Page 1

Photography News Your FREE newspaper packed with the latest news, views and stories

ISSUE 70 10 Sep-16 Oct

Top birds /

Winning images from the Bird Photographer of the Year contest

Masters of street /

Inspiration from the world’s best street snappers

Big test: Panasonic Lumix S1 /

Leading still/video hybrid camera tested

Canon’s EOS range gets a boost

Nikon’s new wide NIKON’S Z 24MM F/1.8 S lens adds another versatile option for its full-frame mirrorless Z system. With a minimum focus distance of 25cm and extensive weather sealing, Nikon’s new wide-angle offers real versatility. Its fast and quiet autofocus opens the lens up to filmmakers, as well as still photographers, plus there’s near-silent control over aperture. Nikon promises edge-to-edge sharpness from close-up to infinity, even at the lens’s widest aperture. Image quality is topped off by a smooth bokeh and reduced lens flare thanks to an anti-reflective nano crystal coat. The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S is on sale from 17 October at £1049.

• nikon.co.uk

Exciting highresolution arrivals in its DSLR and mirrorless ranges strengthens Canon’s already powerful hand

CANON’S PAIR OF new cameras, the EOS 90D and the EOS M6 Mark II, bring ultrahigh resolution and high-speed shooting to the company’s APS-C DSLR and EOS M mirrorless ranges. At the heart of both of these cameras beats a brand new Canondesigned, Canon-manufactured 32.5-megapixel CMOS sensor working with the DIGIC 8 image processing machine.

The EOS 90D is a solidly built DSLR and can shoot at 10fps with autofocus tracking of 11fps in live view, making it ideally suited to wildlife and sports photographers. Its top mechanical shutter speed is 1/8000sec but for even more the electronic shutter has the option of 1/16,000sec. Speed is also a selling point of the new flagship of the EOS M range, with the EOS M6 Mark II capable of 14fps and even 30fps in

Raw burst mode, both shooting speeds possible with AF tracking. The EOS 90D is £1209.99 body only and available now, while the EOS M6 Mark II is available from the end of September for £869.99 body only or £1119.99 with the EF-M 15-45mm IS STM lens and electronic viewfinder EVF-DC2.

• canon.co.uk

FOR MORE, TURN TO PAGE 3


2 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


SONY DUO /

DIARY DATE /

New APS-C flagship launched

EDITOR’S LETTER WILL CHEUNG

Welcome to the newlook Photography News. The mag has been going for over six years now and if you have never seen Photography News before, welcome and we hope you’ll enjoy our mix of news, reviews, great pictures and opinion. If you are a PN regular, welcome to the new look Photography News with an updated design and layout. The mag’s core content, though, is essentially the same as always so you can rest assured that the swanky new look has been achieved without sacrificing all the things you know and love about your favourite photography magazine. The new and improved PN is the result of our recent reader survey, which is also why we’ve updated our website too to give you more of what you asked for. So, for example, the site features an issue library with every Photography News issue ever published, as well as more news than ever before and new types of content. To access PN online fully, all you have to do is register on photographynews. co.uk; and best of all, it’s free. We hope you enjoy the new look and thanks for your feedback and your support. Happy shooting and see you again next month.

Read Photography News FREE online Register on photographynews.co.uk and you can read Photography News online on your smartphone, tablet or computer as soon as it’s published.

Follow us: @photonewsPN @photonewsPN @photonewsPN

photographynews.co.uk

Free

Improve your nature shots with the WWT

News

Canon strengthens its APS-C DSLR and EOS M ranges

Canon is committed to catering for all levels of photographer, and the EOS 90D and the EOS M6 Mark II do just that Canon recently bolstered its premium Powershot compact range and its EOS R system is in its infancy, so everything is new there. Next year is Olympics year (in Tokyo, no less), so expect something very significant in the full-frame pro market as a result. This leaves only Canon’s APS-C DSLR and its EOS M mirrorless ranges – we’ve seen little activity from both ranges recently… until now, that is!

£2329.99

Cue fanfare and say hello to the EOS 90D and the EOS M6 Mark II, replacing the EOS 80D and EOS M6 respectively. There have been some external developments and new features, but the big news is all about the inside. Both cameras sport a new Canon-made, Canon-designed APS-C sensor with an impressive 32.5 megapixels. Additionally, both models are equipped with Canon’s latest DIGIC 8 processor. Both cameras have very strong potential for wildlife or sports photographers. The EOS 90D shoots 10fps with autofocus tracking and 11fps in Live View, whereas the EOS M6 Mark II is capable of a 14fps continuous frame rate and impressive 30fps Raw burst, with both modes using autofocus tracking.

What’s inside News 

page 3

Big launches from Canon, Sony and Panasonic, plus new bags, photo books and much more

Wordsearch

A Samsung 256GB EVO Plus microSDXC card to be won

Club news

page 15 page 17

If you’re thinking of joining a camera club, now’s the time at the start of a new season

£1209.99 body only

The cameras’ new sensor also possesses strong low-light capabilities thanks to a high ISO of 100 to 25,600. Both can shoot 4K video, with Full HD available up to 120 fps. The EOS 90D is available now, £1209.99 body only. The EOS M6 Mark II comes out on 26 September; body is £869.99, £1119.99 with EF-M 15-45mm IS STM and EVF-DC2 finder.

In addition to the new cameras, Canon has released new glass. The RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM and RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses expand Canon’s RF lens line-up for the EOS R system and they are available from September. Both of the new lenses are priced at £2329.99. canon.co.uk

Mastering Street Photography page 20

Test: Panasonic Lumix S1

Bird Photographer of the Year page 26

Test: Sony A6400 page 48

Make the switch page 31

Test: Canon Powershot G7X Mark III page 51

Inspiring images from a book of the same name

The stunning results from over 13,500 entries worldwide

Reader David McKibbin tells us about his experiences with a Fujifilm GFX 50R

Russ Ellis Q&A page 36 Views from the roadside

page 42

With 24.2 megapixels, the Lumix S1 mirrorless aims to be a competitive photo/video hybrid

Sony’s latest APS-C camera boasts a cutting-edge autofocus feature set, so how does it perform?

A premium compact aimed at the keen vlogger

First tests

from page 56

Lots of new kit, from lenses to bags, on test

Issue 70

| Photography News 3


News

Photography News website gets a refresh Based on your feedback from the recent reader survey, we’ve updated photographynews.co.uk to give you more of what you asked for. In addition to a new look, the website is now easier to use than ever and features a library with every Photography News issue, meaning you’ll have access to all the interviews, technique guides, contest results and reviews. Make sure you bookmark photographynews.co.uk to be among the first to get breaking news and latest updates from the photography world long before it hits the paper. Not only that, but we’re planning to bring you brand-new types of content and online exclusives, including technique guides, creative inspiration, competitions and much more. Want to tell us what you’d like to

Panasonic reveals Lumix S1H

4 Photography News | Issue 70

Time to try mirrorless

win!

see? Use the new content form on the site or reach out to us on social media. Don’t worry, our print edition isn’t going anywhere. In fact, you may have noticed a few stylish updates. We’re just bringing you more of the Photography News content you love, in a way that’s quicker and easier to access than ever before.

Panasonic has revealed its Lumix S1H, the world’s first full-frame camera to offer 6K recording at 24p. It uses a newly developed 24.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, the same resolution as the S1. But the S1H has Panasonic’s dual native ISO like its bigger VariCam and EVA1 siblings and is claimed to have more than 14 stops of dynamic range as well as V-Log/V-Gamut that make its output very similar to the colours from the VariCam range. The S1H can record 6K/24p and 5.4K/30p in 3:2 or 5.9K/30p in widescreen 16:9. It is the world’s first full-frame digital interchangeable lens system camera to enable 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K HEVC video recording when using Super 35 crop mode. The camera has a near silent

As a thank you to all of our loyal readers and to celebrate our new look and website, we’ve teamed up with Nikon to give you the chance to win a Nikon D7500 kit. Born from a desire for flagship performance and innovation in a compact and streamlined connected camera, the D7500 delivers the gamechanging resolution, ISO range, image processing and energy efficiency of the award-winning Nikon D500 in an enthusiast-level DSLR. Simply

cooling fan, which keeps heat to a minimum and allows unlimited recording time. The camera also boasts HDR (High Dynamic Range) in HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output. There is five-axis in-body image stabilisation and, if used with Panasonic’s S series two-axis optical image stabiliser lenses, there is a claimed 6.5EV benefit. The new rear monitor, real viewfinder and status LCD are large displays offering high resolution and high visibility. The body has a rugged, weatherproof design and features two SD UHS-II/ V90 card slots. The Lumix S1H has a guide price of £3599. Panasonic also revealed two lenses. The Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8, which costs £2249 and goes on

put, the D7500 is built to outperform any camera in its class with top-tier image quality, blazing speed, flawless autofocus, 4K Ultra HD video and pro-grade creative tools – all in a comfortable, rugged design. This is a camera for the new generation of content creators. For the chance to win, head over to photographynews.co.uk/competitions We hope you enjoy our new look and site and thank you for your feedback and continued support. • photographynews.co.uk

sale from 26 September, comprises 18 elements in 16 groups, which includes three aspherical elements and four ED (extra-low dispersion) lenses. It features a mechanism to suppress focus breathing, has a rugged dust- and splash-resistant design, an 82mm filter thread and uses an 11-bladed circular aperture. For its MFT system, Panasonic added the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4, a top-quality lens giving the equivalent of 50mm in the 35mm format. It promises high resolution and contrast across the image frame even at maximum aperture, and lovely smooth bokeh on out-of-focus highlights. This lens is available from 24 October for £579.99.

Photography News has joined forces with Fujifilm to give readers the unique chance to borrow a Fujifilm camera and up to two lenses of their choice for free. This loan is for up to two weeks, so you’ll have plenty of time to shoot your favourite subjects to help you make the right decision. In this issue, we feature the work of David McKibbin, who enjoyed the medium format delights of the GFX 50R for two weeks. There’s a wide range of kit available, so you could join David in trialling the GFX 50R – but you may prefer the Fujifilm X-T3. For the X-T3, you’ll have 29 X Series lenses to pick from, but you’ll only get to pick two, so choose wisely! Visit fujifilm-x.com to see the latest lens range. As part of the campaign, your images and thoughts on the outfit you borrowed will appear in PN, so this is the chance to get your work featured on these pages, too. If you want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity, head to photographynews. co.uk/maketheswitch. There is no closing date, but there is sure to be interest in this amazing offer and we have limited stock, so please don’t delay. In the first instance, fill out the form on our website and upload five images that represent your usual photography. We will be in touch if you are selected.

• photographynews.co.uk/ maketheswitch

• panasonic.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 5


6 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Sony announces two APS-C cameras and two lenses New arrivals further bolster Sony’s popular APS-C mirrorless system

News Leica adds 50mm prime The Leica APO-Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 ASPH uses the same autofocus with stepping motors and Dual Syncro Drive as other members of the Summicron-SL lens family, allowing focus to infinity, among other features. Again, as with other Summicron-SL lenses, the new 50mm features effective weather sealing and can be used in almost any weather conditions. The SL 50mm f/2 ASPH is on sale now at £3750.

• uk.leica-camera.com Sony’s latest batch of new products strengthens its already powerful and popular APS-C system. The A6600 and A6100 are lightweight cameras featuring leading-edge AF skills, excellent image quality and the latest video technologies. The A6100 is aimed at newcomers to interchangeable lens camera photography who want to shoot highquality still images in a wide variety of situations, while the A6600 is designed to appeal to demanding photographers and video-makers. The two cameras share some identical features. At their heart is a 24.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor using the latest BIONZ X image processor to deliver low-noise images even in very poor light. And both cameras feature fast and accurate AF systems with an AF acquisition time of just 0.02 seconds using a 425 phase detect system that covers about 84% of the image area. The wide coverage and high density of AF points helps ensure spot-on autofocus in the most challenging conditions. Both models offer real-time tracking using Sony’s

£1450

£830

body only

body only

Leofoto appoint Hähnel latest algorithm with AI (artificial intelligence-based) object recognition for accurate AF, and there’s real-time eye AF, too, which again uses AI for accuracy and tracking speed of human and animal subjects. Both cameras have a native ISO range of 100 to 32,000, although the A6100 goes to 51,200, while the A6600’s range is expandable to 50-102,400.

£830

photographynews.co.uk

The A6100 and A6600 offer 4K video in Super 35 format, which gives full pixel readout without pixel binning, giving about 2.4x the amount of data for 4K shooting – and this oversampling ensures great results. Sony considers the A6600 to be the new flagship of its APS-C range and extra features include a five-axis in-body image stabiliser, with a 5EV benefit. It uses a Sony Z battery, giving a capacity of approx 720 still images using the EVF, and the body is dust and moisture resistant. There’s also realtime eye AF for movie shooting, so you can let the camera do the work while you concentrate on content. The Sony A6600 will be available from this October at a £1450 body only, or as a kit with the 18-135mm zoom lens for £1800. Meanwhile, the A6100 will be available from the same time and is priced at £830 body only, or as a kit with the 16-50mm zoom

lens at £900. A two-lens kit with 1650mm and 55-210mm zooms is priced at £1150. Sony’s two new APS-C lenses are both G lenses. The E 16-55mm f/2.8 G is a dust- and moisture-resistant zoom and an XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motor gives fast, quiet AF and efficient tracking. This lens will be available from this October priced at £1200. The E 70-350mm f/4.5-6.3 G OSS gives an equivalent 35mm range of 105525mm and is very compact, weighing just 650g and uses an XD Linear Motor for fast, precise AF. Built-in OSS (Optical SteadyShot) stabilisation helps sharp shooting at the longer focal lengths, the lens is dust and moisture resistant and a focus hold button can be assigned different functions via the camera body. This telezoom will be available from this October priced at £830.

Leading Chinese tripod brand Leofoto has appointed Hähnel as its official UK distributor. For the past decade, Leofoto has built its reputation for its high-class tripods made from ten-layer Torayca carbon fibre – a high-end material made in Japan – and precision-machined aluminium components.

• leofoto.com

• sony.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 7


News

Laowa’s 4mm fisheye

Kenko get flash

Latest lens gives fisheye views for Micro Four Thirds users

Laowa has announced a 4mm f/2.8 circular fisheye lens with a huge 210° field of view. The Laowa 4mm f/2.8 is designed for Micro Four Thirds sensor cameras and features an incredible 210° field of view, meaning the lens can be used for an array of creative photographic techniques such as spherical panorama. For more conventional images, photographers can either ‘de-fish’ the image in post-processing or crop to transform the image into a rectilinear image. 360° panoramas can be achieved using as few as two images as opposed to having to shoot six

or more images with other, conventional fisheye lenses. This lens is also particularly good for VR photography and shooting virtual tours. Photographers can focus as close as 8cm from the sensor and still achieve a huge depth-of-field. With the focus ring at infinity focus and the lens at around f/5.6, everything in the lens’ field of view will be in focus. The lens is also small and lightweight, measuring in at 45mm long and weighing 135g. It is priced at £249 and is available to buy now. • ukdigital.co.uk

New for your bookshelf

Samyang cashback promotion You can save up to £60 on Samyang’s prime lenses if you shop before 30 September. The offer includes Samyang’s MF 14mm f/2.8 in Canon EOS R and Nikon Z mount fits, the MF 85mm f/1.4 in Canon EOS-R and Nikon Z mount, AF 45mm f/1.8 in Sony FE mount and AF 85mm f/1.4 in Nikon

F-mount lenses. The Samyang summer cashback promotion is available for purchases made from participating retailers in the UK and Ireland, between 9 August and 30 September. Last claims must arrive by 15 October 2019. • intro2020.co.uk/samyangcb

Spirit of the Amazon: the indigenous tribes of the Xingu, is a book featuring the work of photojournalist Sue Cunningham and writer Patrick Cunningham. It is a fascinating record of the many indigenous people of the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, that the couple have visited over many years. Sue’s pictures show indigenous people in their rainforest environment, documenting activities of their everyday lives and also some of their traditional ceremonies.

Photography news

Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire, CB22 3HJ www.bright-publishing.com ISSN 2059-7584

FE – the lightest and smallest 18mm super wide-angle autofocus lens currently on the market. The lens features a fast aperture and a full-frame 100˚ angle of view. The lens consists of nine lens elements in eight groups, with eight specialty elements (three aspherical, two high refractive and three extralow dispersion). It also utilises a linear STM motor for fast, quiet and accurate focusing.

Published by Papadakis, this book will be available from October at a guide price of £40. • ammonitepress.com

The Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE will be available from Samyang stockists during September with a suggested retail price of £349.99. • intro2020.co.uk

In a world’s first, Western Digital’s new SanDisk iXpand will allow users to simultaneously charge their Qicompatible iPhone or Android phone and back up their images wirelessly. When your Qi-enabled device is low on battery, all you have to do is place it on the charging base. The iXpand has 256GB of storage, meaning it can easily accommodate full-resolution images. The charger creates multiple personal backup profiles so the charger can be shared

Editorial Team

Advertising Team

Design Team

Editorial director Roger Payne

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

Design director Andy Jennings Senior Designer Laura Bryant Designer Man-Wai Wong

Group ad manager Sam Scott-Smith 01223 499457 samscott-smith@bright-publishing.com

Distribution

Editor Will Cheung FRPS 01223 499469 willcheung@bright-publishing.com Digital editor Jemma Dodd jemmadodd@bright-publishing.com Digital content writer Lee Renwick Chief sub editor Beth Fletcher Senior sub editor Siobhan Godwood Sub editor Felicity Evans Junior sub editor Elisha Young

When you have finished with this newspaper, please recycle it

8 Photography News | Issue 70

• intro2020.co.uk

SanDisk’s charging and back-up solution

Samyang launches new super wide-angle Samyang’s new 18mm f/2.8 lens weighs just 145g, making it the lightest and smallest 18mm super wide-angle autofocus lens currently on the market. While the light mirrorless camera market has been growing quickly in recent years, Samyang believes that too few small and light wide-angle lenses have been made to match. With that in mind, Samyang has launched the new AF 18mm f/2.8

The Kenko AB600-R AI is an advanced high-powered speedlight. Included in its long list of features is its AI 3D Auto Bounce function. This mode automatically calculates and sets the optimum bounce angle (left or right as well as head angle) so the user can focus on the subject rather than worry about the technicalities. The unit’s maximum Guide Number is 60 (ISO 100 at 200mm setting) and the zoom range is 18-200mm. Also built in is a radio transmitter/receiver that allows the master unit to remotely control the bounce head of the slave flash. The 2.4GHz radio feature allows for off-camera and multiple flash use. This speedlight accepts four AA cells that gives a recycling time of 0.1-3.5secs with NiMH cells. An optional external power supply, the BP-1, is available for greater capacity and faster recycling. The Nikon version is available now with Canon and Sony models due soon. Guide price is £399.

Key accounts Chris Jacobs 01223 499463 chrisjacobs@bright-publishing.com Key accounts Mike Elliott mikeelliott@bright-publishing.com

Distribution and subscription manager Phil Gray philipgray@bright-publishing.com

Publishing Team Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck As well as your local camera club, you can pick up Photography News in-store from: Cameraworld, Castle Cameras, Jessops, London Camera Exchange, Park Cameras, Wex Photo Video, Wilkinson Cameras

with the family. It is also phone casefriendly and able to charge through cases up to 3mm thick. The SanDisk iXpand Wireless Charger is £89.99. • sandisk.co.uk

Photography News is published 11 times a year by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Photography News is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Photography News that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While Bright Publishing makes every effort to ensure accuracy, it can’t be guaranteed. Street pricing at the time of writing is quoted for products.

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 9


10 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


News

Snapperstuff delivers bumper crop of bags Snapperstuff has announced a host of new camera bags from Mindshift and Think Tank Photo. The Photocross 15 and Photocross 13 are designed for adventure photographers and come with a host of features suited to their needs. Both bags have a volume of 20 litres and can fit an ungripped DSLR, three to five lenses and a laptop in a padded pocket – 13in in the Photocross 13 and and 15in in the Photocross 15 respectively. Think Tank Photo’s Urban Access Backpack 15 and Urban Access Backpack 13 are designed with ease of access in mind.

Panels open on both sides so users can sling the backpack left or right, while the rear panel provides complete access to gear when working directly out of the bag. Plus, the centre tripod mounting system balances even large tripods securely. Other key features include a laptop pocket, expandable water bottle pockets on both sides, removable sternum strap and waist belt. The Urban Access Backpack 15 can hold one ungripped DSLR or mirrorless body with lens attached up to a 70–200mm f/2.8, up to five additional lenses, a speedlight and a 15in laptop. The smaller 13 can hold one ungripped DSLR

Nikon has announced the development of the D6 and the AF-S 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR telezoom lens. The D6 marks the 20th anniversary of Nikon’s singledigit D-series, while the new lens celebrates 60 years of the Nikon F mount, adopted for the D series. Both products respond to the demands of discerning photographers, offering professional-level performance even in challenging conditions.

or mirrorless body with lens attached up to a 24–70mm f/2.8, up to four additional lenses and a 13in laptop. Think Tank Photo’s Retrospective V2 family comes in five sizes: the 5, 7, 10, 20 and 30. The shoulder bag has been designed with a classic look and modern features. Key features include sandwashed 100% cotton canvas build with water-repellent finish, YKK abrasion-resistant zips, luggage handle pass-through, collapsible water bottle pocket and hook-and-loop sound silencers. • snapperstuff.com

Benro launches a gimbal The Benro 3XS Lite is a smartphone gimbal stabiliser designed to help you deliver smooth-looking content.

Nikon D6 on its way

Mark Hoskins, Benro’s brand manager, said, “The 3XS Lite is one of the smallest gimbals on the market, but despite the

• nikon.co.uk

small size it is not small on features. It boasts all of the features of the competition and more. Its folding design makes it easy to carry, it’s lightweight and even has the ability to run an external microphone.” The 3XS Lite weighs just 430g, is ideal for smartphones weighing up to 290g and its

battery provides up to 24 hours run time. Its barrier-less clamp makes balancing the phone easy while retaining full access to its charging and audio ports. The Benro 3XS Lite is available now at a guide price of £90. • xseries.benrogear.com

Advertisement feature

Prints for pleasure “This was taken at Uttakleiv Beach, Norway, in a brief moment of clear air between punishing blizzards and hailstorms, and I was pretty pleased with it at the time,” says PN’s contributing editor Kingsley Singleton. “But then it just sat on my hard drive for months, like a lot of other shots. Seeing it printed and framed so nicely actually makes sense of the effort I made in taking it, because it was about -5ºC out there on the shoreline, and I had to skate most of the way back to the car. The finish of the print is beautifully detailed and really shows off the textures that I wanted to capture

photographynews.co.uk

in the rocks and the shape of the headland, and the edging is very crisp. The frame was really well protected in shipping, too, with sturdy edge protectors, plenty of bubble wrap and a foam sheet protecting the print itself, and all encased in a heavyweight cardboard box.”

One Vision Framed Coloured Edged Block The One Vision Framed Coloured Edged Block combines with your pictures to make a striking statement. The Fujifilm DPII Professional Photographic print is flush mounted onto a thick MDF block and an anti-scratch printseal is applied to its surface. The block edges are coloured in black, white, or dark brown, using state of the art equipment which produces a unique, sharp, modern look, and the frame itself comes in a choice of light wood, dark brown or black. The block is then framed in a stunning inlay moulding. Prices start from only £69, production time is only up to seven working days and images from 14x11in to 30x24in can be used.

Issue 70

| Photography News 11


News

Improve your wildlife photography skills The Wildlife & Wetlands Trust (WWT) Martin Mere Wetland Centre is the venue for the North West Bird Watching Festival on 16 and 17 November. The centre is near Southport, Lancashire, and is open 8am to 5pm on each day. Martin Mere’s general manager Nick Brooks says, “The North West Bird Watching Festival is one of the centre’s most popular events and is a great weekend for nature loving photographers to get together and perfect their wildlife imaging skills.” Experts including wildlife author Kate Bradbury, cameraman Jack Perks and

Billingham adds to its Hadley camera bag range

wildlife photographer Alan Hewitt will be hosting talks, and events include photo workshops, bird ringing demonstrations, swan feeds, and tours around the centre and reserve. Most events are free, but for some talks there is a charge – for example, a photo workshop with Alan Hewitt costs £5 per person. Entry for non-WWT adults costs £13 on the day or £11.70 if booked in advance online – entry is free to WWT members. Concessions, group and family tickets are available. • wwt.org.uk/NWBWF

X-Rite launches the i1Photo Pro 3 Plus X-Rite’s i1Photo Pro 3 Plus is a spectral colour measurement solution specifically designed for photographers who print on more challenging textured and glossy photo media. The i1Photo Pro 3 Plus combines the i1Pro 3 Plus spectrophotometer and

More about the Sony A7R IV

12 Photography News | Issue 70

Last month, Sony announced the A7R IV, its highest resolution full-frame camera with 61 megapixels. PN caught up with Pierrick Masson (above), Sony Europe’s imaging product manager, to chat about the technology featured in the new camera. What were the biggest technical challenges in designing the A7R IV? Firstly, after receiving feedback from pro users, we had to improve the grip, the weather sealing resistance, and the button placement and feel of the current A7R III. One of our biggest tasks was to implement those changes while retaining the Sony compact body form factor. We believe this new body design will please existing Alpha users and bring newcomers to the Sony brand. Secondly – and maybe the biggest technical challenge – was to implement a new sensor with a huge resolution while maintaining ISO performance (low noise) and high-speed operations. Also, as never seen before, the A7R IV is capable of 10fps at 61 megapixels and

i1Profiler software to deliver ultimate professional colour management for displays, projectors, scanners, RGB printers and cameras. It’s priced at £2100. In addition, X-Rite announced a third generation i1iO Automated Scanning

at the same time provide the best AF tracking currently available with the Real Time Eye AF. With such a high resolution for stills and a pro-level movie feature set, do you consider the A7R IV to be the ultimate hybrid? It could well be! The A7R IV can address the needs of many parts of the market, from some medium-format applications down to APS-C users, with the benefit of a crop factor on lenses while maintaining a good image resolution. Our objective with the A7R series is to provide the best high resolution shooting experience for professional and enthusiast photographers. The A7R IV is a big leap in the series, with the introduction of the new 61-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. With the evolution of the imaging market and the emergence of professional hybrid shooters, we consider this camera to be one of many that fit the requirements for both demanding still and video shooting environments.

The Hadley Pro 2020 is made in England from robust, threelayer, waterproof Billingham canvas or FibreNyte material, and furnished with full-grain leather trims, with brass fasteners and buckles. It can accommodate most DSLRs and almost any mirrorless camera with three small to medium-sized lenses and accessories. It also features a removable insert, which can turn the bag into a more compact casual messenger bag. Alternately, the capacity of the bag can be increased and customised with the addition of optional Billingham Avea 7 or 8 pockets, which fasten securely to the leather side panels to protect crucial accessories. The Hadley Pro 2020 costs £240, measures in at 43x14x28cm, weighs 1.2kg, and is available in six colour combinations. It’s backed by the Billingham five-year guarantee.

• billingham.co.uk

Table that supports the i1Pro 3 Plus hardware. It is a robotic, automatic chart reading system designed for photographers, printers and designers. This has a price of £2880. • xpdistribution.com

For some users it will be the ultimate hybrid camera, as their work requires more resolution for stills and the A7R IV offers high video performance standards. Who do you expect to buy it? We believe this camera will please primarily professionals and enthusiasts who have the need for resolution, such as with landscape or studio photography. However, this camera includes our new real-time AF technology, and has a 26 megapixel APS-C crop mode with 99% AF points coverage, and 10fps with AF/AE tracking. We think that more and more wildlife and sport shooters will be interested in this camera as it offers a unique positioning: mega resolution in a portable and high-speed body. With so much data being processed and with a 10fps shooting rate, was there any thought about using XQD/CFexpress slots for the fastest performance?

We always consider the best media storage format for our camera design, and the SD card format remained the best-balanced solution in terms of performance and size for the specifications we established for the A7R IV. Sony also has high durability and fast cards, the Tough range, which are a perfect match. Can you tell PN readers which of the A7R IV features excite you most, and why? Most people are understandably enthusiastic about the 61 megapixel sensor while keeping similar or better speed performance of the A7R III. Personally, I am really excited about the 26-megapixel APS-C crop mode, the new handling and the wireless options, which provide APS-C users with new perspectives and the best of full frame and APS-C in one. Coupled with a lens like the 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 G OSS lens (300-900mm equivalent in crop) it will give a lot more flexibility with maximum performance. photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 13


Advertisement feature COMPE TITION Round 4

Wedding Photographer of the Year: Round 6

winner

Discover the theme for Round 6 and find out the winner of Round 4 Round 6 is here, which means it’s your last chance to enter and be in with a chance to be named this year’s Wedding Photographer of the Year, so don’t miss out! Last month we asked you to submit your bridal portraits for Round 4 and the winning image was captured by Ben Appleby, who now joins our previous winners in the running to be named the Loxley Colour and Photography News Wedding Photographer of the Year.

Round 6:

DESTINATION AND LOCATION When we use the phrase ‘destination wedding’ or ‘location wedding’, we’re usually talking about weddings abroad in exotic locations – but they don’t have to involve jetting off on a plane and can include locations much closer to home. Destination wedding shots should show off the beautiful location the couple has chosen for their special day, but still focus on the couple as the main subject. We asked our panel of judges what they’ll be looking for in this round. Adam Johnson had this to say: “In this category, I will be looking for photos that really make the location part of the photo, without making the photo about the location more than the couple. I’m not a fan of tiny people in big landscapes, so I’ll be looking for more interesting ways to make the location part of the shot.” Last year’s Wedding Photographer of the Year winner Natalie Martin says: “Destination and couple images created in incredible locations dictate that there needs to be a lot of space. Composition, lighting, pose and expression will all come into play.” Kevin Pengelly offered this advice: “You need to show the location, but not lose sight of the couple within the image. The location should not dominate the image, but complement it, showing the scene.”

Round 4:

winning image BY BEN APPLEBY “To have won this round of the competition is insane. I love to shoot bridal portraits, so winning this means a lot to me. There are so many amazing photographers out there with some seriously mad skills, so I genuinely feel humbled to have been selected for this image!”

“It has good use of lighting to create a really atmospheric image of the bride.” KEVIN PENGELLY

“I love the fashion edge to the image and how it feels like more than a wedding photo. I also really like the quality of the edit and especially the skin tone.” ADAM JOHNSON

Submit your Round 6 image at photographynews.co.uk/ weddingphotographeroftheyear before 14 October to enter. Full T&Cs can be found at the link above.

14 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


© Billy Dodson

WIN!

A Samsung memory card! Capture life’s magical moments across all devices with the Samsung EVO Plus 256GB microSDXC memory card with SD adapter, offering read speeds up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s. Samsung’s latest cards are also ultra reliable and are water, temperature, X-ray and magnet proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one 256GB Samsung EVO Plus microSDXC card with SD adapter worth £74.99 for the eagle-eyed winner. 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 13 October 2019 and the winner will be randomly drawn from all correct entries received. The correct answer to PN68’s word search was Flatlay, and the Samsung 256GB EVO Plus card was won by Pauline Lewis from Bucks. • samsung.com/uk/memory-cards

Lions follow elephants, rhinos and great apes as the subject for the fourth charity book in the Remembering Wildlife series. Wildlife photographer Margot Raggett is the driving force behind Remembering Wildlife, with the aim of raising awareness of the plight facing endangered species and raising funds to help protect them. Remembering Lions will be launching on 14 October, with a public launch at London’s Royal Geographic Society on 17 October. Images that have been donated by more than 70 of the world’s leading wildlife photographers, including Frans Lanting and Art Wolfe, are featured. Visit the website to preorder a copy of Remembering Lions (and buy the previous three books) or for tickets to the public launch where there is the chance to buy books and get them signed by many of the photographers who’ve donated their work. • rememberingwildlife.com

© Pål Hermansen

Bird POTY winners The results of the fourth Bird Photographer of the Year have been announced. The overall winner was a wonderful shot taken by Caron Steele; you can enjoy her image and all the category winners, including the one above by Pål Hermansen, in this issue.

• birdpoty.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk

© Andy Rouse

Remembering Lions

News

How to see birds by Matthew Stadlen TV and radio presenter Matthew Stadlen has two passions: photography and birdwatching. Through his new book, How to see birds, he aims to encourage more people to enjoy the natural beauty that’s all around us. In the book’s seven category chapters, Matthew starts with the smallest bird in each category. His commentary accompanying the images (mostly shot in the UK) is engaging and informative, so you learn about each bird and the situation

in which his shots were taken. It’s a great read and the pictures are of a very high standard too. Published by Papadakis, this book will be available from this November at a guide price of £20. • ammonitepress.com

S

M

S

R

P

V

S

B

U

L

C

C

E

I

E

E

L

P

V

Z

S

V

L

A

E

C

A

P

B

I

C

X

M

O

D

L

S

R

I

P

H

R

M

Y

R

N

D

I

T

O

O

A

J

G

K

C

S

T

O

B

O

P

C

N

A

N

A

E

F

B

L

R

U

H

C

S

P

M

N

M

R

A

X

A

C

O

W

X

Y

O

A

T

A

G

K

T

H

N

A

I

H

Q

L

E

M

S

I

E

K

E

A

P

U

W

J

N

E

C

N

R

D

K

D

H

H

B

E

R

P

A

S

A

E

A

B

O

K

E

H

E

S

K

B

B

E

U

H

P

R

I

N

T

S

F

O

H

L

B

C

C

L

L

V

N

M

R

J

G

M

N

S

J

T

L

N

I

T

H

D

U

X

L

O

N

G

U

C

S

P

I

K

S

E

S

N

E

L

F

BAGS BOKEH CALIBRATE CLUBS FRAME

FULL GRIP HEADPHONES INTERNET LENSES

LONG MACRO MICROPHONE PRINTS SCHOOL

SCREEN SNAPPER STROBE TOUCH VIDEO

If you do not want to receive any marketing information from Bright Publishing or our partners, please type NO INFO in your email entry.

Issue 70

| Photography News 15


16 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Camera Club

SUCCESS + EXHIBITIONS + PERSONAL ACHIEVMENTS + OUTINGS

Bromsgrove Photographic Society

DEADLINE FOR THE NEXT ISSUE 7 October

email Jan Harris, on programme@ bromsgroveps.com, who will confirm the booking. Chris’s talk covers his days from working on the local paper while at school through to commercial and feature photography, and covering international sports events for the world’s leading publications. bromsgroveps.com

© Chris Fairweather

The year’s Bromsgrove PS Bill Chambers Memorial Lecture is Photojournalism: Stories from the road, given by Chris Fairweather. The lecture takes place at 7.30pm on 22 October at the Avoncroft Arts Centre, Redditch Road, Stoke Heath, Bromsgrove B60 4JS. Tickets cost £6 on the door and include refreshments. To reserve your place,

News

© Paul Baker

Leighton Buzzard PC

© David Marlow

Crosby Camera Club

photographynews.co.uk

camera themselves and come along to one of our meetings this season. Whether you’re new to photography or want to take your skills to the next level, we’re here to offer advice, help you master your camera and host a series of fascinating evenings, led by some of the region’s top photographers.” Meetings are held every Wednesday from 8 to 10pm, at Crosby Central Library's Small Lecture Room on Crosby Road North, Waterloo L22 0LQ. The 2019 Print Exhibition is open for viewing during the library’s normal opening hours.

crosbycameraclub.net

Viewfinder Photography Society © Koshy Johnson

Crosby CC’s 2019 Print Exhibition is on show until 1 October, with over 100 of the best photographic prints produced by its members last season in the Reading Room of Crosby Central Library (opposite the Plaza Cinema). The exhibition features colour and black & white images, including the winners of last season’s Print of the Year competitions. Stephen Lang, president of Crosby CC, said, “Our exhibition is looking great and gives a fantastic overview of the superb work produced by our dedicated members over the last year. We hope the exhibition will also inspire people to pick up a

Leighton Buzzard PC members are back for another exciting season. During the summer, LBPC members enjoyed some informal photo walks – open to both members and non-members – that offered excellent opportunities for some photographic practice, combined with some socialising. Meetings take place on Wednesdays at Greenleas Lower School, Derwent Road, Leighton Buzzard LU7 2AB. lbpc.org.uk

Viewfinder PS’s (VPS) annual exhibition for the first time will be held in association with the Hull International Photography Festival that starts on 4 October. David Marshall, VPS chairman, said, “The appeal of the exhibition over the years clearly demonstrates just how much interest there is in the printed image. The photographs on display illustrat e the talent we have right on our doorstep and we’re delighted that HIP Festival has invited us to be part of its celebration of photography.” The exhibition in Skidby has established itself as a popular community event, attracting

If your camera club has news you want to share with Photography News readers, please send it in. All sorts of stories are welcome, so it might be details of an annual exhibition, success in a contest, an upcoming event or news of a member’s personal achievement. Publicity officers – please read the submission guidelines and deadlines below, and get your stories in. ◗ Write your story in 250 words or fewer on a Word document. Include the club’s website, meeting times, what the event is, opening times, entrance costs – anything relevant. ◗ Every story should come with at least one image. JPEGs should be 1500 pixels (bigger is fine) minimum on the longest dimension, any colour space, photographer’s name in the file name, please. ◗ We DO NOT use posters or any pictures with words on the image front. Send your contribution to clubnews@photography-news. co.uk with text document and images attached. Deadlines for the next few issues of Photography News ISSUE 71, out from 15 October, deadline for contributions: 7 October. ISSUE 72, out from 26 November, deadline for contributions: 18 November. ISSUE 73, out from 14 January 2020, deadline for contributions: 6 January 2020.

people of all ages who like to come and browse the pictures, vote for their favourite images and buy gifts from the stalls selling cards and prints. The exhibition takes place 4 to 6 October at Skidby Village Hall HU16 5TG, and is open 10am to 5pm. The show then moves to Lockington Village Hall, East Yorks YO25 9SN, 11 to 13 October. Finally, the exhibition goes to the East Riding Community Hospital in Beverley and will be in show for three weeks from 14 October. VPS meets on Monday evenings at Skidby Village Hall, East Yorkshire.

viewfinderphoto.org

Issue 70

| Photography News 17


Camera Club

Field End Photographic Society

EALING AND HAMPSHIRE HOUSE PS

© Dominic Beavan

© Ania Taylor

Ealing and Hampshire House PS (EHHPS) will, for the first time, be exhibiting as part of The Borough of Ealing Art Trail (BEAT). The exhibition takes place in the bar of the Questors Theatre, 12 Mattock Lane, London W5 5BQ, between 13 and 15 September, open Friday 4 to 8pm, and Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm. EHHPS meets on Thursdays from September to June at 8pm, at The Brentham Club, 38a Meadvale Road, London W5 1NP.

ehhps.org.uk

DROITWICH CC

Field End PS (FEPS) is based in North West London, meeting at the Methodist Church Hall, Ruislip, from 8 to 10pm on Wednesday evenings. FEPS organises an annual programme that covers competitions, visiting speakers, presentations by members, workshops and social events. There is also a teaching and development theme for each season, to encourage members to hone their skills and broaden their experiences. FEPS takes part in competitions organised by the North West Federation of London Camera Clubs and the Chiltern Association of Camera Clubs. Successes in CACC competitions have resulted in FEPS being one of two clubs to represent the Association in the PAGB National Print Championships in 2018 and in 2019. Knock Out by Dominic Beaven, shown here, was selected for the Judges Awards in the CACC Championships. New members are always welcome. Membership secretary, Jeff Haynes, can be contacted on membership@ fieldendps.co.uk or 07836 622459. fieldendps.co.uk

© Dave Hull

Knaresborough CC Knaresborough CC has clicked off its season with a mix of practical events and competitions, and a list of speakers with themes ranging from Art in Architecture to Never Underestimate an Old Woman with a Camera. The club meets at 7.45pm on Wednesdays at Chain Lane Community Hub. Its evening programme includes five guest speakers, five competitions, an inter-club battle, and a set of tabletop and practical sessions.

Club chair Phil Robbins said, “The club’s success is built on listening to our members – some have just embarked on their photographic journey and others are established in their hobby. It’s a friendly, nurturing club with everyone taking some valuable insight each week, not just from the event but also from the discussions over tea and biscuits that round off the evening.” knaresboroughcameraclub.blogspot.com

Gloucester CC’s annual exhibition takes place from 26 October until 2 November at St. John's Church, Northgate Street, Gloucester (the centre of the city). It is open daily from 10am till 4pm (except 27 October). Prints and projected images will be on display. Entrance is free and members will be in attendance to talk about the images and the club. Visitors can also vote for their favourite images. The club meets at Pineholt Village Hall, Hucclecote, Gloucester GL3 3SN every Tuesday evening at 7.30pm. It is a bright, modern venue, and the club has recently purchased a brand new projector. Its programme will allow members to learn and take part in competitive photography, as well as gain hands-on skills.

gloucestercameraclub.co.uk

© David John

Droitwich CC has a varied programme of events lined up for autumn 2019, and 2020. Club evenings will include guest speakers, workshops, competitions and several new club image gallery evenings, where members can exhibit their own images and talk about where and how they got the shots. The club also has an active daysout programme, through which members can learn from each other. Described as 'a small, friendly club', new members are very welcome. The group meets on Monday evenings at 8pm from September to May at Chawson Barns Community Centre, Old Chawson Lane, Droitwich WR9 0AQ.

Gloucester CC

droitwichcamera.co.uk

There is plenty to look forward to in Thanet Camera Club's new season. Members will learn how to improve their skills during a ‘critique’ evening on 16 September, and there is a friendly competition, ‘just for fun’ on 23 September. The chair, Laura Drury, will be

18 Photography News | Issue 70

viewing images taken as part of her summer break challenge to photograph ten subjects, ranging from ‘bench’ to ‘seascape’. Members will also be preparing for the annual print exhibition at York Street Gallery, Ramsgate CT11 9DN, from 16 to 23 October 2019.

© Russell Miles

Thanet CC

isleofthanetphotographic society.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk


Advertisement feature

Printing made easy Professional photography software from Colorworld Imaging for every printing project Colorworld Imaging offers three different software options: Designer Pro, for creating albums and coffee table books; Studio Partner, for ordering prints of various sizes; and Image Partner, for those who want customers to be able to view and order photos, such as wedding or event photos. All of Colorworld Imaging’s software is free and easy to use, allowing you to have more control over your images and get

those perfect prints. Colorworld Imaging business development manager Mike Brydon answers some questions and explains a little more. What’s so unique about Colorworld Imaging’s software and service? While the software we offer is the leading standard in the industry across the globe, Colorworld goes that extra mile by manually checking

the designs on every page. We’ve been producing high-quality albums for such a long time that we can spot simple design mistakes. We take a lot of pride in either correcting the mistake or picking up the phone and speaking to our customers. We know you’ll thank us in the long run. One of the other great benefits of using software from Colorworld Imaging is that whenever we release an update, you as a customer get it automatically, giving you peace of mind that you always have the most up-to-date software with the very latest of features. On average, how long would someone expert to spend when creating a digital album or coffee table album with Colorworld Designer Pro? Designing albums and coffee tables can be as quick as a few minutes, up to however long you want. Designer Pro is full of creative features that will help you produce the most

beautiful of designs. A popular style at the moment is to keep designs very simple and clean, which really helps in reducing the time required to create your album layouts. If someone is struggling, can they get in touch for help? As with all new software, the first time you use it, it takes a little bit longer than usual until you become

Over 50 years of experience in the Photographic Industry

more familiar with it. We are always on hand to talk you through any queries, or even remotely connect to your PC or Mac and take control of your mouse and keyboard to guide you through. It’s also a great opportunity for us to give you some tips and tricks for designing albums and books! colorworldimaging.co.uk

5x4/6x4£0.15

9x6£0.30

5x5/A6£0.16

9x9/10x7£0.50

Prints are available in Lustre, Gloss and Metallic*

7x5£0.17

10x8£0.50

8x6£0.25

A4£0.58

Order before 1pm for the same day shipping

8x8£0.35

10x10/12x8£0.60

10x12£0.86

20x16£7.41

12x12£0.86

24x16£7.61

14x10£0.84

30x20£14.33

16x12/A3£1.09

36x24£17.00

10x12£1.18

40x30£22.61

*Metallic additional charge. Prices exclude VAT and P&P Colorworld Express is a print only service. No colour correction will be performed on your images.

Colorworld Express PO Box 2 Norham Road North Shields NE29 0YQ Tel: +44(0)191 259 6926 Email:enquiries@colorworldexpress.co.uk

www.colorworldexpress.co.uk photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 19


Technique

Masters of street photography Street photography’s popularity continues to grow, and this beautifully reproduced new book explores the genre through the creative eyes of 16 world-leading urban photographers

M

asters of Street Photography explores the craft and creative secrets of 16 leading lights of the genre through mini folios of their work, with commentary behind each picture. Not only do you get the background details and the photographer’s thinking behind each picture, you get camera and technical details, too. The result is a book that gives readers essential tips

from experts in their field, together with plenty of pictorial inspiration for aspiring street photographers to create their own distinctive urban styles. Here in this exclusive excerpt, we have reproduced ten images with the full, unabridged, behind-thescenes captions from the book to give you a taster of just some of its highlights. At £25, it’s great value for street photographers of all levels.

Untitled

©Paul Burgess

20 Photography News | Issue 70

This is a happy accident. I saw the man coming toward the shop and I could see there was a statue of a tiger in the shop window. He was bare-chested, so there was something animal-like about him as well – it’s ‘the urban jungle’, and I like the humour in it. My camera was hanging by my side, and I didn’t even have time to look through the viewfinder – I just shot a couple of frames from the hip and by some miracle I got this picture. It was underexposed, but as I was shooting Raw I was able to get an image out of it. Location: Portland, Maine, USA. Camera: Fujifilm X100S with 23mm f/2. Exposure: 1/250sec at f/4 and ISO 200

@paulburgessphoto photographynews.co.uk


Technique

London 2016

©The Bragdon Brothers

I was in London when a bus pulled up, and I could see this shock of hair popping over the window. It was in the middle of the street, so I was deliberating for a bit, but then just let instinct take over—the instinct that says there’s a picture here and I should just do it. I’ve missed quite a few pictures not listening to that. This time I listened and got a shot I was very happy with. Location: London. Camera: Fujifilm X100S with 23mm f/2. Exposure: 1/320 sec and f/8 at ISO 400

@the_bragdon_brothers

Fanelli cafe

I bike past Fanelli’s several times a week, sometimes a few times in one day. It’s one of the few remaining watering holes in Soho. Back in the day, it was mostly a hangout for local artists when Soho was all art galleries and giant artist’s lofts. Depending on the time of day, there can be a single person in the upstairs window, or a mob scene on the street, but there’s almost always a good photo to be had. I love the sign at dusk when the neon starts to glow. Location: Prince Street, Soho, New York, USA. Camera: iPhone X. Exposure: 1/160sec at f/4 and ISO 320

@sallydaviesphoto

“The mirror lined up with the framed images and appeared to be a magically moving photograph” MEL BREYER

© Sally Davies

From the watchwomen 2015 ☛

©Melissa Breyer

I was sitting at the bar of a local restaurant waiting for my dinner companion, and was transfixed by how the mirror lined up with the framed images and appeared to be a magically moving photograph. I wanted to include the mirror and the scene it was showing along with a waitress, as I thought it would be a bit more dynamic than the quieter restaurant shots I was making at the time. This is the only photograph in the series that clearly shows customers along with the server. Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4. Exposure: 1/65sec and f/1.4 at ISO 2500

@melbreyer photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 21


22 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Technique

Untitled

This photograph was taken near a construction site in Lower Manhattan. I remember that it was the gestural black-and-white painting that first caught my eye. It seemed to me as if a giant artist had chosen to use the side of the building as a personal sketchpad. When I looked more closely at the scene, I was also intrigued by the relationship of the construction site’s blue barrier to the building. After positioning myself at what I considered to be the best spot, I took several photos while people passed along the busy street. I thought that several of the pictures were good, but decided that the one of the man in the red hat was best. Location: Manhattan, New York, USA. Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II with 24-105mm f/4 lens at 40mm. Exposure: 1/500sec at f/11 and ISO 200

epetphoto.com ©Ed Peters

City Hall, NYC (2016) ☛

When you’re paying attention, sometimes life and serendipity offer you amazing, unexpected gifts. This is how I feel about this photo, taken in the arcades underneath New York’s City Hall. Normally, I never pass by that spot, and this is the only time that I’ve photographed there. By lucky accident, I happened to be passing by at the exact right time of day, when the slanting sunlight was briefly reaching beneath the ceiling of the arcade. I lingered for about ten minutes, and did not shoot more than 15 frames. This was almost the last one. As I was getting ready to leave, this incredible coincidence occurred – two acquaintances happened to bump into each other, and the light and shadow created this uncanny mirroring between their extended hands, one catching the light and one silhouetted in darkness. Location: New York City, USA. Camera: Leica M9 with 28mm f/2.8. Exposure: 1/180sec at f/2.8 and ISO 400

@dimitrimellos ©Dimitri Mellos

Stop 2011

I had driven past this brightly coloured wall several times, as it was very close to home. One afternoon, things looked slightly different. The stop sign had fallen and the workers happened to be dismantling part of the hoarding. Naturally, I stopped the car to see if I could turn the situation into a picture and proceeded to stand there capturing the bizarre scene as it unfolded. ©Jesse Marlow

photographynews.co.uk

“The light and shadow created this uncanny mirroring between their extended hands” DIMITRI MELLOS

Location: Melbourne, Australia. Camera: Leica M6 with 35mm f/2 Summicron. Exposure: 1/500sec at f/8 and ISO 400 on Fujifilm 400 Superia

@_jessemarlow Issue 70

| Photography News 23


Technique Untitled

This was taken near Bank station in London. I love the area for its architecture and rather serious-looking Londoners walking to and fro about their business. At night, this particular archway is bestowed with a fine shadow line originating from the street lamp above. The combination of nice light, shape – as well as an interesting subject – is something that does not happen very often, so for me these opportunities have to be taken when they can. Location: London, UK. Camera: Leica Monochrom M (Typ 246) with Leica Summilux ASPH 50mm f/1.4. Exposure: 1/180sec at f/2.8 and ISO 2000

@alan_schaller

Untitled

This was taken on a work trip to Australia to launch a new fragrance brand. It was a short trip and jet lag pursued me throughout... In Sydney, we had a few hours off from a pretty gruelling schedule and went to have lunch at Bondi Beach. Afterward, we took a short stroll on the beach and I started shooting. Whenever I’m on work trips, taking photos always happens on borrowed time – there’s inevitably somebody waiting for me to hurry up and finish so we can move on. In this case it was my husband Sebastian and a charming woman who was taking us to our next appointment. Location: Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia. Camera: Apple iPhone 6s and Hipstamatic app. Exposure: 1/1923sec at f/2.2 at ISO 25

@eauditalie

©Alan Schaller ©Marina Sersale

BUY THE BOOK

ammonitepress.com

24 Photography News | Issue 70

Fries (7)

I shot this at the end of a market day in winter. Can you imagine the same shot during daytime with a crowd waiting to order their fries? It would have been a rather ordinary image. This photo is defined by absence: the absence of light and the absence of any people around. These absences, together with the electric lights, create this melancholic Edward Hopper feeling, which makes this image interesting. ©Martin Waltz

Masters of Street Photography, edited by Rob Yarham, is a 176-page hardback measuring 23x28.5cm and costs £25. Each image is beautifully reproduced on fine quality paper so you can enjoy the fine detail of every image, as the photographer takes you behind the scenes of each shot with detailed commentary. If you enjoy street photography and want to hone your skills further, this is the book for you.

Location: Berlin, Germany. Camera: Sony a7R with 25mm f/2 lens. Exposure: 1/80sec at f/2 and ISO 800

@martinuwaltz photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 25


Awards

Bird Photographer of the Year 2019

THE WINNERS BPOTY is now in its fourth year, attracting more than 13,500 images from 63 countries with prizes including an Olympus camera system and £5000 in cash

Y

ear four of the Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) competition proved to be a real milestone,” comments director and competition organiser Rob Read. “There were more than double the number of entrants, images and countries represented compared to our first year. The competition has real global reach as demonstrated by the number of different nations represented by the winners.” BPOTY is set to become even bigger, and the BPOTY team has been working hard on the forthcoming 2020 competition, which is open for entries until 30 November 2019. Rob continues, “We now have a new website, which

will become a useful resource for photographers, birders, naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts, centred on the competition itself. The core principles of promoting bird photography and the photographers themselves, while helping conservation through raising money and awareness, remain the bedrock of BPOTY. The new website will help us achieve these aims, using some of the world’s best bird imagery to inspire people to care.” Money raised through previous years’ donations have been used by the British Trust for Ornithology to support its Bird Camp programme run in association with the Cameron Bespolka Trust, aimed at encouraging the next generation

of conservationists. For 2019, in addition to raising money for Birdfair through the Inspirational Encounters Award, BPOTY is supporting Hookpod, an innovative solution that has the potential to eliminate the unnecessary deaths of albatrosses and other seabirds killed as a result of longline fishing. Paul Sterry, founding director of BPOTY, comments, “BPOTY is delighted to have raised funds to help support such worthwhile causes. For 2020 and future years, we will be establishing a BPOTY Conservation Fund, through which we will assist other conservation projects such as Hookpod, where modest donations can have a real and lasting impact on our bird populations.”

BEST PORTFOLIO 2019 WINNER:

Thomas Hinsche BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2019 WINNER: Thomas won the BPOTY Best Portfolio Award for 2019 with a set of six images, and receives an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO lens, with a combined value of £3500.

26 Photography News | Issue 70

Caron Steele photographynews.co.uk


Awards

Entitled Dancing on Ice, this shot of a Dalmatian pelican on frozen Lake Kerkini in Greece was taken by Caron Steele from the UK. She wins the top prize of £5000 and the title of Bird Photographer of the Year 2019. Caron’s image was also the Gold Award winner in the Best Portrait category. Caron Steele comments, “I can’t tell you how delighted I am to be announced as the winner of this fabulous competition. It is wonderful to

photographynews.co.uk

receive such recognition for something I absolutely love doing. I only took up photography seriously in 2014 when I got my first DSLR, and since then I have been on a sharp learning curve. I did a zoology degree at the University of Oxford, but then went on to pursue other things. Now I love being able to get back to nature and see things through the perspective of my camera. I am so passionate about conservation and am keen to find an angle where I can help

make a significant difference; winning this award has spurred me on to renew my efforts. In today’s hectic life I think it is vital we strive to save the beautiful natural world around us, as ultimately I believe it will save us. Photography and being at one with nature brings a sense of calm, joy and appreciation that can strip away the stresses of life. I recommend this therapy to everyone. Pick up a camera and get out there today – and be as free as a bird!”

Issue 70

| Photography News 27


28 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Awards GARDEN AND URBAN BIRDS GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Chad Larsen, CA N A DA

BIRDS IN FLIGHT GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Nikunj Patel, USA

ATTENTION TO DETAIL GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Pรฅl Hermansen, N ORWAY

BIRD BEHAVIOUR GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Ivan Sjรถgren, SW E D E N

photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 29


Awards

ENTER THE CONTEST

The 2020 competition is open for entries and closes on 30 November 2019. The prizes – together worth over £20,000 – include binoculars from Swarovski Optik, a camera system from Olympus, tripod heads from Gitzo and a top prize of £5000.

birdpoty.co.uk

BIRDS IN THE ENVIRONMENT GOLD AWARD WINNER:

CREATIVE IMAGERY GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Marc Weber, FRA N C E

Mohammad Khorshed, KUWA IT

YOUNG BPOTY GOLD AWARD WINNER:

Tamás KonczBisztricz HUN GA RY

BUY THE BOOK

The competition book, published by Harper Collins, is now available and costs £25. This lavish 256page hardback showcases the very best imagery from the competition and features stories behind the images as told by the photographers themselves – plus all the technical camera information.

INSPIRATIONAL ENCOUNTERS AWARD WINNER:

Martin Grace, U K

30 Photography News | Issue 70

harpercollins.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk


Advertisement feature

Make the switch From full-frame DSLR to the Fujifilm GFX 50R, David McKibbin shares his experience after shooting sport and architecture with the 50-megapixel master

DAVID McKIBBIN, DPAGB, LRPS

Social, commercial and events photographer, Winchester

photographynews.co.uk

I’ve owned a camera since my late teens and my first SLR was a very reliable Fujica. After many hours learning to process black & white film in the darkroom (my bathroom), I’ll never forget one of my early photos. Although it had an average composition and acceptable exposure, I had, through luck,

captured a powerful emotion in the subject’s eyes. That was me hooked. Apart from holiday and family snaps, work diverted me away from the hobby for quite a long time. Then, about ten years ago, I was asked to help shoot a wedding and the passion was rekindled, and my fate sealed – this time for good.

Three years after that, I started to reduce the time spent on my consultancy company and built up a small photography business, which keeps me fully occupied with a very rewarding mix of commissions, supporting several charities, training photographers and, importantly, personal projects.

My photography usually incorporates people, emotions or form. It’s hard to compartmentalise, but my time is spread between three categories: events (including weddings, family gatherings, the performing arts, motorsport and corporate occasions), travel and architecture (often abstract),

Issue 70

| Photography News 31


Advertisement feature and last, but certainly not least, portraiture and street photography. That variation in events is great, for which I use full-frame Nikon DSLRs with several lenses, adding offcamera speedlights or studio strobes whenever required. DSLR systems are very capable, well-rounded and will be available for some time to come, but mirrorless does offer several compelling advantages and I’m sure it’s the future. I’ll jump in that direction soon, but I’m not investing before some serious consideration. This opportunity to shoot with the GFX 50R and two GF lenses was very timely. The main criteria for any replacement system are, of course, fit for my own purposes but, with so much on the market, where to start? My first consideration is sensor size and, having already tried three brands covering Micro Four Thirds, APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras, testing a high-end medium format camera with some exceptional glass has completed that task, covering all the relevant options. Of the mirrorless cameras I’ve previously handled, I was happiest with the Fujifilm X-T3, so the obvious test drive of a digital medium format body was a Fujifilm GFX. Of the three cameras in that range, 50 megapixels fits my needs better than 100 megapixels, and the 50R suits my budget better than the 50S, so that was a straightforward decision. Conversely, homing in on just two lenses proved trickier. My current comfort zone is my three f/2.8 zooms (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm)

32 Photography News | Issue 70

plus a couple of fast primes, but this project was different and I eventually opted for the wide-angle GF23mmF4 R LM WR prime alongside the GF100200mm F5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom. I expected to spend most of the time with the zoom lens, but the 18mm equivalent prime was such a delight it was on the camera most of the time. I decided to shoot a series of cityscapes, architecture and some quite special machinery and, rather than random images, I tested the GFX 50R in deliberately challenging lighting conditions. The city scenes and architecture were taken in my home city of Winchester and in London, shot in a mix of daytime, nighttime, indoor and outdoor conditions at locations where I’ve previously shot successful images. The first thing I noticed about the GF23mm lens was the apparent lack of any lens distortion and, once the images were checked on a high-resolution monitor, that was fully confirmed. The 0.79x crop factor didn’t take long to sink in and although this camera/lens combination isn’t one for shallow depth-of-field shots, I did manage one! I feel the camera is built for high fidelity rather than high speed, and the bright viewfinder really helped compositions, particularly with my personal predilection for symmetry. That deliberate shooting routine was complemented by the live viewfinder histogram, allowing simple dialling-in compensation for ‘right first time’ exposure. I found this a big benefit over my usual DSLR technique of estimating compensation, shooting, checking, refining and reshooting. Other than for deliberate long exposures, I rarely use a tripod and am happy shooting handheld, dialling up the ISO as necessary. Having read that good technique is more important for high pixel count sensors, I was a little wary in low-light conditions, but after pixel peeping my initial captures, this wasn’t a problem. In fact, quite the opposite. The

photographynews.co.uk


Advertisement feature THE KIT DAVID USED

GFX 50R The Fujifilm GFX 50R features a 51.4-megapixel 43.8x32.9mm CMOS sensor and delivers outstanding image quality with advanced colour reproduction. It has a rangefinder-style design that’s weather resistant, as well as the world’s first focal-plane shutter for a camera of its kind.

“The build of the camera and lenses is as good or better than anything I've used, with smooth, positive controls and a reassuring sense of quality ”

photographynews.co.uk

exceptional level of sharp detail was a revelation and a quality that I suspect landscape and high-end portrait photographers will fall in love with. During a break in a photography commission at Silverstone Motor Circuit, I spent some time around the pits on a track day and, among other things, used this to test the dynamic range. Shooting in a dimly lit workshop with a bright daylight background is a hard test for any camera. By allowing the brightest highlights to just blow out at capture, during post-processing I was able to recover both those and also the deepest shadows with minimal noise in those darker areas. If that wasn’t test enough, I also tried shooting towards daylight in a tunnel so dark I couldn’t see anything of the walls while shooting, so was really impressed with how much shadow detail could be lifted from the files with so little noise. Although I attempted shooting high-speed track action including panning shots, my close-quarters viewpoint (and, more to the point, my poor panning skills) didn’t produce anything of note. Those excuses aside, I don’t sense that the GFX is a camera aimed specifically at action sport but, as mentioned earlier, one more suited to photography where detail, image quality and colour fidelity come into their own, and that is where the Fujifilm excelled. The GF100-200mm zoom was put to the test at another track day, this time at a Porsche Club meeting at the Goodwood circuit with about 140 vintage cars on display and many thrashing round the circuit. I tend towards vivid colour and deliberate perspective in my shots, so this was a real opportunity to have some fun.

Trying to summarise, the build of the camera and lenses is as good or better than anything I’ve used, with smooth, positive controls and a reassuring sense of quality. Although a solid piece of kit and certainly not compact, it didn’t feel as bulky or as heavy as I had expected. The rangefinder-style position of the viewfinder to one side soon became comfortable and the battery life was better than expected, but I would really have liked more time to properly understand all the options, settings and capabilities to get even more out of the camera. Given more time, I would have liked to try street photography and put it through its paces on location, and in the studio for portraiture with more appropriate lenses. Although I shot Raw with JPG backups, I haven’t properly compared the in-camera conversions and film simulations with my Raw workflow, but that should be interesting. I can now start making plans for my next upgrade, but still to decide on one system or two – although I suspect two. The first, a light and compact yet capable set-up for travel, street and family photography. The second, more for commercial use, where ultimate quality is important and portability less of an issue. We would all be hard-pressed to buy a bad camera these days and there are many respectable and useful reviews available in the press and online. However, my advice to anyone is to do your desktop research, but the only way to really find out what’s right for you is hands-on experience. And therein lies the Fujifilm advantage!

GF23MMF4 R LM WR Suited for architecture or landscapes thanks to its 35mm equivalent focal length of 18mm, this super-wide prime lens keeps distortion to a minimum and features a fast and quiet AF.

GF100-200MM F5.6 R LM OIS WR The first telephoto zoom lens created for the GFX system offers high-resolution performance and rich bokeh. Ideal for shooting wildlife and sport, it features an optical image stabiliser, is weather resistant and has a 35mm equivalent focal range of 79-158mm.

GET INVOLVED If you’re looking to make the switch to Fujifilm and want to be featured in Photography News, then visit the website below. Fill out the form and you could be selected to borrow a Fujifilm camera and two lenses for up to two weeks, free of charge! Terms and conditions apply and can be found at photographynews.co.uk/ maketheswitch

david@mckib.com mckib.smugmug.com @dmckib

Issue 70

| Photography News 33


Advertisement feature

Light of your life About

Kate Hopewell-Smith

After graduating in Art History, Kate worked across numerous creative industries, including TV marketing, fine art publishing and brand design. As she now specialises in wedding, portrait and boudoir photography under her website, and runs a luxury events and destinations business with her husband, she’s no stranger to getting the perfect shot – and Profoto is on hand to help. • katehopewellsmith.com

With the Profoto A1X and B10, Kate Hopewell-Smith has found creating her inspiring wedding photography easier than ever

“I honestly don’t know how wedding photographers can say flash isn’t essential,” says wedding and portrait specialist, Kate Hopewell-Smith. “I hear the excuse that flash is intrusive and that ISO capabilities are so good nowadays that flash really isn’t necessary,” she explains, “but while high ISOs mean you can take an image in low light, most of the time, it just enhances bad light!” Of course, for Kate, it’s not just about adding light, but how you add it. “With flash,” she says, “if we can improve the light as well as just adding illumination, we will. Weddings are all about compromise and using artificial light makes solving problems so much easier!” That might just mean moving people into better light, she says or adding light to the scene in ways that add beauty to the scene, rather than just filling shadows. Set for success For her wedding work, Kate uses a collection of lightweight and versatile Profoto flashes and modifiers. “We now have two B10s and four A1Xs on the go, and it’s great to have those options. I’ll often use the A1Xs to just add little kicks of extra light, or for hair lights using grids, while with the B10s it’s often more about the key and fill lighting. The whole system is so easy to use with the Air Remote and I haven’t had any issues with syncing at all. Both the A1Xs and B10s are light, portable and have the right power for how we shoot. They’re so easy to modify, shaping and colouring light

The beauty of the bride The rooms that brides get ready in vary so much, in terms of size, decor and, most importantly, in quality of light. If the natural light is good, that’s fantastic, but pictures so often benefit from adding flash, either to just fill shadows or put some much-needed light onto the bride herself, improving skin tone and adding depth to the dress. If the natural light is great, people are often tempted to expose for the shadows, and while that can give soft and dreamy images, when you zoom in they can be hazy. Instead, we like to add a touch of side light, which helps to give the image a little bite without losing the overall feel. I knew I needed side light here, which is best for showing shape and form, but I also needed to prevent any reflection in the window behind, so here she was lit from a single head bounced into an umbrella to the right of the camera.

34 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Advertisement feature Profoto A1X

Full of dreams We’ll always encourage a couple to leave the wedding party for a short time during golden hour, and we like to use a little fill to lift shadows, improve skin, pop in catchlights and add some contrast. Here, we literally had five minutes of available light with this lovely couple and we asked them to run to the location before the sun disappeared for the day. I used an on-camera A1X with the diffusion dome on, but zoomed manually to get a much narrower angle, so the light just fell on the couple. For shots like this, I’ll generally just use TTL and then adjust the flash exposure with the compensation dial.

Winter warmers The beautiful Roman Baths in Somerset were a tricky venue to shoot. The ambient light was very low and atmospheric, and there was a lot of water between us and the wedding guests. We used two B10s, gelled to tungsten with umbrellas, while matching the available light in the scene. One light was placed either side of the wedding party and directed towards the centre to get the most even spread of light. In situations like this, I get my ambient exposure first, using a slowish shutter and with the camera on a tripod. It was important to maintain the warmth of the environment and the torches, so I set my white balance manually using the Kelvin function. Here, the B10s are not even at full power – I prefer to use flash and ISO to ensure the ambient light and mood is maintained – but it shows the power they’re capable of. It’s about balancing flash with what is available and making sure the people in the image are properly lit.

Profoto Academy Learn more with the Profoto Academy and sign up to My Profoto at profoto.com/ uk/academy

“Both the A1Xs and the B10s are light, portable and have the right power”

photographynews.co.uk

in lots of flattering and creative ways. They works seamlessly together, too. “The combination of the A1s and B10s is game-changing for us,” Kate continues. “Finally, we have absolutely beautiful light that is delivered by a system that is consistent, reliable, lightweight and portable. They are so easy to use and we particularly love the brilliant B10 app, which enables us to makes changes from our phones and remain discreet at all times. “Along with the heads, we’ve invested in a variety of modifiers that,

together, deliver everything from big, soft light through to hard and very directional light for contrast and mood. All the OCF modifiers are also lightweight and built for travel – a very clever system that is perfect for location wedding and portrait photographers who like to enhance the environment and ambient light with a bit of extra magic. We also do a lot of filming, so make the temperature-controlled, dimmable LED continuous lights on the B10s have been very helpful,” she concludes.

The Profoto A1 revolutionised the use of small lights on location and in the studio. Now, the A1X is here to build on its success. Mounting like a speedlight, or usable off-camera, the A1X delivers smooth and natural lighting effects thanks to its round flash emitter and suite of easy-to-fit accessories. Recycle times are improved to just 1sec at full power, with 450 full-power flashes per charge from the rechargeable and exchangeable Li-ion battery. An improved interface with a large and clear readout means it’s easy to use, and the TTL and HSS functions let you add flash to almost any situation with full control. The integrated AirTTL system also means you can seamlessly connect to other Profoto flashes for stunning multiple light set-ups. It’s also a highly versatile light. Unlike

Profoto B10 Just a little larger than the A1, but still no bigger than many camera lenses, the B10 is a lightweight battery-powered monolight that opens up all sorts of possibilities on location. For instance, its small size and low weight mean you can more easily use multiple lights for a more complex arrangement. With a maximum output of 250W/s, it has five times the power of the average speedlight, and light is delivered in a versatile fashion through ten stops of control. But that’s not all. The B10 also packs in a powerful and highly controllable, flicker-free continuous light, allowing you to set the brightness and colour, so it’s perfect for shooting movies or adding constant ambient light to a scene. Even more control is provided by the B10’s range of light shapers, as it’s compatible with over 120 Profoto modifiers, including umbrellas and the

SPECS › Power 76Ws across 9 f/stops

› Recycle time 0.05-1.0s › Modelling light Yes, LED › Wireless Yes, up to 300m › HSS/TTL Yes, up to 100m › Measurements (WxLxH) 7.5x16.5x.10.8cm

› Weight 560g

regular speedlights, which often have a range of haphazard and ill-fitting accessories, the A1X has a dedicated range of magnetically attached and stackable shapers, including a dome diffuser, bounce card, wide lens, gel kit and a soft bounce. Even ‘naked’, the spread of light can be adjusted from narrow to wide with a simple twist of the head, or you can use the auto or preset zoom settings – accessible via the menu.

SPECS › Power 250Ws across 10 f/stops

› Recycle time 0.05-2s › Modelling light 2500lm,

dimmable 100-10%, adjustable 3000-6500K (+/-500K) › Wireless Yes, up to 300m › HSS/TTL Yes, up to 100m › Measurements (WxLxH) 11x17.5x10cm › Weight 1.5kg

full OCF, which has softboxes, beauty dishes and more. With clean and simple interface, the B10 is easy to use even for beginners, and highly versatile. Being compatible with all Profoto’s AirTTL remotes, as well as the A1X as a trigger, it can even be controlled using the Profoto app, where you can set everything from the mode to the power.

Issue 70

| Photography News 35


QA and

Russ Ellis

Cycling’s three grand tours, which include the Tour de France, are three weeks of blood, sweat and tears for the cyclists – and it’s pretty intense for the photographers, too. Russ Ellis explains

SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER RUSS ELLIS

Photography News: How long have you been a sports photographer? Russ Ellis: I’ve been shooting sport for around five years, the last threeand-a-half as a full-time pro. PN: How did you start? RE: I started by going along to local bike races in my area and just taking pictures of the racers and spectators at the events. I would then upload a small selection of my favourite images to my social media feeds for people to view. PN: What came first: photography or sport?

RE: I would have to say sport. I was always a keen sportsman as a youngster, I grew up playing football in the local parks with my friends from an early age, and then played rugby and football for my school and county teams along with athletics and cricket in the summer months. Cycling was a sport that I didn’t get into as such until I was much older, probably my thirties (I’m 42 now). PN: What has been your best or most satisfying assignment so far? RE: I’ve been lucky enough to work for some of the top teams and brands in the cycling world so far, and that has allowed me to shoot the three big grand tours for the last few seasons, so the Giro (Tour of Italy), the Tour de France, and the Vuelta (Tour of Spain). It’s amazing following these races around for 21 days, visiting new

towns and cities and experiencing the cultures of each place during the race. There is always something new and interesting to take pictures of, as well as the bike riders. PN: On the grand tours are you one of the people who shoots from the back of a motorbike to keep up with the racers? RE: No, not on the grand tours, they are usually staff photographers for the big agencies like Getty or AP, and the papers; there are only a certain number of motos to keep numbers down. I might be on a moto for oneday classic races like those in Belgium. For the grand tours I travel around in a car with a couple of other freelancers. There are perhaps ten or 11 of us who do what I do, who work for teams and magazines; I work for Specialized and Team Ineos ( formerly

IMAGES It’s not always easy to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot

Team Sky). We follow the race in cars and do our own thing. PN: So how do you work? RE: We meet in the morning and park the car a mile or so down the road from the stage start. I get pictures of the riders signing on, waving to the crowd, hanging around the team buses and getting their bikes ready. And then about ten to 15 minutes before the race starts, we get back to the car and drive on ahead. We’ve got a sticker on our car that allows us to drive on the course and we go along until we get to a nice location. We park up, the race comes through and we get some nice shots. We then have to go off the course

36 Photography News | Issue 70

because we are not allowed to pass the race, so have to find alternative routes to get back in front of the race. We stop as many times as we can during the day and make sure that we then get to finish before the race. My general tour day is shoot at the start, drive, get one stop in, potentially go to another stop and then head to the finish. PN: Does that approach involve lots of planning and research? RE: It does for some photographers but some of us kind of wing it. The thing is the police block all roads leading onto the course, so it’s a bit of a lottery whether you get let back onto the course. photographynews.co.uk


Interview IMAGES: Russ Ellis relishes the chance to visit different locations

“Bike races are long days, typically taking around four to five hours; we also shoot preand post-race” and ‘them’ vibe like in other sports. Generally, they are approachable, likeable guys, really. PN: Sports photography is a very competitive field, so what do you do that is unique? RE: I guess that is one for my clients to answer rather than me. But what I would say is that I just try to tell stories from the races that I attend, I want viewers of my images to feel the emotion and atmosphere of the event from just viewing the pictures. I suppose I apply a more ‘photo journalism’ approach to my work than the more traditional sports photography, so whereas the actual race images are still important they are not the be-all and end-all for me, I will try to look for images that tell a story or have some kind of emotion, rather than just a straight action shot.

In the morning over a coffee we look at the route and the surrounding roads, and we’ll work out a rough plan of where we want to be to get ahead of the race. Once the race has gone by, we basically try to get back on – if you get back on, fine, but if not we think on our feet and find an alternative route, so it depends on luck. It’s great fun. We complain sometimes. At the Giro, for example, I worked 23 to 24 days back-to-back, 12 hours a day, no days off – but you have to remember you are at a bike race where most people interested in cycling would give their right arm to even go and watch, let alone work and be so close to the riders. And even though it is work with a 7am start and not finishing editing until midnight, photographynews.co.uk

it’s photography, which I love doing, and cycling, which I love doing, too. So doing this as a job and being out in the sunshine with the excitement of chasing a race around, it doesn’t feel like work, although it is. PN: What are riders like Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome like to deal with? RE: They are just great lads. I think the difference between cycling and, say, football, where the players are detached from the people, with cycling they are there in the morning, get off the team bus, the fans are round so they sign autographs. The fans can literally touch them and stop them for selfies. And during the race you can literally brush shoulders with them on mountain stages. There is no ‘us’

PN: Have you had shoots where nothing has gone right? RE: Not really. Bike races are long days, typically taking around four to five hours; we also get to shoot preand post race, so I always manage to get something over that time. Not always great images, but usually a good handful each day that satisfy the brief and that I am happy with. PN: What has been your most difficult assignment? RE: A few years ago, when I was first starting out, I had a brief to get a shot of some Team GB cyclists for an advert to be used in a national newspaper. It had to be shot at a live event so I had no control over the riders or the environment, I had to just hang around hoping the riders would stay still long enough at some stage to allow me to get a shot. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it?! Well, except that the brief stated there had to be at least three riders in the picture to satisfy sponsorship image rights. I was also asked to shoot at a shallow Issue 70

| Photography News 37


Interview depth-of-field to have a less cluttered background, to allow for text to be applied. This was a tough day but I managed to get a half-decent shot that made it into the paper, so that was a relief. PN: Why have you decided to use Sony equipment? RE: I was given the opportunity to test the Sony a9 and some lenses at the Tour de France a couple of years ago (not that long after the a9 had been released). At the time I was shooting Nikon DSLRs and had no intention of ever changing systems. I guess my mindset was that I never wanted to change because it would mean learning how to use a new camera and having to buy new lenses and bodies. However, after using the a9 for probably only a few days, I started to realise that there were features that I now actually couldn’t go without. The Eye AF was just amazing, and the ability to see your exposures and review your shots in the EVF was amazing, and just made the DSLRs seem like very old tech. The main feature, though, that sealed my decision to switch, was the ability to shoot fully silently at 20fps – this was a game-changer for me. I could now shoot in places that I just couldn’t before: the team bus during meetings, press conferences, while video was being recorded! Basically, I now shoot Sony because the system allows me to get shots that I just couldn’t with my old DSLR. I use the a9 at 20fps for action, too. With cycling there is a lot to do with body position. When cyclists are pedalling the optimal pedal stroke is one leg up and one leg down, which looks the most dynamic. If you get it where the pedals are level it doesn’t make for a good picture. So at 20fps I can just pick the best picture from a burst. Oh, and the G-Master lenses are the sharpest and best-built lenses I have ever used!

“I went along to the smaller events in my area where pretty much everyone can get close to the action”

PN: Do you ever use flash, or is all your work shot in daylight? RE: In controlled lighting environments like on the team bus, I shoot manual exposure and manual ISO, and shoot wide open, but throughout the day shooting beside the road I use aperture-priority. IMAGES Russ Ellis’s approach is to find the story behind the image

Basically, this is because the riders coming towards you might be backlit, and when you turn round to shoot them going the other way the lighting is different. You only get one chance at it and they are coming toward you at 40 to 50kph. I aim to get a minimum shutter speed of 1/1000sec to freeze the action. PN: What is your favourite camera/lens combination? RE: Sony a9 with Sony G-Master 16-35mm f/2.8. This is my go-to set-up for my work. The 35mm is the classic street photography focal range and then I can go super-wide to 16mm for more scenic images. With cycling, because you can get right up close, I use a wide-angle to bring more of a street photography vibe for a more personal approach. I try to bring my kind of style, rather than traditional sports where you need a long lens. I like street photography and I wanted to bring that vibe in for a more personal, more human approach to show a different side to the sport. PN: You must shoot a lot of images every day, can you explain your workflow to us? RE: I have a MacBook and a fast external SSD, so basically when I get back to the hotel I upload the images – about 4000 or 5000 in a day – from my two cameras straight onto the SSD and import them all into Lightroom. You kind of remember during the day when you took the best pictures, so I go through and edit the ones I really like and once done I put them into Dropbox one by one, so the client starts getting them as soon as I have

38 Photography News | Issue 70

done the editing. I aim to get 35 to 40 images to clients each day. Once through the day’s editing, I copy all those Raws onto an external hard drive and clear down the SSD, ready for the next day’s shoot. PN: What shooting advice can you give to our readers who attend events, but haven’t got the accessibility that professionals like you do? RE: I didn’t have the access at the start to the main races, I went along to the smaller events in my area where pretty much everyone can get close to the action. Let’s use football as an example: you may not have access to a Premier League ground, but you will for sure be able to find a local Sunday league team and be able to go there, and maybe speak to the organiser and explain that you are looking to get into sport. Ask them if you can come along to a game and take images, offer to provide some to the club for them to use in return for access. Then maybe you can share a few with the players and the club, and build a relationship. Maybe once you have shot a few games and have built up a portfolio of images you could contact the local newspaper and see if they need any images from the local area, and go from there. PN: What advice do you have for PN readers who would love to do your job? RE: Be prepared to put in the hours at the start; find a sport or area that you are going to enjoy photographing, learn about that sport and go along to as many local events as you can and just try to find something interesting

at each one, and try to capture it in a way that is unique to you. PN: What is the most memorable sports picture that you have taken? RE: This question is one I get asked a lot, and to be honest I don’t have one, I usually find that even if I think an image is great, a few days later I have forgotten about it and have a new one that I like more. I think this might be a result of the type of photographer I am. As I am documenting each day at races, I feel once the day is done, it’s old news and in the new day there are new opportunities, so the images I took get pushed out of my memory. PN: What is the sports picture you haven’t managed to take yet? RE: There isn’t anything specific as such, but what I always try to get is the best image of the most important story from any one day. For example, the youngest rider in the race may win a stage and I would want to get an image of that rider actually crossing the line first, or maybe a shot of him celebrating with his team, or laying exhausted on the ground, for example. PN: What’s the next big event that you are really looking forward to? RE: The Cycling World Championships are being held in Yorkshire this year, and as I live in Yorkshire and the race comes past my house, it’s going to be awesome. I get to take pictures on the roads I ride each day on my bike. Perfect. PN To see more of Russ Ellis’s work, visit www.russellis.co.uk photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 39


Buyers’ guide

Get a movie on

Get into filmmaking with this month’s buyers guide. Here you’ll find plenty of great suggestions for video-friendly kit, and it doesn’t need to break the bank either... IF YOU WANT to get into filmmaking there may be lots of kit you already have that can be used. But in many areas video requires a whole different set of gear in your bag, too. Movie gear can look very different from equipment for stills, but there are lots of similarities, too. Just like shooting stills, you’ll need a tripod, lights, and

storage, but there are subtle differences. Probably the biggest departure is in audio, as you can’t rely on your camera to record decent sound on its own. Fortunately, the price of equipment capable of shooting high-quality films is dropping all the time. Here we outline some of the kit you’ll need to start making better movies.

AUDIO: OLYMPUS LS-P4 £149 An external recorder lets you capture high-quality audio. Olympus’s LS-P4 recorder is well worth considering if you want to shoot light. At 75g, it’s scarcely noticeable when hotshoe mounted and size-wise it’s pocket friendly. Recording is capable in a variety of formats, the highest quality of which is Linear PCM 96kHZ at 24bit. It has three builtin mics, a mini-jack port to plug in an external mic and a headphoneout for monitoring. There’s 8GB internal memory, and you can also record to a micro SD card.

LIGHT: NANGUANG LED PAD LIGHT LUXPAD23 £54 A lightweight light panel that’s only 35mm thick and weighing only 236g, the Nanguang LED Pad Light Luxpad23 can be used on-camera for fill or even off-camera as a useful addition to any bag; and it’s a bargain at around £50. The pad uses 112 LEDs with a soft, 0-100% adjustable output of 969lm, and the colour of the light is adjustable from 3200K-5600K, letting you mix it with daylight or tungsten lighting. It can run off the mains, or Sony NP-FH, NP-FM, NP-F batteries, which you’ll need to buy separately.

kenro.co.uk

olympus.com

LIGHTING: ROTOLIGHT NEO 2 £199 Some decent light can make a huge difference to your film and the Rotolight NEO 2 offers a lot of light output despite its small size and weight. With a diameter of only 14.5cm and weighing just 354g, it’s ideal to put in your bag and keep there at all times, and it can be run on or off the camera. Running of the mains, or six AAs, it has an output of 1032lm and as a bi-colour light, it can be dialled to match anything from tungsten to daylight conditions (3150-6300K). There’s also an updated suite of CineSFX preset lighting effects, including fire, lightning, TV, gunshot, and paparazzi, and the NEO 2 comes with a range of filters to vary the look of the light.

rotolight.com

40 Photography News | Issue 70

SUPPORT: KENRO TWIN TUBE VIDEO TRIPOD KIT £145 This is one bit of kit that certainly doesn’t look like it’s a budget item, and is a proper twin-tube video tripod with a fluid head and ball & socket type levelling plate. A fluid head is really important for video as it allows smooth panning that a regular tripod head can’t do. Kenro’s Twin Tube Video Tripod Kit comes with the company’s VH01B fluid drag action video head. With a maximum height of 185cm/72.8in, it’s a great bit of kit for the money, supports loads of up to 6kg and weighs only 4.5kg.

kenro.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk


Buyers’ guide STORAGE: SAMSUNG T5 2TB SSD £328 Working with video files you’ll need a good portable fast drive. Look no further than Samsung’s T5 2TB SSD, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 compatible, sleek and shockproof little number that allows read and write speeds of up to 540MB/s. It’s palm sized, weighs only 51g, and the all metal design acts as a heatsink to maintain optimal performance, while with no moving parts and a tough exterior it can stand up to drops of up to 2m.

samsung.com

G-TECHNOLOGY G-RAID WITH THUNDERBOLT 3 FROM £435 If you’re shooting highres video you’re going to need lots of storage. G-Technology offers plenty of high-spec desktop solutions, so for lots of flexibility and reliability you could opt for the G-RAID with Thunderbolt 3, a dual 7200RPM hard drive storage system featuring multiple RAID options. This drive allows transfer rates of up to 500MB/s and with its removable drive bays design you can get 8TB, 12TB, 16TB, 20TB, or 24TB versions.

SUPPORT: HAGUE DSLR MOTION CAM STABILISER £132 Getting smooth shots from a handheld camera is a tough ask, especially if you want the camera to be moving. Movement from your body will be transferred as vibration to the camera making footage look jerky. Motorised gimbals are available from the likes of DJI, and can be excellent, but for a filmmaker on a budget, or one just starting out, Hague’s handheld camera stabilising system, the DSLR Motion Cam is a top choice, and it has been specifically designed for DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

haguecamerasupports.com

AUDIO: RODE NTG-1 SHOTGUN MIC £169 They know a thing or two about making great microphones in Australia and the Rode NTG-1 is one of the best and most popular shotgun mics for videographers, whether they’re just starting out or with years of experience under their belt. The NTG-1 has great build quality, delivers brilliant audio and is not too expensive. It’s a workhorse that will last for years. In fact, it may be the only shotgun mic you ever need.

LENSES: SAMYANG 50MM T1.5 XEEN CINE £1599 Samyang’s Xeen range produces pro-quality fullframe movie lenses in a wide range of mounts, and the 50mm T1.5 is a great place to start. The large T1.5 aperture allows low-light shooting and creates superb bokeh effects, and Multi-Nano-Coatings are on hand to minimise lens flare and ghosting. The focus gear ring and decoupled aperture allow follow-focus rig use.

intro2020.co.uk

rode.com

westerndigital.com

SUPPORT: KENRO DOUBLE DISTANCE SLIDER £185 Having a range of motion effects in your filmmaking arsenal is something that’ll really improve the look. For smooth and controlled tracking shots a good slider is vital, and Kenro’s Double Distance is a great choice. It can be used like a regular model when laid flat, but mount it on a tripod using the central point and its counterbalanced belt drive effectively doubles the range of movement from 38cm to 76cm. Top-quality gearing means motion is smooth in either direction and its aluminium build will take a load of 6kg on the flat or 3kg on a tripod.

kenro.co.uk

IRIX CINE 150MM T3.0 MACRO 1:1 £550

AUDIO: SENNHEISER XSW-D PORTABLE LAVALIER SET £275 Wireless audio is brilliant for filmmaking, allowing your subject to wander, and Sennheiser’s XSW-D Portable Lavalier Set lets videographers go wireless with ease. Cables are replaced with compact transmitters and receivers that work on 2.4GHz for worldwide, license-free operation, and operate up to a range of 75m. Up to five systems can be used simultaneously and the transmitter and receiver units can be recharged via USB, running for up to five hours on a single charge. Though the XSW-D range comes with several options, this Lavalier Set includes an ME 2-II clipon microphone so you’re ready to start recording right out of the box.

en-uk.sennheiser.com

swains.co.uk

CAMERA: FUJIFILM X-T3 £1349

SONY A7 III £1763

With the X-T3 Fujifilm created a camera that’s just as exciting for video as for stills. Its 4K credentials are impressive and it’s also capable of capturing higher-quality 4:2:0 10-bit video internally, and when an external recorder is used via the X-T3’s HDMI connection, this rises to 4:2:2.

Sony’s ‘general’ full-frame mirrorless camera, the 24.2MP A7 III, is also a top choice for those wanting great video options. 4K footage is supplied at 30 or 24p, but most importantly, the whole of the sensor is used for capture, and this ‘oversampling’ means quality is very high.

fujifilm.eu/uk

photographynews.co.uk

If you’re serious about video, it’s well worth looking for lenses that are designed with that in mind. This full-frame lens from Irix, available in MFT, Canon EF and Sony E mounts, has movie-friendly features like a clickless, geared aperture ring and smooth, 270° manual focus and minimal breathing to stop the composition changing as you pull focus from near to far. Luminous markings are on hand for low-light work, and there’s a detachable 1/4in-20 support foot.

sony.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 41


Big test

Panasonic Lumix S1

PRICE: £2199 BODY ONLY

PANASONIC.CO.UK

Panasonic kicked off its mirrorless fullframe Lumix S series with two models: the S1R and the S1. They are essentially the same camera, but with some fundamental differences, including resolution and price

WORDS AND IMAGES BY WILL CHEUNG

THE FULL-FRAME, mirrorless camera market is on the up, fuelled by Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. With the leader in that market, Sony, very active and Sigma soon to jump on the bandwagon, there is much to be excited about. Panasonic launched two full-frame cameras earlier in the year, the S1 and S1R, and took a different approach to its products. Where rivals have taken the opportunity to downsize their cameras – although not necessarily their lenses – Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless cameras are large; as big as non-gripped 35mm DSLRs. This is due to Panasonic’s no-compromise approach: weighty, robust bodies that are freeze, dust and splash proof, with shutter mechanisms designed to last more than twice as long as rivals, with a claimed 400,000 actuations. Add two card slots, video features, a button-rich design and the five-axis in-body image stabiliser that, with firmware v1.2, gives a 6EV benefit and that reaches 6.5EV with Dual IS2, and you have credentials that will surely appeal to photo and video users. One small fly in the ointment is that the S series uses the Leica-developed L-Mount – Panasonic being in the L-Mount alliance with Leica and Sigma. That lens pool is relatively small at the moment, but that will change quickly. The Lumix S1 is a 24.2-megapixel camera with a body price of £2199. By comparison, the S1R has 47.3 megapixels and sells at £1200 more. The Lumix S1’s sensor is a full-frame (35.6x23.8mm) CMOS sensor that is free of an optical low-pass filter for maximum detail resolution. It works

42 Photography News | Issue 70

with the Panasonic Venus image processing engine, giving a native ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to ISO 50-204,800. The large body means there’s room for both SD (UHS-II supported) and XQD card slots. Explore the Lumix S1’s body and you’ll find it rich in buttons and controls. The on/off switch is on the right, placed for a forefinger push, and ranged behind the shutter release are dedicated buttons for altering white balance, ISO and exposure compensation. With different surface finishes, using these controls while the camera was held up to the eye was easy. Speaking of the viewfinder, the EVF has a resolution of 5.76 million dots, and the image it supplies is excellent: bright, crisp and full of detail. There’s no smearing during panning and it’s among the very best EVFs around. Round the back of the camera, there are no fewer than nine buttons for adjusting AF zones, bringing up menus, scrolling through the camera’s display options and more. Delve into the extensive, but well-structured main menu and there’s huge potential for user customisation and a host of photo and video features. Although the body is busy, it’s not demanding or confusing to use. Within a short period, I found the Lumix S1 an intuitive camera to use and easy to navigate around. That said, I kept things simple and stuck with the default set-up rather than be too ambitious and make it a memory test.

THE EVF HAS A RESOLUTION OF 5.76 MILLION DOTS, AND THE IMAGE IT SUPPLIES IS EXCELLENT: BRIGHT AND FULL OF DETAIL

photographynews.co.uk


Big test SPECS

IMAGES The Lumix S1 is festooned with buttons and dials on its sizable, weatherproofed body and handling is very good

› Prices S1 body £2199, S1 kit

with S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS £2999

› Sensor 24.2 megapixel, CMOS sensor

› Sensor format 35.6x23.8mm, 6000x4000 pixels. High res mode 12,000x8000 pixels, 6K photo 5184x3456 pixels, 4K photo 3504x2336 pixels, HLG photo 5984x4000 full res

› Aspect ratios 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 2:1

› ISO range 100-51,200.

Expansion to 50, 102,400 and 204,800

› Shutter range 60secs-

1/8000sec, B max 30 mins. Electronic front shutter curtain 60secs to 1/2000sec, B max 30 mins. Electronic shutter 60secs to 1/8000sec, Motion picture 1/25-1/16,000sec

› Drive modes Burst shooting in

AFS and MF: H 9fps, M 5fps (with live view), L 2fps. In AF-C 6fps max (with live view). 6K photo 30fps, 4K photo 30fps

PERFORMANCE: ISO I shot various scenes, from low light to night, using the full ISO range with in-camera noise reduction turned off. The resulting Raws were processed in Adobe Lightroom with no noise reduction. The TIF files shown here are magnified at 100%. In this example shot at twilight, the exposure for the ISO 100 shot was 2secs at f/11. The Lumix S1 with the 24-105mm f/4 zoom was fixed to a Gitzo Systematic carbon-fibre tripod and the shutter released using the camera’s self-timer. I’m very impressed by the Lumix S1’s low levels of digital noise, even at very high ISOs. Comparing the ISO 100, 400 and 800 shots at 100% on screen revealed barely any image quality differences, with identical colour saturation, detail resolution and tonality. There was

› Exposure modes PASM › Monitor 3.2in 2100k dots, tiltable, touchscreen

› Viewfinder OLED with 5760k dots, 100% view, 0.78x, three magnification options

› Focusing AF works from -6EV to 18EV

› Focus points 225 area. Auto

detection. Face, eye, body, animal, tracking, zone (vertical/ horizontal), zone (oval and square), single area, single area pinpoint, custom modes, full area touch

› Video Continuous recording 150 min (rear monitor), 140 min LVF

› Actual recordable time 75 min (monitor), 70 min LVF

› Recording file format

MP4, H:264/MPEG-4 AVC, 4K (3840x2160) 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.98 MP4, high- speed video (3840x2160) 29.97 (sensor output 60fps), 4K MP4 HEVC (3840x2160) 29.97 72Mbps

100

800

1600

3200

6400

12,800

25,600

51,200

102,400

› Connectivity Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, HDMI, USB-C 3.1

› Image stabiliser Image sensor

shift 5-axis/6EV benefit. Dual IS 6.5EV benefit

› Other key features Dust and splash resistant, USB charging

› Storage media 1xSD,1xXQD › Dimensions (wxhxd) 148.9x110x96.7mm

› Weight S1 body, 898g Contact: panasonic.co.uk

photographynews.co.uk

a little more digital noise at the ISO 800 shot compared with the lower ISO shots, but it was minimal and easily processed out. You might as well shoot at ISO 800 and benefit from higher shutter speeds to stop camera shake or subject movement. There is digital noise at ISO 1600, but it is soft, neutral and only really evident with direct comparison with the slower ISO shots. Looked at in isolation, I think the vast majority of photographers would be very happy with the image quality of the ISO 1600 shots. The same applies at the ISO 3200 setting. By the time you get to ISO 6400, the graining effect of digital noise is more evident in areas of smooth mid-tones, but fine detail continues to look great and crisp, and colour saturation remains lively. As you would expect, digital noise continues to impact on image quality from ISO 12,800 and up, but even at that speed I think overall image quality is remarkable. It is only from 25,600 upwards that detail suffers and the grain effect has a serious impact. The noise at these stratospheric ISO speeds is film-like and still neutral and it is only when you venture beyond the top native ISO speed of 51,200 that noise looks heavy, as you would expect. In summary, the Lumix S1 delivers an awesome ISO performance with critical quality at high speeds. If you shoot in low light and need high ISOs for action-stopping shutter speeds and low noise pictures, the Lumix S1’s credentials are impeccable. 204,800

Issue 70

| Photography News 43


44 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Big test But enough of the layout, what about performance? I had the Lumix S1 for two weeks, which coincided with a few days off, so I took it as my main camera. That’s obviously a risk, but the Lumix S1 didn’t let me down. With only one battery, I was concerned I’d run out of juice, but on two separate days I shot over 300 shots. That included lots of menu fiddling and image previewing, but the battery indicator showed it was only half used. Autofocus uses Panasonic’s contrast detect Depth From Defocus system, and it did prove capable and accurate, but it could struggle with low contrast or subjects with limited definition. For example, the AF struggled with clouds, grass and paintwork, but using the focus lever or the touchscreen to pick another focus area with contrast was quick enough. On the whole, though, the system proved reliable for stills and video for normal, everyday subjects.

I stuck with single zone AF for much of the time, but tried the 225 zone, adjustable single zone and zone focus options, too. One interesting option is the Zone (Vert/Horz) option, where you can select focus sensors in rows, up or down the image with one, three, five or seven rows active across the frame, and these can be moved around the 225 zone area. The face detect mode is face/ eye/body detection, too, with an option for animal detection. Strangely, I tried the animal detect option on a couple of horses in a paddock, but it didn’t pick up on the animals even though they were quite a reasonable size in the viewfinder. I can’t leave the AF system without mention of the S1’s extra focus features. There’s focus bracketing for out-ofcamera focus merging, and also post focus, which gives the options of 4K or 6K, giving resolutions of eight and 18 megapixels respectively.

PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE I WAS ESPECIALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE LUMIX S1’S HIGH ISO PERFORMANCE, AND IT WAS EXCELLENT AT MEDIUM SPEEDS

PERFORMANCE: FOCUS BRACKETING START

-3EV

-2EV

-1EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

END

MERGED

The Lumix S1 is among the growing band of cameras offering focus bracketing to produce images that can be merged in software afterwards – there is no focus merging feature on the camera itself. There are the usual options – such as number of frames and the distance gap between each shot – but you also have the option of how you want the focus bracket to work. You can choose to start at the closest focused distance and the bracket progresses towards infinity which, to me, is the most user-friendly, or you can have the bracket alternate either side and progressively extend away from the focused point.

photographynews.co.uk

This sample here was a 19-shot focus bracket shot with the 24-105mm zoom set to 105mm and f/4 and focused on the cross, which was about m from the camera position, with the buildings behind about 40m distant. The camera was tripod mounted. In the end, 13 images were merged in Affinity Photo. The final result looks okay until you look at it closely and there’s a definite smudgy halo around the cross. That’s not a reflection on the camera’s focus bracketing skills, but rather on the situation of using a wide aperture on a telephoto and the distance between the two subjects, and there’s no reason why a perfect result shouldn’t be possible.

Test shots were taken in various lighting conditions. This is a contrasty scene of Ely Cathedral shot on a bright evening. An exposure bracket was shot using the Lumix S1’s bracketing feature, with seven shots from -3EV to +3EV in 1EV steps. The correct exposure was 1/160sec at f/7.1, ISO 100. The Raws were exposure corrected afterwards using Lightroom. The underexposed shots were very successfully recovered with little noise gain and the -3EV and -2EV shots looked just as good as the correctly exposed image. Recovering overexposed shots was much less successful and while the +1EV shot looked fine, anything more and the final result didn’t look too good – this was especially true in the highlights. In the +3EV shot, the highlights had a grey veiling on

+3EV

highlight areas. This scene was very high contrast, which didn't help and it is true that lower contrast scenes were more successful with highlights. To sum up, the Lumix S1’s Raws have reasonable, but not outstanding exposure latitude. The Raws were much more tolerant to underexposure, so even the -3EV shot looked perfectly acceptable, but with overexposure and scenes of bright highlights, even +2EV shots didn’t recover too well.

Issue 70

| Photography News 45


Big test In post focus mode, the camera adjusts focus on different parts of scene and records in 4K video as it does so. Later, you can view the footage and select the image you want and save it as a separate JPEG file. One feature that didn't work for me was touch AF. Many times I picked up the camera to find I must have touched the screen and the AF point was in a random corner. Pushing the focus lever down centres the AF point, but I found it best to switch off touch AF, but leave touchpad AF active. It meant I could use this or the focus lever when my eye was up to the eyepiece and -the focus lever when the camera was on the tripod.

Of all the images I shot, just a handful were beyond salvage in editing. Some against-the-sun shots were dark in the shadows, but correction with the shadows slider in Lightroom sorted that with minimal noise. I used aperturepriority AE and manual exposure modes with multi-zone metering and the Lumix S1 just got on with the job and performed consistently and reliably. I tried the IBIS system for stills and video. A 6EV benefit is a bold claim and, of course, there are a great many variables. With the 24-105mm, I took sequences of outdoor shots on a calm evening at both ends of the zoom range with the mechanical shutter, using

speeds from 1/30sec down to 1sec, allowing time for my arms to rest in between. In my practical test, I found at 105mm the safest slow shutter speed was 1/8sec and, while I got sharp shots even at 1/2sec, they were the exception rather than the norm. My success rate at the 24mm end was significantly greater at slow shutter speeds, and I got consistently pin-sharp shots at 1/2sec. I was especially impressed with the Lumix S1’s high ISO performance and it was excellent at medium speeds, too. Out-of-camera JPEGs looked lively and natural in colour, and the Raws had plenty of editing potential and processed files printed up very nicely. WC

PERFORMANCE: HIGH RESOLUTION MODE

100% - NORMAL MODE

50% - HIGH RES MODE

IMAGES The high res mode does a fine job with suitable subjects so if you need a big file for very large prints it is worth using

100% - NORMAL MODE

50% - HIGH RES MODE

IMAGES With a tripod mounted Lumix S1, the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/8 at ISO 3200. The low noise of the ISO 3200 shot in high res mode is impressive

46 Photography News | Issue 70

The Lumix S1’s in-body image stabiliser with its 6EV benefit helps give shake-free stills and movies when light levels fall. It also gives 96-megapixel files compared with the camera’s native 24 megapixels. High-res files are 188MB and 12,000x8000 pixels, so four times the size of 44MB files, and images are 6000x4000 pixels with normal mode. In high res mode, the camera shoots eight images one after the other, with the sensor moving between each shot. Other options in the menu let you save a normal shot alongside a merged highres Raw and there is the choice of mode 1 or mode 2 – the latter designed to help deal with scenes with movement. When the exposure sequence is complete, the camera takes around ten seconds to merge the files into a single Raw. During this test, I shot many high res mode shots, mostly on tripods, but also quite a few handheld with mode 2. Successful handheld high res shooting is possible, but not consistently. The shots shown here were taken using the 24-105mm zoom with the Lumix S1 tripod-mounted. The normal-sized Raws were shot simultaneously with the high-res Raws. Processing was done in Lightroom with identical settings and shown here with the normal Raws at half the magnification of the high-res Raws, so subject size was the same. With both file types at 100% normal res files open up to 50.8x33.67cm, while high res mode gives files of 101.6x 67.7cm at 300ppi. When it comes right, the high res mode gives impressive results for when you want the best quality and a large file from a suitable subject. The benefit is even more evident as you increase ISO. The highest speed permitted is IS0 3200 and this speed was used for the comparison shots. The high res mode is a welcome feature and works well, notably for interior and studio shooting.

Final word

Verdict The Panasonic Lumix S1 is a really capable and mostly enjoyable camera to use. The images, still and moving, it delivers are first rate. Much has been made of the size of Lumix S series cameras – and it is true you are unlikely to tote the S1 around on the off-chance of a picture. That is a point of view and – as someone who regularly has a full-frame DSLR in their bag just in case – in the two weeks I had the camera, I didn’t find the burden of a Lumix S1 with the 24-105mm lens that much different from what I am used to. And with Panasonic’s no-compromise approach, you know you have kit that will continue to perform under the most demanding conditions.

23/25

FEATURES Richly featured to attract still and video shooters

23/25

PERFORMANCE Very impressive image quality even at high ISO speeds

23/25

HANDLING The Lumix S1 is a big camera but handling still rates highly

23/25

VALUE FOR MONEY Competitive for its feature set and performance levels

92/100

OVERALL The Lumix S1 is a very capable camera and built to last, too

PROS ISO performance, overall image quality, quiet in use, in-body image stabilisation, USB-C charging, build quality, SD and XQD slots, high resolution CONS Size, AF point too easily moved when touch screen AF set

IMAGES The Lumix S1’s three-inch monitor gives a good image and its touch functionality is impressive. The menu is extensive, but easy enough to navigate

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 47


Big test

Sony a6400

PRICE: £1299 WITH 18-135MM F/3.5-5.6 OSS LENS

SONY.CO.UK

SONY'S A6400 IS a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a 24-megapixel APS-C chip and a streamlined, rangefinder styled body. It replaces the a6300, sitting in between the more recently announced a6100 and a6600 in terms of spec. Outwardly, the body itself doesn’t add much on previous models and the chip is the same as in the a6300, but while that might sound underwhelming, the a6400 is noteworthy alone for its massively upgraded AF system that comes straight out of Sony’s flagship a9, along with its Bionz X processor. Using it with its kit 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, we found out what it had to offer. With the a6400, there’s really no other place to start than with its 425point phase detection AF system’s performance. It is simply outstanding. Even with a ‘slow’ variable aperture lens like the 18-135mm the system is fast and accurate throughout its regular modes, but most interesting for taking Sony’s old subject-and eye-tracking modes and combining them into RealTime Tracking AF. So set up in the right way, via the Face/Eye AF Set sub-menu, you can lock onto a subject with a halfpress of the shutter and track their eye as they move about. Of course, this isn’t new, but the tenacity of the system was really surprising in a mid-range body like this.

In our testing, the subject’s eye was held in focus as they moved towards and away from the camera, then when they turned away, the mode changed to a regular subject tracking and resumed the eye tracking when they faced the camera again. Hit rate was near 100%, and the mix of modes also means you can shoot the subject turned as the camera isn’t trying and failing to find an eye. Unlike many systems, therefore, you can also switch to focusing on inanimate objects without physically changing the AF mode, and that means you rarely need to leave the mode at all. It would have been interesting to try it with some very fast lenses to test the accuracy, but if performance is the same as the a9, it’s likely to be near-perfect. Like other Sony bodies, the a6400 was recently updated via firmware to include an Eye AF Animal option. This needs to be changed from ‘Human’ to ‘Animal’ within a sub-menu, which is a bit weird as humans are animals, but hey ho. Testing on dogs, I found the Animal mode a little less efficient than the Human version, though it was still very good, just more likely to lose the eye when the subject turned, or get distracted by other objects in the scene, presumably due to the wider variety of eyes it’s looking for. AF options are numerous, and include adjusting for the subject’s closest eye, and while the array of AF Area choices is initially bewildering (with many seeming to cross over with one another) fortunately you can turn most of them off within the AF sub-menu, so you only have to scroll through the ones you want. Another nice feature I noticed was that the display gives you a helpful explanation as to why something might be greyed out due to a clashing mode. For example, the Real-Time Tracking being greyed out if you’re in the wrong drive mode. That’s something I can

IMAGE QUALITY IS VERY GOOD, AND COMPLEMENTED BY THE EXCELLENT DYNAMIC RANGE, EXPOSURE LATITUDE AND HIGH ISO NOISE PERFORMANCE 48 Photography News | Issue 70

› Prices £869 body only; £999

with 16-50mm Power Zoom lens; £1299 with 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens

› Sensor 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS

› Sensor format 23.5x15.6mm

6000x4000pixels in 3:2 format

› ISO range 100-32,000 (102,400 extended)

The a6400 was trumpeted as a vlogging camera, but its amazing AF means it has enormous appeal for stills shooters WORDS & IMAGES BY KINGSLEY SINGLETON

SPECS

› In-body image stabiliser No › Shutter range 30secs to 1/4000sec, B, flash sync 1/160sec

› Electronic shutter 30secs to 1/4000sec

› Drive modes Up to 11fps with AE/AF

› Metering system 1200-zone

evaluative with multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot, spot standard/large, entire screen avg, highlight

› Exposure modes PASM, auto, scene, sweep panorama

› Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3EV steps

› Monitor 3in tilting LCD

touchscreen, 921,600 dots

› Viewfinder 1.0cm (0.39 type) EVF 2.35m dots

› Focus points 425 points

(phase/contrast detection AF), wide, zone, centre, flexible spot (S/M/L), expanded flexible spot, tracking, face and eye AF

› Video 3840x2160 at 30p 1920x1080 at 120p

› Connectivity Micro USB, HDMI type-D, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

› Storage media 1xSD card, SD,

SDHC, SDXC (UHS Speed Class 1 compatible)

› Dimensions (wxhxd) 120x66.9x59.7mm

› Weight 403g (inc battery/card) Contact: sony.co.uk

IMAGES The a6400 has a three-inch tilting touchscreen monitor than works well and provides a high quality image. Control layout is logical, and buttons and dials perform smoothly and positively

see catching on. Away from the AF, improvements on the a6300 are more limited, but that’s not to say the a6400 isn’t a very good camera in those areas. The 24-megapixel sensor might not have the resolution to deliver the ultimate detail some crave, but image quality is still very good, and complemented by the excellent dynamic range, exposure latitude and high ISO noise performance. Confidence in the ISO 100-32,000 range means that for most subjects I just left it on Auto, wherein you can cap the range and the minimum shutter speed, too. So for instance, shooting in aperture-priority the system seemed to do a good job of sensing the focal length in use and increasing the shutter speed to cover it, basically giving you the reciprocal

of the focal length as you’d normally hope to achieve. For instance, at the lens’s equivalent 200mm setting, it pushed the shutter to 1/250sec. This is handy considering there’s no in-body stabilisation and that does feel like an omission on a modern body like this. To get image stabilisation, you’ll need to invest more on the new a6600 or outgoing a6500 (though that lacks the excellent AF update), or make sure you’re using Sony’s OSS lenses. The a6400 also gains an intervalometer function for time-lapse shooting, where previously it required Sony’s Play Memories app. There are lots of decent options within that mode, including using the electronic shutter to save on shutter actuations. At launch, Sony made a lot of the a6400’s tilting touchscreen, which can be pushed upwards through 180º

for selfies and vlogging. If you’re into that, its usefulness is undeniable, though the screen will be awkwardly obscured if you want to have a mic fitted to the hotshoe, as most do. I mainly found it useful for high and low angle shooting. The touchscreen aspects are useful in AF, wherein you can very quickly position a small AF area while shooting, and this works well, though if you’re a pointy nosed, left-eye shooter like me you may occasionally do it with your nose. However, I couldn’t make the touch function extend to the main menus or the icons and settings in the quick menu brought up by the Fn button, which is a bit weird. I found the 2.36M-dot EVF performed fine, but while as mainly a DSLR user the wysiwyg functions of exposure are appreciated, the photographynews.co.uk


Big test PERFORMANCE: ISO 100

800

1600

3200

6400

12,800

25,600

32,000

51,200

102,400

To test the a6400’s performance throughout its ISO range we set up a simple scene with lots of highlights, shadows and colours. Images were shot in Raw and processed with no noise reduction, then compared. Inspecting images at 100% they were pleasingly smooth up to around ISO 1600. From ISO 3200 to 6400, noise began to creep into the shadows, but not offensively, just taking on a more grainy look. Even the top end of 25,600 and 32,000 just have a fast film look and I wouldn’t be put off using them, though colour and sharp detail do suffer a little. It's a great ISO performance.

PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE -1EV

-2EV

-3EV

-4EV

0

+1EV

+2EV

+3EV

+4EV

Final word

Verdict Despite a few minor handling issues and the lack of inbody image stabilisation, the a6400 is a great camera. Its image quality is excellent, and it has a very healthy burst rate of 11fps, but it’s the a6400’s Real-Time Tracking AF that really sets it out. The performance is spookily good, and I soon found myself sticking to that mode most of the time. At £1299 with the 18135mm OSS lens it’s a complete package, and a great everyday or travel camera.

23/25 To test the a6400’s Raws, we shot a sequence of images, starting off with the as-metered exposure, then biasing it by +/-4EV. Files were then corrected by the corresponding amount during Raw processing. Starting with the underexposed shots the a6400 performed well, showing little difference between the as-metered shot and images corrected at from -2EV. At -3EV noise was more pronounced and images corrected from -4EV were a lot rougher. With regards to the overexposed files, results were good up to +3EV, though inevitably very bright highlights were difficult to return to detail. At +4EV, the image began to grey and posterise a little. quality of the image in the a6400’s EVF didn’t seem all that refined to me. It’s certainly not up there with the performance of the full-frame Nikon Z and Panasonic S cameras. It also lagged a bit when brought up to the eye, so if you’re looking for something to break the spell of shooting with an optical finder, this may not do the trick. I also found a slowness in changing exposure settings, but this can be speeded up by switching off the animations that go with them. In terms of handling, I found the a6400 a mixed bag. Its stubby little grip will be fine for some, but it’s not big enough for me, and I think anyone who’s used to a more sculpted grip may feel the same. Though it was fine with the lightweight 18-135mm, it photographynews.co.uk

would be progressively more difficult to hold if heavier lenses were added. Button placement is okay, and there is a good level of customisation, but what the a6400 really needs is a front control dial; using the top plate dial and the ring that surrounds the directional pad feels quite unbalanced, needing a shift in hand position to do it. If you’re coming from a compact or similar small body it’s not going to seem like a problem, but from a DSLR or CSC, the a6400 feels a bit like you’re holding onto a margarine tub. Shooting speed on the a6400 is a healthy 11fps in its Continuous Hi+ mode, which isn’t up there with the fastest bodies, but pretty aggressive all the same. And that’s all with AE

and AF tracking. If you need more frames per second, you may need to ask yourself exactly why, as it’s plenty for sports and wildlife. You can keep 11fps up for 99 Extra Fine Large Jpegs or 44 Raws and it doesn’t lock up, but instead gives a countdown of the frames it’s writing, letting you extend shooting in short, controlled bursts. Arguably this could be faster if the a6400 supported UHS-II cards, but it doesn’t. Battery life tops out around 360 shots if you’re using the viewfinder, which is okay, but will mean investing in another battery or two if you’re planning to use the camera for an extended period between access to power. It can be charged by USB, which is very handy. A good performance overall. KS

FEATURES Pretty much everything that the enthusiast photographer could ask for

20/25

HANDLING A compromised body shape and underwhelming EVF, but mainly good and with plenty of customisation

23/25

PERFORMANCE 11fps is great, but the face and eye tracking AF is the real star

23/25

VALUE FOR MONEY Well priced against its rivals and includes lots of features from the £3400 a9

89/100

OVERALL This may be the mirrorless camera to hook you once and for all

PROS

Amazing AF, versatile features and great value

CONS

Minor handling issues, no in-body IS

Issue 70

| Photography News 49


50 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


Big test PRICE: £699

CANON.CO.UK

Canon PowerShot G7X Mark III Claiming to mix high-end stills and video functions in a lightweight and slimline package, is the G7X Mark III the ultimate travel and vlogging camera?

SPECS › P  rices £699 › S  ensor 1in stacked CMOS, 20.1 megapixels

› S  ensor format 13.2x8.8mm,

5472x3648pixels in 3:2 format

› I SO range 125-12,800 (25,600 extended)

› L ens 8.8-36.8mm (24-100mm equivalent in 35mm format), f/1.8-2.8

› I mage stabiliser Yes, optical, 4EV benefit

› S  hutter range 30secs to 1/2000sec and B

› E lectronic shutter 30secs to 1/25,600sec Flash sync 1/2000sec

› D  rive modes Up to 8fps with AF, 20fps without AF, 30fps Raw burst

› M  etering system Evaluative,

WORDS & IMAGES BY KINGSLEY SINGLETON

centre-weighted, spot

› E xposure modes PASM, auto and custom

› E xposure compensation +/-3EV in 0.3EV steps

› M  onitor 3in tilting LCD

touchscreen, 1040k dots

› V  iewfinder No › F ocus points 31-point, face

detection and tracking, in single, continuous, servo and touch AF

CANON’S G7X MARK III was launched only a few months back, alongside the G5X Mark II, which was reviewed in PN69. Both cameras aim to mix stills and video in a small, lightweight package, but the G7X Mark III gains a tiny edge in size by losing the former’s EVF. The G7X Mark III has a 24-100mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 zoom, so while it gives up 20mm on the G5X Mark II, it’s still versatile for lots of different subjects; cityscapes and landscapes at the wide end, street in the middle and some portraits at the long, as the compression and wide aperture combine to give some control over depth-of-field. On top of that are 1.6x and 2x digital teleconverters, and the former takes only a slight hit in

PN’S DAISY DICKINSON ON THE G7X MARK III’S VLOGGING CREDENTIALS Canon’s PowerShot G-range is popular in the vlogging industry, and with good reason. They’re good at creating great-quality video, fast. And being small, light bodies they’re particularly useful, especially when you consider most footage will be shot from an extended arm which wouldn’t appreciate extra weight. The G7X Mark III certainly builds on this. It has plenty of new features that YouTubers have been waiting for. When it comes to shooting in 4K, the

photographynews.co.uk

› V  ideo 4K 3840x2160 at

sharpness compared to the optical zoom, so it’s a handy option. Allied to the lens is a stacked 20.1-megapixel sensor and DIGIC 8 processor, which gives the G7X III some serious speed. You can shoot at 8.3fps with autofocus or 20fps with the focus and exposure locked to the first frame. On top of that there’s a 30fps Raw burst mode, and though it only lasts for about 15 frames it’s certainly impressive. Again focus is locked, so you’d need to use it where you sure there's no subject movement. Allied to the Raw burst mode is a pre-shooting mode, which starts recording with a half-press of the shutter button. Therein, about five frames are ‘safe’ if you miss the start

29.97/25fps Full HD 1920x1080 at 119.9 /100/59.94/50/29.97/25fps, MP4 format, HD 1280x720 at 50fps

› C  onnectivity USB-C, HDMI type-D, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3.5mm mic

› S  torage media 1xSD card, SD,

SDHC, SDXC (UHS Speed Class 1 compatible)

› D  imensions (wxhxd) 105.5x60.9x41.4mm

› W  eight 304g (including battery and memory card)

› C  ontact canon.co.uk

recording area is usually cropped into the sensor, meaning you need require wider lenses to get everything in, but the G7X Mark III boasts 4K at 30fps with no crop factor. This is huge for such a dinky camera! There’s also 120fps at 1080p, a feature previously reserved for the Canon EOS1DX Mark II, so it’s possible to create beautiful, cinematic slow-mo footage with a camera small enough to fit in your pocket. There are some nice handling upgrades from the previous model, too, like the flip-up screen, an on-screen record button which makes it easy to check you’re rolling, and a mic jack included, answering the prayers of many G-series fans –

though as there’s no hotshoe, you’ll need to find a way of mounting it. You can also run the camera via the USB C port, not just charge it, which should mean no more blinking battery icon of death halfway through a recording. Vertical video shooting might make some classic videographers’ skin crawl but it’s a welcome addition for content creators shooting for Instagram stories, where footage can be sent straight to your device ready for upload at 16:9 without having to rotate it. On top of this, live streaming to YouTube is also possible. Having used the G7X Mark III, I’d feel confident in using it as not just a second shooter, but as a main vlogging camera.

Issue 70

| Photography News 51


Big test of a sequence. The Raw burst mode makes use of the electronic shutter and this offers a maximum 1/25,600sec speed whereas the mechanical shutter tops out at 1/2000sec. The former is handy for working in bright light therefore, and the GX7 III also has a three stop ND which can be set to Auto. The G7X Mark III’s image quality is pleasing, with good colours and detail, and though there’s not masses of texture as we’re used to from larger sensors, that’s to be expected. Images look fine on screen, but obviously won’t support big prints. You can find out more about this in the ISO, exposure

latitude and lens quality panels. Compact cameras often fall down on handling, especially if you’re used to bigger CSC or DSLR bodies. Canon has done a good job on the G7X III’s ergonomics though, and while the body is small, it never felt cramped to me. The contact points are sculpted and rubberised, and therefore give a decent grip, and though there’s obviously not that much purchase, because the camera is so light you’re not fighting to support it. The flip-out screen is of course handy for high- and low-angle work, and its touchscreen functions augment the physical controls well.

ABOVE With a typically clean layout, the G7X Mark III handles well and is great to use

PERFORMANCE: ISO With an ISO range spanning 125 to 12,800, and expandable to 25,600, the G7X Mark III put in a reasonable performance, despite its small sensor size. Raw test exposures were made throughout the ISO range and compared at 100%. Noise is minimal up to ISO 400, and the 800 and 1600 settings are still very usable with only a little loss of detail. At 3200 and 6400 fine detail becomes is more disturbed, and things get quite fuzzy at the 8000, 10,000 and 12,800 settings, where colour saturation is also affected. The expanded 25,600 is very blotchy.

THE G7X MARK III’S IMAGE QUALITY IS PLEASING, WITH GOOD COLOURS AND DETAIL For instance there’s a virtual button for ISO within easy reach of your thumb. However, while there are four input dials on the body, it could really do with a front dial for your index finger. Performance wise, it didn’t feel sluggish in any regard. The camera turns on and off quickly with the lens retracting for travel, and the only criticism I’d have there is that the lens won’t return to its previous focal length when you turn it back on. Settings like aperture are stored, so why not focal length, too? It’s quite annoying if you’ve set up a shot, and the camera goes to sleep, as you then have to reframe again on startup. Focusing was fast and accurate for a compact, and the face+tracking AF mode works very well, even holding focus as you move towards or away from the subject in servo AF mode. A quick tap of the touchscreen locks it on the target and hit rate was near 100%, though in fairness it’s not dealing with a razor thin depth-of-field as you’d get on a larger sensor. When using the single focus mode, I found spot AF better than the 1-point AF area which has an area large enough to get confused. When shooting stills, the servo AF

125

800

1600

3200

6400

12800

25600

PERFORMANCE: EXPOSURE LATITUDE -1EV

-2EV

-3EV

0

52 Photography News | Issue 70

To test the editing latitude of the G7X Mark III’s Raws we set up test exposures, varying the compensation by +/-3EV, then corrected in Photoshop. In the corrected overexposed Raws, there was some highlight detail returned at +1EV, though also a slight loss of saturation. At +2EV highlights started to grey, and this got progressively worse at +3EV. Results were better with the underexposed shots. All showed some increase in noise, but the -1EV pic was very close to the 0EV file when corrected. The -2EV shot showed more noise, although it was still very usable, but -3EV showed much more pronounced noise. +1EV

+2EV

+3EV

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 53


Big test mode chunters away somewhat, but it gets the job done without too much hunting overall. Manual focusing feels a bit weird at first as it’s done using up and down arrows on the touchscreen, rather than with a physical dial, but it very quickly made sense to me and there are focus peaking and zoom settings to help out. On top of that there’s a focus bracketing mode that’s activated via the main menu. Therein you can set the number of frames and the focus spacing, and a sequence is in the next shot. It works really well, especially for focusing stacking techniques. The G7X III is not blessed with masses of battery life, and I tended to get around 290 shots per charge, though this depended on exposure mode, temperature and all sorts of other things. On the plus side, you can charge it via the camera’s USB C port, so that means using external power packs or car chargers is easy. Basically that’s a big tick in the travel box. KS

Final word

ABOVE Control design and layout is excellent making the G7X Mark III a delight to use. The on/off button is large and positive too

PERFORMANCE: LENS QUALITY 8.8mm

36.8mm

Verdict F/1.8

F/1.8

F/4

F/4

F/8.0

F/8

F/2.8

F/5.6

F/11

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/4

F/4

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/11

The G7X Mark III has a 8.8-36.8mm (24-100mm equivalent) zoom with a bright but variable aperture of f/1.8 to f/2.8. Testing the lens for sharpness, we shot throughout the aperture range at the equivalent of 24mm, 50mm and 100mm. At 24mm, results were acceptable in the middle at f/1.8, but became soft at the edges. Sharpness in the centre improved to f/2.8, and stayed at its peak until around f/9. At the edges, sharpness was best at f/8. At the 50mm equivalent, results were much better, with good centre and edge sharpness wide open, peaking at around f/3.5 and well maintained at the smaller apertures. At the 100mm equivalent, sharpness was a little lacking wide open at the centre and edge, but quickly improved, peaking at f/4 and not losing clarity until about f/9. There was some fringing and flare noted, but mainly at the 24mm end when shooting into the light. Some barrel distortion was noticeable at 24mm, and there was moderate vignetting at the widest aperture settings, both were easily corrected in Raw.

54 Photography News | Issue 70

In an age where compact cameras are increasingly losing market share to smartphones, the G7X Mark III has its work cut out. But with decent enough image quality, good handling, responsive AF, and plenty of features you can’t find on a smartphone, this camera does plenty to convince.

22/25

FEATURES Lots of high-end features, improved video, versatile zoom range

23/25

PERFORMANCE The stacked sensor allows very fast burst shooting and good AF

23/25

HANDLING Small and light, but that doesn’t compromise handling

21/25

VALUE FOR MONEY Good performance, but it comes at budget DSLR money

89/100

OVERALL A full-featured and very usable compact for travel or vlogging

PROS

Face Tracking AF, 4K video, good handling

CONS

No accessory shoe to hold microphone

photographynews.co.uk


Lenses

Buyers’ guide

Looking for a lens?

SIGMA Designed for combination with relatively small full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary lens seeks easy operability as a regular prime lens by balancing its easy-to-carry size and high optical performance. This embodies the Contemporary line development concept of 'pursuing optimum balance', as the lens takes its place as the first in Sigma’s new line-up dedicated to full-frame mirrorless cameras. With mirrorless cameras coming to market at an evergrowing pace, expectations surrounding lenses suited to high-performance, full-frame mirrorless cameras are also increasing. Unfortunately, many photographers may feel that they have little choice when it comes to mirrorless lens systems in terms of performance, size, extensive line-

up, and due to the burden of having to use multiple systems. Sigma has thus developed this new fullframe mirrorless lens series as the optimal solution to the challenge. Using the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary, you will find that bokeh expressions are particularly well-rendered. Spherical aberration has been controlled to ensure not only large bokeh in the front and rear of the subject but also rear bokeh near the area in focus, which creates a gradient to a soft blur. This lens softens the periphery of blurred images, suppressing the double-line bokeh, and enhances the three-dimensional impression of the subject with smooth expressions in the foreground and the background. In addition, its minimum focusing distance of 24cm makes it possible to enjoy taking snapshots and table-top photos, taking advantage of the angle of view. The design gives consideration to vignetting, achieving beautiful, round bokeh and subduing swirly bokeh. While this lens produces smooth bokeh effects – which one might describe as 'classical' – when the aperture is wide open, it also realises modern, sharp rendering when it is stopped down. It is reassuring to hold, and would make a great regular lens for everyday use.

If you’ve been thinking of investing in some new glass there is a wide variety of great manufacturers – here are a few to consider…

VOIGTLÄNDER With over 250 years of experience, Voigtländer provides an extensive range of great lenses for many cameras, including M mount for rangefinder and many mirrorless cameras, Sony E-mount with full electronic coupling, Micro Four Thirds lenses with an amazing f/0.95 aperture, and SLR, Nikon mounts in perfect retro styling. Because of the particular aperture blade construction – ten blades for most – these lenses are famous and desired for their unique bokeh. Voigtländer was founded by Johann Christoph Voigtländer in Vienna, Austria, in 1756 and is one of the oldest names in the

photographic industry. It produced the Petzval lens in 1840 and the world’s first all-metal Daguerrotype camera in 1841. The company made a move to Braunschweig, Germany, in 1849. Over the next three decades, Voigtländer became a technology leader and the first manufacturer to introduce several new kinds of product that would later become commonplace. These included the first zoom lens (36-82mm f/2.8 Zoomar) in 1960 and the first 35mm compact camera with builtin electronic flash (Vitrona) in 1965. Shares in the company were eventually sold to the Carl Zeiss

Foundation in 1956; Zeiss and Voigtländer integrated in 1965. In 1972, Zeiss/Voigtländer stopped producing cameras, and a year later Zeiss sold Voigtländer to Rollei. On the collapse of Rollei in 1982, Plusfoto took over the name, selling it in 1997 to the firm's current owners, Ringfoto. Since 1999, Voigtländer-branded products have been manufactured by Cosina in Japan. To find out more about Voigtländer lenses and to find your nearest Voigtländer retailer, get in touch with the Flaghead team via email, at info@flaghead.co.uk

flaghead.co.uk

sigma-imaging-uk.com

SAMYANG

IRIX

Samyang Optics is a South Korean specialist manufacturer of camera lenses for stills photography, and the video and cinema markets. The company was founded in 1972, originally as an OEM lens manufacturer, but has grown as a leading producer of world-class optics, offering a diverse range of lenses under the Samyang brand, to fit most interchangeable lens cameras. All Samyang lenses are primes (no zooms in the range) and offer fast maximum apertures, along with ultimate image quality. They are superbly built, with robust and stylish designs, and they offer superb value for money. Various new manual focus models are already available to fit the mirrorless Nikon Z system and Canon EOS R cameras. Other notable models include the distortion-free, ultra-wide-angle XP 10mm, and the ultra-compact 7.5mm fisheye.

Irix lenses are designed by photographers for photographers. The Irix design pays particular attention to detail, to create lenses that combine classical design with maximum functionality. The company uses the latest technology to ensure exceptional precision whilst maintaining the intuitive manual advantages that analogue photography can bring – Swiss precision and Korean ingenious solutions make a powerful mix. Irix lenses are designed to deliver top optical performance and match the demands of fullframe cameras. Irix lenses offer a large aperture whilst maintaining the best image quality, regardless of focal length. Supreme optical performance and the high-precision

photographynews.co.uk

As well as manual focus lenses, Samyang has a growing range of AF lenses to fit Sony full-frame E-mount, Canon EOS and Nikon F-mount cameras. Samyang lenses are available in the UK and Ireland from a wide range of approved stockists. Try one and you’ll be convinced how good they really are.

intro2020.co.uk

mechanism allow you to make the very best of your photography. The Irix photo lens range consists of the 11mm f/4, 15mm f/2.4, and the 150mm f/2.8 macro lens – recently double-awarded, having received an iF Design Award in 2019, and being named a reddot award 2019 winner. According to Irix, the 150mm f/2.8 macro was a result of months spent outlining the most attractive features and functionalities, striving to design something 'exquisite, yet very functional and userfriendly', with the ability to provide impeccable details for images over 50 megapixels, as well as delicate, out-of-focus areas, creating pastel bokeh.

swains.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 55


First tests

In this section / / / /

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 Tenba Skyline bags Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4

PRICE: £189.95

SPECS › Availability

Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony

› Guide number

GN80 at 200mm zoom head position, GN27 at 24mm zoom

› Focal length coverage

24mm to 200mm, 16mm with built-in diffuser

› Power output range

In manual, full power to 1/256

› Number of flashes

220 to 1500 flashes

› Flash duration

1/800sec to 1/20,000sec

› AF assist beam range 0.7 to 5m

› Modes TTL, first and rear curtain sync, high-speed sync, red eye reduction, slow sync

› Exposure compensation on flash +/-2EV in 0.5EV

› Wireless modes

Wireless TTL, slave non-TTL (SD mode, SF mode) › Recycling 0.1 to 5.5secs › Bounce position Up 90°, down 0°, left and right 180°

› High-speed sync Up to 1/8000sec

› Colour temperature 5600K › Power supply Four AAs › Dimensions (hxwxd) 112x73x98mm

› Weight 300g excluding batteries

KENRO.CO.UK

Nissin i600 As mirrorless cameras become more popular, so do smaller accessories, like this compact Nissin i600 speedlight

IT’S LOGICAL THAT the boom in mirrorless cameras, with their (mostly) smaller body forms, is accompanied by a similar boom in the many imaging accessories available. So, we have smaller bags, more compact tripods, scaled-down filter systems and, of course, more wee flashguns like the Nissin i600. This compact speedlight is available in options for Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. We had the Fujifilm option for trial. The Nissin i600 is a squat unit with a generously sized zoom head, which covers from 24mm to 200mm – these are 35mm format equivalent focal lengths. The physically longer head does have the advantage of helping to avoid any lens shadow – at least with a standard zoom – when shooting with wider lenses. A slide-out diffuser gives coverage as wide as 16mm, and there’s a pull-out bounce card, too. The quoted Guide Number of 80 (ISO 100/m) is impressive, but it is worth noting this is for the flash

zoom head set to 200mm. Zoom out to 24mm and the GN drops to 27. What I like about this Nissin is it is really simple to use and there are just two dials, a test flash button and an on/off switch – no need to scroll through LCD readouts here. The smaller dial is the mode dial where you select TTL, auto aperture operation, manual and slave modes (A, B and C). The latter settings are slightly different on Sony models. The larger dial adjusts power output from 1/1 to 1/256 power in manual mode and flash exposure compensation from +2EV to -2EV in 0.5EV steps in TTL flash mode. I like this dial for its size and clarity, but it needs much firmer click-stops and at least a firm one or even a lock on the TTL 0 setting. As it is, the dial is much too easy to adjust unintentionally, with the risk of poor flash shots – or at least until you spot the dial has moved. I applied a piece of gaffer tape on the dial’s edge to hold it at 0.

To assess power indoors, I placed a flash meter set to ISO 100 two metres away from the i600 and used the manual power settings with the zoom head at 200mm and 24mm. You can’t manually set the zoom head to a specific setting, so I used a zoom lens of suitable focal length to achieve the appropriate zoom head setting automatically. Tests showed the i600 has an impressive output, giving full power manual readings of f/16.5 at 200mm and f/8 at 24mm. Power decreased accurately in step with the manual output settings, so at 1/256th I got just over f/1 at 200mm, and the same aperture reading with the output set to 1/64th at 24mm. Recycling times – with highquality alkaline AA batteries – were

within the range quoted in the specs to start with, but did increase as the test wore on. The number of flashes available per set of batteries was roughly in line with the specs, too. I used the flash on a Fujifilm X-E3 in manual, auto and TTL modes and got a consistently high level of exposure accuracy, including when I tried bouncing with the integral reflector. I was shooting in a 3x5m living room – so not a huge room – but shooting at ISO 400 and f/8 was no problem. When I used a plain, white wall as a target, it showed that coverage was generally even, although I noticed a little darkening at the bottom edge with the 35mm format equivalent of a 28mm lens when I got within two metres of the subject. In real situations, this is not an issue. WC

Verdict The Nissin i600 is a nicely priced speedlight that’s compact and well featured, too. I like the thinking behind the concept of the dual dial control set-up, but stiff click-stops on the larger output dial would have been nice. Output levels are good for a small speedlight and there is plenty of versatility in multi-unit flash set-ups, too. For the multitudes of smaller camera owners out there, the Nissin i600 is definitely worth a serious look.

56 Photography News | Issue 70

PROS

Compact, simple to use, good output for its size

CONS

Power/compensation dial too easy to move

photographynews.co.uk


First test PRICE: £670

SWAINS.CO.UK

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone

SPECS › Prices Blackstone £670, Firefly £479

› In the box Hard lens case,

A manual focus, full-frame ultra wide-angle lens that promises a quality performance at an attractive price

IRIX LENSES, DESIGNED in Switzerland and built in Korea, combine classic lens design, the latest optical design technologies and maximum functionality to bring photographers manual focus lenses with a unique feel and usability. Three manual focus lenses are in the current photo range, and the 11mm f/4 ultra wide and the 150mm f/2.8 macro – we have tested both lenses in the previous two issues. One innovation Irix has brought is that its two ultra wide-angle lenses are available in two versions, called Blackstone and Firefly. The optical design of both versions is identical but there are physical differences.

The Firefly variant has three physical seals protecting the camera mount and focusing mechanism from dust and water splashes. The focusing barrel is rubber gripped and the lens is lighter. The Blackstone version is the premium lens with a more durable aluminium alloy body, four rubber seals for protection from front and sideways water splashes and a machined focusing barrel. The lens’ engraved markings are fluorescent, too. We had a sample of the Blackstone 15mm f/2.4 for this test. (In PN69 we tested the 11mm f/4 Firefly). Build quality is impressive and this is a solid-feeling lens that makes

a great partner for the Nikon D850 I used for the test. Balance is good and the knurled focusing ring is within easy reach with the supporting left hand. On our sample, the focusing barrel had a smooth, taut travel so didn’t move when the hand was taken away. However, Irix has provided a focus lock – this is the thin ring at the front of the lens. The minimum focus of 28cm is achieved with half a rotation of the focus barrel and the lens passes through the infinity index which is click-stopped so you know you’re at infinity without looking. Focusing through that infinity comes in useful when perhaps shooting in very cold

ON TEST Test images were shot using a Nikon D850 mounted on a Benro tripod and shutter fired with the camera's exposure delay mode. Raws were processed in Lightroom and examined on-screen at 100%.

F/2.4

or hot conditions when infinity focus might shift very slightly. An excellent depth-of-field scale is provided – engraved like the distance marking – and hyperfocal indexes for f/8, f/11 and f/16 are provided. An infrared index is also provided. Optically, this lens performed impressively. You get decent sharpness at f/2.4 and f/4 at the centre while edges were okay, but there is a significant lift in edge performance from f/5.6 and better still, at f/8, where sharpness across the frame was very good. F/8 and f/11 were this lens’s best overall aperture settings, with diffraction impacting on f/16 and f/22. Vignetting was evident at the wide apertures and this went by f/5.6. There were signs of fringing at the edges but this wasn’t by any means severe, and both issues were resolved in editing. It’s difficult avoiding the light source with such a wide lens, but while direct aiming into the sun produced some flare spots it wasn’t an issue and image contrast remained high. WC

two rear lens caps, metal box, lens hood › Format 35mm full-frame › Mount Nikon F (tested), Canon EOS › Autofocus No › Construction 15 elements in 11 groups › Special lens elements 3x high refractive index, 2x extra low dispersion, 2x aspherical › Coatings Neutrino › Filter size 95mm front fitting, 30x30mm gelatin rear fitting › Aperture range F/2.4-22 › Diaphragm Nine blades › Internal focus Yes › Manual focus Yes, with focus lock › Minimum focus 28cm › Focus limiter No › Distance scale Yes › Depth-of-field scale Yes, hyperfocal setting › Image stabilizer No › Tripod collar No › Lens hood Supplied, bayonet fit with sliding window for access to polariser › Weather-sealed Yes, Blackstone has four rubber seals, Firefly three seals › Dimensions 114x100mm › Weight Blackstone Nikon fit 625g, Firefly Nikon fit 581g

Verdict

F/2.4

F/4

F/4

F/8

F/8

F/16

F/16

I really enjoyed using the Irix 15mm f/2.4, partly because I like the drama you get with ultra-wide lenses – especially when you get in close – and partly because this lens is good to use. If this lens appeals, the decision is whether to go for the Firefly version and save £191 and a few grams, or go for the more rugged version with engraved markings. Either way, you can’t go wrong because optically this is a very capable lens.

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/11

F/11

F/22

F/22

PROS Build quality, optical showing at f/8 and f/11, fast aperture, focusing action CONS

photographynews.co.uk

Edge quality at wider apertures, big filter thread

Issue 70

| Photography News 57


First test PRICE: £3999

ZEISS.CO.UK

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 This high-end manual focus lens might be a tempting choice for those who are prepared to break the bank

SPECS › Prices £3999 › In the box Metal lens hood, rear lens cap, lens cap

› Format 35mm full-frame › Mount Nikon F (tested), Canon EF

THE ZEISS OTUS 100mm f/1.4 is a premium, manual focus lens available in Canon EF or Nikon F-mounts, and obviously it can also be used on those manufacturers’ mirrorless bodies via an adapter. Zeiss bills it as a lens without compromise, and that it is. Whether most photographers can keep up with its standards is debatable. It’s large, heavy, and almost impossible to focus with any assurance when working wide open. But it’s also beautifully made, a pleasure to use and about as sharp as you can get. I tested the ZF.2 (Nikon) version on my D850. Let’s start with the price. At nearly £4000, this is a serious investment, and anyone apart from your local oligarch is going to have to think very carefully

ON TEST

about that level of spend. You could pick up the equivalent Nikon 105mm f/1.4E for £1800 or the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 for £1400, and those lenses have decent AF, too. At 1336g, it’s heavy but that comes from the quality of the glass and its metal body. It feels a little front heavy, even when fitted on the D850 with MD-D18 grip, but it’s not unbalanced. The lens rests nicely in your hand, and the large manual focus ring falls right under your fingers and thumb. Due to the lens’s weight a tripod collar might have been handy. The ZF.2 version has an aperture ring (the Canon shown right does not), which you can use manually if you set up the camera to so, but it’s easier to

set it to f/16 where it locks and takes command from the camera. The body has lovely paint-filled, engraved distance markings in feet and metres, but these aren’t differentiated by colour, and there are no other controls, like functions buttons. The filter size is 86mm, and you’ll probably want to invest in an ND filter to use the lens wide open in the brightest light. Manual focusing isn’t as hard as it used to be, and there are ways of using your camera to assist you. For instance, the focus indicator on the Nikon D850 shows a dot within the viewfinder to tell you focus has been achieved, or left or right arrows telling you to turn the ring in one direction or another. Or you can use live-view focus peaking. The lens helps out by having very long focus throw of something around 270º, which for me was four twists of the ring. The advantage is adjustments to focus can be slight if required, and that helps with accuracy. What it doesn’t help with is speed, and going from near infinity back the closest 100cm takes precious seconds. Despite all this, it’s very difficult to achieve a decent success rate in terms of critical focus when working at the widest apertures. Focusing at 100cm and f/1.4, depth-of-field is well under 1cm, and all it takes is minor movement from the subject or you to

35mm

Test images were shot using a Nikon D850 mounted on a Gitzo tripod and shutter fired with the camera exposure delay mode. Raws were processed in Lightroom and examined on screen at 100%. F/1.4

F/2

F/1.4

11 groups

› Special lens elements

8 ED extra-low dispersion elements, 1 aspherical element › Coatings T* multicoating › Filter size 86mm front fitting › Aperture range F/1.4-16 › Diaphragm Nine blades › Internal focus Yes › Manual focus Yes › Minimum focus 100cm › Focus limiter No

› Maximum magnification 1:3.7 at 150mm

throw focus off. I spent a lot of time saying, “don’t move while I focus,” which is fine in a way, but also anachronistic. Stop down a little and of course it gets easier, but people will want to use this lens at its maximum. On the plus side, image quality is amazing. Zeiss says that 'the quality of the lens gives the look of using medium-format cameras', and though that sounds like marketing fluff, you can get some brilliant subject separation, thanks to the combination of fast aperture, excellent sharpness and smooth out-of-focus areas. Shoot subjects full length at f/1.4 or f/1.6 and they really pop, while focusing further off helps with the critical sharpness. In terms of sharpness, I’m not sure I’ve ever used a lens as good as this. The previously mentioned Nikon and Sigma 105mm lenses both have excellent sharpness, but this is usually found by stopping down slightly; the

› Distance scale Yes › Depth-of-field scale Yes › Image stabiliser No › Tripod collar No › Lens hood Supplied › Weather sealed No › Dimensions 101x129mm

(Canon), 101x127mm (Nikon)

› Weight 1405g (Canon), 1336g (Nikon)

Zeiss Otus 100mm f/1.4 is very sharp wide open at the centre and almost as good at the edges, and things improve only slightly as you get to f/1.8 and beyond, because there’s not much more sharpness to wring out of a scene. It really is pretty amazing. There is some quite heavy vignetting wide open, which disappears when you get to about f/4, and I also noticed some very minor fringing in very high contrast areas, but because there’s no automatic profile in Camera Raw you have to correct this manually. KS

Verdict

F/2

F/2.8

F/2.8

F/5.6

F/4

F/4

F/8

58 Photography News | Issue 70

› Autofocus No › Construction 14 elements in

F/5.6

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/16

F/16

Despite the frustrations of manual focus, I really enjoyed using the Otus 100mm f/1.4, and even though I got lots of misses, the hits were well worth it. Image quality is stellar. Zeiss also makes the focus ring turn the ‘right’ way on Nikon cameras, which is a bonus. I also enjoyed using it in DX crop mode as a 150mm f/1.4. There’s no doubting that the Otus 100mm f/1.4 is an amazing lens, but you’d need an amazing level of disposable income to buy it. Rent it for a thrill. PROS

Image quality, build and handling

CONS

Price, size, weight, and no autofocus

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 59


60 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk


First test PRICE: £119.95/£89.95

TENBA.COM

Skyline 13 Backpack and Messenger Two bags for getting out and about without drawing too much attention to yourself

TENBA’S SKYLINE RANGE includes several small shoulder bags, pouches, and toploaders, as well as the Skyline 13 Backpack and Messenger. The latter are the largest bags in the range, come in a black or grey finish and have a tidy design, untroubled by lots of outer pockets, straps, loops or clips, making them almost indistinguishable from regular bags. Whether you find them stylish is subjective, but they’re fairly low profile. Both feature secure access to their camera compartments, and both are very light, so fit well into the travel bag mould. The backpack weighs only 0.8kg and the messenger 0.7kg, so they’re not going to tip into your luggage allowance much, or stop you hoofing around on a daytrip. Both also have luggage straps to secure them onto a roller case for transfers. The messenger and backpack have identical capacity. Both specify a CSC or DSLR body and three to five lenses. On a hike, in the backpack I fitted a Nikon D850 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E, though not attached, as well as a Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art. Along with that, I squeezed in an MD-18 grip and an

AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E II. The same outfit fitted into the messenger, this time the D850 with the 70-200mm on fitted, thanks to the extra length. In that configuration I had to give up one of the other lenses though. On another hike, I fitted a Sony A6400 with 18-135mm lens attached, plus a DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone, controller and accessories. Space, therefore is decent, and if it forces you to be a bit selective, that’s not a bad thing. On the backpack, access is via a body-side flap. The bag therefore needs to be taken off, or at least swung out to the side to get to your kit. The camera compartment takes up approximately half the bag’s height and flips out from a hinge at the base, but it doesn’t open all the way, though, so access feels a bit tighter than usual. On our sample, the dividers at the base were angled slightly to aid with this, but I had to change this with the load I was testing. The top of the camera section can be removed to adapt for longer lenses, but it’s not ideal. Overall, in both bags kit was securely held and the thickness of padding is good. Access to the messenger is via the main flap or a zippered press top and

both worked well. The velcro-closing main flap has a quiet ‘WhisperHook’ opening option where you can pull down and outwards to release it. This makes far less noise than a regular upwards rip. The press top gave quick access, even one handed, and its zip, like the others, runs ran smoothly. The backpack’s top section is a decent spot for items like food or clothing, and has a secondary slip pocket, though the latter doesn’t zip, which is a shame. At the front there’s a 13in laptop or document sleeve; the padded part is cradled off the base for added protection. There’s also a smaller front pocket, but with just one zip, it can’t be secured. The messenger bag’s laptop sleeve is also padded, and it also has a front pocket with padding and some internal pockets, but again nothing that closes. Both bags have twin mesh pockets on the outer for drinks bottles, snacks or similar, which is handy, and both

Verdict Both the Skyline 13 Backpack and Messenger offer reasonably good storage, a tidy design and good build quality. The Backpack is boxy and doesn’t have the ergonomics for a long trek, but it’s fine for an afternoon’s carry. The Messenger’s quiet opening feature works well. Overall, two good bags, if they fit your eye as well as your camera.

also have a clip-like, metal Tenba badge attached to a heavily stitched strap – this looks like it could be useful, but it’s not really, though you could clip something to it at a push. Both bags are comfortable to carry. The messenger has a well padded shoulder strap which I found kept its position rather than slipping off the shoulder. Its grab handle has a nice cylindrical shape, too. The backpack’s shoulder straps are basic with little contouring and no sternum or waist straps or additional pockets. The lower part is padded against your back, but without air channels and there’s no padding above. All that said it was perfectly comfortable to carry for short periods. Both have a water-resistant outer; after a bit of a hose I could see water beading off the material with no ingress. There’s no proper all-weather cover, but you could buy one and keep it in the bag for emergencies. KS

SPECS › Product Backpack/Messenger › Price £119.95/£89.95 › Material Water-repellent fabric, closed cell foam inner

› Weight 0.8kg /0.7kg › Exterior dimensions (WxHxD)

30x42x19cm /43x29x15cm › Interior dimensions (WxHxD) 28x23x13cm/41x28x13cm › Laptop/tablet 13in › Tripod holder No › Sternum strap No › Waist belt No › Zips YKK

“Both bags are very light, so fit well into the travel bag mould” PROS

Tidy design and durable build

CONS

No all-weather covers, lack of internal zips

IMAGES Below: Both the backpack, (left) and messenger (right) have a neat, portable design

photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 61


First test PRICE: £799

INTRO2020.CO.UK

Tamron 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD A high-quality zoom lens at an attractive price that gives photographers plenty of creative shooting options Tamron’s latest addition to its range of zooms for 35mm and APS-C format cameras is the 35-150mm f/2.8-4 Di VC OSD. The company says it has been developed for portrait photographers, giving them one lens for everything from environmental portraits to tight headshots. To be fair, though, given its focal length range I’m of the view that, with its moderate wide to medium telephoto coverage, it would suit photographers of a great many disciplines. The lens build is typically Tamron, with a solid feel and fine cosmetics. It is weather-proofed, features vibration compensation system with a 5EV benefit and there is a lock to keep the lens at the 35mm position. The zoom barrel is nicely taut and

has a smooth positive action. The manual focus ring is also smooth and has a light action which offers speedy operation. Internally, the lens contains 19 elements, three hybrid aspheric and three low dispersion. The lens’s maximum aperture is variable, from f/2.8 at 35mm to f/4 at 150mm, but that is still perfectly fine for most situations, especially with the performance of higher ISO settings of modern digital cameras. I tested the lens at four key focal lengths using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Lightroom used for Raw processing with no sharpening added. Images were checked at 100%. I thought the lens delivered a quality performance at the important

apertures, ie the wider settings. At the 35mm setting, sharpness and detail reproduction across the frame was very, very good wide open and improved with stopping down, reaching a peak at f/5.6 and f/8 before slowly tailing off. Diffraction did have an impact at f/11 and f/16, but this was quite minor and even the smallest aperture would suit critical use. A similar performance pattern could be seen at 50mm with wonderfully crisp pictures produced at the wider apertures across the image frame that improved further with stopping down. At 100mm, f/3.5 produced a decent quality image, but at this focal length stopping down did improve matters more significantly with f/5.6 and f/8 both delivering very high performance levels. F/11 was still good but f/16 was quite soft by comparison. Finally, at 150mm there was again much to enjoy at f/4 and f/5.6, where across the image quality was very good indeed and stayed at a high level through to f/11 before softening at f/16 and f/22. Add good flare control, minimal fringing and little distortion to talk about to a really competent optical performance, and this zoom is a very attractive proposition to photographers of all levels. WC

SPECS › Prices £799 › Format 35mm and APS-C › Mount Nikon, Canon › Autofocus Yes › Construction 19 elements in 14 groups

› Special lens elements

Three low dispersion and three hybrid aspheric › Coatings Tamron BBAR (broad-band anti-reflection) coating, fluorine coating › Filter size 77mm › Aperture range F/2.8-4 to f/16-22 › Diaphragm Nine blades › Internal focus Yes › Manual focus Yes › Minimum focus 45cm › Focus limiter No

› Maximum magnification 1:3.7 at 150mm

› Distance scale No › Depth-of-field scale No › Image stabiliser Yes, 5EV benefit

› Tripod collar No › Lens hood Supplied › Weather sealed Yes › Dimensions 84x126.8mm › Weight 790g (Nikon), 796g (Canon)

ON TEST

Test images were shot using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III mounted on a Benro tripod and shutter fired with the camera’s self-timer

35mm

50mm

100mm

150mm

Verdict F/2.8

F/2.8

F/3.2

F/3.2

F/3.5

F/3.5

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/4

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/5.6

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/8

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/11

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/16

F/22

F/22

F/4

F/5.6

62 Photography News | Issue 70

Zoom lenses that cover a wide focal length can often be an optical compromise and deliver a weak performance, particularly at the wider apertures. The good news is the Tamron 35150mm f/2.8-4 offers a capable performance in a very usable lens. Tamron promotes this as a portrait lens, but it is a very fine all-rounder for urban, landscapes and travel and I’d be confident about using it at wide apertures. It’s great value, too. PROS Impressive performance at maximum aperture, good close focusing, VC system CONS Nothing much, lock only at 35mm, perhaps

photographynews.co.uk


photographynews.co.uk

Issue 70

| Photography News 63


64 Photography News | Issue 70

photographynews.co.uk

Profile for greenblue8333

PN new  

PN new