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Issue 47 14 Aug – 7 Sept

news

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Canon’s entrylevel full-frame DSLR gets tested on page 32

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Nikon teases D850 Rumours abound about the newest member of the D800 family

Photo 24 results

On its 100th anniversary last month Nikon teased the launch of its full-frame D850 camera. No specification details have been announced, but you would expect a camera with the D800 series pedigree to boast a high resolution full-frame sensor (the D810 is

36 megapixels) and an upgraded autofocus system among other things. Also, while no product images have been officially released, images on the nikonrumours.com website reveal that the D850 will have a tilting monitor – assuming these pictures are genuine of course.

No release date has been announced but with the busy autumn buying period around the corner, we would expect it to be in the shops soon. Watch this space; we’ll keep you fully updated. nikon.co.uk

Over 800 images were received in the three categories – Abstract, Icon of London and Street – from the hundreds of photographers who attended our annual event back in July. The three winners each got £1500 worth of Fujifilm camera equipment of their own choice. The winning and shortlisted entries are featured here but you can see all the entries on the new PN website. The new issue can be read online too without the need to register first. See page 14 for more photographynews.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

News

Laowa’s Magic new shift Venus Optics has unveiled the Laowa Magic Shifter Converter (MSC), which allows you to convert an ultra-wide angle lens into a shift lens. Specially designed for the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D lens, the MSC can be used to fit Canon and Nikon mount lenses to Sony's E-mount cameras. The adapter has been built with a patented optics system. The Canon EF variant is available to pre-order now, with the Nikon AI variant available later. The guide price is expected to be £299. laowalens.co.uk

Get up close with Voigtländer Voigtländer has announced the release of its MACRO APO-LANTHAR 65mm f/2 Aspherical lens. The Sony E-mount macro lens is designed for full-frame cameras and offers a maximum reproduction ratio of 1:2 at a minimum focus distance of 31cm. It has both a manual focus and manual aperture controls, but also features electrical contracts to allow settings to be recorded within the EXIF data. Its apochromatic optical design reduces longitudinal chromatic aberrations. The lens weights 625g and measures 91.3mm. Available now, it retails for £750. flaghead.co.uk

New Leica addition The Leica TL2 features a newly developed 24-megapixel sensor and a Maestro II processor. This processor allows the camera to focus in as little as 165 milliseconds, which is three times faster than the previous model. It’s also got a faster startup time and its electronically controlled shutter means that even when shooting at speeds up to 1/40,000sec it will be silent. What’s more the TL2 also boasts a continuous shooting rate of 20 frames-per-second. Its design has been based on the Leica TL-system and each camera is created from a single block of aluminium in the Leica factory. The TL2 offers 4K 3840x2160p video at 30 framesper-second. Other features include built-in Wi-Fi and a 3.7in LCD touchscreen. Available now, it is priced at £1700.

News in brief

Bowens gone Long established UK lighting company Bowens has gone into liquidation. Bowens was bought along with photo retailer Calumet last year by asset manager, Aurelius Group (the Group acquired WEX earlier this year). In a statement provided to Photo District News, pdnonline.com, Calumet said the decision was due to the “the far-reaching changes affecting its market, including new, considerably less expensive products by Chinese manufacturers, product innovations by competitors, and the changed buying behavior of professional photographers, who are now only willing to invest in new equipment if the investment guarantees additional income.” It’s sad news that a British brand of 94 years whose products many of us grew up with has gone. It's also disappointing that the brand could not react effectively to the changing market conditions, which surely would have been evident to them years ago. bowens.co.uk

Go light with Sirui The Sirui NT-1005X is a compact travel tripod that weighs in at 1.44kg and is strong enough to take a 8kg load. Its folded height is 36cm but fully extended it reaches a very useable 148.3cm. The tripod comes complete with an E-10 ball head and one leg can be detached and used as a monopod. Combined with the centre column and ball head, the monopod has a working height of 154cm. The NT-1005X legs have non-slip twist locks, the centre column can be reversed for low-level shooting and there is a ballast hook too. The NT-1005X is available now and is priced at £179.99. sirui.eu

uk.leica-camera.com


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News

BenQ Designer monitor PD2500Q The BenQ PD2500Q monitor, available for £334.99 has been professionally factory calibrated to 100% RGB and Rec.709 standards and is also Technicolor Color Certified for precise colour quality. This 25in 2K QHD (2560x1440) resolution offers viewers fine details and clarity and depth to images. It is compatible with Universal HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectivity.

Interfit Honey Badger This new 320Ws studio flash head is named after the Guinness Book of World Records ‘World’s Most Fearless Creature’. It has a 7-stop power range and can be adjusted down to 5Ws in 1/10th of a stop increments. Price and availability still to be confirmed. uk.interfitphotographic.com

benq.co.uk

Protect your lens with the Marumi Exus Solid filter Kenro has added a new range of flagship lens filters from Marumi to its range. The construction of the Marumi Exus Solid filter features hardened glass which is seven times stronger than conventional filters and its super-slim design helps to avoid vignetting. The glass also has an ultra-low reflection rate of 0.2% and for added protection its antistatic coating is water and oil repellent allowing you to remove dust and fingerprints with a soft cloth. The Exus Solid is made in Japan and is available in 13 sizes from 37-82mm, with a further three sizes yet to be announced. Prices start from £53.94. kenro.co.uk

Panoramic pictures with the PIXI Pano360 Suitable for CSCs, DSLRs, GoPro cameras and smartphones, the Manfrotto PIXI Pano360 allows you to create vibration-free panoramas, time-lapses and 360° hyper lapse videos. Its dedicated app allows you to control the speed rotation and angle of the head. This compact and portable device can easily fit into your bag and it can hold a maximum weight of 2kg. A ¼-inch thread attachment on the bottom of the device allows you attached it to a tripod. Create stunning panoramas with the PIXI Pano360 which is available now for £124.95. manfrotto.co.uk

expansive vista with a stunning sky, but equally effective might be an arty study of a rock pool. Only one image is allowed and UK only residents can enter. Judging will be done by PN’s editor and the closing date is midnight 3 September 2017. For full terms and conditions please see photographynews.co.uk. The winner of last month’s contest for best travel image was won by Kim Walton. To enter (it's freex) visit photographynews. com/win, click on the LumeJet competition and submit your entry.

Kingston pocket size card reader Kingston Digital has launched the MobileLite Duo 3C microSD card reader, which also reads SDHC, SDXC and UHS-I cards. It works with USB Type-A and Type-C ports and is compliant with USB 3.1 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) specification. Price is £16.63. kingston.com

Discounted Datacolor upgrade If you own a display calibration kit you can take advantage of Datacolor’s upgrade to Spyder5ELITE+, saving £130. The offer runs until 31 August and is for the package which includes the Spyder5ELITE+ software as well as a 90-day Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan membership. datacolor.com/ promo/crossgrade25

© Will Cheung

Shoot the coast to win Photography News has teamed up with expert photo printers LumeJet to bring you the chance of seeing your favourite photographs produced as a glorious L.Type print. Win this free-to-enter contest and you will have £200 to spend on L.Type prints from the LumeJet website. L.Type by LumeJet is the latest step in the company’s development and represents the culmination of over 15 years of research into silver halide. LumeJet has always been passionate about printing beautiful photography and now with L.Type the fusion of classic analogue silver halide materials, cutting–edge digital print technology and super-accurate colour management enables the faithful replication of a photographic vision with hitherto unseen precision and sensitivity. To be in with the chance of winning £200 worth of L.Type prints all you have to do is enter your picture of our coastline. You may go for an

News in brief


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


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Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

News

Chris Coe officially opens the TPOTY exhibition

© Michele Palazzo/TPOTY 2016

The Travel Photographer of the Year awards will be exhibiting the latest winning images at the University of Greenwich’s 10 Stockwell Street building in London. It is open now and runs till 3 September. Entry to the exhibition is free. But that’s not all, there will also be a series of TPOTY Summer Talks across August which includes speakers such as Philip Lee Harvey, Timothy Allen and Eamonn McCabe. Tickets will be priced at £30 and include access to

Explore Our Natural World

the exhibition when it isn’t open to the general public, drinks and a free TPOTY journey book. In addition there will also be a variety of workshops and

Greenwich photowalks led by Chris Coe, founder of TPOTY. For details of these events, and to book workshops and photowalk places visit the below website.

Thomson Ecology’s 7th photography contest has the theme Our Natural World that you can interpret as a stunning landscape or wildlife in a natural setting. The contest is open to photographers of any age (but no professionals) and entries can be taken anywhere in the British Isles. First prize is £200 with £50 each for three runners-up. Entry is free with a maximum of two entries per person and images will be judged by a panel of three including Bill Doherty who won the 2013 running of this contest. Entries will be judged on originality, technical ability, composition, artistic merit and overall impact. Entries must be JPEGs of at least 1MB and emailed to nature@thomsonecology.com. Closing date is 30 September and for competition rules, terms and conditions visit thomsonecology.com/home and find the competition in the ‘About’ dropdown menu.

Finally, there is still time to enter this year's TPOTY contest which closes 25 September. tpoty.com/courses/talks

© Christian Vizl/Sony world photo awards 2016

rps-science.org/events/ International-Images-for-Science/

receive $25,000 and the overall Open winner will receive $5000. The Sony Grant will be awarded to multiple winners in the professional categories who will receive $7000 for a photographic project of their choice. Shortlisted photographers from the Student Focus competition will each be given $3500 to work together on a photographic commission set by Sony and the World Photography Organisation. For closing dates and how to enter details visit:

© Lissa Rivera. Portrait Series Winner, Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards 2017

The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards are now open and this year sees the introduction of two new categories in the professional competition – creative and discovery – as well as a new Sony Grant. The competition consists of four awards; Professional (consisting of ten categories), Open (the best single image across ten categories), Young (for photographers aged 12 to 19) and Student Focus (for those studying photography). All category winners will receive prizes from Sony; the overall Photographer of the Year will

© Ancestors by Susa Elaine Jones

3563 entries were submitted to the Royal Photographic Society’s Science competition and 100 images have been selected for the shortlist. Five winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 12 September and an exhibition of the shortlisted images will follow in 2018.

© Mosquito foot by Steve Gschmeissner

Sony World Photography Science competition shortlist revealed Awards 2018

Above Lissa Rivera, United States — “Beautiful Boy” Lavender Gown, 2016. worldphoto.org

Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards winners announced Two winners from the UK, Britta Jaschinski and Ellie Davies were among the 12 international photographers to be announced as the winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards. magnumphotos.com lensculture.com

© Alan Warriner, Fire in the ice, 2016 Winner

Travel Photographer of the Year exhibits at Greenwich


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News

Foto Fest final reminder © Paul Saunders

If you haven’t already got the date in your diary get your pen at the ready. Fotospeed’s Foto Fest 2017 takes place 10 September 2017 at the University of Bath’s state-of-the-art venue, the Edge. Foto Fest takes places from 9:15am to 5:15pm and you’ll have the chance to hear from world renowned photographers Martin Hartley (expedition and adventure travel photographer), Paul Sanders (landscape photographer and former picture editor at The Times), Ben Hall (award-winning wildlife photographer who has over 20 British Wildlife Photography Awards) and Colin Prior (author, landscape photographer and panoramic specialist). In addition to this you’ll be able to explore the Market Place where a variety of photographic brands will be exhibiting, allowing you to get exclusive deals and expert help and advice from industry experts. Tickets are priced at £45 with free tea and coffee included as well as free parking.

News in brief

fotospeed.com/fotofest

© NASA

Shooting the moon Moonshots is a celebration of NASA space exhibition as seen through Hasselblad cameras. Aerospace author Piers Bizony has worked with NASA’s archive of Hasselblad images to produce this book that makes the most of the high-quality medium-format originals. This beautifully produced book is priced at £60 and comes with a slipcase. It’s out on 5 October.

My Wood by Stephen Dalton Author of 14 titles, multi-award winning photographer Stephen Dalton is launching his new book My Wood on 7 September. It offers an insight into Dalton’s nine-acre broadleaf woodland, which is part of 53 acres around his home that he manages as a private nature reserve. The book includes stunning images of bluebells and woodland landscapes as well as deer, badgers, birds and many more species including shots of insects in flight – what Dalton is best known for. My Wood will be available from all good bookshops or directly from the publisher Merlin Unwin Books priced at £14.99. Look out for issue 48 where will be interviewing Dalton on his work and book. merlinunwin.co.uk

qbookshopuk.co.uk © NASA

Photolemur v2.0 Photolemur software for Mac and Windows is the world’s first automated photo enhancement solution that uses artificial intelligence to adjust your images. Among the many correction features are Smart Dehaze, exposure compensation, Color Recovery and noise reduction. A single licence for individual use is $30 or a family licence for five users is $50 – there is an offer on this option at the moment and you can get it for $35. photolemur.com

£1

To The Customer: Simply cut out this coupon and hand it to your WHSmith High Street retailer to claim your copy of Professional Photo for £3.75 instead of the usual £4.75. This coupon can be used as part payment for issue 135 or 136 of Professional Photo on sale between 20 July 2017 to 13 September 2017. Only one coupon can be used against each item purchased. No cash alternative is available. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. To the WHSmith Retailer: Please accept this voucher as part payment of one copy of Professional Photo on sale between 20 July 2017 and 13 September 2017. This voucher is worth £1 plus a 2p handling allowance. The offer is valid to the consumer up to 13 September 2017 and must be returned to your clearing house to arrive no later than 13 September 2017 (issue 135), 4 October (issue 136). As your shop belongs to a multiple group, please handle in the usual way. This voucher is not redeemable against any other item and is only valid in the UK.

Offer subject to availability and while stocks last

DO NOT MINT RETURN *This offer is subject to availability and is redeemable at WHSmith High Street Stores only. Excludes Outlet Stores, WHSmith Online, ‘Books by WHSmith’ at Selfridges, Harrods, Arnotts and Fenwicks stores, WHSmith ‘Local’ and all Travel Stores including those at airports, railways stations, motorway service stations, garden centres, hospitals and workplaces.

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Professional photographer or thinking of going pro? If the answer is yes then Professional Photo magazine is just what you need. The UK’s only monthly magazine for working and aspiring professionals features insightful business and marketing advice from professionals and industry experts, gear reviews, lighting techniques and much more. In issue 135, out now, you can find out which image was most downloaded in the UK from Shutterstock last year, plus hear from Scottish portrait photographer Mark Mann who now resides in New York City and has photographed a broad range of famous faces from Keira Knightley to Barack Obama. Grab a copy from WHSmith and you can save £1 on the cover price when you present this voucher.

Cut out and take to your local WHSmith High Street store.

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Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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

© Des Ong

jan.harris4787@gmail.com

Brand new club in Norwich

The RPS Digital Imaging Group has a new south east centre and kicks off its programme with a talk by renowned photographer Steve Le Provost FRPS. He is a multi award-winning, widely exhibited image maker and his talk features several new works. This launch event is sponsored by Fotospeed, and there will be a raffle with support from Epson, PermaJet, Hahnemuhle as well as Fotospeed with great prizes to be won. This inaugural event takes place 1 October, from 10am to 3.30pm, and the venue is the Weald of Kent Grammar School, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 2JP. For details and bookings for Le Provost’s talk, email Barrie Brown at digtreasurer@rps.org. Cost is £12 for non RPS members, £9 for RPS members and £6 for DIG Group members and students. The new centre’s organiser is Bruce Broughton. “A programme of other notable speakers is already being planned for 2018,” he says.

Windsor PS’s great start

“The launch of the south east centre has been made possible by the hard work, enthusiasm and determination of a small group of DIG supporters. However, more volunteers are needed to get the centre fully up and running, so if you live in the south east and would like to help with this exciting new venture, please let me know on digse@rps.org.”

Windsor PS has a great line-up of speakers to kick off its new season. On 4 September, there is Matthew Cattrell who won Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016. The following week PN’s editor Will Cheung FRPS talks about his work, and on 18 September leading sports shooter Mark Pain does a talk. Meetings take place at The Firestation Centre for Arts and Culture, St Leonards Road, Windsor SL4 3BL. These talks cost £5 for non-members. windsor-photographicsociety.co.uk

rps.org

As the new season kicks off in September, many clubs use this time of year to showcase their work. Here are four clubs with annual shows in the coming weeks

Bungay Camera Club Bungay CC’s exhibition opens 2 September from 10am until 6pm at Broome Village Hall, Sun Road, Broome, NR35 2RW. Entry is free and as well as the chance to see members’ photographs, there will be photography-related talks; craft stalls; the chance to try optics from Viking Optical; tea, coffee, sausage rolls, cakes; and a tombola! Plenty of free parking available. bungaycameraclub.co.uk

© Gary Baker

cityphotoclub.co.uk

New centre for RPS Digital Group

Annual exhibitions

© Robert Taylor © Robert Taylor

The City Photo Club is the brainchild of Steve Gibson and Belinda Buxton. “There are quite a few clubs in Norfolk but not many that are based in Norwich city centre,” says Steve. He continues: “We are both old hands on the camera club scene and believe they need a fresh outlook. Our programme is on our website now. As it’s our first year, we are not charging a sub but a meeting fee of £2.50 per person. Our aim is to promote photography at all levels and we aim to make the club a practical and proactive one.” The first meeting is 5 September, then every 1st and 3rd Tuesday in the month. The venue is The Reindeer Pub & Kitchen, 10 Dereham Road, Norwich, NR2 4AY.

We need words and pictures by 28 August 2017 for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 11 September 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

© Will Cheung

Award-winning wildlife and nature photographer Des Ong will deliver The Bill Chambers Memorial Lecture on 21 September at the Bromsgrove School commencing at 7.30pm. Roger Lewis, Chair of the BPS said “Bill Chambers was a leading light of the society for many years. In honour of his dedication and commitment to the club, each year we organise a special evening and invite world-renowned speakers to share their experiences. Des Ong has won many awards and his work has been published in numerous leading journals. I feel we are lucky to book him.” This is a ticket only event at £2.50 per person and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets can be ordered by emailing Jan Harris on:

Deadline for the next issue: 28 August 2017

© Steven Le Provost

World-renowned photographer comes to Bromsgrove

How to submit

Shillington and District Camera Club Shillington and District CC annual exhibition features 200 digital images and 200 colour and monochrome pictures. The show is being held on Saturday 16 September at Barton Village Hall in Hexton Road, Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire MK45 4JY, between 10.30am and 4.30pm. The exhibition also features trade stands, refreshments, a tombola and a picture competition. Shillington and District Camera Club’s new season starts on 18 September with lectures and competitions every Monday evening at 8pm. shillingtoncc.org.uk

Earl Shilton Camera Club Earl Shilton CC’s third annual exhibition takes place 25 to 30 September. The exhibition is exclusively sponsored by Earl Shilton Town Council and entry is free. The venue is the Atkins Gallery, Lower Bond Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire, LE10 1QU, with opening hours from 10am to 3.30pm. Other aspects to the exhibition including a range of old cameras and the chance to vote for your favorite photograph. On 27 September Earl Shilton’s meeting takes place at the exhibition, starting at 7pm so visitors get the chance to experience club activities too. There’s also the chance to take portraits (£1 donation appreciated) using a studio set-up. earlshiltoncameraclub.org.uk

Ripon City Photographic Society Ripon City PS’s annual exhibition will be held at the Allhallowgate Methodist Church, Victoria Grove, Ripon HG4 1LG on 2 September. It’s free to all, in a mobilityfriendly venue and is open from 9.30am to 4pm with an official opening at 10am by the Mayor of Ripon, Councillor Pauline McHardy. As well as a varied selection of prints there will be a display of digital images, both including prize-winning entries from RCPS competitions, the Yorkshire Photographic Union, the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain and other organisations. riponcityphotographicsociety. co.uk


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Interview Profile

David Noton

Noton is one is the UK’s leading travel photographers and while he was between trips we grabbed the chance to have a chat him about his life, work and everything

Years in the photo industry? 32. How did that happen? Current location? Milborne Port, Somerset. Last picture taken? This morning at 6.29am on Bulbarrow Hill When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Formula One World Champion Dogs or cats? Dogs Toast or cereal? Toast, with peanut butter Email or phone call? Depends on who is calling! Increasingly the phone

My best ever selling image was a shot of commuters crossing London Bridge with lots of motion blur

In the 32 years I’ve been a professional I’ve travelled to every continent in the world except Antarctica - and that’s on the list. My wife Wendy and I spend much of the year travelling, there’s always a new horizon beckoning. I’m still passionate about photography and feel like I’m only starting, there’s so much more to learn. All aspects of photography fascinate me; from capturing the first light of day on a frosty landscape or making the most of a bustling market in Vietnam to portraying the dignity of a wrinkled face in China. Although the constantly evolving technologies of photography demand that my ways of working both in the field and in the digital darkroom are always developing one fact remains the same: it’s the pictures that matter. My main activity now is producing photography, stories and videos for our own publishing activity; namely the f11 Photography Magazine which we publish monthly for exclusively for our f11 members. These days stock photography is not a priority. When shooting stock was my main activity I was constantly surprised with what sold well. It was very rarely my favourite images. I found my transport and business related images sold best. My best ever selling image was a shot of commuters crossing London Bridge with lots of motion blur so individuals faces couldn’t be recognized. It’s not exactly an image I’d hang on the wall! Stock photography is a business service, not art, so my best landscapes rarely did well as stock. Stock photography by its very nature panders to clichés. Pro photographers of all disciplines are often required to produce images to order, usually of very boring subjects. A photographer who can make a dull subject visually interesting will do well. If you want to shoot stock think about what it’s going to cost you, and what you’re likely to earn in return. © David Noton

© David Noton

Images Noton's work takes him all around the world – Antarctica he hasn't been to yet, but it's on his list.

© David Noton

Biography

Photography captivated me 37 years ago and it’s dominated my life ever since. To establish yourself as a professional photographer takes time; to carve out a niche doing travel and landscape work you can double that. But for me there was never any other option; beautiful pictures of beautiful places are what brought me into the profession in the first place. The seemingly endless waiting sometimes gets to me; it’s quite normal to devote a couple of weeks to one image. I seem to spend my life waiting for the right light but it is so much part of the job that complaining about it is as pointless as a fisherman complaining the sea is wet! No photographer can wave a magic wand to make a shoot in poor light work. Deadlines have to be either weather flexible or reasonable; otherwise I’ll decline the job. But that being said it’s always worth persisting with what appears hopeless situations; I’m often surprised with what Mother Nature serves up when all looks grim. In 1976 I joined the Merchant Navy as a deck officer cadet in search of travel and adventure, where my interest in photography began. After three years sailing the seven seas I went to college in Gloucester to study photography graduating in 1985. I jumped in at the deep end as a freelance photographer based in Bristol. Initially I was grateful for any photographic work I could get, but gradually I inched my way up the ladder of professional photography. Along the way I won awards in the landscape categories of the British Gas/BBC Wildlife Photography Competition in 1985, 1990 and 1991. Since 1995 our business has been based in Milborne Port, near Sherborne, on the Dorset/Somerset border. My main activity is as a landscape travel photographer, although these days I’m a writer, film maker and publisher too. But the photography always comes first, the rest is all in support of that.

Shoot the subjects no one else is. A picture of Durdle Door is never going to set the world alight, no matter how good, but an image which sums the quandaries of climate change just may. Turning pixels into cash just gets harder and harder, but then again my life behind the lens proves that dreams can come true. To survive in the world of professional photography you have be more dedicated, more committed, more driven, more organized, more persistent, more determined, more imaginative and, quite frankly, more foolhardy then the rest. Security and stability are never an option in this game. You’re also going to have to be incredibly creative, not just behind the lens but also with the way you present yourself to the world in the search for work. Standing out from the crowd is not easy, but then again nothing worthwhile ever is. My favourite UK location is home, here in Dorset. Last week I was in Wester Ross; when the light’s good in Scotland there are few places I’d rather be. Around the world I love Canada, because I was partly brought up there, and it’s a landscape photographer’s paradise. There’s so much room, and so much wilderness. Cut an arm off and I’m sure you’d find

traces of maple syrup in my blood. I also love our annual trips to France, and Italy, not to mention South East Asia, and Australia. But South America has been the scene for many of our recent adventures; we’re not long back from Argentina. I have south-west France next, then Greece, Colombia later in the year. Essentially, it’s more adventure, more travel, more waiting for the light, more steaks in South America, more striving to become a better photographer, more spectacles in some of the world’s most beautiful places, more laughs with my wife Wendy on the road and in the garden, and inevitably more emails. davidnoton.com

For more info David Noton contributed to Adobe Stock’s Visual Trend ‘No Man Is An Island’, which celebrates mankind’s relationship with the natural environment. Find out more about Adobe Stock at: stock.adobe.com/uk


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

14

Photo 24

Photo 24: The competition results Hundreds of brilliant images were entered, but only three can win. Here are the results… Written by Jemma Dodd

The Fujifilm kit At the event, Photo 24 sponsor Fujifilm allowed the attendees to try out its latest cameras from the award-winning X-series, which included the X-Pro2, X-T2 and the groundbreaking GFX 50S medium-format camera, plus lenses. The event also saw Fujifilm X-photographers Derek Clark and Matt Hart attend, as well as Fujifilm technical experts who all offered on hand advice on the day.

X-T2

X-PRO2

GFX 50S

Our annual 24-hour photography event saw hundreds of you exploring London, cameras at the ready to photograph everything the city has to offer. Knowing that you would capture some amazing images, we gave Photo 24 attendees various chances to win £1500 worth of Fujifilm equipment. During the event the Photo 24-ers were given a ‘treasure hunt’ list of scenes to find and capture, and a winner was chosen at random from those who completed the list. In addition, after the event attendees were invited to submit their images into three competition categories, Best Abstract, Best Icon of London and Best Street. Each attendee was allowed to enter three images into each category. We received over 800 images and the judges – editor Will Cheung, contributing editor Kingsley Singleton and digital editor Jemma Dodd – spent hours looking through your shots. It was a tough decision and there were so many great images across all three categories, but only three can be crowned winners. Congratulations to Chris Andrews who won the Best Abstract category, Gareth Danks, winner of the Best Icon of London, and finally Neetha Atukorale, winner in the Best Street photo category. When we told them about their success, the three winners had this to say: Chris: “Fabulous! Looking at (and being further inspired by) the superb quality of all the images submitted for the competitions, I feel extremely priviledged to have had my image selected.”

Gareth: “I can’t believe it, I’m delighted! It means the world to me. I’ve never entered a competition before, I’m so pleased.” Neetha: “I am delighted and surprised that my image has been selected in view of the high standard of the entries. The meet-up and base locations were impressive. Well done to the organisers for making the event a success.” As there were so many great images entered into the photo competition we also decided to share the four runners-up from each category, which you can see on the next two pages. Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and attended Photo 24; we look forward to seeing you next year! To keep up to date with Photo 24 and our other events sign up to our member area and tick to receive our newsletters at photographynews.co.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter at @PhotonewsPN.


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Photo 24 Best Abstract

Winner Chris Andrews, Travelling in time 1/10sec at f/9, ISO 800 Early on Sunday, my photographic companion and I headed to King’s Cross specifically to photograph the light tunnel. I’ve been before but didn’t realise it wasn’t lit with colours 24/7; I’d never seen it totally white. It wasn’t what I’d gone to photograph but felt more futuristic than usual and immediately I had in my mind something a bit creative. I love George Lucas’s early sci-fi film THX 1138, the eeriness of it and the feeling of isolation, so I used that as a kind of reference point. The shot was handheld using my favourite wide-angle lens.

© Chris Andrews

Beautiful, really gorgeous design and symmetry, and awesome lead-in lines Will Cheung

Runners-up © Stuart Green

LEFT Stuart Green, Catch me if you can 1/3sec at f/2.8, ISO 200 I headed towards Piccadilly Circus, knowing it would be the ideal place for night shots. I wanted to capture one of the most iconic sights in London – the London Bus - but with a difference. After a lot of experimentation, I hit on the right shutter speed and ISO to give a strong impression of speed, cropping in for an abstract image that is still recognisable.

MIDDLE Stuart Smith, Speedster 0.5sec at f/8, ISO 500 I have always loved shooting Tube trains using slow shutter speeds, but it’s hard to get one with the right amount of blur. This was a bit of a grab shot; I think this works because she is the only person in the scene.

© Stuart Smith

BELOW LEFT Luke Stevens, Below the Eye 30secs at f/11, ISO 100 As I was walking around the base of the London Eye I liked how symmetrical it was when viewed from below; a view most people don’t notice. I tried a few different compositions lying on the floor looking up at the structure from various distances and settled on the one you see here. I set my tripod up as low as possible and used a long shutter speed with a low ISO.

© Luke Stevens

BELOW Martin Janes, X marks the spot 1/125sec at f/11, ISO 1000 I had taken this image about a month before with a bridge camera and had processed it. Having seen the competition categories I thought it would make a good abstract so I went back to the O2 during Photo 24 to retake it using my DSLR and a wider lens (16mm). The shot was hand held and the difficult bit was trying to get it lined up. © Martin Janes


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Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Photo 24 LEFT

Best Icon of London © Gareth Danks

Winner Gareth Danks, Dolphin, mermaid and bridge 240secs at f/10, ISO 200 When I arrived at Tower Bridge two things posed a challenge. Firstly, somewhere along the way my polariser had fallen off, and secondly, the sheer volume of people was far more than I had imagined. There was only one thing for it: the Lee Filters Super Stopper. After two or three attempts I managed to capture an image where everyone in the shot was moving continuously throughout the 240 second exposure, rendering them invisible to the sensor through the filter. Result!

Lots of awesome images in this category. Ultimately I thought Gareth’s shot was spot on Will Cheung

Runners-up © Michael Hewson

LEFT Michael Hewson, London by lamplight 8secs at f/9, ISO 100 This photo was taken in a Georgian Alley in Covent Garden called Goodwin’s Court. It was 3am and I had packed up when I was struck by the sight of this old London gas lamp framed in the arch. I got the tripod back out and the camera mounted and captured the scene in Raw. The image was processed in Photoshop CC and converted to black & white with Silver Efex Pro 2.

RIGHT Rolf Kraehenbuehl, Tate Modern and St. Paul’s Cathedral 1/5sec to 1/80sec (bracketed frames) at f/8, ISO 800 My aim was to contrast the distinctive

BOTTOM Stuart Green, On the buses 1sec at f/4, ISO 200 At 11pm, I was looking for one of the top London icons: the London Bus. I parked myself and my tripod in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, experimenting with shutter speeds to find the right effect. I was then joined by a young couple from Israel and a family from Japan who started to try the same thing… visitors from overseas trying to capture one of the most iconic sights in our capital. © Rolf Kraehenbuehl

BELOW Andrew Moss, V&A museum 1/350sec, 1/45sec, 1/6sec (bracketed frames) at f/16, ISO 800 This is the roof of the main gallery in the V&A museum, reflected in the top of a display case. I balanced my camera there and fired the shutter remotely. I had to create an HDR image to keep highlights and shadows under control.

features of the Tate Modern with the classical architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral with the London Skyline. To capture the dynamic range, I bracketed the exposures, and steadied the camera on the handrail.

© Andrew Moss © Stuart Green


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Photo 24 Best Street © Neetha Atukorale

Winner Neetha Atukorale, The fishmonger 1/200sec at f/4.5, ISO 3200 This image is of a market trader for Sussex Fish in Borough Market. He caught my eye as he was full of character and perfectly embodied the stoic determination of traders at Borough Market following the incident earlier in the year. We built up an instant rapport and he was so willing to engage and allow me to capture his personality.

Neetha’s shot had instant impact. I love the lighting, the pose and the glint in the chap’s eyes. Great rapport with the subject too Will Cheung

Runners-up the crowds and explore a little. This woman was totally oblivious to the fact I was shooting her being deep in conversation on her phone. I love the colours in the shot and the random food container on the floor.

© Thomas Heaton

© Andrew Moss

ABOVE Thomas Heaton, Tories out 1/500sec at ƒ/2.8, ISO 800 The air was filled with passion and anger as people from all walks of life joined the protest against our government. This small child, our future generation, represents what is so important to our communities; protecting the future for generations to come. ABOVE, FAR RIGHT Stuart Smith, Ciggytime 1/180sec at f/6.4, ISO 200 Camden was so busy on the Saturday during Photo 24 I decided to take myself away from

© Martin Janes

ABOVE Andrew Moss, You’re being watched 1/350 at f/8, ISO 400 On leaving the Barbican, I spotted this couple sitting in a pub just inside a huge window. They were quite oblivious of the outside world and the late afternoon sun was streaming in, giving great light. We had a judge at our club last season who, on seeing an image of a deer in Richmond Park, said, “Not another stag picture,” so, if nothing else, I had to take one for use next season!

© Stuart Smith

BELOW Martin Janes, Last one out the office 1/160sec at f/4.5, ISO 10,000 I was just lining up to take a picture of the escalator when this late night office worker came down. I had just enough time to get one shot while he was in a good position on the escalator. No time to think too much about the shot really. I like the way he is looking up in wonderment at the building.


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Competitions The Judge: Martin Parr How long have you been judging photography competitions for? Do you prefer to judge street images or are you happy to judge images regardless of the genre? On and off I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. I get invited to many more than I can actually do, I do maybe do one a year and that’s it. I don’t have a preference as to genre: I have views on everything, anything you put in front of me I’ll be able to tell you what I think is a better photograph, no problem. Why do you think photography competitions are important? What role do they play for not just photographers, but the world also? They highlight the opportunity to see good pictures and also it gives something back, because inevitably there’s going to be a prize. For me it’s not the be all and end all, but competitions like World Press Photo of the Year have a role to play. There’s a whole network of competitions around. How did Beacon Camera Club approach you about judging the competition and why did you decide on getting involved? It was all part of the package they put together for my lecture, so I did it on the back of that and I thought the quality was pretty good. I enjoyed looking through images and finding some good ones. What do you look for in a winning image? Just why it makes a good picture! Don’t ask me what that is; it’s taken me over 50 years to work that out and I can’t tell you what is, but I know it when I see it. What was it about Jennifer Downing’s Apocalypse image that made it the winning shot for you? That was a good picture on the street and it had real atmosphere, it was a great opportunity and she photographed it well and it just came together and told a story. When judging competitions do you ever find yourself learning something new? I’m always seeing what people have done and what possibilities are around so of course, you’re on a constant learning curve. What advice would you give to photographers entering photography competitions? Take better pictures, it’s that simple.

An entry total of 500 may not be vast, but as the first attempt of a little camera club from Malvern, we did not think it was at all bad”

Beacon International Street Photography Competition Beacon Camera Club ran an international street photography competition, which received over 500 entries and was judged by Martin Parr. We caught up with press secretary Trevor Bell and the top three winners to find out more about the competition Words by Jemma Dodd How did the idea for the international street photography competition come about? We previously ran the Worcestershire Young Photographer of the Year competition for over six years. In doing so we needed to develop an online entry software system that entries could be uploaded to, thus saving the young photographers from the costs of printing. We had previously considered operating a salon competition but had arrived at the opinion that the market was currently saturated. We knew we wanted to develop our competition involvement, we had the infrastructure sorted, saw that street as a genre was not very well supported and decided, as we had Martin Parr this year, to trial such a competition.

Why did you decide to get Martin Parr as a judge and how did this come about? Martin Parr was actually invited to be our speaker at the 2017 Beacon Lecture. Given his photography background it was an obvious question to ask him: ‘would you please judge our competition?’. We were delighted when he agreed. Beacon has four accredited MCPF judges and initially we suggested that these judges could be used to select a shortlist from the entries, from which Martin would then select his top ten. Generously, Martin was willing to review the entire set of images himself. Thus, the judging and those winners were selected totally by Martin, with no outside assistance being involved or needed.

Panasonic is the sponsor: how did you get the company involved and how did it support the competition? We have an excellent relationship with Damien Demolder who runs street workshops and also some for Panasonic. We initially contacted him, knowing his relationship with the brand, and the team there was delighted to be involved. We knew already that its kit is very well suited to street photography. Panasonic has a similar view and is very keen to have its equipment associated with street photography; the involvement with our competition provided all with benefits. Panasonic provided us with cameras for the top three places (Lumix GH5M, Lumix GX8M, Lumix GX80K) as well as 20% discount


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Competitions vouchers for places four to ten. We promoted the company’s involvement with and support of our competition wherever possible. Why did you decide to make this an international competition? It was an easy decision. We had the software available for online entry and it was almost more difficult to prevent international entry than it was to allow it. Also, international entry increased the base from which we could encourage entries. A larger entry meant more cash for the club. It also, however, meant more judging for Martin. We realised that street is a wonderfully international genre – giving the ability to a photographer to get to the very essence of a country and to illustrate its soul. It would have been foolish to exclude international entries. Indeed, following the success of this year’s event we plan to make it a regular, annual contest and to make the Beacon Street competition THE annual international street competition and, with the correct packaging, promotion, and sponsorship support, to have it as well known a competition as the Sony World Photography Awards. What happened at the awards event? As well as winning a camera or discount voucher each of the top ten images was given a detailed

critique by Martin. The awards night began with Martin giving his lecture. This was followed by Martin announcing his selections in reverse order. He then gave his critique. The winners were then called to the stage and awarded their prizes by Martin Parr, Ian Thompson (Beacon chairman), Damien Demolder and Kevin Walker of Panasonic. What are your personal thoughts on the winning images? The winning images were great examples of the genre. Each quite different from the others and all with just a hint of Martin about them. What did you learn through the process? We are really fortunate in the make-up of our committee and with the skills of the members who were involved. Following our Young Photographer competitions and the experience gained there, we knew we had the technical ability to host such a competition. We also knew we had the organisational skills to operate such a competition successfully. What we learned was that by combining this with Panasonic and its generous sponsorship along with the association of street that this brand brought, we had created a competition for which there was an international hunger. An entry total of 500 may not be vast,

The winner 1st place Jennifer Downing Why did you decide to enter this competition? Partly because it was to be judged by Martin Parr whose photography I greatly admire. I like his approach to street photography which shows a sense of humour as well as a keen sense of social history. I also like the fact that Martin works in colour. Many street photographers prefer to work in monochrome. My own urban photography is generally very colourful, though perversely this winning shot is largely monochromatic. How did you capture your winning shot? The shot was taken outside Tate Modern during the immersive fog sculpture perceived by the Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya earlier this year. I had no idea that this was taking place and only had my compact camera with me when I stumbled upon it. Members of the public were moving in and out of the fog quite rapidly as the fog swirled around them, and having no viewfinder added a sense of serendipity to the images I captured. The pigeon was a real bonus. How did it feel to be announced as the winner? I was delighted. The excitement was mounting as one after the other shortlisted names were read out and prizes presented. Winning hasn’t changed the way I feel about my work but any acknowledgement acts as an incentive to do more photography and to look at different subject matter, to take more risks in the hope that something exciting will result from it. Do you have any advice for other photographers? I would encourage any photographer to put their work out there. Enter competitions regularly. It won’t always lead to the big prizes but it could lead to being shortlisted, to being acknowledged, and sometimes to being exhibited as a by-product. Winning is the icing on the cake. Above: Apocalypse by Jennifer Downing.

but as the first attempt of a little camera club from Malvern, we did not think it was at all bad. We will certainly be running the competition again next year, and our plans are to keep running it for some years to come. How did the club benefit from the competition? The Club benefited from such an activity in a number of ways. Firstly, financially. We charged for entry and therefore the club generated revenues. These monies go directly to the benefit of our members. Whether this is by our ability to purchase high-quality projection and computer facilities, studio lighting equipment, post-processing software for demonstration or in an ability to attract better, and quite often more expensive, speakers to our Club nights. Secondly, by attracting more members. We have long had the notion that by increasing membership numbers we are able to keep individual members fee levels relatively low, yet still generate good revenues. Thus, again, we are in a position to spend on things which benefit our members. Furthermore, a steady stream of new members keeps fresh ideas coming into the club, along with new skills, attitudes and interests. If sufficient members would like to become involved in a new thing (and sufficient is quite a small number) Beacon will always try to provide 

A couple of the runner-up shots selected by photographer and judge Martin Parr. Opposite page: Diwali by Charles Ashton. Above: Sun’s Out by Tony Cook.


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Competitions the facilities required. This is why, we believe, we have so many special interest groups. New members to the club also help provide a pool of new faces for election to the committee. Beacon hopes to keep developing as a club and these new faces and new ideas are key to us achieving this. Thirdly, the competition generated a wider awareness of Beacon Camera Club. We believe that spreading the word about us and our activities, again, provides a direct benefit to our members. Interesting speakers are willing to travel some distances to come and visit Beacon. Martin Parr was not only willing to do that but was willing to speak at our annual event and to judge our competition. Having developed a reputation which enables this sort of thing is priceless and makes the job of our programme secretary (Kim Walton, who admittedly is something of a magician when it comes to persuading fascinating speakers to come to Beacon) that much easier.

3rd place – Tony Cook

Red All Over by Tony Cook.

How did you find out about the competition? I heard about the competition when a judge, who is a member of Beacon Camera Club, came to my own club to judge one of our competitions. I decided to enter because street is one of my two favourite genres (the other being flower photography. And, of course, to be judged by the fabled Martin Parr was a great draw for me.

Right: Runner-up image entitled Suburban Sleep taken by Phil Morgan.

2nd place – Glynis Harrison

Can you tell us about the image that you entered? I took Red All Over while I was on holiday in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. It was around 4pm and I saw a woman sprawled out on a bench, fast asleep in the lovely winter sunshine. There was a glass of white wine next to her and it could have been knocked over at any moment. Her sprawling posture, red iPhone case, red hat, red dress, and quite red skin – and that wine glass – all demanded to be photographed. I was using a Panasonic G5 with the original 14-45mm kit lens, set at the widest angle. I knelt down so that her iPhone case was reaching out from the picture. I loved the result, printed it and framed it. It has been hanging on my wall ever since.

What made you want to enter this competition? I found out about the competition online, possibly through Facebook. Street photography is my favourite genre and I just could not resist the opportunity of entering and having my photographs judged by Martin Parr. What inspired your Trainspotters Day Out image that you won second place with? It was taken last year at the National Railway Museum, Shildon, where the Flying Scotsman was making an appearance. As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement among the crowds of enthusiasts and families with children. Everyone was pointing their cameras at the Flying Scotsman and the other steam engines that were on show, but being a street photographer, I turned around to see what was going on behind me and came across this lovely grouping. They were chuckling away and really enjoying the day and I was pleased to be able to catch their happy moment. Tell us about when you found on you’d won? I had an email telling me that one of my photos had been shortlisted, but didn’t know which one. I was so chuffed to have been selected but had to put it at the back of my mind until the presentation. The evening at the Swan Theatre, Worcester, was one I shall never forget. Martin Parr’s presentation was wonderful, I just love his

How did it feel to be in the top three images? I was in the audience for Martin’s talk, and for his judging of the street competition. When my name was announced as a runner up, I was grateful but a little disappointed, then, cor blimey, my name also came up for 3rd place! I was truly thrilled because to have Martin Parr of all people select that photo meant a huge amount to me; kudos in my head.

Trainspotters’ Day Out by Glynis Harrison.

take on street photography, so natural and honest. When the time came for the presentation, I could not believe that my name had not been called along with the seven runners-up. Third prize was called, so that meant I’d either won 2nd or even 1st. Excitement and nerves

were rising … but then my name was called and I had won 2nd prize. I was flabbergasted and so chuffed that Martin Parr had actually chosen my photo Trainspotters’ Day Out. This experience has inspired me to be more confident in my street photography especially

as the master himself chose my photograph. I have taken many street photos since and I am in the process of producing a project of some kind. Being already a fan of Panasonic cameras, in fact my Trainspotters shot was taken with a Lumix GX8.

What advice would you give to other photographers thinking of entering competitions? Entering competitions can be daunting for many photographers. “Is my work up to scratch? Will it be rubbish? So many others will enter, so I won’t stand a chance” etc etc. But, two main responses: someone has to win/be placed, so why not have a go? Be brave, take a risk, just do it! And, entering competitions means you have to be a good editor of your own work. Take time to understand the competition theme and guidelines, then select your photos accordingly, or, more excitingly, go out and shoot specifically for the theme. Then be ruthless: enter only your very best work. Judges would far rather see two great photos than eight OK ones.


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Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com

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Technique

Flower power How to shoot better florals

The warm summer months are a perfect time to grow your floral skills; and there’s plenty to learn, says experienced nature photographer and author, David Taylor. Read on for David’s technical and aesthetic tips, and get inspired to take some great shots in the great outdoors

Interview by Kingsley Singleton Pictures by David Taylor

1/250sec at f/4.8, ISO 400

very complex. I like the challenge of dealing with this variety.” This challenge can be quite testing, David says, even after overcoming the basic technical aspects of getting a good floral shot: “There’s nothing wrong with a simple record photo of a flower – I’ve shot many of those in my time – but now I find a flower photograph has to be more than that for me. “Some of my favourite photographers – Sue Bishop and Franci Van der Vyver for instance – produce work that captures the essence of their subject in an aesthetically and emotionally pleasing way, often through the use of limited depth-of-field or differential focusing.”

© David Taylor

Ready for your close-up Let’s go back to the technical bedrock for a moment. The first step in dealing with that challenge, says David is to get yourself a good close-up lens. Yes, you can shoot close-ups of larger subjects with portrait lenses and telephoto zooms, but for the most flexibility, a true macro lens is your best bet. Able to focus much closer than a regular lens, macro optics will allow you to fill the frame with a single subject, even it’s only a few centimetres high.

Finding a colourful flower means a photo will have immediate impact, and then I look for shape

This page Although there are plenty of great floral subjects to be found throughout the year, the warmer months feature the greatest diversity of colour and form. Left Shaded flax flowers shot with a 100mm macro lens and bright sun behind. Above left The shallow depth-of-field focuses attention on the stamen of this crocus. Above right Soft light is often the best for floral subjects.

© David Taylor

1/2500 at f/3.2, ISO 400

© David Taylor

Summer is ablaze with flowers and plant life, most of which can prove wonderful subjects to aim your camera at. Other times of the year have their highlights, like snowdrops, bluebells and autumn colour, but summer provides the widest choice and the brightest colours. There’s such an amazing variety of shapes and hues that your portfolio will soon be awash with great images – assuming you know what you’re doing, that is. So how do you grow your flower photos out of the mediocre and into the excellent? We decided to enlist some help from macro expert David Taylor whose new book Mastering Macro Photography has masses of tips on how to shoot plants and flowers, and loads of other tiny subjects besides. David is an award-winning nature, landscape and travel photographer, who shoots editorially, runs courses, and has written and contributed to more than 20 books about photography. What’s the draw of summer florals for David, then? It’s a simple link, he says, between the beauty of natural subjects, and the welcoming conditions of the summer months. “When it’s good to be outside, you want to shoot outside, and the sheer variety of colours and forms that flowers take, means you can’t ever get bored photographing them. I shoot snowdrops, of course – they’re possibly my favourite flower of all – but the summer is the undisputed winner in terms of opportunities.” Colour he says is one of the biggest drivers for this passion: “Finding a colourful flower means a photo will have immediate impact, and then I look for shape. Flowers can be simple, or

1/400sec at f/4.2, ISO 400

If you want shoot as normal, you can still focus further off, so a macro lens offers the best of both worlds. David has just switched to a mirrorless camera system after years shooting with DSLRs, and for his flower photography he’s currently using “an old manual-focus Canon FD 85mm lens with extension tubes. There’s something really appealing about this combination; turning the silky smooth focus ring of a manual focus lens is very satisfying. I can’t shoot true macro with the set-up, but it’s close, and for general flower work, it’s great.” Focusing close does present some problems though, as David points out: “Flowers have an annoying habit of bobbing about in the slightest of breezes, so producing a sharp image can be a struggle, even in minor wind.” This is compounded by close focusing, as even the slightest movement is magnified along with the subject. For that reason, shooting on windless days is best, he says, and if that’s not possible, you can create a windbreak to lessen the intensity of the gusts; you can even use your camera bag for that. Another close-focusing problem is depth-offield; even small apertures such as f/11 produce


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Technique 1/240sec at f/4.5, ISO 400

1/500sec at f/3.8, ISO 400

© David Taylor

a shallow depth-of-field when focusing close to or at a lens’s minimum distance. Dealing with this, says David, is a matter of making a choice: “One approach is to use flash or to only shoot in very bright light, and that will allow you to use smaller apertures and increase the depthof-field accordingly”. What’s more, the flash should ‘freeze’ any movement, especially if you’re shooting at the camera’s sync speed, and a small aperture. Therein, often only the light from the flash may be visible, with no ambient light, and you’ll therefore avoid the motion blur found in many longer exposures, because the flash duration will be very short. “Alternatively,” says David, “embrace the softness and shoot with the aperture wide open. This is the method I prefer and the resulting abstraction is a look that I particularly like.” Shooting wide open gives a very shallow depth-of-field – and therefore faster shutter speeds can be used to stop subject movement. “I used to strive for front-to-back sharpness in images (and it’s the way I still generally shoot landscapes), but it isn’t always necessary,” he explains “Taking a more impressionistic approach is often more pleasing when shooting soft, organic subjects like flowers.”

© David Taylor

Sharpness where it needs to be Of course, when depth-of-field is shallow, you need to focus accurately. David uses a focusing rail which is “enormously helpful in finely adjusting the composition and focus of a shot.” When using manual focus lenses, he says, “the focus peaking on mirrorless cameras helps a lot, too.” If you’ve not used focus peaking for your macro and close-up work yet, make sure you give it a try; the wysiwyg sharpness preview it gives via a live-view screen or EVF means there’s no more missed focus – unless the camera or subject moves, of course. “A focusing rail is also useful if you want to extend the depth-of-field through focus stacking,” says David, a sequence of shots focused at a different distance each time, so that when combined, the composite image will show greater sharpness. “This isn’t a technique I use a lot,” says David “but when you need that extra bit of sharpness through the image it’s great.” A focusing rail also needs to be mounted on a tripod, so that it can be used accurately, but whenever using a tripod around floral subjects you need to be careful that you don’t knock the plant, making it move and softening the shot through motion blur. Even moving plants close to the main subject can affect it. From this point of view, it’s best to use the camera’s self-timer mode to minimise vibration transferred to the subject, or to use a  cable release, letting you stand well clear.

Top left: Getting a very low viewpoint can be a challenge but if your camera has a tilting monitor, now’s the time to use it. Above At wide apertures, like f/3.8 here, a shallow depth-of-field lets your subject stand out from the background. Very wide apertures can lead to vignetting (darkening of the corners) however, so lens corrections should can used either in shooting or editing to fix it if desired.


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Technique 1/100sec at f/5.6, ISO 180

© David Taylor

Above Although floral subjects are a great source of striking colour, your background is also very important. When you’ve found a great specimen to shoot, try to line it up with a contrasting or neutral background to so that its hues stand out, like the blue against green here.

Embrace the softness and shoot with the aperture wide-open. This is the method I prefer 1/1000sec at f/4, ISO 400

© David Taylor

Above Although the summer provides lots of choice in terms of floral subjects, many will only be at their best for a few days; careful planning can help you shoot them in top condition.

Shooting outdoors Despite the challenges of shooting florals outdoors, it’s very much David’s favourite place to photograph. “It makes life more difficult as you have less control over the light than in a studio. And outdoors tends to be more windy than indoors, of course! But the sensual pleasures of being outdoors – the warmth on a summer’s afternoon, the earthy smell of a garden – all make up for any inconveniences.” He also enjoys the natural light, picking slightly overcast days as being the best for his work: “If the light levels are still reasonably high, but the light is soft, it’s ideal.” Not that the outdoors is completely uncontrollable. David uses both reflectors and diffusers when shooting his florals, to improve the look of the lighting. “A small reflector is ideal for bouncing light up into flowers that overhang, and this will help to reduce contrast with the background, especially when it’s the sky, as well as illuminating the inside of the flower.” Diffusers are just as important for shooting florals, as they’ll give you a measure of control over direct sunlight, effectively providing the soft, shadowless light of an overcast day. “The key with a diffuser,” says David, “is to ensure that the entire scene you’re shooting is covered by it. If part of the background or foreground is in direct sunlight you can end up with ugly, often burnt out, highlights.” Similarly, if David is using flash for his floral shots, he attaches a softbox and uses wireless triggering: “This lets me place the

The book

flash at a more aesthetically pleasing angle to the subject, than it would be fired directly from the camera.” Plan for success Whatever improvements you can make when shooting will save you time in processing shots, and as David says, “I try to keep postproduction to a minimum as I’d much rather be out shooting”. That said, he does shoot Raw so there’s “always some tweaking to be done, mainly confined to colour and contrast adjustments, as well as correcting any lens problems such as chromatic aberrations, or other distortions.” Finally, he makes sure to clone out distractions like any insects or imperfect parts of the plant or flower. On the latter subject, David points out that timing is important for florals; the best of a specimen may last only a few days or a week: “Nature isn’t perfect so it can be a challenge to find the ideal subject, and there’s a narrow window of time when, particularly the most delicate subjects, are just right for photography. It doesn’t take long before the elements and insects start to take their toll.” We’ve just time for one last tip from David, so ask him what the most important non-photographic part of his kit is. “A good kneeling mat is worth its weight in gold,” he laughs, “it’s amazing how so many flowers are inconveniently close to the ground.”

David’s book, Mastering Macro Photography (paperback, 176pp, Ammonite Press, £19.99), is available now online and from all good bookshops. Many of the images in this article are taken from the book, but florals represent just the start of the macro learnings on offer. The book is a definitive guide to digital macro photography, starting with the basics of equipment, focusing, exposure and magnification ratios, and then moving on to creative stuff like lighting, colour, and composition. Advanced techniques like focus stacking are clearly explained, too. ammonitepress.com

davidtaylorphotography.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Accessories test Buyers’ guide

Best new accessories

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Your camera is the centre of your kit, but sometimes it’s the stuff you add to it or use around it that makes all the difference to your pictures. Yes, accessories are the kingmakers of photography, and here’s PN’s pick of the latest...

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Citizen CX2 printer £840

Dye sublimation printers are the standard if you want highquality prints quickly; that’s why they’re the choice of photographers working events (and wanting to make money from it). Citizen’s CX2 is a great example. It takes a 6in paper roll and prints up to 9x6in images, taking under ten seconds to do it on the highest quality setting. Of course, smaller traditional formats like 8x6in, 7x5in and 6x4in are available, as well as square 6x6in and panoramic 6x2in. The finish is controlled by the temperature of the print head, so you can also get matt or gloss photos without the need to change the paper or the ribbon. The paper and ribbon are easy to load via a slide-out drawer to the front, and it weighs only 12kg. photomart.co.uk

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Manfrotto Xume filter adapters from £34.90

Manfrotto’s range of Xume filter adapters are so handy that you wonder why someone didn’t invent them earlier. The problem being solved here is mounting screwthreaded filters on your lens; something that’s never easy when working in the dark, or the cold, and which becomes even more tricky if the filter is gritty, or badly threaded. The Xume system solves this with the power of magnets. A lens adapter screws into the accessory thread, and a filter holder attaches to the filter itself. With them in place it’s a simple matter of pushing the filter on, where magnetism holds it in place. Prices range from £9.95/£24.95 for a 49mm holder/adapter to £12.95/£29.95 for an 82mm version. manfrotto.co.uk

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Godox Witstro AD200 flash £269

The Witstro AD200 is a new flash system marrying many of the best aspects of speedlites and location flash heads. It has a decent 200Ws output and power is manually adjustable through eight steps down to 1/128. Juice is provided by a lithium-ion cell promising at least 500 full power shots on a single charge, and the flash’s recycle times are good, too, at 2.1sec on maximum output. As a wireless flash it fully supports Canon, Nikon and Sony TTL flash systems, as well as sporting a integrated radio receiver, which is compatible with Godox X1 triggers. It’s small and light, and supports lots of modifiers, too. You can find out more in our first test, this issue. godox.co.uk

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Western Digital 3TB My Passport Wireless Pro £210

These days, hard drives are as vital a part of a photographer’s kit as slideholders and photo albums were in the days of film. And like those, they’ll run out of space for pictures eventually. So when you feel the need for a new one, check out Western Digital’s My Passport Wireless Pro, a drive that packs in some exciting features other than speed and bags of storage. With Wi-Fi connectivity as well as a USB 3.0 connection and a build in SD card reader, you can easily back up pictures. It’ll also run for up to 10 hours between charges, and there’s a USB 2.0 port for backwards compatibility. Available in sizes up to 4TB, the drive is compatible with iOS/Android devices, and Windows or Mac operating systems straight out of the box. wdc.com

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Nitecore USB battery charger £23.95

When you’re travelling it’s a good idea to minimise the amount of kit you take with you; leads and chargers are a good example. Not only does taking loads of them add weight to your bag, you can end up with an annoying tangle. Switch to USB charging devices can help – all you’ll need is one USBequipped travel plug and a lead. Nitecore makes a neat range of camera battery chargers powered by a USB connection. The chargers are slimline and light, and have a lead built in, so even more space is saved. Available for Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sigma, Leica and GoPro cameras, Nitecore chargers also display battery information like power level as well as temperature, current and voltage. cameraclean.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

Accessories test

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Kenro Karoo Ultimate carbon fibre tripod £199

Kenro’s Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod kit is a great choice for travel work, when you need to minimise size and weight of your gear. Despite packing down to 48cm, it can reach a maximum height of 187cm, including the centre column, and the latter is highly adaptable, swinging out or reversing for lowangle shooting. One of the legs can also be removed to act as a monopod. The tripod’s maximum load is 10kg, thanks to its construction from strong eight-layer carbon fibre, but it weighs only 1.93kg including the BC2 ball head that’s included in the package. The tripod is guaranteed for six years, and the kit contains a short centre column, spiked and rubber feet, and a carry case. kenro.co.uk

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Hahnel Modus 600RT flash kit £269.99

If you want a full-featured and affordable flash kit, Hahnel’s Modus 600RT kit is well worth your attention. Powered by a Hahnel Extreme Li-Ion battery, the 600RT has a maximum Guide Number of 60 (ISO 100, 200mm), and a recycle time of 1.5sec at full power. It’ll also guarantee over 550 shots at maximum output. The flash has a built in 2.4Ghz wireless receiver, which when triggered by the included Viper TTL transceiver on your hotshoe gives a working range of 100m. Triggering is available in up to three different groups and uses Digital Channel Matching for greater reliability. The flash can be fired manually or using TTL metering via your camera, and it’s available in Canon, Nikon and Sony fits. hahnel.ie

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Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art £1679

This addition to Sigma’s successful Art stable of high performance lenses, is sure to be of interest to landscape and architectural photographers. The ultra-wide-angle 14mm focal length is perfect for expansive views as well as working in tight interiors, providing a huge 114.2° field of view. The light-gathering potential of its fast f/1.8 maximum aperture makes astrophotography much more easily achievable, and for astro shots it produces very little coma (smearing of points of light), even at the widest settings. The broad, smooth focusing ring also helps with the precise focus required for wide-field astro work. For such a wide, fast lens, weight is kept in check at only 1170g, and it’s available in Canon, Nikon and Sigma fits. sigma-imaging-uk.com

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Nest Diverse 20 backpack £99

Modular photo backpacks are a popular choice, allowing you to convert your bag from a full kitcarrier, to a regular rucksack, or a combination. The Nest Diverse 20 takes modular to an unprecedented level with a design using two removable inserts, one in the top and one in the bottom. This means you can carry all photo gear, go half and half in the top or bottom, or nothing at all. What’s more, the inserts are actually shoulder bags in their own right, with straps, so can be used alone. You can even remove the backpack’s waistbelt and attach to one of the inserts to make a waist-pack. Also included is a 3litre hydration section, a 10in tablet slip, internal and external pockets, and a raincover and it weighs only 1.85kg. nest-style.com

PNY Outdoor Charger £20 10 Whether it’s to give your phone, tablet or something larger a boost, mobile charging devices are a vital part of modern life. Most of the time though, they’re not particularly hardy in their design. A drop or a splash could be the end of them. That fragility certainly doesn’t apply to PNY’s Outdoor Charger. As its name implies it’s made to take some serious punishment from the elements. Rated at IP65 it’s dust, rain and splash-proof, and its rubberised outer casing makes it resistant to shocks, too. The PNY Outdoor Charger features an LED torch, comes with a carabiner as well as a micro-USB and miniUSB cable, while an easy-to-read LED battery level let you know the charge status. pny.eu


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Camera test Specs Price £1999 body only Sensor 26.2 megapixels CMOS Sensor format Full-frame 35.9x24mm, 6120x4160pixels, with optical low-pass filter and EOS integrated cleaning system ISO range 100-40,000, expandable to L50, H1 51,200 and H2 102,400 Shutter range 30secs to 1/4000sec plus B Drive modes Single, continuous L, continuous H at 6.5fps, silent, silent continuous Metering system 7560 pixel RGB+IR sensor with 63 segments. Evaluative (linked to all AF points), partial (6.3% of screen), spot (2.7%) and centreweighted. Same in live view except Evaluative works in 315 zones Exposure modes PASM, Scene Intelligent Auto, Creative Auto, Special scene (portrait, landscape etc), Custom C1/C2 Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.5 or 0.3EV steps. AEB 2, 3, 5 or 7 shots, +/-3EV Monitor 3in Clear View II TFT, vari-angle, touch screen, anti-smudge coating Viewfinder 98% coverage, 0.71x magnification, information available includes shutter speed, aperture value, ISO, metering mode and exposure compensation/AEB scale Focusing Live view Dual Pixel CMOS AF system – possible over 80% area. One-shot, AI focus AF and predictive AI servo AF. Working range of EV-2.5 to 18 Focus points In viewfinder: 45 cross-type AF points (45 cross-type at f/5.6, 27 at f/8 with nine cross type). Working range of EV-3 (centre point) to EV18. Auto selection 45 point AF. In manual, single/spot AF, zone AF (9) and large zone (15) In live view: 63 AF points (fixed location in 9x7 grid). Auto selection with 63 point AF, manual selection via touch screen, single/smooth zone AF (9 points in 3x3 grid) Video Full HD, HDR movie, 4K timelapse movies only Connectivity USB 2.0, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, HDMI (type C), external microphone Other key features 28 custom functions, GPS, dust and drip resistance Storage media 1x SD, SDHC, SDXC Dimensions (wxhxd) 144x110.5x74.8mm Weight 765g body only Contact Canon.co.uk

Canon EOS 6D Mark II More and more camera users are looking to going full-frame as their next step and here we get to enjoy Canon’s latest offering Words and pictures by Will Cheung

While many photographers are attracted by the weight-saving opportunity of going mirrorless, there remains strong interest in full-frame cameras and the potential image quality benefits they offer. DSLR market leader Canon is well represented in the full-frame market and the EOS 6D Mark II is its latest introduction. It’s priced at £1999 body only so is Canon’s least expensive full-frame DSLR and features a newly developed 26.2-megapixel CMOS sensor among many other tempting features. The sensor has a native ISO range of 100 to 40,000 and that can be expanded further, down to ISO 50 and up to 102,400. Until the EOS 6D Mark II’s arrival, Canon’s entry-level full-frame model was the EOS 6D, a model that has been around for nearly five years so getting on in digital terms. A quality of the EOS 6D that had great appeal was its compact size – for a full-frame camera – and this quality has been inherited by the EOS 6D Mark II. Indeed, put them down side by side and there’s not much to choose between them in terms of looks and size. The most obvious difference is around the back with the new model sporting a vari-angle monitor which means the body is a few millimetres deeper than its predecessor. The new model is just 10g heavier. The EOS 6D Mark II’s tiltable monitor works well so suits over-head or low viewpoint shooting. The live view image is bright enough to allow accurate composition in all but the brightest sunlight. Touch-screen functionality is something you would expect of leading cameras nowadays and you get that with the EOS 6D Mark II. Accessing menu items you can do the usual way with the front and rear input dials but the touchscreen makes the process even faster. The touch feature, which can be

deactivated if preferred, also helps when previewing pictures so, for example, swiping and pinching makes critical checking of your shots very swift. Of course the EOS 6D Mark II is an SLR so there is a first-rate optical viewfinder which provides a bright image and, out of the image area, plenty of camera setting information. The viewfinder also displays AF points. Here’s there’s a 45AF-point system, the same as that in the wellregarded APS-C format EOS 80D. All 45 points are cross-type sensors and are positioned in the central

area of the viewfinder divided into three sections of 15. There is the choice of five AF options on offer. You can leave the decision of where to focus to the camera in auto selection AF mode and all 45 zones are active. For greater control there is the option of picking one of the three banks of 15 AF zones or zone AF where a section of nine AF points is active. For more precise control single zone can be picked and if you want the camera to focus on an even smaller area, spot AF is also available. For smaller subjects or when you want to be very specific

Above The look of Canon DSLRs don’t change massively from model to model, which is a clear sign that the layout and control design were good from early on.

There is a first-rate optical viewfinder which provides a bright image and, out of the image area, plenty of camera setting information


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Camera test Performance: ISO Original image

Above A fine example of the EOS 6D Mark II’s exposure skills with challenging light. A mix of strong lighting and deep shadows presented a challenge but the Evaluative system coped well with this unedited JPEG. The exposure was 1/500sec at f/8 and ISO 100 without any exposure compensation dialled in.

Enlarged section

AboveThe EOS 6D Mark II’s AF system features 45 points, all cross-type sensors. It coped well with moving subjects like this DLR train – it was coming to a stop so it wasn’t a fast subject. The exposure was 1/1600sec at f/2.8 and ISO 400 with a 24-70mm lens set to 50mm. The enlarged section above is from the last of the three-image sequence. with your focusing, spot AF is a really handy option and is available with all of the 45 AF points. The central AF point is extra sensitive down to -3EV (with f/2.8 lenses or larger) compared with -0.5EV (with lenses of f/5.6 or faster) of its neighbours with lenses. This sensor has what Canon calls a double cross-type point at the centre. With f/2.8 lenses (with a few exceptions), this point has left and right diagonal sensitivity as well as the usual vertical and horizontal sensitivity for greater accuracy including with moving subjects. With f/5.6 lenses this changes to the default horizontal and upright cross-type pattern. Moving the active AF point or zone around the viewfinder can be done either with the multi-way control or the rear input dial so the process is quick – but not as quick or as intuitive as a joystick which we see on top-end Canons. The 45-zone AF area only covers the central section of the image area so not so good for more off-centre compositions. You’ll have to use the nearest (or the central) AF point and then AF lock but obviously taking extra care when shooting at wider lens apertures.

The actual number of AF points available does depend on the fitted lens so while all 45 are available with most Canon optics, this does vary. Fit, for example, an EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM and you get 35 AF active zones. For this test I had the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 135mm f/2 and found the EOS 6D’s AF performance with these top-end optics impressive, swift and silent. I concentrated on using the zone/ single point AF settings rather than the wide area. I started with the latter but as I often find with such features the camera picks up on what it thinks, often incorrectly, is the subject. The more selective AF modes were more reliable. For static subjects the AF proved really reliable and accurate. I also tried tackling moving subjects too. The EOS 6D Mark II does not offer the subject-related case studies for better continuous AF as seen on higher end Canons, but there are fine-tuning options in the AF custom functions menu. So, for example, tracking sensitivity, tracking acceleration/ deceleration and the speed of AF point switching can be adjusted to cope with different situations. 

ISO 100

ISO 12,800

ISO 800

ISO 25,600

ISO 1600

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ISO 3200

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ISO 6400

ISO 102,400

The EOS 6D Mark II is home to a new CMOS sensor that offers a native ISO range of 100 to 40,000. Expansion to ISO 50 at the bottom end and to H1 (51,200) and H2 (102,400) is available. This selection of pictures was taken at twilight with the camera fitted with a 24-70mm f/2.8 L II and mounted on a carbon-fibre Gitzo travel tripod. In-camera noise reduction was set to off. The resulting Raw files were processed in Lightroom, again with noise reduction set to zero. The base exposure at ISO 100 was 1sec at f/8. Digital noise performance is good and I’d be happy using ISO 800 and even 1600 safe in the knowledge that big enlargements are possible. Actually, ISO 3200 is more than acceptable too especially with some noise reduction in software and any residual grain is very filmic and neutral in look so not at all offensive. Venture up to ISO 6400 or 12,800 and the digital noise is very much more evident but still the images don’t look too rough and detail isn’t too greatly impacted; but you can’t say the same once you go beyond those speeds. All in all, a capable ISO performance from Canon’s new sensor.

Left The EOS 6D Mark II turned in a capable high ISO performance giving excellent images at ISO 800 and 1600 with minimal digital noise. Higher ISOs continued to give nice images with fine detail clearly resolved and good colour saturation but the grainy effect is more pronounced.


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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Camera test Performance: exposure latitude Original image

To check how much exposure latitude was available in the EOS 6D Mark II’s Raws, a sunlit scene was shot in manual exposure mode. An Evaluative meter reading in manual mode gave a base exposure of 1/500sec at f/8 and ISO 100. The scene was then manually bracketed. The Raws were then processed and corrected through Adobe Lightroom. As is often the case, tolerance to underexposure was better than overexposure. At -4EV, images gained quite a lot of noise that is noticeable in areas of even tone, but if you can accept that, the images look okay with no colour shift. From this good

start, image quality and noise levels improved as underexposure got less. With overexposure, the +4EV shot was beyond redemption which is no surprise and highlights looked very poor. But matters improved quickly and the +3EV shot recovered well but there was a slight shift in colour and the brightest highlights remained detailless. Comparable quality to the correct exposure was then attained from +2EV onwards. In summary, the EOS 6D Mark II’s Raws have good latitude, with shots from -3EV to +2EV offering the ability to full recovery giving quality comparable to correctly exposed shots.

-4EV

-1EV

+2EV

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Above A brightly-lit Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich proved to be a great and challenging subject for an exposure latitude test. The four stop exposure bracket was shot in manual exposure mode and then the images recovered in Lightroom.

With live view AF, the EOS 6D Mark II utilises Canon’s Dual Pixel AF where each pixel is made up of two photo diodes that work separately for better AF. Live view AF has 63 zones laid out in a 9x7 grid giving coverage of 80% of the image area. You can focus anywhere within this 80% area. The live view AF system works effectively in its face+tracking mode and if you have a person walking across the frame the camera latches on quickly. This mode is not so good with general scenes where the camera did not always accurately latch onto what was the correct subject and needed some help in the form of a finger on the touchscreen. Live view AF has the option of smooth zone focusing and here you get a smaller working area of nine AF points – equivalent to around 11% of the total sensor area. The active zone can be selected seamlessly, very quickly, by touch or with the multi-way control which is slower.

Left The EOS 6D Mark II’s Evaluative metering system proved consistently accurate, as this high contrast scene demonstrates. This straight-outof-camera JPEG has detail in the highlights and shadows. This aperture-priority AE exposure was 1/200sec at f/9 without any compensation applied.

If you prefer a more specific AF area in live view, you can opt for single point AF which is roughly equal to 1.2% of the sensor area. Again the active sensor can be moved seamlessly across the 80% working area of Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The EOS 6D Mark II’s AF system has got a great deal going for it and it worked well during my test, especially with the more specific focusing options. The wider face+tracking AF in live view or auto AF selection via the viewfinder was not so dependable with scenes with a mix of far and near elements. Also, I felt the working area of 45 zones was on the small size – it occupies less than 50% of the horizontal axis and about one third of the vertical. With CSCs offering AF across a very large portion of the viewfinder, this is less impressive. The camera’s exposure system proved very dependable. I used the camera mostly in aperturepriority AE mode with Evaluative measurement and I consistently got very good Raws that needed little editing in terms of exposure correction. Looking at the straight out of the camera JPEGs that were shot simultaneously confirmed the system’s accuracy and consistency. To sum up, I enjoyed using the EOS 6D Mark II. It produces high-quality images consistently and isn’t too big considering it is a full-frame model. Set the camera up to suit the way you like to work and it’ll no doubt deliver sterling service for many years.

Verdict Some existing EOS 6D users might be contemplating updating their camera to the Mark II and that is worth serious consideration. A significantly more responsive AF, faster continuous shooting and having more megapixels under the bonnet are serious attractions. Those same headline features make the Canon EOS 6D Mark II a tempting proposition to would-be full-frame users too. Image quality from the 26-megapixel sensor is very good and gives critical performance even at the higher ISO settings.

Features 23/25 New sensor with wide ISO range, Dual Pixel AF and vari-angle monitor Handling 24/25 Slick, intuitive, responsive – as you would expect from a Canon DSLR Performance 22/25 Exposure and AF pretty sound and it can shoot at 6.5fps Value for money 23/25 Tempting price for a good-spec full-frame DSLR Overall 92/100 Lots to enjoy and appreciate on Canon’s latest full-frame and a decent all-round performer Pros Compact for a full-frame DSLR, 6.5fps, vari-angle monitor Cons Just one SD slot, a wider AF area In the viewfinder would be nice


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.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, Kingsley Singleton and Roger Payne

Specs Price £618 Type VA LCD Size 31.5in, effective viewing area 69.8x39.2cm Native resolution 3840x2160pixels @60Hz, 16:9 aspect ratio In the box Screen, stand, mains lead, HDMI cable, D-sub cable, DP cable, audio cable Pixel pitch 0.181x0.181 mm Viewing angles (typical) 178° (H), 178° (V) Brightness (max) 300cd/m2 Contrast ratio (typical) 3000:1, smart contrast 50,000,000:1 Display colours 10-bit colour support 1.07 billion colours, SmartImage picture enhancement, SmartContrast Input terminals HDMI 2.0, DVI. DisplayPort, VGA, 4x USB 3.0 upstream (1x fast charging), 1x USB 3.0 (downstream) PC audio in, headphone out Typical power consumption 42.4W, ECO mode 28W Standby mode Less than 0.5W Dimensions (W x H x D) 742x657x270mm (with stand at max height) Weight 9.23kg (with stand) Height adjustment range 180mm Contact philips.co.uk

Images To enjoy your pictures at their best you need a firstclass monitor, and this Philips 328P6VJEB is versatile and delivers a quality image – and it’s attractively priced too.

Philips 328P6VJEB 4K £618 More and more still photographers are shooting video and with 4K so popular, it’s inevitable that there’s going to be an increase in the number of 4k-compatible monitors like the Philips 328P6VJEB. It has a 32-inch screen and at just over £600 is a competitively priced unit. My current screen set-up is a 23inch main monitor, supplemented by a second 17-inch unit, and I was hoping that the Philips unit would negate the need for the second monitor. In reality, I didn’t find this to be the case; I wanted to enjoy the extra size the 328P6VJEB offered, rather than trying to fit the information from my two-screen set up into one larger monitor. That means I’d need to buy a bigger desk if I wanted to fit both 32-inch and 17-inch monitors into my set-up. Setting the monitor up proved to be very simple. The supplied quick start guide takes you through the steps of attaching the monitor to the stand using the four screw VESA-compatible mount and then details the multitude of connectivity options. Once

connected to the stand, there are plenty of movements on offer from the SmartErgoBase to manoeuvre the screen into the desired position. It can tilt forward five degrees, back 20 degrees and turn a total of 340 degrees from side to side. There’s also 180mm of height adjustment on offer, plus the screen can be turned 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical orientation. Safe to say you’ll easily get it into the right position for you. Whatever connection you have, the Philips unit will hook you up. On the back of the monitor, there are HDMI, DVI, VGA and Display Port connections, plus four USB upstream ports and one USB downstream port. One of the four USB ports also has a fast charging capability, which is useful if you want to power up a smartphone or tablet. There are also audio in and out ports, in fact the only real absence from my perspective is a card reader. I connected the screen up to my iMac Mini using the HDMI port and, once it sprang into life,

set about configuring the screen to my needs. This is done by a series of touch-sensitive buttons on the bottom right of the screen and, for me, these are the only real frustration of the 328P6VJEB. I would have preferred a physical button as opposed to the capacitive versions on offer, which I found a little fiddly to use. This isn’t a huge issue, of course, as once the screen is set up once, you probably won’t use them again. The SmartImage presets for Office, Photo, Gaming etc are all perfectly usable and although I did calibrate the monitor, I found my calibrated version to be pretty close to the original Photo preset. The 10-bit display gives 1.07 billion colours and there is 12-bit processing for smooth, lifelike colours with no banding or obvious gradations. For those who do like to dabble, there are plenty of fine-tuning options to access via the OSD and you can also input two computers and view them both side by side using the MultiView option. RP

For those who like to dabble, there are plenty of finetuning options Verdict As you’d expect from a 4K monitor, image quality from the 328P6VJEB is impressive. At 4K resolution, you see all your images in impressive detail, which should help to avoid over-sharpening when it comes to still shots. Colours are accurate and the sound from the two integral 3W speakers is – I’d suggest – ample for video editing. The button layout could be improved and the addition of a card reader would be handy, but these are by no means deal breakers. What you have here is a very capable 4K screen at a price that’s sure to please. Recommended. Pros Price, 4k, easy set-up, integral speakers Cons No card reader


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests

Lee Filters ProGlass IRND range From £158 Peek into the bag of many a keen scenic photographer and you will find a Lee Filters system comprising, quite possibly, a couple of grey grads and maybe a Big Stopper. Soon, you may also find one or two of Lee’s latest filters, a ProGlass IRND. This range of glass neutral density filters was originally designed for the movie industry where the need to deliver colour-consistent results from filter to filter in different light levels is important. It has been a big success in the movie world and now there is the chance for discerning still photographers to enjoy their benefits. The ProGlass series is available for all three Lee systems, Seven5, 100mm and SW150, so whether you shoot on fullframe fast aperture ultra-wides or with the smallest mirrorless system, you are catered for. The same applies in terms of density and the range comes in six strengths, from 2EV to 15EV taking in 3EV, 4EV, 6EV and 10EV on the way. So, if you want to cut light down to allow using an aperture of f/1.2 for shallow depth-offield portraits, or you want a 16-minute exposure in bright light to make people vanish, it is all perfectly possible. To be honest, none of this is groundbreaking because Lee and other brands already offer ND filters that do the exact same job. Where Lee’s new range is different, though, is that it is precisely formulated to give acrossthe-range colour consistency and with images free of ultra-violet (UV) and infrared (IR) pollution. Whether you need filter to filter consistency or suffer from UV/IR problems, that’s something only you can answer but I do know getting neutral results from an ND is not as straightforward as it might appear. There are plenty of NDs around that are some way short of being neutral. These filters are made from 2mm thick optical flat glass and designed so that there is no focus shift if a filter is added to a focused-up camera. They also

Specs Prices Seven5 £158, 100mm £180 and SW150 £415 Availability 0.6 ND (light loss 2EV), 0.9ND (3EV), 1.2ND (4EV), 1.8ND (6EV), 3.0ND (10EV), 4.5ND (15EV) in Seven5, 100mm and SW150 sizes. Free app available for smartphone/tablet for easy exposure calculation Contact leefilters.com

Verdict

come in smart, protective slip cases that are very practical out in the field too. For my test of the Lee 6EV and 10EV ProGlass IRND filters I used two cameras, a Fujifilm X-T2 and a Nikon D810 – both are OLPF free. I had to do my shots over a period of a week or so due to unsettled weather. I needed sunny days when there’s much more UV/IR around, and shot the same scenes and a Datacolor test chart with and without the filters using JPEG and Raw. For consistency’s sake manual exposure settings were used with cameras fixed to a tripod. For white-balance I tried AWB, presets and manual Kelvin settings – the pictures shown below were shot using AWB and manual WB values.

As you might expect the ProGlass IRND filters performed really nicely. Starting with sharpness, there was no discernible difference between the with and without filter shots and there was no evidence of any extra flare and ghosting in against-the-light shots. An AWB mode assesses the light and any attached filter and tries to deliver neutral shots; this can give a variance. Here both filters worked fine with the AWB setting so for pure shooting convenience just shoot in that setting. My JPEGs looked spot on. If I were to use a manual Kelvin on my D810 I’d go for 4760K and 4800K on the X-T2. Comparing the unfiltered AWB shots with the filtered AWB shots showed that the latter were very slightly warm but

perfectly acceptable. The difference is only detectable with direct comparison with the unfiltered AWB shot. A sideby-side comparison between the EV6 and EV10 filter AWB shots revealed a tiny difference too, with the EV10 shot looking marginally warmer. With the Kelvin white-balance settings, both the IRND filters were again very slightly warmer compared with the unfiltered equivalent. However, the key comparison of the two filtered shots at the same Kelvin settings showed virtually no difference in terms of image colour, so that’s impressive. The factors of both filters is spoton too producing images of consistent density so no need for any additional correction. WC

There is no denying the quality and consistency of Lee’s ProGlass IRND filter range – we only tested two of the six but there’s no reason to doubt the performance of the others. Our test shots showed excellent, lifelike colours even in AWB and if you do need filter to filter consistency, using a manual Kelvin setting should deliver this. Image sharpness was very good too with no diminishing of lens quality when the filters were used. Of course, good though these filters are, they are not priced to appeal to everyone. A 100mm Big Stopper is around £95 while the equivalent ProGlass IRND is £180 so close to being twice the price. You will need to be a dedicated ND user to make the investment. That said, however, there is no denying the very high level of performance delivered by these impressive filters and while they are expensive, it is difficult to argue that they are not great value for money. Pros Clean, colour accurate images, supplied usable case, consistency within the range, optical quality, filter factors spot on Cons Price

Nikon D810, no filter, AWB

ProGlass IRND 6EV, Nikon D810, AWB

ProGlass IRND 10EV, Nikon D810, AWB

Nikon D810, no filter, 5260K

ProGlass IRND 6EV, Nikon D810, 5260K

ProGlass IRND 10EV, Nikon D810, 5260K


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

39

First tests Specs Price £2079 Format Full-frame Mount Nikon F Construction 14 elements in 11 groups Special lens elements 2 ED glass elements, 3 aspherical elements Coatings Nano Crystal, Super Integrated Coating and Fluorine coat

Nikkor AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED £2079 The 28mm f/1.4E ED is the latest in Nikon’s line-up of fast f/1.4 lenses, joining recent glass like the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm. So why would you need such a lens? What’s it designed for? A 28mm prime will give you a nice, natural wide-angle view, and one that, to be fair, often gets forgotten in a landscaper’s rush to the widest possible lens; these days there’s a lot of emphasis on super-wide-angle lenses, but from a scenic point of view, 28mm feels a lot more ‘real’ than the massive foregrounds and ultra-wide perspectives of, say, 14-20mm lenses. What’s more, while 40-50mm lenses are often said to be closest to the human eye, that just means one eye. Add in the other, and 28mm feels like a natural view, something Nikon calls a ‘true-to-memory feel’. The most natural fits for the new lens are probably landscapes, weddings, street

F/1.4

and lifestyle photography. It’s really too wide for anything more than a half-length portrait. The lens certainly boasts some highquality optics (the lens has 14 elements of which two are extra-low dispersion and three aspherical elements. Add in Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coating to suppress flare and ghosting, and there’s plenty to admire. Then there’s the fast f/1.4 maximum aperture. Of course, at 28mm shooting wide-open isn’t going to look the same as it does on longer lenses, but that’s not the point. Here, it’s for light gathering in dim conditions and subtle subject separation in wide shots. Shooting with the lens over the course of a few weeks, it certainly gives you a distinctive look when used wide open, where it’s tempting to leave it set. Overall, image quality is excellent. To assess, I shot in Raw, so no incamera processing was applied, such as vignette correction or other aberrations. The lens vignettes quite heavily wide open, diminishing to f/4 after which it’s hardly noticeable. At the darkest, it’s over two stops dimmer in the corners. In sharpness, the lens does very well. In isolation it looks great at f/1.4; the centre sharpness is good, and though it’s clearly softer at the edges it’s never smeary.

F/5.6

F/2

F/8

F/2.8

F/11

F/4

F/16

Filter size 77mm Aperture range f/1.4-16 Diaphragm Nine blades, electronic Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 28cm Focus limiter No Max. magnification 0.17 x Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale Yes Image stabiliser No

Above Nikon’s latest fast aperture wide-angle lens offers a very fine performance but this comes at a high price.

Tripod collar No Lens hood HB-83 bayonet lens hood Weather-sealed Yes

Start stopping down and the 28mm really comes into its own. Peak sharpness seemed to be at around f/45.6 in the centre and the same in the corners; and it’s very sharp. The lens suppressed flare very well indeed. There was only minor fringing visible at the wider apertures, and it was really only noticeable around high-contrast areas, like leaves against a bright sky, and disappeared around f/5.6. The 28mm f/1.4 also showed no barrel distortion that I could detect; or so little it was invisible to me. All vertical lines seemed to be straight and true. When it comes to build and handling, the 28mm f/1.4E is not a small lens by any means, but at 645g, it’s not particularly heavy, especially compared to competitors like the Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 (at 1390g). If you’re used to toting a 24-70mm or 70-200mm f/2.8 it will feel light – if anything a bit too light for me, as it didn’t balance all that well with the D810 I was testing it on. Not a big deal though, and this would be addressed on lighter bodies like the D750. There’s not much in terms of lens controls; just an Auto/Manual focus switch in the usual spot and the focus ring. The latter has a superbly smooth and responsive action, as you’d hope at the price; the throw is quite long however, taking almost 180º to go from near to far, equivalent to about two spins. That’s good if you’re planning some astrophotography or video work,

but less so if speed is required. There’s a depth-of-field scale for hyperfocal work or fixed focus shooting, helpful for both landscapes and street photography, but it’s pretty small, squeezed in between the distance window and lens name, and therefore not all that easy to read. The barrel is thermoplastic, and while we all like a bit of metal, it feels robust enough. That said, for over £2k, you might expect a more ‘serious’ feel. AF performance is accurate, if not particularly fast; a near-to-far test took about 1sec, which is fine for all but the most fleeting subjects; subjects you wouldn’t be likely to use this lens on anyway. The ‘E’ in the name signifies Nikon’s use of an electromagnetic diaphragm, rather than a mechanical link as on Nikon D/G lenses. It’s a design that should give more accurate aperture control when shooting autoexposures in the continuous drive mode; therein the blades move faster than when linked mechanically. What’s more, all the aperture control is in the lens, therefore better protected without a physical lever connecting it to the camera. On the subject of technological features, I’d like to have seen Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilisation on board, though many would argue wider, fast aperture lenses don’t require it, it does go some way to alleviate micro blur on high-resolution sensors, like the D810 (though that’s a lot to do with handling, too). KS

Dimensions (lxd) 83x100.5mm Weight 645g Contact nikon.co.uk

Verdict It’s highly likely you have a 28mm focal length as part of your standard zoom, so the real question is, do you need to spend £2k on something you’ve, at least partially, got? Yes, the Nikon 28mm f/1.4E will likely be a huge improvement (I tested it against my 16-35mm f/4G and 24-70mm f/2.8G, and it’s significantly sharper than both at equivalent apertures). And yes you get those wider apertures to use; great for low-light, wideangle subject separation and astro shots. But it’s arguably still a lot of dough for something that won’t add to your options all that much. Pros Image quality, maximum aperture, focusing Cons A little light, price, no VR


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

40

First tests

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE £280 Samyang’s reputation as a quality provider of independent lenses has been earned with its ever-growing range of high spec, great value manual focus models. However, given that most lenses sold are autofocus it was inevitable that Samyang would launch into this market, and already available in Sony E fitting is the AF 14mm f/2.8 FE and the 50mm f/1.4 FE. This pair has now been joined by the AF 35mm f/2.8 FE. On full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, the 35mm focal length is a moderate wide-angle fine for a multitude of subjects so this lens has tremendous potential. On APS-C Sony E-mount models, the effective focal length is 52mm which makes it a perfect standard lens, again suitable for a massive range of subjects. We’ll look at its optical skills shortly, but let’s start with its physical attributes. It is perfectly fair to say that while its maximum aperture is modest, going for f/2.8 rather than f/2 or faster helps in delivering a lens that is compact. This lens measures just 33mm in length, and weighs a

Specs

mere 85g – yes, thats right, 85g. It’s a real featherweight lens. But that’s not to say its optical construction has been compromised to keep weight down because that is not the case. It boasts seven elements in six groups with two aspherical elements and one high refractive element to help deliver a fine optical performance. Samyang’s Ultra-Multi-Coating has been deployed too to keep flare and ghosting to a minimum while maximising contrast. A bayonet-fit lens hood is supplied and this has a 40.5mm filter thread; taking the hood off reveals a 49mm thread. The hood itself is not much of a hood and it’s so shallow that it’s hardly effective, either as a physical protector or to help avoid flare. You would be better off buying a rubber screw-in hood. I tried this lens on a Sony A7R, a full-frame 36-megapixel camera, fixed to a Novo Explora carbonfibre T20 tripod, shooting in Raw and processing in Lightroom. Files were exported to TIFFs, from which

the sample pictures shown here are reproduced. AF performance is obviously dependent on the camera’s abilities and the A7R is not the most capable mirrorless model around in this regard. Nevertheless, the combination delivered swift, responsive, smooth and silent focusing performance and scenes zipped into focus; this was the case even in low contrast situations so no complaints on AF. Not too much to complain about on the optical performance front either. It is all very well lens makers coming out with f/1.2 and f/1.4 lenses, but they need to use expensive, heavy glass in their designs to ensure that such wide settings give decent quality. Samyang, in this respect, did itself a favour by producing a lens with a modest f/2.8 aperture. This has kept costs and weight down, and it has probably helped with image quality too. So this lens impresses even when used fully open. Central detail is crisp with fine detail nicely recorded, and the edges don’t lag too far behind; although turn your attention to the corners and image softening is noticeable. Also, at f/2.8 there is a little chromatic aberration with green and magenta fringing but that can be resolved in software and this fringing goes from f/4 onwards. Most lenses hit their stride two stops down and it is no different with this Samyang. At f/5.6 you can see an improvement in the image centre compared with f/2.8 and f/4 but most importantly fine detail in the corners looks so much better. Everything is much more crisp and nicely resolved so, for example, blades of grass can be seen as individual blades of grass. The edges and corners continue to improve with stopping down with f/11 being the best setting for best across-the-frame sharpness. Quality does drop off slightly at f/16 and f/22 but not too much, and both settings are perfectly usable if maximum depth-of-field is your goal. WC

12mm

Price £280 Format 35mm and APS-C Mount Sony E Construction 7 elements in 6 groups Special lens elements 2 aspherical, 1 high refractive Coatings Ultra-Multi-Coating Filter size 49mm, hood has 40.5mm thread Aperture range F/2.8-22, no ring Diaphragm Seven blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 35cm Focus limiter No

Verdict F/2.8

F/4

F/5.6

F/8

F/11

F/16

Maximum magnification 0.12x Distance scale No Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied Weather-sealed No Dimensions (lxd) 33x61.6mm Weight 85g Contact intro2020.co.uk

Samyang’s latest AF lens does not pretend to set the world alight with a jaw-dropping list of magnificent features, but what it does do is provide a fine optical performance for a modest outlay and in a very compact body form – a quality lens weighing 85g is amazing. Sony E owners have a tremendous range of optics available especially at the top end, with Zeiss and Sony itself in the vanguard, so Samyang catering for the less well heeled is a shrewd move and shows that a quality performance is possible on a limited budget.

F/22

Images Samyang’s 35mm f/2.8 delivers a respectable performance throughout its aperture range and while it’s not from the very top drawer optically speaking, neither is its price, which makes it a great value lens.

Pros Lightweight, compact, fine optical performance, great price, really useful focal length Cons Modest f/2.8 maximum aperture, ineffective hood


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

42

First tests

Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D £899 The fascination with prime lenses, especially fast aperture wide-angles, seems ever growing, from lens makers and photographers alike. Laowa is a relative newcomer to the independent lens market and is the brains behind this exciting manual focus ultra-wide that is full-frame and impressively fast at f/2.8. My test sample was Nikon fit so I used it fixed onto a D810. On that camera the lens is well matched in terms of size giving a combination that is balanced. As you’d expect from an ultrawide, the front element is quite bulbous but doesn’t protrude beyond the lens lip so there is a degree of physical protection for the lens front. A bayonet hood is supplied which offers greater physical and a degree

Specs Price £899 Format Full-frame, APS-C (18mm effective) Mounts Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony A, Sony E Construction 16 elements in 10 groups Special lens elements Two aspheric elements, three extra-low dispersion elements Coatings Multi-layer low reflective coating on every element. Water repellent ‘frog eye’ hydrophobic coating on front element Filter size Via Laowa 95mm filter adaptor (£24.90) and Laowa 100mm filter holder Lite (£69.90) and Original (£79.90) Aperture range F/2.8-22 Diaphragm Seven blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Manual only Minimum focus 18cm Focus limiter No Maximum magnification 0.2x Distance scale Yes, metres and feet Depth-of-field scale Yes Image stabilizer No Tripod collar No Lens hood Bayonet fit supplied Weather-sealed No Dimensions 82.8x74.8mm Weight 809g Contact ukdigital.co.uk

of flare protection. This hood does not click-lock into position and if it does shift from its correct position you will get vignetting but this will be obvious in the viewfinder so just twist the hood into place. Filters can be used and Laowa has a compatible 95mm adaptor that accepts Laowa’s 100mm filter holder. This should mean that if you own 100mm filters (Lee, NiSi etc) these should fit, although we didn’t have a Laowa holder to check this out. The full focus range was achieved with one half turn but for most shooting situations you will only be using the first centimetre or so of travel. Infinity to 1m is covered in about 1.5cm of focus barrel rotation. Minimum focus is 18cm which at that distance means the subject is about 5cm from the front element. Focusing isn’t easy in low light but the camera’s focus confirmation does work and the depth-of-field is so extensive that focusing as such isn’t needed in most normal shooting occasions. A depth-of-field scale is provided and it shows that at f/2.8 everything from infinity to about 2m is sharp. Close down to f/5.6 and everything from under 1m to infinity is sharp. The firm aperture ring is clickstopped in full f/stops and there is no A setting beyond f/22. On the Nikon, you do not get an aperture readout. What you do get incamera is a number that relates to the set aperture. So, when 1 is shown this indicates f/2.8, 2 is f/4, 3 is f/5.6 and so on. Also on the Nikon there is the loss of Matrix metering. The lens’s optical skills are impressive considering the ultra wide coverage, fast aperture and price. It is an ultra-wide lens not a fisheye so straight lines stay straight. With its name, Laowa reckon there is no distortion and in that respect the lens pretty much delivers the goods with straight lines staying straight with faint barrel distortion at the edges. There is wide-angle distortion so if you position a round object at the corners of the frame it becomes ovoid but this is normal with ultra-wides. Test pictures were shot on the D810 mounted on a Gitzo Systematic GT4553S tripod and an Arca Swiss ball head. The resulting Raws processed through Lightroom with default sharpening. Viewing the images at 100% on screen showed the lens to be decently capable and adding some unsharp mask Photoshop gives results that stand critical scrutiny. Wide open images are pretty sharp with edges a little way behind and the same applies at f/4. If there is a weakness, it is towards the corners where fine detail is rather indistinct. At f/2.8 there is clear vignetting; this can be corrected in software and it goes with stopping down. Quality continues to pick up at f/5.6 and the far corners improve slightly and that overall improvement continues at f/8. For optimum sharpness across the frame including the corners you need to use f/11. F/16 is still good before resolution falls away and is softer at f/22. WC

12mm

F/2.8

F/4

Wide open images are pretty sharp with edges a little way behind Verdict

F/5.6

F/8

F/11

F/16

F/22

Images The Laowa 12mm f/2.8 does a great job keeping straight lines straight but does need stopping down to give sharp fine details in the corners.

Landscape, architecture and astrophotographers will appreciate the potential of this lens and it does represent excellent value for money, given its angle of view and decent level of optical performance. At the wider apertures, the central and the edges are pretty good but sharpness falls away as you move off-centre towards the corners. It is no real surprise that the lens does need stopping down to f/8 or f/11 for a high level of sharpness across the whole 35mm frame. Use this lens on an APS-C format camera the corner softening will be less of an issue.

Pros Decent performer when stopped down to f/8 or f/11, massive depth-of-field even at f/2.8, compact for focal length and f/stop Cons Bayonet hood doesn’t lock in position, soft corners at f/5.6 and wider


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

45

First tests

Godox Witstro AD-200 £335 Chinese brand Godox has a really eyecatching range of lighting products and the Witstro series will appeal to the location photographer. The AD360II looks like an oversized hot-shoe speedlight while the AD-600 is a monobloc head, both highly featured and powered by rechargeable battery. Now there is the AD-200, another battery-powered unit with a long list of features including interchangeable flash heads and the option of TTL and high-speed sync with the optional X1 radio trigger. It is portable too, although it is worth clarifying that while the manufacturer says it is pocketable this is only true if you’re wearing an overcoat, a photo jacket or very, very baggy trousers. To be fair, the AD-200 with a head fitted is not much bigger than the biggest speedlight so if you needed to (and had the budget) you could travel very conveniently with a two- or three-head AD-200 lighting system complete with modifiers, batteries and trigger.

Specs Price Kit £334.80, spare battery £64.80, Godox I-TTL X1 trigger £54 (Canon, Nikon, Sony) What’s in the box 1x flash body, 2x flash heads – bare bulb and speedlight, 1x charger, 1x battery, 1x stand adapter, 1x bag Power output 200Ws Power output range 8EV in 0.3EV steps (1/1-1/128) Guide number 52 (ISO 100/m) full power with flash head, 60 with bare bulb Number of flashes 500 full power bursts (claimed) Groups/channels Five groups/32 channels Flash duration 1/220sec to 1/13,000sec (Fresnel head), 1/220sec to 1/11,300sec (bare bulb) Trigger modes 2.4Ghz wireless (100m range), optical S1/S2, 3.5mm sync socket Modelling lamp Yes, LED with Fresnel head Modes Wireless slave (with Canon, Nikon and Sony with compatible optional X1 trigger) giving TTL, manual, multi-flash, rear curtain. Strobe flash up to 90 times, 99Hz Recycling 0.01-2.1secs

The AD-200 is a decently powerful unit with an output of 200Ws and the fully charged Li-ion battery gives a claimed 500 full power bursts. In the box comes the solidly made flash body and the option of two heads, a bare bulb and a Fresnel, speedlight-style non-zoom head. Swapping flash head is simple with a smooth action and the head clicks home firmly. One thing that would have helped is an indicator on the head to show which direction the head slides on/off. Head choice depends on what lighting effect you want. The bare bulb head gives all round light output so ideal for an evenly spread output with a softbox, while the Fresnel nonzoom head gives a more concentrated light so would probably suit grids, snoots and so on. The Fresnel head’s coverage at 2m was roughly 35mm in full-frame terms. Four buttons and a dial with a set button at its centre together with a large LCD readout panel let you set the unit up and customise it too. The on/off switch is a slider on the unit’s side. The four buttons and dial let you set group, mode, output and custom functions; with the X1 trigger you can set power output remotely. Six custom functions are available. Pressing and holding the red button down for a couple of seconds makes these available and here you can turn the beep off and set optical triggering among other things. In the basic kit you also get a tilting bracket that screws into the AD-200’s base and then the unit can Full 1/1

be attached to any lighting stand. I tested the AD-200 with both of its head options with readings taken two metres from the flash head using a Gossen flash meter set to ISO 100. The specs quote a higher GN for the bare bulb compared with the Fresnel head but here I found the latter was more powerful by about 0.6EV. At manual full power, with the basic reflector the bare bulb gave f/16.6 while the more focused Fresnel head recorded f/22.3. For comparison’s sake, a Nikon SB-900 speedlight at full power gave a reading of f/11.7 and the big brother of the AD-200, the AD-600 produced f/32. As power was wound down in full EV steps – 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 all to the minimum 1/128th output – readings dropped about 1EV give or take 0.1EV so output control proved commendably accurate. I put the AD-200 through a whitebalance test using a colour test chart. After a custom white-balance reading was taken, this showed good colour 1/32

temperature consistency throughout the output range. There was a very minor shift towards coolness from full power down to minimum output at 1/128th. Recycling is claimed to be 2secs at full power and I found the unit easily met this and I timed it at around 1.8secs. This recycling time remained constant as the battery ran down. I used the AD-200 with the Godox X1 Nikon transmitter so had the option of TTL or manual operation and such niceties as remote wireless power control with a working range of up to 100m. With this trigger high speed sync flash up to 1/8000sec shutter speed is an option too. At that shutter speed, with the Fresnel head at 2m and ISO 100, I found an aperture setting f/4 gave a workable exposure; at 1/4000sec f/5.6 worked fine and at 1/2000sec I got f/8. This is a very useful output given the flexibility of upping ISO without any serious sacrifice of image quality. WC 1/128

High speed sync Up to 1/8000sec with compatible trigger Colour temperature 5600K +/-200K Power supply Lithium 14.4v/2900mAh Dimensions (wxhxd) 168x75x50mm (no flash head) Weight 560g body (no flash or battery) Contact godox.co.uk

TEST SHOTS The Godox Witstro AD-200 delivers a decent white-balance performance as power output is adjusted with just a marginal shift towards coolness at the lowest power settings. The shots of a Datacolor test chart here were done with custom WB and processed with default settings in Lightroom.

There was a very minor shift towards coolness from full power down to minimum output at 1/128th Verdict I really enjoyed using the Witstro AD200. It’s not that much bigger than a speedlight of similar output yet has a powerful on-board li-ion battery with tremendous stamina and there is the swappable head option for even greater lighting and creative versatility. Assuming the budget (and the need), a two unit set-up will cost you £670 and then you’d need to add stands, modifiers and trigger so you’re not going to get much change from £900. That is obviously a lot of money but if you have the need, it’s potentially money well spent on a very portable lighting outfit. Pros Versatile, plenty of power, compact, TTL and high speed sync options (with X1 trigger), fast recycling, consistent white-balance performance Cons No zoom in the Fresnel head. on/off switch could be better


Photography News | Issue 47 | absolutephoto.com


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

47

Technique PART 12

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 to use noise reduction in camera and in software to improve high ISO shots

Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton When you decrease or increase ISO you adjust the ‘gain’ on the sensor, effectively meaning you need more or less light to get a decent exposure. This is an incredibly handy feature, letting you adapt to different lighting situations while still using the shutter speed or aperture you want. If ISO didn’t exist, you’d almost always need to use long exposures in dim light, or very fast exposures in bright light. So, it’s a very handy tool, but it comes at a cost; digital noise. This is interference caused by amplifying the signal, and presents itself as grain and coloured speckles on the picture. Modern cameras are good at dealing with noise, and with each generation higher ISOs can be used with less interference. These days, digital noise may only be apparent when shooting at higher ISO settings like 800, 1600. However, it can also become more noticeable when pictures are lightened in software.

Types of noise High ISO noise is random in nature, whereas noise caused by very long exposures has a fixed pattern. Matters are complicated with high ISO noise coming in two types; luminance (grain) and chrominance (blotches of colour). In high ISO noise reduction, an algorithm tries to detect the noise, then reduces it without affecting the real details in the picture. This is difficult, because the algorithm has no sure way of discerning between fine textures in the original and any grain caused by interference. For example, with luminance noise showing as pixels of a different brightness to those around them, it could easily be natural texture. In-camera noise reduction All DSLRs and CSCs have a High ISO Noise Reduction setting, which can be switched on from main shooting menu, or via a quick menu. The first question to ask is when do you need to turn it on? No matter how efficient it is, and how

NR OFF

NR LOW

NR MEDIUM

NR HIGH

lightly applied (see above) High ISO NR will degrade detail in an image, so it’s not worth applying it until absolutely necessary. When that is depends on what you personally find acceptable in terms of digital noise; some may think pictures too grainy at ISO 400, while others might go to 1600 or 3200 before feeling it’s too heavy. This also depends on how well the camera itself handles noise. It also depends on the subject. Noise will be more noticeable in smooth areas like clouds than rough textures like rocks. It’s also more visible in shadows areas. So if you’re shooting a high-key, textured view it’s not so bad; a lowlight minimalist landscape on the other hand may be more of a problem at the same ISO. How much NR to use A camera’s High ISO NR function can usually be set to off, low, medium or high, which relate to the amount applied. High NR can lose fine detail; Low may leave more grain than desirable. The only way to know which to pick

is to practise. If you take a series of shots at different settings then assess the results, you’ll be able to see how much detail is sacrificed. It may be better set to off or low, where it’s mainly colour noise that’s suppressed – a grainy but detailed image is preferable to a muddy looking smooth one. Like any other processing, High ISO NR doesn’t affect Raw files, only JPEGs. From that perspective, shooting in Raw+JPEG mode can be a good option, as you’ll have a safety net. Multiple shot NR Some cameras feature a multi-shot NR mode, which uses the same principle as image averaging (see below). Here, several images are taken in quick succession, compared and the noise removed, usually with less loss of detail than high ISO NR in-camera. The drawbacks are that images need to be shot from the same position, and anything that moves between frames will be blurred, so it’s really just for shooting static subjects on a tripod.

Using Noise Reduction in software In software, high ISO noise can be reduced in a more controllable way than in camera. That doesn’t mean results will necessarily be better, as the algorithms at work are catch-all, rather than engineered for specific cameras. It also takes longer. Lightroom and Photoshop use similar sliders for noise reduction, both under the Detail heading. Typically, you’ll need to view the picture at least 100% magnification to see changes (in Lightroom there is a loupe view, too). Controls are split between Luminance (grain), and Color (saturated blotches). The Luminance slider flattens the grain, blurring it but retaining edge detail; low settings show little reduction in noise, while high ones can soften the image too much. The Detail slider controls the threshold at which NR is applied; set low, NR is applied to the whole picture; higher, some noise is retained to improve detail. Contrast, when set high keeps contrast in the noise, but at the expense of a mottled look; low settings reduce it but can look washed out.

The main Color slider is the overall setting, and is set to 25 by default. At very low settings you may see colour noise creep in; very high and the picture will lose overall saturation. Detail is used to stop the image softening, particularly around edges, but at the expense of a little more colour noise in those areas which looks like colours are bleeding; at very high settings edges can look speckled. Smoothness reduces large blotches and is useful if dealing with low quality JPEGs. It’s also possible to remove noise manually using a technique called image averaging. Therein, multiple shots are taken from the same position, stacked as layers, and turned into a Photoshop Smart Object. The random noise is then compared from each, making it easier to identify and remove. Finally, another way to reduce noise is simply to downsize; a picture that looks noisy at its full resolution will look a lot less grainy at 50% size (and sharper, too); this isn’t much use if you want to make big prints, but for images to be used online it’s very helpful.

NEXT MONTH Techniques and advice to help you get the most from popular subjects over the coming months


Photography News | Issue 47 | photographynews.co.uk

48

Competition

WIN!

Editor’s letter

The power of prints

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@photographynews.co.uk with that word in the subject box by 10 September. The correct answer to PN45’s word search was Travel and the Samsung 128GB card was won by John Ranson of Denbighshire. samsung.com/uk/memorycards/

UK airspace had its busiest ever day on Friday 21 July, with over 8800 flights and 2.4 million holidaymakers heading overseas over that weekend. By the time you read this many of them will be back home with nothing more than a fading tan, great memories and hundreds, even thousands of pictures taken on their travels. When we all shot film, a family’s typical 24-exposure roll had Christmas pictures at both ends with the odd birthday and some holiday snaps in between. What’s more, the processed prints were seen by a handful of people before being stored away in a shoebox. It couldn’t be more different now, with smartphone users and camera users recording every single, most mundane aspect of their lives and sharing their (mostly dull) shots with the world. According to Facebook’s statistics it has 1.75 billion active users and that is a staggering 23% of the planet’s population, 48% of whom log on every day spending an average of 18 minutes per visit. Thinking about it, I reckon 18 minutes is about spot on for me, although it’s true that time is mostly spent lurking rather than actively posting. I am not driven to share the minutiae of my life –or my photography – online. I do post a few images, mostly of wine glasses in airport bars, and I have a Facebook page and a website – both get updated infrequently. But if you look at the thousands of images I shoot and the handful I post we are talking tiny numbers. Of course, the shoot/post ratio is inevitably low for most people given that with digital you can shoot away 24/7 without a care in the world. If you want proof that I am a very modest image sharer just gaze around the walls of my living room. It is true to say that I have more prints on the wall of this year’s shooting than I have posted images online.

My walls are an ever-changing space where I hang shots just to see if I like them and of course if gives me the chance to indulge in some serious navel-gazing – something that I am close to Olympic level at. And I love prints, always have done. A screen image – even projected very large – is wonderful but to me there is nothing to beat holding a print of any size in your hands. I used to have boxes and boxes of them, although with time and house moves, the collection has been severely pruned down to just a handful of archival quality boxes, full mostly of darkroom prints. In addition, I have an IKEA set of drawers full of A2 and A3 prints which I now make with an Epson SCP800 printer. I whittle these down for recycling when I can no longer close the drawers. In sum, I recognise that prints for a great many camera users no longer hold much (any?) attraction – and this might explain why a free-toenter contest we run every month to win £200 of pro quality prints is so poorly supported. I know many camera users have moved onto making their own photo books, which is something I enjoy too. I need to make more so I have my own little library of pictures and that takes me back to where I started: holidays. Family occasions, events and holidays is perfect material for books so if you haven’t tried the latest services or seen the book publisher-level results you can get now, perhaps it’s time you had a look. Meanwhile, I’m off to make a few more prints of my recent US holiday so see you next time.

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Photography News 47  

Issue 47 of Photography News

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