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Triple test Fab cameras from Canon, Fujifilm and Olympus on test See page 38

Moonshots Amazing out-ofthis-world images, page 30

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Panasonic’s latest flagship The Lumix G9 promises super-fast shooting and high image quality The Panasonic Lumix G9 is a fastresponse, high-performance camera and offers leading edge image quality from its Micro Four Thirds Digital MOS 20.3-megapixel sensor. The sensor is optical low pass filter-free and for even higher quality a High Resolution mode makes eight exposures as the sensor moves in half-pixel steps to capture 80-megapixel equivalent images of static subjects. A major step forward is offered by the Body Image Stabiliser that gives 6.5EV benefit in still and video shooting. In combination with lenses that have OIS (optical IS) you get a five-axis Dual IS system for sharp long lens shots. The G9 is full of innovative technology and that includes the 6K photo mode. Here you can shoot a sequence at 30 frames-per-second and then pick the best frame and extract that shot as an 18-megapixel JPEG, so it is well suited to action shooting. Panasonic.co.uk Read more on page 3

Celebrate gear, glorious gear Vote for the best imaging kit of the year in our 2017 Awards. See page 19


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News Spec at a glance Resolution 20.3-megapixels Image stabilisation system Sensor shift type, five axis, 6.5EV benefit Viewfinder LED live view, 3680k dots, 100% field of view, eye sensor Focus Contrast AF system, 225 area, custom multi, single area, full area touch available. AFS, AFC, manual and AFF (AF Flexible) available Exposure 1728 zone multi-pattern with multi-zone, centre-weighted and spot measurement. PASM modes. Compensation +/-5EV, +/-3EV movie ISO range Still: ISO 200-25,600, expands to ISO 100. Movie: 200-12,800, expands to ISO 100 Shutter range 60secs – 1/8000sec, electronic shutter to 1/32,000sec. Bulb maximum 30 minutes. Flash sync up to 1/250sec. Shutter life 200,000 actuations Continuous shooting Electronic shutter, up to 20fps in super high, mechanical shutter/ electronic first curtain 12fps/6K photo 30fps. 4k photo 60fps Connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth. QR code

Panasonic’s new flagship The Panasonic Lumix G9 is a featurerich 20.3-megapixel micro four thirds camera that is also splashand dust-resistant. It can shoot at 20fps with focus tracking and 60fps with single shot AF mode while the body integral image stabiliser gives a claimed 6.5EV benefit. Body IS combined with lens OIS gives even more benefit for low light or long lens shooting, and works for still and 4k video shooting. The 20.3-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor is low pass filter free for the highest detail resolution, and if more is needed of static scenes a high resolution mode gives 80-megapixel results in Raw and JPEG formats. Available in January 2018, the G9 comes as part of three kit options. The body only is £1499; the M kit includes the Panasonic 12-60mm and costs £1699; while the L Kit comprises the G9 with the Leica equivalent of that lens, and is £2019. Panasonic has also introduced a 200mm f/2.8 lens (400mm equivalent in 35mm format) complete with Power OIS to combat camera shake, and that goes on sale in December at £2699. panasonic.co.uk

Images A robust and good-looking camera, the Panasonic Lumix G9 comes to market in January 2018 and is eagerly anticipated by users of the brand. It will come with three kit options: body only, M kit (includes the Panasonic 12-60mm), and the L kit (includes equivalent Leica lens)

Hands on: Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III The Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III was announced the day we went to press with the last issue. The launch event took place at the Simon Drake House of Magic in South London and at this fascinating venue we got the chance to use G1 X Mark III pre-production samples, so the pictures published here are not from final samples. The G1 X Mark III is Canon’s first in the G-series, and with an APS-C sensor this premium compact is a significant landmark for the company. I know cosmetics do not affect how a camera performs, but it undoubtedly influences purchase. I wouldn’t say the Mark III is a pretty camera, but that said,

personally, I like its scaled-down, angular DSLR look. So while it seems unlikely that the Mark III would win a beauty pageant, it handles well enough. One thing that really appeals is its size and weight, which is even more impressive when you consider the large sensor inside and that the lens is a 3x zoom (24-70mm 35mm equivalent), although its f/2.8-5.6 variable maximum aperture is nothing to shout about. But that and the limited 3x zoom range help keep the camera’s size down. The G1 X Mark II is small for a large sensor zoom compact – it’s certainly not a camera that is going to pass the shirt or blouse pocket test

but it’s fine in a workbag, manbag or handbag. The menu structure is just like every current Canon DSLR around, so set-up will not be a problem to any Canon user, but even for newcomers it won’t take more than a few minutes to find your way around. The monitor is a 3in touchscreen variangle, so perfect for shooting from different viewpoints, and on our pre-prod sample touch AF and AF generally worked well. This is especially impressive given the very low light, artificially-lit environment we were shooting in. We can’t make an informed judgement about the G1 X Mark

Full-frame Sony The a7R III is a full-frame mirrorless camera with a 42.4-megapixel resolution, 10fps continuous shooting and a highly advanced AF system, with 399 phase detection points covering 68% of the image area. The 42.4-megapixel sensor is a back-illuminated CMOS unit. It has a gapless design and an anti-reflective coating to improve light collecting efficiency, for a low noise performance even at high ISO settings. It has a wide dynamic range with 15EV claimed at low ISO speeds. The native ISO range is 100 to 32,000, which is expandable to ISO 50-102,400. The a7R III costs £3200 body only. sony.co.uk

III’s picture performance until we get to use the real thing and start exploiting its Raws, but on early acquaintance this APS-C compact is likely to impress, and at £1149 it is a welcome addition to the premium compact market. WC canon.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

News

Win a Philips 4K Ultra HD LCD 40in monitor worth £600 Photography News and our sister magazine Professional Photo are delighted to bring one lucky reader the chance to own this stunning, richly featured Philips 40in monitor in this free, easy to enter prize competition. The new Philips BDM4037UW has a host of great features ideal for today’s photographer. The 40in curved screen gives an immersive experience and features Philip’s UltraClear 4K UHD resolution (3840x2160) to show your high resolution pictures in glorious detail – and it’s

10-bit so you have the potential for over 1.07 billion colours. Also, Philip’s SmartImage technology optimises the screen output to whatever you’re doing, so there is

photo mode alongside game and movie settings. More headline features include MultiView 4K, so you can have four systems each showing in HD on one screen using Pictureby-Picture (PbP) mode; or have Picture-in-Picture mode (PiP) to compare pictures from two sources, or watch TV from your set-top box while you are editing your shots. To be in with a chance of winning this superb Philips monitor, all you have to do is visit photographynews. co.uk/win, click on the

Win a Philips 40in monitor story and answer this simple question. What is the 4K resolution of the Philips BDM4037UW? 1) 1280x720 2) 1920x1080 3) 3840x2160 The closing date is 11.59pm, Sunday, 14 January 2018. To read more about the new Philips BDM4037UW, please visit bit.ly/2iWkCbT or check out the review in this issue of Photography News.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: You must be a UK resident, and aged 16 or over. Entry is restricted to one entry per email address and closes at 11.59pm, Sunday, 14 January 2018. This is a joint promotion with Photography News and Professional Photo and only one prize is available. The prize must be taken as offered, and cannot be exchanged for an alternative. In the event the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will attach to Bright Publishing. Employees of Bright, Philips and their immediate family and agents may not enter. Entries not in accordance with these rules will be disqualified; by entering, competitors will be deemed to have agreed to these rules. The winner will be notified within seven days of the closing date, and must respond within seven days of being notified, otherwise another winner will be chosen.

Olympus’s fast duo Olympus’s M.ZUIKO PRO family has gained two super-fast members: the ED 17mm f/1.2 and ED 45mm f/1.2. As you would expect from such fast aperture lenses in the PRO family, mechanical and optical construction are first-rate. The 45mm f/1.2 (90mm focal length in 35mm format) is a short telephoto featuring 14 elements in ten groups, with six special glass elements to give high performance at the wider apertures and minimise aberrations such as out-of-focus colour bleeding. The 17mm f/1.2 (34mm in 35mm format equivalent) features

15 elements in 11 groups with seven special glass elements to compensate for chromatic aberration, colour bleeding and distortion. Both lenses feature Z Coating Nano technology to ensure clean images free of ghosting and flare, and have nine blade diaphragms to help deliver superb, smooth looking bokeh effects. The 17mm f/1.2 will be available from March next year and is priced at £1299.99, while the 45mm f/1.2 is available from this November and costs £1199.99.

Buy a Fujifilm X-series camera or lens from a qualifying retailer before Sunday, 15 January 2018, and you qualify for cashback of up to £190. A long list of cameras, kits and lenses are featured in this promotion and a full list, as well as participating retailers and terms and conditions, are at the website address, right. But as an example, buy an X-Pro2 body or the X-Pro2 kit with the 23mm f/2, and you can claim £190

cashback. Among the selected 15 lenses, you can save £145 off the 100-400mm f/4-5.6 and £95 off the 56mm f/1.2. fujifilm-promotions.com

Buy a selected Olympus product between now and Monday, 15 January 2018 from a qualifying retailer, and you can claim a cashback bonus of up to £200. Two OM-D cameras, the E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark II have cash bonuses of £200 and £85 respectively. Six lenses are also in the bonus scheme. There are the 9-18mm f/4-5.6 (£85 cashback), 12mm f/2 (£85), 25mm f/1.8 (£40), 60mm f/2.8 Macro (£65), 75mm f/1.8 (£85) and 75-300mm f/4.86.7 II (£85). Bonus amounts may be combined if buying more than one item. See the website for terms and conditions, and claims must be made by Thursday, 15 February 2018. bonus.olympus.eu

Sigma’s latest

olympus.co.uk

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Befree with Manfrotto Manfrotto has upgraded its popular range of Befree tripods. The Befree Advanced collection starts with two versions of one aluminium model, with carbon-fibre versions available from spring next year. The Befree Advanced Aluminium Travel is available in two leg lock options, QPL travel lever and M-lock twist grip, so just pick the type that you prefer to use. Stability and leg security rate highly in both so it is just a matter personal preferance. Both tripods are four leg sectoions,

cost £174.95 each and come complete with the new 494 Centre ball head. The head features a new 200PL-PRO plate that is compatible with Manfrotto RC2 as well as with (most) Arca-Swiss mounting plates. The Befree Advanced will accept a maximum payload of 8kg, features redesigned leg angle selectors and extends to a very useful 150cm – and you get all this with a tripod weighing in at just 1.5kg and closes down to 40cm. manfrotto.co.uk

The new Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN Contemporary has a guide price of £449 and will be available in Sony E and Micro Four Thirds fittings. It is a dust- and splash-proof wide-angle lens with a 16 elements (including several exotic glass lenses) in 13 groups construction. The fast aperture adds to the lens’s appeal, while its AF system (which uses a stepping motor for smooth focusing) makes it ideal for shooting video as well as still photography. sigma-imaging-uk.com


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News

Leica CL announced The beautifully-styled Leica CL is a retro-looking 24-megapixel APS-C format interchangeable lens camera. The CL is priced at £2250 body only or £3150 with the 18mm prime lens, and the black version will be available from the end of November. leica.com

Before

leefilters.com Right Lee's Reverse ND filter is probably seen to best effect with wide-angle lenses – say 24mm in the 35mm format

Hoya adds to its range Hoya has introduced two new ranges to its extensive line-up. Ultra-Pro is a top of the range filter that is both scratch and stain resistant, and water and oil repellent. A UV and a circular polariser will be available, and each features 16 layers of antireflective coating to give 99.5% and 90% light transmission

respectively. Both types will be available in sizes from 37mm through to 82mm – prices start for the UV 37mm at £44.99 with the 82mm circular polariser priced at £284.99. The NX-10 range features ten layers of coating and filters are water and oil repellent. The circular polariser is uncoated.

New Zeiss wide Sizes from 37mm to 82mm are available, with a 37mm UV priced at £19.99. hoyafilter.com

Gitzo get the bag Renowned for its tripods, Gitzo is now applying its design skills to camera bags. Three bags have been introduced in the Gitzo Century camera bag collection and will certainly appeal to style-conscious photographers. Each bag is made from premium Italian materials, including cow

After

leather carefully crafted with a finish aimed to be reminiscent of Gitzo carbon-fibre tripods, combined with nylon for durability in regular use. The Gitzo Century traveller backpack (right) retails at £249.95; the camera messenger at £179.95; and the compact camera messenger (left) at £149.95. manfrotto/co.uk/gitzo

Zeiss has added to its range of highspec manual focus Milvus lenses. The introduction of the 25mm f/1.4 means that 11 lenses are now in the Milvus range and it is available in Canon and Nikon fits, selling for £1999. Lens construction comprises 15 elements in 13 groups, and high performance at full aperture with minimal colour fringing is claimed. Minimum focus is 25cm and the lens takes 82mm filters. The lens’s metal housing makes the lens feel robust and it is dust and dirt resistant, while its 172° focus barrel rotation means focusing can be very precise and selective. zeiss.com

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Enhance your earning power with Professional Photo magazine. Every issue is full of practical advice on how you can take your business further. Issue 139 is currently on sale, offering techniques for taking better portraits, using keywords, and a full report on the amazing Nikon D850, while issue 140 will come out 7 December, featuring an interview with ace celeb photographer John Stoddart, and tests on the latest Bron and Rotolight lighting kit. So now is a great time to take advantage of our exclusive money-saving offer. Buy a copy of Professional Photo from WHSmith using the voucher here and you save £1 off the usual £4.75 cover price.

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 139 or 140 of Professional Photo on sale between 9 November 2017 and 3 January 2018. 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 9 November 2017 and 3 January 2018. This voucher is worth £1 plus a 2p handling allowance. The offer is valid to the consumer up to 3 January 2018 and must be returned to your clearing house to arrive no later than 3 January 2018 (issue 139), 30 January 2018 (issue 140). 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.

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datacolor.com

thing here is that you need a smooth tonal transition to give an effect which is natural-looking. Lee’s expert production methods give this subtle tonal transition. The Reverse ND is available in 0.6 (2EV), 0.9 (3EV) and 1.2 (4EV) strengths in Lee’s three systems, the Seven5, 100mm and SW150, priced at £98.16, £137.21 and £150.67 respectively.

© Mark Bauer

Festive offers Datacolor has a money-saving promotion on its products up until 22 December this year. So, for example, the Spyder5CAPTURE PRO, a great colour management kit for photographers, normally sells for £343 and it's available in this offer for a bargain £263. The offers are available from Datacolor’s online shop or qualifying retailers.

All photographers love shooting sunsets (while taking eye safety precautions) but as the sun approaches the horizon, its bright orb means that exposure is a real challenge, and all the lovely detail you're aiming to capture can be lost thanks to the situation’s high contrast. Lee Filters has launched a Reverse ND filter to help you tame that massive contrast range and get more from your sunset (and sunrise) shots. Normal ND grad filters are clear at one end and gradually get more dense at the other. With the Reverse ND, the densest part of the filter is in the middle, going clear at one end and less dense at the other. The important

© Mark Bauer

Masters of Landscape Masters of Landscape Photography is a breathtaking collection of landscape photography by some of the most talented and accomplished landscape photographers, including Joe Cornish and Art Wolfe. Edited by Ross Hoddinott, the images are stunning and with almost 100 images in this book you will be spoilt for choice. It is published by Ammonite Press and costs £25.

Shoot better sunsets

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

News in brief


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News

The London Stereoscopic Company is back with a new release and this time it’s Brian May’s QUEEN in 3-D hardback book. Offering an intimate view inside the world of Queen the book has been written by May himself and features over 300 personal stereo views captured with Brian’s stereoscopic cameras, mostly taken by himself. The book features a special edition OWL in Freddie Mercury-Wembley-Stadiumjacket-yellow, allowing you to view the stereoscopic images throughout the book. Available to buy now from queenin3-D.com the book is priced at £50.

B+W holder Leading filter brand B+W introduced some 100mm square filters earlier in the year, now here’s the holder to go with them. It’s made from aluminium, features three filter-holding slots and there’s a light seal on the closest slot to kill any chance of internal reflections between the final filter and the holder. It costs £94.95. A range of adapter rings from 52mm to 82mm will be available, priced at £24.95 each. manfrotto.co.uk/bwfilters

Head to photographynews. co.uk/win for your chance to win a copy, plus an autograph from Brian May himself! londonstereo.com

Profoto has launched its Academy which is offering online video training on using light and how to shape it creatively. Subjects offered to start with are fashion, portrait and weddings, and each is led by a leading photographer of that genre. Each video offers the chance to interact with the content through a series

Go square with Instax The SP-3 SHARE is the first square format Instax printer and lets you print wirelessly from your phone, smart devices and your social media sites once you have downloaded the Instax SHARE app. There will also be the potential (with a forthcoming firmware update) to print instantly from selected Fujifilm cameras including the X-E3, X-T2 and medium-format GFX 50S. Each print takes 13 seconds, with around 160 possible per charge and gives 62x62mm images. The SHARE app also lets you put nine images on a print using the Collage Template feature or you can add as message in eleven different designs. A new laser gives high class results with a a resolution of 318dpi. The SP-3 SHARE sells for £174.99 and takes Fujifilm Instax SQ10 Square film. fujifilm.eu

© Hannah Couzens

Queen in 3D

Learn online with Profoto

News in brief

of quizzes and at the end of the course an assignment is set and the resulting images are submitted to the course instructor for personal feedback before finally becoming a Certified Image Creator. Most courses cost £49 while a series costs from £149. profoto.com/academy

Enjoy the film look The Film Styles Pack from Phase One means users of Capture One Pro 10.1.2 software can enjoy the look and feel of film easily. There are 15 film looks and each comes in three strengths so you have a total of 45 options, 33in colour and 12in black & white. The pack is available from the Phase One online store and costs €69. phaseone.com Register now for the SWPP 2018 Convention All photographers are invited to the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers annual The Societies Convention and Trade Show in London. It takes place 12 to 14 January 2018 at the Hilton London Metropole, Edgware Road, London. Preregister before 5 January 2018 and entry is free – it´s £10 after this date swpp.co.uk/convention Panasonic offers Panasonic is offering up to £100 cashback on selected G-series cameras, Lumix compacts and Lumix G lenses bought from now up to 30 January 2018. promotions.panasonic.co.uk


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News

Rotolight go wireless Leading LED light maker Rotolight has added Elinchrom Skyport support to its AEOS light. The AEOS is a versatile and powerful bi-colour LED light and high-speed sync flash in one unit designed for portrait workers and movie makers. It is priced at £899 and is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and

Sony with Fujifilm due shortly. With Skyport integration you now have wireless control over colour temperature and power with a Skyport transmitter, which makes for even more convenient use especially if you’re using a number of lights.

Get colours right X-Rite’s i1Studio is a professional colour management solution designed to get your pictures absolutely spot-on from capture through to final print. The kit includes ColorChecker camera calibration software and

test chart, i1Studio software for monitors, scanners and projectors and the i1Studio spectrometer profiling device. The whole X-Rite i1Studio outfit costs £450 and is available from an X-Rite retailer or direct from its website.

rotolight.com xritephoto/eu

Wireless recharging We all know the importance of having our phones powered up and PNY’s QI wireless charging base lets you charge compatible devices (including the latest

Fancy a new film SLR? Reflex has been created by a team of photographers, designers and tech people. If you want to get involved, the Reflex Kickstarter campaign runs through to 7 December 2017. Reflex will be available to early bird backers at £350, before moving to the standard price of £399. Backers will receive their Reflex camera in August 2018 and, shortly after, the product will go on sale. The Reflex has some unique features. The I-Plate means the supplied M42 lens mount plate can be swapped for a Nikon F, Canon FD or Olympus OM plate. It costs £35. There’s also the I-Pack, a daylight interchangeable film back so you can change films quickly or have different film loaded ready to go – it costs £65. kck.st/2lZfvwv

pny.eu

EPOTY winner The Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOTY) contest is run by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and this year’s winner is Quoc Nguyen Linh Vinh, from Vietnam, for ‘The hopeful eyes of the girl making a living by rubbish’. Taken in the waste dump of the city of Kon Tum in Vietnam, the poignant image captures a child and mother making a living from collecting waste.

Hahnemuhle hits the canvas Hahnemuhle’s Cézanne Canvas is a new heavyweight canvas material for fine art inkjet printing. It is a natural cotton material free of optical brighteners and the finish features a finely woven surface. A wide colour gamut and the ability to deliver deep blacks means this 430gsm-weight paper will suit a wide range of subjects and its elasticity makes it ideal for stretchier frames. Cézanne Canvas is available in various roll sizes, with 24inx5m costing £43. hahnemuehle.com

© Quoc Nguyen Linh Vinh/EPOTY

Film lives

Apple and Samsung phones) without the need for extra cables. It costs £35.99.

News in brief

Describing his experience taking the picture, Vinh said “The child was happy, looking at the dark clouds and chatting to her mother. This was so touching. She should

have been enjoying her childhood and playing with friends rather than being there.”

New broncolor light shaper The broncolor Litepipe P is an innovative light shaper for its flash system aimed at interior, people and product photographers. It is a portable tube-shaped diffuser that lets you spread light all round, and two add-on reflectors are supplied to let you control it. It’s priced at £940.

ciwem.org/epoty/ manfrotto.co.uk

On-screen with BenQ BenQ’s latest monitor is called the SW271, a 27-in model with 4k and its new ACCOLOR technology to allow users to have complete colour control over their images with hardware and its own proprietary Palette Master Elements software. The SW271 is designed for experienced photographers and

the 10-bit screen shows over 1.07 billion colours, is HDR10 enabled and there is an USB-C interface for transmitting video and data signals using one cable. Plus there are convenient features like Gamut Duo, PBP (picture by picture) and PIP (picture in picture) to make comparing images easy, and the SW271 comes complete with a

HotKey Puck for accessing the onscreen menu. The SW271 retails at £1067 and the price includes a detachable monitor shade and a height adjustable pivot stand. Check the full test of the SW271 in this issue’s First Tests. xpdistribution.com

Samsung honoured The Samsung EVO Plus 256GB card has been honoured by the CES2018 Innovation Awards in the digital imaging category. The EVO Plus 256GB memory card raises the bar for capacity and performance of MicroSD cards thanks to Samsung’s advanced V-NAND technology. For the full story see the website below. bit.ly/2znsJcL


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

13

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

Camera club news If your club has any news that you want to share with the rest of the world, this is the page for it. Your story might be about your club’s success in a contest, or a member’s personal 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

Clubs

How to submit

Deadline for the next issue: 4 January 2018

We need words and pictures by 4 January 2018 for the next issue of Photography News, which will be available from 15 January 2018. 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

qualified in 3rd, one point behind Smethwick PS and Arden PG. For the final each club had to select 16 prints. “Our excitement began to rise,” says Chris Fell, Cambridge CC president. “We now had to select 16 images with the knowledge of which types of images were pleasing the judges on the day. We were allowed to include as many of the original selection as we liked, so we simply removed our two lowest scoring images and added six new ones. “When the final was under way, we were obviously able to record our own scores as our images came up to be judged. It wasn’t so easy to accurately keep score of the other clubs, but our initial thoughts were

© Chris Fell LRPS

Cambridge CC triumphed in this year’s PAGB National Print Championships that took place in Blackburn recently, beating 36 of the UK’s top clubs. It was the club’s first-ever victory in this prestigious contest that has been running for 21 years – its previous best result was 4th in 2007. To qualify for the event each club had to win their regional championship or finish in the top eight of the previous year’s event. Cambridge attended as reigning champions of the Eastern Region. On the day itself, the first round comprised 12 prints from each club and the top eight scoring clubs went through to the final. Cambridge

© Paul Sanwell, OP Photographic

Champions Cambridge

that we scored 202 points out of a maximum of 225. “We had to wait 45 minutes before the results were announced and we

Above Cambridge CC members from left: Sue Vaines LRPS, Jonathan Vaines LRPS (joint external competitions secretaries), PAGB president Gordon Jenkins, Chris Fell LRPS, president, Ann Miles FRPS, council member. Left David Omoregie lunges for the line. found that we were first by a margin of just two points.” cambcc.org.uk

Farnborough Camera Club is very proud of its close links with the PhotoCirkel Camera Club in Oberursel, Germany. Members have visited each other’s clubs of the last few years and pictures have been shown in each other’s exhibitions. This autumn

© Kerry Turner

Farnborough CC reach out Farnborough was kindly invited to send eight pictures on the subject of ‘Waterways’ for PhotoCirkel’s exhibition which took place in October. farnboroughcameraclub.org

From left to right: Basil Groundsell, Barbara Albrecht, Laurent Grumbach, Wendy Collens and Gunter Albrecht.

In October, members of the Neath and District PS presented a William Henry Fox Talbot calotype print of an ancient doorway in Magdalen College, Oxford to the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. The calotype, which had been stored by the Neath and District PS in a light-proof box for many years, will now be looked after in a controlled environment by the National Library and be available for exhibiting and viewing by a much wider audience.

The print, taken on 9April 1843 and printed from the original negative in 1846 is to be retained as part of a collection of Fox Talbot’s work in Wales. The calotype (a process patented by Fox Talbot) represents an important milestone in the development of photographic printing and was donated to the Neath & District Photographic Society in 1954 by Ellis Jenkins, one of the Society’s early members. neathphotographicsociety.org

Above Fox Talbot’s historic print finds a good home at the National Library of Wales.

Brentwood and District PC meets most Fridays at 8pm at the Friend’s Meeting House, Shenfield CM15 8NF. “Visitors and new members are always welcome,” says publicity officer Peter Elgar. “We plan a full programme every season and if anyone wants a good night out, please feel free to drop in. We have a couple of great talks early in 2018: Mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda by Mike Fuller on 12 January and on 26 January we have A photographic journey from the beginning by Roy Essery MPAGB”. bdpc.co.uk

Romford CC welcomes all levels of photographers and prides itself on being a friendly and fun club. One of their recent speakers was Damien Demolder; a super evening and instrumental in members taking their cameras out the very next morning. Members also organise outings and attend special events, such as the Photography News’ Photo 24. More knowledgeable members are always happy to share on clinic or instruction nights and are keen to share their knowledge of software. Visitors are welcome to come along and can have four free trial visits. The club meets on Wednesdays, from 8pm, at the Forest Row Centre, Collier Row, Romford RM5 2LD. romfordcameraclub.co.uk

© Roy Essery MPAGB

Brentwood & District PC

History made at Neath and District PS

Romford CC welcomes you


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

15

Profile Before the judge

Penny Piddock Join us for our regular chat with a well-known photographic judge. This month, Penny Piddock tells us all about her imaging journey and what she expects to see

How many years in photography I've had a camera since childhood but a serious interest in photography since joining a camera club about 30 years ago. Home club Dorchester Camera Club, current chair and programme secretary. What is your favourite camera? Currently, it is a Panasonic Lumix GX8 but only because it is lighter than my Canon EOS 6D and easier to use for low-level photography. What is your favourite lens? I don't have one special favourite but the Olympus 75-300mm has spent most of the summer attached to the GX8 except when using the Olympus 60mm macro. What is your favourite photo accessory? An underwater housing. Who is your favourite photographer? I enjoy the works of Steve McCurry, and was inspired by Robert Doisneau when I first started taking photography seriously.

What awards/distinctions/ medals have you won? I am particularly proud of my DPAGB and have an EFIAP. I am not chasing further awards but will enter salons that I know have a good reputation. Your website The camera club’s is dorchestercameraclub.co.uk

Passing through “This is still one of my favourites from my series Snorkellers' World. As an underwater photographer who isn't a diver I enjoy portraying the view that I get looking between the transition between air and water. Two photographs were blended in Photoshop showing the reality of what I see.”

Veteran on parade “I enjoy photographing people, particularly when there is a story to be told. He was passing through the shot and in this case I was able to get an interaction between us.” in a competition. With this in mind, if there is time, I try to enter members into a discussion once the competition has been judged and get people talking about the whys and wherefores. Sometimes I can appreciate a picture more when the photographer has an opportunity to talk about it. It is often from these sessions when members will get back to me afterwards and say how worthwhile this has been. Sometimes I feel clubs should give up on competitions and invite judges to give informed critique © Penny Piddock

What is your own favourite photographic subject or technique? I'm fascinated by the natural world. I also enjoy photographing people in their natural environment but I'm prepared to try most things. This has given me a better understanding when judging. An example is studio photography. Until I tried to do it myself I had no real appreciation of the intricacies of studio lighting and model direction.

© Penny Piddock

Biography

I have been a West County Photographic Federation (WCPF) listed judge for a number of years and will happily judge at very small clubs as well as some of the larger ones in the region for their regular competitions and inter-club battles. At Dorchester Camera Club where I am a member, I belong to various selection committees and part of a self-help distinctions group. When you are reasonably well known locally it is almost inevitable that you get asked to assess people's work and to judge photography competitions at local clubs and other organisations. I think it is important to realise that every image is important to the person who took it so I wanted to be able to do justice to all levels of competence. I attended the judging seminar, was approved and now judge on a regular basis across the WCPF and neighbouring counties. I have also judged online for more distant clubs. This is challenging and time consuming but I can appreciate the problems of paying travel expenses for judges when there are so few within easy reach. Only one person thinks the judge got it right on the night but I like to think that the photographers will understand why I chose a particular image over their own masterpiece and maybe realise that a bit of attention to some of the aspects of their own pictures might just raise them up the rankings. When judging I like to have an emotional response to a picture but occasionally I do wonder why a certain picture has been entered

instead of scores where the same one or two club experts are always going to do well. I am often overwhelmed by the standard of pictures I see in contests which seems to be improving all the time, especially in some of the more advanced clubs. However, it is a challenge for a judge when confronted by an ordinary picture but it's important to remember how much courage it takes for some members to enter a competition. I can still remember my first competition entry and had my picture been rubbished by the judge it might have been my last. For me, common failings are there being no particular point of interest, lack of impact with poor lens choice or depth-of-field control, and no attention given to easily remedied faults, including wonky horizons and stuff in the periphery that is not a part of the image. Composition often needs working on. Compositional rules have been used since before the days of photography and have stood the test of time and in general work well. If a photographer has the courage to go against the compositional rules and produces a strong image with a unique individual approach I am often drawn towards it. Traditional skills are recognised while overworking and extreme post-processing are less likely to do as well now we can all access the same software. For example, composites need to be good and believable even with fantasy images and there shouldn't be light coming from umpteen different directions.

My beef is with ‘nature’ images that are anything but ‘natural’. I can appreciate the beauty of harvest mice on ears of corn or nestling in a flower and understand that to get these photographs it is necessary to have a set with lights and captured animals that will be released. But if all this is set up for you at a workshop, all acceptable in an 'open' competition can it truly be your unique image? Compare this with the picture of an owl at dusk quartering the field or the mountain hare where someone has walked for hours in the snow and waited for that perfect moment. As judges how can we possibly compare or know how the pictures were obtained? I know the PAGB, RPS and FIAP have separated nature and wildlife with definitions and don't allow certain post-processing techniques. What they haven't done is ask photographers to declare that the image is their own composition, say how the picture was taken and to confirm that no unnatural procedures were used to obtain it. Probably too much to ask but I know how I feel when up against the perfect, obvious studio set-up shot in a nature contest. My final tip is read the rules and comply with them and get other people to look at your work for an honest appraisal. As with proofreading, it is very hard to accurately check your own work for the errors that will be picked up instantly by an experienced judge. dorchestercameraclub.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

16

Camera Club of the Year

in association with

Camera Club of the Year 2017-18 Our huge contest, open to the UK’s camera clubs and photo societies, is up and running. Here are the results from Theme 1 and the key info for entering Theme 2 Words by Will Cheung There are plenty of contests, salons and challenges for camera clubs and photographic societies and they get huge support, and rightly so because they challenge their members and there’s the chance of glory. Our Camera Club of the Year contest is a serious challenge, and those five clubs that qualify for the final shoot-out in the spring of next year will face something very different if they are to walk off with the title. ‘Daunting’, ‘stressful’ and ‘scary’ were some of the words used by the members of New City Photographic Society, before going on to win last year’s shootout, capturing images with a range of Fujifilm camera equipment. To win, your club has to qualify for the final by coming top of the pile in one of the five monthly rounds. Once we know the five finalists, the details of the shoot-out will be released simultaneously to them. Your club’s competition secretary (or whoever is going to enter each month) must sign up at photographynews.co.uk. Terms and

conditions are also available on the website. Any club or group is eligible to enter so long as there are at least five members. Online groups, internal company clubs and those clubs not affiliated to the PAGB are eligible to enter. Once you have signed up, go to ‘Members’ on the top menu bar and you will see ‘CCOTY’ (Camera Club of the Year 2017-18) on the dropdown menu. Select that, then register your camera club and follow the upload instructions. JPEG files should be at least 1500 pixels on the longest dimension and, preferably, in the sRGB colour space. A club can only enter one set of five images and the five images must be from five different members. Failure to enter five shots will mean the missing shot(s) scores zero points, so it is crucial to enter the full number of images. After the closing date, each picture will be scored out of 20 points by the experts at Photography News and the highest scoring club will qualify for the final. In the event of tied scores, for those two clubs we will ignore the

highest and lowest scores and average out the three remaining scores – the club with the highest averaged score wins. If scores are still tied, all five scores will be averaged out. When the issue with that month’s result is published, the scores for every picture entered will be published on the website and each member can see how well they have done. There is no monthly prize apart from qualifying for the final shoot-out, and once a club has qualified for the final it need not enter again. Of course it can do so for the challenge and pictures will still be scored, but there is no

About Fujifilm Mirrorless camera systems are big business now, yet just a few years ago such cameras were perceived to be second-rate citizens compared with the much longer established SLR systems. You could argue that sea change started around six years ago when Fujifilm introduced its X Series camera system. The first model, the X-Pro1, offered a classic rangefinder shooting experience and Fujifilm set its stall out from the get-go by introducing three top-specification prime lenses, including the XF 35mm f/1.4, which is still one of the most popular lenses in the X Series range today. Now the X Series owner has the choice of 14 prime lenses, nine zooms and two teleconverters with the promise of more to come in 2018, including an XF8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR

X-E3

X-T2

and XF200mm f/2 R LM OIS WR. There are plenty of options when it comes to picking a camera, too. At the top of the range there’s the X-T2 and X-Pro2. They share the same 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor and Fujifilm’s latest X-Processor Pro for very fast start-up, minimal shutter lag, super-fast file processing and highly responsive autofocusing. Both have a native ISO range of 200-12,800 with the option of expansion to ISO 100, 25,600 and 51,200 – all available in Raw as well as JPEG. The latest arrival in the range is the X-E3, which is tried and tested in this issue. This shares the same excellent 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor

but built into a more compact body, making it ideal as the camera to have with you at all times, and of course perfect for travel. Despite its size, the X-E3 is packed with features including the X-Processor Pro image processor that helps maximise autofocusing speed, fast start-up time and a very short shutter lag of just 0.05sec. The X-E3 is available as a kit with the delightfully compact XF23mm f/2 lens, which is priced at £1149 or if you fancy it as a back-up, the body price is a competitive £849. If you prefer the idea of going bigger, Fujifilm offers that, too – its GFX system has shaken up the world of medium format. The GFX 50S 51.4-megapixel camera is in the shops at a very competitive £5999 and this compact, mirrorless camera offers great handling as well as stunning image quality; the system already offers six lenses, with more promised. For more information on all these Fujifilm cameras and lenses, please go to the website. fujifilm.eu

GFX 50S

reward for winning in this instance. In effect, because each monthly contest is self-contained, ie. it is not a league system over the period of the contest, you do not have to enter every month – perhaps it is a theme the club is less strong at. Clearly it makes sense to give yourself as many winning chances as possible, however. So, good luck. Read the entry details again, check out the theme and start gathering your entry. Qualify for the final and your club could be joining us for a very special photography event, with the title of Camera Club of the Year 2017-18 to be won.


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

17

Camera Club of the Year

in association with

Our last theme was scenic, a very open theme. Theme 2 is portraits, which is almost as broad so there’s massive scope for different interpretations and creative approaches. Portraits can be in the studio or on location, full face or full length, glamorous or gritty, softfocus or no holds barred wrinkled and haggard – the only stipulation is that the subject(s) must be human beings. To be absolutely crystal clear, this means no insects, plants or animals as the main subject. Of course, if they happen to be in frame, that’s fine. A fisherman with their catch, a dog owner with their pooch, zoo keeper feeding lions, all are acceptable examples as long as the human is the main focus. A common aim of portrait photography is to reveal something of your subject’s character. You might do this with a revealing, strongly side-lit full-face shot, but you could also take the approach of using your subject’s surroundings to add context and narrative. Or you could go for a flattering portrait with great lighting, making the subject look beautiful. This might not be as emotive as a strong character portrait, but it is equally valid and still has the potential of scoring highly in this contest. Whatever the approach you take, just make sure the lighting, lens and aperture choice, point of focus, viewpoint and composition are beyond reproach. And don’t be scared of breaking any so-called portraits rules. If you want to use your ultra-wide instead of the more traditional telephoto lens, then try it. This applies to when you edit your images. Some traditionalists will say never crop off

© Will Cheung

Theme 2: portraits

Images Your portraits can be any style you like – the only criterion is that the main subject is human. Also, the five images from each camera club are judged individually, not as a portfolio.

Score Eastbourne Photographic Society

90

the top of the subject’s head, for example, but this can work brilliantly. Make the most of the situation, and if that’s a severe crop, using a cross-processing effect or shooting a silhouette, then go for it. The judges will recognise creative endeavour, provided it’s done in the right context to achieve a powerful effect.

Ayr Photographic Society

89

Leighton Buzzard Photographic Club

89

Midlothian Camera Club

89

Eastwood Photographic Society

88

Frome Wessex Camera Club

88

Brentwood & District Photographic Club

87

Great Notley Photography Club

87

Peterborough Photographic Society

87

Synergy

87

Windsor Photographic Society

87

Leicester Forest Photographic Society

85

Park Camera Club

85

Maidenhead Camera Club

84

New City Photographic Society

84

Steyning Camera Club

84

Dorchester Camera Club

83

Harpenden Photographic Society

83

Tonbridge Camera Club

83

Wokingham and East Berkshire Camera Club

83

Beckenham Photographic Society

82

Exeter Camera Club

82

Norwich & District Photographic Society

82

Seaford Photographic Society

82

Caister Photography Club

81

City Photo Club

81

Harlow Photographic Society

81

PICO

81

Trostre Camera Club

81

Wisbech & District Camera Club

81

Bedford Camera Club

80

Blandford Forum Camera Club

80

City of London & Cripplegate Photographic Society

80

Halstead & District Photographic Society

80

Wilmslow Guild Photographic Society

80

Axholme Camera Club

79

WWPS

79

Preston Photographic Society

79

Grantham and District

78

Medway DSLR Camera Club

78

Dronfield Camera Club

77

Dunholme Camera Club

77

Closing date 7 January 2018

To get your club’s members thinking ahead for next month, Theme 3 is capturing the decisive moment

The winner: Theme 1: scenic © Maurilio Tesa

Congratulations to Eastbourne Photographic Society for qualifying for our shoot-out with five awesome scenic images. © Roy Morris © Richard Drinkall

© Chris Philipson

© Alison Morris


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Awards Gear of the year

Photography News Awards 2017 It’s time for you to recognise brilliant products and outstanding service in our annual Awards. Your votes will decide the winners so please check through our nominations and pick the products and services that you think deserve the ultimate accolade

The photographic gear landscape is constantly changing and we have more gear options than ever before as progress and innovation continues apace. The aim of our Awards is simple: it’s your chance to recognize awesome kit and wonderful service. We’ve shortlisted products in key categories and then you get the chance to pick what you think deserves to win. It couldn’t be simpler: voting is done online and it’s free. You don’t even have to register to vote. The

only categories where we haven’t done any shortlisting are in the service categories like Best Retailer, Best Website Provider. In those you nominate who you think deserve to win. In the case of categories like Best Retailer where there may be a chain of stores, please nominate the name of the store group and the individual shop please. To vote go to photographynews.co.uk, follow the Awards link and complete the voting form. You can vote in every category

but if you prefer to vote for just a few categories that is perfectly fine too. It’s entirely up to you, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes even if you vote in all categories. Thank you for support.

Closing date for votes is 26 February 2018


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Awards

CONSUMER DSLR Canon EOS 80D Canon EOS 200D Nikon D5600 Nikon D7500 Pentax KP Sony A68

ADVANCED DSLR Canon EOS 6D Mark ll Canon EOS 7D Mark ll Nikon D500
 Nikon D850
 Pentax K-1 Sony A77 II

ADVANCED CSC Canon EOS M6 Fujifilm X-T20 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Olympus PEN-F Panasonic DC-GX800 Sigma sd Quattro H

PROFESSIONAL CSC Fujifilm X-Pro2 Fujifilm X-T2 Leica M10 Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Sony A9

COMPACT/BRIDGE Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III Fujifilm X100F Fujifilm X70 Leica X-U Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX15 Sony RX10 IV PROFESSIONAL DSLR Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Nikon D5 Sony A99 II

CONSUMER CSC Canon EOS M100 Canon EOS M3 Fujifilm X-A3 Fujifilm X-E3 Olympus PEN E-PL8 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

MEDIUM-FORMAT Fujifilm GFX 50S Hasselblad H6D-100c Hasselblad X1D-50c Leica S-E
 Pentax 645 Z Phase One IQ3 100MP Trichromatic

WIDE-ANGLE LENS Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Fujifilm XF23mm f/2 R WR
 Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E ED Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM A
 Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM A
 Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD
 Zeiss Milvus 25mm f/1.4

MACRO LENS Fujifilm XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro Olympus M.Zuiko ED 30mm f/3.5 Macro
 Samyang 100mm f/2.8 ED UMC Macro Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM
 Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Voigtlander E-Mount 65mm f/2 Macro Apo-Lanthar

STANDARD LENS Fujifilm XF16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR Fujifilm XF35mm f/2 R WR Olympus M.Zuiko ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO 
 Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM A Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Voigtlander Nokton MFT 25mm f/0.95 II Zeiss Touit 32mm f/1.8

TELEPHOTO LENS Fujifilm XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Fujifilm XF50mm f/2 R WR Nikon AF-S 105mm f/1.4E ED Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM S Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM A Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4

SUPERZOOM LENS Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
 Nikon AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Olympus M.Zuiko ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

TRIPOD: ALLOY Benro Travel Angel FTA28AB1 Kenro Karoo Compact Tripod (Aluminium) 102 Manfrotto Be Free Aluminium Travel Tripod Nest NT-363AT Aluminium Systematic
 Slik PRO 400DX
 Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 264AT TRIPOD: CARBON-FIBRE Gitzo Systematic series 5 long, 4 sections GT5543LS Kenro Karoo Ultimate Travel Tripod 401C Manfrotto 190 Go! Carbon 4-section Nest Traveller NT-6264CK Novo Explora T20 Velbon GEO E543D

ON-CAMERA FLASH Hahnel Modus 600RT
 Kenro Speedflash KFL101 Rotolight NEO 2 Nissin Di700 Air 
 Pixapro Li-ION580 MK II TTL Profoto A1


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Awards BEST RETAILER Whether you shop for your photo kit online or in store, nominate the photo retailer that has you going back time and time again.

PORTABLE FLASH broncolor Siros 400 L Elinchrom ELB 1200 Pixapro PIKA200 TTL Pixapro CITI 600 TTL Profoto B1X Profoto B2

BEST USED SPECIALIST RETAILER The market for secondhand or (pre-loved!) imaging gear is growing so whether you’re buying or selling, you need a dealer you can trust. This is your opportunity to name your favourite used dealer. EXTERNAL STORAGE DEVICE Drobo 5C G-Technology G-Drive USB-C LaCie Fuel 
 Samsung Portable SSD T5 Seagate Backup Plus Desktop Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro INKJET MEDIA: PHOTOGRAPHIC FINISH Canson Infinity Baryta Prestige Gloss 340gsm Epson Traditional Photo Paper Fotospeed Platinum Baryta 300 Signature Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta Satin
 Ilford Galerie Prestige Gold Fibre Silk 310 PermaJet FB Mono Gloss Baryta 320 INKJET MEDIA: FINE ART FINISH Canson Infinity Rag Photographique 310gsm Epson Ultrasmooth Fine Art Fotospeed Platinum Etching 285 Signature Hahnemühle William Turner 310 Da Vinci Soft Textured 315 PermaJet Photo Art Silk 290

MAINS FLASH Broncolor Siros 400 S Elinchrom ELC Pro HD Godox QT II Pro 600 Lencarta SuperFast Pro 400Ws Pixapro Storm II 600 Profoto D2

PROCESSING LAB Which processing lab do you trust with your photos, albums or stationery? If they offer highquality and utterly reliable service at competitive prices, are they worthy of a PN award?

PHOTO WEBSITE PROVIDER For gallery websites or full-service sites with clientproofing and a blog, which provider offers the best range of templates and customisation options together with top-notch customer service?

TRAINING PROVIDER From basic photo knowledge through particular tips and techniques to camera-specific training, in the classroom, studio or out on location, which provider offers the best learning experience, in your opinion?

FILTER Cokin Nuances family Hoya PRO ND family Lee Filters ProGlass IRND Manfrotto Xume Adapters Marumi DHG Super Circular Polariser SRB Elite Filter System

SOFT SHOULDER/SLING BAG Cullmann Amsterdam Maxima 335 Lowepro ProTactic SH200 AW Manfrotto Windsor camera reporter Mindshift BackLight 26L Tamrac Anvil 23 ThinkTank StreetWalker V2 ROLLER/HARD CASE B+W International Type 5000
 Lowepro Pro Roller X100AW Manfrotto Pro Light Reloader 55 Novo Dura 400 Hard Rolling Waterproof ABS case Panzer Centurion 30 Peli Air Case 1535

COLOUR MANAGEMENT DEVICE DataColor SpyderLENSCAL


 DataColor Spyder5ELITE DataColor Spyder5CAPTURE PRO X-Rite ColorMunki Display
 X-Rite ColorMunki Photo X-Rite i1Photo Pro 2 MONITOR BenQ SW320 Pro 32in IPS LCD
 BenQ SW2700 PT 27in IPS LCD Eizo ColorEdge CG277 27in NEC MultiSync 27in LCD 4k UHD IPS
 Phillips BDM4037UW 40in 4K display INNOVATION Fujifilm GFX: mirrorless medium-format system Profoto A1: world’s smallest studio light Rotolight NEO2: continuous light and HSS flash Sony A9: 693 AF points and 20fps shooting

The details How to vote Go to photographynews.co.uk and follow the link to the Awards to vote. It’s free and you don’t need to register. Voting closes on 26 February 2018.

MEMORY CARD PNY SD Elite Performance 256GB
 Samsung PRO Plus 128GB microSDXC SanDisk Extreme PRO microSDXC UHS-II 128GB Transcend Ultimate 64GB microSDXC 633x

PRINTER Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 Canon PIXMA TS8150 Epson SureColor SC-P600 Epson SureColor SC-P800 Epson SureColor SC-P5000 STD Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-2

The results We’ll announce the results in issue 53 of Photography News, out from 12 March 2018, and we’ll present the awards to the deserving recipients at The Photography Show, at the Birmingham NEC, 17-20 March 2018.


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Technique

Night Fever Make the long nights fly by

As darkness falls, exposures naturally lengthen, and there are plenty of photographic techniques subjects to make the most of as they do. This month find out how to get creative, improve your low-light efforts and have fun out in the dark… Words by Kingsley Singleton Pictures by Kingsley Singleton and Will Cheung

Pack the right kit and be safe

Shoot cities in the dark © Kingsley Singleton

Many low-light techniques rely on using a tripod, so that’s the first thing that should be on your low-light list. Try attaching a LED light to the bottom of the centre column, so you can switch it on when walking or setting up. For astro shots, fast lenses are vital, so pack a wide-angle with a maximum aperture of at least f/2.8 if that’s what you’re planning. For other techniques like light trails or light painting, they’re not as important. A cable or remote release is handy, as it’ll minimise camera shake when you take a shot. It’s also essential when using B mode so you can lock open the shutter for long periods, say beyond 30secs, which you’ll need when light painting. Pack LED lights, torches or flashes if you’re planning on light painting, and remember spare batteries or coloured gels. Other things to add to your backpack include spare camera batteries, as long exposures and cold, night-time conditions will sap their energy. Take some warm clothing and keep the spare batteries in inside pockets close to your body. Make sure your phone is fully charged too, and always tell someone where you’re going and what time you’ll be back.

Towns and cities go through an amazing change as day turns to night; scenes that seemed dull in the daylight hours can become wonderful as the lights are switched on. To capture them at their best, try shooting while there’s still a little natural light left in the sky; this will give a pleasing contrast to the artificial lights, and also mark

out the shapes of buildings or the landscape behind them. Look for reflections, and how points of light take on a starburst shape. Because of the darkness, the shutter speed will lengthen; it could be anything from a couple of seconds to 30secs or more, hence the need to keep it still. Set the camera’s drive mode to self timer, so you don’t jog it, then shoot.

Above The lack of light is challenge but with the right kit and a little practice, shooting at night can give wonderful results. Bracket exposures to make sure you get a decent file to work with and turn off in-camera noise reduction (high ISO and long exposure) which slows down the shooting process.


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Technique Create a night portrait

subject will be sharp and well lit there won’t be enough power in the flash to light the rest of the nighttime scene. To stop that, find your

flash modes and set it to slow sync. Within these settings you should also be able to set the flash to fire as the shutter opens or closes (first/ front or second/rear curtain). Now you can set your exposure and shoot as normal. If you need more or less power in the flash, use the flash exposure compensation setting to add or remove light. In the below example pic (22secs at f/4.5, ISO 200), a red laser pen was also used from behind to add some light trails.

© Kingsley Singleton

Shooting at night often means using long exposures, and this isn’t normally a good fit with portraits as the slow shutter speed blurs the subject. But add flash and it’s a whole different ball game. Even if you’re shooting with a shutter speed of many seconds, the burst of flash will freeze the subject; but the slow shutter speed will also show motion blur in the rest of the scene. Normally when using flash the camera will default to a shutter speed like 1/60sec, so while the

Capture the night sky

© Will Cheung

Above In complete darkness with the camera shutter held open on B, the model has lit with flash first before a novelty red laser pen was waved around from behind her for about 10secs and then the shutter was closed.

Paint with light © Kingsley Singleton

Adding your own light to a scene can work wonders, and after dark is the perfect time to do it. Light painting works by setting a long exposure on your camera, and while the shutter is open applying light to the subject. There’s a myriad of lighting tools you can use to do this, from off-the-shelf flashes and LED lights, to regular household torches and DIY lighting rigs made of many bulbs. The first thing you need is a good subject, something with some interesting details to light, but also one that you’re able to move around fairly quickly, and light from different angles. At the scene, first try some test shots, shooting in aperture-priority mode with a high ISO setting, just to get your composition right without needing to shoot any long exposures. When you’re happy, lock off the camera’s position on a tripod. Still in aperture-priority, set a middling aperture of around f/5.6 or f/8 as a starting point, then set the ISO to a low level to give a shutter speed long enough to light paint. With big or distant subjects you will need several minutes.

Above Light painting is fun and produces great results, but you do have to experiment. It’s a technique that rewards experimentation, so vary the time that you leave the torch on the subject or how many times you fire the flash, to see how it affects the subject’s exposure

Many landscape photographers pack up their tripod when the last of the sunlight has left for the day. But there are other suns you can shoot when ours has departed. Wide-field astrophotography and nightscapes can reveal the sparkling heavens, in all their glory, but to get the best possible results you need to be shooting with the right settings and at the right time. First off you need as clear a night as possible, and to be well away from populated areas where, without light pollution, the stars will be more easily visible to you and your camera. For the same reason, try to shoot on a moonless night, and using an app like PhotoPills, check the time that astronomical twilight ends. After this time, the sky will be at its darkest. Setting up on a tripod, compose with some foreground interest, and then switch to manual exposure and focus. Next, use the 500 rule to work out how many seconds you can shoot for without showing too much movement in the stars; just divide 500 by the focal length you’re shooting at, so 24mm divided by 500 would give you around 20secs.

Above Fast aperture wide-angles are popular lenses for keen astro shooters because they allow the use of slower ISO speeds for higher image quality with minimal noise. Dial that shutter speed or faster, then set a wide aperture and a high ISO; settings of around f/2.8 and ISO 1600 are common. Take a test shot and look at the histogram on screen, checking for highlight or shadow clipping. If it’s too light decrease the aperture, shutter speed or ISO; if it’s too dark, increase the aperture size, or up the ISO. Finally focus. This is best done in manual focus mode, using the live view screen as a guide, and zooming in to the preview to make sure the stars are sharp. Now get shooting.

Want more low-light thrills? Check out this month’s Camera Class for an in-depth look at shooting light trails.


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Landscape Photographer of the Year © Benjamin Graham

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017 The results have been announced and will be on display at a train station near you (probably) in 2018. Here, the photographers tells us all about their successful images and the thinking processes behind them Benjamin Graham Overall prize – Winner Image title Diminutive Dune: sand forms at low tide Location West Wittering, West Sussex Technical details Nikon D810 with 50mm f/1.4 on a tripod. Exposure of 0.6sec and f/11 at ISO 64 Contact benjamingraham.co.uk

Above Minimalism and a muted palette paid off for LPOTY winner, Benjamin Graham

Diminutive Dune is a personal favourite from my 2016/17 portfolio so, in that respect, the award is especially meaningful. It was one of about a dozen or so images that I entered this time, out of which three were shortlisted and the winning one was selected. I like the image’s textural simplicity and relative emptiness. The minimalist composition with the simple motif and the quiet, analogous pastel palette work for me too. Finally, its scale is indeterminate – the double S-curve of sand forms could be two metres long or 2000. In reality it was about 20 metres. East Head sits at the mouth of Chichester Channel, at the north-western end of West Wittering beach. A decent tidal movement creates constantly shifting sand patterns and tidal pools on the extensive beach. A Tuesday evening in early October guaranteed a mostly

A decent tidal movement creates constantly shifting sand patterns and tidal pools

deserted location. The sun had set ten minutes before I shot this image – the soft pale light with its pastel hues casting the contours into subtle relief. I am blown away by the photos in the 2017 book and I am honoured beyond beyond to be represented in the publication. It’s humbling to be among them. When Charlie Waite phoned to break the news to me I only managed to blurt unintelligible gibberish for about two minutes. I was so flabbergasted, at one point I literally started telling him how to take minimalist pictures… I know, right. Me telling Charlie Waite how to compose using simplicity and exclusion! What a dork I must have sounded. When it finally sank in that I really won LPOTY 2017 I concluded that I should be referred to as El Poty. It’s a bit like El Presidente but way cooler, obviously.


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Landscape Photographer of the Year

Was this year’s entry up to the usual very high standard? Most certainly it was, although we have to define what the broad term of ‘standard’ means. There were, as there have been for the last 11 years, images that illustrate the ongoing commitment and dedication that so very many photographers put into their craft. It is the photographers who enter the award who are entirely responsible for creating the ‘usual high standard', for which we are extremely grateful.

Andrew Bulloch Young Landscape Photographer of the Year Image title Skatepark under the northern lights Location Musselburgh, Edinburgh Technical details Canon EOS 350D, 18-55m lens at 18mm. Expo15sec at f/5.6 and ISO 1600. Edited in Adobe Lightroom Contact instagram.com/hcollub

Above A striking juxtaposition of an urban structure and the aurora

I think that the standard in this year’s LPOTY is extremely high – the collection of all the shortlisted and winning images makes for a fabulous book. I particularly liked the ‘VisitBritain’ award-winning

© Rachael Talibart

Does LPOTY continue to go from strength to strength? I am delighted to say that I believe it does, both due to the fantastic support we receive, particularly from VisitBritain and Network Rail, and the photographers, whose passion produces work that continues to surprise and astonish. We are proud that, thanks to Network Rail, our exhibitions are some of the most accessible in the country. And we have to thank Great Britain & Northern Ireland, of course, for providing such wonderful and varied landscapes to photograph.

I thought that having the skatepark in the foreground would be a change from the mountain scenes that aurora photos usually feature. We didn't have any mountains nearby anyway! I only just caught it in time as the aurora faded very soon afterwards. My winning image is special to me because it was the first time I had seen the aurora borealis properly. As it is normally visible in more remote locations, seeing it from such an urban perspective was an unusual photographic opportunity. I like the way that the skatepark frames the northern lights and creates a dramatic contrast. This was the first time I had entered LPOTY althought I have entered some other competitions in Scotland before, for example the Scottish Nature Photography Awards, in which I have also had some success.

© Andrew Bulloch

Five minutes with Charlie Waite, LPOTY’s founder

Which image would you have most liked to have taken? Too difficult to choose. Every year, I am full of admiration for so very many images.

There seemed to be more successful shots taken by drones. Is this right? There are a few images in this year’s competition that have used drones but they were nonetheless very striking and excellently composed. Images made by drones were far from casually executed, they were considered and well thought through, which is why they won a place in the awards book and at the exhibition. However, they represented considerably less than 1% of overall submissions.

Above Sometimes excluding the obvious landmark, in this case the Seven Sisters cliffs, makes for an even more dramatic composition “I’ve only gone and won it” were my first words on discovering that I was the winner of the Network Rail Lines in the Landscape Award. It has given me great personal satisfaction that my image appears alongside the diverse collection of stunning British landscapes that make up this year’s LPOTY exhibition and book. This is the third year in a row I have entered the competition and each time I have been so fortunate to see at least one of my images accepted. I was really pleased that my advanced planning and preparation paid off in capturing the winning image. I had been looking to extend a trip to Wales and came across Barmouth as a possible destination. Looking at some images online, I loved the potential offered by the railway bridge and booked a holiday

This was taken on a trip to meet up with fellow members of photography collective, Parhelion. When we walked onto the beach, the sunshine was harsh but as evening approached the light kept improving. Wanting a simple foreground as a foil for the dramatic sky, I composed to exclude the beach and waited for an isolated wave. I’ve entered LPOTY many times and last year was lucky enough to win the Sunday Times Magazine’s award, and three of my pictures were included in Portfolio 10 (2016). It’s an honour this year to have two more of my images recognised in a competition that has such a high standard of entries overall. It has become established as one of the premier landscape photography competitions in the world and for me, as a professional photographer, the exposure that comes with LPOTY success is invaluable, generating print sales and workshop bookings. With my photography, I don’t try to document specific places. I am more interested in trying to evoke emotion, to convey a mood or atmosphere, so I often exclude well-known landmarks from my

Jon Martin Network Rail Lines in the Landscape Award – Winner Image title The 0.52 from Barmouth Location Barmouth, Gwynedd Technical details Canon EOS 5DS R with 100400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens at 400mm; 1/80sec and f/5.6 at ISO 100. Processed in Adobe Photoshop Contact jonmartin.co.uk apartment very close to it. Using an Ordnance Survey map, I identified a number of locations from which to photograph the bridge. The high viewpoint used in this image was actually the last one on the list.

that if I am to stand any chance of success in next year’s LPOTY competition, I will have to continue to improve my photographic skills and capture some truly outstanding shots.

Rachael Talibart Classic View and Lee Filters prize – Winner Image title Fire Within Location Birling Gap, East Sussex Technical details Canon EOS 5DS R with 24-70mm on a tripod; 0.6sec and f/11 at ISO 100. Processed in Adobe Lightroom Contact rachaeltalibart.com compositions. Fire Within was created at Birling Gap, best known for its view of the Seven Sisters cliffs. I chose to exclude the cliffs to simplify the image and avoid distracting the viewer from the drama of that amazing sky. I will continue to create images that please me and if I think any of them stand a chance of success in LPOTY, I may enter them next year, but I absolutely won’t change what I do or try to second guess what the judges might like.

© Jon Martin

This year’s overall winner, Benjamin Graham’s image, breaks a few so-called rules – no focal point, horizon running through the middle – so what stands out to make this an exceptional image? Breaking a ‘rule’ (set by who knows) does not mean that a photograph ceases to be of a very high standard or to awaken much in the minds of the viewer. A 50/50 bisecting horizon did not mean that the winning image was lacking. On the contrary, its overwhelming sense of peace and solitude reached into my core and, as with so much good photography, once human emotion is positively activated, a favourable response follows.

shot from the canoe on Loch Garten, especially since I have a canoe and have paddled in the area myself! I am definitely planning to enter again next year. The calibre of this year’s entries has taught me

Above Advance planning was the key to capturing this successful shot I arrived at the hillside location one evening and liked that the natural curves in the sand were positioned above the straight lines of the man-made bridge. The scene also shows the difficulty involved

in constructing a 764-yard bridge across the challenging terrain of the Mawddach Estuary. Some early morning light was clearly needed, so I returned the next day and waited for the first train.


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Landscape Photographer of the Year Paul Fowles

© Paul Fowles

The Caban Coch Dam is one of six dams located in the Elan Valley in Mid Wales. After storm Doris in early 2017, the dam was in full flood and resembling a natural waterfall. The site of the dam in this state is quite spectacular. However, I couldn’t make an image I liked as there was no sense of scale. The lady in the photograph is my wife who ‘volunteered’ to stand on the bridge in front of the raging torrent so that I could get this shot. The original photograph showed much more of the Caban Coch Dam and valley beyond. But in post-editing I decided to crop the image to give some empty space and draw the eye to the person on the bridge rather than the surrounding area. LPOTY 2017 is the first photographic competition that I’ve entered, and only because of a promise I made to myself two years earlier after attending a Charlie Waite talk in Colwyn Bay. One statement he made hit a chord; it was to pick a single point in the image to attract the viewers’ attention. A simple statement which has changed the way

Living the View – Winner Image title Alone against the torrent Location Elan Valley, Mid Wales Technical details Nikon D800E with Sigma 150-600mm lens at180mm. 1/125 sec and f/8 and ISO 100. Processed in Adobe Lightroom, Google Nik Plug-in. Adobe Photoshop Contact paulfowles.com I’ve viewed my photography ever since. If you can pick a single point of interest and make a story that the viewer can add to in their own imagination, then I think you’ve created a good image. The photograph that was successful in this year’s LPOTY was, for me, the first image that I felt ‘I’ve got it, this is my style’.

© Robert France

Above The technique of painting with light brings life to this night-time scene

Above The tiny figure adds scale as well as creating a story within the landscape

My image of Ribblehead viaduct was taken after I purchased a torch with the intention of lighting part of the viaduct when the Northern Belle dining train was due to stop for a firework display at the beginning of November. Unfortunately, the train got cancelled. However, I set about experimenting with light painting and this was taken one evening when I went to Ribblehead after work; the picture was timed to coincide with the last train of the day crossing the viaduct. I have never seen an image of something as big as Ribblehead illuminated like this before, so it was very satisfying to create something of a unique image, and something different from anything I have attempted before. I set the camera for a six-minute exposure, delayed by three minutes to give me time to walk to the north end of the structure before the shutter opened. I leant through a gap in the wall and ran the torch back and forth along the length of the viaduct for the duration of the exposure, apart from a brief break while

© Mark Cornick

Mark Cornick Fujifilm Print prize – Winner Image title Architectural detail Location London Technical details Canon EOS 6D with 135mm lens. 1/200sec, f/8, ISO 320. Converted to black & white in Adobe Lightroom Contact markcornickphotography.co.uk I have not seen many other images shot at the same location as my image which, when shooting in London, is hard to achieve and is why I think I like it. For someone who loves to photograph abstract architectural images, this building was a gem. I knew when I saw the location that I could create an interesting image – and to find that others also think it is successful is a great feeling. The building I came across by accident when on a photowalk in the Euston area. The building is located on Howland Street and is part of the UCL campus. I was instantly drawn to its curves and architectural style and knew it would be perfect as part of my Abstract Architectural Details project. This project uses a 135mm focal length to isolate

Robert France Network Rail Lines in the Landscape Award – Highly Commended Image title Painted with Light Location Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire Technical details Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 16-35mm f/4 L IS at 20mm; 360sec at f/5.6 and ISO 400. Edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Elements 15 Contact flickr.com/photos/rf100 a train crossed so as not to risk distracting the driver. This was my second attempt; the light beam loses intensity at the far end, so the south end had to have twice as much time spent on it as the closer north end.

See the winning images The Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards are held in association with VisitBritain and the GREAT Britain campaign. Winning entries will be displayed on the Balcony of London Waterloo station from 20 November 2017 until 4 February 2018, followed by a nationwide tour of selected Network Rail stations. The Awards book, Landscape Photographer of the Year: Collection 11 (AA Publishing) is available now take-a-view.co.uk

Above Strong lines and contrasting light and shadow add depth to this abstract details of the buildings’ character and style, rather than presenting a wide-angle view. I’ve been aware of the competition for a number of years but this is the first year that I felt I have had images worthy of entering, so to have first-time success is pretty fantastic. Receiving congratulation emails really is one of those special moments for any

photographer. When I got the shortlist email I was shocked enough, but to read that my image was to be in the awards book, exhibited at Waterloo, and to be actual winner of the Fujifilm Prize, it’s up there as my proudest achievement in photography. I must have read that email three or four times to make sure they had contacted the right person!


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Interview

Moonshots

Science journalist, space historian and author Piers Bizony collated over 200 out-of-this-world images, captured on Hasselblad cameras and ultimately combining to produce this stunning book celebrating 50 years of NASA space exploration Words by Jemma Dodd Can you tell us about your background and how you became involved in the world of science? My interest stemmed from my frustration in doing a physics ‘O’ level at school. One day I asked the teacher about light rays versus light waves: which was the ‘real’ explanation for light’s behaviour?, I wanted to know. The teacher looked nervous and said, “Well, umm, you need to know both theories if you’re going to pass your exams.” At that point, I knew that there was something missing from the school lessons, and I would have to find out more for myself. The ‘answer’, of course, turned out to be the greatest riddle in physics – how do you reconcile the wavy behaviour of matter and energy with its particle behaviour? Welcome to quantum physics! But my maths is very poor, so I had to delve more into science by becoming a science writer rather than an actual scientist. Along the way, you get to see the shape of some of the maths, even if the equations are still a bit tricky. What motivated you to produce Moonshots: 50 Years of NASA Space Exploration Seen through Hasselblad Cameras? It’s easy to say that ‘everything’s online now,’ but in fact the online world is fantastically fragile and shifty. Resources that were available a year ago suddenly vanish. Books on the other hand are amazingly long-lasting. I thought it was worth revisiting the Apollo photographs on paper, because

the electronic versions may not be there for much longer. Also, everyone trawls the web on tablets and mobile devices these days, but the Apollo photos were taken on the best handholdable cameras available in the 1960s, and it seems a great pity not to show the images large-format. How long did it take to collate all of the images and produce the text? Strangely enough, there is no single, unified resource or archive for getting hold of all the Apollo photos in a form appropriate for publication. It took a couple of years of research, and it also became apparent that external archivists with only very loose connections to NASA have often done the best work in terms of cataloguing and scanning certain images. NASA itself struggles with the expense of maintaining its archives, because it’s trying to focus on the future more than on its past. Also, modern concerns about security mean that many NASA resources that used to be easily reachable are harder to get hold of now. For this reason, external historians and space enthusiasts are essential in keeping NASA’s history alive, because they have been carefully archiving old materials for years and even decades. What is it about space that interests you? Quite simply, the romance. I can’t remember who said it, but a historian was talking about ancient Egypt. They said that Egyptian life consisted almost entirely of paying bills, having children, worrying about toothache, and all the hundreds

Above Neil Armstrong was the first man to step onto the lunar surface, but most of the famous Apollo 11 images are of Buzz Aldrin, photographed here by Armstrong as he descends the LM (Lunar Module) ladder and begins to work of other things that dominate our everyday lives. So why do we remember and celebrate the ancient Egyptians so much? Because of the art that they left behind. Basically, it is the things that a human civilisation does that are not essential for survival that truly make it into a civilisation. Space flight falls into that category. It’s a pointless gesture of artistic and technological curiosity, and it proves that we have our gaze set on more than ‘just’ survival alone. As long as we can still fly into space, all on earth is not lost. But look at the US today. The fact that they can no longer fly their own astronauts coincides with what appears to be a loss of confidence in that nation as a whole. Space flight is like the peacock’s fine tail. He doesn’t need it to survive, but the elaborately decorated feathers prove that he is in fine shape. If the feathers get stunted, we know he is ill. It’s no accident that the young students of once-poor countries such as China and India are flocking to work in their new space industries. It's a sign that those countries’ ‘peacock tails’ are growing well.

Above Rusty Schweickart, wearing a Portable Life Support System (PLSS) backpack, explores the exterior of Apollo 9’s LM (Lunar Module)

Of course you are aware of the conspiracy theorists who say man never landed on the moon – have you any thoughts about these people/conspiracies? They seem to have gone a bit quieter now that a new generation of robotic lunar orbiters has actually managed to photograph the old Apollo landing sites. I can’t pretend that Moonshots is for the conspiracy theorists. No logical argument will ever persuade them of the truth. All that stuff about multiple light sources and the wrong vanishing points in the lunar photos simply betrays a lack of proper understanding about lenses and photography. The radiation hazard problem, too, is completely misunderstood, because that area requires an understanding of statistics and cancer analyses applied to astronauts’ entire lifetimes, and then compared to background population statistics, and so on. It’s not just about the few days of a lunar flight, and so on. My favourite conspiracy argument is, ‘how come all those photos came out so suspiciously perfect?’. For Moonshots we went through thousands of frames, trying to isolate the relatively few that really were good enough to


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Interview

publish. Taking pictures on the moon, while busy on science, and wearing heavy spacesuits, was hard work, and not at all a perfect process. What did you find the most difficult aspect in producing the book? Persuading the publishing industry to risk a big colour book on space is never easy. I am profoundly grateful that The Quarto Group was prepared to take the risk. After all, it’s their money that was spent on printing, not mine. We get so used to thinking that we ‘know’ all the Apollo images, but it is worthwhile, every couple of decades, to reintroduce new audiences to them, and impress people, once again, with the stunning reality of that epic achievement of flying to the moon.

Above Gene Cernan, last man on the moon, posing by the U.S. flag. The LRV’s (Lunar Roving Vehicle) communications antenna is visible on the right Below An interior view of Gemini IV, from which Edward White made the historic first U.S. spacewalk on 3 June, 1965. It is now on display at the Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C.

time away, and there is still so much to discover there. And if anything goes wrong on a moon base, help is not far away. Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? If you could go to space, would you? I would go into earth orbit without a shadow of a doubt. I might like a visit to the moon, too. But Mars? Forget it! It’s too far away, and I would miss the earth.

Buy the book

Which picture is your personal favourite from the book? I think Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, in a better ‘man on the moon’ photo than the more famous one of Buzz Aldrin from Apollo 11. (Picture above.) What is your favourite space movie? Need you ask? 2001: A Space Odyssey... Still thought-provoking, and visually almost flawless even after half a century. Have you any thoughts on future manned space exploration? Yes. Mars is for a future generation, but we can go back to the moon any time we like, because it’s only three day’s flight

Moonshots by Piers Bizony. Published by Voyageur Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£60). Out now.


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Advertisement feature © Lindsay Adler

Running the show John Sandsjö is the man in charge of the Profoto Academy, and we asked him to explain a little more about its background Tell us a little about the ethos of the Academy It all began when Profoto approached Chalmers Schools of Entrepreneurship, a business and engineering Master degree programme that’s researching innovation and new business creation. I was studying there at the time and became project leader. Can you tell us a little about how you came to select the four photographers who are delivering courses? We wanted to start out with photographers who are good educators, with experience in the field of communicating their craft and art. Then we wanted to choose themes that were popular, and we wanted photographers with a good following within these themes to reach out with our education. Tell us a little more about the Profoto certification. The on-line learning world can be challenging to navigate because of the vast quantity of courses out there, but with the certification we created a start and end for everybody who wants to learn. You start with three or four courses all designed to be actionable, and then it’s time for the photo challenge where you create your own original image. Lastly you send it in to us for feedback and approval for your chance to become a Certified Image Creator. What kind of personal feedback do delegates get? The personal feedback consists of a theoretical framework and personal written feedback. In the framework we score the image based on ten pre-set parameters, which are divided into three headlines: Creativity, Light Shaping and Technical Quality. We also provide the reasoning behind the score as well as highlight what is good and the things that can be improved.

Image Profoto A1

Lessons in light As the name behind some of the best lighting products on the market, it’s appropriate that Profoto has founded an academy which has at its heart a desire to teach lighting techniques to the next generation Light is the essence of every great image and for the past 50 years Profoto products have played a key role in enabling a wide selection of the world’s most renowned photographers to create some truly iconic images. In many ways, then, it was only appropriate that the company should launch a series of high-profile photography courses with the focus on how to create and use light and shape it creatively.

Welcome to the Profoto Academy, which is offering a series of online video courses that are designed to educate and inspire photographers. Participants get to choose a course series from one of three fields that are currently offered – Fashion, Portraits and Weddings (more are set to join the line up shortly). But the Academy isn’t just a collection of online videos, rather, it’s a journey

that culminates in a prestigious Profoto certification. It works like this: as the participant watches they also interact with the content through a series of quizzes relating to what they’ve seen. Then, at the end of the course, a photo assignment is set where the individual will be expected to apply everything they’ve learned. Participants submit their image and receive personal feedback from a course

instructor before finally becoming a Certified Image Creator. Ultimately, Profoto Academy is about playing a role in shaping the next generation of photographers, providing those who participate with the right tools, a comprehensive understanding of light and how to shape it, and the confidence to take their creativity to new heights. profoto.com/academy


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Advertisement feature

Sharing expertise

How did you come to be involved in the academy? I was speaking on the Profoto stand at the Photography Show last March about changing backgrounds for corporate headshots using high speed sync with the B1 offcamera flash. Some of the team from Sweden were visiting and, unbeknown to me at the time, they felt that I could be a good addition to the Profoto Academy. What is the content of the videos that you’re presenting My course is all based around creating professional looking portraits for a variety of clients. I felt that if we could create learning based around real shoots, it may inspire people to get straight out there and put this into practice for their own customers. My clients were obviously in agreement to be filmed and it’s nice to see them using the imagery created in the course for their own promotion.

© Hannah Couzens

Hannah Couzens is one of those that has been signed up to deliver a course for the new Profoto Academy. We caught up with her to find out more about her session on Professional Portraits. Tell us how the elements of your course build up We begin by creating natural looking portraits with flash using light bouncing techniques and balancing with ambient light. We then progress to two lights and working to create different looks in a short time. Finally, we move on to three lights for a stylised shoot and break down what each light is doing and explain why it’s there. To round off, we finish by shooting at night and explore dragging the shutter whilst using flash for balanced, effective results. What do you think is the key value of training such as this? The course is designed to be progressive so viewers can establish one technique then look at ways to enhance their portraits. The beauty of video is that if you don’t absorb all of the learning in one viewing, you can re-watch as many times as required until you feel confident to put these techniques into practice.

Image Hannah Couzens shows you how to achieve professional looking portraits with Profoto lighting kit

© Sandy Puc

Alongside Hannah’s course, the Profoto Academy is offering: Fashion Photography with Lindsay Adler Lindsay is a top fashion photographer and in this series Lindsay demonstrates how to master studio lighting with some simple but effective techniques. This series is divided into three units: 1. Up close and personal – Beauty lighting 2. Add colour to your palette – Shape light in colour 3. From blur to bokeh – Creative fashion lighting

Family Portraits with Sandy Puc An internationally acclaimed portrait artist, Sandy Puc is also an experienced educator on many US speaking engagements and international tours. On this course she’ll be explaining how you can stay fresh and relevant through the years by updating family portraits and creating seasonal themes. This series is divided into four units: 1. Capturing the early years – Baby photography 2. Tweens to teens – On location portraiture 3. It’s all in the family – Group portraiture 4. The magic of childhood – Studio portraiture

Wedding Photography with Yervant Yervant is an experienced speaker at educational workshops around the world. He’ll be showing how to shoot fast and adapt your gear, lighting, camera settings and mood to the situation. Delegates can also discover how to mix ambient light and flash in creative and fun ways. This series is divided into three units: 1. Bridal preparation – Beauty and street photography 2. The classics and beyond – Couple portraits 3. Unique locations for a classic look – Environmental portraits


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Technique Through the paces

Get more from your flash

Lighting academy

Professional lighting set-ups and advanced techniques are well within the reach of the enthusiast photographer and you are only limited by your imagination. Here, we have a play with three Pixapro portable flash units

Images Using the Li-ION speedlight and PIKA200, the first shot (top) was balanced. Experimenting with the lights at various settings gave interesting and varied results I started with a two-head set-up: the PIKA200 fitted with a 48cm octagonal softbox to the left of the camera; and the unmodified Li-ION 360 to the right. Like many speedlights the Li-ION 360 has a zoom head, and to start with this was set to give light to cover a 50mm lens. The zoom, by the way, can’t be controlled remotely. I had both units in TTL mode and output set to zero, to let the hardware do the heavy lifting in terms of delivering a correct exposure. Not taking a flash meter reading did seem strange at first because that is my standard way of working, but many photographers prefer to test by taking a few shots and that is fine by me. With the camera set to ISO 200 and fitted with a 50mm lens set to f/5.6, I took a couple of test shots and checked the pictorial effect as well as exposure. The first shot was quite balanced, as you might expect. The speedlight, not fitted with any modifiers, gave a more defined light (as you can see from the hair shadows) with the PIKA200 with softbox filling in the shadows. I thought I’d make more use of the speedlight and make it my main light with the aim of using contrast for a strong effect. Using the PRO ST-III transmitter, I set the speedlight to +1. That gave stronger shadows, but the overall effect was still quite flat. Also the light seemed stronger on Em’s shoulder than it should have been, so a slight realignment of the flash was needed to correct that. To increase contrast I dropped the output from the PIKA200 that was acting as a fill light. The net result was to make the speedlight more dominant, which was the plan. For the final shot in this sequence, the speedlight’s zoom was set to 135mm to give a more intense beam of light – and more the selective lighting effect I was after.

Words & pictures by Will Cheung Wireless lighting control is very much a good thing. Trailing sync cables used to be a pain and a potential trip hazard, but now you can exercise control without having to move from behind the camera. The latest triggers use radio signals, too, so your lights can be tens of metres (or further) from the camera, placed around the corner or on the other side of a wall – no need to worry about line of sight as you had to with infrared triggers. This month’s Lighting Academy was shot with three battery powered Pixapro lighting units controlled with its PRO ST-III 2.4Ghz transmitter, a unit that costs £44.99 available for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus and Sony. (Features vary according to the brand.)

Images Trip hazards and clutter can be things of the past with wireless lighting control. Triggering with radio signals means lights can be activated from around corners or even on the other side of a wall, giving you far more flexibility and control

The very good thing from my perspective is that the transmitter is user-friendly. Setting mode, or switching a particular group, is easy due to its fine-tuning output – in manual you can fine-tune output in 0.3EV stops in the range from full power to 1/128th power, and in TTL you can adjust flash compensation to +/3EV in 0.3EV. The thing to note here is that the three light sources are quite different in their proposition, but can be successfully mixed together thanks to Pixapro’s Ecosystem to give you any number of creative options using the same transmitter. The Li-ION580 MKII TTL is a speedlight so primarily designed for on-camera use, although here we mounted it on a hotshoe bracket and fixed it into a lighting stand. Moving up the power scale is the PIKA200 with an output of 200Ws. This recently


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Technique Remote control

End light For this three-light shoot, the Pixapro CITI600 was fitted with a large, round softbox and this was positioned to the right of the bath. To the left was the PIKA200 with octagonal softbox, and the Li-ION360 speedlight aimed from the top of the bath gave Em’s hair some light. I was at the foot of the

Left side light bath on a stepladder and used a 24-120mm zoom set to 40mm on a Nikon D810 for the capture. By using the wireless control skills of the PRO ST-III, I could fire each light in turn without having to get down from the stepladder. With the transmitter, I could choose which flash to

Right side light fire, deactivating the other two so I could see the effect of each on its own. I left each unit in TTL metering mode for the time being, knowing there would be finetuning to be done once all three lights were firing. In fact, the only light that needed tinkering with was the speedlight at the head

Controlling shadows

end of the bath. At the default exposure it pumped out far too much light, thus burning out Em’s hair and also catching the top of her right leg. It needed turning down, and after a couple of tests I settled on two for the speedlight and left the other two lights set at zero.

The kit we used

Two heads are currently available and the unit can be directly attached to a lighting stand and modifier fitted, or it can be mounted in an optional bracket introduced light is unusual in that it’s modular, so the flash-head can be swapped; while not much larger than a top-end speedlight it is not designed for on-camera use. Two heads are currently available and the unit can be directly attached to a lighting stand and a modifier fitted, or it can mounted in an optional bracket that accepts S-bayonet modifiers. The third Pixapro head used is a CITI600 TTL. This looks like a typical studio flash unit but in this case it’s battery powered, and with 600Ws at your disposal offers plenty of power and shooting capacity when needed. The CITI has some interesting features, too. For example, if you need to get a light high, a remote head is available for £59.99 or you can get a 1200Ws head for £220, if you have two CITI600 heads to power it. All three units in this instance were used in TTL mode, controlled by the PRO ST-III trigger that was fitted onto a Nikon D850. The shoot took place at Natural Light Spaces (naturallightspaces.co.uk) based in Weedon Bec near Northampton. There are two studios available for hire and you can use natural windowlight, the supplied flash or continuous light units. Our model, Em Theresa, is an aerialist as well as part-owner of the studio (emtheresamodel.com).

Images End light: A Li-ION 360 Mk II on a stand was placed far end of the bath at Em’s head height. No modifier was used. Left side light: This was a PIKA200 fitted with 48cm octagonal softbox. Right side light: On a robust stand was mounted a CITI600 with 120cm octagonal softbox. This gave a big, soft light. The three lights were used in TTL mode and output modified after various test shots using the PRO ST-III radio transmitter. Being perched up a stepladder, the wireless control certainly made life much more convenient for this shot.

Essential Photo is a leading specialist in marketing studio equipment to the photographic, film and video industries. Pixapro is its lighting brand and a full range of competitively priced products is available, from speedlights and portable flash through to mains heads and generators. essentialphoto.co.uk

I wanted an even lighting effect, with shadows not playing too much of a part in the shot. I had the PIKA200 with octagonal softbox positioned camera left, while the CITI600 fitted with a stripbox was right of the camera position. The shot was taken on a Nikon D850 with an 85mm f/1.8 lens set to f/5.6. With both units set to 0 and TTL still being used, I took a few steps back to get the whole scene in shot so I could see what the lights were doing. This showed that the CITI600 and stripbox were the senior partners here, as it was this light producing the shadow on the wall (image left). Using the PRO ST-III transmitter I increased the output of the PIKA200 on the left to +1 to fill the shadow (image above). The extra light had the added benefit of giving Em’s flesh tones a lift and revealed more detail in the costume, too.

Above The Pixapro Li-ION580II (above left) is a top spec speedlight, while the CITI600 (above top)i s a full-size monobloc. The innovative PIKA200 (above) offers power and versatility.

Next month: On the move with the latest portable lighting kit


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Advertisement feature Why go for second-hand?

The price is right There was a time when technology was racing ahead so quickly that cameras would quickly became obsolete, but now some serious bargains are available from second-hand specialists such as MPB The second-hand market for gear has been around for virtually as long as photography itself and, thanks to the growth of the online market, this sector is currently more vibrant than ever. However, although the competitive prices bandied about in some quarters sound appealing, the process of buying and selling kit can be a risky business. If dealing privately you constantly have to be on the lookout for scammers, while there’s no guarantee that the gear you buy will be in the condition that’s described, nor is there usually any comeback should it break down. But it doesn’t have to be like this. Back in 2008 Matt Barker, then in the middle of his university studies, was buying and selling lenses in his spare time to make some money. Exposed to all of the pros and cons that came with the territory he saw the need for a system that was more fit for modern purpose and came up with the concept for MPB, which

started trading in Europe that year. A New York office followed in 2016 and a German one this year. The business is going from strength to strength as increasing numbers of photographers see the advantage of dealing in a risk-free second-hand environment. Risk-free USP MPB’s motto is ‘Forget New: Go Like New’, and the concept is simple. Buyers have a full range of gear choices – from DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and medium-format models from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Olympus, Leica and Hasselblad through to movie cameras from RED, Canon and Blackmagic. It’s all here and often in immaculate condition. In addition, there is a huge range of accessories in stock, including MPB’s ownbrand range of affordable memory cards, filters, bags and tripods. Every product is listed on the site with a condition rating – anything from heavily

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The rush towards digital happened at such breakneck speed that there was a period when products were becoming obsolete the moment that the replacement model had been announced. A 1.3-megapixel camera with a tiny LCD and a voracious appetite for batteries, anyone? However, the market reached a level of maturity some time ago, and these days there is some amazing kit available for a fraction of its original price. While the gear you acquire might, perhaps, not be quite as cutting edge as the very latest model, much of it will still be capable of a stellar performance, and it’s giving photographers and filmmakers the chance to get their hands on equipment that they could once have only dreamed about. At the lower end of the scale, for example, how about a Canon EOS 40D DSLR with a 10-megapixel sensor that provides a gateway to a positive treasure trove of EF lenses? A decent model in full working order is on the MPB website for less than £100, and it could be the perfect camera for someone just developing an interest in photography. A little further up the food chain, what about a full-frame Nikon D800, described as being in ‘excellent condition’, for sub-£1000, with a ‘well used’ example a mere £669? MPB makes a point of being totally honest in its product descriptions, and you can take your pick depending on how far your budget will spread. You can even find the number of actuations listed, so you know exactly how well used your purchase has been, and there are no unpleasant surprises. It’s not just DSLRs and CSCs on sale either – MPB offers a wide range of second-hand lenses, flashguns, action cams, video cameras (there’s even a couple of Blackmagic Ursas listed) and accessories. For kit lovers, the site is the photo equivalent of the most delightful sweetshop imaginable. Best of all, you’re buying and selling with none of the risk associated with some rival outlets, and you’re dealing with people genuinely immersed in photography. Go take a browse, but be warned: to look is to be tempted!


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Camera test

Fujifilm X-E3 The launch of the X-E3 rounds off a busy 2017 for Fujifilm and this latest model offers an impressive specification and shares key headline features with the rest of the X-series family

The Fn, AE-L and AF-L buttons have 36 choices each, so there is considerable potential for user customisation

Price £849 body only, £1149 with XF23mm f/2, £1249 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 Sensor X-Trans CMOS III 24.3-megapixels Sensor format APS-C, 23.5x15.6mm, 6000x4000 pixels ISO range 200-12,800 expansion to ISO 10051,200 Shutter range Mechanical shutter 15min to 1/4000sec in manual (T setting) or shutter priority; electronic shutter 15min to 1/32,000sec in manual (T setting). Bulb up to 60min with mechanical shutter. Flash sync 1/180sec

Words and images by Will Cheung

Looking at the Fujifilm X-series lineup, the perception might be that the X-E3 is a pared down version of the top-end X-Pro2 in the same way that the X-T20 is like a junior X-T2. There is some truth to this but the reality is that all four cameras have their own unique salient points and different characters too. Of course, there are familial similarities – in looks, handling, and most notably in performance – because they all share the same highly regarded Fujifilm 24.3-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor, working in conjunction with the X-Pro image processor. Leaving the sensor aside for now, the X-E3 is an EVF/monitor rangefinder-style camera with a fixed 3in touchscreen and a compact body, priced at £849 body only. Two with-lens options are also offered: with the XF23mm f/2 for £1149 and £1249 with the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 standard zoom. Fujifilm makes a lot of the X-E3’s size and it is true that it is significantly smaller than the X-Pro2/X-T2 and, with the 23mm f/2, makes for a neat package. I also tried it with the 18mm f/2 (among other lenses) and that combination was really compact. The camera’s layout is clean with plenty of direct access buttons. The top-plate is typically Fujifilm with a couple of large dials, a shutter speed/mode dial and an exposure compensation dial. There is also an AUTO setting. This is the perfect setting for the inexperienced user. It sets auto ISO, touchscreen release, a 7x7 AF focusing grid and JPEG only shooting, among other items. Take it off the A setting and you have full user control. While the top-plate has a familiar look, have a look at the back-plate and see how long it takes until you spot the big change. Gone is the four-way

Specs

Drive modes Up to 14fps electronic shutter only, 8fps mechanical shutter Metering system 256-zone, multi-mode, spot, average, centre-weighted Exposure modes PASM, Advanced SR Auto Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV steps, AEB 2/3/5/7/9 frames in 0.3EV, +/-3EV steps Monitor 3in touchscreen, 1040k dots. Shoot modes are touch AF, focus area, off Viewfinder 2360k dot EV, shows 100% view Focusing Single, continuous, manual Focus points 91 points in 13x7 grid, 325 (in 13x25 grid) selectable in single AF point mode. Single point AF, zone AF 3x3, 5x5, 7x7. Wide/Tracking AF (up to 18 area), All mode. Face and eye detect Video 4K 3840x2160, Full HD

controller and instead is a thumb lever – this is used for moving the AF point around the screen as well as for navigating and selecting menu items. You also have the touchscreen that, in a way, is a substitute for the fourway controller. In playback there is the usual swipe and pinch finger strokes to navigate through pictures or to zoom into images but in normal shooting you can use it to set ISO, change film simulation mode or turn on Bluetooth by swiping, up, down, left or right. I only had two active – up for ISO and down for white-balance and that was mostly because I didn’t feel my memory would cope with more. Each swipe direction has 32 options, including off. By the way the Fn, AE-L and AF-L buttons have 36 choices each, so there is considerable potential for user customisation The long and the short of it is that I didn’t miss the four-way controller at all and much preferred having the thumb lever to move the AF point around. It is quicker and also meant that I didn’t have to change my righthand grip to use it. Pushing down on the thumb lever takes you into the focus zone size change mode. On the X-E3 (and the latest firmware on other X-series cameras), if you set ‘All’ in the AF mode menu, you can with one push choose one of six sizes in single zone

AF mode, but you can then scroll straight through to the zone (3x3, 5x5, 7x7 points) options and into Wide/ Tracking without having to go into the menu. This is a neat, really useful feature and I used it lots. In terms of AF zones, 91 in a 13x7 grid is offered or in a single AF zone there is the option of 325 points in a 13x25 grid – the amount of the frame covered by the 91 or 325 AF points is the same and all that alters is the point density. In Zone AF and Wide/ Tracking settings there is the 91 points option only. The X-E3’s autofocus skills rate highly, in particular its single shot mode, with the camera locking on quickly and quietly. I used a selection of lenses – the 23mm f/2, 18mm f/2, 18-55mm f/2.8-4, 10-24mm f/4 and 55-200mm f/4-5.6. Continuous AF could be very good or less certain depending on the situation. Oncoming fast-moving traffic on the local motorway on a bright day was handled competently and shooting at 8fps accurate AF tracking with a 55-200mm zoom was pretty good; on the other hand, a toddler who has just discovered his legs, in a brightly lit living room, was handled less well with continuous AF and even with the 23mm there were focus failures. The touchscreen comes into play with the AF system in live view mode

Above The X-E3 has the top-plate profile and left-sided viewfinder eyepiece of a classic rangefinder camera (like the X-Pro2) rather than the more DSLR look of the X-T2/X-T20. It is being sold in lens kits, either with the 23mm f/2 or the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 standard zoom. Below Gone is the four pad control cluster and instead you get a focus lever and touchscreen custom functions. It is a very good swap.

Connectivity Bluetooth, Wifi, USB 2.0 micro, HDMI type D Other key features Film Simulation modes (15 options), grain effect, advanced filters (toy camera, miniature and so on), onboard Raw conversion, geo-tagging, multi-exposure Storage media 1x SD Dimensions (wxhxd) 121.3x73.9x42.7mm Weight 337g body with battery Contact Fujifilm.eu


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Camera test Performance: ISO This low light scene was shot with the X-E3 fitted with the 23mm f/2 lens and tripod mounted. The base exposure was 1sec at f/5.6 and ISO 100. The in-camera noise reduction was set to zero and the Raws processed in Lightroom CC with default noise reduction set. Shoot at ISOs of 800 and under and you are guaranteed images packed with detail, with deep blacks and sparkling highlights and free of digital noise. By ISO 1600 faint signs of noise appear

but even this speed is still capable of excellent image quality and big enlargements. Digital noise is more evident at ISO 3200, especially in the shadows, but detail remains crisply clear and the noise itself is neutral, and filmic it still looks good. Many cameras don’t make it to ISO 3200 with low noise pictures and even fewer get to ISO 6400 without really obtrusive noise, but the X-E3 does. If the light is that bad, you

can set ISO 6400 on the X-E3 safe in the knowledge that image quality is still high even though noise is clearly visible in the shadows. Images have plenty of crisp detail, blacks remain solid and saturation still rates as good. By the time you get to ISO 12,800, the level of noise is much higher and the obvious grain effect populates the highlights as well as the shadows, but it’s still a decent showing for such a high sensitivity.

ISO 200

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 25,600

ISO 51,200

Original image

Above images The X-E3 shares the same sensor and image processor as other X-series cameras so we expected, and got, high image quality even at very fast ISO speeds.

too. You can use it to shoot, just focus or to select AF point – in the latter case, you can’t use the touchscreen to choose AF point while the eye is up to the EVF. You just have to rely on the focus lever for this. I tried the X-E3 for some street shooting with an 18-55mm and the 18mm. Touch AF proved very useful – even with a fixed monitor – while shooting from the hip with Wide/Tracking mode and face detect selected also worked well. By its nature, this form of shooting is inevitably hit-and-miss but the X-E3’s success rate was pretty good. Generally, I thought the X-E3’s AF performed well in most situations and the many options help you to fine-tune the system to the situation. The X-E3 has good continuous shooting credentials without the need to select a boost mode (which isn’t available anyway) or a battery grip. With the mechanical shutter, top shooting rate is 8fps. When tested, using a Lexar 1000x microSD card and with Raw and Fine JPEG shooting selected, I got 9fps and a burst of 32 frames at that rate. The camera then slows down to about 1.5fps, and the buffer took about 25sec to clear.

I thought the X-E3’sAF performed well in most situations and the many options help you fine-tune the system to the situation

Set the electronic shutter, and you have the continuous shooting option of 11fps or 14fps. On test, I got 14fps –with the same parameters as before – for 24 frames before the camera slowed down to 5fps for a few frames before slowing down further. With Fine JPEG only set, I got 70 frames at the top shooting rate before slowing down to around 6fps. The X-E3 is not sold as a camera aimed at the action shooter, but despite that it’s pretty capable when it comes to continuous burst shooting. While all is well with the X-E3 I found a few minor detractions but these are not peculiar to this model and are present in other X-models. The low magnification of Raw previews so you have to shoot JPEGs too, the self-timer cancelling every time the camera is switched off and the menu not returning to the last used item. I’d also like the lock feature found on the X-T2. This lets you select key controls to take out of use and it’s very useful. One of Fujifilm’s famous firmware fixes to sort those would be wonderful and make the excellent X-E3 even better because it’s a very fine camera that is great to use and turns in top quality images too.


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Camera test Performance: exposure latitude Original image

Raw latitude was tested by a nineframe exposure bracket set with a 1EV gap between each shot. The X-E3 has a menu function to shoot autoexposure brackets of this range so this was used. In aperturepriority, the correct exposure for this scene was 1/100sec at f/10. The over- and underexposed shots were corrected in Lightroom Classic and exposure was the only item corrected during processing. I did the same test in different lighting situtions, too, from dull conditions to bright, sunny days. The X-E3’s Raws exhibited a good degree of exposure latitude. Severely underexposed shots can be recovered well with no resulting colour casts or tonal change. There is more noise on the _4EV and _3EV shots but it is finely patterned and

neutral and not offensive. Some work in post can reduce that. The resulting files taken at _2EV and _1EV look almost identical, with marginal gains in noise when compared with the correctly exposed image. With overexposure, no problem at all with the _1EV and +2EV Raws, and even the +3EV shot recovered very well. Very strong highlights in the +3EV shot can look slightly veiled so need more work in processing to ensure crisp whites – but it does depend on the scene. The +4EV shot can’t be recovered. In summary then, Raws from Fujifilm’s latest cameras have good exposure latitude qualities with plenty of potential for effective correction and contrast control when needed.

-4EV

-3EV

-2EV

-1EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

+4EV

Images Underexposed -4EV and -3EV Raws can be successfully recovered with some noise, while the -2EV and -1EV look the same as the correctly exposed shot. With overexposure +3EV is the limit.

Verdict Fujifilm’s X-series system has gained good traction in the camera market and for very good reasons: the system comprises great cameras that are photographer-friendly, capable of high performance, produce excellent pictures and are supported by a quality, ever-expanding lens system. The X-E3 is the latest in the line and while it is not perfect, priced at £849 body only, it makes a compelling proposition for those wanting a high-performing, compact mirrorless camera. Recommended. Features  23/25 Great sensor, touchscreen, customisation potential and capable AF system Performance  24/25 Accurate AF and exposures, fine high ISO performance

Images The X-E3 showed itself very capable of dealing with a wide range of lighting types Left Shot with the 50mm f/2 and an exposure of 1/200sec at f/2 at ISO 200 Above A tripodmounted X-E3 fitted with a 55-200mm lens was used for this. The exposure was 1/7sec at f/11 and ISO 200. Right Exposed for 4.3sec at f/11 and ISO 200 using the 55-200mm telezoom.

Handling 23/25 The focus lever is a lovely thing, touchscreen is a big plus too Value for money 24/25 Offers plenty of bang for your buck Overall 94/100 An impressive, high-spec, compact camera at a good price Pros Image quality, high ISO performance, focus lever, touchscreen Cons No lock menu item, continuous AF not so good


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


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Camera test Specs Price £629.99 body only Sensor Four Thirds Live MOS 16.1-megapixels Sensor format Micro Four Thirds 17x13mm, 12-bit Raw capture ISO range 100-25,600 Shutter range Mechanical 60sec to 1/4000sec, B up to 30min in menu. Electronic 30sec to 1/16,000sec Drive modes Continuous up to 8.6fps – 22 Raw frames in one burst Metering system 324 multi-pattern in ESP, spot, centre-weighted, highlight and shadow modes Exposure modes PASM, AEB, i-Auto, scene modes (25), art filter modes, multi exposure, AP (Advanced Photographer) Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV steps Monitor 3in tiltable touch LCD Viewfinder EVF with 2360k dots Focusing Contrast detect with manual single AF, continuous AF, single AF + MF, AF tracking, super spot AF Focus points 121 points, single zone, nine area group AF; 800 points in manual selection in magnified live mode Video 4K, Full HD, hybrid sensor shift IS mode, 4K time lapse, built-in flash Connectivity Wi-Fi, HDMI type D, USB 2.0 Other key features 4EV image stabiliser, supersonic wave sensor dust reduction filter Storage media 1x SD card Dimensions (wxhxd) 121.5x83.6x49.5mm Weight 410g body and battery Contact Olympus.co.uk

Olympus OM-D Never one to let grass grow under its feet, Olympus’ programme of product development continues apace and this model is an updated and gently tweaked version of the popular Mark II. So, are the changes worthwhile? Words and images by Will Cheung

When a camera is introduced that is a significant upgrade from its predecessor it usually gets a new name. When it is tweaked you get a Mark XX designation so it is indeed the case that the Olympus OMD EM10 Mark III is a small step forward rather than a giant leap. So what are the changes? There is a new image processor, a bleach bypass art filter, 4K video, an Advanced Photographer (AP) setting, some modified controls and that is about it. But this is not to belittle the tweaks because they are worthwhile unless you are an existing Mark II owner, in which case you are unlikely to feel the changes are worth upgrading for. That could have been very different had the sensor gained some pixels. A 20 or 24-megapixel offering would have changed the scenario completely but at 16-megapixels, while plenty enough for many, is behind the game. Maybe that’s what Olympus has up its sleeve for the next generation. Or maybe it expects anyone wanting more pixels to go the whole way and invest in the E-M1 Mark II – almost three times the price, at £1849.99 for body only. The Mark III shares the OM-D family look with large control dials, the familiar pentaprism bump and the contoured thumb grip. I really like the handling of the new camera. The enlarged area of the collar around the shutter release, for example, does give extra support to the forefinger, facilitating an even softer shutter release action. The

redesigned dials compared with the Mark II are a benefit too, being more positive to use. On the exposure mode dial there is the new position of AP. This is the Advanced Photographer setting where key creative features are made more accessible. So, if you want HDR, focus stacking or perspective correction they are all available under the AP banner. Those innovative Olympus settings Live Time and Live Composite are available here too, and a graphic illustrating what the mode is for makes these features accessible to less experienced users as well. I used the Mark III with the supplied motorised zoom kit lens and supplemented it with the 45mm f/1.8 and the 14-150mm f/4-5.6. The camera’s 121 AF points cover a large percentage of the image area. As usual, you can let the camera work with all those zones, with face detect on if you prefer, have an area of nine zones active or you can opt for a single zone. The nine and the single zone can be moved around the 121 grid with the four-way pad after you have made it active by pressing the left button of the pad, or you can have function button Fn 1 or 2 set to AF Area Select to make the AF zones active. The other AF option is to use the touchscreen and here you can use

On the exposure mode dial there is the new position of AP. This is the Advanced Photographer setting

Above The Mark III might not be hugely different from the Mark II, but the changes are worthwhile and benefit handling. Left Dominating the camera’s rear is the tiltable 3in monitor with touch control. Right The camera’s top-plate layout is excellent with great ergonomics, so it’s a pleasure to use.

your thumb or forefinger to move the AF point around the screen. You can do this during live view but also while the camera is up to the eye. How comfortable you find this is subjective but as a left-eyed user it was fine. AF performance was generally responsive and snappy with the normal behaviour of mirrorless AF in that it very rapidly racks past the point of focus and then back again for correct focus. It’s silent too. With 121 zones active the camera lights up any number of AF points green around the screen to show you what has been focused on. With people pictures and face detect active, the 121 zones worked well, but with general scenes or when you are trying off-centre framing, the 121 zone option had less appeal because it got it right less often. When using the nine zone or single zone options, my preferred method was in conjunction with AF lock or touch AF. There is no doubt that the AF system is swift, responsive and accurate. This also applied when light or contrast levels dropped, with the odd bout of indecision and searching so then it was a matter of just aiming the AF point at a sharp edge to get focus lock and then recomposing the scene.


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Camera test

E-M10 III

Performance: ISO Exposure for this low-light street scene at ISO 200 was 1/2sec at f/7.1 using the Olympus 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ with the camera fixed to a Gitzo GK1555T tripod. In-camera noise reduction was turned off and none was applied in post processing which was done in Olympus Viewer 3. At its lower ISO settings, the E-M10 Mark III produces very clean, crisp images full of detail and with smooth tonality. Detail starts to be impacted from ISO 800 onwards although it is true that the image quality at that speed was still

impressive so there‘s no problem getting first class prints here. I think ISO 1600 is perfectly usable for high class results, too, even though there is grain in the shadows – and that can be lessened in processing. In older Micro Four Thirds cameras, images at ISO 3200 and above could look poor with mottling, coloured noise and detail loss. The Mark III shows how much progress has been made, and the very high ISO settings have potential for quality work in low light.

Original image

The Mark III’s exposure system was even more capable than the AF system in that it rarely needed correction from me. I left the camera in its multi zone metering mode and shot in program, manual and aperture-priority. I did get the occasional overexposure of dark subjects so setting -0.7EV was needed to keep the scene looking realistic. This was in JPEGs of course; correction of Raws in post was a simple matter with those files enjoying good exposure latitude. Strongly backlit scenes could also fox the meter but that is normal, although even here shadow detail was visible and out of the 674 pictures I shot, only a mere handful were consigned to the wastebasket on the basis of poor exposure. The AP mode is welcome and saves wasting time digging around the menus looking for the function you’re after. Now, if you want to take an HDR shot or use Live Composite, Olympus has made is really easy for you. I like and enjoy Olympus OM-D cameras because you are ensured impressive image quality from cameras that handle really intuitively and look the part The E-M10 Mark III is no exception and at £700 body only, it’s nicely priced too.

Above top Predominantly dark scenes can trick camera meters into overexposing but that didn’t happen here. Shot with the 40-150mm lens at 1/125sec at f/8 and ISO 200. Above left Contrasty situations proved no problem for the E-M10 Mark III and it was spot on here. Shot with the 40-150mm lens at 1/640sec at f/8 and ISO 200. Above right A dark interior and sunlit background meant a serious challenge for the E-M10 Mark III, and one that was met very capably. Exposure was 1/1250sec at f/5.6 and ISO 25,600.

ISO 200

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 25,600

Above images There was a time when high ISO performance from Micro Four Thirds sensors did not impress, with colourful mottled noise a serious issue. That situation is no longer the case and the E-M10 Mark III shows the sort of high quality you can get from the newer models. You can shoot at ISO 3200 and even at that speed, big top-notch enlargements are well within reach.


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Camera test Performance: exposure latitude Original image

To test the exposure of Raws from the E-M10 Mark III, manual exposure mode was used. I fixed the camera on a tripod and shot a sequence on metered correct exposure from -4EV to +4EV at ISO 200. For this set of shots, the metered correct exposure was 1/125sec at f/8. The Raws were then corrected using Lightroom Classic and the results checked on screen. Latitude is very good, especially with underexposure. The corrected -4EV shot looked impressive. Fine detail appeared really good and, while noise is visible it’s not offensive, being regular, filmic and neutral.

The straight processed image had a magenta tinge in the shadows but that can be corrected. While it took the -1EV shot to match the quality obtained from the correctly exposed picture, both the -3EV and -2EV delivered great looking images too, with excellent detail and low noise. With overexposure, the camera’s ability was slightly less capable. The +1EV and +2EV shots were perfectly recoverable, but the +3EV needed more work to resolve a colour cast and the bright highlights struggled to show detail. Nothing could be done at all with the +4EV shot.

-4EV

-3EV

-2EV

-1EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

+4EV

Images A variety of lighting situations was shot to assess exposure latitude, including this sunlit scene shot in Stockholm. As you can see, the latitude for overexposure is less good than with underexposure and more work was needed to get a decent picture from the -3EV shot.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a step ahead of the Mark II and, while it is not a giant leap, the handling enhancements do make the new model better to use. Mark II owners are unlikely to buy the Mark III on the basis of gaining a bleach bypass art filter, the AP mode, the use of a new TruPic processor and more positive controls. But it is priced to attract would-be Micro Four Thirds owners and those wishing to upgrade from older models so its rich feature set is appealing.

Performance: art filters NO FILTER

Verdict

BLEACH BYPASS I

Features  22/25 16-megapixels only, but has 4K video and refreshed controls Performance  23/25 Produces clean images at ISO speeds up to 3200 Handling 22/25 Minor niggles, such as the movie record button can’t be disabled Value for money 23/25 The Mark III is a quality product at an attractive price

The EM10 Mark III has gained one new Art filter, Bleach Bypass with the option of two strengths. In colour film processing sidestepping the bleaching stage meant the silver in the film was

retained, ie not bleached out, pictures that looked desaturated, almost monochrome, and had a cool colour cast. It was a tactic, just like cross processing, used by trendy people photographers.

The Mark III’s two options emulate the effect well and while you are not going to buy this camera just for this mode, it will be enjoyed by its owners so a welcome addition.

There is also a full complement of art filters including toy camera, dramatic and cross processing so if you want great effects from your straight out of the camera JPEGS, it is no problem at all.

Overall 90/100 Exciting and innovative it isn’t, but it’s capable, good to use and nicely priced Pros High image quality, good stabilisation system, control design, AP setting, 4K video Cons Only 16-megapixels, few custom options, not much of an upgrade from the Mark II


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Advertisement feature © Jimmy Cheng

Switcher stories

Jimmy Cheng

For wedding and street photographer Jimmy Cheng, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II provides the perfect marriage of features and performance Confessing that he’s addicted to weddings, Jimmy Cheng tells us that he’s been shooting big days since 2008, but his love affair with photography began much earlier. In the 1990s, he started photography with Canon DSLRs, and stuck with them when he turned professional, for his weddings and street work. The influence of street photography is clear in his approach to weddings, which Jimmy describes as “wedding journalism”. “During my amateur days, I was fascinated by photojournalism and documentary,” he says. “I love photo books from famous photojournalists and am intrigued

by their iconic images that told stories. When I became a wedding photographer, I tried to do the same for my clients so they could relive their big days through my images. “Not only does the wedding day go by quickly, it’s also multifaceted. So many things are happening simultaneously and most likely I am the only person who will witness all the aspects, from the first tea after waking up to the last candle of the day!” This approach has evolved into a new strand to his business: Love Journey. These shoots were born when he realised that his storytelling, documentary approach

didn’t fit with the engagement and pre-wedding shoots he was being asked for. Recognising that how the couple get to their wedding day is a story, he chose to focus on this rather than posing couples for engagement portraits. “A wedding signifies a new chapter in life but at the same time, a wedding day is only half the story,” he says. “The other half lies in how and where the couple met and the journey they took together before the big day. That’s the story I love to recreate to complete the first part of their journey. “On a Love Journey the couple revisits all those places from their

first dates and hangouts. They are often very ordinary venues but they are personal and memorable to the couple. “When I describe this to my potential couples, they are always intrigued by the idea and those who booked my Love Journey photo shoot would hire me as their wedding photographer too.” Whether he’s photographing a couple on a Love Journey shoot, a wedding day or approaching interesting looking characters on the street, Jimmy favours a discrete approach. Which is why his Canon cameras have given way to Olympus OM-Ds. “Canon brought

me the performance and reliability that I demanded when I turned pro in 2008. But after four years, I was beginning to see the ‘limits’ in DSLR development when the mirrorless cameras starting to pop up everywhere,” he explains. “I was longing for a more discreet way to photograph my subjects; traditional DSLRs were just too big and intimidating and often attracted unnecessary attention. “I was really intrigued with the concept of the Micro Four Thirds system when the very first camera went on sale. It was the size of the system that really captured my interest. Then I bought the E-M5


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Advertisement feature © Jimmy Cheng

© Jimmy Cheng

© Jimmy Cheng

Image A storyteller at heart, Jimmy Cheng uses his Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark II to document not only his couples’ wedding days, but also the important places and moments that led to the big day.

when it was launched in 2012 and never looked back.”

AF performance definitely surprised me. It was so fast that I needed to adjust my response time

BEST OF BOTH That first E-M5 Jimmy used for his travel photography and on occasional family trips, not his wedding work. Although he was convinced that one day an OM-D camera would be his main camera, he was waiting for its performance to catch up with the demands of professional shooting. That happened with the E-M1 Mark II. “I was totally blown away by its performance and finally thought that it’s the right time to try the system in a pro environment and this year, I switched to Olympus entirely.” As well as his Canons, Jimmy also previously used a Leica, and

in the OM-D he feels he has the best of what Canon and Leica used to offer him: features, performance and size. “For most of my shoots, I like to shoot wide open,” he tells us, “and before Olympus, I needed to use ND filters to reduce the light coming into the camera since the maximum mechanical shutter speed wasn’t fast enough. "The large coverage of the all cross-type AF system is also superior in many ways and perfect for my type of work too. I also find that even with the mechanical shutter on the EM-1 Mark II, it’s very quiet compared to other systems I’ve used before. “AF performance on the Mark II definitely surprised me. It was so fast that I needed some time to

adjust my response time. Being a mirrorless system means AF accuracy is guaranteed all the time at the point of focus too. I am no machine-shooter but I use the new Pro-Capture mode more than I would have imagined for all those important moments, whether it’s street or weddings.” Jimmy’s also shooting video with the Mark II for a new YouTube channel, Red35 Photography, of which he is a co-founder. He’s making good use of the Mark II’s features for his street photography

too. “I love to develop my images so I shoot Raw on the Mark II, but since I have the option to shoot both Raw and JPEG at the same time, I will select the black & white filter so I have the option to see the black & white version on screen before processing the images.” Continuing his success story with his Olympus kit, Jimmy has added maternity shoots to his business. Looks like a match made in heaven to us. itsnotyouitsme.co.uk


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Camera test

Canon EOS 200D While many photographers are going for mirrorless models to save bulk, Canon shows how you can go for a DSLR without over-burdening yourself

Specs Price £679 with an 18-55mm IS STM, body only option £579 Sensor 24.2-megapixel CMOS with low pass filter with DIGIC 7 processor, 14-bit capture Sensor format APS-C 22.3x14.9mm, 6000x4000 pixels ISO range 100-25,600, expansion to 51,200 possible

Words and images by Will Cheung Size is important, and while many photographers enjoy the heft and large body form of a typical DSLR camera, the huge interest in mirrorless models shows that smaller cameras have great appeal. The Canon EOS 200D is small, very small. It is a DSLR with an impressive feature set and, of course, is supported by Canon’s huge system of lenses and accessories. The EOS 200D is an entry level APS-C format camera with a resolution of 24.2-megapixels, so of a standard comparable with leading cameras using sensors of this size. It is aimed at those who are currently using phones and tablets as well as older DSLRs for their family shots and social media but are looking to take their image creating skills forward. Canon, in its wisdom, has done a fabulous job with the EOS 200D and I found it a fun and easy to use camera, but it also has the potential for more advanced workers. Its body only price is £509 and £579 with the standard 18-55mm IS STM kit lens so, in Canon’s existing range, it sits above the EOS 1300D (£359 body only) and the EOS 750D (£549 body only). Canon’s approach to camera layout and menu structure shows that this camera is well targeted. You have a three position on/off/record control button perfectly placed for the right forefinger, a simple clickstopped exposure mode dial and a vari-angle touch monitor. Most of the controls and their positioning are typically Canon so you have things like the exposure lock star button placed for the right thumb, a blue image preview button and an aperture button marked AV+/-. And although the EOS 200D is aimed at less experienced users, a pro Canon user will look at this entry level camera and spot the familial similarities. That is a very good sign and shows that Canon got its fundamental layout right ages ago and has more or less stuck with it regardless of the prospective user.

Handling is generally very good, once you get used to the size

Shutter range 30sec to 1/4000sec plus B, 1/200sec X-sync Drive modes 5fps continuous max Metering system 63 zone dual layer sensor with evaluative, partial, spot and centre-weighted average Exposure modes PASM modes, scene intelligent auto, creative auto, creative filters Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.5 and 0.3EV steps, AEB three shots in +/-2EV, 0.5EV and 0.3EV steps Monitor 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1040k dots Viewfinder 95% coverage with 0.87x magnification, built-in dioptre correction Focusing Dual Pixel CMOS AF with AI, AI servo and one shot modes Focus points 49 points in a 7x7 grid via live view with single point and 3x3 grid options, nine points through optical viewfinder Video Full HD, max duration 29min 59sec

Above The EOS 200D is aimed at inexperienced photographers and with that in mind Canon has kept its design and control layout nice and simple. Yet it is still blessed with really useful features such as the articulating monitor (see image below) making shooting from unusual viewpoints very easy. Push the menu button and regular Canon users will immediately see something different in the default mode. You get an explanatory line outlining the area of camera functionality you are about to enter. So, for example, for Shooting settings you get ‘Configure image quality, color tone (WB) and other settings for stills’. That will be handy for newcomers and it appears every time the menu button is pressed. Canon has given this serious thought, though, so as soon as a user is comfortable with what the various menus do, there is the option of changing the guided or feature assistant display to a standard Canon menu layout using the Disp levels settings menu item. Do this and you will see a shooting screen or menu display that current Canon users will be immediately familiar with. Both shooting screen and menu display have standard and guided options while the mode guide and feature guides can be turned on or off. The shooting screen in its guided mode uses comparison pictures (showing depth-of-field differences, waterfalls, interiors) to help users make the most of particular

situations. In the standard mode, you get camera settings and features such as self-timer, focus points and image quality. Push INFO and this screen stays for ten seconds – or goes off if the button is pushed again. You get the same with the DISP button next to the shutter release. The display is not eye-activated. Handling is generally very good, once you get used to the size. My hands are probably small to average for a bloke and I found my little finger slipping off the bottom of the handgrip. It’s funny, you don’t appreciate how useful the little finger is when it comes to gripping a camera body but it’s clear that its role is greater than you might think.

For comfort I ended up tucking my smallest digit under the body’s edge. The smaller body also meant that I had to adjust my handgrip to get at certain controls but it’s nothing to be concerned about. Obviously prospective buyers with larger hands need to check that the camera is comfortable to hold and operate; its light weight does mean that a secure grip for stability is important. The controls work nicely and are strategically well placed so I didn’t find myself having to hunt for

Connectivity Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, USB Other key features Built-in flash, 11 custom functions Storage media 1x SD Dimensions (wxhxd) 122.4x92.6x69.8mm Weight 453g body and battery Contact Canon.co.uk


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Camera test Performance: ISO Picture quality at ISO 100 and 200 is excellent and images are very clean and totally noise free. Noise starts appearing from ISO 400 onwards but even here image quality is high with detail-packed pictures. Critically good images are produced at ISO 800 and 1600, too, with the usual incremental increase in noise levels. But fine detail remains nicely rendered

and there’s no issue at all getting big prints from shots taken at the higher of the two speeds. The quality gap between ISO 1600 and 3200 seems quite wide though, and from ISO 3200 onwards colour noise levels climb significantly and as a consequence quality falls away. That said, with some good processing, there’s no problem getting quality prints from

ISO 3200 if you need that speed to get sharp shots but it’s probably the highest speed to use for good results. From ISO 6400 onwards, colour noise rises and detail is greatly affected. The Canon EOS 200D turns in an ISO performance of a level you’d expect to see in a contemporary APS-C format DSLR and good for a camera at this price level.

ISO 100

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 12,800

ISO 25,600

ISO 51,200

Original image

Above This night scene needed an exposure of 8sec at f/8 at ISO 100. The Raw files were processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic with default noise reduction.

I like the flexibility of adjustable monitors and the type that swings out, as here on the EOS 200D, are my favourite

them. The on/off/video control is firmly click-stopped so unintentional use is unikely. I favour on/off controls on the right side purely on the basis that I can bring the camera up to my eye while turning it on in one swift, fluid movement, so there’s no lost time. However, I found you couldn’t do that on the EOS 200D as the control is designed for thumb rather than forefinger use. A small point but worth noting. One control I found very handy, and I used it regularly, was the ISO button. Although it is perhaps strange that this control is so prominent given that it seems more likely that inexperienced users will stick with auto ISO rather than manual, fine-tunng when needed. The ISO button can’t be re-assigned to another function. I like the flexibility of adjustable monitors and the type that swings out, as here on the EOS 200D, are my favourite. It gives the option for shooting upright and horizontal format images from low and high viewpoints and it is handy for selfies too – of course you can turn the screen inwards for more of a film photographer’s experience. The monitor performs very well and its touch functionality is very useful – it can be switched off and there are standard or sensitive settings. The EOS 200 does not offer too much customisation potential. There are 11 custom functions and you can do things like vary what the *

button does. So, you can have it as an exposure lock which is its default function or used as a live view AF magnifier. You can also change what the Set button does and there are seven options including using it to bring up the menu or turning the LCD monitor on or off. Overall, I found the EOS 200D a fine camera to use and had no serious misgivings about it. Its exposure system delivered well-exposed pictures time after time. Actually, and maybe surprisingly, looking through the Lightroom catalogue of test pictures, exposure consistency and the ability to deal with tricky lighting was better than with some more expensive cameras I have used recently. That is a good selling point.

White-balance performance, too, proved consistently accurate and produced natural-looking results in various outdoor lighting conditions. The AF system worked well too. I had the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 kit lens and thought that should really tax the AF system. It didn’t. I also tried it with Tamron’s latest superzoom for APS-C cameras, the 18-400mm. This lens is more demanding of a camera’s AF system, but the camera still fared reasonably well, although it was less impressive when contrast levels were low. The viewfinder autofocus system has nine AF points – a central one and then eight arranged around it in a diamond formation taking up about one-third of the image area,

so it’s not a large AF working space. By the way, the viewfinder provides a bright but rather small image. You can have the nine AF points working automatically and the active ones show up as red dots. If you prefer, all AF points can be selected to work as single points by using the AF button and the input dial, so you can do this while the camera is up to the eye. If you want a particular AF point you have to scroll through the nine AF points if you are using the input dial. Slightly quicker access to the AF points selection is possible with the multi-way thumb pad. Viewfinder AF was generally accurate, sensitive in a wide range of conditions and quiet too. Live view AF uses Canon’s Dual Pixel system and has more working points than optical AF. There are 49 points in a 7x7 grid with the options of single point or 3x3 nine point grid. Live view AF proved responsive and sensitive in a broad range of shooting situations. Overall, I found the EOS 200D delivered high quality pictures in a fuss-free manner, and certainly had enough versatility and controllability for Canon’s intended market of DSLR newcomers. Yet, there were plenty of control and creative options for image makers a little further along their photographic journey so, for those experienced users looking for a lighter DSLR rather than going mirrorless, the EOS 200D is an option to consider.


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Camera test Performance: exposure latitude Original image

To test the flexibility of the EOS 200D’s Raws a set of manually bracketed exposures was made. The correct exposure of this scene at ISO 100 was 1/100sec at f/8, and the shots corrected in Lightroom Classic. Underexposure performance was well up to standard and the -3EV and -4EV shots both recovered well. Noise was clearly evident in the -4EV shot but it was neutral and crisp so didn’t look offensive, although detail Images The Canon EOS 200D delivered consistently impressive pictures during its review. Of particular note was its exposure system that produced perfectly acceptable straight-ouf-of-thecamera JPEGs. Right Shot with the Tamron 18-400mm at 18mm, the camera’s aperture-priority AE system giving an exposure of 1/100sec at f/10. Below, far right The Canon EOS 200D handled contrasty sunlight well, too, here using an exposure of 1/200sec at f/8 at ISO 100. Below, near right Venturing indoors doesn’t hold any fears for the EOS 200D and here ISO 3200 was used to enable an exposure of 1/50sec at f/5.

was impacted slightly. Noise level dropped appreciably with the corrected -3EV shot and that improvement continued with the -2EV image which was almost indistinguishable from the correctly exposed picture. Tolerance to overexposure was good, although not quite as good as underexposure. The +1EV shot corrected well enough to look the same as the correctly exposed shot but there was a noticeable (and correctable)

cyan colour cast in the highlights of the +2EV shot. The +3EV and +4EV shots did not fare so well. The shadows looked fine but the highlights had that detailess flat grey veiled look which didn’t look too healthy. In sum, while the EOS 200D responded well to underexposure and even -4EV shots can deliver acceptable images, more care must be taken with contrasty scenes where highlights can look less good if overexposed.

-4EV

-3EV

-2EV

-1EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

Images While even the grossly underexposed Raws from the Canon EOS 200D could be recovered successfully, it was a very different story when it came to the overexposed shots and +2EV was about the limit.

+4EV

Verdict The Canon EOS 200D is priced at £679 with an 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, while the body only option is £579 so it is nicely priced as an entry level model. It does face strong DSLR rivals from Nikon, Pentax and Sony. Features  22/25 Plenty going for it for a camera at this price point Performance  21/25 Exposures very good, AF decent and reasonable high ISO skills Handling 22/25 Its smallness might be an issue for some, but control layout very sound Value for money 23/25 The EOS 200D packs a decent punch for the money Overall 88/100 This camera doesn’t pretend to be anything extraordinary, but it is a capable and small DSLR Pros Small size, flexible monitor, menu options, price, potential to grow into Cons Too small for some hands, small AF working area when using the viewfinder, viewfinder image is quite small


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Accessories test Buyers’ guide

The festive season is the time for giving – and what better things to give that this month’s range of must-have photo gear? Check out the next four pages for great gift ideas and stuff you didn’t even know you needed... Hahnel Modus 600RT

Elinchrom D-Lite RX One/ One Softbox To Go Kit

If you want a full-featured and affordable flashgun, Hahnel’s Modus 600RT kit is well worth your attention. Thanks to its Li-Ion battery, the 600RT has a guide number of 60 (ISO 100, 200mm), a recycle time of just 1.5sec at full power, and will give up to 550 shots at its maximum output. The flash has a built-in wireless receiver and a Viper TTL trigger is included, so you can fire it from up to 100m away. It can also be fired manually or using TTL metering on camera, and it’s available in Canon, Nikon and Sony fits.

An ideal entry-level kit, the D-Lite RX One/One Softbox To Go has all you need to get started in studio lighting. For under £500, you get two RX One heads, two stands, two softboxes (one 66cm square and one 56cm octagonal), a translucent deflector, a Skyport Plus Transmitter, leads and bags. The RX One heads at the heart of the kit are small, light and powerful with a range from 100Ws to 6Ws adjustable in 1/1, 1/2, 4/10, 1/3, 2/10 or 1/10 steps for complete control. £499 elinchrom.co.uk

£269.99 Hahnel.ie

Lowepro Flipside 400 AW II

MacWet Long Climatec Sports Gloves

Treat yourself to a new backpack this Christmas. The Lowepro Flipside 400 AW II will take a DSLR with up to a 300mm lens mounted, four to six additional lenses and a flash, plus a 15in laptop in Lowepro’s excellent CradeFit pockets. Phew! The flipside design means gear is accessed from the body side of the bag, for increased security, and that also prevents you needing to set it down to swap bodies or lenses. An all-weather cover is included, as well as a tripod mount, SlipLock straps for additional storage, stretch-mesh side pockets and a padded waistbelt and sternum strap. £155

Invest in some decent gloves and your winter shooting will be a much more comfortable experience. Try MacWet’s Climatec Long Cuff gloves for instance; they’re windproof, water resistant and fleece lined on the back, with a secure Velcro fastening and a thick elasticated cuff that extends beyond the wrist for added protection. Aquatec fabric is used on the palm and fingers, giving a sure grip but keeping the gloves sensitive enough to operate the camera without taking them off. There are sizes from 6 to 12 (XXL), and four neutral colours; black, brown, green and navy.

lowepro.co.uk

£29.99 macwet.com

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Lakeland Photographic Holidays

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What better Christmas gift than a shooting holiday in one of the UK’s most photogenic landscapes? Lakeland Photographic Holidays, based near Keswick, offers a blend of residential photo courses including full board, licensed accommodation. Workshops run from the end of January through to the beginning of December, and if you book between 28 January and 25 March, prices are from as little as £550. New for 2018 are a series of creative workshops on using intentional camera movement, slow shutter speeds and multiple exposure techniques. Book any 2018 workshop and pay a deposit by 26 January 2018 for a discount. From £550

lakelandphotohols.com

Epson Stylus Photo 1500W

Get back into printing your images this Christmas, and the year beyond, with a superb dedicated photo printer like Epson’s Stylus Photo 1500W. This affordable, fully featured model prints up to A3+ in size, making it perfect for photographers wanting to see their work printed large and impressively displayed. The printer has built-in Wi-Fi, so you can easily print wirelessly from laptops, desktops, or smartphones anywhere in your home. Print quality and speed is great, too; thanks to Epson’s Variable-Sized Droplet Technology, which gives vibrant colours and smooth gradations, and a 6x4in print will be ready in 45 seconds. £329

epson.co.uk


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Accessories test

Zenfolio website

Most of us have a website for our photography but – be honest – how pleased are you with yours? This Christmas could be the time to get cracking on a new design. That’s what you’ll get with a Zenfolio website. There is a huge range of homepage and gallery templates to choose from, unlimited photo uploads, easy social media integration and the ability for people to order prints of your work direct from your website. Zenfolio’s Pro Plan also includes custom watermarking, client proofing, a built-in shopping cart and a full suite of marketing tools. PN readers can get 40% off using the website below. From £5 a month zenfolio.co.uk/photonews

August EP750 headphones and MR250B Transmitter

If you shoot video and you want highquality audio, a good pair of headphones is important; as well as using an external mic, monitoring the sound closely means you can quickly pick up on any problems. Here’s an excellent, affordable, high-spec pair from the UK’s August International. The EP750s are August’s premium model, and feature Bluetooth connectivity, Active Noise Cancelling, superb sound quality, a comfortable, durable design and up to 15 hours’ battery life. Pairing with Bluetooth is easy, so you just plug the MR250B Transmitter into your camera’s audio out, and you’re good for up to 10m range (or more from other devices). £99.95/£22.75 augustint.com

PortraitPro17

Anthropics’ PortraitPro17 builds on the success of previous versions with a host of new features. There are new modes such as Background Editing to help clean up cluttered backdrops; Snapshots to save progress in stages; advanced preset controls, which let you build up and save effects you like; and new vignetting options. Like previous versions, PortraitPro17 makes it easy to apply a host of improvements to your portraits, regardless of your editing experience and returning features include natural skin smoothing, adding digital makeup and enhancements to lighting. PN readers can get an additional 10% off with the code PN50G. From £29.95 portraitprofessional.com

Permajet Museum Heritage 310

Permajet’s Museum Heritage 310 fine art inkjet paper has received rave reviews from home-printing enthusiasts, so why not try it for yourself this Christmas? Its textured surface displays a lovely rough weave with naturally random undulations and to improve image quality, Permajet’s ultimate matt inkjet coating technology has been applied to the 310gsm alpha/cotton mix base. This results in superb highlight and shadow detail. The museum-standard, mid-white paper is totally acid-free, water resistant and has a scuff-resistant coating. It’s also 100% pigment and dye ink compatible, and comes in A4, A3, A3+, A2 sheets and 17in, 24in, and 44in rolls. From £14 permajet.com

Pixapro Glowpad 450S

Samsung Portable SSD T5

Solid State Drives are slowly replacing hard disks in all our devices, and that includes mobile storage. Samsung’s Portable SSD T5 is available in 250GB to 2TB versions and being smaller than a business card and only 10mm thick, it fits neatly into a pocket. The SSD design allows faster transfer speeds (up to 540 MB/s), and less chance of failure as there are no moving parts. The drive is also shockproof, being able to withstand drops of up to 2m, and has a three year warranty. With AES 256-bit hardware encryption, your data is secure, too. From £130 samsung.co.uk

Whether you’re shooting sensitive portrait subjects, still life, or something else entirely, LED lights are really useful. And they’re vital for video. Pixapro’s Glowpad 450S is a bi-colour LED model with a slim profile, low power consumption and an outstanding d ayl i ght- b a l a n c e d soft and diffused quality of light thanks to its design; this comes from the LEDs being located around the inner rim of the circular frame, with the light reflected out. With a standard 5/8in mount, and tilt-head, it can be fitted to any lighting stand and easily directed. The unit can be powered by batteries as well as mains, so it’s mobile, too. £179.99 essentialphoto.co.uk

Kenro Speedflash KFL101

Compatible with both Canon and Nikon DSLRs, this the KFL101 is fully wireless and TTL-enabled flashgun with a range of up to 15m outdoors and around 20m indoors. The KFL101 also supports handy features like high-speed sync (HSS) flash, allowing you to shoot faster than the camera’s usual sync speed, and flash exposure bracketing. The KFL101 has a guide number of 58 (ISO 100, 180mm) and a top recycle time of 2.3secs at full power. It also comes with a padded case, stand, and softbox attachment. £95 kenro.co.uk


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Accessories test Manfrotto Nitrotech fluid head

Tripod heads are like lenses; they all have a different specialism. And there’s your ready-made excuse for buying this beauty, Manfrotto’s Nitrotech N8. It’s a fluid head, meaning that it lets you move your camera with perfect smoothness and precision, vital for video work, but also very handy for action and wildlife photography. The N8 uses a nitrogen piston mechanism, which enables variable but perfectly stable, judder-free control of cameras up to 8kg. It uses a quick release plate and side-lock mechanism for quick and safe camera attachment, and mounts to legs, sliders, cranes and so on using a 3/8in thread. £449

manfrotto.co.uk

Novo CBH-40 ball head

Many tripods come with a basic ball head included, but upgrade to a prostandard model, like Novo’s CBH-40 and you’ll soon feel the difference. Made from lightweight, aviation-grade aluminium, the head has a distinctive two-tone black and silver finish and the anodised 40mm ball gives very smooth control without judder or sticking. Position is controlled using a large anatomical lock knob with tension control and there’s a smooth, independent turn with graticule markings for shooting panoramas. The head uses an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate with safety lock and will take a load of up to 15kg. There’s a five year warranty, too. £84.90

novo-photo.com

Serif Affinity Photo for iPad

Rotatrim Professional M24

If you make prints at home, you’ll know the need for a good quality trimmer; investing in a good one will provide a lifetime of service and perfectly crisp results. Rotatrim’s Professional M24 is an exceptional product, using high-quality materials and precision-engineered components, meticulously hand assembled by skilled technicians in England. Its Sheffield Steel selfsharpening blades cut up to 610mm (24in) A2 landscape papers in size and slice through thicknesses up to 3mm, while its twin guide rails to deliver a smooth action. Metal end frames, head, and a solid laminate gridded baseboard with aluminium side rule give an assured feeling of quality.

If you have a recent iPad model and want to take your photo editing on the move with you, Serif’s Affinity Photo of iPad should be on your Christmas list. The app is compatible with iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro 9.7in, 10.5in and 12.9in devices, and delivers professional-level editing tools, just like the desktop version. There’s Raw processing, nondestructive adjustments like levels and curves, all of which are shown in real time; and you can use layers, accurate selection tools, and effects like blurring, liquefying, tilt-shift filters and more. There’s even HDR tonemapping and focus stacking, making a highly versatile app for photographers. £19.99 affinity.serif.com

Voigtlander VC Meter II light meter

If you use a rangefinder or older unmetered camera, or you simply want the most accurate light reading you can get, and therefore better exposures, Voigtlander’s VC Meter II is here to help. Being small and light (42g and 42.5x37x19.5mm in size), it’s designed to fit onto the camera’s hotshoe, and features a series of separate LEDs for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, which illuminate when the correct measurements have been achieved. Readings are taken using a 30º angle of view and it uses two LR44 or SR44 batteries. Available in black and silver finishes, it’ll look great on your Leica (hint, hint). £229 voigtlaender.com

£224.99 rotatrim.com

ThinkTank StreetWalker Pro V2.0

ThinkTank’s StreetWalker series is the choice of many professionals and has recently been updated to V2.0. The Pro version (there’s also a smaller Basic and larger Harddrive model), has external dimensions of 25x47x21cm, and a single, large internal compartment of 24x44x19cm, allowing you to fit two large DSLRs with a grip and telephoto lenses attached. There’s lots of other storage, including a padded pocket for a 10in tablet, and the main flap has inner and outer pockets: the outer of which is pleated to allow thicker items. A tripod can be mounted to the main flap, too and the bag weighs only 1.5kg empty. £194.99 thinktankphoto.com

BenQ SW271 4K monitor

Processing is a huge part of photography these days, and if your screen isn’t up to scratch it could be spoiling your editing, both in quality and enjoyment. If you’re after a new monitor, take a look at BenQ’s brilliant SW271. At 27in in size, there’s plenty of real estate for panels and windows, and the 4K UHD 3840x2160 resolution gives a wonderfully detailed look, with superb clarity and texture. The 16:9 format IPS panel also provides wonderfully true-to-life colour with 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB color space coverage as well as supporting HDR content. £1050 xpdistribution.com


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Accessories test

Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art wide-angle lens

A fast wide-angle zoom is perfect for low-light landscapes, street photography or dim interiors, and Sigma’s 24-35mm f/2 Art is a superb example. It provides excellent optical performance across its versatile focal lengths, giving you the quality of three fast prime lenses in a single unit, and no loss of sharpness. As one of Sigma’s Art lenses, it makes no compromises in terms of image quality and uses premium FLD glass, with no less than seven Special Low Dispersion (SLD) elements, while a multi-layer coating controls flare and prevents ghosting for ultra clear details. £759

sigma-imaging-uk.com

Muraro Ranker lighting stand

When you buy an entry level studio flash kit you’ll sometimes end up with inferior, bundled stands that can be unstable, lack strength and height, and fall to pieces in a matter of months. Upgrade to a high-quality model like this Muraro Ranker stand, and you’ll be much better off. This high-grade aluminium stand extends to 2.8m in height giving you lots of flexibility and is strong enough to support larger lighting units up to 10kg. The minimum height is 1.15m, and the stand has three sections and two risers (of 35mm, 30mm and 25.4mm). It closes to 1m for packing and weighs 3kg. £110

Rotolight NEO 2 LED light

Closing the gap between flash and continuous lighting is Rotolight’s NEO 2 LED. Designed primarily for portrait photographers and videographers on the go, the NEO 2 gives you both high speed sync (HSS) flash functionality and the visible benefits of regular on- or off-camera LED lighting. With no recycle time to speak of you’ll never miss a shot in HSS mode, and the NEO 2 uses a built-in Elinchrom Skyport receiver for triggering at up to 1/8000sec, operating from ranges up to 200m. Colour is also adjustable from 3150-6300K in both continuous and flash mode, and the light runs on six AA batteries. £299

rotolight.com

Lee Filters Reverse ND grads

Brand new from Lee Filters is a range of Reverse ND grads. It’s the first time Lee has produced these filters, which are handy when shooting the rising or setting sun. The usual problem is that normal grads, which progressively darken to one edge, don’t take into account that the sun will be the brightest part of the scene; reverse NDs are darkest in the middle, and slightly lighter at the top, so you can achieve a better exposure. The new range is available for the Seven5, 100mm and SW150 systems and in 0.6, 0.9 and 1.2ND strengths (equating to 2, 3, and 4 stops in the middle). From £99.95

Tamron SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD

A fast 85mm lens is a classic portrait option on full frame DSLRs, and if you fancy upgrading to one, look no further than Tamron’s SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD. As part of the SP line, the lens has a very high-grade feel with a metal barrel and weather-sealing, and it handles beautifully. Optically, it’s also first class, using Low Dispersion and Extra Low Dispersion glass to minimise aberrations and improve image sharpness, while suppressing vignetting and fringing. And it uses Vibration C o mp e n s at i o n to steady your shooting and provide sharper portrait details. £499 tamron.eu

Hahnemühle Cézanne Canvas fine-art inkjet media

leefilters.com

Fotospeed Fotocards

Why buy cards when you can design, print and make you own from your best shots? Fotospeed’s range of Fotocards are pre-scored greeting cards in numerous finishes and sizes. Prices start from just £13 for 25 A6 240gsm cards, including envelopes and they’re compatible with all inkjet printers and both dye and pigment inks. Fotocards are produced using Fotospeed’s high-quality papers, so image quality is kept high, and to help you further, a free download of an easy-to-use Photoshop template is included. Grab some before Christmas and share your pictures with friends and family. From £13

photography-backgrounds.co.uk

fotospeed.com

Listen up, inkjet printing enthusiasts, the latest in Hahnemühle’s range of high-quality canvas papers for fineart printing is here. Cézanne Canvas contains no optical brighteners (OBAs) and features a finely woven, elegant 100% cotton, natural white surface. The paper’s matt coating provides a firstclass printing result with a wide colour gamut and deep, rich blacks, and it dries instantly. Cézanne Canvas has a weight of 430gsm and provides extraordinary elasticity, making it ideal for stretcher frames. Available now, it can be ordered in rolls of 24in, 44in and 60in, with a length of 12m or 5m (for 24in rolls). From £43 hahnemuehle.com


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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests Imaging kit

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, Roger Payne and Kingsley Singleton

Specs Processor Intel Core i7-8700K Coffee Lake Processor (overclocked by up to 20%) 12MB L3 cache CPU cooler Corsair H75 CPU cooler Motherboard Asus PRIME Z370-A motherboard Memory 16GB DDR4 2400MHz, 4 x DIMM Slots Solid State Drive 250GB Samsung 960 EVO Solid State Drive Hard Drive 2 x 2TB Seagate 7200RPM hard disk Optical Drive 2x DVD rewriter drive Software Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64-bit Display Monitor not Included Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB graphics card Audio Onboard high definition audio Input devices Keyboard and mouse not included Networking LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Interfaces 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 C port, 2 x USB 2.0. 1 x DVI port, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x display port, 5 x audio jack Expansion 3 x 16x PCI express slot, 3 x 1x PCI express slot, 4 x SATA ports Dimensions (wxdxh) 21x49.7x43cm Contact chillblast.com

Images If you want a high-spec, high-performing PC designed with image editing in mind, take a look at this nicely endowed Chillblast unit; and it’s a good price too.

Chillblast Fusion Photo OC Lite IV £1499.99 You can get great straight-out-ofthe-camera JPEGs and more and more cameras offer internal Raw processing, so it is perfectly feasible for photographers to survive without a computer. It’s possible, but the fact remains that most of us use a computer to edit our shots so finding kit to do this quickly, efficiently and at the best possible price is high on the agenda. My personal work is done on an Apple Mac of some description but there’s always that nagging doubt in my mind that I could get a more powerful and higher specified PC for the same price, or less, than I’m paying for my user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing Mac. PCs like this offering from Chillblast only heighten my levels of anxiety. Don’t be put off by the ‘Lite’ part of its moniker, this is a well specified machine that’s capable of gobbling up photo and video editing tasks at some seriously brisk speeds.

From Chillblast’s perspective, however, this is a trimmed down version of its Fusion Photo OC VII machine that retails at £2300, but even so, the performance of this modestly spec’d sibling will comfortably see off anything Apple can offer at the same price point. So what you do you get for your money? Processor-wise, we’re dealing with a shiny new ‘Coffee Lake’ six core Intel i7-8700K CPU which, straight out of the factory, operates at 3.7GHz. But Chillblast further enhances this performance by overclocking (hence OC) the processor to work faster. Up to 4.6GHz is unleashed with this overclocking active, which is made possible by adding some extra thermal protection for the processor. If you want a complete belt-andbraces thermal protection approach, you can add on an extra cooling fan at the point of purchase. In fact one of the real appeals of buying from

Chillblast is that you can spec them up as you wish when ordering. On top of the processor, there are three hard drives – two 2TB hard disks and a 250GB SSD – then there’s an integral card reader, a DVD rewriter and enough connectivity options to keep even the greatest peripherals verv happy. One omission that I initially thought surprising was a lack of Wi-Fi but the (very useful) help desk at Chillblast HQ soon put me right on this – either buy a wireless USB stick or, for a more robust and faster connection, go for a powerline adapter and hardwire it in using the Ethernet socket. I went for the latter. You’ll need to be buying some other things as well. Keyboard, mouse and monitor are all extras, so need to be factored in. Getting set up and working is painless. I was soon online (via my super quick hardwired connection) and hooked up to Google Drive

and Creative Cloud in no time. Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere Pro downloaded and installed, I set to work. A few quick keys aside, I found the Windows 10 OS very easy to get along with. The unit runs quickly and very quietly with some noticeable performance gains over my existing kit. Both Lightroom and Photoshop open and are ready for action in around five seconds – try that against your existing kit – and offer a much more speedy workflow, while Premiere Pro is equally spritely. In this case, performance gains are most noticeable when exporting video.

Verdict Having spent a few weeks with the Chillblast Fusion Photo OC Lite IV I’m convinced that having one in my life would significantly reduce the amount of time I spend in front of a computer and because it makes editing tasks so effortless it is an extremely tempting proposition. And it’s a great price too. Pros Great value, speed, interconnect options Cons Not as pretty as a Mac


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First tests

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art £1679.99 The Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art is the seventh prime lens in the range to provide full-frame coverage, and a cracker it is too. With its 114.2° ultra wide-angle of view, fast f/1.8 maximum aperture and weather-resistant build, this lens quite a feat of engineering so you won’t be surprised that it comes at a price. It’s a penny shy of £1680 but is something quite special and while its appeal is not universal, those photographers who need such a lens will appreciate its creative potential. Physically, this is a robust, weighty lens but with a good balance; the centre of gravity is around the middle of the lens. Fitted on a Canon EOS 5DS R, the lens is definitely the senior partner. Handling rates highly and the manual focus ring is smooth and responsive and gives full-time manual override. Looks-wise, the 14mm is typically Art, it looks the business with a classy finish and includes a depth-of-field scale. According to this, at f/16 with hyperfocal focusing, depth-of-field extends from around 33cm to infinity. As wide as f/4, again with hyperfocal focusing, you still get everything from one metre to infinity in focus. A bulbous front element is inevitable with such a fast, wide lens so it demands careful use. The lens is dust and splash resistant but that doesn’t keep dust and straying fingers off the front element. The built-in vestigial lens hood tries to keep flare down but again, given its wide view, that is a challenge too. With the low autumnal sun I was getting flare spots even with the sun about 90° to where the lens was pointing and that got worse the closer I moved the lens towards the sun. Image contrast remained high with minimal ghosting even with the flare spots so it wasn’t a bad effect, but needs watching in bright conditions. Shielding the front element with a piece of card or hand while keeping it out of frame does work but this isn’t easy while handholding – works well with the camera on a tripod though.

Given the lens’s design, conventional front filter use is not practical (Lee Filters has an adapter on the way for its SW150 system) but Sigma does have a rear filter gel solution for Canon users only. The Rear Filter Holder FHR-11 costs £34.99 (£59.99 including installation). Using a rear-mounted filter is not that convenient and key filters (the polariser) are ruled out but having the option is worthwhile. It does beg the question of why didn’t Sigma design and fit a rear gel holder to start with and on all mount versions. The answer is that Sigma wanted the best possible performance and that meant keeping the distance from the rear element to the sensor to a minimum. This still left enough space for a rear filter holder on the Canon fit model but not on the Nikon and Sigma versions. It seems obvious, but there’s no point having a f/1.8 lens if the shots you get at that value are soft. But no danger of that with this lens. Yes, it is true that if you go digging at the very edges of the frame, you can find some softening but most of the image is lovely and sharp and fine detail is clearly resolved. Stop down to just f/4 and those slightly soft edges improve noticeably and any aperture from f/4 to f/8 will give you impressive image quality across the frame. F/5.6 is probably the best aperture but there is little to choose between the middle values. Diffraction softens the image slightly at f/11 and slightly more at f/16 but image sharpness remains high; if you want the very maximum depth-offield, stopping down to smaller f/stops won’t impact on your shots much. All round, I thought this lens performed really, really well. I’d happily use it wide open knowing that the images would be first rate. Low-light and astro shooters will be happy to hear that, but for more general use, stop the lens one or two stops and image sharpness gets even better. Indeed, landscapers can stop right down to f/16 and still be critically happy with the results they’ll get. WC

Original image

Specs Price £1679.99 Format Full-frame, APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon, Sigma Construction 16 elements in 11 groups Special lens elements 2x FLD glass, 3x aspherical, 4xSLD glass Coatings Sigma Multi-layer coating Filter size No front thread. Filter gel via Rear Filter Holder FHR-11 for Canon £34.99 (£59.99 including installation) Aperture range F/1.8-16 Diaphragm Nine blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, full-time manual override. HSM for autofocus Minimum focus 27cm Focus limiter No. Maximum magnification 1:9.8 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale Yes Image stabilizer No Tripod collar No Lens hood Built-in

I’d happily use it wide open knowing that the images would be first rate. Low-light and astro shooters will be happy to hear that F/1.8

Weather-sealed Dust and splash proof Dimensions (lxd) 126x95.4mm Weight 1170g Contact sigma-imaging-uk.com

F/2.8

Verdict

Images For these test shots, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 was used on a Canon EOS 5DS R set to ISO 100 and Raw shooting. The camera and lens were fixed onto a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and the selftimer used for shutter release. Raws were processed in Lightroom with default sharpening set.

F/8

F/4

F/5.6

F/11

F/16

The Sigma 14mm f/1.8 is a heavy, ultra-wide lens and is certainly not a lens anyone is going to buy and lug around on the off-chance it will be used one day. However, if you do have a job for it, it’s worth every penny. Its angle of view and speed means it is ideal for astro photography and while its f/1.8 is less of a benefit it will appeal to scenic and architectural photographers too. The big news for me is that the maximum aperture is very usable which makes Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 a highly capable member of the Art family and well worth the money. Pros Very good maximum aperture performance, angle of view Cons Heft, can flare, filter use a challenge, no rear filter holder as standard (for Canon)


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First tests Specs Price £600 Key features 4k UHD, Multiview (PBP 4s devices, PIP 2x devices), Ultra Wide-Color technology, SmartImage presets, 5w built-in speakers In the box Screen and stand, mains lead, 1x audio cable, 1x USB, 1x DP cable, 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x VGA cable, CD with manual and driver software Colour bit 10-bit Screen size 40in VA LED Display colours 1.07 billion Colour gamut NTSC 100% Aspect ratio 16:9 Resolution 3840x2160 Display area 884.7x497.6mm Brightness 300 cd/m2 Input 1x HDMI 2.0, 1x HDMI 1.4, VGA, 2x DisplayPort, 4x USB 3.0 (one with fast charging), PC audio in, headphone out Native contrast (typical) 4000:1 Power consumption 43.74W, Eco mode 32.6w Height adjustment 150mm Dimensions (wxhxd, with stand, max height) 90.9x64.3x24.7cm Weight 11.6kg (with stand) Contact philips.co.uk

Philips 4K Ultra HD LCD BDM4037UW £600 You’re going to need a bigger desk. And possibly a new computer. But don’t let that get in the way of anything just yet. Philips’ BDM4037UW monitor is certainly the biggest display I’ve ever had on my desk and its curved, 40in screen gives you the impression of being even bigger than its already sizeable dimensions confirm. Immersive springs to mind. My standard screen set-up involves two monitors: a 23in Full HD monitor for main tasks and an aged 19in VGA display that I use for viewing emails and web browsing. They both just about get on my modestly-sized desk with enough room for a couple of hard drives and, crucially, a cup of tea. The Philips changes that, pretty much filling the width of my desk, pushing hard drives and drinks to the peripheries in the process. The screen’s slim stand does leave room underneath for the aforementioned items, but it is quite thin (although there was no evidence during the test to suggest it was going to give way). The stand does not have a pivot mechanism so the screen and stand is one fixed item, and you should consider this if, for example, you have a corner desk because not being able to twist the screen round might mean a problem with leg positioning. There is no height adjustment, either. Set-up out of the box is remarkably simple: no instruction manuals were harmed – or indeed touched – during the testing of this screen. Once the stand is attached by a single screw, it’s simply a question of plugging in a power cable and an HDMI cable to get you up and running. Other ports are provided – a second HDMI, multiple USB 3.0s (including a fast-charging port), two display ports and even a VGA socket. The HDMI ports are both Mobile High-Definition-Link (MHL) compatible so you can directly connect a smartphone or other portable device, plus there is an audio in-port if you want to attach PC speakers rather than use the built-in 5w offer. The monitor offers 4K UHD (3840x2160) resolution, which is 4x bigger than Full HD, but if you plug it into a computer that doesn’t offer

4K compatibility, you’re not going to see the very best it can offer. In my case, I initially tried it with a non-4K compatible Mac Mini. It’s quite easy to have multiple windows open, so you could use this as an alternative to a two smaller screen set-up, although it would take some getting used to. I then tried a newer 4k compatible Mac Mini and now I could enjoy and appreciate the 40in screen. The thing with using 4k on a smaller screen is that while image quality is amazing, dialogue boxes can look really small and that can be an inconvenience for some. But on a 40in screen there is no

issue with squinting at dialogues and menus, and everything is of a decent size. As for the image, the Philips certainly showed the benefits of a high resolution camera – get it right, and you’ll never question decisions about image sharpness again. Also on offer are Picture by Picture (PBP) and Picture in Picture (PIP). Both allow you to attach multiple devices, with PBP enabling you to monitor four devices in the screen at once and PIP enabling you to, for example, watch TV while picture editing – assuming you have a set-top box in your office, of course. The display is 10-bit offering 1.07 billion colours and smooth gradations. I certainly had no problem with colour accuracy while picture editing. There are also a number of Philips’ own SmartImage presets such as Photo, Game and Movie, but I opted to turn these off and went for a more traditional method of calibration using a Spyder 5 device, which worked fine despite the curved screen. There are no controls on the front of the monitor and only one joystick-like control around the back on the bottom right-hand side. While this helps with the svelte look of the screen, I didn’t find the control itself particularly intuitive to use and regularly jumped backwards or to the wrong control in the on-screen menu. In all likelihood, of course, you’re only likely to dabble in the menus once or twice and then leave them well alone. RP

Above The BDM4037UW is a slim, 40in screen and its curved design gives an immersive experience, but its size won’t suit all home offices so before investing make sure that you have the space to enjoy its potential urevedcree4037UW

Verdict A big screen means you can really enjoy your camera skills, and the Philips BDM4037UW certainly does a very fine job of showing your shots in glorious 4k resolution. The generous size, though, is a doubleedged sword, and if your working environment is less than spacious you might find the screen simply too big for eye comfort. Before committing, if you have a TV in your lounge roughly the same size as this monitor, go and park yourself two or three feet in front of that and binge on a favourite series for a few hours; you’ll soon get the idea. After an initial adjustment period, I grew to really enjoy working on the monitor, easily transitioning from a two-screen setup to one big-screen layout, and never suffering any adverse side effects such as headaches or eye strain. Naturally, be sure to check your computer’s 4K compatibility before you buy and look again at your desk’s dimensions. As I said at the start, adding costs on for these as well as the screen could make the overall cost of owning the BDM4037UW more than you expected. However, priced at £600 this is a good value monitor, with many smaller models on the market at higher prices. Pros Big screen, easy set-up Cons Screen might be too big for some, joystick control


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 £1249 The ‘go to’ lens for most photographers is the standard zoom, with a lens range from wide-angle through standard and on to short telephoto, and given its usefulness it is well worth investing in a top-quality model, preferably with a fast constant maximum aperture. Of course the main camera brands have their offerings and good though they invariably are there is often, literally, a price to be paid. In the shops, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II is £1684 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E is £1899. By comparison, the guide price of this Tamron is £1249 which means you can probably get it a little cheaper than that if you shop around Tamron has worked hard on its lens range over the past couple of years, bringing out new primes like the 35mm f/1.8 and revamping several of its popular zooms. This 24-70mm is a serious reworking of the original and shares the familiar good looks of the new range. So we have, for example, the champagne-coloured ring near the mount end of the lens and smart whiteon-black markings. Pick this lens up on its own and you can appreciate it 24mm

F/2.8

has a lovely heft and good balance too. It feels as a quality lens should do – and worth the cash. Fit it onto a full-frame DSLR (I used a Canon EOS 5DS R) and balance remains excellent. Also coming into the excellent category is the smooth focus, with full-time manual override and zoom controls, which I’d expect from Tamron. Personally, I’d prefer a broader focusing ring but that is just a preference and there is nothing amiss with the one provided. Also provided is a zoom lock. This locks on the 24mm setting only. The lens grows by about 3cm as it zooms out to 70mm. Internally a MPU (microprocessor unit) helps to provide fast AF, and it is indeed swift, accurate and silent. An MPU also works with the lens’s VC (Vibration Compensation) system and this claims a 5EV benefit. I did my VC test using the 70mm setting on a still day at shutter speeds down to 1/2sec. If you assume the 70mm requires a minimum of 1/125sec for handheld shooting with a super high megapixel camera like the EOS 5DS R, then a 5EV gain is 1/4sec. I 50mm

F/2.8

Specs Price £1249 Format Full-frame and APS-C Mount Canon, Nikon Construction 17 elements in 12 groups Special lens elements 1x hybrid aspherical element, 3x molded glass aspherical elements, 3x LD (Low Dispersion) elements, 2 XR (Extra Refractive) elements Coatings Tamron eBAND and BBAR coatings, water and oil repellent fluorine coat on front element

got five pin-sharp shots out of five at 1/15sec, three at 1/8sec, two at 1/4sec and none at 1/2sec. I thought that was a respectable showing bearing in mind the weighty combination and the camera’s resolution. Optically, I can’t imagine too many people being disappointed with this lens. It’s not perfect and there is significant distortion – pincushion at the wide end and barrel at 70mm. That is readily resolved in editing, although it might be annoying for those photographers using straight out of camera JPEGs. Obviously it depends on the subject and for people 70mm

F/2.8

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/22

F/22

F/22

and scenic shots, distortion is not really an issue. In terms of sharpness, this lens is more than a little impressive at f/2.8 and that includes at 24mm, 50mm and 70mm – and only default sharpening was used here so there is potential for more. Starting at the 24mm setting, the centre is very sharp and withstands critical scrutiny so no complaints here and the only significant softening occurs in the corners. Stop down to f/4 and f/5.6 and corner detail improves markedly while the central area improves only a little, which shows how good the lens is at f/2.8. There’s not much to choose between f/5.6 and f/8 as the best aperture value at the 24mm setting. There was a more obvious difference between f/2.8 and smaller apertures at the 50mm setting. At the widest setting the image lacked a little bite but stop down to f/4 and the benefit was significant and matters picked up further at f/5.6 and f/8 before tailing off after f/11. It wasn’t a dissimilar performance at the 70mm setting with the image being less impressive at f/2.8, especially at the edges, and an improvement gained with stopping down with f/5.6 needed for detailed edges. F/5.6 and f/8 were the best overall settings at this focal length with diffraction softening edges at f/16 and f/22. All told, I thought Tamron’s 2470mm turned in a very capable performance, especially at 24mm where sharpness was good from f/2.8 onwards. At the longer focal lengths the lens needed stopping down one or two stops to see it at its very best, but it was still more than decent wide open. There was some distortion, most noticeable at 24mm, but that is easily sorted in software if needed, and resistance to flare rated highly. WC Images As usual, our test involved a range of shots and scenes like this that were shot at each aperture at the 24mm, 50mm and 70mm focal length settings. A Gitzo Systematic tripod was used in this case, with the lens manually focused with the camera in its live view mode. A monitor loupe was used for a critical focus check. The resulting Raws were processed through Lightroom with default sharpening only.

Filter size 82mm Aperture range F/2.8-22 Diaphragm Nine rounded blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, full-time manual override Minimum focus 38cm Focus limiter No Maximum magnification 1:5 Distance scale Yes Depth-of-field scale No Image stabilizer Yes, 5EV claimed benefit Tripod collar No Lens hood Locking hood supplied Weather-sealed Moisture-resistant with seven seals Dimensions (lxd) 111x88.4mm (Canon) Weight 905g (Canon) Contact Intro2020.co.uk

Verdict Whether you shoot full-frame or APS-C format DSLRs, this Tamron new standard zoom will undoubtedly deliver a performance that will meet the most critical photographer’s expectations, and at a good price compared with the camera brands. Pros Optical performance, price, fast an smooth autofocusing, good VC camera shake defeating skills Cons Distortion at 24mm end


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

67

First tests Specs Price £1067 Key features GamutDuo, colour temperature sensor, 4k, HDR, 99% Adobe FRGB In the box Hotkey Puck, mains lead, 1x 1m USB C, 1x 1.8m mDP to DP 1.4 cable, 1x 1.8m HDMI 2.0, 1x 1.8m USB 3.1 cable, CD with manual, driver software Colour bit 10-bit Screen size 27in IPS Display colours 1.07 billion Colour gamut 100% Rec.709, 99% Adobe RGB Aspect ratio 16:9 Resolution 3840x2160 Display area 608.8x355.3mm Brightness 350nits Input 2xHDMI 2.0, 1x 1.4 DP, USB C 3.1, SD card reader, USB 3.1 (2x downstream, 1x upstream), 1x USB 2.0 (for Hotkey Puck) Native contrast (typical) 1000:1 Power consumption 43.38W Height adjustment 150mm Dimensions (wxhxd, no shade, minimum height) 61.3x50x22cm Weight 10.6kg (with hood and pivot stand) Contact xpdistribution.com

BenQ SW271 £1067 Most photographers fuss and fret about squeezing every ounce of quality image from their kits, and spend lots of time and money striving for the very best. The irony is how few give the same level of attention and investment to the hardware used to look at their efforts. If you have a large, 4k capable, colour-managed monitor you are likely to be in the minority, so you can relax and enjoy your images at their fabulous best. The rest of you need to give your viewing pleasure some love and look at the latest monitors, such as this BenQ SW271. It is 4k with a resolution of 3840x2160, supports HDR10, features USB C connectivity, shows 99% of the Adobe RGB colour space – and there’s much more. The BenQ SW271 sells at £1067, so it is competitively priced and the sort of money you need to spend for a pro quality, highly featured monitor of this screen size and specification. Assembling the monitor is very quick and no tools are needed. The pivot stand clicks onto the base and is locked into position with a thumb screw, and the screen then just slots and locks into the stand. It’s that simple and takes minutes. Even access to the various sockets is easy because you can rotate the screen 90° for easy access. There are plenty of interface options including USB-C, USB 3.1, HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4 – there’s an SD card slot, too. For viewing HDR10 video content you need to use the HDMI input with the supplied lead – or a premium quality HDMI cable. The USB-C option means you can transmit video and data with one cable and that gives a transfer rate of up to 5Gbps, so you get smooth 4k content. With the right leads in place, then, it is just a matter of setting the right working height and fitting the supplied monitor shade. Obviously it is up to you if you want to use the monitor shade, but it seems sensible to avoid any screen glare or reflections. The final thing to connect is the Hotkey Puck. This offers a convenient and quicker way to get into the menu without the need to use the six low-

profile buttons that sit bottom right of the screen – one is for power and the others come into play using the onscreen menu. The Puck sits neatly in the recess at the base of the pivot stand. Basically, it’s a limited facility computer mouse so it is quick and instinctive to use. There are three controller keys around the outer ring of the puck, and these are set by default to change the screen’s working colour space (Adobe RGB, sRGB) or make the image monochrome. These keys can be changed to suit your needs. For example, calibration setting, brightness and contrast can be assigned to these three buttons. More customisation is available with three of the screen’s low profile

buttons and by default input, colour mode and brightness are set. Eight options are available, including colour gamut and PIP/PBP. This lets you enjoy the screen’s GamutDuo feature that lets you do side-by-side comparisons of how images from two sources look in different colour spaces. The image itself is edge to edge, thanks to the ultra slim bezel frame around three sides of the screen. With a Gossen light meter, I checked the screen’s evenness – with a plain midgrey desktop – and found that to be consistent across the screen. No bright hotspots or uneven coverage was detected and everything was within 0.1 or 0.2EV. For colour calibration, BenQ offers its Palette Master Elements software

that is downloadable and this supports devices including Datacolor Spyder 4/5 and X-Rite il Display Pro/il Pro/il Pro 2. Or use your existing software. I tried the SW271 for still image editing as well as for viewing 4k video and HDR footage. Its image quality is impressive and you can really appreciate the capture quality of the latest high resolution cameras. Fine detail looks amazing and once calibrated, colour performance from the 10-bit display shows over one billion colours – so far more than the human eye can perceive. I also liked the handling. The Hotkey Puck is a great idea and so much easier than using the screen’s small buttons. It was much more intuitive, you didn’t have to stretch across the desk and features such as one-click monochrome preview (with three presets) are handy. In Lightroom, switching between colour and mono is a single click but here you can preview a whole grid of images instantly. WC

Verdict Monitors aren’t upgraded as frequently as cameras and computers so it obviously makes sense to invest in one that fulfils your immediate needs with some degree of future-proofing, too. The BenQ SW271 has that with 4k resolution and HDR compatibility, plus it has the features list and performance that makes it a compelling proposition.

Above The SW271 has PIP (Picture in Picture) and PBP (Picture by Picture) modes so you can directly compare different colour spaces from two sources Above right The Hotkey Puck is a handy device and makes menu navigating much easier than using the screen’s controls Right The on-screen menu is easy enough to navigate, made even easier with the Hotkey Puck.

Pros Image quality, colour accuracy, Hotkey Puck, easy set up Cons Nothing


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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First tests Specs Prices Three kit options – Action, Hi-Sync or Pro To Go sets, each £3299, Skyport Plus HS (Canon/Nikon/ Sony) £219, spare ELB 1200 Air battery £395, HD battery £495, Action, HiSync, Pro Head £799 each In the box 1x ELB 1200 pack, 1x Li-Ion battery and charger, 1x16cm reflector, 1x Snappy case and charger, 1x ProTec Location bag, 1xsync cable, 1x Action/Hi-Sync or Pro head with cap, 1x Skyport Transmitter Plus Output 1200Ws Power range 7-1200Ws, 8.5EV Power distribution 2:1, 1:1 Colour temperature 5600K Flash duration 1/1280-1/5050sec Auto dump Yes Capacity (Air battery) 215 flashes at full power, 20,000 at minimum Battery charge time 90mins Recycling time (full power) Fast 1.7, Default 3.0, Eco mode 6.0secs Modelling light Yes, 5500K dimmable LED equivalent to 250w lamp LED run time 80mins at full power Dimensions (power pack and battery) 28x18x13cm Weight (power pack and battery) 4.3kg Head dimensions 22.5x14x23mm Head weight 2.2kg Brolly fitting 7mm centred, 8mm on tilthead Contact Elinchrom.co.uk

Images The portrait and fan images were shot at 1/8000sec using Hi-Sync mode on a Nikon D810. The far right blow-up shows the action-freezing benefit of such a fast shutter speed.

Elinchrom ELB 1200 £3299 There are plenty of portable flash units available for the location photographer, that is unless you want power and then suddenly options dry up. One, though, is Elinchrom’s ELB 1200 system. The power pack gives 1200Ws of light with more than 200 flash bursts at full power and a great many more at fractional settings, plus there is the choice of three flash heads to satisfy different needs. Very briefly, the Pro head is the all rounder with the briefest flash duration of 1/5050sec while the Action head freezes motion with its 1/8850sec duration, and for those who enjoy mixing flash and sunlight the Hi-Sync head with correct sync up to 1/8000sec is the one to go for. A To Go kit costs £3299 and that buys all you need to get shooting with your choice of one head; individual heads are £799 each. In the kit is a sync cable and a Skyport Transmitter Plus for wireless triggering. If you go for the Hi-Sync kit you’ll need the Skyport Plus HS transmitter for flash shooting up to 1/8000sec – this is available for Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic or Sony at £219. The supplied Li-Ion battery is airsafe; spares cost £395. For even greater capacity go for the HD version at £495 but that is not suitable for air travel. I had the ELB 1200, which is manual flash only, with two heads, the Action and Hi-Sync, and tested them for output, flash duration and colour consistency in the lab (er, the kitchen) and out on location. The first thing to say is how reassuringly robust the power pack feels. Inevitably, location kit gets more than its fair share of knocks and bumps so solidity is important. The unit has two power outputs, A for full power and B for half power. With the Action head, pushing the A-B button toggles between half and 33% output, the lower setting giving the shortest possible duration. One thing to mention on the head to pack connection. Each head has a 4m lead which is very much a good thing but the actual connector could be better. I found it fiddly, notably the lead lock mechanism. Once connected up and turned on, you need to push A, A-B or B to choose which socket/s you want active. I half expected that the unit would

automatically know when a flash head had been plugged in because it does recognise the head type, but no problem alert or blinking flash output figure reminds you to do this. Also, if you push any other button you get an audible warning. If you are using the Skyport Plus trigger it scans and detects the head and then you can adjust output, turn on the modelling light as well as fire the flash with it. Going back to head choice briefly, you need to consider this carefully. While the Hi-Sync head works with shutter speeds up to 1/8000sec, its shortest duration is 1/5050sec and its minimum output is 1.1. Compare this with the Action head that gives you a flash burst as brief as 1/8850sec, a minimum power setting of 0.1 and the fastest shutter speed I managed, using a Nikon D810 for correct sync, was 1/350sec using the trigger’s ODS feature. (The quoted output figures in the test refer to those on the power pack, where they are adjustable in 0.1EV steps.) If I was buying, I’d go for a Hi-Sync head because I like mixing flash and sunlight and the minimum power setting is just about low enough for wide aperture shooting when flash is the only light source. I don’t shoot dancers leaping around the studio so brief duration is not an issue. To test power output, I used a Gossen Digipro F flash meter set to ISO 100, with the head fitted with the 16cm reflector and at 3m. There is certainly plenty of power and a significant pop when the flash is fired at full power. At full power through the A socket I got a reading of f/22.5 from the Action head and f/22.9 from the Hi-Sync head. Double-checking the spec sheet the Action head is slightly less powerful than the Hi-Sync and Pro heads so that pans out. When power settings were altered measured output changed accurately, mostly to within 0.1 or 0.2EV through the range. To test flash duration, hi-sync and colour consistency, I rigged up a domestic fan next to a Datacolor test chart in front of a sheet of large white card. I set each ELB 1200 head with the 26cm reflector on a stand at a distance of 3m and a Nikon D810 fitted with the Skyport HS plus transmitter on a tripod. I used a 26cm reflector (not

The ELB 1200 packs a considerable punch when it comes to output and there’s the choice of three different flash heads. (Shown here not to scale)

included in the kit) for the high-speed sync test and swapped to the supplied 16cm reflector for the other tests. I did a custom white-balance reading with both heads first and then took lots of pictures. Colour consistency also rated highly with no significant colour shift from minimum to maximum power. Elinchrom’s Hi-Sync is not a Speedlight-type pulsing system where flash is pulsed very, very rapidly to give, in effect, a continuous burst of light. Hi-Sync uses timing so that the shutter records the peak of the flash burst but also the light as it decays. I was getting correct Hi-sync flash on my Nikon D810 without any timing adjustment. However, if needed, the Skyport HS does have an ODS (OverDrive Sync) feature where you can adjust, up to 5millisec, the shutter timing to achieve correct exposures. On the ELB 1200 with the Hi-Sync head I was getting serious amounts of power. At 1/8000sec and full power, shots taken at f/11 looked good. That was at ISO 100 indoors. Outdoors, if you need more power or have to place the flash further away, you do have headroom with aperture, ISO and modifier choice. In my white card tests, shooting at shutter speeds of 1/500sec and above did give a gradation effect (lighter at the bottom, darkening across the top as the flash fades) that I couldn’t

Verdict All round, the ELB 1200 is an amazing light source. It has flash power in abundance, is colour consistent and there’s a decent LED modelling light for video use. Plus it’s perfectly at home indoors or in very bright sun (with the Hi-Sync head) and is supported by the huge range of modifiers in the Elinchrom system. It is also a pleasure to use. The ELB 1200 is a serious investment but if you need an equally seriously good lighting system it is one worth making.

Pros Power, performance, versatility, takes Elinchrom-fit modifiers Cons Lead connection to pack could be slicker

reduce with ODS. Just make sure that the subject is correctly exposed and, depending on what you are shooting, it might not even be noticeable in practice. The use of a graduated filter in editing resolves the matter, too. Different camera models will behave differently and the ODS gives extra control if it is needed. There’s great potential with Hi-Sync, though, and impressive power. WC


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

71

First tests

Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR £449 Camera and lens makers commonly have sub-groups of lenses within their systems that share features, looks and even price. Thus, Fujifilm’s XF 50mm f/2 joins the 23mm f/2 and 35mm f/2, offering the same fast aperture, compact build, weather resistant build, stylish looks and attractive price. An older 18mm f/2 is available too but that model is not weatherproofed so may be due to be upgraded in due course. The 50mm f/2 is available in silver or black finishes and offers the equivalent of a 76mm focal length in the 35mm format, so ideal for portrait and general photography. Really keen portrait workers might prefer the 56mm f/1.2 for the characteristics that its super-fast maximum aperture offers, but that comes at a price in weight, size and cash. The optical design of the 50mm f/2 features nine elements in seven groups with one aspherical, extra low dispersion element. Autofocus is handled by a stepping motor working with a set of internal elements, which gives fast, silent operation. I tested the 50mm f/2 lens on a Fujifilm X-E3 and it certainly focused speedily and accurately on that camera. Mechanically, the lens impressed. Aperture control is handled by a smoothly click-stopped ring working in 0.3EV steps with full f/stops marked as usual. There’s an A setting for auto aperture use. The other control is the manual focusing ring which has a likeable silky smooth action and, in terms of on-lens features, that’s it. There’s no Fujifilm OIS image stabiliser on this lens. It is difficult not to be impressed with its optical abilities. It delivered a very creditable performance at every aperture setting including the wider values. That is great news in that you can choose the aperture based on what depth-of-field effect you want rather than having to set a particular value for performance reasons. At f/2, test images were lovely and crisp especially at the centre but still good at the edges where fine detail continued to look impressive, although less good than at the centre. It was a satisfying and impressive level of performance at this aperture so if you want to make the most of the

Specs Price £449, available in black or silver Format APS-C, 76mm equivalent in the 35mm format Mount Fujifilm-X Construction 9 elements in 7 groups Special lens elements 1x aspherical ED lens Coatings Fujifilm Super EBC (Electron Beam Coating) Filter size 46mm Aperture range F/2-16 in 0.3EV Diaphragm Nine blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes Minimum focus 39cm Focus limiter No Maximum magnification 0.15x

shallow depth-of-field you can, and get critically sharp shots. Close down one f/stop and images look even crisper, although the edges are still marginally behind the central area. That is rectified by f/4, however, when images across the frame are sharp, contrasty and fine detail looks excellent. It got even better with further stopping down, with detail looking even crisper by f/5.6 and f/8. The best aperture for overall quality was probably f/5.6, and image quality remained at that level until f/11 before tailing off slightly at f/16. A bayonet-fit lens hood is supplied and it is very effective at preventing flare from oblique lighting. The risk of flare and ghosting is higher when a strong light source is in frame and I did manage some flare spots, so this is something to be aware of. All round, though, a very capable performance from a compact short telephoto that has great potential. And a nice price, too. WC

Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Yes Weather sealed Yes Dimensions 59.4x60mm Weight 200g Contact Fujifilm.eu

F2

F2.8

F4

F5.6

F8

F16

Above This lens delivered sharp results even when choosing f/2 for shallow depth-of-field. Shot at 1/300sec at ISO 200.

Distance scale Yes

Original image

F11

Images Our test pictures were taken with the lens on a Fujifilm X-E3 and tripod mounted. For extra stability the camera’s electronic shutter was used with with the self-timer. Default sharpening was applied during processing.

Verdict The Fujifilm XF50mm f/2 R WR is a lovely lens, compact, nicely priced and a really handy focal length for an extensive range of subject matter. Handling is excellent, too, with swift, silent accurate AF and a useful minimum focus distance. Above all, it is impressive optically, particularly at those important wider apertures where a weak performance can make the point of a fast lens redundant. That does not apply in the case of this Fujifilm lens, and it comes highly recommended. Pros Small size, fast, weather resistant, compact size Cons Flare when shooting directly into the light


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Technique

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 master long-exposure traffic trails Words & pictures by Kingsley Singleton

Shoot a traffic trail

Shooting traffic trails is a rite of passage for many creative photographers, and with good reason. Traffic trails and the long exposures required to record them teach you all about the principles of light and time in photography; but crucially they do it in a hugely creative fashion where you can see the results right there on screen as you shoot them. For that reason it’s a really satisfying way to learn. What’s more, traffic trail, or any light trail images, have an indisputable cache; they show the world in a way that the naked eye can never perceive, and they’re beyond the understanding of most nonphotographers, so for that reason shooting them can be very addictive. Essentially traffic trails (or any light trails), are caused by a light moving across the frame during the exposure; the shutter opens, the light moves, then the shutter closes again, and the distance travelled is recorded as a streak of light; for most of us, this first happened by accident, a mistaken long exposure at night, when the shutter speed was too slow to shoot handheld. But with the right approach and skills you can blur the lights on purpose and create stunning images. And of course this technique works for pretty much any moving light source you want to turn into a trail. What you’ll need Most cameras, be they DSLRs, CSCs or compacts, are capable of shooting traffic trails; they just need to have a mode where you can manually control the shutter speed. You can shoot in full manual mode, aperture- or shutter-priority, but the simplest way to learn is to use the latter. In shutter-priority you can set the shutter speed to whatever length of time you want the exposure to last. On top of that you’ll need a solid tripod to keep the camera still for as long as the shutter is open. The idea is that the traffic passes through a static scene, forming the streaks, but the camera needs to remain still or the streaks won’t be smooth, and the rest of the scene won’t be sharp. What to shoot and when The next thing you’ll need are some moving vehicles to shoot, so find yourself a good spot overlooking a busy road. Remember to stay clear of danger though, and don’t get too close 0.3sec

Step 1: Set up on a tripod Compose the scene as you want it, preferably with a nice sweep of lights through the frame, then lock off the camera’s position on a tripod. Make sure the tripod’s not in a place where it’ll be bumped, or where there’s vibration; either of which could ruin the sharpness of your shot (shooting long exposures from small footbridges over roads can be tricky for this very reason).

Above Shooting with a slow shutter speed – in this case 25secs – allows any moving car lights in a scene to blur into traffic trails. to the traffic. Bridges overlooking motorways and buildings above city streets are good places to shoot from. The best time to shoot traffic trails is in or just after the blue hour, which falls after sunset. This is for two reasons. First is that the low light levels make it easier to extend the shutter speed of the camera, and second because this is the point that the lights will show up best. Try to avoid shooting when it gets very dark as with no natural light, there’s nothing for the 5secs

traffic to contrast with; they’ll just be streaks in complete darkness. To make sure you have good, long, unbroken streaks of light, try timing a vehicle from when it enters your composition to when it exits; that’s the shutter speed you’ll ideally need. And remember that the light will be changing throughout your shoot; you’ll need to change settings as conditions dim. Now follow the three steps on the right, which show how to set up your camera. 30secs

Above The shutter speed you set makes a big difference to traffic trail images; at 0.3secs, the shutter speed is too short and you’ll get stubby lines. 5secs looks better, but the trails are still broken. 30secs gives a pleasing unbroken streak.

Step 2: Dial in the exposure Now switch the camera to shutter-priority mode (S or Tv), and dial in 15secs as a starting point. Check the aperture that the camera has set to balance the shutter speed. If it’s blinking or reading ‘Lo’ or ‘Hi’, then the scene is either too light or too dark to shoot at that speed. You can try a shorter or longer shutter speed, or raise or lower the ISO setting to compensate. When you’ve got a usable aperture, you can proceed.

Step 3: Focus, shoot and check the results Autofocus on the road, streetlight or traffic sign (or what you want sharp in the scene), then switch to manual to lock it there. Now plug in a cable release, or set the self-timer, so that you don’t jog it as you start the exposure. Trigger the exposure, wait for the shutter to close, and then check the results on screen. If the trails aren’t filling the frame, just go back to step 2 and try a longer shutter speed.

NEXT MONTH MORE NIGHT MANOEUVRES


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Competition

Editor’s letter

Proud to be a gear geek

WIN!

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s special moments across all devices with the ultra-reliable Samsung PRO Plus 128GB microSD memory cards. Samsung’s latest cards feature recently upgraded fourproof features: they are water, temperature, X-ray and magnetic proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one massive 128GB Samsung PRO Plus microSDXC card and SD adapter to award to an eagle-eyed winner. Just complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on puzzle@photographynews.co.uk with that word in the subject box by 14 January 2018. The correct answer to PN48’s word search was Tablet and the Samsung 128GB card was won by Maria Eliis from Kent. samsung.com/uk/memory-storage

Many keen photographers are gear geeks and upgrade their cameras, lenses and software at every opportunity, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Without geeks it is very likely gear prices would be higher than they are now, there would be no second-hand market, and we probably wouldn't have the incredible technology currently at our disposal. So, give it up for gear geeks – they deserve recognition. Indeed, I count myself in their number and while I don’t change cameras every week, I am always hankering for something or other for my photography, even if it’s a grip or spare battery. Last week, I was pondering my hard drive back-up strategy and bored, and without having come to any firm conclusion, moved on to the much more capivating subject of cameras. So, I am now the proud owner of a Fujifilm X-E3 which I bought to go alongside my X-T2 with an eye on my forthcoming bucket list trip to Australia to watch England scrap (not literally, although you never know) for the Ashes. I couldn’t imagine going on such a trip with just one camera and no back-up so the X-E3 seemed the perfect option. I was lucky that I got to review it first (the report is in this issue if you are reading the back page first) so I had a couple of weeks test driving one to make sure it suited my needs before making any commitment. It did, being small, light and impressively capable, so it has become an early Chrimbo pressie to myself. It only seems like five minutes ago since last Christmas, but here we are again in the torturously long run up to this year’s festive season and still not really knowing what’s round the corner for the country.

Photographically, the tech wagon continues to race along. I’d say 2017 has been good in terms of exciting new products. Some years can be a bit ‘same old, same old’, but the past 12 months have been pretty good. We kicked off with the hugely impressive Fujifilm GFX system in January, the immensely talented Nikon D850 came along late summer and, most recently we’ve seen the large-sensored Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III. I’m talking gear because this issue includes the launch of the PN Awards and the time when we ask you to recognise the best gear of the past year, and by gear I mean not just cameras and lenses but also tripods, studio lighting and colour management kit too. We’ve shortlisted products in each category and all we ask is that you make your opinions known by voting via the photographynews. co.uk website. It shouldn’t take long to fill in the voting form and if you are uncertain about what to vote for in a category, ignore it and stick with what you know. Voting opens now and will stay open for a while (even over the festive period) so you have plenty of time to get your thoughts together, and thank you in advance for your votes. And with that, we bring to a close this year’s Photography News, although we will still be posting news and stories on our website. Thanks so much for your support and may we wish you all the best for the festive period and 2018. See you next year.

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Greetings Holly Ivy Kelvin Loot

Advertising Team

Design Team

Editorial director Roger Payne

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

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Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

Advertisement feature Canon winter offers

Cashback from Canon

There are some amazing offers to be had on top quality Canon cameras, lenses and printers thanks to the latest cashback promotion, and you have until 17 January 2018 to take advantage If you’ve been thinking about investing in some cutting-edge Canon gear, or just fancy treating yourself to a rather special early Christmas present, then Canon’s spectacular cashback offers on a wide selection of the company’s most popular cameras, lenses, printers, media and storage could be just what you’ve been waiting for. These cashback offers are not to be sniffed at: you can save from £20 on the EOS 1300D through to a whopping £215 on the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, and it’s a great opportunity to get your hands on the kit you always wanted at a price that’s guaranteed to put

a smile on your face. As a special bonus with this winter promotion, you’ll also receive 100GB of free storage on Canon Irista, equivalent to an extra 30,000 images. Don’t delay though. Cashback offers are for a limited period only; you must claim by 28 February 2018. If you want to take advantage then you need to place your order by 17 January 2018. The clock is ticking – don’t miss out! canon.co.uk/wintercashback/

£85

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Specs

Specs Sensor size/type 22.3x14.9mm CMOS sensor

Sensor size/type 22.3x14.9mm CMOS sensor

Resolution 24.2 megapixels

Resolution 24.2 megapixels

ISO range 100-25,600 (can be expanded to H 51,200) Shutter speed range 30secs-1/4000sec Rear LCD Vari-angle Clear View II 3in touchscreen Dimensions (wxhxd) 131x99.9x76.2mm Weight Approx 540g

EOS 77D This well-specified DSLR has it all, from a mighty 24.2-megapixel sensor at its heart working with Canon’s renowned DIGIC 7 processor through to state-of-the-art AF and continuous shooting at up to 6fps. Enjoy pictures packed with amazing detail, tonality and low noise levels. If you want to get creative shoot from different perspectives using the vari-angle touchscreen. Meanwhile the handy top-plate LCD is a quick reference point for key shooting information, such as ISO setting, aperture and shutter speed, exposure compensation, battery level, Wi-Fi activation and shots remaining. Thanks to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC wireless technologies, it’s easy to browse photos and to control your camera from your smartphone. There’s also a facility to shoot HD movies.

ISO range 100-25,600 (expandable to H 51,200) Shutter speed range 30secs-1/4000sec Rear LCD Vari-angle Clear View II 3in touchscreen Dimensions (wxhxd) 122.4x92.6x69.8mm Weight Approx 453g

EOS 200D Said to be the world’s lightest DSLR, the EOS 200D boasts a next-generation 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, a bright optical viewfinder, a vari-angle Clear View II three-inch LCD touchscreen and what’s said to be the world’s fastest Live View focusing. In keeping with its state-of-the-art credentials, the EOS 200D also comes with the facility to wirelessly transfer images to a smartphone or tablet, thanks to built-in Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity. Also on board is Full HD 1080p movie recording, a dual pixel CMOS AF focusing system, a time-lapse movie function and a DIGIC 7 processor for fast handling of images.

Specs Lens construction 21/16 elements/groups Close focusing distance 98cm Filter thread 77mm

Specs

Maximum dimensions 94x193mm Weight 1640g with tripod mount

EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

£30

Print resolution 9600x2400dpi

£215 CASHBACK

The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM is ideal for photographers who travel light. Its 100-400mm zoom range allows you to react quickly in fast-changing situations. The lens delivers sharp, high-contrast images, using fluorite and Super Ultra-low Dispersion (Super UD) lens elements to tackle artefacts and distortion. Meanwhile a three-mode Image Stabilizer guards against blur from camera shake, allowing hand-held shooting with shutter speeds up to four stops slower than normal. Canon’s multilayered Air Sphere Coating (ASC) protects against flare, ghosting and reduced contrast, while fast USM autofocus locks on accurately and in near-silence. The lens also focuses down to 98cm, letting you react to close-up subjects.

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Number of inks 6 Photo print speed Borderless 10x15cm 36secs approx, A3+ with border 120secs approx Wireless Yes, wired hi-speed USB available too Dimensions (wxhxd) 590x331x159mm Weight 8.5kg

PIXMA iP8750 Once you have captured your brilliant shots (using the latest Canon cameras and lenses, of course!) you’ll want to show them off to the world. One of Canon’s PIXMA range of photo-quality inkjet printers is just what you need for stunning enlargements up to A3+ size, produced in minutes in the comfort of your own home. Canon has a full range of top quality inkjet papers too. The PIXMA iP8750 is a six-ink printer with wireless functionality so you can print easily from anywhere within your home network’s range. The six-ink set includes a grey for smooth tonality, perfect for stunning prints. Optional XL ink tanks are available if you get very keen.


Photography News | Issue 50 | photographynews.co.uk

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Issue 50 of Photography News