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2 July, 2008 - Nikon's D700 Spoiler

The Nikon D700 camera, announced yesterday, is definitely a spoiler. The question is – of whose game? My new essay Some Initial Thoughts on The Nikon D700 attempts to answer this question.
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Miles Hecker has a review of BabelColor's PatchTool 2.3 on his site. Well worth a read, and likely worth having for those that care about accurate monitor profiling.




3 July, 2008 - Nikon Coolpix P6000 Due Next Month?



I don't usually traffic in unsubstantiated product rumours, but since this appears real enough, and I'm not under NDA on this product, I'll take it at face value.

I've heard from a number of people in Europe over the past couple of days that Nikon will ship the Coolpix P6000 next month. This camera is a direct competitor to Canon's G9 in the high-end digicam niche.

Specs include a 13.5 MP sensor, 28-112mm 4X zoom, VR optical image stabilization, Raw Mode, ISO to 6400, and an optical viewfinder.

Looks like Nikon has decided to challenge Canon in even the most specialized market niches. It also appears as if Nikon's European subsidiaries have taken lessons in product leaking from Canon.

I'll definitely be reviewing the P6000 when it becomes real.

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The Home Page photograph has been updated with another from my recent shoot in Newfoundland.
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Mike Johnston, publisher of The Online Photographer, and my favourite curmudgeon, today considers the new Nikon D700 and its relevance, along with Full Frame in general and the state of the camera industry. As always from Mike, an interesting read.




5 July, 2008 -Canon XSi Field Report

Looking for a small light-weight DSLR? Looking for something to lighten your load when your 1Ds Mark/something is just a bit too bulky and heavy? Not willing to compromise on image quality or features?

Hang in there bunky, I may have something for you – the Canon XSi, the third (or fouth, or fifth, but who's counting) iteration of the Digital Rebel (450D to the rest of the world). My field report and review is now online.

UPDATE

Since first published a reader from New Zealand has written with some cogent comments on the Xsi / 450D review. His email has now been added to the write-up.
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UPDATE


Hasselblad H Series Tilt / Shift Adapter

This is shaping up to be and exciting week for Hasselblad owners. It's been known within the industry for a while that new product announcements were coming in early July, but once again leaks have preempted Hasselblad's official press announcement due this coming week.

There will be a new back with a 50 Megapixel sensor, the first of its size, and the largest CCD yet, and also a tilt / shift adaptor for certain H series lenses. And, since it appears that the adapter will work with H1 and H2 bodies and lenses, this is good news for all previous H Hasselblad owners. Put me down for the first one!



Watch a free HD streaming video extract.



7 July, 2008 - The Clouds Are Falling

Vincent Laforet, an ex-New York Times photojournalist, is one of the top photographers working in the US today. He has online an essay titled The Cloud is Falling, which examines the state of the photographic marketplace, stills / video convergence, and a number of other salient topics. This is a must read for anyone who makes their living doing photography.

Even scarier, for Brits at least, is a piece on PhotoRights.org titled 42 days and hand over your flashcard. We all know how photographers rights are being impinged upon worldwide, but this is completely Orwellian.

Hope you've had a pleasant weekend.

 




8 July, 2008 - Three New Hasselblad Products, Including a 50MP Back

Hasselblad has formally announced today three new products; a 50 Megapixel back, a tilt / shift adapter for current lenses, and a powered technical / view camera sliding adapter. You can find out more, including some thoughts on the state of the industry as well as links to Hasselblad PDFs and web pages here.
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UPDATE

For Canadians (and others) following the saga of the botched launch of the iPhone 3G in Canada by Rogers Telecom, this article on CNNMoney.com makes for an interesting read. It isn't only in the photographic industry that companies make stupid marketing decisions and get chastised and pilloried by consumers and pundits because of it.

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If you are looking for a photographic workshop that will expand your skills and horizons, check out Stephen Johnson's From Raw to Print Workshop being conducted at Steve's gallery in Pacifica, California from July 20 - 24.

 




10 July, 2008 - New Baryta Paper, Summer 2008

The hottest products in the paper industry for the past year have been those that are Baryta based, offering high dMax, rich saturated colours, the look and feel of top papers from the chemical darkroom, and which use Photo Black inks.

Today I look at several new Baryta papers, some refinements of existing products and others brand new.




14 July, 2008 - Phase One P65+ Preview

Phase One P65+ Preview

The world of high-end medium format digital backs is a rarefied one. But with the introduction today of the Phase One P65+ the air just got a lot thinner.

This new back, to be introduced at Photokina in September, and said to ship in Q4, is a break-through product in three areas. Firstly, it ups the ultimate resolution sweepstakes to 60 Megapixels. Secondly, the P65+ has a true full-frame 645 sensor, with 20% more on-chip real estate than any other sensor yet. Thirdly, the P65+ will have variable resolution capabilities, allowing for faster shooting speeds and higher sensitivity when needed.

You can read all about the Phase One P65+ in my exclusive preview report.

UPDATE: It's been brought to my attention that in an email to some Hasselblad customers, the following was mentioned. I never got the memo (or missed it), but since it's part of the full story here it is.."Hasselblad is also proud to announce the upcoming launch of a new 645 sensor. Full details on the 645 sensor will be discussed at Hasselblad's Future Technology seminar at Photokina 2008 in Cologne".
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A Bangladesh Workshop With Pierre Claquin

In 2005 Pierre Claquin and I lead a photographic expedition to Bangladesh. You can read several articles about this trip by doing a search on the word Bangladesh using this site's Search feature.

This was one of the most amazing photographic trips that I've ever done, and resulted in the publication of my book, Bangladesh – First Impressions.

Now, Pierre has announced that he will be conducting another Photographic Expedition to Bangladesh in late November and early December of this year, less than five months from now.

This will be a remarkable opportunity to spend 12 days traveling and shooting in one of the world's most exotic locales with an expert photographer who has lived and worked in that country for more than a decade. Pierre knows the language, the people, and the geography. He is a personal friend, and I can vouch for his professionalism, not to mention has Gallic charm and wit. Grab this one before it sells out!

Find Out More

UPDATE – July, 15
There are now just 3 places left
available on this workshop.

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iPhone 3G Ephemeris Software

If you bought an iPhone 3G this past weekend (like I did), or you expect to in the days ahead, there's a program available which may interest you called Astromo (US $9.99), that can be downloaded from the iTunes Application Store.

This program uses the iPhone's built-in GPS to ascertain your location, and it then provides you with a complete ephemeris, including the times of sunset and sunrise and moonset and moonrise for your location. This is a capability that some Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices have had for a while, but that was missing from the first generation iPhone. A must-have for landscape and nature photographers. And, while you're at it, though they have nothing to do with photography, Remote and Shazam are also must-have programs. Both are paradigm busters.

UPDATE: Have a look at Chronometer as well. Just $5.00, and it offers much the same sun and moon related information but in attractive multiple formats.


17 July, 2008 - Medium Format Digital Collages

Regular contributor Alain Briot recently joined the ranks of large format (4X5") fine art landscape photographers who have migrated to medium format digital.

Alain is working on a full report on his Phase One P45 back, used in conjunction with a Hasselblad C system, but in the interim provides us with a brief essay on Medium Format Digital Collages.
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Australian magazine Better Photography has a feature in their latest issue (Winter 2008) on my work, this site, and my recent speaking tour in Australia. If you're down under you might wish to pick up a copy.
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Sean Reid at Reid Reviews (a subscription web site) has just published a full review of the new Ricoh GX200.
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This site's Home Page photograph has been updated with another from my recent shoot in Newfoundland.
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19 July, 2008 - Production Nikon D700 Under Test

One of the more eagerly awaited cameras of the year thus far is the Nikon D700, due to ship within the next couple of weeks.

I am now working with a full production sample of the D700 and expect to have my report online by this time next week.

The photograph now on the site's Home Page was taken with this new camera.




21 July, 2008 - Epson 3800 Printing Costs

One of the most popular printers for photographers these days is the Epson Stylus Pro 3800. This is deservedly so since image quality is about as good as it gets, it can handle sheet paper up to 17X22", its ink cartridges are relatively large, and the price is right.

But as experienced photographers know, the cost of a printer soon pales in comparison to the ongoing costs of inks and paper. Today's article is therefore a detailed cost analysis of ink usage on the 3800 by regular contributor Mark Segal titled, appropriately enough Epson 3800 Printing Costs.

 




23 July, 2008 - Nikon 700 - The What & The Why - A First Field Report

What if a major camera maker took their flagship camera, released not much more than six months before, and introduced a smaller, lighter, and significantly less expensive version, yet one which retains some 95% of the goodness of its predecessor?

That's exactly what Nikon did when it announced the D700 on July 1st. Scheduled to ship within the next couple of weeks, the D700 shaves considerable weight and bulk off the D3, and costs some US $2,000 less. It's also aimed squarely at the market segment currently occupied by the Canon 5D and its soon to appear successor.

I've been shooting with a production D700 for the past week and my first impressions field report, titled Nikon D700 – The What & The Why, is now online.

UPDATE

Since this review first appeared there has been some discussion and debate as to why I didn't mention the D700's autofocus performance. The reason is simple – just as with the sensor and autoexposure system, the D700's autofocus is identical to that of the D3, so there really isn't anything new to say. People seem to be looking for problems and issues where there really aren't any.

 




29 July, 2008 - Lightroom 2.0 Guide, DNG Profile Editor and Much More!

Adobe has announced today that Lightroom 2.0 is shipping and available for purchase from their online store. Lightroom 2 has been available as a free beta for several months now, but the final shipping version has quite a number of exciting enhancements that were not found in the public beta.

Today also sees the introduction of The Luminous Landscape Guide to Adobe Lightroom 2. This is a 7.5 hour long download video that provides in-depth coverage of every aspect of this new program . It features Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe as on-camera hosts, and was produced by Chris Sanderson. Jeff and Michael are long-time internal Lightroom alpha and beta testers, and have great familiarity with all of the programs features. This video features complete coverage of Lightroom, not just the program's new features.

The LL Guide to Lightroom 2 is available now as a download for just $39.95. A $5 discount coupon is available on request to anyone who previously purchased our Lightroom 1.x video. (Please be patient. Due to high demand receipt of the coupon may take a day or so for processing.)

There are two exciting new capabilities in the shipping version of Lightroom 2 that were not in the public beta. The first of these is a local gradient tool. We now have online a preview of The LL Guide to Lightroom 2 and an introduction to the gradient tool.

We have also placed online a complimentary 4 minute long video excerpt from The LL Guide to Lightroom 2 describing how to upgrade your Lightroom 1.x catalog to Lightroom 2.
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FEEDING FRENZY UPDATE

Demand for our new Guide to Lightroom 2 is tremendous. Thank you everyone!

But, with hundreds of people each trying to simultaneously download some 4GB of video files our server is understandably under strain. It will hold up, but the heavy load means that some people may experience slow downloads for the next few days.

To help out there are a few things that you can do.
– Place your order and start your downloads, but please; only one file at a time.

– If you can, unless you are watching all 8 hours at once, please spread your downloads out over the next few days. There's no rush. There is no time limit on when you can download once you've made your purchase.
THANKS
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The second exciting new capability of Lightroom 2, and also Adobe Camera Raw 4.5, (now available) is the introduction today of the DNG Profile Editor, and associated profiles for virtually every raw file format in existence. Our exclusive introduction and tutorial to The DNG Profile Editor and its uses is now online.
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Ian Lyons, another of the internal alpha and beta testers for Lightroom, has published a review of What's New and Improved in Lightroom 2.
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Jeff Schewe has a number of stories about Lightroom 2 on Lightroom-News.com.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



1 August, 2008 - In Brief

UPDATE

Many readers will be aware that there has been on ongoing issue regarding the autofocus on Canon's 1D MKIII and 1Ds MKIII cameras for more than a year since introduction. These issues have been addressed by Canon several times but a cloud has consequently hung over the latest One series cameras.

Rob Galbraith has been at the forefront of reporting on and testing this issue, and today, in what is possibly his final installment on the topic, Rob reports on his latest findings. Rob's conclusion? You really need to read the entire report, and recognize that Rob's concerns exist at the extremes of usage, but they are nevertheless quite definitive.
"Canon has put considerable effort into correcting and improving EOS-1D Mark III autofocus in the 14 months since the cameras was introduced, but they have not yet made it, or its high-resolution counterpart the EOS-1Ds Mark III, deliver reliable autofocus of subjects in motion".
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Non-English speakers may not realize it but selected articles from The Luminous Landscape are regularly translated into several different languages, available on sites around the world. The latest is in Hungarian, published by Sandor Nagy.
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Nikon is making available a buffer memory upgrade for the Nikon D3. This upgrade requires that camera be sent to a Nikon service center, and costs approximately $500. You can read about the program and the buffer increases' advantages on Nikon's Canadian web site. If you're interested in having your camera upgraded you should visit the Nikon web site for your country for further information.

Of course, this announcement raises several questions. Among these are; 1 – Why is this being announced now, shortly after the announcement of the D700? Is it a way of creating a further differentiator between the two otherwise very similar but quite differently priced cameras? 2 – Will new D3 bodies in future come with the additional ram, or will this remain an after-market upgrade? 3 – Is this a foretaste of an upcoming new model from Nikon, the D3x; a higher resolution model built on the same body style? This would make sense, since a 20+ megapixel camera would want to have a larger buffer due to the larger file sizes.
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The US space program has produced some remarkable images over the years, and none as compelling as those of our nearest planetary neighbour, Mars. NASA now has a web site which features forty-five photographs which were selected by a panel of artists, photographers, and photo editors, selected for their aesthetic rather than scientific value.
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Our new video tutorial on Lightroom 2.0 has received a tremendous reception. Thank you. There have been times during the past few days when the server has been a bit slow, but on the whole it is holding up very well under the heavy demand.

The only real issue that we've seen is a small number of reports of playback problems. Generally they have been caused by the video & audio overwhelming the CPU on older computers. Our videos are High Definition and quite CPU & RAM intensive. Playback may therefore be problematic on Mac G4s and some older Wintel machines.

We are going to make a lower resolution (Standard Definition) version of the files available, suitable for those who are experiencing problems. These should be up on the Store by August 7th and an announcement will be made here at that time. Anyone who has already purchased the High Definition version and had playback problems can request a 100% discount coupon for download of the Standard Definition version. Our apologies for the inconvenience. Otherwise 99% of purchasers are not experiencing any problems whatever.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."




4 August, 2008 - SD Version of our Lightroom 2 Video Tutorial now Available

Our Lightroom 2 video tutorial, released last week, is now available in a Standard Definition version as well as a High Definition version.



This SD version is designed for Mac G4 and older Windows computers that are not able to handle larger Hi-Def files.

If you have already purchased the HD version and need the SD version for your computer simply contact customerservice@luminous-landscape.com for a free conversion coupon.




5 August, 2005 - New Four Thirds Micro System Announced

Olympus and Panasonic have announced a new variation on the Four Thirds system called Four Thirds Micro. You can read all about it at the above link.

As regular readers know, I have not been a big fan of the Four Thirds format since its inception. The format's promise was that it would allow for smaller and lighter lenses and cameras. It never really delivered on that promise when it came to cameras, though lenses offered some weight and size advantages. The shorter focal lengths did increase DOF though, which some photographers found not to their taste.

This new standard keeps the sensor size the same while specifying a smaller lens diameter and shorter rear lens flange to sensor plane distance. This will indeed allow for smaller and lighter cameras and lenses because it means that these cameras will not be able to use an SLR design with optical viewing.

Given that we've now started to see cameras with APS-C sized sensors in small form factors (the Sigma DP-1 is just the first of many to come) and we've seen with the Leica M8 that shallow lens-to-sensor distances are possible due to advances in micro-lens design, it again seems to me that Four Thirds simply doesn't offer any really compelling advantages. I could be wrong though – it wouldn't be the first time.

But, having stated my concerns, I think that what we're going to be seeing from Four Thirds Micro is a new generation of hybrid cameras proving both stills and videos, as discussed in my convergence article a few months ago. Olympus and Panasonic say as much in their announcement, and this approach could well lead to a new generation of cameras which change the game. There may be something to this new format after all.
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Apple has announced today a new web page listing plug-ins that are available for Aperture. Also announced today is that a  Noise Ninja 2.0 plug-in is available for Aperture.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



6 August, 2008 - Newfoundland - A Northern Landscape

I had the pleasure of spending a week shooting in Newfoundland earlier this summer. I was shooting with the new Phase One 645 camera and a report on this was published here in June. Additional photographs taken on that trip have appeared on the site's home page since then as well.

Photographer Andrew Masur also visited Newfoundland this summer, and today has contributed a travel piece titled Newfoundland – A Northern Landscape.
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WIN ANY LENS OF YOUR CHOICE – VALUED AT UP TO $2,000
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Andy Biggs and I have led two African safaris together, with an upcoming third trip together to Botswana next month. Andy has many sold-out safaris each year, and he has now added two new safaris to his 2009 schedule. One of his safaris will be to Botswana in July 2009, and the other to Tanzania in October 2009.

If an African photographic safari is something that you've dreamed of, then doing one of these with Andy is a must.
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The medium format hits just keep on coming. Leaf has announced the AFi 10 camera and 56 Megapixel back. The back's sensor is 56 X 36mm, making it among the widest sensors in the industry. The sensor also can be rotated internally, so that the camera and back do not need to be rotated. I hope to have more on this system once it becomes available for testing.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."




7 August, 2008 - Nikon P6000 Announced

As forecast on this page a while ago, Nikon has announced its hotest new pocket digicam for serious photographers, the P6000. It looks to be a direct competitor to the Canon G9, while upping the ante with built-in GPS and Ethernet connectivity.

But, though it has raw capability, the P6000 doesn't shoot Nikon's NEF format, instead producing .NRW files using Windows Imaging Component under Vista. Very curious.

When I queried Nikon about this I was told that they would eventually be producing a codec so that third party applications could decode these files, but I have to ask – why the hassle?  Why can't camera makers keep life simple for themselves as well as their customers? Who at Nikon thought that this was a good idea?!

Just imagine. If the P6000 could produce DNG files anyone could buy it and immediately use any raw processing program. Since more people could enjoy the camera because it was compatible with virtually every computer platform and raw processing program more people likely would buy it. What a thought.

But I guess some folks at Nikon's product planning department don't think that expanding availability and increasing potential sales is a good idea. Instead we're saddled with another proprietary raw format and a snub to Mac users who comprise a significant portion of the pro and semi-pro photographic community. Makes no sense to me.

UPDATE

For more on why Nikon's use of Windows Imaging Component is a bad idea, have a look at this commentary.
"The Coolpix P6000 looks like a very sweet camera. The advanced controls, the built in GPS and the ethernet port are just the features I’m looking for in an advanced compact. But if Nikon is arrogant enough to not let me access my own camera RAW data except through a system that makes me a hostage of both Nikon (bad) and Microsoft (worse), I think I’ll pass on this one".

Nikon pundit and expert Thom Hogan seems to agree that the P6000's new raw format is a bad idea. Here's part of what he has to say on his commentary page dated 7 April, 2008.
"Personally, I'm disappointed in Nikon's Coolpix efforts since the 8800, and the P6000 actually increases that disappointment. My advice is to look at the Ricoh GX-200 and the Panasonic LX-3 if you want a quality compact camera in the near term. Both have true raw support. Both are excellent, photographer-centric cameras. And with care using raw conversion, both produce fine results at low ISO values. Looks like I need a new Coolpix bumper sticker to add to my collection: Skip the P6000".
And as for Mac users, who constitute a potentially large segment of the potential users of a high-end pocket camera with raw capability, looks like we're SOL. Here's what Thomas Knoll has written on an Adobe user forum...
"WIC is Windows only.

Even on Windows, WIC is basically useless for Camera Raw/Lightroom type applications".
I'm afraid that this is beginning to look like Nikon's white balance encryption fiasco all over again. Seems like Canon aren't the only ones tripping over their own shoe laces these days.


"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



8 August, 2008 - Tripping Over Nikon's Shoe Laces

Yesterday Nikon announced several new Coolpix cameras. Many were pleased to learn more about the P6000, which had been rumoured for some weeks. The concept appears good, challenging the Canon G9, and adding a few neat wrinkles of its own. A likely worthy entry by Nikon, potentially aimed at serious photographers looking for a competent pocket camera with raw capability.

Unfortunately it turns out, as noted here yesterday, that the P6000 has crippled raw capability. This has raised a considerable firestorm of angry commentary on this site's forum as well as others.

For more on why Nikon's use of Windows Imaging Component is a bad idea, have a look at this commentary.
"The Coolpix P6000 looks like a very sweet camera. The advanced controls, the built in GPS and the ethernet port are just the features I’m looking for in an advanced compact. But if Nikon is arrogant enough to not let me access my own camera RAW data except through a system that makes me a hostage of both Nikon (bad) and Microsoft (worse), I think I’ll pass on this one".

Nikon pundit and expert Thom Hogan seems to agree that the P6000's new raw format is a bad idea. Here's part of what he has to say on his commentary page dated 7 April, 2008.
"Personally, I'm disappointed in Nikon's Coolpix efforts since the 8800, and the P6000 actually increases that disappointment. My advice is to look at the Ricoh GX-200 and the Panasonic LX-3 if you want a quality compact camera in the near term. Both have true raw support. Both are excellent, photographer-centric cameras. And with care using raw conversion, both produce fine results at low ISO values. Looks like I need a new Coolpix bumper sticker to add to my collection: Skip the P6000".
And as for Mac users, who constitute a potentially large segment of the potential users of a high-end pocket camera with raw capability, looks like we're SOL. Here's what Thomas Knoll has written on an Adobe user forum...
"WIC is Windows only.

Even on Windows, WIC is basically useless for Camera Raw/Lightroom type applications".
I'm afraid that this is beginning to look like a repeat of Nikon's white balance encryption fiasco. Seems like Canon aren't the only ones tripping over their own shoe laces these days.


11 August, 2008 - The Call : What's Involved in Doing a Commercial Shoot?

Have you ever wondered what's involved to doing a large-scale commercial shoot? One of the world's leading commercial photographers, James Russell, today gives us his often humorous recollections of doing a recent product shoot for his client, medium format back maker Phase One. The article is titled The Call.

Don't neglect to watch the video of the shoot linked about half-way down the page.


"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



12 August, 2008 - Sign of The Times

I'm greatly enjoying watching the Olympics on TV. Having done quite a bit of sports photography in my days as a staff photographer at CBC Television, it's always interesting to catch a glimpse of pros at work.


© Michael Kappeler/AFP/DDP

The above photograph from the German magazine Stern's web site shows the photographer's corral at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing.

In addition to being a fun perspective on a group of pros at work it's also a sign of the times to note the number of Nikons (black) vs. the number of Canons (white) in the shot. For the past 10 years or so at almost any major sporting event the number of white lenses would almost always outnumber the number of black lenses by a huge margin. So much so that Canon has run magazine ads showing this disparity.

But that was then, and this is 2008. At this year's Olympics the number of Nikons in use by pros seems to equal if not surpass the number of Canons. A definite sign of the times.


"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."




16 August, 2008 - Image Disembodiment : Is the fine art print history?

For most creative photographers the fine art print is the end goal of our work. But will it always be thus? Today, contributor Bernard Languillier asks the question in our latest essay titled Image Disembodiment.
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Our summer contest in which you can win a lens of your choice is coming to a close in a couple of weeks. Any purchase from our online store qualifies you to enter, and each new purchase is a new entry.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



20 August, 2008 - Thinking in Themes : 'Camera to Print' now on DVD ROM from Calumet

William Neill is one of America's leading landscape photographers, and is becoming a regular contributor to this site. Today he shares with us his thoughts in Thinking in Themes.
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The comprehensive download video tutorial that Jeff Schewe and I published earlier this year, titled From Camera to Print, has been a huge success, and has been received with considerable acclaim.

Thus far it has only been available as a download, which has limited its accessibility to those with broadband Internet connections. Now, Calumet Photographic, one of the world's leading photographic retailers, has released a DVD ROM version of this tutorial that can be played on any Windows or Mac computer system anywhere in the world. The disk is available immediately for just US $39.99.
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There are not as many photographic field workshops in Europe as there are in North America, which is a shame, because there are so many interesting locales there to be explored with ones camera. Hans Kruse has one in Italy this coming October, which you can find our more about here.
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"Between Michael and Jeff, they are doing a great job of bringing out what needs to be known,
how to use it (adding the keystrokes on the screen is great) and making sure even
first time users of Lightroom are going to 'get it'."



21 August, 2008 - Fun!

This is great fun. Be patient, let it download, and then watch the whole thing.


25 August, 2008 - Across Iceland's Remote Landscapes

Over the past seven years I've been to Iceland five times to do landscape photography. It remains one of my all-time favourite locations.

Though the summer season there is now drawing to a close, for many it will be the time to start considering a trip for next year. With that in mind Ben Hattenbach gives us a very good introduction to some of Iceland's best photographic locations in In Search Of Light – Across Iceland’s Remote Landscapes.
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"I've been a subscriber to Lynda.com for more than two years
and I'd
say that Chris Orwig does a very good job in his tutorials.
But with
Michael and Jeff, there's definitely some kind of magic.
It's like if
I were there with them, looking over their shoulders.
Their videos are
instructive, entertaining and addictive.
And the one on LR 2.0 is just
the best I've seen so far.
Bravo! And thanks."





26 August, 2008 - Canon 50D Announced


Canon EOS 50D

Canon has announced today the EOS 50D. (News of the camera was leaked a couple of days ago by Canon China – wonder which Canon sales office's turn it will be to leak next time).
 
This camera is a step-up from but not a short term replacement for the 40D, which was introduced just a year ago this week. I wouldn't call it simply a coat of fresh paint since it does appear to offer worthwhile advance over the 40D in several areas.

The key specs are a 15.1 Megapixel sensor, a new Digic 4 processor, and ISO up to 12,500, along with a frame rate of 6.3 FPS and 14 bit processing. The buffer can hold up to 90 Large/Fine JPEGs or 16 RAW images. The LCD screen has been considerably improved, and now features 920,000 dot resolution, four times that of the 40D.

It will be very interesting, once the camera ships, to test the D50's high ISO capability, given the very small photo site size dictated by the sensor's high pixel count – the pixel pitch is 4.7µm. If it performs as claimed it will represent quite a breakthrough in image quality.

There is an enhanced Live View capability combined with Face Detection of up to 35 faces, a new record of some sort. There is still a Direct Print button, but no easy access to mirror lock-up. What a surprise. There is an HDMI output for displaying images on an HD TV.

The D50 will be available starting in October, with a US list price of $1,399.

A new lens is also being introduced – the EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS, which will also be offered as part of a kit along with the 50D. It too is scheduled for an October release.

_____________________

There is now less than a week to go in our current contest.

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27 August, 2008 - Nikon D90 DSLR with HD Video Mode Announced


Nikon D90

I've been forecasting and writing about the convergence of stills and video for some time. As recently as this past May I wrote an article on it titled, appropriately enough, The Convergence of Still Photography & Video.

Till now we have seen video included in consumer digicams and specialty products like the Casio EX-1. The Scarlet camera from RED is still some months away, but it has promised to be the first professional grade tool of its type.

Today Nikon has stolen a march on the rest of the industry with its D90 camera. It appears to be a very competent 12.3 Megapixel camera at under $1,000, with all the latest features and capabilities.

But, what makes it unique at this point is that it is the first DSLR to shoot in high definition 720P video mode at 24 fps. There are some limitations, such as maximum clip lengths of 5 minutes, and no autofocus while filming, but otherwise the ability to shoot with long lenses, ultra-wide lenses, and the high ISO capabilities of this camera are a very exciting prospect. (There is some sample footage from Nikon here).

The world of video can be intimidating for newcomers. Therefore next week I'll be publishing a primer on video for stills photographers to help get you up to speed. This article has been in preparation for some time, and it looks like my timing is most appropriate now that the Nikon D90 has been announced. The D90 is the first, but it certainly won't be the last DSLR able to shoot video. The times they are a 'chagin.
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The latest generation of fiber printing papers are a real breakthrough, offering rich saturation, high d-max and a very appealing surface to the touch and the eye.  I wrote about several of them in last month in an article titled New Baryta Papers - Summer 2008.

Neil Snape, one of the more knowledgable observers of the printer / paper scene has just published a review of Hahnemühle's upcoming PhotoRag Baryta.

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"I've been a subscriber to Lynda.com for more than two years
and I'd
say that Chris Orwig does a very good job in his tutorials.
But with
Michael and Jeff, there's definitely some kind of magic.
It's like if
I were there with them, looking over their shoulders.
Their videos are
instructive, entertaining and addictive.
And the one on LR 2.0 is just
the best I've seen so far.
Bravo! And thanks."






29 August, 2008 - Street Photography in China

China has been much in the news recently. As many now know, there are at last two different Chinas – the hyper-modern industrial country and the ancient one. Both offer amazing photographic opportunities.

Colin Jones, who speaks the language and has lived there, today provides us with a look at Street Photography in China, in Chongqing.
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There are now only 2 days left to enter our latest contest. The prize is the lens of your choice. Someone has to win it – why not you?

_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




1 September, 2008 - Understanding Video

The net is abuzz with discussions about the new generation of DSLRs with video capability. The Nikon D90 is the first, but there are others coming in the days and months ahead. I doubt if within 18 months there will be a DSLR at any price point that doesn't have video built in. (I am calling these cameras combocams).

There is an apparent lack of understanding by many still photographers of video technology and the developments currently taking place. This is seen at the moment on many web forums. I have therefore written a new essay titled Understanding Video, which appears here today.

I am also beginning today a new discussion forum section titled Combocams – Stills, Video and Beyond. Join us to discuss and learn more about this exciting change to our industry.
_____________________

The winner of our Win The Lens of Your Choice contest is Suzanne Offner of Dayton, Ohio. Congratulations Suzanne.

Our next contest has already begun. Any purchase that you make beginning today will become an automatic entry. The prize will be announced shortly.
_____________________
"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




4 September, 2008 - Lenses and Workshops

In the market for a $12,000 800mm lens? No, I thought not. But some photographers are, and for them Canon has recently introduced their 800mm f/5.6L IS. I recently spent a couple of days shooting with one, and my review is now online.
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Phase One has announced that together with Hartblei they will be releasing a revised version of that company's 45 mm f/3.5 Super Rotator lens. I reviewed this lens favourably about five years ago when I was working with a Contax 645 system.

According to Phase One they and Hartblei have engineered several important design advancements into the lens, including...
1.    New 2008 batch optical glass with multi-layer coating
2.    Improved 12 blade aperture design
3.    Mechanics with tighter tolerances
4.    New interior antireflection coating
5.    More streamlined mechanical design
This lens will be available in Mamiya / Phase One 645 mount beginning in Q4 of this year. Oh yes – one more thing – the price will be US $3,990. By way of comparison, when I bought mine 5 years ago it cost $995. (The Hartblei web site indicates that this lens is no longer available from them directly).
_____________________

Two of my colleagues, Alain Briot and Pierre Calquin have announced new and revised photographic workshop schedules.
_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




5 September, 2008 - Zeiss Distagon 18mm f/3.5 Field Report

I leave on Monday for a two week photo safari / workshop in Botswana, Africa. The house is buzzing this weekend as my wife and I try and fit all of our gear within the severe weight and size restrictions that current international travel imposes, not to mention the weight constraints imposed by the small planes and helicopters that we'll be flying on when in-country.

I'll have a small write-up here on this prep before I leave, and then a "how it worked" article after I get back. The fact that I'll be shooting video as well as stills on this trip definitely complicates things.
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Zeiss has been making selected lenses in Nikon, Pentax and a few other mounts for the past few years. Their latest, just made available, is the Distagon 18mm f/3.5. I've had an opportunity to work with one for a few days recently and me field report is now online.
_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




7 September, 2008 - The Problem with Photographing the Beautiful and Famous

Do you enjoy photographing the usual or the unusual? Do famous locations make the smile or sweat? Today's essay by contributor George Barr is titled The Problem With Photographing The Beautiful and The Famous and will provide some food for thought.
_____________________

Sean Reid at Reid Reviews has just published his report on the new Nikon D700. Sean's photographer's perspective is unique in the industry and his subscription-only site well worth your consideration.
_____________________

I am now on my way to Botswana, where together with Andy Biggs I will be conducting a wildlife workshop / safari. I will be back on September 23rd, and offline until that time.

I will therefore not be able to respond to any e-mails, and our customer service department is also on minimal duty.

The site's Forum is operational, but no new registrations are being accepted at this time. The reason for this is that the site is under constant attack by spammers and pornographers, and so each application is visually checked while we are available – which we are not currently.

Our store remains open though and we appreciate your orders and your business.
_____________________

This is an exciting month in the photographic industry, with many new cameras and other photographic items to be announced leading up to and at Photokina. I'll be away for much of the lead-up to Photokina, but I will also have some surprises (plural) in store for you during the next couple of weeks. Keep your eye on this page (What's New) because you never know when something of considerable interest might appear.
_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




10 September, 2008 - Sony Announces 25MP Full Frame A900 DSLR - Review

Though we've known pretty much what to expect and when, Sony announcement of their 25 Megapixel full frame A900 is still very exciting. This makes it currently the highest resolution sensor in any 35mm format DSLR.

Our colleague Nick Rains has been using an A900 for the past week, and in his exclusive Sony A900 Field Report gives us his initial impressions.

Please note that I am currently on a shoot in Botswana and therefore unable to respond to any e-mails until I return on September 23rd.
_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




23 September, 2008 - Home Again & Delayed Canon 5D MKII Video Report Online

I have just returned from a two week photo safari in Botswana, only to discover that world financial markets had melted down and my Canon 5D MKII report, which should have been published on Sept 17th by one of our staff, wasn't.

Since the former puts the latter issue in perspective, it's hard to be too upset about it. So, better a week late than never, here is what I wrote...
Ps: Lots to write about our safari shooting experience in the days ahead. First priorities though are dealing with my suitcase, which Air France managed to lose somewhere between Maun, Botswana, Johanseburg, Paris and Toronto, and also some 700 emails that need responses. But – jet lag awaits, so I'll give it a few days.
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Sept 17, 2008

As few knowledgeable observes doubted they would, Canon has announced its replacement for the somewhat long-in-the-tooth 5D. The 5D Mark II is a considerable upgrade, with a 21 Megapixel sensor, enhanced high ISO capability, and all of the current Canon niceties, such as sensor dust removal and a high res LCD screen.

Of considerable excitement to those that have been forecasting stills / video convergence (yours truly included) the new 5D MKII is able to shoot high definition video, in 1080P resolution using the advanced H264 video codec.

I was able to spend a couple of days working with a pre-production camera earlier this month, before leaving on my safari expedition to Botswana, and my exclusive report focusing on the 5D MKII's video capabilities along with some sample footage is now online.

This article contains a video report as well as sample footage from the 5D MKII –  which was inadvertently omitted during the first hour that the piece was online. Sorry about that – jet lag at work I'm afraid.
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UPDATES

When I tested the 5D MKII earlier this month I had virtually no information from Canon – just the camera itself. I then left for 2 weeks in Africa with instructions that the article be published
on the product's announcement date while I was away .

Getting back and discovering that the piece had not been published, as I'd instructed, I put it online as quickly as possible. What I discovered since is that the 5D MKII shoots in 1080P not 1080i. Cool. But, not what I'd originally written. Sorry about that. No harm, no foul.

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The first of what will likely be a considerable portfolio of new photographs taken this month in Botswana is now online on the site's Home Page. A full write up, discussion of equipment used, and shooting situations will also follow, as well as images from some of the trip's members.
_____________________

"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".




23 September 2008 - Photokina 2008 Announcements and Commentary

Photokina opens today, and though a number of products were already announced during the past two weeks (while I was off the grid), there are several exciting news items today and assuredly more to come.

My Photokina 2008 page is now online and will be updated over the next week as further interesting products are announced.
_____________________

The site's Discussion Forum is now open to new registrations, after being closed while I was in Botswana.


24 September, 2008 - Photokina and Industry News Continues...

While the major announcements seem to have all been made news continues to come out of the exhibition halls at Photokina. My Photokina 2008 page continues to be updated with new reports and commentary.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



25 September, 2008 - Okavango : A Botswana Portfolio Begins

Having just returned from my recent safari / workshop shoot in Botswana I have been working on my files, and the second image from my upcoming Okavango portfolio and exhibition is now online on the site's Home Page.

I have also started a page titled Okavango which will feature new images every few days, and which also includes a discussion of the shots, equipment used, shooting conditions, and processing techniques.

I also expect to publish images taken by various safari members as they become available.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



26 September, 2008 - Photokina Update

The product news is thinning out from Photokina, but there are some new stories to be had, and several more have just been added to my ongoing report.

Update: A report which I published originally about Sinar and Leaf turns out to have been incorrect. I have now published new information which clarifies the situation and have apologized to Sinar for my error.
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My Botswana portfolio page has also had a new addition.


2 October, 2008 - Nikon D90 Video Review

Nikon was the first to announce and now ship a DSLR with video capability – the D90. I have spent the past week working with one, focusing on its video capabilities, and my exclusive review is now online along with sample footage.
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The photograph on the Home Page has been updated with another from my September shoot in Botswana, and the Botswana portfolio page has been updated.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



5 October, 2008 - Pro Convergence on RED

It seems to me that most amateur photographers aren't terribly excited about stills / video convergence. That's OK – they don't have to be – yet.

But for working pros it's another matter. A just published article in the pro journal PDN, titled Seeing RED, looks at how sometime National Geographic photographer David McLain used the ultra high-definition Red One camcorder to shoot a print and video campaign in Baja for clothing company Horny Toad.

A new business opportunity is emerging for professional shooters and a new art form is developing for adventurous amateurs. Ignore it at your peril.

Stay tuned.
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I have been asked to be the first speaker in The Toronto Camera Club's 2008–2009 Lecture Series. My talk will include a presentation on my September shoot in Botswana and also a look at forthcoming trends in the photographic industry. If you live in southern Ontario or upstate New York I hope to see you there this coming Thursday evening, October 9th.


7 October, 2008 - Safari Member's Photographs

I have just published a collection of images taken in Botswana by a few members of our safari. It was a great group of people, and some very strong work resulted.

I have also added a new photograph to my own safari portfolio.
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My friend Drew Gardner, a leading UK-based commercial photographer, has just published on his blog a piece about shooting with the first prototype 60 Megapixel Phase One P60 Plus back. He also has some notes on Photokina which offer another perspective on products seen at the show.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



11 Oct, 2008 - Dye Transfer Print Opportunity

If you've ever seen a Dye Transfer print made by a master printer you'll understand why it is considered to have the widest colour gamut and tonal range of any photographic printing process. Unfortunately Kodak stopped making dye transfer materials more than a decade ago.

There are still a few practitioners making dye transfer prints, and one of these is my friend Ctein, who when he learned that the process would be no more mortgaged his house and filled freezers full of the necessary materials. He is now one of the handful of people left in the world that still does dye transfer printing. Kodak once called him "the world's greatest living printer", and who am I to argue with that acolade?

The reason that I mention this is because another friend of mine, Mike Johnston, a long-time contributor to this site, and now the publisher of The Online Photographer, have gotten together to offer readers an opportunity to purchase a couple of Ctein images, custom printed using the dye transfer process, for just $100 each, or two for $180.

If you are a lover of fine photography and lovely prints this may be the last time for you to purchase an original dye transfer, especially at such a low price. I say – got for it.

You can view a video clip from an in-depth interview which I did with Ctein a few years ago. It can be found in its entirety in the Issue #11 DVD of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal.

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Lovers of film will be pleased to learn that Kodak is releasing a new colour negative emulsion – Ektar 100, with extreemly fine grain and high saturation characteristics.




15 October, 2008 - Adobe CS4 Now Shipping

Adobe has announced that Creative Suite 4 (CS4) is now shipping in its numerous versions and upgrade configurations. Also available today are new versions of Photoshop CS4, Photoshop CS4 Extended, InDesign CS4, Illustrator® CS4, Flash CS4 Professional, Dreamweaver CS4,  etc, etc. – Whew.

Prepare to stretch your wallet.

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Phase One has released (finally) Capture One 4 Pro. Capture One 4 PRO is free for registered users of Capture One PRO 3.x.  Its estimated street price is USD399 and EUR299.  Recommended minimum system requirements are Macintosh OS X 10.5.5 or later, Intel® based processor, or Microsoft Windows® XP SP3 or Windows Vista SP1 and Windows .NET Framework v3, Intel Pentium 4® processor, 1 GB RAM and a 1280 x 800 resolution screen.

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One-on-One Printing Training Sessions at my gallery / studio in Toronto have proven to be very popular. So popular that for the past couple of months I have had to stop promoting them as I was overbooked.

My time has eased up a bit for the rest of the year and I am now accepting new bookings for selected dates in November and December.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



16 October, 2008 - Panasonic LX-3 Review

A new generation of pocket-sized cameras that can shoot raw have just become available – the Panasonic LX-3, the Nikon P6000, and the Canon G10.

My review of the LX-3 is now online, and will be followed within the next two weeks by a comparison between the new Nikon and Canon. That review will also include how the Pansonic stacks up against the other two. Watch for it.

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I have also just updated my Botswana portfolio with another new image.




23 October, 2008 - You've Got to be Kidding!

The rate of change in the digital camera industry continues to accelerate. The Nikon D700 provides D3 image quality at half the price, and soon the Canon 5D MKII will equal the image quality of the Canon 1Ds MIII at a third the price. The trend is inexorable.

I recently started testing the new Canon G10 pocket digicam and have been shaken by the image quality. In You've Got to be Kidding! I look at the image quality that this camera is capable of and informally compare it to medium format.

No – I'm not kidding.

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Epson US has officially announced its next generation of professional ink jet printers – the 24-inch Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and the 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9900. These use new Ultrachrome HDR inks, print at twice the speed of previous models and offer a wider colour gamut. The printers feature 10 ink channel heads and have automatic black switching.

The Epson Stylus Pro 7900 and 9900 will be available in November for $3,995 and $5,995 (MSRP) respectively.

I expect to begin testing a 7900 printer at my studio next week, and will have a full test report here as soon as possible.

_____________________

Adobe has just released their Camera Raw 5.1 and Lightroom 2.1 updates. These include support for a slew of new cameras. This is the first version of Camera Raw designed exclusively for use with Photoshop CS4.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



29 October, 2008 - The Nikon P6000 and Canon G10 Duke it Out

Canon and Nikon are competitive in almost every market segment. Now with their two new cameras, the updated Canon G10 and the brand new Nikon P6000 we have a new battelground – pocket digicams with raw capability and optical viewfinders.

My latest review, Pocket Battleships, is now online.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



1 November, 2008 - Biggs and Reid and P65+ Impression

Two items of passing interest today – my friend Andy Biggs has just won this year's Wild Places catagory in the 2008 BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. It was a shot taken on our joint 2006 Namibia photographic expedition. You can see the image and read more about it here. Congratulations Andy!

Sean Reid at Reidreviews has just published his first impressions report on the new medium format Leica S2. The camera and proposed lens system is enough to make one salivate, though the prices will likely lead to cardiac arrest for most folks. (This site is subscription based).

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I had an opportunity this past week to spend a couple of hours shooting with the recently announced Phase One P65+ back. I also did some comparisons with a P45+.

Since the back is one of just a handful of pre-production backs available in the world, and my time with it was quite limited, I'll hold off on doing a formal first-look report. But my initial impressions are very favourable, and the increase in resolution from 39 Megapixels to 60.5 MP is definately noticable. Frankly, just about every aspect of image quality is just amazing.

As soon as a production P65+ is available I expect to do a full field test report and I also hope to have one to use on my upcoming January expedition to Antarctica.

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Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




3 November, 2008 - Making the Epson 3800 and Lightroom Play Well Together

The Epson 3800 and Adobe Lightroom are each at the top of their class. But, when it comes to B&W printing in Epson's Advanced Black and White mode they just don't play well together.

Adobe's Eric Chan has now created "profiles" that let us print accurately in ABW mode, and these are freely available for most popular papers. Find out more.




6 November, 2008 - Impression of Light

Several things vie for your attention today.

Apple has announced the update of Aperture to V2.3. This adds support for several new cameras including the Canon 50D, Nikon D90, Sony A900 and Nikon P6000. (No Canon G10 though. Pitty).

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DxO has announced the release of Optics Pro v5.3. In addition to new high ISO support on certain cameras raw support has been added for the Nikon D700, Canon Rebel XS and Canon G9. (Hello DxO – the G9 was discontinued and has been replaced with the G10).

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My friend Andy Biggs, a leading wildlife photographer and African photo safari guide, has announced a new line of camera bags called Gura Gear. His first product, the Kiboko backpack is now shipping.

I have been testing and using the Kiboko for the past few months and used it on our joint Botswana photo safari workshop in September. The bag is superb – designed by a photographer for photographers.

My review of the Kiboko will appear here next week. In the meantime – Highly Recommended.

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William Neill is one of the most talented landscape and nature photographers working in the American Southwest today. I am a huge fan of his work, and he has recently started to contribute articles to this site.

Bill has a new e-book available, called Impressions of Light, and an essay on the techniques used to produce the images for this new book is found here today.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



8 November, 2008 – An exclusive interview with Henry Wilhelm

In the late Summer of 2008 I interviewed Henry Wilhelm, the world's preeminent authority on print permanence and the founder of Wilhelm Imaging Research. This interview was conducted on behalf of Epson, to be used as part of their 2008/2009 Epson Print Academy. The clip used by Epson was edited down to 14 minutes for use in The Print Academy.

Because the complete interview contains so much more fascinating and valuable information about current printing technology and materials than can be contained in 14 minutes, with the agreement of Epson we have put together a more complete version of this important interview. This runs slightly more than one hour.

We are making it available here online at no charge in two versions. the video full interview and also in audio-only format.

We hope that you enjoy this fascinating interview. It should prove to be a worthwhile resource for anyone interested in the state of contemporary print making.




12 November, 2008 - Foveon Sold

It has been announced that Sigma Corp. has acquired Foveon. Long held out by some as the holy grail of sensors, because it locates all three colours on the same photo site rather than using a matrix approach to colour, Foveon never caught on with any other DSLR maker except Sigma. Now it looks like it'll become exclusive through ownership if not through the disinclination of others to adopt it.

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If you're a working professional photographer, or thinking of becoming one, and live in Southern Ontario, you might want to consider a weekend workshop with Rob Davidson on Nov 21,22,23 in Toronto. The business side of things is where many a talented photographer has fallen down. Rob's course is based on many years of teaching at colleges in Ontario.




13 November, 2008 - Red Scarlet / Epic Changes the Industry

The Red Scarlet & Epic camera systems were announced this morning. I have prepared an analysis of the various models along with some thoughts on the implications of this remarkable series of product announcements for both photographers and other equipment makers.

RED Changes the Game – Again

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Thom Hogan is one of the more knowledable and insightful pundits on the digital camera scene, and a leading independant expert on the Nikon system. He has just published his 2009 Nikon predictions, just ahead of Nikon's anticipated new product announcement next week. It covers more than just Nikon gear, and looks at the entire industry, especially in light of the current global economic situation. Insightful.

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I have several new product tests underway, including a monopod, a great new camera backpack, the Panasonic Micro Four Thirds G1 camera, and the Epson 7900 printer. These will all appear here over the new couple of week. Oh yes – and a number of new printing papers.




16 November, 2008 - Jay Maisel Workshops Announced

Jay Maisel is unarguably one of the world's greatest photographers and a wonderful and challenging teacher. I am fortunate to consider Jay Maisel a friend, and we have worked and taught together in the past.

Jay has just announced his late 2008 and early 2009 teaching schedule at his building in New York. I am therefore pleased to use this opportunity to promote it on his behalf.

You can find out more here, which loads a PDF information page.

_____________________

There's some exciting news coming tomorrow (Monday) for those who like test reports and camera comparisons. Check back here first thing tomorrow.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




17 November, 2008 - DxOMark: Free Comprehensive Camera Comparisons Launched.

The name DxO Labs will be familar to many is the makers of DxO Optics Pro, a very popular image processing and lens correction program.

Today, DxO is launching a free digital SLR comparison test site DxOMark which uses the company's proprietary DxO Analyzer system to generate comparative test results, currently totaling more than 45 current and past model DSLRs.

These data are very well presented, in both numeric and graphic formats, and the site is unique in the industry in terms of the comprehensivness of the data presented.

My introduction to and review of DxOMark is now available.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



20 November, 2008 - Manfrotto Monopod Review

Most of the time monopods don't get much love. But, for some situations and cameras they can spell the difference between getting the shot properly and not.

My review of the Manfrotto 685B Monopod along with an accompanying on-location video is now online.

 




22 November, 2008 - Win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel

Has the thought of December being just around the corner got you down? Are the economic hard times that we're in depressing you?

Need a new camera? Need to perk up your photography skills a bit?

Well – we have a solution. Simply enter our December Anti-Depression Contest for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




24 November, 2008 - Kiboko from Gura Gear

Which is the best camera bag? Good question. There are literally hundreds of models in various sizes, shapes and configurations available. But if you fly commercially to get to your shooting location, then factors such as size, weight and airline acceptability come into play.

My friend Andy Biggs travels several times a year to shoot and conduct photographic workshops in Africa and elsewhere. He has tried almost every bag available, and has found them all wanting in one way or another.

Now, Andy has founded a new company, Gura Gear, with the express purpose of designing and producing the lightest and most transportable bags possible, using the highest quality materials. I used his first bag, the Kiboko, on my recent trip to Botswana. This bag is now shipping, and my review is online.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




28 November, 2008 - Panasonic G1 Field Report

This is an interesting time for anyone following new camera announcements and shipments. Panasonic shipped the G1 a few weeks ago and Sony the A900 earlier this month. This week sees the Canon 5D MKII started to ship in some markets, and next Monday will have the announcement by Nikon of the D3x.

I am currently on a trip to Arizona shooting with the 25MP Sony A900, and will have my review online within a couple of weeks. Once a production review sample of the 5D MKII is available to me you can expect a comparison between it and the original 5D. And when the D3x finally ships I plan on doing a three-way comparison between it and the Sony A900 and Canon 1Ds MKIII.

In the meantime, I am publishing today my field report on the Panasonic G1 camera, a very exciting offering for those that need to travel light.

_____________________

This is an update for those familar with my friend Alexis, who is recovering from brain tumor surgery, and who we all helped with a fund-raising print sale earlier this year. I am pleased to report that I am spending this Thanksgiving holiday week with her, her friends and her extended family at her brother's ranch retreat near Tuscon Arizona. Alexis continues with her chemo theraphy and is putting on a brave fight with cancer. She sends her heart-felt thanks to the many hundreds of people around the world who helped financially through print purchases. The proceeds from that sale have made a huge difference in her ability to afford specialized medical care. Her thoughts are with you all.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




1 Dec, 2008 - Nikon D3 Announced : Pricing Comment Update Added

As expected by most observers, and quite a few months late according to others, Nikon announced today the D3x, their 24 Megapixel version of the highly regarded D3. You can find out more here and download a 28 page PDF brochure here.

The D3x will become available before the end of this month and will carry the hefty price tag of US $8,000. In the face of the 24 MP Sony A900 and 21 MP Canon 5D MKII, both retailing at under $3,000, is the D3x's price a bridge too far, especially in today's economy?

UPDATE

When I started to digest the Nikon D3x's $8000 price over breakfast, and in light of my recent testing of the 24 Megapixel Sony A900 with its amazing Zeiss lenses, on an impulse I called my dealer and cancelled my standing order for one.

It seems to me that at a $3000 premium over the otherwise almost identical D3, and at some $5000 more than the Canon 5D MKII and Sony A900, the pricing of the Nikon (especially in our current crisis economy) is simply out to lunch. A $1,000 premium I could have understood. Maybe even, $1,500. But with only more megapixels on offer I simply find the D3x to be financially out of tune with the realities of today's marketplace.

So I sat down to write an essay based on these thoughts, but then got a call from a friend asking if I'd seen what Nikon pundit Thoms Hogan had written this morning. Once I had read it I decided that Thom had made all of the points that I had intended to, so I'll let his words stand for my own.

Nikon – I think you've misjudged the marketplace and not to mention the temper of the times as well.

_____________________

Speaking of 24 Megapixel cameras., I have spent the past couple of weeks working with the Sony A900. I shot with it extensively last week in Arizona, and today's Home Page photograph is one with which I am particularly pleased. My full field report on the Sony A900 will appear here before next weekend.

_____________________

While I was traveling last week I published my Panasonic G1 review. In it I mistakenly wrote that the camera lacks depth of field preview. I was dead wrong on this (brain fade?), and I have just added an update to my review correcting this inexplicable error.

_____________________

Alain Briott has just published a new schedule of workshops for 2009. You can find out more through links on our Workshops page. A new essay by Alain will appear here later this week.


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



2 Dec, 2008 - Judging Value

There has been a lot of speculation on this site's forum as well as others as to why I cancelled my Nikon D3x order after learning its price yesterday. Below is a paraphrase of a reply which I posted to our forum earlier today, but which I'll repeat here as well.

Because I believe in long-term and field testing I buy the cameras and lenses that I use. Though I accept short term loans of gear from major manufacturers for testing (especially pre and early production models), these are always returned within days, and rarely held for longer than a week or at most two. Then, every year or two I sell some of the purchased cameras which I've been using to free up capital for new acqusitions.

This means that I can test and use a wide range of equipment over extended periods. When something especially appeals to me I hang onto it it for a long time. I have several cameras that are in that category. Others come in and out in just months, or a year at most, being replaced by the latest model for use and testing. This is my business model. This is why more than a million people a month visit this site, to read my reports and reviews. The financial model works for me.

But, even if buying cameras wasn't a business expense, and even if one can afford something, that doesn't mean that it's good value. My late fatherinlaw was financially well off, but he'd drive miles out of his way to buy gas for 2 cents a gallon less than at the station just across the street. When I asked why, his reply was simply that it was the principle of the matter.

That's something of what I feel about the D3x and why I cancelled my order. Yes, I can afford it, but I simply find it not to represent good value. After testing the 24MP Sony A900 (which I purchased for less than the equivalent of US $2,500 here in Toronto last month) the thought of paying US $8,000 for a camera that that has the same resolution, the same frame rates, a similar large and bright viewfinder, etc,  just seemed to me to be a bad value proposition. The Canon 5DII at well under $3,000 is another current alternative in a full-frame 20+ MP camera.

With the value represented by the Nikon D700 as compared to the D3, and the Canon 5DII as compared to the 1Ds MKIII, I feel that the days of the mega-pro DSLR are numbered for many photographers. Yes, of course they offer superior AF, weather sealing and maybe a slight edge in image quality, but the price differential is enormous, especially now as the world enters a serious recession, if not worse.

So yes, there will be some that buy the D3x, just as there are still those that buy the wonderful Nikon F5 film camera. Nikon is known for fighting rear-guard actions and doing so well. I'm sure that Nikon will still sell some D3's and D3x's, and Canon some 1DMKIII's and 1DsMKIIIs, but I now believe that the days of these cameras as mainstream are passing, as much lower cost and competent alternatives become available.

That was the reasoning behind the cancellation of my D3x order – simply the acceptance that an era has passed, and that the perceived value wasn't there (for me) at the US $8,000 price point given the current economic and technology environment. It might be for others though.




3 December, 2008 - Sony A900 Field Review - 24MP and a Great Price

Does the thought of a full-frame, 24 Megapixel camera with a large bright viewfinder and the ablilty to shoot 5 FPS in raw with a deep buffer make you salivate? Does the thought of having to spend $8000 for a camera like this have you weak in the knees?

Well, one alternative is the Sony A900, which started shipping in most markets within the past few weeks. It retails for under US $3,000, offers excellent image quality, and access to some great Zeiss glass as well as a large range of Sony and Konica / Minolta lenses.

I have been field testing the Sony A900 for the past few weeks, including on a recent landscape shoot in Arizona, and my field test report is now online.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




5 December, 2008 - Interview with Michael Reichmann Online on SmibsTV

A few months ago I was interviewed by SmibsTV, an online video blog which is part of a site oriented towards the needs and interests of entrepreneurs. This interview just appeared online, and runs about 18 minutes. In it I discuss some of my background in the photographic industry, the origins of The Luminous Landscape, and my thoughts on the business as well as creative aspects of what I do.

Oh yes – and I've lost 10 lbs since that interview was done.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




7 December, 2007 - Of Audiences and Best Sellers

Our regular contributor Alain Briot today provides us with his penetrating thoughts on the relationship between the photographer and the viewer in Of Audiences and Best Sellers.

UPDATE

I rarely laugh out loud at videos on YouTube, but this one almost literally had me on the floor.

Sorry Nikon, I just had to post it. Well, maybe not quite so sorry. We find things the funniest when they are closest to having a ring of truth to them.

Oh yes – and yesterday I bought a second Sony A900 body and another Zeiss prime lens instead of invading Poland. (Just kidding about the Poland part).

_____________________

Speaking of Zeiss lenses, Sean Reid at Reid Reviews has just tested the Zeiss ZF Planar 85mm f/1.4 in both Nikon and Canon EF mounts. Sean is a photographer who tests equipment rather than a tech reviewer that happens to do photographic gear tests, so I place great store in his opinions. Red Reviews is a subscription site, but well worth your time and money.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




8 December, 2008 - Universal Power

If you travel internationally you know what a hassle it can be dealing with foreign power plugs. Almost all devices are now dual voltage, so transformers aren't necessary any longer, but the world is awash in different wall plug designs.

WonPro has the solution. They sell a power bar that is rated for 250V, so it works anywhere, and which comes with six universal plug points. Add to it a selection of removable power cords, able to plug in anywhere, and you have a universal solution for powering and recharging your laptop, camera batteries, phone, GPS and whatever else when traveling. Highly recommended.

Why do you need universal sockets on a power bar if all of your gear has the same type of plugs? Simple. How many time have you found yourself in a hotel room with one wall outlet by the desk, and it's loaded up with foreign plug style devices such as a desk lamp, TV, clock radio and such. Now, regardless, you can power everything from the same bar including your own devices.

_____________________

My preferred printing paper for more than a year now has been Ilford Gold Fiber Silk. Stupid name, great paper. It also has been one of the most reasonably priced Baryta Fiber papers available.

Word now arrives that the price will be going up by 15% in early January on all dealer orders, so you can expect retail prices to do similarly. Stock up now.

_____________________

The site's Home Page photograph has been updated with one from a new series taken recently at a major league football (American) game. A change of pace, as you'll see in the days ahead.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



10 December, 2008 - Of Camera Tests and Testing

DxO Labs has just updated their DxOMark database with results for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Pentax K200D. Once of the more telling comparisons is between the new 5DMKII and the current 1Ds MKIII, both 21MP cameras of differing capabilities though very similar image quality, but seperated as they are by more than $3,500 in actual retail price. An interesting equation for those not needing some of the MKIII's high-end features.

_____________________

Phil Holland, an experienced professional photographer and film maker has just published his tests of the new Canon 5DMKII. No surprising results – but obviously it's a very appealing camera at a very competative price.

_____________________

The site's Home Page photograph has been updated today with a second one from a new series taken recently at an NFL game. A change of pace from my usual fare.

_____________________

 

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




11 December, 2008 - Lenswork / Reichmann Folios Now Available

I have been a huge fan for many years of Lenswork magazine. I am therefore very pleased, and honoured, to have a portfolio of my work as well as an interview in the new issue (Jan-Feb, 2009) which will become available in the next couple of weeks. The cover photograph, seen above, is from that collection.

Lenswork is also publishing two Special Edition print folios of my work. The first, with fifteen colour prints, is titled Landscapes from Around the World, and the second, with six B&W images is titled In Their Landscapes.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THESE SPECIAL EDITION FOLIOS




12 December, 2008 - LensAlign : The Simple Backfocus Solution Reviewed

Along with high resolution digital sensors and highly accurate autofocus we also have back-focus and front focus issues. These occur when your $5,000 Wonderflex Mk IXb and APO Groanar f/0.95 lens can't quite agree on what should be in focus.

A handful of the latest high-end DSLRs have come out during the past year or so with AF Micro-Adjustment capability, whereby one can program the camera and lens combination to acheive accurate focus. As of this month, these include the Canon 1D MKIII, 1Ds MKIII, 5DII, 50D, Nikon D3, D3x, D300, D700, Sony A900, and Pentax K20.

But, the challenge has remained – how does one accomplish this? There are several do-it-yourself methods, using rulers, charts and such, but most are problematic for one reason or another.

There's now a better way, the just announced LensAlign from RawWorkflow.com. Find out more in my exclusive review.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




13 December, 2008 - Antarctic Expedition Spot Available

Due to a last minute cancellation a spot has just opened up in my upcoming Antarctic Photographic Expedition; Jan 9 – 23, 2009.

I knows it's late notice, but if you can make it it's going to be an amazing trip. The single berth is in a Twin Cabin (male).

If you're able to join us, please drop me a line ASAP. First come, first served. 

Noon EST – Sorry SOLD OUT

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




15 December, 2008 - Sony 500mm f/8 Mirror Reflex Lens Reviewed

Mirror reflex lenses used to be popular from the 1960's through the 80's, but with the advent of autofocus and the appearance of image stabilized wide aperture super-telephotos they largely disappeared from the sceen.

But Sony have kept the faith, and with the Sony 500mm f/8 Reflex one finds the world's only mirror reflex lens offering autofocus as well as image stabilization, when used with a Sony Alpha series camera. My field test report is now online.

_____________________

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




16 December, 2008 - Lightroom 2.2 Now Available

As of this morning Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.2 is available immediately as a free upgrade for existing Lightroom 2 users. HELP / CHECK FOR UPDATES or here.

Lightroom 2.2 adds raw support for seven new camera models including the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon PowerShot G10, Panasonic DMC-G1, Panasonic DMC-FX150, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Panasonic DMC-LX3 and Leica D-LUX 4. The update also includes several refinements such as enhanced performance of the local adjustment tools.

In addition, Adobe's Camera Profiles are now available natively within Lightroom 2.2 and are provided automatically as part of this release.

_____________________

Panasonic has published a firmware upgrade for the G1 camera and also for the LX3.

_____________________

UPDATE

If you're an iPhone user I'd like to draw your attention to a must-have program for photographers. Called Focalware, it is the most comprehensive program yet available for forecasting sunrise / sunset, moonrise and moonset, and uniquely it also provides elevation and moon phase info, the only such program that combines all of the above.

You can read a brief review on Moose Peterson's web site and watch a brief video about it on Youtube.

Focalware costs $10, but in my view is well worth the money. Available from the Application Store via iTunes or direct download on your iPhone.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



18 December, 2008 - Mike Johnston Takes the DSLR Bull By The Horns

Mike Johnston is a long time friend, ex-editor of Photo Techniques magazine, and a contributor for many years to this site. He currently publishes The Online Photographer, his unique blog on photography and the industry in general.

Mike has never been one to pull a punch, and in his publication of yesterday, Dec 17, he takes the bull by the horns and gives us his judgement on the current big three of the DSLR industry, the Sony A900, Nikon D700 and Canon 5D MKII.

How does he rank them? Read his blog to find out.

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.
 




19 December, 2008 - Colorspace UDMA Review

Exactly a year ago I reviewed the Hyperdrive Colorspace, a very competent portable card reader / hard drive.

A new versions is now available, with a better screen, better interface, faster transfer rate and larger capacity drives. Called the Colorspace UDMA, our review by Nick Devlin is now online.

_____________________

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
now available from Lenswork Publishing

_____________________

Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




22 December, 2008 - Sony A900 Update and Second Opinion

One of the things that differentiates this site from some other photography related sites is that our reviews aren't usually based on "loaners" from companies – cameras that make the rounds from one reviewer to the next, landing for a week or two and then moving on.

Yes, we do report on such loaners as well, especially when it's a product that is brand new and in short supply. But usually what I and my colleagues do is actually go out and shoot extensively with the cameras and lenses that we write about, because we own the equipment and therefore have it available to us for long term use. After all, we're photographers first, and writers and testers second.

Out of the crop of full-frame 20 MP+ cameras that have started to ship during the past couple of months from Canon, Sony and Nikon I have chosen to focus on the 25 Megapixel Sony A900, buying two bodies and selection of Zeiss and Sony lenses for long term use and testing.

My initial report appeared here at the beginning of this month, and now a couple of thousand frames and about a month on I have just published my Sony A900 Update. I am also publishing today a companion article written by contributor Bill Caulfeild-Browne titled Sony A900 – A Second Opinion.

_____________________

For those in the Canon camp who are feeling left out, Miles Hecker has just published a comparison of the image quality of the 1Ds MKIII, 5D, 50D and 5D MKII.

_____________________

As for Nikonistas, sorry! Though I requested a D3x for review some time ago, and the cameras are now shipping around the world, I was told that one wouldn't be available to me until "later in January". Guess I somehow pissed someone at Nikon off at some point, though I'm not sure who or why. Could it have been my crack that US $8000 was "a bridge too far". Pretty thin skinned of them if that was the case.

Oh well. Sorry, nothing I can do about this until I get back from Antarctica toward the end of January.

_____________________

UPDATE  – Sorry SOLD OUT

Once again a last minute cancellation due to heath reasons has opened two berths in a double cabin on my upcoming Antarctic Photographic Expedition; Jan 9 – 23, 2009. Availability is for a couple or two single individuals.

If you're able to join us, please drop me a line ASAP. First come, first served.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".

 




24 December, 2008 - Yes, There is a Santa Claus

Yes Virginia – there is a Santa Claus. Within the past 24 hours I have received a 5D MKII from Canon to take to Antarctica two weeks from now, and Nikon just called to say that a D3x will be available as well.

Excellent news, and my thanks to both companies for making these cameras available for some serious field testing.

I will be bringing a Sony A900 system as well, so it now looks like I'll be able to shoot with all three new systems side by side on this trip. Oh yes – and Phase One is promising a Phase One 645 camera and a 60 Megapixel P65+. My cup runneth over.

I guess we'll all benefit, because its an opportunity for some real-world testing of these new high-end cameras in a very challenging environment. Of course I'll have extensive reports here on all the fun beginning in late January when I return.

In the meantime, my best wishes to everyone
for a very safe and joyous holiday seasons.

_____________________

There are Only Seven Days Left to Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.

_____________________

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
now available from Lenswork Publishing




26 December, 2008 - Leica Lenses on a Panasonic G1

In the excitement over the Canon 5D MKII, Nikon D3x, and Sony A900, the little Panasonic G1 Micro 4/3 camera has been somehow overshadowed. But, I've been shooting with it regularly, and find that it is a very welcome tool for street photography, especially because of its palm-sized 40-200mm (90-400mm equivalent) lens. In fact today's somewhat seasonal (at least for snowy Toronto) home page image was shot just a few days ago with this combo.

My friend Sean Reid at Reid Reviews has just done one of his comprehensive reports on the Milich GT Lens Adaptor, which allows LSM (Leica Screw Mount) lenses to be used on this new camera.

There are adaptors coming for Leica M mount lenses as well, and I expect to review the first of these in January. In the meantime find out why the G1 and other forthcoming Micro 4/3 cameras are going to provide exciting versatility to literally hundreds of Leica and Leica compatible lenses. Red Reviews is a subscription site, but well worth your time and money.

_____________________

_____________________

There are Only Five Days Left to Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.




28 December, 2008 - Shoot-Out : Nikon D3x, Canon 5D MKII and Sony A900 Noise Compared

The past couple of months have seen the launch of three exciting new cameras, the 21 Megapixel Canon 5D MKII, and the 25 Megapixel Sony A900 and Nikon D3x.

As regular readers know, after working primarily with Canon gear for many years, I've been shooting with Nikon equipment for the past 12 months. I have also recently purchased a Sony A900 system for long term testing as well.

With a major shoot in Antarctica coming up in early January, Nikon and Canon were both kind enough to loan me a D3x and a 5D MKII for use during the expedition. So I'll be shooting with all three camera systems in some challenging conditions during January, and will report here late next month on how it all worked out.

But over this past Christmas week I found myself with all three cameras and some free time to see how they compared in terms of image quality. The testing was initially done for my own edification, but I've taken the time to collate the results for everyone to share.

Read my Big Three Noise Shootout – A Year-End Pixel Peeping Extravaganza to find out more. You might be surprised at the results.

_____________________

There are Only 3 Days Left to Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




30 December, 2008 - Last Chance

_____________________

There are Only 2 Days Left to Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.

_____________________

I am fortunate to count among my friends some of the top photographic instructors in the world. I list their workshops on my Workshops page, and from time to time feature something new that they're doing.

Charles Cramer is one of America's most famous landscape photographers and teachers. For years he and Bill Atkinson have been teaching printing workshops together, but now Bill has decided to retire from these and so Charlie is striking out on his own.

You can find out more about this new series of printing workshops here.

 




31 December, 2008 �The Canon 50D Milestone

This is the last day of 2008, and before any additional news I want to take this opportunity to wish you a safe, healthy and hopefully prosperous 2009. Keep your pixels dry.

_____________________

Harold M. Merklinger is a scientist, photographer, author and sometime contributor to this site. Today he provides us with The Canon 50D Milestone, his thoughs on the significance of this new camera.

_____________________

 

There is Only 1 Day Left to Enter our
December Anti-Depression Contest

for a chance to win a Nikon D90 or Canon XSi Rebel.

_____________________




1 January, 2009 - Contest Winner Announced

The winner of our December Anti-Depression Contest is Hugo Marrero-Sepulveda of Puerto Rico. He has selected the Nikon D90 as his prize. Congratulations Hugo!

We'll be announcing a new give-away soon, and every purchase made as of today, Jan 1, will be eligible.

_____________________

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
now available from Lenswork Publishing




4 January, 2009 - Sony A900 and Canon 5D MKII - The New Market Leaders Duke it Out

The DSLR marketplace is changing (again). It used to be that to get the largest sensor with the highest resolution and the best image quality one had to spend really big bucks. But with the D700 Nikon last year Nikon changed that equation, and with the full-frame 21MP and 25MP Canon 5D MKII and Sony A900 those two companies have now made class-leading image quality available for under $3,000 – within the reach of most advanced amateurs and pros.

How do these two young guns stack up against each other? Find out in Sony A900 and Canon 5D MKII – The New Market Leaders Duke it Out.

_____________________

UPDATE

In the first couple of days since publication there have been a few emails and some rather unpleasant online postings on some discussion forums to the effect that I am wrong regarding the 5DII not registering settings when the center of the joystick is pressed, and that I should take up piano tuning instead of camera reviewing. Well, sorry folks, but I am correct. It works exactly as I've described.

The confusion probably stems from the fact that pressing the center of the joystick does make a selection when accessing items from the main Menu button, but it does not do so when one wishes to set an item from the quick access screen. In that case the screen simply goes dark. One needs to use the Set button instead, rather than the center of the joystick, which is what I was referring to in the article.

In fact, now that this is brought to light its clear that this is the type of interface confusion that can drive photographers nuts in the field, where a control works one way in one situation and another way in another.


5 January, 2009 - Capture One 4.6 Now Available

Phase One now has V4.6 of Capture One available for immediate download. This is a free updated to existing 3.x and 4.x owners and is also available as a free 30 day trial for others.

Among a number of new features are tethered capture for the following cameras –  Nikon D3, Nikon D700, Nikon D300, Nikon D200, Nikon D80, Nikon D60, Nikon D40x, Nikon D40.

Raw suppport has also been added for several new cameras including the Phase One P 65+, Canon G10, Nikon D3X, Olympus E-30, and there is also improved camera support for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 50D: sRaw1 and sRaw2 now being supported.

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7 January, 2009 - This Month

I am now off-line until January 26th on my Antarctic Expedition, so sorry – no new content until then. But there are hundreds of reviews, tutorials and essays here that I'm sure you haven't read, so dive into the table of contents page for each of the major categories, Locations, Essays, Columns, Reviews, Techniques, Tutorials and the Understanding Series to catch up on the things that you might have missed. We've been publishing now for ten years, so you have a lot of reading to do.

_____________________

As for the Expedition and what I'll be shooting with, it's quite a selection. Nikon, Canon, and Phase One have all been kind enough to lend me their latest cameras for testing and review, so I'll be able to work with the new Nikon D3x, Canon 5D MKII, and Phase One 645 with their exciting new 60 Megapixel P65+ back. I'll also have along my current long-terms test system, the 25 MP Sony A900.

Commercial director and producer of the Video Journal, Chris Sanderson, will be using the Canon 5D MKII as his primary video camera to film the expedition. Frequent contributor to this site, photographer and long-time Canon shooter Nick Devlin, will be on the trip as well working with a 5D MKII. Both gentleman have field reviews for these pages in mind, so you can expect more coverage on this camera and how it made out in Antarctica here at the end of January.

_____________________

–15% SALE NOW ON

While I'm traveling our customer service and technical support staff will be on the case, so please feel free to visit our on-line store and consider purchasing one of our highly acclaimed multi-hour video tutorials, Camera to Print, Lightroom 2, or Photoshop Camera Raw, as well as The Video Journal.

In fact we're having a SALE for the next few weeks – our annual While the Cats Away Sale. From now until January 26 every product in our online store is on sale at 15% off.

Subscribers and regular readers of The Video Journal are probably wondering where the latest edition is. Needless to say, it's late. Very late. No excuses, but the reason is simply that Chris has been very busy the past twelve months producing all of our new video tutorials. He promises that the next Video Journal is now his top priority.

_____________________


Lenswork has just published their Jan / Feb 2009 issue and it features a portfolio of my work as well as an interview with me by publisher Brooks Jensen. The magazine's cover photograph is from that portfolio and was shot in Madagascar last year. Lenswork is also publishing two moderately priced original print folios of my work to coincide with this issue, which if you're a print collector you might be interested in.

_____________________


My best wishes to you for the start of 2009. See you back here at the end of January.

_____________________


Here is the weather forecast for Palmer Station, roughly in the area of the Antarctic Peninsula where we'll be in mid-January.

Oh yes, at this time of year near the Antarctic Circle sunset is at midnight and then sunrise is less than three hours later at about 2:45 am. Shooting light – 24 hours. For photographers sleep is not an option.
 




24 January, 2009 - On The Way Home

It's mid-day, Saturday, and I am now in Buenos Aires on my way back from Antartica. I'll be home Sunday, and my brain should catch up with my body some time mid-week.

The trip was extreemly successful, with a wonderful group of photographers and some remarkable photographic opportunities. We spent nearly two days south of the Antarctic Circle and had a rare opportunity to sail through The Gullet, a narrow glacier-shrouded channel between two mountain ranges that is very rarely traversed, as few ships sail this far south and it is usually ice clogged.

I have started an Antarctic 2009 Portfolio page which will be updated with new images in the weeks ahead.

I'll have equipment reports and lots more here in the days ahead.

_____________________

Adobe has today released updates to both Camera Raw and Lightroom providing support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30 as well as some bug fixes.

_____________________

Note that our While the Cats Away Sale ends on January 26. Till then every product in our online store is on sale at 15% off.

_____________________

The new issue (#80) of Lenswork magazine is now shipping and it features a portfolio of my work (including the cover) as well as an interview with me by publisher Brooks Jensen.

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
are now also available from Lenswork Publishing




27 January, 2009 - Slot Canyons of the Southwest

The Slot Canyons of the American Southwest have become a photographic cliche, but they still attract thousands of photographers each year, and with good reason. They are quite spectacular.

In our newest locations article Ben Hattenbach provides us with a guide to this exciting locale.

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My Antarctic 2009 Portfolio page has been updated with another image from south of the Antarctic Circle.

 

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



29 January, 2009 - Why are Icebergs Blue?

One of the pressing questions for photographers who photograph icebergs and glaciers is – why are they so blue?

One of the photographers on my recent Antarctic expedition was my friend Mark Dubovoy, a nuclear physicist by profession. He was unsatisfied with any of the explanations offered by the expedition staff and self appointed experts. On his return he researched the subject and now provides us with his explanation.

_____________________

I have updated my Antarctic 2009 Portfolio page with another new photograph, of a blue iceberg, of course.

_____________________

Under the heading From the Sublime to the Ridiculous  today brings a press release from Leica that they have produced a limited edition Leica M8.2 in olive green paint finish and a silver anodized LEICA ELMARIT-M 28 mm f/2.8 ASPH. lens in a 'Safari' edition.

Let me know when they produce a verison covered in reticulated Ostrich testicles and I just might be interested.

_____________________

The new issue (#80) of Lenswork magazine is now shipping and it features a portfolio of my work (including the cover) as well as an interview with me by publisher Brooks Jensen.

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
are now also available from Lenswork Publishing




1 Feb, 2009 - Quality vs. Value - When is Enough Enough?

We are coming to a significant crossroad in the evolution of digital photography. There is a convergence of factors underway that is changing the way in which we perceive the merits and value of the equipment that we purchase.

On the one hand we have a rapidly flattening slope on the image quality side of the ledger, where it takes a serious additional expenditure to derive what is often only a moderate increase in image quality.

On the other we have the worst global economic environment of our lifetimes, which is causing photographers to more seriously evaluate the value proposition of their purchases than ever before.

The third hand holds the issue of numeric analysis vs. the evidence of ones eyes. What do we do when the test numbers tell us one thing and ours eyes tell us another?

Today I am publishing the first of a multi-part series of essays that will appear here during the month of February, which will attempt to address these issues. It is titled Quality vs. Value – When is Enough Enough? I invite you join our discussion forum if you'd like to express your thoughts on this and future essays in this series. Let's have a dialog about it.

_____________________

I have updated my Antarctic 2009 Portfolio page with another new photograph, this one taken with the 60 megapixel Phase One P65+ back.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




3 Feb, 2009 - Eyes vs. Numbers - Which to Believe

DxO Labs has just today published test results, using their DxOMark metrics, of four medium format backs, from Hasselblad, Phase One, Leaf and Mamiya. Unfortunately the numbers fail to jibe with the reality which I and many other photographers experience on a daily basis. Why is this?

In a new essay titled Eyes vs. Numbers – Which to Believe I explore this topic, and point to several likely explanations of this growing disconnect.

This is the second of a multi-part series of essays on the changing face of digital photography and the new approaches that we will be required to adopt in adjusting to a rapidly changing environment.

_____________________

I have updated my Antarctic 2009 Portfolio page with another new photograph, this time taken with the Sony Alpha 900 at ISO 800.

_____________________

From Today's Official Nikon UK Press Release

"Nikon UK is proud to announce the P90, compact camera that boasts an impressive 24x wide angle optical zoom. Its high-performance super-telephoto zoom, wide-angle capabilities and other powerful features are combined in an easy-to-use camera, making it ideal for users looking for the infamous Nikon quality, in a camera that’s compact and portable".

A gentle reminder to Nikon UK's Copywriter – Definition of the word infamous...

\ˈin-fə-məs\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
Middle English, from Latin infamis, from in- + fama fame
Date:
14th century
1 : having a reputation of the worst kind : notoriously evil <an infamous traitor>
2 : causing or bringing infamy : disgraceful <an infamous crime>
3 : convicted of an offense bringing infamy

Update: This typo has now been corrected on web sites around the net. But since everything on the net is forever, the mistake now lives on in infamy.

 _____________________

The new issue (#80) of Lenswork magazine is now shipping and it features a portfolio of my work (including the cover) as well as an interview with me by publisher Brooks Jensen.

Two low-cost folios by Michael Reichmann
are now also available from Lenswork Publishing

 




5 Feb, 2009 - Giant Used Equipment Sale

Regular readers will be aware that in addition to writing and teaching I also review products that interest me. I've been doing so for about 20 years in magazines, and for the past 10 years on this site as well. I am not an equipment reviewer per-se, but am interested in how, as a photographer, various tools meet my needs.

Manufacturers will lend, and I will accept the loan of cameras and lenses, but these are usually available for only a week or two at a time. Since this is far too short a time to really get to know a piece of gear I therefore will buy various products for long term testing. Seems extravagant, I know, but it's the business that I'm in. At the end of some months, or in some cases years, I will sell the gear and use the proceeds to purchase new equipment for long-term field testing.

It's time for spring cleaning (or at least late winter cleaning). I have quite a bit of kit that's built up over the past couple of years – some of it for testing, some for projects or assignments that are now concluded. All are now for sale.




7 Feb, 2009 - Antarctica : What Worked, What Didn't

Seventy seven photographers aboard an expedition ship in Antarctica bring a lot of equipment with them. A combination of weather, knocks and other mishaps always take their toll.

It's also interesting to note what gear that was brought along did its job, and waht was superfluous.

This is all discussed in today's new report titled Antarctica – What Worked, What Didn't.

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




10 Feb, 2009 - Sinar Artec - An interview with Rainer Viertlbock

Architectural photographers have very specialized needs, especially now that most are working with medium format digital backs.

Sinar introduced the Artec at Photokina last Fall, and it was very well received. But where did the concept for the Artec come from? From a leading architectural photographer, of course, and in today's exclusive article we offer an interview with the photographer behind the Artec concept – Rainer Viertlböck, conducted by Michael Heinrich who also looks at the new camera on location.

 _____________________

Two very worthwhile and interesting products just started shipping within the past few days. The first is the Really Right Stuff L bracket for the Sony A900. RRS makes what are to my mind the finest mounting equipment in the world and their latest L bracket doesn't disappoint.

I have just received my order from CameraQuest of a Leica M to Micro 4/3 adaptor for the Panasonic G1. I'll have an initial report soon, but my first impressions are that this adaptor really is an exciting option for owners of Leica M mount lenses.

_____________________

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




12 Feb, 2009 - March Exhibit Opening and Conference Presentation

If you live in Toronto, Southern Ontario, or upstate New York, you are invited to two events in March.

I will be having a show of new work at The Luminous Landscape Gallery in Toronto. There will be a preview reception at the gallery on the evening of Thursday, March 12, and then an open house on the weekend of March 14, and 15.

Full details on the Surprise and Delight Exhibit are found here.

   _____________________

Also in March, on the weekend of March 20,21,22, in Grand Island, New York, the Niagara Frontier Reginal Camera Clubs are having their Annual Spring Convention. I will be conducting an all-day presentation on Raw Processing, Printing and Fine Art Photography on Saturday, March 21. You can find out more here.

_____________________

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




14 Feb, 2009 - Canon 5D MKII Video Report - A Stretch

If you've been following the reports on my Antarctic workshop expedition last month you'll have noted that Chris Sanderson had planned on shooting a video report using the new Canon 5D MKII. Things didn't quite work out the way we planned, but an article documenting his impressions of this camera as a video tool are now online in Canon 5D MKII – A Stretch.

_____________________

Traveling Light

I am now away until February 22nd on vacation. (No, Antarctica doesn't count as a winter vacation, though it was warmer there than Toronto last month). I am warming up in Costa Rica this week, traveling light.

But of course I'll have a camera. My choice for this trip is the Panasonic G1, the two available Micro 4/3 lenses, and also some Leica M lenses with the CameraQuest M adaptor. I'll be using the Hyperdrive Colorspace UDMA for travel storage, since I've decided not to bring a computer – making this a real vacation.

I was quite taken with the G1 (as have been many other reviewers) but since my initial review haven't taken it on an actual trip. This vacation, and the need to simplify and travel light,  seems a good opportunity to really put it though its paces. My backup will be the Panasonic LX3, also reviewed here last Fall, and which has also garnered a lot of enthusiastic attention. A field report on the G1 will follow, and I'm also looking forward to PMA in Las Vegas early in March when I anticipate that both Panasonic and Olympus will extend the Micro 4/3 format with new bodies and lenses.

_____________________

Photographer / Reviewers

To my mind there are currently only two "photographers" who write with insight and depth on the non-tecky aspects of new cameras and lenses. These are my friend Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer and Sean Reid at Reid Reviews.

I mention this because Sean has just published the second of what is now a two part analysis of the Panasonic G1. His is a "pay" site, but well worth the modest investment for Sean's considerable insights into cameras and lenses as tools for photographers.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".


 




23 Feb, 2009 - Camera Metrics - A spreadsheet for helping to choose a new camera

I've just returned from a week-long vacation, enjoying the warmth of the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Today's Home Page image is from last week's trip and I'll have a brief report on some of the equipment that I used there within the next few days.

_____________________

There are many factors to be considered when purchase a new or replacement camera. Image quality is an important one, of course, but so is price and resolution capability.

DxOMark has in recent months provided us with a standardized set of measurements for evaluating image quality, and though not without controversy, it is turning out to be quite useful when doing some types of comparison.

But DxOMark does not take into account sensor resolution or price, two critical metrics which any photographer has to consider when making a purchase decision.

Today, our regular contributor Mark Segal, an economist, mathematician, and ardent photographer, provides us with a new tool in the form of a spreadsheet for using DxOMark data in combination with price and resolution information.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




25 Feb, 2009 - In The Works

Regular readers may recall that I shot in Antarctica last month with a Phase One 645 camera and the just-shipping P65+ 60 Megapixel back. A few pictures with this combo have already appeared as part of my on-going Antarctic Portfolio.

Following my return I ordered an upgrade to a P65+ from my P45+ (yes, I obviously believe it's a worthwhile upgrade) and I also ordered a Phase One camera body and set of lenses, replacing my Hasselblad H2.

I did not want to write my review until I have spent more time with both the back and the camera system. The new kit arrives later this week and next week I'll be shooting for a few days with it in Zion National Park, following a day spent at PMA in Las Vegas. Readers can therefore now expect my P65+ review by mid-March.

_____________________

 

If you live in Toronto, Southern Ontario, or upstate New York, you are invited to two events in March, both now just a few weeks away.

I will be having a show of my new work at The Luminous Landscape Gallery in Toronto. There will be a preview reception at the gallery on the evening of Thursday, March 12, and then an open house on the weekend of March 14, and 15.

Full details on the Surprise and Delight Exhibit are found here.

   _____________________

Also in March, on the weekend of March 20,21,22, in Grand Island, New York, the Niagara Frontier Reginal Camera Clubs are having their Annual Spring Convention. I will be conducting an all-day presentation on Raw Processing, Printing and Fine Art Photography on Saturday, March 21. You can find out more here.

_____________________

Don't Forget About Our New Contest!

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




27 Feb, 2009 - Landscape Blurs, by Alain Briot

In his newest essay Alain Briot explores an area of landscape photography quite different from anything that we've seen from him before. Find out more in Landscape Blurs - Notes on a Process and Approach.

_____________________

Ever wonder if your Mac is configured properly for Photoshop? In Optimizing Photoshop Diglloyd provides some useful hints.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



2 March, 2009 - The Nikon D3x - The World's Best DSLR, but...

The Nikon D3x was a long-time coming, but when it did, building on the success of the D3, and featuring a 25 Megapixel sensor of exceptional quality, photographers greated the announcement with great excitement. But... oy vey, the price!

Nikon Canada kindly loaned me a D3x just in time for my January Antarctic Expediton Workshop, and following a year working with the D3, here are my observations.

_____________________

I am pleased to announced that world-famous nature photographer Art Wolfe is now a contributor to this site. He will be writing a regular column, the first of which will appear here within a week. In the meantime check out Art's upcoming workshops.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




3 March, 2009 - Franke & Heidecke Insolvent. The Hy6's future?

A press announcement was made on Monday to the effect that Franke & Heidecke GmbH, Feinmechanik & Optik, has filed for insolvency. English PDF of announcement.

Franke & Heidecke are the manufacturers of the Hy6 medium format camera which is sold by Rolleiflex, Leaf and Sinar under their own brands.

The Hy6 was a fascinating camera which I reviewed here back in November, 2007 in its Sinar incarnation.

This is a real blow to the medium format industry, and since the Hy6 is the primary platform for most of the digital backs from Sinar and Leaf it raises questions about where this leaves both of these companies and their product lines.

As always there's more to this story than meets the eye or that has been publically announced. As there are further developments I'll do my best to keep the medium format community informed.

For those not yet aware, this site's Discussion Forum is a focal point for all of the major medium format companies to communicate with their customer base, and counts among its members hundreds of professional photographers from around the world that use medium format digital on a daily basis.

_____________________

Don't Forget About Our New Contest!

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




4 March, 2009 - Panasonic G1 and LX3 Field Notes

Which camera to take on vacation? That's a question that we all have to answer from time to time. On a recent week-long beach vacation on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica I decided to excercise the Panasonic G1 and LX3. Also, for the first time in years, I didn't carry a laptop, instead relying on the Hyperdrive Colorspace UDMA.

My Field Notes from this trip are now online.

Speaking of Panasonic, that company just introduced their GH1, a promised update to the G1 with HD video capability. I'll have more on this and anything else that catches my eye at PMA over the next few days, assuming that I have Internet access while traveling.

_____________________

I am now in Las Vegas for the annual PMA (Photo Marketing Association) show and then a couple of days of photography in Zion National Park. It's been quite a few years since I was there last, and though this isn't the best time of year to shoot in Zion, it will no doubt be fun.

I'll be shooting with the Phase One 645AF camera and P65+ back, which I just acquired, and which arrived only a few days ago. This experience, plus my work with a borrowed Phase system on my recent Antarctic trip will provide the material for my upcoming Phase One camera and P65+ review to be published here before mid-March.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



9 March, 2009 - New Essay Series by Art Wolfe Begins

Art Wolfe is one of the world's foremost nature and wildlife photographers, and host of Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge a new TV series currently seen in the US on Public Television.

I am pleased to publish today the first of what will be a regular series of articles to be written exclusively for this site by Art. It is titled Seeing Like a Painter.

_____________________

I have just returned from the PMA show in Las Vegas, and a brief shoot in Zion National Park with the new 65 Megapixel Phase One P65+ back and camera system. Today's home page photograph is one taken just a couple of days ago, and more will appear here as part of my extensive P65+ review, which is scheduled for later this week.

I also expect to have online some comments on what caught my eye at PMA (not much), within the next few days.

By the way – because it is so awesomely beautiful (literally) it is hard to take a bad photograph in Zion. But, because it is so popular with landscape photographers it is also really hard to take a good (or at least new) photograph there. But, no matter what, it's a great place to spend a couple of days. Just be sure to do so during the off-season when it's possible to drive the park road yourself rather than have to use the bus service.

  _____________________

A final reminder that I will be having a show of my most recent work at The Luminous Landscape Gallery in Toronto. There will be a preview reception at the gallery on the evening of this coming Thursday, March 12, and then an open house on the weekend of March 14, and 15.

Full details on the Surprise and Delight Exhibit are found here.

   _____________________

Also in March, on the weekend of March 20,21,22, in Grand Island, New York, the Niagara Frontier Reginal Camera Clubs are having their Annual Spring Convention. I will be conducting an all-day presentation on Raw Processing, Printing and Fine Art Photography on Saturday, March 21. You can find out more here.




12 March, 2009 - Phase One P65+, 645 Camera, and Lens Review

Every now and then a product comes along that defines a new level of quality or excellence. I believe that the Phase One P65+ 60 Megapixel medium format back is such a product.

I shot with a review sample on a Phase One 645 camera in Antarctica in January and again recently with my own new unit on a shoot in Zion National Park in Utah.

My comprehensive field review of this back as well as the new Phase One camera and digital lenses is now online.

I should add that at $40,000+ for the back alone this is in Ferrari territory for most photographers. But, just as automobile fanatics enjoy reading Ferrari test reports in car magazines, so too I believe do photographers, who might never own a P65+ but are keen to find out what they're all about.

_____________________

Don't Forget About Our New Contest!

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




14 March, 2009 - The Making of a Seven Gigabyte Eight Foot Wide Print

I opened a new show at my Toronto gallery this past Thursday evening, and have an Open House there this weekend (11am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday).

What caught a lot of people's eye at the opening, and elicted a great deal of comment (and nose grease on the print) was an 8 foot long panoramic made from 13 stitched 60 Megabyte files from a Phase One P65+ back, which I shot in Antarctica in January.

If you're in Toronto I invite you to come by the gallery this weekend and see the print, as well as the rest of the show. But if you can't stop in, I now have an article online titled The Making of a Seven Gigabyte Eight Foot Wide Print which includes a reduced image (to only 8,400 X 1,998 pixels from the original 34,815 X 8,280 pixels), which you can view online and download and print yourself. It will make a 24" print at 360 ppi. No watermarks or protection other than your good sense and goodwill.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




18 March, 2009 - Seitz D3 6X17

In the days of film there were always a number of weird and wonderful cameras to challenge and delight photographers. For all of the advances of the digital era we seem to have sacrificed originality, with most cameras seeming to be wonderplastic clones of each other, in form if not in function.

Setiz is one of the small European companies that has always followed their own path, and with their new Seitz D3 617 Panoramic Scanning Camera they bring that sense of adventure to the digital world.

David Osborn, a UK based photographer, today gives us some insight into this fascinating new camera.




20 March, 2009 - Video Journal #18 HD Download Now Available

The HD version of Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal is now available.

This issue contains an interview with Pulitzer prize winning National Geographic photographer Jack Dykinga, and a segment on him and Michael Reichmann conducting a spring "Moose" photo workshop in Algonquin Park.

There is also a remarkable video on our trip through The Gullet, south of the Antarctic Circle this past January – a must-see in HD.

A feature on my expedition to Madagascar last year will be added soon (something to look forward to), and the technical feature in this edition is a detailed look at strategies for backing up your images in the field.

This High Definition (720p) download video may be viewed on any Windows, Mac or Unix PC using a free Quicktime player.

The DVD version will be available to exisiting subscribers in a few weeks.

The HD version costs just $14.95, while the SD Version costs only $9.95. Its purchase also makes you eligible for our new contest.

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




23 March, 2009 - Phase One Sensor+ Technology Changes The Game

It isn't often that really new and useful technology comes along in photography. Yes, digital has seen a lot of innovation over the past ten years, but much is simply building on what came before and represents incremental improvements.

Following my review here last week of the new P65+, 60 Megapixel medium format back from Phase One, I now have an exclusive review of their Sensor+ technology, which is out of the lab and in production, and available in shipping P65+ backs as well as as a free upgrade for existing P65+ owners.

By "binning" four pixels together Phase One is able to produce files which, while 4X smaller (just 15 Megapixels rather than 60) are 4X cleaner at high ISO – an improvement of two full stops. Even if a P65+ is never to be in your future, it's interesting to see what is being done at the leading edge of sensor technology.




25 March, 2009 - Gekko B&W Papers Reviewed

Gekko is the brand name given to four B&W printing papers from Pictorico. My review of these new  papers is now online.

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The HD version of Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal is now available.




26 March, 2009 - Phase One Acquires Major Financial Interest in Mamiya

Phase One and Mamiya Digital Imaging announced today that Phase One is making a significant financial investment in Mamiya Digital Imaging, thus becoming a major shareholder in the company.

It was also announced that Phase One will take on strategic leadership for the companies’ R & D, marketing and distribution management.

Like the companies’ flagship 645 camera system announced one year ago, future digital backs based on Phase One digital expertise will be marketed under both the Phase One and Mamiya brands.

The above is a paraphrase of the press anouncement deleting the legalize and marketing bumph. As to what the broader implications of this annoucement might be, I hope to be able to interview some Phase One executives in the days ahead and report on this here in greater detail.

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




27 March, 2009 - Canon 5D MKII Field Report & Phase One / Mamiya Details

Today sees two new articles. The first is a field review of the Canon 5D MKII by Nick Devlin, based on his use of this camera during our January, 2009 Antarctic Expedition.

If you're looking for spec lists, graphs and menu diagrams – look elsewhere. But if you want an experienced photographer's impressions based on real-world usage, Nick's review is bound to please.

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The announcement yesterday that Phase One has made a major investment in Mamiya, and that they now are taking the lead position on both company's joint efforts in R&D, marketing and world-wide distribution, sent some waves through the industry.

Curious to find out more than what was in the press announcement I had the opportunity to interview Phase One's president and CEO, and an article based on that interview is now online.

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The HD version of Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal is now available.




30 March, 2009 - Photo Imaging Expo Report

Our correspondent in Tokyo, Bernard Languillier, attended the Photo Imaging Expo show in Tokyo last week and today provides us with his show report.

I am currently in Miami Beach shooting a multi-hour instructional video with famous stock photographer and educator, Seth Resnick. It will be titled Where The %@# Are My Pictures, and will be an in-depth look at image management, archiving, key-wording, and backup, by the creator of D-65 Workshops. Watch for it here within a couple of months.

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UPDATE

A couple of the shots on Nick Devlin's 5DMKII review were orginally mislabled, and taken with his 1DsMKIII rather than the 5DMKII. A few people have gotten a bit bent over this.

The fact of the matter is that Nick shot with both cameras in Antarctica, and when he chose the shots to include simply selected the ones that he liked the best.

While it's true that the article was about the 5D MKII, the reality is that it makes not a wit worth of difference which camera was used, since the shots shown were not intended to llustrate any aspect of technical quality.

Take a deep breath folks. This stuff isn't worth getting agitated about.

_____________________

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!

 




2 April, 2009 - Alpa TC Field Report

Are Things Really Simple at the Top? That's a play on Alpa's (a small Swiss speciality camera company) slogan. It's also the title of a new field review by contributor Mark Dubovoy.

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




3 April, 2009 - Phase One Releases Capture One 4.7

Phase One’s Capture One version 4.7 was released on Thursday with a new  file format designed to make it easier to share adjusted Phase One digital back-generated RAW files called EIP. It also permits adjustment of both JPEG and TIFF files. Additionally, 4.7 adds tethered shooting support for the Canon 5D Mark II and Nikon D3X. 




5 April, 2009 - Adventures on the Dark (and Noisy) Side

Doing nighttime urban photography intimidates some photographers. And it should, since it's all too easy to have ones intentions misinterpreted by our potential subjects.

Last week I was in Miami Beach shooting a new video tutorial, and spent a couple of evenings cruising the South Beach area with my camera. In Adventures on the Dark (and Noisy) Side I discuss some of the issues involved in doing this type of shooting, and show some of my more "publishable" images.

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We have now been publishing the Luminous Landscape Video Journal for some 9 years and 18 editions. Initially these were available only on DVD and then we also added Standard Definition as well as HD downloads. Our current issue, #18 will be the last to be available on DVD. It is currently available as an HD download. All future Video Journals will available either as SD and HD downloads.

We are now starting to make all of our back issues available as downloads. Issues one through four have just been made available at a price of just $9.95 each, the lowest that we can make them.

While some of the product reviews in the older issues may be a bit dated, the technical articles, interviews with famous photographers, and travel segments continue to be both relevant and fresh. Chris and I hope that you enjoy them.

_____________________

I will be mostly offline for the next week on a shoot with some friends in Arizona. Whether there will be new content this coming week depends on Net availability while I'm travelling.




12 April, 2009 – A primer on night landscape photography

Now that summer is approaching and the days are getting longer, (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) there are night landscape photography opportunities to be explored.

Irish landscape photographer and educator Peter Cox today gives us an essay on some basic techniques for this in his tutorial Irish Nocturne.

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I have been offline for the past week, on a shoot with a small group of friends in southern Arizona. The first of a sampling of images from this trip is now the new home-page photograph.

____________________

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!

 




14 April, 2009 - So You Think Medium Format Digital is Easy?

Joseph Holmes is one of the pickiest photographers that I know of. He's a talented and widely published and collected landscape photographer, and is a highly respected inventor and patent holder in the field of digital imaging.

Joe is among a group of well known landscape photographers, including Bill Atkinson, Charlie Cramer, Mark Dubovoy, Tim Wolcott, and Michael Reichmann who previously worked with large format film and who now shoot with medium format digital Phase One backs in the 39MP – 60MP range on a mix of Hasselblad, Mamiya / Phase One, and technical camera bodies.

We are all driven by one compulsion – to achieve better than large format image quality – which we mostly do, but regretably not all of the time.

Being an absolute stickler for precision, and more importantly knowing how to achieve it, Joe has now written two articles on what's involved in achieving the absolute best from the latest generation of medium format digital systems.

These articles are currently available on Joe's site. The first is titled MEDIUM FORMAT DIGITAL CAMERA OPTICAL PRECISION while the second is GETTING TOP QUALITY FROM MEDIUM FORMAT.

Read 'em and weep!

_____________________

The HD version of Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal is now available.




15 April, 2009 - Medium Format - Superior Technique Rules

Yesterday's links to two recent essays by Joe Holmes (see the 14 April entry below) has generated some considerable discussion. It also prompted me to put down a few notes on the importance of using optimum shooting techniques, which are now online.

_____________________

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




16 April, 2009 - Alexis' Passing and Thanks

Eleven months ago I held a fund raising print sale to assist Alexis, a very close friend of my wife and mine who lives in the U.S. She had a brain tumor and no health insurance. A great many people from all over the world purchased prints to help Alexis, and this money has been of invaluable assistance to her over the past year, making care and treatment available which would otherwise not have been possible for her. Alexis was amazed with and incredibly grateful for everyone's generosity.

It is therefore with great sadness that I report that Alexis passed away this past Tuesday. She will be missed by everyone that knew and loved her. Thank you again for your caring generosity last year. It made a very big difference during her final year.




18 April, 2009 - Leica S2 - Preliminary Thoughts

Leica introduced the medium format S2 camera system at last September's Photokina with the intention of shipping in mid-2009. That time is now approaching.

I had an opportunity to briefly handle a pre-production camera at last month's PMA show, and today provide some thoughts on how the camera seemed to me, and what it might mean for the company when it is finally launched.

_____________________

Early Edition Video Journals Now Available as Downloads




21 April, 2009 - Doing a Shoot in Exotic Madagascar

Not that long ago, together with award-winning film maker Chris Sanderson and documentary photographer Pierre Claquin, I spent two weeks exploring Madagascar with an eye to possibly conducting a future photography expedition / workshop. The country proved to be one of the most exotic and visually stimulating that I have ever visited, but so lacking in basic infrastructure that I eventually decided that conducting a workshop there wouldn't be viable.

A 45 minute long HD documentary on our shoot in Madagascar is now available as part of Issue #18 of the The Luminous Landscape Video Journal. The cost of the entire download issue is just $14.95. This issue also includes a segment on my recent expedition to Antarctica, an interview with  Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Jack Dykinga, and more.

This HD video is available for immediate download. Those who have previously purchased Issue #18 simply need to log onto their account on the site's Store to access the new video.

Oh yes – and your purchase makes you eligible for our latest contest, a private two-day field workshop with Michael Reichmann.

_____________________

The HD version of
Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal

containing a 45 minute-long documentary on doing a shoot
in Madagascar is now available.




23 April, 2009 - CameraQuest Leica M to Micro 4/3 Lens Adaptor

Is the Panasonic Lumix G1 the new digital Leica? No – not that it's a rangefinder camera – but with the addition of a Leica M series lens adaptor it can take all of your M lenses, and do so with a body that is as small, light and disrete as an M8, and with excellent image quality as well as a low price.

_____________________

UPDATE:

What used lens costs more than an S Class Mercedes? A Canon 1200mm f/5.6, currently available from B&H Photo. Paypal accepted.

I'll take a pass though. No Image Stabilization.

_____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



25 April, 2009 - From Reality to Iconic

The greatest challenge that we as photographers face is how to translate the jumbled real world into a simplified iconic representation of what we see in our mind's eye.

We have now placed online a free HD excerpt from a 45 minute-long segment on doing photography in Madagascar that illustrates the issue. This is from the latest Video Journal.

Please note that this is a true streaming HD video, and therefore requires a monitor with at least 1280 X 720 resolution and a high speed connection.

_____________________

If you're interested in the history of the digital SLR then you'll absolutely want to download The DCS Story - 17 years of Kodak Professional digital camera systems - 1987-2004, written by Jim McGarvey, Kodak's lead engineer on the DCS cameras. It is being made available by NikonWeb.com.




28 April, 2009 - Fuji F200EXR, Panasonic ZS3, and Canon SX200 Compared

Are you getting a bit bored with all the chatter about high megapixel and megabuck DSLRs and medium format backs? Thought so.

In these mean economic times a look at cameras which are somewhat more affordable (and pocketable) is in order, and so today I offer you The Pocket Camera as Visual Notebook – the Fuji F200EXR, Panasonic ZS3, and Canon SX200 Compared – a hands-on look at three of the newest and smallest pocketable super-zooms, all priced at under $400.

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




30 April, 2009 - Phase One, Nikon Canada and LL Announcements

We are pleased to have just placed online four new download editions of previous Luminous Landscape Video Journals. These were only available till now as DVDs. They are each priced at just $9.95 and are available for immediate download.

 
 

_____________________

Several dealers let the cat out of the bag a couple of days ago (tsk, tsk) but Phase One has today officially announced, and has available for immediate delivery, their latest medium format back, the P40+ with Sensor+. This is a 40 Megapixel back.

UPDATE:

Phase One has also today made available Capture One 4.8, an update with support for the new P40+ and enhanced support for the P65+.

_____________________

Nikon Canada has announced a new free service program for its D3 and D3x customers. This provides...

– Unlimited preventative maintenance cleanings

– Routine adjustments as necessary resulting from normal usage, excluding cosmetic “wear and tear”

–  Two comprehensive check-ups and cleanings; one in the first year of ownership and one in the second

This program is effective as of today on all new D3/D3X cameras purchased from an Authorized Nikon Canada Dealer and is applicable for an initial period of two years from the date of original purchase. Also, D3/D3X cameras which were purchased new from an Authorized Nikon Canada Dealer prior to March 30, 2009, are also automatically covered.

Seems like a pretty attractive offer to me, especially since the other guys seem to be getting a bit of a black eye of late among some Canadian customers when it comes to warrenty service and repair practices.

 




2 May, 2009 - Our Tenth Anniversary

May brings with it the tenth anniversary of The Luminous Landscape. I'm not sure which day the site went online, but as I recall it was in the first half of the month. The first What's New entry was on May 28, 1999 and I recall that the site had been online for at least a couple of weeks before that.

Originally the site was simply intended as a new home for some articles which I had written over the years for various magazines, including Photo Techniques where I was a Contributing Editor. But I slowly began adding original material, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today the site has more than a million unique visitors monthly, as many as a dozen new essays, product reviews, and tutorials each month, and a discussion forum that is among the most civil such places on the Net, populated with many of the industry's leading experts, and with a large group of knowledgeable and helpful regulars.

Where will the next ten years take us? My crystal ball is a bit cloudy today, but I can say that there are steps underway to greatly expand the educational as well as community aspects of the site, and I look forward to having you along as we enter our second decade.

_____________________

DVDs Coming to an End

For anyone still interested in back issues of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal on DVD – all DVDs and DVD sets are 50% off from now until the end of May.

At that point DVDs will be removed from our catalog and will no longer be available. All new Video Journals and tutorials from now on will be available as download only.

Those who still have DVD subscriptions will receive LLVJ-18 as normal after it ships in about a week from now; you can likely expect it in your mailbox by mid-June. If you have moved in the past three years, PLEASE make sure that Customer Service has your updated mailing address. Note that an address change made in our Store database does not mean that the shipping database for DVDs kept by Customer Service has your correct shipping address!

Subscribers who still have DVDs beyond LLVJ-18 in their subscription are urged to contact Customer Service to explore the options for conversion to any of our Download products including Tutorials.

 




5 May, 2009 - Hunting The Great Alaskan Aurora

Northern Lights (aurora) are best seen in far northern latitudes. Along with Iceland, Alaska is one of the best places on earth to view aurora. In a new exclusive article for this site photographer Ben Hattenbach and astonomer Henry Throop share their experience and knowledge about Hunting The Great Alaskan Aurora.

Aurora are most common during peaks in solar activity. The next solar maximum is due in 2010 / 2011. These take place in 11 year cycles, and this next one is anticipated to be the strongest since 1958. This means aurora could be visible and therefore photographable from dark sky sites in mid-latitudes. Time to start honing your shooting techniques.

____________________

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




7 May, 2009 - Issue #18 DVD Now Available & All Back Issues Now Online as Downloads

Issue #18 of The Luminous Landscape Video Journal is now available on DVD. It joins our already available HD download edition.

Please note that this DVD will only be available for another 30 days. On June 1st we are discontinuing all of our DVD products, and our tutorials and Video Journals will then only be available as downloads.

Our remaining inventory of DVD back issues of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal on DVD and all DVDs and DVD sets are available at 50% off from now until June 1st.

____________________

All Early Edition Video Journals Now Available as Downloads

   

Click on an Icon to Find Out More About That Issue




9 May, 2009 - Epson 7900 / 9900 Printer Review

Are the new Epson 7900 / 9900 printers the best printers in the world? Quite possibly. Find out what I really think in my just published review.

This review includes a free streaming video showing the 7900 in action in my studio.

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Around The Net

It's the weekend, and if you're in the northern hemisphere it's mid-spring, the birds are chirping and the trees are budding, and the flowers blooming – so get out and enjoy, and of course do some shooting.

But, if it's raining today where you are, here are a few new items on the Net that you might be interested in... (or read them at work on Monday morning).

Lloyd Chambers at Digilloyd has published a couple of interesting articles on Optimizing Lightroom and Optimizing Photoshop.

Sean Reid at Reid Reviews has published reviews of the new Leica 21/1.4 Summilux Aspherical and 24/1.4 Summilux Aspherical lenses.

Michael Tapes at Rawworkflow.com has introduced a Long Ruler Kit for his terrific LensAlign product. Highly recommended.

 ____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



13 May, 2009 - Landscape Blurs - Part 2

Our regular contributor, Alain Briot, today provides us with his 51st essay for this site, titled  Landscape Blurs – Part 2.

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You have just over two weeks remaining in which to enter our exclusive contest which entitles you and a spouse or friend to a private workshop with Michael Reichmann in Northern Ontario this summer or fall.

Remember – our remaining inventory of DVD back issues of the Luminous Landscape Video Journal on DVD and DVD sets are available at 50% off from now until June 1st. And, all Video Journals are now also available as downloads.

What are you waiting for?
Someone's got to win it.
Why not you!

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




15 May, 2009 - New DxOMark Data for P65+ and H3DII 50

I was on the road shooting in the Niagara region all day Thursday (a very lovely but blustery spring day) and so am a bit late in reporting two items of interest. The first is that DxO Labs has published DxOMark ratings for two new medium format backs, the Phase One P65+ and the Hasselblad H3DII 50. Of note is that the P65+ receives DxO Labs' highest rating of any camera or back to date. You can read more about it here.

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On a much sadder note, essayist and photographer Bill Jay passed away yesterday. Bill was well know for his Endnotes column in Lenswork magazine and his highly insightful book Occam's Razor: An Outside-In View of Contemporary Photography, which if it isn't in your library, should be.

Bill and his writings will be greatly missed.




17 May, 2009 - A Workflow Combining Capture One and Lightroom

We have some excellent choices available to us in raw processing software. Among the best are Capture One and Lightroom. I am very partial to Lightroom for its overall image processing, printing, and digital asset management capabilities, and find that Capture One is among the best when it comes to the image quality produced by its basic raw processing. (I also use C1 because it's the only software that currently supports my Phase One P65+ back).

Consequently I have developed a streamlined workflow for integrating Capture One and Lightroom, which is the subject of my newest tutorial.

____________________

All Early Edition Video Journals Now Available as Downloads

   

Click on an Icon to Find Out More About That Issue




20 May, 2009 - Field Tethered Shooting Using Medium Format

Unless one is doing an art-directed location shoot, few medium format photographers bother shooting tethered in the field. Regardless of the advantages of doing so using a regular laptop without the aid of an assistant is simply too much of a hassle.

But, there's at least one solution in the form of a unique 7" Japanese UMPC  / Netbook. My newest review – Field Tethering Medium Format Backs looks at this solution.

____________________

If you're interested in photojournalism you just visit LENS, a new site published by The New York Times. It features some of the best contemporary documentary photography in a beautifully presented format.

____________________


"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



25 May, 2009 - 7 Days Remaining in Our Win-A-Private-Workshop Contest

There's now just one week left in our current contest, an opportunity to win a private photographic workshop for two with Michael Reichmann at his country home in Muskoka, Ontario, including airfare from anywhere in the world. This is worth up to $10,000!

A purchase of any product from our secure online store is all that's needed to enter, and each purchase counts as a seperate entry, increasing your chances of winning.

And remember our 50% Off Clearance Sale of LLVJ DVDs 1-17 ends May 31!

What are you waiting for?
Someone's got to win it.
Why not you!

 

The above graphic says it all.
Enter our latest and greatest contest yet
through your purchase of any of the download videos
and tutorials available on this site.
Thank you!




26 May, 2009 - Night Fisherman : A New Essay by Art Wolfe

Today, our newest columnist Art Wolfe provides us with his latest essay, entitled Night Fisherman.

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There are now just 6 days left to enter our win a private photographic workshop for two with Michael Reichmann contest. And remember, our 50% Off Clearance Sale of LLVJ DVDs 1-17 also ends May 31.

____________________

All Early Edition Video Journals Now Available as Downloads

   

Click on an Icon to Find Out More About That Issue

 




29 May 2009 - The Rise of Digital imaging and the Fall of the Old Camera industry

When one is living through a revolution, be it political, social, or technical, it is usually impossible to have an immediate perspective on trends and developments. For this we usually need pundits and academics.

Christian Sandström is a PhD student living in Sweden whose research concerns disruptive innovation and the challenges this presents for established firms.

In an exclusive essay for this site titled The Rise of Digital imaging and the Fall of the Old Camera industry Christian helps us understand the forces at work in the transition that the photographic industry has been going through for the past decade.

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If you live in or near Toronto and are interested in learning more about medium format photography there are seminars available next Wedneaday and Thursday, June 3 and 4, at the Studio 1 Group facilities. These are being given by Walter Borchenko.

Find Out More
____________________


If you have a Canon 5D MKII and are using it for video you'll be more than pleased to learn that Canon has a firmware update coming next Tuesday, June 2nd, which will allow manual control of aperture, shutter speed and ISO during filming. This update may be downloaded from any of the national Canon web sites. Here are the links for the US and Canada.

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There are now just 3 days left to enter our win a private photographic workshop for two with Michael Reichmann contest. And remember, our 50% Off Clearance Sale of LLVJ DVDs 1-17 also ends May 31.




1 June, 2009 - Tested and Recommended

For the past ten years on this site, and a couple of additional decades prior to that in photo magazine, I have been writing about the photographic products that I have field tested.

Today I am launching a new feature called Tested and Recommended, which lists all of the products reviewed on this site over the past few years  – the ones that are still commencially available, and which I can personally recommend, because, these are the ones that I myself use.

The page also contains links to the B&H Photo pages where these products are available, or in the case of products which B&H doesn't sell, their respective maufacturers or vendors.

Why B&H Photo? Because they are this site's only commercial sponsor; they are product agnostic, and they provide excellent service and pricing. And, it should be mentioned, when you buy anything from B&H after clicking on a link from this site we get a small commission – which helps keep us on the air. Thanks for your support.

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The winner of our most recent contest will be announced with the next 24 hours.




4 June, 2009 - Platinum Printing - An Introduction

Platinum / Paladium printing is one of the most beautiful photographic processes ever invented. Sadly, it is both expensive and difficult to do.

But, there are still some devoted practitioners, and even some newcomers. One of these is Tim Gray, and today, in a tutorial written specially for this site, Tim provides us with An Introduction to Platinum Printing using digital negatives.

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The winner of our just concluded Private Workshop Contest is Shawn Lingo of Eugene, Oregon. Shawn will be coming to Ontario for his workshop in October. Congratulations Shawn.

Remember – any and every purchase made from our online store is an entry in our next contest. What's the prize? It's a surpise at the moment, but like all our contest prizes in the past it'll be an exciting one.

____________________

All Early Edition Video Journals Now Available as Downloads

   

Click on an Icon to Find Out More About That Issue




8 June, 2009 - John Paul Caponigro - On Composition

One of the great photographic artists of our time is John Paul Caponigro. He is also a wonderful educator.

Notice that I call JP a photographic artist, and not just a photographer. This is because what he does in photography is bring a new and unabashed vitality to the use of digital tools in pursuit of his creative vision.

With On Photographic Composition, published today for the first time, I am pleased to welcome JP to the site as our newest Columnist. We can look forward to new essays from him in this series on an on-going basis.

Michael, I just finished From Camera to Print, and I want to thank
you and Jeff for a seminar in which I feel like I learned to fly!
I learned so much that now I need to go back and watch again,
and take some serious notes.
I've made some nice prints in the past,
but with all this new knowledge,
I can only imagine what those old prints will
look like when I apply all this new knowledge.

So, a heartfelt "Thank You" to you both!

For those of you who think haven't bought it, what are you waiting
for? If you're anything like me, you'll be blown away by it. It may be
over six hours, but the conversational manner in which it is taught is
entertaining AND educational.

I'm starting on the Lightroom tutorial as I write this.
Great stuff, Michael.




12 June, 2009 - Understanding Split ND Filters

HDR and other digital techniques have replaced the use of graduated neutral density filters for many photographers. But, their use is still valid and they are still used by many landscape shooters.

In a new tutorial by Peter Cox we look at Understanding Graduated Neutral Density Filters.

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"I wanted to congratulate you on your LL guide to Lightroom 2 which I've just watched in a marathon single sitting while trying out the techniques demonstrated on a second monitor. Despite managing a database  of 40,000 images in Lightroom this is the first time I've really deeply understood this software. The tutorial was extremely thorough, clear and enlightening. I cant wait to incorporate this new knowledge into my daily work".



16 June, 2009 - How the Brain Perceives Images

Today we're in for a real treat. Our newest article is the first of a two part essay by Charles S. Johnson, Jr. It is titled How the Brain Perceives Images and is excerpted from his forthcoming book, Science for the Curious Photographer.

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Sean Reid has just published Part One of a review of the new Sigma DP2 on his subscription site, Reid Reviews. If you appreciate camera and lens reviews by a real photographer, rather by a technologist, you'll find Sean's site very worthwhile.

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Not quite as small as the DP2, but destined to appeal to a similar user looking for a small form factor but large sensor camera is the Olympus E-P1, which was officially introduced today. This is Olympus' first Micro 4/3 format camera and I expect it to garner quite a following. I'll be testing one and reporting on it here as soon as a review sample becomes available.




19 June, 2009 - Where The #%*! Are My Pictures?

"This new video course has really hit the spot for me! I knew I'd got a problem and now I know what it is! Brilliant!"

Where The #%*!
Are My Pictures?

"You and Seth have come up with a great topic and real world experiences, as I (like many others) don't have the time or money to experiment. Your experiences are highly regarded by serious amateurs like me". – GH




23 June, 2009 - Video DSLRs vs Camcorders - The Dirty Little Secrets

UPDATE – New Lightroom & Camera Raw Camera Support

Adobe has just made available updated versions of Lightroom and Camera Raw with raw file support for  a wide range of new cameras, including the Nikon D5000, Canon T1i (D500), Panasonic GH1, Pentax K7 and just about every other new camera released in the past several months.

Of long-term importance for all of us, Adobe has also released an update to its Digital Negative specification (DNG). To quote from the press release...

DNG 1.3 now includes opcodes, a defined list of operations and their parameters for performing complex activities in the raw file conversion process. These activities include corrections and enhancements that are beneficial when performed prior to the demosaic process but are difficult due to a camera's limited processing power. They also include corrections and enhancements that can only be performed after the demosaic process such as lens correction. By utilizing opcodes, photographers can maintain the advantages of raw mosaic data, giving them increased opportunity to improve their photographs with the maximum amount of image data preserved. The DNG SDK has also been updated to reflect the changes to the specification.

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Video DSLRs vs Camcorders

It seems like every new DSLR that hits the market has video capability. The Canon 5D MKII particularly has taken the video industry by storm, expecially now that its crippling auto everyhting feature has been disabled with the latest firmware update.

The first half of 2009 has now seen the Canon Rebel T1i (500D), Nikon D5000, Panasonic GH1, and Pentax K7 introduced, with many more to come in the months ahead.

But, is a video DSLR a real alternative to a video camcorder? Things are not always the way they seem, and in my newest report – Video DSLRs vs Camcorders – I explore the dirty little secrets of both technologies.

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Kodachrome R.I.P.

Unfortunately this time Mama really is going to take our Kodachrome away.

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Magic Lantern

In keeping with today's publication of Video DSLRs vs Camcorders comes a report that there is now a beta release of a new unofficial firmware update for the Canon 5D MKII that adds a range of new video recording features and which also opens the door to developers producing even more nifty enhancements.

This is very cool, as long as Canon doesn't act the spoil-sport and release official firmware updates down the road that break it the way Apple does on hacked iPhones.

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"I found Where the #%*! are My Pictures to be well worth purchasing.

Even after purchasing your Lightroom 2.0 video that you put out last year I found this one very helpful. In fact I have now set up presets for importing like the way Seth has done. I am also going back and redoing those images (nearly 15,000) I have already imported and changing the file names. 

Even though I have a fairly good handle with Lightroom I seem to always be learning something new."




25 June, 2009 - Phase One to Acquire Leaf

Below is a verbatim press release issued this morning by Phase One. The company is planning to acquire certain Leaf assets from Kodak. It had been rumoured in the industry for quite a long time that Kodak wanted to divest itself of Leaf.

It appears that Leaf and its products will continue under the Leaf brand, which is good news for current and prospective Leaf owners.

Broader implications of this marriage will need to be digested over the weeks and months ahead, but my view is that the continuation of Leaf and its product line is a very good thing for the medium format industry.

COPENHAGEN and TEL AVIV, June 25, 2009  -- Phase One A/S, in conjunction with senior management employees of Leaf, today announced that they have created a new entity, Leaf Imaging Ltd., to purchase certain assets of the Leaf camera business.  The assets include the “Leaf” brand product names, engineering design and production tools. The new entity will also enter into an intellectual property license with Eastman Kodak Company that is royalty bearing to Kodak. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In collaboration with Phase One, high end Leaf digital camera equipment will continue to be developed in Israel and marketed under the “Leaf” brand through a global network of specialized and dedicated value added resellers.

Leaf high quality digital camera backs with up to 56 Mega pixels and superior resolution and image quality can interface to all leading medium and large format cameras.

“We are committed to exciting future developments for the Leaf brand of products through innovative engineering, worldwide marketing and customer service,” said Henrik O. Håkonsson, President and CEO, Phase One.  “Leaf customers will benefit from the many synergies with Phase One.”

“Since introducing the world’s first digital camera back in 1992, Leaf has been recognized as a worldwide leader in the professional photography market. Our extensive digital imaging and color management knowledge, combined with Phase One’s software and hardware capabilities creates a unique opportunity for the world’s leading photographers,” said Dov Kalinski, General Manager, Leaf.




27 June, 2009 - Meditations in Monochrome

Our newest contributor, American landscape photographer Willam Neill provides us with food for thought this weekend in his latest essay – Meditations in Monochrome.

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"I found Where the #%*! are My Pictures to be well worth purchasing.

Even after purchasing your Lightroom 2.0 video that you put out last year I found this one very helpful. In fact I have now set up presets for importing like the way Seth has done. I am also going back and redoing those images (nearly 15,000) I have already imported and changing the file names. 

Even though I have a fairly good handle with Lightroom I seem to always be learning something new."




30 June, 2009 - Helicon Focus Review

Digital tools continue to expand photographer's horizons. Using stacked images to extend depth of field isn't all that new, but the latest version of Helicon Focus now carries that capability to a whole new level.

Contributor Mark Dubovoy provides us with his in-depth review. Goodnight Dr. Scheimflug, wherever you are.

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