Edited by Georg...
Nov 12, 2013
Published: Oct 01, 2013
The Canon M is Canon’s first mirrorless system camera. It uses an APS-C-sized sensor (slightly smaller than APS-C, just like all Canon “APS-C” cameras) with 18MP resolution. The camera doesn’t offer an optical or electronic viewfinder; the photographer has to use the large (3”) LCD screen on the back that offers a remarkably high resolution of 1,040,000 RGB dots. While it offers a very crisp and clear image, an additional viewfinder, for shooting under bright light conditions, would have been welcome. The monitor is “fixed” and does not offer swiveling, or articulation. It is, however, a “touchscreen” type, which is fully integrated into the operational concept of the camera.
Designed for professionals, enthusiasts, schools, and clubs, the OpticFilm 120 scanner from Plustek ($1999) can handle negative and positive film, including 35mm filmstrips, individual 35mm slides, and medium format film up to 6x12cm format. The scanner contains an eight-element glass lens and can deliver up to 10,600dpi optical resolution, with a claimed 4.01 dynamic range using the supplied SilverFast software’s Multi-Exposure function. The tabletop scanner is about the size of a six-slice restaurant toaster (about 8x14.5x7.5”) and is supplied with a complete set of very well-constructed film holders, an IT8 calibration target, and a full version (not a trial) of SilverFast Ai Studio 8 software.
The new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is compact, lightweight, and easy to hold in your hand. It has an industry standard Super 16 size sensor that is perfect when using Super 16 cine lenses via MFT adapters and the 13 stops of dynamic range look is almost identical to shooting with a pro Super 16 film camera. The Micro Four Thirds lenses are compatible with mount adapters such as PL mounts for large lenses and pro motion picture film rigs.
As billions of images are produced by millions of devices, the demand for bigger capacity storage, faster memory cards, and speedier methods of transferring huge files has become apparent. Cloud storage has become a standard offering among many camera makers; so independent cloud services have grown. Essentially branded server farms, the competition for your data is increasing, as are capacities of desktop backups.
Pro shows are a great time to catch up on the latest in lighting gear and trends, so we asked Joe Farace, who does lighting equipment tests for us here at Shutterbug (type Joe’s name in the Search box at www.shutterbug.com to see the wide range of gear he’s tested) to roam the floor at the WPPI show to see what’s hot. His report covers new equipment that caught his eye there but, while there’s plenty to read about, this is not intended to be a full report on what’s new in the category. Some of these products will be covered in future issues, with promised updates from Joe. Also, the show was a few months back, so most, if not all the gear, you read about here is available now. Check our web page news for new products and developments, and follow our in-depth lighting test reports that appear regularly in Shutterbug.—Editor
Oct 22, 2013
Published: Sep 01, 2013
Whether you are new to Off-Camera Flash (OCF) or not, you might want to check out one of the most versatile systems on the market for OCF, Rogue FlashBenders, manufactured by ExpoImaging. The Rogue system is based on a pliable flat panel reflector that you bend as needed to modify your light when used in conjunction with speedlights. It is versatile, stores flat in your camera bag, and has a diffusion panel that installs over the modifier to turn it into a portable softbox.
In this test, Joe Farace tackles a higher-end LED light source that he adapted to still photography work. In it you will find technical sidebars outlining how we will test LEDs for the still photographer in the future. We offer this somewhat tech-heavy review as both a close look at this unit and a primer on LED output and LED lighting, which, as Joe states, will become increasing important, and prevalent, in studio and location work for the still shooter.—Editor
Mary and I have fond memories of using early generation Bowens monolights; they were our first really “good” lighting system when we set up our studio in 1982. We loved shooting with those big, black, paint-can-shaped 800B monolights because they were inexpensive, dependable, and powerful. From what I can tell from my tests of their two-light Gemini 400Rx Kit that continues to be the case.
“Look Ma, no cords!” That’s right; the Priolite does not have a power cord. It is run strictly off battery power. Each unit has its own interchangeable and removable battery, plus a built-in receiver to work with a Priolite transmitter. And, unlike most monolights, it has a usable modeling light even on battery power.
Edited by Georg...
Oct 08, 2013
Published: Sep 01, 2013
The RX1 is the first time Sony has combined a compact camera system with a fixed lens system that includes a full-frame sensor that’s nearly the size of classic 35mm film material (35.8x23.9mm). The basic camera concept combines elements of digital compact cameras with features of classic viewfinder cameras, but leaves out an optical or electronic viewfinder. In its stead Sony offers an LCD screen on the back, similar to what you’d find in an entry-level compact camera. The screen is very large (3”) and offers a very high resolution (1.28 million RGB dots). The resulting image preview and the representation of the menu structure is crisp and clear. Sony does offer an optional optical viewfinder, which is mounted on the hot shoe. Just like the camera itself, it is quite expensive. Most users will also be surprised by the battery recharger system of the RX1. It’s equipped with a USB recharger and the user is forced to recharge the battery in the camera. An external recharger and additional batteries are offered as an option.
As I write this controversy is swirling over Adobe Systems abandoning Creative Suite to focus on Creative Cloud. Even if this is solved by the time you read this, there will come a time when you’ll have to face a decision about whether or not to upgrade your software. There are two different schools of thought on software upgrades: one approach suggests that if a program is working, why spend money to upgrade? The reason behind this philosophy is that sometimes upgrades create more problems than they solve. A second viewpoint is to always upgrade to the latest version—no matter what. The thinking is that since change is inevitable that you should upgrade to the newer version to minimize or eliminate future problems. How Adobe has handled Camera Raw over the past few Photoshop upgrades is a testament to that theory. Over the years I’ve changed from an upgrade-regardless person to a more cautious approach. I may prefer to have the latest version of everything being used on a daily basis but now will wait weeks (months, years?) all the while listening to the drumbeat of grumbles from early adopters. That’s why I’m waiting to see what happens with Adobe’s new policy.
Way back in 2006, Innova Art brought out their FibaPrint White Gloss 300 gsm, and while not what I’d call a big brand name here in the US, digital printmaking aficionados who had come from the fiber-paper darkroom tradition took note. Here was an inkjet paper that emulated, and some say matched, the look and feel of traditional bromide silver printing paper. Other surfaces have since been introduced in this line, including the new FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss 335gsm that’s the subject of this report. Of course, this is not the only paper that claims the “fine art” pedigree, but due to its weight, its ability to reproduce a wide range of tones with clarity, and its acid- and lignin-free constitution it has all the required specs.
The Phottix Odin is a radio frequency-controlled system, or simply radio remote. The basic package includes two units: a transmitter and a receiver. Additional receivers are optional. You only need one transmitter to sit in the camera’s hot shoe and trigger compatible i-TTL strobes, but you need a receiver for each off-camera flash. And recently, Phottix introduced a new combo pack that includes one additional receiver—perfect for my two-speedlight setups. The unit tested here is for Nikon and I worked with my Nikon SB-900 speedlights.
The Pentax K-50 is, in its basic specifications, identical with the company’s new K-500 model. Both cameras offer a 16MP sensor, a built-in stabilizer system (based on sensor shift technology), all standard exposure modes of a modern SLR system and a very large and bright optical SLR viewfinder. The optical viewfinder offers a 100 percent field of view, which is a very uncommon feature in this SLR class. The only difference between the K-50 and the K-500 is the sealedbody of the K-50. This allows the user to work with the K-50 even under challenging conditions, such as heavy rain.
LEDs may represent the future of studio lighting but a number of the currently available options come with a caveat or two for the new professional or aspiring pro. Some LED solutions are affordable but may be too physically small for efficient use in a studio, or they may be large enough but too expensive for the shooter who just wants to dip their toes into the LED waters. Measuring 14x7.5x2.75” and costing less than $200, Flashpoint’s 500C LED Light appears to be a good solution for the LED newbie who wants to see what all the fuss is about.