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ON TEST CANON RF 24-70mm f/2.8L • CAMERA PHONES 85mm PORTRAIT LENS GROUP TEST • SONY A7R IV The world’s favorite photography magazine

Issue 223 December 2019 • www.digitalcameraworld.com

HOW TO SHOOT SUPER

SEASCAPES Coasts

Lakes

Rivers

Top creative tips

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Contents

ISSUE 223 DECEMBER 2019

FREE!

Starburst effects kit

40 42

Shoot superspecial seascapes _ the Seascapes _ Master PEque plaut que veriatius as lighting requirements of water voluptatur? scenes with tips on polarisers, Persped quis etum none volupta ND grads, andeossinimus other kit and techniques

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Practical Photoshop _ Four effects you can achieve with the Camera Raw Filter, plus more image-editing skills

HOW TO SHOOT SUPER

SEASCAPES Coasts

Lakes

Rivers

Photo skills to One 10 ODanneTidswell invites you to the Big Apple for a street fashion photo shoot

Active 16 P10 hoto fresh projects to try, including focusstacking with Dave Wilder, modifying a old film lens and celebrating fireworks

42 S uper seascapes

Take better coastal and lakeside shots: landscape and travel specialist Verity Milligan shares her techniques

54 C amera College

Find out what causes image noise in your shots and how you can control it

61 The Art of Seeing

Regulars  ubscription offer 40 SSpectacular savings and a bonus bag 62 H otshots

Our pick from the Nikon Photo Contest

Challenge 88 Reader Thrills and spills in Bedfordshire as a

reader snaps mountain bikers in action

hoto Answers 96 PBoost colour the right way, shoot winter

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Practical Photoshop Photoshop and Lightroom tips and tricks, plus 77 minutes of video

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scenes and master misty mornings

100 Perimeter

Ancient meets modern in Scotland

Focus 102 IThen latest industry developments and product releases, rounded up

Get inspired by Greek mythology

of the Month 68 SGlynhot Dewis on his 3945 project

Creative tips

Goodwin 134 CMeethristie the photographer who has rock and pop royalty in her portfolio

hat the f/stop! 148 W Keep your brains sharp with our quiz

DECEMBER 2019

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Reader Challenge _ Join us at Chicksands Bike Park for an action-packed photo shoot

Gear & tests ift Guide 105 GPhoto goodies to suit every budget and taste, plus our favourite books of 2019

Alpha 7R IV 112 SThisony full-frame mirrorless model ups the ante with a 61MP image sensor

ikon D810 116 NA modern classic re-assessed RF 24-70mm 119 CTheanon standard zoom Canon R and RP owners have been waiting for

ortrait lenses 120 P85mm and equivalent primes for capturing the perfect portrait

ini Test: Mini-tripods 128 M Tabletop tripods tried and tested ini Test: Smartphones 130 M Apple vs Google and the rest H  elp Me Buy… 132 How to choose an LED panel www.digitalcameraworld.com


Contents

Get a camera bag when you subscribe Page 40

This month’s contributors Verity Milligan Landscape & travel photographer Verity shares her seascape experience and some of her favourite shots in our cover story, starting on page 42.

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One to One _ Dan Tidswell’s street fashion shoots require him to be creative on the hoof and adapt to fast-changing situations to nail the perfect shot. Follow him on a day’s shoot in the streets and subways of Manhattan

Christie Goodwin Music photographer In a career spanning 35 years, Christie has photographed Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, Boy George, Taylor Swift and many other leading performers.

Claire Gillo Creative photographer Photographer and journalist Claire is constantly coming up with new ideas and approaches, and shares some of her latest projects in Photo Active.

Dan Tidswell Commercial photographer

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Dan splits his time between his photography business and holding workshops to teach his knowledge and techniques. He invites us to New York on page 10.

Christie Goodwin interview _ Find out how this leading music and performance photographer got her big break, and how she achieves that all-important sense of connection in her work

Justin Minns Landscape photographer Justin seeks out photographic beauty in East Anglia. He reveals some of his tips for shooting winter landscapes in this month’s Photo Active – see page 36.

Martin Thomas Local photographer

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Martin brings out the best of his Dartmouth home through his work. He takes us behind the scenes of an epic-scale fireworks shot on page 32.

Photo Active _ This month’s collection of fresh creative ideas to try includes adding a dash of winter flare to your seasonal portraits. Plus: make an indoor light trail, make a photo composite and explore urban photography

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DECEMBER 2019

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one to one

Dan’s commercial portfolio includes architecture, sportswear and portraiture.

Dan Tidswell Commercial photographer

Based in Essex, Dan divides his time between a commercial photography business (photoengineers.co.uk) and educating others, via one-to-one tuition and group workshops in the UK and abroad. dantidswell.co.uk

orking out how to turn a prolonged love of photography into a successful career is something that many a keen amateur mulls over. There are opportunities to be found if your photographic niche is in demand, while social media means that it has never been easier for somone to find you. This month’s leading pro earns his living as a commercial photographer – shooting a wide range of work under that umbrella – and utilises old and new marketing techniques to bring in commissions. Yet Dan Tidswell didn’t take a conventional route into photography – if indeed there is one these days. His previous career as an IT security consultant involved travelling to places all over the world, which he started chronicling through photography. Over time, he built up a considerable collection of diverse images, so when he decided that the time had come for a career change, he already had a photography portfolio, so turning pro was the obvious, and natural, progression. Today, Dan has a varied client roster and runs his own studio, The Loft, in Essex. He’s also an educator, conducting photography workshops for small groups and individuals, plus tuition on Adobe software. He shoots images for stock libraries and is also working on a book. In amongst all this, he maintains an active Instagram presence (@dan_tidswell_photographer). So when Dan invited Digital Camera on one of his recent assignments, to the Big Apple to shoot some street fashion images, we booked our tickets quicker than you could say New York, New York… A day after arriving, it seemed that we had brought the UK weather with us. Heavy rain meant Dan had to rethink some of his intended locations. One shot he wanted to get involved his model, Erin Williams, crossing East 42nd St outside Grand Central

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A quick bite of the Big Apple Dan Tidswell successfully combines his twin passions of commercial and model photography. Niall Hampton joins him on a street fashion shoot in New York


5 | PRACTICAL

Make your own lens Dan Mold modifies an old film lens to creative effect remium lenses often come with a hefty price tag, and that’s certainly no different when it comes to tilt-shift lenses. These specialist optics feature the ability to adjust the focal plane by physically moving and pivoting the lens in a way that isn’t possible with standard lenses. Normally costing several thousands of pounds, these high-end lenses are out of reach for many of us – but you can make your very own lens with the ability to be tilted for a stylish ‘freelensed’ look. You need an old film lens and a few other affordable pieces of kit – I put mine together for about £30! The results speak for themselves. By tilting your lens you’ll be changing the focal plane, creating all sorts of weird and wonderful focus effects that work well with a plethora of subjects, including portraits and landscapes. By moving the lens around, you’ll be able to find a sweet spot where just your focal point

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is in sharp focus, and the rest of the frame is thrown into a blurry wash of beautiful bokeh. Stock up on the tools and materials over the page to see how you can do it, then put aside about an hour to make it. Then go out and start taking some pictures! TURN OVER TO SEE HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN TILTABLE LENS!

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1/25 sec

f/1.8

ISO 100

Great depth-of-field effects

Dan customised an old film lens to make it tilt-able and drastically alter the focal plane. This allows you to pick a sweet spot within your frame that you want to be sharp, with everything else beautifully blurred.

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DECEMBER 2019

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SHOOT SUPER SEASCAPES

SHOOT SUPER SEASCAPES Take better coastal and water photos today, with landscape and travel photographer Verity Milligan

lthough the word ‘landscape’ might imply otherwise, photographing around bodies of water can be very creatively satisfying for a landscape photographer. Some of my most fruitful photographic expeditions have involved photographing dramatic seascapes, or the lakes you find dotted around the UK. Water provides a natural foreground, especially if you’re photographing during the golden hour at either end of the day, with the promise of dramatic, colourful skies or the potential for atmospheric, misty conditions. In addition, depending on the conditions and the tide, you can capture some impactful reflections of the surrounding scenery. Here we’ll explore some of the techniques I use to capture water, whether I’m shooting inland or at the coast.

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6 WAYS TO BE ORGANISED BEFORE YOU HIT THE COAST, MAKE SURE YOU’RE PREPARED ESSENTIAL TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

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Check the weather

Use a reliable app to check up on the weather. One of the most interesting parts of this kind of photography is its unpredictability, but arm yourself with as much knowledge of the conditions as possible.

2

Check the tide times

Different tide times can bring drastically different conditions. Knowing if the tide is coming in or going out means you’re better able to navigate the coast safely.

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DIVE RIGHT IN... PAGE 44 ND grad filter PAGE 46 ND filter PAGE 48 Circular polariser PAGE 50 Wide-angle composition PAGE 52 Shooting modes 42

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SEPTEMBER2019 DECEMBER 2019

Take the right equipment

Changeable weather, especially during the winter months, can catch you by surprise. Make sure you’re wearing suitable footwear and carrying some waterproofs.

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Take camera protection

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The right lenses

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Tell someone and take your phone

Depending on the conditions, some people might wish to shield their camera in a protective skin, but I get by with an umbrella or plastic rain cover.

There is no sense in being weighed down by kit, so choose your lenses carefully. I recommend a wide‑angle and a telephoto.

Safety first – always. Make sure someone knows where you are and when you’re due back. This is even more pertinent when you’re going somewhere with a patchy phone signal.


WHY THIS SHOT WORKS Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye Foreground: There’s plenty going on in the foreground to interest the viewer – particularly the colour of the water.  ackground: The whole image B is framed by the imposing snow-capped mountain behind, adding a sense of drama.  ovement: I’ve slowed down the M shutter just enough to show some movement in the water and add to the narrative of the image.  rama: I’ve used a soft ND grad D to bring out some of the drama in the moody sky above the waterfall.

f/14

0.8 sec

ISO 100

PRO TIP SHOOT IN RAW!

I always shoot using raw. This means I can maximise the amount of detail I’m capturing in an image, and gives me greater control over the image in postproduction. It might mean the file size is larger, but it’s worth it for the final outcome.


Camera College

Marcus Hawkins Photographer and writer Marcus is a former editor of Digital Camera

The complete guide to modern photography

UNPROCESSED IMAGE

WITH NOISE REDUCTION Brightening up shadow details in software can exacerbate noise, although this can be remedied with noise reduction.

What is noise all about? You can improve the quality of your pictures by reducing the amount of image noise. But what causes it, and how exactly do you keep the noise down? Noise is a generic term used to describe a disturbance to an electrical signal. Often irregular and always unwanted, it is generated by all electronic devices and takes on a variety of forms – from the ‘hiss’ of audio equipment to a pixellating television display. While discussions about sources of noise can get very

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deep and technical, its effects are obvious when it comes to digital photography. Broadly speaking, noise is similar to film grain in that it can obscure fine details and it gets progressively worse as the ISO is increased. But where grain can add to the mood of a picture, noise can simply leave you in an ugly mood, such is its rather artificial look. It manifests itself in a

DECEMBER 2019

number of ways, including a curtain of dots across an image, clusters of coloured speckles, and horizontal and vertical coloured banding. Your mileage may vary over how much it bothers you: noise may be acceptable in an action-packed sports shot taken at night, for instance, but a complete turn-off when it comes to a detailed macro image.

The key factor when it comes to noise is the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). When the ‘signal’ – the intensity of light captured by the camera’s sensor in our case – is greater than the background noise generated by the electronic circuitry, the image will show little interference. When the SNR is weaker, however, it is harder to differentiate the noise and the image information. There are several factors that can raise the level of noise to the point where it has a detrimental effect on the

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CAMERA COLLEGE

Controlling noise

Long exposures Heat can build up in the camera during a long exposure, which can produce thermal noise. It is particularly noticeable when you’re shooting exposures of 30 seconds or longer with your camera’s Bulb mode, or if you’ve been shooting video before taking a picture. Some cameras warn you that they are getting too hot before they automatically shut down.

The camera features and functions that make a difference Noise is ulitmately unavoidable, but there are several ways that you can lessen its impact on the quality of your pictures...

ISO Noise becomes obvious at higher ISO speeds, although the threshold for when it starts becoming unacceptable varies between cameras.

Image processing In-camera noise reduction comes in two flavours: high-ISO and long-exposure. Each can be applied during the imageprocessing stage, before a picture is saved to the memory card, although longexposure noise reduction requires an extra shooting step.

Shadows Less picture information is recorded in the dark parts of a picture, so the signal-to-noise ratio is lower in these areas. Attempting to recover detail in the shadows by brightening them in software means that noise is exacerbated too. To avoid this, you could take several different exposures of the same scene and combine them.

Sensor size and pixel density All things being equal, a larger sensor produces less noise than a smaller one: the light-gathering pixels are larger, allowing them to capture more light for a higher signalto-noise ratio, and to dissipate heat more effectively.

Different types of noise Noise manifests itself in some distinctive ways, according to the camera settings There are essentially two types of noise to deal with in digital photography: luminance (or greyscale) and chroma (or colour). The latter is more objectionable, as it covers an image in a galaxy of coloured dots, blotches and bands. Thankfully, it is also easier to reduce without taking a hit on image detail in the way you do with luminance noise reduction.

www.digitalcameraworld.com 

High-ISO noise

Long-exposure noise

Banding

As the sensitivity is raised, the amount of both salt-and-pepperstyle luminance noise and colour noise is also increased.

In addition to noise created by the build up of heat, you often see ‘hot’ or stuck pixels in the same position in your pictures.

Just the worst! It can appear as a thick strip of pixels, shown here, or multiple vertical or horizontal ‘scratches’ in the shadows.

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Reader Sponsored by:Challenge

Chicksands Bike Park, Bedfordshire

Reader Challenge Action photography calls for fast reflexes and faster shutter speeds. Niall Hampton decamps to a cycle track deep in the forest to witness some mid-air ballet on mountain bikes

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his month, we’re focusing on action photography with a difference: a mountain bike track that offers its riders thrills and the occasional spill. With gloomy prolonged downpours forecast, we called in a pair of Godox AD200Pro pocket flash units. The weather might not have beaten us, but we did have to proceed with a single participant on the day. Fortunately, two regular Chicksands riders, Finley Davies (@ finley2012davies) and Kate Howser (@ kate_dirtyrides_mtb_apparel) gave up their free time to tackle the jumps, drops and slaloms – all we had to do was capture them clearly in the act. Read on to see what berms, no-footers, tuck-no-handers and backflips look like. www.chicksandsbikepark.co.uk

Our reader

Matt Ray Camera: Sony Alpha 7R III Location: London

Adventure writer Matt always takes his camera with him, whether he’s mountain biking in the Highlands, snowboarding in the Alps or climbing in the Rockies. He enjoys taking pictures of action sports athletes in their elements and also shoots landscapes and wildlife. If Matt’s learned one thing about shooting outdoor action, it’s that it always rains at some point. So he wasn’t fazed when the skies over Bedfordshire opened up – you can survive the wrong weather as long as you’ve got the right kit, which includes weather-sealed lenses for his A7R III. www.instagram.com/The_Adventure_Fella

Join us and learn new skills! Keep an eye on our Facebook page for Shootout invitations. www.facebook.com/digitalcameraworld 88

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Reader Challenge



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KitZone

Mirrorless Sony Alpha 7R IV

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A larger front grip makes the A7R IV a little easier to handle, but the body still lacks height for a good ‘grip’. 2

Inside is an NP-FZ100 lithium-ion cell which gives a battery life of 530 (viewfinder) or 670 shots (rear screen).

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The Sony FE lens mount is now very well-supported both with Sony optics and third-party lenses.

Sony Alpha 7R IV £3,499/$3,499 As a technical achievement, the A7R Mark IV is remarkable. As a camera, its handling foibles are starting to grate w w w. s o ny. c o . u k

Specifications Sensor: 61MP full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor Image processor: Bionz X AF points: Hybrid AF; 567 phase-detection, 325 contrast AF points ISO range: 100 to 32,000 (exp 50-102,400) Max image size: 9,504 x 6,336 Metering modes: Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot, average, highlight Video: 4K UHD at 30p, 24p Viewfinder: EVF, 5.76m dots Memory card: Two SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II) LCD: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.44m dots Max burst: 10fps Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC Size: 129 x 96 x 78mm Weight: 655g (body only, with battery and SD card) 112

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ony doesn’t want the Alpha 7R IV to be thought of solely in terms of resolution, but a 61MP sensor is bound to grab the headlines. It beats its fullframe rivals by some margin, and re-establishes Sony as a front-runner in a full-frame mirrorless camera market that’s become very busy. But the A7R IV is not just about resolution. It has a very rounded balance of overall image quality and versatility, combining its ultra-highresolution with 10fps continuous shooting capability and a buffer that can sustain this for up to 7 seconds.

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Sony’s epic hybrid AF technology takes another step forward too, with 567 phase-detection AF points spread across 74% of the image area and 325 contrast AF points. It now offers Real-Time AF tracking in its movie mode, too. And just to drive home the resolution point once more, the Alpha 7R IV has a Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode than can combine four images for full-colour data for each pixel (avoiding the demosaicing interpolation process cameras normally use) or 16 images with sub-pixel movements to create 240-megapixel photographs. www.digitalcameraworld.com


Sony Alpha 7R IV Mirrorless

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The EVF has a high resolution at 5.76m dots, but manages to looks a little oversharpened.

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The rear touchscreen is smaller than some (3-in, not 3.2-in), can’t flip forwards and has no sideways action.

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The focus joystick is a good size and proves very useful for positioning the AF point quickly.

On the Sony A7R IV, customisable C1, C2, C3 and C4 buttons replace dedicated WB and other controls. 9

Unlike the Nikon Z 7 and the Lumix S1R, the A7R IV does not have a status screen on the top plate.

The EV compensation dial is handy, and has a locking button to prevent it being turned accidentally.

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Key features 61 million pixels is a ground-breaking resolution for full-frame cameras, but it’s worth pointing out that this increase is spread across both the image width and height, so the A7R IV’s images are not that much larger than those of the Nikon Z 7, say, measuring 9,504 x 6,336 pixels (Sony) versus 8,256 x 5,504 pixels (Nikon). That’s an increase in image width and height of 15%. What’s truly impressive, though, is how Sony has managed to maintain a 10fps continuous shooting speed, despite the massive increase in the data that’s being captured and processed. True, the buffer capacity is restricted to 68 raw files/JPEGs, but it’s also possible to shoot in an APS-C mode that captures 26-megapixel images and with three times the buffer capacity (claimed). Sony’s latest autofocus system brings 567 phase-detection AF points to the A7R IV, covering 74% of the image area (or the entire area in APS-C mode), and supporting both human and animal eye tracking. www.digitalcameraworld.com 

Video performance gets a boost with the addition of Real-Time AF, but otherwise it does feel as if Sony is resting on its laurels somewhat. There’s still no 50/60p 4K video capability, nor 10-bit capture; and if you want the best ‘oversampled’ quality, you need to use the cropped Super 35 mode. You can capture Full HD at up to 120fps. Arguably, the A7R IV is hardly a video specialist. Nevertheless, it does feel as if the video capabilities have not really advanced significantly. The A7R Mark IV does bring wireless tethered shooting capability, though the large files and limited wireless data bandwidth means you’re still likely to be better of with an old-fashioned cable connection. Sony says its five-axis in-body stabilisation system has been tuned for this new camera to offer up to 5.5EV compensation, and the A7R IV’s Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode can merge 16 shots made with tiny pixel-shifts between each to produce 240MP images – if you have static subjects, sufficient

This portrait shot from an official Sony hands-on session really highlights the value of Sony’s Eye AF system, especially with fast prime lenses at wide apertures.

storage capacity and the required Sony Imaging Edge 2.0 software.

Build and handling Sony’s A7 series was the first fullframe mirrorless camera design, and it’s still the smallest. That’s great in principle, but when you match up these bodies with Sony’s bigger, high-performance lenses (especially the premium DECEMBER 2019

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9000

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New year, new skills – follow our expert guide and take your best-ever images!

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Photoshop editing tutorials Camera College 10 all-new photo projects

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Nikon Z 50 review Online storage Mini Test Group Test: Vlogging cameras Instant cameras Mini Test

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Digital Camera World 223 (Sampler)  

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Digital Camera World 223 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @ www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk