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Issue 36 29 Aug – 22 Sept

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Canon smashes a four More pixels, more features, more powerful, less weight; season four of the EOS 5D series looks set to be a massive blockbuster

The announcement of the latest generation of the EOS 5D family is big news to all fans of Canon full-frame DSLRs. In what has been a busy year for Canon, the EOS 5D Mark IV strengthens an already impressive product lineup with the latest arrival boasting a 30.4-megapixel resolution, native ISO up to 32,000, 4K video and an advanced, high performing AF system featuring 61 points.

The EOS 5D Mark IV is also Canon’s first camera to feature Dual Pixel Raw technology. Each of the camera’s pixels comprises two photo diodes that can be used individually or together. Used individually resulting Raws are twice as large, but you get more focusing flexibility when files are processed in Canon’s DPP software. Body price is £3599 and sales will start from September.

Find out more by reading our hands-on report on page 3. Canon also added two high performance L lenses to its huge lens system. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is priced at £1129, while the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS III USM at £2349. The 16-35mm will be available in October and the 24105mm later this autumn.

Nikon targets DSLR newbies The Nikon D3400 is an entry-level 24.2-megapixel DSLR priced at £469.99 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-P lens … continue reading on page 4

canon.co.uk


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News Specs Price £3629 body only Effective pixels 30.4 megapixels Total pixels 31.7 megapixels ISO range 100-25,600 Sensor size/type 36x24mm CMOS Processor DIGIC 6+ Image size 6720x4880pixels ISO range 100-32,000 (expandable down to 50 and up to 102,400) Autofocus modes One Shot, AI Focus, AI Servo AF Autofocus points 61 Exposure compensation +/-5 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV stops, AEB +/-3 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV stops Shutter speeds 30secs-1/8000sec, plus B Metering 150,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor, 252 zones. Evaluative, partial (approx 6.1%), spot (approx 1.3%), centre-weighted Exposure modes Scene Intelligent Auto, Program AE, shutter-priority AE, aperture-priority AE, Manual, Custom x3 Max frame rate 7fps unlimited JPEGs or up to 21 Raw files LCD Fixed 3.2in touchscreen, 1620k dot resolution Video functionality 4K (4096x2160 pixels) at 30p/25p/24p, Full HD at 60p/30p/25p/24p, HD at 120p/60p Other Built-in GPS, Wi-Fi and NFC Interface USB 3.0, HDMI mini out, microphone socket, headphone socket Storage Dual card slots: 1xCompactFlash (UDMA 7 compatible) and 1xSD (UHS-I compatible) Dimensions (wxhxd) 150.7x116.4x75.9mm Weight 890g (body only) Contact canon.co.uk

Eleven years after the original 5D we have the EOS 5D Mk IV and very impressive it looks too

Canon EOS 5D MkIV

Photography News attended the London announcement of the EOS 5DMkIV and Roger Payne got the chance to enjoy its delights – or at least of a working beta sample – and he came away mightily impressed Words by Roger Payne

Eleven years after the original 5D we have the EOS 5D Mk IV and very impressive it looks too. The resolution has seen a big jump, now weighing in at 30.4 megapixels with a supporting DIGIC 6+ processor taking care of data handling. In reality, there’s a DIGIC 6 processor which takes care of metering, leaving the 6+ to concentrate on image capture. New algorithms mean enhanced low-light performance, plus there’s also a jump in native ISO, which now extends from 100 to 32,000 and onward to 50 and 102,400 with expansion. Frame rates top out at seven frames-persecond for unlimited JPEGs and up to 21 Raws, while Live View images can be recorded at up to 4.3 fps. Design and handling are reassuringly familiar for existing EOS 5D series owners. EOS 5D spotters will notice that the handgrip and rear thumb rest are both a tad deeper for a more solid

hold, plus there’s a new thumbcontrolled button on the rear of the camera that can be customised to your own taste. By default, this button provides access to the new AF Area Selection feature for quick AF point selection. The rear LCD is now touch sensitive, plus there is a modest increase in the size of the pentaprism to house the necessary gubbins for the built-in GPS and Wi-Fi. Weatherproofing has also been improved and there are dual cards slots: one for CF, the other for SD. Despite these additions, the body is 50g lighter than the Mk III. The autofocusing system is plucked pretty much straight from the EOS-1D X Mk II. There are 61 points, 41 of which are crosstype. AF sensitivity goes down to EV-3 if you’re viewfinder shooting or EV-4 with Live View. Attach a teleconverter and you still keep all 61 points, plus you retain 21 crosstypes, too. Like the EOS-1D X Mk

II, the 5D Mk IV uses Dual Pixel AF technology to deliver a more accurate focusing performance, but now Canon has added extra functionality off the back of this tech in the form of Dual Pixel Raw. Activated through the menu, this new feature works with each pixel being split into two separate photodiodes that can be used individually or together. Raw file size virtually doubles as a result, but the captured file allows you control sharpness and resolution in post-production, although it’s only available through the proprietary Digital Photo Professional software. Canon stopped short of suggesting this was a cure for inaccurate focusing, but it’s a feature that will be worthy of further investigation when we get a test sample. Video has also been given a leg up, after significant enhancements were largely overlooked on the Mk III. 4K footage is possible up to 30p.

Summary Canon had beta working samples of the camera and a group of bike riders and skateboarders on hand to be photographed at the London launch, so it was rude not to give the EOS 5D Mk IV a try. Although I only had the camera for a matter of minutes, its capabilities were immediately evident; keeping up with trickperforming cyclists in a low-lit interior and delivering remarkably impressive results at high ISOs. The camera is everything you’d want the latest incarnation of the EOS 5D dynasty to be, although some may bemoan the lack of articulated LCD. Perhaps the only eyebrow raiser for me is the £3629 price tag, but we’ll have to see where the price settles on the high street after the initial flurry of pre-orders. canon.co.uk

David Parry – product specialist, professional Photography News: 11 years on, do you feel the essence of the original 5D has been retained in the EOS 5D Mk IV? David Parry: Without a doubt, but it has been moved on leaps and bounds. It’s still the workhorse, the tool, the thing that gets the job done.

DP: It’s the fundamentals. This camera is all about image quality, giving the best images possible. The EOS 5D Mk IV has the latest sensor and I think it represents a big step forward for a full-frame sensor. You will notice straightaway the difference in the detail, high ISO capability and dynamic range.

PN: Who is the typical EOS 5D user. Is there one? DP: Yes and no. The people who need to make the money out of photography, those are the guys who will be really excited by this new generation of 5 series, but there are a lot of enthusiasts out there who will enjoy using this product as well. There’s so much you can learn about this camera and it opens up so many different opportunities. What’s great about the last two generations – the Mk III and now the Mk IV – is that one day you can be shooting weddings and the following day you can be shooting motorsport with the same camera, which I think is really powerful.

PN: Tell us about the new reflex mirror mechanism. DP: We’ve been trying to get rid of the springs in the mirror box, because once you release the energy in a spring there’s no controlling it. So we’ve tried different cams, gears and motors that you can control a lot better and eliminate mirror bounce. The new design slows the mirror down when it comes to the end of its travel and then speeds it up incredibly quickly.

PN: What do you think are the key attributes of the new 5D Mk IV camera?

PN: Canon is dominant in all markets apart from mirrorless. Will we ever see a mirrorless model with an EF mount? DP: We are 100% behind mirrorless with two bodies and five lenses, but we don’t want to go off on a tangent and sacrifice other parts of our business. There are a lot of cameras in our offering and mirrorless sits as part of that.


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News News in brief Bowens gets a new GM Following the acquisition of Calumet Photographic and Bowens Group by Aurelius, Euegene Ciemnyjewski is now the new general manager replacing interim manager John Gobbi. bowens.co.uk Leica SL firmware update Leica has announced firmware updates for the SL which includes firmware update 2.1, Leica Image Shuttle 3.4 and Leica Tethered Plug-in 1.1.0. Registered Leica SL owners can download the new updates from the Leica Owner’s Area or visit their nearest Leica Store or Leica Customer Care. uk.leica-camera.com Nikon get adventurous The Nikon COOLPIX W100 is a tough 13.2-megapixel compact that is shockproof to 1.8m, cold resistant to -10°C, dust proof and waterproof to a depth of 10m. Other key features include SnapBridge capability, Full HD video shooting and a Smart portrait system. The W100's design makes it easy to use and features dedicated one-touch buttons and an easy to use interface. It is due in the shops from early September and is priced at £129.99. nikon.co.uk

ProShow Gold 8 Popular slide show software ProShow Gold now sees version 8 which features an improved wizard, new caption features and more output options including to Blu-ray and USB drive. The full version costs $69.95 while existing users can upgrade for $44.95. photodex.com Aurora HDR gets an upgrade Macphun has added more functionality to its Aurora HDR software including batch processing, new tools, extra presets and reworked tone mapping and bracket merging for realistic HDR. It is available to pre-order now at a price of $89 to new customers. aurorahdr.com/2017

Nikon targets DSLR newbies

...Continued from cover

The Nikon D3400 is a 24.2-megapixel DSLR priced at £469.99 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-P lens. It’s also Nikon’s first entry-level DSLR to feature SnapBridge

Nikon has announced a new entrylevel DX-format DSLR in the D3000 series. The D3400 is the first entrylevel model to feature SnapBridge connectivity. SnapBridge allows you to download images straight from your camera via Bluetooth to your smart device so you can edit and upload images almost instantly. It is a low energy technology which means the connection can be left on constantly. The Nikon D3400 boasts 24.2 megapixels and the powerful EXPEED 4 image processor to produce highly detailed shots. It also features full HD video recording. With a low-energy design and high-capacity battery the D3400 can capture up to 1200 shots on one charge and offers razor-sharp autofocusing and an ISO range of 100-25,600.

Simon Iddon, head of product management at Nikon UK, says: “The D3400 is an exciting new addition to the already successful D3000 series. This small and fast DSLR inherits superior technology from Nikon’s higher-end cameras whilst retaining the ease of use that Nikon’s entry-level range of cameras is known for. “Alongside this, SnapBridge enables always-on connectivity allowing people to share highquality images in real time.” The camera will be available from 15 September with a body only price of £399.99. Two kit options are available for the D3400, the 1855mm AF-P non VR kit is £469.99, while the 18-55mm AF-P VR kit is £489.99. nikon.co.uk

360fly with 4K 360fly has announced the launch of its 360fly 4K camera. This new model is able to produce 2880x2880 360° 4K video and has advanced features such as LIVIT Live Streaming, a Front-Facing Mode, Time-Lapse Mode, Motion and Audio Detection Mode and more. It also features Bluetooth and built-in Wi-Fi. The 360fly 4K is available now for £599.99. intro2020.co.uk

Creative backgrounds Lastolite by Manfrotto has announced new creative, reversible backgrounds. These collapsible backgrounds are portable and fast to set up offering two different backgrounds in one. Each background measures 1.2mx1.5m and is priced at £118.95.

Manfrotto has also updated its Digital Director with a new app which is now compatible with the iPad Pro 12.9in and the iPad Mini 4. Digital Director is priced at £249.95. manfrotto.co.uk

Interfit announces heat-resistant softboxes Interfit’s new line of professional softboxes are made from heat-resistant polyester, rated at 1000W and also feature a UV coating, as well as offering increased durability. The new range includes 13 models with sizes range from a 24in square up to an 84in octabox. Prices start from £85.99 up to £244.99 and are available

to purchase now. Also new from Interfit are the Deep Parabolic Soft Boxes available in 48in, 6in and 72in, 16 different traditional and tri-fold umbrellas and 12 deep parabolic umbrellas. See the range on the website. interfitphotographic.com

Nikon 70-300mm Nikon has launched its first telephoto zooms to boast the new AF-P Stepping Motor, which ensures smooth and fast autofocus. The DX 70300mm f/4.5-6.3G is available in a VR and non-VR version. Both lenses feature extra-low dispersion glass elements and offer a compact build. The lenses will be available from 15 September with the VR version costing £349.99 and the non-VR version is priced at £299.99. nikon.co.uk


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News

BenQ unveils new 27in monitor

News in brief

The PV270 photo and video editing monitor from BenQ offers a 2560x1440 (QHD) resolution and is priced at £788.40. It features 99% Adobe RGB, 100% Rec.709 and a 96% DCI-P3 colour gamut with IPS Technology. Thanks to a 14-bit 3D Look Up Table an accurate colour mixture can be displayed. The BenQ PV270 comes with a five-year warranty, Palette Master Colour Calibration Software and a monitor hood. xpdistribution.com

Monochrome with Andy Beel Acclaimed black & white photographer Andy Beel FRPS has announced a season of monochrome masterclasses, workshops and tours, which will start in September. Workshops include a five-day trip to Snowdonia for the It’s all about the light workshop where you’ll get to photograph the mountains, lakes, waterfalls and more, receive feedback on your images and see a postprocessing demonstration. There’s also a photo tour from the Seven Sisters to Dungeness and other opportunities. andybeelfrps.co.uk

Magnum Photo gifts Magnum Photos has added three new products to its gift range, which includes a photographic travel journal so you can document your adventures, a poster book of prints from Magnum photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Elliot Erwitt and a collection of street photography notecards. These unique gifts have all been produced in anticipation of Magnum’s 70th anniversary in 2017. shop.magnumphotos.com

More from Fujifilm Fujifilm’s X-series lens system has gained a new member, the XF23mm f/2 R WR, a fast-aperture, moderate wide-angle lens. Priced at £419 and available from late September, this lens, which is equivalent to the 35mm focal length in the 35mm format, offers a lightweight, more compact and tougher alternative to the existing 23mm f/1.4. Its size is similar to the XF35mm f/2 and the AF system uses a stepping motor for silent and fast autofocus. The metal body is robust and weather and dust-resistant, and will operate in temperatures as low at -10°C. Optical construction comprises ten elements in six groups with two aspherical lenses that are used as part of the focusing group to optimise performance with different subject distances. These lenses also ensure impressive edge-to-edge sharpness. The black option is available first with the silver model going on sale from next January. Fujifilm has also announced the X-A3, an X-series camera available exclusively from Jessops. The X-A3 with the XC16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II costs £599 and will be available in pink, brown and black. It features a new 24.2-megapixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor and five integral mechanisms to help selfie shooting. Availability is from late September. fujifilm.eu/uk

BronControl app The new BronControl app offers photographers control of Siros lights direct from their smart device. A range of new features which includes Delay, Group, Synchronized Sequence, Freemask and Alternate modes are available. BronControl is available now as a free download from the Apple Store or Google Play. bron.ch Track rechargeable battery power with ExpoImaging The Rogue Indicator Battery Pouch allows you to carry 12 AAA batteries, eight AA batteries, four 9V batteries or two mirrorless camera batteries and keep track of whether they are charged or not with its reversible green and red insert cards. It’s available to buy now for £12.99. xpdistribution.com New Novo Accessory brand Novo Photo has a new website so check it out for its camera support and gear carrying solutions. There is a special launch promotion with 20% off all products. Novo has also introduced a new range of high-quality, great value ball-heads. All are Arca Swiss-plate compatible. The entry-level LGH 25 has a maximum load capacity of 5kg and costs £49.95, while the top-of-the-range LGH 55 can take 25kg and costs £199.90. These are the normal prices so the 20% discount applies if you order while the launch offer is available. novo-photo.com


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News © Ima Mmfon

Landscape Pro

© Chris Wilson

The creators of Portrait Pro have released a new software dedicated to editing landscape images. Landscape Pro allows you to select areas within an image; sky, trees, buildings etc. and adjust them individually. Head to page 55 to find out more and see our test. Available for PC and Mac, Landscape Pro is currently on sale with 50% off making the studio version £49 and the stand-alone version £29.95. Photography News readers can get an extra 10% off these prices by using the code, PN36 at the checkout. landscapepro.pics

Fotospeed Fotofest 2016 Fotospeed has launched Foto Fest 2016, a free festival taking place 3-4 September in Corsham. The festival includes a marketplace with the chance to get special festival deals and talk to specialists from brands such as Canon, Kaiser, Herma, Datacolor and Lee Filters. There will also be a series of talks and an exhibition. While the event is free, you can buy tickets for Fotospeed Presents, offerings talks from the likes of Andy Beel, Tony Dudley, Tom Mason and Joe Cornish. Tickets are £25 for a day or £45 for the weekend. For tickets call 01249 714555 or buy online. fotospeed.com/fotofest

The Beatles printed on PNY accessories LumeJet PNY accessories has launched a new range of action camera accessories which includes five products; the Action Pole, Action Grip, Action Charger, Powerpack ST51 and PNY MicroSDHC Turbo Performance memory cards. Prices start from £24.99.

Archivum has partnered with LumeJet Print Technologies to produce a series of prints in special editions of the Beatles book, All You Need is Love. Another new book featuring photographs by Tom Murray will also include LumeJet photographic prints from Tom’s collection of Beatles images, all signed by Tom and numbered.

pny.com

The Eye International Photography Festival The Eye International Photography Festival takes place Friday 30 September until Sunday 2 October at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Featured photographers include Eamonn McCabe, Nick Danziger and Maria Gruzdeva. Tickets cost £65 for the full weekend, £55 for students and seniors. For other ticket options and more information visit the website. theeyefestival.co.uk

lumejet.com

Wilkinson Cameras’ Digital Splash goes from strength to strength, with this year’s event taking place over two days in the brand-new Exhibition Centre Liverpool. With inspirational seminars from leading photographers including Tim Wallace, Jonathan Chritchley, Ross Grieve and Kate Hopewell-Smith, hands-on workshops and demos, photo walks and more – there’s lots to see, learn, do… and, of course, photograph!

Digital Splash 16 sees new brands exhibiting, including Hasselblad with its incredible medium-format X1D; Zeiss with a range of its top quality lenses and binoculars; and Bowens with its latest lighting range. Be the first to see new kit from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and more major releases hot off the press from Photokina 2016. Register online for free entry and a 25% discount on seminars. www.digitalsplash.tv

© Tim Wallace

Digital Splash 16 – bigger and better than ever before!


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News

RPS International Print Exhibition 159 winners announced For the first time in the world’s longest-running photo exhibition, women photographers scoop the four major awards

respectively, with Russian photographer Anna Shustikova winning the under 30s category gold award. See all the pictures at the London’s Photomonth International Photography Festival on 13-18 October.

© Poem Baker

The Royal Photographic Society’s International Photography exhibition is the world’s longest running. This year its 159th edition saw the first time all four winners were female photographers. The gold, silver and bronze awards were won by UK photographers Carolyn Mendelsohn, Polly Braden and Poem Baker

rps.org/ipe159

Bird Photographer of the Year

Fifty Paths to Creative Photography

Andy Parkinson from Matlock in Derbyshire was named as the Bird Photographer of the Year 2015 at this year’s BirdFair. The competition saw over 6500 entries from 40 countries, but it was Andy’s image of a mute swan that saw him take the title and prize of £5000. Entries for the 2017 competition are now open.

Professional photographer Michael Freeman is releasing a new book through Ilex Press, Fifty Paths to Creative Freedom. The book is available from 6 October for £20. Fifty Paths to Creative Freedom looks at Freeman’s own work as well as work from other photographers and offers 50 paths to think about taking photographs, providing a new way to explore your favourite subject and get creative.

birdpoty.co.uk © Andy Parkinson

ilex.press

Industrial scars Environmentalist and photographer J Henry Fair, has announced the release of a new book. Industrial Scars, The Hidden Costs of Consumption will be available from October for £30. His photographs offer an aerial view of the effects on our planet from human impact. papadakis.net

Detroit: Against The Wind

Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden will be exhibiting more than 20 new photographs shot on the Leica S-System and M-System at the Leica Gallery Mayfair, 17-30 September. Back in 2009 Gilden documented foreclosed homes and their owners in Detroit; earlier this year he returned to the city and will now be showcasing his work. The exhibition is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-4pm. leica-storemayfair.co.uk

Weather Photographer of the Year The Weather Photographer of the Year received over 800 entries and now The Royal Meteorological Society and The Royal Photographic Society are asking the public to help choose the winner. See the finalists and cast your vote online. The winners will be announced 10 September. weather-photo.org


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Clubs

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

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 achievement; 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

© Neil Crick

News in brief Dingwall closes Get your entries into the Dingwall National Projected Image Exhibition by 30 September. There are four categories – Open Colour, Monochrome, Nature and Landscapes – with 19 medals and 48 ribbons to be won. Full details are on the website. dingwallcameraclub.com

Macro talk Heswall Photographic Society starts its 2016/17 season with a talk by Ron Thomas on macro photography. The talk is on Friday 9 September, in St Peter’s Centre, Lower Heswall. Details are on the website. heswallphotosoc.co.uk

Knaresborough turns 50 Formed in the year England won the football World Cup, Knaresborough Camera Club is now kicking off its 50th anniversary season with an enrolment evening on 14 September. Find out about the celebrations at the website. knaresboroughcameraclub. blogspot.com

We need words and pictures by 16 September for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 26 September. 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.

Autumn in Droitwich Droitwich Camera Club’s Robin Couchman has won a spot in the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust 2017 calendar with this lovely shot. His winning image will feature on the September page of the Trust’s calendar next year. “Pipers Hill is one of my favourite locations because of the shapes of the old trees. I just went up there for dawn as it looked like being a misty morning,” says Robin, “definitely worth getting up early for.” droitwichcamera.co.uk

© Robin Couchman

Above Robin Couchman of Droitwich Camera Club got his shot featured in the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s 2017 calendar.

To commemorate the club’s eight decades, the members have produced a book Dorchester Camera Club’s programme secretary and vice chair, Penny Piddock hit on a novel idea for celebrating the club’s longevity: to create a book documenting the club’s history. But they hit a snag, says Penny. “Archive information was virtually non-existent, a few names on trophies, snippets from descendants of founder members, memories and photographs from some of our older members were all that remained of our history before the 1980s.” So instead, the club members have created a book for the next 80

years, documenting the club as it exists now. “All the members were invited to provide a page for the book, including images important to them, a few words and a selfie. I hoped we’d have enough pages to make it worth the effort and I wasn’t disappointed,” says Penny. The result is a 114-page book summarising the club’s early years and documenting the club as it is now. A copy remains with the club and another is in the county archive.

Above Among the images in the Suffolk Monochrome Group’s exhibition at Aldeburgh’s Snape Maltings in Suffolk is Low tide, West Mersea by Alan Turner. The exhibition runs 16-22 September, and is open daily from 10am. Entry is free.

dorchestercameraclub.co.uk

© David Uffindall

Market Drayton showcase Join Market Drayton U3A Photographic Group members at their showcase in October. The group’s images will be on display and its members in attendance at the Dorothy Clive Gardens Pavilion for the first two weeks of the month. Entry to the pavilion is free, but there is a small fee to enter the gardens. marketdrayton u3aphotogroup.weebly.com

Dorchester celebrates 80

Deadline for the next issue: 16 September 2016

© Alan Turner

First for Brentwood Brentwood & District Photographic Club and Billericay Photofold Camera Club member Tina Reid was the first female Brentwood member to win her LRPS. She showed her winning panel at a members’ evening at the club. bdpc.co.uk

How to submit

Day trip to Ripon? Ripon City Photographic Society invites you to visit its exhibition and city. The PS’s annual exhibition is at Allhallowgate Methodist Church Hall on 3 September and includes prints and digital images from club members. Entry is free, refreshments are available and the exhibition is open 9.30am to 4pm.

Once you’ve visited the exhibition, why not stroll along the city’s Law and Order trail and check out the canals? You could even wait until 9pm for the Ripon Hornblower on the marketplace. riponcityphotographicsociety. co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Interview Profile

Fine art photography LUMAS Gallery will be celebrating the work of British photographers this autumn, so we caught up with Honey Teslim, gallery director of LUMAS London and Jan Seewald, director of public relations at LUMAS to find out more

Years in the photo industry? JS: Almost 15 now HT: Two years Current location? JS: Berlin HT: London Last picture taken? JS: The last picture I took was on an old graveyard in Berlin. I was walking with a friend and came across a pile of old gravestones, broken and ready to be taken away. I thought of all the lives and stories behind those stones and took a couple of great pictures. HT: My family When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? JS: A doctor, which I am now... sort of! HT: Artist Dogs or cats? JS: Both HT: Dogs Toast or cereal? JS: Cereal HT: Cereal Email or phone call? JS: Email HT: Email

Top left House of Eduardo II by Werner Pawlok Top right Girl with a Fish by Andrey Ykovlev and Lili Aleeva

How do you find photographers and work to sell? JS: It’s very important that our portfolio represents a well-balanced list of artists and photographers, which means we want to support and work with a collection of new artists as well as establishing a strong relationship with those who have perhaps been part of the LUMAS portfolio for eight or nine years. LUMAS has a team of expert curators who keep informed on the latest trends in the international art market by regularly attending exhibitions, conventions, and festivals. In this way, LUMAS always stays current and exciting.

which is apparent from growing worldwide interest in photography fairs such as Photo London and Paris Photo. There has been a rapid increase in value and in prices, especially when it comes to the big names such as Horst P. Horst, Bert Stern or Cindy Sherman. I think the industry will continue to grow in popularity and we haven’t seen its peak yet. What do your clients buy images for? Investment, interior decor, personal enjoyment? HT: All of the above and more. LUMAS in London has a developing business to business side to what we do, working with interior designers to provide a variety of work for a specific brief. Our core clients are usually individuals who buy art because they love it and many of them then find an interest in the investment potential.

What do you look for when choosing work? JS: I think our approach to choosing new work, or even to curating an exhibition, is quite organic. We track our global sales, and have subsections on the website that tell us and our clients when a particular work is reaching bestseller status, or has sold out. We also respond to moods and trends in the wider photographic industry, attending fairs and keeping up to date with industry publications.

Is there a particular type of image or genre of work that sells in the UK and how does that compare with other markets – especially Europe and the US? JS: The LUMAS portfolio includes all styles of photography from abstract or conceptual to classical and modern portraiture. The themes represented in LUMAS’ portfolio include fashion, landscape, water, interiors, celebrities, nudes, architecture, cityscapes, movement, still life, technology, sport and wildlife. Our London collectors tend to prefer fashion shots such as the works from our Vogue archive collection, which includes masters such as Horst P. Horst, Edward Steichen and Erwin Blumenfeld. Wolfgang Uhlig’s photographs are also among our bestsellers, indicating our collectors are equally likely to fall in love with contemplative images.

How is business going in this industry? JS: Photography has become increasingly popular both in the industry and with the wider public,

What is the LUMAS UK best-selling image, and why does it sell so well? HT: In June 2016, we released works by Swiss photographer Claudio Gotsch. His breathtakingly intense

black & white shots open our eyes to the wildlife of the Alps, showing us an animal kingdom worth preserving. His work is selling extremely well, not just in London but in Zurich, Munich and Berlin. Our London collectors immediately fell in love with Gotsch’s portrait of a highland cow. Are there any photographers whose work is more popular than others amongst buyers? JS: These days, we have a good sense of which works will become favourites. For instance, one of our German photographers, Werner Pawlok, is a true bestseller with his Cuba pictures. He combines the art of the photograph with the power of a painting. We are convinced that the painterly character of his works is a big part of their success. People also like the story behind the photographs. By contrast, a work that really surprised us was Girl with a Fish by the Russian duo Andrey Yakovlev & Lili Aleeva, which sold out in a flash. In the piece, classical painting meets high fashion, utilising all the playful characteristics of the Russian avant garde. This combination proved fresh and new. We recently premiered new works by Canadian artist André Monet, who portrays the pop icons of our time in impressive, large-format collages. Before David Bowie’s death, Monet created a very melancholy, piercing portrait of the superstar. Our collectors were instantly smitten with this interpretation – we’ve never sold a limited edition so quickly before. How do you feel the UK views photography as art? JS: I think it’s been a recent development in art history, but I would say that the UK, and the wider world, now view photography as an art form in the same league as painting and sculpture. There has been an evolution from it as a niche market, perhaps documentary photography and photojournalism,

© lumas.co.uk

Biography

Can you tell us about your role at LUMAS and what it entails? HT: As gallery director for LUMAS London I manage the day-to-day running of the gallery, from sales to event management – we host four to six exhibitions, lectures, artist talks and private views a year. I also liaise with the curatorial and portfolio team based in Berlin to ensure we have regular new hangings in the gallery and are up to date with new artists and works joining the portfolio. However, the best part of the job is interacting with the clients and finding them the perfect piece for their space – whether it’s their home or office. You look at art every day so you have to love the art you buy, and it’s really rewarding to see a client’s excitement when they leave with the perfect work.

© lumas.co.uk

Can you tell us a bit about LUMAS and its aims? HT: LUMAS fine art photography is dedicated to making contemporary photography accessible to a wider audience of art enthusiasts and young collectors, both online and in over 40 galleries around the world. The portfolio of over 2000 works by 230 established photographers and rising stars, delivers a comprehensive look into the world of contemporary art.

and now I would say it is one of the most important media in art. This autumn you’ll be celebrating the works of British photographers, Jane Bown, Justin Barton, Peter Adams and Jonathan Andrew to coincide with Frieze London. Why did you choose these particular photographers? HT: Justin Barton is new to the portfolio and we’re launching his first series with LUMAS this September. At the same time two other really strong landscape photographers stood out, Jonathan Andrew and Peter Adams, and we wanted to celebrate the art of landscape photography. LUMAS artists come from all over the world; previous exhibitions have seen us looking to Cuba, to New York and further afield, but for this autumn we decided to look closer to home, celebrating the best of British. JS: Knowing that we were going to focus on British artists, I felt it was imperative to include the works of Jane Bown. Jane, who passed away two years ago, was a portrait photographer for the Observer, and her photographs are magnificent – black & white and completely mesmerising. A series of her portraits, of David Hockney, Samuel Beckett, Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper to name a few, are going to be in the gallery from early October. lumas.co.uk

Next at LUMAS LUMAS will be exhibiting work in a series of events in September and October, to coincide with Frieze London. The Justin Barton exhibition opens September 15 and the Jane Bown exhibition opens 4 October. uk.lumas.com/events


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Profile Biography

Before the Judge

David Gibbins

Each month, a respected judge or exhibition selector shares their thoughts and experiences. This month we speak to David Gibbins who’s been judging since the 80s

David Gibbins David Gibbins is the judges and lecturers secretary for the North & East Midlands Photographic Federation (N&EMPF) Executive Committee, and he is also chairman of PAGB Patronage on the PAGB Executive. He has been judging since 1983, graduating through the N&EMPF senior list to the PAGB list. Years in photography Photography has been my main hobby for over 35 years. It is not just ‘taking pictures’ as I get even more enjoyment from the camaraderie of being a member of a camera club, and visiting clubs as a judge and speaker as well as helping clubs through my active involvement on the N&EMPF Executive. Home club Beeston (Notts) Camera Club. I have recently had the honour of being made president. Favourite camera I don’t have a favourite camera. My workhorse camera is a Canon EOS 60D. Favourite lens My 75-300mm zoom is the one I use most. Favourite photographers I don’t have one specific favourite photography; over the years there are many I’ve admired. When I first got into photographer I started in landscape and I was influenced by Colin Baxter. Favourite subject I still have a soft spot for landscape work, but I like all genres. Awards ARPS, APAGB, EFIAP/bronze and BPE4*

Words by David Gibbins I have been judging at camera club level for over 30 years and I am happy to travel anywhere. As well as visiting clubs I have undertaken taped and written judging for many clubs who do not have easy access to judges within the PAGB area. I have judged many exhibitions, my latest is the 2016 Midland Salon. In the early 80s I volunteered to be a judge with the North & East Midlands Photographic Federation. I wanted to give something back to the federation and other clubs as I had called upon the services of lecturers and judges at my own club. I graduated quite quickly from the Federation’s supplementary judges list and eventually was honoured and delighted to be appointed to the Photographic Alliance list of judges. I always find judging rewarding. I sincerely hope I provide constructive feedback but that is for clubs to comment upon. I always try and find something positive to say about a picture and where I think improvements could be made, then make the suggestions sympathetically.

My reward from judging is seeing good pictures. I have also learnt so much from visiting different clubs and different federations over the years that I may not have learnt if I had not gone out judging. I enjoy all judging events whether at the smallest club or the largest club and the different exhibitions and salons. Perhaps the most rewarding experience was when I was an adjudicator at the Awards for Photographic Merit at Keyworth in November 2014 when four photographers gained their MPAGB. Personally I believe the general standard of photography has increased over the 30 years I have been judging. Overall the technical side has greatly improved. In my opinion the standard of amateur photography in the UK is very high. The UK has done extremely well at club level and PAGB level in recent FIAP World Cups and Biennials. Some of the best work in the UK can be seen at the PAGB InterClub PDI and Print Championships. In all my exhibition judging I have never been frustrated with my fellow panel members. There will always be occasions where one of us will score highly and another panel member will score low for a specific image. That is the benefit of having a panel. Sometimes when it comes to awards compromise may be required, but given that we have all scored highly for that image it is no major issue, and many exhibitions have a judge’s personal award. I prefer the spontaneity of cold judging as I see the images at the same time as the audience and can enjoy the impact with them. During the course of a season I see many images I consider outstanding. For me the skill, as a judge, is to try and articulate why the image works for me. The emotional response can be very strong but for another person the image may not work as well.

From a technical perspective there is a tendency to oversharpen or overprocess images. Many images suffer from poor use of lighting; for landscapes this is often because the picture was taken under flat lighting conditions. Some images could be improved by selective cropping to simplify the image. The rule of thirds is a good guideline, especially for beginners. Many images are enhanced by the use of thirds. However, I have seen stunning images where all rules are broken, so from a judging perspective it is important to be open-minded. An ordinary snapshot could mean many things to many judges. There are some locations I see several times in a season and some interpretations work better than others, often because of lighting conditions, a slightly different viewpoint, and different exposure times. In a club competition if there are two very similar images I often compare them together to explain why one works better than the other. I have yet to find an image where I can’t find something positive to say, although sometimes it is difficult. There are a number of techniques or styles of photography that one could easily get fed up with. However at club level it is crucial to evaluate each picture against others in the competition and not to express any prejudices. If it is a good picture and conveys the message it should do well. It is not easy to stand up and analyse images in front of an audience. This all comes with experience and knowledge and I am sure many judges might have done or said

My advice to potential entrants is to see as many exhibitions as possible something differently, especially in their early days of judging. I mention this because the judge who comes may be just starting out. Alternatively, some judges are not always aware of current trends. I recognise that some judges seem unduly harsh or let personal dislikes influence their marking but the majority do a very good constructive job. It is important to recognise we all have different likes and dislikes; the best judges are those who can evaluate every picture and allow the audience to understand how they came to their conclusion. Of course not everybody is open to criticism. My advice to potential entrants is to see as many exhibitions as possible as this will give them a general idea of the standard required and the type of image that is getting awards. From personal experience that some of my images are more successful overseas. Regardless of trends, excellent images will succeed. My recommendation would be to keep the image simple and ensure that it is the best quality possible, even more so with prints.

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@photographynews.co.uk with the judge’s name and, if possible, their contact details.


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Competitions

Seasons of the British Isles The Thomson Ecology Photography Competition is all about nature and wildlife. In its sixth year, we speak to marketing manager Gemma Balaam to find out more

What role do you have within the photography competition? I started the competition six years ago, initially just as a bit of fun for the company’s staff. Then I thought we could ask some of our clients to enter, and then we decided to open it up to the general public. I thought it would be more fun and interesting to get a wider range of people involved and, of course, that way we would receive a much better selection of images. What are the aims of the competition and this year’s theme? The competition is a great way to generate more interest in UK wildlife and the diverse ecology that is unique to the British Isles. It is also an opportunity to share some of the great images which people have taken. Photography is so popular these days, with most people having access to a camera.

© Trevor Shelley

© Phil Scarlett

Interview by Jemma Dodd

I’ve always had an interest in photography, and used to have my own darkroom, so this seemed like a great opportunity to combine wildlife with photography – two areas which I, like so many other people, am interested in. It’s also great fun for us to have so much contact with people all over the world. Last year, one of our runner-up images was taken in West Bengal, India, and the overall winner of the 2014 competition was an image taken in New York City. It’s also useful in helping us generate more images for us to use on our website. We pay the photographer of any images we use a fee for use of their image. This is part of the terms of the competition. Tell us a bit about Thomson Ecology. Thomson Ecology is the UK’s leading ecological expert in gaining consents and managing ecological planning conditions. We have expertise across all ecology services from data gathering, analysis, consultancy and habitat creation. We advise clients in most

sectors on how to comply, in a practical way, with wildlife laws to gain planning consent for their developments. These may be new power stations, wind farms, rail developments, motorway extensions or any large development projects. Our expertise covers ecosystems from ocean floor to mountain tops. The theme is Seasons of the British Isles. What sort of images are you looking for? Much of our work as an ecology consultancy takes place in the summer, but some ecological activities can be done throughout the year, even in the midst of winter. We are looking for images that reflect wildlife and ecology throughout the year by illustrating the seasons – perhaps a snowy landscape, or flora or fauna in summer, for example. What are you looking for in a winning image? What will make an image stand out? The winning image must have the wow factor. Pin-sharp in all the right places, great

We’re looking for images that reflect wildlife and ecology throughout the year by illustrating the seasons – perhaps a snowy landscape

Above left Little Owls by Phil Scarlett, runner-up in the 2013 competition. Above right Sail Steam and Steel by Trevor Shelley, winner of the 2015 competition.


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Competitions

What are the requirements for the competition and how do people enter? A maximum of two images can be submitted per person before Friday 30 September. Files must be at least 1MB in size and JPEG format. Images need to be emailed to nature@ thomsonecology.com and should be named first name-last name-image title.jpg. The email also needs to include a caption and brief description, including any species names; your name, address, telephone number; the date of the photograph and where you took it. The rules and requirements can be found on our website – thomsonecology.com/thomsonecology-photography-competition-2016. How does the judging process work? Three people within the company, myself included, will each pick our ten favourite images. We then compile them all and narrow them down to a shortlist by discussing them. We ask a previous winner of the competition to shortlist them further. More discussion will narrow them down until we have just the winner and runners-up. How are the winners awarded? Each winner will be contacted via email or phone. The prize money of £200 for the winner and £50 for three runners up will be transferred to their bank accounts, and the winners will then be announced on our website and via social media.

Is there anything specific you are looking forward to seeing in this year’s competition? We are looking forward to seeing some really good examples of the seasons. Personally I love wintry scenes, so I’m hoping for some good snowy pictures! Having said that, autumn can be a very photogenic season, and spring and summer is when flora and fauna are in abundance. We were lucky this summer that the sun was shining and although it’s almost over now, I hope people managed to get out with their cameras.

© Dave Cantrille

composition, and powerful, so that it still has impact if only reproduced in a small size. Images must clearly demonstrate the subject, in this case, the seasons!

How has the standard of entries varied over the years? How have the numbers of entries increased? The numbers have definitely increased. In 2013, the winning image was printed in The Telegraph, giving the winner, and the competition, huge publicity. This has helped the competition become better known and we have seen the number of entries increase since then. The standard has always been high. The winner of our first competition, back in 2011, was taken by a photographer who was only 15 years old, but the image has remained one of my favourites. Do you tend to get more entries from amateurs or professionals? Has this changed over time? I think most of the images we get are taken by amateurs, but many are very serious about their photography so are extremely good. We do specify in our rules that any submitted images must not have won a national or international competition or have been published before.

© Dave Griffiths © Kristian Cruz

Autumn can be a very photogenic season Above Godwits fighting by David Cantrille, runner-up in the 2012 competition.

© Bill Doherty

© Debashis Mukherjee © Ayokunie Ola

Above Left European brown hare by Dave Griffiths, runner-up in the 2012 competition Left Home coming by Debashis Mukherjee, runner-up in the 2015 competition.

Top left Root of it all by Kristian Cruz, winner of the 2014 competition. Centre left Splash and Grab by Bill Doherty, winner of the 2013 competition. Bottom left Snail habitat by Ayokunle Ola, runner-up in the 2014 competition. What advice would you give to anyone submitting an image this year? I would advise entering photos that are relevant to the title Seasons of the British Isles. We’re received images which have clearly not been taken within the British Isles, so they are disqualified straight away, which is a shame. Whilst images don’t have to be of a professional standard technically, there are a few rules which are good to follow – such as, horizons should be level and not at an angle, and the subject must be sharp! What’s next for the competition? I hope that we can continue to run the competition and receive many, varied images. We love to use great photography on our website, and would much rather use photographs submitted through the competitions than library images! thomsonecology.com


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Interview

The Big Cat Man Jonathan Scott is an internationally renowned wildlife photographer and award-winning author based in Kenya. With years of experience Jonathan has just released his autobiography The Big Cat Man so we decided to find out more about the man and his latest venture… Without tourism these wild places would disappear in the face of the burgeoning human population Left “One of Honey’s boys – three cheetah brothers – staring down his reflection.” Below Emperor penguin chicks, Snow Hill Island, Weddell Sea, Antarctica © Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

© Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

Interview by Jemma Dodd Can you tell us about your background and what sparked your interest in photography? I was born in London and brought up on a farm in Berkshire. I always loved to draw and was passionate about natural history – watched all the wildlife shows on TV and subscribed to Animals magazine. My first book – I saved up my pocket money to buy it – was Peter Scott’s Wildfowl of the British Isles. He was an artist and passionate about wildlife just like my father, who was an architect and talented artist and sculptor. I started taking photographs at school and joined The Camera Club and bought my first real camera, a Canon EF, for my overland trip through Africa in 1974. That was the real starting point on my journey to becoming a photographer. Why did you choose to live in Kenya? On my overland journey I realised that the Africa I had fallen in love with as a child growing up in England was East Africa. It has those spectacular savannah grasslands stippled with flat-topped acacia trees and desert dates, home of the big cats that have always been my obsession. We visited the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania during that overland journey and I found myself entering the world I had seen in

the 1966 film Born Free and in the popular TV series On Safari with Armand and Michaela Denis careering around in an open jeep having all kinds of adventures among large charismatic animals. I was hooked and at the end of the trip sold my onward boat ticket from Cape Town to Sydney in Australia and have been in Africa ever since and living in Kenya since 1977. What are the challenges living there? How has it changed while you have lived there? I love living on the edge – I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and at school loved boxing and played rugby. Africa has a bit of the Wild West to it, and living on safari as Angie, my wife, and I have done for so many years is the ultimate adventure – camping outside or in a roof tent. When I was working in the Serengeti writing books on the great migration and wild dogs I had permission to live in my 4x4 vehicle and to travel off-road. Bliss. It allowed me to become one of the pack and to follow the migration of wildebeest and zebras on their journey around the Mara-Serengeti in their perpetual search for green grass and water. Balanced against the adventure is the insecurity in places like Nairobi. It is not so much the threat of terrorism which is something the whole world is facing. Rather, it is trying to ensure you stay safe in the city.

But we accept that as the trade-off for the wonders of Africa. And the Kenyan people are some of the warmest and friendliest people on earth. Visitors come to Kenya for the beach and safari and go away saying how great the people experience was. It is a great country. Forty years ago there were fewer people living in Nairobi – four million today. And far fewer people visiting places like the Maasai Mara then. But we need tourism. It helps to pay for our wonderful parks and game reserves and keep them safe. Without tourism these wild places would disappear in the face of the burgeoning human population and its hunger for land. Swopping continents, what is the appeal of the Antarctic? Angie and I could have stuck with being wildlife photographers and spent our whole life photographing in East Africa – we also love Botswana and Namibia – with the MaraSerengeti the focus of our work (and it still is). But in 1991 I had the chance to visit Antarctica, somewhere I had always been fascinated by – with a name like Scott how could I not be interested (though Scott of the Antarctic was not a relative). That trip changed my life and the following year I returned with Angie and visited South Georgia as well as the Antarctic Peninsula. South Georgia is the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean – there are far fewer

species of animals and birds, but they occur in staggering numbers. There are millions of penguins and millions of fur seals, for instance. For most of the next 20 years Angie and I returned to the frozen south each year as guest lecturers on various expedition vessels – our favourite was the Lindblad Explorer or the Little Red Ship, as she was always fondly known. She was later owned and managed by Abercrombie and Kent before eventually having her own ‘Titanic moment’ in the South Orkneys where she hit some ice and floundered. All the passengers escaped in the lifeboats and were fortunately picked up within a few hours. Antarctica is simply beyond reality with a mix of colours and an abundance of wildlife that continues to enthral us: blues, greens and whites in a landscape that is stark and rugged and minimalistic. Antarctica is a landscape of the soul just as much as it is a physical entity. No wonder the explorers of old returned again and again despite the privation and suffering they endured. It beguiles and seduces. Our most memorable trips were on the Kapitan Khlebnikov a Russian icebreaker fitted out with two helicopters to help navigate the ice. We did a semi-circumnavigation from Ushuaia to Christchurch in New Zealand that lasted a month. We visited Scott’s Hut and Shackleton’s Hut on Ross Island, saw our first emperor penguins and had an adventure


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Interview © Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott © Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

of a lifetime aboard the most remote vessel on earth. We then made two expeditions to Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea to visit an emperor penguin breeding colony. Temperatures were -20°C but the sight of the emperor penguin chicks was worth the hardship. Did you always intend to write an autobiography? When did you know the time was right? No. I knew that I wanted to write an autobiography as I began to feel I had fulfilled many of my life’s ambitions – to live and work in Africa among the stunning array of wild creatures you can still find in MaraSerengeti; to have stayed true to my dream of spending a lifetime following my passion for watching, photographing and writing about wild creatures in their natural habitat; to have visited Antarctica, met my wife Angie and been a father to Alia and David; to have worked on shows like Big Cat Diary (19962008) that mirrored the life that Angie and I live on safari. And to share with people, particularly younger people who might dream of living a life like I have experienced, my frailties and weaknesses as well as my strengths, to let people see that anyone can carve out a life for themselves following their bliss. They just have to believe, to conquer their fears and to be determined to not give up just because someone tells them they cannot succeed in their quest. You owe it to yourself to take charge of your life; own it and make it the path you want to follow. Can you talk us through the process of writing an autobiography? When did you begin writing? I began writing my story a couple of years ago in 2014. I decided to write the story I wanted to have published before I had found a publisher. Angie and I have written 30 books now between us (my first was A Souvenir Guide to African Birds in 1981)). The problem with getting someone to publish my book was that it was more than just a story about a bloke with an obsession for big cats. I wanted to blend elements of my early life growing up on a farm in Berkshire. Losing my dad when I was two years old (he died of an inoperable brain tumour at 42) had a huge impact on my life. I was convinced that I was going to die young and ended up in an insane race to outlive my dad. I love communicating – talking – and so © Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott I tend to write how I talk. The big thing of course is to know your subject and know what Top “Zawadi the leopard and her three-month-old daughter Safi at sunrise on the dawning of you are talking about. I studied zoology at the new millennium. We followed Zawadi throughout her long life – 16 years.” university and was always mad about wildlife Top right “I have been watching the Marsh Pride of lions since 1977. Angie and I know some of and read everything I could find on African these big cats better than our human friends.” wildlife and animal behaviour. I learned a lot Above “Enjoying showing novice monks in Bhutan our wildlife images from Africa. We host from working on my first big book The Marsh safaris around the world from India to Antarctica.” Lions (1982) with Brian Jackman (the wildlife

and travel correspondent for The Sunday Times for many years). Brian introduced me to the basics – have a beginning, middle and end – and helped temper my thirst to include lots of animal behaviour wedged between my narrative thread – an indigestible mix unless you blend and simplify to make everything flow. In time I became a storyteller and that worked well for my role as a TV presenter, especially for live TV and shows like the Big Cat Diaries, Chimpanzee Diaries, Elephant Diaries, Big Bear Diary that I worked on. It quickly became apparent that potential publishers were concerned that my story was going to fall between two stools – part wildlife memoir, part personal narrative touching on religion, science and nervous illness. Which shelf in a book shop would it fit on? Fortunately Bradt saw the potential and with support from Canon Europe we were able to fashion a handsome book with my pen and ink illustrations (some that Angie worked on) and our photographs to bring the text to life. How did you decide what images to use within the book? We wanted a mix of family archive and strong wildlife images – and to have some images that illustrated photographic techniques discussed in the Photographer’s Note at the back of the book. Fortunately we are also publishing a big photographic portfolio with many of Angie’s most stunning images and a sumptuous design concept by our son David, called Sacred Nature: Life’s Eternal Dance. What have been the highlights of your photographic journey? Angie and I are hugely proud to be Canon Ambassadors and SanDisk Extreme Team members. But the icing on the cake was when Angie won the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2002, making us the only couple to have both won the Overall Award in the competition as individuals. And our son has won awards in the competition too. In terms of images – my favourite big cat is the leopard and Angie loves lions. And Antarctica is a photographers paradise just like the Mara-Serengeti. Have there been any downsides? Any dangerous encounters? No downsides, except that life is too short. There’s so much to read and engage with and to experience, sights to see and images to take, family life to share. If there is anything I have learned after 40 years of living in the bush it is that incaution and bravado are the cause of most people’s dangerous encounters with big game (unless you are firing bullets at them and then you only have yourself to blame). The biggest thing to beware of is complacency – get too close on foot to an elephant cow with young calf


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Interview © Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

I hope that people are inspired to take control of their destiny – to make the most of their chances in life – that life is a gift Left Guests from the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov photographing their first emperor penguin. Left below Wildebeests crossing Mara Right “Zebra stallions fighting. You can see how worn the teeth of the older stallion are (right). He is ready to be chased away by the younger stallion.”

© Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

or an old bull buffalo and you may well find out just how much faster they can cover the ground than you can, and that when you run invariably you will trip over your own feet in panic. It is not the big cats you want to watch out for – they generally run off if they see a person moving towards them at a distance on foot. It is the hippo you bump into out of the water than can kill you, or a buffalo surprised in thick bush, or an elephant cow with a calf. I have been chased by most of Africa’s large animals due to my own incaution – and it leaves you very shaken and glad to be alive. What is your favourite image that you and your wife have taken? Lots of favourites. Angie’s winning image from the 2002 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition – Elephants drinking in the Luangwa River in Zambia (with grey heron) is a beautiful painterly image. And I like the wild dog chasing a wildebeest shot I took in 1986 – taken at 1/60sec to give the impression of speed and movement. Also the image of a very shy leopard peering up over a ridge taken in 1984 – it was on the cover of The Leopard’s Tale (1985) – and was shot in the days when even finding a leopard was incredibly difficult let alone photographing one. What’s the nature picture that you wish you’d taken? I once lent my camera to a safari guest when I was a guide when their camera packed up. I figured that I would always have more opportunities and after all this was the guest’s safari of a lifetime. We saw everything you could possibly have wished for – rhino, elephants, a leopard when they were very, very tough to see, and then to top it all two huge male lions stood up on their hind legs and let rip. Think Ali vs Foreman (the Rumble in the Jungle) – it only lasted for a few seconds, but was an amazing sight. The lady who I had lent my camera to was so frightened by the noise of the lions snarling and growling that she barely took any pictures she was terrified that the lions were going to jump in the vehicle. She promised to send me copies of the pictures, but I never heard another word from her. And

© Jonathan Scott and Angela Scott

I have never seen a scrap quite like that since. Angie had a camera malfunction when three male cheetahs were chasing a zebra foal straight towards her right down the barrel of her 500mm telephoto too – the shutter just froze and the camera wouldn’t focus or fire. Pure agony! Are there any images/animals you still want to create/capture? I gradually exhausted my passion for photographing lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, the great migration, Antarctic wildlife – to a point. There is always a new way of approaching familiar subjects. And Angie and I just love taking photographs of wildlife, people and dramatic landscapes. But right now, with the publication of the autobiography and Sacred Nature, which defines our personal philosophy in words and pictures we are just enjoying concentrating on conservation issues that are a priority for us – helping to work with people who are committed to ensuring a long-term future for the Mara-Serengeti. What camera do you use and what is your favourite lens? Angie and I have just tested the new Canon EOS-1D X Mk II and love it – it has everything we need as wildlife photographers: 14 framesper-second drive speed in Raw; expanded autofocus area and quicker, more accurate autofocus for tracking fast-moving subjects like birds on the wing or a cheetah running flat out; built-in GPS helps us to keep track of far ranging predators; high noise-free ISO capability that allows us to shoot in low light (we prefer ambient light rather than using flash – and big cats are often active in low light situations so this is a big help to us). The video is 4K with touchscreen autofocus. Just a brilliant camera. We both love the Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5/5.6L IS II USM zoom – pin-sharp, very flexible for composition, easy to handle with great IS, can be used with a 1.4x extender to boost it to a 140-560mm zoom – three lenses in one – and a must when we are traveling around the world and need to watch

our carry-on weight allowance for flights. Angie also loves the Canon EF600mm f/4L IS II USM telephoto and I often use the EF200400mm f/4L with built-in 1.4x extender for shooting from our 4x4 vehicle. Do you ever put the camera down and enjoy the experience? We often tell other people to do just that but rarely heed our own words of advice. We feel naked without our cameras. But we did recently take a seven-day holiday in the Maldives where photography took a back seat – for a few days. Trouble is you tend to see everything with the eyes of a photographer and our cameras and lenses are extensions of ourselves and how we interpret the world. Other than an insight into your life, what else can readers learn from your book? I hope that people are inspired to take control of their destiny – to make the most of their chances in life. I hope that people realise that life is a gift. And that all of us have our demons and struggles, but that it is OK to admit to your faults and failings and weaknesses. That is how you conquer your fears, allowing you to live the life of your choice. It is terribly important to encourage children to be adventurous – to push themselves, to spend time outdoors exploring the natural world – to realise their connection to the environment. What’s next? There are lots of events taking place to help promote the autobiography and Sacred Nature. Another TV series perhaps in 2017; we just filmed a National Geographic/ Canon Australia special on our work as conservationists and photographers working in the Mara-Serengeti that airs towards the end of October as the first programme in series two of Tales by Light. We head to Australia for the launch of that in October and are keynote speakers at this year’s Wild Shots in Johannesburg on 22 October and Cape Town on 29 October in South Africa. jonathanangelascott.com sacrednaturebook.com

Exclusive reader offer

For an exclusive 25% discount on Jonathan Scott’s The Big Cat Man, visit bradtguides. com and enter the code TBCM25 at the checkout. Offer valid until 31 December 2016.


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Competition © Diego Brambilla

Best in show

© Nina Baillie

Pro focus

Winners of the AOP Student Awards 2016 break cover… Written by Lisa Clathworthy

Clockwise from top left: The AOP Student Awards 2016 judged by James Eckersley, Paul Hill and Nigel Harniman: Best in category, People, Nina Baillie; Finalist, Diego Brambilla; Best in category, Things, Kieran Cashell; Best in Show, Jo Cock; Best in category, Places, Sian Oliver.

© Jo Cock

the-aop.org This article first appeared in issue 123 of PN’s sister title Professional Photographer, which is on sale now. Pick up a copy and you’ll find plenty more work from inspiring photographers, reviews and advice perfect for aspiring pros and those already making their living. Also in issue 123: making money from child portraits; protecting your copyright; and how to get an agent.

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

© Kieran Cashell

© Sian Oliver

There was a definite end of term feeling at The AOP Student Awards 2016 presentation evening, and it wasn’t simply because most of the student members in attendance had broken up for the summer holidays. It had a lot to do with the announcement of the four winners, by photo duo Amit & Naroop. None of the four winners can have been more overwhelmed than Best in Show winner Jo Cock, whose initial reaction when asked how she felt was simply “shocked”. Recovering herself, the first year Norwich University of the Arts student explained that she’d entered a few competitions since starting her degree, but she was still “stunned to have won”. It was a big night for Norwich University of the Arts as recent graduate Sian Oliver won Best in category, Things. Happily clutching her award, Sian declared it “a bit overwhelming”, and added that she’s now focusing on landing a job in the photography world. Just as pleased were Best in category, Places winner Kieran Cashell and Best in category, People winner Nina Baillie. Another first year, Kieran, who is studying at Bristol City University, said, “I’ve never won an award like this before and am honoured, I was totally surprised when they said my name and completely lost for words.” While recent Bristol graduate, Nina commented, “I feel very appreciative that AOP connected with my storytelling.” Chatting to the finalists, it’s evident that students rate the AOP Student Awards highly, just as professionals do the AOP Awards. Winner Sian and finalist Chelsi Donaldson hope that their wins will help with their careers. Chelsi said, “it’s the first competition I’ve entered and my first exhibition, it’s unbelievable – I’m really lucky.” Hopefully, that luck will continue with them into their professional lives.


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Exhibition

© Jo Teasdale

Parallel Worlds

Photographers Jerry Webb and Jo Teasdale have joined forces to exhibit their work at My Brighton hotel, we find out more Interview by Jemma Dodd

Jo previously worked as an art and design technology teacher, while Jerry’s background lies in design and publishing. The two gradually gained an interest in photography; Jo through recording school projects and Jerry through taking portraits for the magazines they worked for. In 2007 Jerry joined the Brighton and Hove Camera Club and this is where the duo had their first meeting and honed their photography skills.

Why did you decide to do an exhibition of your work together rather than separately? JT: The Photo Biennial in Brighton is a big event and a celebration of the huge talent and diversity of new and established photographers exhibiting side by side. Collaborative exhibitions are great fun and can enhance each other’s work; you spur each

What work will you be showing? JT: We will be showing a variety of images centred mainly around people, focusing on Brighton and a variety of street life in other locations. We both appreciate humour and split-second timing as well as dark, edgy images so we will be featuring those as a combined edit. We are also showing our own personal categories; in my case it will include more conceptual and surreal images examining relationships and interaction. JW: Our individual work breaks down into similar categories, although we each have our more personal categories too. The joint category, which constitutes the bulk of the work, will include Brighton life, humour, street photography and some darker work, all shot in different situations, different circumstances and different countries. We are still working through the final edit, something that I am sure will continue for a couple more weeks yet. Talk us through the name Parallels, how did you come up with this name for the exhibition? JT: We were brainstorming words that suggest a synergy between us. We share both a passion for photography and an alternative view on the world but our photography interpretations and styles are very different. We could walk down the same street, photograph similar things, but we would have completely different outcomes. The word parallels sums us up – in harmony but independent. Your promotional poster combines images of your faces rather than your work. It’s not often we see the photographer’s face, what made you decide to do this? JT: By using our faces it gives our work an

Above Repression, part of Jo Teasdale’s Fellowship panel for the RPS. Left Break-out, London, Sloane Square Below Lead-on, Brighton Pride Festival

© Jo Teasdale

© Jo Teasdale

How would you describe your style of photography? JT: My work follows two distinct paths: translating personal concepts into the language of photography and celebrating the realness of life through documentary and street photography. I enjoy the immediacy and quirky unexpected elements of street life whilst my conceptual work is an artistic form of self-expression, often poignant and edgy, often unveiling elements of our human nature. These two paths often overlap, providing the audience with images that have many layers and interpretations. My photographs provide a strong narrative and can provoke an emotional response from the viewer. The images I produce are often individual statements of time, but recently the use of double exposures has added another dimension to my narratives. My aim is to engage the audience to participate in the stories that unfold around me. JW: Unconventional, monochrome, edgy, close and often uncomfortable. I love the wide-angle lens, I use it virtually exclusively. I like its distortion, natural drama and the dreamy feel it creates. Candid photography from close proximity is my favourite, it creates an adrenaline which I enjoy. Even engaging with people you can get great natural images, not strictly candid perhaps, but you can still produce informal or uncontrived images. I am not one for photographic rules and I get bored with their endless regurgitation. I prefer images that question, exaggerate and create tension. Beautiful prints is not really my thing. I love photographing people, not with any real interest in honestly representing them, but for the dynamic that they offer to the photograph.

other on to be more adventurous. Hopefully it will also raise our profiles. JW: Ultimately taking photographs is quite isolating, so the prospect of a project with somebody else, particularly a good friend, was really appealing. Both of us are instinctive and imaginative photographers and so there was strong unpredictable element to what we would produce as a team – something I found hugely intriguing. Nothing could be more boring than imagining the final edit before we even start. The process is as much part of the attraction as the completed exhibition. We tend to shoot similar things with a different approach and different results. Plus, it would be great fun – never underestimate the need for having a good laugh.


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Exhibition

The exhibition will include digital projections, why choose this route rather than prints? JT: In previous exhibitions I have always tried to do something alternative. So when Jerry initiated the digital media idea I was really excited to be involved. This exhibition has had to have a completely different approach because this one is projected, we are dictating how the audience views our images and for how long, we hope to capture their attention and hopefully entertain them. We have

We could walk down the same street, photograph similar things, but we would have completely different outcomes

© Jo Teasdale

Can you talk us through the process of putting on an exhibition, what sort of preparation and planning was involved? JW: Lots. The necessary process makes you examine both your work and the motivation behind it. Finding common ground between us was also an interesting process. Theming photography and creating narrative, rather than just bunging in your favourites, is interesting and frustrating also. Categories can be limiting and ultimately false given the intuitive nature of many of these photographs, so it was important to make them easy and simple. The external projection will have little narrative and concentrate more on the impact they have, given the fleeting nature of how they will be viewed.

© Jerry Webb

immediate identity, by combining our faces as one we have a high-impact image and makes people look twice. It reiterates the title Parallels and emphasis the synergy we have. JW: It makes it about us as photographers as much as our images. It’s about thought processes, imagination and approach. It also has impact. Faces and eyes draw the attention and the inclusion of the split face adds to the impact it has.

Below Artists house, Rue de Rivoli, Paris. Top right Early morning Amsterdam Right: Searching for Lucy, car salvage, Potters Bar Bottom left Brighton Pier, Saturday afternoon Bottom right Seafront chaos, Brighton © Jerry Webb © Jerry Webb

© Jerry Webb

embraced the opportunity to think outside the box and experiment with a variety of ideas: time-lapse, film, projection and music. It’s been a unique experience to curate an exhibition of such a varied nature and to experiment how our images work together as well as independently. The audience will view our images on ten simultaneous LED screens above a beautiful vibrant bar inside the hotel. Photography doesn’t have to be exhibited in a frame; there is a time and place for that. This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to play and experiment and have a good laugh. Ultimately we hope to engage, entertain and hopefully surprise our audience. JW: I would hope they will be entertained, I hope they will feel that they have seen something striking and unusual, whether they like it or not. Hopefully locals will pick up on local images. It would be great if people are just engaged by it, for whatever reason, and give the exhibition a minute of their time.

At the very least they will see something different. They can also just watch it while having a beer. What do you hope to achieve from the exhibition? JW: It offers us the chance to reach a much broader audience – the type not necessarily interested in browsing prints on a wall. Also it’s great just reaching the general public at large, whether they like it or not, and providing them with an unexpected show, however momentary. From another, but equally important perspective, I hope it gets us noticed and gains us some profile. Putting this amount of work into a project is very enjoyable but ultimately its about getting our work seen by as big and as receptive an audience as possible. Visit the exhibition 29 September-30 October at My Hotel Brighton. facebook.com/webbteasdale


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Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

Technique

BACK TO BASICS

Lighting academy

Flash fundamentals This month, start your journey into the exciting world of creative lighting effects with PN’s Lighting Academy. Over the coming months you’ll find out all about how flash and continuous lighting works and how it can be used to improve your shots. This month, how get to know a typical flash system and the modifiers that really make a difference… Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton Photography is all about the mastery of light, and that doesn’t just mean the available light (that which is in the scene already and largely beyond your control); if you want real control you need to start adding the light yourself and shaping it to your creative will. If you get to grips with artificial lighting techniques, which you can do with very little effort, and just the bare minimum of kit, you’ll be able to transform the kind of flat room lighting which mars so many portraits. Artificial lighting can also be used to improve the look of portraits on location, instantly balancing strong natural light or changing the mood of a shot for dramatic effect. Pictures can be bright and airy with little or no shadow, or dark and dramatic with strong texture – it’s all available at the flick of a few switches, and once you get the feel for how it’s done the range of options is startling. The trouble is, working with flash can seem daunting to those with no experience of it; and even more daunting if you’ve tried it in the past and not had much success. But if you get the basics right, there’s very little to worry about.

The first thing to take care of is triggering the flash so that it fires off -camera. You can do this using an old-fashioned sync lead if required, but with most modern flash systems now using wireless control it’s very simple to set the lights up wherever you want, control their power and fire them when required. Next you can start thinking about the really creative aspects; how you’re going to position and modify the lights to put your own spin on the subject. Will the illumination be full or glancing? Shadowy or shadowless? Will it be cast from higher or lower than the subject? How many lights will you use and what level of contrast will you set between them? Will the lighting be coloured, and will you light the background as well as the subject? There is an infinite number of choices and that’s what makes lighting techniques so exciting. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; if you’re new to flash you’ll want to get to know your way around a typical flash head and discover, at least in part, the range of modifiers you can use. Turn over to do that right now…

There is an infinite number of choices and that’s what makes lighting techniques so exciting

Above You don’t need much to get started with lighting, but once you get into studio work there is huge potential in terms of creativity and kit to play with. Left Two flashes fitted with softboxes were used here to create soft, balanced light.


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Technique Get to know your flash Let’s start by looking at the different types of lights you can use. Broadly there are two types of artificial light: flash and continuous. Flash is the more popular for photography, so that’s what we’ll mainly look at in this introduction, but continuous tungsten and LED lighting can be highly effective in its own right and we’ll cover that in more detail in a future instalment. Flash lights are typically broken into three types; speedlights, monolights and head/power pack combos.

ON/OFF SWITCH There’s also a power supply indicator here.

SLAVE CONTROL When the slave control’s radio or IR lamps are lit it will fire in response to either a radio signal or the light from another flash.

READY CONTROLS Here there’s a choice of an audible beep, or for the modelling light to dim as the light is powering up.

Speedlights Speedlights or ‘strobes’ are the small flashguns that sit in your camera’s hotshoe, or can be fired off-camera using flash triggers. What they lack in power they often make up for in portability and most modern speedlights can work with your camera’s metering system so you can shoot without setting the flash power manually if desired. Speedlights can be fitted to stands via adapters and modifiers for these lights are much smaller than for larger heads. Monolights Monolights, or monoblocs, are more powerful than speedlights, but like the latter they have a flash tube and controls contained in one unit (hence the ‘mono’ bit). They will also have a modelling light, allowing you to assess the look of the light on the subject. Some are powered by an internal battery, and others need plugging into a mains supply. Like speedlights they can be triggered wirelessly if you have compatible equipment (and power can often be set in this way, too), or you can connect a sync cable between camera and light. These lights usually need to be mounted on a stand and their modifiers can be larger due to the increased power on offer. Head/power pack combination Head/power pack combos tend to be the most powerful flashes, but they’re frequently less than portable, so mostly found in the studio. Like monolights they have modelling light, but the head needs to plug into a separate power pack. The latter may be dependent on the mains or contain a rechargeable battery and power is usually controlled from the pack. Many now have integrated wireless connections as well as optical sensors for slaving off other flashes. Packs will often feature multiple ports allowing several heads to be powered at once, and modifiers can be very large due to the extra power provided.

Right Here’s an annotated example of a typical flash head you might find in a studio or out on a location shoot. The head shown here is a Profoto D1 Air 1000, but the basic features are common to most models. This kind of head is called a monolight, or monobloc; this particular model is a selfcontained unit with a built-in rechargeable battery. Most heads are mains power only although there are a few with the option of either. The most powerful – and most expensive – mains flash units have a separate head (or heads) connected by cable to a power pack or generator.

MODELLING LIGHT POWER SETTINGS This, in conjunction with the main control knob, manually sets the modelling light power.

MODELLING LIGHT SETTINGS This controls the type of modelling light allowing it to be proportional to the flash (Prop), manually controlled (free) or off.

TEST BUTTON AND READY LIGHT The Test button fires the flash manually. It’s useful for open flash techniques, or to discharge power before switching off. The ready light shows when the flash has recharged fully.

SYNC LEAD CONNECTION Here you can plug in a sync lead to physically connect the camera and flash for triggering.

MODELLING LIGHT BULB Like a regular lamp with a dimmer switch, the modelling light can be increased and decreased in power, and provides a preview of the lighting the flash will give.

CONTROL KNOB This controls the power of the flash and the modelling light, as well as some other secondary functions.

MAIN DISPLAY This shows power settings for flash and the modelling lamp, and other information.

POWER SUPPLY If an AC connection is required, it’ll plug in here. If there’s an integral battery the port will be used for charging the light.

CHANNEL BUTTON This changes the radio channel, so lights can be controlled on different channels.

LOCKING KNOB/TILT CONTROL Depending on the flash model this may purely affix the light to a stand or control the tilt of the light at the same time.

FLASH TUBE It’s from here that the flash is discharged. The bulb is sensitive so may be protected by a glass cover or dome. Some are userreplaceable.

FUSE HOLDER Flashes are protected by ‘fast blow’ fuses, not the sort you’ll find for the kettle, and these may blow from time to time.

STAND ADAPTER This socket, which has a locking screw attaches to the top of a lighting stand for positioning of the light.


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Technique Modifiers and accessories Where lighting really starts to get creative is in modifying the output of the flash. This can be done in a huge variety of ways, and lights can (and probably should) be modified in some way, whether you’re using a speedlight or a large studio-style version. The type of modifier you use shapes the light, either spreading out, softening, colouring or directing it onto specific parts of the subject or scene.

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Softbox Softboxes are diffusing modifiers. They can be square, rectangular or more rounded in design, but the most important thing is how they spread out the light to soften it and reduce the intensity of shadows. Most flash kits come with softboxes or umbrellas as these diffusers can quickly give very flattering results. The light through a softbox has a more directional look than via an umbrella but it’s still very soft. The larger the softbox, the more diffused the light will tend to be, but you need more flash power to correctly expose the subject.

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Grids and honeycombs Grids and honeycombs can be fitted to most types of modifier and they’re used to restrict the light and harden its look. So, if you’re already using a snoot or spill kill, and add a grid, the spread of light will reduce. Grids can also be used on softboxes to direct the soft light, for example if it’s falling too much on a background. When a grid

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is used and the light is channelled, its strength will likely increase a little, so some care needs to be taken in exposure. Flashmeter Judging the amount of flash power required to correctly expose the subject can be tricky, especially as the output level depends on lots of factors; which modifiers are used; the angle of the light; and the light’s distance from the subject. You can judge the light using your screen and histogram, but a flashmeter takes out the guesswork. Holding it near the subject and test firing the flash, the meter will let you know what power to set to avoid making the subject too bright or too dark.

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Reflector A reflector (as opposed to a spill-kill reflector) is a white or metallic surface used to adapt the light by bouncing it onto the subject. For instance it can be used with a single light to

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brighten shadow areas, or set on the opposite side of the subject to the sun, giving the same effect. Reflectors are available in different colours and finishes and most are double-sided so you have the option. Popular colours are white, silver, and gold. Umbrella or brolly Umbrellas are diffusing modifiers. The curved shape of an umbrella means that the light can be thrown over a wide area and the greater the spread of light the softer shadows will be. Umbrellas come in two main forms; bounce and shoot-through. In bounce umbrellas, the light is pointed into the umbrella’s inside and reflects onto the subject. In shoot-through umbrellas, light is fired through white translucent material.

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Beauty dish A beauty dish looks like a very wide reflector, but crucially the design also includes a disc or deflector covering the flash tube. The

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design means that the light from the flash hits the smaller disc then reflects from it onto the larger one, before reaching the subject. The added level of reflection and the fact that the light is more directed than a softbox means that it produces distinct, but very soft shadows and can be used close to the subject without running the risk of overexposing them. Snoots and spill-kill reflectors Many flash kits come with spill-kill reflectors; basically a reflective dish that fits onto the flash to direct the light. They come in different widths, which offer a varying throw of light. A snoot is a tube-like or conical design that channels the light into a small area, so it’s a great modifier if you want a spotlight effect, or to add light in specific areas such as to the subject’s eyes or hair. They can also be used to create a pool of light on a background and tend to be measured in terms of the angle of light that they produce; 30° or 10°, etc.

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Technique The world of flashes and flash kits

Lastolite Lumen8 F400 Twin Kit 2 £465 A great starter kit, Lastolite’s Lumen8 F400 twin umbrella kit is built around two versatile Lumen8 400Ws flash heads. The kit also includes two stands, two spill-kill reflector dishes, two PVC 80cm umbrellas and two cases. The lights have a metal casing for added durability, and can also be triggered wirelessly via their built-in receiver if a Lumen8 trigger is added (at £44.99), or using slave or sync cable connections. The Lumen8 F400 heads have a guide number of 60 and recycle time of 1.6secs at full output, so provide plenty of power and speed. Power is controllable over a range of six stops in one tenth steps and they use the popular S-fit accessories so you may not need to allow for new modifiers even if you’re upgrading.

Like cameras, tripods and lenses, flash heads and kits come in a wide range of prices and specifications to suit all budgets and requirements. There are simple starter sets for hobbyists feeling their way into the world of flash photography and high-spec professional heads that are designed to withstand daily use in demanding environments. There are products engineered for the maximum power and those designed for mobility. Here are a few examples to consider…

Metz 64 AF-1 Digital Flashgun £309 When twinned with the right modifiers, a speedlight can make all the difference to your portrait, and with a guide number of 64 the Metz 64 AF-1 has the power to do it. Power can be controlled in ⅓ stop increments, all the way down to 1/256 and with its zoom head, the spread of the flash can be tailored to suit focal lengths of 12 to 200mm. The flash’s durable build is combined with great usability from its touchscreen on the rear and the display rotates 90° if you’re shooting in portrait mode. The Metz 64 AF-1’s head itself swivels up to 300° horizontally and between -9° and +90° vertically and it’s fully compatible with TTL flash metering, so you can use it hotshoe-mounted and expect first-class results. It also supports wireless triggering directly from the camera and comes in Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Panasonic and Sony versions. metzflash.co.uk

Interfit STR200 Strobies ProFlash 180 kit £319.99 Functioning like a larger, more powerful speedlight, the Interfit Strobies ProFlash 180 can be mounted in your camera’s hotshoe or triggered off-camera in a variety of ways, including sync lead, slave mode or, best of all, using the ProFlash Transmitter/Receiver kit STR203 at £40. Via the Transmitter, all functions can be controlled, and, in addition to its small size and rugged design, this makes it an incredibly versatile kit. The range is effective up to 50m and covers 16 channels, while its suite of modes and modifiers mean the kit can be adapted to any subject; there’s manual, two slave modes and stroboscopic flash for creative motion effects or to let you paint a subject with open flash. It also offers a high-speed sync mode, and its large lithium-ion battery pack, which can be slung over the shoulder, allows up to 900 full-power 180W/s flashes on just a single charge.

manfrotto.co.uk/lastolite

Pixapro CITI600 Twin Flash Kit £1019.99 The CITI600 is a powerful and portable batterypowered monolight. Weight is just 2.66kg and the flash has an output of 600Ws (guide number 87). The battery will allow around 500 full-powered shots per charge while recycle time tops out at 2.5sec. There’s a high-speed sync mode up to 1/8000sec)and a 10W LED modelling light is built in, as is a wireless receiver, so the light can be fired using the additional Pixapro Pro ST-III trigger at £44.99. The CITI600 uses S-fit accessories so there’s a huge range of modifiers to choose from, and this starter kit comes with two heads, two chargers, two 60x90cm softboxes, two stands, carry cases and more. essentialphoto.co.uk

Broncolor Siros 400 L WiFi/RFS2.1 head £1944 Broncolor’s Siros 400 L is a battery powered monolight. It’s compact, fast, portable and durable with a strong aluminium body; plus it can operate from -10°C to +60°C, so there’s little that can’t be shot with it. The Siros 400 L can provide up to 440 flashes per charge at full power, and also has a low power consumption 25W LED modelling light, while Swiss engineering provides remarkable colour consistency across all flash durations. Full-power recycling time is just 1.2secs and for triggering and control the RFS2.1 transceiver is used. You can also control it from your smartphone using the BronControl app. Modifiers use the Broncolor bayonet fitting. bron.ch

interfitphotographic.com

Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Set £725 The Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit features two powerful, robust and portable D-Lite RX 4 400Ws heads, and uses Elinchrom’s built-in EL-Skyport receiver for triggering, although sync and slave options are also available. As well as the heads, the kit comes complete with everything you need to start shooting flash-lit portraits; two stands, two softboxes – one 66cm square and one 56cm octagonal, a translucent deflector, the Skyport Plus Transmitter, carry cases and more. The EL-Skyport Plus can operate across 16 channels and four groups, so you can add to your lights and control them separately with ease. You can also control the lights via the El-Skyport app and power is highly controllable in increments as small as one tenth of a stop. For attaching modifiers the lights use the Elinchrom bayonet fitting. elinchrom.com

theflashcentre.com

Profoto D1 Studio Kit 1000/1000 Air £2800 Aimed at serious enthusiasts and pros, Profoto’s D1 1000 Air flash heads have a huge maximum output of 1000Ws, giving them masses of range. They’re also built to withstand the rigours of daily use with a lightweight, high-impact polycarbonate casing. Power is adjustable over seven stops in one tenth increments and the lights recycle at just 2secs at full power. Even the modelling light is extra powerful with a maximum 300W output overpowering almost any ambient light. With built-in wireless receivers, the lights can controlled and triggered up to 300m away via the £225 Profoto Air Remote or using a computer via the optional Air USB device and included software. The kit comes with dual heads, umbrellas and stands and cables, plus a sturdy kit bag to ferry it about in. profoto.com/uk

Now you’re up and running you can start your journey into creative lighting proper. Each month Lighting Academy will look at how to use a particular modifier or excel at a flash technique, so make sure you pick up your free copy of Photography News every month to keep learning. Next month: We look at flattering softbox techniques like clamshell lighting.


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Photography News Issue 36 absolutephoto.com

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Tip 1 Get focused Many of us rely on autofocus, but in a survey of over 1000 photographers conducted at Photokina expo around 60% of camera and lens combinations measured were found to be autofocusing incorrectly. Datacolor’s SpyderLENSCAL gives you a quick and easy means of checking and correcting autofocus. Simply pop the guide up, shoot it and check the focus point on the image of the LENSCAL. If it isn’t spot on to the ‘0’ of the angled scale then you can use the SpyderLENSCAL to correct the autofocus point using your camera’s micro-adjustment. Hey presto, no matter the age or condition of your camera or lens, you’re now in focus.

to a bulging, heavier camera bag. Plus, constantly changing lenses means your sensor is much more likely to need frequent cleaning. Here we look at four Datacolor accessories that will improve your photographs and workflow without having to upgrade your

Tip 2 Get balanced Shooting in unusual lighting or under man-made light sources like strip or halogen lighting will affect your image’s colour no matter how good your camera’s white-balance system. If you want to correct for the lighting you are in and to remove any colour casts, having a neutral grey target to shoot is essential. Compared with using old-style grey cards that are prone to easy marking, creasing and even blowing away, Datacolor’s SpyderCUBE provides a robust, portable and pocketable target that you can easily drop into a test shot allowing you to use your image-processing software’s white-balance tools to correct your photo’s colour temperature. By copying these adjustments you can then batch correct all the photos that were taken in the same conditions. The SpyderCUBE also has a metallic ball and black strap to help you also set the exposure and contrast (black point) accurately to avoid losing either any highlight or shadow detail across your shoot. Below Datacolor SpyderCUBE for correct white-balance

Top Datacolor SpyderLENSCAL for focus checking Above Autofocus is spot on when the ‘0’ is in focus

camera. Furthermore, they will work for future camera and lens upgrades too. Better still, these four accessories feature in Swiss manufacturer Datacolor’s new SpyderCAPTURE PRO Bundle, so you can improve your image capture workflow in one go.

Tip 3 Get the colours right If it’s important to correct for more than just colour temperature, exposure and contrast to get your subject’s colours spot on, especially if you are shooting wildlife, sport, fashion and weddings. For this, Datacolor’s colour chart, the SpyderCHECKR, is the ideal solution. This double colour card device (one for general colours and one for skin tones) sits in a protective, tripod mountable case that folds flat for easy storage and is light enough to leave in the camera bag. Also, the target’s cards are printed hence replaceable should the built-in fade checker ever let you know that you need to change them. The SpyderCHECKR enables you to correct white-balance, exposure and contrast just like the SpyderCUBE, but an additional plug-in or Adobe Lightroom and other softwares creates a colour correction solution for the entire colour curve of your shots with the touch of a button. This enables you to get all the colours in your photograph a perfect match to the original subject’s. Above Datacolor SpyderCHECKR for accurate colour capture

Learn more about controlling colour and contrast For more detailed information on how to go about any of the elements discussed in this article you can sign up for one of Datacolor’s free, live, one hour web-based seminars. Alternatively you can check out some of the pre-recorded review videos on this and many other photographic areas at the Nexttek Channel on YouTube.

Datacolor products are available from most major camera retailers and online at the Datacolor web store. datacolor.com/s5cpuk-webinar datacolor.com/s5cpuk

Tip 4 What you see is what you get Getting white-balance correct at capture is paramount but even if you’ve correctly captured your image colours and hues you can undo all your hard work if you start retouching your image on an uncalibrated monitor and hence adjust for imperfections of your display rather than your subject. Hence the fourth tip is: monitor calibration. The new Spyder5 has been redesigned to handle the calibration of all modern screens from 4K through to curved OLEDs. Every time that you change the lighting conditions that you are in, you will see colours differently. Hence the Spyder5’s rugged physical design with encapsulated optics, lens cap and sensor grill make it ideal for ensuring that you are viewing the true colours of the scene in your images wherever you may be.

Save €100 (£86) Spyder5CAPTURE PRO retails for €389 (£333) and is now available for only €289 (£247) if purchased online from the Datacolor webstore or from your local participating retailer by 30 September 2016. Purchases via the Datacolor Webstore from the UK must be paid for in Euros. datacolor.com/s5cpuk

Below Datacolor Spyder5 for Screen Calibration Tip 4.1 And one more thing... One common feature of all the SpyderCAPTURE PRO tools is that you can fix them to a tripod. Whether you are checking autofocus or your white-balance, being able to tripod mount your target saves the need for an assistant. Similarly the addition of the tripod mount to the Spyder5 screen calibrator really helps when calibrating larger wall-mounted screens or projectors. As a result we’ve also been looking for a versatile range of tripods and stands and are very impressed by 3 Legged Thing’s range. So if you’re also looking for a stable and affordable mount to add to your kit bag these may well be worth a look. Above All the SpyderCapture PRO tools can be fixed to a tripod


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Technique People pictures

Naturally better portraits Want some great tips on shooting simple and beautiful location portraits? Then why not ask one of the UK’s best portrait photographers? This month, we talk to Neil Buchan-Grant about working wide open and compensating for light… ©Neil Buchan-Grant

Words by Kingsley Singleton The world of portraiture is huge. There’s a planet full of faces to capture and a million and one ways of doing it. That’s why all good portrait photographers need to be adaptable, having the skills and the right equipment on hand to get the best out of any subject in any location. This month, we’re looking at how to shoot exactly those kinds of portraits; golden opportunities outside of the studio where you need to work fast, making the most of the available light and capturing the character of the subject, no matter what the location. A photographer with a specialism in doing exactly that is Neil Buchan-Grant (buchangrant.com) and being a nice sort of chap, he agreed to share some of his insights on the subject. Neil actually started his photographic journey mostly interested in landscapes, although, like many at the beginning, he also occasionally shot friends and relatives. “A good landscape shot,” he says, “has a certain integrity about it, but even

at that early stage, I felt that photographing people was somehow more rewarding. The trouble was, I wasn’t great at approaching strangers at the best of times, let alone with a camera in my hand.” It wasn’t until his self-confidence grew apace with his photographic skills that he felt he could start shooting portraits properly. Now, after eight years of “photographing people more seriously”, Neil now shoots professionally and is an ambassador for Olympus, as well as running a series of exciting workshops, which you can find out more about at the end of this feature. His focus is on “trying new ways of showing people in photographs, and I’m always trying to ‘move it on’ a little where I can.” This, he says, usually means trying to show the character and beauty of his subject in a way that feels as real as possible to him: “I’m not much of a conceptualiser and I shoot instinctively, but I love the challenge of a new location and a new subject, trying to bring whatever elements you have at your disposal together in order to make something special.

Beautiful light will do more to enhance a person’s look than anything else

Looking for great light, interesting locations and then trying to make a little bit of magic happen.” All right in the light? To that end, Neil has discovered a real passion for working on location with available light rather than shooting in the studio: “Location portraiture offers more variety and it’s easy to stay excited by the possibilities that way. I’m still learning new things I can do with portable flash, although I would always choose natural light if it’s available. Regardless of the clothes and make-up, beautiful light will do more to enhance a person’s look than anything else, so that’s always my main consideration.” So, what’s the key to working with available light? According to Neil, it’s all about scouting out the right level of subtle and diffused illumination on location, and augmenting it with flashes and reflectors if required. “That might sound like a tall order to beginners, but when you actually start looking and shooting, you’ll find the

Above Shot in on a Sony A7S and Leica M 50mm 1.4 ASPH, Neil Buchan-Grant positioned his subject out of the direct sun, instead allowing her to be lit via reflected light.


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Technique right kind of light is all around us, even in the brightest part of the day. You just need to know where to look and how to control it,” he explains. This means thinking about finding good light well before notions of exposure come into play, so keep that in mind; the light is always the foundation of the shot.

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Top This was shot on the New York subway using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and 17mm f/1.8 lens. At f/4.5 and 1/30sec, ISO 1600, Neil used +0.3EV of exposure compensation to make sure the skin tones were spot on. Right Taken in Venice on a workshop run by Neil and Steve Gosling using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Leica DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. This was shot wide open at f/1.4 and 1/1000sec, ISO 200 and a reflector was used to give the shot a luminous quality.

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Lighting style and influence In terms of lighting style, Neil mentions classic black & white Hollywood movies as an inspiration, albeit often a subliminal one. If you’re an aspiring portrait shooter, it’s well worth examining those looks, or the styles used in films and photography you like. Look at what sort of set-up created those shots and you’ll begin to replicate it, even if it’s subconsciously. “That type of idealised portrayal of the leading women was something I must have really bought into when watching them as a teen,” confesses Neil, “because that type of ‘heroine’ shot keeps coming out in my work, however much I try to focus on new ways of making pictures!” The easiest way to produce flattering portraits on location is to seek out exactly the kind of diffused light that Neil mentions, and whether it’s in feature films or shooting stills, it always comes from correctly positioning the subject. On cloudy days there’s lots of soft light about, but if the sun is out look for shade to shoot in, particularly if you can position the subject near a light-coloured wall to spread and diffuse the available light nicely. The shadows of buildings are perfect for this, and the dappled shade under trees works well, too. Alternatively, just turn your subject away from the sun (or whatever the brightest light source is), and they’ll create their own shadow.

The light is always the foundation of the shot

Below This beach scene, shot at f/1.4 and 1/1250sec, ISO 200 using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Leica DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH used +0.7EV exposure compensation to prevent the subject’s face falling into shadow.

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Time to reflect One of the simplest pieces of kit you can use to help in this regard is a reflector. These inexpensive devices can be used in almost any location to improve lighting, bouncing illumination onto the subject exactly as their name suggests. So, even if the light isn’t great on its own, reflecting it can help matters enormously. Unless he knows he won’t need one, because, for example, there are a lot of reflective surfaces already in the location (or if he’s intending to use flash), a reflector is something that Neil always brings along. In use, you can balance the reflector at the right angle by placing it in the scene or use a dedicated stand; you can even have the subject hold it themselves if your framing is tight enough, but having another person on hand to help is even better. “Even if it’s just a member of the family, having someone helping to position the reflector is best of all,” says Neil. “It’s a real time saver and an assistant can often spot things you’re too focused to notice like wardrobe malfunctions.” According to Neil, spots like “dark shaded areas within a very bright location” are perfect for portrait lighting, but as available light is never 100% predictable he usually brings some portable flash. “I’ve been using a lot of hand-held off-camera flash recently and the Olympus system I use offers some great options as all the controls are based on the LCD,” he explains. “Flash is supremely helpful for shooting in dusky conditions, too. I’m still learning new tricks with flash, but my default modification is a big octabox for the ultimate soft, diffuse lighting.”

Exposed to the light When you’ve found or created your own good light, you can move onto thinking about exposure modes and settings. Like many subjects, the easiest way to make creative decisions in portraiture is to shoot in aperture-priority mode (A or Av). In this mode you’ll have full control over the amount of the scene that’s kept in focus. Most of the time, portrait photographers try to separate the subject from the background by keeping the former sharp and blurring the latter. This keeps the subject very clear, hides distracting elements and places the face – the focal point – at the heart of things. Shooting in this way is most applicable when the background isn’t important, so if that’s the look you want, blur it all out by using a very low f/number. This could be anything from f/0.95 to f/4 depending on your lens. However, sometimes the background is important, so if you want to retain some greater sense of the location as well as the subject, use a higher f/number, giving a middling aperture like f/5.6 or f/8. This should still give your subject some separation, while the background remains at least partly recognisable. Having decided on the depth-of-field you want, it’s important to realise that, in portraits, it’s the exposure on the subject that’s paramount. This is what Neil aims for: “getting the exposure on my subject as ideal as possible”. In practice, this might mean over- or underexposing the background, but so long as the subject is well exposed, that’s fine. So, if you’re shooting against a very light background, find the exposure compensation function on your camera (usually marked by a +/- symbol), and try adding a positive


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Technique ©Neil Buchan-Grant

Neil’s kit for portraits “I use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and PEN F cameras most of the time. For those Micro Four Thirds bodies there are some wonderful portrait lenses and I often use the Olympus ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Olympus 17mm f/1.8 and Leica DG 25mm f/1.4 ASPH. I also use the Leica SL on occasion, but as I only have manual focus M lenses for that body, like the Leica M 35mm 1.4 ASPH, I only use it in the kind of circumstances where I have more time to work.”

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Above When the location is an interesting one you can shoot at a higher f/number for more depth-of-field and frame your subjects using elements in the scene. Left Although nearly full length, the f/1.7 aperture setting here blurs the backdrop.


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Technique ©Neil Buchan-Grant

value like +0.3 or +0.7. If the background is very dark you might find the opposite, so in that case you’d dial in a negative value like -0.3 or -0.7. “I tend to shoot wide open,” says Neil, referring to using the maximum aperture his lens allows, “as subject isolation is the other big factor in most of my work. For that reason I will almost always shoot in aperture-priority mode. I tend not to trust the exposure meter entirely though, but, as I shoot with Olympus OM-D E-M1 and PEN F cameras, the electronic viewfinder allows me to gauge the exposure really well with my eye. All I need to do to adapt to the scene is use a little exposure compensation, and I do it on almost every shot.”

Ensure a bit of extra sharpness by stopping down to a slightly smaller aperture Top Here, Neil used soft light to contrast with the richer shadows of the backdrop. Middle Due to the very bright backlighting of this street scene, +1.6EV of exposure compensation was used dropping the shutter speed to 1/200sec at f/2.4, ISO 50. Above For this shot, Neil used an Olympus FL-300 remote flash, holding it to the camera’s left and triggering it wirelessly.

Portrait masterclass ©Neil Buchan-Grant

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Learning from experience Neil has taught a lot of photographers, so we finished by asking him what he felt was the most important thing he’d learned and taught others about shooting portraits on location. The answer is refreshingly untechnical, and proves that it’s always an artistic eye that prevails in photography; many people get bogged down in the technicalities of exposure but if you can read the scene, the light and pay attention to detail you’ll be on the right track in no time. “There are a few things which took me a long time to get better at,” he says, “and I notice those in other photographers who’re just starting. For instance, knowing where to find good light in a new location is more about looking for the right kind of shade, for dark spaces… “Another is learning from your mistakes each time. I would edit a shoot and, only at that stage, notice what had worked and what hadn’t. Take note of those things and apply them to the next shoot by slowing down, standing back and taking a really objective and dispassionate view of the subject and the scene.”

©Neil Buchan-Grant

Refining your focus These are the kinds of simple techniques that can make a lot of difference when shooting location portraits, and another is being careful with your focus. When working with the very wide apertures that portrait lenses allow, depth-of-field gets very shallow, so you might only have a few millimetres of sharpness to play with. That means any movement from you or the subject after focusing is likely to throw the sharpness off. In these cases, it’s important to be realistic and accept that you won’t get every shot sharp, as Neil says, “I certainly don’t get the focus bang on all of the time, especially if I’m focusing manually, but that’s just one of the issues working with fast lenses.” To up your hit rate you can try a few things. First, using the camera’s single AF mode and the area set to its selective mode where you can move the AF point, place it as close to the subject’s eye as possible. This will mean you don’t need to change the framing too much after focusing which can throw the sharpness off. Automated modes can work well, too, especially facial recognition that’s smart enough to work out which is the closest eye and focus on that. “I sometimes use the eye recognition on the Olympus cameras if the subject is moving quite a bit as it does work really well,” says Neil. “If all else fails, you can ensure a bit of extra sharpness by stopping down to a slightly smaller aperture, say from f/1.8 to f/2.2; the increase in depth-of-field may be slight, but it’ll give you more to play with and therefore more chance of getting the subject sharp. Finally, shoot a lot. The more images you have the better your chances of getting the one you want.”

If you fancy learning from one of the best tutors in the business, Neil offers a range of courses in some amazing locations. A four-day workshop in Budapest is planned for June 2017 and will be co-hosted by landscape pro, Steve Gosling. “This will be my third workshop with Steve, and if the others were anything to go by it should be great fun!” say Neil. He is also running a workshop over 11 nights in Vietnam and Cambodia with Kuoni travel in November 2017, commenting “having hosted a similar trip last year in India, it should be a cracker”. If you’re interested in either of these events, you can find out more about them and other upcoming training programmes on Neil’s website. ‘Early bird’ discounts are available and Neil can be contacted via his website, but check out his blog entries, too, where you’ll get a great flavour of how fun and rewarding these events can be. buchangrant.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Camera test Specs Price £999 body only, camera with 18135mm IS USM £1299, camera with 18-55mm IS STM £1089 Sensor 24.2 megapixels with DIGIC 6 processor Sensor format APS-C 22.5x15mm, CMOS, 6000x4000pixels

Canon EOS 80D Aimed at enthusiast photographers, the EOS 80D is a classy APS-C format DSLR packed with plenty of user-friendly features. Priced at £999 body, the EOS 80D will surely attract hordes of Canon owners keen to upgrade

ISO range 100-16,000, expands to 25,600 Shutter range 30secs-1/8000sec Drive modes Continuous up to 7fps, silent, single and continuous Metering system Multi, centre-weighted, spot Exposure modes PASM, green square, scene (ten options), custom modes, B Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3, 0.5 steps Monitor three inch, 1040k dots, articulating, touch sensitive Focusing TTL-CT-SIR CMOS sensor with phase and contrast-detect (sensor) Focus points 45 AF points with selectable options including single point, centre, multi-area, tracking. Touch AF too. Video 1080p, 1920x1080 (60p, 30p, 24p), 720 (60p, 30p) Connectivity USB 2.0, mini HDMI, mic and headphone ports, Wi-Fi, NFC Storage media 1xSD card Dimensions (wxhxd) 139x105.2x78.5mm Weight 730g body only Contact canon.co.uk

There is a great deal to like about the EOS 80D’s touch-sensitive monitor and, with the clear menu structure, makes accessing features fast and simple.

Written by Will Cheung Canon has got so many things right on its enthusiast DSLRs for such a long time that we have seen new models come along with relatively minor, not very exciting innovations. On the face of it, the EOS 80D falls into this category but dig a little deeper and you do find more than the odd nugget that gives it serious upgrade potential. The sensor is a new unit with a 24.2-megapixel resolution so higher than the 20.2-megapixel units of the EOS 70 and 7D Mark II. It also has a phase-detect Dual Pixel autofocus system like its predecessors but on the EOS 80D you get continuous AF in live view during both stills and video shooting. The camera’s AF appeal has been heightened further by it having 45-points all of which are crosstypes. The 45-zone pattern covers the central image area in three 5x3 groups with the central set having the wider spread. All 45 points can be selected when single point AF selection is in use. Although moving AF point/zone around is two touch – push the AF selection button and then use the four-way pad or command dial to move the active AF zone. You don’t get the convenience of a focus lever joystick at this price. A criticism of DSLR AF systems, and it applies to this Canon, is that the spread of AF points when using

the viewfinder isn’t that extensive. So if you do want to focus on a subject at the frame’s edge you have to use focus lock, the nearest AF point or shoot in live view where the active AF area gives 80% coverage. Canon promotes the EOS 80D as a DSLR good for action shooting. There are no preset case studies on this camera that you see on higher end Canons but there are a good many options available in the AF custom menu – there are 16 in total covering many facets of the camera’s AF system. If you want to adjust tracking sensitivity, the speed of AFpoint auto switching or whether you want colour information to be used for AF-point auto selection, then you can. It does presuppose that the would-be EOS 80D user appreciates and understands these options and can apply them to different action types. It does seem odd that Canon provides presets for its top-end DSLRs that are more likely to be used by pros who are more likely to understand the nuances of an AF system, but not bother on a consumer camera. That said, having the options is no bad thing. I tried all four AF selection methods. For centrally dominant shots the auto options works well and you can set the viewfinder/ monitor up to indicate which AF points are working. Go off-piste with an off-centre composition and the system is less capable and the subject is not always detected.

Remarkably, the core controls have changed little in that time but perhaps some innovation is overdue There is much to like about the EOS 80D’s handling overall. It fits the hands well, yet it’s not heavy or bulky and everything works with a reassuring solidity. Control layout is typically Canon so anyone who has used a DSLR from the company in the past decade can pick the EOS 80D and feel familiar with it. Remarkably, the core controls have changed little in that time but perhaps some innovation is overdue. The EOS 80D lacks a focus lever for speedy AF point selection and the exposure dial would benefit from the one-touch lock now used by Fujifilm and Olympus, rather the push down, hold and adjust dial we have here. Where other brands could learn from Canon is the implementation of the articulating, touch-sensitive monitor and live view. This Canon’s touch-sensitive monitor is excellent. It makes navigating the extensive menus and adjusting settings in the Q menu a joy, and it’s fast. It’s even better when the camera is on a tripod especially when the camera is in a low position.

The live view is very bright in interiors and impressively visible in sunlight. Hit INFO and you can scroll through four display options so whether you want just an image or a more informative layout including a live histogram, you can. Going straight to the Q menu is also possible and there is a zoom option using the AF selection button to double check focusing accuracy. Taking pictures with the touchsensitive screen is good too. Touch the part of the scene you want sharp, the focus box turns green and a fraction later an exposure is made – if the focus box goes red, AF is not possible and no exposure is made. The exposure is not made instantly so for street photography you may have to be pre-emptive to get the shot you want but where lag is not an issue it is well worth using. You can turn off the shutter release option – there is an icon bottom left of the live view image to do this quickly – and just enjoy the monitor for changing settings and the live view AF which is impressively quick and sensitive.


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Camera test Performance: ISO With ISO speeds available now into the millions, the EOS 80D’s top native ISO of 16,000 is decidedly modest and if you want a DSLR with a cutting-edge top ISO Canon has other models in its range for you. The EOS 80D’s 16,000 top speed can be boosted slightly further to ISO 25,600 but that is only two thirds of an f/stop more. So super high ISO shooting is not on this camera’s agenda. That said, what’s available is very usable. This set of images taken using a tripod-mounted camera and the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom was taken during twilight with the Kenro Travel Tripod 2 tested elsewhere in this issue. The base ISO 100 exposure was 5secs at f/8. All noise reduction was switched off for this test and the Raw files were processed in Lightroom with default settings so they can be easily improved further.

Original image

Images are clean up to ISO 400 and that speed is fine for critical work although there is evidence of colour noise that some work in software should resolve. Noise levels then climb and even by ISO 800 it is evident in areas of mid-tone and shadows. The impact of fine detail looks minimal though despite the higher noise. Personally ISO 2000 is about the limit for me. It is quite coarse at this point but has a filmic feel. Beyond that images look coarse and the blotches of red and green colour noise are off-putting. In summary, the EOS 80D has a respectable ISO performance particularly at the lower settings up to 800 but this no more than you’d expect from a recently introduced DSLR. Once you start to ascend the speed scale, though, its showing is less impressive compared with the best around today.

ISO 100

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 16,000

ISO 25,600

1600 no NR

6400 no NR

12,800 no NR

1600 low NR

6400 low NR

12,800 low NR

1600 std NR

6400 std NR

12,800 std NR

Original image

Performance: high ISO noise reduction 1600 strong NR

6400 strong NR

12,800 strong NR

1600 ms NR

6400 ms NR

12,800 ms NR

The EOS 80D has four high ISO noise reduction settings: low, standard, strong and multi-shot. In the latter setting, four pictures are taken in rapid succession and the resulting JPEGs are processed, so this process takes a few seconds. The setting is greyed out if any Raw save option is selected. Test shots were taken at ISO 1600, 3200, 6400 and 12,800 in each of the four high ISO NR settings. The images shown here are straight-ofthe-camera JPEGs. The high level of colour noise of the no NR and low NR shots show that if you are going to shoot JPEGs at this ISO normal or strong NR is advised even though the last named does have an impact on ultimate resolution. It is no surprise that the multi-shot (ms) NR gives the most impressive pictures with a good impact on noise levels without impacting greatly on detail rendition.


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Camera test Performance: dynamic range To gauge just how well the Canon EOS 80D’s sensor can handle dynamic range and the flexibility of its Raws, we shot a set of images of a contrasty scene on a bright day. From the correct exposure we bracketed our shots in manual mode to +/-4EV in one EV steps. The base exposure was 1/500sec at f/6.3 at ISO 100. The under- and overexposed Raws in Canon DPP v4 and in Lightroom were then adjusted using the exposure slider to get them back to correct exposure. The results were then studied for artefacts.

Original image

0EV

The Canon’s Raws are not too tolerant of overexposure and the limit is the +2EV shot where highlights can be recovered successfully with no impact on image quality. In the +3EV shot the highlights are too grey. The underexposed shots fared better and even the -4EV shot delivered a well-toned shot even though this was accompanied with increased noise levels. The same applied to the -3EV shot but matters picked up considerably with the -2EV shot where tonal gradation was good and noise was acceptable.

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

+4EV

-1EV

-2EV

-3EV

-4EV

Performance: exposure

Above The EOS 80D’s exposure system proved consistently accurate. Exposed at 1/1250sec at f/5.6 and ISO 100. Above right A high key scene well handled by the EOS 80D. The exposure was 1/160sec at f/11 and ISO 100. Far right the meter went for the shadows overexposing the highlights so some editing was needed. Exposure was 1/60sec at f/11 and ISO 100. Right Another challenging, contrasty scene expertly handled by the 80D. Exposure was 1/100sec at f/10 and ISO 100.

For almost every situation encountered during this test the Canon was left in Evaluative metering mode shooting JPEGs and Raws. Program, manual and aperture-priority modes were the modes used. In over 900 shots taken during this review exposures proved very impressive with great accuracy and consistency with few complete rejects. A few shots like ‘Evans Bros’ to the left, where the contrast range was huge, benefitted from a tweak in software but that was the exception and not the rule. The sort of situations that can upset a camera meter were mostly handled well by the EOS 80D. Shooting towards a bright light I was still getting shadow detail and only the odd occasion was exposure compensation required. For example, shooting night scenes, where highlights did fool the meter into mild underexposure. Generally, I thought the EOS 80D’s exposure skills were impressive and consistently reliable.


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Camera test Performance: Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM This lens was introduced at the same time as the EOS 80D and it is the first Canon lens to have Nano USM for silent AF. It also has the option of fitting a device called the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 that sells for £129.99 and is aimed at movie shooters – this was not supplied for review. It is an EF-S lens so suitable only for Canon APS-C cameras and accounting for the 1.6x crop factor gives a 35mm format focal length equivalent of 29216mm. Essentially, it’s a superzoom and it comes in a surprisingly compact and lightweight body form. Nano USM is designed to give fast, smooth and quiet AF so no sound is picked up during movie shooting while the Dynamic IS gives a claimed 4EV benefit for stills and helps to give steady movies. The lens has a zoom lock which works only at 18mm and the other controls are an IS on/off and AF/MF. You can manually adjust focus when shooting in AF by keeping the finger partially down on the shutter button. The lens has a lovely feel and handling is very good, especially the smooth manual focusing barrel. Zooming in and out is slick too and a quarter turn of the zoom barrel takes you from one end of the zoom to the other. Superzoom lenses are versatile, useful and generally competent but optical quality is satisfactory rather than outstanding. This Canon fits this description pretty accurately. It is capable of decent quality images when used at its optimum apertures and at its wider focal lengths. Maximum aperture gives a decent level of performance but it does benefit from stopping down. F/8 and f/11 give the best sharpness at the 18mm end with decent sharpness across the frame. There are signs of fringing but that is easily removed in software. 18mm

Specs

The lens has a lovely feel and handling is very good, especially the smooth manual focusing barrel. Zooming in and out is slick too At 50mm, edge-to-edge sharpness is acceptable wide open and once again stopping down improves matters albeit slightly. Sharpness and contrast do drop off at the 135mm end and its best performance comes at f/5.6 and f/8 The small apertures are best avoided if you want critical sharpness. The IS system has a claimed 4EV benefit and that is probably not too far off the case especially at the wider focal lengths. I took sequences of shots down to 0.5sec at the short, middle and long end of the zoom to test the IS system’s effectiveness. As you’d expect the system is capable and I was getting pin-sharp pictures at 1/13sec at the 135mm end. In sum, this is a decent superzoom that covers a very useful focal length range, but if you want critical performance as opposed to convenience and portability Canon has a huge range to consider. F/3.5

F/11

F/5.6

F/22

Price £449, with Canon EOS 80D £1299 Construction 16 elements in 12 groups Filter size 67mm Aperture range F/3.5-38 Diaphragm Seven blades Minimum focus 39cm Image stabilizer 4EV benefit Dimensions 77.4x96mm Weight 515g

Left The Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a compact superzoom capable of decent quality images. It accepts the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 that gives smooth zooming action – the Canon Camera Connect app means you can control the lens with your smart device. The shots here were taken on a quiet morning with no significant breeze and the camera was fixed on the Kenro Travel Tripod 2.

Verdict

F/5

F/16

F/8

F/32

The Canon EOS 80D is a £999 camera so it’s aimed at photographers who have some experience and want to take the next step up. This camera certainly offers that opportunity and while it is not a massive stride on from the EOS 70D, for example, it is still progress. For users moving on from even older EOSs, the EOS 80D is significantly better so it has a serious appeal. The silky AF, whether you’re shooting with the viewfinder or in live view, is lovely, handling is confident and impressive and, of course, picture quality is critically very good at the most frequently used ISO speeds.

50mm

23/25 Features Plenty to enjoy, the touch sensitive monitor a highlight Performance 23/25 AF and exposure systems work very well 135mm

F/5.6

F/22

23/25 Handling Typically Canon – slick, intuitive, smooth 23/25 Value for money Rates highly in this respect and well worth a look

F/11

F/36

Overall 92/100 The EOS 80D is not a groundbreaking DSLR, but it is still a very capable one with a good feature set Pros Monitor, overall handling, AF as a whole and especially live view for movie shooting Cons ISO limited to 16,000 and image quality at higher speeds not as good as rivals, 18-135mm lens serviceable rather than spectacular


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Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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 Speed Class 10, UHS-1 Features Waterproof, temperature proof, X-ray proof and magnet proof Read time Up to 95MB/s Write times Up to 90MB/s Operating temperature -25°C to 85°C Durability 10,000 mating cycles Capacity 256GB Dimensions 15x11x1mm Weight 0.5g Contact samsung.com

To cram such a huge capacity into a MicroSD card is a considerable technological feat

Samsung EVO Plus 256GB MicroSD card £174.99 With high-resolution still cameras, 4K-capable products including drones and action cameras, as well as memory-hungry portable devices, the need for large capacity memory cards is greater than ever before. The latest Samsung EVO Plus MicroSD boasts a capacity of 256GB making it the biggest card in its class. Its price of £174.99 includes an SD card adapter. The 256GB card joins the EVO range already comprising 16, 32, 64 and 128GB sizes. To cram such a huge capacity into a MicroSD card is a considerable technological feat but Samsung is at the cutting edge of memory card technology. This card features the latest 48-cell layer three-bit MLC V-NAND technology to maximise read and write speeds, which are claimed to be 95MB/s and 90MB/s respectively, and they match the performance of Samsung’s PRO plus cards. As always, claimed speed and what you see in practice depends on the kit used. This MicroSD card also boasts four-proof protection too so should

deliver reliable performance even in adverse situations. So it is waterproof to IPX7 standard which means it will survive water immersion for 30 minutes at one-metre depth and temperature proof working within the range of -25°C to 85°C. The other two proofs are X-ray and magnetic so will be fine through airport X-ray machines and should you manage to have an MRI scan with the card stashed on your person, your data will survive that too. I tried the card in various devices including a Nikon D810, a Fujifilm X-T2 and a Canon EOS80D (all via the supplied SD adapter). To assess its full potential I tested the card using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app on my Mac Mini. Here, I got a write speed of 65MB/s and a read speed of 87.3MB/s, both good figures. For a practical test, I transferred 1GB of data to and from the computer. This gave read and write times of 14.2 seconds and 17.8 seconds respectively which translates to around 70MB/s and 56MB/s, which is good.

The card also emerged unscathed having spent 1.5 hours – accidentally – in my washing machine (40°C, synthetics cycle, no fab con). In the D810 with its 36-megapixel resolution, the 256GB has capacity for 3100 Raw shots so plenty enough for the family barbecue or even a big

wedding. Shooting continuously with this camera got me 25 Raws before the camera/card even had to pause for breath. I tried the same tests with a random selection of SD cards and the Samsung card matched or bettered all the others that I tried. WC

Verdict True, at £174.99 this Samsung EVO 256GB card is a considerable investment. But then you do get a huge capacity, whether you are shooting stills or 4K video. It performs well too and during this test I had no issues at all with card failure or lost files – even after 1.5 hours in the washing machine. Pros Huge capacity, performance, impressive reliability Cons No cons, but not everyone needs such high capacity


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE £449 Over the last few years, Samyang has built a suite of exciting, keenly priced, fast aperture prime lenses and they’ve proven popular with photographers, especially those toting mirrorless bodies. These include the 21mm f/1.4 ED AS UMC CS, 100mm f/2.8 ED UMC Macro and 135mm f/2 ED UMC, all of which were nominated in last year’s PN Awards. Something has been missing though, and that’s autofocus. Until now, that is, as the AF 50mm f/1.4 FE being Samyang’s first autofocus offering. The lens is currently only available for Sony E mount (NEX) cameras, so will give a standard view on full-frame bodies like the A7S (which I tested it on) and an equivalent focal length of 75mm on the E mount bodies with APS-C sensors, like the Sony A6300; it’s therefore a decent portrait and lowlight lens choice, thanks to its very fast maximum aperture of f/1.4. First let’s look at the big inclusion; the autofocus. For me, AF is a welcome addition on this 50mm lens, because while with shorter focal lengths and their associated subjects I’m happy to use smaller apertures and focus manually, when shooting portraits or candid subjects I want to work faster. What’s more, longer lenses produce a shallower depth-of-field and with the f/1.4 setting here, you’ll only be working with a few millimetres of sharpness, so precision is vital. Yes, you can still do it manually and Sony’s E Mount cameras have features like focus peaking to make it easier, but any helping hand is appreciated. Performance wise, the AF is not going to break any records for speed, and like all lenses on contrast detect systems it jogs back and forth before finding focus. It’s fast enough for general photography, portraits and fine-art landscapes, where speed isn’t really an issue; and while it wouldn’t be ideal for fast-moving subjects, you’re unlikely to be shooting those with this lens. The focus is accurate and I had very few problems when working in low light or with lowcontrast subjects. On the downside, it has a distinct mechanical whirr, but as before, that’s unlikely to worry the subjects it’s being aimed at. The closest focus distance of 45cm means

Specs Format 35mm Mount Sony E mount

The focus is accurate and I had very few problems when working in low light or with low-contrast subjects you can get very tightly cropped portraits and there appeared to be little distortion visible on such shots even in the full-frame view. When it comes to build and handling, the AF 50mm f/1.4 FE doesn’t disappoint. It’s a large lens, weighs a not-inconsiderable 585g, and is physically wider and longer than you’d expect for a 50mm, but it felt pretty well balanced on the A7S. Its broad metal barrel is comfortably cradled in the hand although the body is very smooth and polished; therefore it looks classy but offers less purchase than a textured finish. The manual focus ring is the only moving part as all control is via the camera body. It has a free feel, bordering on light, and because it’s electronically coupled it has an infinite turn. The ring could have been placed a little further forward for comfort, but it’s broad, so not a big problem, and it proved accurate during manual focusing, should you wish to employ it. There’s no weather resistance claimed, but it has a very solid feel and its metal lens mount attaches securely to the camera with a tight, rattlefree fit. Its internal focusing design means no rotation or extension of the front element and it has a 67mm filter thread, coming with a lens hood and pouch included. In testing the lens’s image quality, it performed very well. The construction promises Samyang’s Ultra Multi Coating and of the nine elements on board, three are aspherical lenses; this all adds up to pleasingly sharp and detailed images. Shooting throughout

Construction 9 elements in 8 groups Special lens elements 3x aspherical Coatings Ultra Multi Coating Filter size 67mm Aperture range f/1.4-16 Diaphragm 9 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 45cm Focus limiter No Maximum magnification x0.15 Distance scale No Depth-of-field scale No Original image

F/1.4

Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Yes Weather-sealed No

F/2.8 F/2

Dimensions (wxhxd) 97.7x78mm Weight 585g Contact samyanglensglobal.com

F/4

F/11

F/5.6

F/16

Left To test the image quality of the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 it was focused on a flat subject and shot throughout the aperture range. Results were very pleasing.

Verdict

Above The AF 50mm f/1.4 makes a compelling case as a portrait lens, but it’s also a great option for standard views when mounted on a full-frame sensor, and the AF makes shooting fast and accurate.

the aperture range, as one would expect results weren’t perfect wide open, but they certainly weren’t bad either. Some sharpness is sacrificed at f/1.4 where it’s quite soft in the corners, but there was little or no ghosting. Stopping down quickly improved matters and the lens gets into its stride from f/1.7, hitting its peak at the edges and centre at f/5.6. There was minor vignetting, but this was only really noticeable below f/2 and above f/11. Of course, if you’re shooting on a smaller sensor you can expect edge softness and vignetting to be cropped out. Defocused areas are impressively smooth and the

nine-bladed aperture design gives very round looking bokeh. Overall, it creates a lovely image. At £449, the AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is decent value for money though there are plenty of other options at around that focal length for the E mount. Sony itself has two 50mm f/1.8 lenses, in E and FE designations (APS-C and fullframe respectively), and these, though not as fast, are more affordable at £200 and £280. At the other end of the scale there’s the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA Planar T at much saltier £1499. Samyang even offers a faster 50mm f/1.2 AS UMC at £310, but for £150 on top you get full AF. KS

The AF 50mm f/1.4 FE is a wellappointed, excellently made lens that performs very well, and it does all this at an affordable price. If you’re in the market for a fast 50mm lens it won’t disappoint and is an exciting step forward for Samyang; we’re looking forward to see what other AF glass (in addition to the new AF 14mm f/2.8 FE) is in the works and whether the functionality will spread to other mounts. Pros Price, build, image quality, AF integration Cons Sony mount only, noisy AF and debatable grip – not much else!


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

BenQ W2000 projector £914.97 There are so many ways to enjoy your photographic masterpieces. I love prints but there is also something very special about seeing your shots big, seriously big; and that means projection. Of course projection is not new but modern technology means it is a world away from how it used to be with jammed slides and fragile bulbs. What’s more, a projector is multi-purpose so it’s easy to justify as a family purchase rather than something just for your photography. The BenQ W2000 is a fine example of a modern LED projector. It is a single-chip DLP (digital light processing) projector with Full HD, zoom lens and a pair of builtin speakers. It has CinematicColor tech to deliver the Rec. 709 colour standard. This is an HDTV colour profile used for DVDs and Blu-ray discs so how well still images looked with Adobe RGB and SRG profiles was going to be interesting. Leaving aside the technical stuff, the W2000 is nice and easy to set up and get running. Two adjustable rear feet and one at the front help to get the image level. Even with the lens’s vertical shift lever at its lowest position and the front foot retracted, the projected image is around two feet higher than the projector’s central axis. That head start is useful as the amount of vertical shift is limited.

I plugged in my Mac laptop using an HDMI cable, turned on the projector and soon afterwards the computer desktop was projected brightly on my white wall. There is a menu item to cope with walls of a four different colours. I projected images including one of a Datacolor test chart with Keynote (the Mac equivalent of Powerpoint) as well as Lightroom and Photoshop. I also played DVDs and Blu-rays on my home player via HDMI, and to check the unit’s suitability as a ‘family’ buy I plugged in my Xbox too. The menu, accessed via the unit’s on-board controls or the supplied remote control, is extensive so has plenty of fine-tuning and set-up options including a grid to aid offcentre set-up. The built-in zoom, manual focus lens is an all-glass low-dispersion model and while its 1.3:1 range isn’t great it is useful. In my test, from a distance of three metres from the lens front to the wall, the long end of the lens gave an image measuring 204x110cm and that increased to 255x144cm at the wide end. At a distance of 1.5m at the wide end the image measured 132x75cm so you still get a good-sized image at a close distance. The W2000 gives a bright image with its 2000 lumens output in normal mode and a claimed contrast

Above An infrared remote control is supplied as standard. Most adjustments can be made on the control panel.

Specs Projection system DLP Native resolution 1080P (1920x1080) Brightness 2000 ANSI lumens Contrast ratio 15000:1 Display colours 1.07 billion colours Lens 16.88-21.88mm, f/2.59-2.87 Zoom ratio 1.3:1

Above The BenQ W2000 is a compact and portable projector. Below There are plenty of connection options including two HDMI sockets. The USB A interface takes the optional wireless accessory.

Lamp type 240W Lamp mode Normal – 3500 hours (lamp life varies according to usage etc.) Keystone adjustment Auto vertical and manual horizontal +/-30 degrees Interfaces 3xHDMI, PC, composite video in, component video in, USB type A, USB type mini B, audio in/out Dimensions (wxhxd) 380.5x121.7x277mm Weight 3.6kg Contact benq.co.uk

ratio of 15,000:1. I thought image quality looked excellent with rich yet accurate colours and the projector was bright enough to give a viewable image even on bright days – with the curtains drawn of course. Economic and SmartEco are two modes available to extend lamp life. SmartEco seemed to give the same light output as Normal so that seems the best option to use with extended lamp life. Compared with my calibrated monitor, images were slightly warm with the Rec. 709 profile but not unattractive and there are options to fine-tune the colour to suit your taste. I tried the unit straight on to the projection surface and also at an oblique angle. Keystoning impacts on image size, though, so if you need the biggest possible image you need to place the projector straight on to the projection surface.

Digital keystoning can impact on quality but even around 30° off centre (the limit for this projector) the images were very sharp and detailed. Illumination was also even at this angle – an ambient light meter confirmed the edge-to-edge difference was 0.2EV. The pair of integral speakers facing out the back of the unit is available should you need audio and don’t have a sound system handy to take the audio out option. Sound output is from these is rated at 20 watts and while quality is okay and loud enough for a decentsize room, it is not a relaxing sound if you prefer it loud. Also, for late-night use, the lowest volume setting still seemed loud. Sound quality through an external amplifier was good though, and having the option of integral sound is really good. WC

Above The zoom lens is wide enough to give an impressively big image even at a short distance. The amount of vertical lens shift, though, is limited.

Verdict A projector is a big investment and not one you will make that often so it pays to get a good one. BenQ’s online shop price is £914.97 (carriage extra) but a web search showed it is available from £854 and that seems a fair price for a unit of this quality to help you enjoy your photography – among other things.

Above The W2000 has limited vertical lens correction but there is keystoning for horizontal image correction. Here you can see the original (left) and corrected (right) images photographed from the same position and you can see that the corrected image is much smaller.

Pros Quiet, bright, keystoning good, rich colours, even illumination Cons Limited vertical shift, the unit’s sound quality isn’t great


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K Extreme Pack £379

Specs In the box Rechargeable Li-ion battery, USB cable, AC adapter, quick start guide, glass lens cover, protective cover, battery charger, carrying case, cleaning cloth Extreme pack Standard housing, tether, vented helmet mount A and B, waterproof housing, bar mount, head strap mount, surfboard mount, suction cup mount, quick clip, lens ring, lens cover, battery charger, USB cable, tool, double-sided adhesive Resolution 12.4 megapixels Number of recording pixels Still image: 8-megapixel: 2880x2880, 4-megapixel: 2304x1728, 2MP: 1920x1080 Video: Round: 2880x2880 (30fps), 2048x2048 (30fps); Flat: 3840x2160 (30fps), 1920x1080 (60/30fps) High-speed: 720x720 (120fps)

Action cameras that you can fix to a drone, on a bike’s handlebars or just wear on your head are popular and fun devices that have serious and professional applications, too. The Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K has a 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, features a lens with a 235° field of view and is splash-, dust- and freeze-proof. And it shoots 4K video. The SP360 is very easy to use. Its overall size means that control layout options and screen size are limited, but that doesn’t detract from this camera’s handling. The small info screen shows plenty of data; for example in movie mode, you have resolution setting, time elapsed, battery status and time remaining on the card. There is a dedicated Wi-Fi on/off button and the record button is a good size. Setting up the camera means scrolling through menus and using the record button to confirm selection. It just takes a few minutes with the downloadable instruction manual to get familiar with the camera. Other key points on the splashproof camera are the USB and HDMI interfaces, the microSD card slot and a tripod bush. A free smartphone app (iOS and Android) is available to wirelessly remote control the camera via Wi-Fi. The Extreme Pack, reviewed here, has a great many options when it comes to how you want to attach the SP360, and apart from using it handheld, I did try it on its headstrap and fixed to my road bike. One small problem in bright sun is seeing when the camera is on and recording. You get a green LED when it is on and a blinking orange

Handling is better with the smartphone app and of course you see the live image

LED during recording, but seeing those LEDs is almost impossible, so you have to listen out for its audible signals – one long beep to confirm on, three beeps to confirm recording and three regular beeps to end recording. Handling is better with the smartphone app and of course you see the live image which you don’t get with the camera on its own. Connecting up is straightforward and the connection itself was pretty stable, although I had a few dropouts when replaying footage. Personally I found the user-interface and the small icons not great to use, especially outdoors in bright sun. Also as, is typical, with Wi-Fi connected devices there was a slight time lag. The free Pixpro SP360 4K software is available for Mac and Windows and helps you easily output video to Facebook or YouTube, and you can grab stills from video footage in JPEG format, too. I tried the Mac version 2.2.1.0 and I didn’t find it particularly intuitive; it seemed slow and it

Lens 360° spherical lens with 235° field of view, 0.85mm f/2.8 (8.20mm, 35mm equivalent)

crashed several times, too. That said, it is free and the global footage can be outputted in different formats, such as 4:3 and 16:9. In testing, I shot in round video (2880x2800) and flat video (3840x2160) modes. I also shot stills and took stills from video footage. Both modes gave video image quality that is generally sound with colour, contrast and sharpness all rating as good. Stills taken from the 4K footage were acceptable with decent colours and a reasonable level of sharpness. To be fair, though, I wouldn’t want to enlarge them much. Sound quality is okay, but susceptible to wind noise. The biggest potential headache is the lens. Its wide, curved expanse of glass, inevitably, gets dirty very easily so you need to make sure it is clean before you start shooting. Clean doesn’t just mean just free of physical detritus, but clear of any finger grease because it is inevitable in everyday use that you end up touching the lens. Any trace of

Construction 9 elements in 7 groups Focusing range Fixed focus: 50cm to infinity File formats Stills: JPEG Movie: MP4 (Image: H.264; Audio: AAC) ISO sensitivity Auto, 100-800 Exposure meter Artificial Intelligence AE (AiAE) Exposure mode Program AE Recording media Micro SD/Micro SDHC card (Up to 32GB support), internal: 8MB Power Rechargeable li-ion battery, 160 still shots, 55mins for video Dimensions (WxHxD) 48x50x52.5mm Weight 128g with battery & card Contact kodakpixpro.com/Europe

Below You can have fun filming yourself doing stuff, and it’s easy to share on social websites. Add another SP360 to shoot back to back and you can get creative with stitching with the free software.

Verdict

finger grease gives a smeary ‘bloom’ that is evident in the results, so the lens needs a good buff with a microfibre cloth before shooting. The instructions do mention that including a light source can impact on image quality, but the lens’s extreme field of view means that this is difficult to avoid in practise. Exposure was generally good, but again with the lens’s extreme view it wasn’t a surprise to see it less capable in contrasty conditions. Generally, though the exposure and white-balance systems copied well with different lighting as you moved around. WC

Action cams are well-named and great if you have a purpose for them. I had fun with the Kodak Pixpro 360 4K even though I’m not the target audience. But there are plenty of active people around who do feel the need to film and share their experiences with the world, so if you are one of those the Pixpro 360 4K is worth a look. It works well and the Extreme Pack comes with a wide selection of fitting options including an underwater housing so the package is very good value, too. Pros Versatility of the Extreme Pack, great value Cons Software is not intuitive, the same applies to the phone app


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

Datacolor Spyder5STUDIO £335

Specs In the box SpyderCUBE, Spyder5ELITE, SpyderPRINT, metal cases, cleaning cloth, software codes System requirements Windows 7 32/64, Windows 8 32/64, Windows 10 32/64. Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.19, 10.11 USB port, 1GB of available RAM 500MB hard disk space Monitor resolution 1289x768 or greater, 16-bit video card (24-bit recommended) Contact datacolor.com

In my case the difference was quite marked – the calibrated image looked cooler Knowing that what you output, whether on screen or in print, is an accurate representation of the original scene is important and that’s why we need a colour-managed workflow rather than leaving things to chance. Colour management specialist Datacolor has a wide range of projects available to help. It has recently introduced a new outfit, the Spyder5 Capture Pro, that takes you from checking lens autofocus accuracy to colour input. In this test, we look at its Spyder5STUDIO bundle that takes you from input to printed output. The Spyder5STUDIO kit includes three components: the SpyderCUBE, the Spyder5ELITE screen calibrator and the SpyderPRINT, all packaged in a smart metal case. The SpyderCUBE is a fade proof, tough, compact gadget that you can leave in the camera bag. To use it, just take a reference picture of it in the lighting that the subject is receiving. It has a cord so you can hang it in place and there is a 1/4in screw tripod mount too. It is small so get as close

as you can, making sure that your shadow does not fall across it. With the reference picture, it will help you set the correct white-balance, exposure and black point when you later edit your pictures in software. The CUBE is easy to use. The trick is remembering to use it when moving from one lighting type to another and that takes discipline especially in a pressurised situation where perhaps people are waiting for you. But to be fair, it does only takes a few seconds to save uncertainly during processing so all you have to do is remember to do it. Then in software – my default is Lightroom – you can set white-balance with one click. Getting the colours looking right on screen is crucial and the Spyder5ELITE is the latest in this well known and respected family of colour monitor calibration devices. When you buy the kit, you get a password to download and use the latest software from the Datacolor site. Once the software is installed calibrating the monitor takes a few

Above The SpyderPRINT profiling process is straightforward but you need to allow plenty of time to sample your test prints and while it costs more in paper, the larger targets option is a good one.

minutes and much of time you just let the software do its thing. The 5ELITE itself is tough and has a lens protector and a tripod mount is provided for projector calibration. On-screen prompts take you through the process which includes setting default brightness and then adjusting brightness to within a particular range and ambient light measurement. Other than that you aren’t too involved and at the end you do get the chance to check before and after calibration. In my case the difference was quite marked – the calibrated image looked cooler. You can also rename the created profile and set when you want to be reminded to recalibrate – I went for three months. I have a two BenQ monitor set-up (the software detected this including the brand) and from start to finish including software download and installation, I was done in a little under 30 minutes. Working with the third item in the kit, the SpyderPRINT took much longer as it is more involved. The unit is a spectrocolorimeter to create custom RGB profiles for your ink/ paper combinations. Firstly, as with the monitor calibration unit, you have to download and install the software – again a serial number is provided. Then you have to make prints. The odds are you are only using one printer and one inkset but favour a number of different paper types, brands and finishes. You basically have to output prints on the papers you use with the provided software and you do get various print options starting with either EZ Targets or Classic Targets. I went for Classic Targets and High Quality Target Plus Grays that used two sheets of A4 and gives 225 colour patches and even more mono patches.

In hindsight, the EZ Targets options is probably the better one because the colour patches are larger but more paper is used. Once the prints are done and dry, using the PRINT device and the software you sample each patch. Sampling means placing the PRINT sensor over the patch and clicking. The software confirms when each patch is done and you carry on through the whole lot. It takes time – and care, and the larger patch option gives more room for error. The software has the facility to look at and check your target measurements (including previously saved ones) and even compare your readings with the ‘pure’ patches. Once you have the profile, that’s the one for that printer, ink and paper. Time is needed for this and if you constantly chopping and changing papers then the time spent might not be worthwhile. I usually use generic profiles downloaded from the paper supplier’s website (and of course, some paper brands offer a free custom profiling service) and the SpyderPRINT gave me the chance to make my own profiles to print with. I feel the generic profile prints are pretty accurate and acceptable, and making my own profiles had mixed results with marginal improvement noticeable in some papers and not much change in others. However, the fact I saw some improvements means that I will persevere with the SpyderPRINT. In fact, prompted by this kit I will work on my colour management workflow as a whole using the CUBE as a starting point – it is now a resident of the camera bag – through to a profiled output. With time pressures it is easy to be lazy and random but being more disciplined is clearly a more sensible way of working. WC

Verdict Providing all the items you need in a nice box is a smart piece of marketing. Of course, you might have the odd accessory already so you can either buy the missing items separately or use this as the chance to upgrade to the latest colour monitor calibration unit. The Datacolor Spyder5STUDIO kit is a considerable initial investment – the cost of a lens! – but it could potentially save you much stress and even loss of revenue if you earn money from photography. For the outlay you get a quality security blanket that is easy to use and from that perspective it is money well spent. Pros All-in-one box solution, easy to use, it works Cons Price, time is needed for making print profiles


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

LumeJet prints from £5.74

Specs Prices including VAT but not delivery A5 £5.74, A4 £11.10, A3 £15.31, 12x8in £10.22, 18x12in £17.09, 24x12in £17.81, 24x8in £17.81, 100x30.5cm £25.54 Paper Fujifilm Crystal Archive Finishes available Matt, gloss, lustre. Pearl and silk available at 50% Turnaround time (as tested) Files uploaded Thursday, prints arrived one week later Resolution Files should be 400ppi Colour space Adobe RGB, sRGB or LumeJet’s own profiles Contact lumejet.com

Whether you print at home or use an online service, nothing beats a highquality print. If you use an online service you need to choose the one that can meet or even exceed your expectations whether that means value for money, service, brilliant quality results or a combination of those factors. LumeJet is a new online service that uses the latest technology to deliver beautiful prints at a quality level to satisfy the most discerning imagemaker. It uses its own LumeJet S200 inkless digital printer, a machine developed from the ground up using a three-colour RGB digital print head with Fujifilm materials for ultra highquality output. I started by registering on the site which is a straightforward process. With any online print service before ordering you need to know prices, size options and what other services are available, and once happy with them how to prepare files for upload. On the LumeJet website, prints, service and prices come under the Buy Photo Prints tab with submissions guidelines and an FAQ section under the Help tab. Pick a print size and orientation, click through and you get the next screen where you can opt for a white border and choose the finish. A wide selection of sizes including panoramic sizes are available. So, for example under Landscape Format options, sizes A5, A4 and A3 are available, and also from 8x6in to 18x12in and a 610x305mm option. As with any online print service it is worth checking what sizes are

available first and then gathering or exporting sizes to suit. For example, LumeJet gives you the similar yet quite distinct options of 16x10in, 16x12in or A3, so knowing what you want really does help. Prices are quoted for single prints and discount bands if you order multiples of the same image. A single A3 print costs £15.31 but order 2-5 prints and that drops to £11.48 per print. Matt, gloss and lustre are available in all print options with pearl and silk costing 50% more. Once you have picked your surface and print quantity, click Start and you will see a page with image upload advice and then the upload interface. Images can be uploaded into a default album or you can create your own and a drop down menu lets you navigate between them. The website could be slicker in some respects. As an example, if you pick a print size, go through the various pages and then change your mind, there is no single click to different size/shape options. You have to go back a couple of pages in your browser or go to the home page and start again. The print ordering window has limited editing options. You can adjust scale (perhaps to eliminate any white border) or flip the image but you can’t crop for example. Once you are happy with the image you can add the file to your basket or save it as a project for later or just add another page for the next print. I went through the ordering process with an old file to familiarise myself with the website and the options

Above Updating and ordering prints from the LumeJet website is straightforward enough.

Once you have picked your surface and print quantity, click Start and you will see a page with image upload advice and before preparing actual files for upload I looked at the File Submission Guidelines under the Help tab. With the quality possible from the LumeJet printer it is suggested files are saved at the required image size with a resolution of 400ppi as opposed to the usual 300ppi. As for the saved colour space, the RGB gamut possible from LumeJet is wider than CMYK printing and files should ideally be saved with Adobe 98 colour space. If you have a colour managed workflow, LumeJet provides downloadable profiles from its website for the various Fujifilm media options available that you can embed into your files. I downloaded the profiles and installed them into my system so I could embed them directly in Lightroom when the files were exported as JPEGs ready for upload. I scoured my catalogue for a range of image types that would test the LumeJet service. That meant naturally lit and studio-lit portraits, scenic, delicate and contrasty scenes, colour and black & white. Having already done a ‘dummy’ run the upload and ordering process proved straightforward. I thought some aspects could be slicker.

(Following this review, I did provide some feedback to LumeJet so aspects of the website could differ from what I experienced). It is also worth saying that I made a couple of errors during the embedding/ordering process and I got a phone call from LumeJet to check what I actually wanted. On a couple of files I had embedded a LumeJet profile and then unintentionally ordered another surface. It is reassuring to know there is someone checking for such issues. Keeping it simple and using the Adobe RGB colour space and letting LumeJet add the appropriate profile at the other end might be the safest workflow if this is an area you aren’t comfortable with. In respect of turnaround time I uploaded my files on a Thursday and the finished prints arrived the following Thursday so that was good. The return packaging was excellent. I had a mix of print sizes including panoramas which were loosely rolled up, bagged and well padded so they didn’t move in the box. The whole lot was in a (new) solid cardboard box, with the sheet prints in a stiff card outer with the prints protected by tissue paper and an acetate wallet. WC

Verdict Print quality is very impressive in many ways with colours reproduced as I wanted, ie. just like they appeared on-screen. Flesh tones came out beautifully, creamy and very lifelike. Rich colours were solid, full of impact and well detailed. The black & whites looked spot on too with no colour cast, contrast the same level as the uploaded files and shadows were full of detail. With a delicate landscape on glossy paper, the highlights had a silvery look which suited the scene very well. That is not the whole story, though, because you won’t see the effect in print here and it is difficult to describe in words, but pictures were impressive in terms of depth and the amount of detail on show was amazing. LumeJet is not a low-cost online printing service and because of the technology massive enlargements aren’t an option, but in life you often get what you pay for and there is no doubt that the results are top drawer. Pros Print quality, service, return packing first rate Cons Website could be more user friendly, cost


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

52

First tests Specs In the box Legs, ball head (accepts Arca Swiss plates), standard centre column, short centre column, carry case, strap Leg sections Four Material Magnesium aluminium alloy Max height (with head) Centre column up: 163cm Centre column down, 143cm Min working height Standard centre column: 47cm Short centre column, legs fully splayed: 25cm Max load 12kg Folded length 47cm Weight 1.82kg with ball head and plate Contact kenro.co.uk

The ball head is a solid little unit and perfectly strong enough to hold something like the camera body/lens combination I used for this test, even for upright shooting

The build quality of this Kenro travel tripod is very good and no complaints about the features on offer either.

Kenro Professional Travel Tripod Kit 202 £125 While carbon-fibre tripods offer weight saving, that comes at a price so if you want the best value for your money, going for magnesium alloy model is the way to go. The Travel Tripod Kit 202 is a great example of what you can get without breaking the bank. For £125 you get a set of magnesium legs and an Arca Swiss-compatible ball head and a decent list of features too. Kenro calls it a travel tripod, a moniker that’s probably used rather too freely but to be fair it applies here. True, compared with something like a classic travel pod – for example, the Gitzo GT1555 – the Kenro is longer and heavier but it also gives a more useful higher working position. In other words, this Kenro is towards the top end of what might be deemed a travel tripod. Its legs do fold back on themselves for maximum compactness and so it should fit in most suitcases and even larger roller cases. The release for unlocking the legs is comfortable to use and legs fold back easily. One of the legs has a foam handgrip for carrying comfort especially when it’s cold and metal against bare skin can be decidedly painful. The foam grip also tells you that this leg is detachable and usable as a monopod. Once the leg is detached you need to remove the ball head and the plate that this sits on and transfer it to the lone leg to complete the monopod. It takes a few seconds and no tools are needed. The maximum working height of the monopod including the head is 143cm. My standing height is a pretty average 1.75m and fitting a 70-200mm lens to it meant I had to stoop or crouch down a little to get my eye to the viewfinder eyepiece. A prolonged shooting stint in this position could be a strain and even more so for taller photographers. I suppose you could use live view and a tilting monitor if you had a suitable camera. That said, as a nice extra to the tripod the monopod worked fine and gave a high level of support. While the monopod lacked height, the 202 with legs and the centre column fully extended

meant I couldn’t even get my eye to the viewfinder eyepiece, not even standing on tippy toes. A drop of about three inches was needed to allow a comfortable position – I know I could have used live view but I still prefer using a viewfinder. While I would only on occasion use a tripod in this manner, especially if it was windy, it does illustrate that the 202 gives a very handy working range including a decently high camera position for a travel tripod. Legs are locked into position with twist grips that only have to be moderately tightened by hand to secure the legs firmly in position, and the legs slide in and out with a smooth action but without being the smoothest I’ve ever used. Each leg has the option of rubber or spiked feet and you choose with the simple expedient of rotating the rubber foot to either reveal or hide the spiked option. That’s great in that you don’t have to carry extra feet and have to swap them over as you venture from location to location but the downside, a tiny one, is that the spiked feet are very short. Stability at full extension is in fact very good. I shot using a Nikon D810 and 70-200mm f/2.8 with the lens tripod foot fitted with an Arca plate slipped into the 202’s ball head. Releasing the shutter manually (not recommended of course) I got down to 1/4sec with no shake. With a cable remote release I did some two minute exposures with a 16-35mm lens on a mildly breezy day with no problems. At the other extreme, the legs have three locked positions and that includes fully splayed out, so if you to want to shoot from a very low camera position, that is possible with this pod. With the supplied short centre column and the supplied ball head, you get a camera platform about 25cm off the ground. The ball head itself is a solid little unit and strong enough to hold the full-frame camera body/lens combinations I used for this test, even for upright shooting. A small locking knob secures the head’s rotating position while the larger knob secures the camera head. The only thing

missing really is an extra facility to control the ball head’s tension during use but then this feature usually comes at a price. The supplied plate can be fingertightened but a hex key is advised for really secure fixing – there’s no coin slot. The plate slides into the head’s mounting platform easily and there is a very handy, easy-to-use pushbutton lock. This means when the plate is in position the camera and ball head stay together and can’t part company until the button is pushed in. I tried the head with a selection of Arca Swiss compatible plates and they all fitted no problem and the locking mechanism worked with them all. The head has two spirit levels and while one is tiny, both are visible from behind the tripod, so they’re convenient to use.

I enjoyed using this Kenro Travel tripod. I didn’t travel to distant climes but it accompanied me on a few trips to the coast and on a couple of urban trips as well. The tripod worked perfectly well, nothing worked loose or dropped off during the fortnight test period, I didn’t manage to break anything and it provided stable support when called upon. My two minute exposures were at the coast when there was an onshore breeze, a constant wind as opposed to gusts, and I would have been confident to go for even longer with this pod The only notable issue I had was the first time on a sandy beach when I had the rubber feet in position and got sand into the foot mechanism which wasn’t good. A good rinse sorted that and the next time, I remembered to use the spiked feet. WC

Verdict An impressive features list for the money and a decent performer too. While this Kenro is not the lightest nor the most compact travel tripod you’ll find, it does offer excellent stability, a good set of features and rates highly in the value for money stakes. Pros Build quality, spiked/rubber feet option, value, good stability Cons Nothing major but spiked feet are short. Same applies to the monopod


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

55

First tests

Anthropics LandscapePro Studio £49.95 After

Unlike some software, the adjustments are made instantly on the image, which is good, and their names are clear

Specs Prices LandscapePro Standard edition (launch price £29.95, normally £59.90), Studio edition (launch price £49.95, normally £99.90). Free trial available Features Studio edition supports Raw files, works in 16-bit, can be used as a plug-in in Lightroom and Photoshop, and supports colour profiles System requirements Windows: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista, or XP Mac: OSX 10.7 or later Contact landscapepro.pics

Before

Left Because it uses selections on which to base editing, LandscapePro allows very targeted adjustments, including the ability to add new skies from either a preset library or your own shots. This new software is designed specifically for editing landscape photos and comes from the makers of Portrait Professional. It’s available in PC and Mac versions and in two packages, Studio (at a launch price of £49.95) and Standard (launch price £29.95). The former offers additional features including Raw file support, exporting in 16-bit, changing colour space, and using the package as a plug-in within Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Lightroom. Like Portrait Professional, effects are added in a very different fashion from Photoshop; so how does it stack up? On loading the software you get an intro screen with icons to Open Image, Load Example Shots to practise on (a good idea), watch tutorials, visit a Help FAQ and give feedback. Open an image (as I was reviewing the Studio version, I used a Raw file) and you start editing by labelling parts of the picture under a heading called Add & Edit Areas. If you’re familiar with Photoshop, this is like selecting parts of a picture before working on them to keep adjustments separate, but you do it all in one go at the start. Labels are dragged onto the image such as Sky, Mountain, Grass and so on, and this gives the software an idea how to treat them. Once you dePhotoshop your way of thinking, it’s a simple and quite effective process. On the example image here, I dragged out Sky, Tree and Building labels.

Next, the image is overlaid with coloured areas showing the different sections, and it’s here you need make some refinements to the selection. This is done using a Pull tool, which involves dragging one colour over another, all of which helps the software learn what’s in the picture via its shape and colour range, separating it before adjustments are made. The Pull tool works swiftly, but for a finer degree of accuracy you can switch to the Soften/Unsoften, Tree & Sky, Object in Sky and Small Objects tools. The Tree & Sky tool for instance is used on intricate edges of foliage, while Object in Sky and Small Objects deselect areas jutting into others. The whole thing is reminiscent of Photoshop’s Refine Edge/Select and Mask feature, and while it’s probably easier to understand for a beginner, it doesn’t feel as precise. After a few minutes I got what I thought was an accurate selection and moved on to setting the horizon. After that you’re into the main editing area, but the selected parts can still be adjusted later on. One issue I did find was, after using the Small Objects tool, it was difficult to remove the effect (other than hitting Undo, which doesn’t help a long way down the line). All the options are arranged in a clean and tidy way on the left of the interface and the first of them is Global Presets; a range of quick effects either applying simple colour changes

or more extravagant effects like Sunrise or Night, which also insert a sky. The simpler effects are fine, but those which sought to change the time of day or sky detail looked unrealistic across the range of images I tried. That’s not to say they won’t work on some subjects, but you also have to ask yourself whether using preset cloud formations is something you want to do to your images anyway. Far better are the Whole Picture options (which don’t apply to the selected areas). These, like the sliders you’d get in Lightroom or Photoshop’s Camera Raw, allow a good level of editing, tackling tonal range and colour. Unlike some software, the adjustments are made instantly on the image, which is good. Their names are clear and the effects are welcome, such as Fill Light which lightens shadows and Presence Contrast which beefs up textures. There are also colour presets that are good (Fall, Spring etc.), and the level of these can be controlled a bit like setting the Opacity of an Adjustment layer. More options The next set of options is Style, which includes Black & White and Sepia, Vignette and Depth of Field effects. The first two of these are really good, offering plenty of control. Depth of Field adds a tilt-shift look, but I found it looked quite unnatural. The Depth options are interesting; via

colour toning they divide the picture into foreground, mid-ground and background, and they worked well, adding good colour contrast. You can also fog the distance for atmosphere. Further down the list you come to settings for the areas you labelled, so on my image it was Tree, Building and Sky. Herein, tone and colour can be controlled for those areas alone, and as before there are also presets. The most interesting of these is Sky, where you can add clouds from a library, or use your own. Being one of the most common but quite demanding edits to make in Photoshop, here it works quite effortlessly, though the quality of the finish all depends on how good your selection is, and how well the clouds suit the scene. After adding clouds, I returned to the Add & Edit Areas controls to improve the join. Finally, there’s Lighting and Fixes. Lighting adds Shadows, mimicking the angle and colour of the sun. I couldn’t fault the amount of options, but found it difficult to create a balance which improved the image. That’s not to say it doesn’t work, just that, like other processing effects, some will like it and some won’t. Fixes offers simple straightening and noise reduction options. Outputting the final image is streamlined; you just hit the Save button and select the file type (which includes ‘Session files’ – .lp – a bit like saving a layered document as a PSD in Photoshop). KS

Below left In LandscapePro you begin by adding labels to your image, telling the software, broadly, which part of the image is the sky, a tree, a building and so on. Each area is then shown by a colour and it can be dragged around to adjust what it covers. Other tools are used to tweak the look, such as around the edges of leaves. Having selected the areas you can then adjust each of them individually, and the Sky heading allows a huge range of colour and tonal editing.

Verdict LandscapePro has a lot of innovative features, it’s easy to understand and quick to use. The adaptive controls and selection tools mean it’ll work with any image or style you want to create and there are lots of presets to suit different tastes. If you’ve been put off by the complexity of Photoshop, it’s well worth a look via the free trial option. Pricing is keen, too, with the Studio version currently half price at £49.95. Pros Fast, simple and easy to use, good range of effects, lots of control and editable presets Cons Detailed subjects require time-consuming selections, some effects look very artificial


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Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

Accessories test NISSIN

Buyers’ guide

Portrait essentials Nissin Di700A and Air Commander £199

Adding a flashgun (or ’gun) to your kit is one of the easiest ways to improve portraits. The extra light allows not only faster shutter speeds and therefore improved sharpness, but most importantly better and more creative lighting styles, especially if you can fire the flash off-camera. A ’gun that makes this really easy, and has load of other plus points besides is Nissin’s Di700A. Reviewed last issue, and now a firm favourite in the PN office, the Di700A combines wireless shooting (via the Nissin Air Commander) with full TTL functionality, so you can just frame up and shoot without worrying about flash power if desired. The wireless connection works really well, and also functions with the ’gun’s high-speed sync mode, so you can use shutter speeds of up to 1/8000sec. Manual and two slave modes are on hand, and the flash has plenty of power (GN54), recycles quickly enough, and comes in Canon, Nikon and Sony fits. kenro.co.uk nissindigital.com

2

MagMod 2 Complete Kit £230

The portrait lighting from a flash is only as good as how you shape it, so once you’ve bought a speedlight you need to think about modifiers. These come in all forms, from those which spread and soften the light producing fewer shadows, to those that focus it to create lots of dramatic contrast. Trouble is, adding and removing modifiers can be fiddly and many don’t pack down small enough to be truly portable; tackling both these problems and providing a wealth of light shaping options is the MagMod system. It’s built around a silicone rubber collar, the MagGrip which slips over the flash’s head, and then uses strong magnets to quickly attach the shapers. The range has recently been added to with the MagBeam which mimics a Fresnel lens, but the Complete Kit contains all you need to get started and more besides; at just under £230, it includes the basic MagGrip, a MagBounce and MagSphere diffuser, MagSnoot and MagGrid2 for focusing the light as well as eight coloured gels and a pouch to carry it all in. As they’re made from rubber the modifiers all

£499

1

For the best in people pictures you need to be using the right gear. Here’s a selection of top-class kit that will help you do it... 1

5

Di700A and Air Commander

TAMRON

SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

£199

SIGMA

£570

50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

squash down for easy packing and weigh very little, too. essentialphoto.co.uk

3

4

Profoto B2 250 AirTTL To-Go Kit £1495

Profoto’s B2 flash combines portability, power and professional build quality, all of which will help improve portraits wherever you’re shooting. Consisting of a battery pack weighing only 1.6kg, and a small head (700g), the system allows the flexibility of shooting on the move with the battery slung over your shoulder and the head mounted on camera. Alternatively the light can be used remotely on a stand and when not connected to the camera, it’s controlled wirelessly using the separately available Air Remote TTL (£320). The flash head is only 10cm round and its power is adjustable over nine stops in one tenth increments, with a recycling time of just 1.35sec at the greatest output. Full TTL metering is available for trouble-free shooting and it also has a High Speed Sync mode. The battery pack can support two flash heads, has a replaceable power cell, and Profoto also offers a huge range of light-shapers for creative results.

3

PROFOTO

£1495

B2 250 AirTTL To-Go Kit

£230

2

MAGMOD

profoto.com

4

2 Complete Kit

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art £570

Fast lenses are a mainstay of portrait photography and Sigma’s 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a perfect example. Its wide maximum aperture allows shallow depthof-field effects and very attractive background blur. As one of Sigma’s Art lenses, pin-sharp, high-contrast images are created throughout the focusing range thanks to Sigma’s use of multi-layer coatings, moulded glass aspherical and special low dispersion glass elements. A Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) is also on hand to achieve brisk and near-silent AF. Although, as a DG lens, it’s just as at home on full-frame cameras, using the 50mm lens on a typical APS-C body gives a more traditional 75mm effective focal length, which is ideal for close-up portrait shots and as part of Sigma’s Global Vision series, the lens’s firmware can be easily updated with the use of the Sigma USB Dock, along with other parameters like focusing speed. sigma-imaging-uk.com

5

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD £499

The 85mm is the classic focal length for portrait photography on film SLRs and with full-frame sensors now commonplace there are plenty of new models tuned to the needs of digital cameras. Among the best is Tamron’s SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD, and one of its most attractive features is the use of Vibration Compensation to steady shooting and provide sharper details. As part of Tamron’s SP line, the lens has a very high-grade feel with a metal barrel and even has weather-sealing allowing it to stand up to dusty, wet conditions. It handles well with a broad, smoothly turning manual focus ring and while it’s a heavy lens it feels well balanced on larger DSLR bodies. Optically, the lens is also first class using low dispersion and extra-low dispersion glass to minimise aberrations and improve image sharpness, while suppressing vignetting and fringing. tamron.eu

6

PocketWizard Plus IV transceiver £150

If you want to use off-camera lighting for your portraits, you need to find a way of triggering the various lights; PocketWizard is one of the most trusted names and continues to be a driving force in making offcamera flash easier to use. The new PocketWizard Plus IV is right up to the task with features like full TTL flash and remote manual flash control, and it’s compatible with most Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus cameras. It also has a ‘top shoe’, so you can plug it in to trigger off-camera ’guns and fire one from the camera, too. The trigger can be set to one of 32 channels in four separate zones so there’s no problem with multiple lights or crosstalk from other shooters, and As well as Tx (transmitter) and Rx (receiver) modes, it can be set to intelligently switch between the two in Tx/Rx mode. By using an optional release cord it can also operate as a remote shutter

release. The trigger is compatible with PocketWizard receivers using Quad Zone channels, so if you’re already using the system, it’ll fit in nicely. pocketwizard.com

7

Manfrotto MN1052BAC Compact Stand £69

While many flash kits come with lighting stands included, it’s a good idea to look around for stands that offer a little extra in terms of build, features and handling. As well as supporting many of the world’s cameras on its tripods, Manfrotto also supplies a huge range of excellent lighting supports. Take the MN1052BAC Compact Stand; it’s strong, with a maximum load of 5kg, making it suitable for all but the heaviest heads, and also stable with a large 109cm footprint. The design is air-cushioned, and extends to a maximum of 237cm; at its lowest, it’s 101cm. The closed the length is 86cm and if you have multiple stands they can be attached to each other for transportation using a


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

57

Accessories test 7

8

MANFROTTO

INTERFIT

MN1052BAC Compact Stand

107cm 5-in-1 Reflector Kit

£69

£150

£80 £70

6

POCKETWIZARD Plus IV transceiver

£80

NEST

Athena A40 shoulder bag

10

LEE FILTERS Neutral Density Standards

From

£60

BOUNCELITE Solo

9

Quick Stack System. If you’re going to mount a speedlight, you can attach it using its foot stand which screws onto the MN1052BAC’s removable 1/4in thread, but you’ll need an adapter to angle it. manfrotto.co.uk

8

Interfit 107cm 5-in-1 Reflector Kit £80

Reflectors are vital for balancing the light on location, and filling in unattractive shadows, but get the right one and it can do a whole lot more. This five-in-one reflector kit from Interfit has four surfaces for different effects and also an air-cushioned stand reaching 2.6m at its maximum height. Clamping onto the top of this is a multi-directional arm, with a rim attachment clip which holds the reflector in position for you, allowing you to swivel it as required and leave it in that position while shooting. The reflector itself, which is a little over metre in diameter, and collapses to 36cm, uses a reversible jacket that

offers white, silver, gold (‘soft sun’) and black surfaces (gold warms the subject a little, and silver produces higher contrast, while white gives the softest look, and black absorbs light to strengthen shadows). The inner disk is a diffuser which softens direct light for a more flattering look. interfitphotographic.com

9

Nest Athena A40 shoulder bag £80

For location-style portraits it’s often best to travel light with just your camera body, a few lenses and a flashgun. For that kind of shooting, a shoulder bag is ideal, and a great example is Nest’s Athena A40, a roomy bag that also offers lots of protection for your gear. The Athena 40’s inner, which includes 10mm padding, will take a DSLR body with a lens attached (of up to approximately 18-200mm in size), with space for four or five more. As well as space for a flash there’s a dedicated pocket for a laptop or 10in tablet. The bag’s

outer is 750D waterproof twill and for added security has a two high-quality closers, a Duraflex buckle and YKK zips, while a slot on the rear lets you attached the bag to a trolley or roller bag. The bag’s base has rubber feet to avoid abrasion and for downpours or dusty conditions there’s a rain cover provided as standard. nest-style.com

BounceLite Solo £70 10 Although most speedlights come with an integrated bounce card and a wide-angle diffuser to help spread the light and soften shadows, the BounceLite Solo builds on those effects and provides more control for photographers. In its simplest setup the BounceLite works like a small softbox, with its white inner and large diffusing front panel spreading and softening the light more than a smaller clip-on diffuser can do. There’s also a flip-up bounce card reflector which is much larger than the integrated version on a flash, and this can be used

11 at the same time to vary the lighting style, by either directing the light towards the subject or bouncing off a wall or ceiling; using the two together, and also rotating the flash direction, gives a serious amount of lighting options. At 250g, the BounceLite Solo is also light enough that it won’t unbalance your flash, but it has a sturdy feel and attaches to almost any accessory model you could want via a rubber strap. This stretches around the back and clips securely at the opposite side. There’s also a rubber ‘mount pad’ spacer for smaller flashguns. You can also go for the BounceLite Venue kit at £85 which includes two filter cassettes and a wallet of lighting gels. bouncelite.com

11

Lee Filters Neutral Density Standards from £60

You might think of ND filters as more of a landscape essential, but they can be just as commonly used when shooting portraits in very bright conditions. Because you will often

want to use the widest apertures that your lens allows (and some portrait lenses, like those featured on these pages, go very wide) you’ll be letting a lot of light into the camera. The shutter speed will increase to compensate, but sometimes it won’t be able to go fast enough to prevent overexposing the subject. Usually the only answer here is to use a smaller aperture, but if you place an ND filter over the lens you will be able to cut the amount of light and stick to the wider settings. Lee Filters produces high quality ND filters in all sorts of sizes and strengths in its ND Standards resin filter range. The weakest is a 0.3ND filter that will cut out one stop of light (so at f/1.8 you’d go from 1/8000sec to 1/4000sec), and there are 0.45ND (1.5stop), 0.6ND (2stop), 0.75ND (2.5stop) and 0.9ND (3stop), too. Each is available in Lee’s Seven5 (75x90mm), 100mm System and SW150 (150x150mm) sizes, to fit those respective filters. leefilters.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Bush Lark Safaris Bush Lark Safaris is a Maun, Botswana-based company under the leadership of Gabatsholwe Disho, offering birding and photographic safaris in some of Botswana’s finest wilderness areas, including the now World Heritage listed Okavango Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Pan Handle, Savute, Chobe River front and the semi-arid environs

of Nxai Pan, Makgadikgadi Pan and the Central Kalahari. The company offers tailor-made safaris; day trips; mokoro (dugout canoe) and boating trips; scenic flights; and a wide range of major trips. Bush Lark Safaris is “delighted to be part of your trip to the more pristine wilderness in Southern Africa”.

bushlarksafaris.com 00 267 6840677 dishmobile1@gmail.com

Andy Beel FRPS

French Photographic Holidays

Explaining why he does what he does, Andy Beel FRPS says, “passionate photographers require the oxygen of inspiration and encouragement. You learn and grow to express yourself. “What I do, is challenge how you think, through discovering, learning and growing. “How I deliver your transformation as a photographer is through black & white masterclasses, workshops and tours.”

French Photographic Holidays (FPH) offers all inclusive one-to-one photographic tuition to a maximum of four photographers per workshop. Buried deep in the beautiful French countryside, yet only six miles from Brantome in the Dordogne, is FPH’s lovely 17th century home and studio in Les Ages, the base for each week’s photographic workshop. From the moment they arrive, photographers can relax and soak up the unique French atmosphere, whilst pursuing their passion for photography to the full. Everything throughout the week is included.

His upcoming masterclasses, workshops and tours include: The Seven Sisters to Dungeness Tour 19-23 September 2016 Snowdonia “ It’s all about the light” Workshop 3-7 October 2016 How to see “Photographically” Workshop in the authentic Spain 2-7 November 2016 Yorkshire Monochrome Photography Masterclass 28 November – 2 December 2016

andybeelfrps.co.uk 01275 839 666 07970 078 624 info@andybeelfrps.co.uk

frenchphotographicholidays.com 00 33 (0) 553 547 485 frenchphotographic@gmail.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

63

Technique NEW SERIES

Camera School

This brand-new series will give you all the important information that you won’t find in the DSLR’s or CSC’s manual, so stick with us and you’ll soon be shooting like a pro…

Why is photography such a popular hobby? Probably because it offers just the right balance of challenge and reward. You need to develop your technical skills in hand with your artistic outlook; a mix of creativity and science. But we all have to start somewhere, and that’s the purpose of PN’s new Camera School section. This series takes you back to basics, covering all aspects of shooting, from the fundamentals of exposure and focus, all the way to

advanced camera functions and how to shoot in particular styles. So whether you’re just starting to push your camera out of auto mode, or need a refresher on all things camera related, you’re in the right place. This month we’ll look at the primary functions of your camera, outlining the exposure, drive and focus modes. We’ll return to these subjects in much more detail in the coming months, but for now, consider this a bit of basic orienteering…

Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton

Lenses choices

Exposure modes The range of exposure modes varies from model to model, but you’ll find core options on most CSCs and DSLRs: auto, program (P), aperture-priority (A/Av), shutter-priority (S/Tv) and manual (M). In auto all camera settings are decided by the camera, based on its reading of the subject, so you have the least amount of control. In program (P) mode, the camera still sets an automatic exposure, but you have a little more control being able to set parameters like the ISO sensitivity and white-balance. Aperture -priority (A or Av) and shutter-priority (S or Tv) provide full control over the aperture of the lens or the speed that the shutter opens and closes (Tv stands for time-value) and the camera’s metering system will decide the other based on the amount of light in the scene. Manual mode (M) allows full control over the shutter speed and aperture settings, but there’s still a light meter or histogram to help you if required. Some higher end cameras have a button to set the exposure mode, while some CSCs, like Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras, use a dedicated aperture ring and shutter speed dial instead. The ring and dial have an ‘A’ as well as other values, so when the shutter speed dial is set to A and the aperture to a number you’re in aperture-priority; if it’s the opposite way around you’re in shutter-priority; if neither is set to A you’re in manual, and if both are set to A you’re in auto mode.

One of the great freedoms of shooting with a CSC or DSLR is changing lenses. Using different focal lengths gives a different view on your subject; for instance wide-angle lenses have greater field of view and so are useful for capturing expansive views, while the smaller field of view that telephoto lenses produce makes them a great fit for capturing small or distant subjects, like wildlife, sports and action.

Drive modes You can also fire the shutter in a number of ways, dependent on the subject or the look of picture you want to create. The default mode is single, which creates one exposure per release of the shutter. However, you can also shoot in continuous drive mode, which will keep taking pictures until the shutter button is released. Other drive modes include self-timer, which adds a delay between triggering the shutter and the exposure being recorded, remote control, multiple exposures and plenty more besides.

ISO sensitivity settings Metering modes The camera bases its exposure settings on which metering mode it’s in. Options will include multizone, which reads everything visible through the lens; centreweighted which biases the reading towards the middle of the frame; and spot, which only uses a very small part of the view from which to read the light. We’ll cover all of them in an upcoming issue.

The camera’s sensitivity controls how responsive the sensor is to light. The trade-off for more sensitivity is that you’ll introduce interference (digital noise). ISO is stated numerically with each doubling corresponding to a doubling of sensitivity. So, at ISO 400, the camera is twice as sensitive to light as it is at ISO 200, and therefore a shutter speed twice as fast can be used with the same resulting brightness.

DSLR or CSC? Much is made of the pros and cons of different camera designs, and particularly the differences between digital single-lens reflex (DSLRs) and compact system cameras (CSCs). In truth they have more similarities than differences. Their architecture is different, DSLRs use an internal mirror and optical viewfinder (the reflex bit) and CSCs an electronic

version, which allows them to be smaller and lighter. Each has its benefits, but the advantages apply to both: interchangeable lenses, large sensors producing more detailed images and exposure options for creative shooting. Whichever you have, the Camera School will show you how to use it.

Focusing modes Your camera has several different focusing modes allowing it to lock onto the subject in different ways depending on how, or what, you’re shooting. As well as manual focus, which uses the focusing ring on the lens, there’s autofocus, which is split into mode and area. The AF mode is usually split into single and continuous; single locks on and stays at that setting, while continuous stays active, allowing you to shoot more quickly. The AF area decides the number and position of focusing points; you can use anything from a single point locked to the centre of the view to every AF point available, wherein the camera will pick the most suitable for the subject, and even follow it across the frame in tracking mode. If you’re shooting in live view mode, you can also expect some form of face detection where the camera will identify human faces in the frame and lock onto them.

Next month In the next issue we’ll start to look at how the camera’s different exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) work with one another and the metering system to create a picture.


Photography News | Issue 36 | absolutephoto.com

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Competition

Editor’s letter

Summer blues

WIN!

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s special moments across all devices with the ultra-reliable Samsung SD memory cards. Samsung’s latest SD cards can write data at an impressive 90MB/s and read data at an even higher 95MB/s. The cards are also amazingly reliable being water, temperature-, X-ray-, magnet- and shockproof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one massive 64GB Samsung PRO SD card 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 25 September 2016. The correct answer to PN34’s word search was Spot and the Samsung 64GB card was won by Peter Neal from Portsmouth. Generally speaking, the summer is my photographically least productive season. I suppose if I put the seasons in descending order of number of pictures shot it would be autumn, winter, spring and finally summer. Don’t get me wrong, this is in a relative sense and if we said summer, for the sake of argument, was June, July and August I’ll still rack up several thousand personal pictures. It’s just harder work. Whether that is physically because it’s warmer, or because the light isn’t great unless you shoot at the extremes of the day and it seems generally busier out on the street, I don’t know. I might be down on the summer business because I have just got home after a sticky, sweaty few hours in London working on my DLR project, and I came away with nothing. Well, I took 86 pictures and they are just dull. Let’s not pretend here, I am very good at taking dull pictures – like most honest, selfcritical photographers – but I think I have truly excelled myself and have really plumbed the depths of mediocrity this time. My DLR project is self imposed and simply a reason to get out with the camera and over the past seven months since I started it I have usually came back with more than a few shots that I gleefully endow with ‘five stars’ in my Lightroom catalogue. Usually I have enough keepers to occupy me on the computer for a couple of hours at least. From this ill-fated trip I grudgingly gave two shots five stars and it took just a few minutes to do the editing. The whole saga was a waste of time, but I should have known better. The weather forecast was for wall to wall blue sky accompanied with temperatures of 28°C or more. It was about 24°C, according to my car, when I headed to the train station at 8am. I should have turned back then and spent the day vegetating in front of the

samsung.com and search for memorycards

TV, but no, I sallied forth hoping against hope that I’d grab a few worthwhile pictures to add to my burgeoning collection. There is no such thing as bad light, but clearly it was the wrong light on this occasion and I couldn’t even see pictures in the first place. Maybe it was the light, maybe it was the heat or the two together, or it simply might have been an off day, which we are all prone to. By noon, hot and bothered, I was sat in an airconditioned pub regrouping and searching for inspiration at the bottom of a glass or two. If all this sounds like desperation and a waste of time to you, then let me say it wasn’t. I had more than an inkling that it wasn’t going to be a successful day in terms of pictures, but you know what, that is the beauty of photography. Some days you go out with no expectations and it turns out to be brilliant; on others you go out expecting great things and you get home with nothing. On this occasion I expected little and, despite trying, that is exactly what I got. But do you know what, I still had a good day out racking up of a load of steps, exploring parts of London I’d never visited before and making a mental note of interesting spots to return to when the conditions are more conducive to picture-taking. So the day wasn’t entirely wasted, even though it was frustrating. However your summer adventures with your camera are going, we’ll meet up again next month. I’ll be in Germany at the biennial exhibition, Photokina, so will hopefully have news of lots of lovely photo goodies to keep us warm into the winter.

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