You must forgive my ramblings on this age-old debate. And for many of us, it may seem like the chicken and egg quandary. Should I get a better camera to make me a better photographer? Or has my skill evolved to the point whether I need a better camera to fully realise my potential? If someone hands me an airplane do I automatically become a pilot? Or do I need to go to flight school first?
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
- C. S. Lewis
One would think that with the myriad of problems facing the United States and the rest of the world, our lawmakers might be content to prioritize them, determine which are best to be solved by the private sector, the public sector, or some combinations thereof. But alas, there seem to be some that believe every problem should be solved with some form of government intervention and control. Recently, Congressional Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R -FL), with assistance from Ted Duetch (D – FL), and Lois Capps (D – CA), introduced a bill (H.R. 4341) allegedly to save our children from eating disorders and other mental problems by regulating the use of what essentially are labeled as “unrealistic Photoshop” alternations to pictures of models and others that are prominently displayed in advertising, magazine articles, etc. I was a bit surprised to find out that Ros-Lehtinen had sponsored this bill. I happen to be well-acquainted with her stances on many issues and often find myself in agreement with her.
They title the bill, “Truth in Advertising Act of 2014.” Don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating advertisers should be allowed to make blatant false representations regarding their products’ benefits. But policing every photo tied to an advertisement under the watchful eye of some government overseer seems to be fraught with it its own set of problems.
So how could anything go wrong with such a well-meaning piece of legislation? Read on…
Don’t you love it when someone that shares your passion and dream joins you in pursuit of sharing knowledge with the rest of the world? Today we are happy to announce yet another amazing photographer join our ranks – John “Verm” Sherman. As you have already seen from his amazing and funny posts, John is truly passionate about photography, particularly wildlife photography. Please give a warm welcome to John! Below is his favorite photos, along with his bio.
A while ago, Nasim went to London to spend some time with his family and meet up with some of our dear readers. You might have noticed that, for a couple of weeks, he did not have much time to work on articles, certainly not as much as usual. You might also have noticed my own absence for the last couple of months at least. We did not plan to take vacation at the same time. It just so happened that I, too, have been extremely busy at the time, hence no new Lightroom or composition-related articles coming out. My time away, however, was rather less glamorous than that of my friend’s. And less relaxing, let alone fun or enthusiastically met. In fact, it was somewhat of a nightmare at times, a blur of nights and days turning into long, long weeks of never-ending stacks of books, articles and albums. How I missed my job! Although rationally I understand it is not, in the moments of weakness writing articles seemed like a much simpler endeavour. Certainly much more fun.
I am happy to say, though, that in the end the result is just as pleasing and satisfactory to me as Nasim’s trip was to him, even if the process was nerve-wrecking. I expect at this point you are rather curious what I am on about. Well, just a few hours ago I received my Bachelor’s degree. Yes, I am now officially an educated man with a Faculty of Arts diploma, cheers! But that’s not very interesting. Let’s be fair, as challenging as it was writing some 40 pages of theory and spending even more time photographing, it’s no doctoral dissertation, Bachelor’s degree is merely the first, smallest of steps up an educational skyscraper. It is also rather common in my country where most people seek a degree right after finishing high school (generally at the age of 19). What I hope is a little more interesting are these portraits, some of which make up the creative part of my thesis.
With the release of the D4s and D810 cameras, Nikon has introduced a new format to store images – sRAW, or “RAW Size Small”, as referred to by Nikon. Although Canon has had this format available in its DSLRs for years, this is Nikon’s first time introducing it. As a result, a lot of Nikon users are wondering what this format is, how it works and how it compares to standard RAW files. Personally, I had very limited knowledge of this format and thought it would be an exciting feature, until I dug deeper and found out what it was all about. After a few hours of research (and some input from Iliah Borg, I decided to summarize my findings in this article, which I hope our readers will find useful. Let’s start with the basics first.
1) What is sRAW?
sRAW, which stands for “Small RAW” or “Small Resolution RAW” is a file format that was introduced by Kodak to allow photographers to capture images at smaller size in order to allow more images to be stored on memory cards and allow for faster workflow when full resolution files are not needed (since computers were slow for processing RAW data). The sRAW format was created as a bridge between full resolution RAW files and JPEG images. Since JPEG images are already processed, compressed and only contain 8-bit data, sRAW allowed more flexibility with more bit depth (Kodak’s original design of the sRAW format was 10-bit). The advantage was noticeably smaller file size, but at the expense of resolution – the resulting images contained either twice, or four times less megapixels. Still, these images contained more data than JPEG files for later post-processing, which increased the popularity of the format.
I’ve always wanted a small camera backpack that gave me easy, quick access to my camera gear. I’ve owned camera backpacks in the past, but they were bigger (and heavier) and I had to take them off of my back in order to get my gear out. When I got a chance to review the Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag, I took it, hoping I could find a nice bag that I could carry around town with me for more casual photography.
Since the Nikon D810 got announced yesterday, we have been getting a lot of questions from our readers via emails, comments and Facebook messages. After answering many questions and doing some additional research, I decided to compile everything I have gathered so far in a single article. Looks like the biggest number of questions is coming from existing Nikon DX and D600/D610/D700 owners, who are considering to move up to the D810 as an upgrade. Some Nikon D800 and D800E owners like myself also find some of the new D810 features attractive, but there are still some items that remain unclear from the announcement (such as the camera buffer size), so the below article will hopefully address some of those questions and concerns as well.
1) Nikon D810 has no OLPF / AA filter
This one might be particularly interesting to existing D800E owners. If you remember from our previous coverage of the D800E, the difference between the D800 and the D800E is the filter stack in front of the sensor. Basically, the D800 has two stacks of anti-aliasing / blur filters along with the regular UV filter, which is what effectively reduces moire in images. The D800E, on the other hand, has a blur filter in the front of the filter stack, which is cancelled out by another filter at the end, as shown in the below illustration (a detailed PDF illustration from Nikon is available here):
One question that has been continuously asked from our readers has been regarding the buffer size of the Nikon D810. Nikon stated that the buffer has been increased, but has not yet provided any information in the official documents on the English versions of the Nikon USA and Nikon Imaging sites. After doing a bit of research last night, I found the Nikon D810 manual in Japanese language at Nikon-image.com (here it is for reference). I compared the table to that of the Nikon D800 / D800E and found out a surprise – the buffer size on the D810 appears to be doubled in comparison. What a nice surprise!
Today is another sad day, because Apple announced that it will no longer continue development of its Aperture software, which many photographers still rely on for their day to day photo management and editing. Too bad, because this basically gives Adobe monopoly with its Lightroom software. Yes, there are some other tools on the market such as ACDSee Pro, Phase One Capture One Pro and a few others, but none of them come to close to what Lightroom offers in terms of features, photo catalog management and up to date RAW file support. Aperture has not seen any major updates since October of 2013 and has not received support for the latest cameras that were announced this year, with only a small minor updates. Many of us saw this coming, but none were expecting the death of Aperture so soon.
Our friends at B&H Photo Video earlier today informed us that the X-Rite i1Display Pro monitor / projector calibration and profiling tool is on a flash sale, at almost half off, expiring tonight! At $139.95 ($110 off the original price of $249.95), this is an insane deal that we wanted to share with our readers. I wish this deal was available at the time when I bought mine, because I paid the full price. For those that do not know about the X-Rite i1Display Pro, it is the best device calibration tool on the market today. I previously have used the Datacolor Spyder 3 Pro calibration system and I ended up switching to the X-Rite, because it is better, more accurate and less buggy (more on that in our upcoming review).
It does not matter what monitor you have, whether it has a cheap TN panel or a high-end professional IPS panel – calibration is something you should do on every device that you are planning to display your photographs on. The difference between a non-calibrated and a hardware-calibrated screen is night and day, so I urge every photographer to do it. Even if you do not print, you should always have a calibrated monitor. The X-Rite i1Display Pro works both on PCs and Macs. I ran the software on my Windows 8.1 PCs and the drivers work very well.
You can purchase this tool by clicking the above image, or you can click this link, which will take you to B&H Photo Video online store. Once again, this deal will expire at 8:30 PM Eastern Time tonight!