Monthly Archives: February 2015

When all you see is snow……

A weekend earlier this month we were driving around looking for something interesting to photograph.  There is between 60 and 70 inches of snow up north and not much to capture.  It is getting dark when I spotted this image – not sure what attracted me the most. The contrast or the stark reality of so much snow.  This is a long exposure 1.6 second at ISO 100 using the Lumix GH4 with the 35-100mm f/2.8 lens at f/5.0.  Cropped to a panel and a bit of “Orton” effect applied.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Posted in Photography

Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH – Review

leica 15mmIntroduced in March 2014 the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 15 mm f/1.7 lens is beautifully constructed. With a maximum aperture of f/1.7, Nano Surface coatings, a manual aperture ring and an on lens AF/MF switch this is an ideal all purpose lens. It is supplied with a well designed metal lens hood and a lens pouch.  Current street price of $498 makes this a very affordable high quality compact lens.

On a full frame equivalent basis this lens has an angle of view of a 30mm lens. It is constructed of quality metals and plastics and has a metal lens mount. It is a light lens at a hair over 4 ounces or 115 grams. The lens feels good when held and exudes Leica quality.

It is a small diameter lens that works well with the smaller form factor Panasonic MFT bodies. The lens does not extend below the base of the GM series bodies and will not interfere with tripod mounts.

A well designed, circular metal lens hood does a great job of preventing flare. As with any lens, the lens hood is added protection for the front element of the lens.


Focal Length 15mm – Comparable 35mm Focal Length: 30 mm
Aperture f/1.7 to f/16
Angle of View 72°
Minimum Focus Distance 7.87″ (20 cm)
Elements/Groups 9/7
Diaphragm Blades 7, Rounded
Filter Thread 46 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.26 x 1.42″ (57.5 x 36 mm)
Weight 4.06 oz (115 g)


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Posted in Accessories, Lens, Mirrorless, Photography

Olympus OM-D E-M1 firmware Version 3.0 now available

This is from the Olympus press release earlier this month.

“With the introduction of new firmware Version 3.0, the weather-resistant camera is now capable of an impressive maximum 9 fps in the C-AF sequential shooting mode when using a Four Thirds® or Micro Four Thirds® lens, improving the ability to capture moving subjects. 

The newest firmware upgrade features an enhanced algorithm for phase-detection, raising the former C-AF sequential shooting speed of 6.5 fps to a maximum high speed of 9 fps. With this update, AF tracking performance is improved when using continuous-AF (C-AF) Sequential H mode. When set to C-AF, 37-point on-chip phase detection AF is used. Now, when capturing a quick-moving subject, photographers never need to miss the shot. A maximum 10 fps remains available when set to single-AF (S-AF) Sequential H mode.

The update also adds support for the latest Version 2.5 of the Olympus Image Share Android® and iOS® app. Users can now select Movie as a shooting mode, and record movies while viewing the Live View screen on a smartphone.”

Posted in Photography

When all you see is snow and the temps are 17 below.

There is no point freezing in these temperatures so here are three images begging for spring.  Each was shot using a Zeiss 50mm at f/ 1.4 and a shutter speed of 1/80 to 1/100 sec, ISO 100.  A high key setup with a single strobe on the background and two for the flower.  Each image was compiled from a stack of 6 to 9 images for the best DOF.

Image personality achieved by post processing in LR5, PS6, NiK and Macphun.




Green Mums

Green Mums





Posted in Flowers, High Key, Photography, Strobes Tagged , , , , |

Photoshop Contender – Affinity Photo (Mac only)

affinity photo

The European company Serif makers of Affinity Designer have announced the Beta release of Affinity Photo.  Affinity Photo is slated as a Photoshop alternative and appears to be a very strong contender.  Available only as a Mac platform software and when released will be much cheaper than Photoshop. Their Designer product sells for $60.

Of significance is the claim that as it is all new code and developed for the new processors and graphics hardware, it is much faster and greater overall performance than Photoshop.

CLICK HERE to go to the Serif site and to sign up for the Beta

Posted in Photography

Topaz ReStyle – February Promotion

ReStyle_GIF_2Effective today through the end of February 2015 get Topaz ReStyle for $20 off its original price of $59.99, that is just $39.99).

Use the coupon code: febrestyle

ReStyle is a plugin designed to alter the colors in your image with its unique array of toning effects. The technology behind ReStyle uses a cutting-edge process to map the color and tone statistics from a source image.

With this, creative possibilities extend to many inspiring choices. Restyle is a useful tool for the photographer or artist looking to alter the overall feeling and mood of his or her image. The program can even be used to revamp the tone of graphics and textures.

CLICK HERE to order


Posted in Accessories, Black & White, Photography, Software Tagged , , , , |

TWiP Episode 398 – Raiders of the Lost Art


In this TWiP episode Renee Robyn, Ibarionex Perello (The Candid Frame) and I join Frederick to tackle the hot question… is photography “art”, and are photographers “artists”?

Your thoughts and comments will be most appreciated.


The audio only version can be subscribed to on iTunes or via an RSS feed.

Posted in Photography Tagged , , , , |

Speaking of Innovation – Olympus OM-D E-M5

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II (Image courtesy Olympus, America Inc.)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II (Image courtesy Olympus, America Inc.)

Yesterday Olympus announced the OM-D E-M5 MkII – a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds camera.  I am not going into all the specs and details about this upgrade to the current E-M5 with one exception.  I am referring to “Innovation” – the E-M5 is capable of creating a 40MP image by using a sensor shift technology.  Sensor shifting is achieved using the same electronics and electromechanical functions of the 5-axis image stabilizer.  The technology shifts the sensor in 8 steps in a pattern where the first four frames move the sensor in such a way so as to capture all colors at each  pixel position.  The sensor then shifts 1/2 a pixel width up and to the left, capturing full color information in the onset position. The entire process takes about 1 second. As a result it is not feasible to capture these high resolution images of subjects that may move.  I guess they will perfect this technology over time but as it is it is impressive.

It is worth reading an article on the Imaging Resource web site where they have compared images from the OMD E-M5 Mk II to the Nikon D810 (a 36MP camera) and some animated examples on the DP Review web site.

On a side note – Canon today announced the M3 the third generation of its mirrorless camera – for the Asian and European market. I guess it is hard to compete against the strong foothold Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Fuji have in North America.

Posted in Mirrorless, News, Photography Tagged , , , , |

Canon 50MP EOS 5D S and 5D SR – my 2 Cents

5dsCanon announces two 50MP full frame DSLR (mirror box) cameras, the 5DS and the 5DS R. Price for the S is $3,700 and the S R $3,900. The $200 price difference give you the ability to deploy a The only difference between the models is that for $200 more you get self-cancellinglow pass filter. It is stated that the 5D Mark III will remain in production along side these new models.  Availability June 2015 but you can pre-order them now.



So whats new and what have Canon taken away from the great 5D MkII that is approaching its 3rd birthday on March 2, 2015?

Co5dsrmpare the 5DS and 5DS R to the 5D MkIII

    • The 5DS has Gold lettering (top of the line EOS) the 5DS R on the other hand has white and red lettering more like the Rebel series vs all white on the 5D MkII
    • 50.2MP CMOS sensor vs. 22.1MP
    • 5fps continuous shooting vs. 6fps
    • ISO 100-6400 (Extended ISO 12,800) vs. 25,600 (Extended ISO 102,400) Not a low light performer – Nikon and Sony are still on top.
    • 61-point AF point with 41 Cross types and 5 double cross types (5D MkIII is the same)
    • Metering 150k (RGB + IR) vs 63 segments (RG/GB)
    • Digic 6 processors vs. Digic 5+
    • Optical low-pass filter on the 5DS and the 5D Mk III. The 5DS R has a self canceling feature
    • Motorized Mirror vs Spring loaded in the 5D Mk11I.  This is  refinement for Mirror lock-up to prevent mirror slap vibrations.  When active it uses a single shutter release rather than the two for the 5D MkIII.
    • Built in Intervalometer (Thank you) vs. none
    • Video – all three have the same video capture capability. However, the new models do not have a headphone jack and no clean manuals HDMI output. None of them offer 4K.  So for video the 5D MkIII is still on top.  part of the reason is the USB3 port that is much longer than the old USB2 port so there was no space left.  In my opinion – the 1D form factor would be the perfect body type for this introduction.
    • USB 3 vs. USB 2. Fast UHS1 compatible card slots on the new cameras.

What else is missing

  • No Touch Screen
  • No Articulating Screen
  • No focus peaking
  • No Zebra Stripes
  • No on-board stereo microphone
  • No GPS
  • No WiFi or NFC
  • Innovation

So here are my thoughts on all this.  Why rush to announce this 5 months before any signs of availability.  Who really needs 50MP and particularly on a 35mm (full frame) sensor. 36MP sensors on the Sony A7R and the Nikon D810 are very unforgiving. Stability and accurate focusing are critical for a good image so if you want this camera, plan on getting a really solid tripod, a top quality ball head and learn how to use the combination well.  These will not be a casual users camera. Studio and landscape photographers will or may benefit.  The big questions I have are:

What is the real low light performance – Reduced high ISO may indicate it not to be too great

What is the real dynamic range – will it be as good as the Sony sensors used in the Nikon D810 and the A7R.

It will be great to see some test results and real life performance reports.

Posted in Photography

Think Tank February Specials

Airport Accelerator Commuter Bag with Canon Gear

Airport Accelerator Commuter Bag with Canon Gear

Great news from  Think Tank Photo. For the month of February, whenever you order one of their rugged, multifunction, and secure backpacks* they will give you for free your choice of one of their popular AppHouse 8 or AppHouse 10 tablet cases. Their backpacks range from the field-oriented StreetWalker backpacks to their transportation-oriented Airport backpacks, as well as their expandable Shape Shifter and their “long glass” backpacks. The AppHouse shoulder/belt-mounted tablet bags are a great way to carry a digital portfolio or presentation, transmit images, or access your music, games, apps and more.  And don’t forget, as a friend, whenever you order $50 or more of any Think Tank gear using my special link you can add yet one more free item to your order, as well as free shipping!  To receive your free AppHouse follow the rebate download instructions on the backpacks’ product pages.  [*Note: this special offer does not apply to Perception backpacks.]


Airport Accelerator Commuter Bag with Nikon Gear

Airport Accelerator Commuter Bag with Nikon Gear

Posted in Accessories, Photography Tagged |