Category Archives: Lighting

GH5 with Leica 12-60mm at Shutterfest

This was one of my very first images captured with the GH5 using the Leica 12 – 60 lens while the model was being prepped.  The image is a jpg capture in sRGB.  Click on the image to view it larger.

Also posted in Lens, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography, Portraits Tagged , , , , , |

Lume Cube Review

The makers of Lume Cube have a new  smaller and less powerful but a highly efficient light designed for phone photography called the Life Lite.  This is a smart, Bluetooth controlled, pocket-sized Lifestyle Light for iPhone, Android, DSLR or a GoPro. The Life Light will be available in March.

This gadget review however, is of the original Lume Cube and the cheaper version that does not have any bluetooth connectivity. Both are identical in performance and while you can controll one with a smart phone the lite version is all manual.  I have been using the Lume Cube for many months and have been most satisfied with its performance and portability.  I have used these lights for macro, video and portraiture and love the results they have helped produce.

Specs:

  • Type LED
  • Output Variable: 0 to 1500 Lumens
  • Strobe: Variable 1/8000 to 1 second
  • Mount Type: 1/4″-20 female
  • Power Source: Integrated battery
  • Battery Duration: 100% Brightness: 20 minutes; 90% Brightness: 60 minutes; 50% Brightness: 120 minutes
  • Power Connector: USB (for charging)
  • Waterproof Depth: 100′ / 30.5 m
  • Dimensions: 1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5″

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

The Lume Cube comes in a small cube shaped cardboard box that contains the Lume Cube and a USB charging cable.

You do need to unscrew a small cover to access the charging port.  This access cover is a requirement as the Lume Cube is rated to be waterproof to depth of 100 feet.

Shaped as a cube, the unit has two rubberized push button switches on the top and a 1/4 20 mount that can be used to mount the light on a light stand, tripod or any flexible light mounting device.

The two push buttons control the video light and the alternate flash function of the device. Each time you depress the on/off video switch the light cycles through 10 levels of intensity.

You can also control the Lume Cube using the mobile app. Lume Cube has simplified its lighting controls with a proprietary wireless, Bluetooth-enabled app, available on both Apple iOS and Android. The app is capable of controlling up to 5 Lume Cubes simultaneously. The app allows you to adjust the brightness, flash duration and red eye latency on each Lume Cube independently; and with its onboard optical sensor, Lume Cube can be configured as a slave flash unit to be fired by any other external flash.You have to register your Lume Cube to sync it to your app once registered you can control all your Lume Cube’s power and settings separately.

Lume Cube Setup and test for portraits

To test the Lume Cubes I fitted two Lume Cubes on two separate light stands. The “Main” Lume Cube was place so as to create Rembrandt lighting on the dummy head.  The second was place to create a gentle fill.  As you can see from the image below, the Lume Cube, due mainly to its size creates a fairly hard light.  The settings were ISO 200, f/1.7 at 1/125 sec. using a Panasonic Lumix GX85 body and a Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7 lens wide open.  The light emitted is cool and for this test I used an X-Rite Color Checker Passport to balance the temperature.

The second test was conducted with the same placement of the lights but instead of the Lume Cubes facing the dummy head directly the light was bounced off two Rogue Flash Benders.  No Diffusion material was used.

As you can see the light was much softer and way more pleasing in the image below.  The settings were ISO 640, F/1.7 at 1/80 sec.  Clearly there is about 3 stops of light loss when using the Flash Benders.  However, the soft light is excellent for portraiture.

 

Lume Cube for Macro/Close-up Photography

The Lume Cube produces a really hard light as it is a very small light, but also a very powerful one.  The Lume Cubes were about 1.5 inches from the subject.  Exposure triad: F/4, 1/800 sec., ISO 640.  The lens was a 30mm macro with an extension tube.  Camera: Panasonic Lumix GX85.

The following is the setup:

The image shown below is a 45 image stack using the GX85’s focus bracketing feature.

The portability of these little powerhouses has me convinced, and I tend to carry two in my bag at all times.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

Also posted in Accessories, Lumix GX85, Macro, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photography, Portraits, Product Reviews, Stacked Image

The Joy of Mirrorless and IR

Lumix G7 converted to Super Color IR (590nm)

Lumix G7 converted to Super Color IR (590nm)

Typical cameras are designed to capture the visible spectrum. Geting your camera converted to capture IR opens up another world of photography.

Keep in mind that IR wavelength is longer than the wavelength range of the visible spectrum and thereby focuses differently.  When you convert a DSLR you are limited to certain focus adjustments that must be made so as to achieve the best quality of images with sharp focus.  As lenses with different focal lengths behave differently you need to select one lens and have the camera sensor calibrated to achieve sharp focus with that lens.  Any other lenses will not be in a position to achieve good focus.  Live view can help but it is not the best option.

Mirrorless cameras on the other hand rely on the imaging sensor for focus attainment and metering they are able to discern the IR focus shift in real time and adjust accordingly. This feature allows you to use any lens, prime or zoom and capture sharp IR images.

In my opinion a mirrorless cameras with no in body image stabilization is a better choice for conversion.

Lifepixel is who I use and their service and conversions are exceptional. Click on the icon to get started.

LifePixel Digital Infrared Photography IR Conversion

Use the coupon code shivverma50 to get $50 Off with a Priority Processing Upgrade – this coupon code expires on August 6, 2016

Also posted in Black & White, Infrared, Mirrorless, Panasonic, Photographs, Photography Tagged |

You don’t need big bucks

Recently, I watched a high-end photo shoot demonstration where multiple Broncolor studio lights and power-packs were used to photograph a bottle of single malt Scotch Whisky.  At least four Broncolor Strobes with Broncolor Strip boxes and focusing light modifiers were used to capture the image. It was an excellent demonstration and the results were great.  Well here is my version:

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Westcott was kind enough to provide me with a set of Rapid Box Strip lights that I decided would have to do the job.

Each Rapid Box Strip was mounted on a light stand and a Nissin DI866 flash head triggered by a Yongnuo wireless trigger was used as the light source.  A third Nissin i40 flash also triggered by a Yongnuo trigger was used as the light for the label on the bottle.  A Rogue Flashbender was formed into a snoot to concentrate the light and prevent any spill.

The camera was a Panasonic Lumix GX8 with the Lumix 35 – 100mm f/2.8 lens. A Yongnuo mounted on the hot-shoe was used to trigger the lights.  Exposure triad: f/7.1, 1/100 sec, ISO 200.  Lens focused at 42mm.

Here is a behind the scenes image.

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Also posted in Lens, Mirrorless, Photography, Strobes Tagged , , , , , , , , |

One Day Workshop Schedule

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The following is the workshop schedule for the first half of 2016:

ALL ONE-DAY WORKSHOPS INCLUDE A PIZZA LUNCH

Workshop details are available from the Registration Page.

March 20 – Macro and Close-up Photography

March 26 – Flash Photography, High Speed flash, creative lighting

April 3 – Macro and Close-up Photography

April 9 – Portrait and Lighting Techniques

April 10 – Digital Photography A-Z.  This is a one day three part course that will teach you camera basics, post processing and printing.

June 4 – The Digital Darkroom – a course that covers image capture, asset management, processing and enhancement, output to print and web media. A one day program for digital image making workflow

June 5 – Flash Photography, High Speed flash, creative lighting

June 11 – Timelapse Photography, post processing and video assembly

June 12 – Macro and Close-up Photography

If you have any questions or would like more information please call 617-759-0010 or email sv@shivverma.com

Please use this REGISTRATION link to register for these workshops.

Also posted in Composite, Flowers, High Key, Macro, Mirrorless, Noise Reduction, Panning, Photography, Portraits, Software, Stacked Image, Strobes, Time-Lapse, Tips, Workshops

ND Filters’ Color Cast comparison – Vü 10 stop Sion, Lee 10 stop (Big Stopper) & Formatt Hitech 8 stop

The Lee Big Stopper was introduced in 2010 to compete with the Hitech 10 stop filter that was known to have flare and other issues. Subsequently Hitech reengineered their 10 stop filter and emulated some of Lee’s design features. In particular the the light blocking gasket.  Soon Lee introduced the Little Stopper while Hitech developed a wider range of solid ND filters the Pro Stop line from 6 to 10 stops and in multiple sizes.  Most recently I was introduced to the Vü system and hence this test as a comparison. I will do a full review of the Vü system in the near future.

As I own the Lee Big sStopper and the Hitech 8 stop with the Hitech holder (I do prefer the Hitech to the Lee holder) I was keen to understand the differences in the way high f-stop ND filters impart a color cast when used. Hence this test.  Please click on the images to see a larger version.

The set up was fairly simple.  Using a Sony A7R II and a Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8 lens set at f/2.0 and a base ISO of 50, shutter speed 1/125 sec.  The light source was two Elinchrome studio strobes positioned to give a 1/3 stop exposure variation at the edges.  The camera was focused on a white foam-core board with a X-Rite Color Checker Passport clamped to the upper right corner.  Camera white balance set for flash rather than a custom white balance (5450 Kelvin) and an “as shot” tint of +9.  I wanted to allow for any variation in the white of the foam-core board that is typically not 100% white be adjusted in post.

The test exposure was made and the white balance adjusted in post using Lightroom – this is the image below.  White balance adjustment yielded a temperature of 4750 Kelvin and a tint of -1:

Control Shot

Next the strobes were adjusted to full power providing 8 additional stops of light.  The ISO was adjusted to increase sensitivity by two stops while the aperture of the lens was kept at a constant f/2.0 for all the exposures. Each filter was tested for color cast only.

The Lee Big Stopper (10 stop ND)

The Lee Big Stopper (10 stop ND) was mounted and the image as shown below was captured. This is as a screen shot so as to show the RGB histogram.  The info panel shows the reading from the center of the captured image.  Values are R=219, G=229, B=243

Lee 10stop at corner

Color Values measured in the center

 

In this next image the Info Panel shows RGB values from the lower third of the image. Values are R=187, G=203, B=222

Lee 10stop at center

Color Values measured in the lower right quadrant

Next the image was white balanced in Lightroom WB to 8600 Kelvin and tint +43. Compensated for the color of the board and the lights the calculated readings are 7900 Kelvin and a +35 Tint adjustment.

Lee 10 stop WB to 8600 and tint +43

Lee 10 stop WB to 8600 Kelvin and tint +43

The Lee Big Stopper exhibits a heavy blue cast in both the center and the edges.

Formatt Hitech 8 stop ND filter

As I do not have a 10 stop Formatt Hitech filter, I chose to do the same test with the 8 stop that I own. As with the Lee filter before, here the info panel shows the reading from the center of the captured image.  Values are R=234, G=238, B=236

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 5.05.05 PM

Format 8 stop – Color Values measured in the center

In this next image the Info Panel shows RGB values from the lower third of the image. Values are R=209, G=220, B=212

Format 8 stop - Color Values measured in the center

Format 8 stop – Color Values measured in the lower right quadrant

Next the image was white balanced in Lightroom WB to 5750 Kelvin and tint +52. Compensated for the color of the board and the lights the calculated readings are 5050 Kelvin and a +44 Tint adjustment.

Formatt 8 stop WB to 5750 and tint +52

Formatt 8 stop WB to 5750 Kelvin and tint +52

The Formatt HiTech 8 stop exhibits a heavy green cast at the edges but is more neutral in the center.

Vü Sion Q 10 stop Neutral Density Filter

The Vü Sion 10 stop ND filter mounted using The Vü professional filter holder (more abut this in a future post) and the same test was performed. As before the image captured is shown as a screen shot showing the RGB histogram.  The info panel shows the reading from the center of the captured image.  Values are R=235, G=235, B=239

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 5.15.29 PM

Vu Sion 10 stop – Color Values measured in the center

In this next image the Info Panel shows RGB values from the lower third of the image. Values are R=211, G=214, B=219

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 5.15.44 PM

Vu Sion 10 stop – Color Values measured in the lower right quadrant

Next the image was white balanced in Lightroom WB to 5800 Kelvin and tint +13. Compensated for the color of the board and the lights the calculated readings are 5000 Kelvin and a +5 Tint adjustment.

VU 10 stop wb adjusted 5800 tint +13

VU Sion 10 stop WB adjusted 5800 and tint +13

The Vü Sion 10 stop is very neutral in the center an has a negligible shift at the edges.

In conclusion I am very impressed with the Vü Sion 10 stop and is near neutral rendering.  My full review of this system is forthcoming.

 

Hunts Photo is offering my students and workshop participants a 20% discount on all Vu filters and holders! All you  have to do is call 781-662-8822 and ask for Alan Samiljan and tell him you are one of my students.  He will give you the discount. UPS Ground shipping is free in the Lower 48 and there is no sales tax except for orders shipped to MA, RI or ME.

 

Also posted in Accessories, Blur, Motion, Photographs, Photography, Product Reviews, Sony A7R, Strobes, Tips, Zeiss

Review of the Hähnel Captur Module Pro, Captur Module – IR and the Captur Receiver

Hähnel Captur Module Pro remote trigger with sound, light, laser and IR triggering.

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Hähnel of Ireland has replaced the wonderful Giga T pro with Captur Module Pro.  Capture is high-speed trigger system that will provide remote triggering, intervalometer functions, delay triggering, long exposure and will will also work as an ordinary flash trigger.

Some of the more interesting features are sound, light, laser and infrared sensors for high-speed or wildlife photography. What is even better is that  the system has an auxiliary port.  This allows you to use any third part triggering devices to be connected to the Captur Module Pro  that in turn will trigger your camera.

The basic kit comes as a set of two devices. A hand held control unit and a IR transmitter.  You will need an optional wireless unit to control your camera wirelessly.  The controller is a 2.4GHz transmitter with a range of 320 feet. It will work with either shoe-mount flashes or studio lights as there is a hot-shoe and a sync port. There are models for Nikon, Canon, Sony and Olympus/Panasonic. Best of all the modules all use AA batteries.

Features:

  • Captures Time Lapse Photography, High Speed Photography, Motion & Wildlife Photography
  • Four built-in sensors (light, sound, Laser & IR). The package indicates five built-in sensors however there are four sensors (three windows) and an auxiliary port that can accommodate an infinite variety of sensors and triggers.
  • Auxiliary port allows to connect 3rd party sensors such as pressure plates, humidity & temperature sensors
  • Fully programmable timed sequences including delay, interval timer, exposure count & exposure length setting
  • Shutter release button with autofocus, single & continuous shooting & bulb mode
  • Connect wirelessly to camera using the Captur Receiver (sold separately)

Construction:

The Captur Module Pro and the IR Transmitter are encased in rubber shield that covers the unit with the exception of the display and control face.  Each has a 1/4 20 thread that lets you mount the units on a tripod, light stand or clamp.  The IR Transmitter mounts inverted to protect it from the elements. The Capture Receiver is not rubber encased.

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Module Pro:  The face of the unit has the display window, three buttons – Lock, Trigger and Start/Stop.  Blow these is the four way rocker and a center “set” button.  The left side has the cameras cable release port and the auxiliary port. The top has the microphone, IR sensor and Light sensor. The right  side has a micro USB port that can be used to power the device, and the on/off switch.  Note the micro USB port is covered by the rubber enclosure.  The underside of the unit has the 1/4 20 mount and the battery compartment also accessible by removing the upper enclosure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Module IR has a high/low switch on the front face and the 1/4 20 mount.  The IR bean is emitter from the top of the unit.he On/Off switch is located on the left side and the batter compartment is in the bottom also covered by the rubber enclosure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Capture Receiver has a flash hot shoe on the face a test button and an indicator light that flashes green when the unit is ready and turns red when the unit is activated. The left side has the remote trigger cabe port while the right has the On/Off switch. The bottom of the unit has a combination hotshot mount and a 1/4 20 mount. Also on the bottom is the battery compartment. Note: this unit does not have a rubber enclosure.

Using the units:

The handheld remote controller can be connected to your camera with a remote cable or wireless is used with the wireless receiver unit.  The controller will allow you to configure various shooting scenarios that require precise delays and also works as an intervalometer for time-lapse photography. Unlike the Giga T Pro, Captur Module Pro will work as a conventional flash trigger in addition to the remote triggering functionality when paired with a Captur unit.

The control unit has settings for Hours, Minutes and Seconds (HH:MM:SS) and a mode delay of 00:01 through 10:00 seconds (duration in 1/100th second).  A 4 way rocker for modes and a central push button for setting the parameters. Buttons for triggering, start/stop and lock. There are four configurable options:

  • Delay – lets you set an interval between the time the trigger is fired and the shutter is activated.
  • Long – allows you to set a long exposure duration – the camera must be set to bulb mode.  It is also possible to do long exposures without programming.  This is achieved by depressing the release button for 3 seconds and the bulb function will lock and you can release the button. Depress the button once more to end the bulb exposure (long exposure).
  • Interval 1 – is configured to set the interval between shots and then N1 sets the number of shots to take.
  • Interval 2 configures the time between interval (Interval 1) activation sand N2 configures the number of times the Interval 1 and N1 sequence is repeated.

Using the Captur Module pro is easy if you are familiar with the Gia T Pro system. There is an online manual that is reasonable week detailed for those who have not used a Giga system or are new to Remote triggers and intervalometers.

Configuring for various modes:

All modes have some common options: sensitivity, amount of delay before the unit will trigger the shutter, the duration of shutter open when the camera is in bulb mode and the number of allowed activations. To enable a mode all you need to do is to press the Start/Stop button to start the process. A ready LED turns green and when the mode is triggered the LED turns Red as a verification.

To set the mode, use the rocker switch to get to the sensor mode you want. The modes are in the following order:

Sound mode– adjust the sensitivity of the sensor as needed.

Infrared (IR) mode, (you need to use the Module – IR).  Set the Module – IR and the Module – Pro so they are aligned with the IR beam lens in line-of-sight with the receiver window of the Module Pro. When the IR beam is interrupted the unit will be triggered.  The Module IR has High/Low setting.  Use the low setting for a beam length of 4.5 feet or less and the High for lengths greater than 4.5 feet.

Light Mode – here the sensor is activated when there is a change in light level – bright to dark, dark to bright. Ideal for fireworks, lightning, or indoors with any light being turned on or off.

Laser – this mode requires a laser beam to be pointed at the receiver window and works the same way as the IR beam but with a much greater distance between transmitter and receiver.

AUX – this mode requires you to connect any triggering device to the Captur Module Pro via a 1/8” Tip-shield plug.

Pricing:

The Captur Pro Module is $120, Two receiver modules are $45 each; A pair of flash triggers not reviewed are $100 and the Capture Timer Module also not reviewed is $60.

Conclusion:

In my opinion the Captur system is probably the most versatile triggering system I have used and as it uses AA batteries it will last through extremely long time-lapse sequences without having to worry about a premature shutdown. The construction is solid as is the performance. In all of the tests performed the unit did not miss-fire.

Also posted in Accessories, Motion, News, Photography, Product Reviews, Time-Lapse, Tips

Rendezvous with the Sensuous

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Hosta Leaves

“Every direction offers a lesson in form and aesthetic options; one element after another attracts the eye with texture, color and tension that provokes a spectrum of emotion.”

an excerpt from Rendezvous with the Sensuous: Readings on Aesthetics – Linda Ardito, John Murungi

Also posted in Flowers, Mirrorless, Photographs, Photography Tagged , , |

Testing Affinity from Serif

Have not had a lot time to test the 2nd Beta release of Affinity but gave it a good shot yesterday.  Still a lot to learn, but on the whole, I like it a lot.  Has some great features built in, the filters are great but not sure I like the fact that it creates an intermediate file.  The following is an image processed entirely using Affinity (Sony Raw to a TIFF export).

Kristina (70 South Gallery - Workshop) - Sony A7R, Zeiss Touit 500mm f/2.8, Exposure triad - ISO 100, f/11, 1/125 sec.  Lastolite Trigrip Gold reflector.

Kristina (70 South Gallery – Workshop) – Sony A7R, Zeiss Touit 500mm f/2.8, Exposure triad – ISO 100, f/11, 1/125 sec. Lastolite Trigrip Gold reflector for the key light.

Also posted in Lens, Mirrorless, Photographs, Photography, Portraits, Product Reviews, Sony A7R, Workshops Tagged , , , |

70 South Gallery – Lighting Workshop

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Outdoors at noon against the stone walls of a church

The 70 South Gallery – Lighting and Model Photography workshop was a huge success.  Thanks to some great organization by “Adventures in Photography” (NJ, NY and New England) and the 70 South Gallery, Morristown, NJ.  The workshop was sold out and we were fortunate to have decent weather for some of the outdoor shoots.  I would like to thank the participants, the models and the organizers for all the hard work and support that made this so awesome.

Studio lights were Profoto and Arri, outdoor speed lights were Nissin and personal on and off camera flashes.  Lastolite reflectors and the Phottix Luna but dish were also incorporated in the various sessions.

Also posted in Accessories, Educational, Photographs, Photography, Portraits, Presentations, Strobes, Workshops Tagged , , , , , |