Sony Beats Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 in Dynamic Range

Sony Beats Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 in Dynamic Range

Photonstophotos has published its dynamic range test results for the new Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 full-frame mirrorless cameras. The numbers show that both Canon and Nikon trail the performance of Sony’s cameras.

Here’s the comparison chart by Photonstophotos:

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.

What’s interesting about these test results is that Sony is the world’s leading image sensor manufacturer right now in quantity (and arguably quality), Nikon uses Nikon-designed/Sony-manufactured sensors in pro-grade cameras such as the D850 (and perhaps the Z7?), and Canon makes its own sensors and only recently began selling them to third parties.

“[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.

Source: PetaPixel

Sony Beats Canon EOS R and Nikon Z7 in Dynamic Range

Banksy’s ‘Director’s Cut’ of His $1.4M Art Getting Shredded at Auction

Banksy’s ‘Director’s Cut’ of His .4M Art Getting Shredded at Auction

One of the biggest stories in the art world this year was street artist Banksy having his painting “self-destruct” just moments after the work sold for nearly $1.4 million at auction. Banksy just shared the 3-minute director’s cut above of the prank as it went down.

In the video, we see new footage of the “Girl with Balloon” artwork being auctioned off. Shortly after the hammer falls, someone in attendance presses a button on a remote, an alarm starts ringing out, and the art begins passing down through the hidden shredder in the bottom of the frame, stopping about halfway through.

A still frame from Banksy’s Director’s Cut.

Sotheby’s staff then quickly remove the frame from the wall and carry it away.

Banksy also reveals that the painting was supposed to be fully shredded, stating that “In rehearsals it worked every time.” In the actual prank, something went wrong and caused the painting to remain in the frame half-shredded.

A rehearsal showing what was supposed to happen. Still frames from Banksy’s Director’s Cut.

The glitch makes the new form of “Girl with Balloon” much easier to display on walls, and the art experts say the artwork, now renamed “Love Is in the Bin,” is now worth significantly more than the $1.4 million paid by the winner (who has decided to keep the piece).

Sotheby’s says the piece is “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether the publicity generated by this stunt results in any copycats — perhaps there’s a fine art photographer out there who’s now plotting a deconstructed print prank.

Source: PetaPixel

Banksy’s ‘Director’s Cut’ of His .4M Art Getting Shredded at Auction

Adobe MovingStills Creates Realistic Camera Moves in Still Photos

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.

Source: PetaPixel

Adobe MovingStills Creates Realistic Camera Moves in Still Photos

If You Backed Meyer Optik Görlitz on Kickstarter, Your Money is Gone

If You Backed Meyer Optik Görlitz on Kickstarter, Your Money is Gone

If you backed a Meyer Optik Görlitz lens on Kickstarter and are still waiting for your reward to arrive, there’s some bad news for you: it never will, and your money is now gone. net SE, the company behind those lenses and other vintage brand reboots, is dead.

The news was first reported by photoscala after an official notice was published to direct claims to a law firm.

This news comes less than two months after we reported on the nightmare happening behind the scenes at the company, which launched new Kickstarter after Kickstarter in order to fund existing lens projects already promised to backers.

net SE launched the Trioplan 50 (right) on Kickstarter before it had fulfilled its rewards to backers of the Trioplan 100 (left).

In early August, net SE announced that founder and CEO Stefan Immes had gotten into a serious traffic accident and would no longer be involved in the company for the foreseeable future. Around the same time, the company delisted its shares from the over-the-counter market in Germany and filed for bankruptcy.

photoscala reports that insolvency proceedings have been opened on the remaining assets of the company, which is the final nail in the coffin — one that means there’s no hope of Kickstarter backers ever seeing the products they’re still waiting for.

In addition to Meyer Optik Görlitz, net SE also attempted reboots of vintage brands that include Emil Busch A.-G. Rathenau, Oprema Jena, C.P. Goerz, Ihagee Elbaflex, and A. Schacht.

Kickstarter’s history is littered with much-hyped projects and products that ended up never seeing the light of day, leaving backers angry and without anything to show for the money they eagerly put toward the campaigns. The sad story of net SE is the latest such case at the intersection of crowdfunding and photography.

Source: PetaPixel

If You Backed Meyer Optik Görlitz on Kickstarter, Your Money is Gone

Underwater Photos: A Deep Dive Into Prep, Gear, Shooting, and Editing

Underwater Photos: A Deep Dive Into Prep, Gear, Shooting, and Editing

This article is not about my advice on how to run your photography business with regard to legalities, releases (prop, model, and liability), safety, price, and style, etc. However, it is about what I do, how I prep, and how I take photos underwater. That’s it. Read it and if you get some good ideas and want to try, then go explore and do it safely and legally.

A Little About Me

I’ve always been interested in photography and was hooked with my first camera long ago – a Minolta X700. If there is a photo opportunity, I’m all in and I’ll submerge myself into learning more about that particular type of photography. My passion for photography takes me everywhere from shooting macros of insects, to landscapes, time lapses, portraits, weddings, and more. And in this case, shooting models underwater.

Ok, so let’s get into what I do to shoot underwater.

Safety, Safety, Safety

Shooting underwater with a model can be dangerous. I always chat with the model before we shoot and again the day of and before we get in the water to explain the risks of shooting underwater. After the chat, we get in shallow water, take a look around, become familiar with our surroundings, and practice what we will do.

If at any time I notice the model struggling, we will stop and re-evaluate our session. At that point, we will either stay in shallow water and do portraits or stop the shoot altogether. It’s also very important to take frequent breaks between shots. She or he needs to be well relaxed, focused, and comfortable. Constant communication during the shoot is essential and will give you an idea of how they are feeling.

Models on IG: @lexii_shepherd (left) and @burgers_works (right).

To further minimize the risks, I have multiple safety people who are well known to me as excellent swimmers, know CPR, and keep constant focus on the model and myself during the shoot. They are always there to render assistance if any problem should occur.

Another thing to keep in mind is water temperature. I find that the experience is so much better in 75 to 80 degree water. Anything colder becomes a nuisance and can make the shoot miserable and possibly unsafe.

Finally, talk to the model about clothes. Obviously, you don’t want an inexperienced swimmer jumping into the deep end of a pool wearing a ball gown. Focus on clothing that is easy to swim in, is light, and flows well. It’s also a good idea to have water and snacks on hand to refresh energy.

Ultimately, this should be a safe, fun, and relaxing time for both you and the model.

With all of that said, I normally shoot with models that have I have a history with. I know they can swim, drop, and pose really well. I evaluate, develop and maintain relationships with those that have excellent skills underwater.

Models on IG: @raven_lass (left) and @shipps_shapes (right)
Model: @audre.photographe


Camera/Underwater Case

I’ve been shooting underwater for about 5 years and started with an Olympus TGx series, then moved on to a Canon G16 in a Fantasea underwater case. As my passion and editing improved, I upgraded to an Ikelite underwater case for my Nikon D750 and then eventually added two Ikelite DS160 strobes with 15-foot cords so I could shoot with off-camera light.

I also carry two 7 foot light stands for use either in the water or laying down on the edge of the pool. I’ll affix the lights to the stands and dip them about 6 inches in the water or set them up in the pool alongside the model and myself. Depending on my light setup, I use lead weights or pre-washed rocks or bricks to hold down my stands both in and/or on the edge of the pool.

Pelican Case Air with Ikelite underwater housing and port/dome.

To protect all my equipment from damage when not in use or when traveling, I store the underwater case and lens port/dome in a Pelican Case Air, the strobes, cords, and the rest of the equipment in a padded bag. In addition, the bag also has room for a few tools, silicone, extra gaskets for the underwater case, sunscreen, swim gear, and my dive mask.

Models L to R on IG: @comettgirl, @jamison.models, @lucky9one

Lens Choice

Other than well-maintained saltwater pools, most chlorine pools, the ocean, and lakes can sometimes become cloudy with the overuse of chlorine treatments, sand, or dirt, etc. Also, I like my working distance with the model to be about 5 to 7 feet for easy communication and safety.

Zooming underwater for this kind of work makes no sense. So, because of all that I chose a Nikon 24mm f/2.8D lens to pair with my Nikon D750. The Nikon 24mm focus is extremely fast, has a close focusing distance of about 1 foot, and is very sharp. Because of the close working distance, the chances of in-focus shots are much higher.

Shooting underwater and especially in cloudy or murky conditions will degrade the cameras ability to focus accurately. Therefore you will want to work as close as possible to the subject.

On a side note, avoid dragging lots of props in a pool. Color bleeding of fabric, dirt on props, etc can cloud up the water.

Model: @raven_lass
Model: @burgers_works

Personal Gear

Obviously, in a pool, I wear regular swim gear but most importantly, a weight belt of 6 pounds and a dive mask. The 6 pounds of weight helps me to drop to the bottom of the pool faster and easier. I never ask the models to wear weight.

The mask is important so that I can see what the model is doing and I can compose shots easier. In a lake or ocean, I’ll don SCUBA gear and tether my camera to my SCUBA gear. Truth be told, I’ve only photographed fish in the ocean and a few models in a lake. But that will change soon.


Camera settings

It depends on ambient light, but for the most part time I use Aperture Priority, ISO 100 to 200 (ish), and F/4 (opens of the DOF just a bit – shooting underwater is not about bokeh). Sometimes with good constant ambient light, I’ll switch to manual and adjust settings as needed.

Obviously, with off-camera lights I’m limited to 1/200 of a second with my D750 so I’ll switch to manual and adjust my camera settings and strobes as ambient light changes. Most everything I do in and out of the water is at a color temp of 5600K. And sure, the water creates a ton of color cast but that’s easy to fix in Lightroom. I’ll go more into that later.

Shooting underwater is tough but the Nikon D750 and the 24mm focus so fast I use group 4 point AF-S and usually keep the group in the middle of the frame. At f/4 99% of my shots are in focus. I don’t use 3D, AF-C, back button focus, etc. Every once in a while if I’m shooting portraits underwater, I might switch to a 50mm f/1.4 and shoot at f/1.4.

Natural light shot – mid day sun. Model on IG:

Natural Light vs Off Camera Lighting (OCF)

I like how both OCF and natural light look in different conditions underwater. For example, if shooting during a bright sunny day, I’ll shoot natural light because I like the way the light falls through the ripples on the surface and land on the model. But as the day goes on and the sun gets low, I like to add OCF, both behind and in front of the model as it almost creates a 3D effect. So on most shoots, I’ll do both.

Model: @burgers_works
Models: @kirin.lee (left) and @laurennosimoore (right).

In the 3 photos above are different examples of OCF: strobes in the water behind right and in front left (top), Direct on-camera flash (bottom left), and two out of water strobes on light stands with Alien Bee 7″ reflectors and 30-degree grid inserts (bottom right).

My shooting style underwater

Tips while shooting

I discuss with the model whether we are doing a portrait, sitting full body, or a full body swim/movement shot. I’ll drop down on a 2 count and ask her/him to drop down on a 3 or 4 count. This way I’m in place and ready to shoot when they are in motion or dropping to pose. I’ll usually stay down for 10 to 15 seconds and I coordinate this time with the model.

I’ve found its a lot easier to drop and shoot in a horizontal position than it is kneeling or in a sitting position. In addition, I like to get as low as possible and shoot up. The composition and perspective are more pleasing this way. I’ll do the same SCUBA diving. The bubbles from my regulator get the way if I’m vertical.

Take your time. Pool shoots are strenuous and require lots of breaks between shots. Even with one model, I plan 2 hours. This includes setup, discussion, breaks, and shooting.

OCF setup with two 15 foot corded Ikelite DS-160 Strobes.


Editing underwater shots is a bit tough because of all the color cast. And depending on how deep you are the water it will absorb different wavelengths of light. Even at 5 to 10 feet, red is the first to disappear and then followed by yellow and orange. This is why skin tones are most affected.

You can solve this problem by changing your cameras white balance settings or just shoot in RAW and fix it in RAW editor. To resolve this, I turn to Lightroom. I’m sure the editing experts out there have a million other ideas but for the most part, this will bring the skin tones, etc back to where they should be.

Before and after Lightroom/Photoshop edit. Model on IG: @laurennosimoore

My quick edit process:

  1. I import my RAW files into Lightroom.
  2. Move the temp slider somewhere between 6000 and 7500.
  3. Move the tint slider to somewhere between +10 to +35
  4. Desaturate, lower shadows (darken), bring up highlights.
  5. Adjust contrast to +30 or higher.
  6. When I’m done in Lightroom, I’ll export jpeg and continue edits in Photoshop. Here I will remove bubbles, background distractions, maybe adjust hue, crop, etc.

Remember this is my process for RAW photos produced by the Nikon D750. Your camera will produce something different and you will have to find your own workflow.

Retoucher on IG: @lnshipphoto – Model on IG: @shipps_shapes

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to have fun and always keep safety in mind.

About the author: Brian Spencer is a hobbyist/amateur photographer living in the southwestern United States. He doesn’t consider himself a pro, but he enjoys traveling and capturing all the beauty that is people, landscape, animals and anything that is visually stimulating. You can find more of his work on his webesite or by following him on Instagram (and this second Instagram). This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

Underwater Photos: A Deep Dive Into Prep, Gear, Shooting, and Editing

Camera Autofocus Systems Explained: Phase, Contrast, Hybrid, DFD

Camera Autofocus Systems Explained: Phase, Contrast, Hybrid, DFD

Camera manufacturers have been utilizing different types of autofocus systems in modern digital cameras. If you’d like a primer on how each one works, here’s a fantastic 18-minute video by tech tester Gerald Undone that will bring you up to speed.

Gerald examines the systems in three cameras: the Canon EOS R with its Dual Pixel AF, the Sony a7 III with its hybrid phase-detection, and the Panasonic Lumix G9 with its Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology.

In addition to explaining how the major AF systems work, Gerald also helpfully explains strengths and shortcomings, giving you the knowledge you need to determine which AF type is right for your needs.

Here’s a table of contents for the video with the timestamps of the topics discussed:

01:20: Misconception: Everyone Thinks Contrast Detection is Bad
02:04: How Phase Detection Autofocus Works
02:55: How Contrast Detection Autofocus Works
03:50: Ways Contrast Detection Is Better Than Phase Detection
04:45: Ways Phase Detection Is Better Than Contrast Detection
04:54: The Pulsing You See with Contrast Detection
05:43: How Mirrorless Cameras Handle This Differently
06:43: How Camera Makers Decided to Solve These Problems
06:51: Solution #1: Hybrid AF & How It Works
07:30: Solution #2: Dual Pixel CMOS AF & How It’s Different
08:28: Shortcomings of Canon’s Dual Pixel AF
08:47: How the EOS R Addresses These Issues
09:10: Why Dual Pixel Is the Best for Video
09:42: Why the Modern Hybrid AF Systems (Sony) Are My Favourite
10:10: But the Panasonic G9 Is Still Faster because of DFD
10:20: Solution #3: What is Depth from Defocus & How It Works
11:42: The Limitations of Depth from Defocus
12:33: Why Some Lenses Perform Better Than Others
13:00: The Importance of Autofocus Points & Coverage
14:13: Why You Shouldn’t Use Focus & Recompose
15:42: Practical Applications: Which AF System to Use When
17:22: Final Thoughts: Most Autofocus Systems Are Great

If you don’t need extreme autofocus performance, a contrast-detection system will be perfectly fine for you, Gerald says. It won’t be a limitation, and in many cases will even be a strength. For fast and erratically moving subjects, Gerald recommends a modern hybrid system. If you’re looking for an easy, well-rounded system that performs well in most situations, Canon’s Dual Pixel AF is his recommendation.

“But honestly, we’re in great times here when it comes to autofocus,” Gerald concludes. “There’s so many great systems and so much innovation that I think a lot of unnecessary hypercriticism is put on autofocus, especially when it doesn’t affect our bottom lines.

“Cameras aren’t perfect. Autofocus isn’t perfect. And we can’t demand perfection from them because of the very way that they function. What we can do is use them like tools. Understand how they work and try and find the best tool for the job and the best way to use it in that situation.”

If you found this video helpful, you can find more of Gerald’s videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel.

(via Gerald Undone via Steve’s Digicams)

Source: PetaPixel

Camera Autofocus Systems Explained: Phase, Contrast, Hybrid, DFD

Macro Photos of Butterfly Wings Made by Combining 2,100 Separate Shots

Macro Photos of Butterfly Wings Made by Combining 2,100 Separate Shots

Photographer Chris Perani specializes in shooting extreme macro photos of insects using microscopes. For one of his projects, he focused on butterfly wings and capturing them in an extraordinary amount of detail.

For each of the photos in the series, Perani captured a staggering 2,100 separate exposures and merged them into the resulting ultra-high-resolution macro photos.

Perani shot the photos using a 10x microscope objective attached to a 200mm camera lens.

“Since I am using a microscope objective, the depth of field is almost nonexistent,” Perani tells PetaPixel. “Using a focus rail, the lens must be moved no more than 3 microns per photo to achieve focus across the thickness of the subject, which can be up to 8 millimeters.

“This yields 350 exposures, each with a sliver in focus, that must be composited together. This process yields one piece of 6 piece puzzle. The process is repeated 6 times for different sections of the wing with the final result being the composite of these pieces.”

You can find more of Perani’s butterfly wing macro photos on his website. You can also find more of Perani’s other work on his website and Instagram.

(via Chris Perani via Colossal)

Source: PetaPixel

Macro Photos of Butterfly Wings Made by Combining 2,100 Separate Shots

KiiPix is a $40 Analog Instax Printer for Smartphone Photos

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.

KiiPix is available in Cherry Blossom, Sky Blue, and Jet Black and can be purchased for $40 from Amazon.

Source: PetaPixel

KiiPix is a Analog Instax Printer for Smartphone Photos

Sony HX99 is a Tiny Camera with 28x Optical Zoom and 4K Video

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.

The Sony Cyber-shot HX99 will be available in early November 2018 with a price tag of $450.

Source: PetaPixel

Sony HX99 is a Tiny Camera with 28x Optical Zoom and 4K Video

This is Why You Don’t Hire a $0.25 Photo Retoucher

This is Why You Don’t Hire a {$title}.25 Photo Retoucher

After discovering retouching services being offered on Fiverr, the popular platform that lets freelancers offer ultra-cheap services, photographer Irene Rudnyk recently decided to conduct an experiment to see what kind of results you can get for $10 and less.

Rudnyk hired three different retouchers at three different ultra-cheap price points: $0.25, $5, and $10.

This is the unedited photo Rudnyk sent as a RAW file to each retoucher:

She also included these requirements for what she wanted:

I would like if you made this image very vibrant, warm. Clean skin, bright eyes, and make her hair look more red, so it matches the background. Also, I trust your judgment on making this image look beautiful.

Here are the three retouched photos Rudnyk got back:

The $0.25 Retouching Job

Here’s the edit next to the original:

The $5 Retouching Job

Here’s the edit next to the original:

The $10 Retouching Job

Here’s the edit next to the original:

Rudnyk’s Edit

Here’s the edit next to the original:

“I personally would not use this website and I would not recommend this website to any professional photographers out there who are looking for retouch services,” Rudnyk says. “For $10 for one picture, I think the price is actually pretty steep for what you’re getting.”

Source: PetaPixel

This is Why You Don’t Hire a {$permalink}.25 Photo Retoucher