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Tested: tech-laden CSC gunning for your DSLR
Essential post-production techniques you need to know
RISING STARS From fashion to weddings, we reveal the photographers to watch in 2015
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WELCOME Check out some of the new faces you’ll be seeing more of in the future as we introduce nine rising stars
Welcome to another issue of Photo Professional – an action-packed start to 2015. Our key feature is a 12-page look at some of the industry’s rising stars, nominated by a selection of contemporary movers and shakers, people such as Julia Boggio, Mark Cleghorn, Bob Martin and Catherine Connor. Some of the new faces might not be so familiar just yet, but you’ll be hearing plenty more from this bunch in the years to come. Elsewhere we’re also sitting in on a car shoot in one of the country’s biggest dedicated studios with Ripley & Ripley. We’re also taking a look at an upcoming photography festival with a difference – taking place in the middle of the woods rather than the more conventional conference centre. On the equipment front we’re examining the NX1, Samsung’s calling card for its aspirations to enter the professional arena. Plus we’ve got an exclusive first look at broncolor’s brand new Siros lights, a more affordable entry point into this legendary system. A great line-up of stories I think you’ll agree, and I do hope you enjoy the read!
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Let’s get 2015 started with all the latest news, from competition winners and 150th anniversaries, to world-first cameras and updated classics.
018 PORTFOLIO: BRADLEY ORMESHER
COVER The renowned photographer gives us an insight into his sporting life.
027 SHOOTING STARS
COVER It’s a veritable who’s who for the next generation of photographers – nine hot tips from those in the know.
046 SOFTWARE TECHNIQUE
COVER In the second part of her new series on post-production, Tigz Rice battles noise to save the day.
050 LIGHTING MASTERCLASS
COVER Join us for a high-octane ride as we call shotgun on a car shoot with Ripley & Ripley and Hasselblad.
059 BUSINESS MATTERS
Everything you need to know to kick-start a profitable and successful 2015.
063 MASTER MARKETING
Three little letters that get results: SEO.
078 SAMSUNG NX1
COVER Making its first foray into the top-end CSC pool Samsung is certainly making ripples with the NX1. But will those ripples turn into waves for pros?
066 SNAP DECISION
Well, it wasn’t a snap decision exactly, but Laura Babb has moved quickly to get her wedding photography festival started.
086 BRONCOLOR SIROS
073 PRO MOVIEMAKER
We got a head start with this new kit from broncolor, as the company gets a foothold in the affordable monobloc market.
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A dollop of inspiration, a pinch of technique and a big spoonful of business savvy – our recipe for a winning issue.
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THE BIG PICTURE
JUST WILD ABOUT NATURE
The latest Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is about to open for business, and Sandra Bartocha, a previous category runner-up, is helping with this year’s judging PICTURE SANDRA BARTOCHA
Probably the most prestigious competition on the planet for wildlife and nature photographers is about to open its doors for business for the 51st time. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a truly international event, and photographers from all walks are invited to take part. One of those who did just that in 2010 was Sandra Bartocha. She was a runner-up in the Creative Visions category with this incredible shot entitled Gespensterwald
(Ghostly Forest). She’s now involved with the 2015 competition as a judge. “This picture was taken in an old beech forest near Nienhagen in Germany,” she says. “It’s buffeted by winds from the Baltic Sea, and these have contributed to the forest’s reputation as a spooky place. However I think it’s utterly beautiful and, after a heavy snowfall one January, I decided to spend a day alone there. However, it was only as it started to get dark and the snow
started falling again that I had the chance to create the surreal image I had come for.” This year the competition has two new categories: TIMElapse, which requires a submission of three images, and WILD-I, for natural world stories caught on mobile devices by young citizen reporters. The competition opens on 5 January, and you have eight weeks to get your entry in. www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com
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Inbox DAY OF THE DEAD
London-based Mexican street photographer Antonio Olmos was given the chance to cover the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico City, using the diminutive Sony RX100 III compact as his sole camera So, how good are compact cameras these days? Still models that are suitable only for the enthusiast or those baffled by technology? Obviously not, looking at these shots of the Day of the Dead, produced by London-based Mexican street photographer Antonio Olmos. Antonio used just the Sony RX100 III for the day and came back with a set of pictures that any pro would have been proud of. Please introduce yourself. I’m Antonio Olmos. I was born in Mexico and have been a professional reportage and portrait photographer since 1988. Recently I published my first book The Landscape of Murder with the publisher Dewi Lewis, and in the last few years I’ve branched out a bit more, doing a bit of advertising as well as teaching workshops. What’s your usual kit when you’re shooting travel images? I have always tried to travel lightly. Working with too many cameras can exhaust someone like me who tries to shoot all day long. Since the advent of digital, cameras have become heavier and it also means carrying a laptop along with the photo gear. I normally work with two DSLRs and about four lenses. I also try to shoot with a smaller camera as well, something like a rangefinder or a high-end point and shoot. In the last few years I’ve even found myself using a smartphone on occasion. My dream really is just to have one camera with a 35mm fixed lens. How did you come to be working with the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 III? I had never used Sony cameras until recently. A few months ago I was working in Mount Kenya in Africa and I had a chance to use a Sony A7 and was really impressed. Shortly after that Sony asked me to do a workshop with a select few journalists during the Day of the Dead Festival in Mexico and to use the RX100. I asked Sony to let me have the camera early and used it on assignment in Rome and by the time I was in Mexico I was extremely comfortable and impressed with the camera.
I found the RX100 easy to work with and I didn’t miss my DSLR. It allowed me to be unobtrusive
IMAGES Being presented with a Sony RX100 III and asked to shoot the Day of the Dead in Mexico was a dream come true for Antonio Olmos, who was bowled over by both the camera and the event.
What’s your impression of the camera now that you’ve been using it for a while? It was the first time I’ve worked solely with what is considered a point and shoot camera. I found it easy to work with and I didn’t miss my usual DSLRs. It allowed me to be totally unobtrusive, and after hours of shooting I wasn’t tired at all. I shot everything in Raw, which I always do, and the files were amazing. Like most professionals I work in manual mode and the RX100 had no technical limitations for me. I chose to use the pop-up viewfinder, which I prefer over using the screen on the back of the camera. I was completely at ease with it. It didn’t feel like it was anything less than a completely professional camera. Did you find shooting the Day of the Dead event inspiring? I always wanted to cover the Day of the Dead in Mexico. It was something I did as a kid visiting my grandfather’s grave along with the rest of my extended family in Ensenada, Baja
California in Northern Mexico. I lived in Mexico City for three years and every time Day of the Dead rolled around I happened to be on assignment in Haiti, Cuba or Central America and I never got a chance to photograph it. So when Sony approached me with this workshop I jumped at the chance. What was it like being there? I sort of knew what to expect. The cemetery in Mixquic kept getting more crowded as the night went along, and eventually I found it impossible to move. There was a small part of me that was worried that maybe the whole day had become commercialised or was merely a tourist attraction nowadays. It couldn’t have been farther from that though. The place was packed with local people from the community and families attended every grave. I felt privileged to have witnessed it in Mixquic. MORE INFORMATION
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PORTFOLIO | BRADLEY ORMESHER
Bradley Ormesher grew up in a household steeped in the finest Fleet Street traditions so it was no surprise when he picked up a camera, and he’s now considered one of the finest sports photographers around WORDS TERRY HOPE PICTURES BRADLEY ORMESHER
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PORTFOLIO | BRADLEY ORMESHER
IMAGE Tiger Woods smashes out of a bunker at Oakland Hills, Detroit, USA at the 2008 Ryder Cup. ISSUE 102 PHOTO PROFESSIONAL 019
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SPECIAL FEATURE T H E N E X T G E N E R AT I O N
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SPECIAL FEATURE T H E N E X T G E N E R AT I O N
Nominated by top sports photographer and London 2012 photo manager Bob Martin: “I’ve been watching Julian’s progress for some time, and he’s just a real quality photographer, with a very good eye for a picture. I would bet anything that he’s going to pick up one of the major sports photography awards in the next few years.”
IMAGES With five years of photography education under his belt, Julian Finney has been firing off shots in the big league for the past decade, working with Getty Images.
Tell us about your route to becoming a professional photographer. I graduated with a BA (Hons) degree from Nottingham Trent University’s Art & Design school in 2004 and from there managed to land a role at Getty Images. I now work on many global sporting events for them but also find time for portraiture and commercial photography. I’ve had experience at many Olympic Games and World Championships, and I also work closely with major clients and organisations on a regular basis.
trying to lose the background as much as possible by filling the frame. Having said that I will always then strive for a graphic, creative, artistic image. Coming from a university degree where I studied many photographers, I look at form, shape and colours that work well. I love sport and the way athletes push themselves to the limits, so capturing this interests me. Taking bigger risks can result in the best pictures but can also leave you with nothing. A lot of experience and knowledge of the athlete or sport really helps.
How did you get involved in photography? When I was 14 I had to pick some subjects to concentrate on for my GCSEs, and art & design was one I chose. Luckily in my school we had a darkroom and a keen photography teacher as well as an art teacher. He introduced me to photography and I went from there. I continued my photography education at BTEC Diploma level for two years then signed up for the three-year photography degree at Nottingham Trent. Now 32, I’ve just reached my ten-year anniversary at Getty Images.
You obviously shoot a lot of portraits as well as action subjects. Portrait photography for me is a challenge and it’s something that I’m still learning. Classic sports photography is about reacting quickly in the right way at the right moment, and understanding how the light is changing from moment to moment. Portraiture, however, is normally a staged photo with the photographer in control of the outcome from start to finish. You need good communication and a certain personality to make your sitter feel at ease.
How did you come to work for Getty Images? I entered the Sports Aid Young Photographer of the Year competition run by a photography magazine, and the prize was to meet a Getty Images/Allsport photographer. Unfortunately the day out with a photographer never happened but it did lead to an opportunity to show my portfolio to Adrian Murrell, director of photography at Getty Images at the time. Thanks to meeting Getty Images photographer Clive Brunskill at a tennis event in Nottingham later that year I was offered a junior field editor role, which then led to a full-time photography position.
What photographers – sports or otherwise – have influenced you? All the Getty Images/Allsport photographers: Bob Martin, Clive Brunskill, David Cannon, Shaun Botterill to name a few. Outside of this there’s many, including Henri Cartier Bresson, Martin Parr, Andreas Gursky, Annie Leibovitz and Anderson and Low.
What is it about your style that sets you apart from the rest? I’m quite a traditionalist, so I look to capture great sport stock images, big and bold. I’m after classic fixed long lens shots, focusing largely on clean backgrounds, nice light and
How would you like your career to progress from here? I would like to continue as I am, still searching for new sport locations and events where I can capture something that’s not been seen before. Also I’m hoping to shoot a lot more portraiture and also sports reportage and commercial photography, as this can be both very creative and challenging. MORE INFORMATION www.julianfinney.com
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LIGHTING THE DREAM MACHINE LIGHTING MASTERCLASS
Automotive photography is like no other genre, and what you’re looking at is finely polished perfection. We joined Rip from Ripley & Ripley on a very special Hasselblad lighting workshop WORDS TERRY HOPE PICTURES RIPLEY & RIPLEY
hotographing cars is a highly specialised business and there’s so much riding on not just the performance and feature set of a new model but also its perceived star quality and sheer breathtaking beauty that nothing is left to chance. Hence the recent phenomenon of CGI (Computer Generated Imaging), where the car in the image may never have even existed in the flesh: instead it’s been pieced together in the bowels of a computer, its body draped over a wire framework, its appearance sheer 100% perfection. Less left to chance you see, and there’s no danger of an overhead pigeon doing its thing at the wrong moment or a spy from a rival manufacturer copping a crafty look over a nearby fence. Fortunately there are photographers out there still doing things for real, although the chances are that what you’re looking at is still far removed from what was sitting in front of the camera. And today we’ve been invited, along with a select few others who were quick enough to sign up to the Hasselblad-organised workshop with Rip from Ripley & Ripley – it sold out in 24 hours – to witness a shoot actually come together in the flesh, and to see for ourselves exactly what goes on behind doors that are usually tight shut. The first thing to report is that the studio itself is impressive: mightily impressive in
We’ve been invited to witness a shoot come together, and to see what goes on behind closed doors
ABOVE Behind the scenes and in the hangar on an exclusive Hasselblad workshop with car specialist Ripley & Ripley.
fact, a vast aircraft hangar of a place that’s almost entirely filled with a giant white cove. For those who may not be so well versed with studio jargon, a cove is a background that fills the space and has a gently curved semicircular continuous shape so that there are no discernible hard lines. It means that objects photographed in this space appear to virtually float in the picture, while the white surroundings act as a giant white reflector. Usually a cove is big enough for a model or maybe a motorbike to be pictured, but if you want to work with something as big as a car then the scale goes, erm, off the scale. So big is the cove here at the aptly named Junction 11 Studio in Banbury – it’s just off Junction 11 of the M40, naturally – that there are only a handful of others like it in the country. It means that it’s very busy and excitingly there’s a secret shoot going on in the sister studio next door, featuring a car that none of us are allowed to see. When it’s being wheeled in from outside the order goes out for everyone to stay where they are until it’s safely behind locked doors, and such a hush-hush type approach is commonplace in the automotive business.
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FESTIVAL FEVER S N A P P H O T O G R A P H Y F E S T I VA L
Alternative wedding photographer Laura Babb is a woman on a mission. Inspired by the freethinking photo festivals of the US, she is planning her own festival event on home soil next spring WORDS MEGAN CROFT IMAGES VARIOUS
the Photo Field Trip festival. “It was as far away from a corporate conference as you can get with the teachers hanging out with the attendees, campfires, parties and a completely unique shared experience,” Laura recalls. “I kept thinking it would be amazing to have something similar in the UK. It got to the point where the idea was always there in the back of my mind so I just decided to take the risk and go for it. It was quite spur of the moment in the end. “I guess I had a strong feeling in my gut that I should give this my best try. I always think if you’re really passionate about something and you send that passion out into the world, you’ll attract other people who think and feel the same way you do.” A new way of thinking This isn’t the first leap of faith Laura has taken. Just two years ago she hung up her social housing managerial hat and took up wedding photography as a full-time career under the guise of Babb Photo. Her introduction to photography is similarly unconventional, taking it up on a whim seven years ago after being inspired by her thenboyfriend (now husband) who carried a CSC with him everywhere. Her friend’s wedding
was the first she shot and, after loving the experience, it snowballed from there. Despite being relatively new to the game, she’s already made a big impact on the industry. Her innovative and openminded approach is a breath of fresh air compared to the traditional and rigid out-of-a-can style of photography. Laura’s methods and photographic style echo the ethos of Snap Festival entirely, making her the ideal candidate to introduce this unique, creative festival to a UK crowd. “Rather than listening to speakers doing keynotes, everything will be really practical with lots of demonstrations, the chance for you to try techniques and the chance to go out and shoot or watch our speakers shoot,” she explains. “You’ll be right in the thick of it. Each person’s Snap experience will be unique to them as you get your own schedule and focus the event on what you need as a creative. There’s a jam-packed line-up with a minimum of three workshops going on at any one time, and three sessions of workshops per day, alongside activities, chill-out time and secret sessions. Each workshop will be repeated so you can schedule your time around seeing the people you want to see the most.”
lenty of us have had that light bulb moment when we’ve hit on a lucrative plan or needquenching idea and while most of us sit on it, some of us take that moment of inspiration and run with it. Laura Babb most definitely falls into the latter category. She’s the organiser of what will be Britain’s first wedding photography festival, and all those receptive to new ideas are invited to a woodland in deepest Wales for four days filled with locally produced food, making friends by the campfire, inspiring hands-on workshops run by stellar photographers and creatives and maybe a bit of wild swimming and a film screening or two. It’s a radical new idea and the guarantee is that the Snap Photography Festival will be unlike any of the stiff networking events or photography lectures that you might have encountered before. There will be no dry lectures, no anodyne hotel rooms and a complete lack of barriers between the attendees and the experts who are invited to speak. In short it will be a golden opportunity to learn and to share experiences for four days. Fresh to the UK, the seed for this one-ofa-kind event was planted back in early 2014 when Laura travelled to sunny California for
IMAGES Professional photographers like Marianne Taylor will be in attendance at the Snap Photography Festival to share pearls of wisdom with festival goers in a relaxed campsite situation.
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RODE VIDEOMIC X SPECIFICATIONS CONTACT www.rodemic.com PRICE £649 CHASSIS CONSTRUCTION Aluminium HIGH-PASS FILTERS 75Hz and 150Hz OUTPUTS Balanced mini XLR outputs and 3.5mm stereo jack output NOISE REDUCTION Acoustically matched half-inch, XY configured condenser capsules in shock mounts, plus windshield attachments AUDIO ENHANCEMENTS 6dB presence boost, 20dB gain, 10dB pad POWER 9V alkaline battery or P48 (via mini XLR) WEIGHT 299g DIMENSIONS 24.1x22.9x12.7cm
Rode Stereo VideoMic X Rode’s latest flagship on-camera stereo microphone is designed to provide camera owners with a high-quality audio recording solution in a compact and robust package. We find out if it can deliver the goods WORDS TOM FLINT
n situations where high-quality sound is needed the microphones that are built into most HDSLRs and dedicated camcorders are simply not up to the job. Rather their main function is to provide a guide track, and the assumption on the behalf of manufacturers is that serious users will attach an external mic or make use of a sound engineer. Even then, any mic that is situated on camera runs the risk of providing audio that is less than perfect, with the potential for picking up extraneous noise through the camera body and from unavoidable handling. Now, however, Australian microphone manufacturer Rode claims to have come up with a device that, while offering the ease of use of an on-camera model, provides a level of audio quality that is way above what you would normally expect from a mic of this kind. The new Stereo VideoMic X, like its predecessors the Stereo VideoMic, VideoMicPro and Stereo VideoMic Pro, screws onto
a camera hotshoe and provides a matched pair of condenser microphone capsules for capturing a stereo sound picture. But while the other models hold the entire microphone chassis in a suspension cradle, the VideoMic X suspends only its mic capsules, and this represents a significant design improvement. For a start it means that the X’s buttons are decoupled from the capsules, so vibrations caused by pressing them do not result in ugly clunking sounds. And secondly it means that the heavy part of the mic can be firmly attached to the camera, thereby putting less strain on the shockmount system and resulting in a much more compact design. Carrying a £649 price tag it’s not a cheap solution, but it’s clearly been very carefully thought through, so how does the new mic – aimed specifically at DSLR filmmakers who want to work with an on-camera mic – stand up to a full test, used in tandem with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III?
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PRO MOVIEMAKER Feature overview A 9V PP3 battery, which slots in behind a very solid locking hatch on the side, provides power for the Stereo VideoMic X. On the opposite side, behind a rubber plug, is a stereo pair of XLR mini sockets, so that the output can be sent to an external recorder if so desired. To connect the mic to a camera there is a stereo mini jack output on the underside, and Rode includes a short curly cable to go between the two. Apart from a power-on switch on the rear of the mic there are just three simple toggle buttons with status LEDs, so operation of the device couldn’t be easier. The most important of these is the level button, which toggles between 0, +20 and -10dB settings. Assuming that the camera’s preamp is unlikely to be top-notch, it’s a good idea to reduce its level to near zero and to then set the VideoMic X to +20dB. The next button provides three high-pass filter settings for reducing unwanted low-frequency rumbles. At 0 no filter is applied, but the response naturally begins rolling off above 100Hz, which is higher than typical studio microphones and was evident in a side-by-side test with a warmer-sounding Zoom H6. The 75Hz filter applies a steeper slope, and the 150Hz option is more aggressive still, effectively removing everything below about 80Hz and resulting in a relatively thin sound. The third control affects the high end, and simply enables the user to boost the range of 3kHz to 10kHz by 6dB, which equates to a very significant level increase. The boost is designed to compensate for when a windshield is in use but it’s a bit of a blunt tool, so if the audio isn’t suffering noticeably it might be best to tweak it with a more sophisticated EQ in the editing suite. Two wind protection options are provided, the least intrusive being a foam pop shield, roughly the size of a large orange. The ball is reinforced by a rubbery lattice of hexagons and a mouth part, that does such a good job of gripping the microphone that it only needs to be slid into place. The foam is an effective foil for light air movements, of the kind created when producing fast
tracking/dolly shots, and given that it doesn’t obstruct the battery hatch or outputs it could be left in place most of the time. For outdoor work there’s a furry windshield, which attaches in the same way.
IMAGES Fuss-free and with just three toggle buttons besides the on/ off switch, the Stereo VideoMic X is great for HDSLR filmmakers, yet the sound quality it produces is excellent.
Conclusion Overall the feature set offered by the Stereo VideoMic X seems about right, with the emphasis being on quality and simplicity. The aluminium construction of the mic makes it feel very solid while still being incredibly lightweight and portable, and it matched the body of my EOS 5D Mark III perfectly. In terms of ruggedness the mic capsules are the weakest part of the assembly, but in practice they are unlikely to get knocked so it’s probably never going to be an issue. It’s understandable that Rode has used mini XLR sockets instead of standard ones, but it’s still the case that not many people will be able to use them without investing in some new leads. It would also have been good to have a second long mini-jack lead in the kit to provide the option for the mic to be mounted away from the camera. Although the quality of the audio recorded with the mic on-camera reflected the fact that the shock mount design provides excellent vibration isolation, there’s still always the risk that sensitive mics can pick up such things as the camera shutter release being fired, fingers brushing on casing and the buzz of lens stabilisation, should it be employed. However, on-camera, the matched capsules presented a very clear stereo image. The self-noise was extremely low and the captured sound was accurate and well balanced across the frequency range, with a slight bias towards vocal frequencies. Good mics, like good lenses, are not cheap, hence the £649 list price of the VideoMic X. While it might not provide the audio-optimising feature set of a stand-alone recorder it is, however, ridiculously easy to use, and that combination of quality and simplicity is a winning one. For those who take their audio seriously and who are looking for a fuss-free on-camera set-up that will still deliver professional-quality results, the VideoMic X is definitely worth serious consideration. MORE INFORMATION www.rodemic.com
The aluminium construction makes it feel very solid while being lightweight
FEATURES........................................................................ 8/10 PERFORMANCE........................................................ 8/10 HANDLING...................................................................10/10 VALUE FOR MONEY............................................ 8/10
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The new kid on the professional block is Samsung’s NX1, a well-specified CSC designed to be the first component in a new fully-fledged, high-end system. Will Cheung takes it for a test drive WORDS & PICTURES WILL CHEUNG
SAMSUNG NX1 SPECIFICATIONS PRICE £1300 body only CONTACT www.samsung.com SENSOR 28-megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS, 23.5x15.7mm, 6480x4320 pixels ISO RANGE 100-25,600, expands to 51,200, auto SHUTTER 30secs-1/8000sec, flash sync 1/250sec DRIVE MODES Single, continuous at 15fps METERING SYSTEM Multi-zone, centreweighted, spot
lready a well-established name in the world of consumer photography, Samsung clearly has ambitions above this if the launch of the NX1 model is anything to go by. Samsung’s NX system, of course, has been around since 2009, launched on the back of the NX10, which featured an APS-C sensor and a new lens mount. At the time Sang-jin Park, CEO of the Samsung Digital Imaging Company, claimed the company was looking to “become a global leader in the new hybrid digital camera market and achieve the company’s goal to become the global leader in the digital camera market by 2012”. In that context perhaps the launch of the NX1, although later than specified, should not come as a shock. The new model does represent a big step forward for the South Korean giant and, as such, it’s likely to surprise a few photographers who struggle to consider a Samsung branded camera a serious contender. But professionals who have laid hands on the camera are, by and large,
ABOVE Impressive fine detail was delivered straight out of the camera in the form of super-fine quality JPEGs.
EXPOSURE MODES PASM, auto, custom COMPENSATION ±5EV in 0.3EV steps MONITOR 3in articulating, touchscreen, Super AMOLED, 1036k dots EVF 100% coverage, 2360k dot resolution FOCUSING Contrast-detect (sensor), phase-detect, multi-area, single point, tracking, live view, detection FOCUSING POINTS 205 phase-detect, 153 cross-type, 209 contrastdetect (sensor) CONNECTIVITY USB 3.0, HDMI, wireless, Bluetooth STORAGE MEDIA SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS I/II) DIMENSIONS (WXHXD) 139x102x66mm WEIGHT 550g
thinking again: there is a lot going on under the bonnet here and plenty of cutting-edge technology – not least 4K video capability and 15fps shooting speed. Whatever your prejudices, look closer before dismissing it out of hand. Brand-new features The NX1 is bristling with innovation and features never seen before on a digital camera at this level. Most notable of these are its 28-megapixel BSI sensor, the first of this type to be used in an APS-C sensor camera, and its remarkable AF system that uses 205 phase-detection points, 153 of which are cross-type sensors, covering 90% of the image area. There’s also, as mentioned already, 4K video capability and it can shoot full-size Raws at 15fps – you get an impressive 23 shots before the buffer cries out for mercy. With super-fine JPEGs, more than 70 shots at 15fps are possible in one burst, which is plenty for most shooting situations. Pure shooting speed is easily understood and appreciated so perhaps we should concentrate on its other headline features. The sensor is Samsung’s own and is the highest resolution APS-C sensor yet seen at 28 megapixels. The possible downside of cramming all those light-gathering pixels into a small area is greater heat generation and the risk of higher levels of digital noise and poorer image quality at high ISOs. To avert that problem Samsung has employed BSI – back illuminated sensor – technology into the NX1. In conventional front-illuminated sensors the lightgathering cells are directly above the silicon substrate used to make the chip’s base, but are located underneath all the chip’s electronics. As a consequence, less light reaches the light-sensitive cells. Put simply a backilluminated sensor – also known as backside illumination – is built like a front-illuminated sensor but is turned upside down and then the silicon substrate (about 1mm thick) on which the chip is made is machined to be less than one per cent of its original thickness. This allows light to pass through and be captured by the lightreceiving surface, which now sits above all the electronics for a more efficient light gathering performance. The BSI design, until now only seen on a one-inch sensor, means greater surface area for light gathering and less noise.
There is a lot going on under the bonnet and plenty of cutting-edge technology – not least 15fps shooting speed
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