Category

Photography

Shooting Video? Buy a Smartphone

By | Photography, Review, Technology, Video | No Comments

Petapixel posted an article today that had Alec Weinstein pitting the Canon 5D Mark III vs. the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I couldn’t believe it myself, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 video quality wins in my opinion.  The sharpness was pretty incredible.  Granted, it was placing 4K (Samsung) against 1080p (Canon); however, what we want is best quality for the best price, right?  Seems fair to me to find the best device for the task. Read More

Lightroom Mobile for iPad

By | Photography, Software, Technology | No Comments

UPDATE: If you’re running OS X then you’re likely pretty peeved at the moment, but here’s a nice work around so you can start using it!

I’m pretty excited about trying this out.  Sure, I need to download the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom to get it to work, but that’s a minor inconvenience considering I’m already paying the monthly fee for the whole suite.  For everyone else, this would likely read as bummer.

The idea is that I’ll be able to edit photos directly on my iPad and then sync it back up with my desktop.  Sounds pretty good.  I’ll let you know you know how it goes.

Download LR 5.4 now and the Mobile app Read More

500px Prime

By | Photography, Website | No Comments

I’ve long been using 500px as a way to post some of my favorite images to see what other photographers think about them. Sort of a weak peer review. I’d love to see more criticism to see how I can improve my photography, but I’ll take what I can get. What I really love about the site is seeing what really good photographers are doing from around the world. If you want to look at good photography, head to this site. Lastly, the site design is really nice. It’s clean, simple and looks great.

This brings me to 500px Prime. It’s 500px’s new stock photography site. For $250 you get complete access to the image for use on anything. Additionally, these images aren’t your average stock photos, with a side toward very artistic. The price is certainly a premium; however, the quality is there and the licensing is super simple. Best of all, they give the photographers a 70% cut where other sites are not nearly as generous. The site is currently in Beta so you’ll need to wait until you get an invitation code or the site to go live.

One of my photos was selected for the site and here is what it looks like. Nice interface.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 8.10.20 AM

The Power of Shooting in RAW

By | Photography, Software | No Comments

I just returned from a trip to Mexico and I’ve been going through my pictures.  I’m writing this post because I wanted to visually show how powerful shooting in RAW and using software like Lightroom can be to enhance your photos.

Here is the original (cropped).

DSC_4332-2

 

Here is the edited photo after using Lightroom.

DSC_4332

 

The reason this works is because RAW captures a lot more information than a JPEG.  The software enables you a much greater freedom during editing to bring out the colors and enhance the shadows and highlights.

Total edit time about 5 minutes.

Storehouse for iPad – Guest Review

By | Photography, Review, Software | No Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to share pictures in a more meaningful way. I’m now up to 49,911 photos in my Lightroom library. I’ve traditionally shared everything on my Smugmug site (great site by the way) and they’ve done an awesome job of updating their themes to enhance the user experience.

The problem with Smugmug is that it’s essentially just an album. No stories, no context.

Enter Storehouse. I saw this yesterday on the App Store and have yet to try it out, but my brother was quick to download and here are his thoughts:

Pros:

  • Super easy to use. Was able to create and publish a test page within 5 mins.
  • Links to enough social media accounts that it’s reasonable that you could plan ahead and take pics through Instagram, or like you said, just upload pics directly to your iPad Album.
  • Looks great.
  • It’s Free! A huge plus in my book.

Cons:

  • It’s public and there’s no way around that. Therefore, can’t create and share anything intimate or have descriptions that you wouldn’t want to the whole world (which includes your employer) to read.

Thanks Mike for the quick review. I look forward to trying this out.

On a related note, there is another great site out there doing a very similar thing: Exposure. I’ll try to write up my thoughts on this in the future.

Sony RX100 vs. Sony QX10

By | Photography, Review, Technology | No Comments

Santa was awesome this year and took me by complete surprise and brought me a Sony QX10 camera.  What’s so special about the QX10?  It’s essentially a camera inside a lens that is wirelessly controlled by your smartphone (iPhone or Android).

I took the opportunity today (a brief winter weather break) to head out, test it out and see how the QX10 would fare against my RX100.  This is also a little bit of a review of the QX10.

Trees

Image Quality / Sharpness

I took quite a few pictures today from the same spot with the intention of seeing if I could tell a difference in the shots both in regular view and 100% cropped. Important to note, the RX100 is a 20MP camera while the QX10 is 18MP.  Additionally, the RX100 has a larger sensor than the QX10.

This first image was taken at the Observatory in Cincinnati.  

At first glance the images looked pretty similar.  The colors about the same and generally nice shots.  

Shot3

Then I zoomed in. The RX100 (image on the left) is drastically sharper.  Notice the bricks and grass.

Shot3_zoom

I headed into the Ault Park forest and grabbed this shot of a newly built bridge.  This was in a bit of a darker area to test a lower light situation.  Again, the standard image looks pretty good and is very usable.

SHOT1

Zooming to 100%, you again see the difference in sharpness.

SHOT1_zoom

What does this all mean? All depends on what you’re using your pictures for. Since the QX10 is meant to be an upgrade to your smartphone camera, then I would definitely say this is an upgrade from my iPhone 4S camera. I have not yet tested an iPhone 5 or 5S which may be on par with the QX10. If that’s the case, then the QX10 may not be the best option.

Bokeh

The ability to blur a background to focus on your subject in photography is known as bokeh.

Here is the QX10. Not much bokeh.
RidgeQX10

Here is the QX100. A fair amount of bokeh.
RidgeRX100

Without getting too scientific, the amount of bokeh you can achieve is dependent upon sensor size and aperture size. Larger sensor, larger aperture equals more bokeh. Given that the RX100 has a larger sensor and larger aperture (f/1.8 vs. f/3.3), it’s not a surprise that the RX100 has these better results.

What I love about the QX10

  • Bold innovation
  • Small size (on it’s own)
  • Loads full resolution images onto iPhone for easy sharing
  • Wireless control makes for easy self portraits of yourself and with others
  • Easy to get unique angles
  • Much cheaper than the RX100
  • Tripod mount

What leaves me wanting more

  • Very slow startup process
  • Inconsistent connection quality causes pauses during crucial moments
  • When attached to iPhone (using included bracket), much bigger than RX100
  • Image quality
  • No flash, so won’t really work once the sun goes down
  • Wifi solution is terrible

Closing Thoughts

The QX10 is a nice upgrade from the iPhone 4S camera and has some unique features that I can’t duplicate with any of my other cameras. Images are still good enough for web use and general printing. I know the QX100 version of this camera would solve my image quality issues (and some low-light problems), but it’s increased size would likely be too much for me.

What is keeping me from recommending to anyone (with an iPhone at least), and will likely limit daily use, is the amount of time it takes to take a picture. Anyone who has ever used a camera is used to less than 5 seconds from on to snapping shots. I’d love for Sony to adopt GoPro’s approach of allowing you to keep the Wifi signal on. Yes, this would reduce battery life, but if I knew I was going to be taken pictures fairly often then I could likely have a far better experience.

I have not tried this camera with a NFC-capable device. This is supposed to offer a much better experience that I’ll hopefully be able to have in the future versions of the iPhone.

Santa, if you’re reading this, I still love the gift, but I wanted to share my experience with folks.

How does the QX10 work if it doesn’t have a screen?

Using my iPhone 4, I search for the QX10 Wifi network, connect and then open the Sony PlayMemories app.

This camera can be used to take pictures without using your phone, but you then have to guess how you’re framing the shot.

How well does this work?

Honestly, not that well in practice.

Startup Time: It takes a minimum of about 15 seconds to be able to take a picture (best case). For comparison, the RX100 takes about 2-3 seconds.

Live View: There is often a ‘buffering’ that occurs where the image on the phone’s screen freezes, spinning wheel and wait. Really can’t understand why this happening when my phone is literally touching the camera.

The images in this post were not edited in any way. Both cameras were set to take JPEG files at highest resolution.

My Ultimate Christmas List – 2013

By | Gear, Photography, Technology, To Purchase | No Comments

It’s that time of year where we share gifts with those we love. My favorite part is watching the joy on a person’s face when you know you’ve gotten them exactly what they want/love.

I thought I’d share with you a christmas list of things that I’ve had my eye on this year. So, if you want to see that look of joy on my face you’re more than welcome to send these things my way this holiday season. Read More