Not long ago when you wanted even a modicum of quality with the ability to interchange lenses and control over cameras and functions worthy of the craft you’d mainly have to choose among a variety of D-SLR-type cameras. While they all followed the 35mm SLR form and even modes of operation, the digital differentiator was generally the size and megapixel count on the sensor. While there certainly were variations and competitive technologies within different brands, the major split was between APS-C and so-called “full frame” (larger sensors equaling the 35mm format). Improvements tended to drift “down” from full-framers to APS-C, but there were also a number of concessions, if you will, that moved up from APS-C to the more pro-oriented models, which for some muddied the waters although body construction, shutter cycles, and other matters of concern to pros were retained in the higher-priced cameras.
One such path is onOne Software’s Perfect B&W, nestled within their Perfect Photo Suite or available as a stand-alone or plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. The advantage of using it within the Suite is that you also get access to the other excellent modules within that program. The advantage of the stand-alone is that you get an amazing array of controls for a rather incredible price. The Suite, by the way, offers onOne’s Layers, Mask, Effects, Focus, and Resize programs, all highly regarded, making the options virtually endless. For this review I accessed Perfect B&W from within the Suite.
This is a portrait of my Great-Uncle Syl, taken in the late 1940’s, a print that sat in a storage box until last year. Now Syl’s on the web here, shared with family via an e-mail attachment, and will soon be part of a photo book of the family history. If you’ve got boxes of old photos it’s easy to share them too. For those thinking about such a project, and who haven’t scanned before, here are some basic FAQ’s that might get you started.
The Vanguard ABEO Pro Kit starts out as a solid carbon-fiber tripod but then adds features and functions like a removable and rotatable (vertical or horizontal) center column, a pistol grip with built-in trigger release with cable attachments for many cameras, bubble levels, 80-degree leg spread, three “feet” supports (pads, spikes, and rubber), a quick-release base plate and mechanism, and etched degree settings on the center column for those who want to do precise panoramas.
Think of a digital camera as a microprocessor with a lens. Along with doing all the things a camera does there is an immense amount of image processing that goes on inside before the image is recorded on the memory card. There are many ways to change the character of an image using the camera’s processor.
The 70-200mm focal length has been the standard tele-zoom choice for many years, offering near normal to a good tele range that suits many practical purposes. Yet, quite a few stock-in-trade 70-200mm lenses had been slow or lost significant aperture as soon as you left the shortest zoom setting, making them a real challenge for handheld, low-light, or even max focal length shooting. Certainly, improvements in sensors and processors in terms of the high ISO/image quality ratio have helped. If you’re too slow on shutter speed with a variable aperture zoom you can always jack up the sensitivity. But that’s not always a great choice and it seems to force you to compromise image quality just to make up for the lens losing “speed” just when you need it most.
This month’s issue delves into the art and craft of outdoor and nature photography, as well as covers some of the kit that could help you on your way. And given that we are heading into the colder seasons, we thought it would be apt to include a sled full of articles on dealing with working and traveling in the cooler regions. We also have some gear reviews and roundups that are apt, including Jack Neubart’s look at custom straps and harnesses that allow for hands-free and freely accessible carrying solutions. And to top it off, we are very happy to offer an excerpt from Art Wolfe’s latest book, The New Art of Photographing Nature. It always pleases us to have a master on board.
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is what you might call a “multi-personality” device. Phone, camera, Browser, game device, gateway to all the Android apps, GPS, mapper, email connector--it’s all of that and more.
I say “multiple” because while the initial face of the unit looks like half point and shoot camera/half phone, one pasted atop the other, there is a lot more going on under the hood. That includes all the current connections one could imagine and access to the entire Android set of apps,from camera functions to finding where you can get a decent latte in any city or state or country you might find yourself. One can listen to music; watchvideos; browse the Internet, get email, tap compatible phones (literally) to share content; and send and receive via any social media you could imagine.
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.