website. You can take several images and your submission can be of any subject, but you can only submit one image. If you don’t own a pinhole camera then it’s time to get making one!

© Paolo Aldi

World Pinhole Day

The Beatles Unseen


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


14

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Tell us your club’s latest news, email: clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Clubs

Camera club news If your club has any news that you want to share with the rest of the world, this is the page for it. Your story might be about your club’s success in a contest, or a member’s personal achievements; it could be about a group outing you had recently or when the annual exhibition is on show. Any news is eligible for inclusion, so club publicity officers please take note of the submission guidelines and get your stories in

News in brief

We need words and pictures by 4 May 2017 for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 15 May 2017. Write your story in a Word document (400 words max). Please include contact details of the club, exhibition or event: website, meeting times, opening times, whatever is relevant. Images should be JPEGs, 2000 pixels on the longest dimension, any colour space, and image credits should be included. If the story is an exhibition or event, please send a picture from the exhibition (not the publicity poster) or one from the event. If it includes people, please identify them. Attach the Word document and JPEGs to an email and send to clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

cotswold-monochrome.co.uk

© Phillip Barber

Sheffield Photographic Society hold their Annual Print Exhibition from Friday 21 April to Thursday 27 April from midday to 4pm at Sheffield Cathedral. Entry is free. sheffield-photographer. org.uk

standard of my photography has increased several-fold. I am in no doubt that by participating photographers will see their own photography improve.” The salon is open for entries from 10 April to 10 May, with the exhibition from 13 to 16 July in Gloucester.

© Michael Windle

The Cotswold Salon is the National Print Exhibition of Monochrome Photography; in its 22 years it’s seen many now well-known photographers make their first entry into an exhibition. Ross McKelvery, Gold Medal winner in 2016, says: “From the point where I excitedly dipped my toe into the water by entering the Cotswold Salon, the

© Peter Campion

Heswall Photographic Society hold their Annual Exhibition of Prints at Ness Botanic Gardens from 10 to 17 May: entry is free. Members of the public will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite image and meet with members of the club. heswallphotosoc.co.uk

Suffolk Monochrome Group Photography Exhibition The Suffolk Monochrome Group is a select group of up to twelve dedicated and highly experienced photographers whose aim is to enjoy and promote the art of monochrome photography, in all its various forms. The objective of the SM Group is to foster the appreciation of monochrome photographs and to encourage the development of this branch of photographic art. The group is holding its exhibition of work at The Minories in Colchester, between 27 April and 19 May, 11am to 4pm. The subject matter of the images on display is varied, including landscapes, portraiture, abstract and images of other genres.

Earl Shilton Camera Club’s keynote speaker for this year is Damien Lovegrove. The evening takes place on 24 May from 7pm at Earl Shilton Constitutional Club; tickets £5 in advance or £7 on the door. earlshiltoncameraclub.org. uk

suffolkmonochromegroup.co.uk Showcasing the best work of CCC members and winning images from pupils of schools in Gloucestershire, Cheltenham Camera Club & Gloucestershire Young Photographers Annual Exhibition’s opening ceremony is at 3pm on 22 April. Awards will be given to CCC members and winners of the GYP by the Mayor, Councillor Chris Ryder. The exhibition runs until 27 April at the Parabola Arts Centre. Entry is free. cheltenhamcameraclub. co.uk

Deadline for the next issue: 4 May 2017

Inspired by mono © Robert Millin

Andy Beel FRPS is visiting Wisbech CC and Peterborough PS on 24 and 25 April to give two talks and a workshop. The talk on the 24th will be Me and my Eye, and the one on the 25th, Every picture tells a story, both at 7.30pm. Andy will be running a workshop, From pixel to print, on the 25th from 10am to 4pm; price £40. To buy tickets, phone David Hodgson on 01945 465126 or email fen.country@sky.com

How to submit

Newton Abbot PC 6th International Salon This highly respected Salon is purely for digital images and continues to attract entries from all over the world. Opening date for entries this year is Saturday 22 April 2017 and the closing date is Sunday 16 July 2017. There are several categories to suit all types of photography, with

many awards, medals and ribbons to be won. All photographers are welcome to submit their images via the website where full information can be found. newtonabbot-photoclub.org.uk


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

15

Advertisement feature

Paper chase

Seeking out the best inkjet paper is vital if you want top-quality prints, and with over 400 years of paper making heritage, Hahnemühle’s fine-art media will provide it. Now find out all about the latest stock in the stable, and a firm favourite that continues to impress All the world’s most respected brands combine two core values: heritage and innovation, because from solid foundations you can launch great ideas. And that’s what the Hahnemühle Photo inkjet range is all about. Hahnemühle’s Photo range takes the company’s 430 years of paper production and brings it right up to date with classleading, perfectly stable, heavyweight papers that will bring the best out in any image you choose to print on them.

Hahnemühle’s Photo Range takes the company’s 430 years of paper production and brings it right up to date with class-leading, perfectly stable, heavyweight papers

Perfect home printing Quality of paper is paramount in home printing and with many club competitions and salons requiring entries to be submitted as prints, picking the right paper is essential. Taking account of this, and ensuring the right paper is available for any image style, the Hahnemühle Photo range includes a full suite of finishes, from high gloss to satin, pearlescent and matte papers. Each guarantee the kind of outstanding image sharpness, tonality and colour required by today’s high-resolution digital cameras. And all Hahnemühle papers can be printed using the company’s own downloadable ICC profiles, so you know you’re getting the best results every time you print. New paper, classic feel The latest addition to the exclusive Hahnemühle Photo stable is Photo Gloss Baryta 320, a 100% cellulose, white barite paper, with an enhanced coating that’s sure to become a firm favourite with exacting photographers and printmakers. With its superb glossy surface, Photo Gloss Baryta 320 provides impressively deep blacks, lustrous highlights, crisp detail and brilliant colour. The new paper will be especially appealing to fans of the classic photographic darkroom look and feel – but with all the advantages

Images William Turner’s textured matt finish has a luxurious feel and suits a wide range of subject matter. Below left Here, you can see the textured finish which certainly adds to the ‘arty’ feel.

Contact Hahnemühle

of using a 320gsm archival standard, barite paper for the quality and longevity of true fine art prints. Available now, Photo Gloss Baryta 320 can be purchased in sizes to suit any home-printing needs with A4, A3, A3+, A2, and rolls from 17in to 50in wide. Awarding-winning quality Proving how important top-quality paper is to discerning photographers, Hahnemühle’s William Turner fine art matt watercolour texture paper has been crowned winner in the PN Awards Inkjet Media: Fine Art Finish category for the second year running! As part of Hahnemühle’s digital fine art range (which, like the Photo line features weights and surface structures to accommodate any photographic

tastes), William Turner stock is a genuine mould-made 100% cotton paper that’s wonderfully suited to your most artistic creations. The distinctive look and feel of its matt watercolour texture add a more expressive feel to images, and you’ll also be assured of perfect colour gamut, graduation and sharpness. Hahnemühle’s William Turner fine art matt watercolour paper is available in either 190gsm or 310gsm weights and a wide range of sheet and roll sizes.

For more information on Hahnemühle’s products including size, availability and stockists please visit the website. On the website you can also access free ICC profiles for Hahnemühle’s papers. Profiles characterise the colour gamut for the paper, printer and ink in use to get the best output. Profiles are available at no cost and there is also an archive for older printers, plus instructions on how to install and use them correctly. Hahnemuehle.com uksales@hahnemuehle.com 08453 300 129


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

16

Profile Before the judge

Leigh Woolford

Join us for our monthly chat with a photographic judge. Leigh Woolford has seen many trends come and go in his decade as a judge, and has a fondness for events that feature a buffet

How many years in photography? I won a school photography competition in 1969 when I was ten but have been seriously interested since around 1980. Home club I’ve been a member of the very wonderful Gwynfa Camera Club since around 1985. What is your favourite camera? Canon T90. What is your favourite lens? My Canon 24-105mm f/4. It is practically welded to the front of my SLR. What is your favourite photo accessory? I have two. My trusty tripod and a set of graduated filters. Who is your favourite photographer? I can’t pick just one. A few that spring to mind are Ansel Adams, Bill Brandt, Todd Webb, O Winston Link, Michael Kenna and Yann Arthus Bertrand. What is your own favourite photographic subject or technique? I started with an interest in motorsport but these days I prefer landscapes. However, I’ll have a bash at anything. Lately I’ve enjoyed playing with the Lee long exposures stoppers and I enjoy using moving water to create life and light on days that aren’t that interesting. What awards/distinctions/ medals have you won? I’m an associate of the Welsh Photographic Federation as well as EFIAP and DPAGB. Your website leighwoolford.co.uk

© Leigh Woolford

Biography

© Leigh Woolford

I fell into judging by accident after having my arm twisted to judge a small local club competition. I found that I enjoyed the process and took a few more bookings. It grew from there. I’ve been judging for around 10 years – the time has passed very quickly. I have done hundreds of club competitions as well as numerous inter-club competitions and national and international salons including: The Welsh Salon, Swansea International, MCPF championships, MCPF Photofolio, Neath International, South Devon Salon, The Welsh International Salon and the Port Talbot Salon. I also have a few more lined up for 2017 including the Midland Salon and the Bristol Salon. Mostly it is very rewarding but sometimes you feel like you have let someone down by not explaining your thoughts too well. Inevitably you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Also, people don’t want to sit there listening to some crusty old bloke talking about apertures so I try to judge from the heart and have a bit of fun where possible. I can forgive the odd technical flaw if the photo has soul, story or emotion. I have had loads of great judging experiences but I think my favourites are ones with a buffet! Seriously, it’s tough picking out my favourites as I tend to mostly remember the ones where I don’t think I’ve done the entries justice. In recent months I particularly enjoyed judging the Brian Jennings Trophy, an inter-club battle at Trostre Camera Club in the steelworks of the same name. It involved a number of West Wales Clubs, some very enjoyable photographs – and a topnotch buffet. I also remember enjoying my first judging visit to Cheltenham Camera Club. After initially being daunted by their ‘spot judging’ requirements for a large number of items, I found I quite enjoyed the process. It was strangely liberating. In Wales we normally get the entries a week or two in advance and at that time I hadn’t done a great deal of spot judging. The good folk at Cheltenham have also asked me back and that always feels good. It is also rewarding to be asked to go out of area. I think I’ve visited almost all the clubs in the Welsh Photographic Federation and to go a little further afield is fun. It’s good to see what is going on elsewhere. What makes judging really interesting is that I’m endlessly amazed by the skill and ingenuity of the club photographer. You also see a great range and all life is there from the absolute beginner in their first competition to the seasoned and experienced members

who have been entering for years. Amateur photography seems to be experiencing a boom period. Most people have a camera and use it regularly so it’s an exciting time. I particularly enjoy seeing the improving standards of images taken on phone cameras. Sadly though, I’m not so sure that camera clubs are benefitting as much from this boom as they ought. Young people don’t seem too interested and that is a shame as they could contribute a great deal but I guess it is tough for a teenager or a 20-something to walk into a room full of over 40s and feel involved. There are exceptions of course, but not as many as there should be. Judging opinions inevitably differ and that is the point of a panel. I can recall a situation where someone was very reluctant to press the 5 button in a salon 2 to 5 button judging session so at the end of the day the deliberations over the awards were long and drawn out. It wasn’t really frustrating though, just time consuming. It is rare that I am lost for words but it has happened a couple of times. One that springs to mind involved a female nude on a bicycle. I’ll leave it there. The photographer will know who he is if he reads this. The biggest challenge of all is being positive and constructive with a lifeless image and it is important to not fall into the trap of saying it is ‘an ordinary snapshot’. I’ve only failed twice to find something

constructive to say about an image. I don’t see outstanding entries in every competition, but on many, many occasions, I do. The ones that fail show that the photographer has a lack of understanding of the compromise between aperture, shutter and ISO. The ‘auto’ setting has a lot to answer for. Don’t let the camera tell you what to do; you tell it what to do. Also, don’t try to pander to the judge and don’t always enter safe shots. Make us think. Make us wonder what on earth we are going to say. Challenge us. (Note, this may not necessarily prove to be the best way of winning but it’s often the best way of developing your photography.) I see many of the same techniques used over and over again but I can’t really think of any particular subject or technique that really bothers me. There are always fads and fashions and they come and go. Inevitably each has a life-cycle of initial excitement leading to familiarity and eventually, perhaps, boredom. However, this is something I’d try hard to disregard when talking about an image. Basically, imaging trends come and go but photographs with emotion, story, atmosphere and heart endure and succeed. So don’t follow trends, create them! Also on composition the so-called rules are there to be used and to be broken. Knowing when to do either is key.

I don’t agree with the premise that judges have a poor reputation among club members. At Gwynfa we go to the pub after our meetings and there you will always hear opinions about the judge. I don’t think I have ever heard either universal praise or universal condemnation. Someone is always happy, someone is always disgruntled. It is the nature of the beast. However, I do get a tad annoyed if a photographer uses the judge as a crutch to explain the shortcomings of an entry they have made. If you were to ask me for a single piece of advice to help people improve their photography I’d say understand aperture and shutter speeds. Oh, and take lots of photographs and look at lots of photographs. Also, have an open mind and get outside your comfort zone. Oops, that’s more than one. leighwoolford.co.uk

What do you think? Have you seen a photographic judge at work who you’d like to see profiled in Photography News? If so please drop us a line to opinion@photography-news. co.uk with the judge’s name and, if possible, their contact details.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

18

Interview Pro focus

Richard Bradbury specialises in tweaking reality until it looks too good to be true, but his shots still have the essence of real life even though they might be made up of six or more captures Words by Terry Hope Pictures by Richard Bradbury As a photographer it’s all too easy to follow the crowd and to produce work that’s a carbon copy of what everyone else is doing. Not so straightforward is to develop a dynamic new style that’s all your own – but pull off this trick in the commercial world and you’ll have clients beating a path to your door. For Richard Bradbury there was no single defining moment when his signature look was born. Rather, he realised the potential of a combined lighting and HDR technique he was working on, slowly but surely perfecting it and drawing together strands that finally gave him the hyperreal – but still perfectly believable – feel he was after. “Most photographic techniques develop over a period of time,” he asserts. “They come about usually because you have an assignment that works particularly well, so you then take the essential elements from that shoot and incorporate them into other jobs. I’m a great one for thinking things through before they happen, both technically and creatively, and for some time I had been taking a shot of the background of a scene after finishing a modelling shoot in case I wanted to move or adjust anything in post. From here it was a natural development to start to use that technique as a regular creative tool to produce a distinctive new look.” The technique turned into a project, and now Richard is the master of a stylish and distinctive approach that lends itself to any number of different editorial and advertising assignments. “Basically they’re storytelling images,” he says. “I’m not recording a moment in time; rather I’m creating the fantasy of one.”

As mentioned already, the secret behind the look is twofold, a combination of high-speed sync and an HDR background. The latter can be made up of anything up to five separately aligned exposures to create a hugely detailed dynamic range, and this is then married with a subtly lit model subject, usually shot within the scene to mimic a perfect lighting effect. Everything won’t necessarily happen at the same time however: the background might be shot later or the model might even come back on a different day to be photographed. It all gives Richard the flexibility to play with the elements, and the action part of the scene might be the result of an exposure that’s anything up to 1/8000sec, while still utilising a regular focal plane shutter. Speed king So, how does Richard achieve these extraordinarily fast exposures, while still using the kind of camera – in this case a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – that most professionals would have access to? “In recent times high-speed sync has become a lot easier to work with,” he says, “and several lighting manufacturers have now produced dedicated systems to release this capability. Previously this area was very much the preserve of complicated Pocket Wizard reprogramming, and it required laptop preparation before going on set to shoot. Now that’s not necessary, and the Elinchrom kit that I’m using features an oncamera mounted transceiver unit, the Skyport Plus HS, and it’s so simple. You just need to calibrate the unit to your camera – it will work

with Canon, Nikon or Sony models – and then fundamentally it’s ready to go.” It’s one thing having hardware that will do the job, but Richard also needed to get his head around the fundamentals of high-speed sync and what it could offer him. Essentially it’s a flash, but it needs to be considered more as a continuous light source, because its role is to light a scene in the short period of time that the camera’s shutter curtain is open. “It’s ironic,” says Richard, “but to achieve the best high-speed sync results you need to be working with a slow duration flash. In this way it’s the speed of the shutter curtain that becomes the means by which the action is captured. “It has nothing to do with the flash capturing the event with its superfast duration… quite the opposite. It works best when combined with ambient light, but you’ll still need powerful flash units.” A good example of this high-speed technique in action is Richard’s shot of the young Team GB 800m runner Georgia Bell leaping from the starting blocks. This is a moment of intense action and Richard wanted Georgia to be frozen at the instant she powered up and started to run. It was essential she held nothing back, and yet, from a side-on position it needed to be a high-speed capture to ensure no blur in the arms or legs. “It was the moment of truth,” says Richard, “and I wanted to capture the full power of that instant.” You can read more about Richard’s inspiring work in the latest issue of Professional Photo magazine where he goes into more detail about the gear and technique involved. Issue 131 is out now.

© Richard Bradbury

© Richard Bradbury

© Richard Bradbury

Images Richard Bradbury’s pictures combine high dynamic range (HDR) and high-speed sync (HSS) flash techniques, to create a look that’s fresh and exciting – something that makes clients sit up and take notice.

Professional Photo This article first appeared in issue 131 of Professional Photo, on sale now. It’s packed with inspiring images and tips for aspiring pros and those already making a living. absolutephoto.com

You’ll find more insight in the latest Professional Photo – the UK’s best magazine for full-time and aspiring pro photographers


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

19

Interview Profile

Vanessa Champion PhotoAid Global helps connect photographers and charities to raise awareness of human and animal rights, and environmental issues. We speak to founder and lead photographer Vanessa Champion to find out more… Contact www.photoaid.org.uk Email makeadifference@ photoaid.org.uk Twitter @photoaidglobal Instagram @photoaidglobal facebook.com/PhotoAidGlobal/ If you have old cameras; would like to be part of PhotoAid as a photographer, supporter or other capacity; or can donate time to fix up old cameras, do get in touch with Vanessa at PhotoAid makeadifference@photoaid.org.uk

Leaving myself open to experiences has opened doors and the trust of some astonishing communities

Can you give us some background on PhotoAid Global and why it was launched? What are its aims? We celebrate photojournalism that inspires understanding and action through visual documentary, covering human and animal rights and environmental awareness. We offer three main services for charities and NGOs: photography and video; expertise and training; and opportunities to photographers to make a difference in the UK or abroad. Through our expertise we run educational programmes in the UK and on location, with photographers and local people, from the youngest child to the oldest grandmother! If you run talks or workshops you can invite us to speak to your club or group. We can give advice on how to monetise your photography, raise awareness of your cause, or just tell inspirational stories. PhotoAid is here to help advise if you’re travelling or thinking of supporting a charity or good cause with photography. PhotoAid Global helps broker photography trips with NGOs and travel organisations doing good in remote places around the world, offering unique, life-changing experiences and a lifeline to these smaller charities who are working at grassroots level. We don’t just work abroad – we also support local charities who desperately need promotional images. If you are a photographer and want to support us, a charity in need of a photographer, or you just want to go on our mailing list, please contact us. We can also help by organising exhibitions, printing, sales of prints, books and so forth. Tell us a bit about your role at PhotoAid Global I am founder and lead photographer. I’ve been a photographer for over 20 years, have run a gallery and art spaces, curated exhibitions, agented for artists and photographers and travelled all over for commercial work. I often tag on extra days if I can, to see some of the country. I am also director of Dragonfly Communications, a creative marketing agency. My journey has been an interesting one, a lot of it by the kindness of strangers. Leaving myself open to experiences and people has opened doors and the trust of some astonishing individuals and communities. Telling stories with your camera is such a compelling need. Like many photographers, I see stories all over the place. I set up PhotoAid Global to fuse the elements I see all the time: NGOs and good causes who need money, who have amazing assets in people and on-the-ground knowledge but are always looking for volunteers

and supporters; and fabulous photographers who want to put something back. Also business people who love photography and are at that point in their careers where they want to make a difference (whether by travelling with us and having a lifechanging experience, or supporting an exhibition or event). So that’s what we do: we bring everyone together. Can you tell us about some of your past projects and charities you’ve worked with? We have travelled as part of the PhotoAid Global mission from Nepal to Uganda, and provided lots of support in the UK. Our first project was with Born to be Beautiful, a UK charity that teaches beauty skills to women with no formal education, who have been beaten, raped and trafficked. This training enables the women to work and save money to put their children through school and protect themselves through independence. Since then we have shadowed a Rinpoche (religious teacher) in Nepal to support the monastery; donated prints for Alzheimer’s Research UK; travelled and visited nomadic communities in Uganda with PENHA (Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa) and curated the resultant exhibition at Calumet London who gave us the space for free; coached former Kampala street kids in photography (thanks to the generosity of Fujifilm UK) during the solar eclipse; witnessed herds of cows move in eerie silence as the sun went down near Mbarara Uganda; and

documented the freedom of children, former boy soldiers in Gulu, northern Uganda. Every time I’ve come home humbled, inspired, made friends and tried to help as I can. What projects are you currently working with? In the UK we support lots of small charities, those needing a photographer to cover awards ceremonies, matches or fundraising dinners and portraits, from local football teams to disability charities. We are heading out to Mumbai in April to document training given by Born to be Beautiful. They are heading out to Sierra Leone later in the year and we have a photographer accompanying them. We are organising an exhibition in the autumn of this year to support Ana by Karma, a venture that supports Bhutanese weavers to sell their work. We are calling it Rainbows of Colour, and it's an exhibition of photographs taken by children in Bhutan. It is run by Quin SQ who, to raise funds, ran the first crowdfunding exercise in Hong Kong. We also recently partnered with WORKAID Since 1986, WORKAID has helped around 100,000 disadvantaged people to break the cycle of poverty through training, building better lives for themselves and their families. They are updating their website and we are teaching the admin staff how to frame, look for the light and story to tell. We are looking for photographers to come and join us in June to support a hospice portrait project in Hackney.

How can our readers get involved? We are currently putting a call out for photographers to join us – professionals, amateurs, and keen hobbyists. Email us on makeadifference@photoaid.org.uk or fill in the form on our website, we then ping you back a questionnaire and go from there. We are looking to have a shop on our website, to be able to sell prints and other items – if anyone is a whizz at that and would like to donate their expertise to help us, we would be delighted to hear from them! Recycle your old cameras! If you have an old digital or film camera knocking around that you would like to donate, we refurbish them, giving them new life in the hands of someone for whom photography is a lifeline, a means to feed themselves and get back on track, in the UK and abroad. We are also looking for technical experts who can help refurbish cameras, if anyone can donate their time and expertise we would love to hear from them! (WORKAID is kindly storing them for us.) Also, if photographers have used their photography to help a charity or good cause and would like to tell us about it, we feature some on our f8 online. F8 is a collection of interviews with photographers, journalists and travellers who are using photography to help make a difference. It’s like kickstarting positive karma: you give a little and buckets of goodness come back. Thanks to everyone who is supporting us – it means a lot. photoaid.org.uk


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

20

Camera Club of the Year

in association with

Camera Club of the Year contest 2016-17 Four clubs have already qualified for the final of the PN Camera Club of the Year 2016-17 contest, so there’s just one spot available. Time to pull out the stops and get your club’s best scenic images to us Welcome to round five of the PN Camera Club of the Year 2016-17 contest, and your club’s last chance to qualify for the final. It only seems like two minutes ago that we were launching this year’s prestige camera club contest and now there’s just one remaining berth to be filled up. For this round we want to see your club’s best landscape pictures. For inspiration and technique please see the advice from Paul Sanders, a Fujifilm X-photographer who specialises in scenic photography. Qualify for the final and your camera club is in for something challenging, the details of which will be released simultaneously to the five finalists. However, what we can reveal now is that the final will be a unique event – one that will offer a tremendous creative challenge and a never-to-be-forgotten experience for all the finalists. This year’s contest is sponsored by Fujifilm which should give you a clue about the final challenge – at least in terms of what camera you could be using. It’s safe to say the club that emerges top of the pile after the final shoot-out will thoroughly deserve the prestige of being our Camera Club of the Year 2016-17.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here so let’s start with how you qualify for the final. Your club’s competition secretary must sign up on absolutephoto.com. Terms and conditions are also available on the website. Any club or group is eligible to enter so long as there are at least five members. Online groups, internal company clubs and those clubs not affiliated to the PAGB can still enter. Once you’ve signed up, go the Members Area on the top menu bar, click on that and you will see Camera Club of the Year 201617 in the drop-down menu. Select that, then register your camera club and follow the upload instructions. JPEG files should be at least 1500 pixels on the longest dimension, under 2MB in size and, preferably, in the sRGB colour space. A club can only enter one set of five images from five different members each round, while failure to enter five shots will mean the missing shot/s scores zero points; so it’s crucial to enter the full number of images. If, by mistake, six images are entered (it has happened) only the first five will be scored. After the closing date, each picture will be scored out of 20 points and the highest scoring club each month will qualify for the final. In

About Fujifilm Fujifilm’s X-series mirrorless camera system has redefined photography with its groundbreaking X-Trans sensor technology, classic styling and impressive and comprehensive lens system. The current offering comprises three cameras and 24 lenses and converters, so there’s something for every level of photographer. The X-series has a dual flagship line-up, the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, the thinking behind this being that the two cameras offer different picturetaking approaches. The X-Pro2 has an offset viewfinder giving it the handling of a film rangefinder camera, while the viewfinder itself is a brilliant hybrid fusion of the classic (optical) and the new (electronic) so you have the option. Another key point of difference is the X-Pro2 has a fixed monitor. A stylish graphite silver finish X-Pro2 has just been released. By comparison, the X-T2 has a flip monitor that suits low and high level, horizontal and upright format shooting, and its viewfinder is centrally placed with a pentaprism housing to mirror that of a DSLR camera. You also have the option of black or graphite silver finish. For video, the X-T2 is the first Fujifilm X-series to offer 4K video as well as Full HD shooting, and this can be enjoyed with the popular Film Simulation modes.

Despite the two different handling philosophies, the results are effectively the same as both cameras share the same X-Trans CMOS sensor, X-Processor Pro processing engine, autofocus and exposure systems and so on. Both also have electronic shutters, although the X-T2’s extends to 30secs and both of them top out at 1/32,000sec. Both suit a wide range of subject matter, but if pushed you could say that the X-Pro2 suits people and street photography while the X-T2 is ideal for sports and portrait work. However, there is no reason why both cameras can’t excel at all kinds of subjects. The X-T20 takes on the role as a baby X-T2 so while both share the same sensor and viewfinder style, the body is significantly smaller, making it perfect as the take-anywhere X-series camera. And there are user benefits such as the touch monitor, so you get features like touch-shooting and touch-autofocus. We’ve only discussed three models here but there are more in the range and with 24 lenses and optical accessories, including high spec zooms, fast-aperture primes and teleconverters, one thing you won’t be lacking with the Fujifilm system is choice.

fujifilm.eu/uk

the event of tied scores, we will ignore the highest and lowest scores and average out the three remaining scores. The highest score wins. If scores are still tied, all five scores will be averaged out. When the issue with that month’s result is published, the scores for every picture entered will be published on the website so you can see how you’ve done. There’s no monthly prize apart from qualifying for the final shoot-out, and once a club has qualified for the final it need not enter again. Of course, your club can still enter again for the challenge, and pictures will still

be scored, but there’s no reward for winning in this instance. In effect, because each monthly contest is self-contained (ie. it’s not a league system over the period of the competition) even though this is the final round and it is your club’s first attempt, you could still win through to the final shoot-out. So, good luck everyone. Read the entry details again, check out the theme on the opposite page and start gathering your entry. Qualify for the final and your club could be joining us for a very special photography event with the title of Camera Club of the Year to be won.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Camera Club of the Year

21

in association with

Round 5: Landscape

© Paul Sanders

Landscape is a hugely popular subject and open to all sorts of approaches. We caught up with X-photographer Paul Sander for advice: “My approach to landscape photography is about connection with the location and weather – it’s about the feeling of the place. Most of my work is long exposure, although I do shoot in the classical style occasionally. “Personally, I love simplicity, one focal point in space; I like the sense of calm this portrays. Use the natural lines to lead your eye around the frame, and speaking of the frame, always check the edges and corners before you press the shutter – it’s surprising how many times an unwanted object makes an appearance. “The most important pieces of equipment in my bag are my Lee graduated neutral density filters; I use them on 99% of shoots to control the contrast between the land and sky. Using them is straightforward. I expose to get details in the shadows and then add the grad to bring the highlights under control. “Remember, less is more. Take your time, it’s not about the number of images you shoot, it’s about the one image that you get right: it’s a wise photographer who chooses his moment rather than fills a card with random moments. “The same rule applies to how I process my images – remember, nature doesn't have a clarity slider nor a saturation slider, so use them sparingly. “My biggest tip is to get it how you want it in-camera, and never use that old line ‘I’ll sort it out in post’. Sort it out on location, keep processing to a minimum and you can enjoy more time out shooting.”

© Paul Sanders

© Paul Sanders

For more on Paul Sanders

Closing date: midnight, 7 May

© Paul Sanders

Round 4: Action results Harpenden Photographic Society fought off all comers this month to secure a place in our shoot-out final, so well done to them. Again it was a very close run thing with three clubs – Ayr, Exeter and Seaford – just a single point behind, but Harpenden prevailed and we look forward to seeing them on the upcoming shoot. The overall scores are shown here and the individual scores can be seen on the CCOTY gallery on absolutephoto.com.

Paul Sanders is running several workshops in 2017: Puglia in September, New York in October, the Lake District and Glen Coe both in November. paulsanders.biz

Scores

*Already qualified

Colchester Photographic Society

90 89 89 89 86 85 84 83 83 83 82 81 81 80 79 79 79 78 78 78 77 77 77 77 76 76 76

First Monday

75

Harpenden Photographic Society Ayr Photographic Society *Exeter Camera Club Seaford Photographic Society Great Notley Photography Club Peterborough Photographic Society West Wickham Photographic Society Dunholme Camera Club Maidenhead Wisbech and District Norwich and District Photographic Society

© Peter Milsom

Consett © Torben Cox

*Dorchester Camera Club Windsor Photographic Society Earl Shilton Camera Club Halstead & District Photographic Society Preston Photographic Society Blandford Forum Camera Club Gloucester Camera Club © Graham Jones

Tonbridge Alba Photographic Society Harlow Photographic Society Nuneaton Photographic Society Park Street Camera Club Birlingham Photography Club City of London and Cripplegate

© Paul Johnson


22

Photography News Issue 43 absolutephoto.com

Technique © Gill McGowan

Out of the box PN reader Gill McGowan had the notion of photographing a male model, but needed inspiration first – and that she got from the phone book. This is her story Words by Gill McGowan

Shooting an experienced model in an original manner can be challenging. They’re likely to have a good portfolio already; this is probably what attracted your attention in the first place. So how are you going to make your images stand out? Such was my dilemma in shooting a male model. I met Phil Bruce briefly at an event a couple of years ago, and watched his portfolio grow with some excellent fitness and fashion images, genres his physique is well suited to. I was interested in shooting with him, but didn’t want to do so until I felt I could bring something different to the table. Inspiration came in the form of a chance comment from a friend on how phone books are now so thin that she could tear one in half herself. So, I thought, what if the muscular Phil could be photographed trying and failing to rip one in half – a parody of the classic strongman demonstrating

his strength. This led to the idea of a humour-based shoot. I mapped out a few concepts and pitched them to Phil, who loved this slant on a shoot. The next issue was where to shoot. There are hire studios aplenty to be had, but I have my own portable lighting, a pair of Elinchrom Quadra Rangers with 100cm square Rotalux softboxes, so it was more about getting a good working space than the lighting equipment. I settled on a small local theatre with rooms for hire. Having agreed a date with Phil, I spent the intervening period gathering props and liaising with Phil over what he was comfortable with. Thankfully he’s not shy, and is up for a laugh! Come the day I packed my car with lighting equipment, the props, my Canon EOS 5D Mark III together with Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II and 70-200mm f/2.8 II lenses. I’d booked a decent-sized room with a small stage, where most of the images were taken. Phil and I

Above and below Shots from Gill’s doughnuts series, starting with Phil trying to resist the treats and ending with him smashing them. Right Phil opens a box containing a very small Elinchrom Quadra flash head, to symbolise the concept of thinking outside the box.

© Gill McGowan

got to know each other in our first face-to-face conversation whilst I set up the lights and did tests. He lit up as I suggested a series of shots with doughnuts, starting with capturing the fitness guru craving the sugarcoated goodness, leading into doughnut smash shots. For a male model, mean and moody is a staple request, and so having a bit of fun with the shoot was refreshing for him. Most images were taken with a single light set-up. I set the Canon EOS 5D Mark III to the recommended sync speed of 1/160sec, with apertures around f/5.6-6.3. During the shoot the lighting was fine-tuned by adjusting power output, altering light to subject distance and the angle of the light in relation to Phil. It’s useful to have someone on hand to make these adjustments for you so as not to disturb the flow of the shoot; however, no voice-activated light stand had volunteered for the job, so I had to do everything myself. Thankfully the Quadra and its power pack were quite close to me whilst shooting so it was easy enough to change settings. I find in a concept shoot that unscheduled shots can take you by surprise and you have to modify your approach. Such was the case with the doughnut series. In the doughnut smash, the doughnuts did not dispatch themselves with the grace and distance I had envisaged. However, the force

applied to try to achieve that translated to what appeared to be anger in Phil, which had a mood all of its own and made for good pictures. Never be afraid to stray slightly from the original concept, but do keep a tight control of your use of time so as not to miss the shots you’ve planned. I moved onto the original concept of the phone book rip. Phil could have torn it apart easily, but first I wanted shots of him failing to do so. This proved to be challenging in terms of angles because the phone book was so thin and I didn’t want that to show too obviously. After exploring various angles I got what I wanted, then asked Phil to rip the book in two, which he did easily. I got the shot: which is just as well, as I didn’t have a spare. We moved on to shots with a disappointingly deflated blowup dumb-bell and a bare chested Santa padding out his shorts with seasonal socks. This series was an afterthought, using props gathered in the minutes before I left home. For my last shot I wanted to capture the concept of thinking outside the box, and, true to concept, improvised to achieve this. I envisaged Phil looking in awe at light emerging from a box, and so I used an old perfume box which opened like a book and was big enough to accommodate the tiny Quadra flash head. Putting this idea into effect proved challenging, and I nearly blinded poor Phil in test shots.


23

Photography News Issue 22 absolutephoto.com

Technique © Gill McGowan

© Gill McGowan

For my last shot I wanted to capture the concept of thinking outside the box Having the flash so close to Phil meant I wasn’t able to get the power low enough to achieve the subtlety required. Improvising with what I had to hand, I stuffed the Santa shorts in the box over the light to filter it. This achieved the subtlety I was looking for, with the added bonus of an interesting red hue. I brought the second light into play to light the box itself, and introduced a hint of light rays into the shot in post-processing using the excellent light ray brushes for Photoshop by Gavin Hoey of gavtrain.com. My shoot lasted three hours and I have to say that it was worth waiting until the right concept presented itself to shoot Phil. The shots have proven to be unusual additions to both of our portfolios, and we both had fun creating them, with Phil enjoying stepping away from his usual mean and moody poses to add to his range of facial expressions with considerable success. piczology.com officialphilbruce.com

Have you got a story to tell? Photography News is always looking for stories where a photographer has an idea and realises it. So, if you have a tale of photographic derringdo you want to share with Photography News readers, please email the editor, Will Cheung, at willcheung@brightpublishing.com. It might be the story of a shoot, like Gill’s, but it could be your journey to staging an exhibition, gaining a photographic distinction or a photo project you are proud of and want to show off to the world. All ideas welcome and all emails will get a reply, whether that is ‘thanks, but no thanks’ or ‘yes please’.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

24

Technique Lighting Academy

Light and dark Start your journey into the exciting world of creative lighting effects with PN’s Lighting Academy. This is the place to find out all about how flash and continuous lighting works and how it can be used to improve your shots. This month, how to mix flash with available light for dramatic results Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton This month we’re looking at a quick and simple lighting technique that’ll give you dramatic results. Although you can use it indoors or out, it works most effectively in locations with plenty of natural light – and thanks to the stylish look it can turn everyday settings and subjects into something much more effective. It’s an easy technique to learn, and therefore very useful when you’re getting to grips with flash lighting. Because of the way it works, it really helps you to understand the principles of how flash works with your exposure settings, and how those in turn work with the available light. The purpose is to expose correctly for the subject, who’s lit with flash, and then to underexpose for the ambient light in the background. The degree that you underexpose the scene is up to you, but once you start to shoot this way, you’ll see it’s easy to get it looking exactly as you wish. What you’ll need All you really need is a single flash for this technique – you can even use the pop-up flash on your camera if it has one. But it certainly gets more interesting when using a flash off camera, and firing more than one at a time. For the set-up shown here, I used a pair of speedlights with radio triggers to fire them. I also used a flash meter in this technique, which makes it much quicker and easier to judge the amount of flash power required to light the subject. A meter isn’t vital, and you can use trial and error to adjust the power, checking on the camera screen each time, although that’s obviously less accurate. I also used two lighting stands, both with tilting brackets to make angling the speedlights easier. See this month’s Buyers’ Guide for more tips on what kit you need. How much flash power do you need? Different flashguns have different levels of output. So how much do you need? The strength of the flash required depends on the brightness of the available light – that which

is in the scene and not controlled by you. The available light could be from the sun, or from artificial light, like street lamps. If there’s lots of available light you’ll need a lot of power from the flash, but if you’re working on an overcast day, early in the morning or the evening you’ll need less power. The reasons for this will become clear as you work through the technique. Basic principles The basis of this technique is understanding the relationship between flash, available

light and exposure settings. In principle any changes you make to the aperture, shutter speed or ISO setting can make the available light appear brighter or dimmer. However, of those three, it’s only the aperture and ISO that affect the way that the flash appears. For example, take a shot with flash, first using settings of 1/60sec, f/11 and ISO 200, then at 1/125sec, f/11, ISO 200. Compare the two and you’ll notice the brightness of the flash stays the same, but the available light is dimmer. Increase the shutter speed to 1/200sec or 1/250sec and the available light

Above Using just two flashes and the right exposure settings you can create dramatic flash-lit portraits. To gauge the power required from the flash, it’s best to use a flash meter. Test fire, then tweak the flash power until it matches your aperture and ISO settings.

Above Compare a regular exposure (above) to one that combines flash with underexposing the available light (left) and it’s a dramatic shift. Tweaking the flash position and adding modifiers, like a softbox and grid, also refines the lighting from the harsh naked flash (top).

Any changes you make to the aperture, shutter speed or ISO setting can make the available light appear brighter or dimmer. However... it’s only the aperture and ISO that affect the way the flash appears


25

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Technique 1/200sec at f/8 ISO 400

will look darker again, while the flash remains just as bright as it did at the start. However, if you close the aperture, or lower the ISO, both the flash and the available light will look dimmer; open the aperture, or raise the ISO, and both the flash and the available light will look brighter. What time of day to shoot There’s one more thing to understand before you get started. When shooting with most flashes, you can’t go beyond your camera’s sync speed, or the flash will only light part of the scene. This is due to the way the camera’s shutter exposes the sensor. On most DSLRs the sync speed will be 1/200sec or 1/250sec. What’s more, as you’ll need more flash power when using small apertures or low ISO settings, it makes sense to avoid the very brightest parts of the day. Unless, that is, you have a very powerful flash. Work out the available light exposure First, position the subject and the lights roughly as you want them in the scene. Here I started out by setting up one flash to camera right and another in the background firing back towards my shooting position. Both were

1/160sec at f/8 ISO 400

fitted with radio trigger receivers and the flashes set to manual mode, so power could be adjusted later. The main trigger I added to the camera, but left it switched off until the available light exposure was sorted out. In manual mode (M), I started out with an aperture of f/11 to keep the subject sharp and only blur the background a little, then set the ISO to 400 as the light was beginning to fade. Checking the exposure bar in the viewfinder, I set the shutter speed to correctly expose the scene and got a very low 1/4sec.

Setting the flash power Next I switched on the trigger and set the power of the flashes. In flash mode, I placed the meter next to the subject, setting it to 1/125sec, ISO 400. At 1/8 power from the flash to camera right, and 1/4 power from the flash in the background, it gave me an aperture of f/11, ensuring a good exposure. From this point, though, you won’t be able to change the aperture or ISO settings without the flash exposure being affected. Any changes mean it will need to remetered.

Underexposing the available light With that 1/8sec shutter speed in mind, I increased the shutter speed in 1/3 stops until I got the effect I was looking for. A shutter speed of 1/125sec was enough to dull the available light by the right level, which equated to underexposing it by four stops (1/15sec, 1/30sec, 1/60sec, 1/125sec). No matter how fast or slow you set the shutter, the brightness of the flash output will remain the same, but as mentioned above you don’t want to go over the camera’s sync speed. What’s more, if the shutter speed gets too fast it will darken the background too much and you’ll lose the sense of ‘place’.

Modifying the light Up until this point I’d been using naked flash, but this is rarely the best. To improve things I added a softbox to the flash at camera right and a grid to the flash in the background; for the latter I also moved it opposite the first flash, giving more of a side-on highlight. Those changes affect the brightness on the subject, so I checked the power again using the flash meter. The diffusing effect of the softbox meant I needed to increase the output of that flash to near 1/2 power. The second flash, now from the side, I metered at just under 1/4 power, but to add more kick, I decided to overexpose a little, setting this at 1/4 +0.7.

1/125sec at f/8 ISO 400

Above Below the camera’s sync speed, the shutter speed you set will have no effect on the flash. Here you can see how the sky gets lighter as the shutter speed slows from 1/200sec to 1/60sec, but the strength of the flash is consistent.

A shutter speed of 1/125sec was enough to dull the available light by the right level

More lights, more options The main technique on these pages used just two speedlights fired off-camera, but that wireless shooting can still give your shots a nice high-end look. If you want more control, you just need to add more lights, and the only limit is how much kit you want to move around with you, and how long you want to spend setting up. In the picture of an airsoft player on the right, four lights were used, which allows a more sophisticated look. As you can see in the behind the scenes shot, I used two Lencarta Safari 2 portable flashes to give strong, contrasty lighting on the subject from the sides. Then two Lencarta Atom flashes were added, one as a soft fill light from the front and another to provide a spotlight on the background.

Side and fill lighting

Four light set-up


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature

Motor sports specialist Frits van Eldik has over 25 years’ experience shooting action-packed events and the Canon system is his tool of choice Having your camera gear stolen is something we all dread, but when it happened to Frits van Eldik he decided to switch systems and has been using Canon ever since. “Canon was leading in the world of sports photography so I made the switch,” Frits tells us. “I now use two EOS-1D X Mark II bodies, two EOS 5D Mark IV bodies and an EOS 5DSR.” Inspired by the photography his father did as a hobby and growing up around cars (his father owned a garage), Frits found his niche early. “When I was 11 years old I told everybody that I would become a motor sports photographer,” he recalls. He’s now been specialising in motor sports photography for over 25 years. “Motor sports has everything: action, speed, emotions, colours, portraits and landscape. One minute you’ll be shooting a nice portrait and minutes later a car leaving the pits. Being on the track you can even shoot scenic landscapes and by changing lens some close-up action.” Shooting such a broad range of shots requires a variety of lenses and Frits has built up his kit accordingly. He uses the EF 400mm f/2.8, EF 200-400mm f4, EF 24mm

f/1.4L II USM, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, EF 50mm f/1.2L and EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM. “I love the EF 400mm f/2.8, but the flexibility of the EF 200-400mm is also great. I love the prime lenses as well, but sometimes when travelling you need to decide to bring zoom lenses due to weight restrictions or airline policies,” he says. Frits’ big picture (over the page) was taken for a Dutch glossy magazine called RTL GP magazine. “The feature was about two Porsches that raced back in the 70s. To have these two cars back on the track was already special, but being able to create something that was impossible back in those days was what I wanted to do,” he explains. This image was captured using a Canon EOS 6D with EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens, and a rig fixed to the car. “One of my specialities is making rig shots. You need to fine-tune the settings of the camera depending on the speed that the car is running. I used the EOS 6D for this shot because it’s lightweight and has built-in Wi-Fi, which allows me to easily work by connecting with the Camera Connect App to

The Kit When I was 11 years old I told everybody that I would become a motor sports photographer”

my iPad. When shooting these type of shots now I use the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.” “The challenge in most of my work is time,” he says. “The client usually hires a race track and I then have two hours to create a story. Building a construction that is safe and strong enough to fix the camera to is time consuming; you cannot take any risks. Besides that, you need a bit of luck and a moment where the camera has little vibrations; experience helps me.”

About the photographer Frits van Eldik is a motor sports and Formula 1 photographer from the Netherlands. His motor sports images have been published in newspapers in both the Netherlands and France, and his client list includes big name brands such as Heineken, BMW, Philips, Red Bull, Shell and many more. Frits is currently preparing to photograph the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix and will cover a total of 14 Grands Prix this year. In addition to this he will also be shooting the 24 hours of Le Mans, and is working on a long-term project around historic cars. fritsvaneldik.nl

© Frits van Eldik

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x Perfect for getting in close on the action. This lens features a built-in extender increasing the focal range to 280-560mm. It also features Image Stabilizer technology, offering three modes to help eliminate camera shake when panning.

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM With an ultra low dispersion (UD) and aspherical element to boost image quality this ultra-wide angle lens is great for getting energetic wide shots and filling the frame. It’s wide aperture of f/2.8 will produce stunning bokeh and makes it ideal for shooting hand-held in low-light conditions.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature Š Frits van Eldik


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Advertisement feature

Spring into action Bring a new lease of life to your photography and get kitted out ready to explore the great outdoors Spring is here, which means our beautiful British landscape will begin to blossom with colourful flowers and fresh green leaves. Wildlife will also become easier to spot as birds make their nests and animals bask in the sun, and with such a variety of photo opportunities and temperatures climbing, you’ll be raring to explore the outdoors, so you’ll need the right kit for the job.

The Canon EOS M6 with the 15-45mm lens is the perfect option to fit in your bag for days out or travelling, or you could choose the recently released, durable Canon EOS 77D DSLR and combine it with a telephoto lens for some wildlife shots. Canon has some great contenders for whatever you need! canon.co.uk

EOS 77D and 80D The latest addition to the EOS family is the EOS 77D, which features the new DIGIC 7 processor allowing you to capture great images even in dark situations. Similar to the EOS 80D, the EOS 77D features a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. Both DSLRs are ideal for photography enthusiasts, who want to become more advanced in their skills. The EOS 77D offers a continuous shooting speed of 6fps, while the EOS 80D offers 7fps so you can capture burst sequences of action to record the decisive moment. With 45 autofocus points, both models offer fast and accurate focusing for pin-sharp results, even when using live view on the EOS 77D as it boasts one of the world’s fastest live view focusing speeds. To help you get creative with your shots both have a vari-angle touchscreen; a simple tap on the screen is all it takes to focus. For moviemakers the 80D offers Full HD video at 50p, while the 77D offers Full HD at 60p for pro style movies. Thanks to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF that both models feature you can have more control over focusing when recording, so if a subject moves you can quickly and easily adjust focus.

EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens offers exceptional reach – perfect for photographing objects in the distance. When used with an APS-C sensored camera, it offers a 35mm equivalent focal length range of around 112-480mm. It’s perfect for photographing wildlife in its natural habitat this spring, or documenting a sports or action event, zooming close into the action. With a Nano ultrasonic motor its autofocusing

Canon EOS M6 with EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Small enough to fit in your pocket or bag, yet the EOS M6 boasts DSLR-like specs so you can capture great images. With a 24.2-megapixel sensor, even in low light, it’ll take images with good detail. It’s a speed machine, offering shooting speeds of up to 9fps or 7fps in servo focusing mode and it focuses quickly thanks to its dual pixel CMOS AF. With 5-axis image stabilisation both stills and videos will be sharp, clear and free from camera shake. With the 15-45mm lens attached, it can tackle a range of subjects from wide city scenes and landscapes to portrait shots and family groups and upload them with built-in Wi-Fi. To keep it safe and secure, there’s the EOS M6 body jacket, available separately in black or brown.

is fast and almost silent. It’ll quickly lock focus on the subject without disturbing it and produce sharp images, thanks to its three-stop Image Stabilizer. With a builtin LCD screen you’ll be able to check focus distance, as well as depth-of-field at various apertures even if shooting in poor lighting. Thanks to this lens’ circular aperture diaphragm, images feature stunning bokeh for beautifully blurred backgrounds.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

32

Technique

In association with

High standards Standard prime lenses used to be the mainstay of photography, then zoom lenses all but took over. But what if returning to a more traditional view could increase your creativity and inspire you to make better pictures? Words Kingsley Singleton Pictures by Will Cheung and Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

© Will Cheung

© Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

As a photographer, lenses are your passport to true creativity. Changing lenses alters both your view of the world, and how you’re able to shoot it. But while many shooters run straight for the dramatic views supplied by wider or longer options when upgrading, you can also achieve brilliant images with standard focal lengths, which sit between those two. The general description of a standard (or ‘normal’) focal length is one which gives a view that’s similar to the human eye. This is also called a ‘natural view’. But that’s not too helpful without digging into it a little, because for one thing your field of view, even from one eye, is much broader. The idea that at standard focal length things look similar to through the human eye is more to do with perspective: if you shoot and made a print of the scene in front of you, then held it up at arm’s length ‘in the view’, a standard focal length would make it look very similar; but compare this to views from wide-angle or telephoto optics and they wouldn’t match. The focal lengths that give this effect depends on the size of sensor you’re using (more on which in the Pick the right lens section, below), but broadly you’re looking at 40mm or 50mm on a full-frame camera, and about 30mm on smaller chips like APS-C and Micro Four Thirds (MFT) sensors. Of course, most kit zooms (like a 18-55mm, or 24-70mm) include these focal lengths, but if you pick up a prime lens in these focal lengths, you’ll get greater quality, usually less bulk and wider maximum apertures. With their natural view, these versatile lenses are a great fit with a range of subjects, like candids and street photography, environmental portraits, details and textures, for cropped landscape views, architecture, and, especially when using lenses with wide apertures, low-light shots. In fact, so useful are they, you’ll find the nickname ‘nifty 50’ well deserved.

PART 1

Pick the right lens

Everything you need to know about choosing a standard prime lens Like most lens types you can pay very little or a lot for your standard prime lens. Because of featuring fewer moving parts, prime lenses can have quite a simple construction, so prices start from just over £100 for a typical 50mm f/1.8 to £599 for a Sigma f/1.4 DA HSM Art and can rise to several thousands. So what should you be picking? The general rule of buying the best lens you can afford holds just as true with standard primes. Get a good one and you’ll be able to rely on it for a lifetime while camera bodies you’ll change much more often; as the old saying goes, ‘you date your cameras, but you marry your lenses’. What focal length? First you need to match the focal length of the lens to your camera. On a full-frame DSLR, 50mm lenses are the most popular standard focal length, but due to their smaller sensor sizes, APS-C and Micro

Four Thirds sensor you’ll need a 25mm or 30mm lens to get the same effect. In those cases, you just need to multiply the lens’s focal length by the crop factor of the sensor (1.5x or 1.6x for APS-C and 2x for MFT), and so long as it’s somewhere between 40mm and 50mm, you’ll be in the right ball park. However, because of those crop factors, if you mount a 50mm lens on an APS-C DSLR you’ll be getting something around 75-80mm – longer than standard. How fast do you want to go? Primes afford wider maximum apertures than most zooms, so in that way almost any standard prime lens can be termed ‘fast’ or ‘bright’, but there’s still variation from model to model. Taking 50mm lenses as an example, you’ll generally find them in f/1.8, f/1.4 and f/1.2 versions, though wider lenses do exist, like f/1 or f/0.95 models. The brighter the lens, the more it’s likely to cost, too.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

33

Technique

In association with

What to look for in a standard prime

5 7 3

2 1

4

© Shannon Walford

1

8 Front element

The front element is the business end of the lens, so it needs to be kept clean and well protected. Many lenses have water and oil-repellent coatings nowadays, which can make cleaning them easier. Or fit a protection filter.

2

9

6

Filter thread

Filter (sometimes called accessory) thread size varies from model to model, and you’ll need to know this to fit screw-on filters or a filter holder, which will help control the light or protect the front element from scratches. You’ll often need an ND filter to shoot at very wide apertures. Bigger sizes mean more expensive filters.

Build and handling Getting a lens with good quality build means it should be able to take the odd knock, so look for use of metal and high-impact plastic on the barrel, as well as a solid feel without any rattling or a hollow feel. The focusing ring should be well grooved

A lens hood helps cut out lens flare, which is caused by bright light sources striking the front element. Flare, in the right situations, can be attractive, but it also lowers contrast and leaves artefacts on the image. A lens hood also protects the front element from knocks.

4

Focus ring

The focus ring is used to manually focus the lens, and also, in the certain AF modes and some systems, to make minor corrections after the autofocus has kicked in.

and smooth in the turn without feeling loose, allowing manual focus to be used with accuracy. If the lens has weather sealing it’s a bonus. Using filters When buying a standard prime, people don’t often think of filter size, but it’s a big factor. If you want to use the widest apertures in bright light, you’ll need to fit neutral density (ND) filters, and even when you’re not, a protection or UV filter makes a lot of sense to guard the font element against damage. Check the size to see if you can use filters you already have, or need to invest in new ones. Focusing and image stabilisation They’re not action lenses as such, but the focusing speed and accuracy of standard lenses is important for portraits, street and general shots. And though a lot of the performance comes from the camera’s AF system, the lens’s focusing motor is also important. Examples like Sigma’s Hyper Sonic Motor, speed up focusing and keep it quiet. Standard lenses don’t tend to use image stabilisation, mainly as their very fast maximum apertures mean higher shutter speeds can be used to counter camera shake. Image stabilisation systems also adds size, weight and cost to a lens, so up until now, it’s not something lens makers have seen fit to include.

5

Maximum aperture

This states how wide the aperture will open; on standard primes you can look forward to fast apertures like f/1.4 or f/1.8. The wider the aperture the easier it will be to exposing and focus in low-light, and to blur parts of the scene.

6

7

Focal length

A standard focal length is around 40mm or 50mm on a full-frame camera. If you’re using one with a smaller sensor, like an APS-C chip, it will be closer to 30mm or 35mm. Prime lenses only have one focal length, so you’ll need to move your feet instead of zooming when you want to recompose.

9

Lens mount

The mounting point between lens and camera. Of course, it needs to be one that fits your camera make, and a metal lens mount will offer greater strength and durability in the long term. Some lenses have weather sealing here, too, protecting the camera and the lens contacts.

Focus distance window

This shows where the lens is focused between infinity and the lens’s closest focusing distance, measured in metres and feet. Some lenses also have a depth-of-field scale, so you can quickly tell what’s in focus and what isn’t.

8

Controls

Switches here will include features like switching from auto (AF) to manual focus (MF). There’s unlikely to be much else on a standard lens, as image stabilisation and focus limiting don’t tend to be included.

Primes afford wider maximum apertures than most zooms © Kingsley Singleton

Size and weight Again there’s lots of variation out there. As a rule of thumb, the wider the maximum aperture of the lens, the larger and heavier it’s likely to be, as more glass is used to keep image quality high. But heaviness in itself isn’t an issue if you’re used to heftier cameras and lenses. The most important thing is to consider how you’ll be using the lens, and for how long. While its quality will likely be greater, a heavy lens can weigh you down and spoil your enjoyment after a white, and large lenses can attract unwanted attention. So, in some instances smaller and lighter is the way to go, even if it means missing out on performance.

Lens hood

© Kingsley Singleton

How fast a maximum aperture you need depends on what kind of light you’ll be working in. The wider the maximum aperture the more light you’ll be able to record, so faster shutter speeds can be used, which is especially helpful shooting hand held in low light. Wider apertures also give shallower depth-of-field.

3

Above Standard focal lengths, like 50mm on a full-frame DSLR (right) give the most natural view of the world – compare this to the forced perspective of a wide-angle lens (left, 24mm) where anything close to the camera is massively enlarged. Standard lenses may be less dramatic but they are more truthful.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

35 In association with

PART 2

Technique

Get more from your standard lens Improve your standard lens technique with these easy-to-follow tips © Kingsley Singleton

2 Shoot wide open in bright light If you’ve invested in a standard prime like a 50mm f/1.4, you’ll find that using the widest apertures can be very appealing. The shallow depth-of-field you get allows you to separate the subject from the background, keeping them in sharp focus while the rest of the scene blurs, and this is especially useful when a backdrop is messy or distracting. But try setting the widest apertures in bright light, like on a sunny day and you can get a nasty surprise. The picture may overexpose, or you may not be able to shoot at all. This is because, while a very wide aperture lets in lots of light, the shutter speed can’t go quickly enough to compensate, having hit the highest speed possible. To show the error, the shutter speed may blink (as shown below), or read ‘hi’. Instead of using a smaller aperture, first dial in the lowest ISO, often 100 or 200. If the picture is still overexposing, you’ll need to fit an neutral density (ND) filter. An ND cuts the light entering the lens, and that amount is governed by the strength of the filter. So, in aperture-priority mode (A or Av), a one stop ND (called an ND2, or ND 0.3), will lower the shutter speed by a stop; a two stop ND (ND4 or ND 0.6) will lower it by two stops. This is often enough to keep you shooting. © Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

✘ 1 Move your feet

If you’re working with a standard prime lens, you might initially find the lack of other focal lengths restricting; but stick with it and you’ll soon find it can help you produce better images. While zoom lenses can make photographers a bit lazy, the restriction of just one focal length makes you work harder in your composition. You’ll get better at framing, and more likely to see, and correct, problems within the composition. It’s not that prime lenses automatically make better pictures, but learning to use them can make better photographers. The process of moving your feet instead of turning a zoom ring can also mean you’re more likely to investigate the subject, finding new and more interesting angles on it. This could be as simple as framing the subject in a way that’s different to how you’d normally do it, such as the more interesting angle on the platform above. What’s more, by keeping to a standard focal length and moving your feet, rather than zooming in or out, you’ll get a much more natural view of the scene, rather than the compressed perspective of a telephoto lens, or the huge angle of view of a wide-angle lens that makes the foreground seem much larger than the background.

© Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

3 Blur backgrounds more easily

Shooting with a standard prime, you’re likely to have wide maximum apertures like f/1.4, f/1.8 or f/2 at your disposal. These make blurring the background to your subject fairly easy, as long as you do it in the right way. But if you need to shoot at a more limited aperture, like f/4 or f/5.6 (for example when you want to keep more of your subject sharp), you can get more blur with careful positioning of the subject. In aperture-priority mode (A or Av), set the aperture required, then focus on the subject and take your first shot. Now, if possible, move the subject further from the background, while keeping them the same distance from the camera. Refocus and shoot again. Compare the two shots and you’ll see that, in the second, the background is more blurred. The closer that you move the subject to the camera (and away from the background), the more pronounced the effect will be. But be warned: shooting close-up portraits at 50mm – like a head and shoulders framing – you’ll start to notice some distortion in the subject’s features.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

36

Technique PART 3

In association with

Get creative with your standard lenses Four simple projects to shoot with your 50mm prime lens

The wide maximum apertures of standard primes make them perfect for portraits, especially when light is limited. When setting up, don’t frame too close: a half, seated, or full length framing next to a window out of direct sun is perfect. In aperture-priority (A or Av), dial in the lowest f/number or close to it. Frame up and focus on the subject, then check the shutter speed. If light is very low, you may find it’s too slow for shooting handheld, or to stop any subject movement, which will result in blur ruining the pic. If this is the case, increase ISO to raise the shutter speed; as a rule of thumb, on a 50mm lens you’ll want it to be at least 1/50sec, or higher. It’s also worth dialling some negative exposure compensation if you need some more shadow in the pic.

2 Get into street photography

© Kingsley Singleton

1 Shoot a window-lit portrait

There’s no set lens for street photography, but experts in the subject often use a 50mm prime (or an equivalent model if they’re using a camera with a smaller sensor). A 50mm’s undistorted, natural perspective gives a very realistic view of the world, and their maximum apertures make it easier to shoot handheld in low light. They also let you keep your distance compared to wider lenses and aren’t so long that you need to miles from the action. The (generally) smaller size of a 50mm lens means you won’t stand out too much either. If you have to work quickly, say when walking, or to react on the spur of the moment, switch to program (P), set the ISO to a middling level like 800, so you get a decent shutter speed, and the aperture to around f/5.6, giving some depth-of-field to play with. Set autofocus to Continuous and the autofocus area to a wide zone. The better route though, is to find a good backdrop and wait for the action to happen, like actors entering a stage. This way you can prefocus where you want, and fine-tune your exposure settings, too.

© Will Cheung

3 Shoot a standard lens landscape More often than not, landscape photographers use wide-angle lenses, but the longer focal length of a standard prime can produce great results, too. You won’t get the ‘big’ foregrounds that have become common, but the traditional view that a 50mm (or equivalent) lens provides will lend a more natural look to the scene, and this can often lead to more relaxing and admirable images. After you’ve found a good view (higher vantage points work well), frame up and then mount the camera on a tripod to ensure the sharpest possible results. In aperture-priority mode (A or Av), set a

high f/number like f/14 or f/16, and a low ISO setting like 100 or 200. Focus on the scene and then set the drive mode to self-timer, before triggering your exposure. Shooting with a longer focal length than the usual means you’re more likely to pick up camera shake, so you have one, use a cable-release or remote to start the exposure, too. Because a standard focal length covers less of the scene than a wide-angle lens you’ll have fewer problems with dynamic range, but it may still be necessary to use graduated NDs, so don’t forget your filters and/or a holder that fits the lens. © Kingsley Singleton

© Kingsley Singleton

4 Shoot a photo joiner The view given by standard focal lengths isn’t super wide, so when shooting more expansive views you may not be able to fit everything you want into the frame. But you can also turn this restriction into a benefit – shoot the subject piecemeal and you’ll be able to use the separate prints to create your own unique view of the scene as a photo joiner. A standard focal length like 50mm means you need to shoot roughly double the shots you’d need to cover a scene at 24mm, and this makes for a more cohesive joiner. Longer lenses on the other hand require too many shots. The more natural, undistorted look of a 50mm gives it a classic feel, too. In terms of composing, focusing and exposure, this technique is pretty free form. You can choose to leave the camera in one of the semi-auto modes, like aperture-priority, which will give slight differences in the brightness of each shot (as above), or shoot in manual to keep things consistent. Once the images are shot, you’ve got a choice. You can either print them all out and turn them into a traditional physical joiner, or add the pictures one by one as Photoshop layers.

Next month Next time in PN’s Ultimate Guide to Lenses, discover a whole new world with a macro lens. We’ll show you everything you need to know when buying a macro lens, how to improve results from it, and how to use it creatively for best-ever close-up pics.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

38

Accessories test Buyers’ guide

Lighting on location

2

1

If you want to give your location portraits a lift, add some flash to the mix. Lighting outside of the studio has never been easier or more affordable, but you need the right gear to make it a success. Here’s a good spread of high-quality kit to get you started or improve results from the kit you’ve already got... 1

Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro Reflector (£50)

The larger the light source compared to the subject, the softer the light will look; but the lens on a typical speedlight is not very big at all. To enlarge the source you need a modifier, like the Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro reflector. This attaches to the flash by a secure belt and buckle, and when the flash is fired into it, the light is diffused. You can use it on-camera or when firing a flash remotely, and it can be sculpted to refine the throw of light. This XL version measures a generous 33x41cm, so it’s as big as some softboxes, but folds away and weighs only 272g for easy transportation. It’s also compatible with FlashBender XL Pro, including diffusers and grids. colorconfidence.com

Lencarta Safari 2 600Ws location lighting system (£699)

2

Need more power and performance than your speedlight? Then it’s time to upgrade to a pro-quality location flash like Lencarta’s Safari 2 system. The Safari 2 comprises a compact flash head and 600Ws flash generator, both of which are small and light. Power is adjustable over five stops down to 1/32 in 1/3 stop increments and you can get up to 400 full-power flashes per charge (and plenty more at lower settings). It’s triggered with the included Wavesync Commander system, wherein you can also set power. The flash generator is connected to the head by a heavy duty cable of about 3m in length and it uses common S-fit variety. The set also comes with a metal case and a padded carry bag. lencarta.com

3

Westcott Rapid Box (£195)

This pro-level modifier from Westcott gives beautifully soft and even illumination, even when you’re using your speedlight flash. The softness comes from the double layer of diffusing fabric (which is rated for lights up to 1000Ws), and the shallowness and the size of the box; at 65cm, it’s much larger than most portable modifiers. A screwin reflector plate can be added for even more diffusion. The Rapid box is also quick to setup and easy to transport, opening and closing like a brolly, and with an aluminium build to keep weight at a minimum. It also comes with a protective, handled carry case. The incorporated bracket can be mounted to any lighting stand, and your speedlight is mounted on top, with height and depth adjustable to suit almost any model.

7 8

fjwestcott.com

4

Kenro Speedflash KFL101 speedlight (£95)

Compatible with both Canon and Nikon systems, this speedlight is fully wireless and E-TTL (Canon) or i-TTL (Nikon) compatible, via those systems’ optical triggering. This means you can shoot on or off camera without needing to meter the flash power yourself. Off camera range is up to 15m outdoors and around 20m indoors. The KFL101 also supports handy features such as high-speed sync (HSS) flash – allowing you to shoot faster than the camera’s usual sync speed – and Flash Exposure Bracketing. It has a guide number of 58 (metres at ISO 100, 180mm) and a top recycle rate of 2.3secs at full power. It comes with a padded case, stand, and ‘softbox’ attachment. kenro.co.uk

5

Manfrotto Compact Lighting Stand (£69)

Invest in a good quality lighting stand and you’ll be paid back by a lifetime of service. Manfrotto’s Compact Stand (MN1052BAC) is a great example; its maximum load of 5kg means you can support both monolights and regular flashguns, and thanks to the 109cm spread of its legs, it’s a very stable platform, too. The stand extends to a maximum height of 237cm, and at its lowest, it’s 101cm, so light placement is versatile. Strong twist locks hold each section securely, and much like a tripod, the leg angles can be set using a rotating selector. The closed length is 86cm and if you have multiple stands they can be attached to each other for transportation using Manfrotto’s clever Quick Stack System. manfrotto.co.uk

6

Sekonic L-308S Flashmate (£179)

When it comes to working out flash power, you can use trial and error via your digital camera’s screen and histogram, so lighting with flash is certainly a lot easier than it used to be. But for real accuracy you need a flash meter. This will save time both in setting up and editing. Sekonic’s L-308S Flashmate is pocket-sized, light (100g) and affordable. It offers both ambient and flash exposure readings and both incident and reflected light can be measured, with readings displayed full, half or 1/3stops, at an accuracy to +/0.1EV. Displayed apertures run from f/0.5 to f/90.9. To make it easy to read in low light, or a dim studio environment, the LCD display uses large icons, and it runs on a single AA battery. sekonic.com

7

Calumet PowerPort Duo 1000 Battery Pack (£135)

Speedlights can quickly chew through batteries, losing performance along the way. This can become frustrating as you wait longer and longer for lights to recycle. Try replacing the AAs with a rechargeable powerpack like Calumet’s PowerPort Duo 1000 and you’ll get more flashes and faster, too. Principally designed for use with Calumet’s Genesis GF200 and GF400 flashes, a simple £20 adapter cable (available separately) will connect the pack to your Canon, Metz, Nikon or Sony ’guns. With the Canon 580EX II or Nikon SB-900, the PowerPort Duo 1000 is rated at up to 1800 full-power flashes. Charging time is three hours, and the unit measures 159x133x20mm and weighs only 500g. calphoto.co.uk


39

Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

Accessories test

3

6

4

5

10 9 12

11

8

Lastolite Tilthead Shoe Lock (£25)

Lighting stands are designed mainly for monolights, which – unlike speedlights – have their own tilt mechanism. Therefore, if you’re going to mount a speedlight, you need an adapter to help angle it, otherwise you’ll only be able to fire it horizontally or tilted up. Try Lastolite’s Tilthead Shoe Lock, which uses an adjustable locking mount into which you can slide your flashgun. This lock gives an extra level of security as well as your speedlight’s own lock, and its design fits any unit. Angled via an ergonomic knob on the side, the Tilthead Shoe Lock also has a socket to accept lighting umbrella shafts, just like the mount of a monolight would; shafts of 7-10mm can be used. manfrotto.co.uk/lastolite

9

Panzer Centurion 17.9 hard case (£88)

Once you’ve built up your collection of flashguns, triggers and other small accessories, it’s a good idea to store and protect them properly. Sure, a regular bag will do the job, but a well organised hard-case will do it even better. Made of impact Resistant ABS resin, the Panzer Centurion 17.9 will protect your fragile gear like nothing else, thanks to its modular foam interior. The 17.9 litre volume equates to internal dimensions of 380x271x178.5mm, so there’s plenty of room for even an extensive lighting kit. Closing with double-throw latches, and a rubber O-Ring around the grooved opening, the case is waterproof and dust-tight, crushproof, and will even float up to a fully loaded weight of 15kg. panzercases.co.uk

Hähnel Captur remote 10 and trigger for wireless shooting (£70)

Getting a wireless trigger allows you to place flashes at a greater distance from the camera, and in more creative positions than cabled or optical methods. As a wireless remote, it has a great range of up to 100m away, and the system is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony models. You can pick up additional receivers for around £40 a go, letting you trigger multiple flashes, and the system runs on two AA batteries per unit. The Captur remote and trigger doubles as a remote shutter release, too, and it’s compatible with other Captur gear, such as the Module Pro and Module IR for high-speed, time lapse, and motion triggered effects. hahnel.ie

11

Tetenal 5-in-1 rectangular reflector (£29)

Even when you’re using multiple flashguns, a reflector can improve results; but when using just one ’gun, it’s indispensable. The large, rectangular 91x122cm version from Tetenal has a larger surface area than the more common circular designs, so it’s easier to bounce more light onto the subject, and its five-in-one design means it’s highly versatile. The middle of the reflector is a diffuser, which can soften the flash (or sun) for you, and over that is stretched a reversible zippered cover. The gold and white surfaces give warm or soft, neutral light, while the silver and black add more strength to the reflection or subtract light for more shadow. It all folds into an included carry bag for easy storage and transportation. tetenaluk.com

Phottix Honeycomb Grid 12 and Gel set for speedlights (£25)

Using modifiers that channel and focus the light can be just as creative as using diffusers. Restricting light lets you create hard shadows, subtle highlights and pools of light on the background. To do it from your speedlight flash you’ll need a modifier like the Phottix Honeycomb Grid and Gel set. Suitable for almost any flashgun, you get the holder, a honeycomb grid, nine gels for coloured lighting effects, and a frosted diffuser. The holder attaches securely using a simple strap, so it’s quick to apply, and so light you can leave it in place for easier setup next time. The nine gels include two shades of blue, two shades of green, two shades of red, aquamarine, orange and purple. phottix.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

40

Camera test Specs Prices £799 body only Sensor 24.3-megapixels X-Trans CMOS III Sensor format 23.8x15.6mm APS-C, 6000x4000pixels ISO range 200-12,800, 100-51,200 extended Shutter range 30secs to 1/8000sec mechanical shutter, top speed with electronic shutter 1/32,000sec. Drive modes 14fps with electronic shutter, 8fps mechanical shutter allowing up to 27 uncompressed Raws Metering system 256 zone metering, multi, spot, average, centre-weighted Exposure modes PASM Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0,3EV steps Monitor Tiltable 3in, 1040K dots, touch function Viewfinder 0.5in, 2.36million dots showing 100% image area Focusing Intelligent hybrid system with TTL phase detect and TTL contrast detect. Single AF, continuous AF and manual focus Focus points 91 or 325 AF points usable in single point AF (five sizes possible), widetracking AF up to 18 area, zone AF (3x3, 5x5, 7x7) Video 4K (3840x2160) 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 100Mbps up to approx. 10mins, full HD, HD Connectivity Wireless, USB 3.0/micro USB, micro HDMI (D), 3.5mm mini-jack (microphone), 2.5mm micro remote release connector Other key features Dynamic range setting, advanced filters options, interval timer, 1st and 2nd curtain flash sync, auto FP (HSS) Storage media 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC card Dimensions (wxhxd) 132.5x91.8x49.2mm Weight Body 507g with card and battery Contact Fujifilm.eu

Fujifilm X-T20 The Fujifilm X-series goes from strength to strength and the X-T20 is the latest arrival. It’s a mid-range mirrorless camera that has inherited many of the features from the flagship X-T2 and is competitively priced, too Words and pictures by Will Cheung

The Fujifilm X-series has two distinct camera types within its range which share the same lenses and accessories, and with the identical sensor format deliver the same very high performance levels. The X-Pro2 offers handling in the style of a rangefinder camera a la Leica M while the XT-2, with its centrally placed viewfinder eyepiece, is more DSLR-like. The X-T20 is of this ilk, and offers a similar shooting experience to the X-T2 but in a more compact, lighter bodyform and at a cheaper price. Body only the X-T20 is £799.99 so it is targeted at prospective Fujifilm-X series owners but also temptingly priced as a back-up body to X-T2 owners. Putting the X-T2 and X-T20 side by side reveals that the size difference between them is significant, in body length as well as height. Given the shorter body you might think that the X-T20 is missing a control dial or two compared with the X-T2 but that’s not the case, and there is not much spare space across the top-plate. There are controls for drive settings, shutter speeds and exposure compensation but the one facility that has gone off the top-plate compared with the X-T2 to a menu or function button is the ISO setting. The Drive dial has the usual shooting speed options but there are plenty of modes. Here you can set panorama shooting, multiple exposure, video and more. Two Adv settings let you allocate any two advanced creative filters from the choice of 13 to them. There are also two bracket (BKT) settings and here you can choose from AE bracket, ISO bracket, film simulation bracket, dynamic range bracket and white-

Above The X-T20 is reminescent of a DSLR with its pentaprism hump that allows room for the high quality electronic viewfinder (EVF) even though it is a mirrorless camera. It is available in silver and black versions. balance bracket. Having two bracket options is handy and saves delving into the menu to switch between modes. I had exposure and film simulation modes bracketing set. There is a couple of top-plate features the X-20 has that the X-T2 lacks. The first is a pop-up flash. It’s low powered with a GN of 7 at ISO 200/m, and the cantilever design lifts it high enough not to have any lens casting shadow problems when used with the 18-55mm standard zoom at the 18mm end – unless you are focused really close up. Second is an Auto lever. The Auto setting is akin to the green square mode found on many DSLRs for point and shoot photography. Some features are locked down and greyed out in the menu so you can’t change them. For example, the AF system works on a 7x7 AF point grid and you can’t change that. And some items such as face detection and auto ISO are active. The Q menu is also greatly restricted, but the biggest thing is Raw shooting is disabled. The joint card and battery compartment has been situated right next to the tripod bush, which is not ideal – even with the smallest tripod plate attached you need to take

it off before swapping the card or battery over. The smaller body does make a secure shooting grip on the camera body slightly less comfortable if you have big hands and/or long fingers. This also means you need to rearrange your hand when you want to alter focus point using the fourway control pad. There is no focus joystick, nor can you use the touch screen to quickly select the single AF point when you have the camera up to your eye using the EVF. However, compose your shots using the monitor and you can use its touch functionality to select the AF point/zone. In Wide/Tracking mode, the camera takes control and where you touch on the screen has no effect. You have control of touch functionality – AF touch, shoot touch and off – without having to go into the menu; there is a virtual box top right of the monitor that’s active constantly. Navigating and selecting menu items is done via the four-way pad or front/ rear input dials, not via touch. The AF array is the same as the X-T2’s. There are 91 AF points arranged in a 13x7 grid and there is the option of switching on a 325 zone, 13x25 grid. The overall image area

covered is the same in both instances so with the 325 zones there are more just crammed in. The 325 option is only available in single point AF mode, and not in Wide/Tracking or Zone. In single zone operation, five sizes are available and the whole grid is selectable. The Zone option presents the choice of groups of 7x7, 5x5 or 3x3 AF points, and the selected zone can be moved around the 13x7 pattern; the actual active zones light up when you are shooting. In this setting, touch AF enables you to move the selected zone around using the touch monitor. Add five case studies for continuous AF and you have a highly featured AF system, especially when you bear in mind that the X-T20 is a mid-range model. The key thing is the AF system works well. I shot mostly in single point AF either navigating the points around using the four-way cluster, or the monitor. I liked using the AF shot setting, using the monitor for some candids, and of course with the electronic shutter you can shoot away with total discretion. Accuracy and sensitivity rate highly, with the usual provision that you pay attention to where the AF


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

41

Camera test Performance: ISO

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 25.600

ISO 51,200

© Will Cheung

ISO 200

Original image

The X-T20’s X-Trans sensor is a known quantity so it is no surprise that its performance is very similar to that of the X-T2/X-Pro2. You get very clean, noise free images up to and including ISO 1600 and even ISO 3200 is impressively good. This set of images were shot in the camera’s Raw seting using an XF 18mm f/2 lens and the exposure for the ISO 200 shot was 0.6sec at f/8. Processing was done in Lightroom without any noise

point is positioned and its size. Going for the smallest AF point means you need to be precise with positioning and sometimes a bigger point is a better idea. Conversely, with a finely detailed subject the larger AF can mean focus is less decisive. Obviously all this depends on the lens and aperture in use as well as subject type and distance. I did some close-up portraits with the 56mm f/1.2, and the AF point needs to be precisely on the eye. I did try face detection coupled with eye detection, in auto or with a specific eye selected. I found that eye detection could work – but it could miss the mark, too. The good thing, though, is that the AF point can be moved around the image quickly and with little fuss – with the smaller body I just had to adjust my grip to get my finger onto the four-pad control cluster. A nice option would be AF point selection using the monitor while the camera is up to the EVF. Perhaps we’ll see that on the X-T30. Two controls sit either side of the viewfinder eyepiece, the dioptre correction and the View Mode button that gives the choice of monitor only, EVF only or eye sensor auto switchover between the two. The dioptre control needs a firmer action or a lock as it can be inadvertently moved as you carry the camera. The eye sensor is sensitive and potentially a pain when the camera is mounted on the tripod and you’re

reduction so there is even more improvement to be had. If you are truly struggling for shutter speeds, then even ISO 6400 is an option because noise levels are still low for that speed from an APS-C sized sensor, and fine detail still looks pretty good when enlarged. Beyond this speed, though, and quality is on the decline, and that can be seen clearly on the shots taken at the extended ISO settings.

Images We all expect an excellemt ISO performance at the lower speeds, ISO 400 and slower. But what separates the men from the boys is how a camera delivers in the higher echelons of the ISO range and here the X-T20 (and Fujifilm X-cameras in general) do very well. Large high quality prints with minimal noise at ISO 1600 and above are feasible.

using the monitor’s touch AF feature. Compared with another CSC I reviewed recently, however, the eye sensor’s sensitivity is less of a potential issue because you don’t adjust menus by touch. If the eye sensor is doing its job and does get in your way during tripod use, just go to LCD monitor only – and the good thing is you can do this with no need to go into the menu. The X-T20 does offer a great deal of potential when it comes to customizing control set-up. There are five function buttons, one on the top-plate and four in the pod cluster on the rear. Then there are AE-L and AF-L buttons, plus the command dials. In all cases you have the options

The drive dial has the usual shooting speed options but there are plenty of modes. Here you can set panorama shooting, multiple exposure, video and much more

of 32 different settings, plus off, so a wide range of options are on offer. Of course, should you decide to have the rear cluster pad set to give you direct access to the AF points then four function buttons are lost, but there are still four to customise. I mostly used the X-T20 in multisegment measuring mode and, generally, the exposure system worked very effectively. Strong backlight has the usual impact and caused underexposure and I found that could also be the case even if a flat, grey sky was in the frame. The influence of a bright sky was predictable so I just dialled in some plus exposure compensation before taking the shot, and aside from the occasional instance of underexposure the X-T20 handled a wide range of situations well. Fastest continuous shooting is quoted at 8fps and using an online stopwatch that was certainly accurate. Shoot JPEGs only and you can fire away at that rate for a long time. With Raws, burst capacity is obviously much lower and I got 24 frames at 8fps before the camera slowed up. Once full, the buffer took about 15secs to clear completely. For this test, I was using a PNY Elite Performance 100MB/s SD card. To round up the X-T20’s performance: in this test I shot close to 900 frames in a variety of lighting situations and found it to be a capable, reliable and fun camera to use.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

43

Camera test

ISO 6400, +2NR

ISO 6400, +4NR

Performance: High ISO noise reduction

Original image

© Will Cheung

ISO 6400, 0NR

This set of low light images was taken in Fine JPEG quality mode with the camera’s Noise Reduction menu item at various settings. The images here are straight out of the camera. The shots were taken with the X-T20 fitted with an XF18mm f/2 lens and mounted onto a Gitzo Systematic tripod. The exposure of the ISO 6400 images was 1/8sec at f/8. If you want the best possible incamera JPEGs, the X-T20’s noise reduction feature is worth using and even the highest +4 setting isn’t overly aggressive, so it doesn’t smudge fine detail too much. Images The X-T20 offers incamera noise processing. A range of strengths is available, from -4 to +4. For this test, the various strengths were used for JPEG shots at ISO 3200 to 12,800.

ISO 6400, -2NR

ISO 6400, -4NR

Performance: exposure latitude © Will Cheung

Original image

To look at the X-T20’s exposure latitude with its Raw files, we shot a fully toned sunlit scene. Manual exposure mode was used with the correct exposure being determined at 1/125sec at f/9 and ISO 200. The Raws were corrected using Lightroom to give correct exposure. The camera’s underexposed Raws recovered well so even the -4EV shot looked pretty good, especially tonally when corrected. Peer closely, though, and the amount of noise in the shadows and mid-tones is noticeably greater than the correctly exposed shot. The -3EV shot is much better and while the image does show noise,

it’s not too bad at all and fine detail still looks good and crisp. Residual amounts of noise are present in the -2EV shot and it is only the -1EV that looks directly comparable with the 0EV image. Tolerance to overexposure is limited to +2EV but any more and highlights look grey. Fine detail also suffers with unsightly fringing effects. Keep to under +2EV, however, and the files can be fully recovered to look as good as correctly exposed files. To sum up, Raw exposure latitude is limited to +/-2EV and with some processing work, shots look as good as correctly exposed shots.

+4EV

+3EV

+2EV

+1EV

0EV

-1EV

-3EV

-2EV

Images Of course the camera – and you! – should always endeavour to get the correct exposure, things do go wrong so knowing how much a Raw can be adjusted is important. -4EV


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

44

Camera test © Will Cheung

Top left Canary Wharf station interior shot with a handheld X-T20 and XF 10-24mm f/4 lens at 11mm. Exposure was 1/25sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400. Left middle Looking up at the 02 Arena needed an exposure of 1/40sec at f/4.5 at ISO 800. Shot with the XF 10-24mm f/4 lens. Bottom left Close up detail shot with an XF50-140mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure was 1/750sec at f/2.8 at ISO 800. Bottom right The X-T20’s monitor allows touch shooting, handy for candids like this. Shot with an XF 18-5mm f/2.84 at 55mm using an exposure of 1/90sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400.

Verdict

© Will Cheung

The occasional underexposed shot was easily rectified in post-processing as the exposure latitude of the Raw files is very good

The Fujifilm X-T20 is in effect a ‘baby X-T2’, with the same sensor and image processor in a more compact bodyform, with a trimmed down features set. But you still get plenty to explore and more than enough to take your photography wherever you want to take it. So you do get full spec AF and exposure systems, fast continuous shooting and 4K video. I really enjoyed using the X-T20 even though the body isn’t that deep, which meant I had to readjust handgrip when, for example, I wanted to move focus point. Overall handling, I thought, was impressive with swift focusing and mostly accurate exposures – the occasional slightly underexposed shot was easily rectified in post processing as the exposure latitude of the Raw files is very good. At £799 for the body, the Fujifilm X-T20 is not an entry-level product, but it is excellent value for money considering what you get in terms of features and performance, and a great way to go mirrorless. It is certainly a fine addition to the Fujifilm X-series family and well worth a serious look.

24/25 Features Great sensor, touch monitor, 4k video and much more

© Will Cheung

© Will Cheung

23/25 Performance Picture quality is excellent even at high ISO settings 23/25 Handling Good overall, but the small body won’t suit everyone’s hands 25/25 Value for money Excellent – you get a lot of camera for your money 95/100 Overall As a first CSC, a step up from an existing model or as a back-up, the X-T20 has a great deal going for it. Pros Image quality, ISO performance, monitor, customisaton options Cons Too small for big hands, dioptre correction control


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

46

First tests

First tests Accessories

We get our hands on the latest kit and share our first impressions – so you know whether or not to add it to your wish list Reviews by Will Cheung and Kingsley Singleton

Specs Prices 64GB £25. 16GB, 32GB, 128GB and 256GB also available Features Water, shock and freeze proof Operating temperature 0°C to 60°C Speed class and rating Class 10, U3, UHS-1 Read speed 100MB/s Write speed 90MB/s Number of insertions 10,000 Dimensions 32x24x.2mm Weight 2g Contact pny.eu

Right The PNY SDXC Elite Performance 64GB card has a claimed read and write speed of 100MB/s and 90MB/s respectively.

PNY SDXC Elite Performance 64GB card £25 With the latest cameras boasting very fast continuous shooting rates and the ability to shoot 4K video, the need for a high performance, large capacity card is ever greater. This is why leading memory brands like PNY are constantly striving for better and better performance. The winner of this year’s Best Memory Card in the PN Awards was PNY’s SDXC Elite Performance card, available in sizes from 16GB right up to 256GB. Not only do you get write speeds of up to 90MB/s, but the cards are also robust and are freeze, shock and waterproof. Using the Blackmagic Speed Test app, write speed was tested to be 72.6MB/s, which is a little bit below the manufacturer’s claimed speed, while read speed was found to be 88.3MB/s, a little under the claimed 100MB/s but still more than decent. In a practical test, with the PNY back in the back of a Mac Mini, a 3GB folder took 120secs to write to card which equates to 25MB/s and doing the reverse journey took 37secs which

is 81MB/s. So read speed shows good figures that relate well to the theory tests, but the card’s write speed in this instance could be far better. I next put it into a Fujifilm X-T2 and tried shooting stills and 4K video with it. At 8fps shooting compressed Raws with the mechanical shutter I got about 24 frames at that rate and that slowed down to 5fps and soon after to 3fps and was still going at that speed when I stopped after 30secs when I had taken only 100 Raws. The camera’s write light went out after eight seconds. Write speed in this test seemed better than with the Mac Mini. From a reality perspective very few of us would need to machine-gun away in this manner but it is great to know that the storage card can deliver a high level of performance if the need comes up. Shooting bursts of several frames at a time with a second or so respite in between at the maximum shooting speed is probably what photographers do and the card kept up with us for much longer so a solid performance. WC

It is great to know that the storage card can deliver a high level of performance if the need comes up

Verdict Ask a photographer what they look for in a memory card and you will probably be told reliability, capacity, performance and value for money. Certainly you get that with the PNY SDXC Elite Performance 64GB card tested here. Pros Fast read speed, reliable, high performance for the price Cons Write speed could be faster


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

47

Award Winner - First tests

Fujifilm X-T2 £1399 If you’re a certain age you’ll remember the TV ad where the bloke is so impressed with his electric razor that he buys the company. Although not quite in the same league, I was so taken with the Fujifilm X-T2 during its test for Photography News that I bought one. Offering a DSLR-flavoured mirrorless solution was a stroke of genius, and the X-T2’s predecessor, the X-T1, captured the imagination of many photographers with its high performance, great handling and retro styling. The X-T2 builds on these foundations, throwing in even better handling with faster AF, a fast shooting rate and a higher resolution sensor. The result? An even more appealing camera. The X-T2’s sensor is a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS unit that offers an improved top native ISO of 12,800 and the Acros black & white film simulation mode. Expanded ISO settings of 25,600 and 51,200 are available, too. Capture is with JPEG and 14-bit Raw, with the option of lossless compression to keep file sizes down. Raws and fine JPEGs open up to 6000x4000pixels, so seriously large prints are possible without any software interpolation – work at 300ppi and you get 20x13in prints. Drop down resolution to 250ppi or keep the resolution at 300ppi and interpolate in Photoshop, and first class A2 prints are easily achievable. I’ve been using the X-T2 (recently with v2.0 firmware) with a selection of primes and zooms, tackling landscapes, extreme long exposures, low light, people, street shots and record pictures. For 90% of my shooting I used aperturepriority with multi-segment light measuring, single zone AF and AWB. I always shoot Raw with normal JPEGs – the only reason for the JPEGs is that you get much higher magnification images during review than if you shoot Raws alone. This applies to other Fujifilm X-series models, too. Generally, that set-up serves me well but I do go off-piste occasionally. I shot some pictures in a low-light concert venue where the stage lighting was very warm on AWB, so I manually set whitebalance to 3000K to give acceptably neutral results straight out of camera. For autofocusing, I had a play with face and eye detection settings in combination with Wide/Tracking area mode and with a large 7x7 zone setting, with mixed results. Using the

35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 wide open, any uncertainty in focusing results in unsuccessful shots and the face/ eye detection settings could lock on instantly, but on occasions it could be less assertive. Using single zone AF means that one control getting plenty of use is the focus lever. This thumb-operated joystick is excellent, and means navigating the active zone around the scene is very fast. However, if you are too quick the active point disappears off one side of the focus windows and reappears on the other side – a menu option to stop this would be good. With this control, the ability to vary the size of the single AF zone and the option of using 91 or 325 zones means the X-T2’s focusing is very flexible. It’s fast and accurate, too. In controlled situations I autofocus using the front function button (Fn2) so I have that set to AF-ON and shutter button AF activation switched off. On the street and normal shooting, I revert to shutter button activated AF with single point AF or the 7x7 zone active. The X-T2 is massively flexible when it comes to functions and customising set-up. Even being able to trim the Q menu to the bare bones is a good thing – I have self-timer, shutter type, auto ISO and focus zone and that’s about it. I frequently flick between the two shutter types. The silent electronic shutter is ideal for candid shooting although you have to watch for flicker issues in artificial lighting. My preference is to hear a ‘click’ so I go for the mechanical shutter the majority of the time and its low pitched, quiet sound is easily lost amid normal outdoor ambient noise. Although touchscreen monitors are common now, the X-T2 does not have that feature and I don’t miss it. One thing I would miss is its three-direction tilt versatility. I often shoot candids from waist-level (with the LCD monitor only active), scenics low level, and I sometimes hold the camera up higher to get a better viewpoint. The monitor is excellent for all this whether shooting horizontal or upright format images. Autoexposures are typically accurate and consistent but you do have to pay extra attention with even a moderately bright sky or background, because foreground underexposure can result. Usually it is well within Raw

Specs Price £1399 body only Sensor 24.3 megapixels Sensor format 23.6.15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS III, 6000x4000pixels ISO range Native 200-12,800, expanded 100-51,200 Shutter range Mechanical shutter 30secs to 1/8000sec. Electronic shutter 30secs to 1/32,000sec. Drive modes 8fps mechanical shutter, 14fps with electronic shutter Metering system 256-zone metering with multi, spot, average and centre-weighted Exposure modes PASM Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV steps, AEB

The X-T2’s predecessor, the XT-1, captured the imagination of many photographers exposure latitude, but pre-empting any potential issue with some gentle exposure compensation is no bad thing. The insurance of a second SD card, the one-touch locking ISO and shutter speed buttons, and the ability to shoot at 8fps (14fps with the electronic shutter) round off the list of the X-T2’s many admirable qualities. I haven’t tackled proper action yet but being able to blitz off a large number of frames quickly has proved a boon. With moving subjects – I’ve been shooting trains – I get a whole bunch of images that are very slightly different and I can decide what I think looks best later. Yes, I know I’m being lazy or indecisive – or both! I’ve struggled to find negative points but here are a few. The dioptre correction control is movable so I have taped it down; I’d like a menu recall

option to return to the last used item; and the small Raw review image I’ve already mentioned. The proof, ultimately, is in the pictures – and I am very happy with what I’m getting out. For street shooting or when light is less than perfect, I’m quite happy using ISO 400 or ISO 800 for sufficiently fast shutter speeds to get sharp street pictures that I grab on the move. At the other extreme, with the X-T2 on a tripod and a cable release screwed in, I’ve done eight-minute exposures with an extreme ND filter at ISO 100, and the photos show no sign of hot pixels or increased artefacts. For very low light shooting I use ISO 3200 quite happily – with some noise reduction in Lightroom, the final images looked very good for the high sensitivity and the dingy conditions I was shooting in. One thing I am also impressed with is build quality. The controls feel reassuringly firm and positive and its weather resistance is really useful, too. Recently, I spent a day out shooting in monsoon-like conditions in Lisbon and the X-T2 got a seriously thorough soaking. At one point after several hours in the wet it stopped autofocusing, but that was for a few minutes; the following morning there was some condensation in the viewfinder eyepiece, and this soon went. WC

Monitor 3in, 1,040,000 dots Focusing Intelligent hybrid AF – TTL phase and TTL contrast AF Focus points Option of single, 91 and 325 points. Video 4K, full HD Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB 3.0, HDMI, microphone Storage media Two SD slots Dimensions (wxhxd) 132.5x91.8x49.2mm Weight 507g (body with battery and card) Contact fujifilm.eu/uk

Verdict The Fujifilm X-T2 is a very fine and hugely capable camera. It is also immensely likeable, too, which makes the whole photographic experience a pleasure.

24/25 Features The X-T2 is one of the most highly featured mirrorless cameras around 24/25 Performance Can be relied upon to deliver great results consistently 24/25 Handling Very slick with the focus lever, tiltable monitor and locking dials deserving special mention Value for money 24/25 At the top end at £1399 for the body only, but worth the investment

Above left Using single point AF, the focus lever makes shifting the AF point quickly a simple process, fast enough for street shooting. Above right Shot from top opf the 02 Arena looking towards Canary Wharf using the 18-5mm f/2.8-4 standard zoom. Some exposure compensation was needed.

96/100 Overall It is a flagship CSC with the credentials and performance to match Pros Twin SD card slots, monitor, AF system, shutter choice, lens system, bright EVF, focus lever Cons Can underexpose slightly, some minor handling/menu niggles, battery life


Photography News | Issue 42 | absolutephoto.com

48

Award Winner - First tests

Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art £1399 If you want to shoot wide-angle on a full-frame Canon or Nikon DSLR there are lots of options. One of the latest is Sigma’s 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art, which also happens to be the winner of this year’s Wide-Angle Zoom category in our Awards. The lens can be used on APS-C DSLRs, too, but you’ll be getting an effective focal length of 18-36mm on Nikon and 19-38mm on Canon DSLRs. The 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art is a competitor to Canon’s 11-24mm f/4L and Nikon’s 14-24mm f/2.8. The ultra wideangle 12-24mm focal length is right at home with landscapes, architecture, or cramped interiors, and its constant f/4 aperture lends it to low light. There’s very little to deal with on the lens barrel itself, just the zoom and focus rings, an AF/MF switch and distance window. The zoom ring is quite narrow, but falls easily to hand when cradling the lens and its surface is well grooved, so there’s lots of grip, even when wearing gloves or if the surface is a little slick with rain or spray. As you’d expect for a 2x zoom, the turn is short, but it’ll still take more than a single rotation to go from near to far; or two turns if you have smaller hands. There’s a good level of resistance in the zoom though, and nothing feels slack in its operation. The focus ring is mounted at the front and is larger in diameter, as it sits around the projection of the front element. It has the same grooved feel as the zoom ring, and a light, accurate action, with no slip. The throw is long, which made manually focusing easier; especially important if you’re shooting starry skies. The AF/MF switch sits easily under your thumb; it’s a bit stiff, so at least you know it’s not going to slip. The barrel, a mix of metal and Thermally Stable Composite (TSC), has a very solid feel. The construction is dust and splash proof, with seals to protect from dust and rain, and the front and rear glass has a water- and oil-repellent coating. This is important at the front, as the lens uses a built-in lens hood, and therefore a screw-in protective filter can’t be used (a custom holder like Lee Filters’ SW150 will be required). In comparison, the (admittedly more expensive) Canon 11-24mm has a slot for a gel filter in rear. In zooming, the front element extends by about 1cm, but while it’s in theory possible that this could strike a close-up subject, it’s not all that likely. Testing the 12-24mm Art on a Canon 5D Mark IV, autofocus performance wasn’t the fastest, but it was assured. In fairness, most of this lens’s subjects won’t rely on lightning-fast lock-on and the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) means it’s silent and smooth. Minimum focus is 24cm at the long end, and only fractionally more at the widest, which is very useful for enlarging small subjects, or making the most of foreground. When it comes to image quality the 12-24mm performed well, with some drawbacks. Testing sharpness, I focused using live view on flat subjects and ran the lens through its aperture range. In terms of edge-to-edge sharpness, at the 12mm end, the lens performed best at f/11, before dropping off at f/16 and beyond. That said, centre performance was very good when shooting wide

open, improving to excellent at f/5, and tailing off a little thereafter. This was repeated when shooting at 18mm and at 24mm. Results from the smaller apertures were best towards 24mm. The 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art features a moulded glass aspherical lens, that claims to minimize distortion, spherical aberration, and coma flare. This proved true, with the exception of fringing, which was most noticeable at 12mm, where there was obvious magenta/green in the corners, at all apertures. Fringing was much reduced by 18mm, and gone at 24mm. The centre of the image was free of it throughout. Vignetting is well controlled. It was most noticeable at the 12mm setting when shooting wide open, but is only minor and quickly disappears as you approach the middle apertures. Distortions were also well marshalled; there’s some minor barrelling at 12mm, but it’s fractional and a very good performance for a lens this wide. KS

12mm

Specs Price £1399 Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon and Sigma Construction 16 elements in 11 groups Special lens elements ELD (Extraordinary Low Dispersion), SLD (Special Low Dispersion) and FLD (“F” Low Dispersion) Coatings Super Multi-Layer Coating Filter size N/A Aperture range f/4-f/22 Diaphragm 9 blade, rounded diaphragm Internal zoom No Internal focus Yes

18mm

12mm

Minimum focus 24cm (at 24mm) Focus limiter Max. magnification 1:4.9 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No

F/4

F/4

F/4

Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Yes, integral Weather-sealed Yes (moisture and dust)

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

Dimensions (lxd) 102x131.5mm Weight 1150g Contact Sigma-imaging-uk.com

F/8

F/11

F/8

F/11

F/8

F/11

Left We composed against flat subjects in order to assess image sharpness from the centre to the edge. Pictures were taken throughout the 12-24mm Art’s aperture range and overall image quality was very good.

Verdict

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/22

F/22

F/22

At £1399, the Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art is more affordable than both Nikon and Canon’s ultra wide-angle zooms. It performs well in the sharpness stakes, especially wide open in the centre, and while it does suffer fringing at its widest end, this falls off quickly. Distortion, vignetting and flare are well controlled throughout. Pros Well built with good handling, image quality is generally very good Cons Some fringing at the widest settings


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

49

Award Winner - First tests Specs

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II £1849

Price £1849 body only or £2399 for M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm 1/2.8 Pro kit Sensor 20.4 megapixels, 4/3in Live MOS, with TruePic VIII and Supersonic Wave Filter sensor cleaner Sensor format Micro Four Thirds, 17.4x13mm ISO range 200-25,600 in 1/3 or 1 EV ISO steps, low ISO 64 Shutter range Manual shutter 60secs-1/8000sec; electronic (silent) shutter 60secs to 1/32,000sec Drive modes Pro capture H 60fps approx up to 48 frames, Pro Capture L 18 fps, anti-shock sequential shooting 8.5fps, sequential shooting H 15fps up to 84 frames, L 10fps Metering system Digital ESP metering (324 zones multi-pattern), spot metering, centre weighted metering, spot with highlight control, spot with shadow control. Range EV-2 to 20 EV (17mm f/2.8, ISO 100) Exposure modes PASM (and Art Filter) Exposure compensation +/-5 EV in 1.0, 0.5 and 0.3EV steps. In HDR and video, only +/-3EV. Bracketing available Monitor 3in Vari-angle LCD touch panel 1037K dots, EVF with 2.36M dots Focusing TTL phase difference detection system, contrast detection system. Manual AF, preset MF, single AF, continuous AF, AF tracking and single AF and MF Focus points 121 points cross-type phase detect and 121 point contrast detect AF. Options of all sensors active, group target (nine areas or five areas), single point Video 4096x2160 (C4K)/24p/IPB 3840x2160 (4K)/30p, 25p, 24p/IPB Connectivity Wi-Fi, HDMI micro (type D), USB 3 (type C), microphone and earphone jacks Storage media Dual SD slots. Slot 1 UHS I, II, Slot 2UHS-1. SD, SDHC, SDXC Dimensions (wxhxd) 134.1x90.9x68.9mm (without protrusions) Weight 574g (body, battery and card) Contact olympus.co.uk

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II got a corking review back in PN39, but I’d not had a chance to get my hands on it until recently. With a reader-voted PN Award in Professional CSC category just announced, I was expecting great things. I wasn’t disappointed. The E-M1 Mark II shows how far CSCs have come in just under a decade. Where once these cameras felt more like fashion accessories, it operates like a pro-level camera. I took it on a weekend trip to Manchester and, fittingly for both location and test, it rained all weekend. I didn’t drop it in a canal, but it was exposed to hours of freezing drizzle, and thanks to its high level of weather sealing, it didn’t miss a beat. As to the overall build, the greatest compliment I can give is that the Mark II feels like a camera rather than a piece of electronics, as many CSCs do. It also fits neatly into a WWII-era Swedish Army respirator bag. Bonus. I was impressed by the 2.360K dot electronic viewfinder. For a bit of context, I use full-frame DSLRs in the main, so I’m usually put off by EVFs; they seldom feel natural to me in the way an optical viewfinder does. But I got used to the Mark II’s EVF really

Above The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers an incredible set of features in a small and light body. quickly, and without the eye strain that I often get. It has options that an optical viewfinder can’t provide, such as a live histogram and focus peaking, which I really enjoyed. Whether you’re a pro or an enthusiast, you’ll likely have a suite of modes you like to switch between, and the Mark II makes this easy in a few ways. The Custom modes (C1, 2, and 3), accessed via the mode dial are easy to set up, and let you tune the camera quickly

for specific subjects, and recall them. For instance, I set up one of the Custom modes to shoot in low light, combining a higher ISO with spot-metering and manual focus, using the focus peaking overlay in the EVF. Away from those Custom modes, there are all the manual inputs you need right there on the camera body, plus a few re-mappable buttons. And of course there’s the 3.2in touchscreen, with which you can dip into a quick menu if required. For me, the main inputs were enough to keep the screen flipped over and protected most of the time; in the next version I’d love to see a small LCD on the back of the screen, similar in size to a top-plate LCD, where the basic shooting info could be displayed. There might even be space for a few more buttons. Who knows? Much has been made of the Mark II’s amazing shooting speed –at 15fps with the mechanical shutter and 60fps with the electronic version, it is tremendous. That said, it’s a very specific function, and only really required if you’re into high-speed photography, or don’t trust yourself at a more modest 5fps or 6fps. You’ll also need a fast SD card or it can lag in writing from the buffer. Allied to the speed of shooting, the Mark II’s Image Stabilizer is excellent, with 5.5EV of compensation, and you

can really see it at slower shutter speeds. I was able to shoot down to 1/2sec and still get usably sharp images. I found the Mark II’s AF fleetfooted, too. Using a 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens, near-to-far switch was almost instantaneous, and modes such as tracking worked brilliantly, even with erratic subjects. The number of selectable points was also beneficial: 121, which can also be set in groups. The E-M1 Mark II’s 20.4-megapixel sensor produced nicely detailed pictures, by far the best I’ve seen from a Micro Four Thirds camera, and while lacking the detail of bigger chips, they’re perfectly good in their own right. In noise performance, it was great from the base ISO 200 up to about 1600. I wouldn’t push it much beyond that, unless forced to. I started off shooting in Auto ISO across the whole range, but quickly capped it there. JPEGs were a bit muddied by the in-camera noise reduction, so I switched it off to keep the detail – albeit with a bit of grit. Battery life was a bit of a concern. After about 300 shots I was down to 5% power and I hadn’t been shooting long exposures, although the IS system was in constant use. There’s room for improvement there, but that said it’s only a matter of investing in a spare battery, so not a big deal. KS

Verdict I’m usually put off by electronic viewfinders... but I got used to the Mark II’s EVF really quickly

There’s no doubting this is Olympus’s crowning achievement in the Micro Four Thirds line: is has some amazing features that offers a genuine alternative to hi-spec DSLRs. The high-speed shooting and image stabilisation are outstanding, and while smaller sensors will always struggle to compete with larger chips, overall image quality is excellent. The price is a concern though; at £1849 body only, it’s far more likely to attract upgraders than converters. Pros Shooting speed, stabilisation, AF, handling, build Cons Price, high ISO performance


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

51

Award Winner - First tests Specs Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Nikon, Canon and Sony Minimum focus 30cm Focus limiter Yes Maximum magnification 1:1 Image stabiliser Yes Weather-sealed Yes, moisture and dust Dimensions (lxd) 117.1x79mm Weight 600g Contact intro2020.co.uk

Verdict A year on, this is still a first-class performer, and well worth its price, with an excellent mix of features, build and performance. For macro enthusiasts, it’s compelling. Pros Build, image quality, focusing and stabilisation Cons A little heavy when mounted on smaller DSLRs

Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di VC USD £579 Tamron has produced several topdrawer 90mm macro lenses over the years – the latest is no exception, so it was good to see it claim a PN Award this year. Having reviewed it last spring, a year hasn’t lessened the lens’s appeal. Part of Tamron’s SP range, the lens has a sleek metal barrel and handles well. It’s not light, but is well balanced with larger SLR bodies, and the large focus ring falls easily to hand, as do the low-profile switches (AF/MF, Vibration Compensation (VC), and a focus limiter (Full, 0.5m to infinity, and 0.3-0.5m). The body is also moisture proofed and dust resistant, which gives you some reassurance when shooting out in the elements. The front element features a Fluorine coating to repel water and oils, too. Thanks to an internal focusing design, the front element doesn’t rack out so there’s no danger of striking parts of the subject or scaring off the creepy crawlies you’re shooting. I set about shooting some suitable spring apple blossoms, both handheld and locked off to reacquaint myself with the lens, and was immediately reminded of the striking effect of the 5-axis VC system. Once VC is engaged it’s like an invisible hand is steadying the lens, so much so that you need to drag yourself away from the subject; some might not like it, but there’s no denying the results. I was getting critically sharp shots down to around 1/5sec, and it’s possible to handhold

Tamron SP 150600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 £1340

Verdict The SP 150-600mm G2 will leave a sizable hole in your pocket, but when you start using focal lengths like these you’ll wonder how you did without them. Top quality. Pros Image quality wide open, stabilisation, handling Cons Sharpness drops off at higher f/numbers

Immediately you’re struck by the wildlife possibilities Above Wide open and at the long end of the zoom, the SP 150600mm G2 gives some top results.

at 1sec or beyond, if you’re downsampling (losing pixels will make minor blurring disappear). Really incredible stuff. The VC mechanism does burble away a bit though. As it’s a macro lens, my preference was to focus manually, but if you want to use the AF, for portrait subjects or telephoto landscapes etc, it’s very snappy, thanks to the lens’s Ultra Silent Drive (USD). Manually focusing, the ring’s action remains excellent. As there’s no zoom ring to take up space it’s deep and easy to find while composing, and turns with a good level of resistance, making focus accurate (this is helped by the length of travel from near to far). Optically it was as good as I remembered with very little fringing or vignetting. At the closest focusing distance of 30cm, where the effective aperture is f/5.6-f/6.4, sharpness hit its peak between f/11 and f/16, but it was no slouch wide open either. When focusing further off, quality was matched, so it’s a very usable portrait option, too. KS

Once VC is engaged it’s like an invisible hand is steadying the lens Above Shooting with the SP 90mm f/2.8 is a real pleasure, and the power of the Vibration Compensation adds impressive clarity to handheld pics. There was stiff competition in the Telephoto Zoom category of this year’s PN Awards, with Tamron’s formidable SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 claiming the top spot. The Telezoom category shortlist was dominated by super-telephoto zooms, with 100-400mm and 200-500mm options featuring strongly. What’s it all mean? Long focal lengths are falling into a more affordable range, and the SP 150-600mm proves they can give great results. I shot with the SP 150-600mm at a nature reserve and like any reasonable human rushed straight for the 600mm end. The reach is very impressive: compose on a fullframe camera and you’re looking at filling the frame with an 8cm subject from about three metres away. Immediately you’re struck by the wildlife possibilities. Talking of being struck, you’ll want to avoid swinging the lens around too much; at 2010g and 450mm long when fully extended with the hood on, it’s easy to brain someone. Fortunately, the sturdy lens hood protected the glass. Yes, it’s heavy, but not unreasonably so, and shooting with it and a Nikon D810 wasn’t bad. Shooting handheld is aided by the excellent Vibration Compensation (VC). Traditionally you’d want a shutter of at least 1/640sec to safely handhold at 600mm, but I was getting a decent return at 1/60sec, with around four out of five shots sharp. Slower than that, the rate dropped off, but it’s really in the intermediate speeds that you’ll feel the benefit.

Via the barrel, a switch sets VC1 (full) or VC3 mode (off until shooting). Some wildlife shooters say you should let stabilisation kick in and settle before shooting, but I didn’t notice any difference. VC2 is for panning. The SP 150-600mm G2 handles well, too, with a smoothness to the zoom and focus rings, though the former could have a shorter throw, for me. It takes three turns to go from near to far, but if you’re sticking close to a single focal length this’ll be less of a concern. The lens also has two zoom locks: a switch to catch it at 150mm, and another set by sliding the zoom ring to lock at any focal length. Nice. Optically, performance was high, particularly at the wider apertures, where most will use it. Sharpness was retained until the higher f/numbers, where the crispness quickly fell away due to diffraction. Vignetting was pretty obvious wide open, when shooting a test surface, but in reality you won’t notice it much. KS

Specs Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon and Sony Minimum focus 2.2m Focus limiter Yes Maximum magnification 1:3.9 Tripod collar Yes Weather sealed Yes, moisture resistant Dimensions (dxl) 108.4x260.2mm Weight 2010g Contact intro2020.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

53

Award Winner - First tests

Hahnemühle William Turner 310gsm £64.25 Having the choice of so many fabulous finishes is just one of the many attractions of inkjet printing. This is especially true with art textured surfaces, such as the multi award-winning Hahnemühle William Turner 310gsm. This material has won PN’s Inkjet Media: Fine Art Finish Award for the second year running, which shows how popular this material is Hahnemühle has a rich and very long history in paper making, the business being founded in 1584, and William Turner is just one of many matt finishes in its Fine Art InkJet Media collection. It is a textured, watercolour surface, available in 190gsm and 310gsm weights, that’s ideal when you want to give your pictures an individual look and feel. It’ll suit subjects of all types but probably better with images that rely on midtones and highlights rather than heavy shadows. Of course, that’s a matter of opinion and if your shots rely on lots of deep tones, there is no reason why they won’t look anything less than great on William Turner. In terms of reproduction it handles gently toned images as well as rich saturated ones and seems equally at home with bold primary colours as well as more delicate hues. For this look at William Turner I used an Epson SureColor SC600 printer. This popular A3+

Specs Price £64 25 sheets A3, £2.56 a sheet. Other sizes: £39 25 sheets A4, £126 25 sheets A2, £82 25 sheets A3+

printer features a nine-colour inkset including a Vivid Magenta to give a very wide colour gamut. My prints went through Photoshop using Hahnemühle’s generic profile for the paper downloaded from its website. The paper went through the printer with no problems such as headstrike or jamming. I tried landscapes, people shots and urban shots on William Turner and I must admit I liked the effect and its feel. It has a lovely tactile feel and its toothy texture adds to the paper’s charms. It’s true that a paper’s reproduction skills are key but feel is important too. I like a material that has a character and William Turner certainly does. WC

Paper type 100% cotton, mould made Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in, 36in, 44in Thickness 0.62mm Acid free Yes Weight 310gsm Contact hahnemuehle.com

Verdict William Turner is a luscious textured paper that suits a wide range of subject matter and gives a classy-looking result. Its textured, matt finish is straight of the top drawer and looks great with the right images.

In terms of reproduction it handles gently toned images as well as rich saturated ones

Pros Lovely textured finish, tactile feel, works well with mono and colour images Cons Nothing

Left William Turner’s textured finish has a lovely feel.

Specs Price £56.95 25 sheets A3, £2.28 a sheet. Other sizes: £27.95 25 sheets A4, £111.95 25 sheets A2, £74.95 25 sheets A3+ Paper type Silk/satin baryta Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 24in, 44in Thickness 0.31mm Acid free Yes Weight 315gsm Contact permajet.com

Verdict PermaJet has an impressive array of inkjet papers encompassing all tastes and needs in its range. FB Gold Silk 315 is one of its leading and most popular players for very good reason: it is a cracking inkjet paper that performs very nicely with colour and monochrome images. Highly recommended. Pros Smooth, sheen finish, weight Cons Nothing

PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315 £56.95 Winner of this year’s PN Award for Inkjet Media: Photographic Finish was PermaJet FB Gold Silk 315. It is a baryta paper having the weight, feel and finish of a traditional darkroom paper. Its base is a very subtle warm white tint but it is delicate and only noticeable with a direct comparison with a paper with a pure white base. A comparison with another PermaJet paper, Distinction with its very white base, shows this to good effect. The

characteristics of this material make it ideally suited to black & white images whether they are fully toned or high contrast. Whatever the image type, the paper excels, giving luscious but smooth midtones with the former and deep blacks with the latter. You get lovely highlights in both. But to say that FB Gold Silk is a mono only paper would not be right because it handles colour images equally well. The paper’s finish is lovely. It’s completely smooth with

no trace of any surface stipple as you would expect from a gloss finish, but the gloss here is a nice sheen rather than a traditional reflective gloss. In darkroom jargon it’s comparable to the surface finish of an air-dried glossy fibre paper but lies flat. The finish is appealing and has a practical benefit too. Having a silky sheen rather than an outright gloss prints still look great when mounted and framed behind glass in exhibition type lighting conditions. WC

The paper excels, giving luscious but smooth midtones


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

54

Award Winner - First tests Specs

X-Rite ColorMunki Display £148.50 It’s a well-specified unit, offering easy monitor and projector calibration

Price £148.50 Supported profile format ICC Compatibility MacOS X 10.7.x, 10.8.x, 10.9.x, 10.10.x, or 10.11.x (with latest upgrades installed) Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (with latest Service Pack installed) Mobile device compatibility iOS and Android – with free ColorTRUE app Interface USB Display resolution 1024x768 pixels or higher Memory 512GB (2GB recommended) Number of displays supported per workstation 4 Dimensions 142x52x192mm Weight 269g Contact xrite.com

Above The ColorMunki Display wizard swiftly guides you through the calibration process.

It’s not a subject you want to bring up at your next dinner party unless you want an early night, but there’s no escaping the elephant in the room: colour management. It is a subject many photographers try to ignore but simply, if you want your pictures to look correct online, in print or when projected at a camera club, you need to embrace this thorny issue. You don’t have to get all geeky and technical about it – unless you want to – but some simple colour management accessories like those offered by ColorMunki can make all the difference and save time, money, frustration and teeth-gnashing. The ColorMunki Display, winner of this year’s Colour Management Device category in our Awards, sells for just shy of £150 and can calibrate your monitor or projector in its basic form. Get the free ColorTRUE app

and you can sort out your mobile devices too. It is a well-specified unit, offering easy monitor and projector calibration and it includes advanced features such as Flare Correct to cope with glossy screens and the ability to produce profiles based on ambient lighting levels in your work area. There is also ADC (Automatic Display Control) which speeds up the calibration process and means there’s no need to make adjustments manually. I’m always a little sceptical when the word ‘easy’ is used to help sell a colour management device because often easy only applies if you’re an expert. In this case, easy means easy. Once downloaded off the CD and installed, the software’s wizard guides you through the calibration process painlessly and logically. It’s not overly technical either which is a

Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro £89.95 There has been a proliferation of flashgun light modifiers and they come in all shapes and sizes. It’s worth having a selection available to cater for different situations. Rogue has a wide variety of FlashBender modifiers to suit all needs and a key benefit is that they can be easily fit most flashguns and fold flat, so they’re especially convenient for location work. The genius of the FlashBender design lies in the three adjustable ribs that run up the back of the reflectors, hence they lie flat for transport yet when mounted to a flashgun can be

It will securely fit almost any speedlight that has an upright locking head

Right The FlashBender 2 XL Pro Strip Grid and FlashBender 2 XL Pro Reflector are easily secured with a Velcro belt and buckle strap.

quickly shaped to suit the effect that you want to achieve. The 2 XL Pro is the largest FlashBender – the panel measuring 25.4x28cm – so it’s designed for offcamera flash use. I tried it on a Nikon SB-900 mounted on the camera hotshoe and while clearly it is a load, it does work if you take care – and not ideal in a crowd. Attaching the reflector to the flash is done with a Velcro belt strap which means it will securely fit any speedlight that has an upright locking head. The kit I tested had a white reflector finish 2 XL Pro (a soft silver

version is also available) and comes complete with a front diffuser and a strip/grid attachment too. So you have the option of using the FlashBender on its own like a bounce board, fitted with the front diffuser as a softbox or with strip/grid attachment when you want a much more controlled lighting effect. It is very quick to go from one configuration to another. The instructions say you can do this while the FlashBender-fitted flashgun is on a lighting stand – and that is true – but if you’ve just bought one, perhaps it is easier to start by working on flat surface until you get used to it. WC

great help if, like me, you only delve into the world of colour management when absolutely necessary – namely when I get a on-screen warning. This was my first time with the ColorMunki and I tried its easy and advanced photo modes – there are three video modes too. In easy mode, a couple of steps are omitted but the actual process is fundamentally the same and once the unit is flat on the screen it takes about five minutes to assess the colours. At the end of the process, you can name the profile, click save to produce the profile and then compare before and after images. There was a clear difference for me – I was using a fresh-out-of-the-box BenQ SW320 monitor. As screens change with time, you can set an auto warning to remind you to re-profile your screen every week – four weeks is this unit’s maximum. WC

Verdict As I said at the start of this review, for most photographers colour management is not top of their agenda despite its importance. X-Rite’s ColorMunki family features highly advanced, capable and nicely priced products that could certainly help change this. The ColorMunki Display is excellent value for money and if you value colour accuracy in your images then it is a good purchase.

Pros Easy to use with a good wizard, works for projectors too, measures ambient light Cons Not much

Verdict

Specs

My theory is that many speedlight photographers accumulate flash modifiers for different situations. The FlashBender 2 XL Pro lighting System is perfect for controlled shooting when you have speedlights on stands and have more time. It fits the bill very nicely and at just shy of £90 for a softbox, stripbox and bounce reflector this outfit rates as very good value.

Price £84.95

Pros Works well in its various configurations, portable Cons Fitting grid is a tad fiddly

Contact gb.colorconfidence.com expoimaging.com

In the box 1x FlashBender 2 XL Pro Reflector, 1x FlashBender 2 XL Pro Strip Grid, FlashBender 2 XL Pro Soft Box Diffuser, travel bag Dimensions 40.2x32cm (overall size) Combined weight 391g


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

55

Technique PART 8

Camera School

Here we lift the lid on all things camera related, showing how to get better results from your CSC or DSLR, and providing all the info you won’t find in the manual. So, stick with us and you’ll soon be wielding your camera like a pro. This month, how ambient light and aperture affect the shutter speed you can use, and how to deal with it Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton As one of three factors that make up an exposure, shutter speed affects not only the brightness of the picture, but also how anything moving within it is captured. A fast shutter speed freezes anything moving; a slow one shows moving subjects as blur. It’s useful for adapting to different subjects or applying creative effects, such as flowing water. Faster and slower speeds It’s logical then that you’d often want to use the fastest or slowest speeds available, allowing the most pronounced shutter speed effects. Try this in practise though, and you can run into problems. For example, in shutter-priority mode (S or Tv), if you set a fast shutter speed, say 1/4000sec or 1/8000sec you may notice the aperture setting blinking or reading ‘Lo’. This means the aperture can’t open enough to compensate for the fast shutter speed; because the fast shutter speed only allows a tiny amount of light to hit the sensor, the aperture needs to widen, letting more light in. Conversely, if you set a very slow shutter speed, such as more than a second, the aperture reading may blink or read ‘Hi’. This means that the aperture can’t close enough to compensate for the very slow shutter speed being used; when the shutter is open for a long time, lots of light hits the sensor, so the aperture needs to close to restrict it. In either case, the resulting picture will either be under or overexposed, or the camera may refuse to shoot at all. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before Why can’t the aperture setting open or close enough to compensate in these cases? Well, the range has physical limits beyond which it can’t increase or decrease in size. But here’s the important thing: the aperture range, in terms of stops (the doubling or halving of the amount of light recorded by the sensor) is smaller than the range of shutter speeds.

Shutter range of camera

30sec

15sec

1/2000sec, f/4, ISO 800

Above Depending on whether you want to freeze motion or show it as blur, you can set the shutter speed fast or slow. But the fastest or slowest speeds aren’t always possible in the available light. In those cases, you need to take steps, including raising or lowering the ISO. In practice, a shutter speed range of 1/4000sec to 30sec, which is typical on many DSLRs, covers 19 stops. Compare this to the aperture range of even a fast lens, running from f/2.8 to f/22, and you’ll only get seven stops. This means that, when working in shutter-priority mode, there are far more selectable shutter speeds than apertures to cover them – and eventually you’ll top out. Available light The amount of light in the scene has a big influence on which shutter speeds you’ll be able to use. In bright conditions, you can use faster speeds, but slower shutter speeds will be restricted. In dim conditions the opposite happens: there’s limited access to the faster settings, but the longer shutter speeds will be available at the other end of the scale. So, while in bright daylight you might be able to shoot from 1/1000sec to 1/15sec (covering apertures from f/2.8 to f/22, when

8sec

4sec

2sec

1sec

1/2sec

the light is dimmer, the same aperture range will give you 1/60sec to 1sec. ISO to the rescue Short of waiting for the amount of available light to increase or decrease, you can’t do much to change this. So instead there’s the ISO setting. The ISO setting is a measure of how much the available light is amplified by the sensor, and it works in stops, just like the other two exposure variables. Therefore, if you need a slower shutter speed than is currently possible, you can try to lower the ISO setting. And if you need faster shutter speeds, you can raise the ISO setting. In practise this would mean that if you’d reached the end of the aperture scale at 1/250sec, and needed to go higher, raising the ISO by two stops would give you a speed of 1/1000sec at the same aperture. At the opposite end of the scale, if you wanted to use a slower speed but had reached

1/4sec

Aperture range of lens Aperture range -2 stops ISO Aperture range +2 stops ISO

8secs, f/16, ISO 100

f/22

f/16

1/8sec

1/15sec

1/30sec

1/60sec

f/22

f/16

f/11

f/8

f/5.6

f/11

f/8

f/5.6

f/4

f/2.8

f/22

f/16

f/11

the minimum aperture scale at f/22 and 1/8sec, you could dial an ISO two stops lower than you’d been using and shoot at 1/2sec. Hitting the limits The ISO range has its limits, too. Modern cameras feature very high ISO settings, allowing fast shutter speeds even in low light, but beyond a certain level the amount of digital noise in the image may be a problem. And at the other end of the scale, most DSLRs’ ISO scales can’t drop below 100, although settings of 64 or 50 are becoming more common. If you need to go below the lowest ISO setting and the smallest aperture to get the shutter speed you want, you’ll need to fit an neutral density (ND) filter to the lens. This will block a certain amount of light, and this blocking power is helpfully rated in stops, just like the exposure variables of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. We’ll go into more detail on ND filters and how to use them next month.

1/125sec 1/1250sec 1/500sec 1/1000sec 1/2000sec 1/4000sec f/4

f/2.8

f/8

f/5.6

f/4

f/2.8

Above Notice how the camera’s shutter speed range covers many more exposure stops than the aperture range of a typical lens. This is why it’s sometimes difficult to access the speeds you want without over or underexposing – the aperture can’t open or close enough to accommodate them. You can use faster or slower speed by altering the ISO setting.

NEXT MONTH When you want to use the slowest shutter speeds or widest apertures in bright light, and you’ve lowered the ISO as much as possible, the next step is to add neutral density filters. Find out all about them next issue.


Photography News | Issue 43 | absolutephoto.com

56

Competition

Editor’s letter

Rain certainly doesn’t stop play

WIN!

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s special moments across all devices with the ultra-reliable Samsung PRO Plus 128GB microSD memory cards. Samsung’s latest cards feature recently upgraded fourproof features; they are water, temperature, X-ray and magnetic proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one massive 128GB Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC card and SD adapter to award to an eagle-eyed winner. Just complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on puzzle@photography-news.co.uk with that word in the subject box by 14 May 2017. The correct answer to PN41’s word search was Finalist and the Samsung 64GB card was won by Roy Appleby of Manchester. Congratulations to him.

I don’t know about you but my March whizzed by. Four days at the NEC for the Photography Show and then a holiday to Lisbon – followed by a few days in Blackpool – meant I’ve been pretty manic, but in a nice way. Thanks to everyone who dropped by the PN stand at the NEC. I got to chat with many readers but there were some really hectic times, so sorry if I missed you. I thought the show was fun and the general atmosphere was excellent, optimistic and lively. More importantly, I think TPS is the highcalibre national imaging show photographers of this country deserve and that wasn’t the case a few years ago. It can still be improved though, and the queues for food and refreshments at peak times were sadly too long – £8 for fish and chips wasn’t great value either. The PN stand was in the food market area and close to Canon’s, and I managed to see a couple of presentations from afar and was impressed by the pictures I saw. On the Tuesday, Canon invited me to the Sebastiao Salgado chat in company with Canon ambassador Clive Booth. It is always risky meeting someone you have admired and respected from afar because illusions are easily shattered. I’ve been inspired by Salgado’s work for years, and on so many levels, too – content, technically, the mood he captures... and for me, the way he uses composition is simply unmatched. Before the event started I got the chance to shake hands and have a quick chat. What a lovely bloke he is and it was a real privilege to hear him talk through a few of his images and his philosophy, so no shattered illusions here. The event was easily the highlight of my time at the NEC. A quick turnaround saw me at Manchester Airport en route to Lisbon. I don’t know Portugal's capital well, but I do know there is lots of potential for pictures even in the pouring

samsung.com/uk/memorycards/

rain. In fact, my busiest day with the camera was also the wettest. It rained, monsoonlike, virtually all day so it was the perfect opportunity to indulge in my brolly project. I spent a few hours walking around with my Fujifilm X-T2 sheltered under my jacket and we both got thoroughly drenched. It was uncomfortable and challenging for both of us, but we soldiered on despite the conditions. The X-T2 is weather-resistant but two of the three lenses I was using aren’t (I shot on the 50140mm which is weather resistant but the f/1.4 versions of the 23mm and 35mm lenses aren’t.) I did change lenses – but did so carefully, and usually sheltered in a shop doorway. The kit performed better than I did in the conditions. I had a waterproof jacket and shoes but made the basic error of forgetting to pack waterproof trousers, so a trouser swap and a long lunch back at the hotel was called for. Just a final word on the camera. It performed without missing a beat until the evening when the AF stopping working for a few minutes. Also, the following morning there was some condensation in the viewfinder eyepiece, but that soon went. Given how wet the kit got, I expected worse so I’m impressed. As for the pictures, I usually leave them – in the hope they improve sitting on my hard drive – for a while so I can look at them dispassionately, so the jury is still out on that one. Finally, back to the NEC, where the most common question was; ‘Is Photo 24 happening this year?’ Well, yes it is, on 2 July, sponsored by Fujifilm. See this issue for more details. Have a great spring and see you next month.

Register on absolutephoto.com and you can read Photography News online on your smartphone, tablet or computer as soon as it’s published.

news

ISSN 2059-7584 When you have finished with this newspaper, please recycle it

N

O

U

T

S

I

D

E

C

P

D

O

P

I

R

T

M

E

E

Z

D

S

I

L

T

L

O

A

Z

Z

S

E

H

T

I

E

K

S

C

E

M

L

E

U

A

G

R

L

P

R

E

K

H

P

T

S

H

T

U

E

O

R

T

X

S

T

I

T

L

S

N

N

F

E

B

P

E

L

I

O

Z

X

A

S

L

L

O

R

I

N

C

L

Q

J

Y

E

K

R

U

B

G

A

V

R

Y

V

P

S

T

S

A

A

T

S

J

A

N

H

O

R

Q

T

F

I

C

R

Z

O

O

K

A

S

S

A

O

T

Y

O

I

T

D

I

X

K

D

N

R

W

O

T

O

P

T

C

T

I

O

D

R

M

O

G

C

S

M

V

M

I

A

A

Q

M

A

L

S

C

E

N

I

C

O

R

G

C

P

C

M

C

A

R

D

O

D

D

H

Q

Lighting Location Macro Memory

Motion Outside Portraits Scenic

Advertising Team

Design Team

Editorial director Roger Payne

Sales director Matt Snow 01223 499453 mattsnow@bright-publishing.com

Design director Andy Jennings Senior designer Laura Bryant Designers Lucy Woolcomb & Flo Thomas

Contributing editor Kingsley Singleton kingsleysingleton@bright-publishing.com

Advertising manager Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 krishanparmar@bright-publishing.com

Features writer Jemma Dodd jemmadodd@bright-publishing.com

Key accounts Mike Elliott mikeelliott@bright-publishing.com

Senior sub editor Lisa Clatworthy

Sales executive Shannon Walford 01223 499457

Sub editors Siobhan Godwood & Catherine Brodie

Shutter Speed Stabilisation Standard

Telephoto Travel Tripod Zoom

If you do not want to receive any marketing information from Bright Publishing or our partners, in your email entry please type NO INFO.

Editorial Team Editor Will Cheung FRPS 01223 499469 willcheung@bright-publishing.com

Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, CB22 3HJ www.bright-publishing.com

Z

Card Flash Freeze Lenses

Read Photography News online

Photography

D

Publishing Team Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck Head of circulation Chris Haslum As well as your local camera club, you can pick up Photography News in-store from: Calumet, Cameraworld, Castle Cameras, Jessops, London Camera Exchange, Park Cameras, Wilkinson Cameras

Photography News is published 13 times a year by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Photography News is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Photography News that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While Bright Publishing makes every effort to ensure accuracy, it can’t be guaranteed. Street pricing at the time of writing is quoted for products.

Photography News Issue 43  

Your free newspaper packed with the latest news, views and stories from the world of photography.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you