Jeff Fenske's Blog

October 26, 2014

This Adams Retouching Machine Helped Old School ‘Photoshoppers’ Touch Up Negatives by Hand

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 2:12 am

From: PetaPixel

This Adams Retouching Machine Helped Old School ‘Photoshoppers’ Touch Up Negatives by Hand

Last week we shared an example of beauty retouching that was done by hand in the early 1900s. …

While this machine wasn’t used for the Joan Crawford photo — the Adams machine was patented in 1947….

The machine, which holds negatives measuring up to 8×10 inches, works by vibrating the negative while the retoucher works on it with a dye brush or retouching pencil. The tiny movements help smooth out the strokes, allowing for clean and (hopefully) undetectable modifications to the negative.

This type of work required a steady hand, a sharp eye, and a great deal of time and patience. Edits on single images could take many hours to complete (the Crawford photo required six hours without the help of this machine).

Entire Article Here

October 23, 2014

(video) Humpback whales bubblenet feeding in Alaska

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 12:14 am

Only 1-minute long, shows what it’s like to try to photograph humpback whales bubblenet feeding, while listening to their communications through the hydrophone!

I’ve never tried this, but this is actually really amazing, especially when knowing the coordination that’s going on among the whales to fish a school of fish this way! The fisheye lens makes them look further away than they really are.

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Humpback whales bubblenet feeding in Alaska

Kimberly Tripp Randal

Kimberly Tripp Randal

Published on Aug 15, 2014

This is NOT the best video overall… the real point of this video is to show you how truly hard it is to know where these guys are going to pop up. The coolest part is the sound (from the hydrophone)!

We were in Chatham Strait – just south west of Juneau, Alaska and we were in search of humpback whales who were bubblenet feeding. This cooperative feeding technique is not only unique to humpbacks but also only exhibited by a small number of those that cruise the inside passage of Alaska. Only around 70 of the 20K humpbacks even do this… when they break the surface it’s incredible not only to see but to hear (especially the calls and song as they prepare – Jon had a hydrophone)! There’s a caller, there are bubblers, there are pec flappers (who use the whites of their pectoral fins to help scare / herd the herring into a tighter ball) – they all have a role. But when they break the surface – incredible!

In this video, you can hear their calls (through the hydrophone) and see how difficult it is to predict where they will come up!

If you want to learn a bit more and see some great video as they emerge – check out:http://video.nationalgeographic.com/v…

October 5, 2014

Panasonic’s new compact, multi-aspect ratio LX100 camera — Same field of view for 16:9, 3:2 & 4:3 at 24mm! | My ideas on the Ultimate Compact — OVERSIZED square sensor, the GOLDEN ratio

Filed under: Personal • jf,Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 12:00 pm

Lately again, I’ve been fairly actively involved in forum discussions at DPReview, posting these comments. For some reason, aspect ratios are important to me — the shape of the rectangle or square. Most cameras only work best in one aspect ratio. I was thrilled to see Panasonic continue their multi-aspect ratio feature in this camera. This is some of what I’ve learned.

Panasonic is releasing its latest compact camera in the LX series, the LX100, that also has their multi-aspect ratio feature, introduced in the LX3 in 2008, which I tremendously enjoyed in the LX5.

The LX100 uses the huge M43 sensor from their GX7 camera. In the video below, Gordon Laing briefly explains what Panasonic has done, including some of the drawbacks and advantages at minute-5.

The huge advantage of the multi-aspect ratio sensor is that at 24mm, the LX cameras maintain true 24mm field of view diagonally in the 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios! In comparison, the Sony RX100 series camera loses field of view in the 4:3 and 16:9 ratios, so getting a true 24mm wide is impossible, except in 3:2. Having been shooting with the RX100 for a few years now, I greatly miss this feature.

This article points out how fun this is for 16:9 at 24mm:

Panasonic going down with a fight: the new LX100

At 24 mm-e, the 16:9 aspect ratio of the LX3 has the same horizontal angle of view as a 22.8 mm-e lens on a 3:2 aspect ratio sensor (or 135-format film). That’s seriously wide for a compact camera with a zoom lens. The LX100 retains this fun feature.

I discovered this anomaly. Like with the LX7, Panasonic used a 4:3 ratio sensor, instead of the ideal sized 3:2 sensor, so the 16MP sensor is a bit too tall for maximum efficient use of its pixels, so it loses more megapixels with their multi-aspect ratio tweak, which results in only 12+ MPs, much lower than the 20MP 1-inch sensor competition.

Panasonic’s aspect-ratio madness

Now the LX7 has an off-the-shelf 1/1.7″-type sensor (PDF) like the rest, but it uniquely treats that sensor as ‘oversized’ (the image circle never fills the sensor). The result is that the active sensor area in the LX7 is noticeably smaller than direct competitors, never mind the likes of the Sony RX100 with its 1″-type sensor.

What’s more, instead of having a sensor of the ideal ~3:2 aspect ratio, the LX7 sensor has the usual 4:3 aspect ratio. That means more of the sensor area is never used. And that’s why the difference between the ‘total megapixels’ and the ‘effective megapixels’ has risen compared the LX5: those figures are now 12.7 and 10.1 (compared to 11.3 and 10.1 in the LX5).

The LX100 is large, and only zooms to 75mm. That and with only 12+ MP makes it less than compelling, unless the image quality ends up being superb because of the lens — results aren’t out yet.

The bigger pixels of this sensor will probably make it the low light champion in a camera of this size.

THE ULTIMATE COMPACT

I’d prefer to see a multi-aspect ratio camera designed from the smaller pixels that the Sony 1-inch sensor has, or an oversized 1-inch sensor version. Panasonic could do this in the LX8, if they still have plans for it.

If the current 1-inch 3:2 sensor was used in a multi-aspect ratio design, a 3MP or so loss in pixels would result, but the smaller image circle wouldn’t stretch the limits of the small lens so much (like the G7X*), and greater image quality could result, or even greater zoom range if the lens were made larger (the RX100 III only zooms to 70mm). It still could be smaller than the LX100 and have superb image quality.

*It’s too soon to see if the G7X has sacrificed image quality in order to get the very useful 24-100mm zoom range in a 1-inch sensor camera of this small size. Gordon discusses the G7X at minute-43 in this video.

The ultimate would be made with an OVERSIZED version of the 1-inch sensor, so it wouldn’t take a MP hit in the 3:2 format, and would gain MPs in 16:9 and 4:3, and allow the same aspect ratio diagonally in 16:9 and 4:3 as in 3:2.

THE SUPREME ULTIMATE

I can’t understand why this hasn’t happened yet.

My passion is for all mirrorless cameras, including full frame to have either ROUND sensors that capture everything the lens throws into the camera (the sensor would be the same size as the image circle), or an OVERSIZED SQUARE sensor, which would be just as wide as Panasonic’s multi-aspect, but taller, so that 1:1 would also completely fit into the image circle, and would also not lose pixels or field of view. An oversized square sensor has many other advantages too, especially for tripod mounted cameras, discussed here:

Square sensors for mirrorfree cameras

Up With Squares! More on Square Sensor Cameras

THE GOLDEN RATIO (also called the golden mean)

1.618:1 has been known for 2000 years to be the most pleasing rectangular shape, but no camera offers this ratio. Panasonic could add it to their ratio options without hardly any extra cost. One photographer suggested 3:2 is close enough, but to me, 3:2 looks like a fat golden mean, not close enough at all.

The golden mean wouldn’t always be the preferred ratio, because the subject often determines the best ratio, but it could prove to be more preferable than 3:2 in many situations, if camera companies would only give us this option. It’s difficult to shoot in the golden ratio currently, because we would only be guessing where the borders are.

I’ve been saying: “THINK OUTSIDE THE (SLR mirror) BOX,” now that mirrorless cameras are no longer so limited. We may as well use the entire image circle with sensors big enough to capture all that the lens sees.

This is even more important in full frame, interchangeable lens cameras in which lenses are big and heavy. Why are we only capturing the 3:2 horizontal strip, and not what’s above, below and on the sides?

It makes no sense. Camera companies are stifling artistic creativity, big-time!

The LX100 is apparently the first compact to sport 4K video. Gordon explains in the video at minute-7 two advantages of shooting in 4K that many don’t realize.

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LX100 at minute-5The best new cameras and lenses at Photokina 2014! Canon, Nikon, Sony and much more!

Gordon Laing

Gordon Laing

Published on Oct 1, 2014

In this video I’ll show you all the most exciting new cameras, lenses and accessories launched at the Photokina 2014 show! You’ll find out about all the latest camera gear that’s coming soon! It’s a big video, lasting 53 minutes, but I’ve divided it into sections for each company, so if you want to skip to your favourite, you can use the guide below. As always you can find my latest reviews at http://www.cameralabs.com

Running order

1:56: Panasonic
7:46: 4K Video
10:39: Red Digital Cinema
13:11: Sunbounce
13:36: Olympus
16:52: Fujifilm
18:39: PhotoMadd
19:55: Sony
22:44: Three Legged Thing
24:26: Sigma
28:48: Zeiss
33:18: LEE Filters
34:00: Samsung
35:42: F-Stop
37:54: Nikon
40:09: Canon
50:08: Bonus!

Related:

[videos] Charlie Waite: Watch what can be done with a compact camera | The LX5 to replace my G11?

August 22, 2014

(video) Go Behind the Scenes with the Air Force Thunderbirds’ Official Photographer

Filed under: Fun–or–AMAZING Stuff!,Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 2:04 am

He wears black and gray, and covers instruments with black cloth to eliminate reflections off of the cockpit glass.

– –

Sergeant Larry Reid Jr. has a job many men and women in the photo world can only dream of having. He’s a United States Air Force Photojournalist… more specifically, he’s the official photographer for the USAF Thunderbird squad.

Video Here

June 24, 2014

(video) Surf Photographer Clark Little on Staring Down Shorebreak to Get the Perfect Shot

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 11:24 pm

Surf Photographer Clark Little on Staring Down Shorebreak to Get the Perfect Shot

The Inertia | Published on Apr 25, 2014

The Inertia: Surfing’s Definitive Community // http://www.theinertia.com

Getting tossed around by shorebreak and slammed into the sand day after day is a rough go; Clark Little wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, for the North Shore local, it’s all in a good day’s work. But the Waimea addict didn’t grow up snapping shots with his father’s camera like so many photographers do. He instead set out to capture his longtime stomping grounds when his wife came home with a framed photograph of Waimea shorebreak, an image he figured he would be able to easily replicate. Having never owned a camera, he threw a cheap “waterproof” casing over a cheaper point-and-shoot and headed out to the beach. Since that first attempt, Clark has not only emulated his wife’s purchased wall art, but — with a gallery in Haleiwa and international recognition — has become a heavily respected fixture of wave photography.

Special thanks to Tom Servais and Clark Little archives for the gorgeous imagery, and check out Clark’s new, 160-page coffee table book, Shorebreak, to see more of his work.

See Clark’s portfolio of beautiful shorebreak images here.

May 25, 2014

Color Not Compromised for ISO – The Phase One IQ250 Camera

Filed under: Personal • jf,Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 5:32 am

I’ve spent thousands of hours researching various aspects of photography, but still, every once in awhile, I’ll see something that blows away what I’ve thought for many years. This is one of those very exciting, eureka-moment articles that has blown away my previous paradigm, so I thought I’d share.

Color used to be determined by the film companies, mainly Kodak, and then Fuji. But then came digital, so now the camera companies are in complete control of what color their cameras can capture. I’ve thought that Nikon and Canon would never compromise color for anything, until I read this article a few months ago.

Apparently, they’re compromising color in order to get higher ISO, low light sensitivity, which isn’t good news for me, since I go to great lengths to get the best color I can, but can’t afford to switch from full-frame Canon to medium format, at this time, where color has not been compromised for ISO.

Here is the scoop. Apparently, most photographers are completely unaware of this. So far, every pro I’ve mentioned this to didn’t know. Very interesting how marketing works. Sometimes high ISO is more important than color, for shooting the northern lights and night photography, for example, but for most of what I photograph, I’d rather have the best color possible.

It would be nice if Canon and Nikon offered two versions of their higher end cameras: one tweaked for ISO (current models) and the other for color.

Note: apparently, this is the first time a medium format camera is using the CMOS sensor, which is the current standard in 35mm cameras, such as Nikon and Canon.

From: Luminous Landscape

The Phase One IQ250 CMOS Fully Realized
by Doug Peterson

Prerequisite Reading

If you haven’t heard about the IQ250 yet, I’d suggest before you read this article you read this site’s preliminary review and Digital Transitions’ 11 Things to Know About the Phase One IQ250

[…]

…Color. Color. Color.

…when Sony approached Phase One with an offer to build what would eventually become the IQ250 sensor there was one looming questions, could Phase One tame CMOS color?

Historically, CMOS has not had the best reputation for color rendition. But teasing apart cause and effect has been, up until now, very difficult. CMOS and CCD were being used by very different companies in very different systems. Most CMOS cameras are built for the broadest possible range of applications. They are built by consumer electronics companies with a volume sales business model, where features and price are higher priorities than image quality.

As one example, the selection of a CFA, the color pattern put in front of the sensor, is a choice between quality of color, and ISO performance. If the CFA allows each pixel to see a broader spectrum of color (e.g. for the green pixels to see a bit further into yellow) a camera’s ISO range can be modestly increased. The resulting loss in color quality is subtle – subtle variations in color are missed and a handful of specific colors become difficult to photograph. In a market where a ISO 25,600 camera has a leg up on a ISO12,800 camera, the engineers are under enormous pressure to pick the modestly increased ISO over subtle color quality. Copenhagen, We Are Go / No Go For Color

This sort of mentality is blissfully lacking in the R+D at Phase One. …color and image quality were far more important than a marginal improvement in ISO. …

Niels [Niels V. Knudsen] has the informal title “Image Professor,” and is best known inside Phase One as the dark wizard of color. He is responsible for the fine tuned profiles made for all the cameras that Capture One supports.

This has meant that for over a decade he has produced color profiles for every major CMOS camera. He has come to know CMOS color from dSLRS like a friend or perhaps like a frenemy. As he describes it, “I am always fighting with profiling CMOS dSLRs to control accuracy while allowing for subtlety and robustness. Every time I fix one color another color jumps out and bites. These cameras’ color response is brittle.”

Entire Article Here

Related:

The World’s First CMOS Medium Format Back: An Interview and First Tests (A more pleasing noise is mentioned, making 6400 ISO very useable)

April 17, 2014

Photographer reveals the secret of the Windows XP desktop image

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 6:55 am

Charles O’Rear is the photographer who took Bliss, the image that became the desktop of every single Windows XP computer in the world. Billions saw it and probably think the photo is so perfect and colorful that it is computer generated—or at least Photoshopped. O’Rear reveals the origin of the photo in this video.

Article and Video Here

March 16, 2014

Nikon & Canon compromise color in order to get higher ISO?

Filed under: Photography • jf — Jeff Fenske @ 7:22 pm

This is fairly technical and not for everybody, but this article is a eureka moment for me, because I value accurate color rendition, and marketing honesty among the Japanese camera manufacturers is hard to come by. Hopefully, Phase One, a Danish, medium format camera company will challenge Nikon and Canon into improving their color, and not just going for high ISO.

Phase One even improved the high-ISO noise to be more pleasing to the eye!

Very exciting!

– –

From: Luminous Landscape

…Color. Color. Color.

But Phase One is not a speed and feature obsessed company. They are a company that cares first, second, and third about image quality. So when Sony approached Phase One with an offer to build what would eventually become the IQ250 sensor there was one looming questions, could Phase One tame CMOS color?

Historically, CMOS has not had the best reputation for color rendition. But teasing apart cause and effect has been, up until now, very difficult. CMOS and CCD were being used by very different companies in very different systems. Most CMOS cameras are built for the broadest possible range of applications. They are built by consumer electronics companies with a volume sales business model, where features and price are higher priorities than image quality.

As one example, the selection of a CFA, the color pattern put in front of the sensor, is a choice between quality of color, and ISO performance. If the CFA allows each pixel to see a broader spectrum of color (e.g. for the green pixels to see a bit further into yellow) a camera’s ISO range can be modestly increased. The resulting loss in color quality is subtle – subtle variations in color are missed and a handful of specific colors become difficult to photograph. In a market where a ISO 25,600 camera has a leg up on a ISO12,800 camera, the engineers are under enormous pressure to pick the modestly increased ISO over subtle color quality. …

After several hours of talking about technical details I asked Niels [Niels V. Knudsen – Phase One’s Image Quality Professor – editor] what he has concluded from all of this work. He spoke like a proud father: “I have fought with color from CMOS cameras for many, many years. I’ve always assumed that CMOS itself was not the issue, but rather the issue was the priorities of the companies using CMOS sensors. Getting to test that thesis was very satisfying. When we first started this project we were not sure we could take a CMOS sensor and craft the color our customers expect from Phase One.” His gaze drifted, as if taking in the totality of the journey he has been through – or perhaps his eyes are just still adjusting to bright lights after entire days spent in front of a carefully calibrated Eizo monitor. His focus returned and, with a reassuring nod, he concluded, “But now we know: yes we can. We can make CMOS sing.”

Entire Article Here

Related:

The World’s First CMOS Medium Format Back: An Interview and First Tests A more pleasing noise is mentioned, making 6400 ISO very useable

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