Video

Canon M6 MKII with EF-M adaptor

On a previous episode where I compared the Fuji X-T30 versus the Canon M6 MKII, I mentioned that one could change your lens choice on the M6 MKII by adding the Canon EF-M adaptor. This episode shows the use of 3 non EF-M lenses used on the camera, as apposed to the EF-M 15 – 45mm kit lens.

Video

Types of lighting for photography

This video explains the 3 main types of lighting used for photography, video and cinema. An introductory overview of ambient, flash and continuous lighting, showing you live the effect it has on this footage while filming is in process.

Gallery

Film Format and the “Full Frame”

Over the years I’ve had to opportunity to do my photography using both film and digital cameras. Occasionally the word “full frame” comes up which concept and size comes from the 35mm film camera and the frame it produced on film (36mmx24mm), which is in todays language the “full frame” sensor we speak about in 35mm digital photography.

With this in mind, I thought it would be great to show just how large this 35mm “full frame” is in comparison to the film I have used during my career as a photographer. You may have heard or even used a 4×5, which is the largest film I used while using Sinar F or Horseman 4×5 cameras. Also known as Large Format.

Another format using 120mm film is also known as Medium Format. This is a very versatile format using either a fixed camera which would be a larger version of the 35mm camera, or camera’s like the Hasselblad V or Mamiya RB 67, that have interchangeable film backs.

The most common formats using the 120mm film that has been used in commercial photography have been 6×7, 6×6 and 645 as seen below. Depending on which one you used will depend on how many frames you would get on one roll of film. A 6×7 would give you 10 frames, 6×6 would give you 12 frames and 645 would give you 15 frames per roll.

Some of these film backs were however made to fit onto a 4×5 camera and would give you a format of 6×12 as seen below.

The more famous 35mm film would come in three lengths, 12, 24 and 36 exposures and if you had a 12, that’s all you had, 12 photographs on one roll of film. That would be the same as shooting with a 6×6 medium format camera giving you 12 frames on one roll of film. Needless to say, 36 exposures on one roll was better that 12 when you have a lot to do. Some cameras like the Hasselblad XPan, would give the option of shooting a panorama by doubling the frame. This can be seen below along with the standard 35mm frame.

Film would be available as “negative” to use for prints and “positive” like the ones above, that need to be scanned, then digitized before retouching and going to print for magazines and advertising etc. Another use for “positive” film were slide shows where images are projected onto a screen or wall. Today however, we make use of programs like Keynote and PowerPoint and insert our digital photographs into these programs.

Photography has come a long way from film and continues to expand the digital horizon both in 35mm and medium format. The legacy of film has not lost its charm and many are using film for the first time, or out of nostalgia, or just because it is still one of the best ways to slow down the digital pace, think about the shot and create something beautiful in a non technological way.

Full frame 35mm digital photography has become the standard by which many photographers, be they professionals, students and amateurs live by. This is a format that will not be going away soon, but will continue to adapt itself whether as a DSLR or Mirrorless. Below are the different formats in perspective from 4×5 to 35mm. So next time you look at a 35mm camera, whether film or digital, remember the journey that has led to this powerful format.

Gallery

Food Workshop

I was invited to do a food workshop at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography this afternoon. Setting up a food shoot in their studios with their equipment without a stylist but an eager group of 21 students was the challenge of the day.

We worked on shooting both flash and daylight options. We looked at shooting tethered for “immediate” review of the images and the importance of using a grey-card to colour balance the shots especially on a rainy day like today.

With the use of the flashes, we created a fresh “daylight” look and with a few light adaptors, we could change everything to a “dark moody” look. The use of a tripod, reflectors and mirrors were added into the setups. All that was left was to shoot a natural light option which we shot from the top.

With food photography, props and styling either make or break the images and of course there are the “tricks of the trade” that also come in. So a special thanks to Caro who not only organised the workshop but also brought all the produce and props to make our “dark moody” shot.

Gallery

Macro Workshop

The Cape Town Photographic Society asked me to host a workshop on macro photography for them. I had been one of the judges at their monthly meeting and this was a great opportunity to show both them and myself how to get closer to ones subject.

To start the session, there was a mystery shot that I took the day before. The one who guessed it right, went home with a decadent chocolate. It took quite a few hints before the prize was won, but that is because the world of macro can look so different from the norm.

Photographers got to do some shooting first before the session with live shooting began. After our time together, we went and shot the same things that were done before we started. The transformation of the images was amazing, as one smile after the other come back to show their shots.

Macro is an amazing world, an adventure to discover the not so obvious.

Here are some of the shots taken during the workshop.

A little bit of Retro

While looking for images for another edit, I came across these shots that I did years ago. It would only be right to see them again as this was shot in the beginning of the digital era and software was no where near to what it can do now. So here is a quick edit of old images in new software. Currently using Capture One Pro.

Retro copy

Nikon D800 Vs Canon MKIII

It has been a long road to get to this comparison between these two cameras.
Once again, a big thank you to ORMS for all the camera equipment used to make this post possible.

You can go to the previous post on the D800 Vs 5DMKII here, but on this epic journey, I have shot in studio and on location, with and without clients. I’ve shot and re-shot to make sure that I’m making as good assessment as I possibly can.

The rules have stayed the same unless indicated otherwise:
– Both cameras were set to the same ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.
– Lenses used were Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Nikon 105mm f/2.8G AF-S VR Micro Nikkor, Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM and Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR.
– Images are viewed and processed using Capture One Pro.
– The white balance and exposure, was the same as the previous test. Nikon and Canon have slightly different ways of interpreting the data, so there was always a discrepancy between readings, i.e, exposure readings were a third to a half a stop different for the same reading in Capture One Pro.
– Genre’s of photography were food and decor.

So, lets get started. First up was a shoot I did with House & Leisure Magazine where we shot an advertorial for Simonberg Cheese. Here I’m using a combination of the zoom lens or the macro for the close-up.

On screen size or A4, there is not much difference. It is when you start enlarging that things start to change. The D800 pics up more information, especially in the finer textures of the fabric. It also sees more detail on the leaves. But, there must be a but, there is a certain softness to the images which makes the Canon images, though smaller, appear sharper.

The next shot was basically the same as the test with the 5DMKII. This time I had a controlled light source, tungsten light diffused through a soft box. Another change I made was to make use of a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II for the first shot (004). Canon’s first shot was done with a EF 70-200mm f/4L USM (017). The second shot with the Nikon was done with a AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR (014). The Canon’s second shot was done on the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (012).

Here was the start of something I discovered. Remembering that this is my opinion to which some may agree and others disagree, I found that the D800 is lens specific. What that means to me, is that certain lenses work better on the D800 than others, the 24-85mm f3.5 lens to my mind is not ideal for the D800. I could not get a sharp image using this lens on this shot. Also, the same “softness” on the D800 or the “sharpness” of the 5DMKIII occurs here too and this seemed to continue to be the trend of these two cameras throughout the testing.

I did this next shot including the 5DMKII into the test to see what the difference will be. All three cameras are set the same. ISO 100, 1sec, f11. None gave the same exposure. The 5DMKII had to be set to – 0.3, the 5DMKIII set to 0, and the D800 set to + 0.3 to give the same result.

The aim of this test was to show what happens in the shadows. The 5DMKII on the left has poor shadow detail compared to the other two cameras. Here, the D800 (on the right), shows clean shadows, but again, the camera is paired with the 24-85mm f3.5-f4.5 lens producing soft images. So, I decided to not use this lens again and used the 24-120mm f4 for future testing.

While I was swopping the lenses, the Nikon D600 arrived and I was given it for a few hours. Unfortunately, the software I use did not recognize the D600’s RAW files, (being brand new), so I did the shot on JPEG mode on both the D600 and the 5DMKIII. Using the macro lenses, shooting into the light, having the same ISO and aperture. I had different shutter speeds for the exposure as the light was daylight, diffused through a perspex sheet. What is immediately obvious, is the colour difference between these cameras. The Canon producing more saturated colours. Once you’ve looked past the colour, you also notice that the depth of field differs even-though both cameras are on f8. The Nikon 105mm macro producing less depth than the 100mm macro from Canon.

I can’t say that I had tested the D600 properly as I only had it for a short time. The test above was a quick test and it may not be a fair representation.

Comparisons are always subjective. The best thing in all this is to find what works best for you. The questions you need to ask are:  What do you need?  What is the primary work that your camera will be doing? Once these are answered, you can make a decision that is the right one for you.

Gallery

Necklace

After giving a photography lecture to the jewelry students at Ruth Prowse this afternoon, I was inspired to do some shots of my own. Using only daylight (the last bit left before sun set), the cross was a shot inside the house on a French style coffee table. The hessian and gray drawer were shot outside on the patio. Images were colour corrected to match the difference in light between indoor and outdoors, with vignetting effects added for some mood.

Gallery

Kalk Bay

The past few days I’ve had the urge to go to Kalk Bay. This picturesque place is not too far from where we live. About a 40 minute drive, provided there’s no traffic. I decided to park at the harbour, but the parking was full. Only as I walked closer did I see that it was not full due to parking, but rather due to construction. So my place of beauty was spoiled. But I continued to look around for a photographic opportunity. I walked along the smaller of the two piers, looked around and set up my camera. The weather was overcast, but a little bit of sun shone in the area. While I was setting up, I could feel the weather turn…..for the worse. My shot that I had in my viewer suddenly went dark, the sun was gone and in the distance the rain was falling. I took the shot then turned around to take another. With the wind picking up, I had to hurry, and before packing up, I shot the image of the entrance to the harbour. This is definitely my shot, the shot, as by now, the raindrops started to fall and I needed to run for cover. On the way back to the vehicle, I stopped, in the rain, to take the shot of the boat with the buoys.

Once I got back, the images were processed using Capture One Pro. Tweaking the colours , I  decided to make a black and white version of the images. I’ve always loved black and white and miss the smell of the darkroom. With a bit of digital burning, dodging and contrast control, I tried to get to the Agfa grade 4 black and white paper look of just a few years ago.