Canon CPS Issue 14

Darren wrote this at 8:34 am:

Issue 14 of the Canon Professional Services (CPS) newsletter is now online.

This edition contains information about the recently-announced EOS 5D, EOS 1D Mk II N, Speedlite 430EX and EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens. The interview with Matt Hoyle is excellent. There are also good articles on photography agencies, understanding histograms, digital exposure, and interviews with several other photographers.

Make sure you sit down with a big cup of coffee and a decent slab of uninterrupted time to really enjoy this one!

Mat Cutting and Window Placement

Darren wrote this at 3:31 pm:

Joe Miller, fine art photographer, has a few good articles on matting photographs as well as tools to calculate cuts for the window:

While you’re at the site, have a look at Joe’s photographic portfolio. He mostly shoots 6×4.5 and 6×7 medium format, and has some stunning images in there.

FotoEspresso Number 3/2005 Released

Darren wrote this at 8:19 am:

The latest issue of FotoEspresso, an online photography magazine, has just been released: FotoEspresso 3/2005.

This issue includes:

  • Detailed look at a RAW workflow using the free Pixmantec RawShooter Essentials (sadly Windows-only)
  • Comprehensive Epson R2400 Experience Report
  • The RAW Flaw by Michael Reichmann and Jurgen Specht
  • Overview of the eBook The Art Of RAW Conversion

WhiBal White Balance Reference Card

Darren wrote this at 4:53 pm:

The WhiBal white balance reference card is a fantastic tool for getting your white balance right when it really matters (e.g. fashion or product photography, difficult lighting conditions, etc).

It’s a little business-card-sized bunch of cards that you take a reference photo of in each lighting situation you’re shooting in. One card is white, one black, and two are grey. When you get back to your computer to edit the photos, you can set the white and black point of your image to recreate the correct exposure and contrast, and use one of the grey cards to set the colour balance of your image.

This tool is not just for digital photographers – film shooters can benefit too. If you shoot negatives, you can make test prints of your reference shot to get the right colour filtration for neutral output. If you shoot slides, you can’t directly modify the white balance of the slides later, but if you need to scan them you can use the reference shot to ensure you scan your good shot with the right exposure and colour corrections.

If colour accuracy is important in your photography, or if you’re just sick of mucking around in Photoshop trying to get skin tones to look natural, WhiBal could help you. And it’s only about USD$45 (USD$50 outside US).

Pages Updated in Week 34

Darren wrote this at 8:00 am:

New Pages

Updated Pages

Wedding Photography:

Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D Reviews:

Canon EOS 10D Tips:

Hasselblad Announces H2 and H2D

Darren wrote this at 7:03 pm:

Hasselblad H2D medium format digital camera.Hasselblad has announced two new medium format camera bodies and two new medium format digital backs.

The new bodies are the H2 “cross-platform” camera (i.e. can take a film or digital back) and the H2D fully-integrated digital camera. These cameras build upon the previous generation H1 and H1D, adding improvements to mobility, quality and workflow.

The new digital backs are the Ixpress CF and Ixpress CFH. The CF is designed to allow support for a variety of camera bodies via i-adaptors (e.g. Hasselblad H, Rollei, Contax, Mamiya, Fuji). The CFH has basically the same technical specs but is designed to integrate tightly with the H2 body.

The H2 now offers single-battery operation when used with the new Ixpress CFH digital back, meaning there’s only one one/off switch and one operating system. This will make for a much better, more integrated system for the photographer.

The H2D and the Ixpress backs all sport a 22 megapixel, 37mm x 49mm CCD sensor.

Hasselblad’s new digital products now offer the choice of the portable CF card storage, the flexible FireWire drive, or the tethered operation with extended, special capture controls. With these three operating and storage options, the photographer is able to select a mode to suit the nature of the work at hand, whether in the studio or on location.

The H2D and digital backs use Adobe’s DNG format as their native RAW format, giving ultimate flexibility in post-processing software and workflow while still offering the optimum image quality of a RAW format.

For more information, see the Hasselblad product page.

All of these products are expected to become available in 2005 Q3.

Selecting A Subject

Darren wrote this at 6:24 pm:

Here’s an excerpt from the book On Being A Photographer, by David Hurn and Bill Jay: Selecting A Subject.

One of the best ways to grow as a photographer is to take on a project of some type. Choose a subject, and produce a body of work to illustrate that subject.

Maybe the end result will be a portfolio or a gallery show, or maybe it’ll end up as a small photo album or a web presentation. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you spend time with your chosen subject, get to know it, get past the cliche shots of it and really make photographs that reveal something new about your subject to other people.

Presented as a conversation between the two authors, this book excerpt is loaded with good advice about how to select a subject for your photographic project.

Why Full-Frame 35mm Digital?

Darren wrote this at 12:54 am:

No doubt inspired by the attention the new EOS 5D has been receiving, Edwin over at CameraHobby.com has just posted an article asking why we need full-frame 35mm digital sensors. The posts there don’t seem to have permalinks, so you’ll need to look for the August 24, 2005 entry on either the CameraHobby main page or on the Archives page (if you’re reading this sometime in the future when it’s scrolled off the main page). I think I agree with Edwin’s conclusions, but wanted to elaborate a little.

Besides the two arguments Edwin gives for full-frame 35mm DSLRs (the hassle of figuring out the 35mm-equivalent focal lengths of your lenses, and the problem of trying to shoot wide angle when you’ve got a 1.5x crop factor), there are three additional issues I can see:

  1. A larger sensor gives reduced depth of field, which appeals to some people. I have several fast prime lenses, and love working with narrow depth of field – the fact that I have an EOS 20D with a 1.6x crop factor works against me a little bit there.

  2. A larger sensor has larger individual pixels than a smaller sensor with the same pixel resolution (pretty obvious). This will always mean a better signal-to-noise ratio in the larger sensor’s image, meaning higher quality output (given the same technology used to manufacture and control the sensor and post-process the raw data). The corrollary of this is that a larger sensor with the same pixel size as a smaller sensor will produce a higher resolution image.

  3. A larger sensor is going to cost more to manufacture than a smaller one, even given the same economies of scale, technologies, processes, etc.

If we’re going to question “why choose the 35mm frame size?”, I guess we really need to question “why choose the APS-C or APS-H frame size?” as well. The only reason we currently have them is because they were a reasonable trade-off between cost (larger sensors cost disproportionately more to manufacture than smaller ones) and the practicality of continuing to use 35mm lenses and body designs. Basically the smaller sensors are good enough, but a much better price.

If you could ignore your legacy investment in lenses and accessories, then:

  • if size, weight and cost matter most to you, you’d go for the smaller Four Thirds format and a camera like the Olympus E-1
  • if absolute image quality, resolution, and control over depth of field are your main concerns, you’d go for a medium format digital back like one of the Phase One P series

APS-C (1.5x and 1.6x crop), APS-H (1.3x crop) and full-frame 35mm are just points along the path between the extremes of SLR bodies: Four Thirds format (18mm x 13.5mm) at the small end and 645 medium format (60mm x 45mm) at the big end. Each of those points represents some kind of trade-off between all the factors mentioned above, and so each represents an ideal solution for some group of photographers. As long as each group of photographers is an economically-viable size, various manufacturers will be there to meet their needs.

I can see the niche APS-H format eventually being phased out (it’s only offered by Canon currently, and then only on expensive bodies optimized for sports shooting), but I think the others will probably be with us in DSLRs for a while yet.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there’s a place for full-frame 35mm digital sensors? Are the Nikon guys just jealous? :-)

Nikon Capture 4.3.1 Released

Darren wrote this at 7:20 pm:

Nikon has released the latest update, version 4.3.1, of its Nikon Capture image management software.

Improvements include:

  • Optimization of RAW (NEF) image processing
  • More efficient use of RAM for image data processing
  • Improved program for creating histograms
  • Faster response for full image display
  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) support

Konica Minolta Announces 35 mm F/1.4 Lens

Darren wrote this at 9:48 am:

Konica Minolta has announced the development of a new interchangeable lens designed for the Maxxum line of digital and 35mm film SLR cameras – the Konica Minolta AF 35 mm F1.4G (D).

The lens will become available in Spring 2006.

More details can be found in the press release over at DP Review.