News

X is for xenophilia: share your artwork now

For this month’s project, American artist Ken Aptekar invites you to share your art on the theme of xenophilia

The writer Paul Salopek recently wrote in The Case for Xenophilia: “It is the opposite of xenophobia. Broadly speaking, it describes openness to the immense human diversity of the world. But the concept is supple. The word combines the ancient Greek “xenos” — meaning “alien” — with the word for “attraction”.”

Last year in my exhibition “Nachbarn” (Neighbours), I plowed into the tangled territory of intercultural relations. The works I made for the St Annen Museum in the German city of Lübeck revisited the town’s Nazi past. I actively engaged its Christian, Turkish Muslim and Russian Jewish communities. To my surprise, the story that I told turned out to be more about affection and kindness than fear and hatred. Before Nazi hatred destroyed it, a Jewish community thrived in Lübeck, living comfortably alongside Christian neighbours. As do Turkish Muslims today.

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Categories: News

American carnival life – in pictures

Randal Levenson’s exhibition, In Search of the Monkey Girl captures sideshow performers from across the US in the 70s

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Categories: News

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HDR processing, advanced masking and more

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 00:32
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: News

On1 Photo RAW 2018 announced: Adds HRD processing, advanced masking and more

DP Review News - Wed, 04/10/2017 - 00:32
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On1 just released the newest version of its stand-alone RAW photo manager and non-destructive editor: On1 Photo RAW 2018. Put another way, there's now yet another alternative to Lightroom out there, and with this new update the program is more capable than ever, adding features like HDR merge and panorama stitching, advanced masking capabilities, and more.

You can get a decent overview of the new features in the 2018 version in the video below:

The main additions to this version of On1 Photo RAW are On1 HDR, panorama stitching, new advanced masking options like Feather and Density that allow you to alter a mask globally, Color range masking, versioning, selective noise reduction, and an updated UI that On1 characterizes as "clean and modern." There's also a new "Paint with Color Brush" that allows you to either paint with a solid color or leave the luminosity of the underlying layer intact to change things like eye or hair color.

You can get a full breakdown of these and other new features on the On1 blog.

The app is being released as a free Beta on Friday, with an official release slated for the end of October. The full app—which promises 'much more' when it arrives after the beta period—will cost $120 for new users, while current On1 users will have the option to upgrade for a discounted price of just $80 (usually $100). Both the full version and upgrade package are already available for pre-order.

To learn more about the app or pre-order your copy, head over to the On1 blog by clicking here.

Categories: News

Cravar unveils new Rana Series of leather messenger bags for photographers

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 23:50

Leather goods company Cravar has launched a new range of Rana Series messenger bags, and its attempting to crowdfund the release through Kickstarter. The new series is comprised of four leather messenger bags designed for photographers to use as either a camera bag or an everyday carry. All four bags feature solid brass hardware, a full grain veg-tanned leather exterior, closed-cell foam padding, and an interior made with linen and Sunbrella fabrics.

The Cravar Rana Series is comprised of the Rana 7, Rana 10, Rana 13, and Rana 15 leather messenger bags—each number approximates the bag's width.

The Rana 15 is the largest of the bunch, and is able to accommodate most 15" laptops as well as a full-frame DSLR and three lenses or more, depending on the size of said lenses. The bag has an aluminum-reinforced top flap, three vertical and two stack dividers, a luggage handle slot, two front pockets, and one rear pocket.

Similar, but slightly smaller, is the Rana 13 which is also able to fit a full-frame DSLR and three or more lenses, in addition to a smaller 13" laptop. The Rana 10, meanwhile, can fit a full-frame DSLR, two or more lenses, and a 9.7 - 10.5" tablet. Finally, Rana 7 can accommodate a full-frame DSLR and one or more lenses, depending on size, plus an iPad mini or other small tablet.

Cravar is offering the Rana Series bags at the following Kickstarter pledge prices ahead of the higher planned retail costs (assuming the bags are successfully funded and brought to market):

  • Rana 7: $165 or more
  • Rana 10: $195 or more
  • Rana 13: $245 or more
  • Rana 15: $275 or more

To learn more about these bags or order your own, head over to Kickstarter. Shipping to backers is expected to start in February 2018.

Categories: News

DxOMark: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ties iPhone 8 Plus as best ever smartphone camera

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 23:34

News that Apple's new iPhone 8 Plus had suddenly taken the top spot on DxOMark's smartphone camera rankings was met with the expected range of praise and critique—everything from "of course, iPhone's are awesome cameras" to "how much did Apple pay DxOMark for this result!?" But it turns out the iPhone 8 Plus' ranking as the best smartphone camera DxOMark had ever tested didn't last very long.

As of today, the iPhone 8 Plus has been tied by the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which significantly bested its Photo score and only tied the iPhone 8 Plus overall because Apple's smartphone does so much better in the video category.

The full breakdown of the results can be found on DxOMark, but this comparison between the two phones' scores speaks volumes:

The Photo categories where the Note 8 really outperformed the iPhone include Autofocus (94 vs 74) and Zoom, where the Note 8 got a score of 66 to the iPhone's 51. DxOMark's conclusion is appropriately praiseworthy:

When all the tests are verified, the scores calculated, and the perceptual analyses discussed, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes out as an outstanding choice for the smartphone photography enthusiast, matching the top overall score of 94 points of the iPhone 8 Plus. Dual-cam setups offering a second telephoto zoom for portraits are a real step forward for high-end smartphone photography, and the implementation on the Note 8 is exceptional, making it the best smartphone for zoom shots we’ve tested.

Read DxO's full thoughts and see all of their sample and test photos at this link. And if you're an Android user in need of some serious photography power from you smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 should definitely make it to the top of your list.

Categories: News

The Insta360 Pro 8K is certified to capture Google Street View photos while you drive

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 23:12

In May, Google unveiled the 'Street View ready' program that will certify a total of twenty 360-degree cameras for capturing Street View footage, and the first was just named. The Insta360 Pro, an 8K 360-degree camera available to consumers, was given Google's official stamp of approval yesterday; this means that anyone who purchases this $3,500 camera can use it to capture their own 360-degree footage for inclusion in Google's Street View product.

The Insta360 Pro falls under Google's "Street View auto ready" category, which means it is certified for use in capturing Street View footage from a vehicle—camera owners can actually attach the Insta360 Pro to their car and record 360-degree images while driving. The resulting footage is then processed by the camera's Stitcher desktop software and uploaded to Google using the Street View app. Google can then use the imagery in the Street View app, on Google Earth, and/or on Google Maps with credit going to the individual who captured the images.

This is done on an entirely voluntary basis, meaning there's no compensation for capturing the content. Content shared by users may help Google fill any voids in its existing Street View library.

Another three cameras will be certified under the 'auto' category in the Street View ready program, while the other cameras will fall under mobile, VR, and workflow categories. These categories certify cameras for uploading Street View imagery directly from mobile, from publishing tools, and for VR systems.

Categories: News

Hasselblad's 100MP H6D-100c digital back is now available to buy on its own

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 23:00

Hasselblad has announced that its 100MP medium format H6D-100c digital back is now available as a standalone product. The H6D-100c, which was first announced in April 2016, offers a 100MP 53.4 x 40mm CMOS sensor capable of shooting up to 3840 x 2160p 4K/UHD footage with an ISO range from 64 to 12800. Joining that large sensor is a 3in 920k touch display, USB-C connector, mini HDMI, and both SD and CFast card slots.

Talking about the new launch, Hasselblad Product Manager Ove Bengtson said, "The launch of the H6D-100c digital back is an answer to photographers wanting to use the power of the 100c on third party technical cameras." According to Hasselblad, the unit features an interface capable of working seamlessly with both large format and technical camera systems.

Other features include raw capture, 16-bit color, 15 stops of dynamic range, and support for both Windows (7 or higher) and macOS (10.11 and higher). The digital back is available now for EUR 22,000 / USD $26,495 / GBP 19,900 (not including VAT).

Via: Hasselblad

Categories: News

Behind the scenes: Ben Von Wong dangled everyday athletes off a skyscraper for Nike

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 18:00

Spend enough time building your brand as the photographer du jour for crazy and interesting stunts, and your next assignment might come in form of a challenge. That's what happened to Benjamin Von Wong when Nike sent him a pair of shoes and a personalized note:

What would you do if you could walk on air?

A little clichéd? Sure. But we'll forgive the Nike marketing department because it gave Von Wong license to come up with a crazy idea, with a community impact twist.

So he chose 'everyday athletes' who were making a difference in their communities, came up with a harness system that would let him dangle them off of a building (a 7-story building for the ones who were scared of heights, or a 30-story skyscraper for those who said they weren't), and set to work turning this idea into photo-reality.

You can watch the adventure unfold in the video below:

As you can probably imagine, there were a ton of challenges to overcome between idea and execution. What kind of harness system would be safe, effective, and comfortable enough to use for long periods of time? How would non-professional models cope with the stresses of this unusual photo shoot? Would the photos even turn out?

In short: yes. The photos did indeed turn out:

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The final images are polished and fun, making it all seem easy and effortless (the whole "walking on air" theme). But more revealing are the behind the scenes photos Ben shared with us. They reveal the struggle behind creating effortless looking images while dangling off a skyscraper:

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To learn more about this shoot, the purpose behind it, the community activists featured in it, or the photographer taking the shots, head over to Von Wong's blog post where he dives a bit deeper.

All photos by Benjamin Von Wong and used with permission.

Categories: News

Video: $6,000 full-frame vs $2,000 crop sensor portrait shootout

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 16:21

Photographer Manny Ortiz must be a glutton for punishment, because he's taking on one of the most heated, ongoing, oh-my-god-will-this-ever-stop debates in the photo industry: full-frame vs crop-sensor.

You can read our more technical take on sensor size here

As usual, Manny's take is a bit more down to earth and less tech-focused than we tend to go. He simply went out shooting with his wife/model Diana and two different Sony cameras—the full-frame Sony a9 and the crop sensor Sony a6500, both 24MP—to see if he could tell a significant quality difference between the two after a portrait shoot.

A few things we will not get into here:

  • Every comparison is a 'real world' comparison. Test charts and studio scenes do not exist in some alternate dimension where the laws of physics are suspended—they, too, are 'real world' tests.
  • Full-frame has been arbitrarily defined as 'a sensor the same size as a frame of 35mm film'. Most people agree on this definition and that's good enough for our purposes, but by all means feel free to gripe about it.

Now that these two things are out of the way, click play up top to watch Ortiz' "real-world comparison" between the full-frame A9 with an 85mm F1.4 G Master lens, and the APS-C sensor A6500 with a Zeiss 55mm F1.8. To try and match depth of field, Manny shot the A9 photos at F2.8, and the A6500 photos were taken wide open at F1.8, at least for the daytime photos.

It's no surprise then that the images had roughly the same subject isolation, since Manny shot at equivalent apertures. The bokeh was better on the GM though, as the Zeiss FF/1.8 is known to have onion-ring bokeh (with green/purple fringing).

When it came time to shoot at night, Manny had to change tactics a bit and shot the A9 photos with the G Master almost wide-open at F1.8 to avoid having to crank the ISO too high. And that's where, predictably, the full-frame shots pull ahead with more subject isolation (and lower noise which you may or may not appreciate depending on viewing size). Of course, the smaller in sensor size you go, the greater the chances the noise in low light may become significant.

Here are the final photos, sans YouTube compression and in a higher resolution so you can compare for yourself:

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This is not a highly technical, control for every variable style comparison, and that's good. The point Manny is trying to make with the video (and many other such videos) is that, while sensor size certainly makes a difference in various respects, other factors like lighting, composition, a good lens and more play a bigger role in the photos your client ultimately sees.

In other words: if you know what you're doing, the portraits coming from the less expensive camera will look darn near identical to the portraits coming from the other... except if you post them in the DPReview forums where your reputation lives and dies at 100% magnification.

Check out the full video up top, and skip to around the 2:15 mark to hear Manny's thoughts on this particular debate.

Categories: News

6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

DP Review News - Tue, 03/10/2017 - 14:00
6 things we want to see in the Google Pixel 2

It was true a year ago and it's still true now: the Google Pixel and Pixel XL offer one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. But the competition hasn't been standing still for the last year – Apple has gained ground with its dual focal length dual-camera devices, and the 8/8 Plus have overtaken the Pixel in DxoMark's mobile rankings.

With the announcement of the Pixel 2 imminent, here's what we think Google needs to add to keep its flagship phone competitive – with special attention to camera specs, of course.

Dual camera

All signs are pointing to no on this one, but we're stubborn so we'll ask for it anyway: Google, please put a dual camera on the Pixel.

The first generation offered just one rear-facing imaging module and if the rumors are true, so will the Pixel 2. And let's reiterate it: the Pixel may have only one main camera, but it's a really, really good one. However, it'll be difficult for Google to overcome the two major advantages that Apple's dual cam offers: optical zoom and a superior shallow depth-of-field simulation mode.

Maybe they've found software solutions to mitigate these issues in the Pixel 2. Rumors are pointing to a mode more like Apple and Samsung's offerings, with a sharp subject and blurred background, all rendered live rather than post-processed. But given what Google has already done with one camera and sophisticated software, just imagine what it could do with two!

Better durability

Our plea for dual cameras is probably in vain, but we feel better about this wish being fulfilled. The iPhone X offers a rating of IP67 rating, meaning it's dust-proof and water-resistant up to 30 minutes up to a depth of 1m. Samsung's Note 8 is an IP68 – equally dust-resistant and can swim in up to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes. The Pixel is a weaker IP53 – not quite dust-proof, and splash-resistant only. Upgraded durability would keep the Pixel competitive with current flagships and is a win all around.

A fix for lens flare

It wasn't long after the Pixel made its way into users' hands that some of them reported some drastic lens flare creeping into their photos, and it wasn't the good kind – see our example above. Google implemented a software 'fix' in HDR+ mode, but frankly it barely helped. When you've got uncoated glass sitting far in front of your main lens, there's not much you can do in software. All rumors point to a lens that protrudes from the body above the back glass - much like most other phones. We've got our fingers crossed that this fixes the original phones' issue.

Proper color management and HDR

Android Oreo (finally) supports color management, but like Windows, the OS leaves it up to apps to do the work. iOS color manages everything – down to the app icons. When it comes to wide gamut displays like OLED, it becomes increasingly important to properly color manage everything, else you risk over-saturated, wrong colors (read 'saturation accuracy' here to understand why). Just check out app icons on a Pixel or Samsung phone.

With Android Oreo, it's basically up to device manufacturers to provide proper display profiles, and app developers to take advantage of them. We're hoping that Google takes an extra step and provides a layer on top of its OS to color manage everything – much like Microsoft's Surface Studio and its DCI-P3 and sRGB modes.

Sound like too much to ask for?

Apple profiles all its device displays, offering properly calibrated wide gamut P3 and standard gamut sRGB modes, switching as necessary based on content. The iPhone X is likely to be the world's first, out-of-the-box, properly color-managed DCI-P3 OLED device. That means the potential for very saturated colors if the photographer or videographer intended so, but not at the cost of inaccurate ones. We'd like to see the Pixel 2 follow suit.

Bonus points for proper HDR display support like the iPhone X's HDR10 and Dolby Vision modes, as well as HDR display of photos using the new High Efficiency Image Format (HEIF).

Optical image stabilization

If Google's launch event teaser is any indication, it looks like we'll get this one. The original Pixel offered some impressive digital video stabilization, and adding optical stabilization into the mix for stills would keep the Pixel on par with the competition. And if you're going to offer just one camera, you might as well put a stabilized lens in front of it.

Google Lens

At the Google I/O developer conference in 2017, CEO Sundar Pichai introduced a new technology that marries machine vision and AI: Google Lens. While not strictly photography related (as far as we know), it is very much camera related. Google's machine vision algorithms can analyze what the camera sees, and use AI to help you take action. Pichai demoed a number of cool features: point your phone at a flower and the Google Assistant will automatically analyze it and tell you which flower it is. Point it at restaurant down the street and Assistant will automatically pick up the restaurant's name, ratings and reviews.

This sort of intelligence is applicable to photography as well though: Google demoed the automatic removal of a fence in a photograph taken of a child playing baseball through a fence. The camera can do this by understanding what a fence is. Object recognition also drives automatic tagging and searching of images: the Photos app can already pull up pictures of planes, birthdays, food and most importantly: beer. Just by searching for these terms.

We look forward to the official inclusion of Google Lens and the integration of evolved machine learning in the camera and Photos apps on the new Pixel devices.

Do you own a Pixel or Pixel XL? What do you want in the next generation? Let us know in the comments, and tune in here for live updates from Google's launch event tomorrow.

Categories: News

Katy Perry in New York and a $33m bowl: Tuesday's top photos

A selection of the best photographs from around the world, including dancing TVs in Madison Square Garden and an 11th-century dish

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Categories: News

Some reinvented, others long lost: London's markets 100 years ago – in pictures

The Gentle Author pieces together photographs from the archives of the Bishopsgate Institute – from Billingsgate and Covent Garden, to Clare and the Hay Market

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Categories: News

Video comparison: GoPro Hero6 'is what the Hero5 should have been'

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 18:52

GoPro announced the all-new Hero6 last week, and while it might look identical to the Hero5 on the outside, the camera's capabilities have been vastly improved thanks largely to a new custom-designed image processor called the GP1. But does this fancy new processor deliver on its promises for better stabilization, improved dynamic range, and improved low light performance?

The folks at Vistek wanted to find out, so they pitted the Hero6 against its predecessor in a range of head-to-head tests that demonstrate one thing very clearly: The GoPro Hero6 definitely delivers on its promises.

From stabilization—which is now available all the way up to 4K/24p—to dynamic range and beyond, the Hero6 soundly beat the Hero5 in every test Vistek threw its way. Of course, you'd expect this from a new model of the same action camera, but for the most part, the improvements are not simply incremental... they're obvious.

As with any small action camera there is still plenty of room for improvement; a small sensor is still a small sensor and there are plenty of things a tiny little action camera just doesn't do particularly well no matter what. But as Vistek points out, GoPro seems to have listened to its consumers (and competition from companies like Yi) and built that action camera that 'is what the Hero5 should have been.'

The question now becomes: is it too little too late? But you're the only one who can answer that.

Categories: News

Panasonic firmware debugs GH4, improves stabilization on 42.5mm and 30mm lenses

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 18:08

Panasonic has released new firmware for the Lumix DMC-GH4 camera, its 42.5mm f/1.2 portrait lens and the 30mm f/2.8 macro. The firmware was introduced the same day as the V2.0 for the Lumix DC-GH5, but was rather over-shadowed by the bigger news (for obvious reasons). That doesn't mean it's not worth mentioning though.

On the camera side, the update for the GH4 fixes an issue that prevented image stabilization from functioning with some third party lenses when working in the variable frame rate video mode.

For the lenses, the update brings Dual IS 2 to both the (H-HS030) Lumix G Macro 30mm f/2.8 ASPH Mega OIS and (H-NS043) Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power IOS lenses, with individual updates for each of the models.

The version 2 of the stabilization system that combines in-camera sensor movement with in-lens anti-shake units is said to provide better performance for stills shooters as well as stabilization in movie mode and 4K/6K Photo modes via a new gyro system in Dual IS 2 compatible bodies. At the moment only the DC-GH5 and G80/G85 support the system, which differs from the Dual IS modes used in the GX8 and GX80/85.

For more information visit the Panasonic website, or follow the direct links to the firmware pages for the Lumix DMC-GH4, Lumix G Macro 30mm f/2.8 ASPH Mega OIS and Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH Power IOS. Panasonic also publishes a chart that shows the version of Dual IS each lens/body combination will deliver.

Categories: News

New product overview videos: Sony a9 and FE lenses

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 18:00

We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Sony a9, as well as a brace of recent FE lenses - the 12-24mm F4 and 16-35mm F2.8 GM wideangles, and the 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 GM telezoom.

Take a look at some of the key features these products offer – demonstrated in the shooting scenarios they were built to handle. For more overviews and gear tests, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Product overview: Sony FE 12-24mm F4 G

Product overview: Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM

Product overview: Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM

This is sponsored content, created with the support of Amazon and Sony. What does this mean?

Categories: News

10 macro photography tips for beginners

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 17:10
1. The Lens

There are several good lens options out there for macro photography. You could use extension tubes combined with a normal lens, which gives you some magnification; or, even better, you could reverse a normal lens which, when combined with extension tubes, gives even more magnification.

The most convenient and flexible option though, especially for a beginner within macro photography, is to get a dedicated macro lens.

The most popular models come in focal lengths between 90-105 mm, and have a 1:1 magnification ratio. There are also shorter focal lengths such as 50 or 60mm, but these have shorter working distances, which means you have to get very close to your subject and risk scaring it away. 1:1 magnification means that, when you focus as closely as possible, your subject is as big on the sensor as it is in real life. So if you have a full frame sensor of 36x24 mm, it means that any insect you want to shoot that is 36mm long just about fits in your picture.

If you use an APS-C or Micro Four Thirds camera, you will get your subject magnified even more at 1x, as the sensor is smaller. These normal, 1:1 macro lenses are made by most major brands, such as Sigma's 105mm, Canon's 100 mm, Nikon's 105mm, Samyang's 100mm, Tamron's legendary 90mm, Sony's 90mm and Tokina's 100mm. They cost around $400-$1,000, and they are all sharp and a great value for the money.

Many of these lenses have image stabilization, which is a good thing, as it makes composition a lot easier. Have a look at reviews and buy one that you like. You can't go wrong with a ~100mm 1:1 macro lens—image quality wise, most of them produce comparable results.

2. Location and weather

Some of the most interesting subjects to photograph with a macro lens are small bugs and insects. Flowers and various plants are also fun, and can often make interesting abstract images. The locations that offer the most to a macro photographer are, in my experience, places with lots of flowers and plants. Botanical gardens are especially great.

The best time to go out if you want to shoot bugs and insects is whenever the outside temperature is about 17°C (63°F) or warmer, as insects tend to be more active when it is warm outside. On the other hand, if you are good at finding insects where they rest (I have personally found this very hard), they hold still longer when it is cold. Some macro photographers like to go out on early summer mornings to catch the insects when they're not quite so active.

Overcast weather is usually better than sunny weather, as it gives a softer light.

3. Flash

If you are shooting very small subjects, such as insects, the focal plane will be extremely narrow—a couple of millimeters or so. Thus, you will have to set your aperture to at least F16 to have a chance of having most of an insect in focus.

With a small aperture like that, and the need for a high shutter speed due to the shaking of the lens and the subject, a flash is a must. You can use any flash for macro photography, in most cases even the built in pop-up flash of cheaper DSLRs can work well, but my personal favorite is the cheap, compact and lightweight Meike MK-300.

There are some macro photography situations in which a flash is not strictly needed. One situation is if you are okay with shooting at F2.8 or F4, and there is plenty of sunlight. This could be the case if you are not going all the way to 1:1 magnification, and thus can get a good depth of field with a large aperture (when you move away from your subject, the depth of field will increase).

The upside with not using a flash is that you get more natural looking photos with natural light. But if you are going to shoot insects up close, and want to have more than a small part of them in focus, you will have to use a flash.

4. Diffusor

If you are using a flash for your macro photography, I highly recommend using a diffusor as well. A diffusor is simply any white, translucent material you can find, which you can put between the flash and your subject.

The larger the light source, the smoother and softer the shadows in your photos become. This is why huge octaboxes are popular in portrait photography. And this is why you should use a diffusor in macro photography: it makes the size of the light from the flash much larger, and thus the light in your photos will look less harsh, and the colors will come out better.

In the beginning, I used a normal white piece of paper that I cut a hole in and stuck the lens through. It was a bit flimsy though, and would get crumpled during transport. My next diffusor was a filter for a vaacuum cleaner, which I also cut a hole through and put around the lens. This was a great diffusor as well.

Currently I use a purpose-built soft diffusor, which can conveniently be folded together when not in use.

5. Shutter speed

In macro photography, you will find that the small vibrations from your hands when holding the camera will be enough to make the whole picture jump around like crazy. Combine this with trying to photograph an insect sitting on a plant that is swaying in the wind, and you have a real challenge on your hands. See the video at the top of this article to understand what I mean.

A high shutter speed is therefore to recommend, especially for beginners. Begin with a shutter speed of 1/250 or faster.

However, the light duration from a speedlight is usually extremely short, and can alone freeze your subject, even combined with a slower shutter speed such as 1/100 s. The reason is that the flash will stand for the majority of the light in the photo, so even if you happen to shake your camera, it will be barely noticeable in the exposure. With a short focal length macro lens, you can take nice looking photos even at 1/40 s shutter speed.

The benefit of using a slow shutter speed is that you can avoid the black background that you otherwise often get in macro photos taken with a flash. Instead, you can get some color into your background, making the photo look a bit better (at least in my opinion).

In summary: start out with a fast shutter speed. When you have practiced a bit, try gradually lowering the shutter speed, combined with a flash.

6. Focusing

First of all, you can forget about autofocus right away. Most macro lenses' autofocus is not fast enough to keep up with the jitters and shaking that comes with 1:1 magnification. It is helpful to just give up the thought of autofocus from the very beginning, and learn to focus manually instead.

Second of all, forget about tripods. Unless you are shooting something completely static, such as a product in a studio, tripods will be very impractical to use in macro photography.

For shooting insects or flowers outside, you will be disappointed to spend time setting up the tripod, only to discover that the small vibrations of the flower in the wind makes the photo blurry anyway. Not to mention that any insect will have flown away during the first 10 seconds of your 1 minute tripod setup.

Over time I have developed the following method of focusing, which I think gives the best results: Hold the camera with both hands, and preferably anchor your elbows against your sides or legs to give even more stability. Next, turn your focusing ring to approximately the magnification you want to get. Then focus, not by touching the focusing ring, but by slowly rocking towards the subject, while trying to snap the photo exactly at the right moment. See the video for a visualization of this technique.

If you can get one out of 5 photos focused and sharp in the right place, consider that a good ratio. Expect to throw away a lot of photos when doing macro photography, especially at the beginning.

7. Focal plane

As I already mentioned, a close focusing distance will mean an extremely narrow focal plane. And since we're not talking about advanced techniques like focus stacking, you will find that the best macro photos come when you utilize the narrow focal plane in clever ways.

Try to find subjects that are flat, and put them in the focal plane. Examples are small, flat flowers, or butterflies photographed from the side, or beetles with fairly flat backs.

Another example of utilizing the narrow focal plane in a creative way is to make an insect's head "stick out" of the blurry bokeh. This makes for an interesting and aesthetically pleasing effect.

8. Angles

A common newbie mistake is to conveniently snap the photo from where you stand, at a 45 degree angle towards the insect or flower. This will make your photo look like every other newbie macro photo out there—in other words: it will be boring.

Try to find uncommon angles, such as shooting the insect from the side, from the front, or from below. Make use of your flip out screen if you don't want to crawl on the ground. If the insect sits on a plant or a leaf, try pulling up that plant to hold it against the sky—it gives you an interesting angle and a more beautiful background.

9. Magnification

Something I did a lot as a beginner in macro photography was to always go for maximum magnification. I thought, "the bigger the insect in the frame, the cooler the photo." But the truth is that you can often find a more beautiful or interesting photo if you back off a little, and let the insect look just as small as it actually is, depicted in its surroundings.

10. Sharp objects

And lastly, never put sharp objects such as knives or drills against your expensive macro lens. Despite what some YouTubers seem to suggest in their thumbnails, also avoid cigarette lighters and toothpaste. Putting stuff like this against your lens is only useful for clickbait thumbnails on Youtube!

Micael Widell is a photography enthusiast based in Stockholm, Sweden. He loves photography, and runs a YouTube channel with tutorials, lens reviews and photography inspiration. You can also find him as @mwroll on Instagram and 500px.

This article was originally published on Micael's blog, and is being republished in full on DPReview with express permission.

Categories: News

Wildscreen's Witness the Wild open-air exhibition – in pictures

Bristol’s open-air arts trail sees large-scale images of ocean life by some of the world’s leading wildlife photographers come to the city’s suburbs, to raise awareness of the species and their fight for survival



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Categories: News

The RevolCam adds three accessory lenses and an adjustable light to any smartphone camera

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 15:35

When we reviewed the Shiftcam for the iPhone 7 Plus earlier this year we found it to be one of the most user friendly and versatile lens attachments for the iPhone. Now, the team behind that product has returned to Kickstarter to launch a new multi-lens smartphone attachment: the RevolCam.

Like the Shiftcam, the RevolCam adds wide angle, fisheye and macro lenses to your smartphone camera, lacking only the tele option. On the plus side, it adds a built-in mirror for selfies and a detachable and adjustable LED light, providing additional illumination in dim conditions. And instead of the Shiftcam's slider mechanism it uses a revolving design to allow for lens swapping on the fly:

In contrast to the Shiftcam, which is device-specific, the RevolCam comes with a universal design and its makers promise easy and secure attachment to any smartphone via a clamp mechanism. This should also work on the main camera of dual-camera equipped devices.

If you can live without a tele-attachment the RevolCam looks like an interesting accessory for mobile photographers who like to expand the camera feature set using attachment lenses. You can currently secure one by pledging $30 plus shipping on the RevolCam Kickstarter page. Delivery is planned for November 2017.

Categories: News

Apple acquires AI startup that scores your photos' framing, composition and more

DP Review News - Mon, 02/10/2017 - 15:09

Apple has reportedly acquired a small computer vision startup called Regaind, according to TechCrunch, who is citing 'multiple sources.' The acquisition falls onto our radar because of what Regaind's technology is designed to do, namely: score photographs based on their composition, lighting, perspective, and other aesthetic qualities.

In other words, the company's computer vision algorithms can tell how 'good' your photo is, insofar as such things can be analyzed objectively.

TechCrunch reports that the acquisition happened 'earlier this year', and while Apple hasn't confirmed the news, the statement it sent to TechCrunch doesn't deny it either. In fact, it's about as close to 'confirmation' as Apple ever gets in such matters:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

A quick look at Regaind's website will give you a look at the kind of information the company can 'see' in your photographs. This more professional portrait, for example, scores high in the areas of Aesthetics, Sharpness and Exposure, with multiple positive 'Properties' highlighted such as 'Subject Well Framed' and 'Pleasant Blur.'

This birthday snapshot, however, scores much lower and suffers from 'Dull Colors' and an 'Annoying Background.'

How Apple intends to use this technology (or already is?) may never be explicitly stated, but Regaind's technology will no doubt make it into Apple's Photos app on both macOS and iOS, and may even help future iterations of the iPhone camera prompt you to frame your subject better, seek better lighting, or get rid of that 'Annoying Background'.

Your guess is as good as ours, but if you want to learn more about this company Apple almost certainly acquired, head over to the Regaind website by clicking here.

Categories: News
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