According to test reviews on the usual photo websites, Sigma has really hit the mark with its 20mm f/1.4 Art Lens. Speaking of test reviews, if I remember well, so many reviews haven’t been published about any other Art Lens so shortly after the announcement. In any case, there’s great interest on the websites. Meanwhile in German forums you can find comments like “why is the lens so big?”, “what for do I need an f/1.4 aperture on ultra-wide lenses?”, “what pictures can you shoot with such a lens anyway?” ;) Well, Ryuichi Oshimoto with his landscape photos shows impressively what can be done with a 20mm lens. Moreover, Marc on robertscamera.com shows why the 20mm Art has such a large aperture – with this ultra-wide lens portraits can also be shot. The only thing that’s still missing to get an overall impression of the lens is some more astro photographs. The three photos in the Flickr group (status as of 11/24/2015) are definitely not enough to be able to tell how well Sigma’s latest fast prime fares with regards to astro photos and landscape images at night. I wish you lots of fun reading and browsing. :)
After all the photo walks with Art Lenses and the DP2 Quattro, it was time again to take the DP3 Merrill for a walk. From Sunday on it’s supposed to get a lot colder, so today’s photo walk is likely to have been the last chance for a few macros this year. As soon as temperatures drop, you won’t find any six-legged or eight-legged creatures. Unfortunately, the oak spiders have said goodbye for this year. The sac spiders have already closed their openings to their habitat sacs. Along the riverbank you can find many small “lumps” of cobweb, but hardly any insects or spiders. Nevertheless I could discover a few subjects for macros, of which I consider the following “Tarzan Spider” most interesting. :)
As reported on Petapixel.com, Reuters asked its in-house photographers and freelancers cooperating with the news agency to exclusively send out of camera JPGs to their image editing team from now on. You shouldn’t consider this as a request because they expect photographers to conform to their guidelines.
As a spokesman of the news agency explained to Petapixel, the guidelines have been changed for two reasons. On the one hand they want to make sure that photos are as authentic as possible, while on the other the photos should be made available much faster to customers and agency partners.
Although I’ve been taking pictures for ages, I’m still always surprised how important good light actually is. Modern photo technology, and modern sensors in particular, make shooting good pictures easier even under suboptimal lighting conditions; however, higher resolution, higher color depth and larger headroom in the shadows and highlights can’t replace good light. Light is still by far the most important ingredient in taking photos.
And that’s exactly what I’ve been reminded of many times over the past few weeks. I felt like taking pictures, and so I often went for a photo walk, but the weather didn’t turn out to be nice. I only shot pictures that ended up in the recycle bin after I’d seen them on my computer. You could argue about whether flat light or the photographer is to be blamed. ;) But one thing’s for sure, good pictures need inspiration. But are there photographers who feel inspired by the cloudy sky and who, as they look at it, keep thinking, “oh yeah, that looks so nice…I’ve got to take a pic right away”? ;)
Since nowadays most photos are taken with smartphones, Rolling Shutter effects have become more present than ever. For those who aren’t familiar with the term: these effects are image artefacts that make lifelike pictures of fast moving objects impossible. The most frequent examples are vertically distorted propeller blades of a plane or diagonally distorted cars. These image artefacts are caused by a non-existent mechanical shutter. For a lack of space, but also for cost reasons smartphones and compact cameras don’t have it. Another aspect is that such devices mostly contain small and cheap sensors which can’t capture the image completely but only one row or column at a time. Picture it like this: the exposure length of single rows or columns of the sensor is equivalent to the shutter speed, but as rows or columns are exposed and read one after another, the exposure of the entire photo clearly lasts much longer. Then the display indicates for instance a shutter speed of 1/1000th of a second, which is certainly correct in regards to single rows/columns, however the entire image is only taken after 1/60th of a second. Some types of electronic shutters are faster (1/120), others are slower (1/30), but this doesn’t change the fundamental problem.
The visual guys among you, who might not know how to interpret my writing, should compare the following GIF with the image linked further above. ;)
After three years of decreasing demand, the camera market, according to market data published by the Japan-based Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), seems to be slowly stabilizing. As you can infer from the diagram added below, this year’s demand for interchangeable lens cameras (DSLRs and MILCs/EVILs) was only slightly below the level of last year. However, we won’t know before January next year earliest how the particularly important Christmas sales will fare. In any case, the August and September figures aren’t promising anything good.
Image source: CIPA
35 years after it was launched in 1977, NASA’s Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in August 2012. Thus the spacecraft became the first manmade object leaving our solar system. On board are the so-called Voyager Golden Records – records containing visual and audio information, with a user manual on the cover.
The first part of the records contains 116 images that include, besides some diagrams (mathematical quantities, solar system parameters, DNA structure etc.), many photos portraying life on Earth and, as mentioned in the linked Wikipedia article, “care was taken to include not only pictures of humanity, but also of animals, insects, plants and landscapes.” You know, just in case humankind will have destroyed itself by the time the spacecraft will be discovered by extraterrestrials.
You can also find these pictures on Wikipedia, but there you have to click one after another, which makes watching the following videos a more comfortable alternative. ;)
Those who are not familiar with the website DPReview.com can’t claim to be seriously interested in photography. Such persons approach photography in a creative, results-oriented, perhaps even in an artistic but certainly wrong way. Because as we all know, better cameras and lenses make better pictures! ;)
All joking aside, there are many good reasons to visit DPReview.com. One reason is the camera reviews that are regularly published on the website and that are among the most detailed and most objective ones you can find online. Another reason is the numerous smart, technically as well as creatively experienced forum posters from whom you can learn a lot and get inspired. Of course, as is the case in all big forums, you’ll also encounter lots of trolls and fan boys whose senseless comments, which may raise your blood pressure, you fortunately don’t have to read thanks to the ignore feature. ;)
However, the highlight on DPReview is the Studio Test Scene comparison tool. This is a tool – with images of the same studio subject taken with different cameras – with which you can set parameters like RAW/JPG, ISO sensitivity, resolution (nominal resolution, adjusted etc.) and daylight/low-light simulation and thus compare cameras specifically with each other. A couple of days ago two Sigma cameras, the DP2 Quattro and the DP1 Merrill, were also added to Studio Test Scene. In the following screenshot you can see what a comparison of several cameras looks like.
Image source: DPReview.com
Photographer Megan Rion is often hired to do outdoor baby photo shoots, just like on the 20th of October, when she did a photo shoot with Connor, a one-month-old baby boy. The photoshoot was planned well. The nearby Sam Houston Jones State Park – which is very popular among photographers – was chosen as the location for the shoot. The baby was supposed to be photographed sleeping on a small haystack, surrounded with pumpkins and autumn leaves. The shot would have surely turned out outstanding either way, but what made it magical was a sudden appearance of a female deer.
For many years underwater photographer Alexander Semenov has been managing the diving team of the White Sea Biological Station (WSBS) – an educational and research center of Moscow State University. As the WSBS is located near the Arctic Circle, leading diving expeditions under extremely cold and harsh conditions is part of Semenov’s tasks in order to document creatures living exclusively in those ice-cold waters. The fact that his already breathtaking pictures were mainly shot in the wild makes them even more impressive. He moves only a small part of his subjects ashore to shoot them in his laboratory or in his studio, respectively.