Camera Color Science 101 (And What Makes Canon Special)
If you’ve been wanting to learn more about the subject of camera color science, here’s a solid 13-minute video by Gerald Undone that will bring you up to speed on the subject.
The video “is all about color science in cameras: why pretty doesn’t mean accurate, what makes Canon’s colors unique, and if it should affect your gear decisions,” Gerald says.
Here’s the different topics discussed in the video alongside the timestamps at which they’re found:
00:56: What Is Color Science? 01:50: How Colors Are Captured by the Image Sensor 02:32: The Bayer Filter Mosaic Explained 03:20: How Cameras Use Color Filters to Create a Unique Look 03:48: Unfortunately Pleasing Colors Aren’t Always Accurate 03:57: Sony Is Very Accurate, but Canon Is More Pleasing 04:40: How Raw Images Are Demosaiced or Debayered 05:19: What Is a Color Matrix & How Do You Change It? 05:58: How Raw Development Is Similar to Film Processing 06:28: What Canon Does to Its Colors to Get the “Canon Look” 07:12: But This Is All Subjective! 07:42: Applying This to Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw 08:06: Why Color Science Matters Less with Raw Files 08:17: What “Adobe Standard” Does Differently 09:05: When Everything Else is Equal, Color Science Doesn’t Matter 09:22: Practical Applications & What about Raw Video? 10:21: Does Camera Color Science Matter for Log Recordings? 11:01: Make Your Choices Based on How Much Time You Have 11:17: Situations When Color Science Isn’t As Important 11:36: The Problem with Referring to the Look as “Color Science”
“What exactly are we doing when we talking about liking the ‘color science’ of a camera?” Gerald says. “Honestly, I think we’re only doing two things here: one, desperately trying to find something positive to say about a brand that we inexplicably love by expressing abstract ideas in the fact of an obvious lack of technical innovation, or two, promoting how little effort on your part is required to render an image that you find subjectively pleasing.
“…which is funny, because despite it being called color ‘science’, neither of those things is very science-y.”
Rare Photos Inside the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus
In September 2018, I was asked to travel to Cyprus and photograph the Buffer Zone (or Green Line) in Nicosia. It was an exclusive opportunity since this area is not accessible for civilians — it’s a demilitarised zone (DMZ), patrolled by the United Nations.
The goal of my visit was to take photos of the endangered architecture within the zone, and also bring the social aspect into the frame. In an attempt to bring the divided parts of Cyprus together again, the photos will be exhibited in the Center of Visual Arts and Research in Nicosia. This exhibition opened on the 23rd of October 2018.
The Buffer Zone in Nicosia is part of the 7 Most Endangered Programme from Europa Nostra. My visit to Cyprus has been made possible thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, United Nations, and Europa Nostra.
This article is a documentary of the current situation of the Buffer Zone / Green Line with mostly exterior shots. The historical and architectural value is very high, and I’m thrilled to share this exclusive view with you.
Walking by the Buffer Zone
Before I was escorted by the United Nations through the Buffer Zone, I had time to walk by the Buffer Zone in the center of Nicosia. One of the first things I noticed is how weird it feels that all the roads, with a few exceptions, have been closed with barrels and/or barbed wire in an attempt to keep you from crossing over to ‘the other side’ or into the Buffer Zone.
Some of these roadblocks are even guarded by young soldiers. These posts and soldiers were not to be photographed.
The roadblock you see on the photo above is close to Ledra Street. Ledra Street is the major shopping street in Nicosia. It is also the site of the former Ledra Street barricade, across the United Nations buffer zone. The barricade symbolized the division of Nicosia between the Greek south and Turkish north. The barricade on Ledra Street was removed in April 2008, and thus became the sixth crossing between the Southern part of Cyprus and the Northern part of Cyprus.
As a foreigner, I had to show my passport on both sides to be allowed access. By the way, the first crossing for Greek and Turkish Cypriots opened in 2003. Just imagine that you’re not able to see ‘the other part’ of your country and city for 30 years.
While in and around the city, I talked to locals from around my age. In the meantime, I had already crossed the border to the Turkish part of the island. The locals I talked to, never had. They started asking me questions how it’s like on the other side of the border. That just felt so strange. They didn’t want to cross. Because of for example principle, or even their parents not allowing them to go. Nicosia, also known as Lefkosia, is the last divided capital in Europe.
The most striking thing I experienced, is that you can see and feel that both sides have developed separately and you’re in different countries. Architecture, food, culture, people. Everything was different.
The Escort Through the Buffer Zone
The United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus is a demilitarised zone, patrolled by the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), that was established in 1964 when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of a “peace force”, a predecessor of the present UNFICYP. After stationing his troops in different areas of Nicosia, the general drew a cease-fire line on a map with a green pencil, which was to become known as the “Green Line”.
The zone extended in 1974 after the cease-fire of 16 August 1974, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and de facto partition of the island into the area controlled by the Republic of Cyprus (southern Cyprus save for the British Sovereign Base Areas) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the North.
The zone, also known as the Green Line, stretches for 180 kilometers from Paralimni in the east to Kato Pyrgos in the west, where a separate section surrounds Kokkina. The zone cuts through the center of Nicosia, separating the city into southern and northern sections. In total, it spans an area of 346 square kilometers, varying in width from less than 20 meters to more than 7 kilometers. Some areas are untouched by human interference and have remained a safe haven for flora and fauna.
I met the people from the United Nations at Ledra Palace. Once this was one of the largest and most glamorous hotels of the capital city. The hotel was designed by the German Jewish architect Benjamin Günsberg and was built between 1947-1949 by Cyprus Hotels Limited at a cost of approx. €410,000 (~$467,000). It now serves as the headquarters for Sector 2 United Nations Roulement Regiment part of UNFICYP. It’s a very important location, and I was lucky to have a peek inside.
The state of the building is still very good. After that, we drove to the east part of the buffer zone where we entered through the gate you see on the right. This is where the walk through the Buffer Zone starts.
Within the Walled City of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, the buffer zone is a strip of land that runs along the east to west axis, forming part of the United Nations-controlled green line. This line divides the island of Cyprus and the city of Nicosia in two, keeping the two major communities – Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – apart, for more than three decades.
The effects of this separation have been devastating for the city of Nicosia, the last divided capital of Europe, especially for its historic center, which composes a unique core of high archaeological, architectural and environmental values. Within this highly restricted area historical buildings together with newer structures, are suffering from physical decay neglected for more than 30 years. This present situation has negative effects on the old city’s urban fabric and contributes to the degradation of the historic center as a whole, leading to its physical, economic and social decay.
The first buildings I saw and photographed were the Ayios Kassianos schools. Ayios Kassianos schools comprise a very interesting complex of two neoclassical buildings of the beginning of the 20th century and a later one which is known to be the nursery. The two schools, boys and girls, are identical in their original layout but bear later interventions. Their characteristic neoclassical elements recall the architectural style of other examples of schools within the city of Nicosia. Their importance for the area and the city as a whole leads to the urgency for their immediate support and restoration. In the same building complex as the schools, Ayios Georgios church is located.
Ayios Georgios church is also a very important monument in the walled city buffer zone area. It dates back to the 17th century, built in ashlar stone, with later interventions. It is part of a building complex including the neoclassical boys and girls’ schools of Ayios Kassianos. Its’ southern wall lies on Ayios Georgios street, where the main entrance to the narthex opens. The internal walls of the narthex bear signs of bright colors and of stone decorations. It is of high importance that this church is documented and restored immediately; otherwise, one of the most important monuments of the area will be lost. Across this church, you will find ‘Annie’s House’.
Annie refused to leave her house, which is located in the Buffer Zone, after the Buffer Zone was established. UN diplomacy could not dislodge her. She continued living in her house, and UN patrols regularly escorted her on shopping trips to get groceries and such. When UN patrols hadn’t noticed any movement in her house, they entered the house and found she died. Annie’s family had broken contact, and she had no-one to arrange her funeral. Annie was 90 years old when she died, and UN soldiers paid and arranged her funeral. Her story is still alive.
Continuing the road, I came across Ayios Iakovos church. Ayios Iakovos church is one of the most important monuments, included in the buffer zone area, dated back to the 15th- 16th c. with later interventions, such as the steeple, built in fine ashlar stones. It’s a Byzantine type of church covered with two intersected barrel vaults carrying the cupola, with eight windows. The arch of the Holy Place is semi-circular. Louis Salvator of Austria visited Nicosia in 1873 and gives a description of this church, as “… a small building with four-barrel vaults …The Iconostasis curved of wood, bears the Russian eagle…”. The church is part of a building complex, referred to as the monastery of Ayios Iakovos.
At one point, we crossed the Buffer Zone at Ledra Street. A very busy crossing, and just a day before I walked through the street and faced the big fences and gates on both sides. Today, these gates opened to cross from the east side of Ledra Street to the west side of Ledra Street. On the corner, the well-known Olympus hotel is located — one of the most important hotels of the Walled City, some decades ago.
The richness of its architectural elements, as well as the grand halls in the interior and its large rooms reveal the importance of this building and its significant role in the heart of the economic and probably the social life of the city. Built in the beginning of the 20th c., (1914–1933) in load-bearing masonry, with classical elements decorating the facades. The ground floor was built for commercial use, with simple elements of decoration while the first floor was occupied by the Olympus Hotel, with much more complicated decoration elements such as pilasters, balconies, and cornices with modillions.
Both the facades are formed according to a combination of the classical Greek ionic order with a Roman-Corinthian cornice with modillions, along with neo-baroque elements on the corner of the building. Since 1974, the building was abandoned to the ravages of time. Today, the part that faces Ledra Street, has been beautifully renovated and looks amazing.
Throughout the Buffer Zone, there are several corner buildings. This is a special type of building which appears on the corners of commercial building complexes, on the crossroads, in the heart of the commercial center, in the area of Phaneromeni. There are six of these buildings in an area of 500 meters long. These buildings are identical in layout, square in shape, with rounded corner. Neoclassical architectural elements decorate the facades. On the right, you see an example of such a building. Below, you find one of my personal favorite shots of my visit. This is a corner building that’s being completely reclaimed by nature.
One of the buildings that I was able to enter, is called ‘Maple House’. Maple House was used as a platoon house for UN soldiers. It wasn’t a very luxurious base and has been abandoned for a number of years as part of the general force reduction. Above is a photo of the entrance to the building. On the wall is a plaque of a former gun shop that was located inside of the building. Maple House was originally a small arcade type shopping center with an apartment block. The building itself has been mostly stripped, yet it is still in good condition. One of the other shops located in this building used to be a car garage. A lot of cars have been left behind in the showroom and the cellar of the building.
The cellar of the building is filled with cars, and some of them even have as little as 40km on the clock. A small number of cars were removed from the basement by the UN and are better preserved, but most of them have been left behind. In 1974, these cars were imported through the gate at Famagusta and driven to the basement in Nicosia, a distance of around 40 kilometers. The drive-in entrance to the basement is in the Buffer Zone. Over the years the cars have been stripped of their internal fittings and smaller engine parts and, although technically ‘new’ can no longer be described as being in ‘mint condition’. Thieves have provided themselves access to this storage area, with all the risks involved, to strip the cars.
Cars that have been left behind in the showroom, a floor above the cellar, can be seen below.
Close to Maple House, you find the ‘ten-minute yard’. This is a very sensitive location because there were numerous protests about the amount of time Turkish soldiers spent in the area of this yard. It was agreed with the UN that Turkish soldiers would only be visible in the yard for ten minutes in each hour. However, to make a point the Turkish soldiers would appear at 10 minutes ‘to’ the hour and then continue to stay for 10 minutes of the next hour, thereby visible in the yard for 20 minutes. This was obviously seen as a gesture of provocation.
Right next to the ‘ten-minute yard’, almost attached to it, the remains of a yellow car are lying on the ground. Near the end of the fighting in 1974, this yellow car was destroyed and both the Greek and Turkish sides dispute the exact position of the CFL (Cease Fire Line). The Turkish believe that the CFL should be drawn at the south point of the car, while the Greeks believe the CFL should be drawn at the northern point of the car. The dispute was settled by the UN by painting two lines; one at the northern end and one at the southern end of the car. Thereby, the UN created a ‘Buffer Zone’ within the Buffer Zone.
The photo below gives a good indication of how close the Greek and Turkish soldiers were fighting with each other. Greek soldiers on the left and Turkish soldiers on the right. This is a photo of Spear Alley. It was here that a Greek soldier fixed a bayonet to a long pole and stabbed a sleeping Turkish soldier to death through the window on the opposite side of the road. Imagine that…
Here are some more photos of my walk through the Buffer Zone in Nicosia:
About the author: Roman Robroek is a Netherlands-based urban exploration photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can see more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
Google Pixel 3 Has a Camera Bug That Loses Photos, Fix On the Way
If you own a Google Pixel 3 or 3 XL and have noticed any photos not getting saved to your gallery, it’s not just you. Google has confirmed that its latest smartphones have a camera bug, and a fix is on the way.
The issue was reported by Pixel 3 users last week. After taking a photo using Google Camera, it would sometimes fail to properly save and be lost forever.
In addition to affecting the Pixel 3 and 3 XL, owners of the original Pixel, the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, and several other Android smartphones have also reported the same problem.
The bug is apparently related to the Google Camera app’s HDR functionality — if the app is shut down before the HDR has finished processing, the image is lost. A temporary solution to the problem is to make sure your camera app stays open until HDR photos are finished processing. You can also turn off the HDR feature to avoid the bug completely.
The good news is Google has identified the issue and is now working on patching it.
“We will be rolling out a software update in the coming weeks to address the rare case of a photo not properly saving,” the company tells The Verge.
Winning Photos from the 2018 Nikon Small World Competition
Nikon has announced the winning photos from the 2018 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, the 44th annual contest celebrating “excellence in photography through the light microscope.”
The first place photo, shown above and captured by Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi, shows part of the compound eye of an Asian Red Palm weevil and the greenish scales that surround it. The beetle is usually less than 0.43in (11mm) in length.
Al Habshi created the photo using reflected light and by stacking 128 micrographs into a single photo.
“The main challenge was to show the black body against the black background without overexposing the skin and scales,” the photographer says. “Because of the variety of coloring and the lines that display in the eyes of insects, I feel like I’m photographing a collection of jewelry. Not all people appreciate small species, particularly insects.
“Through photomicrography we can find a whole new, beautiful world which hasn’t been seen before. It’s like discovering what lies under the ocean’s surface.”
Here is a selection of other winning photos from this year’s competition:
Yashica’s many teasers for the Y35 camera told photographers to “expect the unexpected.” The camera turned out to be a minimalist digital camera that features pretend rolls of film that are used to choose your photo style, aspect ratio, and ISO combinations (instead of being able to do so in-camera).
While the concept may be novel and fun for people yearning for the look and feel of film cameras while having the convenience of digital, execution appears to have been lacking.
The Phoblographer reports that the project was the result of a Hong Kong-based company that picked up the iconic brand name, and that the Kickstarter campaign is now getting flooded with comments from many of the 6,935 backers who are seriously disappointed with the camera they received.
Here are some of the issues and complaints being shared:
The camera turns off when the shutter is pressed
The camera doesn’t even turn on
The camera is plastic and cheaply made
Camera parts are breaking and falling off
Fake buttons molded into the plastic just for looks
The camera is hard to hold while pressing the shutter
Many backers have yet to receive their cameras and haven’t had any updates on the status
Awful image quality comparable to cheap toy cameras for kids
Incorrect labeling on the fake film rolls, resulting in mismatched photo styles
Black-and-white photos coming out blue
An unreliable shutter button that doesn’t always trigger a photo when pressed
The shutter takes photos on the way up instead of when its fully pressed down
A shutter button so stiff that it’s unusable
The winding lever gets jammed and needs to be manually pushed back
Stickers on the camera have bubbles and are defective
Photos can’t be found after they’re captured
Difficulty inserting digiFilm rolls into the camera
Removing the lens cover caused the lens to separate from the camera body
An included cable that isn’t compatible with the camera
Photos are out of focus and distorted
The general sentiment seems to be that backers were expecting a faithful revival of the famous Yashica brand, but were instead surprised when they received a cheap and unreliable plastic camera with the brand name featured on the front. The price tag of $150+ also makes the failings of the camera difficult for backers to stomach.
Even though cameras are being delivered to backers, many commenters are still calling the project a “scam” for misrepresenting what the camera would be like. The company behind the campaign was responding to individual comments days ago, but it appears to have gone completely silent as more and more complaints are posted.
“Expect the unexpected,” “Yashica” said. Unfortunately, supporters probably weren’t expecting a camera that’s so unexpectedly bad.
At ISO 100, the Sony a7R III has a Photographic Dynamic Range (PDR) of 11.64, the Nikon Z7 is 10.98, and the Canon EOS R is in last with 10.6. The Nikon Z7 does have a lower native minimum ISO of 64, but even there it has a PDR of 11.56, which still trails the Sony score at ISO 100.
At base ISO, Canon’s EOS R (10.6) is closer in dynamic range performance to the APS-C Sony a6500 (10.31) than to the full-frame Sony a7R III (11.64).
At ISO 25600 (the max native ISO of the Z7 — the Sony goes to ISO 32000 and Canon has ISO 40000), Sony scores 4.34, Nikon is measured at 4.25, and Canon is 3.85.
“[K]eep in mind the Canon and Nikon cameras are the newest cameras meaning that the gap is expected to increase once Sony announces the new models,” sonyalpharumors writes.
Despite the apparent differences in scores, however, this test also shows that all three cameras have very similar dynamic range performance that’s in line of what’s expected of top full-frame cameras — the numbers above are all better than or equal to pretty much all cameras on the market, so don’t read too deeply into them.
Adobe MovingStills Creates Realistic Camera Moves in Still Photos
At the ongoing Adobe MAX 2018 conference, Adobe is showing off some sneak peeks of features being developed for the Creative Cloud. One of them is MovingStills, which lets you add realistic camera moves to any still photograph, bringing it to life.
The idea is to use artificial intelligence to intelligently create parallax based on what’s found in a photo, turning it into a faux video shot with a moving camera.
Here’s what an ordinary “zoom” into a 2D photo looks like without any special technology:
“The result is not very impressive,” the presenter says. “It looks quite flat and there’s no illusion of depth, there’s no parallax. It’s not quite like a real video.”
By developing a feature that understands how the things in the photo are arranged in 3D space, a much more realistic result is possible.
In addition to single click animation to bring photos to life, allowing MovingStills to select the optimal camera path, you can also choose between different camera paths to produce different effects.
The view control interface lets you specify the view you’d like the shot to start with and the camera view at the end, and the AI will fill in the motion in between the two camera “positions.”
Finally, since the feature can be so hands-off, an entire album of photos can be quickly turned into “moving stills.”
No word yet on when MovingStills will be included in a Creative Cloud app update.
KiiPix is a Analog Instax Printer for Smartphone Photos
Holga’s recently-announced Holga Printer will let you turn smartphone photos into Instax prints without needing a battery, but that printer will cost at least $48 and won’t arrive until after March 2019. KiiPix is a $40 analog printer that’s essentially the same, and it’s already available.
The designs of the two printers are strangely similar — it’s unclear whether the Holga Printer is simply a rebranded version of the KiiPix product.
Using KiiPix is also super simple: open the printer up, make sure there’s film inside, place your phone on the holder, and print by pressing the lever on the side. Once your print has been exposed, a hand-cranked knob on the side of the printer is used to manually eject the print.
These printers are essentially compact pinhole cameras that allow you to expose your smartphone display onto Instax film.
Turning your brightness all the way up ensures that enough light is collected while the print is being made. A mirror on the surface of the printer lets you align your phone screen while it’s pointed down.
The KiiPix can fold up compactly when not in use. And since it doesn’t require any kind of battery or cable, it’s a pocket printer that can be taken everywhere.
Here’s a 1-minute video that introduces KiiPix:
KiiPix is a product of the Japanese company Tomy. After launching in July 2018, it quickly became a top 10 product in Amazon’s portable printer category.
Sony HX99 is a Tiny Camera with 28x Optical Zoom and 4K Video
Sony has announced the new Cyber-shot HX99, what the company calls “the world’s smallest travel high zoom camera.” The camera features a powerful 28x zoom and 4K video recording.
At the core of the camera is an 18.2-megapixel backside-illuminated 1/2.3-inch Exmore R CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 80-12800 and 10fps continuous shooting.
On the front of the camera is a 24-720mm (35mm equiv.) zoom lens with 28x optical zoom. Clear Image Zoom provides digital zoom up to 1440mm.
The features of the camera are unusual considering its size: measuring just 4×2.3×1.4 inches (10.2×5.81×3.55cm) and weighing just 8.54oz (242g), the HX99 is “the world’s smallest camera body of its kind,” Sony says. By kind, Sony means fixed-lens cameras with a built-in viewfinder and a maximum telephoto focal length greater than 700mm (35mm equivalent).
The top and back of the camera have a retractable OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder and a 180-degree tiltable LCD screen.
For video recording, the HX99 can shoot 4K with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. Drop down to HD resolution can you can shoot up to 120fps for slow-motion sequences.
Other features and specs of the HX99 include Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, Zoom Assist (a temporary zoom-out display to show a wider area when shooting far subjects), 0.09 autofocus, Eye AF, RAW photos, Touch Focus, Touch Shutter, Touch Pad, a customizable Control Ring, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Insta360 ONE X is a 5.7K 360° Action Cam with ‘Impossible’ Stabilization
A year after announcing the ONE camera for 4K 360-degree shooting, Insta360 is now back with the ONE X for 5.7K 360-degree shooting.
Compatible with both iOS and Android, the ONE X is designed to “give users more freedom and more creative possibilities – both during and after capture.”
The camera features “gimbal-level” stabilization using Insta360’s 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization and FlowState stabilization algorithm, which analyzes movement in all directions to provide a powerful stabilization.
“FlowState lets users capture impossibly smooth video with no accessories needed,” Insta360 says. “Mount the ONE X anywhere – from a helmet to a selfie stick to a kayak – and footage comes out looking like it’s been professionally stabilized.”
5.7K footage can be shot at 30fps. There are also new 50fps and 100fps frame rates if you drop down to 4K and 3K resolution, respectively. And in addition to videos, the ONE X can shoot 18-megapixel JPEG or DNG RAW photos with great low-light performance. ISO, exposure value, white balance, and shutter speed can be manually adjusted.
After capturing footage, users can use the ONE X’s editing app to reframe and re-edit the best parts of scenes, creating cinematic clips from the original 360-degree views.
A new TimeShift feature lets you adjust the playback speed of different parts of clips, from cinematic slow motion to sped-up hyperlapses. The Bullet Time feature that was introduced in the original ONE now has a wider field of view and 3K resolution in the ONE X.
When mounted on a selfie stick, the ONE X can automatically edit the stick out of scenes, making the resulting footage look like it was shot by a low-flying drone.
Insta360 has created a new Drifter camera “dart” that’s designed to help you capture aerial footage with your ONE X by throwing it. Simply snap your camera into the dart and start hurling it around. The resulting Drift Shots are 360-degree aerial slow-motion shots.
Other features and specs of the ONE X include 5.8GHz Wi-Fi for transfers and previews, HDR shooting, Lightning/USB-Type-C/Micro-USB cable support, a removable 1200mAh battery, two optional rugged case options (a tough Venture Case and an underwater Dive Case), and an optional GPS Smart Remote.
The Insta360 ONE X is available starting October 17th with a price tag of $400.