Sigma News and Rumors: many 24 mm f1.4 Art and DP3 Quattro Samples


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MTF-graphs and product pictures are certainly interesting, however, the only thing that really matters for us photographers are the photos! ;) Luckily enough we were not kept in suspense for too long, as the first samples could be inspected only a few days after the announcement. Apart from dpreview, four more websites have published 24mm f/1.4 shots. A good place to go for irredeemable pixel-peepers is the French review website Focus Numerique, where RAWs can be downloaded. Unfortunately, these files come from a Canon 6D, and its 20 MP sensor does not exactly require a lot from the lenses. D-pixx and LensTip have published JPGs in full resolution, however, these were taken with the 5D MkIII, which also has a rather low resolution sensor. LensTip has also already tested the lens. According to the test results, the 24/1.4 Art is better than the alternatives by CaNikon, but not as good as the 35/1.4 Art and the 50/1.4 Art. Yodobashi offers the most harmonious and beautiful samples, as they often do, but, because of their low resolution, these pictures are only useful for assessing the Bokeh.

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The definition of a unique photo-opportunity: a baby-weasel, riding on the back of a flying green woodpecker


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Way too often photographers claim to have taken advantage of a unique photo opportunity, when, in reality, it is a motif that has been photographed countless times before. Since this term is being seriously overused at the moment, there is obviously a need for an example one can draw upon whenever somebody is claiming to have taken another allegedly unique photo of the Gullfoss – the “golden waterfall”, one of the most photographed motives in Iceland. ;)

One such photo was taken on two weeks ago, in the east part of London, by the hobby photographer Martin Le-May. The picture shows a baby-weasel riding on the back of a flying green woodpecker and what a unique opportunity really is. It also makes it rather obvious that, clearly, not every picture has already been taken by somebody else. So if you should be all too familiar with the vemödalen-feeling, like myself, then I suggest you take a good look at this photo and commit it to memory, so you can remember it when you’re sitting in the black hole of absent creativity next time. ;)

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© Martin Le-May

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Have you heard of ‘superresolution’?


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Superresolution” is a relatively new concept, which can be used to increase the resolution of an optical system beyond the capabilities of the hardware. While this concept is not only used in photography, there are two (groups of) methods which one can use to either reduce noise – whereby the degree of detail per pixel, or rather the ‘real’ resolution is increased – or to increase the amount of pixels drastically while keeping the degree of detail per pixel.

Using the “multi-exposure image noise reduction” method, a scene is shot a number of times using a camera on a tripod. Then, during editing, the procedure takes advantage of the fact that most kinds of noise are placed randomly to reduce noise. Simply put, every pixel is checked whether it is in the same place in all pictures. If it is not, there is a case of noise that has to be filtered out.

The “multi-frame super-resolution” uses a number of slightly shifted shots in standard resolution to create a single picture of noticeably higher resolution. Does this sound familiar? Exactly, the brand-new Olympus E-M5 MkII and the slightly older Hasselblad H5D-200c both take multiple photos with 16 MP and 50 MP, respectively, to create pictures with 63 MP and 200 MP, respectively. Thanks to Piezo motors – which move their sensors by half a pixel or a full pixel between the individual shots – these cameras can put together a photo with “superresolution” directly in the camera. If you want to take such a picture, but only have a run-of-the-mill camera without this feature, there is no need to despair yet. Every camera, which has a half-decent burst mode, can be used to do “superresolution” shots. The following 40 MP photo was made using seven DP2 Quattro shots à 20 MP each.

Sigma DP2 Quattro "Superresolution" 40 MP (volle Auflösung - full resolution) Continue reading

Sigma news and rumours: SPP 6.2.1 and firmware-updates for the DP1Q and DP2Q are now available!


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During a talk two weeks ago, the owner and CEO of Sigma, Kazuto Yamaki, said that a new SPP version and firmware updates for the DPQs would be released. These updates, which increase the quality of the pictures and speed up the AF are now available for download. Since I do not dispose of any testing facilities, I could not test the AF; however, I did put the new algorithm in SP 6.2.1 through its paces. Even though the picture was taken with ISO200 and weak light, I compared it with the following photo. Due to these reasons, the noise is clearly visible in the 100% view, but even so it is one of my favourite photos.

Sigma DP2 Quattro (volle Auflösung - full resolution)

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German Photo Market 2014: 28,7% less DSLRs sold, demand for EVILs increasing!


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A few days ago the Photoindustrie-Verband e.V. published the 2014 sales figures for a number of products on the German photo and imaging market. As was to be expected by now, the demand for digital compact cameras further decreased in 2014. High-end compact cameras are the only ones among compact cameras that continue to sell well.

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Image source: Photoindustrie-Verband e.V.

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Tip: Instagram Account of the U.S. Department of the Interior


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U.S. national parks rank among the most beautiful places on Earth. Yosemite, for example, fascinated Ansel Adams so profoundly, that the inventor of the zone system spent years hauling heavy medium format and large format cameras over difficult terrain, just to capture its breathtaking landscapes on film. However, the time of staying in close touch with nature seems to be over. Over the last years, national parks have experienced steadily declining visitor figures – no doubt a side effect of our urbanized and interconnected society.

To reverse this trend, the U.S. Department of the Interior is trying to engage young people online – where they spend most of their time – and convince them of the national parks’ beauty. Insofar it only seems weird at first glance, that recently the Department of the Interior has begun operating an Instagram account of its own and posting top-notch landscapes, captured in all 58 national parks. I’ve embedded just a few photos down below, to give you a foretaste of what awaits you on Instagram.

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Peter Link, the highest-earning photographer of all time?


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The Australian photographer Peter Lik is one of the most mysterious and controversial figures in the world of photography. He is said to have sold his black and white photograph “Phantom” for the record sum of 6.5 million US dollars in December 2014 – that is 2.2 millions more than the $4.3 millions Andreas Gurskys got for his work “Rhine II” at an auction in 2011. This would make “Phantom” the number one on the list of the ten most expensive photographs of all time, if, instead  of being sold directly to a collector, it had been auctioned off like all the other mind-blowingly expensive photos. However, as the buyer conveniently wanted to stay anonymous, it is impossible to prove that the sale has actually happened.

A few days ago the New York Times published a rather long article on Peter Lik – curiously in the business section rather than in the art or photography one. In the article it says that, so far, Lik has sold 100,000 prints totalling $440 million dollars, which makes him the highest earning photographer of all time.

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“Phantom”, possibly the most expensive photo of all time

© Peter Lik

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Dogs and their stories


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When one is taking photos of dogs one never gets bored. These balls of furry delight are always full of beans, and never to tired to play or cause mayhem. This little Sheltie mongrel desperately kept trying to get into the toy-store for minutes. First through the yard gate, then through the entrance of the shop.
Sigma DP2 Quattro (volle Auflösung - full resolution) Continue reading

„Moonlight“: Paul Thompson’s extreme long exposures


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I cannot remember when was the last time I did a several minutes long exposure. For Paul Thompson, however, such exposure times are more like short breaks between the very long exposures that he usually does. He is certainly no Michael Wesely, who has gotten famous for doing extreme long exposures up to 26 months long, but as a photographer who is shooting with an analogue large format camera, he is used to waiting a couple of hours for the exposures to finish. The long waiting periods are due to technical reasons: on the one hand due to the exponentially decreasing sensitivity of film, when doing exposures longer than a second (Reciprocity failure), on the other hand because of very small apertures, which are needed to achieve sufficient depth of field, when shooting with a large format camera. While one would usually stop down to f/11 and f/16, when taking photos with an APS-C and a full frame camera respectively, one must stop down to between f/64 and f/128, with a large format camera. This alone extends the exposure time by a factor of 16 to 64. What exposure times as long as these allow for, are minimalistic landscapes void of any kind of movement. In other words clouds, stars and water do not get captured by the sensor.

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© Paul Thompson

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‘Dubai Flow Motion': Rob Whitworth’s latest Time-Lapse Masterpiece


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Rob Whitworth is on the best known representatives of the time lapse genre. With his time lapse videos, such as last year’s Barcelona GO! and Enter Pyongyang, he increasingly shifts the boundaries of what is technologically feasible. Virtually all of his previous videos went viral on the internet. With his newest work “Dubai Flow Motion”, he surpassed himself, in my opinion. The distinct tracking shots, zooms and changes of perspective offer a unique tour through Dubai. One moment, the camera is on the ground, the next moment it is on the airplane, then on the roof of the highest building in the world – just to fall through all levels back to the ground again.

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