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ISSUE 41

0RINTED ON RE R CYCLED PAPER


olympuspen.com.au

YO U ’ V E N E V E R TA K E N P H OTO S L I K E T H I S B E F O R E .

Not a compact, not an SLR...it’s a PEN!

O LY M P U S P E N Since 1959


I N C R E D I B L E P H OTO S C A N C O M E F R O M P L AC E S YO U WO U L D N ’ T B E L I E V E .

The new Olympus PEN, with groundbreaking Micro Four Thirds technology, has a 12 megapixel SLR-size sensor, high quality interchangeable lenses and high definition video recording capability. All in a surprisingly compact body. It’s photography as you’ve never seen it before.


contents We encourage submissions to: The Editor edmail@photoreview.com.au T: (02) 9948 8600 Office 4 Clontarf Marina, Sandy Bay Road Clontarf NSW 2093

INSIDE

Cover image by Peter Solness. See page 12.

20

04

Editorial The NCE (New Camera Effect): will buying a new camera make you a better photographer?

04

Photo Challenge Repeat Yourself: For our 38th Photo Challenge we asked participants to seek out photogenic examples of repetition.

09

Products & Trends An overview of the third annual Consumer Imaging in Australia Report features in this issue.

INSPIRATION 12

DEVOTION: PETER SOLNESS In his latest work, Sydney-based photojournalist Peter Solness is “writing with light” in the truest sense.

20

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS: ROSS EASON Queensland commercial photographer Ross Eason uses his mastery of digital enhancement to optimise results without compromising his sense of reality.

26

BALLARAT INTERNATIONAL FOTO BIENNALE Photo Review continues its preview of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale (Sept 4 - Oct 4) with profiles on three international photographers: Drex Brooks (Utah, USA); Thomas Roessler (Saarbruecken, Germany); and Mindaugas Kavaliauskas (Kaunas, Lithuania).

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Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



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contents

BUYERS GUIDE DIGITAL SLRs 50

EDITOR’S CHOICE:

SONY DSLR A380

An entry-level DSLR with features that can help novice photographers to discover the benefits of SLR photography.

INSIDER 36

52

FIRMWARE UPDATES A simple way to help ensure your digital camera remains problem-free.

54

39

Editor Don Norris dnorris@photoreview.com.au

NIKON D5000

Technical Editor Margaret Brown mbrown@photoreview.com.au

FOUR THIRDS FORMAT 56

45

PENTAX K-7

TURN PHOTOS INTO OIL PAINTINGS Using layers and filters in Photoshop Elements to create a painterly effect.

BUYING GUIDE CAMERA BAGS AND CASES

OLYMPUS E-620 A new addition to the Olympus Four Thirds System DSLR line-up.

A survey of some exciting new options for transporting and protecting your equipment.

Creative Director Darren Waldren Publisher David O’Sullivan dosullivan@photoreview.com.au

Accounts Manager Heather Hampson mpaccounts@photoreview.com.au Media Releases edmail@photoreview.com.au

SUBSCRIBE TO PHOTO REVIEW AND WIN Have Photo Review Australia delivered to your door at a reduced price - or extend your current subscription - and you could win an inspiring Canon EOS 500D Single IS Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS Lens worth $1649.

Contributors Keith Shipton, Steve Packer

Publication Manager Pauline Shuttleworth pshuttleworth@photoreview.com.au

SUBSCRIPTIONS 34

A U S T R A L I A

A sophisticated DSLR camera with controls and functions for photo enthusiasts.

Nikon’s latest video-capable DSLR for photo enthusiasts - a versatile camera that family photographers can learn and grow with.

TECHNIQUE

PhotoæReview

Advertising Phone (02) 9948 8600 pshuttleworth@photoreview.com.au

57

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-GH1 Panasonic’s first Micro Four Thirds System (MFT) camera with HD video plus stereo sound recording.

ADVANCED 58

SIGMA DP-2 A pocketable, advanced digital camera with a large Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor.

59

OLYMPUS SP-590 UZ A compact digicam with the longest current optical zoom range plus a special Bird Watching mode.

59

EDITOR’S CHOICE:

PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-TZ7

The latest in Panasonic’s popular ‘Travel Zoom’ (TZ) line, the 10.1-megapixel TZ7 has been redesigned to incorporate a new 12x optical zoom lens and some special features.

PERIPHERALS 60

Subscriptions One year (4 issues) $35.00 including GST and delivery in Australia. See page 35 this issue or phone: (02) 9948 8600 or online: www.photoreview.com.au

EDITOR’S CHOICE:

DIGITAL FOCI PHOTO BOOK

Photo Review Australia is printed on Monza Satin Recycled Paper ISO 14001 Environmental Accreditation Printed by Beaver Press Design by itechne [www.itechne.com] phone (03) 9421 8833 Distributed by NDD Photo Review website by itechne All content in Photo Review Australia is protected under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without written consent from the publisher. Photo Review Australia is published by

A versatile, portable presentation album for professional, home and business users.

NET EFFECT 64

SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND Interesting websites with a photographic bent.

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Media Publishing Pty Limited ABN 86 099 172 577 Office 4 Clontarf Marina Sandy Bay Road, Clontarf NSW 2093 Australia Ph: (02) 9948 8600 Fx: (02) 9948 0144 Em: edmail@mediapublishing.com.au Photo Review website: www.photoreview.com.au

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editorial

The NCE WILL BUYING A NEW CAMERA MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER? OUR EDITOR SPECULATES ABOUT THE NEXUS BETWEEN NOVELTY AND CREATIVITY.

Photo Review editor Don Norris is reasonably certain that he took his first photograph with a well worn Leica IIIc at age 14. Every picture from that camera had a sort of soft, hazy look because the original screwmount lens was heavily scratched from years in the field with Don’s geologist father Robert M. Norris. But using the little camera ignited a passion for picture taking that is now into its fourth decade. Convert those 40 years into the cameras he’s used most intensively and the sequence reads: Leica IIIc, Miranda SLR, Nikkormat SLR, Nikon FM, Nikonos III, Bolex H16, Mamiya C-33, Wista 4x5, Olympus E10 and Nikon D70s. A few years after taking up photography, Don discovered the second great passion in his life (after his family of course!) when a summer job in Hawaii coincided with buying his first surfboard. In 1984 he migrated from his native California to Australia and these days he lives on Sydney’s northern beaches from which he not only edits this magazine but also runs Australia’s most popular surfing community website, www.realsurf.com. Since last issue... It’s been a corker of a surf season and Don’s been out shooting the action at every opportunity. In the weeks running up to production for the current issue, the good folk at Nikon Professional Services made it possible for him to have an extended hand’s on with the superb Nikon D3 and several lenses including the big f/2.8 300mm and the equally impressive 200-400mm zoom, as well as the ultra-wide angle 14-24mm zoom. Talk about NCE! He also jumped in the water with Panasonic’s DMC-FT1 and he reckons that this is the best HD capable compact camera — waterproof or otherwise — he’s tried yet. FOR THE VERY LATEST PHOTO NEWS AND REVIEWS  Our Website: http://www.photoreview.com.au 

Our Newsletter: http://bit.ly/prnewsletter



On Facebook: http://bit.ly/prfacebook



On Twitter: http://twitter.com/photoreview



Our RSS feed: http://bit.ly/pr_rss

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YOU’VE READ EVERY REVIEW YOU CAN FIND, YOU’VE PORED over the specifications and you’ve read endless commentary in online forums. Now the deed is done, the plastic’s been flogged, the bank account emptied and at long last you are opening the box containing your brand new camera. But will it make you a better photographer? In my capacity as editor I have the opportunity to experience the New Camera Effect (NCE) on a regular basis. I consider it my (wholly pleasant) duty to stay up to date with all the important releases. So, as soon as technical editor Margaret Brown finishes a review, my hand is waving metaphorically for a turn behind the lens. You might think that after decades as a technology journalist I’d be fairly blasé about getting a hand’s on with the latest photographic kit. But it ain’t so. The NCE takes over every time I unbox a camera. I can hardly wait to for the battery to charge so that I can get out shooting. I was not surprised to learn that our technical editor Margaret Brown experiences a similar buzz of anticipation when she opens a new piece of equipment for testing! The effect this has on the quality of my photography is really something for others to judge, but one thing is certain: I’m taking more pictures. Taking more pictures in and of itself is no guarantee that one’s photographic skills will improve of course. For that to happen, I believe you need to add the extra special ingredient called “purposeful intent”. Most times the purpose of an image is simply to be a record of a person, place or event. The criteria for success are straightforward; pictures should be in focus, correctly exposed, properly framed and taken at the right moment. But in my experience the NCE doesn’t make itself felt for this kind of record-making photography. Instead it kicks in when there is purposeful intent, ie when I’m striving to achieve something with a picture. The NCE really doesn’t have much of anything to do with the technology as such. It’s more subtle than that. Part of the effect often has to do with the extra confidence you get from knowing you’re now using the best camera you’ve ever owned. And part is no doubt connected to the exploration of your new tool’s capabilities. But most of all, it is about experiencing the sensation of being fully engaged with the making of pictures. It probably has something to do with the way novel experiences heighten the senses. Just as a new car makes you more aware of every aspect of your driving, so the NCE has a way of re-focusing your attention on every dimension of your image making. And it is that consciousness and awareness of intention that I think is a key to becoming a better photographer. Of course the deeper point is not that a new camera will make you a better photographer — but thinking like someone with a new camera just might. NCE or not, it’s safe to say that we keen photographers are Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



shooting more pictures than ever. And whilst we’re having great fun doing all that snapping, how many of these shots do we share? Back in the day when one processed a roll of film it was common practice not only to pass the packet of prints around the family, but to take them into work or along to social gatherings. But the picture as social object has gradually faded out of day to day life. You’re far more likely to be shown a friend’s holiday snaps on their mobile phone or, worse, to be emailed a link to several thousand uncaptioned pictures in an online gallery. At least with the phone, you can chat about the pictures with the photographer. Viewing the online gallery is generally a solitary experience that could only at a stretch be described as a social activity. Whether it is a trend or just a run of coincidence, I can’t say with any certainty, but on several occasions recently I’ve been at parties where the hosts have left slideshows running on the TV. These efforts weren’t like a slide night in the days of yore wherein everyone gathered around to ooh and ahh, but rather more like the visual equivalent of background music. The image quality wasn’t fantastic when the pictures were shown on a standard definition TV, but on a modern large screen LCD or plasma, the effect was quite pleasant. If the technology press is to be believed, in the not too distant future showing off our pictures on large, bright, high resolution displays may become commonplace. The hot favourite is OLED technology which promises display panels that are thin and flexible enough to be rolled up but which deliver exceptional colour and brightness while at the same time using a fraction of the power now required to run an LCD or plasma set. You can expect the first generation of such devices to be very expensive, but the inherently less complex production process required to make OLED should ultimately lead to large displays that are considerably cheaper than today’s technology. Speaking of today’s technology, Photo Review’s technical editor Margaret Brown has once again been putting the very latest offerings from the world’s photographic manufacturers under the microscope. In this issue you’ll find her reviews of DSLRs from Sony, Canon, Pentax and Nikon, plus assessments of Four Thirds system cameras from Olympus and Panasonic. Additionally, she reports on a brace of compact cameras from Sigma, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic as well as a rather interesting new digital take on the “brag book”. To stir your creative juices we have inspiring portfolios from maverick landscape photographer Peter Solness and ace commercial shooter, Ross Eason. We’re huge fans of Jeff Moorfoot and all the other amazing folk behind the Ballarat International Foto Biennale which runs from 4 September to 4 October and so, for just a tiny taste of the rich smorgasbord of photography on offer at the various BIFB venues, be sure to have a look at the short profiles of three of the international contributors to this landmark event: Drex Brooks, Thomas Roessler and Mindaugas Kavaliauskas. Thank you for choosing Photo Review and happy shooting.  Don Norris

www.photoreview.com.au


challenge

Photo Challenge #37 Repeat Yourself

For our 37th Photo Challenge we asked participants to seek out photogenic examples of repetition. As usual our endlessly creative correspondents delighted us with their fine and subtle interpretations of the challenge. While there was only a hair’s breadth between them, we decided that this issue’s winner had to be veteran Photo Challenger Roz Krugle’s humorous row of school kids’ feet. It would have been a very good picture if they’d all been wearing shoes, but the single pair of bare feet transformed the picture into a smile-inducing classic. We’re happy to be sending Roz the prize for this

challenge - a Lexar prize pack worth more than $450: 8GB Secure II USB Drive; 2GB Mobile Memory kit including Mini SD and Full Size SD Adaptor; 8GB 133X Professional CF Card; Professional Dual Slot Reader; and 4GB 300X Professional CF Card. Our first runner-up, Tony Graziani, submitted three very strong images. The one we liked best was the image of the massive apartment blocks. But we thought his image of tree trunks was very nearly as good and so we gave it an Honourable Mention. Leigh Beer is another of our regular contributors,

and like Tony, he sent us two good responses to the challenge as well. We picked his ‘Ribbon of Windows’ for our Second Runner-up and pinned an Honourable Mention on his image entitled ‘Reflection’. Speaking of Honourable mentions, we awarded one each to Mardi Harrison for her close up of her pet peacock Andrew’s fine plumage and to Zorica Purlija for her characteristically witty ‘Beach Bums’. As usual you can view the winner, runners’ up and honourable mention pictures on our website at www.photoreview.com.au 

Bare necessities by Roz Krugle

Untitled by Tony Graziani

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Ribbon of Windows by Leigh Beer

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challenge

TAKE THE PHOTO REVIEW CHALLENGE 39:

HERE ARE THE RULES:

NIGHT LIGHTS

To enter the challenge all you have to do is send us your best image (we’ll consider up to three images per photographer). 1) Entries should only be new images that have been taken in response to the set challenge.

It’s been a long time since we posed a challenge with a noir-ish theme. So, we’re going to throw it open to night fans everywhere to come up with a picture or pictures that capture something of lights burning in the darkness. We don’t expect you’ll necessarily take the same approach as Peter Solness (see page 12), but you could do worse than study his light painting technique. Then again, you may find the pool of light cast by a street light or a late night shop front more to your taste. Or perhaps you’ll want to capture the play of light on the surface of a lake, harbour or river. And you don’t even have to go outside for your inspiration. So long as you capture an image that conveys the dramatic tension of a light source in the night, inside or out, you’ll meet the criteria for Challenge 39. The prize for this challenge is an AVLabs 15” Digital Photo Frame valued at $429.95.

2) This isn’t a photo manipulation contest, so minimal post-capture processing is a given. Sharpening, colour correction and so forth are fine, but adding extra layers isn’t. 3) Please supply images at 10cm on the longest side @ 300dpi. Maximum file size is 4MB. Send by email to photochallenge@photoreview.com.au. 4) Please put your caption(s) in the File Info (metadata area) of your image(s), or with the accompanying message. When saving your images, please change the file name so that it incorporates your first initial and last name and the challenge you’re entering (eg, jsmith_chall28.jpg). Please review the rules (right) and email your entries to photochallenge@photoreview.com.au. Deadline for entries is November 25, 2009 and the winning pictures will be published in our March May 2010 edition (Photo Review 43).

5) All photographers maintain copyright to their submitted image(s). Photo Review retains the right to publish submitted image(s) in the magazine and on www.photoreview.com.au. 6) The Judges’ decision is final.

Beach Bums by Zorica Purlija

Untitled by Mardi Harrison

Reflection by Leigh Beer

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www.pentax.com.au m. CRK26136PR


news

We’re taking more pics, making fewer prints By Keith Shipton

For the past three years the photo industry has been putting some of the dosh it makes out of its annual trade exhibition into researching Australian consumers’ engagement with photography. It turns out that as a nation, we love our digital cameras. Overall, according to the phone survey of 1500 “households”, around three quarters owned a digital camera, up from 62 percent in 2007. Camera ownership reaches a remarkable 92 percent of households comprising children, and adults between 30 — 44 years. DSLRs are present in 25 percent of camera-owning households, which indicates that quite a few of us aspire to move beyond barbecue snapshots. People are upgrading their digital cameras regularly, with just over half of the new models purchased in the previous 12 months (from March 2009) replacing older cameras. Reasons cited for upgrading are illuminating, and don’t reflect well on the camera manufacturers: 41 percent said they bought a new model because “camera or parts of it would not work anymore”. Whether it’s planned obsolescence or the use of cheap components to get the price down, this looks like an unacceptable failure rate. (And reflects the experience with brand name point-and-shoot cameras in at least one Australian household not included in the survey sample!) By a long measure, the dominant feature sought when upgrading was a bigger pixel count. A better zoom range, larger LCD screen and reduced shutter lag were nominated by around one in five upgrading households. There wasn’t an option to nominate increased reliability — perhaps there should have been. Forty-six percent of camera owners surveyed regard themselves as Beginner or Novice photographers, 39 percent Intermediate and 14 percent Proficient or Advanced, according to the survey.

as the negative wallet of the 21st century? Hardly anyone stores their images online, but there has been a marked uptake in using images on social network sites like Facebook — up from 30 percent in 2008 to 42 percent in 2009. At the same time, sending pictures via boring old email has dropped slightly, except among us boring older people. Even with the likes of Harvey Norman and Big W offering Australians among the cheapest prices for standard prints in the world, the survey indicated that while we are taking more pictures, we are printing fewer of them: In 2008, digital camera households in Australia took an average of 420 pictures and made 124 prints, Households are taking more pictures but printing less. Home increasing to 589 pictures taken but only printing is particularly on the slide. 102 prints made in 2009. And while industry pundits have been predicting an imminent riot of online printing activity, so far that Waiting for a crash hasn’t happened here. In fact, according to the survey, When it comes to the storage of digital camera only 3 percent used online services for making prints, images, most of us are simply waiting for an accident down from 4 percent in 2008. to happen: two thirds of the survey sample store This was also the case for what the survey called their image collection on their computer hard drive “personal photo publishing products” such as photo and nowhere else. Only 17 percent of those surveyed books, calendars and portrait dart boards. For instance keep their digital camera images as prints. If the while in-store creation of photo books rose from 56 photo industry was looking for another project in to 68 percent of the total made, “online fulfillment” which to invest some more of that photo show profit, dropped from 18 percent to 14 percent. a community service campaign to educate Australian Since the survey, Harvey Norman, Big W and Ted’s picture-takers on the dangers of storing what are among others have launched slick new websites typically among our most valuable possessions on a incorporating web-based software which makes it magnetic disk spinning at thousands of RPM — which easier to create these types of “photo products”. We’ll will eventually fail — would be a worthy candidate. have to wait until next year’s survey to find out if they A further 29 percent save at least some of their image have been successful. collection on CD or DVD, while another 24 percent use Camera phones, tipped mostly by people who storage cards — reflecting the falling price and increasing don’t know much about photography as the future of capacity of NAND memory. Could storage cards emerge

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news

Smooth &

precise The unique new ball-and-socket configuration of the Lensbaby Composer™

delivers

smooth

selective focus photography with unparalleled ease so you can push your creativity to the limit! Simply tilt the lens to a desired

photography are in reality used primarily because a real camera was not available at the time. While most people with a camera phone use them to take pictures occasionally, 70 percent said they used a camera phone instead of a camera when they did not have their regular camera with them. This resonates with earlier research: Back towards the end of last century, Kodak Australia surveyed Australians to find out why the hell they didn’t take more pictures. The prime response was “because I forgot to bring a camera with me”. Only 11 percent used their camera phone as their primary picture-taking device. Few people bothered to get prints made from their camphone images.

XTREME MAKEOVER RETRO VIRUS CATCHING ...While camera manufacturers have delivered themselves a marketing challenge by getting purchasers totally focused on megapixels and then calling a halt to the megapixel wars, some interesting new models might inject a little extra excitement in the market.

angle, focus with a traditional barrel focusing ring, and the Composer stays in the desired bent position without requiring a locking mechanism.

COMPOSER Latest among these is the Olympus PEN E-P1, the first Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus. It’s reminiscent of the original Olympus Pen range of compacts which were originally launched 50 years ago. In the hand its metal body has a certain reassuring heft about it. Design is “retro” but with a modern sleekness — kind of like the new iteration of the old Morris Mini Minor. Unlike a compact camera, it’s an interchangeable lens model, with a 17mm f/2.8, and a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 lens available on release. There are also adaptors available for fitting other Olympus lenses. The Pen E-P1 has a much larger image sensor (17.3 x 13mm) than your average digital compact, sporting 12.3 megapixels. To keep the camera as compact as possible, it has no viewfinder or builtin flash, but these are available as accessories. It’s perhaps the first (relatively) small camera which has the potential to take pictures with the quality of a DSLR. Street price for the Olympus Pen E-P1 is around $1400 with the 14 — 42mm lens. See Margaret’s review of the new camera at http://bit.ly/pen-ep1.

Distributed in Australia by: Ph: 1300 882 517 Fax: 1300 882 519 www.lensbaby.com.au

BACK ILLUMINATION NOW FRONT AND CENTRE We reported on Sony’s back-illuminated CMOS sensor a few issues ago, and it is now finding its way

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into actual products. Sony says the new technology captures more light than conventional sensor designs for a doubling of sensitivity that yields “phenomenal picture quality in low light with dramatically reduced picture noise” as compared with ordinary CMOS models. “You’ll really see the difference in dimly-lit interiors and atmospheric twilight moments,” the company claims. The chip is used in the latest models in Sony’s HD camcorder line, the HDR-CX520V and HDRCX500V, available in September. Both cameras take 12 megapixel stills as well as full HD video, and have 32 and 64GB of internal flash memory respectively.

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UK-based software developer Magix (www.magix.net) makes it possible to give caricature-like expressions to humans and animals alike with its Xtreme Photo Designer software. In addition to distorting facial expressions, the graphic software can also work on the rest of the body. The “liquid paint” effect makes it possible to impart exaggerated proportions to humans hu and animals in photos, making them look quite rridiculous. The same effect which can double muscle mass m can also cut the stomach to half of its circumference. Who needs gym subscriptions circum when you can do it all at the PC? “Finally, a cranky uncle has an ear-to-ear smile, the house pet can be turned into an alien, or your own pectorals can be pumped to match those of a bodybuilder, says Magix senior product manager, Klaus Fischer. The option of distorting images should not be applied to every photo, he said. Ignoring this warning, Photo Review downloaded a corporate portrait of Magix director Jurgen Jaron (below) from

the website (we couldn’t find a shot of Klaus Fischer himself) to see what evil the software could do. What a great addition this will be to the average cyber bully’s bag of tricks! 


Inspiration

CWT_W^c^VaP_Wh^U ?TcTaB^[]Tbb 12

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Inspiration

CrayďŹ sh Pools after Rain, 2009

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Inspiration

It’s the middle of the night and Peter Solness is deep in the bush, setting up his tripod on a little sandbank in the moonlight.

By Don Norris

IN FRONT OF HIM IS A WATERFALL AND AS HE frames the picture, thousands of sandflies swarm up to bite him about the legs. Having changed into a wetsuit after an hour or two of hiking, Solness is just beginning what will be a long night of stumbling over logs, climbing up slippery embankments and wading through icy water. When he finishes hours later, he’ll pack up the gear and make his way back along the same moonlit trail. Solness is a full-time dad three days a week, so life and work are now organised around his young son. ‘I’ll be out there in the bush at midnight with a 25 kilo pack coming back from a shoot under torchlight, through a national park. Then I throw the backpack in the truck, drive home half asleep and six hours later I’m lying on the carpet in this church hall with a whole bunch of mothers and toddlers at the local playgroup. I love that contrast.’ Solness has the rangy athleticism of a man who has maintained a high level of fitness into his middle years. It’s easy to imagine him mountain biking to a remote trailhead and then walking and clambering his way through the bush to one of the wild and remote locations he favours for his current series of photographs. That he was a keen surfer in his younger days comes as no great surprise, he has the look and calm demeanour of someone who is at ease in the natural world, no matter how tempestuous the circumstances. A lifetime in photography began when Solness was still a schoolboy. His first camera was a Nikonos II

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and his first subjects were his mates and surfing. His older brother Geoff (now deceased) was one of the best surfers in Cronulla and it was through him that young Peter’s pictures first came to the attention of Surfing World editor Bruce Channon. Although he’d only been taking pictures for a short time, Channon was so impressed that he published one of the 16-year-old Solness’s shots across a double-page spread. After leaving school, he enrolled in a photography course at tech. Over the next four years his pictures regularly featured in the two leading surfing titles in Australia (Surfing World and Tracks). Yet despite the early success, Solness never quite felt as though he fitted into the scene. ‘I wasn’t ever a person who was interested in the competitions or the personality side of things. I only was ever interested in the aesthetics of it,’ he explained. ‘I focused more on the form of the wave and I started to use black & white film.’ He’d discovered Ansel Adams and the Zone System. While other surf photographers were chasing perfect colour, Solness was experimenting with exotic darkroom techniques such as water bath development (an exacting process that allows a negative to convey a wide range of values from deepest shadow to lightest highlight). In retrospect it’s perhaps not too strange that by the time he finished tech, Solness was ready to move in a new direction. ‘I bought a Honda CX500 motorcycle. I had a silver case under the back seat ...under a canvas bag ...with

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a chain over it. You’d open it up and out would pop an Olympus OM1 and an OM2 and four lenses — a 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and 300mm.’ As well, he added, ‘I had all my camping gear on it [so it was] severely overloaded when I first left.’ Solness got on his heavily laden bike and headed northwest to the Gulf country. It was to be one of those watershed eras that so often seem to coincide with one’s early 20s. ‘Suddenly [I] saw landscapes and open spaces,’ he said. ‘I was in a complete, trance-like wonderment at this landscape. I didn’t know what it meant, but I ended up staying on this trip for almost two years. I was on a buzz, I was on a high the whole time, I was so fascinated with what I was feeling, what I was seeing. I was like a lone, solitary artist, travelling on. And I’d often measure my days by how many good pictures I’d taken.’ Throughout his travels he read voraciously and kept an extensive diary. The writing, he said, was florid, but full of the exuberance of youth and his search for meaning. Processing his own film was out of the question so he did all his shooting on the famous (recently deceased) Kodachrome transparency film. As he finished a roll he’d post it off to Melbourne for processing. Every six months or so, he’d make his way home for a week or two where shortly after saying hi to his parents, he’d lock himself away and spend hours pouring over all the slides he’d taken.


Inspiration

Angophora at Sandstone Ridge, 2009

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Inspiration

Curious rock near Twilight Creek, 2009

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Inspiration

‘I sold a lot of stories when I got back,’ he said. ‘And that gave me the next step in my career.’ Along with features in the likes of Two Wheels and Australian Photography magazines, he also had a major story published in Australian GEO. ‘That was the big breakthrough because that was a very prestigious magazine. It was this 12-page feature on this man and his motorcycle travelling through Australia, asking questions.’ The story was, he said, ‘very raw and honest’ and it clearly caught the eye of someone at the Sydney Morning Herald because not long after the GEO story was published he was offered a job at the Herald. Over the next five years he worked as a photographer at the Herald and the National Times. Following the collapse of the National Times in the Warwick Fairfax debacle, he worked in rapid succession on four different photographic book projects. By the mid-90s he was no longer working in the press, but was instead earning a living from a mix of corporate and editorial work. Although Solness was working in mainstream photography, he hadn’t felt himself a mainstream photographer since those heady days camping out in national parks with only a motorbike and a case of camera gear to his name. ‘I was always this sort of solitary photographer/artist who has seen photography as part of my own journey,’ he said. ‘I didn’t always make the best career decisions in terms of making opportunities for myself, because I was always more interested in the process of evolving ideas. It’s always been important to me to [maintain my] integrity.’ After living and working as a freelancer in Darwin, Solness returned to Sydney in 2007 where he fulfilled a long held ambition to become a father. The following year was a profoundly difficult one. He and his partner split up and it was a time when he frankly says he often felt pretty bleak. And yet, he said, ‘some of my best work has come from when I’ve been vulnerable. This latest work, which I’ve called, Illuminated Landscape, is a perfect example. It came from a point of extreme vulnerability.’ The idea of going out at night and shooting pictures of the bush really crystallised for him around Christmas in 2008. Some years earlier he’d produced a series of images in which he’d used long exposures so that he could trace the outlines of aboriginal stone engravings with a small torch. Subsequently, while working with a designer on a corporate job, he was introduced to sophisticated layering techniques in Photoshop. The idea that one could construct a single image by layering multiple separate exposures may have gone against the his photojournalist instincts, but a seed had nevertheless been sown. From the initial idea to his first exhibition took a scant three-and-a-half months. The parameters of the project were (and are) quite specific: all images have to be taken not more than 50km from the GPO in Sydney; they are captured in wild places away from the city’s light pollution; they are captured as the moon waxes toward full; and above all they cannot impinge on Solness’ fatherly responsibilities.

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Inspiration

Muskie in the wet season

In most cases his ďŹ nal images are constructed from multiple layers. Each of the layers is a separate image, typically captured in under three minutes with his Nikon D3. During the time the shutter is open, Solness uses a torch to carefully â&#x20AC;&#x153;paintâ&#x20AC;? a speciďŹ c area in the scene that he wishes to be part of the ďŹ nal picture. As you might imagine, it is a time-consuming and demanding process. particularly when the scene heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s working on occupies a large space. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The most ambitious one,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he said, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;would be CrayďŹ sh Pools After Rain. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole sort of ampitheatre of layers, of platforms, of rocks and waterfalls. There are about 15 different segments in that photograph.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Given that each of those segments may have taken multiple attempts at lighting to achieve the best effect, one can easily understand why heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d have come home pretty late on that particular night. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I saw a good quote from Derrick Hynd, who talked about deconstructing surďŹ ng and how he likes to put it back together again. I thought thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m doing here, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m deconstructing the process so that I can see what it consists of. So each piece of the landscape has

18

been deeply meditated upon. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not meditating on an entire scene, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m meditating on every little piece of grass, every pattern of leaf and by deconstructing it, it gives me a much greater sense of detail because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m actually really considering every little bit. Every little bit of that picture is a decision by me to shine a torch on that part of the landscape.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;What I love about it is that this is subjectivity at a whole new level. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m deciding which part of the landscape I want to reveal rather than the sun telling me. I become the conductor, the choreographer of the light. The torch is like a magic wand and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something very liberating about that.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Invoking the image of a priest attending a shrine, he added, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m with the torch sort of devotionally revealing stuff. I went through a lot of darkness before this series, so it was very symbolic to walk out of this dark period of my life.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; A devotional and meditative approach to his work is essential. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;When Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m out there, I feel such a connection to the bush. These subjects seem so mysterious and beautiful to me. I want to celebrate this beauty, to convey this beauty to people. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like a devotion to say â&#x20AC;&#x153;this is a beautiful rock... Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



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landscape... country... We are lucky to be Australians. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s be grateful for thisâ&#x20AC;?.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;As a photojournalist Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been dedicated to allowing the image to speak to me. Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m saying Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m going to step into this picture and become the choreographer. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve changed roles because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had to become more proactive. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a whole new edge to my work now. If I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t dig deep and draw on my own experiences as a photographer, I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t survive.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; When Solness opened his ďŹ rst exhibition in early 2009 he told how he speciďŹ cally addressed the photographers in the audience. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;[I said] in this environment, those who want to survive and do well, need to draw on what they possess as an individual photographer and ďŹ nd a way of deďŹ ning themselves to separate from everyone else. Stand up and say â&#x20AC;&#x153;this is what I am, this is what I doâ&#x20AC;?. And do it well. Produce work that is not dervative, easily copied or mass-produced.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;  0ETERĂŚ3OLNESSĂŚ0HOTOJOURNALISTĂŚ0TYĂŚ,TDĂŚĂŚ 0/ĂŚ"OXĂŚ ĂŚ-AROUBRA ĂŚ.37 ĂŚĂŚ!USTRALIA 0HĂŚ  ĂŚ ĂŚ-OBĂŚĂŚĂŚ WWWSOLNESSCOMAU


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Inspiration

4gRTTSX]VTg_TRcPcX^]b Queensland commercial photographer Ross Eason uses his mastery of digital enhancement to optimise results without compromising his sense of reality.

By Steve Packer

Ross Eason bases his Sunshine Coast commercial photography business on exceeding clientsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; expectations, and he has the skill, creative conďŹ dence and work ethic to do so. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the other factors â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the ones beyond his control â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which can make the task an unforseen challenge. For example, he was off the coast of New Caledonia earlier this year, shooting a luxury 21-metre cabin cruiser. The client had spent many thousands of dollars getting the product to the location and Eason had attended to every detail of the shoot. That included making sure the weather report was good. Unfortunately, the actual weather wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. It was overcast, producing nothing but ďŹ&#x201A;at grey light. But even then, Eason had his mastery of Photoshop to fall back on. You can see the results, and similar â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;before-and-afterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; examples of his sophisticated digital enhancement, by visiting Eason Creative Photographyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website (www.eason.com.au). An item in the siteâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entertaining and educational News section tells the full story. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Photoshop as become a way of life for professional photographers,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; says Eason. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Everybody has a slightly different view of it, and to me itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just another tool to be used. But it has to be used wisely. When itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s done poorly, you tend to notice it, and you shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Images that reek of poor Photoshopping just demean the industry.

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The way I see it, every client and job is different. A good photographer should do their homework so they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t end up in bad situations. But it does happen, due to all sorts of things â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the weather turning foul, models not showing up, somebody not delivering, or whatever. But as professional photographers, with all the tools at our disposal â&#x20AC;&#x201D; be it cameras or computers or, going back to the ďŹ lm days, just using movements on a camera â&#x20AC;&#x201D; we should have the conďŹ dence to use those tools as we see ďŹ t to make sure we service the client.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Which doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;anything goesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; kind of operator. He draws the line at misrepresenting reality. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had clients ask me to drop in views that are unrealistic. Such as the property developer who wanted the distant ocean brought closer to his new high-rise so it would look like you could almost cast a line from the balcony. Or the real estate agents who ask me to take out power poles and power lines. But I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unethical to do that sort of thing and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not bashful in saying no. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll ďŹ nd a solution if I can â&#x20AC;&#x201D; maybe shoot from another angle or crop â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but I wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t misrepresent a scene. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve probably lost jobs because of it, and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have an issue with it. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m happy to die

Âś8¡eTWPSR[XT]cbPbZ\Tc^ Sa^_X]eXTfbcWPcPaTd]aTP[XbcXR P]S8¡\]^cQPbWUd[X]bPhX]V]^¡ poor, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m also happy to die ethical.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Eason uses Mamiya ZD and Nikon D3 cameras. He has a lot of pro lighting gear, but uses it very selectively. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve reďŹ ned my lighting over the years. I try to keep it looking natural, using small amounts of well controlled light rather than gobs of it. Scanning and Photoshop allows you to do that.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

DARKROOM RAT Eason, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s based in Buderim, an hourâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s drive north of Brisbane, has more than 30 years of experience in commercial photography. He was made an associate of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography in 1998 and awarded its Master of Photography distinction in 2003. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I left school in Sydney in 1973 when I was offered a job as a darkroom rat in a commercial studio,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; he says. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Jobs in photography were as rare as hensâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; teeth and you had to know somebody. I would have been crazy not to take it.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; He worked for a couple of other photographers, bought his way into a business, then established his own business. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;In Sydney it was very much a corporate, retail and advertising market. I used to do a lot of work for computer companies, catalogs and PR companies. One of my clients was Apple Computers and I recognised digital was the way to go quite early on and seized the opportunity. Just when I was leaving Sydney for Queensland in the early 1990s, digital was the buzzword and I bought a scanner, then a couple more. I still have them. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not averse to shooting ďŹ lm if a job requires it, but the bulk of my clients donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

Accor Dairy, New Zealand

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Inspiration

BELOW:

Invest Australia Electron Microscope- University of Queensland

BELOW:

Grand Mercure Twin Waters sunshine Coast Queensland

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Inspiration

‘This image was designed to represent the total experience of visiting the client’s aquarium, Siam Ocean World, in Bangkok,’ says Ross Eason. ‘It’s a composite of about 12 shots because it would have been almost impossible to do as one shot. When you’re dealing with sharks or marine creatures, you can’t say, “Look, the exposure’s going to be down an eighth of a second, so can you just hold it there?” The main shot took half a day to set up, with eight high-power flashlights producing 30,000 watt seconds. We customdesigned a triggering device so the camera, in an underwater housing, could fire the flashes above water.’ ABOVE:

Siam Ocean World Bangkok

want to see film. They wouldn’t know what to do with it and they would have trouble finding someone to scan it properly.’ Most of his work is now in the tourism, resort and property development area, and he continues to do some product and food photography, and portraits and weddings. He also does some aerial photography from a helicopter. Even though he lives in Queensland — where, as everybody knows, it’s ‘beautiful one day, perfect the next’ — he estimates that he gets about 12 ideal days a year for this work. In a recently posted item on the website, he explained to potential clients that such a day has no smog or haze, sun without cloud, and very light winds keeping the ocean flat and smooth. While most of his work is commissioned, he recently introduced cost-shared aerial photographic runs on days that match the above conditions. With much of his outdoor work being on the Gold Coast, an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, he’s accustomed to long days with two-hour commutes. ‘Long days are mandatory for a commercial photographer if you’re going to

23


Inspiration

ABOVE:

Riviera Marine 70’ Fly bridge cruiser New Caledonia retouched shot LEFT:

Riviera Marine Noumea

survive,’ he says. ‘That includes finding the time for your marketing and taking care of the business side.’ His wife, Judy, who does a lot of the marketing and some of the Photoshopping, is effectively his production manager.

SHARING SECRETS There’s also the time he puts into his stylish website. Allowing people to view the before-and-after shots, and posting articles on subjects such as the purpose and requirements of model releases, means taking an uncommonly candid approach to his working methods. ‘A few years ago, maybe I would have said I’m not going to share my secrets, and I know a lot of other

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photographers would say that. Photography is a very secretive society in some ways. But the site is really there to educate my clients. If other photographers pick up on it... well, there’s nothing you can do about that when you’re on the web.’ The before-and-after comparisons are to educate clients about what a good marketing photo should look like, he says, quickly adding: ‘That’s not to say my photos are good.’ - The fact that he was asked to be a judge at the recent AIPP Queensland professional photography awards, and he won three silver awards at the event (without being able to vote for his own work), would indicate otherwise. 


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Ballarat International Foto Biennale Inspiration

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BIFB PHOTOGRAPHER PROFILE:

This is from the series Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m showing at BIFB 09. Camera: Canon AE-1; Lens, Canon FD, 20mm; Film: Fuji, ISO 800 slide ďŹ lm 26

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Self-portrait. The weekly newspaper is called die Zeit (The Time). The date of each issue can be read on the print. Camera: Plaubel universal III; Lens: Super Angulon 90mm; Film: Ilford HP 5, 13 x 18cm.

Q: How long have you been taking pictures? A: I started when I was 13 years old with my grandfather’s folding camera. A little later I bought my first SLR, a Canon AE-1, which I still own. Q: Do you remember your first photograph? A: My first picture hasn’t got a place in my memory. But my first published image was in our local newspaper. It was a shot of a high-jumper taken at the decisive moment. I was 15 and very proud. Q: Your favourite camera and lens? A: I’m a fan of 2:3 format, so I use a Leica CL, which is tiny, silent and has a wide range of fine lenses. I also work with a Fuji GSW 690 (6x9) and with a Plaubel Universal III (13 x 18 cm). The choice of lens depends on my project. Sometimes I feel better with equipment which does not make me cry when I lose or damage it. And sometimes I prefer a pinhole camera. There is no linear scale of quality. Q: Which photographers do you particularly admire? A: Cartier-Bresson. His compositional eye was developed by looking at paintings. He studied them in museums and he was always very conscious of composition even when he was working rapidly. I also admire him for his drawings. William Eugene Smith is very important for me too because he used photography with a strong feeling for humanity and as a political instrument. His photos of suffering people in Minamata (location in Japan of a severe outbreak of mercury poisoning caused by pollution) led to significant changes. The third influential photographer

in my life is Otto Steinert who taught at my Art School at Saarbruecken. His movement called ‘Subjektive Fotografie’ changed views of photography in a very radical way. In the Nazi era it had been a medium of mass manipulation, but he brought photography back to the field of fine art. Q: Three photography books that have influenced you? A: Susan Sontag, On Photography; Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida; Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Technical Reproduction. Q: The best piece of photographic advice you’ve received? A: ‘Be polite’ - Brigitte Kraemer, a photojournalist who receives lots of prizes and medals. Q: Photographic websites you recommend? A: There are many interesting websites. I love to look at the sites of the famous schools for photography sometimes. (Helsinki, Leipzig etc.) And I also love to look at sites with other fine art. Q: Where will your work be exhibited during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale? A: Ballarat Trades Hall, 26 Camp Street, Ballarat.  CONTACT DETAILS

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www.thomasroessler.eu 

www.photoreview.com.au

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Ballarat International Foto Biennale Inspiration

3aTg1a^^Zb  >VST]DcPWDB0

BIFB PHOTOGRAPHER PROFILE:

Q: The best piece of photographic advice youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve received? A: Keep shooting, keep working and donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t let art get in the way â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Wendy MacNeil.

Q: How long have you been taking pictures? A: Since 1973 or thereabouts. Q: Do you remember your ďŹ rst photograph? A: My dog with a friendâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s camera â&#x20AC;&#x201D; made me want a camera of my own. Q: Your favourite camera and lens? A: Kodak Brownie StarďŹ&#x201A;ash, Mamiya 7, Polaroid Pack Film Cameras. Q: Which photographers do you particularly admire? A: Robert Adams, Lee Freidlander, Emmett Gowin.

Q: Where will your work be exhibited during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale? A: Ballarat Mining Exchange, 12 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat. Q: Where can people see more of your work? A: drexbrooks.com (website) and Sweet Medicine: Photographs by Drex Brooks (publication).  CONTACT DETAILS

drex@drexbrooks.com drexbrooks.com

Wakulla Springs, Florida 2001 28

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Peach Tree, Utah. Made with a found lens hand mounted on a Polaroid Pack film camera with type 665 Positive/Negative Film — the lens was cheap and it didn’t cover the whole film area.

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Ballarat International Foto Biennale Inspiration

<X]SPdVPb:PeP[:Pd]Pb;XcWdP]XP XPdbZPb

BIFB PHOTOGRAPHER PROFILE: Q: How long have you been taking pictures? A: It would be quite difďŹ cult to measure the seriousness by results. I guess that my creative pictures I can show now without being ashamed would be from 1994 or so. These would be my black and white pictures of sand dunes on the Curronian Spit, now a UNESCO protected site on the Lithuanian seaside. I learned how to observe the weather conditions, so that the material of sand becomes more versatile in texture and form. In good evening, or simply, autumnal light, unexpected worlds could emerge in my pictures. Even more strangely would they look in delicate prints that I was doing by myself, with strong sensibility of light, shadow and detail. When it comes to portraiture, it was when I worked as a photographer for the Kaunas State Drama theatre. Q: Do you remember your ďŹ rst photograph? A: It was when I was 13 years old. I actually remember my ďŹ rst rolls of ďŹ lm, rather than single pictures. Most of my memories of my ďŹ rst trials in photography are about ďŹ lm development and working in the mysterious red light of the home lab. My father was a great hobbyist, so he had most of the necessary equipment and chemistry, which I simply took over one day... Q: Your favourite camera and lens? A: In the past year I have been mostly using a Nikon D700 as my main digital camera. In rare and privileged moments, I enjoy using a ďŹ lm camera, my Mamyia 645. But this is only for creative work in landscape and portrait photography. Q: Which photographers do you particularly admire? A: Aleksandras Macijauskas (Lithuania), Walker Evans (USA), Graham Miller, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Australian, our contemporary from Fremantle, WA!

Q: The best piece of photographic advice youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve received? A: We have heard it millions of times, that a picture is worth a thousand words. A photograph has to have a story within the frame, since photography is already a language. A text can give something extra, but the picture has to be richer in impact and reďŹ&#x201A;ection, with stories that you can follow, maybe invent behind the scene. The quotation might not be exact, but this is what I learned from William Ewing, editor of many great books and director of Musee de lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland. Q: Photographic websites you recommend? A: Oh my goodness! As I said, besides being in photographerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s shoes, I wear a photo curatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hat most of the time. In the latter role, I run across hundreds of websites, and here I need to be honest; it is photography upon which I make my judgements. So it is not the sexiness of design or clever animations, which lead me to liking or disliking the sites. I mostly like personal photographersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sites where they present personal creative projects. I less like presentations of commercial photography, which is a lot more standardised. However, some databases of photo organisations or galleries / museums are nice. www.photography.lt www.marcoambrosi.it www.photography.at Q: Where will your work be exhibited during the Ballarat International Foto Biennale? A: Ballarat Mining Exchange, 12 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat  CONTACT DETAILS

www.light.lt - my portfolioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coming up. info@light.lt, +370 650 77895 (when I am in Lithuania and Europe), Skype: Mi_Kas. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m also on Facebook.

Q: Three photography books that have inďŹ&#x201A;uenced you? A: Un Paese by Paul Strand and Cesare Zavattini, Going East by Max Pam, Body by William Ewing (editor).

Self-portrait on the beach of Fremantle, Western Australia on April 12, 2008 30

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This picture was taken in the village of Kražiai, on a late August evening in 2002, when I by chance came to visit the Trakšelis family in their backyard. They had just slaughtered a pig and were about to cut it up. The family knew me quite well. While they were working, I was snapping the process, and perodically asking the family members to pose for a staged portrait. At one point I got the family gathered in the middle of the yard. The sun was setting and the light became beautifully smooth. I set up my tripod and asked them to stand in line behind the pig. With no depth of field, just sharpness on faces, it is easier to emphasise the people and not the environment! We were joking, the mood was good and they weren’t stressed. The grandfather told me that they were preparing some sausages for a student, who was about to leave for the city after summer holidays. I liked the look of this student, a city guy from a rural family, dressed in pop-style. So I asked him to stand so he was framed by the doorway behind him. I did four shots with a rather slow shutter speed and I allowed an interval of half a minute between shots. Their smiles started fading, and on the fourth picture I felt like I had it. They all became very serious, almost as though worrying, or even mourning. It reminded me of a funeral picture.

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 ISSUE 1 Photography: Essay (Pochwyt, Hollier); Commercial (Simmonds) How to: Enhance portraits; Add colour to B&W; Combine images  ISSUE 2 Photography: Portrait (Cameron, Adler) How to: Mimic depth of field; Fix backlight; Add effects  ISSUE 3 Photography: Landscape (Quirk); Essay (Lewis); Fashion (McLennan) How to: Add effects; Correct colour

 ISSUE 8 Photography: Portrait (Mischkulnig, Rogers), Commercial (Davis) How to: Stitch panoramas; Correct perspective; Balance tones; Use metadata  ISSUE 9 Photography: Landscape (O’Dwyer); Fine Art (Friedlander), Still Life (Bond), Portrait (Jacobson) How to: Manage shutter lag; Archive Images; Recover lost shadow detail; Extend brightness levels

 ISSUE 4 Photography: Fine Art (Zorlu); Fashion (Saad) How to: Fix contrast; Colour match for printing

 ISSUE 10 Photography: News (Moir); Seascape (Roach) How to: Produce usable scans; B&W prints from colour pics; Enlarge parts of a pic

 ISSUE 5 Photography: Fine Art (Mathews Pollard); Landscape (Turner); Fashion (Linnet) How to: Fix blemishes; Make longlasting prints

 ISSUE 11 Photography: Street (Fowler); News (Appleyard); Portrait (Csanyi) How to: Set up a digital darkroom; Levels command; Shoot at low brightness

 ISSUE 6 Photography: Landscape (Bruzzone); Sport (Atley); Essay (Campion) How to: Sharpen; Add lighting effects; Care for memory cards

 ISSUE 12 Photography: Portrait (Coyne, Blue); Antartica (Page); How to: Prints from old negs; Curves command; Sensitivity controls; Bit depth

 ISSUE 7 Photography: Portrait (Holmes); Landscape (Ranken); Fashion (Ridler); News (Hromas) How to: Start editing video; Maximise click-to-click speed.

 ISSUE 13 Photography: News (Postle); Sport (Pretty); Rock Music (Heller-Salvador) How to: Lens test; Shoot big events; Online galleries; Depth of field

 ISSUE 15 Photography: Surf (Grambeau); Fashion (Bramley); Street (Marlow) How to: Fix Perspective; Improve dynamic range

 ISSUE 22 Photography: Wilderness (Mead); Documentary (Parke); Portraiture (Avedon) How to: Visual intrigue; Filters; Self-publishing

 ISSUE 16 Photography: Documentary (Mathie); Wildlife (Awards); Portrait (Laham); 2003 Walkley Awards How to: Optimise dynamic range; Improve scenic shots

 ISSUE 23 Photography: Still Life (Caponigro); Yachting (Bennett) How To: Effects filters; Radical colour conversion; Exhibition-quality B&W prints

 ISSUE 17 Photography: Digital Art (Everton); Photojournalism (Garwood); Skate (Gourlay/Mapstone) How to: Print digital photos; Resize for print & email; Digicam vs DSLR

 ISSUE 24 Photography: Oculi; Daylesford Foto Biennale; Phonecam (Reichold) How to: Shooting; Batch RAW; Highquality printers

 ISSUE 19 Photography: Water (Respondek); Travel (I’anson); Rock’n’roll (Jennings) How to: Shoot underwater; Photo books; Scene settings  ISSUE 20 Photography: Landscape (Elliston); Sport (Carr); Travel (Prior) How to: Remove blemishes; Visual appeal; Colour to mono; Colour fringing  ISSUE 21 Photography: Photojournalism (Clarke); Architecture (Boardman) How to: Remove blemishes; Visual appeal; Colour to mono; Colour fringing

 ISSUE 25 Photography: Sports (Kennedy); Australian Photographers Gallery How to: Fine Art Papers; Zone System; Exhibition-quality B&W  ISSUE 26 Photography: Wildlife (Brandt); Surfing (Wilson) How to: Shoot the tropics; Choose DSLR lenses; Slide shows; Print settings

 ISSUE 29 Photography: Commercial (Blue); Photojournalism (Magee) How to: Dust on DSLR sensors; Sell photos; Clean up noise; High-contrast shooting  ISSUE 30 Photography: Commercial (Bredberg, Pearce, Walker) How to: Overcast shooting; Mono printing; Monitors  ISSUE 31 Photography: Landscape (Eastway); Documentary/Portrait (Morley, Ramsay) How to: Megapixel myth; Stabilisation; 21st Century albums  ISSUE 32 Photography: Holga (Hixson); Pinhole (Browell); Entertainment (Christie) How to: Exposures without a meter; Printer choice; CS3 Raw file conversion  ISSUE 33 Photography: Documentary (Hoppe); Art (Mann); Daylesford Foto Biennale How to: Capture clouds; Image preservation; Folio hard copy options

 ISSUE 27 Photography: Lee Friedlander; Documentary (Brown) How to: Aperture-priority; Ambient lighting; Raw file conversion; Scrapbooks

 ISSUE 34 Photography: Documentary (Lloyd, Kerr); Commercial (Urban Angles) How to: CF cards; Storage; Optical brighteners; Compact cameras

 ISSUE 28 Photography: Sport (Clayton); Ambrotypes (Berkman). How to: Printer jargon; Embed copyright data; Cold conditions.

 ISSUE 35 Photography: Art (Dawe); Landscape (Gueho); Construction (Higgins) How to: Street photography; Efficient printing; Lomography

 ISSUE 36 Photography: Documentary (Bell, Joren); Portrait (Lawrence) How to: File formats; Panoramas; DSLR kits  ISSUE 37 Photography: Aerial (Woldendorp); Surf (Tan); Portrait (Boenig-McGrade) How to: Spot metering; Uneven exposures; Memory cards  ISSUE 38 Photography: Environment (Hill); Landscape (Kah Kit Yoong); Documentary (Hayward) How to: Cameras for kids; Micro Four Thirds System; Infrared effects; Copyright protection  ISSUE 39 Photography: Subcultural (Siewert); Rock Music (Hibberd); Landscape (Norris) How to: Lens adaptors; Geographic tools; High dynamic range; Storage  ISSUE 40 Photography: Paul Pichugin (Seascape); Geoffrey Simpson (Cinematogapher); Gary Steer, Robert Billington, MAP group (BIFB) How to: Autofocus; Sharpening; Inkjet papers; Ink use.


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Firmware Updates

DOWNLOADING UPDATES

A SIMPLE WAY TO ENSURE YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA REMAINS PROBLEM-FREE.

By Margaret Brown Although firmware is defined by Wikipedia as a combination of hardware and software, when applied to digital equipment it generally refers to small programs that control the operations of various internal components. Residing in the interface between the camera’s software and hardware, it is embedded in the microprocessor chip(s) that control all the device’s operations. Firmware covers both routine processes and enabling functions for higher-level procedures. The more complex the device, the more reliant it is on effective firmware. For this reason, camera manufacturers sometimes issue firmware updates to correct errors that have been identified since the camera was released and to enable additional functionality. It’s worth checking the website of the manufacturers of your digital cameras periodically to see whether a firmware update has been released. They are more common in the first six months of a product’s market life but updates will continue to be released as long as the manufacturer feels there are sufficient users of the product in the marketplace to justify the effort. However, don’t feel you MUST update your equipment’s firmware each time a new update is released. Sometimes a firmware update may add functionality that doesn’t apply to equipment you use, such as specific lens models. Before downloading firmware it’s wise to check exactly what the new firmware provides so you can decide whether it’s

Firmware details are usually found in the Set-up menu. The above illustration is from a Canon DSLR camera.

relevant. (Updates that address issues like image quality and general camera functionality are always worth applying.) The first step in the updating process is to check whether an update is available for your camera. Go to the manufacturer’s website (see boxed out section on Recent Updates) and look for your camera’s model number. The version number of the latest update should be listed. Then check the firmware on your camera to see whether it corresponds with the listed version. If it does, you don’t need to update; if it doesn’t — and you consider the update to be worthwhile — follow the steps listed to download, extract and install the update.

Different camera manufacturers present their update information in different ways but in all cases you should expect to find the following when you go to an update site: 1. The version number for the update and the name of the product it relates to. 2. The modifications provided by the update — which you should read. 3. Detailed instructions for downloading and installing the update. In most cases, the following procedure will be outlined: a) Fully charge the camera’s battery (loss of power during the firmware writing operation may disable the camera). b) Format a memory card in the camera then remove the card and insert it into a card reader, which is connected to your computer. c) Locate the firmware update and download it to the memory card. Many updates are provided in compressed, self-extracting files that should automatically transfer to the card. Check the size of the file on the card against the file size listed on the manufacturer’s website to ensure all data has been extracted.

Downloading an update from Sony’s website.

RECENT UPDATES The following manufacturers have issued firmware updates for DSLR cameras in the past six months: Canon: EOS 1000D (Ver.1.0.5.), EOS 450D (Ver.1.1.0.), EOS 50D (Ver.1.0.6.), EOS-1Ds Mark III (Ver.1.1.4.), EOS-1D Mark III (Ver.1.2.5.), EOS 40D (Ver.1.1.1.), EOS 5D Mark II (Ver.1.1.0.). For a complete list of DSLR updates, visit www.canon. com/eos-d/.

Panasonic: DMC-G1 (Ver. 1.2), DMC-L-1 (Ver. 2.1), DMC-L10 (Ver. 2.1). Firmware updates can be accessed by going to www. panasonic.jp/support/ global/cs/dsc/download/fts/index.html. This site contains updates for DSLRs and digicams as well as lenses

Nikon: D3 (Ver. 2.00), D2X (Ver. 1.0.1 and 2.00), D2Gs (Ver. 1.0.1 and 2.00), D2H (Ver. 2.0.1), D700 (Ver. 1.01), D300 (Ver. 1.01 and 1.03), D200 (Ver. 2.0.1), D80 (Ver. 1.11), D70 (Ver. 2.0, 1.0.3 and 1.0.1/1.0.2), D40 (Ver. 1.10 and 1.11). For a complete list of updates, visit www.nikon.com. au and click on Service and Support, then product Support. Current firmware updates are listed in the Answers sub-menu.

Pentax: K20D (Ver. 1.03), K2000 (Ver. 1.10), K100D (Ver. 1.02). Firmware updates for DSLRs and digicams can be found at www.pentaximaging. com/support/self-support/.

Olympus: E3 (Ver. 1.4), E-30 (Ver. 1.1), E-420 (Ver. 1.1), E-520 (Ver. 1.1). Firmware updates can be accessed by going to www.olympus.com.au and selecting Support. This site contains updates for both DSLRs and digicams as well as Zuiko Digital lenses

36

Sigma: SD14. Firmware updates can be accessed at www.sigma-sd14.com/. Sony: DSLR-A700 (Ver. 4). Firmware updates for DSLRs and digicams can be found at www.sony. com.au/section/downloads. Enter the model number for your camera in the Search Model box on the page.

Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



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Check the files on the memory card to make sure they conform with the details provided on the manufacturer’s website.

d) Once the update has been transferred to the card, remove the card from the card reader as described in the documentation for your computer or the card reader and prepare to install it in the camera.


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INSTALLING UPDATES To install the update in your camera, insert the memory card containing the update into the camera and switch the camera on. Set the camera to one of the P, A, S or M shooting modes so you can access all the menu items. Navigate to the folder in the Setup menu that contains the firmware. Press the Set or OK button to select this item. Then follow the installation instructions on the manufacturer’s website. The camera will normally recognise the update file so usually all you need do is press the OK or Set button to start the updating process. The user interface for updating firmware on Canon cameras.

The user interface for updating firmware on Canon cameras.

A display on the camera’s LCD shows the progress of the updating. Don’t make any adjustments to the camera or press any control buttons while updating is in progress as this may damage the camera’s controls. The camera will show the progress of the update.

The user interface for updating firmware on Nikon cameras.

Once the update is completed, the camera will instruct you to switch the power off. You can then remove the memory card with the firmware update on it.

Once the update has been installed you may switch off the camera and remove the memory card. In some cameras you also need to remove the battery for a minute or so and then replace it. The update will take effect immediately and you can check in the camera’s set-up menu to ensure it has been installed.

The user interface for updating firmware on Sony cameras.

Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



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37


tips: editing

KliePfli=Xmfli`k\ ;`^`kXcG_fkf`ekfXe

F`cGX`ek`e^ LJ@E>C8P<IJ8E;=@CK<IJ @EG?FKFJ?FG<C<D<EKJKF :I<8K<8G8@EK<ICP<==<:K% By Margaret Brown

S

ome digital images lend themselves to artistic manipulation and it can be fun to experiment with the ďŹ lter effects in your favourite software application to see what you end up with. In this tutorial we will edit an image to make it look like an oil painting. The process is very simple and straightfoward and can produce impressive results. Most ďŹ lter effects are more visible when applied to relatively small (between 15 x 10 cm and A4-sized) images. They donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to work as well with very large image ďŹ les because the maximum adjustments possible tend to be limited. Still, making a snapshot look like an oil painting can be impressive in itself. STEP 1: Start Adobe Photoshop Elements and open the image you wish to transform. Resize it to the desired size with a resolution of 300 pixels/inch.

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tips: editing

DIGITAL FINE ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY SUPPLIERS

STEP 2: Click on > Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Hue/Saturation > and increase the image saturation to about +40. Click OK.

STEP 4: Create a duplicate layer by selecting Layer > Duplicate Layer.

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STEP 5: Now select > Filter > Artistic > Palette Knife.

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STEP 3: Select > Filter> Distort > Glass to apply a glass ďŹ lter to the image.

This will call up an option box in which you should apply the following settings: Distortion â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 5, Smoothness â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3, Texture â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Canvas, Scaling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 60%. Click OK.

Specials are available while stocks last only. All prices are ex GST and may be subject to delivery charges.

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STEP 6: Using the sliders in the upper right corner of the screen, adjust the brush size and sharpness until you achieve the look you want. We have selected the following settings: Stroke size â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 30, Stroke Detail â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3, softness â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 0. Click OK. If at any time you wish to view the entire image instead of the 100% enlargement provided by default, selecting Fit on Screen in the pop-up menu in the lower left corner of the screen changes the view accordingly.


tips: editing

STEP 7: Create another duplicate layer as you did in Step 4. Go to the Filters dropdown menu in the top toolbar but, instead of selecting the Artistic Effect, select > Brush Strokes > Angled Strokes.

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STEP 9: Hold down the Shift key and select the three new layers you created previously. Then click on Layer in the tool bar along the top of the screen and select Merge Layers. This should combine the selected layers, leaving you with two layers.

I N T HE L AND OF THE MI D NI GHT S UN

Adjust the sliders to the following settings: Direction Balance â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 50, Stroke Length â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 6, Sharpness â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1. STEP 10: Make sure the top layer has been selected (the labelling box on its right side will be darker than the background). Select Enhance > Adjust Colour > Hue/Saturation and move the Saturation slider all the way to the left. This converts the image layer to black and white.

STEP 8: Create another duplicate layer then select > Filter > Texture > Texturiser.

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STEP 11: Making sure the top layer is still selected, move to the Layers dialog box in the lower right corner of the screen and change the blend mode to Overlay. This will re-set the image on the screen back to colour.

In the adjustment area in the top right corner of the screen, select Canvas in the Texture box then adjust the sliders until you achieve the desired effect. We have chosen: Scaling â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 160%, Relief â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 7, Light â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Top Left or Top Right. Click OK.

try to stay focused

T R AV E LY U K O N . C O M / P H O T O G R A P H Y

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tips: editing

STEP 12: Return to the Filter drop-down menu and select Stylize > Emboss.

Step 14: The ďŹ nal step is to merge the remaining layers into a single image by selecting Layer > Flatten Image.

In the dialog box that appears, adjust the settings to Angle â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 150 degrees, Height â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 1 pixels, Amount â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 500%.

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Photoshop Elements isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only software application you can use for replicating artistic effects. However, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the best one weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve found for replicating the appearance of an oil painting. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for an alternative application, make sure it includes a suitable selection of ďŹ lters. Finding the right software is a challenge. Although basic freeware applications like Googleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Picasa may include a range of ďŹ lter effects, they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide any that replicate watercolour or oil paintings. Applications that provide â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one-clickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; solutions for giving photos a painterly look donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t provide enough control for photographers who want realistic simulations â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and they may not work equally well with all types of images.

Step 13: Using the blending mode slider on the right side of the Layers dialog box, adjust the opacity on the top layer to around 50%.

One worthwhile alternative is Corel Painter X, which provides a wider range of ďŹ lter effects than Photoshop Elements â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also more expensive. GMX â&#x20AC;&#x201C; PhotoPainter from Gertrudis Graphics (www.gertrudisgraphics.com) is another, cheaper option. A Google search on â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;software with artistic effectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; should help you locate some additional programs.

The ďŹ nal image.

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tips: buying

Âť

BUYING GUIDE :Xd\iX9X^j :Xj\j 8JLIM<PF=JFD<<O:@K@E>E<NFGK@FEJ=FI KI8EJGFIK@E>8E;GIFK<:K@E>PFLI<HL@GD<EK% By Margaret Brown

A

good camera bag is one of the best forms of insurance you can buy for your camera equipment. Whether you need a compact camera pouch for your slimline digicam or a professional bag to hold DSLR bodies and lenses plus accessories, choosing the ideal bag can be a daunting exercise. In this feature we look at the issues you should take into account when selecting a camera bag.

Size is one of the prime factors to consider â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and bigger is not necessarily better. Choose your bag to suit the equipment you wish to carry at any one time. Your camera and its accessories should ďŹ t snugly inside the bag, which should contain compartments for storing small items to prevent them from rattling about around inside and damaging lenses and monitor screens.

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Š WWW.PLATONPHOTO.COM

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FOR ORIGINALS

1/3 VERTICAL AD

So the ďŹ rst consideration before buying a camera bag is what kind of camera and how much peripheral equipment you want to store and carry. You may ďŹ nd you need several bags with different capacities and conďŹ gurations to suit different situations. All photographers will experience times that require minimal equipment and most serious photographers have â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lightweightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;full complementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; options. While owners of compact digicams can usually ďŹ nd pouch-like bags satisfactory, DSLR owners with a couple of lenses require larger, more robust and conďŹ gurable bags. These should have padded spacers that can be adjusted to accommodate lenses and extra items like spare memory cards and batteries, chargers, ďŹ lters and ďŹ&#x201A;ash units. Some photographers may also require space for a notebook computer or portable storage device. Regardless of how much equipment you wish to carry, the main purpose of a camera bag is to protect the equipment it contains. This should include protection against the weather, impact shock and theft. Good camera bags cover all three aspects, often in different ways, as demonstrated in the examples below.

N<8K?<IGIFF=@E> WeatherprooďŹ ng can be achieved in several ways. If you require a totally waterproof case that will protect your gear even if it falls into water, a hard case with o-ring sealing is the best option. However, Loweproâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s DryZone series of backpacks and the Camera Armor Seattle series of bags are also designed to be totally waterproof, thanks to an inner lining with a water-tight closure. Photo RagÂŽ Baryta combines the virtues of a luxury cotton paper with a traditional baryta coating and was recently awarded as best ďŹ ne art inkjet paper. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This paper is sumptuous. While using technology to move into the future, you can feel the history of photography embedded in its ďŹ ber.â&#x20AC;? (Platon) The Digital FineArt Collection offers exclusive ďŹ ne art paper with an exquisite feel and spectacular image quality for inkjet printing. Thanks to our unique papers, developed from 425 years of quality craftsmanship and expertise, images are made magically individual. For more information visit www.hahnemuehle.com

@DG8:KJ?F:BGIFK<:K@FE Impact shock protection usually comes from padding, and most bags are lined with plastic foam and have padded internal compartments for additional shock absorption. Many bags have customisable interiors with tie-downs or strips of padding that attach to the inner walls â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and each other â&#x20AC;&#x201C; via Velcro tags. Pouches on the inner walls hold small items like ďŹ lters and memory cards. K`\$[fnejXe[gX[[\[ `ek\ieXcZfdgXikd\ekj gifm`[\Y\kk\igifk\Zk`fe ]fi\hl`gd\ekk_XeXccfn`e^ `kkfdfm\]i\\cp`ek_\ ZXd\iXYX^%

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46

If you simply want something that can withstand the occasional shower of rain, many bags can offer this protection. Look for bags made from canvas-like materials such as Cordura, or water-resistant nylon. Leather bags also offer good water-resistance. Check that zips are covered with water-resisting ďŹ&#x201A;aps and lids close completely. Some bags come with pull-over shields made from waterproof nylon that can resist heavy downpours.

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Deterring thieves can be difďŹ cult, particularly since most camera bags look as if they are carrying expensive equipment. However, recently, several manufacturers have begun designing camera bags that look more like handbags, purses and travel bags than dedicated camera bags. These bags may provoke less initial interest, but they wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put off determined bag snatchers. Bags with shoulder straps and sling-type bags that can be carried at the front of your body are safer for travellers than backpacks. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s much easier for thieves to slash the straps of a backpack and run off with your gear than to take a bag that is worn on your front.


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Vision that defines a professional EIZO monitors for photography

Âť Camera Pouches

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D8K:?@E>PFLIC@=<JKPC< It pays to consider where you are going and what you plan to do when purchasing a camera bag. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a family photographer who wants a bag for carrying the camera to get-togethers and social events, a relatively lightweight model should do the job. But if you plan to take your camera travelling or on bushwalks, a rugged camera bag that can tolerate the occasional shower and withstand temperature extremes and rough handling is necessary. Look for one with a weather-resistant cover that can protect the bag and its contents if you get caught in the rain.

Compact digicam owners can ďŹ nd plenty of options, including camera pouches with belt clips and/or wrist straps, small shoulder bags and clip-on pouches that can be attached to larger bags. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to ensure you have adequate protection for the camera â&#x20AC;&#x201C; including thick padding and a non-abrasive lining for protecting the LCD screen. Some way of securing the pouch, in the form of a wrist or shoulder strap or belt clip, is advisable.

Âť Compact Camera Bags Compact camera bags are designed to accommodate a medium-sized digicam or small DSLR plus a few accessories. Some models have been designed speciďŹ cally for camcorders but most can be used for either still or video cameras. The distinguishing feature of this category is that all bags hold only one camera at a time. The range of products in this category is extremely wide and includes bags with shoulder straps and pockets for spare batteries and memory cards, bags with tripod slings and bags that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look anything like traditional camera bags.

8nXk\igiff]Zfm\i`jXdljk]fig_fkf^iXg_\ij n_f\eafpYlj_nXcb`e^fiflk[ffiXZk`m`k`\j%

Consider a harness-style holster bag if you engage in adventurous activities and carry a SLR camera with only one, multi-purpose lens. Alternatively, backpacks are ideal for â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;outdoorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; photographers who carry several lenses and/or bodies.

K_`jZfdgXZknXk\igiff]YX^XYfm\ ]ifd:Xd\iX8idfiZXeXcjfZXiipX ZfdgXZkki`gf[% PflZXeZXiipXcck_\XZZ\jjfi`\j pfle\\[]fipfliZfdgXZk[`^`ZXd`e Xj_flc[\iYX^c`b\k_`jdf[\ci`^_k  ]ifdKXdiXZ%

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1/3 VERTICAL AD

EIZO ColorEdge CGWide Range CG222W 22â&#x20AC;? Widescreen CG241W 24â&#x20AC;?Widescreen CG301W 30â&#x20AC;?Widescreen

Advanced LCD colour management made easy www.eizo.com.au For more details contact the EIZO Graphics team T: (02) 9462 7200 E: sales@eizo.com.au On-screen image courtesy of Tim Page.

47


tips: buying

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K_\Jki\\kNXcb\i?Xi[;i`m\n`cc _fc[dfjk(,$`eZ_cXgkfgjXe[ XGifJ`q\;JCIn`k_.'$)''dd ])%/c\ejXkkXZ_\[ Xe[_ff[`e gfj`k`fe%

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Âť Camera Packs Active photographers often prefer a backpack for carrying their equipment as it leaves their hands free for other tasks. There are two basic backpack styles: conventional with shoulder straps; and sling-style, which allows the bag to be moved to the front of the photographerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body without taking it off. Backpacks come in various sizes â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and price points. Smaller packs are designed for a single camera and may also provide space for an extra small lens plus memory cards, ďŹ lters and batteries. KnfX]]fi[XYc\KiXm\cc\i9XZbgXZbj1k_\:K)'']ifd >cXeq_XjXj`e^c\ZfdgXikd\ekk_Xk ZXe_fc[XjdXcc;JCIficXi^\ [`^`ZXd2n_`c\k_\Fgk\o@ek\iZ\gkfi YX^`jc`e\[n`k_Xjg\Z`XcdXk\i`Xc k_Xke\lkiXc`q\jk_\^Xj\jk_Xk ZXlj\\hl`gd\ek kfZfiif[\%

Phone: 1300 723 001 Brands: Kata, Hama, Inca, Arrow, Storm, National Geographic

DIRECT â&#x20AC;şUnitCAMERAS 21/237 Brisbane Road, Labrador, 4215; Phone: 1300 727 056 or (07) 5537 1991 Brand: Jill-E

KENNEDY â&#x20AC;ş663C.R. Chapel Street South Yarra, Vic. 3141; Large packs can accommodate two or more camera bodies plus ďŹ ve or six additional lenses and accessories. Some packs have separate compartments for laptop computers and pockets for mobile phones, GPS units or MP3 players; others can accept a range of add-on pouches. Some packs have attachments for a lightweight tripod. Sling-style packs have one main strap and sometimes an additional thinner tethering strap that connects to the main strap in the centre of the wearerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chest. This type of bag is more comfortable for female photographers.

Âť Professional Bags Professional photographers â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and serious photo enthusiasts â&#x20AC;&#x201C; have highly speciďŹ c needs that depend on the type of work the photographer does. In most cases, the main requirement is to carry a large amount of expensive equipment safely and securely. There are many ways to achieve this objective and photographers need to decide whether they prefer interlocking handles, shoulder straps, harnesses or wheels and steering bars. The most popular choices include large backpacks and hard or soft cases with or without wheels, or modular systems based on a belt to which pouches for individual items are attached. Most bags include facilities for carrying a laptop computer; some with special protective sleeves that can be removed if the photographer needs to work while travelling. Modular systems are ideal for photojournalists and video photographers who constantly change the equipment they take on different jobs. They may include pouches for lenses, microphones, weatherproof shields. Some allow cabling for AV devices to be secured so it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get in the photographerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s way. KXdiXZĂ&#x2039;jLckiXGif(*j_flc[\iYX^XYfm\ ZXe_fc[ knf;JCIjn`k_c\ej\jXkkXZ_\[#+$,\okiXc\ej\j# Ă&#x2022;Xj_\j#XZZ\jjfi`\jXe[X(,$`eZ_cXgkfg%

48

The following list provides details of local distributors for the leading camera bag brands.

ADEAL â&#x20AC;ş2 Baldwin Road, Altona North, Vic. 3025;

Âť Camera Holsters Holster-type bags are popular with active photographers who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wish to carry a lot of gear. Most are available in sizes that ďŹ t ultra-zoom digicams and small DSLR cameras with zoom lens attached, although a few models are designed to take a professional DSLR camera with large telephoto lens attached. The advantage of these bags is quick access to the camera. Most are designed to let you ďŹ&#x201A;ip up the lid and remove the camera in seconds, so they suit sports and wildlife photographers. Most bags in this category are designed to be clipped to a belt or carried on a shoulder strap. However, sling torso bags that can be worn on the front of the photographerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body are a better option for serious photographers. Waterproof covers are available for many models and some regular holster bags can be ďŹ tted with harnesses that allow them to be worn on the photographerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chest. This provides added security in potentially dangerous places and makes the camera even quicker to get at.

:Xd\iX9X^;`jki`Ylkfij

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Phone: (03) 9823 1555 Brand: Tamrac

CRUMPLER â&#x20AC;ş6 Chelmsford Street, Kensington, Vic. 3031; Phone: (03) 9372 1204 Brand: Crumpler

& VIDEO EXTRAS â&#x20AC;şUnitFILM 2, 20 York Road, Ingleburn, 2565; Phone: (02) 9618 3104 Brand: Glanz

â&#x20AC;ş15 HALDEX Phillips Road, Kogarah, NSW 2217; Phone: (02) 9553 8399 Brands: Haldex, Dingo Gear, Cobra, Cortina, Marco, B +W

â&#x20AC;ş

MAXWELL INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA Unit 6, 11-21 Underwood Road, Homebush, NSW 2141; Phone: 1300 366 499 Brands: Acme Made, Camera Armor, Lowepro, Pelican (cases)

PHOTO & VIDEO ACCESSORIES â&#x20AC;şPhone: 1800 508 082 Brands: Domke, Zing

â&#x20AC;şPO TASCO Box 221, Brookvale, NSW, 2100; Phone: (02) 9938 3244 Brand: Optex

THINK TANK PHOTO â&#x20AC;şPhone: 0420 923 981 Brand: Think Tank Photo

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© Lowepro. All rights reserved. Photo: Ed Aiona

The photographer’s essential toolbox

Introducing the Magnum AW Series

The original pro bag since 1976, the new Magnum AW delivers on all tasks: organizing, protecting and transporting valuable, pro-sized gear.

Topnotch features include: Vertebral Tech™ Shoulder Strap, trolley sleeve and handcart straps, All Weather AW Cover™, premium molded base, padded grab handles and much more.

Ph: 1300 882 517 Fax: 1300 882 519 www.lowepro.com.au

Series includes: Magnum 200 AW, Magnum 400 AW, Magnum 650 AW. Removable notebook sleeve with integrated sunshade included in largest model only.

www.lowepro.com/magnum


buyers guide

DIGITAL SLR

Sony DSLR A380 THE TOP MODEL IN A SUITE OF THREE ALPHA DSLR CAMERAS FOR NOVICE DSLR USERS. Ninety-two grams lighter than its predecessor, the 14.2-megapixel Sony’s DSLR A380 is designed for newcomers to SLR photography and boasts a 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD screen, ‘SteadyShot Inside’ in-camera image stabilisation and dual slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD/SDHC memory cards. Sony’s Bionz image processor supports JPEG and ARW.RAW capture in two aspect ratios; 3:2 and 16:9. The A380’s body is made from black polycarbonate with a rubber-like coating over the front panel to provide a secure grip. Many of the specifications of the new model replicate those of its predecessor. One noteworthy feature is the A380’s new graphical user interface (GUI), which includes a built-in on-screen help guide that shows users the effect of changing aperture and shutter speed settings. The tilting LCD monitor makes it easier to shoot with the camera held high or low, but its resolution remains relatively low. Some subtle differences in the A380’s control layout make it simpler to use than its predecessor. Unlike some recently-released DSLR (and Micro Four Thirds) cameras, the A380 does not support video capture. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 SAM lens that will be supplied with the camera body is a second-generation kit lens that replaces the Minolta-designed 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens supplied with earlier Sony DSLRs. Designed by Sony, it features a new Smooth Autofocus Motor (SAM), which Sony claims provides faster and quieter autofocusing.

PERFORMANCE Like the A350, the review camera was very straightforward to operate in all shooting modes. With normal light levels, autofocusing was generally fast and accurate but in dim lighting, finding focus was something of a hit-and-miss exercise. Focusing for flash shots was more efficient because the camera uses the flash as an AF illuminator. Live View shooting was particularly good when the tilting LCD was angled up or down, or when the camera was held vertically. Metering was close to spoton at most light levels. The built-in image stabiliser proved effective in dim lighting; we estimate it can provide up to 3EV of shutter speed advantage. Subjective evaluation of test shots showed plenty of recorded detail. Colours looked natural in bright sunlight, although slightly cool in shady conditions. The D-Range Optimiser function produced subtle changes, mainly in shadowed areas. Photo Review’s Imatest testing showed the sensor/ lens combination to be capable of slightly higher resolution than expected, with best performance between f/3.5 and f/8. Resolution remained high throughout the sensitivity range and ARW.RAW images produced slightly higher resolution figures than JPEGs (although the difference was less than we’ve seen with some cameras). Colour accuracy was generally good,

50

although Imatest showed skin hues were slightly off the mark and blue saturation was high in JPEG images. With raw files, it was possible to suppress this shift when converting to TIFF files, although this raised red saturation slightly. Lateral chromatic aberration was mostly low, although it increased to moderate with longer focal al lengths, particularly when the lens was stopped down. This increase was confirmed nfirmed by increasing visibility of coloured fringes in test shots. Low-light performance was very good, with accurate colours in long exposures (up to 20 seconds) and no apparent noise in exposures up to ISO 400, but progressive increases thereafter. Colour noise was evident at ISO 3200 and some shadow detail was lost with this setting. Neither of the noise reduction processing settings produced additional image softening, but they did provide an obvious reduction in both colour and pattern noise. The test camera’s flash produced even exposures at all ISO settings and was capable of illuminating an average-sized room at ISO 100. Flash shots were essentially noise-free with noise barely visible at ISO 3200. However sharpness deteriorated slightly at this sensitivity setting. White balance performance was similar to the A350, with residual colour casts remaining in the auto mode under both incandescent and fluorescent lighting. Both pre-sets over-corrected slightly, but the manual measurement system delivered images free of colour casts. No in-camera correction facilities are provided, but these casts would be easy to remedy in editing software. The test camera took less than half a second to power up and shut down and shot-to-shot times averaged just under 0.4 seconds without flash but around 2.5 seconds with flash. We measured an average capture lag of 0.2 seconds, which reduced to less than 0.1 seconds with pre-focusing. It took just under four seconds to process and store each JPEG image, 4.3 seconds for a raw file and 4.5 seconds for a RAW+JPEG pair. Shooting times were only marginally longer when the live view mode was used. In the continuous shooting mode, the camera was able to record a burst of 10 frames in 5.2 seconds when the viewfinder was used, or 5.7 seconds when Live View was used. Processing appears to be on-thefly as it took 4.8 seconds to finish storing the burst. When shooting ARW.RAW files, a burst of 10 images was recorded in 6.7 seconds, with capture rates slowing after six shots. Processing the burst took 16.3 Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

seconds. sec For RAW+ RAW JPEG files, a burst of seven sev shots was recorded in 5.7 se seconds, with significant slowing after four shots. It took 19.8 seconds to process this burst. The kit lens was relatively flare-free in typical backlit situations. However, it was possible to force it to flare when the sun was just outside the subject frame. 

IN SUMMARY An entry-level DSLR with features that can help novice photographers to discover the benefits of SLR photography. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.5



Image quality:

9.0



Overall:

9.0

RRP:

$1499 (as reviewed with the 18-55mm lens) DISTRIBUTOR:

Sony Australia; 1300 720 071; www.sony.com.au/dslr

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

23.6 x 15.8 mm Interlace scan Primary Colour CCD sensor with 14.9 million photosites (14.2 megapixels effective) A/D PROCESSING: 12-bit LENS MOUNT:

Sony Alpha, Minolta and Konica Minolta AF lenses FOCAL LENGTH CROP FACTOR: 1.5x IMAGE FORMATS:

JPEG (Fine, Standard), RAW, RAW+JPEG IMAGE SIZES:

3:2 aspect ratio: 4592 x 3056 (14M), 3408 x 2272 (7.7M), 3408 x 2272 (3.5M); 16:9 aspect ratio: 3872 x 2576 (12M), 2896 x 1920 (6.5M), 1920 x 10280 (2.5M) SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

30 to 1/4000 second DIMENSIONS (WXHXD): 128 x 97 x 71.4 mm WEIGHT: Approx. 490g (without battery and card)


buyers guide

DIGITAL SLR

Canon EOS 500D AN ENTHUSIAST’S DSLR WITH SOME HIGH-END FEATURES. Positioned between the 450D and the 50D, Canon’s EOS 500D has the same 15.1-megapixel effective resolution as the EOS 50D and the same Full High Definition movie recording capabilities as the EOS 5D Mark II. Build quality matches the 500D’s market position, which is a step above entry level. The rear panel sports the same 3-inch, 902,000-dot (VGA), TFT monitor as the 50D and the same Interactive Quick Control Panel. The EOS 500D has two advantages over other ‘inbetweener’ models: its resolution is higher and it offers 14-bit raw files, whereas its competitors’ raw files are only 12-bit. JPEG options are pretty standard and the buffer memory is similar in size to the 50D’s. The 500D uses the same DiG!C 4 processor as other recent Canon DSLRs and has the latest version of the Canon’s EOS Integrated Cleaning System. The button control layout is almost identical to the EOS 1000D and like other entry-level models, the 500D has only one control dial and no joystickstyle multi-controller. More toggling is needed to access some functions as a result. To record the video soundtrack, tiny microphone and speaker grilles are located on the front and rear panels. The former can be seen as a cluster of four dots above the EOS logo, while the latter is a three dot cluster just below the AE/AF lock and AF point selection/ magnifier buttons. A couple of changes have been made to the menu system. Flash control is now located on the first page of the recording menu, along with Peripheral Illumination Correction for correcting vignetting with JPEG files. (For raw files, this correction is provided in the supplied Digital Photo Professional software.) The 50D’s AF Microadjustment is not available but ISO expansion is provided for the first time in a Canon consumer-level camera. In another first for a consumer DSLR, unlike previous entry-level models, where you can only shoot raw files in the Creative Zone shooting modes, users of the EOS 500D can record CR2.RAW and RAW+JPEG images in the Basic Zone still capture modes. The Live View mode on the 500D is almost the same as the 50D and it’s only available in the Creative Zone modes. Autofocusing is supported but it’s relatively slow, particularly in low-contrast situations. Face detection is new and the AF frame is superimposed on the primary face. The frame glows green when focus is achieved but you can’t magnify the image to check focusing. You require a Class 6 SDHC card with at least 4GB capacity to shoot video clips, and the EOS 500D offers the same movie recording options as the EOS 5D Mark II (and uses the same recording system). Autofocusing is activated by pressing the AE Lock button and the default AF setting in movie mode uses the central AF frame only. As with stills capture, this frame can be moved with the arrow pad buttons.

PERFORMANCE Subjective assessment of test shots showed metering to be accurate with all metering patterns. Autofocusing in adequate lighting was fast and accurate but hunting occurred in dim lighting. Imatest showed resolution to be slightly below expectations for both JPEG and raw files. Raw files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Digital Photo Professional gave slightly higher figures than JPEGs. Best performance with the 18-55mm kit lens was at the 25mm mm focal length with an aperture setting of f/8. Colour accuracy was fair and higher saturation in the red band was evident in test shots as a warmish cast. Low-light performance was outstanding, with very little noise at ISO 3200. Long exposure noise reduction produced slight image softening, while high ISO noise reduction reduced colour noise at ISO 12,800, with noticeable image softening. White balance performance was similar to the EOS 50D. The auto setting on the review camera showed the usual auto white balance problems under incandescent lighting but shots taken under fluorescent lighting had close to natural colours. Both pre-sets tended towards slight over-correction but in-camera correction allowed natural-looking colour balances to be obtained under most types of lighting (including mixed lighting). Flash performance was generally good and the flash could illuminate an average-sized room at ISO 200. Flash exposures were consistent all the way up to the highest ISO setting and little noise was visible right up to ISO 3200. Video quality was similar to clips from the EOS 5D Mark II and almost as impressive in low light levels, although the review camera had some difficulties setting exposures after dark. Audio quality wasn’t quite at the same standard — but not far off. The test camera powered-up in less than half a second and capture lag averaged just under 0.1 seconds, both with and without pre-focusing. However, while JPEG images were processed in just over two seconds, it took 4.6 seconds on average to process each raw file. In our high-speed continuous shooting tests with a 4GB Class 4 SDHC card, the test camera recorded 10 Large/Fine JPEG frames in 2.6 seconds. It took 15.2 seconds to process this burst. In CR2.RAW mode, the camera captured 7 frames in 1.7 seconds and took 27.5 seconds to process this burst. With RAW+JPEG recording, processing was much slower: We recorded five coupled files in 6.3 Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

seconds before the buffer memory filled and the capture rate slowed significantly. It took more than 30 seconds to process thi this b burst. t 

IN SUMMARY A capable DSLR for photographers who require a broad range of adjustable functions plus Full HD video recording. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.3



Image quality:



Overall:

8.5 (Stills), 9.0 (video) 8.5

RRP:

$1499 (body only) DISTRIBUTOR:

Canon Australia; 1800 021 167; www.canon.com.au.

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor with 15.1 megapixels effective LENS MOUNT:

Canon EF/EF-S FOCAL LENGTH CROP FACTOR:

1.6x IMAGE FORMATS:

Stills – JPEG, CR2.RAW; Movies - MOV (Video: H.264, Audio: Linear PCM) IMAGE SIZES:

Stills - 4752 x 3168, 3456 x 2304, 2352 x 1568; Movies - HD: 1920 x 1080 (16:9), SD: 640 x 480 (4:3) both at 30 fps SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

1/4000 sec – 30, bulb, X-sync at 1/200 sec. DIMENSIONS (WXHXD):

128.8 x 97.5 x 61.9 (body only) WEIGHT:

480 grams (body only)

51


buyers guide

DIGITAL SLR

Pentax K-7 A NEW TOP-OF-THE-RANGE MODEL FROM PENTAX. The 14.6-megapixel Pentax K7 is targeted at experienced SLR photographers and boasts a solid metal body, weatherproof sealing and a wide range of user-adjustable controls, including HD video recording at 30 frames/second. The shutter unit is rated for 100,000 cycles and supports a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second plus a high-speed continuous shooting mode of up to 40 JPEG images at approximately 5.2 frames per second. Slightly smaller and 45 grams lighter than the K20D, with which it shares many functions, the K7 has a larger, higher-resolution monitor. An AF-assist light is added between the lens mount and grip, which feels deeper and very secure. The rear panel control layout has been re-designed to accommodate the new monitor, and buttons for the Live View shooting mode and auto exposure mode have been added. The K7 sports a new optical viewfinder with a glass pentaprism and fixed Natural-Bright-Matte III focusing screen. The mode dial now has a central locking button plus an extra video shooting mode. Two new buttons access exposure compensation and ISO settings. Two e-dials are provided. The standard Pentax shooting modes are provided, with P, A, S and M, plus sensitivity (Sv) and a ‘TAv’ mode that lets photographers adjust both aperture and shutter speed while the camera controls the ISO setting. A User mode lets you retrieve exposure combinations you have saved via the Setup menu. Custom Image processing, Digital Filters, Digital Preview, Live View and Instant Review are all included. The new tabbed menu design in the K7 makes most menu functions more accessible than they were in the K20D. Pentax has re-designed the dust removal mechanism and added Horizon Correction, Composition Adjust and an Electronic Level display. The K7 also has a new 77-segment multi-pattern metering system. Also new is the SAFOX VIII+ wideframe autofocus system, which has 11 sensor points including nine cross-type sensors. The video capabilities in the K7 are based on its Live View system, which carries over from the K20D. Shooting is accessed via the mode dial and Live View capture must be used. Recording starts and stops when the shutter button is pressed, and autofocusing isn’t supported during recording. Audio is recorded monaurally, although users can connect a stereo microphone to the 3.5mm diameter terminal on the camera if they wish to record stereo sound. The camera uses the AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format to record video clips with a frame rate of 30 fps. Three sizes are supported: 1536 x 1024 pixels and 1280 x 720 pixels with a16:9 aspect ratio, and 640 x 416 pixels in 4:3 aspect ratio. Three quality levels are also provided. Maximum clip length is 25 minutes with a limit of 4GB.

PERFORMANCE The review camera was comfortable to operate and once the menu system is mastered it becomes

52

reasonably easy (though not exactly simple) to use. Test shots were acceptably sharp and had natural-looking colours, although outdoor shots in bright sunlight were contrasty with the default Bright Custom Image setting, and indoor shots appeared ared ural slightly warm. The Natural setting produced betterr results. vated red Imatest revealed elevated saturation in both JPEG and processed raw files plus above-average saturation levels for JPEGs. With both JPEGs and DNG.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw with no additional processing, resolution was slightly below expectations for a 14-megapixel camera. Edge softening was detected at most aperture settings, with best performance around f/8. Resolution declined slightly as sensitivity was increased, but test shots showed visible noise at ISO 800 and very obvious colour and pattern noise at ISO 6400. Long exposures were more noise-affected than flash shots, regardless of noise-reduction processing. Lateral chromatic aberration varied with focal length, with best results at 55mm and 45mm, where it remained in the ‘negligible’ band. Flash performance was generally very good. Auto white balance was average, with shots taken under fluorescent lighting looking slightly green and an orange cast in shots taken in incandescent lighting. The pre-sets came close to neutral colour rendition and with adequate scope for in-camera tweaking of colour balance, this issue is largely irrelevant for serious photographers. Video quality wasn’t as good as clips from the Nikon D500. Strange coloured banding was visible in some clips where subjects had a wide brightness range. Sound quality was very ordinary — as was the quality of VGA video clips. Camera response times were occasionally slower than competing DSLRs. Although the review camera powered-up smartly in a little less than one second, the average capture lag of 0.5 seconds is significantly slower than most recent DSLRs we’ve tested. With pre-focusing, this lag reduced to less than 0.1 seconds, which is par for the course. It took an average of 3.8 seconds to process each high-resolution JPEG image and 4.2 seconds to process DNG.RAW and RAW+JPEG paired files. The high-speed continuous shooting mode didn’t perform quite to specifications; we could only make it record four frames per burst in our tests and shots were Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

captured at intervals of just over 0.1 seconds. It took 12.4 sseconds econds to process this burst when JPEGs were captured, or 12.8 seconds for DNG.RAW files and RAW+JPEG capture. The low-speed mode recorded shots at intervals of just over 0.2 seconds but was also restricted to four frames per burst. Image processing times were the same as the high-speed processing times. 

IN SUMMARY A sophisticated DSLR camera with controls and functions for photo enthusiasts. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

9.0



Ease of use:

8.0



Image quality:



Overall:

8.5 (Stills), 8.0 (video) 8.5

RRP: $1749 (body only); $1999 with Pentax DA 18-55

f3.5-5.6 AL WR lens DISTRIBUTOR:

C.R. Kennedy & Company; (03) 9823 1555; www.crkennedy.com.au

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor with 15.07 million photosites (14.6 megapixels effective) LENS MOUNT:

Pentax KAF2 bayonet mount FOCAL LENGTH CROP FACTOR: 1.5x IMAGE FORMATS:

Stills - JPEG (8-bit, Exif 2.21), PEF/DNG Raw (12-bit); RAW+JPEG available; Movies - AVI IMAGE SIZES:

Stills - 4672 x 3104, 3936 x 2624, 3072 x 2048, 1728 x 1152 pixels; Movie - 1280 x 720p, 1536 x 1024p, 640 x 416p, all at 30 fps SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

30 to 1/8000 second plus Bulb; X-synch at 1/180 sec. DIMENSIONS (WXHXD):

130.5 x 96.5 x 72.5 mm WEIGHT: approx. 670g (body only)


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PEN E-P1 w/14-42mm Lens The PEN E-P1 is the first model of its kind, providing SLR picture quality with the size and simplicity of a compact camera. The premium stainless steel and aluminium exterior compliments the classic, yet modern designed body which is sure to turn heads. Optional jacket available - ask in store.

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buyers guide

DIGITAL SLR

Nikon D5000 NIKON’S LATEST, VIDEO-CAPABLE DSLR FOR PHOTO ENTHUSIASTS. Nikon’s D5000 sits between the popular D60 and D90 models, combining the most attractive features of both. Similar in size to the D60, it’s $200 cheaper than the D90 but has the same 12.3-megapixel (effective) resolution and EXPEED image processor. Many refinements in the D90 are omitted, but the D5000’s shutter unit is rated for the same 100,000 cycles. A new Quiet Shooting mode subdues operating noises when you don’t wish to attract attention. Build quality is similar to the D60, and like the D60 the D5000 lacks a built-in autofocusing motor, which won’t suit owners of older Nikkor lenses. The 2.7-inch monitor swings down through 180 degrees and swivels through 360 degrees. But it’s smaller than the D90’s 3-inch screen and much lower in resolution. The D5000’s battery has the same form factor and charger as the D40 and D60 but its 1080 mAh capacity supports a few more shots/charge, although nowhere near as many as the D90’s battery. SD and SDHC cards slot into the right side panel. The D5000 also carries a socket for connecting the GP-1 GPS data logger, along with an HDMI multimedia interface. Like the D90, it offers Live View shooting, but with four autofocusing options instead of three: normal, wide area, face priority, and a new subject tracking mode. However, the contrast detection AF system is noticeably slower than using the viewfinder. The D5000’s video recording capabilities are essentially the same as the D90’s. Three options are provided: 1280 x 720 (16:9); 640 x 424 (3:2); and 320 x 216 (3:2), and you can record with or without audio. The maximum clip length is five minutes for 1280 x 720 movies or 20 minutes for other movies. In addition to 23 Custom functions, the D5000 has two Custom menus: a Recent Settings menu consisting of the 20 most recently used settings, added to the top of the menu in the order they are used, and My Menu, where you can store up to 20 settings from the playback, shooting, Custom functions, setup and retouch menus.

PERFORMANCE In the full auto and program AE modes, the camera tended to select wider apertures than we would have chosen for some shots, particularly backlit subjects. However, the resulting images showed most of the characteristics of Nikon’s DSLRs. Exposures were wellpositioned, colours looked natural and saturation was slightly elevated — but not to the extent that pictures looked excessively colour-rich with the default standard Picture Control setting. The Active D-Lighting function ensured highlight and shadow details were recorded adequately in JPEG shots. Imatest showed resolution to be up to expectations for a 12-megapixel camera — but only for NEF.RAW images (which were converted to TIFF format in Nikon View NX software). JPEG image files recorded resolution levels slightly below expectations in our Imatest tests. The default conversion settings in Nikon

54

View NX emphasised the slight colour shifts in skin hues we found in JPEG files. Lateral chromatic aberration was consistently negligible in all our Imatest tests and we found no evidence of coloured fringing in any test shots. Resolution remained high at all ISO settings and the gap between NEF.RAW and JPEG performance remained consistent. Video quality was almost identical to the D90’s, with sharp, detailed pictures at the 1280 x 720 (16:9) setting, but uninspiring sound quality. Best results were obtained when the camera was tripod-mounted and with slowmoving or stationary subjects, because then we could use the manual focus to keep the subject sharp. This is essential with subjects moving towards or away from the camera and when using the zoom control on any lenses. The review camera’s auto white balance performance was similar to the D90’s. Shots taken under fluorescent lighting had a faint green colour cast, while subjects photographed under incandescent lighting showed a noticeable orange bias. Both incamera pre-sets over-corrected slightly, but manual measurement produced natural colour rendition under both types of lighting. Furthermore, it was easy to tune out colour casts with the in-camera controls before taking shots, and also to correct colour casts with editing software. The built-in flash on the review camera was able to illuminate an average-sized room at all ISO settings. Flash exposures were also consistent throughout the camera’s ISO range. Colour noise became apparent at ISO 3200 but overall noise was low right up to ISO 1600. Autofocusing was reasonably fast when the viewfinder was used for shot composition, but fairly slow in Live View mode, where contrast-detection AF using the main imaging sensor is the only option. Face Detection worked reasonably well, although the Subject Tracking function was hard pressed by fast-moving subjects. After capture, the image remains on screen for approximately 5.5 seconds, but disappears if you press the shutter button again. We measured an average capture lag of 0.5 seconds, which was eliminated with pre-focusing. It took 2.2 seconds on average to process each JPEG file, 3.1 seconds for each NEF.RAW file, and 4.1 seconds for each RAW+JPEG pair. In the continuous shooting mode, the review camera recorded 10 high-resolution JPEGs in 2.6 seconds, slowing slightly after the sixth shot. It took 9.9 seconds to process this burst. When set to record NEF.RAW Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



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files, the camera captured six images in 1.2 seconds and took 13.1 seconds to process them. For RAW+JPEG pairs, the camera also recorded six shots in 1.2 seconds but took 19.9 seconds to process them. 

IN SUMMARY A versatile DSLR that family photographers can learn and grow with. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.5



Image quality:



Overall:

9.0 (Stills), 8.0 (video) 8.5

RRP: $1499 (body only) DISTRIBUTOR:

Nikon Australia; Ph: 1300 366 499; www.nikon.com.au

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS sensor with 12.9 million photosites (12.3 megapixels effective) LENS MOUNT:

Nikon F mount (with AF contacts) FOCAL LENGTH CROP FACTOR:

Approx. 1.5 x (Nikon DX format) IMAGE FORMATS:

Stills – JPEG, NEF.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Movie clips – AVI (Motion-JPEG, with monaural sound) IMAGE SIZES:

Stills - 4288 x 2848 [L], 3216 x 2136 [M], 2144 x 1424 [S]; Movies - 1280 x 720, 640 x 424, 320 x 216 all at 24 fps SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

1/4,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, Bulb, Time (with optional ML-L3 Remote Control); flash synch at 1/200 sec. POWER SUPPLY:

EN-EL9a rechargeable lithium-ion battery DIMENSIONS (WXHXD):

Approx. 127 x 104 x 80 mm (body only) WEIGHT:

Approx. 560 g (body only)


CAPTURE THE BEST CMOS X SIE IV

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When good times roll, don’t waste an instant. Be ready with high-speed CMOS sensor and up to 120 frame-per-second shooting to capture more of the best action. New SIE IV image processor for clear brilliant images. 7.1x wide angle optical zoom to extend your perspective of possibilities. Plus Dynamic Range Double Shot Mode and Multi-Target AF to take pictures that look more like the actual scenes that you photograph. Why miss any of the fun? With the new Ricoh CX1 digital camera, you can go for it all.

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1300 363 741 www.tasco.com.au


buyers guide

DIGITAL SLR

Olympus E-620 A NEW ADDITION TO THE OLYMPUS FOUR THIRDS SYSTEM DSLR LINE-UP Billed as the smallest and lightest DSLR with built-in image stabilisation, the Olympus E-620 has the same 12.3-megapixel High-Speed Live MOS Sensor and TruePic III+ image processing engine as the E-30, but lacks much of the finesse of the higher-priced model. Build quality is similar to the E-30, with a glass-fibre reinforced body shell over a metal and plastic chassis, plus the acclaimed Olympus SSWF Dust Reduction System. The free-angle, 2.7-inch HyperCrystal LCD monitor is updated from version II to version III. Like the E-30, the new model is bristling with button controls and is Colour Universal Design-certified for users with non-standard colour perception. Missing are the top panel LCD data display found on the E-30 and built-in Digital Level Sensor, plus one of the E-30’s two control dials. Both ORF.RAW and JPEG file formats are provided, along with simultaneous RAW+JPEG recording. Raw files are only recorded in the 4:3 aspect ratio and losslessly compressed by 65% to yield files that are typically around 13.9MB in size. The GN17 (ISO 200) built-in flash includes TTL flash exposure control. Fully compatible with Olympus’s wireless multi-flash control, it doesn’t require an external commander unit when used with FL-50R and/or FL-36R flashes. Dual slots are provided for xD-Picture Cards and CompactFlash, the latter being compatible with Type I and II cards and also Microdrives (FAT 16/32). Five Easy Shooting AE modes and a full auto setting can be set via the Mode Dial, which also carries settings for P, A, S and M shooting modes. Also selectable via the Mode Dial — and sharing the same click-stop — are the Scene and Art Filters sub-menus. The six Art Filters, which were pioneered in the E-30, are also included in the E-620, although, as in the E-30, no fine-tuning is provided.

PERFORMANCE Live View autofocusing was extremely slow, with delays of between 1.2 and 3.4 seconds before the camera could lock onto a subject. Shooting with the viewfinder ensures much faster focusing. Pictures taken with the test camera were sharp and colourful without appearing over-saturated. However, outdoor shots taken in bright sunlight showed a narrower dynamic range than similar shots taken with the E-30. Colours looked realistic and with the default Natural Picture Mode setting there was slightly less of the warmish cast we saw in test shots from the E-30 — although most images were a little orange biased. Imatest showed resolution to be slightly below expectations for a 12-megapixel camera, with ORF. RAW files producing slightly higher figures in our tests than JPEGs. Imatest also confirmed our subjective colour assessments, showing overall saturation levels to be modest but revealing a slight elevation of saturation in reds, decreased saturation in yellows, and some minor hue shifts in reds and blues. Skin hues were also slightly shifted towards red.

56

Lateral chromatic aberration ranged between low and moderate. White balance performance was similar to the E-30. The auto setting failed to correct the inherent cast in incandescent lighting, while the pre-set over-corrected slightly. With fluorescent lighting, the auto setting produced close-to-neutral colours and one of the presets matched the light source we used. It was possible to achieve neutral colour rendition under both types of lighting with the one touch white balance control and the in-camera adjustments provided. Low light performance was generally good for ISO settings up to 800, where image noise started to become apparent, particularly in available-light shots. However, Imatest showed only a slight deterioration in actual resolution with the 14-42mm lens set at 25mm focal length and an aperture of f/8 — particularly with raw files. For long exposures, we found image noise could become intrusive at high ISO settings. Although 30-second exposures taken with ISO settings up to 800 were relatively noise-free in our tests, noise was obvious at ISO 1600 and shots taken at ISO 3200 were grainy-looking and dotted with stuck pixels. Applying long-exposure noise reduction processing eliminated most of the granularity and stuck pixels — but at the expense of image sharpness. Flash performance was very good and exposures were evenly balanced throughout the ISO range. The test camera’s flash was capable of illuminating an average-sized room at ISO 100 and little noise was visible in shots up to ISO 1600. Even at ISO 3200, noise was relatively subdued. The review camera powered up and shut down in less than a second and we measured an average capture lag of 0.25 seconds when the viewfinder was used. This extended to an average of 2.3 seconds across the three Live View modes. With pre-focusing, lag times were effectively eliminated. Both JPEG and raw files averaged 1.8 second processing times, while RAW+JPEG pairs took an estimated 3.1 seconds. In the high-speed continuous shooting mode, the review camera recorded 10 high-resolution JPEG frames in 2.6 seconds and took 4.2 seconds to process them. A burst of six ORF.RAW files was captured in 1.5 Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

seconds and processed in 5.6 seconds, while a burst of five RAW+JPEG pairs took 1.2 seconds to capture and 9.5 seconds to process. Swapping to low-speed continuous mode, we captured 10 frames in 2.8 seconds and this rate remained constant for JPEG, raw and RAW+JPEG settings. Processing appears to be on-the-fly in this mode as it took 3.6 seconds to process 10 JPEGs, 5.4 seconds for six raw files and 9.2 seconds for five RAW+JPEG frames. 

IN SUMMARY A compact, entry-level DSLR with straightforward controls and plenty of novel features. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.0



Image quality:

8.0



Overall:

8.3

RRP: $1,299 (body only); $1,399 (with 14-42mm lens);

$1,599 (with 14-42mm and 40-150mm lenses). DISTRIBUTOR:

Olympus Imaging Australia; 1300 659 678, www.olympus.com.au

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

17.3 x 13.0 mm High Speed Live MOS sensor with approx. 13.3 million photosites (12.3 megapixels effective) A/D PROCESSING: 12-bit LENS MOUNT:

Four Thirds SystemFocal length crop factor: 2xImage formats: ORF.RAW (12-bit lossless), JPEG, RAW+JPEG IMAGE SIZES:

4032 x 3024, 3200 x 2400, 2560 x 1920, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 1024 x 768, 640 x 480 SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

60 - 1/4000 seconds; Bulb (up to 309 minutes); X-synch at 1/180 sec. DIMENSIONS (WXHXD):

130 x 94 x 60 mm WEIGHT: 475 grams (body only)


buyers guide

ADVANCED

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 PANASONIC’S FIRST MICRO FOUR THIRDS SYSTEM (MFT) CAMERA WITH HD VIDEO PLUS STEREO SOUND RECORDING. First shown at Photokina 2008, Panasonic’s GH1 is based on the DMC-G1, the first Micro Four Thirds System (MFT) camera. It offers similar features for still capture but can also record HD video clips. A new 14-140mm, f4.0-5.8 lens that features MEGA OIS stabilisation has been designed to complement the camera. This lens represents more than half of the overall cost of the GH1’s $3299 kit price. The GH1 provides two video recording modes: AVCHD and Motion-JPEG. AVCHD, which uses MPEG-4/H.264 compression, is used for highdefinition video capture with a widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio. Two resolution settings are offered: 1920 x 1080 (Full HD1080/24p) and 1280 x 720 pixels. With Motion-JPEG, you have four resolution and two aspect ratio choices: 1280 x 720 and 848 x 480 pixels at 16:9, and 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixels at 4:3. Frame rates for all are 30 fps. The relatively large size of the MFT sensor gives it a big creative advantage over camcorders because it’s much easier to isolate the subject from the background. Sensor resolution is relatively unimportant since HD video clips are recorded at 1920 x 1080 (Full HD1080) or 1280 x 720 pixels (720p). Panasonic provides a dedicated Motion Picture button beside the thumb pad on the rear panel of the camera. This acts as a quick on/off control for video recording when you’ve set the camera for still capture in the other shooting modes, including the ‘intelligent’ auto (iA) setting, which automatically selects the most suitable scene mode on the basis of the light pattern detected. Exposure settings are non-adjustable when this button is used, which makes using the camera more like shooting video with a digicam. Unlike some video-capable DSLRs, the autofocusing system works while clips are recorded, regardless of AF mode, and the face detection system will lock onto key subjects. You can also zoom in and out with the lens while shooting video, although at the risk of picking up a little zoom noise on the soundtrack. Zoom speeds are slower for video recording. Image stabilisation defaults to Mode 1 (continuous bi-directional) for all video recording. Panasonic recommends Class 6 cards (the fastest) be used for all video recordings. (The new Class 10 32GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC cards would be ideal for this camera.) Regardless of the video format and resolution, a maximum file size of 2GB applies to continuous recordings. To view your HD movies on a widescreen TV set, you must purchase an HDMI mini cable. Aside from its video capabilities, the new model adds a 1:1 option to the previous model’s 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 settings. The different ratios are achieved by cropping the image in a similar fashion to the popular DMC-LX3. The 4:3 images are 4000 pixels wide, while widths of the 3:2 and 16:9 images are 4128 pixels and 4352 pixels respectively. Panasonic has also updated the face detection system to include Face Recognition.

PERFORMANCE Stills performance was similar ar to uate the Lumix DMC-G1. In adequate lighting, the contrast-based AF e, system was fast and accurate, but AF lag was noticeable when light levels dropped. Metering was accurate under most conditions, but the test camera struggled to handle subjects with a wider-thannormal brightness range. arent Image noise became apparent nd in shots taken at ISO 800 and matest very obvious by ISO 3200. Imatest showed JPEG resolution to be slightly below expectations. Raw li d Silkypix Silk i files converted with the supplied Developer Studio 3.0 SE software provided little or no improvement. However, raw files converted in Adobe Camera Raw produced images that were up to expectations for the GH1’s sensor resolution. The kit lens performed best at the widest aperture settings for the shorter focal lengths and at apertures around f/8 from about 50mm on. Auto white balance performance was similar to that of Panasonic’s compact digicams. With adequate scope for in-camera tweaking of colour balance, this issue is largely irrelevant for serious photographers. Flash performance was above average. Video recorded with the review camera was generally good — for the selected recording format and quality settings. Unfortunately, autofocusing in the AVCHD modes was slow and the system had problems tracking fast-moving subjects and with moderately-fast pans. Interestingly, clips recorded with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution were noticeably smoother for moving subjects. Artefacts increased at lower resolutions and VGA clips were uninspiring. Sound quality was generally good. It took just under two seconds to power-up the camera for shooting and almost half a second longer for the camera to power-down and switch-off. For single-frame capture, it took 3.3 seconds, on average, to process each image file, regardless of whether it was in JPEG or raw format or a combination of both. Using flash added only fractions of a second to image processing times. In high-speed burst mode, the camera recorded seven Large/Fine JPEGs or 4 raw files per burst. Frame rates averaged 2.8 frames/second for JPEGs and 2.5 frames/second for raw files. When RAW+JPEG (Large) was selected, up to four images could be recorded in a burst at a rate of 2.35 frames/second. Swapping to low-speed reduced the number of recordable files in a burst to three Large/Fine JPEGS or two raw files, with frame rates averaging 2.2 frames/ second. Processing appeared to be on-the-fly in both burst modes as it took an average of 3.5 seconds to process and store images, regardless of file format.  Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

IN SUMMARY A sophisticated ‘hybrid’ camera, based on the revolutionary Lumix DMC-G1. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.5



Image quality:



Overall:

8.5 (Stills), 9.0 (video) 8.0

RRP:

$3299 (with Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm, f/4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. lens) DISTRIBUTOR:

Panasonic Australia, 132 600; www.panasonic.com.au.

SPECIFICATIONS IMAGE SENSOR:

4/3-inch (18.0 x 13.5mm) Live MOS sensor with 13.98 million photosites (12.1 megapixels effective) A/D PROCESSING: 12-bit LENS MOUNT:

Micro Four Thirds system (Four Thirds lenses via adaptor) FOCAL LENGTH CROP FACTOR: 2x IMAGE FORMATS:

Stills - RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.21), Fine & Standard compression; 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 aspect ratios; Movies – AVCHD/QuickTime Motion JPEG IMAGE SIZES:

Stills - 4:3 ratio: 4000 x 3000, 2816 x 2112, 2048 x 1536, 3:2 ratio: 4128 x 2752, 2928 x 1952, 2064 x 1376, 16:9 ratio: 4352 x 2448, 3072 x 1728, 1920 x 1080, 1:1 ratio: 2992 x 2992, 2112 x 2112, 1504 x 1504; Movies: 1920 x 1080 @ 24 fps; 1280 x 720, 848 x 480, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 @ 30 fps SHUTTER SPEED RANGE:

60 to 1/4000 second plus Bulb (max. 4 minutes); flash synch at 1/160 second DIMENSIONS (WXHXD):

124.0 x 89.6 x 45.2 mm (body only) WEIGHT:

Approx. 385 grams (body only); 903 grams with battery, card and 14-140mm lens

57


buyers guide

Unique & Versatile New Generation Carbon-Fibre Tripods and Monopods

New-design release lever with safety lock for quick and easy centre column height adjustments

Multi-use pochette slips over the end of the tripod legs to allow comfortable carrying. Also doubles as a stone bag for added stability in windy conditions.

2-section centre column can be detached to enable extra-low picture taking angles.

New spiral-etched surface of carbon legs provides smooth and fast extension. Inbuilt scale indicates 2.5cm and 5cm intervals on each leg. 2-way adjustable leg tips provide metal spike or rubber feet option.

Distributed in Australia by: Ph: 1300 882 517 Fax: 1300 882 519 www.maxwell.com.au/velbon

58

ADVANCED

ADVANCED

Sigma DP2

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX1

Physically and technologically similar to Sigma’s original DP1 model, the DP2 comes with a fixed focal length lens that is more suitable for snapshots and portraits. You can’t zoom in with this lens — either optically or digitally. Otherwise, the body and sensor are identical to the DP1. Sigma has redesigned the control layout and menu system, adding a new Quick Set button that accesses two sub-menus, each covering four functions. Seven ‘style’ processing modes are added: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, B&W and Sepia. A new Picture Settings function lets users adjust contrast, sharpness and saturation across five steps up or down. These adjustments are locked into JPEG files but can be re-set when raw files are converted. Sigma has made some welcome improvements to the quality of the JPEG files in the new model, although they still look a little flat. Correctly-exposed raw files maintain the depth and potential we found in files from the DP1. DP2 proved as sluggish to use as the DP1. Autofocusing was relatively slow and also quite noisy. In our Imatest tests, converted X3F raw files produced higher resolution than the highest-resolution JPEGs. Imatest showed most hues to be slightly off the mark. Skin tones were slightly warm. Lateral chromatic aberration was effectively negligible. 

Sony’s 9.1-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-HX features Exmor CMOS technology plus the company’s BIONZ processor. Styled like a mini-DSLR — but too big to be pocketable — the HX1 boasts a 20x optical zoom lens plus some interesting new functions. The lens sports the Sony ‘G’ label. The mode dial carries 11 settings: iAuto, P, S, A, M, Easy, Movie, Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, Hand-held Twilight and Anti Motion Blur. The Sweep Panorama, Handheld Twilight and Anti Motion Blur modes take advantage of the sensor’s ability to record a rapid succession of frames. The HX1 captures video at 1440 x 1080 pixels, then up-scales it to 1080p in-camera. Only Memory Stick PRO Duo cards can be used for HD recordings. Users can choose from Fine and Standard modes, delineated by bit rate. Test shots appeared sharp and saturation was modest. Autofocusing was fast and accurate in adequate lighting and auto white balance performance was average. The special shooting modes were fun to use, although they restricted many shooting controls. Imatest showed resolution met expectations but edge softening was detected at all focal length settings. Resolution declined progressively as sensitivity levels were increased. Lateral chromatic aberration ranged between low and negligible. Movie quality was good with the HD settings but average in VGA mode. 

IN SUMMARY

IN SUMMARY

A pocketable, advanced digital camera with a large Foveon X3 Direct Image Sensor.

An ultra-zoom digicam with HD video recording capabilities and some new stills functions.

QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10)

QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10)



Build:

9.0



Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

6.5



Ease of use:

7.5



Image quality:

8.0 (JPEGs), 9.0 (raw files)



Image quality:



Overall:

8.0



Overall:

8.5 (Stills), 8.5 (video) 8.0

RRP: $1199

RRP: $1099

DISTRIBUTOR: C.R. Kennedy and Company;

DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Australia; 1300 720 071;

(03) 9823 1555; www.crkennedy.com.au

www.sony.com.au

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE SENSOR: 20.7 x 13.8 mm Foveon X3 Direct

IMAGE SENSOR:

Image Sensor (CMOS) with 14.06 megapixels effective (2652 x 1768 x 3 layers)

5.92 x 4.57 mm Exmor CMOS Sensor with 10.3 million photosites (9.1 megapixels effective)

LENS: 24.2mm f/2.8-f/14 (35mm equivalent focal length: 41mm); 7 elements in 6 groups

LENS: 5.0-100mm, f/2.8 Sony G-Lens (28-560mm

IMAGE FORMATS: X3F lossless compression RAW data

in 35mm format for still shots, 31-620mm for 16:9 movies, 38-760mm for 4:3 movies)

(12-bit), JPEG (Fine, normal, basic), Movie (AVI) Voice memo to still image (10 sec), Voice recording (WAV)

ZOOM RATIO: 20x optical, 2x digital

DIMENSIONS (WXHXD): 113.3 x 59.5 x 56.06 mm WEIGHT: 260 grams

Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41

DIMENSIONS (WXHXD): 114.5 x 82.8 x 91.8 mm WEIGHT: Approx. 453 grams (without battery and

card)



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buyers guide

AMAZING

SFX ADVANCED

SLIMLINE

Olympus SP-590 UZ

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ7

Compromises were made to achieve the 26x optical zoom range on the 12-megapixel Olympus SP-590 UZ. The lens is complex, but relatively slow, despite its wide-angle coverage. Similar in size and functionality to the SP-565 UZ, the SP-590 UZ, lacks raw capture and, sadly, Olympus has stuck with xD cards for this camera. The 2.7-inch LCD monitor boasts a wide viewing angle, anti-glare coating and automatic brightness control. But it’s no match for bright Australian sunlight and its resolution doesn’t offer much scope for checking focusing accuracy. The EVF provides aboveaverage viewing quality but is inferior to a good optical viewfinder. Automatic magnification of the centre of the image field aids manual focusing. Although the SP-590 UZ may look good on paper, and shots taken in bright sunlight were nicely detailed, Imatest showed resolution to be below expectations for a 12megapixel camera and revealed edge softening. Resolution declined steadily as ISO sensitivity was increased. Noisereduction processing tended to soften images. Lateral chromatic aberration was higher than average and coloured fringing was visible in outdoor shots. Close-up performance was very good, particularly with the Super Macro mode. Digital zoom shots were better than expected — when they were in focus. Overall response times were average for an ultra-zoom digicam. 

The latest in Panasonic’s popular ‘Travel Zoom’ (TZ) line, the 10.1megapixel TZ7 has been redesigned to incorporate a new 12x optical zoom lens and some special features. Like the TZ5, the TZ7 supports both SD and HD recording but it uses a new ‘AVCHD Lite’ format, which has more efficient compression. Soundtracks are recorded in stereo (Dolby AC3). Build quality is as good as the earlier models, and the TZ7 has a larger 3-inch LCD monitor with 460,800-dot resolution. Like the TZ5, the TZ7 has six shooting modes: iAuto, Normal Picture and Clipboard, plus a Scene mode and two My Scene modes where frequently-used scene pre-sets can be stored. Subjective assessments of image quality showed the review camera to be capable of producing sharp, colourful still images with little evidence of oversaturation and few visible artefacts. Imatest showed resolution to be marginally below expectations and revealed some edge softening. We found no evidence of coloured fringing and Imatest testing showed lateral chromatic aberration to be consistently low. Autofocusing and metering were fast and accurate under most lighting conditions. The image stabilisation system also proved both effective and useful. Auto white balance performance was average and video quality was excellent — provided light levels were relatively high. Response times were average. 

IN SUMMARY

IN SUMMARY

A compact digicam with the longest current optical zoom range plus a special Bird Watching mode.

A slimline digicam with 12x optical zoom, ‘intelligent’ auto controls and HD video recording.

QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10)

QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10)



Build:

8.5



Build:

8.5



Ease of use:

8.0



Ease of use:

8.5



Image quality:

8.0



Image quality:



Overall:

8.0



Overall:

Increase your camera’s versatility with Cokin’s large range of creative filters. Immediate special effects with over 200 filters in various sizes.

With Cokin G2 Graduated filter

Without filter

“Cokin filters are an indispensable part of my photo equipment. Without the Cokin G2 Graduated filter, this landscape could not have been achieved in a single frame.” Shelton Muller

NEW! Large diameter screw-in filters for professional applications

9.0 (Stills), 8.0 (video) 8.5

RRP: $799

RRP: $769

DISTRIBUTOR: Olympus Imaging Australia; 1300 659

DISTRIBUTOR: Panasonic Australia, 132 600;

678, www.olympus.com.au

www.panasonic.com.au.

SPECIFICATIONS

SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE SENSOR:

IMAGE SENSOR:

6.13 x 4.6 mm CCD with 12.47 million photosites (12.0 megapixels effective)

6.13 x 4.6mm CCD with 12.7 million photosites (10.1 megapixels effective)

LENS:

LENS:

4.6-119.6mm f/2.8-5.0 zoom lens (26-676mm in 35mm format)

Lumix DC Vario Elmar 4.1-49.2mm f/3.3-6.3 lens (25-300mm in 35mm format)

ZOOM RATIO: 26x optical, up to 5x digital

ZOOM RATIO: 12x optical, up to 4x digital

DIMENSIONS (WXHXD): 110.1 x 89.7 x 91.0 mm

DIMENSIONS (WXHXD): 103.3 x 59.6 x 32.8 mm

WEIGHT: 435 g (without battery and card)

WEIGHT: 206 grams (without battery and card)

UV Multi-coated and Circular Polarizer filters in 95mm, 105mm and 127mm diameters. Made of high-grade mineral glass.

Ph: 1300 882 517 Fax: 1300 882 519 www.maxwell.com.au/cokin

Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

59


buyers guide

PERIPHERAL

Digital Foci Photo Book

SHOOT TO THE TOP OF YOUR PROFESSION. JOIN THE AIPP NOW!

Australia’s largest professional photography association welcomes all professional photographers, students of photography and companies that supply and support the professional photo imaging industry. The AIPP supports over 2200 members through seminars, events, print awards, business and personal development Choose an AIPP accredited photographer. They have met AIPP standards for quality, business practice and adhere to a code of ethics.

www.aipp.com.au

Image © Montalbetti + Campbell

60

Promoted as the ‘Best brag book for sharing treasured memories’, the Digital Foci 8-inch Portable Digital Photo Book (Model PBK-080) offers much more, and will be useful to both amateur and professional photographers and business users. A development of the ubiquitous digital photo frame, this device takes a standard LCD screen and houses it in attractive leather-like covers. Digital photos, videos and business presentations can be displayed on the screen. The cover closes with an overlapping magnetic catch. The power switch is located on the narrow bottom panel, which also houses an AC adapter jack, reset button and indicator lights for power and battery status. Opening the cover reveals the LCD screen, which occupies two thirds of the ‘page’. The control panel right of the screen on the front panel carries a built-in speaker for audio playback, Menu and Escape buttons, an arrow pad, and buttons for adjusting sound levels. The battery can be charged through the AC adaptor or a USB cable (both supplied). Connection ports are located in the right side panel under lift-up dust covers. Interfaces are provided for CF cards, a USB-to-computer port (which also accepts USB flash drives via a supplied interface cable) and SD/xD/MS multi-cards. Pressing the Menu button displays icons covering the album, file transfer, delete and set-up functions. When an image-bearing device is connected, the images play back automatically, first as a thumbnail index and then as a slideshow with an attractive ‘page-turning’ effect between shots. Raw files from most camera manufacturers will display as readily as JPEGs. Newly uploaded files will be stored in the default PHOTO folder in a sub-folder tagged with the type of memory card or flash drive, and sequential numbers according to the order in which folders were created. Folders can be renamed when the device is connected to a computer, as it behaves just like a standard external drive. Once you’ve loaded your pictures, the obvious next step is to display a slideshow. The setup menu can be used to adjust the intervals between images, while pressing the Menu button lets you choose between Photo Book slideshow and full-screen slideshow. The former puts borders around the images — without contributing much to the pictures. The latter simply shows the pictures at full-screen size and is infinitely preferable. Pictures not in 4:3 aspect ratio are centred, leaving the black background of the screen behind them. In full-screen playback, the file name appears in white below each image. A random selection of transition effects is used to move between pictures and you can add background music or a voiceover by saving Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au

an audio file in the MUSIC folder. (All files in this folder will be played in random order.) Although pricier than similarly-sized photo frames, the Photo Book provides a more intimate and attractive way to display digital pictures — and has some worthwhile business applications. Our only gripes are that the resolution is a little low by today’s standards and the display format would work better for pro photographers and serious enthusiasts if it were 3:2 aspect ratio. 

IN SUMMARY A versatile, portable presentation album for professional, home and business users. QUALITY RATING (OUT OF 10) 

Build and styling:

9.0



Ease of use:

8.5



Image quality:

8.5



Overall:

8.5

RRP: $499.99 DISTRIBUTOR:

GarageBrands; (02) 9526 7478; www.garagebrands.com.au

SPECIFICATIONS DISPLAY:

8-inch colour TFT LCD screen with resolution of 800 x 600 pixels; 4:3 aspect ratio INTERNAL MEMORY: 4GB INPUT SUPPORT:

CF, SD/HC card, MMC, xD-Picture Card, MS/MS PRO (Supports mini-SD, RS-MMC, MS Duo with adapter); USB flash drives FILE FORMAT SUPPORT:

Stills - JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, RAW image files from a wide selection of DSLR cameras; Video - MJPEG, MPEG-1, MPEG-4 SP; Audio - MP3, AAC, WMA; Text (*.txt) BUILT-IN SPEAKER:

1 channel, 1.4W speaker POWER SUPPLY:

Rechargeable Lithium polymer battery with 2.5 hours of battery life DIMENSIONS:

266.7 x 177.8 x 25.4 mm WEIGHT:

1.0 kilogram


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Visit www.iStory.com.au Photo to findReview out more Photo Review

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IS THERE NO END TO THE ALADDIN’S CAVE OF WONDEROUS PHOTOGRAPHIC RESOURCES THAT IS THE INTERNET? YOUR EDITOR SHARES ANOTHER SELECTION OF USEFUL AND INTRIGUING WEBSITES HE’S COME ACROSS SINCE LAST ISSUE.

Full tilt

Wallpapering

What’s a TinEye?

http://bit.ly/BoDgw

http://bit.ly/10pqj1

http://tineye.com/

Fans of tilt-shift photography won’t want to miss this extensive and informative collection on

There are a great many free wallpaper applications, but we rather liked this one because it was so easy to use.

Ever wondered if your images are being used on websites by unscrupulous types? Then you may want

www.hongkiat.com. There are more than 80 examples of the technique and most of these link out to complete photo essays. As well there are a range of links to sites showing you how to make your tilt-shift pictures.

Browse to a file on your computer, select your monitor size and hey presto! you’re sorted.

to take a look at TinEye. It promises to tell you where an image came from and how it’s being used. The key point is that it uses image identification technology (their words) rather than metadata, watermarks, etc. The quickest way to get your head around the concept is to jump to their examples page here: http://bit.ly/WN1bA

Voices

Common creativity

Gold on Silber

http://bit.ly/if4NG “Famous Photographers Tell How” is an obscure and now extremely rare LP of short (nine to ten minute) interviews with famous photographers. Happily a

record buff blogger has posted mp3s from two of the interviews on his site at boogiewoogieflu.blogspot.com. The first is with iconic New York crime photographer Weegee and the second features the thoughts of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Fascinating, inspiring and more than worth 20 minutes of your time.

64

Google recently launched a new option for their image search tool which is designed to help people find pictures they can legally use for free under the Creative Commons licensing system (http://bit.ly/15eP3F).

http://www.silberstudios.tv Marc Silber’s site has a great collection of short interviews with top photographers. The videos only run for a few minutes, but they always feature at least

To use it, you point your browser to the famous search engine’s very useful Advanced Image Search page (http://bit.ly/MsaKa) and then select the Usage Rights filter option you want. one pithy observation from a great practioner. A good place to start is the clip of the great Ansel Adams talking about the key to great picture making (http:// bit.ly/5m0AY).

Photo Review AUSTRALIA ISSUE 41



www.photoreview.com.au


Experiment with amazing Full HD Movie on the EOS 5D Mark II. Experimenting with your photography can create brilliant new outcomes. The EOS 5D Mark II features a Full HD Movie Mode, giving you the amazing ability to shoot both high resolution stills and Full HD Movies at the same time. The EOS 5D Mark II also allows you to experiment with a wide range of EF lenses, opening up creative possibilities never before possible when shooting movies. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about experimenting and taking your photography to the next level. You can learn more about experimenting with Full HD with our online tutorial. Get involved today at the World of EOS.


Photo Review Issue 41 Sep-Nov 2009