Overexposure Paranoia with the DP2 Quattro


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Before you can shoot technically good photos with a new camera, you first have to familiarize yourself with it. You should follow your own instinct instead of listening to other people’s opinions. I made the mistake of relying too much on reviews – especially on the allegations of the Quattro having more dynamic range in the shadows but less in the highlights than the Merrills. Without having detected a DR problem on my first photo tour, I already started implementing a solution (underexposure) into my photographic approach on my second tour. I believe this is called a „solution to a problem that doesn’t exist“. ;) As expected, I suffered a surprise when I edited my photos in SPP. The photos were pointlessly underexposed. If I had exposed them longer, the highlights still wouldn’t have been burned out. Had I exposed the photos just the way I usually do with the DP Merrills, I wouldn’t have had to increase exposure in SPP by 1EV, and thus increasing noise in the process. Well, I had to learn the hard way. ;)
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My Sigma DP2 Quattro has arrived!


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A few days ago, my Quattro arrived and I’ve already used the opportunity to take some snaps. The first shots aren’t very special but give me the chance to get a feeling for the camera. Better pictures will follow soon. Meanwhile, I can say that the camera feels much faster than the DP2 Merrill. The start-up time is shorter, autofocus faster and more accurate under low light and the X3F-files move more quickly to the memory card. At the moment I can’t tell you much about the camera’s battery life because I’ve only had to charge the batteries two times so far. The DP2Q’s highlight is the LCD-display. The new panel with a brighter backlight makes it easier to handle the camera in direct sunlight and it is a lot easier to judge the photos. The handgrip feels just as unusual as it appears in the photos. Taking pictures with one hand isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world, since you constantly have the feeling the camera might slip out of your hand because the center of mass is too far away from the right hand. The left hand under the lens, however, makes it right again.

Here are the first pictures I’ve taken with the new camera. :)

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The Monkey Selfie: a Tough Nut to Crack for Legal System and Photo Community


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The following story about famous British nature photographer David Slater and the monkey selfie has been dividing the photo community for days and may potentially turn the legal understanding of animals upside down completely.

When Slater visited the Indonesian isle Sulawesi in 2011 to take pictures of macaques, he left his camera unattended for a moment. A macaque female took advantage of this circumstance, grabbed the camera and immediately took a few hundred photos – including selfies. A little later, Slater openly presented the outstanding pictures and portrayed how exactly the photos came into being in numerous interviews. Here you’ll find the Daily Mail article from back then.

As the photographer neither took the picture himself nor directly contributed to its coming into being, Wikipedia parent company Wikimedia declared it common property and added it to their commons collection. Slater thus complained and called for Wikimedia to delete the picture from their collection, as he believes to be the originator. But since the monkey, not Slater, shot the photo, Wikimedia refused to meet the take-down request. Slater now wants court to decide in that matter.

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Image source: Wikimedia Commons

© unnamed Sulawesi crested macaque (with David Slater‘s camera)

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The Beauty of Imperfection: Danny Sanchezs Photos of Impure Gems


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Usually, the purer the gems, the more valuable they are. This is not true for Danny Sanchez, who specializes in photographing the beautiful and market-price lessening inclusions. In order to find his subjects, he visits many gemstone fairs and consciously chooses the ones that dealers and potential buyers turn their backs on. For the latter, impure gems like that may be worth less or even nothing at all, but for a photographer such as Sanchez every one is a little treasure waiting to be discovered and captured in a photo. :)

biotite-in-Topaz© Danny Sanchez
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My 10 best macro photos taken without a ‘real’ macro lens


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When people speak of a ‘real macro’, they usually mean a lens which can achieve a magnification ratio of at least 1:1. Lenses which cannot do that cannot be called macro lenses – at least according to many self-proclaimed photography experts in forums. Personally, I think that people tend to make the same mistake regarding the magnification ratio that they make with regard to the bokeh. If in doubt, people assume that more is better, which is often not true. In most cases it is a good idea to take a step back in order to be able to capture the context. A high magnification ratio is only useful if you want to take “portraits” of small bugs or replace a weak microscope. Most 6 or 8-legged creatures are large enough not to require a magnification ratio of 1:1. The photography of such subjects has further advantages: a) accurate focusing is easier, b) since stopping down to f/8-16 is usually enough, you do not have to deal with complex shooting and editing processes (buzzword focus stacking) and c) you can shoot out of hand in many cases, while you may have to use a tripod for higher magnification ratios.

The most intriguing question in this context is whether you really need equipment capable of a 1:1 magnification ratio. I’d say no. I have shot the macros I like best with pseudo macro lenses. The ideal range for me is somewhere between 1:1,6 and 1:3. This is just the magnification that my DP3 Merrill achieves with and without the Marumi DHG +5 achromatic lens. Below, I put up the macros that rank among my ten best ones according to Flickriver’s “interestingness algorithm”. Did the lower magnification ratio harm the photos?
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Sigma DP2Q Link Collection: Reviews, Comparisons, Sample Images, Videos and more


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Hopefully I will get my hands on my own DP2 Quattro soon, for that I can provide you guys with some pictures comparing the Merrill. Inbetween this summary of relevant links must do the job. There are many more interesting threads to be found on DPReview, but I had to draw the line somewhere. :)

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Fascination of Science: Caleb Charland’s ‘Demonstrations’


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Physics can appear quite bland, at least if you only deal with dull theories. If you watch Caleb Charland‘s photos of his crazy experiments and devices, however, you can’t help chuckling. Like no other, he succeeds in capturing the fascination of science in pictures and knows how to address the human play instinct. Many of his devices resemble small Rube Goldberg machines, giving his photos a sense of absurdity. If you watch his pictures from a photographer’s point of view, you’ll take your hat off to Charland and his concentrated creativity.

Wooden-Box-with-Hoseshoe-Magnet-2006  © Caleb Charland
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Funny: DigitalRev’s ’10 Things that Annoy Photo Enthusiasts’ Video


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I’m sure you’re familiar with this – your friend enthusiastically views your best photos and says “your camera shoots amazing pictures”. Or have you ever been asked to specify your DSLR’s megapixels, just to be braggingly told that some smart phones have more? Ever been asked the question “How can I zoom with that?” after letting some newbie grope your DSLR with a prime lens? If the answer is yes, you should watch the latest video by the Digital Rev team presenting the ten most annoying questions posed by photo-illiterates and the most embarrassing situations resulting from this interaction.

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Can anyone explain this unusual optical effect?


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When I took macro photos with the DP3 Merrill und dem Marumi DHG200 +5 today, I noticed the effect you can see in the first picture. You should know that the photo is completely wrongly focused, yet it somehow looks sharp. It seems like the sensor did not catch the backlit spider itself but its shadow. I could not get rid of the effect – no matter in which direction I turned the focus ring, the shadow in the bokeh circle remained in focus. I turned up the contrast so the effect is more apparent. The X3F is very low on contrast. I can’t explain the effect, but I think it’s interesting. ;)

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