Last autumn at Photokina, I had the opportunity to attend the Chip Playmate Shooting and I managed to get a few nice shots myself. Now I finally got around to develop them. The model Michaela Grauke really had skin like china and looked much more natural and beautiful than on some of those images of her that you find on the internet, so very little work was done in Photoshop on those pictures. Enjoy!
Impressions from the Photokina – Final Day:
- Me in the Matrix, Part II.
The Samsung WB2000 has beaten out the other contenders for the title of best ultra-compact camera. 24-120mm Zoom, 10MP, F2.4 aperature wide (only F5.8 tele though), Full HD, 10 FPS in full resolution, 3 ” 920,000* pixel amoled screen, ultracompact (100 x 59 x 22 mm) size, aperature, shutter speed and manual mode, Dual IS and RAW, a very nice package. There are a few funny gimmicks, too, some less useful, like 1000 FPS in 138×78 resolution (haha!), Action Panorama mode (working only hm-hm when I tried it), Strichzeichnungsfilter, some much more interesting like taking full-resolution picture while recording video and intervall shooting. You can select an AF spot and manually focus, too. The current street price here is 275€, so I can see myself getting one come Christmas.
- Other contenders were:
+ 1/1.7” sensor
+ F 2.0 wide
+ nice manual focus
- only 28-105mm
- F 4.9 tele
- only 720p Video
- fickle control ring
+ 1/1.63” sensor
+ F 2.0-3.3
- only 24-90mm
- only 720p Video
- size 110 x 65 x 25 mm
- Samsung Ex-1:
+ 1/1.7” sensor
+ Swivel screen
+ Amoled screen
- only 640×480 Video
- size 114 x 63 x 29 mm
+ F2.4 wide
+ lot of gimmicks
- no RAW
- 1/2.3” sensor
- Casio EX-FH100:
+ 30 FPS
- 1/2.3” sensor size
- only 720p
- 230,400 dots LCD
- Other contenders were:
- The battle for best photo backpack with sling function was a very tight one, but eventually, the Tamrac Evolution 8 beat out the Kata 3N1-33 by an inch. The Tamrac is a little heavier, but also cheaper (street price). In the end, the Tamrac just seems better crafted.
And as a final result from the races, the 70-200mm contest goes into overtime. Is the HSM of the Sigma worth the extra 100€? For do I go with the 5 year warranty of the Tamron? Otherwise, they seem to close to call.
- I took part in the Sanyo Gran Prix, a two-round Carrera race. It’s the first time I played Carrera and after finishing second in the first round to qualify, I won the whole thing in thanks to my competitor’s inability to stay on the course. Slow and steady wins the race (although I had a round unter 9 seconds, which is not bad). And hey, I won a mug!
- Lens-Babies sure are fun.
- I looked through the viewfinder of a Leica S2. It’s not a viewfinder, it’s a window. Only the Sony A900 comes close to that.
- The aforementioned S2 was used to demonstrate a HDRI automatization program developed by the Cologne Technical College that – instead of creating a 32-bit file – creates a RAW file that can the open in a RAW converter and create very natural looking HDR images. Great stuff!
- Looking for a single-SLR-bag, it’s again Tamrac vs. Kata, Velocity 6x vs. LighTri-312 DL B.
- There are several ways manual focus is implemented, but hardly anyone gets it right. The focus magnifier has to go really far so that you can actually see small details. Then show the zoomed in area in an overlay (The Sony A55 does it just right).
- I am now the proud owner of a Green Pod and a Lumiquest Promax.
* According to the Samsung website. DPReview lists only 614,000 LCD dots, which is still pretty good for this class.
Impressions from the Photokina – Day 3 (Today with links!):
- The Bilora Action Pod can attach a camera to a bycicle helmet, sounds like fun.
- The Lumiquest Promax System seems to be a very portable solution to get better flash, I’ll see if I can try it out tomorrow.
- The Green Pod is available for 15€ at the fair. I’ll get one tomorrow. If only my camera had live-view, the low angle photos wouldn’t stop.
- KPS still has the coolest tripod on the market thanks to the amazing macro-adjustment. Now they also have a quick-click system, which seems like another great innovation. Unfortunately, the macro-adjustment is only available for the 500€ Pro model right now. Lets see what they come up with next.
- Playmate of the year Michaela Grauke posed on stage and she is stunning close up. I’m not a fan of her pout pictures out there, but
The Samsung EX1 has a very, very nice lens and I like the swivel display as well as the AMOLED screen (did I mention I love AMOLED screens?), but the manual focus magnification is too low (same problem with the NX10) and it only has VGA-video???
- The 3N1-33 bag from Kata is a worthy contender for best photo bag out there.
Impressions from the Photokina – Day 2:
- A new firmware for the Sony NEX cameras gives you the opportunity to configure two of the buttons with functions like ISO or metering mode. VERY welcome addition, now the interface ranks only bad instead of horrible. I’m still not a big fan of of the interface, but the camera still needs a AF/MF function.
- Another disappointment with the NEX series is the lens roadmap. There are plans for six more lenses, but none of them is a real pancake.
- I have never been a big fan of Casio, but their EX-FH100 impressed me. The high-speed function is really cool, it’s pocketable, it has RAW, the right amount of megapixel (10), and the 24-240mm zoom range is very nice, too. The price is very competitive, too, just around 225€ on the market. I wish it had a slightly higher sensor (only 1/2.3), but I consider it as a pocket camera.
- Olympus apparently has a compact prototype that, according to the guy at the stand, has an 4/3 sensor. Now the mockup had about the same size as the Panasonix LX5, so this could be really interesting. Other than that, not much of interest from Olympus in my opinion.
- I checked out a Canon lens for a friend (F4 70-200, very nice) and the guy at the stand was not particularly polite or helpful. They had two or three cameras there and apparently you were not allowed to test a lens on your own camera. You can imagine that the stand was packed, so a lot of people were waiting. Not the best way to run a booth for testing lenses in my opinion.
- I am an even bigger fan of the Sony A55 today than yesterday. The manual focus close-up in the EVF is amazing!
I tried out the Samsung NX100 and I’m afraid the only thing the camera has going for itself is the AMOLED Screen, which is nice, and maybe the fact that the system has two pancakes in the mix.
- I tried out a few camera bags. The Tamrac 5788 Evolution 8 bag is one fine piece that has a lot of very smart and helpful gimmicks.
- At one booth, a Japanese company named MT Foto, I got samples of white, grey and black tape that you could use to establish the White points etc. in post-procession. Very generous and I think that could be very useful for studio work. They are looking for a distributor (Website).
- I tried a Hanvon Art Master tablet and it’s pretty much the same as the wacom tablet, although the scroll wheel apparently does not work on the MAC (yet). It looks really high quality, but I will most likely still get the Intuous4 S, since the price difference is minimal.
- At NikSoftware, I had a look at the new HDR Efex. It looks really good, there are many presets and thanks to the U-Point technology, you have much more control over the final result than with Photoshop or Photomatix. However, I don’t use HDR that much (I prefer DRI), so I am not sure if I will get it (Around 70-80€ if you have the complete collection). Plus, it looks like all other program from NS will have their 64bit version before Christmas, with the first ones coming in October.
Impressions from the Photokina – Day 1:
- The Sony A55 is a heck of a camera: compact, yet feels good in hand, fast auto-focus, LCD and EVF are great. Plus all the nice compact features like face detection etc. Can’t wait for the A77.
- The interface of the SONY NEX is really pretty awful, but I still like the camera with the pancake. The 18-200mm lens is too big for my liking, it negates the NEX size advantage.
- The cheap Sony 85mm 2.8 seems surprisingly sharp even wide open. I’ll check the bokeh later.
- 3D Sweep Panorama is a nice gimmick, but without a 3D television?
- The auto-focus of the Fuji EXR300 is amazing. I have never seen anything so fast on a compact. Plus the stabiliser is really good and the zoom range impressive. If it had RAW, it would be very high on my shopping list.
- The images of the Fuji Real 3D W3 don’t look very good in my opinion. Only the 3D movies looked good.
- I don’t care much for the Samsung NX100 (why buy one if you could also have a Sony NEX???), but the WB2000 intrigued me. I love design of the battery life and card capacity indicators, the AMOLED LCD is amazing, 10 MP is just right and the 24-120mm is exactly what I would look for in a compact. I only wish the sensor would be 1/1.7 and the maximum aperature 5.8 in the tele would be faster (2.8 wide is fine), but it has RAW, so I will definitely consider it.
- I think I will get a Wacom Intuos4 S. I liked it more than the Bamboo tablets. I still have to try out the competition though.
- The Tamron 2.8 70-200mm currently leads the Sigma 2.8 70-200mm by a hair in the race to become my next lens for my Sony A700. The autofocus of the Sigma seems smoother, but the Tamron is by no means slow.
The broken hard disk with pictures from Italy has been restored. Hooray!
Here is the first result, a panorama of Verona, stitched from seven single images with Hugin. The photos were taken when the sun was high, so the lighting is far from perfect, but it’s not too bad.
You can generate idea after idea, fill your Moleskine notebooks so jam-packed with great ideas the world would fall down at your feet if only they knew how creative you were. But the trap lies in thinking that coming up with the ideas is where the value is. It isn’t. The value lies in your ability to execute. Forget all the hundreds of ideas. Pick one. And do it. Then pick another, and do it too.
We get paralyzed sometimes by too many options. A million ideas and we’re stuck because we can’t pick one. Stop it. Pick one. Move forward.
How does this apply? For working photographers or those who aspire to it – pick one project and do it. Finish it. Then do another. Which one? Who cares! Pick the one you most want to do, the one your dog wants you to do, or the one on the top of the list. But pick one, and do it. Because picking the “wrong one” and getting it done puts you in motion and is better than doing nothing at all. … Don’t stare at it, don’t whine. Just pick the thing at the top of the list – or better – the one you most dread doing, and begin. Just begin.
… That old adage about creativity being 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration? It’s true. Don’t let your piles of notes and your great-sounding ideas lull you into thinking you’re making progress. You make progress when you begin. Ideas are great, but they’re no substitute for the thrill of creation, of seeing that idea become real. All you need to do is begin. And then finish. But beginning is the hard part. There are a million excuses – we’re too busy is the best one.
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Finally, I finished post-processing (most of) my pictures from Halifax. I experimented a bit with very strong sharpening, too much proably for some pictures, but most are ok, I think.