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Issue 44 15 May - 11 June

news

Social media Get started with social media. Read our essential Beginners’ Guide on page 34

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

Fujifilm GFX 50S

Close, closer, closest

Groundbreaking medium-format camera on test on page 40

Tips on the buying the right macro lens and how to get the most from it on page 20

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A Samsung 128GB memory card

Enter the competition on page 64

Sony A9 sets new speed record Sony’s latest CSC is full-frame and the first of its kind to offer a continuous shooting speed of 20 frames-per-second – and that’s with AE and AF tracking

Photography News joins TIPA The Sony A9 features a stacked full-frame Exmor RS CMOS sensor that with the Bionz X processor allows shooting at 20fps with focus and exposure tracking and with no viewfinder blackout. The uninterrupted viewing with no reflex mirror blackout makes tracking a fastmoving subject easier than ever. The full-frame sensor offers a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, 14-bit capture and a native ISO range of 100

to 51,200, with expansion available from ISO 50 to 204,800. Autofocusing is handled by Sony’s 4D phase-detection system which features 693 focus points covering 93% of the image frame with a sensitivity down to -3EV at ISO 100. The shutter has a top mechanical speed of 1/8000sec and 1/32,000sec with the electronic shutter that allows silent shooting. Flash sync is 1/250sec. Body integral image stabilisation is

a feature championed by Sony from very early on and the A9 embodies a new 5-axis system with a 5EV benefit. As you might expect from a top end model, there’s 4K video, dual SD slots, dust and moisture-resistant build and a fully featured exposure system using a 1200-zone metering sensor. Body price of the Sony A9 is £4500 with units due in the shops this June.

TIPA (Technical Image Press Association) is a group of 30 imaging magazines from all over the globe formed to promote imaging through its prestigious annual Awards and other activities. Photography News is proud to have been accepted as a member and looks forward to being actively involved with TIPA See page 7 for this year’s TIPA winners

sony.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

News

Sony A9 The latest addition to the Sony Alpha range is the 24.2-megapixel full-frame A9. Boasting a continuous shooting speed of 20 frames-per-second for up to 241 Raw shots, it sets itself firmly in place for action and sport photographers. It also features 693-point focal plane phase detection AF points with 60 AF/ AE tracking calculations per second. An extended battery life and dual SD card slots allow even more shooting and a 5-axis in-body stabilization with a 5EV benefit helps to keep both stills and images free from camera shake. Available from June the Sony A9 has a price tag of £4500. sony.co.uk

Samyang VDSLR 16mm T2.6

Adding to its range of dedicated cine lenses for DSLRs, Samyang has introduced the VDSLR 16mm T2.6 for full-frame use. With an angle of view commonly used by directors of photography, this versatile wide-angle lens is great for a variety of video shoots. It includes a distance scale and T numbers marked on both sides of the lens, as well as a quiet and smooth de-clicked focus and aperture gear rings for ease of use when filming. The VDSLR 16mm T2.6 will be available from June with a price of £529. samyanglensglobal.com

Instax goes square The Instax SQUARE SQ10 is the first hybrid instant camera to take the new instax SQUARE film, which will be released on 19 May. This hybrid camera features a digital image sensor as well as digital image processing technology. With an LCD screen, operation dial and buttons on the back, it’s easy to operate and you can select images, edit them and then print them. It features various shooting modes such as Night Scene and Close-up shot, plus ten different filter effects, 19 steps of vignette control and 19 steps of brightness adjustment. Its internal memory can store up to 50 images or for extra storage you can insert a microSD card, while its rechargeable battery allows you to shoot 160 images with one charge. instax.co.uk

More Fuji lenses Fujifilm has announced two more lenses for its GFX medium-format system. The GF110mm f/2 R LM WR and GF23mm f/4 R LM W are targeted at portrait, landscape and architecture photographers. Both will be available from June. These prime lenses boast fast and quiet autofocusing and have a weather-resistant build, making them able to withstand dust and freezing temperatures. The GF23mm f/4 R LM WR is priced at £2399 and the GF110mm f/2 R LM WR will sell at £2599. fujifilm.eu/uk

News in brief

Save on Canson’s award winning paper Canson’s new Infinity Baryta Prestige inkjet paper was voted as this year’s TIPA Best Inkjet Photo Paper. TIPA is a worldwide organisation of 30 imaging magazines (which Photography News has just joined) and its prestigious Awards are recognised as leading benchmarks throughout the imaging industry. Infinity Baryta Prestige is a 340gsm paper with an acidfree alpha-cellulose and cotton base with a baryta coating to help image sharpness. It has excellent DMAX qualities that give prints with deep, solid blacks and rich shadow detail while the gloss finish oozes quality with a look redolent of darkroom fibre-papers. On-line Paper has 20% off all Canson papers and if you order before June 30 you will get free postage. Use the code ‘PN44’ at the checkout. on-linepaper.co.uk

Hahnel get flash The Hahnel Modus 600RT speedlite flashgun offers a high power output from an unusual power source, an Li-ion rechargeable battery, instead of AA cells. The battery can give over 550 full power flash bursts with an amazing recycling time of just 1.5 sec. Super-fast recycling is just one of this flashgun’s many attributes. There is TTL flash, high speed sync up to 1/8000sec and wireless connectivity with a 100m range when paired with an optional Viper TTL wireless trigger. There is also a USB interface for firmware updates. The Modus 600RT on its own is priced at £219.99, while the Viper TTL costs £129.99, the Viper TTL Transmitter is £69.99 and the Viper TTL Receiver is £59.99 Hahnel.ie


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

News

Pocket friendly Panasonic The TZ90 is the latest addition to Panasonic’s Lumix range. This pocketable camera features a 30x optical zoom, offering a 35mm equivalent of 24-720mm, a 20.3-megapixel High Sensitivity MOS sensor, Power O.I.S to eliminate camera shake and a Venus processing engine to ensure high image quality when shooting, even in low light. The TZ90 also features 4K Photo allowing you to shoot at 30 frames-per-second and save eight-megapixel stills. Available from June the TZ90 will be priced at £399. Also new from Panasonic is the LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 8-18mm F2.8-4.0 ASPH ultra wide-angle lens, which is dust/

Laowa wideangle lens

splash proof and able to cope in temperatures down to -10˚. Available from May the lens will cost £1049. panasonic.com/global

X-Rite Festival of Color This month X-Rite launched its Festival of Color with a series of events, special offers and free laptop calibration across the UK and Europe. Until the end of the month Coloratti ambassadors will be sharing information across the X-Rite Blog, Facebook and Twitter giving you the opportunity to interact with them. xritephoto.com Hähnel and Miggo Hähnel has been appointed the exclusive distributor of Miggo and PICTAR products in the UK. Director Chris Hähnel said: “We are delighted to be appointed as the exclusive Miggo distributor in the UK. This was a natural progression for us as we have been successfully distributing Miggo and PICTAR products in the Republic of Ireland for over 12 months now.” hahnel.ie

Rotolight innovates

UK Optics has announced the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 UWA for Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras. Offering an ultra-fast f/2 aperture and an acute 110° angle of view this manual focus, wide-angle lens is ideal for landscape and low-light shooting. Weighing just 170g and measuring 55mm long, the lens is compact and portable. Priced at £499, it will be available at the end of May 2017. laowalens.co.uk

Rotolight has launched AEOS, an industry-first location LED lighting innovation. Weighing just 1.5kg and 1cm thick, the AEOS is extremely portable and able to deliver a light output of 5750 lux at three feet. It can run for three hours using a single 95W battery, providing 100% power. A professional level ball head offers 360° rotation and 200° of tilt when mounted to a light stand.

News in brief

Other features include high-speed sync flash, True Aperture Dimming, which calculates and displays the f/stop at a given distance, and AccuColour to deliver exceptional colour rendering. Available to pre-order now the AEOS is priced at £749.99, shipping will start in June.

Updates for Olympus Firmware updates for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, PEN-F and OM-D E-M5 Mark II have been announced. A key benefit is compatibility with the new Profoto Air Remote TTL-O trigger so Olympus users can enjoy Profoto’s lighting system, which includes TTL flash, a range of modifiers and short flash durations. The update also has feature modifications. On the E-M5 Mark II, you can link spot metering to the focus point while on the PEN-F you can use the monitor AF targeting pad while the camera is up to the eye. olympus.co.uk profoto.com

rotolight.com

Shoot red, white and blue to win prints worth £200 To be in with the chance of winning £200’s worth of LumeJet prints all you have to do is shoot red, white and blue. You can shoot, red, white or blue individually or in any combination you choose but your entry must feature colour/s as the main part of the composition. Upload images to flickr.com/ groups/pnredwhiteblue/. There is no fee to enter but you will have to join flickr.com, which is free. Free your imagination and upload your entry before the closing date. Only one photograph per person can submitted and the entrant must be UK based. Images should be 1500 pixels across and we will contact you if we need higher resolution files to judge or publish. The editor’s decision in this contest is final and

for full terms and conditions please see absolutephoto.com. The closing date for entries is 4 June 2017 and entries will be judged by PN's editor. The winner will be announced in PN issue 45 out from 12 June 2017. The winner of last month’s At Home contest is Ben Chapman so congratulations and well done to him. Go to bit.ly/2r05hcS to see his nicely observed candid of a couple at the seaside. lumejet.com

© Will Cheung

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


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

News

We’ve joined TIPA! Photography News is now a member of the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) which means we are now part of a global organization of 30 magazines published in ten different languages whose aim is to promote imaging and recognise outstanding kit and innovations through its annual Awards. This year’s TIPA Awards were announced at the beginning of April and the grand awards ceremony and presentation will take place in Tokyo on 16 June. The awards spanned 40 different categories and 27 editors from professional, amateur and

business magazines from Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America, alongside a delegate from the Camera Journal Press Club in Japan voted on the awards. Next year editor Will Cheung will be joining them to take part. Those that won awards included the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV for Best Full-Frame DSLR Expert, the Fujifilm GFX 50S for Best MediumFormat Camera and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, named Best Mirrorless CSC Professional.

Perfect your TIPA Award winners 2017 product shots tipa.com

Kenro has introduced a new range of NanGuang Shooting Tables ideal for still life photography and video use-. The CNT1017 table is priced at £109.98 and measures 61x70x54cm. Featuring a transclucent Perspex top, it stands 18cm high on its frame and has a total height of 54cm. Light heads can be clamped to the front or back of the frame to help easily light your subject and the table is also available as part of a 3-head kit, which includes two NanGuang CN20FC Fresnel focusing lighting heads, one NanGuang CN8F Fresnel focusing lighting head, and three clamps and brackets, this kit is priced at £799.98. For larger objects the NanGuang Freestanding Shooting Table CNT1018 measures 62cm wide and 85cm deep, standing 66cm off the floor, and giving a total height of 112cm. This kit is suitable for use with larger lights and is priced at £229.98. kenro.co.uk

BEST DSLR ENTRY LEVEL Nikon D5600 BEST APS-C DSLR EXPERT Pentax KP BEST FULL-FRAME DSLR EXPERT Canon EOS 5D Mark IV BEST DSLR PROFESSIONAL Sony A99 II BEST DSLR WIDE-ANGLE ZOOM LENS Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art BEST DSLR STANDARD ZOOM LENS Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM BEST DSLR TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 BEST DSLR PRIME LENS Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art BEST PROFESSIONAL LENS Nikon PC NIKKOR 19mm f/4E ED BEST MEDIUM-FORMAT CAMERA Fujifilm GFX 50S BEST MIRRORLESS CSC ENTRY LEVEL Fujifilm X-T20 BEST MIRRORLESS CSC EXPERT Fujifilm X-T2 BEST MIRRORLESS CSC PROFESSIONAL Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

BEST CSC STANDARD ZOOM LENS Panasonic LUMIX G X VARIO 1235mm f/2.8 II ASPH. POWER OIS BEST CSC TELEPHOTO ZOOM LENS Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO BEST CSC PRIME LENS Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 WR BEST EXPERT COMPACT CAMERA Sony DSC-RX100 V BEST SUPERZOOM CAMERA Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ80/FZ82 BEST PROFESSIONAL COMPACT CAMERA Fujifilm X100F BEST RUGGED CAMERA Nikon COOLPIX W100 BEST CAMCORDER Canon XC15 BEST PROFESSIONAL PHOTO/ VIDEO CAMERA Panasonic LUMIX DC-GH5 BEST PHOTO PRINTER Epson SureColor SC-P5000 BEST INKJET PHOTO PAPER Canson Infinity Baryta Prestige 340gsm BEST IMAGING STORAGE SOLUTION SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD

BEST IMAGING SOFTWARE Macphun Luminar BEST CAMERA ACCESSORY Manfrotto Lens Filter Suite BEST LIGHTING ACCESSORY Nissin Air10s BEST IMAGING PROCESSING EQUIPMENT Wacom Intuos Pro BEST PROFESSIONAL FLASH SYSTEM Profoto D2 BEST PORTABLE FLASH Metz Mecablitz M400 BEST TRIPOD Vanguard Alta Pro 2 tripod with 263AB 100 ballhead BEST PHOTO MONITOR LG 27MD5KA (UltraFine 5K Display) BEST PHOTO SMARTPHONE HUAWEI P10/P10 Plus BEST CAMERA DRONE DJI Phantom 4 Pro BEST ACTIONCAM Sony FDR-X3000R BEST 360° CAMERA Nikon KeyMission 360 BEST PHOTO PRINT SERVICE WhiteWall ultraHD Photo Print BEST PHOTO BAG Manfrotto Pro Light 3N1-36 BEST DESIGN Hasselblad X1D-50c

Profoto Olympus Profoto has launched the AirTTL-O remote for Olympus systems, which offers full TTL and HSS capability with Profoto’s Pro-10, D2, B1 and B2 flashes. The AirTTL-O remote available now is compatible with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the PEN-F. With a battery life up to 30 hours and a wireless range up to 300m you’ll be able to shoot at a reasonable distance from your subject. Available now, the AirTTL-O remote is priced at £275. profoto.com


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News

Photo 24 – final call

The registration for Photo 24 has closed and the successful applicants have been notified, but we have now opened a reserve list. Should any successful photographers not be able to make it, we will first check with those who initially registered and then consult the reserve list. If you haven’t already registered this is your final chance to be considered for this year’s event, which starts at noon 1 July. Photo 24 in association with Fujifilm is your chance to join like-minded photographers and challenge yourself to shoot for 24 hours. The event is free, but there will be the opportunity to take part in optional

Shooting from The 02

paid-for events, which will include shooting vintage buses in front of famous landmark spots, shooting the evening light from the London Eye and climbing The O2 to shoot sunset with your camera, see panel (right). A limited number of successful applicants will also get the chance to take advantage of free short-term loans of Fujifilm cameras and lenses throughout the 24-hour event to assess the cameras’ performance and grab some shots with them. To register for the reserve list, visit the website. absolutephoto.com © Will Cheung

© Will Cheung

© Will Cheung

© Will Cheung

© Will Cheung

People doing the Up at The 02 climb are only permitted to take mobile phones with them, but there is now the opportunity to take cameras and tripods on special photo climbs. Our Photo 24 optional event will be one such opportunity; with a slot from 9 to 10pm, there should be some great photo opportunities at the top platform, which is 52m from ground level. Clacton Camera Club did the Up at The 02 experience as a test run earlier this spring. Member Tony Bullock says: "The weather on the day was not good, and at one point it was questionable whether we were going to do it because of the very strong winds. However, 32 of us achieved the climb, including one of our members aged 80, now referred to as Supergran! The arrangements surrounding the climb were professionally handled by the Up at The 02 team and the guides were helpful in the extreme. Despite a few aching muscles, everyone agreed that they had enjoyed a remarkable day. The trip would have significant appeal to camera clubs and photographers in general.” upattheo2.co.uk 0208 463 2689

World’s first Rainproof Gimbal for GoPro Designed for use with the GoPro Hero3, 4, 5 and Session cameras, the Removu S1 is a three-axis rainproof gimbal, priced at £349. It features a detachable handgrip and a wireless remote control, which allows you to control the angle of the camera, as well as switch between the gimbals different modes: pan, follow and lock. Fully compatible with GoPro’s range of helmet, body and bike mounts you capture a range of shots and footage from different perspectives. Both the motor and body of the Removu S1 are waterproof so you can keep shooting through the rain.

Lastolite by Manfrotto The Lastolite Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus has been developed in partnership with acclaimed photographer Joe McNally and features the white interior, preferred by Joe, to offer a softer light. The 22x22cm mini softbox priced at £59.95 can be attached directly to a flashgun and has a removable inner and outer diffuser, which gives up to a two-stop light loss if used together. Thanks to its innovative twist-lock silicon strap and folding mechanism the Joe McNally Ezybox Speed-Lite 2 Plus is quick and easy to secure to your flashgun and can be packed away to fit in your kit bag making it extremely portable. Its design also incorporates two magnets which allow you to attach Lastolite by Manfrotto Strobo honeycomb and gel holders for more creative effects and control over lighting. manfrotto.co.uk/lastolite

removu.com

News in brief G-Tech harddrive Expanding its G-DRIVE storage portfolio Western Digital has announced the G-DRIVE USB-C. Available in capacities of 4TB, 8TB or 10TB the drive has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface and USB Power Delivery to charge the latest MacBook or MacBook Pro. g-technology.com Western Digital SSD The My Passport SSD from Western Digital is the fastest WD brand portable drive yet. Available in capacities of 256GB, 512GB and 1TB the My Passport SSD features speeds of up to 515MB/s and a USB Type-C port. It’s also USB 3.1 Gen 2 ready with a USB Type-C to Type-C cable and adapter allowing it to be used with traditional USB Type-A ports. Prices start from £109.99 and each drive comes with WD Backup software. wd.com Olloclip for iPhone 7 and 7+ Olloclip cases and add-on lenses are now available in the UK. The latest addition is the ollo Case for iPhone 7 which works with the olloclip connect for iPhone 7 and 7+ by attaching the lens to the top of the device. Add on lenses include Fisheye + Macro 15x lens, Telephoto 2x Lens, SuperWide Lens and the Ultra-Wide Lens. The ollo Case is priced at £29.99, add-on lenses start at £49.99. olloclip.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

News News in brief Picture Happiness Barnett Waddingham, the benefits consultancy provider, has launched a photography competition to find out what makes the UK happy. There are three prizes of £500 up for grabs for over 18s and an iPad to the value of £500 for an under 18 winner. The competition closes at 5pm on 30 June. For full terms and conditions and to enter visit picturehappiness.co.uk.

International Photography Exhibition: 160 This year is the 160th year of the International Photography Exhibition (IPE) and the Royal Photographic Society is calling for entries across all genres that showcase engaging, visually striking and inspiring work. This competition is open to all photographers worldwide. Submission prices are £30 for non-members, £20 for RPS members and £15 for under 30s with the competition closing on 24 May. Photographers who are selected will have their images exhibited in a nationwide ten-month tour, opening at PHOTOBLOCK at The Old Truman Brewery in London, in October. rps.org

Terence Spencer: A Lasting Impression Proud Camden will be exhibiting a collection of images by the late photojournalist Terence Spencer from 1 June to 20 August 2017. The exhibition will showcase images from an extensive archive which embodies the liberalised popular culture of the 60s and the period of social change and music revolution. Shots include Muhammad Ali, Marianne Faithfull, Sir Richard Branson and more. Free to attend the exhibition will be held at Proud Camden, London. proud.co.uk

Royal Photography Society Bursaries The Royal Photographic Society is offering four funding opportunities worth over £12,000. The Environmental Awareness Project Funding of £6000, closes 31 May and is split between two awards, one for those aged between 16 and 30 and one for 31+. This bursary is for one-year projects which will promote environmental awareness. The Joan Wakelin Bursary for £2000 closes on 16 June and will

Taylor Wessing welcomes digital entries The National Portrait gallery has announced that digital submissions will now be accepted for the first time to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize. Entry closes at midnight on 29 June 2017. The first prize winner gets £15,000. Entry costs £28 per photograph entered. npg.org.uk

be awarded to the best proposal for a photo essay on an overseas social issue. The Postgraduate Bursary of £3500 is to support postgrad students carrying out photographic research or studying photography at postgrad level; and finally the Short Film Award of £2000, closes in July for the short film with the best cinematography.

Above: Thembinkosi Fanwell Ngwenya by Claudio Rasano, 2016 First Prize Winner of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2016 Photo: © Jorge Herrera

rps.org

Pink Lady Food Photography of the Year 2017 winner Shoeb Faruquee, based in Bangladesh was named the overall winner of the Pink Lady Food Photography of the Year 2017 award, winning a cheque for £5000. Over 8400 images were entered into the competition from more than 60 countries. Shoeb’s winning image is titled Food for God, which shows the Brahman cook, making religious food at the Rajapur Lokonath Dham Chittagong Bangladesh, a praying and worshipping centre of the follower and believer of ‘Baba Lokonath’. The food is eaten after the devotees have finished fasting for 24 hours. pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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

Clubs

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

News in brief The Aldershot, Farnham and Fleet Camera Club will be holding their annual print exhibition on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 May 2017 from 10am to 5pm on both days. Entry is completely free and the venue is The Harlington, Fleet Road, Fleet. Please do come along to view and vote on the work of club members and chat to someone about the club and its activities. affcc.uk

Best of the Best at Devizes CC Devizes Camera Club announced the winners of their Print and Projected Image of the Year competition this month. All the images that won or were placed second or third in the club’s competitions throughout the year were entered. The standard was extremely high, with beginners, intermediate and advanced categories; Desert Owl, bottom, was one of the finalists. The club is a group of enthusiastic and talented photographers and meets at Devizes Sports Club at 7.45pm on Tuesday evenings from September to May. New members welcome. Pictured (below) is an image of Skye taken by a club member on a recent field trip. devizescameraclub.co.uk

How to submit

Deadline for the next issue: 1 June 2017

We need words and pictures by 1 June 2017 for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 12 June 2017. Write your story in a Word document (400 words max). Please include contact details of the club, exhibition or event: website, meeting times, opening times, whatever is relevant. Images should be JPEGs, 2000 pixels on the longest dimension, any colour space, and image credits should be included. If the story is an exhibition or event, please send a picture from the exhibition (not the publicity poster) or one from the event. If it includes people, please identify them. Attach the Word document and JPEGs to an email and send to clubnews@photography-news.co.uk

Hampstead Photographic Society celebrates 80 years!

Beyond Group is holding its 10th National Exhibition of Projected Images this summer. It opens for entries on 16 June and closes on 30 July. The exhibition will be at Copdock and Washbrook Village Hall (near Ipswich) on 17 September, and entries can be made on the website. beyondgroup.org.uk

This is a big year for Hampstead Photographic Society in north London, as it celebrates its 80th anniversary, following its founding in 1937. This major milestone has prompted the society to update its history document, compiled on its 75th anniversary, and will also see a major Summer Exhibition in Burgh House, Hampstead from 3 to 20 August. With over 50 members, HPS has meetings from September to June, and speakers from well-known institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Imperial War Museum and the National Portrait Gallery as well as prominent speakers from the world of professional photography. The club also prides itself on its programme of masterclasses. The club meets on Tuesday evenings, from 8pm in the Crypt Room at St John’s Church, Church Row, Hampstead, London, and welcomes photographers at any level, from beginners to professionals.

© Mike Valentine

Battle Photographic Society was formed on 26 May 1962. Its annual exhibition will be held in Battle Memorial Hall on Saturday 24 June between 10am and 5pm and Sunday 25 June between 10am and 4pm. Entrance is free and light refreshments will be on sale all day. Club meetings are held weekly from September to May in the Shephard Room at the Memorial Hall starting from 7.30pm. battlephotographicsociety. co.uk

© Di Arthur

Leigh on Sea Camera Club is holding its 88th Annual Exhibition at the Forum, Southend Library from Friday 2 to Tuesday 27 June. Visitors will be able to experience examples of work created by their members who have a wide range of photographic experience. There will be a variety of subjects on display which should be attractive to the whole community. leighcameraclub.co.uk

hampsteadphotococ.org.uk

Success for Ware & District PS Members of Ware & District Photographic Society were delighted to retain the St Ives Interprint Trophy. On Saturday 25 February, Ware & District Photographic Society took part in the 35th Annual Interprint Competition against 28 other Clubs in the East Anglian Region, recording their fifth win for the Club

since the competition started in 1983. Club President John McDowall said, “This competition is always one of the highlights of our season and we were extremely pleased to have retained our title against some very stiff opposition”. Ware DPS are a well-established Club in Ware, Hertfordshire and

meet at the Arts Centre in Kibes Lane from September to the end of May on Wednesday evenings at 7.45pm. wareps.org.uk Above Left to right, back row: Mike Hawes, Steve Vause, Mick Willis and Malcolm Neal. Left to right, front row: Sue McDowall, Barbara Norris, John McDowall (President) holding the St. Ives Trophy and Bob Norris.


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Profile Before the judge

Brian Swinyard ARPS Join us for our monthly chat with an experienced photographic judge. This time, it is the turn of Brian Swinyard, a judge and lecturer of the Midland Counties Photographic Federation

How many years in photography? Over 40 years. Home club Cheltenham Camera Club, Gloucester Camera Club, member RPS Creative and Digital Groups. What is your favourite camera? Canon EOS 50D and Canon EOS 40D converted to IR. What is your favourite lens? Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. What is your favourite photo accessory? Canon angle finder and Canon battery charger. Who is your favourite photographer? There are many but Irene Froy would feature strongly. What is your own favourite photographic subject or technique? Using in-camera/computer creative techniques to enhance emotional content. What awards/distinctions/ medals have you earnt/won? MA in photography, 2500 acceptances and some medal/ award winners in international salons.

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

© Brian Swinyard ARPS

Biography

With 40 plus years of photographic experience in the UK and overseas, I’ve progressed from club photographer to international exhibitionist with over 2500 acceptances and many awards. I have been honoured to be asked to judge international and national photographic salons. In 2004, Jack Farley FRPS, president of Gloucester Camera Club and my photographic mentor, took me aside and said “You’re interested in creative photography; perhaps you’d like to become a judge and give talks to camera clubs.” I attended a judges’ seminar in Smethwick and the advice I received that day has stood me in good stead ever since, influencing my judging style. The strapline was to look beyond the technical aspects of an image and to ask whether the image speaks to you. Does it stop you in your tracks? Does it visually engage? Does it tell a story? I decided early on that I needed an image to grab me, hold my attention and visually engage with me. I like to think that this comes across in my judging. When I am asked to judge locally, nationally or internationally, I use the following criteria. Firstly, I look for technical competence; exposure, sharpness, tonal range and colour saturation. Secondly, I look for artistic merit; composition, use of depth-of-field. Thirdly, and for me most importantly, I look to see whether I can see something of the photographer in the picture through the visual story. For those of you who don’t know my style of photography, I don’t do sharp and I don’t do sky but I do do filter effects. This was predicated by the fact that I suffer from hand tremor which is not an endearing quality for a photographer. Making the most of this adversity (or perhaps it is just an excuse), I have actively promoted the idea of soft-focus, abstract images where feeling, emotion, mood and movement are more important than a mere record. It matters not that others may not like this style of photography but it is my style and © Brian Swinyard ARPS

what I do best. However, I try not to bring any bias to the judging process and I make every effort to judge against the standard I set myself with my three criteria. As a judge, I am drawn to images where I don’t know what I am looking at. I find audiences warm to a judge who can bring an artistic perspective to their comments and offer constructive suggestions without being condescending. You know whether an image is good or bad and it is incumbent on any judge to highlight the positives and to mention the negatives in passing. How often have we seen prints where the quality is lacking and PDIs that are over sharpened? The most important aspect for me is composition and the left-to-right visual flow in pictures. I often flip images or rotate them to try to improve the visual story, much to the amusement of the audience. When I started judging a colleague said that we must not lose sight of the fact that our performance as a judge should be educational and entertaining. Humour and engagement with an audience plays a big part in that. When judging competitions, particularly at camera clubs, I use a relative versus absolute scoring system. Presented with two images, one of which is much better, it makes no sense for the better image to be given a very high mark and the other image a very low mark. It seems a better strategy for the two images to be differentiated by two or three marks. In this way, the separation is still delineated but the author of the lower image will go home much happier. I make it a practice to score all images between 15 and 20 marks, and I’m not adverse to awarding top marks to several images.

The judging process can be very rewarding particularly when club members congratulate you at the end of the evening with comments like, “That was the best evening we’ve had for a very long time” or “It’s a pity there are not more judges like you”. The quality of images I see as I tour clubs gives me a warm feeling that amateur photography is in a good place. I’ve seen a steady improvement which has been encouraged by improvements in and affordability of new technologies. It’s interesting that the quality of some beginners’ work is sometimes better than their advanced colleagues. Salons are a different matter. When selecting judges, organisers cast the net far and wide to choose those who not only meet the criteria of the patronage organisations but also provide a wide spectrum of skill base, experience and interest. I seem to have built a reputation as an ‘aspirational’ photographer with special interest in creative photography. Judges seem to be chosen for their ability and the distinctions they have accrued. Great weight is given to holders of FRPS, and credence is also given to holders of academic qualifications. I completed a Master of Arts degree in Photography at De Montfort University and this has stood me in very good stead. Having completed the course, I smile wryly to myself when others assume that because you have an MA(Photography), you must know what you are talking about! That could not be further from the truth! When I did my MA I became aware of the differences between the camera club ethos and academic study of photography. I decided to enter some images I used in

my project work to camera club competitions. My rationale was that I wanted to give the judges a challenge and put them outside their comfort zone to see if they could cope. Alas, they could not! The first offering was a panel of monochrome prints of my naked body and the second submission was a panel of five printed negatives, both of which were from my dissertation, ‘Personal Identity: Transition from Camera Club to Master of Arts Photographer’. On both occasions, the judges commented “I’m sorry, I don’t understand this... next”. On another occasion, I entered a monochrome triptych separately into a local camera club aggregate competition, another camera club’s annual exhibition and a national salon. Three different judges marked the images respectively in the mid-teens, highly commended and a gold medal. This begs the question: “What do judges know?” However, there are some very good judges who can engage with an audience, think outside the camera club box and assess pictures in a non-photographic, artistic way. As a judge, I am happy to offer advice to anyone who is prepared to listen. Firstly, never apologise for your photography. Your photography today is better than it was yesterday and tomorrow it is likely to even better than today. Secondly, don’t get bent out of shape if a judge doesn’t like your images; remember that they are just the views of one person. Thirdly, produce images for yourself and not for judges, otherwise your photography will never improve. After all, what do judges know? brianswinyardphotography.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

Camera Club of the Year

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in association with

Camera Club of the Year 2016-17 They think it’s all over! Well, it is...almost! After five hotly contested rounds, we have our fifth club finalist and now we’re all set for the final showdown Hearty congratulations to Great Notley Photographic Club for qualifying for the final shoot out by winning Round 5: Landscapes. It was a very close run thing with Great Notley seeing off Ayr PS, Peterborough PS and Preston PS by a single point. As you can see from the scores both Dorchester CC and Exeter CC finished with more points than Great Notley PC but both clubs had already qualified for the final, which leaves Great Notley PC as this round’s winners. Great Notley PC joins Harpenden PS and New City PC as well as Dorchester CC and Exeter CC in our final shootout that is scheduled to take place in early June. The final itself is an all-day photo shoot where the five finalists will be confronted by five photo challenges that have to be shot on five different Fujifilm cameras including the medium-format GFX 50S, the X100S premium compact and very successful X-T2. What’s more, each assignment must be completed in a certain time, with finished, edited files to be handed in within that strict deadline. It is going to be a massive examination of each club’s ability to shoot creatively under intense pressure while working as a team. The submitted entries will be judged and the winning club announced on the day. The full story of the final will in featured in Photography News issue 46 which is due out from 17 July. If you can’t wait, we will posting regular updates about the shoot on the day itself onto Facebook and Twitter. facebook.com/photonewspn @PhotonewsPN

© Dave Roberts

Scores

*Already qualified

*Dorchester Camera Club

© Jackie Bale

*Exeter Camera Club Great Notley Photography Club Ayr Photographic Society Peterborough Photographic Society Preston Photographic Society Richmond & Twickenham Photographic Society Harlow Photographic Society Maidenhead Wisbech and District Windsor Photographic Society Blandford Forum Camera Club Gloucester Camera Club Seaford Photographic Society

© Leigh Garner

West Wickham Photographic Society Dronfield Camera Club *Harpenden Photographic Society Norwich and district photographic society Consett Earl Shilton Camera Club First Monday Halstead &DPS Alba Photographic Society Park Street Camera Club Birlingham Photography Club City of London and Cripplegate

© Dave Greenwood

About Fujifilm This year’s Camera Club of the Year competition is sponsored by Fujifilm, a brand making serious waves in the imaging market with its innovative cameras and lenses. In the past year alone, Fujifilm has introduced several milestone cameras including the popular X-T2, highly specified and attractively priced X-T20, the premium X100S compact and the stunning medium-format GFX 50S, which is tested in this issue.

fujifilm.eu/uk

© John Buckley

Dunholme Camera Club

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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

20

Technique

In association with

Up close With its amazing power to magnify the tiniest subjects, a macro lens is your ticket to a voyage of photographic discovery. But these powerful tools must be used with care for best results. Here you’ll find out how Words Kingsley Singleton Pictures Will Cheung and Kingsley Singleton

Pick the right lens Everything you need to know about choosing a macro lens

© Kingsley Singleton

Above These two images of the same flower show the potential of a macro lens. One was shot on a regular 50mm lens at the closest focusing distance of 40cm; the other is from a Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro, wherein the 13.5cm minimum focus produces a huge enlargement and lots of detail.

You might already have a telephoto lens with a ‘macro’ setting, or a compact camera with a macro mode, so why would you need a dedicated macro lens? Aside from the greater image quality you’ll find by choosing a lens that’s designed purely for macro work, the big divider is the level of magnification you can achieve. Only true macro lenses can achieve a 1:1 reproduction ratio (or a 1x magnification), where the subject is rendered at its actual size on the sensor. While many telephotos, such as the Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG Macro have a macro setting, it’s often 1:2 (0.5x) or 1:3. That’s good enough to be considered ‘close up’, but not true macro. Minimum focusing distance and minimum working distance The level of magnification you can achieve depends on how close you can focus, and all lenses will state a minimum focusing distance. This is measured from the sensor (also referred to as the film plane or focal plane) to the subject, rather than the front of the lens. You can see where the focal plane sits as it’s marked on the camera as a circle with a line through the middle. The minimum working distance is the distance from the lens's front element to the subject. This is a really important figure and gives you an idea of how close you can get.

© Will Cheung

© Kingsley Singleton

PART 1

© Will Cheung

Changing lenses alters the way you see the world, and at no time is this truer than when using macro models. Telephoto lenses can magnify distant subjects and wide-angle models pack in more of the scene, but macro lenses reveal things you often can’t even see with the naked eye. It could be the minute textures of a flower petal or the intricate details of a tiny insect; it could be the internal workings of a watch or the workmanship of antique jewellery or toys. Start wielding a macro lens and you’ll find there are amazing subjects everywhere. Because of their longer focal lengths and fast maximum apertures, macro lenses can also make very usable portrait lenses, so you're getting two great tools for the price of one. A macro lens is designed to focus much closer than a normal lens can – sometimes mere centimetres from the front element. This leads to lots of magnification, the more of which there is, the more of the frame will be filled by the subject. With true macro lenses, the subject can be reproduced at its actual size on the sensor. This is called a 1:1 life-size reproduction or 1x magnification. So, if you were shooting a penny, which measures 20.3mm, at a 1:1 reproduction ratio, it would be focused on the sensor at the same 20.3mm size. This of course leads those amazing details. This power needs to be handled with care though; with such a huge magnification, focusing must be precise, and even tiny movements from the camera or subject can wreck the crisp details. Wide apertures give very little depth-of-field and lighting can be tricky with the camera lens so close to the subject. Combine the right lens, solid technique and some artistic endeavour though, and you’ll have the recipe for outstanding pictures.

A very short working distance is fine for many subjects, usually florals and still life. But having the camera close to the subject does make lighting them more difficult (you may block the light and leave it in shadow), and live subjects may get scared off by your presence. For the latter, a longer working distance is more useful. Which focal length do I need? Macro lenses with longer focal lengths tend to provide more working distance and so something like a 150mm or 180mm lens with a minimum focus of 40-50cm is useful for nature. But there are also the general principles of focal length to consider. For example, a longer focal length will seem to affect the perspective, compressing foreground and background elements and giving a tighter look to the frame. However, macro lenses with longer focal lengths will also be more liable to camera shake. Conversely, wider macro lenses, like a 50mm, will have a shorter working distance, and while that’s not so useful for certain subjects, it does mean you can frame up closer and use the wider field of view to your advantage. For example you can show more of the subject’s environment or interesting textures. Of course, if you’re shooting with a smaller than full-frame sensor, your view will be cropped by a


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

21

Technique

In association with

What to look for in a macro lens

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10 7

1

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11

5 6

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2 1

Lens hood

The lens hood cuts out flare, caused by bright light sources, and protects the glass from knocks. Focus really, really close and the hood can get in the way, stopping light reaching the subject.

2

Controls

Here you can switch on image stabilisation, set auto or manual focus and also limit focusing range; for example, to just the closest settings.

3

Front element

On some lenses, as you focus closer, the front element racks out, towards the subject, so it’s better to use lenses which focus internally.

certain degree. This doesn’t affect the focusing distance though, and can make it easier to fill the frame at the maximum magnification. Depth-of-field The closer the subject is focused upon, and the greater the magnification, the shallower the depth-of-field becomes. For this reason, even using a small aperture will produce a shallow depth-offield with macro lenses when used very close to a subject. You may have only a few millimetres of sharpness to play with, so while the widest apertures are often seen as attractive, they’re less useful when shooting macro. Therefore it’s well worth checking how well a lens performs at smaller apertures (those prone to more softening through diffraction), as this is where you’ll be doing a lot of shooting. Of course, the problem is lessened as you focus further from the lens. Effective aperture A feature common to all macro lenses is a change to the effective aperture of the lens as you focus closer to the subject. To focus closely, the lens elements and aperture mechanism move towards the subject, and this means the aperture effectively becomes smaller. Some cameras show this in the shooting settings and some do not, but the effect is the same; you lose light, so longer exposures or

4

Filter thread

Each lens has a filter size, identified on the barrel. Using this thread you can add filters, like polarisers or close up lenses for even more magnification.

5

Focus ring

The focus ring is used to manually focus the lens, and in the certain AF modes, you have full-time override to make minor corrections after focus has kicked in. On a macro lens, where manual focusing is critical, you’re looking for lots of grip, a smooth turn and a slow change in the focus setting so that you can achieve greater accuracy.

6

Maximum aperture

This states how wide the aperture will open; as almost all true macro lenses are primes there will only be one value stated, but you will also notice that the maximum and minimum apertures vary as the focusing distance is changed – if you focus closer then the values will get smaller etc.

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Focus distance window

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

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Reproduction ratio

Stated on the barrel next to the focusing distance – you usually get true macro 1:1 reproduction ratio at the minimum focusing distance.

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Focal length

With macro lenses, this is a good indication of how close you’ll be able to frame up on the subject without disturbing it, and how much the perspective will be compressed. Typical focal lengths are 50mm, 70mm, 90mm, 105mm, 150mm and 180mm.

10

Tripod collar

Like large telephoto lenses, longer macro options will have a tripod collar.

This allows you to mount the lens on a tripod via that point, rather than the base of the camera, giving a much better balance and more stability. The collar can also be rotated, so switching from a horizontal to vertical composition is easy.

11

Lens mount

The mounting point between lens and camera. Of course, it needs to be one that fits your camera make, and a metal lens mount will offer you much greater strength and durability. Some lenses have weather sealing here, too, which will protect the camera and the lens from dust and water getting into the mechanism.

higher ISO settings are required. The viewfinder may also appear darker which can make checking critical focus a slower process. Buying a macro lens with a fast maximum aperture is still important though, as the lens uses the widest aperture when autofocusing. Relate this to the diminishing effective aperture and slower lenses may lose AF their closest focus distances. If you get an f/2.8 lens it should only close to f/5.6 at closest focus which will still allow AF on the vast majority of cameras. Size, weight and stabilisation Macro lenses with longer focal lengths will likely be larger and heavier than shorter options, but if the lens is mounted securely on a tripod and suitable head, size and weight shouldn’t be a problem. A tripod collar makes this easier. Obviously if you’re handholding the lens, weight is more of a concern, especially as you may find it more difficult to hold steady. Thankfully, that’s where image stabilisation comes in; most macro lenses now use some form of stabilisation for sharper results when handholding, so make sure yours has it. Sigma’s macro lenses feature its proprietary OS or Optical Stabilizer technology to give up to a 4EV benefit when handholding. For nature, this is useful because using a support is not always feasible.

Above Macro lenses with longer focal lengths are useful when you need to keep more distance from the subject. This might be to avoid alarming them, as with tiny wildlife subjects, or to avoid casting a shadow from the lens.

Filters and hoods Take note of the lens’s filter size: while you’re unlikely to need neutral density filters in macro photography (the problem is more likely to be getting enough light into the camera to use smaller apertures,

than the opposite), polarising filters can be very useful; they’ll allow you to lower contrast, and reduce glare off foliage, say shiny green leaves, for more saturated results and to reveal surface detail. It’s also useful if a macro lens comes with an APS-C

lens hood adapter. This increases the length of the hood to match the cropped view and is therefore more effective at reducing flare, being longer than the regular hood. You will sacrifice working distance this way, however.


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

23 In association with

PART 2

Technique

Improve your macro lens technique Here are three common close-up problems photographers face and how to beat them

position is locked off on a tripod, then find a way of securing the subject. You can buy bespoke clips, clamps and supports to do this or go down the DIY route using garden ties. Also consider using a windbreak to protect the subject; even your camera bag can help with this. Alternatively, try to shoot indoors, near a window, which will give you the natural light look, without the weather. If you’re handholding the camera, shutter speed becomes a factor, too. Lower speeds will show up more movement, so increase ISO to offset this, freezing minor movements in the subject and from the camera.

Due to the high magnification involved, even small movements from subject or camera position can cause motion blur in macro shots. This becomes even worse when using very high-resolution sensors, which show up more blur than lower resolution versions (the motion covers more pixels, so it’s more visible). And even if you’ve focused perfectly, slight movement can also push the subject out of the zone of sharpness. This is mainly a problem when shooting outdoors as even a light breeze can look like a typhoon under macro focusing. To get around it, first make sure the camera

© Kingsley Singleton

1. Keep it steady

© Kingsley Singleton

3. Get more accurate focus Focusing macro lenses is as much a mixture of technical challenge as creative choice. The shallow depth-of-field produced by focusing to close to the camera requires great accuracy, and even minor movements from you or the subject will see the point of sharpness shift; even slight misfocusing is the ruination of many macro shots. Autofocus isn’t always the best method when shooting macro and the AF system will often hunt for sharp focus. That can mean you missing the shot completely. Instead, try manual focusing with the viewfinder. For static shots, using live view is a great option because you see exactly what’s being recorded. It’s a very accurate way to work. Switch on the camera’s live view mode and set the focus to manual on the lens. Compose and bring the subject into focus, then activate the magnified view to check the point of sharpness. Many cameras will allow up to a 10x magnification which can be set at any point in the frame. Find the part that you want to be the point of focus and adjust the focusing ring to fine tune the sharpness from there. For added accuracy, if your camera has it, switch on the focus peaking mode. This function will add a coloured overlay to the parts of the subject that are in focus.

2. Increase the depth-of-field

© Kingsley Singleton

The closer you focus on the subject, the shallower the depth-of-field will be and as macro lenses focus just centimetres from the front element, the zone of sharpness is correspondingly small. So, while on a regular lens you might need to use apertures like f/2.8 to get a shallow depth-of-field, with your macro lens focusing at close to its minimum, such a wide aperture might produce an almost unworkably shallow focus. In this way, especially when handholding the camera, or with even minor subject movement, it can be impossible to achieve a consistent point of sharpness. Therefore it’s actually better to close the aperture when you are shooting macro. While the shallow depthof-field look is initially appealing, if you take a look at many professional-level shots you will find that they’re full of detail thanks to their use higher f numbers. Settings of f/11 or f/16 are useful as they provide more depth-of-field and more room for focusing error, but even these still produce only a small depth-of-field so care is always needed. However, you need to be aware that smaller apertures mean slower shutter speeds, so you’ll either need to lock off the camera or add lots of light if you want to keep the speed up. And if you go beyond f/16, as many macro lenses do, although you’ll get more depth-of-field, you may start to lose the fine details through diffraction. Finally, remember you don’t need to shoot at the minimum focusing distance all the time. Moving back from the subject and a lower magnification gives the benefit of greater depth-of-field.

f/5

f/11


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

24

Technique PART 3

In association with

Get creative with your macro lenses Four simple close-up projects and exercises to try out today

1. Improve macro backgrounds

Messy background

Clean background

Contrasting background

2. Increase sharpness with focus stacking

Focus stacked image

© Kingsley Singleton

Single shot at f/11

© Kingsley Singleton

When focused at their closest, macro lenses produce only a sliver of sharpness. This could be just a few millimetres, even when using higher f/numbers. To increase the depth-of-field you can push the aperture to its minimum, which might be anything from f/22 to f/40 or beyond, but that reduces sharpness through diffraction. Far better is to shoot several pictures, focused at different points, using middling apertures like f/11 or f/16, and combine them in software to get more depthof-field while keeping the image sharpness; this technique is called focus stacking. To do it, lock the camera off on a tripod, frame up on the subject, and using one of the methods described in Section 2, focus on the closest part of the subject. Take the shot, and then refocus slightly further into the scene. Repeat this until you’ve focused on the furthest point of the subject that you want to be sharp, making sure no parts have been missed. Now it’s time to load up the pictures for stacking. Photoshop can do an OK job, but dedicated focus-stacking packages are better. In the screenshot, I used Helicon Focus (heliconsoft.com). Therein, it’s a simple job of loading in the sequence of pictures to stack, then choosing the method to combine them. All the rest is done automatically, and you’ll soon have a picture with great depth-of-field.

© Kingsley Singleton

Macro lenses can produce a very shallow depth-of-field, even at small apertures, so backgrounds should be easy to blur. But they can still be distracting in terms of colour, contrast or tone. The simplest way to improve the background to your subject is to reposition the subject, or to remove any interfering objects. But if that’s not possible, try inserting your own background. All you need is a plain piece of paper or card that’s large enough to fill up the backdrop behind the subject (which considering the magnification won’t be very big at all). Alternatively you can use a reflector, as I did here. Slide the background in, making sure that it’s not touching the subject so you avoid moving it, then compose. You’ll find that compositions might need adjusting when using a plain backdrop as you’ll immediately get a plainer and more minimalist look. The method of adding your own background also means you can use smaller apertures and still get a clean, clutter-free backdrop. What’s more, you can try experimenting with colours that contrast with the subject, such as red with a green plant, or blue with a yellow flower.

3. Experiment with your lighting set-ups Focus stacking is a great technique to use when you want maximum depth-of-field and even the smallest lens aperture is not giving you enough. It is easy to do and you just need a software to stack the differently focused shots for you. Done well, you get loads of sharpness even at modest lens apertures.

Like any subject, the way you light the subject can make a huge difference to the quality of your macro work. Macro lighting differs from the norm mainly in that, with the lens so close to the subject, it can be difficult to position the lights without a shadow being cast. For example, the light from a pop-up flash is unlikely to reach the subject unaffected. The most obvious way around this is to use a ring flash which sits around the front element, so that nothing is between it and the subject. However you can also get good results by positioning the light behind the subject, or by moving it during the exposure. Both of these will be relatively easy if you’re shooting with the camera on a tripod, and shooting at small apertures, which will extend the exposure time. In the example image here, I positioned a leaf on a stand, focused on it and then set the camera to manual mode, with an aperture of f/11 at ISO 100. Darkening the room, I set the shutter speed to 10secs, then triggered the exposure, playing the light from a torch over the leaf from behind it. After the first try, the picture was a little overexposed, so I shortened the exposure time to 6secs and repeated.


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News Issue 44 absolutephoto.com

Interview

Jarred & Displaced Christoffer Relander creates and preserves memories using a double exposure technique. We find out more about his multiple exposure work and Jarred & Displaced project Interview by Jemma Dodd Focusing on one particular technique is a sure-fire way to help you improve. Looking at Christoffer Relander’s portfolio proves this point; his drive and creativity has helped him shape the technique to something unique to him and resulted in some mesmerising and surreal images. When did you first come across multiple exposure photography? When I was in 6th grade. My teacher had returned from a vacation and told us about an incident when she had been taking 35mm pictures while out in the countryside. The shots she captured included a cow eating grass and another of her mom sitting in a small Fiat. When she received her images from the printing lab it turned out some were accidentally double exposed; the cow looked like it was sat in the Fiat chomping grass. I found it fascinating that you could manipulate images incamera instantly without needing any software. When did you start using the technique yourself? In 2010 I decided to get more serious with photography and even sold my car to be able to afford a DSLR that supported multiple exposures. I purchased a Nikon D700 with some prime lenses and started to experiment, taking several hundred frames per day. Soon I started to focus on man and nature and decided to title my project We Are Nature. After publishing the images online, they went viral the day after. My website crashed, my inbox got swamped and even Oprah Winfrey published one of my portraits in her blog. Nothing an introvert photographer from the countryside like me ever expected to experience. How much planning goes into each shot? Generally I don’t plan much. Often, I prefer to go out with no expectations whatsoever. One of the reasons that I am such a fan of multiple exposures is because of the excitement of creating the unexpected. Sometimes I even try to fail as it could lead to a new idea, sometimes I may have a bit of an idea from the start, which is usually a shape or gesture combined with a specific texture. What inspires your multiple exposure shots? I believe the works from artists such as Harry Callahan and Charles Swedlund inspired me somewhat. Our works are quite

Above Villager & Village: "People on the Miranda Plateau have been leaving their villages since the 1950s, in search of more modern lives, but a few resist." Right Jarred Anemones III: "In spring the Wood Anemones bloom like a galaxy of stars." Far right top Jarred Old Tjikko: "The world’s oldest clonal tree we know of, on Fulufjället in Sweden." Far right below Miranda Donkey Foal and Cork Tree: "Lameiros are very biodiverse traditional pastures, bordered by Ash trees. The Miranda Donkey frequently feeds. Their symbiosis contributes to avoiding each other’s extinction."

different, but I believe we share a similar fundamental experimental playfulness. Sometimes I get new ideas by deciding to be very experimental and I believe they did too. I also look for inspiration in places where you wouldn’t expect it to be found, like through an abstract doodle or a shape in nature that reminds me of a pose or expression. I like the idea of creating my pictures rather than 'taking' them. Can you talk our readers through the shooting technique? My Nikon D800E has a multiple exposure feature built-in which I use. I tend to use compositions which offer a strong contrast. It’s important

to understand that the exposure can only get brighter, this means that if I overexpose an area on the frame on my first exposure, it will remain overexposed. It doesn’t matter which order I shoot my exposures though, the result is still the same. Is there any post-processing involved in your images? I never manipulate my images in post-processing, I find it a slow and almost never ending process. I don’t like the idea of having to decide when the manipulation is finished, or when enough tweaking has been done. That’s why I shoot the multiple exposure in-camera, doing it incamera is an instant manipulation

I found it fascinating that you could manipulate images in-camera instantly without needing software


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Photography News Issue 44 absolutephoto.com

Interview

and I don’t mind the glitches that often come with this. Perfection, on the other hand, is overrated if you ask me. In Lightroom I make a few adjustments to the contrast and sometimes make a black & white conversion and crop if necessary. Most is done using the curve tool, where I also make the whitest white into natural white. How did the idea for the Jarred & Displaced project come along? Why did you decide to shoot this project on film and not digital? The idea for Jarred & Displaced came to me at the time I knew I would become a father, which was just over two years ago. I started to feel nostalgic and anxious, thinking back to my own childhood that now felt so far away. In this project I play with the idea of conserving something time has taken away from me. When I shoot on a digital camera I tend to spray and pray, hoping to get at least one good frame, then view the display every five seconds. I’m afraid to lose patience and to rely too much on my modern gear. There is something about slowing down when shooting on film. Using a process that’s more of a handcraft and not working with pixels gives

more interesting enlargements. Also, not having a camera display to view shots means I have to use my imagination. The excitement after preparing and shooting for a full day on a single roll of medium-format film and finally seeing how it turned out is quite rewarding. This project was shot on a Mamiya RB 67 Pro SD on with Ilford FP4 Plus ISO 125 film. What is your shooting process? Jarred & Displaced required a lot more planning than any previous projects. I was preparing and going through trial and error for about a year, then I did the shooting for another year. I began by shooting black painted jars on full rolls of film in a light tent that I created myself. The film has to be manually rewound before I can then reuse it to capture a landscape. As the background of the jar is overexposed it’s masked; only the jar has an area that is sensitive for the next exposure. Once I’ve finished shooting I develop the film myself and then scan it to create limited edition prints on 310gsm archival inkjet paper. Do you include specific landscapes or just places you come across? Many of the landscapes are places from my childhood, but recently I

have begun ‘collecting’ landscapes that are important to me today; like Sweden where I found the world’s oldest clonal tree, Old Tjikko, which how happens to be one of my most popular works. I’m hoping to be able to travel abroad and visit destinations that I dreamed of as a child. What do you aim to achieve with your images? My main hope was to be able to release some of my longings from my own childhood. I was also hoping to find a new way of using an old technique and showing multiple exposures in an unseen way. Are you working on any other projects at the moment? I think about photography all the time, so I keep a notebook in my pocket to write down ideas. I’m also always collecting and preparing jars for this ongoing project, Jarred & Displaced. A few other experimental projects that I’m planning right now do include multiple exposure techniques, but not all of them. If the process is playful and fun enough, it’s more likely to become a strong project. I like to think it’s much up to my inner child. christofferrelander.com


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Interview Pro focus

Crowning glory Flower girl upstages happy couple and lands photographer a grand prize Words by Lisa Clatworthy Pictures by Lyndsey Goddard Photographers talk a lot about weddings, and their reportage, documentary, fly-on-the-wall approaches. Yet we’re often told that’s not what couples want. They want group shots, the traditional signing of the register and the posed formal couple images. The recent winners in the Wedding Industry Awards, however, may beg to differ. In this year’s judging, the happy couples were firmly behind the reportage approach of Lyndsey Goddard. Thanks in part to their support, Lyndsey won the hotly contested London & South East region Photographer of the Year award and then from the regional winners, she was judged this year’s National winner. Among her award-winning work is this shot of a flower girl transfixed by the bride’s bouquet, captured as part of her “unscripted and honest” approach to a wedding day. “I never go into a wedding with preconceived ideas, or shots I know I will take,” she explains. “I approach the day as a blank canvas. I try to tell the unscripted and honest story of events, and often this means that the traditional moments, which

Images Photographers often hear that wedding clients want the traditional, formal treatment, but the Wedding Industry Award winners suggests a trend to towards more reportage-style shots. it’s assumed will be captured, are photographed from a different angle. The expected scene to photograph here would have been behind me, the couple signing the register. Instead I focused on what was in front of me. I always try to look for humour and the imperfect moment.”

Lyndsey offers a lovely description of her reportage approach: “It’s my job to be the couple’s eyes and ears and create the most comprehensive record of their day, creating meaningful images that are honest and beautifully composed. “I don’t think that staged photos bear any

resemblance to what happened on the day. It’s the small moments which have the most significance and bring the day to life.” And that’s certainly what her award-winning photography delivers.

Professional Photo This article first appeared in issue 132 of Professional Photo, on sale now. It’s packed with inspiring images and tips for aspiring pros and those already making a living. absolutephoto.com

lyndseygoddard.com

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


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Technique Lighting Academy

Auto mode

Start your journey into the exciting world of creative lighting effects with PN’s Lighting Academy. This is the place to find out all about how flash and continuous lighting works and how it can be used to improve your shots. This month, how to get great shots of cars using flash on location Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton

Final image

There are many factors that make up successful lighting with flash; not only the technical aspects of controlling the exposure, and blending the flash with any natural light in the scene, but also minor movements in the light that affect its look on the subject. The latter is true with any subject you’re shooting; changes in position relative to the subject alter the highlights and shadows. But when shooting reflective subjects, the position of the lights can also lead to them being seen as reflections in the shot. In this regard, cars, like any shiny subject, require special attention in shooting, but with care and a little ingenuity you can get some really good results. Reflection rejection In the example shots here, the purpose was to light a classic Saab 900 Turbo in low-light conditions, making it stand out nicely from the rural backdrop. Shooting on location with a reflective (just washed and polished) car means that it’s not only reflections from the light sources you have to be aware of, though. The surroundings are also easily picked up in the paintwork. The problem with these location reflections, and those from the lights, is that they spoil the lines and smooth panels of the car, disguising its shape, and making it look messy, much like it was covered in dirt. The car should also be as clean as possible before shooting. It might not be possible to remove natural reflections completely on location, but there are some methods you can use to try. First, position the car so it’s not near any manmade lighting, tall trees, power lines or other structures. In the case of the example images, we shot in the middle of a field, so reflections would be minimal. You can also try using a polarising filter, which may help reduce reflections in the glass and lacquered surfaces. With general reflections reduced, all you need to worry about are the lights you’re placing yourself. Good and bad reflections Sometimes highlights from the lights on the car can be desirable; if, for instance, you can use a massive diffuser that’s bigger than the car itself, you’ll get an excellent wraparound lighting look. Or if the car is in a completely white studio the light can be bounced off ceiling or walls for an even sheen. But who has those luxuries? You can also run a large continuous light source over the car during a long exposure, but that’s a technique for another time. What we want to avoid are blotches, dabs and smears of light; the sort of thing that will make the panels lose smoothness and look messy. These can come from any light source, so even if you’re using small diffusers they need to be carefully placed.

Above Flash can be combined with available light to make a simple, effective car shot. Shooting in manual exposure mode and starting at 1sec for the available light, the flash power was metered to match the aperture and ISO settings.

Available light alone

Choosing your diffusers You might think softboxes would be ideal for this, but they can present problems. Though large compared to a naked flash, the reflection of the diffuser then becomes large enough to become visible. What’s more, unless you have human lighting stands using softboxes in the outdoors is a problem if there’s a light breeze. Here we used lights fitted with spill-kill reflectors and panel diffusers – three iLux Summit 600C II battery-powered monolights. On these lights, the diffuser is a simple frosted plate which sits across the bare flash bulb, but you can also get fabric ones that tie around the reflector. When correctly placed these will do the job well.

Exposure settings

Take some test shots Composing with a three-quarters view of the Saab, and shooting at around 28mm on a Canon EOS 77D and 18-135mm lens, I started by setting up one light to the right of the camera, at about 1.5m from the nose, and another towards the rear, on the opposite side. Shooting in manual mode with an aperture of f/16 and ISO 100, I judged the shutter speed for the ambient light to be about 1sec. Next I fitted the iLux iPort 16 trigger to the camera, and made sure both lights and the trigger were on Group A, Channel 1. The lights were also set to manual, but before working out the flash power required, I checked how the lights were reflecting on the car’s body work.

Flash metering

The problem with these location reflections, and those from the lights, is that they spoil the lines and smooth panels of the car


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Technique On location

Left: The set-up for this shot was simple, with just two lights used on the car’s exterior, each with a simple panel diffuser attached to the reflector. More important are subtle changes to the position and angle of the lights to minimise reflections. Above: you can see how even the interior light causes a reflection. Instead, we positioned a flash in the car, but even this had to be moved to the rear seat after it lit up the headlining, reflecting onto the bonnet. Using the lights in the background looked good, in a modern way, but caused lots of problems with reflections, due again to the angle of the lights. If you want to include them in shot, try shooting multiple versions of the setup with the lights in different positions, and then combining them in Photoshop for the fewest reflections.

This is the best way round to do it, as there’s no point getting the power spot on, and then realising that you have to move the lights due to ugly reflections. In terms of placing the lights to avoid reflections, you’ll have more luck angling them away from the camera, and flat-on to the car; glancing angles give brighter highlights due to the low angle of incidence, so backlighting is hard to pull off. You can see this in the shot above which has the lights showing in the background; it’s a nice look, but the reflections make it tough to achieve. I took several test shots at approximately the right flash power, before deciding on the lights’ positions, each time checking results on screen. For instance, I found that the rear of the car wasn’t being lit, so spun the light around to fill it. The light on the bonnet was also causing a reflection, but this disappeared as I angled it up. It’s just a matter of trial and error. Powering the flash With no nasty reflections on the paintwork, I could go about setting the power of the

The flash was lighting the car’s headlining, which was reflecting onto the bonnet flashes. First though, as the available light had dropped, I extended the shutter speed to avoid a completely black backdrop, setting a speed of 4secs. Next I used a flash meter, held near the car to gauge the power. With those settings of f/16, ISO 100, the lights were correctly powered at a 1/4 output. It was time to take some shots. Lighting the interior While working, it became clear that the interior would look very flat without some lighting of its own. For this I used the third iLux Summit 600C II flash, again fitting it with a diffuser, and placing it inside the Saab’s front passenger footwell. This I set to 1/8 power, so as not to dominate the exterior lighting. Again, reflections needed to be managed, as the flash was lighting the car’s headlining, which was reflecting onto the bonnet. To fix this, I moved the light into the rear seat and angled it down, the extra bounce reducing its effect and the reflection. By the end of shooting, the light had dropped even further, and I was shooting at 6secs to keep the ambient exposure bright enough.

The lights we used For this month’s Lighting Academy we used three iLux Summit 600C II flash heads. These full-featured monolights are great for location flash work, thanks to their high-capacity battery packs, so you can shoot cordless pretty much anywhere. What’s more, they have builtin 2.4Ghz wireless receivers, allowing full remote triggering across a range of modes, including high-speed sync for TTL exposures. To make on-the-go handling easier, there’s a fold-away pistol grip type handle, but the lights can still be mounted on regular stands using a screw adapter. shop.photomart.co.uk


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Advertisement feature

In its new waterfront location at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, this year’s Digital Splash – taking place on 7 and 8 October – is set to be the biggest and best yet

Digital Splash is the fastest-growing consumer photography show in the north of England. When David Parkinson – the mastermind behind the show – set out to create an inspiring show for photographers across the north, he was totally unaware of the huge success that would follow. Starting small, the show began at a hotel venue in Preston, where the team was overwhelmed by the response from visitors, exhibitors and photographers. The entire industry got behind the new event – with all of the top brands including Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony, Fujifilm, Lowepro and Manfrotto attending. Year on year the visitor numbers grew, with crowds gathering ten deep before the doors were opened. The show soon outgrew its hotel roots, moved to Preston University – subsequently outgrowing that venue too! Catering for everyone from first-timers to full-time pros the ethos of Digital Splash has always remained the same, ‘education and inspiration’. Each year the show has hosted talks, seminars and practical workshops on a range of subjects, including landscape, travel, wedding and street photography,

right through to studio lighting and flash demonstrations, commercial photography, wildlife and portraits. “I honestly believe if photographers grow their skills through education and inspiration they will enjoy the whole experience more – and hopefully do more with their images too,” says David. “Whether that be to simply print their work, enter competitions and awards, exhibit or even join a local camera club, it all encourages creativity among customers and continued long term investment in the industry. “Our holistic approach is so much more than just selling cameras – our mission is to be with photographers every step of the way. And that means from the very beginnings – buying a first camera, accessories and getting started, right through to learning new skills, upgrades in technology or kit specification, as well as supporting those full-time photographers making a living from their work.” Now in its eighth year, the show has grown substantially year on year – with more than 6200 visitors through the door last October. David’s experienced and passionate team live and breathe photography all year round

The step up to our new Liverpool location has raised the event to yet another level and scale

© Elke Vogelsang

Join us at Digital Splash


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Advertisement feature © Kate Hopewell-Smith

It’s set to be another record-breaking year and we look forward to seeing you there Images This year’s Digital Splash is expanding its creative base even further with astro and food photography added to the ever-popular subjects of people, landscape and nature.

© Paul Gallagher

Digital Splash 2017 has an action-packed line-up of interesting and informative talks and workshops, walks and exhibitions, including: Talks from Paul Gallagher and Michael Pilkington of Aspect2i photography tours, who will be talking landscapes, black & white photography and also sharing their top post-processing and print tips. Also on the bill are Jeff Ascough, Kate Hopewell-Smith and Brent Kirkman – talking all things weddings and portraits. Brent will even be guiding visitors through his aerial film-making and drone adventures. For animal lovers Fujifilm X-Photographer Elke Vogelsang will be sharing her secrets on her entertaining dog portraits and David Lindo ‘The Urban Birder’ will be looking to the skies to share his inspiring photography with bird lovers. From Starters to Stars – Aspire Photography Training will be hosting mouthwatering Food Photography and Styling workshops, and astro whizz Alyn Wallace will be taking us stargazing with his amazing night sky images and explaining how to quite literally take photography to another level. © Michael Pilkington

For more information visit digitalsplash.tv

Get inspired at Digital Splash

© Michael Pilkington

The Digital Splash Awards run throughout the year, with the winning images from each monthly competition exhibited at the show – and the overall photographer of the year announced. Digital Splash will also showcase new products, exhibitions from talented photographers and an extensive schedule of talks and workshops from pro photographers at the top of their game. This year Digital Splash also sees additional content from even more photographic genres – including food, astro, urban bird-watching, moving images, video and drone photography as well as optic brands including binoculars and telescopes. “We continue to build on the successful format, watching the trends and bringing our visitors what they need to further their own photography and video skills and enjoyment. “We’ll have all the big brands at the show, all the latest kit and a dedicated team of experts on hand to help and advise. It’s set to be another record-breaking year and we look forward to seeing you there,” says David.

© Paul Gallagher

© Paul Sanders

– with the annual Digital Splash Show, the culmination of a lot of planning, hard work and dedication. David continued: “The growth of the show has been phenomenal and the step up to our new Liverpool location has raised the event to yet another level and scale. The purposebuilt venue boasts the best show facilities available – with full high definition theatres, great exhibition space, easy access, parking and accommodation nearby. You can even get a decent coffee at a reasonable price! “Based in the heart of a vibrant city, the location is a photographer’s dream, with a melting pot of spectacular architecture old and new, street photography galore plus endless urban scapes and big skies across the water.” From day one, the show has attracted the strong support of all the leading photographic brands – and their continued support has allowed the event to continue to grow beyond our wildest dreams. For the first time this year, the show will be unveiling the Weather Photographer of the Year exhibition from the Royal Photographic Society – as well as announcing the Digital Splash Photographer of the Year 2017.


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Techniques

Beginner’s Guide to Social Media

Whether you’re completely new to social media, or have taken the first steps by setting up an account and making a few posts, there’s much more that you need to know. Why? Because it’s a great platform for sharing your work and gaining more exposure, which could lead to more opportunities and paid work! Jargon buster Tag/tagging Mentioning another person, company or brand within a post by linking to their profile. In Facebook and Instagram this is done by typing an @ symbol and the name, then selecting a page from a dropdown box. On Twitter tagging is done by including a handle. People can also be ‘tagged’ within an image, which allows the image to appear on their Instagram or Facebook profile (subject to privacy settings). Handle A person, company or brand’s taggable username on Twitter, which follows an @ symbol eg. @PhotonewsPN @Photo24London @jemmadoddphoto Hashtag A key word that follows a # symbol eg. #PhotographyNews #Photo24 #Landscapephotography Status/post A piece of text, images, videos or other content that is created on Facebook or Instagram.

Written by Jemma Dodd Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are some of the most popular platforms used by photographers. They may look scary at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll be posting away. Music photographer Adam Elmakias has over 132k likes on Facebook, over 184k on Twitter and 461k on Instagram and he has this to say: “Social media is a good outlet and a way to get in. If you’re starting out it’s so much easier to take a good photo and be able to show people.” Fine-art photographer Bella Kotak noticed that her following grew the more consistently she shared her work. “It really was as simple as that. People like checking in daily on their favourite artists and once I began to share more I attracted more attention,” she says. Bella now has over 57k likes on Facebook, over 56k followers on Instagram and 1.8k followers on Twitter. “An online presence puts you in front of clients and is a great way to share

FACEBOOK Create a page

Tweet A post that includes text, images, videos or other content on Twitter.

Feed A list of posts/tweets by other users. Follow Photography News on social media: @PhotonewsPN on Twitter or visit www.facebook. com/photonewspn and give us a ‘like’.

Tips My page is simply ‘Jemma Dodd Photography’; you may want to include your name or create a brand name. Your profile picture could be a picture of you or your logo, and for your cover photo you may want to show off one of your best images. If you’re handy in Photoshop you could create a tiled image to show off several images. If including a logo or text on these you may get better results by saving your images as a PNG file.

your personality too. Nearly all my work opportunities have come from people who’ve come across me via Facebook or Instagram.” David Cleland is a landscape photographer with a following of 14k on Twitter. “I tend to engage with Twitter the most as there is a good level of interaction and discussion. Twitter will be my default port of call and I check in on the other platforms just once or twice per week,” he says. “I find I see growth when I post my photographs and others with large followings share the image. “I focus on making connections with others who love photography. The best connections are those that you make posting photographs and sharing about the art of photography. Post about what you love and post your images with no expectation! Don’t be jealous that someone has 50 retweets and your photo only had two. If you see a photo you like then tell the person. We all know how great it feels to be encouraged and it can be equally rewarding sharing the positive!”

You might be reading this and already have a Facebook account that you share your photos on, BUT do you have a Facebook page? Signing up for a normal Facebook account lets you create a profile, add friends, comment, send people messages and upload photos; a Facebook page on the other hand gives you an open platform to share your photography work with the whole world of Facebook.

To create a Facebook page follow these simple steps: Log in to Facebook Click the arrow in the top right-hand corner and then click ‘Create Page’ Select which type of page you want to create. Choose ‘Local Business’ if you’re a pro or thinking of going pro, or if it’s just a hobby select ‘Artist, Band or Public Figure’ and then choose ‘Artist’ Enter a name for your page and then click ‘Get Started’ Add a profile picture (which will be displayed at 170x170) and a cover photo (which will be displayed at 820x312 pixels) Click the ‘About’ tab on the lefthand side and then fill out your bio information and include your website if you have one Click ‘Home’ on the left tab, then click the ‘…’ symbol and ‘Invite Friends’ to invite friends to your page Now you’re ready to create a posts

Adam Elmakias @elmakias elmakias facebook.com/ adamelmakiasdotcom

Bella Kotak @bellakotak bellakotak facebook.com/ bellakotakphotography

David Cleland @flixelpix flixelpix facebook.com/flixelpix


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Photography News Issue 44 absolutephoto.com

Techniques Content There are three main types of content that you can post, similar to posting on your personal Facebook profile; a status (text), images, videos or links. Photos will probably be your most common post and you have the option to upload a single image or multiple images as an album, but remember to include text telling your audience about the images. Whatever you choose to post think about your audience and what they’d like to see; if you have new work, share it; if you need a model for a photoshoot, post and ask if anyone would like to model; if you’re running a business and you’ve got an offer, let people know. Another form of content is to share links to other websites; if you read an article online that you’d like to share you can post a link on your Facebook page, or you might have a blog about

your work and want to include it in a post so that more people can view it. To post a link to another website simply paste the URL in the status box and press enter, this will then bring up a preview of the website. You can now remove the URL from the status box and type a status as normal. In some cases this will bring up a number of image options; you can click to select or deselect different images by highlighting the boxes shown below, or click the + to add a new image. Whatever your post is try to include text and tag people where possible. This will notify them of your work and also give your post more reach. As a music photographer I regularly shoot concerts so tag the bands that I’ve shot and also the venues. To tag someone type an @ symbol and then start typing the name of the person,

brand or place that you want to include. A drop-down box will appear showing a number of related people, pages and events. Find the correct one and select it; this will automatically create a link in your post to this person’s profile and notify them. You can then add in images/videos to the content and click “Publish’’.

Scheduling posts The ability to create a post and schedule it for a later date or time means you can post at peak times (for us in the UK these tend to be in the evenings after people have got home from work). This is particularly useful if you’re working another job alongside your photography, so you can schedule posts to be published while you’re working, without having to do anything extra. To schedule a post, create a post as normal, but instead of clicking ‘Publish’ click the arrow to the right of this, then click ‘Schedule’. You’ll see a screen similar to the image on the right which will allow you to select a date and time to publish your post.

Tracking your success

Managing your page on the go

When we talk about reach we mean how far your posts have reached, ie. how many people have seen them. If you click on the Insights tab at the top of the page you’ll be taken to a page that shows your figures. This allows you to see what type of posts/ content works best and what your audience is more likely to react to. Posts can be boosted with paidfor advertising to reach a wider or more targeted audience. This isn’t essential, but something to consider if you are setting up a business.

You might have downloaded the Facebook app for your phone or tablet, but there is a separate app dedicated to managing Facebook pages, called Pages Manager, which can be downloaded from the GooglePlay or App Store for free. This will allow you to post and check your notifications while on the go.


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Recommendations

The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers If you’ve been tempted to give that little red video button on your DSLR a try, have been bitten by the bug for producing your own movies or are a professional photographer wanting to add filmmaking to your commercial offerings, then Pro Moviemaker is the must-have magazine for you. The quarterly mag is crammed full of no-

nonsense advice, filmmaking techniques, tips on making videos for money and lots more. Like indepth equipment tests to help you make the right buying choice, advice from experts in the industry and vital information about recording sound and editing your footage in post-production. Plus, industry news, a dedicated section on filming

with drones and the latest VR technology. Check out our website, promoviemaker.net, join us on Twitter @ProMoviemaker and on Facebook.com/ ProMoviemaker. Read on to find out more about what you can expect from Pro Moviemaker. promoviemaker.net

Learn from the best!

@ProMoviemaker

No.1 magazine for

As well as news on everything from equipment to training and filmmaking festivals, every issue of Pro Moviemaker has an inside look at the careers of the most successful commercial filmmakers. Learn what it takes to create incredible shots that can lift your movies into the realms of something special. And if you want to make movies as a business, there are inspiring tales of how to do it.

VIDEO

MAKERS!

Shoot like a pro

Techniques demystified

If you are interested in making money from your filmmaking, this is the section of the magazine for you. Our regular Ask the Expert feature poses key questions to a panel of experts on all sorts of subjects from buying the right kit to legal matters and business advice. And we keep you updated on the state of the industry, along with advice on crucial matters like improving your showreel, marketing, crowdfunding, hiring a crew and lots more.

Even experienced photographers can struggle with the learning curve needed to master filmmaking. From conquering audio recording and editing movies as well as techno-babble like ProRes and codec, we explain how to do things in a language that’s easy to understand. Plus how to use the kit in the right way, the subtle nuances of colours, how to make your shots less shaky and mastering complex camera moves, it’s all in Pro Moviemaker.

SUBSCRIBE Top gear! Most modern DSLRs or mirrorless cameras are ideal for making amazing-quality movies that can look every bit as good as the movies you see at the cinema. In fact, some movies have been shot entirely on them! But to deliver a more professional film, you’ll need to invest in a few extra gadgets. The gear section of Pro Moviemaker is packed with tests, buyers’ guides, head-to-head comparisons of cameras, lenses and more. We rate all the latest accessories and kit for its use as a filmmaking tool to help you make even better movies, from action cams to iPhones!

Sky’s the limit! Drones are big news as they can really add a fantastic new dimension to your movies, and they are increasingly affordable and easier than ever to fly. Every issue, Pro Moviemaker brings you the latest news, kit and features from the world of aerial videography. We cover the all-important legalities of flying drones in the UK and abroad, plus how many filmmakers are incorporating them into their work to improve their films and increase profit. We test fly the latest ’copters and look at all the must-have aerial accessories.

AND SAVE Get four issues a year for just £17.99, visit promoviemaker.net


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Photography News Issue 44 absolutephoto.com

Techniques INSTAGRAM Instagram is purely about posting images and videos. As it is an app-based platform you’ll need to download it onto your smartphone or tablet. There is a desktop version which can be accessed in your Internet browser, but it doesn’t offer the functionality that you need to upload photographs or videos. The idea of Instagram is to instantly be able to upload the images taken on your smart device to your account, but as photographers we want to showcase images that we’ve taken on our

Navigating

cameras as well. The way around this is to invest in a camera with built-in Wi-Fi so you can transfer the images to your smart device and then to Instagram. If your camera doesn’t have Wi-Fi then you can email images that are saved onto your computer or laptop to yourself (if you don’t have access to your email on your smartphone or tablet then now is the time to set this up). Then just save or download your images from your email onto your smartphone/tablet and upload them onto Instagram.w

Home view

Signing up It’s a good idea to set up all of your social media accounts with the same or a very similar name so people can easily find and follow you on other platforms. For example, my Facebook page is Jemma Dodd Photography and my Instagram and Twitter accounts are jemmadoddphoto. You’ll also need to add a profile image, fill in your profile with a bio and can include a link to your website if you have one.

Profile view

Depending on what version of the app you are using and whether your device is Android or iOS, you may find some differences in the layout and navigation.

Three dots Access settings and account details

+friend symbol Search for friends and see suggestions of who to follow Gridview Photos of you

Scrolling view

Home Shows you a feed of your followers

Saved images

Profile Takes you to your profile Search Allows you to search for posts, users and tags

Plus symbol To upload a photo/ video or take a new photo/video

Heart Shows notifications

Uploading a photo Instagram will display images on your profile in a square format, but you can still upload landscape-format images. Tap the ‘upload’ button and select an image from your gallery Alternatively click the Photo or Video option which allows you to take an image with your device’s camera Click an image to see a preview, then pinch the image and bring your fingers together to reframe (Instagram doesn’t work so well in doing this with portrait format images) To add multiple images to one post click ‘select multiple’ With your chosen image/s click ‘next’ Tap ‘Filter’ if you wish to add a filter and then scroll across to see the filters available and click to apply. Click ‘next’ when done. Do the same for the ‘Edit’ option to make any other adjustments Click ‘next’ when you’re happy with your results Tip Tap and release on your image to see a before and after.

Instagram stories Posting your image You’ll now see a space for a caption; you can also tag other users here, similar to Facebook. Start typing @ and the person/company/brand you wish to tag. Select the correct person and then they will be notified that they’ve been mentioned. This is a great way to help promote people you’ve worked with, such as models and make-up artists, and in return if they post the image they can tag you as the photographer. For hashtags (keywords) use words that relate to the image. I hashtag my music images with things such as #musicphotography or include the

band/artist name or event name – such as #LeedsFestival #EllieGoulding. I also include #JemmaDoddPhotography and the camera that it was shot with #NikonD750. All hashtags need to have a space between them to separate them, and can’t have any spaces or special characters. Each post is limited to 30 hashtags. You can also ‘Tag People’ within the image: this means that the image will show up in their ‘Images of You’ section, which can help more come across your work. Once you’re ready to upload, tap ‘Share’, and the image will appear on your profile.

If you click on the home button, you’ll see your profile image in the top left hand corner with a + symbol next to it. Tap it and it will bring up a camera with the options, Live, Normal, Boomerang and Hands-Free. Live lets you record a live video, Normal takes an image and Boomerang lets you create a small clip with movement. If you choose Normal and take a picture you can then add text, brushes and stickers, if you scroll up before taking a picture you can use an image already saved to your device – just bear in mind it will be cropped to a portrait format. Click the ‘+ Your Story’ button and the image will appear for 24-hours within your story before then being deleted forever. This is a great way to let your followers see what you’re up to and tease content, such as behind the scenes of a shoot. The more stories you create the more Instagram will reward you by placing your story to the front for your followers to see. As people you follow create stories they will appear at the top of your home page.

Tips ‘Like’ and comment on images and you may find users do so in return. Message other users by clicking the paper plane symbol in the top right on the home page.


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Photography News Issue 44 absolutephoto.com

Techniques TWITTER Unlike Instagram, Twitter can be used on both a web browser and on your smart device. Sign up for an account online or download the app from the GooglePlay or App store. For the purpose of this feature we’ll be focusing on the browser version, but the layout and options are similar.

Navigation

Moments Shows you top stories and tweets relating to them

Home Takes you to the home page

Create an account To start your Twitter journey click ‘Sign up’ from the Twitter home page and fill in the relevant information. When choosing your username remember our previous point about keeping your usernames the same or as similar as possible across platforms. Once you have created your account you’ll need to fill in your bio information and add a profile and cover picture. Similarly to Facebook you may want to use a logo as your

profile image and another image of your best work or for variety. Twitter recommends dimensions of 400x400 pixels for a profile picture and 1500x500 for the Header photo. We would advise leaving a fair amount of space around the edges as Twitter does crop in. You can also make changes to the theme colour of your profile.

Messages Direct messages

Notifications Displays a symbol whenever anyone follows you, likes a tweet of yours, retweets it or mentions you within a tweet

Profile and settings

Search bar

Compose a tweet

Create a tweet A ‘tweet’ is a message, image or video posted on Twitter. Notice the Twitter logo is a bird and you’ll soon get it. On the home page you can type in the box that says ‘What’s happening’ or click the blue feather symbol in the top right, which will be displayed on all pages to bring up the ‘Compose a Tweet’ box. This is where you can type your tweet, similar to posting a status on Facebook. All tweets are limited to 140 characters, but you can also add images, videos, GIFs or polls to your tweets. You can also include a URL link, if you wish to share a blog post, link to your website or other site. URLs do take up characters in your tweet, but Twitter will automatically shorten URLs. Like Instagram @ handles and # hashtags are important to use to

tag people. From a previous point, you can again tag people you’ve worked with, who will be notified that you have mentioned them in a post. Alternatively you can @ to someone to tweet directly to them, or there is a private message option available, but you can only message people who follow you or allow messaging. When it comes to hashtags, bear in mind that you are limited to characters so only use a few. For example, you might say, “These #Landscape photos were taken on a @Fujifilm_UK #XT100”. Notice that I used an @handle for Fujifilm. Tagging in brands is a great way to get your work noticed and they might even retweet it. Use the search bar at the top to find brands and other people you wish to follow.

Following and retweeting Like Instagram, you can follow people on Twitter and people can also follow you. Your home feed will show posts from those that you follow in a timeline order, but it will also show posts that your friends have retweeted or liked. To retweet basically means to repost. If you look at someone else’s post in your feed, you will see an arrow pointing to the right, click this

to reply to the post; next is a symbol with two arrows and if you click this you will ‘retweet’ the post, which will mean it appears on your profile. Finally is the heart, click this to show that you like a post. When you retweet a post you have two options: one is to quote the post, which allows you to add your own text, the other simply reposts it to your profile as it is.

Retweeting posts can help you and others out; for example, if your favourite photographer or a friend of yours posts some images that you really like, retweeting them helps that person gain more exposure to their work. The same goes if people retweet your posts, that way they will then reach a wider audience (the followers of the person who retweeted it).

Follow us on social media

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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

40

Camera test

In association with

Specs Price GFX 50S body £5999, GF63mm f/2.8 R WR £1359, GF32-64mm f/4 R LM WR £2149, GF120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro £2499 Sensor 51.4 megapixels, 14-bit capture Sensor format 43.8x32.9mm Bayer array with primary color filter with Raw and JPEG capture ISO range 100-12,800, expandable to 50-102,400 Shutter range 60mins-1/4000sec, 1/16,000sec (electronic shutter), flash sync at 1/125sec Drive modes Continuous up to 3fps, single, remote, self-timer Metering system Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot, average Exposure modes PASM Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV steps, autobracketing available with 2, 3, 5, 7, 9 frames in 1/3EV steps up to 3EV Monitor 3.2in, aspect ratio 4:3, approx 2360K-dot tilt-type, touch screen colour LCD EVF 0.5in approx. 3690K-dots OLED showing 100%. Built-In switchover eye sensor Focusing AF with contrast detect sensor with modes including face detection, live view, single point, multi-area, continuous, single shot Focus points 117 in a 13x9 array, 425 possible Video Full HD 1920x1080 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 36Mbps up to approx 30 min. HD 1280x720 29.97p/25p/24p/23.98p 18Mbps up to approx. 30min. Connectivity Micro HDMI, USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Storage media Dual SD card slots Dimensions (wxhxd) 147.5x94.2x91.4mm Weight Body approx. 920g Contact fujifilm.eu

CHISWICK

Call: 020 8995 9114

Camera Centre

Fujifilm GFX 50S Few cameras have generated the column inches that Fujifilm’s first mirrorless medium-format camera has, so what is so special about the GFX 50S and is it any good? Our test looks beyond the hype Words and pictures by Will Cheung Photographers shoot medium-format usually for one reason: superior image quality. That was the case with film and it is still the case with digital. However, with digital, with highmegapixel cameras like the Canon EOS 5DS, Nikon D810 and Sony A7R II around, you could argue that with digital the quality benefit is less clear cut. The Fujifilm GFX system’s first camera is the 50S, a model boasting a 43.8x32.9mm 51.4-megapixel CMOS sensor. The sensor has a Bayer filter array so unlike Fujifilm’s X-series cameras that use X-Trans sensors featuring a random colour filter array to avoid effects like moiré – both sensors are optical low pass filter-free. Perhaps we should kick off with the elephant in the mediumformat room: price. While there are cheap film medium-format cameras around, going medium-format with digital will seriously dent your bank balance. For the GFX 50S we are talking £5999 body only and £1359 for the standard 63mm f/2.8 lens so £7360 for the basic outfit. That is indeed serious money but you need to look at the GFX 50S in the context of what else there is around. The Pentax 645Z with a 55mm lens is £7499 and the mirrorless Hasselblad X1D costs £7788 and that is body only – and it’s much less expensive compared with other models from Hasselblad, Leica and Phase One. The long and the short of all this is the GFX 50S is very competitive in terms of price for what you get and the market within which it sits – but it’s still a significant investment. It is whether that investment is affordable or worthwhile for your photography that’s important. Cards on table: I really enjoyed testing the GFX 50S. I found it (mostly) intuitive to use, perhaps helped because I use a Fujifilm X-T2 so the menu structure is similar, but there is more to it than just a familiar menu. Control layout is very good. The top-plate features dedicated onepush lock ISO and shutter speed dials along with a large LCD info display and the on/off switch ideally placed around the shutter button. The basic body is monitor only, but in the box supplied as standard is an EVF finder which slips into the hotshoe so you have both ways to compose your shots. With the EVF in place you can choose viewing mode which includes an auto switchover between EVF and monitor option. The EVF image itself flickers a little and can look grainy

Above The GFX 50S is not a cheap camera by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s very intuitive to use with impressive build quality, and offers really remarkable image quality.

in low lighting, and resolution could be better. It’s not perfect but it is good and there’s the benefit of being interchangeable so when a better EVF is launched, the current one is easily upgraded. The right-hand grip with a large thumb ridge is excellent. With the on/off switch where it is and the grip, it is possible to raise the camera to the eye when turning on the camera and shoot one-handed with a great deal of stability if you had to. Start-up is just under 0.5sec so the camera is almost ready to shoot by the camera is up to the eye. On the raised thumb ridge is a quick menu button and, unusually on a modern camera, then there are three unmarked buttons on the back – these are function buttons 3, 4 and 5. There are nine function buttons in total plus the rear command dial that can also be set to different functions. All function buttons and the rear command dial offer the option of 37 functions including off, so there is tremendous versatility when it comes to customising your favoured set-up: and then you have to remember what you’ve set!

The front command dial can be set to adjust aperture (if the lens is set to C) or shutter speed. It can also be used to adjust ISO when the ISO dial is at the C position and then you can use the expanded ISO settings. The rear of the camera with its raised monitor plinth is perhaps less aesthetically pleasing but the space is needed for the GFX’s 1250mAh NPT125 rechargeable battery that needs an 12.8V recharge voltage. A charged cell gives around 340 shots (or 400 with auto power save selected) and in-camera charging is possible via the optional AC-15V AC adapter. The monitor folds out for waistlevel viewing whether you are shooting horizontal or vertical format pictures and is touch sensitive although its touch functions are limited; so you can’t scroll through or select menu items but you can touch to focus or move the focus point around although you can’t take the shot via touch. A virtual button on the top right of the monitor lets you select touch AF, AF area or off. During playback you can pinch images to zoom in and scroll through by swiping.

The GFX 50S has the option of mechanical and electronic shutters and there are various combination settings. So, you can have an electronic front shutter combined with a mechanical shutter which gives a quiet, soft shutter release. The limit for this is 1/1000sec at which point the mechanical front shutter kicks in. The electronic shutter gives silent (or quiet) release with the usual proviso that you can get banding from certain artificial lighting types and potentially rolling shutter effects with moving subjects. A contrast-detect system provides autofocusing and typical of this type of AF you get the lens racking past the point of focus and then back again to lock on. I had the GF63mm f/2.8 and GF120mm f/4 macro lenses for this test and found single AF generally quick and responsive in good lighting. However both lenses struggled more in less good light, say a typical room interior, and more attention to where the AF point was aimed. Or have the AF+MF menu option chosen so you have full-time override of the manual focus barrel and get


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Call: 020 8995 9114

The good exposure latitude of the Raws helped to get fully toned images even when the exposures needed a helping hand in editing. I’ve been fortunate enough to handle and shoot with the GFX 50S on several occasions and it has grown on me each time. It’s not overly complex to use yet there is plenty of control and potential when you start digging around in the menus, so ample customisation potential. And it is so good to use. From the on/ off switch being in the best possible position, ie. around the shutter button, to the locking control knobs and nine function buttons and touch screen swipe and pinch playback, there is so much so right with the GFX 50S. That would be impressive in a third generation camera, but here we’re talking about Fujifilm’s first effort and for that it deserves the highest praise.

I’ve been fortunate enough to handle and shoot with the GFX 50S on several occasions and it has grown on me each time

Camera Centre

Camera test

Performance: ISO Original image

The GFX 50S has an extensive ISO range. The native ISO range is 100 to 12,800 with expanded settings down to ISO 50 and up to 102,400 with both JPEG and Raw format shooting available throughout. The ISO knob has settings from ISO 100 to 12,800 and should you want to exploit the expansion settings you need to set the dial to C and then use the front command dial – here the ISO is changed in 0.3EV steps and then in 1EV steps with the expanded settings. ISO performance is impressive. Images in the ISO 100-800 range

© Will Cheung

a magnified viewing image for critical focus. The camera offers the choice of 117 or 425 zones – in zone and Wide/ Tracking AF you only get the 117 zones option. I concentrated on zone (3x3, 5x5, 7x7) and single point AF, mostly the latter because I like to choose what’s sharp and this worked very well. When the smallest single zone AF point is used the 425 zone option does make navigating the point around slightly laborious even with the focus lever but the very frame wide coverage means you can be very specific. The option of not having the AF reappearing on the other side of image would be nice. Generally, in good light, the single AF setting zipped into focus even in its normal mode – rapid AF is a menu option although there seems little speed benefit. Continuous AF was much slower than single AF, could be uncertain even when the camera and subject were both static and didn’t cope especially well with tracking moving subjects. Exposure and white-balance systems worked impressively and consistently well. I shot mostly in aperture-priority and manual exposure modes using the multizone metering option, and rarely was I troubled by poor exposures. On a shoot in London with full sun reflecting from glass and metal skyscrapers the camera still gave perfectly good exposures even when the bright highlight was in the frame.

CHISWICK

are very similar in terms of noise levels and even a side by side comparison of the ISO 100 and ISO 1600 shows barely any noise increase. By ISO 3200 there is some coarseness in midtones and there’s very minor detail loss but you have to look hard. It is difficult not to be impressed, Get to ISO 6400 and noise is more evident, but again detail isn’t too badly affected, and some noise reduction in software restores images to much lower ISO levels. Image quality finally takes a hit at the top 12,800 native ISO

and while noise is clearly evident it’s not horrible by any means and certainly can be used for big prints with some noise reduction in software. Venture into the arena of the expansion settings and quality takes a serious dip with heightened noise levels, desaturated shots and detail loss, but that is no surprise. There is no doubt that the GFX 50S is a very high class performer in the ISO arena and if you need to use ISO 3200 or even 6400, the results are remarkable. Truly remarkable.

ISO 100

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 25,600

ISO 51,200

ISO 102,400

Images Excellent high ISO performance is something we are beginning to take for granted but it is still impressive to see a camera live up to its potential. The GFX 50S’s top ISO speed is 12,800 and, remarkably, I got shots I’d happily make very big prints from even with minimal noise reduction in software. Go slower and the picture, literally, gets even better. A very, very capable ISO performance from this machine.


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

43 In association with

Call: 020 8995 9114

CHISWICK

Camera Centre

Camera test

Performance: exposure latitude +4EV

+3EV

+2EV

+1EV

0EV

-1EV

-2EV

-3EV

Original image

A variety of sunlit scenes was shot using the GFX 50S set to its autobracketing mode giving nine frames at 1EV intervals. The correct exposure as set by the camera’s aperture-priority mode in multisegment metering. Here, with this set the base exposure was 1/300sec at f/7.1 and ISO 200. Raw processing was done in Lightroom with the incorrect exposures adjusted to give the ‘correct’ exposure. The +4EV shot was not recoverable with blown highlights and detail loss, but the +3EV shot fared better

particularly in the shadows while the highlights were still lacking in detail. By the time we get to the +2EV shot we’re at the point where the image is almost fully recoverable to be directly comparable to the correctly exposed shot in the shadows and the highlights. The only downside was a colour shift in the sky but that correctable in editing. The +1EV shot looked the same as the correct shot once the exposure was corrected. Underexposed Raws can be recovered very well with even the -4EV looking tonally the same as the correctly exposed file.

The -4EV and -3EV shots do show a gain in noise, but not to any significant degree and was easily correctable in software – with Lightroom’s luminance noise reduction set to 25 did the trick. Overall, the GFX 50’s Raws did well with exposure latitude, especially with underexposure and seeing shots underexposed by -4EV where the on-screen is almost completely black recovering well to looking normal was impressive. JPEG exposure latitude, as you would expect, is more restricted, to +1EV over and -2EV under.

Images The GFX 50S showed itself to be very capable when it came to Raw exposure latitude with abused shots recovering well. If you have the misfortune to overexpose by 4EV, then you are stuck and you need to get your metering technique sorted, but otherwise all good from this test.

-4EV

Shoot different formats

4:3 5:4

Images Multi-format flexibility is offered by the 50S. Shoot Raw and you always get the full-format file so cropping can be done in editing.

65:24

1:1

One attribute Fujifilm was keen to promote when it announced its GFX medium-format system was its film heritage and how in the past the company has produced cameras in formats including 6x4.5cm, 6x7cm and 6x9cm as well as panoramic. Hence when the GFX 50S was announced its ability to crop incamera to popular formats and still

give large file sizes was prominent. Of course, in-camera cropping is widely available and it is true that the file sizes remain sizeable. So, for example, if you want to go square for classic portraits, shooting 1:1 results in 38MB files measuring 6192x6192pixels, or you can do panoramas resulting in an image measuring 8256x3048 pixels and 25MB.

It is worth clarifying that if you shoot a different ratio in Raw you still get the whole file so there is no memory saving and you can change your mind later. Your format choice does carry through to Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw – click on the crop tool and you will see the whole image masked with the selected format. With JPEGs, only

the chosen format is saved. As I said, format options is not a new feature but its implementation here is good and I liked being able to compose in square or 6x7 format with the image masked appropriately on the monitor and in the EVF but safe in the knowledge that I had the backstop of full-size Raws should I change my mind.


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Camera test

In association with

CHISWICK

Call: 020 8995 9114

Camera Centre

Verdict

Performance: image quality Original image

In a word, excellent. I shot portraits, scenics and still life and I loved the quality I was getting out. Images were just packed with beautiful detail and even those shot at high ISO speeds looked fabulous. The Fujifilm GFX system is based on a sensor size of 43.8x32.9mm. Do the arithmetic and that is 1.7x bigger than full-frame 35mm while in film, medium-format offered 2.7x (6x4.5cm) or 4.3x (6x7cm) more usable image area. I had to try the GFX with the 63mm f/2.8 (50mm full-frame equivalent) lens alongside a 36-megapixel Nikon D810 fitted with

The Fujifilm GFX system was in my view easily the most exciting product announcement of 2016. Now that it is here and having just spent a fortnight with it, that is still my feeling and I love the way it handles (mostly) and the images it produces. But let’s get real here. While the GFX 50S is great value in the rarified world of digital medium-format, it is still £7360 with the 63mm lens and that is a huge sum of money and more than many people spend on a car, so it is difficult for most enthusiasts to justify, let alone afford. Also, while Fujifilm makes great store in the system’s compactness, this is only the case if you stick with the 63mm lens. Add the 120mm or 32-64mm zoom and size is more of an issue, and they have modest maximum apertures too. However, simply looked at as a tool for producing great photographs then there is a lot to love, relish and appreciate in the GFX 50S. The camera is Fujifilm’s first stab at digital mediumformat and it has got so much right, obviously learning from its experience with its X-series, and this camera is likely to get even better with Fujifilm’s history of using firmware updates to add and enhance existing features. If you are in a position to invest in the GFX system, you are indeed very fortunate and great quality photography awaits.

Fujifilm GFX

50mm (Nikon and Sigma) lenses. For outdoor scenes the cameras were fixed to a Gitzo Systematic carbonfibre tripod with exposures made using the self-timer. Raws were then processed in Lightroom. The GFX’s 115MB Raw files open out to 27.5x20.6in (69.9x52.42cm) at 300ppi; the Nikon’s measure 24.5inx16.73in (62.31x41.59cm) at the same resolution. The Fujifilm’s full-size super-fine JPEGs were around 35MB. Comparison between the images was done on-screen and in print. For the prints, the GFX’s files were downsized to match the long dimension of the Nikon’s files and

Nikon D810

Original image

Images Talk image quality and the big question is: how does the medium-format GFX 50S compare with a leading 35mm full-frame DSLR – the Nikon D810 – and is upsizing worth the expense? To be fair, both cameras delivered top-drawer image quality but it didn’t take much digging around to reveal that bigger is better. Of course that has always been the case in the 35mm versus medium-format debate so no shocking revelations here, just confirmation that if quality is your goal, you’re going to have to dig deep into your pockets. Fujifilm GFX

Nikon D810

prints made on Epson and PermaJet paper (the new FB Mono Baryta) using an Epson SureColor SC-P800 printer. We used A3 paper with prints made full-frame and equivalent to their full size of 24.5x16.73in. It is fair to say that both cameras deliver excellent image quality with noise-free prints full of lovely fine detail but that is no surprise. Move in close and you can see that the Fujifilm reveals more detail than the full-frame Nikon and everything is crisper and cleaner. But you have to look closely and of course this is not to say that the Nikon is a quality slouch because it isn’t, but the Fujifilm medium-format images are visually clearly superior.

24/25 Features What’s missing? High-speed flash sync maybe 23/25 Performance Image quality is amazing even at high ISO speeds, AF can be uncertain 23/25 Handling Excellent body design and control layout, great customisation potential Value for money 25/25 The GFX 50S is a great deal of money, but you get a great camera Overall 95/100 Fujifilm’s first digital medium-format camera is a triumph Pros Image quality, handling, portable, responsive, high ISO performance, battery life Cons Slow flash sync, big lenses

See the GFX 50S Find the GFX 50S at Chiswick Cameras 4 Chiswick Terrace, Acton Lane, London W4 5LY 020 8995 9114 Sales@Chiswickcameras.co.uk facebook.com/Chiswick. Camera.Centre Twitter: @ChiswickCameras


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

46

Accessories test Buyers’ guide

Close up gear

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Macro photography is an incredibly absorbing subject, but you need the right kit to make a success of it. The correct accessories will help you light the subject, stabilise your shooting, and get an even more magnified view than a macro lens gives alone. Here’s a mix of gear to help improve results Manfrotto Xpro Geared 3-Way Pan/Tilt tripod head £149

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With macro shooting, even minor camera movements can make a big difference to your focusing and composition; just a few millimetres of difference could see a subject fall out of focus. So, for more precise control than a regular ball or three-way head provides, look for a tripod head like Manfrotto’s Xpro Geared 3-Way Pan/Tilt head. Fine adjustment comes via three knobs, a full turn of which moves the head through just under 10º, so actions are precise. There are also grip levers to free the mechanism for faster adjustment. The model has a vertical tilt range of -20°/+90°, a lateral range of -90°/+30°, and a 360° pan, giving a huge range of movement. The head features two bubble levels, making it easier to get pictures on the level, weighs 750g and will support loads of up to 4kg, while a Manfrotto 200PL quick release plate is included. manfrotto.co.uk

2

SRB Close Up Lens Set from £20

Even if you don’t have a dedicated macro lens, there are accessories that can give you a macro effect when attached to a regular zoom or prime. One type is close-up lenses, like this set from renowned photographic engineers, SRB. These lenses screw onto the thread at the end of your lens and reduce its minimum focusing distance, and therefore give a greater magnification than you’d normally get. And you can use them on macro lenses, too, for even larger reproductions. Available sizes from 52mm to 77mm, and with four filters in the set you can choose from 1+, 2+, 4+, and 10+ strengths, or stack them for even higher magnification. Prices start at £20 for a set of 52mm filters, rising to £26, and each set comes with a protective case. srb-photographic.co.uk

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2

Pixapro 75cm Cube Tent £33

Whether it’s for macro product photography, or fine-art work, diffused and even lighting can give superb results; and it doesn’t come much more diffuse than when shooting in a light tent. The translucent, durable, white nylon fabric of Pixapro’s 75cm pop-up tent sits between your subject and the light sources you’re using, be they flashes, LEDs, or just the sun. The size of the box makes it perfect for small to medium sized items, and the wrap-around diffusion lets you shoot shiny objects without reflections or glare on them; there’s a front door with a slit to poke your lens through, completing the six sides. Shooting in a tent also provides clean backgrounds, and as well as the standard white, there are black, red and blue backdrops included. Hanging loops are provided along the top inner seams, so you can suspend items like jewellery, and its sprung-wire frame lets you quickly fold the tent into its included bag.

4 3

essentialphoto.co.uk

4

Novoflex Klammer Clamp and flexible arm £45

The right lenses and lighting kit are central to successful macro shooting, but other accessories can make a huge difference, too. Clamps, for instance, make positioning the subject much easier, and therefore help you improve focus and composition. This high-quality clamp from Novoflex, the Klammer costing around £15, is a strong and small model, which easily supports flat or curved objects. Crucially, at the opposite end to the clamp it has a 1/4in threaded socket, so can be mounted on tripods, lighting stands, or fixed to other supports. Add this to a flexible gooseneck arm, like the Novoflex 26cm ARM-K, at around £30, and you’ll have a very versatile macro support. novoflex.com

5

Benro FGP28C carbon fibre tripod £340

Achieving life-size macro reproductions means you need a versatile tripod, for example one that’s capable of shooting very close to the ground, such as when shooting wildflowers, or creepy crawlies. A tripod that does that and loads more besides is Benro’s GoPlus Travel FGP28C. Central to macro shooting is the adjustable centre column’s ability to move from vertical to almost any angle, allowing ground-level shots. If you don’t need to go that low, or are shooting in a cramped spot, the legs can be independently locked at different angles. A carbon-fibre construction keeps it light at 1.62kg, and it supports up to 14kg, which should be plenty for a camera, head and focusing rail if required. benroeu.com

Rotolight RL48 LED Creative Colour Kit V2 £99

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LED lights are a great fit with macro photography. With the camera on a tripod you don’t necessarily need the extra power of flash, and they run cool so floral subjects won’t wilt as they often do when faced with hot tungsten lights. And what you see is what you get, making exposure more simple. Rotolight’s RL48 LED Creative Colour Kit contains all you need to improve your macro lighting, comprising a Rotolight RL48-B ring light, Colour FX gel set including ten filters, a stand and a pouch to put it all in. With its ring shape and included diffuser, soft shadows are created, and away from the gels the light can be set to 3200K, 4300K, 5600K or 6300K output. rotolight.com

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Just Ltd reversing rings from £8

A reversing ring is a macro accessory that lets you mount a lens back to front on your DSLR or CSC. This has the effect of reducing the minimum focusing distance, providing a macro effect. You pick the ring that you need based on the filter size of the lens, and Just Ltd carry 52mm to 77mm rings in Canon and Nikon mounts, as well as 52mm and 58mm fits for Micro Four Thirds mounts. Prices run from £8 to £11, making it a very affordable and effective way of achieving macro images. However, unlike extension tubes, there’s no electronic connection between camera and lens, so it works best with older, manual lenses that have a manual aperture ring – even those that don’t fit your camera’s mount. cameraclean.co.uk


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Accessories test

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7 9 12

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10 Venus Optics KX800 Flexible Macro Twin Flash Kit £279

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This hotshoe accessory combines flash and LED lighting in a single unit, and does it with great versatility in the design. Specifically built for macro photography, the KX800 Twin Flash features two 48cm long flexible arms with flash heads on the ends, and a third with an LED light. This means you can position the flashes very easily around the subject, even backlighting if the working distance is close enough. Running on four AA batteries, the flashes, which have a combined guide number of 58m, are controlled manually, and have eight power levels, adjustable independently. The flexible LED can be used to aid focusing or as a fill light, and the whole unit weighs only 450g. ukdigital.co.uk

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Kenko DG Extension Tube Set £129

Extension tubes enable a regular lens to focus closer than normal, with no loss of optical quality, as there’s nothing for the light to travel through except a hole. They can be used on macro lenses, too, achieving greater than lifesize reproduction. The longer the tube (and the greater the distance from the lens to the camera), the closer you can focus, though the resultant light loss reduces the effective aperture of your lens. Kenko’s DG Extension Tube Set (available from chiswickcameras.co.uk), maintains TTL exposure and AF, depending on the lens, and whether there’s enough light in the scene. The set contains 36mm, 20mm and 12mm tubes and comes in Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony fits. kenkoglobal.com

Nissin MF18 Macro 10 Flash £279

Macro lighting can be tricky. With the lens so close to the subject, it’s easy to cast a shadow on it, and with such a short working distance, placing off-camera lights becomes problematic, too. The answer is a specialist macro flash, like Nissin’s MF18. Sitting around the front element, and therefore unobstructed, the flash head fits lenses with threads of 49-82mm via included adapters. At 16m (ISO 100), the guide number of the flash tube might sound low compared to regular models, but it’s plenty at macro distances, and adjustable down to a tiny 1/1024 output. You can also use the LED modelling lights to illuminate the subject, and it’s available for Canon and Nikon cameras. kenro.co.uk

iLux 5-in-1 80cm Collapsible Bounce Reflector Kit £14

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Macro and close-up shots benefit from the use of a reflector just as much as other subjects. By bouncing some light you’ll fill in shadows, even out the contrast, and increase the shutter speed, but that’s not all. The middle of a 5-in1 reflector, like this 80cm version from iLux, is a diffuser, which can be placed between the subject and the light source to further even the contrast and reduce strong highlights. With its black or white surfaces you can also use it as a handy backdrop. If you want to support it more easily, you can clip it onto the iLux RH-02 Reflector Holder (£25), a three-section pole providing a 64-177cm length, which attaches to a regular lighting stand. photomart.co.uk

Velbon Super Mag Slider 12 Macro Rail £79

Working with such a shallow depth-of-field makes macro focusing tricky. But just like using the right techniques, picking the right accessories can make it easier. One such accessory is a focusing rail, like Velbon’s Super Mag Slider. Using the rail to move the camera, rather than focusing with the ring on the lens you get much more precise control, for example setting the lens at its closest focus for the maximum magnification. Made of lightweight magnesium alloy, and weighing only 470g, the Super Mag Slider allows smooth, accurate forward/back (+/-60mm) and side-to-side (+/-30mm) movement for alignment, while its 1/4in and 3/8in threads mean it connects like a regular tripod head. intro2020.co.uk


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First tests Accessories

First tests

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, Adam Duckworth and Kingsley Singleton

Specs Price £172.99 complete with SD adapter, 32GB £22.99, 64GB £39.99, 128GB £78.99 Capacity 256GB tested here. 128GB and 64GB sizes also available Class Grade 3, Class 10 Temperature proof Yes, operating temperature –25°C to 85°C Waterproof Yes X-ray proof Yes Magnetic proof Yes Durability 10,000 mating cycles Sequential read speed 100MB/s Sequential write speed Up to 90MB/s with 128GB and 256GB cards. 60MB/s with 64GB Contact samsung.com/uk

Samsung EVO Plus 256GB microSD £172.99 Samsung’s relentless drive to deliver bigger, faster and reliable memory cards is insatiable and the EVO Plus range has now been upgraded. The latest EVO Plus microSD cards now deliver a write speed of up to 60MB/s and a read speed of 100MB/s. The card supplied here was the largest capacity 256MB microSD card, the biggest that’s currently available in the series. Some photographers prefer to have several lower capacity cards rather than one or two big ones and there are definitely pros and cons to both approaches. Loading this 256MB microSD card into a Fujifilm X-T2 set to record Raws and Fine JPEGs gave me capacity to shoot 6880 pictures and over 9999 with Raws only. My tendency is usually to overshoot as I’d much rather fully exploit a scene – assuming time and circumstance allow – with different lenses, timing, changing light and so on rather than regret it later. Such a massive capacity means I can do this with joyful alacrity – perhaps too much alacrity because the downside is sifting through all the shots later, but that’s another issue. Back to this card then, it means if I’m on a full-on shooting trip capturing around 1000 frames a day, I have a week’s capacity in just one card.

For 4K video shooting this card is big enough for over 100 hours of recording. That’s immense. If I took the equivalent in 16GB cards I would need 16 individual cards, although to be fair that’s no physical hardship. Of course the serious risk of relying on just one card is if that card corrupts then you are in deep trouble – especially if it’s at the end of your frantic one-week trip. But it is true that flash memory cards are remarkably reliable. In my years shooting SD cards, I think I have had one failure, and I haven’t had any reliability issues with microSD cards yet – touch wood! However, I have had physical issues with both card types. I recently snapped a microSD card in half. It was in my wallet without its case for safekeeping and it must have been wedged at an odd angle when I sat down and it snapped in two. Using and abusing this EVO Plus card didn’t produce any issues. I have tested Samsung’s four-proof technology (water, temperature, magnetic and X-ray) before and it works just as well in this card. I had absolutely no issues after submerging it in water or working with a card straight out of the freezer. It is highly specified with an Ultra High Speed Class 10 rating and U3 compatibility with a quoted

read speed of 100MB/s and a write speed of 90MB/s. A run through the Blackmagic Design Disk Speed app gave a write speed of 65.4MB/s and a read speed of 87.6MB/s which are good readings. A practical test passing data onto the card through my Mac mini was less impressive with a write speed of 16.5MB and a read speed of 51.4MB. Loaded into a Fujifilm X-T2 set to shoot Raw files only at 8fps, gave me four seconds shooting at this speed before slowing down, and that is a good shooting rate and very rarely would I be rattling through so many frames for such a prolonged period. In the same camera, no problem was found shooting 4K footage for the maximum time of nine minutes 59 seconds either. WC

Verdict We all need large capacity, reliable and high performing storage cards to feed our memory hungry cameras, phones and tablets and Samsung is a leading supplier. Its latest EVO Plus cards do a great job too, providing an impressive performance at competitive prices so worth adding to your shortlist when next shopping for cards. Pros Samsung four-proof design, write/read speed, comes with SD adapter, capacity Cons Nothing


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First tests

Tamron SP70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 £1349 Tamron’s popular, highly regarded telezoom is the latest to be revamped. The benefits are improved optical performance, better mechanics and cosmetics to match the new range. There’s a new optical design with 23 elements including Tamron’s LD and XLD glass, 5EV benefit image stabilisation and a build that’s moisture and dust resistant. As you’d expect from a fastaperture telezoom, this lens has an impressive, substantial heft. Looking at weight, it’s 30g heavier than its predecessor and slightly longer, but 40g lighter and 15mm shorter than Nikon’s version of the same lens. To be honest, though, there is not much between the Canon, Nikon and Tamron lenses physically speaking. The zoom barrel is broad; its action is smooth and takes less than one-quarter turn to cover the focal length range. The focusing barrel is narrower but still wide enough for a gloved hand to comfortably use. There is an impressive array of control buttons on the lens body including a distance limiter and a VC control. VC is Tamron’s Vibration Compensation or image stabiliser mechanism and the claimed benefit here is 5EV. Three VC modes are available. Mode 1 gives normal VC operation and you see the benefit in the viewfinder, mode 3 gives VC but the viewfinder image is uncorrected and mode 2 is for panning. Few lenses have an option like mode 3 and it is handy when you’re being critical with cropping when a stabiliser can very slightly alter the framing. Tamron’s VC is impressive. If we said that the minimum recommended shutter speed was 1/250sec for this lens (and even that is pushing it), 5EV takes us down to 1/8sec. For my test, I set at 100mm in VC mode 1 and shot from 1/25sec downwards to 1/5sec. The conditions were calm so no breeze-induced shake in this instance. As a control I first shot at 1/25sec with the VC off and here I got one just barely acceptable shot out of five. With VC engaged, this increased to five out of five so an impressive start. Dropping to 1/15sec, without the VC working you can see the image juddering but half-press the shutter button and the VC kicks in. At this speed I got four out of five sharp and got the same result at 1/8sec. At 1/5sec, success rate fell to three out of five and that still rates highly.

The lens performed very well with images just snapping into sharp focus Above The revamped lens may be heftier than its predecessor, but it has an improved optical performance, better mechanics and pleasing cosmetics.

200mm f/2.8

Specs Price £1349 Format 35mm, APS-C Mounts Canon, Nikon Construction 23 elements in 17 groups Special lens elements Five LD (low dispersion) and XLD (eXtra low dispersion) Coatings e-BAND coating, Fluorine coating on front element Filter size 77mm Aperture range f/2.8-22 Diaphragm Nine blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, full-time override Minimum focus 95cm Focus limiter Yes

200mm f/4

200mm f/5.6

200mm f/8

Maximum magnification 1:6.1 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser Tamron VC, 5EV claimed benefit

200mm f/11

200mm f/16

200mm f/22

Tripod collar Yes, Arca-Swiss compatible, detachable Lens hood Supplied, bayonet fit Weather-sealed Moisture proof and dust resistant Dimensions 193.8x88mm Canon, 191.3x88mm Nikon Weight 1500g Canon, 1485g Nikon

The images Tamron has been gradually upgrading its lens offerings and this fast aperture telezoom features a new optical construction compared with its predecessor – and the result is a highly capable and superior lens. A lockable rotating tripod mount is provided and while there are no click stops at key points, white dots help with accurate alignment. The tripod foot is Arca Swiss compatible and it also has a tripod bush. As for autofocusing, Tamron’s USD (Ultrasonic Silent Drive) delivers a fine performance. The camera is a key player here and I tried the lens with a Canon EOS 77D, EOS 5D Mark IV

and a venerable EOS 5D Mark II. The lens performed very well with images just snapping into sharp focus so no problems here. No problems optically either. Wide open at 70mm, sharpness is good at the centre and the edges and improved with stopping down with f/5.6 the best aperture for crisp shots. A similar showing was seen at 135mm although f/8 seemed the

optimum aperture. You still get high quality at the wider settings too. F/8 was the best overall aperture at 200mm, although sharpness was fractionally less impressive. One thing to note was diffraction had minimal impact at minimum aperture at the three tested focal lengths, so this lens will let you shoot at the smaller apertures without too much sharpness loss. WC

Contact intro2020.co.uk

Verdict If you want a fast-aperture telezoom, then you should add this Tamron to your shortlist because it offers a high-quality performance, mechanically and optically. Put simply, you get very sharp pictures, swift autofocus and the VC mechanism helps to make sure your images are very sharp even when hand-holding at risky shutter speeds. It’s a lovely lens and competitively priced for what you get. Pros Optical quality, effective VC system, Arca-Swiss tripod foot, great build, price Cons A hefty lens, although comparable to its opposition


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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First tests

PermaJet FB Mono Gloss Baryta 320 Look at PermaJet’s website and you will see an extensive collection of inkjet papers to suit all tastes. If a textured finish is up your street then try Museum Heritage 310, for a smooth matte there’s Portrait 285 and if you want a paper that has a darkroom feel there is the FB collection that includes my favourite, FB Gold Silk 315. This last-named collection is where this new paper Mono Gloss Baryta 320 resides. Its 320gsm base means this is one of heavier papers in PermaJet’s range and it does feel great out of the box and lies flat so there shouldn’t be any issues with headstrike. The base itself is a natural white, with a hint of warmth so it’s not a cold paper. Close inspection of the surface shows that this material has a smooth gloss which is more of a silky lustrous sheen than a high gloss. If you look very, very closely and give it some strong oblique lighting (see the picture below) then you can see its surface indentations so it’s not a perfectly flat finish but in normal viewing conditions it is. In practice, it is gloss finish that can be viewed from an angle without reflection issues (depending on the lighting of course), but the finish is glossy enough to make the most of paper’s claimed 2.38DMAX rating. If you are a darkroom printer, this paper’s finish has a greater gloss than a typical air-dried fibre paper but more restrained than a glossy resincoated paper. I printed a wide selection of images using an Epson SureColor SC-P600 printer with its standard inkjet and the free generic profile from

PermaJet’s website. Images included high- and low-key portraits, fully toned landscapes, infrared mono and scenics with a more sombre feel. The finished prints were then checked out under a daylight-balanced lamp. In addition, while this product is targeted at the black & white worker that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t suit colour use so I tried out a range of colour images on this paper too. I was very pleased with this material, especially with my black & white images. The colour results were quite impressive too with clean highlights and rich colours, but perhaps the saturation was too rich for some subjects – that’s easily corrected, of course. If you want punchy colour prints, though, it is a very fine paper. Ultimately, I thought that it was with black & white images that this paper felt most at home. The high DMAX rating did make the most of

Specs The high DMAX rating did make the most of the deep blacks that I like my images to have the deep blacks that I like my images to have, while the highlights stayed clean and crisp. Midtone gradation was very smooth too with subtle changes of greys looking very good and not appearing flat. A few prints had a very slight green tinge in the midtones, but that was probably due to using a generic profile. Overall, it is difficult not to be impressed at this paper’s performance, especially with images that rely on the impact of rich shadows and sparkling highlights to shine. WC

Above PermaJet FB Mono Gloss Baryta 320 handled a broad range of subject matter very skilfully especially with its deep, rich shadows and solid blacks. Left With the help of a macro lens and some strong lighting, you can see the faint surface indentations of PermaJet’s new paper aimed at the black & white photographer. Viewed under normal lighting, the surface is a smooth glossy sheen that looks and feels fabulous.

Prices 25 sheets A3 £59.95, £2.40 per sheet, 25 sheets A4 £30.95 £1.24 per sheet Availability A4, A3, A3+, A2, 17in, 24in and 44in rolls Paper type Glossy finish with acid-free fibre base with baryta coating DMAX reading 2.38 Weight 320gsm Thickness 0.35mm Whiteness 104 Contact permajet.com

Verdict PermaJet FB Mono Gloss Baryta 320 is a very welcome addition to its already extensive collection of inkjet media. Its finish, feel and ability to deal very well with a wide range of subject matter will make this material a ‘must try’ for black & white workers. But you colour photographers shouldn’t feel left out either because despite the product’s name, it’s a material equally adept at full colour images too. In all, this PermaJet paper comes highly recommended as a quality, versatile and capable material with a gloss finish that is not overstated and will suit a wide range of subject matter and viewing situations. Pros Finish – lovely, lively sheen, quality feel, gives great blacks Cons Finish – too glossy for some tastes


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First tests

SRB 77mm ND1000 Rugged Filter £39.95 Specs Price £39.95 for the 77mm version Type Long exposure filter Factor ND3.0 or ND1000 (10 stop) Size availability 49-82mm Material Glass Front filter thread No Coating/s Unknown Contact srb-photographic.co.uk

Verdict This ND is a very good performer. Its innovative design helps shooting in gloves, and the butterfingered can be assured by its rugged properties. Its price point is attractive, too. Pros Image quality, rugged build, price Cons Some problems with working with lens hoods

Once they were virtually unknown in photography, but within the last ten years long-exposure filters have become a phenomenon. There are now plenty of ten-stop filters on the market, and almost any landscaper or fine-art photographer you meet will have one in their bag, allowing them to shoot with slow shutter speeds in full daylight. With the number of filters on the market, it’s no surprise that manufacturers are looking for subtle ways to innovate the basic lightstopping design. And this is the latest from SRB; a ruggedised ten-stop filter, featuring an extra large mount that’s designed not only to withstand bumps, but also to make handling easier. It’s certainly affordable, too. The 77mm version we tested is only £40, but prices start at just over £30 for 49mm, 52mm, 55mm and 58mm sizes. A significant saving compared to many, then, but does it stack up in the quality stakes? I spent a few days shooting landscapes with it in the Faroe Islands to find out. Broadly, it’s a very good performer. When placing anything on the end of your lens you run the risk of degrading sharpness, but testing with identical aperture and focus settings, with and

The filter’s large mount is definitely easier to grip than a normal filter, especially in gloves without the filter attached, I found no real difference that I could see. Image sharpness was excellent, and I noticed no fall off at the edges either. Another test of any long exposure filter is the accuracy of its light stopping rating. The closer it performs to its specification, the easier the exposure is to predict, which is important as you’ll likely be working in manual mode for long exposures. Under or overexposure will cost you editing time and image quality. Pleasingly, the SRB ND1000 produced very accurate exposures; comparing two images shot in manual mode, one at 1/60sec, and the other at 15secs, they were almost identical. And not just to the naked eye; I overlaid the exposure histograms of both to the same conclusion. The only real difference was a fractional increase in contrast in the longer exposure. There was some fall off of light at the

edges, but nothing more than about a stop, so not particularly noticeable and easily corrected. I also tried shooting in aperture-priority on a Nikon D810. Here the camera metered exposures about 2/3 stop under, so it’s an option if you’re pushed for time, not confident in manual or just lazy. All long-exposure filters produce colour shifts, and the SRB ND1000 is no exception. These can be adjusted in Raw processing, but are more of a factor if you shoot JPEGs. Shooting in auto white-balance with the filter attached, pictures had a warm cast, compared to the unfiltered shots. Unfiltered, the camera judged auto at 5200K, and shooting through a range of manual white-balance settings, the closest to this unfiltered version was around 4200K. So, that’s about a 1000K adjustment if you want to get colour spot on at the time of shooting. Some low-cost long exposure filters can also have a tendency to fog shadows with infrared, giving them a brownish look without true blacks. I didn’t see any sign of this with this glass filter. Handling wise the SRB ND1000 was mostly excellent, too. The filter’s larger mount is definitely easier to grip than a normal filter, especially in gloves, which I was working in a lot, and the large indentations mean that you can screw the filter on and off with your fingertips. I initially thought the extra size of the mount would be a problem with lens hoods, so tested it on a variety of my lenses. It was fine with wide-angles, where the hoods are more splayed, but, though it still fitted, it was a bit trickier on telephotos. Once screwed in, you

Shot in AWB

can’t remove the lens hood, nor can you add it after the filter is mounted. The rugged design also means that you can’t stack other filters to the front of it, but that’s not a big deal as they can go on the reverse. That said, at very wide angles, the casing produces some hard vignetting. This was quite obtrusive at 16mm, still slightly visible at 24mm, but had been eradicated at 28mm. The

design also doesn’t prevent you from adding a lens cap onto the filter when it’s fitted though. I managed to test the ruggedised properties of the filter by accident. Having been in splendid isolation for much of the test, I toppled over right in front of the first pair of tourists I came across, eliciting an American whine of “Jeez, are you OK, man?” I wasn’t, having skinned a knee through trousers and waterproofs. The ND1000 though was unharmed, despite a fairly brutal introduction to the road I was climbing onto. Aside from a slight scuff it was undamaged, and performed to the same high standard for the rest of the test. KS Thanks to the Faroe Island tourist board (visitfaroeislands.com) for its assistance in this test.


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First tests

BenQ SW320 Pro 32in IPS LCD £1275 Small might be beautiful but big is undoubtedly better when it comes to computer monitors and enjoying your masterpieces on a high-quality screen is a real delight. The BenQ SW320 Pro is the company’s latest monitor aimed at photographers and film-makers with exciting features such as 4K resolution (3840x2160pixels). It shows 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space and has HDR mode which gives a more dynamic view of compatible movie footage. The screen is 32in diagonally which for £1275 doesn’t sound that impressive when you can buy a 55in LCD TV for under £400: but monitors and TVs are very different beasts. Monitors can be profiled, have the pixel density to make the most of your high-resolution images and you can sit a few feet in front of one for hours on end without wanting to poke your eyes out with a pointy stick. This unit comes with a two-part stand and screen as separate items but getting the components together takes no time at all. No tools are needed – another plus, especially if you want to use your screen for presentations on the road. It also comes with a Hotkey Puck, leads and a multi-section monitor hood. Minutes after unpacking the unit it was connected to my Mac Mini and after start-up I was marvelling at the impressive image. I use a 27in monitor (a BenQ as it happens) so I couldn’t resist putting the two side by side with the same image on show, as you can see below. For scale I added an 11in MacBook Air. The image on the larger monitor looked awesome. You wouldn’t think that the difference between the 31.5in and 27in screens would be that great but it was enormous and seemingly more than a few inches.

Five unmarked buttons at the bottom right of the screen bring up input options, colour mode, HDR, brightness and various system menus. These buttons let you navigate the onscreen display menu and select the many options the SW320 provides. I wouldn’t say this system is intuitive but you get used to it with time. In the system menu the three buttons can be used as custom keys giving one-push access to a range of features. Another way of quickly accessing features is the supplied Hotkey Puck, with three controller key settings that you can customise via the screen’s menu. This gives quick access to most commonlyused features. For example, you can quickly view images in black & white before converting them. Of course Lightroom users can do this even more quickly with one mouse click. One of the headline features is the monitor’s HDR mode that shows off video footage in a dynamic way but you need HDR compatible devices and content. To be clear, you don't get cartoon-like, richly coloured images that many keen still photographers understand as HDR. View non-HDR compatible footage and the picture is bright, almost painfully bright, but get the right content and the end result looks fabulous. I downloaded HDR video footage on the internet and yes it looks awesome on this screen. Images have plenty of contrast but the shadows were boosted and the midtones and highlights have lots of snap. Obviously the screen’s high resolution means images are full of crisp detail too. Move in really close, and there is so much detail to appreciate and enjoy. The SW320 with its 4K UHD screen shows pictures in amazing detail and makes the most of highres still pictures too. The matt finish

Specs Price £1275 Type IPS Size 32in/68 cm (684mm diagonal) Native resolution 3840x2160pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio In the box Mains lead, HDMI cable, mini displayport – display port, USB 3.0 cable, shading hood OSD controller, setup guide, Palette Master Elements software, quick reference guide Pixel pitch 0.185x0.185 mm Viewing angles (typical) 178°, 178° Brightness (max) 250cd/m2 Contrast ratio (typical) 1000:1 Input terminals HDMI 2.0 + DP1.4 + mDP 1.4, USB 3.0 (downstream x 2 (side), upstream x1) Typical power consumption 43.98W Power save mode Less than 0.5W

Top This BenQ screen offers popular connection options. Above The five unmarked buttons at the bottom of the screen let you navigate the on-screen display (OSD) menu and select options. Below The 32in screen is impressive when compared with my 27in monitor (right) and provides excellent quality images.

screen gives glare-free viewing and the IPS LED backlit screen gives stable and accurate colour images. I did calibrate my sample using an X-rite Colormunki Display before doing any serious editing and printing. Spend any extended time in front of any monitor and eye strain and fatigue are hazards, but the SW320 proved a pleasure to use and with regular screen breaks I spent a full working day picture editing and word processing on it with no issues. WC

Preset modes AdobeRGB, DCI-P3, Rec.709, sRGB, B&W, HDR, Darkroom, Calibration 1, Calibration 2, Custom 1, Custom 2, CAD, CAM, Animation Dimensions (WxHxD) 745x530x211.4mm Weight 20kg Height adjustment range 150mm Contact benq.co.uk

The screen’s high resolution means images are full of crisp detail too Verdict Using the 32in BenQ is a real treat. To view pictures I’ve sweated or got frozen for on a big screen makes all the pain worthwhile. A big print is the ultimate but you can’t make big prints of every image you shoot, and to enjoy them on a big screen is a very good second best. At £1275, the BenQ SW320 32in IPS LCD is undoubtedly a big screen that is competitively priced and a leading performer. Pros Image quality, SD card reader, shade supplied, easily adjustable stand, screen size for the price Cons On screen menu not intuitive


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Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

Award Winner – First tests

Elinchrom ELB 400 from £1420 It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since Elinchrom transformed the location flash market with its groundbreaking Ranger Quadra system. It was the natural upgrade for the off-camera-flash strobists who wanted more power on location, and the chance to use proper studio flash-type accessories without having to resort to DIY methods or bits of Velcro. Plus, the built-in Skyport radio receiver meant no flimsy cables or the line-of-sight issues that plagued offcamera hotshoe flashes. The original Quadra offered a lightweight flash that was rugged, packed a very useful 400Ws of power, took Elinchrom’s range of accessories – from softboxes and beauty dishes to ringflashes and more. It could pump out up to 140 full-power flashes from a single lead battery, was just at home in a studio and didn’t cost a fortune or weigh anywhere near as much as the more pro-orientated offerings from several rival manufacturers. It was a do-all light loved by location shooters across the board. But a lot has changed since the Quadras first came out, with rival manufacturers launching their own versions of affordable and portable flash solutions, featuring lots of latest technology like high-speed flash sync, more advanced radio control, more power and even lighter weight. Elinchrom reacted with constant updates to its Quadras, such as a brighter LCD screen and lighter, more powerful lithium battery. But the latest version of the kit, now rebadged the ELB 400, takes it on even more. It keeps all the features of the original Quadras and builds on them in a big way, with no big increase in price. Which is why they are still hugely popular and a worthy winner of the Portable Flash category in our Awards. Physically, the ELB pack is very similar to the Quadras but now have push-fit covers on the connectors rather than screw fit and a USB connector for firmware updates, rather than having to send them back to the dealer. The ELB400 now features a modern OLED display which falls in line with its topof-the-range studio flash units. This is much more simple to operate than the old Quadra system, thankfully. There is a 25% increase in maximum power flashes in fast recycle mode – up to 350 on a full charge. If you’re shooting at less than full power – which is most of the time – then it lasts even longer. A full day’s shooting is possible with one battery for most users. The new battery management system can also recover deeply discharged lithium batteries – something that plagued early versions. The power has been upped to 424Ws, with a reduction in low-end power to make the range of f/stops almost seven. Recycle time has dropped from two seconds to 1.6 seconds at full power, too. The heads – which are small and light but feature a full-size circular flash tube as used in Elinchrom’s studio units – are available in three types to suit different photographers’ needs. They will also accept Elinchrom’s fullsize modifiers via an adaptor.

Specs Prices £1420 ELB 400 Action/Hi-Sync/Pro To Go Set £1655 ELB 400 Dual Pro/Action To Go Set £2690 ELB 400 Pro/Action/ Hi-Sync/Twin Set Power output 7-424Ws in 1/10EV increments Flash duration 1/550–1/5700sec depending on head Recycling time 0.03–1.6sec Modelling light 50W LED Strobe mode Up to 20fps Max high speed sync 1/8000sec Battery Lithium-Ion 14.4V/ 4.1Ah Battery life 350 flashes at full power Display OLED Weight (with Quadra head) 2.25kg Dimensions (lxwxh) 15x8.5x18.5cm Contact elinchrom.com

The Pro Head is the standard head for general use, the Action Head has fast durations to freeze motion while the HS Head is designed to work with Elinchrom’s own Hi-Sync with the EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus HS. This allows you to trigger your DSLR camera up to 1/8000sec shutter speed but works in a very different way from the usual HSS high-speed sync used by lots of other manufacturers. The Elinchrom Hi-Sync system means the flash output is not quite as consistently bright across the frame as HSS versions, but the power is hugely increased. That’s why it’s popular for overpowering the sun on very bright days, and for action and sports photographers who often need the extra reach that more power gives. Just like the latest Elinchrom ProHD heads, the ELBs now have several clever flash modes built in. In Strobo mode, the ELB 400 can fire up to ten flashes per second, and Sequence mode allows you to sequentially trigger up to 20 separate ELB 400 packs so that you can shoot at high frame rates. The packs have two output ports, so you can use two heads at once. The power output is split 66% from port A and 33% from port B but isn’t adjustable. The colour temperature of the flashes is 5500K and very stable across much of the ELB 400’s power range, compared to many rival units which can deviate by up to 20%. The pack is easy to control, without delving into the menus. Six buttons on the pack include obvious buttons to increase and decrease flash power and one to control the LED modelling light. Charging the lithium battery is very fast, from dead to full in about 90 minutes. And in a studio with access to a power socket, the battery can be recharged while shooting, recharging between shots. AD

A lot has changed since the Quadras first came out, with rival manufacturers launching their own versions Left Elinchrom’s Hi-Sync gives comparatively high and usable levels of light output when you want to venture out into the sun with your flash.

Verdict The standard kit of a power pack, single head, Skyport Transmitter Plus trigger and case costs £1420 and there are lots of kits available with different heads. This is proquality kit that will last for a long time and if anything goes wrong, it can be repaired rather than thrown away. With the features on offer, usability and the back-up of Elinchrom’s system, an ELB 400 outfit is a real investment in your photography. Pros Hi-Sync, easy to use, head options, colour temperature consistency, Skyport Cons Fixed asymmetric power output


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Award Winner – First tests

Profoto D2 500 AirTTL £1194

Specs Specs Profoto D2 500 (D2 1000) Prices D2 500 £1194, D2 Duo 500/500 £2394 D2 1000 £1554, D2 Duo 1000/1000 £3114, Air Remote TTL £320 (Canon, Nikon), £330 (Sony) Output 1-500Ws in 1/10tEV Increments (2-1000Ws) Flash duration 1/2600-1/63,000sec, (1/16001/50,000sec) Recycling time 0.03–0.6sec, (0.03– 1.2sec) Modelling light 300W halogen Setting range 10 f/stops

charge like most studio heads, they use IGBT transistors which turn the power on and off incredibly quickly, like oncamera speedlights. So they can freeze motion very well, shoot in high-speed bursts, sync with your camera at high shutter speeds or use TTL automatic settings. They offer the simplicity and ease of use of a speedlight along with the power of a studio flash. Using the AirTTL trigger available for Nikon, Canon and Sony, the D2s can be controlled and used pretty much like a dedicated flashgun. This brings two big benefits – you can use

high-speed sync and the exposure can be automatically controlled by the camera’s TTL system. The high-speed sync option is just incredible, as when you set a shutter speed higher than your sync speed, the remote control automatically sets the flash to the corresponding mode and it just works flawlessly. Of course, using high-speed sync like this does significantly cut down on the effective power of the flash, but when you start with lots of power then in many situations there’s still plenty of output. Usually, studio flash heads take longer

© Adam Duckworth

When top-end flash manufacturer Profoto launched its new D2 studio heads, there was lots of talk about the D2 500’s blisteringly fast minimum flash duration of 1/63,000sec and the more powerful D2 1000 lasts a mere 1/50,000sec. Action and fashion photographers, still life workers who wanted to freeze water droplets and anyone else who yearned for the creative possibilities of super-fast flash rejoiced. But the technology that allows the D2 head to fire so fast has brought lots of other benefits and is why the D2 500 AirTTL is our award winner. Very fast flash durations at all power levels, ridiculously high frame rates, seamless high-speed sync, TTL control, consistent exposures and colour temperatures, wide range of adjustability, ease of use and top build quality are just some of the head’s realworld charms that are more useful than the 1/63,000sec figure. The Profoto D2 500 allows you to do things that other studio flashes just don’t, or allow you do to it faster or more simply. It’s an amazingly well thoughtout piece of kit that just works and proves that studio monobloc flash is ready for the future. The technology that gives the D2 heads the edge is that instead of using voltage-controlled capacitors filled with

© Adam Duckworth

to set up and you have to carefully control the exposure by manually changing power settings after using a flash meter or your camera’s histogram. This manual set-up gives ultimate consistency and of course you can use the D2s like this, if you wish. But the D2’s TTL option copes incredibly well in the majority situations, and the remote control offers an easy way to dial in under or overexposure as needed. We shot our model on a sofa with the light held above her by an assistant, so as the model moved or the angle of the light changed as the assistant moved around slightly, using manual mode meant you’d constantly have to chimp and check exposure. But using TTL, it allows you to focus on the subject and just be more creative. It’s a very, very nice option to have. For the first time in a monobloc light, you can really freeze the action like never before. The D2 500’s 1/63,000sec flash duration is only at the minimum power setting, which is a tiny 1Ws. That might be fine for using the light close up to a water droplet in a blacked-out room but it’s such a tiny amount of power that’s it’s largely unusable in most shooting situations. But it’s the technology that achieves such a ridiculously short flash duration and means that the flash has a very fast flash duration at all settings, which is very useful. At full power on the 500 head it’s still a speedy 1/2600sec. For studio lights, those are impressive figures at such high power levels. Drop down a few stops from maximum power and you’re into flash durations that are significantly faster than the vast majority of studio flashes. To get really fast flash durations, you have to turn on the ‘freeze’ mode at the flash head but in this mode the colour temperature changes significantly and the light output is much cooler. As long as you are shooting Raw and can either set an in-camera custom whitebalance or tweak it in post-processing afterwards, then there’s no problem. As well as the fast flash durations, the lights can also recycle very quickly. Profoto says that at some settings, the lights can shoot at a staggering 20 frames-per-second. I used a Nikon D4S at 11fps to see if the head could keep up. It did, at power settings as high as two stops down from maximum with consistent exposures. AD

Strobe mode Up to 20fps Max high speed sync 1/8000sec Weight 3.4kg Dimensions (lxwxh) 31x13x18cm Contact profoto.com

Above The D2 500 has clear and easy-to-use control settings and the build quality is excellent.

The D2’s TTL option copes incredibly well in the majority of situations Verdict As well as the impressive tech, the Profoto D2 500 has rugged build quality and is easy to use and understand, from the remote control to the head-mounted buttons, dial and high-resolution display. It’s not kit you need to spend hours poring over the instruction book to fathom out. It’s fast to set up and use – a real speed king. At £1194 for the D2 500 head plus another £320 for the dedicated Air Remote TTL, this Profoto head is not cheap but it’s competitively priced and is an investment in cutting-edge kit that should last for years.

Pros Short flash durations, highspeed sync, easy to use, build quality, TTL convenience with the optional Air Remote TTL Cons Low output at 1/63,000sec flash duration


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

59

Award Winner - First tests

Epson SureColor SC-P600 £589 There are so many ways to enjoy our pictures whether that is on your phone, tablet, TV, projected on a wall or on the computer monitor. All are great options, but for me nothing beats a print made on nice media. It’s that haptic experience of seeing, handling and stroking a print. And, of course, there is the ability to frame and mount your best shots to grace the living room wall – or even to sell. Whatever you do with prints, you need to produce them and for me it is a great pleasure making them at home using a quality printer. Something like our Award-winning Epson SureColor SC-P600. It has been out for a couple of years now and currently sells at £589. It is Epson’s top-of-the-range A3+ desktop printer and not only offers first-class output but it’s designed to be home-friendly too with a compact footprint, quiet operation and wireless connectivity. Set-up is really straightforward. For transit, every movable component is secured with blue tape, but in minutes you are ready to plug it in, install inks and set it up. This printer uses Epson’s renowned UltraChrome HD ink and this unit has a nine-colour inkset which includes Vivid Magenta. Each cartridge has an ink capacity of 25.9ml, which is much greater than older units. Replacement cartridges are £29.99 each. Loading the cartridges couldn’t be simpler with clearly marked bays and the cartridges securely locking into position. My own printer resides in a spare bedroom away from the computer and is connected via Ethernet using broadband extenders so I don’t have a cable running around the house. I used that option for this test and that worked fine, but the SC-P600 has a wireless option too which I was really keen to try. Remarkably, I found my network and logged on without any issues – I say remarkably because I have enjoyed bad experiences with networking kit. Anyway, here, straight in and ready to go. During the three weeks I had the printer I didn’t lose wireless connection once, so stability rated highly. Again I have had many occasions using wireless gear where I had to restore dropped connections so the Epson’s stability was much appreciated. The 2.7in touchscreen is good to use and perfectly clear in its instructions and guidance. If you run out of ink then you’ll get an audible warning – and the printer stops working. You also get a visual warning when the ink levels get low. With some software installed I was ready to start making prints. I usually print through Photoshop, and occasionally through Lightroom’s print module with the appropriate ICC paper profile. I opted to start big to see what the SC-P600 was capable of so loaded an A3+ sheet of Epson’s excellent Traditional Photo paper (TPP) and hit print. An A3+ print at best quality

Specs Price £589, replacements inks £29.99 each In the box Nine inks, mains cable, roll paper holders, CD print tray, software. Ethernet/USB cables not included. Connectivity Ethernet, USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Epson Connect Screen 2.7in tilting touchscreen Ink type Pigment-based Epson UltraChrome HD Inkset Photo Black, Light Light Black, Light Black, Matt Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan, Vivid Light Magenta Black ink switching From/to Photo to Matt Black is automatic Matt to Photo Black uses 3ml (1ml in Save ink Mode) Photo to Matt Black uses 1ml (1ml in Save ink Mode) Maximum print size A3+ 483x329mm Maximum resolution 5760x1440dpi, 8x180 nozzles

takes nine minutes from pushing the print command button. Printing takes place quietly with the occasional spell of louder gear whirring. Prints emerge dry to the touch. I printed a varied bunch of images, a few of which are my normal test images so are a known quantity and then a selection of images I’d not outputted before, ranging from richly saturated floral shots to gritty black & white, taking in fully toned and highkey monos and moody colour scenics on the way. Media-wise, I moved on from TPP to Epson Premium Lustre, Hahnemühle William Turner and PermaJet FB Mono Baryta Gloss 320. The final part of the printing test involved a 17in roll of Epson paper and a panorama to try out the supplied roll paper holders. These clip into place on the back to hold a roll and they worked fine. There is no cutting function so you have to work around that but its simple enough with minimal wastage. I successfully printed a couple of panoramas with no issues. Print quality was first-rate so let’s start with the black & white prints. In a word: lovely. Contrasty scenes retained the snap seen on-screen with rich, solid blacks and clean highlights. The deep shadows still showed detail where detail was present and with no sign of bronzing. Even more impressive was that the midtones on print looked even better than the screen version and were very smooth and full of delicacy. A familiar high level of performance was seen on the colour pictures. Blue skies, leaf foliage and grass looks very lifelike. Flesh tones are lovely too but can look over pink so that is worth bearing in mind during processing, perhaps toning down Caucasian skin. Red and oranges can look marginally oversaturated but obviously this is a subjective thing and personally I like my bold colours to be bold so I was delighted with the look. WC

Minimum droplet size 2 picolitres System requirements Windows 8, 7. Mac OS X 10.7 or later Size 616x369x228mm Weight 15.8kg Website Epson.co.uk

Verdict The Epson SureColor SC-P600 is a first-class printer that will do justice to your best images. Put another way, it deserves your best images because it is so good. Pros Output quality, touch panel, quiet operation, roll paper option included Cons Rich reds can look too intense

Left top Ink cartridges click securely into position in clearly marked bays. Left middle The 2.7in touchscreen monitor makes set-up easy and keeps you informed with what’s going on. Left bottom You get plenty of information from the monitor.

Contrasty scenes retained the snap seen on-screen with rich, solid blacks


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First tests

Benro FTA18CC Travel Angel £209 Benro’s huge tripod range is broken down into user-targeted collections; Adventure, Mach3, SystemGo Plus and Travel Angel, which is where the winner of Travel Tripod of the Year in PN’s Awards resides. The Travel Angel collection comprises compact models with features such as reverse-folding legs, twist-lock legs and with this model, a detachable leg that becomes a monopod. For this test we added the Arca Swiss-compatible Benro V0E ball head which costs £130. The FTA18CC’s legs are made from 9x carbon fibre with the shoulder cast from magnesium. Rubber twist-grips lock the legs securely into position and don’t need too much loosening to free the legs or too much tightening to lock solidly. The legs have two locked positions, one for normal working and a splayed position for lower level shooting or maximum stability. Compactness and light weight are important with a travel tripod and no problem in either regard on this model. The reverse folding legs will help maximise space in the suitcase but it’ll fit most cases even without this feature, and weighing 1.21kg it is not too much effort to carry the tripod around for long periods. In fact, I walked eight miles over a ten-hour period with it (and a camera bag) on Blackpool beach and I wasn’t cursing

Specs Price £259.99

it by day’s end, so that says something. I had the standard rubber feet in place and while they needed a rinse in the shower to get rid of the sand, I enjoyed the experience of using it. The payoff for compactness is lower maximum head height. To be honest for me that is not usually a problem as I prefer a lower-than-head-height viewpoint, but that is obviously a personal thing. I’m 1.75m tall and the max extension is 1.5m with the centre column extended. With the ball head and camera in place that is my eye level with me standing straight upright so good enough should I need the height. Maximum centre column extension can potentially compromise stability but I thought this tripod was still impressively solid and with good technique and a calm day, extreme long exposures should be fine. With the centre column down stability improves and height is fine for most shots. A ballast hook is fitted to the centre column as standard. The leg with the foam handgrip can become a monopod. You just have to unscrew the ballast hook to let you slide out the centre column which then screws into the monopod leg. The idea is good but the downside is that you end up with an 80cm-long monopod even when collapsed. All told, though, I thought handling and usability rated very highly. WC

Verdict

Specs

I really enjoyed my time with the Benro FTA18CC Travel Angel. It just got on with things without distracting me from the job in hand and was light enough to be a companion all day long without too much back-and-shoulder ache afterwards. For a quality carbonfibre tripod it is temptingly priced too and all you need then is a decent head.

Price £209 legs only

Pros Compact, light, gives very good stability for its size, good price for a carbon-fibre tripod Cons No really low camera position unless you reverse the centre column

Above The Benro FTA18CC Travel Angel Tripod collapses down to 41.9cm and has reverse-folding legs that help to minimise the space it takes up in the suitcase.

Max height 144cm (with centre column retracted but with head) 190cm (with head and both centre columns extended)

Weight 1.93kg Contact kenro.co.uk

Right The versatile Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod KENTR401C has carbon-fibre legs and an impressive finish.

Min height 41.9cm

Contact benroeu.com

Material Carbon fibre legs

Closed length 48cm

Max height (with head) 1.17m (centre column down), 1.5m (centre column extended)

Weight 1.21kg

Kenro Ultimate Travel Tripod KENTR401C £259.99

To be voted Best Carbon-fibre Tripod is a magnificent achievement given the many great models around, but that’s the accolade PN readers gave the Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod. It is an impressive looking, highly specified piece of kit. Obviously good looks have no say in how a tripod performs but the sheen of the metal finish and lovely lustre of the carbonfibre legs really do give a solid first impression. This is embellished further when you use it. For example, the twist-grip legs work smoothly and positively and one leg can be unscrewed to become a monopod. Kenro has given this tripod the travel tag and its reverse folding legs mean it’ll fit in a full-sized suitcase. It will fit even with the legs in normal position. But its size and weight do

Material Carbon-fibre legs and magnesium castings

Closed length 41.9cm

Leg sections Four, legs have twist grips

Max load 10kg

Leg sections Four, twist locks

Max load 10kg

In the box Legs, KENBC2 ball head, carrying case with strap, short centre column, hex key

Min height 20.5cm (with supplied short column and legs splayed)

In the box Legs, spiked feet, hex key, travel case with strap, no head supplied – we used a Benro V0E Triple Action ball head (max load 8kg and weighs 370g)

put it on the cusp when it comes to travel ’pods because of its weight and size – well, that’s my view. Labelling aside, there is no denying this product’s attributes as a quality camera support and very good value too when you factor in the inclusion of a decent quality Arca Swisscompatible ball head with spirit level. The ball head has three controls. One to lock its rotation, one to lock/ unlock the ball and one to control the ball’s resistance. If anything, the ball head does not have the precision smoothness of more expensive units but it does the job adequately enough. One lovely feature is the ability to unlock and lift up the top half of the two-section centre column and reposition it 90° horizontally and then rotate it on its axis if needed. For

shooting straight down (or up) this is a great idea that works very well. The two-section column also means when you want maximum height you can get an extension of up to 46cm from its normal full working height giving a camera position of 1.9m. That puts the camera in a perfect position for someone who’s 2m tall, although stability is compromised. Just extending the thicker centre column and the camera platform is still an impressive 168cm from the ground and stability is good. Should you want a super-low shooting position you can invert the centre column or with a few minutes unscrewing and screwing in various bits, using the supplied short column and splaying the pod’s legs gives a camera platform of under 21cm. WC

Compactness and light weight are important with a travel tripod Verdict A carbon-fibre tripod at this price that comes with a ball head and gives shooting positions from nearground height to high enough to suit a pro basketball player, and then to be able to set the centre column at right angles, and still remain respectably portable, is an impressive feat. Very impressive. While I took very slight umbrage at Kenro using the word ‘travel’ in the product’s name, I think ‘ultimate’ is perfectly fair and justified. A tripod well worth a close look. Pros Great looks, comes with a ball head, impressive working range, handy right angle mechanism Cons Less good stability at maximum extension, arguably too heavy for a travel tripod

Lift up the top half of the two-section centre column and reposition it 90° horizontally and then rotate it


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Advertisement feature Buyers’ guide

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pauls-events.uk 07930 462906 paulseventsuk@gmail.com


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Technique PART 9

Camera School

Here we lift the lid on all things camera related, showing how to get better results from your CSC or DSLR, and providing all the info you don’t find in the manual. So, stick with us and you’ll soon be wielding your camera like a pro. This month, how using ND filters (neutral density) can give you more exposure options in bright light... Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton The shutter speeds you can use are, to a great extent, governed by the intensity of the available light. If conditions are very dim, you won’t be able use the fastest shutter speeds, and if it is very bright, the slowest speeds will out of reach, too. The reason for this, as discussed last month, is that with the shutter speed and aperture working in concert, one has to adapt to the other, thereby letting in enough light to make a good exposure. So, if you want to use a fast shutter speed, the aperture usually needs to open to allow more light in. And if you want to use a slow shutter speed the aperture usually has to close to restrict the amount of light. Above Neutral density filters are vital for controlling shutter speed and aperture. Mounted on the lens either using a holder, or screwing into the lens’s filter thread, these filters block a proportion of the light entering the camera. This is calculated in stops, just like the other exposure settings, so it’s easy to tell how strong a filter you need and what effect it will have on the light.

The trouble is that there are physical limits to how much the aperture can open or close and, in terms of exposure stops, it only spans around a third of the range of the shutter speeds available. This mismatch in exposure latitude between the aperture and shutter speed means that, once you push the shutter speed beyond what the aperture can compensate for, you will either over- or underexpose the picture.

Above ND filters will be square, to fit into holders, or round, screwing onto the lens’s filter thread. They come in numerous strengths too.

When ISO can’t help If you want to shoot at faster shutter speeds than the available light and the aperture allow, you can raise the ISO setting, and if you want to use slower shutter speeds, you can lower it. But while you can keep raising the ISO, with the only trade-off being an increase in digital noise, if you want to lower it, you’ll soon hit the bottom end of the scale. Most cameras’ ISO ranges bottom out at 100 or even 200, so if you’ve set that and also reached the smallest aperture you’ll have to take additional measures. Neutral density filters ‘Additional measures’ means going outside

Shooting in bright light It’s not only slow shutter speed effects that using NDs allows – reducing the intensity of the light in the scene will also let you have more control over the aperture you set, both in natural light and when you’re using flash. For example, using an ND filter on a fast lens will let you shoot at, or close to, the maximum aperture even in very bright conditions, so you can get those very shallow depth-of-field effects without overexposing. When shooting with flash, even at lowest power, you often need to use apertures of f/8 and above to expose correctly, but NDs will offset this. And when combining flash with available light, they also let you keep below the camera’s maximum flash sync speed. Finally, the extra control that NDs allow in bright light means you can use the middling apertures for sharper pictures; so where you might have had to use an aperture of f/22 to restrict the light, which can soften shots through diffraction, a two stop ND would let you shoot at f/11.

what the camera itself can do, and fitting a neutral density (ND) filter to your lens. There are two main forms of ND filter; those which are slotted into a filter holder, and those that screw directly to the lens. In either case, the ND filter will cut out a given amount of light, and thereby let you extend the shutter speed over what you could have done in the available light (or a wider aperture). The ‘neutral’ part of the name means that, despite stopping a proportion of the light, there should be no change in the hue of the colours in the image compared to when you’re shooting without a filter. To make it easy to know what you’re getting, the strength of ND filters is measured, like exposure settings, in stops. So you might have a one stop ND, a 1.5 stop, or a two stop version, and those will allow you to extend the shutter speed by the same amount. In practice, if your camera is topping out at 1/2sec with the maximum aperture and the lowest ISO reached, adding a two stop ND filter would let you use a shutter speed of 2secs at the same aperture and ISO. This means you can get the blurred water effect that you’re after.

One way to think about it is that NDs effectively take over where the lowest ISO setting ends, suppressing the light to allow longer shutter speeds than would otherwise be possible in the available light. Which filter for you? When it comes to picking which filter you need, the strength of NDs is described in several ways, usually in terms of their optical density or their filter factor. For the former, you’ll find strengths of 0.3, 0.6, 0.9, 1.2 and so on; each of these equates to a one-stop (or EV) increase, so while a 0.3 ND will cut out one stop of light, a 0.9 ND will cut out three stops and a 3.0 ND ten stops. With filter factors. a ND2 cuts light by one stop, ND8 by three stops and an ND1000 by ten stops. NEXT MONTH Take an in-depth look at the third side of the exposure triangle, ISO. Which settings do you need, should you use auto ISO, and how do you get the best out of high ISO noise reduction?


Photography News | Issue 44 | absolutephoto.com

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Competition

WIN!

Editor’s letter

Time to get sociable

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s special moments across all devices with the ultra-reliable Samsung PRO Plus 128GB microSD memory cards. Samsung’s latest cards feature recently upgraded fourproof features; they are water, temperature, X-ray and magnetic proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one massive 128GB Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC card and SD adapter to award to an eagle-eyed winner. Just complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on puzzle@photography-news.co.uk with that word in the subject box by 14 May 2017. The correct answer to PN42’s word search was Flash and the Samsung 128GB card was won by Terri Foster of Devon. Congratulations to her.

Hands up all those who get social media? Actually, I reckon I’d see more hands if I asked who doesn’t get Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc, not to mention Snapchat and Pinterest... Me? I can see the benefits and why people do it on a professional and personal level but I don’t do a great deal myself. That’s probably because I don’t have a very interesting life – no kids, no pets, no wild (or even tame!) adventures – nor do I have anything to sell or market. And I don’t have a sense of humour – or at least not one that can make something hilarious out of someone eating a bag of crisps on the train. Looking back at my Facebook posts, most feature pictures of a glass of red wine – sometimes next to a croissant – at an airport bar, taken at some ungodly hour. Or pictures of new cameras that arrive in the office for testing. But I should do more and that has been partly motivated by our Beginner’s Guide to Social Media feature in this issue. PN features writer Jemma Dodd, who wrote it, put me to shame when she looked at my Facebook photography page and saw it was last touched in 2014 and most pictures were taken before 2010. So, fired up, I decided to sort some pictures to bring my photography FB page up to date. But when I went through them, I wasn’t happy with what I had. It was time to get Lightroom up to work on my pics. One thing led to another and I spent days picture fiddling, reprocessing many images that were, in my memory, perfectly fine but in reality were not up to standard. Several late nights later, I had a bunch of images ready to upload. I logged on and immediately remembered why I have done so little with my photography page: I didn’t know what to do. It took 15 minutes of clicking around just to work out how to delete all my old pictures. And I’ll bet you anything you like, next time I have to delete some images it will be the same.

samsung.com/uk/memorycards/

Anyway, using our feature as a guide I have updated my photography page – search for William Cheung Photography on Facebook and you’ll find it. And my commitment is that at least once a month I will add something to it. That’s as much enthusiasm as I can rustle up. Speaking of enthusiasm, PN readers have bucketloads of it, especially as far as Photo 24 is concerned. In case you missed it, Photo 24 happens on 1 and 2 July with a noon start. The closing date for entries has officially closed and successful applicants have been told, but there are always dropouts so we have a standby list (where the priority is readers who didn’t get in at the first time of asking). We will keep this open until the last minute, so if you have only just realised it’s happening there is still the chance of getting a place. See News in this issue for details. With that, I’m going to post something banal on social media. Something like: “just written a page of Photography News, woo hoo, aren’t I great, time for a glass of red, boring blah blah blah”. See you next month.

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Photography News issue 44  

Issue 44 of Photography News newspaper

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