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Next Club Meeting

 

 

June 2017 – AGM and prize giving (No photos on that night)

Our next meeting is on Thursday 20 July 2017 at 19h00.

Set Subject is: Altered reality 

Set Subject Video

 

 

 

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

All articles from Digital Photography Review
Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)
  1. Google Pixel owners can compete to have their images shown as Chromecast backgrounds

    Who hasn't spent a few minutes watching Chromecast's rotation of bliss-inducing, long exposure landscape photography? What better buffer is there between the end of a '30 Rock' Netflix marathon and a return to reality than a never-ending loop of HDR cityscapes and peaceful beach sunsets? None better, and now regular folk like us can have our photos considered for inclusion in Chromecast's screen saver repertoire, provided you own a Google Pixel or Pixel XL.

    If you're interested in that kind of fame and glory, you can submit photos taken with your Pixel phone to Google's attention by posting them to Twitter, Instagram or Google+ and tagging them #teampixel. The company is looking for images that fit the established Chromecast background aesthetic, so landscape orientation is recommended, as are landscapes, architecture, wildlife and abstract subjects. Portraits and images with logos are discouraged, extreme HDR treatment optional.

  2. Italian Nikon distributor sets world record for largest human camera

    Nikon is keeping the 100th anniversary party going with a new one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera'. Italian distributor Nital and Media Italia put on the event, and over a thousand volunteers answered the call to don black, grey, white and red t-shirts. On June 17th, the human camera components were assembled into the unmistakable shape of a Nikon DSLR.

    In case there was any doubt, a judge from the Guinness World Records was on hand to declare that it was indeed the largest human camera ever created. In any case, it seems like about a thousand people had a decent time and got a free t-shirt and hat out of the deal.

  3. Pete Souza talks about life as a presidential photographer

    Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winner Marcia Nighswander at Ohio University, he tells the story behind several of his most noteworthy images from the Obama presidency. Some of his most memorable photos of Obama were taken at the Christ the Reedemer statue in Rio and while crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

    Souza has a popular Instagram account and will be publishing a book with 300 photos from the eight years he spent in the Obama White House.

  4. OnePlus 5 updated to Oxygen 4.5.2 with camera optimizations and more

    The newly launched OnePlus 5 has been updated to Oxygen OS version 4.5.2, gaining a variety of bug fixes and optimizations, including to the camera. The update is being delivered to handset owners who got their hands on a device early over-the-air. Anyone purchasing a phone starting tomorrow will find the latest OS already installed. Though OnePlus details the phone elements that are improved by the update, it doesn't go into any details about how they're optimized.

    The OnePlus 5, like some other recent flagship smartphones, features a dual-camera comprising one 16MP and one 20MP camera. According to the Oxygen OS 4.5.2 changelog, the camera has been 'optimized', though no details are provided. The update also brings improved network, Bluetooth, and system stability, as well as better compatibility with third-party apps. The update also fixes the app installation issue that some users experienced and the system update failure bug.

    Via: Android Central

  5. Rare Nikon D500 'Rex Edition' still works despite run-in with German Shepherd

    Just a day after purchasing the camera new, a customer of Belgian camera shop PCH brought his Nikon D500 back in with some, uh, unique cosmetic modifications. His German Shepherd 'Rex' got ahold of the camera and gave it a bit of a makeover, chewing through most of the lens hood and memory card port cover.

    As highlighted in the video above, the D500's magnesium-alloy build prevented Rex from doing any real structural damage. And amazingly, the camera seems to be in perfect working condition, aside from a lingering dog-chew-toy-smell noted by PCH. If nothing else, it's a testament to the D500's toughness, and reminder to dog owners to keep new cameras out of reach from curious pets.

  6. Adobe acquires Mettle SkyBox suite of VR plug-ins
    Adobe has acquired Mettle, the makers of the popular SkyBox suite of 360-degree-video and VR editing tools for Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. Mettle founder Chris Bobotis takes on the role of director, professional video at Adobe.
    The SkyBox suite will no longer be available for separate purchase but existing SkyBox customers will continue to have the same contact and support process through Mettle. The suite will be integrated into Adobe Creative Cloud by the end of the year. Until then Adobe CC subscribers will be able to access the SkyBox tools by sending an email to dvaplugin@adobe.com. You should inlude your Adobe ID and first and last name as it appears on your account. Adobe then will get back to you within a week.

    Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on the SkyBox Suite of plug-ins from Mettle for VR transitions, titles, and effects and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.

    “We believe that making virtual-reality content should be as easy as possible for creators. The acquisition of SkyBox plugins and Mettle technology allows us to deliver a more highly integrated VR editing and effects experience to the film and video community by the end of the year,” said Bill Roberts, Adobe senior director of professional video product management. You can read the full announcement on the Adobe Blog.

  7. The Miggö Pictar is a pricey camera grip for iPhone photographers

    Miggö Pictar
    From $99 | www.miggo.com

    Many photographers would probably agree that the image quality of smartphone cameras has improved rapidly over the past few years and in many cases now rivals the output from some conventional digital compact cameras. However, even if the image quality of the smartphone camera in your pocket is all you need, there is still one area in which conventional cameras offer undeniable advantages over smartphones: ergonomics.

    Multi-touch smartphone displays are great for general use and navigation of mobile devices, but many photographers prefer physical buttons and dials for setting camera shooting parameters over virtual controls on a screen.

    Enter the Miggö Pictar camera grip. It attaches to your iPhone and provides a number of customizable physical controls, plus a tripod mount and a cold shoe connector. The Pictar is available in two versions. One is compatible with the iPhones models 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 6s, SE and 7 and will set you back $99. The other fits the larger iPhone Plus models, including the latest iPhone 7 Plus flagship, and is $10 more expensive.

    I've been using the Pictar grip with an iPhone 7 Plus for a few days. Here are my impressions.

    Features, ergonomics and build quality

    Attaching the Pictar to your phone is straightforward process. You 'click' the phone in place where it is safely held thanks to a spring-loaded mechanism. Once attached to the phone and connected to the Pictar app the grip offers most essential controls that you would expect on a conventional camera.

    The Pictar's chunky rubberized grip allows for comfortable and secure holding.

    The shutter button supports half-press for focusing and locking exposure and two dials at the back of the grip are by default configured for dialing in exposure and changing the shooting mode. A front dial acts as a zoom ring, pressing it switches to the front camera. This configuration makes sense but if you don't like how things are set up by default, the Pictar app allows for an impressive amount of customization. You can have a different setup for each shooting mode and even create custom profiles.

    The Pictar offers a range of controls and features you would normally find on a digital compact or interchangeable lens camera.

    Thanks to its rubberized grip the Pictar is comfortable to hold, even with only one hand, and most of the controls can be easily reached. Only the front dial is in a slightly inconvenient place which means you have to loosen your grip slightly when using it. That's not much of a problem when you hold the phone and grip with both hands but makes for slightly unstable shooting in one-handed use. On my test unit the front dial is also a little stiff, making it difficult to dial in the desired zoom factor with precision.

    The grip's open design allows for attachment of most add-on lenses that don't need a phone case but you cannot charge your iPhone while the grip is in place. A cold-shoe mount lets you use lights or microphones with your phone and at the bottom of the grip you'll find a standard tripod mount.

    Two dials on the back allow for quick adjustment of shooting mode and parameters.

    Two major drawbacks of the Pictar are build quality and power supply. It's made of quite cheap-looking plastic which stands in stark contrast to the iPhone's premium materials. The buttons feel quite flimsy as well and the spring mechanism makes creaking noises when the iPhone is being attached. I have had no particular quality issues during my relatively short test but it remains to be seen how the Pictar will stand up to longer travels or intense daily use over time.

    Power is supplied by a 1/2AA battery which Miggö says should last between 4 and 6 months. I had no issues with battery life during my testing but those batteries aren't cheap and, depending on where you are, not always easily available. In this day and age even the cheapest devices seem to be USB-rechargable, and it's a shame that the Pictar doesn't offer this feature.

    Pictar App

    The Pictar camera app displays all essential shooting information. A histogram, virtual level and framing grid can be activated in the settings.

    To use the grip you have to download and install the dedicated Pictar app first. Instead of Bluetooth it communicates with the phone via 'ultrasonic OS'. Essentially, the grip sends out ultrasonic frequencies that are picked up by the iPhone's microphones with a unique frequency for each function. According to the Pictar makers, this drains less battery on both devices. Everything worked well during our test and all of the grip's physical controls were responsive and reliable at all times.

    The app's user interface is simple and well-designed. It shows all important camera settings and gives you the option to display a grid, histogram and virtual horizon. You can set focus and exposure points on the display and in some modes one shooting parameter is adjusted on a virtual slider but otherwise most settings are modified via the grip's physical dials and buttons.

    The customization options for the physical controls are almost endless.

    The mode dial lets you switch between Auto, Manual and Shutter Speed and ISO priority modes. There's also a Macro mode and a Sports modes, which biases toward using higher ISOs for faster shutter speeds, and a filter mode which allows for some live image manipulation. A video mode is included as well, but manual control is limited to exposure compensation.

    Unfortunately the Pictar app does not offer the option to shoot images in Raw format, and there is no button to switch between the iPhone 7 Plus dual-camera lenses but you can assign that function to the front button if you want to. Unlike on a conventional camera a press of the shutter doesn't take you back to the capture screen from review mode or when using another app.

    Conclusion

    In my experience there are two types of mobile photographers: purists who like mobile photography for its inconspicuousness and want to keep their device as compact and portable as possible, and those who like to use any gadget they can get their hands on to enhance their smartphone's camera capabilities or feature set.

    If you belong to the latter group and also like to have manual control over your shooting parameters the Pictar grip could definitely be for you. The dials and buttons offer quicker adjustment than most on-screen controls and the tripod and cold-shoe mounts will be appreciated by most more serious photographers.

    On the downside, the Pictar does feel a little cheap for a $100 device. We'd also prefer USB-recharging to relatively obscure 1/2AA batteries. Raw support in the camera app would have been nice, too, especially when considering the photographically minded target users. That said, quite a few buyers will probably get the Pictar for its attractive retro-look alone.

    What we like:

    • Good ergonomics and comfortable grip
    • Easy to use
    • Customizable configuration
    • Well-designed app

    What we don't like:

    • Cheap plastic material
    • Requires fairly obscure 1/2AA battery
    • Slightly stiff front dial makes precise zooming difficult
    • No Raw support in camera app
  8. Peak Design Everyday Backpack Review

    Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L/30L
    $260-290/£204-227 | www.peakdesign.com | Buy Now

    I can’t imagine that there has ever been a time when photographers had more camera bag options than we do today. There are more manufacturers, styles and price points than one can count. From generic knockoffs to designer leather, there is a bag out there to carry your camera, lenses and accessories.

    But what if you want to carry your camera and some other stuff you need through the day? Maybe you’re a traveler and you want to have a water bottle, a raincoat and some ibuprofen as you hike through Paris? Or what if you are a student who needs a computer, a few books and lunch for a day at school? Or what if you just want to carry your everyday things with you as well as your camera? Well, then your options are a little more limited.

    Maybe you’re a traveler and you want to have a water bottle, a raincoat and some ibuprofen as you hike through Paris?

    Pulling out dividers in a photo backpack to fit in books, wrapping the camera in a towel and stuffing it in a daypack, or strapping a small camera bag to your hiking pack are all DIY solutions that folks have tried and found unsatisfying. The few options on the market tended to be bulky, difficult to access and frequently under-delivered as far as understanding what non-photo gear someone would want to carry.

    In 2015, Peak Design launched its Everyday Messenger on Kickstarter with the goal of creating a bag that would both carry camera gear and the everyday stuff that someone might need for a day of work, school, travel or just living life. Proving that there was a real need for a bag like this, the company hit its funding goal in a single day and would eventually be funded to the tune of $4.8 million from over 17,000 backers.

    This led Peak Design to start a second Kickstarter in 2016 to fund a backpack design (along with a tote and sling) for those of us who understand that two straps carry weight better than one. Once again, the new designs were funded successfully and the Everyday Backpack in 20L and 30L sizes was released to the public.

    Specifications

    20L

    • 46 H x 30 W x 17 D cm (18” H x 12” W x 6.75” D)
    • 1350g (2.9 lbs.)
    • Holds up to a 15” laptop

    30L

    • 51 H x 33 W x 20 D cm (20” H x 13” W x 7.75” D)
    • 1542g (3.4 lbs.)
    • Holds up to a 16” laptop

    The ultralight waxed Kodra synthetic canvas is DWR coated for weatherproofness and comes in a Charcoal gray with red stitching accents or a lighter Ash gray with blue stitching accents and tan leather touchpoints (handles, zipper pulls, etc).

    In Use

    Many times manufacturers make claims about the design of their products that feel overstated when you are actually using them. I have to say that, for the most part, the design of the Everyday Backpack works just as it was intended to. I took the 20L on a trip to Europe recently and beat the heck out of it – crammed it under airplane seats, stuffed it with groceries, soaked it in epic rainstorms. All the while, I was accessing my gear hundreds of times to take photos at every opportunity. I came away pretty impressed.

    Photo courtesy Peak Design

    Unlike a majority of camera bags on the market, the Everyday Backpack doesn’t use a system of individual padded dividers to create compartments for your gear. Instead, it uses what Peak Design calls 'FlexFold' dividers. This is a system of full-width internal shelves that can be positioned in the bag. The shelves have the ability to fold out of the way to create larger spaces, they also have the ability to fold up and create subdivided spaces. The design is a little difficult to explain in words or photos and your best bet may to just watch this video.

    I was surprised at how well these worked generally. I was able to shift from a mirrorless layout to an overnight bag for an unexpected trip and then back again in moments. There are limits, and if you have specific needs you’ll be re-velcroing the shelves as well as folding/unfolding them, but it’s really a clever design overall.

    The three main drawbacks I noticed were that the folding subsections could 'unfold' if something heavy (such as a lens) was in an adjacent subsection. In addition, since the shelves and subsections are not 'sealed' in the way that a padded-divider backpack is, small items like lens caps tend to wander around the bag easily. Finally, this design is not one that will allow you to use every inch of the bag for gear in the way a traditional camera backpack would. The idea is to have your camera get in one part of the bag and other everyday items in another.

    The Everyday Backpack has four access points. The top section uses a flap cover that is secured with Peak’s excellent MagLatch closure that allows easy blind one-handed operation. The MagLatch has multiple attachment points allowing the upper section to expand to carry bulky loads or tighten up to make the pack as small as possible.

    Then there is a top access computer/tablet/flat-stuff section that sits against your back. The other two access points, the ones you will use most often to access your camera, are dual full-length zipper openings on either side of the bag. The idea is that you slip one shoulder strap off and swing the bag around in front of you horizontally to access your gear.

    A very full 30L Everyday Backpack

    Overall, access is very well done. I was impressed how the fullness of any one area of the bag doesn’t affect accessing of any other area. The top section can be stuffed with lunch and extra layers of clothing and you can still use the side access to grab your camera or change lenses. This is one of the most crucial aspects in making a successful 'everyday' design and it is where many bags fail. One thing to note, however, is that the drawback to this design is that one cannot lay the bag on the ground and flip it open to access every piece of equipment at once. If that is how you tend to work out of your backpacks, the Everyday Backpack may not be for you.

    There are a lot of neat design aspects to the Everyday Backpack and it would make a long article much longer to list them all. So in no particular order, here are a few of my favorites. The weatherproof fabric and zippers held up to some truly torrential rainstorms. Built in external lashing straps allow for a surprising amount of useful external carry. I strapped everything from groceries to a jacket to sandy shoes to the outside of the pack. The external side pockets both hide the waistbelt and external lash straps and can hold a water bottle or tripod.

    There are a ton of small pockets in the bag for batteries, pens, cords, passports and whatnot. This not only gives you a place for all the little things, but it keeps them from bouncing around the bag or getting crammed together in the bottom. Every strap and handle is done in 'seatbelt' material that is soft and strong.

    Finally, and particularly important for some folks, there is little about this pack that looks like a camera bag. You may look like a tourist or a student with your daypack on, but nobody is going to peg you as walking around with thousands of dollars in camera gear on your back. At least not until you stop to take their picture.

    What didn’t I like? As with any bag, even really good ones, I had a few nitpicks, but I stress that they were all pretty minor. The most significant one was that I thought the shoulder straps could have been better padded. While they are ergonomically curved and have a clever axial rotating attachment system, users may not be impressed if they are used to technical outdoor style pack straps.

    While there is a waist belt, it isn’t padded and exists more for stability than for taking weight off of your shoulders.

    That said, the straps weren’t uncomfortable, even on long days (and did seem to 'break in' after some use). I just feel like a bit more function instead of form could have served better in this area, especially for heavy loads and the 30L size. Likewise, while there is a waist belt, it isn’t padded and exists more for stability than for taking weight off of your shoulders. Good to have, but doesn’t carry much load.

    Due to being somewhat narrow, a good thing when moving through crowds, and having a slightly rounded design, the Everyday Backpack doesn’t stand up on its bottom or side particularly well. This isn’t a serious fault, but it is worth remembering that it is likely to flop over when you set it down and that you shouldn’t leave any of the access points open lest things roll out (good advice for any bag, really).

    The external side pockets are really useful for both water bottles and things like tripods. However, unless you have long arms, it may be difficult to reach that water bottle while the pack is on. It’s possible, but you end up feeling like a contortionist. Beyond that, anytime you have something in those side pockets, it becomes a lot more difficult to use the side access openings.

    I’m a big believer in the idea that how we carry our gear is as important as the gear itself.

    Finally, at $260, this is an expensive bag. While the market has expanded enough that there is nothing particularly unusual about a $260 bag these days, it can still be a difficult decision when a bag costs as much as a nice used prime lens. That said, I’m a big believer in the idea that how we carry our gear is as important as the gear itself. If you don’t enjoy using your bag, you won’t bring your camera. For me, this bag is worth the money.

    20L vs 30L

    The design of the 20L and the 30L backpacks are virtually identical. The 30L is just a bit, you know, bigger. How much bigger? Well, you can see the numbers published above, and you probably know that 30L is 50% larger by volume than 20L. But in the real world, I think I would put it like this…

    The 20L is best for:

    • Mirrorless kits
    • Small DSLRs with compact zooms or primes
    • Squishing into a subway car or through a crowded bar
    • Being a daypack for traveling
    • Airplane travel as your “personal item”
    • Smaller framed people

    The 30L is best for:

    • Pro DSLR kits
    • Fast zooms
    • Camera + a bunch of other stuff
    • School bag for textbooks
    • Being an overnight bag
    • Airplane travel as your only carry on
    • Bigger/taller people

    These aren’t hard and fast rules, you can configure these bags in a lot of different ways to carry a lot of different things. But if someone was asking me which bag to get to use as an airline 'personal item', I’d have to say the 20L as it is right at (or very slightly over) the size limit for many airlines. If someone was telling me they just HAD to have their full-frame F2.8 zooms with them all day long, I’d point them to the 30L. The 30L is bigger on the back and makes squeezing through crowds tougher than the 20L. But if you thought you were going to grab a few groceries on the way home, you’d probably be happy that you had the 30L.

    To be honest, if I had to recommend one, I would suggest the 20L. I believe that the smaller less conspicuous size fits more into the intended 'everyday' design. At 5’5 I’m shorter than average for a guy, and when I’ve got the 30L on there is no mistaking that I’m wearing a backpack. It’s not like the 20L disappears when I have it on, but it is less bulky and obvious and I find it easier to move through life because of its smaller volume.

    You can, and perhaps should, chalk my 20L suggestion up to my body type, but it’s an opinion I have seen echoed by other photographers as well. If you can, try to see both packs side by side before you buy. If that’s not possible, there are some good YouTube videos that compare the two sizes.

    What’s the bottom line?

    It is hard not to come to the conclusion that the Peak Design Everyday Backpack is the best 'carry a camera and some other stuff' pack I have ever used. The flexible storage space, ease of access, non-photo storage options, tough construction and overall form factor come together in a package that is completely usable. It is a solid feeling bag that does what it is designed to do.

    Now, nothing on this earth is perfect and the Everyday Backpack is no different. But aside from wishing that the straps were designed differently and acknowledging that the price-point is going to be off-putting for some, most of the rest of my complaints are minor at best. I would happily use this pack across town for the day or across the world for a month. If you are looking for a backpack that you can carry your camera gear along with the rest of your daily life I’m not sure how you would find anything better than the Everyday Backpack.

    What we liked:

    • Clever divider system
    • Easy to access some of the things without accessing all of the things
    • Having one area stuffed full doesn’t affect access to other areas.
    • Well thought out organizational system
    • External lash options allow more carry options

    What we didn’t like:

    • Expensive
    • Shoulder straps are not the most padded
    • Heavy items can cause subdividers to unfold if nothing under them when pack is slung around sideways
    • May not stand up on its bottom. May not stand up on side.
    • Small things can slip through the dividers easily and move around the pack

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