Category Archives: Technology

The Photography show 2017

On Sunday I went to this year’s Photography show; this 4-day event runs from Saturday 18th to Tuesday 21st March at the Birmingham NEC. Like previous years, I visited the show with my friend Richard Brown; the only difference is that he drove this year as I no longer have a car. Richard has already written his report of the show and this can be read here.

Although there wasn’t a lot of new equipment to see this year (my local LCE stores do stock a lot of photographic gear between them) I was very interested in seeing a number of photographers, manufacturers and suppliers this year.

We left Lincoln at about 07:15 and as the traffic was quite light we arrived just after 09:00, we had a similar drive time back too. Unfortunately, the public are not allowed in until 10:00 so we had to order a quite expensive coffee at Starbucks to help with the wait. After the coffee, we joined the hoards as we ventured into the staging area. Whilst here I picked up my show guide and shortly afterwards a large 5 second countdown started on the a big screen we were allowed in when it reached zero.

What follows are the parts of the show that was of most interest to me.

Olympus:
The Olympus stand was at the top of my list and the first stand I ventured towards once we were allowed in. I picked up my complimentary show copy of the Olympus Magazine and then had a quick look around the stand. I noticed that all the reps were present; I know most of them by name now: Lewis, Dave, Jez, Claire and Aiden who I haven’t seen for a while since his promotion. I also checked out the dedicated talks that would be held at their stand. There were 4 scheduled for the day from Tesni Ward, Steve Gosling, Damian McGillyCuddy and finally Gavin Hoey. Although I missed Steve and Damian this year I did manage to attend Tesni’s and Gavin’s presentations.

Whilst at the stand I played with the other OM-D and PEN models and have to say that for a second cheaper body I would prefer the E-M1 (Mark 1) over of the other OMD or PEN models. The best choice would be a second OM-D E-M1 Mark II but these are the most expensive Olympus cameras now; maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win one from this month’s Olympus Competition as featured in the magazine – I can hope.

The other items of interest were the two new flash units, the FL-900 Speedlight and the STF-8 Macro Flash unit. I didn’t get much time with the STF-8, but this is a very well designed unit, simple to control and can be part of the Olympus optical RC system. The FL-900 whist being a weather sealed unit that has a metal foot and gaskets for the weather sealing. This very light (no pun intended) unit has a very small display, what I do find confusing though is why it costs £550! This is more expensive than Canon’s 600EX II-RT* and Nikon’s SB5000 (both flagship Speedlights) and these have both radio and optical RC modes over the Olympus optical only RC mode!

*The Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT is usually £539 but currently has an £80 cashback offer bringing this down to £459. The Nikon SB5000 is currently £499.

I see the STF-8 in my future but I don’t think I can justify the £550 for the FL-900 unit, not when I can get a Nissin i60A TTL radio controlled unit for only £239 and a radio trigger for £80. Two flashes and a trigger are only £8 more than the FL-900. However, whilst the FL-900 is weather sealed, the i60A units are not. All of the flashguns mentioned have similar guide numbers so that’s not a deciding factor.

Tesni Ward’s presentation featured an excellent collection of photographs mostly from her Mountain Hare project. The images were all amazing and the character for each of the different hares shone through and were sometimes very amusing. Tesni also showed some of her other work too (videos and photos), these were also amazing; the video of the snakes and story behind them was very intriguing. Initially I was slightly worried that the presentation would be similar to the one we saw at Marwell Zoo but was that was quickly dispelled within a few minutes. I cannot wait until May when I will be taking part on one of Tesni’s workshops.

I really enjoyed Gavin Hoey’s presentation, he showed what’s involved when you are given a short brief that (in this case) and how this can require 3 separate shoots involving the Fire Brigade. There were also a liberal sprinkling of tips, do’s and don’ts in there too. I must say that I recognised a lot of them and I am guilty of some of the don’ts mentioned. Gavin’s images were also excellent and it was nice to see how they look when printed which is not something you always have the experience of. I also want to finish by saying that Gavin is one of the nicest people I have ever met and an excellent teacher, thanks Gavin if you are reading this. 🙂

Nikon stand:
Richard and I briefly visited the Nikon stand where you could get a picture of you (and friends if wanted) holding up of one of Nikon’s “I AM …….” signs – I think that this marketing idea is a bit tired now but if you like Nikon I suppose it’s nice. I also picked up a Nikon D5 fitted with a 14-24mm lens, whoa! this is a heavy beast, heavier than I thought it would be. It’s at times like this that I am glad I moved to the Olympus OM-D range, I simply have no desire to carry around such a heavy camera/lens combo anymore. I also much prefer the sound of the Olympus shutter over the large “clacking” sound that the Nikon made. I think the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has the nicest sounding shutter around at the moment!

Canon Stand:
Although Canon probably had the largest presence at the show especially as they had their own video booth too, was a vendor I had no interest in seeing as they had nothing new to show. Both Richard and I walked past them many times; obviously, we were in a minority as there were loads of people in and around this area.

Panasonic:
As another one of the MFT (Micro Four Thirds) manufacturers I’m always interested in what Panasonic are up to and I had a chance to try out their full range of interchangeable lens cameras as well as the new FZ2000. Top of my list was the GH5 and Panasonic they had plenty to play with. Similar to the previous GH models, the GH5 looks like a mini-DSLR with its ample grip, central EVF and top mounted controls. The grip of the GH5 has changed slightly from the one of the GH3/GH4, although I have never used a GH4 I have owned a GH3 in the past.
The GH5 has a few features over the GH4 but as most of these are around video there wasn’t much to see. I also had a go with the Leica 42.5mm f1.2 lens on a GX8 and that is a seriously nice lens. I felt that the focusing on the GX8 seemed to be quite slow and has that focusing system that has to go past the point of focus and then back again.

Fujifilm:
The main attraction for both Richard and I at the Fujifilm stand (more so Richard) was medium-format GFX50S camera, although this is smaller than a “traditional” medium-format it is larger than 35mm “full-frame”.

I had a quick go with the GFX50S and was instantly surprised how light the camera was (even with a lens and battery). The focusing speed could do with a boost though – it reminded me of early X-T1 AF performance prior to the improvements that came with the firmware updates. Overall though I was impressed. I think a lot of users who were going to get a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX/1DX II might go for one of these as the cost difference isn’t that great; £6,200 for the body and £2,200 for the standard zoom lens. However, I don’t personally see one of these in my future.

Sony
Like Canon, the Sony stand was by passed as they don’t have much new stuff that interests me. Don’t get me wrong, they (like Tamron and Sigma) have impressive new glass to show off but I don’t see a Sony 35mm full-frame mirrorless camera on my horizon. Sony also seem to be ignoring their APS sensor sized cameras as far as lenses go; I’m not sure why but they seem to have gone back to their old habits where new cameras come out very regularly but lens growth is almost non-existent. I suspect that new cameras are easier/cheaper to design and all of their lens technology and know-how is focused on the much larger and more expensive full-frame mirror-less cameras.

Sigma and Tamron:
I also did not visit the Sigma and Tamron booths and although they both have impressive new glass to show this is either for Sony, Nikon or Canon mounts. Although both Tamron and Sigma do agree that mirrorless cameras could offer them growth, if it isn’t for Sony there isn’t much to see. Sigma do have a few boring MFT lenses but Tamron have none.

NiSi Filters:
After a lot of searching I found the NiSi Filters booth and I was surprised at their presence at the show. Not only did we have (nearly) all their products on display they also had some “NiSi Ambassadors” present too. Each ambassador would do a talk and presentation at the stand from time to time explaining not only why they use NiSi filters but also how they got the shot when showing their very impressive images.

I was particularly interested in meeting up with Phil Norton who is not only one of NiSi ambassadors and also a distributer in the UK too. I have sent a few emails to Phil enquiring about the filters and their use with and OM-D camera and lenses and found him very helpful. Phil also uses the OM-D cameras and lenses so can offer very useful tips. Unfortunately, it seems that everyone wanted to talk to Phil too so I only managed to get 5 minutes of his time. We spoke about the system and he was going to show me the adapter for the Olympus 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens but couldn’t get to it at the time as his bag was next to another ambassador who presenting. Phil’s personal adapter was not being sold at the show so was the only one there. I suggested coming back to see his presentation later and then see the adapter then. Although I did get back to see Phil’s presentation and spectacular images he was talking to more people straight after his talk and I gave up trying to see Phil again.

X-Rite:

Although I already have an X-Rite i1 Display Pro calibration device I did go and see them as the rubber on the outside of mu device has gone very “tacky”. I did try (many months prior to the show) get in contact with them regarding this but got no reply. Their reaction to the tacky-ness issue at the show clearly shows that this is a known problem, they were apologetic in the fact that no-one replied to my email and then logged the issue again on their site on my behalf. I’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of this beyond the standard email confirmation message I received. They did say that I would probably end up with a replacement device – hope springs eternal.

Other Vendors:
I had a good look around and the accessory space is alive and well, a lot of vendors were there showing off and selling luxury camera bags and (very expensive) camera straps each numbering into the hundreds of pounds but they will match your Leica camera nicely.

My favourite bag was being shown at the Olympus stand and is (currently?) only available with the EM-1 Mark II camera as a show offer promotion. The bag made by Gillis has an indigenous design and looks the part too, I want one and I suspect that some users who got the bag at the show might sell them on eBay later. Failing that I think that they will be available at some point a few weeks or months from now. The bag has an RRP of £299 – but it’s worth every penny!

Retailers
In addition to all of the camera and accessory manufacturers at the show we also had London Camera Exchange (LCE), Calumet and Camera World too. Whilst some of the offers at the show were nothing special (i.e. £5 off a £75 battery) there were also some fantastic deals to be had too. I went with the purpose of picking up the Olympus M.Zuiko 300mm f4 IS PRO lens and a Peak Design wrist strap. I went straight to the LCE stand and surveyed the Olympus offers page on one of their glass cabinets, the lens was being sold with a £500 discount! Soon after I had an LCE bag with my 300mm lens in there – colour me happy! LCE had the best deal for this lens as Camera World were only offering a £200 discount. I could not see any Olympus gear at the Calumet Stand although I did get my Peak Design wrist strap from them.

Wrap Up
I had a great day at the show, good company, met up with some fantastic people/photographers, got hold of the lens I wanted and might get my tacky i1 Display Pro device sorted out too. The only thing I didn’t like was the food – over-priced and not very good either. I’ll certainly come next year and bring my own food, at least that way I’ll gets something I like and not be fleeced.

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LCE Photo and Optics Show 2015

LCE-PhotoandOptics-2015

Two weeks on Wednesday is this year’s London Camera Exchange’s Photo and Optics show. I have been attending the show for the last few years now and it gets bigger and better every year, it’s a testament to the hard work that’s put into this by the LCE staff not only in Lincoln but further afield too.

This year looks to be no different, it looks like Olympus will have the biggest presence at the show which is good for me and Damian McGillicuddy is back again doing two events at the show; the events will also be better as the stage at the back of the hall is where they will be held. This was the only criticism I have from last year’s show, the event area wasn’t situated in the best place; I’m glad to see that my view were heard and acted upon – thanks Dave.

As well as Olympus we will have Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Lastolite and many many more, you can find more details about the show by clicking here. LCE will also have many show offers on for the day so bring your wallet and speak nicely to the bank manager.

I am really looking forward to the show and I hope to see you at the event 🙂

Nikon D810 Myths and Truths

D810

I’ve owned my Nikon D810 DSLR camera for just over a month now and although there are many reasons I changed back to a DSLR from the rather good (in fact better than I imagined) Olympus OM-D E-M1, the main two were the fact that I wanted a bigger sensor and much more resolution – 36MP. I was rather lucky to find a nearly new 810 from my local London Camera Exchange store with an extremely low shutter count in mint condition, boxed and at a very reasonable price. I was originally looking at a new Nikon D750 which is an excellent DSLR (and is doing very well for Nikon) but I wanted the pro body and the 36MP sensor. I also picked up a boxed mint condition 50mm f1.8 G lens at the same time this was also at a reasonable price.

It is the high resolution of the Nikon D810 as well as it’s previous versions the D800 and D800E that is the source of much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). The D810 gives me the ability to crop a lot when the subject is not full frame in the picture as well as a better high ISO capability and wider Dynamic Range; these were lacking in the OM-D. The fact that I can push the RAW files from the D810 so much more still astounds me as the OM-D files couldn’t be pushed as much.

So the popular consensus for getting the best out of the D810 (as well as the D800 and D800E) are the following:

  1. You must use good (read expensive) glass to get the best out of the sensor
  2. You have to lock the camera down on a tripod
  3. You must use good technique
  4. You need to have lots of storage and a fast computer to play with the massive RAW files that the camera produces

I’ll talk about these one at a time.

1) You must use good (read expensive) lenses to get the best out of the sensor:
Nikon recommends that you use good lenses to get the best out of this sensor in fact they produce a list of recommended glass to use with the D800E as follows:

  • AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
  • AF-S NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 58mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G
  • AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
  • AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR
  • AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED
  • AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
  • PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED
  • PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D

There are a few lenses on this list that are surprising, first the only 50mm lens is the f1.8G version and not the more expensive f1.4G. Also, all of the new f1.8G prime lenses that Nikon has been releasing over the last couple of years are on the list (28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm) I suspect that the 20mm f1.8G lens would make this list too. The other big surprise is the 24-85mm variable aperture VR zoom lens. These are all easily affordable lenses – although this may be relative as what I consider as affordable may be expensive to the next person, who ever said photography is a cheap hobby?

So even though all of the very expensive f1.4 primes, f2.8 and f4 zoom lenses as well as the extreme telephoto prime lenses all make the list there are a number of affordable primes and zooms that are good enough (from Nikon’s point of view) to be used with the D800E (and I suppose if updated the D810 too).

The only lens that I own that is not on the list is the Nikkor 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR Zoom lens. This lens is one of the most underrated ones out there, there are a number of Pro photographers who recommend this lens as it is an optic gem (even Moose Peterson recommends this lens). I have to agree as I cannot find anything wrong with the results I get, yes it’s a bit slow at the 300mm end but if you have the light you get excellent results. From my point if view this “optically” matches the 150mm end of the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens that I used to own.

So far I have the 50mm f1.8G, 85mm f1.8G and 70-300mm Nikon lenses and the next two Nikon lenses on my list are the 35mm f1.8G and the 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G VR – both are around £400 each which in the grand scheme of things are far from expensive. So the fact of the matter is you don’t need expensive glass to get the best out of the sensor.

That said, there are some cheap lenses that are real stinkers and should be avoided, putting a really cheap lens on the D810 would produce inferior results. I remember being present in one of the LCE stores here in Lincoln when a guy who had just got himself a Nikon D800 camera went in and asked for the cheapest lens that they sold; what a waste! I suspect that this guy no longer has the D800.

I know partly why this is the case and it has to do with Pixel Density. Nikon currently have 3 ranges of “cropped” or DX sensor bodies in the market – the 3xxx series, the 5xxx series and the 7xxx series. All of them now have 24MP sensors and whilst cheap crappy glass isn’t recommended, Nikon do not produce a list of recommended lenses either. If you were to create a full-frame (35mm) sensor with the same pixel density of these cameras you would have a sensor of around 50MP; strangely this is the resolution of Canon’s new 5DS/5DSR cameras. So the pixel density of the Nikon D810 is less than the Nikon consumer DX bodies!

2) You have to lock the camera down on a tripod

Yeah I know it's a Canon!

Yeah I know it’s a Canon!


My favourite kind of photography is wildlife, followed by events, family and then portraits. Whilst I own and use a tripod most of the time for wildlife I don’t always and don’t for the other types of photography. I have never felt that my shots aren’t sharp because I don’t always use a tripod. Yes, I occasionally get blurry shots but this is usually down to me not being steady and using too low a shutter speed.

However, this may be partly because I use a Nikon D810 and not a D800/D800E. One of the improvements of the D810 over the D800/D800E were the dampened mirror mechanism of the D810 so this will play a part.

3) You must use good technique
I won’t argue with this one – great technique is always needed with any camera to get the best out of it – as is learning as much about the camera as possible to make the best use of its feature set for your kind of photography.

4) You better have lots of storage and a fast computer to play with the massive RAW files that the D810 produces
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The RAW files from the D810 are bigger than the OM-D; a typical RAW file for the OM-D E-M1 is around a 16MB, whilst the RAW file from the D810 is about 56MB. More storage is needed, whilst taking pictures and later when storing them; I did have to purchase larger 32GB compact-flash cards. This is something to bear in mind.

I currently use an iMac 27″ to edit my files using Lightroom CC and it is evident that the D810 files take just a fraction longer to load over the OM-D files, the effect is most pronounced when you are working at 100%. I usually get a non-sharp photo followed by a sharper one once the RAW file is fully loaded. I suspect that this is more to do with the fact that I only have 8GB RAM though. I will have to add another 16GB to take me to 24GB.

If you have a much older computer, you may have more need for an upgrade or a new computer.

Conclusion
So I was a bit worried about using a D810 but as I have shown here, it isn’t the daunting prospect that it is made out to be. I am also having a different experience with the camera than other users on various forums from Facebook to DPReview and I’m not sure why.

With all that is said you have to remember that all cameras are tools and it is the photographer not the camera that takes a great photo – a good photographer knows how to use light and composition.

LCE Lincoln Photo Week

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Starting on Monday 8th June both of the Lincoln London Camera Exchanges will be hosting their annual Photo Week. Each store is hosting different events on each day from Monday to Saturday. Unlike last year most companies will only present their company’s products at a single Store.

Details for the LCE website are as below:

Silver Street Store:
Welcome to the 2nd annual Lincoln Photo Week, where we bring you special offers and expert advice direct from the manufacturer across both our Lincoln stores. Here at Silver St we will be focusing on Canon, Olympus and Lowepro with teams from all three brands instore during the week offering hands on demos, expert advice and the chance to try out the latest kit such as the EOS 5Ds and OMD EM5 MKII. We will have special offers running on all the brands throughout the week and great part exchange deals too…..why not bring your old kit to upgrade! Along with our special Photo Week offers there will also be a range of cashback, finance and bundle offers from Canon and Olympus to take advantage of making Lincoln Photo Week the perfect time to buy your next piece of kit. Keep up to date with the latest Photo Week news on our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/LCELincolnPro you can also find us on Twitter and Instagram too.

High Street Store:
Here at the London Camera Exchange High Street branch we’re dedicating an ENTIRE WEEK to all things photographic. From Monday to Saturday we will be having EXCLUSIVE on the day deals with some of the leading manufacturers in the Photographic & Optics fields.

Monday:
Vortex – One of the leading brands in Optics. Will be showcasing the latest ranges of binoculars, field scopes and accessories.
Newpro – Quality optics and photographic accessories. Straps, scope adapters and much more.
** FREE RAFFLE TO WIN AN 8×25 MONOCULAR**

Tuesday:
Fujifilm – Multi-award winning compact system and pro compact cameras. A chance to see the X-T1, X-E2 & X-PRO1 Series along with the range of lenses. Also a chance to see the X30 & X100T Compacts.
Intro2020 – Tamron lenses, Cokin & Hoya filters, Kenko adapters, Velbon tripods camera straps and cleaning kits.

Wednesday:
Intro are back! But they’ll be focusing on their NEW LYTRO ILLUM. A camera that allows you to change the image AFTER you’ve taken the shot! Come along for a demonstration and a chat.

** ALL WEEK WE’RE RUNNING A HAWKE PROMOTION – Come in store to demo anything from the Hawke range and be entered in to a prize draw for a FREE PAIR OF BINOCULARS **

Thursday:
Sony – One of the photographic industries largest companies. A chance to demo the exciting A7 Full Frame compacts, as well as a range on A, E & FE mount lenses. There will also be a chance to try their multi-award winning compact range including the RX100 series, RX10 & HX compact range.
Manfrotto & Lastolite – Manfrotto will be bringing their excellent range of tripods, bags & accessories as well as a range of the Lastolite items like studio kit, lights and backgrounds.

Friday:
Panasonic – With fantastic class-leading cameras such as the GH4, LX100 & the FXZ1000, Panasonic are one of the most exciting brands out there. Offering fantastic performance, cutting edge technologies AND 4K video today is a day you should really come down with an open mind and try something different!

Saturday:
Nikon – “Saving the best ‘til last! a lot of you might say. Nikon are without a doubt one of the big guns of the photography world. And it’s a chance to come see the pro range of the D810, D750 & D610 as well as the BRAND NEW D7200 and don’t forget the brilliant D5500 and D3300. Also a great range or lenses and accessories are available for you to try.

We will also be running DAILY DRAWS to win GOODIES BAGS.

I have to say that I’m interested in trying out some Tamron lenses on my Nikon D810 on Tuesday and again on Saturday when Nikon themselves turn up.

It’s worth visiting one or both of the stores this week as you can bag yourself a bargain – just make sure you get the right store on the right day!

Off to The Photography Show 2015 today

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Thanks to a day off work both Richard and I are off to Birmingham’s NEC today to see this year’s Photography show. Thankfully Lincoln is not too far from the NEC and so it’s only a 1.5 to 2 hour drive depending upon traffic. We both really enjoyed the show last year and although we won’t be going to the Superstage this year (last year we saw Joe McNally) there is still a lot to see.

This is the third day of the four day event and whilst many of the bargains will have been sold there will still be some good deals on gear – I am taking a list of a few times that I have been looking at – nothing exciting just a battery to two for my E-M1 and a new camera bag. Now that I shoot with an Olympus I will be heading straight for the Olympus stand so that I can book myself on one or two of their events running all day. I hope to see Aiden from Olympus there along with a few of the Olympus affiliated photographers such as Damian McGillicuddy and Rob Pugh as well.

However, just visiting the Olympus stand would mean that I will miss all of the other things happening on the day so I will visit many other locations to see what they offer and hopefully try out some of the more exotic gear too.

Canon
Canon have a few new items that will be on show including their new 50MP cameras the 5DS and 5DSR, these will be very similar to the 5D Mark III so beyond the handling I’m not sure what I will get from that. If we are allowed to take a few pictures on our own cards it might be worth it to see what a 50MP picture looks like. I also hope to have a go with the EOS M3 mirrorless camera too, I’m interested in how this handles and how good the add-on EVF is. The new 11-24mm f4 lens will most likely be there and I want to see how wide this is on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Colour Confidence
These guys are distributers for many companies in the Uk such as DXO and X-rite, they are also running some seminars during the day including one with Frank Doorhof who I wanted to see last year but his showing clashed with other ones during the day. I have one of his books and videos I really like watching him, I enjoy his style of teaching and this will be the first time I will see him Live.

Leica
I do not get a chance to play with Leica gear very often so certainly be heading there. Although I am curious to see what the Leica T is like I do know that Richard is very interested in everything that they have to offer; after all he does have a couple of Leica M series cameras.

Nikon
There isn’t much from Nikon that I have not seen, the new D7200 will be very similar to the D7100 but how good is the expanded buffer? I have yet to see the Nikon 1 V3 camera and again I’m interested in how this handles too. Finally a play with the big boys the D810 and D4s with big lenses is needed to remind me of how heavy they are – you cannot argue with the image quality of the D810 but you are going to have to carry a large DSLR with heavy f2.8 or better glass to get the most out of it.

Olympus
Thanks to a chance meeting with Adain about a month ago and my local LCE stocking it, there isn’t much to see that I have not had a go with yet. Whilst the OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be the big news of the show along with the 14-150mm Mark II lens it would be nice to see the add-on “dot-view” viewfinder in action – I have a few questions about this. As I said earlier Olympus are running many events during the day and I would like to see some of these whilst I am there.

Panasonic
I have yet to play with the GH4 but this will handle similarly to to the GH3 but a go would be nice I would also like to see and play with the 42.5mm f1.2 lens and if they have it the cheaper f1.7 lens too. I am interested in getting the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens so want to see if this is better.

Sony
They were not present last year which was a shame but they will be here this year. The only items of interest for me are the new Sony A7 MarkII and some of the new glass that is coming out. I want to see how good the focus and IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) are too.

What Else?
I could go on and on but there is so much to see more than I can detail here. The best idea is to visit the Photography Show’s website here and see who else is there and what else is happening.

Camera Raw 8.8 now available

Adobe have released Camera Raw 8.8 for Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC. DNG Converter 8.8 is provided for all Lightroom customers and Photoshop customers using versions of Photoshop older than Photoshop CS6.

The following cameras are now supported:

  • Casio EX-ZR3500
  • Canon EOS 750D (Rebel T6i, Kiss X8i) (*)
  • Canon EOS 760D (Rebel T6s, Kiss 8000D) (*)
  • Fujifilm X-A2
  • Fujifilm XQ2
  • Hasselblad Stellar II
  • Nikon D5500
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS50 (DMC-TZ70, DMC-TZ71)

(*) denotes preliminary support. Camera Matching color profiles for these models will be added in a future release.

What is not known as this time is if Camera Raw 8.8 supports the High Resolution feature of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.

As usual a whole raft of Lens Profiles have been released for the following manufacturers/mounts:

  • Canon
  • DJI
  • Leica
  • MFT – Voigtlander
  • Nikon F
  • Pentax
  • Sigma
  • Sony Alpha
  • Sony E
  • Yuneec

It’s good to see more unusual mount lenses being added to the list of lens profiles such as DJI, but who is “Yuneec”? That said, the lack of any lens profiles for Olympus’s lenses are notable by their absence!

A full list of the lens profiles can be found over at Adobe’s Lightroom Journal website.

Finally a number of bug fixes have been added to this release:

  • Fixed issue with magenta highlights when processing Canon EOS 70D raw files at some ISO settings
  • Fixed issue where vignette correction introduced banding for Voigtlander VM 21mm f/1.8 Ultron
  • Fixed vignette overcorrection at certain focus distances for Pentax FA645 MACRO 120mm F4
  • Fixed issue where vignette correction introduced banding at wider focal lengths for Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
  • Fixed EXIF name for Zeiss OTUS 85mm f/1.4 (Canon and Nikon mount)
  • Fixed vignette overcorrection for Zeiss Distagon T 1,4_35 ZM
  • Updated lens profile to reflect firmware changes to SIGMA 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM S014

The entry over at the Lightroom Journal finishes with this statement:

Lightroom Customers –
If you’re using one of the newly supported cameras listed above, please download the DNG Converter. We’re working to add support to these cameras and they will be added in the next Lightroom release.

This will be in Lightroom 6 which should be released in March this year so in the the next couple of weeks.

For more information on Camera Raw 8.8 and links to the DNG downloads for Mac and PC please vists the Adobe’s Lightroom Journal website.

Hartsholme Park with OM-D and 1.4x Converter

When I purchased my Olympus OM-D E-M1 in November last year from the LCE Photo and Optics show I also pre-ordered the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens and 1.4x teleconverter too. A few months later I got my 40-150mm lens and then soon after the teleconverter. What I have not really had an opportunity to do is use the lens and teleconverter combo at Hartsholme Park or any venue for that matter. I decided that this weekend I would make the effort to go to Hartsholme Park and try this out; I also invited Richard Brown and met him at our usual vantage point. Richard had his Nikon D800 and Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens with the Nikon 1.7x teleconverter; this gave him a slight field of view edge over my combo.

As soon as I got there I noticed that we had some Grey Heron clearly visible in the trees on the central island, although the Grey Heron’s were mostly building their nests one of them in this nest had different colouring so may have been a young one:
2015-03-15-HHP-11

Every now and then the Heron would bring a twig back to their nests:
2015-03-15-HHP-6

2015-03-15-HHP-7

Occasionally they would land in the wrong location and were chased off by the current occupants:
2015-03-15-HHP-10

Although the Heron are the most interesting bird around, the most common were the Black-Headed Gulls:
2015-03-15-HHP-12
Although the one above has its spring/summer plumage, there were many others in varying degrees of head colour from almost pure white to the black head of this bird. There were also a number of Herring gulls around too.

It was mostly the standard occupants of the lake, such as the Mallard Ducks, the difference is that they (like most of the birds around at this time of year) are starting to pair off:
2015-03-15-HHP-1

We had a few Canada Geese like usual:
2015-03-15-HHP-16

But they were outnumbered by the Greylag Geese, who were in flight quite a bit
2015-03-15-HHP-2

This is one of my favourites even though it isn’t perfectly in focus:
2015-03-15-HHP-5

Like the ducks and the Heron, the Greylag were starting to pair off too:
2015-03-15-HHP-8

Unusually there were quite a number of Great Crested Grebe around sharing the lake with the Greylag Geese:
2015-03-15-HHP-3

These two were performing some kind of ritual, unfortunately I didn’t have a lot of reach to get them and this was cropped quite heavily:
2015-03-15-HHP-4

Finally we had some Moorhens, Crows, Common Coots:
2015-03-15-HHP-9

And as usual, the Wood Pigeons were quite vocal and friendly too:
2015-03-15-HHP-13

Thoughts about the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 lens + 1.4 Converter:
I have a mixed reaction to this combo, anything that was relatively close (a few meters) came out nicely in focus and not soft, the colours were vibrant and very little editing or cropping was required. However anything that was far away came out not so good and this is where I had a problem; whether it was incorrect focusing or simply a factor of the subject being (too?) far away I wasn’t that pleased with the results. Not having clear sunshine behind us for more than a few minutes during the morning’s exclusion didn’t help. I think more practice is needed before I can come to any concrete conclusions though.

Did Firmware 3.0 help?
Again I’m not sure, it did seem slightly more responsive but all of the various focusing modes I tried had strengths and weaknesses. More practice is needed and there were a few things that I didn’t try that I would like to play with. Hopefully I will be able to try them out during one of my lunchtime breaks this week.

Final points to note:

  1. I tried Aperture and Shutter priority but in the end I switched to manual exposure mode as the light kept changing and the amount of exposure-compensation needed for the A and S modes varied all of the time. Having a histogram in the viewfinder certainly helped.
  2. I used GPSCam to capture the GPS coordinates via my iPhone 6+, this is still the best way to do this short of using a dedicated device such as is available for Nikon and Canon DSLR bodies.
  3. Heavy cropping of images form the OM-D cameras is not recommended as the detail goes southwards very quickly especially if you are above ISO 200 which I had to be due to the light levels during the day.
  4. I tried taking a picture of this friendly Crow that came quite close to us and all of my pictures had camera shake so not sure why that happened as the shutter speed wasn’t too slow and the IBIS is usually excellent. I think that when you use continuous AF and/or drive the amount of image stabilisation is reduced – I need to investigate this a bit more.
  5. I did get some nice shots so all in all it was a productive morning. 🙂