Amateur Photographer 12th June 2021

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Figure in the landscape

Passionate about photography since 1884

Lager than life How portraits of brewers were developed in beer!

When including a person in the scene can make the picture

Double take

Layer multiple exposures for interesting abstracts

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COVER PICTURES © ROFF SMITH / © THOMAS RODE / © ERIK STABILE

7days We’ve seen dozens of lockdown projects over the past year but Roff Smith’s ‘cycling selfies’ must be one of my favourites. Not only has he captured some lovely landscapes around his East Sussex home, he has included himself and his bike in just the right spot in every shot. The level of planning and previsualisation involved is impressive. It’s also a reminder that sometimes a landscape looks better

This week’s cover image

Our cover image features Roff Smith resting at the King George V Coronation Colonnade, Bexhill-on-Sea. See more on page 26

In this issue

with someone in it, and, if no one else is to hand, that someone could just as well be you. We also take a look at how to create multi-exposure abstracts, and with National Beer Day coming up (on 15 June) how better to mark the occasion than with portraits of brewers shot on film and developed in the beer they brew! Our testing team has gone all high-tech this week too, with reviews of the latest phone, drone and wireless camera controller. See you next week. Nigel Atherton, Editor

If you’d like to see your words or pictures published in Amateur Photographer, here’s how:

SOMETHING TO SAY? Write to us at ap.ed@kelsey.co.uk with your letters, opinion columns (max 500 words) or article suggestions. PICTURES Send us a link to your website or gallery, or attach a set of low-res sample images (up to a total of 5MB) to ap.ed@kelsey.co.uk. JOIN US ONLINE Post your pictures into our Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram communities. amateurphotographer.co.uk

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This week in 1936

TREASURES FROM THE HULTON ARCHIVE

3 7 days 14 Multiple exposure techniques 20 Inbox 24 Join the club 26 Free wheeling 32 Photo stories: Beer face 34 Photo stories: Behind the brutal facade 36 Evening Class 40 CamRanger 2 review 44 DJI Air 2S review 47 Oppo Find X3 Pro review 50 Accessories 52 Tech talk 55 Buying Guide: Best buys 66 Final analysis

Newspaper Shelter by Derek Berwin A group of spectators watching the Wightman Cup tennis tournament, which in 1936 took place in Wimbledon. Some members of the crowd are using newspapers to shelter from the rain. The Wightman Cup was an annual team tennis competition for

women which was contested from 1923 up until 1989 (with breaks for World War II). Teams from the United States and Great Britain fought it out for the title, before it was suspended indefinitely in 1990 after many years of mostly US domination.

The Getty Images Hulton Archive is one of the world’s great cultural resources. Tracing its origins to the founding of the London Stereoscopic Company in 1854, today it houses over 80 million images spanning the birth of photography to the digital age. Explore it at www.gettyimages.com.

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Our favourite photos posted by readers on our social media channels this week

AP picture of the week Southend Or California? by Daniel Goody Fujifilm X-T2, 23mm f/2, 1/1000sec at f/8, ISO 200 ‘Since lockdown restrictions have eased I have enjoyed going back to the seaside to continue my project on the pier,’ Daniel tells us. ‘Whilst walking along Southend seafront I noticed this couple enjoying a coffee and admiring the view. I stepped back to fit the bench in between the two palm trees and waited until something moved through the scene. Luckily this gull obliged. I enjoy making simple, minimal pictures and think this works well in black & white.’ We love the simple symmetry of this image, which is a tale of two pairs. It perfectly conveys one of life’s simple pleasures. Daniel is on Instagram @dangoodyart.

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We also liked...

Castle Burst by Brian Terrey

A Night Under the Stars by Roger Kristiansen

Fujifilm X-T2, Samyang 12mm and Fujifilm 10-24mm ‘I spent the whole night out under the stars to capture this image,’ says Roger, who lives in Skien, Norway. ‘I had imagined capturing the Milky Way above this location for a while. It’s a nice local spot that I visit a lot. I tried last year without success but I was luckier with the weather this year. This is a two-image blend in Photoshop: the Milky Way was shot with a Samyang 12mm f/2 lens with an exposure of 25 seconds at f/2 (at ISO 3200) and the foreground was taken in the blue hour on the Fujifilm XF 10-24mm, with a 3-second exposure at f/6.4 at ISO 800. Doing it this way avoided too much digital noise in the foreground from using a high ISO. I put myself in the picture to show scale and, I feel, add to the story.’ Instagram @rogerkristiansen_photography. 6

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Sony A7III, Tamron 17-28mm at 28mm, 1/30sec at f/18, ISO 100 ‘I’m a self-employed tiler by trade, but I am out with my camera at any given opportunity,’ confesses Brian, who lives in Poole, Dorset, and has been a keen photographer for 35 years. ‘I normally visit Corfe Castle many times during the year, but due to lockdown restrictions this was actually my first visit of 2021. I met up with some good tog friends on west hill and decided to stay low on the hill as I knew there was a possibility of the sun lining up with the window of the castle from this viewpoint. This is not as easy as it may seem, moving up, down, side to side, forwards and backwards. Just when you get in the right position it’s moved again. In the end I managed to get the shot and I was really pleased with the result. I used a Kase 0.9 ND Rev grad to balance the exposure and a 3LT tripod.’

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Ava by Mark Champion Nikon D800, Tamron 24-70mm G2, 1000sec at f/3.2, ISO 400 ‘I’ve been a photographer for over 15 years now. I started off taking landscapes, then changed to portraits and then back to landscapes about ten years ago,’ Mark tells us. ‘But I recently found the passion again for portrait photography, and met the model in the photo, Ava (@ava_grey_1), who wanted some shots for her portfolio. We discussed a few ideas and sunrise was one she hadn’t done before so we made an early morning trip to Burton Bradstock, Dorset, and this is the result. It was taken at 5.30am just as the sun came up.’

Dragonfly by Tina Harrison Want to see your pictures here? Share them with our Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook communities using the hashtag #appicoftheweek. Or email your best shot to us at ap.ed@kelsey. co.uk. See page 3 for how to find us.

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Canon PowerShot SX60 HS at 221mm (equiv), 1/200sec at f/6.3, ISO 100 ‘I took this along the stour at Canford Park Nature Reserve in Wimborne, Dorset,’ says Tina, who took up photography two years ago. ‘I find photography very therapeutic; it relaxes your mind and body from everyday life. Every chance that I get, I like to go out and take photographs of the beautiful nature that surrounds us. My happy place is definitely when I have my camera in my hand.’ 7

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Major update for Nik Collection Inside the Leeds store

Wex’s Leeds store opens, another planned

© MARTIN EVENING

WEX PHOTO Video has officially opened its new store in Leeds. The store has 3,000 square feet of retail space and is open from 10-6 Monday to Friday, 9-6 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. Despite the lockdowns, the company is bullish. ‘While interest in photography and filmmaking reached new heights over the last year, Wex also benefited from the rise of new hobbies away from the core business, including astronomy, birdwatching and computing,’ said a spokesperson. An 11th store is also being planned. See www. wexphotovideo.com.

The new filter in action

New ‘background blur’ Photoshop filter ADOBE has introduced a new background-blur filter in Photoshop, which creates a very shallow depth of field on a portrait, for example. The filter, found under Filters/Neural Filters, also enables you to adjust Blur Strength, Focal Range, Focal Distance, along with Haze, Warmth, and Brightness adjustment. It is available as part of the May 2021 update and is still at the beta (testing) stage. Watch out for a tutorial by Photoshop guru Martin Evening soon. 8

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DXO HAS revealed a major update to its Nik Collection software suite, with Version 4 promising a range of interface and usability improvements. Indeed the firm claims that this is the biggest update for a decade, with highlights including significant enhancements to the unique U-point technology, that allows precise local image adjustments without the user having to build complex masks. This gains a clearer user interface along with a more accurate colour tolerance setting. Control points can also be grouped together and included in presets, making it easier to apply them to multiple images. There’s also a more user-friendly design, with brand new interfaces for the Viveza plug-in that provides precise colour and tonal adjustments, along with Silver Efex that’s

used for making black & white conversions. Silver Efex also now includes DxO’s ClearView control for cutting though haze. Adobe users gain workflow improvements, with Lightroom users able to replicate adjustments from one image to the next using the Last Edit command. Photoshop users gain new Meta Presets, which combine settings from multiple Nik plugins into a single action. This allows a set of filters to applied to multiple images with a single click. Nik Collection 4 by DxO is available now for an introductory price of £86.99 for new users, and £49.99 for those upgrading from the previous version. At the start of July, these prices will increase to £125 and £69 respectively. A free one-month trial is also on offer from nikcollection.dxo.com/download.

Nik Collection 4 by DxO brings major updates and new features

Affordable 50mm f/1.8 for Lumix S PANASONIC has introduced a relatively lightweight and affordable standard prime for its L mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The Lumix S 50mm F1.8 is the second in a line of lenses that share the same dimensions, control layout and 67mm filter thread, joining the 85mm f/1.8 that appeared last year. Boasting a dust- and splash-resistant design for outdoor use, the lens is designed to operate in temperatures as low as -10°C. Optically it employs 9 elements in 8 groups, including one extra-low dispersion glass

element, one ultra-high refractive index glass element and three aspherical elements to maximise sharpness and suppress aberrations. The aperture diaphragm employs nine curved blades with the aim of delivering attractive blur in out-of-focus regions. As usual from Panasonic, the lens is designed with both stills and video shooting in mind. The firm is promising low focus breathing, along with smooth exposure adjustments during recording thanks to a micro-step aperture control. The Lumix S 50mm F1.8 is due to ship at the end of June for £429. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Editing apps collecting Books ‘swathes’ of user data WITH WhatsApp recently updating its terms and privacy policy, VPN/online privacy specialist Surfshark has analysed the privacy policies of more than 200 apps to find out which ones collect the most user data. Image editing apps were also scrutinised, and the results show that film-emulation specialist VSCO is the most data-hungry tool, while Pixelmator sought the least personal data. ‘Editing images doesn’t usually raise privacy concerns,’ said the Surfshark report. ‘But the apps are collecting data on us and some are worse than others.’ The company used Apple App Store data to compare the Privacy Details section of the most used image-editing apps. VSCO stood out for collecting the most data, with Adobe Lightroom in second place. But there’s no suggestion that users’ personal data is being misused. ‘In fact, VSCO conducted its own internal audit to make sense of the swathes of user data they were harvesting – much of it intended to

The latest and best books from the world of photography

Tulip, by Robert Mapplethorpe

Unearthed: Photography’s Roots

Until 30 August 2021, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Adults £16.50. Advanced booking essential. See dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk Surfshark looked at over 200 apps

inspire improvements to the app,’ Surfshark noted. See the full report at surfshark.com/apps-that-track-you.

We first mentioned this exhibition in December, but with various lockdowns, we’ve had to wait until now for it to re-open properly. It runs till the end of August. This major exhibition explores photography from the 1840s until today. It traces the medium through stunning images of plants and botany, with over 100 works by 41 international artists. It covers both the technical processes and narratives behind the images, with innovations by key figures including William Henry Fox Talbot and Imogen Cunningham, as well as more overlooked artists such as the Japanese photographer Kazumasa Ogawa. The show culminates with more recent advancements, from the glamour and eroticism of photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe, to Richard Learoyd’s experimentations with still-life compositions.

One Hundred Years: Portraits from 1 to 100 by Jenny Lewis £16.95, Hoxton Mini Press, 240 pages, hardcover, ISBN: 9781910566855

SanDisk unveils new storage range WESTERN Digital has unveiled the SanDisk Professional brand of ‘premium storage solutions’ for photographers, film makers and other content creators. Of particular relevance to photographers is the Pro-Reader series, comprising four new card readers with a USB-C interface that supports SuperSpeed USB 10GBs. The devices are designed to work with latest and most common camera media www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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including CFast, CFexpress, CF, microSD and SD cards. The Pro-Readers are expected to be available this summer. Also announced is the Pro-Dock 4, a four-bay reader docking station which enables up to four simultaneous card downloads, and a range of G-Technology drives, including a 4TB G-Drive ArmorLock Encrypted NVMe SSD. Full details at SanDiskProfessional.com. Prices are to be confirmed.

Portrait photographer Jenny Lewis has taken one hundred portraits of her local community, covering somebody from every age (one to 100) in this ambitious and intriguing project. The book flows in chronological order, and shows the residents and faces of Hackney. It demonstrates their worries, fears, hopes, joys, regrets and much more beside in these touching and empathetic human studies. Each portrait is accompanied by short quotes from interviews with the subjects, which helps create even more context. A book for everybody, everywhere, the portraits transcend their location and speak to what it is to be human. Look out for an interview with Jenny Lewis in an upcoming issue of Amateur Photographer. 11

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From the archive

Nigel Atherton looks back at past AP issues

A feature on shooting motor racing includes Mario Andretti overshooting a corner

9 June 1971 DON’T be fooled by the cute kittens on the cover of this issue. In his leader Editor Reg Mason gave UK retailers a kicking. ‘The abolition of retail price maintenance has caused a lot of heartburning among dealers who seem to think that competitors who cut their prices are unethical if not criminal,’ he wrote. ‘They also feel apparently that A.P. should not take their advertisements and in his speech at the Photographic Dealers Association’s annual dinner, President David Spring quoted an instance of a customer who asked the price of something and then produced A.P. to show that someone else was quoting a lower price. But a good dealer need not worry. Dealers who quote such a low price that their profits are negligible are not likely to last,’ he concluded. He added: ‘A.P. has always supported the dealers and the PDA, but the interests of readers naturally come first. It is our opinion that the price war actually does some good. In the first place it stimulates interest and encourages the consumer to think seriously about changing his camera if he thinks he can get a bargain by shopping around. Secondly, it should force dealers to do more about training their assistants. The PDA is trying hard to organize better technical training in handling products but it does little training in the art of salesmanship.’ The week’s camera bargains included the Pentax Spotmatic with f/1.4 lens, reduced from £178 to £135 (£2,107 today), the Nikon Photomic FTN reduced by £63 to £249 (£3,890) and the Praktica LLC reduced from £99 to £69 (£1,090). 12

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A Miranda Sensorex was £130 (£2,030)

The self-assembly darkroom in a bag

A slide projected onto a model’s body – a popular arty technique back in the day

An ad for the £125 Petri FTEE (£1,950), endorsed by fashion tog Alan Strange www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Technique

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

Multiple exposure Take a trip to the arty side of photography with expert advice and creative ideas for making your own double, triple and multiple exposures

Dancing flowers Polina Plotnikova

Polina is a fine-art photographer and tutor based in the south east of England. With a string of RPS and other distinctions, her work explores different styles of still life. You can follow her at @ photoartitude and check out her workshops at tradesecrets. live/#workshops.

MY ‘DANCING Flowers’ series combines two in-camera techniques: multiple exposure and Intentional Camera Movement (ICM). It came from sometimes not being content with creating simple botanical illustrations and wanting to make images that are more expressive. Inspired by a friend of mine who’s an amazing dance photographer, I saw how she used slow shutter speeds to create ghost-like shadows of her subjects, capturing the movement and motion as a flowing blur. Wanting to apply this technique to my flower models, but with them refusing to dance, the only logical solution I could find was dancing myself while I held the camera! I’m often asked whether I make these images in camera, or in post processing. It’s very much the former. I enjoy spending

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Polina combines multiple exposures with Intentional Camera Movement to make her ‘dancing flowers’ images

time with my camera more than I do with my computer, but equally there are results that I find I can only get in camera. I keep the image I’ve imagined in my mind while taking a few test shots to see how much or what direction of movement fits what I want to create, swinging the camera vertically, horizontally, twisting or waving it. Each works differently with particular flowers. I’d normally use a shutter speed of 1.5secs and I’ve experimented a lot and found this time value ideal for the movements and shapes I want. Shooting in the studio against a black velvet background, the light I have means that stopping down the aperture allows the shutter speed I want,

without the need of ND filters. When it comes to the multiple exposure element, my Canon cameras – the EOS 5DSr and EOS R – both let me make a multiple exposure using a previously taken image. That means I can take a few ICM shots, review images, then decide which one I’m going to combine with another shot. When shooting against my black background I’ll normally choose the Additive or Lighten mode from within the multiple exposure settings. With that image on screen, the live view mode lets me choose precisely how the next composition combines with it. That’s what helps me make sure they’re working perfectly together. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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xposure techniques Chance and coincidence Katie Reynolds

Katie is an award-winning Philadelphia-based photographer and art educator, whose work often embraces the surreal. You can follow her at @ katiereyphotography and check out her website at katiereyphotography.com.

MY ATTRACTION to double-exposure photography goes back to high school. I spent hours trying to burn multiple negatives into a single print and got such a thrill seeing my layered images appear in the developer bath, like watching a story come to life. Then my dad, who is also a photographer, gave me a 35mm Nikon FE2 camera that had a lever for taking double exposures. I now use double-exposure photography to create dreamlike images that often combine mid-century architecture and signage, using repetition, symmetry and contrast to highlight details of places I find beautiful. I still use my Nikon FE2 along with a 28-50mm lens because it allows me to photograph buildings from a variety of distances and zoom in on signs.

Katie uses a variety of techniques in her double exposures, including simple but effective symmetry One of the pleasures of making multiple exposures with film is using different stocks to enhance contrast or distort the hues. When I travel to Wildwood, NJ, which has been my photographic muse for the last few years, I like to use Kodak Ektar 100 film to bring out the vibrant colours of the motels, shops, and rides. To add feelings of nostalgia, I use Psychedelic Blues film or Dubblefilm which are both pre-exposed with colourful light leaks. But my all-time

Bright neon signs will appear strongly over shadow areas in double-exposure images www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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favourite is Kodak Portra 400 because it’s so versatile and forgiving. There are several techniques in my double exposure tool kit. The first is by using symmetry and repetition. This is the easiest and most foolproof method. First, I take a picture of my subject without advancing my film. Then, I rotate my camera 180º and take a picture of the exact same composition except upside down, helping me to accentuate the architectural lines and shapes. A technique which takes a little more planning, is layering multiple contrasting images. I have to consider the lighting in each composition, because bright areas in the first image will expose best on the darkest areas of my second image. I love using this technique to layer neon signs on top of the buildings. I also make double exposures collaboratively. Working with another photographer, Lorin Klein (@daytimelorin), who also focuses on signage and American leisure activities, we each shoot a roll of film. At the end of the roll I rewind the film almost all the way, then pass it on to Lorin who photographs a new series on top of mine. The key to this is that the first photographer increases their ISO by one stop above the film speed. So, if I’m using 400 film, I set 800. It’s so exciting to see how the combined images come out because there’s such a big element of chance and coincidence. 15

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Technique Visions of chaos Thomas Vanoost

Thomas is a Belgian artist using photography as his medium. He studied photography, philosophy and sociology, and since 2016 has devoted himself to his photographic series ‘visions of daily chaos’. Find out more at @ thomas_vanoost and thomasvanoost.com.

I’VE ALWAYS used photography to express what I can’t put into words. A few years ago, when I was going through some tough times, I wanted to explain the chaos and instability I was feeling, and I used multiple exposure photography to do it, finding that I could convey that sense of stress and chaos in the world. My multiple-exposure work explores the notions of time and instability. For better or worse, we live in a world that is evolving at a very rapid pace, and we can all feel it. Multiple exposures allow me to visualise this shifting space and time, and all the photographs that go into my final compositions are slightly separated in both when and where they were taken. Together, it gives an impression that everything is unstable and uncertain. I am first and foremost a street photographer, and I work in aperture priority mode and compose in a very classic fashion. I tend to use a small Panasonic Lumix GX80, with its incredibly

Thomas contrasts his fractured multiple-exposure compositions with anonymous human figures small 12-32mm kit lens. I love this set-up because of its form factor and understated looks, yet it’s a really capable camera inside. One of the questions I get asked again and again is about whether my multipleexposure images are created in the camera or in Photoshop. The real answer is that it depends. I actually choose from several different techniques depending on the results I want to achieve, the time constraints, the ambient light, and other variables. Sometimes I use the in-camera multiple exposure mode, which lets me layer the images using the screen. Whereas at other times I just take multiple photographs of the same scene, and work it out later in Photoshop.

Thomas uses a variety of techniques creating his images both in camera and in software 16

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www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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A sense of place Kingsley Singleton

Kingsley is a photographer, tutor, and writer with decades of experience in shooting technique and image editing. Specialising in landscapes, nature and travel, he lives in Lincolnshire but likes to travel to hillier places. Follow his work at @kingsley.photo.

I came to photography via interests in painting and illustration, so I’ve always liked images that combine picture taking with more traditional arts. Multiple exposures are definitely a big part of that. For years I shot my own textures and combined them with photos, making images with a more papery, painterly look. I’ve also experimented with merging images like portraits, skies and landscapes, inspired by the superimposed images and dissolves used in movies by the likes of Hitchcock and Lynch. I still do ‘regular’ photography but multiple exposures are an expressive change. More recently I’ve become interested in ‘mass exposures’. This was partly inspired by an artist called Jason Shulman who, amongst other things, made some brilliant long exposures of famous films, whole movies captured as a blur of colour and

Kingsley combines tens or hundreds of frames to make fine textures, and combines them with subtle focal points texture, which is something he called ‘a retinal stain’. I thought there must be a way of doing something similar with collections of photos in Photoshop. I’d have attempted it in camera, but while most models now have multiple-exposure modes, they rarely go above a few frames. This mass exposure technique uses Photoshop’s Smart Objects to blend tens or even hundreds of frames into an indistinct wash of colour and texture. First I select a collection of images from a single place or trip – for instance the images here are made from photos I took in Palermo and Alcatraz in San Francisco. Only vertical or horizontal frames can be used, not a mix, and they need to be from the same camera, or at least have the same resolution and dimensions. Next these files are loaded into a stack of Layers with File> Scripts>Load Files into Stack. Next, go to

Select and choose All Layers. Then it’s Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Object. Finally I change the Stack Mode to Mean from within that same menu. Sometimes I leave the result in its most indistinct form, with the ingredients known to me alone. As with abstract painting, the viewer then gets to interpret it for themselves, or impose whatever meaning they like. What I’ve noticed though is that things like the dominant colours of a place come through strongly. Sun-lit Palermo appears reddish, while Alcatraz is a hard stone colour. On other occasions, I take the blended texture and add a simple frame from the collection back in as another, separate, Layer, making a more traditional focal point, while keeping the opacity low so that it is still enveloped by the mass of other exposures.

In these abstract ‘mass exposure’ images, Photoshop Smart Objects and Layers are vital

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Technique

CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

The magic of serendipity Kim Von Coels

Kim studied at Central St. Martins, then spent her 20s travelling the globe. Now back in her hometown Glastonbury, she manages an Art gallery and fills her spare time with various creative endeavours. Find out more at thekrumbleempire.com and @krumblecreations.

I LOVE using my camera as a tool to not just capture what I see but to make something entirely new and different. I’ve always loved shooting on film, because I love not knowing what the picture will look like until it’s been processed, and because of how the grain and the film type gives images a certain feel. I found that cross-processing slide film appeals to my love of colour, whether it be a change in tone or an increase in contrast and saturation. My favourite film is Kodak Elite Chrome. I shoot most of my multiple exposures on an Olympus OM10, I also have a Nikon FM2 but the process is very different. On my Olympus I shoot an entire roll with one subject matter before winding it back and exposing it again with the next. This means the way images line up is up to chance, but serendipity is half the fun. When things

work it feels like magic. With the FM2, you can take as many exposures as you like without winding the film on by flicking a little switch. There’s more control in how elements overlap, but I use this technique less often. I also have a collection of vintage multi-vision filters which add an extra element, they have an almost kaleidoscopic effect which gives a dreamlike feel. As I like to layer three exposures I often use a piece of black fabric behind my subjects, which stops images from getting too busy. My favourite combination is people,

flowers and patterns, which fill the dark areas of a silhouetted figure or face. The people element needs to have a lot of contrast, so that it stands out against the other layers, as I think that’s what the viewer connects to. The feeling of getting prints back from the lab is something people who shoot digitally just won’t understand. It’s like birthdays and Christmas in one. Especially when you get what you hoped for, which is definitely not always the case. I’m lucky if there are eight good shots on a roll of 36, but it’s worth it!

Kim mainly uses an Olympus OM10 for her double exposures, often combining human figures with flowers and other patterns

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www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Thomas moves around his subjects as he captures them, producing this unique effect

Moments in time Thomas Rode

Thomas is a creative photographer based in Michigan. His multiple-exposure work explores the nature of time and space as interchangeable factors of the same concept. Follow him at @attheendof anaeon and find out more at attheendofanaeon.com.

FOR MY work I use a technique which I call ‘multiple angle photography’. It lets me create a view of an object as a whole, not limited by a single viewpoint, which I find fascinating. You can see this approach as a reversed reciprocate of long-exposure photography, or an experiment in seeing an object in four dimensions, one higher than we are capable of naturally. The final images are like a spatial map of multiple moments in time. That might sound complicated, but my technique is quite simple: I run around taking pictures, then overlay all the exposures later in software! You can do this in several ways. For instance, placing yourself strategically to create symmetry in the final image looks great, but you may also find that paying no attention to your position creates an even more interesting harmonic chaos. Each approach I use has its own challenges and therefore www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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The separate shots are carefully combined using Photoshop Layers I find that experimentation is vital. Keeping the same distance from the subject through multiple frames makes it more consistent as a finished image, but if you’re working in a city, it can put you in the way of traffic or obstructions, so it’s not easy. Walking in circles around a subject can also make interesting swirls when the images are brought together later. I also walk parallel to subjects, which looks interesting – however, this creates a parallax effect where you need to think about the objects passing between you and

the subject. For instance, lamp posts, trees, cars or humans can either add or distract from the final outcome. Post processing the images in layers is very easy, but it does take patience and planning over what you include and what you leave out. Again, experimentation is key. I can spend several days on a single image, just removing undesired objects, trying different overlays, and even merging multiple MAPs into one final composition, which can mean anything from five to over 50 exposures. 19

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YOUR LETTERS

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Editorial

Group Editor Nigel Atherton Deputy Editor Geoff Harris Technical Editor Andy Westlake Features Editor Amy Davies Technique Editor Hollie Latham Hucker Production Editor Jacqueline Porter Art Editor Sarah Foster Photo-Science Consultant Professor Robert Newman Special thanks to The moderators of the AP website: Andrew Robertson, lisadb, Nick Roberts, The Fat Controller

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Telephone 0906 802 0279 Premium rate line, operated by Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Calls cost 65p per minute from a BT landline; other networks and mobiles may vary. Lines open Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm Email ads@kelseyclassifieds.co.uk Kelsey Classifieds, Kelsey Media, The Granary, Downs Court, Yalding Hill, Yalding, Maidstone, Kent ME18 6AL Distribution in Great Britain Marketforce (UK) Ltd, 3rd Floor, 161 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9AP Telephone 0330 390 6555 Distribution in Northern Ireland and the Republic Of Ireland Newspread Telephone +353 23 886 3850 Printed by William Gibbons Kelsey Media 2021 © all rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. Kelsey Media takes your personal data very seriously. For more information of our privacy policy, please visit www. kelsey.co.uk/privacy-policy. If at any point you have any queries regarding Kelsey’s data policy you can email our Data Protection Officer at dpo@kelsey.co.uk.

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LETTER OF THE WEEK WINS A SAMSUNG EVO PLUS MICROSD CARD. NOTE: PRIZE APPLIES TO UK AND EU RESIDENTS ONLY

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I really enjoyed your From the Archive piece on the Zenith E (AP 24 April). I bought a Zenit EM in the early 1970s with a 58mm Helios lens from Global Camera in Market Square, Hemel Hempstead, for the princely price of £26. I started shooting news pictures freelance for the Evening Echo. Wanting to look more ‘pro,’ I bought a second EM body, Helios lens and a 2x extender for the other shoulder (giving me a 116mm f/4). I got my first picture in the national press (the Daily Mail) with the EM which led to a 36-year career in news photography, five news picture awards, travelling across the world and pictures in Time magazine! My most interesting and frustrating day with a Zenit EM (with a Helios 300mm tele lens attached) was in the press pen at Farnborough Air Show. The ‘real’ pros were amused to find this kid amongst them. I was following one of the two ‘Red Arrows’ as two of the aircraft flew head-tohead as part of their display. I wanted to capture the two aircraft exactly overlapping, appearing as one but with four wings. A seasoned pro leaned over and remarked that they’d all been trying for that shot for years and nobody had yet captured it.

What MFT needs

Jim Garnett was a ‘Zenith man’

Imagine my shock as I ‘souped’ my rolls of Kodak Tri-X in my darkroom that evening only to find I had done it! But I was equally frustrated as I had to work my full-time job the next day – I wanted to go and find that same photographer and show him the print. Jim Garnett My first camera was also a Zenith EM and I suspect that to be the case for many other readers.

Win!

A Samsung 64GB EVO Plus microSDXC with SD adapter Class 10 UHS-1 Grade U3 memory card supports 4K UHD. Offering R/W speeds of up to 100MB/s /20MB/s and a 10-year limited warranty. www.samsung.com/uk/memory-cards.

DxO gets it right

A very perceptive review, as always, by Andy Westlake of DxO’s PureRaw software. I bought it within an hour of getting the trial version. I have always found noise

one click. Of course you would not use it all the time – on DeepPRIME it is slow and the hybrid .dng files are enormous (though the resulting .jpgs are smaller). But I think DxO has got it right – these folks are not going to give up their Photoshop but why not just sell them something which does an important part of the processing better than anything else? Horton Rogers

reduction the most difficult part of processing and have never been much good at it. My test was a 2012 .nrw file of a church interior from my ancient Nikon P7100, with a sensor about one-fifth of

the size of Micro Four Thirds and which I hardly dared to use above ISO 400. The end result was really remarkable, certainly on a par with APS-C 16MP or even 24MP. And so simple, just

Thank you for a thoughtful article on the advantages and disadvantages of Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses. I would argue that some of the stated disadvantages can be easily countered by thoughtful photographers. For example, with the stabilisation systems and the electronic shutter it is very easy to capture a handheld exposure bracketed sequence which, fed into one of the better HDR apps, will give you a huge amount of shadow and highlight detail to play with. The much-publicised lens diffraction issue can be countered by selecting ‘reduce diffraction’ in the Lumix menu. I don’t know what trickery happens, but it seems to work. True there is almost no way to throw parts of the image out of focus, but the effect can be simulated in the editing. I could go on, but Micro Four Thirds does what I need it to do. But you are right in that there could be a risk of Olympus and Panasonic deciding to kill off the system. What they need is something that its fans will want to buy. Fortunately, there’s a glaring omission in both ranges. 20MPs www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

27/05/2021 16:30


YOUR LETTERS

I became worried about security. I eventually sold them all and have been retired now for over 20 years, but I wish I’d kept some of them. Stanley Groom

In next week’s issue © ANGELA NICHOLSON

Inspired by Marzaroli

Your From The Archive in the 1 May issue brought memories flooding back to me about events in May 1991. I recall seeing an item about Marzaroli on The South Bank Show, and Mike Dodman enjoys his Olympus E-M1X his shot of the faces in may well be the optimum the football crowd made cameras but it handles number of pixels for more like the Canon 1D X me want to take up black amateur use but the I was familiar with and still & white photography. I put sensors are now quite some HP5 film in my offers a considerable old. Perhaps Olympus and weight saving. I have been Pentax K1000 and there Panasonic should jointly was no stopping me. Fast extremely pleased with fund a new sensor? I forward 30 years and I still the Olympus since then. suspect that if a new do my own black & white I, too, hope that MFT has generation of cameras a long-term future. I guess processing. This afternoon made the best use of the full frame is more profitable I shot some FP4 in an old latest sensor designs Ensign box camera. Who but it really is overkill for then many MFT fans would have thought that many amateurs. would quickly upgrade. looking at one picture of Mike Dodman David Price faces in the crowd in black & white would inspire my I am now 88 and from the life so much? I read Andy Westlake’s age of 14 was engaged in Andrew S Redding article about Micro Four photography as a Thirds with great interest. profession. In the early What an absorbing and For some 30 years I was days we photographed uplifting story Behind the an enthusiastic Canon weddings with a 6x8 Vale (17 April issue) was, user, migrating early from whole plate Sanderson highlighting the power of film to digital. When I Camera and studio work retired in 2013 I treated with a 15x12 Kodak plate photography for our well-being and how it has myself to my ‘ultimate’ camera. But for my last been utilised by Robert camera, the EOS-1D X. It 30+ years I was an area was superb but by about manager for Canon, which Darch to overcome his difficulties. Accompanied 2018 its weight had is when I started to by thought- provoking, rich become a problem. At the collect vintage cameras. yet ethereal images. The 2019 Photography Show I collected over 350, unusual position of not I spent a long time talking including every Canon captioning the pictures to a pro on the Olympus produced from 1945 stand who had also been until the AE-1. It was easy allowed for a greater uninterrupted examination a long-time Canon user for me to collect as I but had been forced to called on over 50 dealers of each shot, but I couldn’t help but chuckle change to something who knew I was a at the irony of a caption lighter after a very serious collector and held back being used to explain why accident. I looked at his their trade-ins for me. My there were no captions! work (taken on an E-M1X) office cupboard was Keep up the good work. on display and thought, ‘If bulging with so many Mike Bryant he can use this gear vintage cameras that professionally then it’s good enough for me.’ YOUR FREE ENTRY CODE Later that same year Enter the code below via Photocrowd to get one I traded in all my Canon free entry to Round Five – Architecture gear at Wex Birmingham for a new E-M1X plus lenses. I know it’s a bit larger than most MFT

Full frame is overkill

Mirrorless

focus

The joy of collecting

Angela Nicholson gives you the lowdown of mirrorless AF systems, brand by brand

Behind the vale

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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© FRANK WEINERT / PINK LADY® FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2021

CONTENT FOR NEXT WEEK’S ISSUE MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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Shoot scrumptious shots

Stunning images from Pink Lady® Food POTY and tips from the winners

Sony Alpha 1 field test

Pro Nick Dungan on using Sony’s Alpha 1 on race day in Belgium

Second-hand classic

Olympus’s entry-level mirrorless model from 2015, the E-M10 Mark II

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27/05/2021 16:30


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2

1 5

Join

Club the

This friendly and active club holds a couple of local exhibitions yearly

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5 Itchy Squirrel by Ken Prandy Absolutely perfect timing to get this beautiful animal portrait

1 Grass Track Race by Arthur James A well-captured and well-timed action shot that shows off the thrill of the sport

2 Capitol Taxis by Tony Carter An interesting street scene which leaves the viewer with lots to study on repeated viewings

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6 Hand Car Wash by Nigel Collins A great fun and quirky shot that shows off what is possible with a little imagination What do you offer to new members? There’s always a friendly ‘hello’ and warm welcome to all prospective new members. For new members, the first two meetings are free, so they can ‘get a feel’ for the club. We have a full and varied program which is freely available on our website, where new members can see the kind of events, competitions and outings we have. Member evenings offer new and existing members a platform to show their artistic endeavours and share friendly feedback. Describe a typical club meeting We meet every other Monday at 7:30pm with members arriving early to have a chat beforehand. Raffle tickets are sold at the door to help boost our funds and pay for guest speakers and judges throughout the year. The chair will make announcements if needed and introduce either the guest

speaker or the judge if it’s a competition. Competitions are usually prints and digitals with the prints judged first so that they can be displayed on our stands to be viewed throughout the evening. Coffee and biscuit time is about 8:30pm, time for another chat and the result of our raffle. The evening comes to a close about 9:30pm. Do you invite guest speakers? We invite six or seven guest speakers through the year and normally these would be located in the South Wales area. Speakers have included Phil Savoie, a BBC Natural History Unit photographer who worked with David Attenborough, and Iolo Williams, Welsh naturalist and BBC presenter. Since Covid we’ve had virtual meetings, meaning we can invite speakers from further afield. One recently gave a Zoom presentation while in New Zealand! www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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YOUR PICTURES IN PRINT

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3 Morning Light by David Straker Beautiful light can make or break a landscape photo, and here it has been used to perfection

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7 Reservoir Island by Reg Roberts A tranquil scene that perfectly suits the conversion to black & white

4 The Lady with the Flowers by Kasia Ociepa This image is a nice character study that tells a good story

Club essentials

Abergavenny Camera Club St Michael’s Centre, 10A Pen-Y-Pound, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire NP7 5UD Meets Every other Monday at 7:30pm except during the Summer Term Break (same as schools) and Christmas Term Break Membership £50 per year Contact Julie Morgan, Chair accchair@ abergavennycameraclub.org.uk Website abergavennycameraclub.org.uk Do members compete in competitions? The club enters a number of Welsh regional competitions including the Barrian Cup, the Stanley Chell and Gwynfa Pixels. The club also enters inter-club competitions with local clubs. Each year several members put submissions in for the Welsh Salon run by the Welsh Photographic Federation – and we have had some successes. We hold a small annual exhibition in the centre of Abergavenny showcasing the work of all our members. For a number of years, the club has been the photographic support for the annual Abergavenny Wall to Wall Jazz Festival held over the August bank holiday. We also take part in the Abergavenny Arts Festival each year; we have a space to hold our own exhibition as part of the festival. Are any trips or outings planned? Our annual evening Photo Walk takes in www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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one of many local routes known for lots of photographic opportunities. Of course, the finishing line is often near a fine hostelry! Other times members will send around an email saying they will be going somewhere and anyone is free to tag along. There was talk last year of a visit to the Cotswold Wildlife Park and Gardens but alas that wasn’t to be, due to Covid restrictions. Do you have any funny stories about the club? In 2019 our summer evening walk was almost re-routed when we came to a field and one of the members spotted a few bulls, heifers and calves at the top end of the field. And they spotted us too! As we stood by the gate debating whether to cross, one of our ladies, Kasia, decided she’d have a go (and not to be outdone, Paul joined her). As they walked into the

field the magnificent bull started to make its way towards them. They stopped (pretending not to notice the bull, pointing to something off in the distance!). Eventually the bull was stood right next to them. Every now and then he cast his beady eyes in our direction as we stood the other side of the gate. A scary few moments ensued as one by one we entered the field but the bull, heifers and calves let us carry on our merry way albeit with a huge, audible sigh of relief. We have a picture of the event! What are the club’s goals for the future? First and foremost is to be able to meet physically again. We have all missed the camaraderie. Plus, this year we plan to hold an exhibition in the centre of Abergavenny in the hope of drawing in new members. We also hope to retain a virtual presence. 25

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PERSONAL PROJECT

Free wheeling Grounded by lockdown, travel photographer Roff Smith decided to shoot evocative images of cycling through Sussex. He spoke to Steve Fairclough about his solo project Darkest Sussex, near Burwash

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 70mm, 1/160sec at f/8, ISO 1000

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www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Dawn on Marsh

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 40mm, 1/60sec at f/8, ISO 640 Into Golden Hour

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 200mm, 1/100sec at f/8, ISO 200

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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I

n March 2020 Roff Smith was shooting a story in Ecuador on the last of the great Panama hat weavers, who all live in a tiny coastal village, and only made it back to his home in Sussex, England, the day before the first Covid-19 lockdown. Through no choice of his own Smith could no longer travel on assignment, so he decided to start a project photographing himself on a touring bicycle within the landscapes of the county of Sussex. Cycling was no new thing for Smith as his 10,000-mile solo bike ride across the Australian outback resulted in the book Cold Beer and Crocodiles. He reveals, ‘I was so relieved to have made it home before lockdown. At that point nothing more is gonna happen –

I wasn’t going anywhere. Just to keep my eye in I thought I’d start doing this [project] and it became quite addictive. Cycling has always been a really big thing for me. I’ve done a lot of really long solo expedition tours all over the world. I was riding on these lanes in Sussex and thinking, “OK. I’ll bring my camera out and set things up.”’ More than a year later, the fruits of this project have seen it covered by The New York Times and Smith is getting requests for prints of his work. Its roots are embedded in his love of art. He explains, ‘I’ve always been interested in art – and photography is like painting with light. I tend to think visually. I have always loved landscapes and light – I’m fascinated by it. 27

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PERSONAL PROJECT

‘A lot of this project was inspired by Edward Hopper, that sense of isolation, pensiveness’ I can look out and see a particular colour or particular warmth in a cloud. I really enjoy light and colour, so photography was a mutual thing for me.’ He adds, ‘My inspiration comes from painters more than photographers. I love Edward Hopper and a lot of the stuff I’ve done with this Sussex project was inspired by that sense of isolation, pensiveness, introspection, impersonal space, architecture and the use of colour. I also like Turner, Monet – there are a lot of painters who influenced my photography, but not so much other photographers.’

Romanticised imagery

That love of art shines through in Smith’s images – all of which were shot on lanes, hills, beaches, roads and seaside locations within a tenmile radius of his home in the resort town of St. Leonard’s-on-Sea. He reveals, ‘I tend to be very art orientated than photography orientated; that’s why the images I’ve been taking are romanticised cycling images of a landscape and a human being in it. None of my images are of racing or people leaping over rises on mountain bikes – that’s not gonna happen. It’s very painterly.’ Indeed Smith has paid homage to Edward Hopper’s famous ‘Nighthawks’ painting within his series of cycling images. He notes, ‘I did a take on Nighthawks. I found a street corner in St. Leonard’s – one empty shop that was lit up on a darkened street. I live here but I never noticed it till I was going out and looking for things. I thought, “My gosh, that’s Nighthawks”, and I shot it. It took several goes to get it how I wanted it. It’s my little tribute to Hopper.’ Despite the obvious style, impact and artistry in many of Smith’s evocative images, initially he wasn’t happy with the results. ‘I had been tinkering with this for a few months beforehand, but when I look back at those early efforts I cringe. It’s much harder to do what I’m doing than might meet the eye. Setting up these images and shooting them like that is really hard. I thought my first efforts were kind of clever but I look 28

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at them now and want to instantly delete all of them. I’m a ruthless critic of my work. I could see everything that was wrong with it and then I’d go back and work out how to do this. I kept setting myself tougher challenges, just trying to get it right.’

Technique and challenges

The problems involved in Smith’s shoots are many – unpredictable weather, the lack of control over traffic, finding locations that would work in terms of lighting and composition and managing to position himself in exactly the right position in the frame. He explains, ‘I know some lovely spots in the lanes but they are just unphotographable. Visually they look great when you ride through them but they just don’t work.’ Daily rides and, usually, early mornings are key. Smith reveals, ‘I treated it as a job. Sometimes in the summer I’d be out at 3 o’clock in the morning because I want to be somewhere half an hour before sunrise. If the sun is going to rise at 4.30am I want to be there half an hour ahead of time and I’m on a bicycle (laughs) – that’s the time when you go.’ Meticulous planning is also essential, as Smith admits: ‘I do a lot of planning. I’ll look at the weather forecast a week in advance. I’ll look at the phases of the moon because I have some lovely shots where I get moonsets and stuff. I’ll look at the tides because I might be going down on the beach and I’ll get the shimmering sands. I keep track of where the sun is in the sky, so I can tell you there’s a particular curve on a lane where the sun in the morning will be really good and where it wouldn’t be. I do a lot of that kind of planning and a lot of research. I think about where I’m going to be a week in advance but luck also plays a role. I find that the more I plan, the luckier I get.’

Turneresque Sunrise

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 37mm, 1/125sec at f/9, ISO 100

Creativity and technical balance

For Smith shooting the project is a constant battle to achieve the perfect balance between creativity and technical excellence. He reveals, www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Red Sun Rising

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 168mm, 1/400sec at f/8, ISO 320

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Nighthawk

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 25mm, 1/60sec at f/4, ISO 2500

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PERSONAL PROJECT

‘I don’t want these images to be about me; I want them to be any cyclist on the landscapes’ ‘It’s quite a challenge. I’ve made a serious study of how to shoot somebody on a bicycle – from the studying of the geometry of the bicycle, foreshortened angles… so, the technical side has almost become second nature now. I know instinctively what is and isn’t going to work and it becomes more of a question of “can I get myself into that position?” I know what the angles should be, where I should be and how this should work. I’m thinking more and more about purely the artistic [angle], the visual. Now it’s really a case of artistry and light.’ That balance between creative imagery and technical adroitness can be ruined by small details – for example, Smith has to be in a very specific position for his compositions. It’s often a case of the bicycle wheel being within millimetres on the road of where he needs to be, whilst also giving the illusion that he is cycling faster than in reality. ‘Because I’m shooting in really low light I need to be going very slow on my bicycle. I can’t do a track stand because that doesn’t look right either. So, I need to find a happy medium where I have a reasonable shutter speed but I’m going as slowly as I can.’ He adds, ‘You have to direct yourself because your body language has to be right – you can’t have the Plans by Lamplight

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/50 ZE lens, 1/6sec at f/5, ISO 1000

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wheel wobbling. Not only do you need to be approaching the camera at the right angle but you’ve also got to look like you’re spinning along. To direct yourself like that, without seeing it, other than in your mind’s eye, would be impossible to do in two or three pictures. If I can get what I want in 75 shots that’s great, but it’s not always possible.’

Equipment and post-production

Smith’s kitbag includes a full-frame Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, which he describes as ‘a fabulous camera. For shooting in low light it does a fabulous job. That sensor they’ve got in that is really good.’ Alongside the 5D Mark IV he has 17-40mm and 70-20mm Canon EF zooms as well as Zeiss prime lenses for taking more staged shots when Smith is not moving. He also packs a MeFoto Globetrotter tripod, which folds down to about 16 inches and is strapped to the rear rack of his bike. He is mindful of getting too busy in the post-production process. Of his pictures Smith reveals, ‘I don’t touch them very much. I put them on Lightroom. I tinker with contrast or white balance, stuff like that. There’s not really much else. I like to “anonymise” myself – I don’t want these images to be about me; I want them to be the cyclist on the landscapes – it could be anybody.

Impression Sunrise

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 85mm, 1/500sec at f/7.1, ISO 320 Watching The Mist

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZE lens, 1/6sec at f/6.3, ISO 100

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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I just happen to be the model so, if my face is visible, I tend to try and soften the tonal contrast to make it look a bit more “painterly” and less identifiable as me. Sometimes you get them where you just don’t dare to touch anything because some of the light and mist already looks so overblown that people are going to think it’s fake (laughs). Some of the photographs that I post on Instagram are literally right out of the camera.’

Roff Smith is a travel and landscape photographer and writer who lived most of his adult life in Australia. His work has taken him to over 100 countries Learning curve and resulted in books, With well over a year and counting TV series and magazine spent on this solo project, Smith articles in many titles. takes time out to reflect on what he Corporate clients has learnt. ‘As time goes by I’ve learnt so much about how to do this. include Coca-Cola and Toyota. See roffsmith I’m shooting with much more photography.com. certainty and assuredness than six www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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months ago…. you just keep learning. I definitely enjoy it – it’s very fulfilling. This past year has given me a whole lot of interest in exploring these things, these ideas that are still evolving and continue to evolve, gather pace and become addictive. I’d quite happily make this my career.’ It’s somewhat ironic that such a well-travelled photographer has found such rich pictorial possibilities on his doorstep. ‘There is so much that we can see, so much interest, just within easy distance if we look. People have this idea – most of us do – that you’re not going to find something interesting unless you go to some exotic corner of the world. But you just need to look with new eyes at what’s around you and not think it lies elsewhere.’ 31

28/05/2021 12:45


Photo Stories

Beer face

Damien Demolder speaks to a photographer who has combined his love of beer and portraiture to stunning effect

P

hotography and beer have a long and historic relationship. Not so much because beer helps to make better pictures – indeed the opposite is often true – but because a large percentage of people who like taking pictures also like taking beer. And just as we often feel the need to invent an ‘I just need one more because …’ excuse when buying a lens, some of us have a compulsion to justify the next pint before we’ve bought it. If you are one of those photographers who is happiest when given the perfect reason for buying beer you will be delighted that AP is about to furnish you with one, included free in the cover price of the magazine. Write it down: I need to buy more beer to develop my film. Over the years it has been found that film can be developed in a number of unexpected solutions, including coffee, but it was the discovery that a picture can be drawn out of a roll of exposed emulsion using beer that got American photographer Erik Stabile excited. Erik is a big fan of developing film, is a big fan of beer, and he lives in something of a beer Disneyland in Fort Collins, Colorado. ‘We have a lot of breweries here in Colorado, and Fort Collins is a big beer town,’ he tells us. ‘Budweiser and Coors Light have established themselves in Colorado as we have really good water for brewing. The craft beer scene has also been growing over the years and has recently exploded with some small brewers, like New Belgium Brewing, going international. Colorado is a really great place for craft beers, and it seems no matter how many start-up they all do well. I have quite a collection of cans that I like to keep, some stouts that I’ve been aging and beers I trade with friends via social network groups. Fort Collins is the Napa Valley of beer.’ ‘I started the Faces In Beer project when a friend of mine invited me to write something for the Porch Drinking craft beer website. I said I wasn’t interested in writing but would love to do a photo story. I was scratching my head for an idea when I read a paper that Kodak put out about developing their cine film in Dogfish Head beer. I wasted several rolls of

32

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film testing the recipe, mainly because their paper says you should use baking soda when actually it should say washing soda. They are quite different. I’ve found it works really well with Ilford Delta 100, while some films didn’t work very well at all. ‘Once I was confident that I had the process down I decided to do a project photographing brewers that involved developing the film in that brewer’s own beer. The first brewer I approached, Weldwerks, gave me about $1,000 worth of beer. I explained I only needed about 2ltrs but they said I should drink the rest. ‘The type of beer used makes a big difference to the way the negatives come out. You can’t use something like Coors Light as it doesn’t have enough acidity. A stout works well, as do sours, but not lagers. Stout gives plenty of contrast and develops the image nicely. I love the effect, and some of the pictures I took for this project are among my favourites of all the portraits I’ve ever taken. ‘I processed the shots of Jordan (see far right, bottom) from WeldWerks in their Medianoche, which is a really dark thick coffee stout with quite a low PH value and the result has a lovely softness about it. I used a very low PH sour to process Peter (main image) and the pictures have a lot more sharpness and clarity. An IPA gives an effect somewhere in between, so the type of beer really does make a big difference. The lighting was the same for all of these portraits, so the variation in looks is all down to the beer.’

How to

1 Heat 600ml of beer to 32°C. 2 Mix in 50 grams washing soda and whisk until dissolved. 3 Stir in 12 grams of ascorbic acid (powdered vitamin C) and mix until dissolved. 4 Develop at 20°C for 20 minutes. In order to get the beer down to 20°, I suggest a cool water bath. 5 Add your beer to the developing tank and agitate for the first minute, then again for 15 seconds at the top of each remaining minute. 6 Wash and fix as per the film’s instructions.

Clockwise from above: Peter Bouckaert; Frezi Bouckaert; Mike Hiatt, all from Purpose Brewing and all developed in Smoeltrekker #042; Jordan Wheeler, senior operator at Weldwerks Brewing, developed in Coffee Maple Medianoche

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

28/05/2021 09:32


Erik Stabile

Erik Stabile is an amateur who takes on professional commissions alongside his day job in marketing. He shoots with a range of film cameras, but used his Pentax 67 with the 105mm f/2.4 lens for this project. See www.erikstabile.com. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Photo Stories

Behind the brutal facade

Peter Dench talks to Richard Ansett about his portraits from the Aylesbury Estate, shortlisted at the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

A

s England emerged tentatively from lockdown one into an uncertain future, individuals and communities were vulnerable, disconnected and frustrated. Following the murder of George Floyd and escalation of the Black Lives Matter movement, there was also fury – many people were angry and upset, including photographer Richard Ansett. Richard stood on the north-east fringe of Camberwell, studying the notorious Aylesbury Estate in neighbouring Walworth. He used to drive through the estate every week to visit his black boyfriend before moving to the area himself. ‘I had the seed of an idea. Burgess Park overlooks the huge monolith of the Wendover block on the Aylesbury Estate which, on a bourgeois level, is this wonderful piece of brutalist architecture. On a social level, it’s a hideous crumbling block defined as the worst place to live in Britain. I was kind of afraid of it because of all the rumours of drug-dealing, the stereotypes of gang culture and homelessness. A personal part of me wanted to connect to that middle-class white fear of who lived there and whether I would be welcome or accepted,’ explains Richard. Built between 1963 and 1977, the Aylesbury Estate was an attempt to house some of London’s poorest families. With approximately 7,500 residents, it became one of the largest in Europe. In 1997 Tony Blair chose the estate as the location for his first speech as Prime Minister away from Westminster declaring, ‘the poorest people in our country have been forgotten’, practically condemning the whole neighbourhood. Parts have already been demolished.

needed a record of an alternative and more truthful version,’ states CEO Charlotte Benstead, on their website. She was interested in collaborating with someone who balanced the reality of what’s going on with empathy. After Richard went through a thorough grilling, he was given the keys to the estate and Creation Trust reached out to residents. Over 18 years as a volunteer for the Samaritans certainly helped Richard gain trust: learning to be a better listener, learning about compassion and learning about failing. Richard kept his method simple. He stripped down his kit to a medium format camera with Credo 60 digital back, an exquisite Schneider 40-80mm lens (used at 40mm, the equivalent of 24mm), Elinchrom 400 with baby soft box. In one photograph, Chantelle, Ishmael and Isharni play on a bed drenched in sunlight at home in the Wendover tower. ‘I was almost like a ghost in there, glimpsing this moment of absolute intimacy with them. They were so welcoming they were able to just share their life with me. That was really important.’ A heavily-lit Taiwo exudes joy wearing a My Little Pony pink top and colourful heart hair clips. On their small balcony overlooking a sun-brushed Wendover block, Ruan leans back laughing next to his smiling mother, Catalina. The brutalist estate is always present but the portraits show the positive in the residents’ lives. There’s a lot about bringing up children on the estate, celebrating the working-class neighbourhood, creating a time capsule of a disappearing location. One special night on 22 December, Richard returned to that spot in Burgess Park where he used to gaze at the estate. He had Charitable challenged his prejudices and embraced the Richard sent a detailed email explaining his people that live there to document their lives. motives to Creation Trust, a charity dedicated At dusk, the portraits were dramatically to residents on the Aylesbury Estate. ‘For projected onto the walls of the Aylesbury years it was the first port of call for location Estate. The families in the photographs came scouts looking for grim backdrops to murder out. Residents leaned over their balconies. scenes, gang, gun and drug storylines. Due to Teenagers stopped on their bikes to record it pressure from local residents, Southwark on their phones. The estate was united by council banned filming on the estate but all Richard’s photographs – for him and these representations have perpetuated... We Creation Trust, it was the ultimate gift. 34

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Clockwise from top: Muhammed and Faatihatili-Khaeri; Taiwo; Geoff and Phoebe; Robert with Yellow and Green; Ishmael, Isharni and Chantelle; Catalina and Ruan; Abimbola and Emanuel; Lahan

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

28/05/2021 11:22


Richard Ansett

Richard’s award-winning images have been exhibited worldwide and are in permanent and private collections including the National Portrait Galleries of London and Canada. He continues to pursue his interest in social biography and a relentless inquiry into a sense of place and his relationship to it and the people he meets.

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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28/05/2021 11:23


Evening Class

Photoshop guru Martin Evening solves your photo-editing problems... each reader chosen wins Martin’s new book

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

AFTER

This photograph was taken of Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. The scene looks serene and peaceful. However, as Michael points out, from the lighthouse looking back you would have seen lots of photographers all competing for space on a narrow ledge. It was only after the sun went down and one of the photographers had left that Michael was able to find space to set up the camera on a tripod and take his photograph. This meant he needed to use a long exposure. Now, although the photograph was metered correctly, the main challenge here was to add more lightening to the shadows. It was therefore necessary to adjust the Shadows and Blacks sliders to bring out more detail in the rocks. I could have applied an even stronger Shadows adjustment, but I felt this might have made the photo look too ‘HDR processed’.

Texture slider adjustments

The Texture slider is a fairly recent addition to Lightroom and Camera Raw. I found it particularly useful when editing this photograph to emphasise the texture of the rocks in the foreground. Adding Texture is like a cross between adding extra sharpening and more Clarity, but at the same time without enhancing the noise. Normally, additional sharpening adds more detail to highfrequency detail (such as noise). Instead, Texture targets mid-size detail areas and thereby leaves the noise unaffected. You can also use negative Texture adjustments as an effective way to smooth skin tones, without over-softening.

BEFORE

Michael Fenton

Michael is a long-standing amateur photographer based in Whitstable, Kent, and wins an eBook copy of Martin Evening’s book, Adobe Photoshop 2020 for Photographers. You can see more of Michael’s work on Instagram @ whitstable02.

Fujifilm X-T2, 16-55mm lens @ 16mm, 40sec at f/11, ISO 200 36

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www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

27/05/2021 15:15


lass

Get the book

Martin Evening is the author of the bestselling series Adobe Photoshop for Photographers. The latest edition is packed with practical examples of how to enhance your photos. Order now for the 20% discount price of £45.59 with code APP21, via bit.ly/Routledge_Photoshop.

HOW TO BOOST THE SHADOWS IN LIGHTROOM 2 Basic panel tone adjustments

1 Crop the image The first thing I wanted to do was to crop the image using the Crop Overlay tool (R) in Lightroom. I also wanted to rotate the image slightly. With the Crop Overlay still active, I held down the Command key (Mac), Control key (PC) to access the Straighten tool and dragged along the horizon.

In the Basic panel I dragged the Highlights slider to the left to restore more detail in the sky and dragged the Shadows slider to the right to bring out more detail in the shadows. I also dragged the Blacks slider to the right to further lighten the shadows.

3 Presence adjustments In the Presence section of the Basic panel, I added some Clarity to add more midtone contrast. I also dragged the Texture slider to the right to emphasise the texture. These combined adjustments added more localised contrast and sharpness detail to the rocks.

4 HSL adjustments The Basic panel negative Highlights adjustment helped bring out more detail in the sky, but I still wanted to add more colour richness to the sunset. To do this I went to the HSL/Color panel and dragged the Red and Orange Luminance sliders to the left.

5 Lighten the rocks

6 Darken the corners

In this next step I selected the Radial Filter tool and added a radial gradient to the bottom of the photo. I then adjusted the Exposure slider to add a one-stop lightening adjustment. This added more tone detail to the darkest shadows.

Finally, I went to the Effects panel, where I dragged the Post-Crop Vignetting Amount slider to the left to apply a Highlight Priority darkening adjustment. This applied a darkening effect to the corners of the cropped image, which helped draw the eye into the centre of the frame.

Martin Evening has a background in advertising and landscape photography. He is also well known for his knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom, plus books on digital imaging. See www.martinevening.com. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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24/05/2021 17:50 14/05/2021 11:48


Testbench

REMOTE CONTROLLER

CamRanger 2 Michael Topham explores the possibilities of this advanced wireless camera control device

W

hen it comes to controlling our cameras remotely, there are many different ways of doing so. If you’d like to fire the shutter from a short distance and are working in line of sight, a cheap infrared remote control might suffice. Radio remotes tend to fetch higher prices and understandably so – they offer longer working ranges and are generally more reliable. If your camera has built-in Wi-Fi you may wish to take advantage of your manufacturer’s app to preview a live view image, tweak the exposure or trigger the shutter from a mobile device. There will be some situations and shooting scenarios though where none of the above offer the range, reliability or practicality that’s needed to get the shot you’re after. Sports, wildlife, real estate, event and aerial/pole photography are just a few examples of where advanced wireless camera control devices can make a real difference and come into their own. One such product that has proven popular in the past is the CamRanger, and the CamRanger 2 we’re looking at advances on the original in a number of ways. Not only does it deliver wireless tethering and camera control five times faster, its wireless range is 40

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At a glance

£429 ● Supported cameras: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm ● Supported OS: iOS 9+, Android 5.0 Lolipop+.

Windows 8+, macOS 10.11+

● Battery: Rechargeable 3400mAh lithium ion ● Battery life: 5 hours ● SD card: SD/SDHC/SDHX compatible ● Wi-Fi: AC750 (802.11n/2.4GHz + 802.11ac/5GHz) ● Range: 500ft/150m ● Charging input: Micro USB (5V 2A)

now three times further and it can maintain a connection with up to 500ft/150m between the camera and the smartphone, tablet or computer that’s used to control it. Better still, its compatibility extends beyond Canon and Nikon cameras and it can now be used with Fujifilm and Sony too. All this sounds promising, but what else is there to it and how exactly does it work?

Features

In a nutshell, the CamRanger 2 is a black box that connects to your camera via a USB www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

28/05/2021 11:42


Kit contents

Inside the box you’ll find the CamRanger 2 is well protected within its own clamshell carrying case that has a carabiner to easily clip it onto your bag. Users also get a single rechargeable 3400mAh lithium ion battery, hot shoe adapter and three different USB cables to connect the camera to the CamRanger 2. If these cables aren’t compatible or they’re not long enough, you can use the USB cable supplied with your camera. The CamRanger 2 is charged via a Micro USB rather than USB-C port and a charging cable is supplied. There’s also a well-illustrated quick-start guide that clearly runs though the process of how to set up the device and offers some quick tips and clear annotations of the app interface.

I used the CamRanger 2 to photograph birds which consistently landed on a particular branch

This blue tit was photographed drinking from a bird bath using the CamRanger 2

Nikon Z 7II, Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR with FTZ adapter, 1/500sec at f/5.6, ISO 800 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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cable and creates its own Dual Band 2.4GHz/802.11n and 5GHz/802.11ac Wi-Fi networks ready for pairing with an iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone/tablet, Mac or Windows computer. Once the CamRanger 2 app has been installed and a connection has been established, you’re presented with two choices: view and adjust camera settings remotely or shoot from the camera and tether shots wirelessly to your device. The tethering option automatically sends images straight to the app after a picture is taken and lets you, or a client who might be overseeing your work, inspect full-resolution images at up to 200%, apply star ratings, share images with contacts and other apps like Dropbox, or link to an FTP server. In wireless tethering mode images are always saved to the card loaded in the camera, however there’s the option to save shots locally to your device, plus there’s an SD card slot built into the CamRanger 2 that lets you back up images. The contents of the card in the camera can be viewed in thumbnail form too and the app lets you select specific shots or groups of images to share or transfer without difficulty. Switching between wireless tethering mode and shooting mode couldn’t be easier. Tap the eye icon in the app and the live view preview instantly loads. You can add various overlays such as an electronic level or gridlines to assist composition at the same time as 41

28/05/2021 11:42


Testbench

REMOTE CONTROLLER

An action shot captured using the CamRanger 2 from long distance

Nikon Z 7 II, Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/5.6E PF ED VR with FTZ adapter, 1/3200sec at f/8, ISO 10000

On an iPad, the CamRanger 2 app interface provides a large live view preview. Camera control settings are on the right, while general settings are accessed from the cog icon top right

inspecting an RGB histogram. Up at the top left of the interface the battery power of the CamRanger 2 is displayed as a percentage, with all the general settings for the app being located from the cog icon at the top right. The number of remaining shots on the card are clearly displayed and your camera settings can be saved as a preset from the aperture icon should you wish to reload any quickly in the future. If you choose to run the app on a larger device such as a tablet, the key camera control icons are arranged to the right of the preview window. On a smaller device like a smartphone they’re positioned towards the bottom. As well as being able to take remote control of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, metering mode, drive/shooting mode, white

balance, image format, focus mode, auto exposure mode, exposure compensation and AF/MF, the app supports touch focus, advanced HDR and exposure bracketing. Photographers who’d like to make incremental adjustments to focus or create a focus-stacked image to enhance depth of field have options to do so and the timer icon loads an intervalometer ready to shoot time-lapse sequences. One of the good things about the latter is that CamRanger 2 and camera continues to capture a sequence should the connection to a tablet, phone or computer be interrupted. Failure to focus is one of the only things that could cause a time-lapse sequence to stop so auto-focus should be turned off, either in the app or via the camera/lens.

Video recording The CamRanger 2’s use isn’t limited to shooting stills. It can be used to wirelessly stream a video feed to iOS and Android devices, or a computer, and the video icon between the live view and AF/MF icons can be tapped to enter the camera’s video mode at the drop of a hat. This makes for a good way of eliminating camera shake by not having to physically touch the camera to start/stop recordings. There’s the option of remotely adjusting the focus as well as exposure mid-recording too – useful if a subject moves or the lighting conditions change. Videographers will also be appreciative of the histogram and hightlight/shadow clipping warning overlays as well as being able to view audio levels and the duration of recordings. Advanced users who’d like to add motion to timelapses or videos by remotely panning and tilting the camera can do so by pairing the CamRanger 2 with the MP-360 motorised tripod head and PT Hub that’s sold separately for £249. 42

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In use

To test the CamRanger 2, I mounted it to the top of the Nikon Z 7II and established a secure connection with my iPad in just a couple of minutes. Some Wi-Fi apps can take quite a bit of time to get used to and despite there being lots of options in the app, the clear and logical layout of both the interface and settings menu doesn’t make it too daunting for a first-time user. To get a feel of how the device operates in the type of environment it’s likely to see use, I set up my camera close to a bird bath before taking up position at the opposite end of the garden where there was no risk of alarming my subject. During my wait for birds to arrive I adjusted

Adjustable antennae are found at either end of the device

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

28/05/2021 11:42


Verdict

the exposure settings, refined the position of the AF point and selected burst shooting all from the app. All of these adjustments occurred instantly without delay or lag. One of the only settings that requires you to confirm the adjustment before you see the change in the preview is exposure compensation. When the birds arrived at the bird bath I used the red capture shutter button in the app to trigger the camera’s shutter remotely. The live view feed was sufficiently fast that I could sit back and observe activity from the app and I didn’t experience any infuriating time lag between tapping the shutter button on my iPad and the camera capturing a burst of shots from 15m/50ft away. The following day I visited my local cricket club and experienced no issues using the

CamRanger 2 and its 2.4GHz network to fire the Nikon Z 7II from the opposite side of the ground – a distance of approximately 130m/426ft. For fast-moving sports such as cricket, I found that I got better success responding to firing the shutter whilst watching the action rather than constantly looking at the live view feed. Extensive testing over long periods revealed the CamRanger 2’s battery depleted faster than my camera and iPad’s batteries. The battery icon turns red at 25% and despite the spec sheet saying the battery should last for around five hours, I found it lasted closer to four. Spare batteries cost £25 and an optional charger kit (£42) is available for anyone who’d like to charge two batteries simultaneously.

THERE are times when it can be useful being able to set up our cameras at distance and control them remotely to capture images, or video, we might otherwise struggle to take. With an advanced wireless camera remote like the CamRanger 2 we’re given the opportunity to set up our cameras extremely close to the action, or whatever we might be attempting to photograph, before stepping back, monitoring the scene from an app and having the control that’s needed to get the shot at the perfect moment. The level of control far exceeds what most camera manufacturers provide from their own Wi-Fi apps and the 5GHz network is extremely stable unless you happen to be shooting from extreme distances where the 2.4GHz network is better to use. The connection remained stable during testing and it’s good that it can be conveniently mounted to the camera’s hot shoe and used at the same time as it’s being charged via a power bank, which is crucial for any lengthy photo sessions. It’s not all about remote camera control either. The CamRanger 2 app provides excellent JPEG and raw wireless tethering capability when you’re shooting from the camera, allowing you to review, share or transfer images on the spot from mobile devices, or a computer. Combine its impressive performance with good reliability, the fact it’s not daunting to use and it does everything it claims it can do, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the CamRanger 2 to other photographers who are after an advanced wireless camera control device. It builds upon the original CamRanger in enough ways to justify an upgrade and is an accessory deserving of Gold Award status.

The device comes with a 3400mAh rechargeable lithium ion battery

GOLD

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Testbench

DRONE TEST

Filters

The Fly More Combo includes four ND filters. These are essential for the best quality video, they have a bayonet mount.

Sensors

Front, back, up and down facing sensors help the drone avoid objects.

DJI Air 2S DJI has made significant upgrades to the camera for its latest consumer drone. Angela Nicholson has been flying it for our review

T

he DJI Air 2S makes a significant upgrade on the Mavic Air 2 by stepping up from a 1/2-inch type sensor with 12/48-million pixels to a 20MP 1-inch type sensor. It can also record 5.4K resolution video in 10-bit D-Log for greater scope for post-capture adjustment (grading), and stills can be recorded in DNG raw as well as JPEG format. In addition, the new drone has object-avoidance sensors that face forwards, backwards, up and down. Only the sides are unprotected. The camera has a focal length equivalent to 22mm and the aperture is fixed at f/2.8. That pretty much assures that low ISO settings are used during day-time flying, but there’s a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800 for stills and video, dropping to 100-1600 in 10-Bit D-log mode. 44

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As well as single-shot mode, the Air 2S has a burst-shooting option, Auto Exposure Bracketing over three or five images in 0.7EV steps, a self-timer, an automatic SmartPhoto mode and four HDR Panorama options. On the video front, on top of the 5.4K (5472x3078) maximum resolution at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, it can shoot in 4K (3840x2160) or 2.7K (2688x1512) at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, or 60fps. If you’re happy to drop to Full HD (1920x1080) you can capture footage at up to 120fps for slow-motion playback. There’s also a digital zoom of up to 4x at 4K 30fps, rising to 8x at Full HD at 30fps. While the DJI Air 2S is stable and easy to fly, there’s a collection of automatic flying and recording modes that simplify capturing great-looking footage during smooth manoeuvres. In addition to DJI’s QuickShots

modes which include Rocket, Circle, Dronie, Helix, Boomerang and Asteroid, which have been around for a while, the Air 2S debuts MasterShots mode. When this is selected, the pilot selects the subject by dragging a rectangle around it on the screen of their smartphone in the controller and then after ‘Start’ is tapped, the drone flies a series of

At a glance

£899 £1,169 Fly More Combo ● Drone with integrated camera ● Flight time 31 minutes ● 20MP 1-inch type CMOS sensor ● Max video resolution of 5.4K

(5472x3078) at 24/25/30fps

● 22mm (equivalent) f/2.8 lens ● 3-axis stabilisation

manoeuvres automatically, recording as it goes. If the drone is set to 5.4K recording when MasterShots is selected, it defaults to Full HD mode, but it can be reset to 2.7K or 4K. Once the drone has completed its MasterShots flight of around three minutes, it returns to its starting point and the DJI Fly app automatically generates a video

Regulations We’re in the transition period of the new drone regulations that came in at the start of this year. As the Air 2S weighs 595g, if you don’t hold an A2 Certificate of Competence (CofC) you have to fly it 150m from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas and 50 metres from uninvolved people. With the A2 CofC you only need to worry about staying 50m away from people. As things stand, after 1st January 2023, the Air 2S will have to be flown at least 150m from residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas whatever qualification you hold. Fingers crossed that this changes. www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

28/05/2021 11:52


Image quality from the 1-inch sensor is excellent

1/80sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

Control

The supplied controller holds your smartphone using the DJI Fly app to control the flight and camera. The live view image is on the phone’s screen.

Verdict Easy transport

Like previous DJI Air drones, the Air 2S’s arms fold against the body to make it easier to transport.

of around 15 seconds in length. You can also use the app to create additional videos from the footage, applying one of a number of themes that edit it automatically with a variety of effects, transitions and music. It’s fun, and the end results can resemble the opening sequence of a Netflix series, but the better news is that the original footage is stored on the drone’s internal memory or the inserted microSD card, so that you can make your own longer edit. Drawing a rectangle around the subject on the screen in normal video mode activates the FocusTrack system that can be set to ActiveTrack 4.0, Spotlight 2.0 or Point of Interest 3.0 mode. In ActiveTrack 4.0, mode, the drone follows the subject (either humans or vehicles) as it moves, keeping it in the centre of the frame. Spotlight 2.0 mode is similar but the pilot controls the www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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drone’s flightpath while the drone keeps the subject in the frame. Point of Interest 3.0 mode is useful for static subjects and it sets the drone to fly around the subject as it films. All three modes work very well. However you’re flying the Air 2S, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have objectdetection sensors on its sides and those sensors that are present may miss fine twigs or

wires, which can result in you brushing up your tree-climbing skills if you’re not careful. The quality of the stills and video from the Air 2S is excellent, there’s plenty of detail visible and the larger sensor has a significant impact upon the dynamic range. However, the most attractive results are still produced in good light. Dull conditions produce drab images and video. DJI’s Air 2S is stable and easy to fly

DJI has improved each generation of its Air drone significantly and the Air 2S makes a worthwhile upgrade on the Mavic Air 2. The Air 2S is both fun and rewarding to fly and while not matching a good DSLR or mirrorless camera, its results are beyond those of an action cam whether you’re shooting stills or video. It’s also very steady in flight and, even in blustery conditions when you may see it buffeted in the air, the footage is smooth. Also, thanks to the new four-antennae system (up from two), the transmission between the drone and the controller is stable.

For and against + Easy to fly + Stable signal + Steady flight

– Needs the Fly More Combo for longer flights – Not categorised under drone regulations

GOLD 45

28/05/2021 11:52



Testbench

Ultra-wideangle results are impressive – this is a great phone for landscapes

16mm equiv, 1/2900sec at f/2.2, ISO 100

Oppo Find X3 Pro Chinese maker Oppo is charging hard into the UK market with its innovative flagship phone. Geoff Harris tries it out

W

ith Huawei still reeling from the sanctions imposed by the US and other Western governments concerned about the smartphone giant’s links to the Chinese Communist Party, rival makers are making hay while the sun shines. Oppo is a case in point: while this Chinese firm is still not so widely known in the UK, it’s now the biggest smartphone maker in the mammoth Middle Kingdom, with 40,000 employees. Oppo’s latest flagship phone is the Find X3 Pro, and while the name is, frankly, a bit rubbish, there is a lot in this handset to appeal to www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

47-49 OppoFind Jun12 GH AW.indd 47

photographers. It can run the full range of Android and Google applications too, without having to resort to work-arounds like Huawei has been forced to do. In terms of headline camera specs, Oppo is claiming several firsts: for example, the X3 Pro is the world’s first 50MP ultra-wideangle camera in a phone. This is also the only device to sport dual primary cameras, with both the wide and ultrawide units employing Sony 1/1.56-in sensors, which have imaging areas of 5.6x7.5mm. The back of the phone boasts a 50MP, 26mm equivalent wideangle camera with an f/1.8 aperture; a

50MP, 16mm ultra-wide device with an f/2.2 aperture; a 13MP, 52mm ‘telephoto’ with an f/2.4 aperture and 5x hybrid optical zoom, and a 3MP macro with up to 60x magnification. Powering it all is the fast and beefy Snapdragon 888 chipset, which is pretty much state-of-the-art for Android phones. All of which sounds great, but here’s the kicker: you’ll be stumping up nearly £50 a month for this phone on a typical contract, while the handset costs £1,099.

Handling and design

Our review model looked nice enough in its sleek silver livery, but doesn’t exactly stand out from other high-end Android devices, especially with a cover on. The cameras are well-integrated into the rear of the device, however, and all that camera and processing clout

At a glance

£1,099 256GB ● Android smartphone ● 6.7in, 1 billion colour

screen

● Four lenses: 16mm,

26mm, 52mm, microscope ● 50MP main sensor ● 4K video at 30/60fps, Full HD at 30/60/240fps ● www.oppo.com/uk 47

27/05/2021 15:05


Testbench

SMARTPHONE TEST

In strong sunlight, the AI colour effects can be over the top – this is very oversaturated

26mm equiv, 1/950sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

doesn’t result in a particularly heavy handset. The Oppo feels very well made too, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, and an aluminium frame. It’s dust-proof and waterproof, with IP68 protection. As well as the build quality, you immediately notice the quality of the screen. We’re talking about a 1 billion colour display here, and it looks simply fantastic, without causing excessive battery drain.

Camera performance

To access the camera features, you simply click the volume buttons on the left-hand side of the phone when the screen is locked. It’s a bit fiddly for non-southpaws, but you do get used to it. Across the bottom are Night, Video, Photo and Portrait modes along with More, which is where you will find the more advanced and specialist options. The various cameras kick in depending on what mode you 48

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choose, or you can manually select them in the Expert mode. Out of the box, the image quality is impressive, with the camera delivering rich and detailed images. By default, images are captured at 12.5MP, but you can get the full 50MP raw resolution if required. The autofocus is impressively crisp, backing up Oppo’s claim that its wide and ultra-wide cameras use phase detection pixels arrayed across the entire image area. However while optical image stabilisation is available on the wideangle lens, it’s not on the ultra-wide or telephoto lenses. We were particularly impressed by the performance of the wide and ultra-wide cameras, which both give good detail along with minimal distortion. The Portrait performance is strong too, with the AI bokeh looking reasonably convincing at sensible levels. Macro is good too, though at the far end of the telephoto zoom, the performance is more average.

A range of filters is available, some with rather mysterious names like Tokyo or Paris; they work okay, particularly in black & white, but are no substitute for using a dedicated app at the editing stage. The Night mode was more of a mixed bag; it doesn’t feel as polished or reliable as the Night Sight mode on Google Pixel phones, for example. Images look quite processed, and you need to hold the camera rock steady or use a tripod. Unless it was pitch black, it sometimes felt easier to switch to manual mode and adjust the exposure accordingly. Selecting ‘More’ enables you to access the Expert mode, aka full manual control, including specific lens choice. The options are very clearly presented, and it’s easy to tweak ISO, shutter speed, white balance, AF/MF and exposure compensation. Raw and RawPlus format can also be accessed from here. RawPlus adds HDR icing to the standard Raw cake,

and gives you greater opportunities for fine-tuning at the processing stage.

AI and manual modes

Another big selling point of the phone is the inclusion of what Oppo calls AI Palettes. In its marketing blurb, the company talks about using these to become ‘a real pro in harnessing

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

27/05/2021 15:05


You’ll need to keep the phone rock steady or use a tripod with Night Mode

26mm equiv, 1.2sec at f/1.8, ISO 100

The Microscope mode can be fun, albeit fiddly to focus

1/30sec at f/3, ISO 486

colours… impress your friends in social media.’ So how do these work in practice? Call me conservative, but I found the AI sometimes overcooked the colours so much that the images looked like lysergic postcards. I ended up turning the AI off some of the time, but it worked better in more muted light. This is a matter of

taste, however, and some users might prefer very vibrant colours. It is also easy enough to turn down the saturation as required. Oppo would also argue that a lot of customers would expect very saturated colours for maximum social media impact. As for the HDR effects, again these are an acquired taste and I’d rather work up the images in a

decent editing app. As mentioned, it’s child’s play to use the phone like a conventional camera in manual mode, and those 50MP raw files give a lot of editing leeway. Yes, some would argue that shooting raw on a phone is a bit of a waste of time as you aren’t benefiting from a lot of the smart processing features, but it’s still great to have a high-resolution capture device in your pocket all the time. The panorama mode works really well and is practically idiot-proof – certainly a lot easier to use than some rival offerings. I was less enamoured with the microscope mode, which uses a ‘micro lens’ and a ring light to enable you to zoom right in to capture detail. It’s fun if you want to zoom into the lettering on your credit card or the texture of seeds, but you have to hold the phone pretty much flat to the subject. So it’s less practical with damp leaves or petals outside, or anything that might move in the slightest breeze. The focusing can be fiddly and slow, too. In terms of video, the phone is a very solid performer, with the rear camera recording footage at up to 4K 60fps, and the front one delivering 1080p 30fps. You can also add a digital bokeh effect. Film mode, meanwhile, gives a lot of manual control over video recording, enabling you to adjust exposure compensation or tweak ISO, for example. This is all very handy for more experienced users, and underscores the phone’s credentials as a serious, well-designed imaging device, albeit with a hefty price tag to match. Panorama Mode is really easy to use

Recommended

Verdict

THE OPPO Find X3 Pro is a heavy hitter, and shows this company is fully prepared to duke it out with better-known rivals. It squeezes in a lot of tech: as well as that quad camera line-up, fast processor and beautiful screen, you get a very respectable 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. In terms of camera performance, the ultra-wideangle and wideangle cameras deliver consistently good results, while the telephoto performance is more fair to middling. We were also a bit underwhelmed by the Night mode and the Microscope mode, which, while cool, is hardly a must-have. The AI colour enhancements sometimes proved to be a blunt instrument, too. The phone is a delight to use in its Expert mode, however, and the Panorama mode is superb. Usability and interface design are generally good too, and the battery life decent considering all that firepower. So should you buy one? It’s certainly great for photography, quirks notwithstanding. At this price point, Oppo is facing stiff competition from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, but there is no denying that the Find X3 Pro has many attractions – your wallet permitting.

Data file Price £1,099, 256GB Cameras 50MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide) 50MP, f/2.2, 16mm (ultrawide) 13MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto) 3MP, f/3 (microscope) Display 6.7in AMOLED, 1440 x 3216 pixels, 120Hz Operating system Android 11 Dimensions 163.6x74x8.3mm Weight 193g www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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Testbench

ACCESSORIES

Pictoscanner Andy Westlake tests an affordable means of digitising film

ALL PRICES ARE APPROXIMATE STREET PRICES

● £35 ● pictoscanner.com

Foldaway

Pictoscanner folds down to a small cardboard box measuring 15.5x11x4cm when it’s not in use.

IT SHOULD go without saying that one of the biggest drivers behind photography is recording memories. If you’re like me and started shooting long before anybody had heard of digital cameras, you’ll probably have a whole load of them tied up in prints, negatives and slides. It’s likely you’ll want to digitise at least some of them, but this often requires expensive kit – either a decent scanner, or a copying set-up that uses your camera and a dedicated macro lens. Recommended Pictoscanner is a much cheaper and lower-tech solution that’s designed to work with your smartphone camera. The device itself is little more than a cardboard box that incorporates a film holder for a single 35mm frame, beneath which is a tiny lightbox that’s lit by an LED. The box’s lid folds out to provide a surprisingly robust stand on which to lay your phone, with a small circular cut-out through which you point its lens. It’s placed 8cm above the film, so your phone camera needs to be able to focus that close. Mine doesn’t, and I got much sharper results by raising it about 2cm higher. Everything else is done using the Pictoscanner app on your phone, which is free for Android and iOS. It has a clear and simple interface that Film presents scanning options for use with colour holder negatives, black & white negatives, or colour The plastic film mask slides. The initial process of inverting negatives accommodates either and correcting the colours is all done 35mm negative strips or automatically by the app. mounted slides. That’s not to say you don’t get any control over the output. When copying colour negatives and Lightbox slides, you have a slider to adjust the colour tone Backlight for your This scan from a colour negative from warm to cool at the point of capture. With film is provided by an benefited from tweaking in Snapseed mono negatives, this slider adjusts brightness. LED, which is placed Once the photo is taken you get a small set of beneath an effective further adjustments, including brightness and white diffuser. Power contrast along with the ability to add frames You’ll need two and apply image-processing filters. standard AA batteries to Slide copies look great directly out of the operate the lightbox, which Pictoscanner app, but unfortunately the are housed in a plastic same can’t quite be said with negatives. battery box under a Instead, these tend to end up with low card flap. contrast, faded colours and odd tints. However, if you import the files into an editor such as Snapseed, and adjust the white balance, contrast and saturation, you can end up with surprisingly USING A CAMERA good results that look great on social media. They At a glance Pictoscanner can also be used as a simple lightbox for won’t match copies shot with a ‘proper’ camera, digitising pictures using your camera. You’ll need a but they’re much easier to capture and share. ● Digitiser for 35mm film tripod or stand that lets you point the camera vertically ● Works with smartphone downwards, and ideally a macro lens. Copying slides is Verdict cameras really simple, while inverting b&w negatives isn’t much If you have some photos you’d like to digitise from ● Free app for Android and iOS harder. But colour negatives will require more work in 35mm film, Pictoscanner is a very affordable option ● Requires two AA batteries editing software such as Photoshop. that’s capable of giving quite decent results. 50

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www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

27/05/2021 14:51


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Tech Talk

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Tony Kemplen on the …

Minox B

A sub-miniature model with a precision feel, the Minox B is the classic spy camera

Print + digital access included!

I

n the camera world there are a handful of names that are a byline for quality and precision. Leica is perhaps the most obvious, but Minox is right up there too. Its tiny sub-miniature cameras were the brainchild of Latvian Walter Zapp, who made the first model in 1938. As in so many fields of life, the story was interrupted by the Second World War, but a factory was established in West Germany in 1948. The 1950s and 60s saw something of a craze for sub-miniature cameras, and the late Duke of Edinburgh was a known Minox enthusiast. Although Minox was careful to avoid references to espionage in its marketing, the Minox B is the classic spy camera. They were made in large numbers between 1958 and 1972, and mine came from eBay a few years ago. They can still be found for £100 or so. Minox film uses cartridges with two chambers, one for the unexposed film and one for the take up, and is 9.5mm wide. Films were available as 50 or 36 exposures, and in the format’s heyday a wide range of emulsions was available. You can still get loaded cartridges from specialist dealers, but if, like me you’re feeling brave, you can slit 35mm film down to size and reload the

Tony adopted his best spy outfit for this mirror self-portrait

cartridge yourself. I used a DIY slitter, but Minox sold its own for home use, along with developing tanks and other darkroom kit. In use the Minox has a real precision feel. Everything is very smooth and quiet, as befits a spy camera. All the controls are on the top, with dials for setting the film speed, shutter speed and distance. There is a built-in meter, with a needle that moves across a curved window according to the light levels. As the shutter speed dial is

rotated, an arrow lines up with series of markings along the window to show when you have the correct setting. As the aperture is fixed, no other exposure controls are needed. Focus goes from infinity right down to 8 inches, ideal for taking sneaky photos of classified documents. One of the many accessories available was a folding four-legged stand which held the camera the correct distance above such a document. The spy on active service need not have worried about working in low light levels, as in addition to the ½ second slowest shutter speed, there are ‘B’ and ‘T’ settings for longer exposures. But in the absence of a cable release, it would need a steady hand to avoid blur. Discretion and blending in are key skills in spycraft, so I took care to make The tiny Minox B sure that I didn’t look at all slips easily into a suspicious before venturing out, jacket pocket as the mirror selfie shows.

Tony Kemplen’s love of photography began as a teenager and ever since he has been collecting cameras with a view to testing as many as he can. You can follow his progress on his 52 Cameras blog at 52cameras.blogspot.co.uk. See more photos from the Mxnicoxmet at www.flickr.com/tony_kemplen/sets/72157630150965066 52

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15/02/2021 16:55


Best Buys A round-up of the AP testing team’s favourite and most highly rated kit, including both cameras and all kinds of accessories, across a wide range of price points Olympus Tough TG-6

Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark III

Fujifilm X100V

● £370 ● www.olympus.co.uk

● £1,119 ● www.canon.co.uk

● £1,300 ● www.fujifilm.eu/uk

Olympus’s Tough compacts have habitually won our underwater camera group tests, and this latest model is still the best of its type. It’s waterproof to 15m, shockproof against a 2.4m drop, crushproof and freezeproof. The 25-100mm equivalent lens is paired with a 12MP sensor, and viewing is via a 3in LCD. This is also one of the few rugged cameras that can record raw files.

This unique zoom compact offers excellent image quality by employing the same 24.2MP APS-C sensor as several of Canon’s DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, along with a 24-72mm equivalent lens. A central viewfinder, fully articulated touchscreen and comprehensive external controls round off a superb little camera for enthusiast photographers.

Fujifilm’s charismatic rangefinder-styled compact employs a fixed 23mm f/2 lens, APS-C sensor, traditional analogue controls and a unique hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder. In this latest version the lens has been redesigned for improved sharpness, and the back is now adorned with a tilting screen. It’s a truly gorgeous little camera. ★★★★★ Reviewed 25 Apr 2020

★★★★★ Reviewed 3 Feb 2018

Panasonic LX100 II

Sony RX100 VII

Sony RX10 IV

● £729 ● www.panasonic.com/uk

● £1,199 ● www.sony.co.uk

● £1,699 ● www.sony.co.uk

A high-end compact for creative photography, the LX100 II is based around a 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens and a 17MP Four Thirds sensor that features a true multi aspect-ratio design. It also boasts a full range of traditional analogue control dials, and the corner-mounted viewfinder is complemented by touchscreen LCD.

Sony has somehow crammed a 24-200mm equivalent zoom, pop-up electronic viewfinder, tilting screen, 20 fps shooting and 4K video recording into a body that you can slip into a jacket pocket. With the firm’s latest AF technology also on board, it’s without doubt the most accomplished pocket camera on the market.

Reviewed 1 Sep 2018

Reviewed 5 Oct 2019

This sets a new standard for superzoom cameras, with a 24-600mm equivalent lens, 20MP 1in sensor, and 24 fps continuous shooting. Its SLR-shaped body hosts a large electronic viewfinder and a decent set of physical controls. It’s the best all-in-one camera for wildlife or travel photography that you can buy right now.

★★★★

★★★★

★★★★★ Reviewed 2 Dec 2017

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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BEST BUYS REVISITING GREAT KIT FROM OUR TEST ARCHIVES Nikon D3500

Canon EOS M50

Fujifilm X-S10

● £400 with 18-55mm VR ● www.nikon.co.uk

● £649 with 15-45mm lens ● www.canon.co.uk

● £949 ● www.fujifilm.eu/uk

Nikon’s entry-level DSLR hits a sweet spot of capability versus affordability. It sports a 24MP APS-C sensor with a sensitivity range up to ISO 25,600, and can shoot at 5 frames per second. Its Guide Mode makes the camera easy to use for beginners, while full manual control is also available.

This likeable little camera is simple and approachable for novices, while offering plenty of manual control for enthusiasts. Its central electronic viewfinder is joined by a fully articulated touchscreen, autofocus is fast and accurate, and it’s capable of producing consistently fine images. The updated Mark II version adds a few minor extra features.

Fujifilm’s latest model brings a distinct change in design. It looks much like a conventional DSLR, with electronic dials for changing exposure settings. But you still get Fujifilm’s signature fine image quality, along with in-body image stabilisation. The result is a camera that’s perfect for APS-C DSLR users looking to upgrade to mirrorless.

★★★★★ Reviewed 9 Feb 2019

★★★★ Reviewed 14 Apr 2018

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

Fujifilm X-T30

● £799 with 14-42mm lens ● www.olympus.co.uk

● £899 with 15-45mm lens ● www.fujifilm.eu/uk

With a charismatic retro design, fine handling, highly effective in-body stabilisation and attractive JPEG output, Olympus has made a camera that’s more pleasant to use than its entry-level competitors. Its 20MP sensor delivers good results up to ISO 3200 at least, and its tilting screen can be set to face forwards beneath the camera. The 16MP Mark III is also still a great buy.

This lovely little camera provides excellent performance, while preserving the charm and charisma of the X-series. It’s a great all-rounder, and handles exceptionally well thanks to an intuitive interface based around traditional analogue dials. Image quality is superb in both raw and JPEG, aided by Fujifilm’s peerless Film Simulation modes.

★★★★

Reviewed 26 Sep 2020

★★★★★

Reviewed 18 May 2019

Panasonic Lumix G9 Canon EOS 250D ● £599 with 18-55mm IS lens ● www.canon.co.uk

One of the smallest DSLRs around, the EOS 250D strikes a great balance between portability and usability. It’s equipped with a novice-friendly Guided Mode, while Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS sensor provides excellent autofocus in live view. Image quality is very good, delivering vibrant colours and plenty of fine detail.

★★★★★ Reviewed 7 Sep 2019

● £999 ● www.panasonic.com/uk

Easily the finest stills camera Panasonic has ever produced, the G9 backs up its sturdy construction with a winning combination of high-speed shooting, fast focusing and effective in-body stabilisation. Boasting a control layout as complete as most pro-level DSLRs, it’s an extremely versatile camera that’s capable of dealing with any subject.

★★★★

Reviewed 27 Jan 2018

★★★★★

Reviewed 23 Jan 2021

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III ● £1,049 ● www.olympus.co.uk

This small, fully featured and weathersealed mirrorless camera is both a pleasure to use, and capable of great results. Its petite body finds space for an extensive complement of controls, along with class-leading 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, yet weighs in at just 414g. On-chip phase detection enables fast, decisive autofocus.

★★★★★

Reviewed 11 Jan 2020

Fujifilm X-T4 ● £1,549 ● www.fujifilm.eu/uk

Fujifilm has built on its outstanding X-T3 by adding in-body image stabilisation and a vari-angle screen. With high speed, impressive resolution and sophisticated autofocus, the X-T4 is the finest APS-C mirrorless camera yet, and a great choice for both demanding professionals and keen enthusiasts who would like to build a smaller, lighter system.

★★★★★

Reviewed 11 Jul 2020

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Nikon Z 6II

Nikon Z 7II

Sony Alpha 7R IV

● £1,999 ● www.nikon.co.uk

● £2,999 ● www.nikon.co.uk

● £3,499 ● www.sony.co.uk

This upgraded full-frame mirrorless all-rounder boasts a 24.5MP sensor, 273-point autofocus and rapid 14fps burst shooting. It also gains an SD card slot, alongside XQD/CFexpress. Its excellent viewfinder is complemented by a tilting screen, and both image quality and handling are superb. The older Z 6 remains a good buy for £500 less.

Nikon has delivered a sensible update to its flagship high-res model, with an additional SD card slot and slightly faster shooting. As before, its 45.7MP sensor gives stunning image quality, backed up by 5-axis in-body image stabilisation and fast, accurate autofocus. The viewfinder is superb, and F-mount SLR lenses can be used via the FTZ adapter.

With its 61MP sensor, the A7R IV takes full-frame image quality to new heights, without compromising on speed or dynamic range. It’s as accomplished when shooting sports or wildlife as it is for landscapes or portraits. With an excellent viewfinder and effective in-body stabilisation, it’s the most capable all-rounder you can currently buy.

★★★★

Reviewed 9 Jan 2021

★★★★

Reviewed 6 Feb 2021

★★★★★

Reviewed 12 Oct 2019

Nikon D850

Leica M10 Monochrom

● £1,749 ● www.sony.co.uk

● £2,499 ● www.nikon.co.uk

● £7,400 ● uk.leica-camera.com

Sony’s enthusiast-focused full-frame mirrorless model is a remarkable allrounder that’s packed full of high-end features. Its 24MP sensor is supported by fast, responsive autofocus, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, 10 frames per second shooting and 4K video recording. Handling and battery life are notably improved over its predecessor, too.

This brilliant professional all-rounder provides a winning combination of high resolution and speed. Its 45.7MP sensor produces fine results at high ISOs, and the autofocus is incredibly responsive and accurate. Build quality and handling should satisfy the most demanding of users. It’s an absolutely sensational camera capable of tackling any type of subject.

Within its own specialist niche, this monochrome-only manual-focus rangefinder is almost perfect. Its build quality is stunning, and the pared-back design allows you to immerse yourself completely in the process of taking pictures. Most importantly, the 40.9MP sensor produces fantastic results, reaching a new pinnacle in black & white image quality.

Sony Alpha 7 III

★★★★★

Reviewed 5 May 2018

Nikon D780 ● £2,199 ● www.nikon.co.uk

The long-awaited successor to the D750 shows that there’s life in the DSLR yet. It’s superbly built with extensive weather sealing, handles brilliantly, and gives excellent results in any conditions. It’ll provide top-level service to photographers who want to keep using their F-mount lenses and still prefer an optical viewfinder.

★★★★★ Reviewed 4 Apr 2020

★★★★★

Reviewed 21 Oct 2017

Canon EOS R6 ● £2,499 ● www.canon.co.uk

With this powerhouse all-rounder, Canon has finally got full-frame mirrorless absolutely right for stills photographers. It handles brilliantly, its subject-tracking autofocus is incredible, image quality is superb in both raw and JPEG, and the addition of in-body IS is transformative. It also works brilliantly with adapted EF-mount DSLR lenses.

★★★★★

Reviewed 10 Oct 2020

★★★★★

Reviewed 22 Feb 2020

Fujifilm GFX100S ● £5,499 ● www.fujifilm.eu/uk

Fujifilm’s second-generation super-high resolution camera places a 102MP mediumformat sensor in a body the size of a fullframe DSLR. On-chip phase detection provides rapid autofocus; in-body image stabilisation allows the camera to be used handheld with confidence. It’s perfect if you need to shoot in the field without compromising on image quality.

★★★★★

Reviewed May 2021

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BEST BUYS REVISITING GREAT KIT FROM OUR TEST ARCHIVES Billingham Hadley Pro 2020

Lowepro Photostream RL150

● £239 ● www.billingham.co.uk

● £139 ● www.lowepro.com/uk-en

The latest model in this iconic line of British-made satchel-style bags includes some well-considered updates, such as a detachable shoulder strap. It’s impeccably constructed from premium materials to keep your kit protected, including Billingham’s signature triple-layer canvas that’s impermeable to water. It’s pricey, but will last for decades. ★★★★★ Reviewed 5 Oct 2019

This carry-on compatible roller case features an armoured exterior and a flexible interior to protect your gear. It can hold one or two DSLRs with a 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, plus up to eight additional lenses. The construction and materials are second to none, so it should survive years of use.

● £239 ● www.manfrotto.com/uk-en

Reviewed 12 May 2018

★★★★★

★★★★★

Vanguard Veo Select 49 ● £119 ● www.vanguardworld.co.uk

This cleverly designed bag comes with both a backpack harness and a shoulder strap, and can be switched between the two carrying modes quickly and easily. There’s space for one or two cameras and 3-5 extra lenses, along with a separate compartment for a 15in laptop and a tablet. ★★★★★ Reviewed 6 Jul 2019

Gitzo Adventury 30L ● £209 ● www.gitzo.com/uk-en

This sizeable backpack will hold a pro-spec DSLR with a 70-200mm lens attached and a second body plus up to 4 lenses. An expandable roll top provides plenty of space for personal items, and the bag also boasts tablet and laptop compartments. It’s comfortable to carry fully loaded and offers first-class protection.

★★★★★

Reviewed 8 Sep 2018

Cullmann Rondo 460M RB8.5 ● £71 ● www.transcontinenta.co.uk/cullmann

Manfrotto 190 Go! MT190GOC4 With 4-section carbon fibre legs that can each be set to four angles, this sturdy, versatile tripod achieves a maximum height of 147cm while folding down to 45cm, and weighs 1.35kg. But its party trick is a centre column that can be set horizontally for overhead or low-level shooting. Reviewed 1 Jun 2019

Benro GD3WH ● £159 ● www.benroeu.com

If you want a fully featured tripod kit on a budget, this is a great choice. Four-section aluminium legs provide a maximum height of 160cm, while packing down to 43.5cm. It’s rated to support a 4kg load, weighs 1.46kg, and one leg can be combined with the centre column to form a monopod. ★★★★ Reviewed 21 Mar 2020

This relatively lightweight and portable geared head employs an Arca Swiss type quick release. Three large control knobs, one for each axis of movement, drive the camera directly in the corresponding direction, allowing highly accurate setting of composition. With its sturdy magnesium alloy construction, it’s rated to support a 6kg load. ★★★★★ Reviewed 26 May 2018

Sirui Traveller T-025SK with B-00B head

Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR

● £155 ● www.sirui.com

This fantastic travel tripod provides impressive stability given its diminutive dimensions. It folds down to just 32cm and weighs less than 1kg yet extends to 128cm thanks to its fivesection carbon fibre legs. The two-section centre column is removable to enable low-level shooting. It’ll support a surprisingly substantial load. ★★★★★ Reviewed 17 Nov 2018

● £99 ● www.vanguardworld.co.uk

This unusual monopod boasts an extended height of 1630mm, a folded height of 565mm and a maximum load capacity of 6kg. Three foldable legs at the base provide a tri-stand platform, and are linked to the four-section carbon fibre leg via a ball joint that allows smooth panning and tilting motions.

★★★★★

Reviewed 30 May 2015

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Nissin i40

Datacolor SpyderX Pro

● £159 ● www.kenro.co.uk

● £159 ● www.datacolor.com

A compact flashgun that’s designed for mirrorless cameras, the i40 stands out for its high specification, compact size and ease of use. Its auto-zoom head covers lenses from 24-105mm equivalent. With a powerful output that belies its size, and a built-in LED video light, it’s available for most brands of camera.

If you like to post-process your images, you need to be sure that your monitor is showing colours accurately. Datacolor has designed the SpyderX to calibrate your display faster then ever before, with the process taking about two minutes. For most photographers the Pro package makes most sense.

Reviewed 3 May 2014

Reviewed 6 Apr 2019

★★★★★

RØDE VideoMicro ● £55 ● en.rode.com

RØDE has a strong reputation for its high-end microphones. Its VideoMicro is a directional unit that primarily picks up sounds from in front of the camera, and is designed to match small mirrorless cameras. It uses ‘plug-in power’ that’s supplied by many cameras, and as there’s no battery it’s short and light. It comes complete with a Rycote shock mount and a large furry windshield.

★★★★★

Epson Expression Photo XP970 ● £229 ● www.epson.co.uk

An update to the XP960, which won our coveted gold award, this impressive multifunctional unit provides A3 printing ability while retaining a compact footprint. Along with a conventional USB connection, it can print over Wi-Fi, or directly from an SD card or USB stick, controlled using the excellent colour LCD touchscreen. Other useful features include an A4 scanner and double-sided document printing.

★★★★★

X-Rite i1Studio ● £349 ● www.colourconfidence.com

This kit enables photographers to adopt a completely colour-managed workflow, from capture through display to print. It allows profiling of cameras, scanners, monitors, projectors and printers, and works with both Mac and Windows computers. It’s a great tool for any photographer who likes to print at home. ★★★★★ Reviewed 19 Jan 2019

★★★★★

WD MyPassport Wireless Pro ● £150-£240 ● shop.westerndigital.com/en-gb

This handy device lets you back up your pictures from your camera to its internal hard disc without the need for a computer. It has a built-in SD card reader, and a USB 2.0 port that allows backup of other card types using plug-in readers. Its rechargeable battery will last for hours.

★★★★

Reviewed 21 May 2016

Reviewed 25 Mar 2017

Hoya Ultra-Pro Circular Polariser

Fujifilm Instax Mini Link

● £70 ● www.hahnel.ie

● £47-£179 ● www.intro2020.co.uk

● £110 ● www.instax.co.uk

This dual battery charger boasts a sturdy metal shell and interchangeable plates that each accept a pair of batteries. An LCD display shows progress, and a 2.4A USB output allows phones or tablets to be charged once the camera batteries are full. Versions are available for all the main camera brands.

Hoya’s premium range of circular polarisers is available in 13 sizes from 37mm to 82mm. These filters feature 16 layers of anti-reflective coatings, high transmission, and are designed to repel water and oil while being scratch and stain resistant. An ultra-thin aluminium frame prevents vignetting when used with wideangle lenses.

Reviewed 24 Feb 2018

Reviewed 3 Mar 2018

Powered by a built-in rechargeable battery, this smart little printer connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and is controlled using an attractively designed and intuitive app. It’s small enough to slip into a coat pocket or bag, and most importantly, delivers gorgeous little prints with fine detail and vivid colour. ★★★★★ Reviewed 2 Nov 2019

Hahnel ProCube2

★★★★★

★★★★★

Stay inspired all year, never miss an issue and get AP delivered straight to your door every week. See page 38 for details of our latest offer www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

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All prices include VAT @ 20%. All products are UK stock. E&OE. Please mention “Amateur Photographer” when ordering items from this advert. Prices correct at time of going to press; Prices subject to change; check website for latest prices.

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53-54 Rathbone Place LONDON W1T 1JR

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This lens enables users to enjoy casual shooting with steady performance and high image quality in the ultratelephoto realm where conventional wisdom once dictated a tripod.

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Photo Critique

Peter Dench considers... Eleonora from the

series, Sailor Zoom, 2021, by Agnese Morganti

S

hows, expos, fan fests, conferences and conventions have always been a rich source of content for photographers. Some of my personal highlights are photographing at a dwarf convention in San Francisco, California, and a Superman festival in Metropolis, Illinois, where a giant bronze statue of Kal-El stands in Superman Square and The Daily Planet reports local news. It was with similar fascination that I first witnessed cosplay at the 2011 MCM Comic Con at Excel Centre, London, which was also hosting a Professional Beauty show in the adjacent hall. Women arriving from across the country thick with fake tan looked askance at the eclectic brightly coloured cosplayers who looked incredulously back. Cosplay is a merging of ‘costume play’, the practice of dressing up and behaving as a character from a film, book, comic or video game. At the 2011 event there was a party atmosphere, guests included Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Kitana, Deadpool, Storm Troopers, Ash Ketchum and Judge Dredd. I made a short film asking, what is cosplay? The answers were unanimous – social interaction with like-minded people, meeting old and new friends, taking awesome photographs and escaping from the everyday. During the Covid pandemic, cosplay events were cancelled

and cosplayers were denied their joie de jouer. Sailor Zoom is Agnese Morganti’s response – a remote photography project portraying Sailor Moon cosplayers across the world in their own homes using Zoom video calls. This image from the series, Sailor Zoom, 2021, by Agnese Morganti, has been shortlisted in professional portraiture at the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards (www. worldphoto.org.) Italian documentary photographer Agnese became a fan of the manga character (created by Japanese artist Takeuchi Naoko in the 1990s) watching the anime TV series as a treat after elementary school before starting her homework. The adventures of the Japanese, blonde, blue-eyed underachieving young sailorsuited schoolgirl, Usagi Tsukino, with the ability to transform into her alter ego, pretty warrior Sailor Moon, to defend the Earth, made a lasting impression. Photographing majorettes for her reportage, Army Girls – the pleated skirt, knee-high boots, sparkly costume, twirly baton and mace (Sailor Moon has a magical Moon Stick) reminded Agnese of her passion and she reached out via Instagram for Sailor Zoom collaborators. Eleonora (@tsuna.mi_cosplay), an active Italian cosplayer (also a talented seamstress, university philosophy and history student) was the first to respond. Agnese asked for

‘Sailor Zoom reconnects like-minded cosplayers during enforced isolation’

photographs of the location and discussed outfits before instructing Eleonora’s boyfriend (also a committed cosplayer) how, where and which angle to hold the mobile phone while she grabbed a variety of screenshots from miles away. Sailor Zoom reconnects like-minded people during a time of forced isolation – borne out of Agnese’s feelings of boredom, separation and

quarantine during the first Covid-19 lockdown, she describes the series as ‘revealing a hidden, personal world caught between reality and dreams’. This portrait zooms into the intimacy of Eleonora’s personal space. It’s not just a portrait of a cosplayer, it’s a portrait of our time; and times may be about to change as the next incarnation of Sailor Moon is rumoured to be a guy.

Peter Dench is a photographer, writer, curator and presenter based in London. He is one of the co-curators of Photo North in Harrogate and has been exhibited dozens of times. He has published a number of books including The Dench Dozen: Great Britons of Photography Vol 1; Dench Does Dallas; The British Abroad; A&E: Alcohol & England and England Uncensored. Visit peterdench.com 66

66 FinalAnalysis Jun12 JP AD.indd 66

www.amateurphotographer.co.uk

27/05/2021 15:16


CANON WEEK

SPECIAL OFFERS 7 th - 1 3 th J u n e 2 0 2 1

Contact us for EVEN MORE SPECIAL OFFERS during Canon Week

Professional mirrorless redefi redefined ned 45 MP

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f/2 IS Macro USM

Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM

£749

Canon EOS 6D Mark II Body Only

£1,429

Canon EOS 1D X Mark III Body Only

£6,999

For even more CANON WEEK SPECIAL OFFERS, visit us in store or call us on 01444 23 70 60! LONDON

53-54 Rathbone Place, LONDON, W1T 1JR

SUSSEX

York Road, BURGESS HILL, West Sussex, RH15 9TT

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www.parkcameras.com All prices include VAT. All products are UK stock. Finance provided by Klarna Bank AB. See website to learn more. E&OE. Please mention “Amateur Photographer” when ordering items from this advert.

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