Comparing Photos from the Canon 1D X, Nikon D810, and Pentax 645z

In this article, I’m going to share a simple comparison between photos taken with the 1D X, D810, and Pentax 645z. First things first, this is not a scientific or carefully done test. Don’t read too much into it! This was just because I happened to have all 3 cameras here, and had a bit of time spare. And I like playing around with gear.

The most important thing to note is I didn’t have the right lenses to do a really fair comparison. This is just for curiosity to see how a similar picture would look coming out of each camera.

The Nikon is using a Nikon 35mm f/1.4, and the Pentax is using a Pentax 55mm f/2.8. The Canon is at the biggest disadvantage, with a Canon 24-70mm II lens shooting wide open. The 24-70 is an outstanding general zoom lens, but it’s not really fair to compare it wide open to two other prime lenses.

I don’t normally use a 35mm lens for portraits but again, it’s all I had here. So the Nikon has it’s 35mm, the Canon 24-70mm is set to 35mm, and the Pentax with it’s 55mm is equivalent to roughly a 43mm so I took a small step back as well. I wasn’t on a tripod, so the framing is not identical, but close enough.

These images are completely untouched and auto white balance. Of course you can make the colours anything you want. All lenses are set at 2.8. The ISO varied slightly over each camera but was pretty low.

So out of all that, my personal conclusion is that the Canon probably gets the nicest colors straight out of the camera. I like the overall look of the larger sensor Pentax more than either the Canon or Nikon. The medium format ‘look’ is something that is hard to describe but I think is pretty clear to most people in these quick test shots. If this was a wedding and I was doing a proper edit of course I would go through and get the colors spot on.

If I posted 100% crops here my wife would kill me. But to summarize from looking at the files at 100%, the Pentax is a clear step above the other 2 cameras with the most ridiculous amount of facial detail rendered at 100% view. The D810 does well, but does trail significantly behind the Pentax. The 1D X did very well considering it was using a zoom lens wide open. I would think D810 would compare better sharpness-wise to the Pentax with different lenses such as the lovely Zeiss Otus 55 or 85mm. But as it is with the 35mm f/1.4, there is a fair gap. I’ll do a small aperture test later in this post.

At this size, they all look pretty similar. So we need 100% crops to really see. It’s hard to frame these identically with the different file sizes and lenses.

The Pentax is surprisingly well. Until recently, medium format was pretty much unusable above ISO 400 and took a huge resolution hit if you did go over 400. These days, to have a 51MP medium format body that produces very good and detailed high ISO work is just amazing, and it’s a reason why I can use this camera very effectively at weddings.

The Canon obviously trails by a fair way here, but it still produces a decent result — remembering, of course, the 1D X is a few years old now. I still regularly print files from this camera in wedding albums at ISO 6400 and a bit higher, and the noise will often be greatly diminished on print. I would also run some noise reduction over this file in my editing process, but haven’t here.

The next test is the dynamic range at high ISO. Both of these shots were f/2.8 at ISO 1600. The Pentax was not used here. This is just Canon against Nikon.

There in the leaf shot you can see the dynamic range of the Nikon. The Canon is clipping highlights a bit on the edges of some of the leaves, the Nikon is not. But indoors, the dynamic range was near identical. So as far as I can tell, there is a difference in low ISOs between the cameras, but it becomes a much more level playing field dynamic range wise once the ISO starts getting high.

As a wedding photographer this is a spectacularly useless test — I put colors and dynamic range and how a camera handles well above how many pixels it has. But I know some people will be curious, so here it is!

So the Nikon here is certainly not bad, but there is a noticeable difference to the Pentax. Given the Nikon costs about 35% of what the Pentax costs, it’s not a bad result. I actually thought the Nikon would do a bit better and retook the shot a few times to make sure but that was the consistent result — at least with this lens.

The Pentax 55mm used in those teddy shots is a very good lens, but it’s far from the sharpest available. I have a 35mm that is a big step up in sharpness from the 55mm but did not use it as the framing would be too different to the Nikon 35mm — it’s essentially a wide angle lens in medium format.

 

 

Think Tank Perception 15 Backpack Review

The Think Tank Perception 15 is a backpack designed for mirrorless cameras. It will hold a mirrorless or small DSLR body with 1-2 lenses and there’s also room for a 15 inch laptop and 10 inch tablet. Think Tank say it’s their smallest, lightest daypack designed to add flexibility to photographers’ workflows. It’s available in black and Taupe beige. Here, we took a look at the black version.

The bag is made from 600D twill fabric coated with durable water repellent coating on the outside, and has 320g airflow dry mesh on the back padding. There is an adjustable sternum strap that can be fastened across the midriff when the bag is worn. The shoulder straps are well padded and feature loops to attach small personal effects to.

There is a strong grab handle on the top seam, and on the front of the bag you’ll find two zipped pockets; the top one is plush lined for your phone or sunglasses and the bottom one can be used for extra storage or allow the attachment of a tripod on the front of the bag without impeding access to the two compartments. There’s a strap stowed away in a small velcro pocket on the front of the bag at the top to secure the tripod.

In the main compartment you’ll find two drawstring compartments, one for the and one for one or two spare lenses. there are padded detachable dividers in the compartments, to keep the camera in place and let you store lenses one on top of the other without them rubbing together. These drawstring compartments are sewn onto the back of the main pocket and underneath them there is room for a small lunchbox and maybe a raincoat for a trip out. On the inside front of the compartment there is a zipped compartment that has a stationery/small accessory organiser on the front.

The back compartment is heavily padded and has room for a 15 inch laptop. There is also an inner padded pocket providing a home to a 10 inch tablet or notepad that needs to be kept flat. The bag comes with a seam sealed rain cover that can be compacted away into an attached pouch.

The zips on the bag all have a chord with plastic grip, making them really easy to grab and open in a rush. The back pocket is densely padded and should protect the laptop from bumps and bangs well. It’s easy to slide a tablet and laptop in and out.

The two lined drawstring pockets at the top of the bag are ideal for storing your kit and keeping it out of sight even when the bag is open. However when loaded with kit they make it difficult to get things out from the underneath space, designed for your coat and other day accessories. It could also make things tight for accessing the zipped pocket on the front wall of the pocket. The zips on this section of the bag do extend quite far down to compensate for this.

On top of the bag there is a velcro sealed slot in which you’ll find the tripod securing strap. Two of the tripod’s feet go into the unzipped bottom pocket on the front of the bag while the strap is secured around the top. It’s a good idea but it renders the top front plush lined pocket difficult to access while a tripod is attached.

The back and straps are really heavily padded making it really comfortable to wear even when full of gear. The rain cover is easy to deploy and does a good job of covering the bag against harsh weather.

The Think Tank Perception 15 is available through various photographic retailers in the UK including Snapperstuff, priced at £93.50 and is also available to order through the Think Tank website. The company is based in the USA but will ship worldwide. It’s well made, tough, and appears to be relatively good value for money considering the padding and lining of some of the pockets.

Bags of a similar size include the Lowepro Hatchback 22L AW, which is available in blue and pepper red and costs £71 from Amazon. This bag doesn’t have the ability to attach a tripod, however.

The Think Tank Perception 15 is a well-equipped, versatile bag that’s comfy to wear on a day out. There is ample space for personal items and gear is well protected. It’s inconspicuous and doesn’t shout ‘camera bag’. The only thing that lets it down is the design in some places. The kit pockets can hinder your access to the personal items space below, and when a tripod is fitted on the front you lose access to the front top pocket. If these aren’t major issues for you and you just want a comfy, functional day pack then we are happy to recommend the bag.

Ben Andrews reviews the new Samsung NX500 – with a 28.2 megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS sensor, and 4K video recording, could this be the bargain mirrorless camera of the year?

This month, you could win one of 6 fantastic photographer’s bags from Think Tank and MindShift Gear.  There are a wide variety of bags up for grabs, incl…

 

 

Olympus E-M5 II Review: Is this the best argument yet for the Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera?

And now, we can bring the story to its end as we finalize our review. We’ve dotted the last few ‘i’s, crossed the last ‘t’s, and added both our in-depth image quality analysis and our final thoughts on the E-M5 II. But what is our verdict: Is this a good , or a truly great one? For the answer to that question, you’ll want to read both of our in-depth Shooter’s Reports, as well as the conclusion itself.

Early in 2012, took its mirrorless camera line in a new direction with the enthusiast-friendly OM-D E-M5. Now, as we complete our Olympus E-M5 II review, it’s time for us to cast judgement on the camera which takes the OM-D series to the next level with an ever more feature-packed design.

Sporting upgrades throughout — including a spectacularly impressive new multi-shot high resolution mode which merits an entire page to itself in our review — the Olympus E-M5 II understandably generated a lot of excitement when it launched last February. And we were no less excited ourselves, because once we’d familiarized ourselves with its control-packed body, the E-M5 II captivated us in a way that few cameras can. It was just plain fun to shoot with, and we think that showed in our photos!

 

Adobe resets free 30-day trials for those wanting to test out Creative Cloud’s newest features

Just as they did last year, Adobe has announced its resetting free trial offers for its Creative Cloud platform to all users who have already taken advantage of it.

Earlier this month, Adobe released the 2015 update for its Creative Cloud platform. It included a number of new features for Photoshop and Lightroom, and brought about a new life to Adobe’s growing collection of mobile apps.

To make sure everyone gets a chance to try the updated software, Adobe has decided to reset all free trial periods for Creative Cloud. The programs eligible for the 30-day trial include Photoshop CC (which includes Adobe Bridge CC), InDesign CC and Illustrator CC.

To take advantage of the refreshed trial, you simply open up the Creative Cloud application on your computer and click ‘Update’. Your free trial period should then be reset and ready to go.

Sarah Fitzgerald Jones Joins The NPS Team

Canon warns of fake 600EX-RT speedlites; find out if yours is authentic

In their statement, emphasizes these counterfeits were neither designed nor manufactured by them, despite look nearly identical to Canon’s own products down to the individual trademark logos.

‘Furthermore, these counterfeit products have not been manufactured or tested under the safety standards established by Canon’, Canon states in the advisory. ‘[Therefore] we are unable to make representations concerning their safe operation, and there is a possibility that using one of these counterfeit products may cause adverse affects such as generation of fire and/or smoke’.

Canon says the best bet to ensuring your model is an authentic Canon product is to purchase from an authorized Canon dealer, such as B&H or Adorama. If you’ve already purchased a Speedlite 600EX-RT flash, Canon has provided a couple of graphics to help you distinguish whether your speedlite is authentic or not.

The position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a genuine unit is towards the left (see the green arrow), and the position to release the mounting foot lock lever on a counterfeit unit is towards the center (see the red arrow).

The display on the Custom Function screen is different. Follow the steps in the Speedlite 600EX-RT Instruction Manual to access the Custom Function screen.

 

 

Olympus patent shows off what could be the first super telephoto lens for MFT systems

The patent, originally filed in October of 2013 and published earlier this month, details a super telephoto lens made up of 17 elements in 14 groups. Also present inside of the lens is an image stabilization group, for better capturing those long distance shots.

Minimum focusing distance of the lens would be 2 meters (6.5 feet) and the angle of view would be roughly 2.6º. Below is an MFT chart displaying, from left to right, spherical aberration, astigmatism, distortion, chromatic aberration of magnification.

This would mark the first super telephoto lens for the Micro Four Thirds mount. To date, the longest focal length you can achieve, without extenders, is 300mm in both their 70-300mm F4.0–5.6 and ED 75-300mm F4.8-6.7 II. Panasonic also offers a 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 lens.

Imaging Resource © 1998 -2015 . Material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted or otherwise used without the prior written consent of

 

 

The New Sigma 24-35mm f/2 Art Lens is Like 3 Prime Lenses in 1 Zoom

Sigma today announced a new lens to its highly-acclaimed Art lineup: the 24-35mm f/2. According to the company, this is the “world’s first large-aperture full-frame wide-angle zoom lens offering f/2 brightness throughout the zoom range.” The lens features 18 elements in 13 groups, a minimum aperture of f/16, an 82mm filter size, a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches (28cm), dimensions of 3.4×4.8 inches (87.6×122.7mm), a weight of 33.2oz (940g), a 9-blade aperture, an inner focusing system that eliminates front lens rotation, and a max magnification ratio of 1:4.4.

The somewhat restrictive zoom range of 24-35mm may seem a bit strange, but Sigma says its goal was to offer the quality and convenience of three of the most commonly used prime lenses in one zoom lens. It “allows photographers to carry one lens to do the work of […] a 24mm, 28mm and 35mm — with f/2 brightness and top optical performance,” Sigma says.

With the introduction of this new lens, Sigma is one step closer to offering a interesting zoom trinity that consists of the existing 24-105mm f/4, the rumored 24-70mm f/2.8, and this new 24-35mm f/2.

This Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSM Art lens will be available for EF, F, and Sigma SA mounts. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

 

 

5 Things Pure Film Photographers Won’t Tell You, or: Why I Shoot Hybrid

I love film. I purely, madly, and deeply love film. I learned on film, I shot my first wedding with film, traveled around Europe with a film , and have taken Polaroids on road trips, adventures and portrait sessions. I have boxes of beautiful little Polaroids that I treasure more than anything I’ve ever taken with a digital camera. Film is a wonderful, brilliant medium for taking photographs with real soul. The thing is, I was gifted a Martha Stewart Wedding book from the 80s this Christmas. The images in this book came from way before the digital revolution. All of the images in this book were done on film. Some of the daylight images were beautiful, but when you get to reception pictures, oh my gosh.

If I handed some of those pictures to my brides today, they would cry and hate me forever. Literally. One indoor pictures was COMPLETELY RED! We are talking about a photograph published in MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS, the BIBLE of all wedding stuff. Back then, this was normal. Nowadays, it’s not, thank goodness.

When I first started my photography business, I made a decision to shoot film alongside digital photography. Why? In my opinion, it’s the photographer, not medium or the camera, that makes beautiful images. My job as a wedding photographer is to produce the best collection of images possible for my couples. If I was purely a film shooter, my collections would lack a lot of coverage. Why on earth, in this day and age, would I want to do that? So, without further ado, here are some reasons why I shoot hybrid.

For the most part, all the film photography on Pinterest and photographers websites are from beautifully lit, golden hour portrait sessions. Very rarely do you see an amazing night time shot done on film. The thing about a wedding is that you have no idea what the lighting will be like most of the time. A lot of the time, you’re shooting in a dark church or candle lit reception space with funky DJ lights. What if your beautiful golden hour ceremony suddenly turns into a black as night thunderstorm? We are lucky enough to live in an age where you can shoot in near darkness and still get beautiful photographs. Why would I limit myself and punish my clients for the sake of “art”?

Receptions are one of the most fun things to photograph. I usually average around 200 or so crazy fun party pictures from each wedding. The thing is, I took probably around 600. Parties are hard to photograph, people are dancing, drunk, and get into your shots a LOT. That means a lot of throwaways. They are having so much fun they don’t really notice the photographers, which means it’s awesome to just click away and not worry. If I shot receptions on film, I’d probably get 30 useable photographs that were honestly, just ok, and probably only in black and white. Why would I make a conscious decision to limit the amount of photographs that I want my couples to receive?

Film is best, in my opinion, for getting ready shots, posed couples, and details. It’s BEAUTIFUL for these things. As a girl who gets giddy about light, I help my couples plan around golden hour portraits. But what happens if your ceremony runs late, family pictures take longer than you want because people wander off, and by the time we get to couples portraits it’s basically dark outside? Well the pictures from the pure film shooter would be grainy, meh and probably kinda blurry. Or, they would just shoot in black and white so forget about having pretty photos of your bouquet that perfectly matches your nails and lipstick. A hybrid shooter, on the other hand, would whip out their full frame camera, pump the ISO up to 3200 and get some beautiful photographs that soak in the last of the twilight. THEN they would take some cool black and white portraits on 3200 ISO film.

I know what you guys are going to say, digital cameras can fail. Of course they can, anything can fail. The thing is, I shoot with two memory cards in my camera (one for backup) and pretty much know instantly if something is wrong with the camera and the shots aren’t coming out. With film, it could be a month before you realize that something was wrong with the shutter and ALL of your couples photos are gone… forever. I did a portrait session with someone that hired a film only photographer for their wedding. Something went wrong with the camera and the photographer lost all of the family formals. Yeah, heartbreaking. The thing is, if something happens to the film photographs, a hybrid shooter will always have something to give their couples to remember their wedding day.

There is a reason that most film photographers call themselves “Natural light film photographers”. It’s because for the most part, film does not do well in low light! Seriously! There are exceptions, and cool film stocks, but for the most part, film works best in pretty daylight… even cloudy daylight… but seriously, it works best in daylight. As any bride will tell you, you can’t plan the weather. Also, have you noticed that most reception shots from film photographers are all in black and white? And blurry? Need I say more?

All in all, please don’t think I’m insulting film or the medium. I love film more than words can say. I just think that as a wedding photographer, my first priority above all else is to my couples. Limiting how I shoot would be selfish, and I could never be ok with giving an inferior product because I was so true to film. The thing is, I’m true to providing beautiful images for the people that matter most, my couples, their families, and their families to come.

About the author: Maile Lani is a wedding photographer based in New Orleans, Louisiana, who’s available for weddings worldwide. You can find more of her work on her website here.

 

 

Learn how to feather the light from your soft box

Softboxes are a staple of studio photography. You can pick one up in almost every size imaginable and, with the right knowledge, can tweak its light output to do almost anything you want.

One method of adjusting a softbox to change its aesthetic is feathering, the process of angling your softbox at different degrees across your subject’s face to soften or strengthen facial contours.

Jay P. Morgan of The Slanted Lens has shared this helpful video to help introduce and walk through the process of feathering a softbox. In the eight and a half minute video, Morgan thoroughly walks through what feathering is and shows how to use the technique to perfectly sculpt your subject with light. It’s a great watch, full of enthusiastic help from one of the most knowledgeable in the business.

Imaging Resource © 1998 -2015 . Material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted or otherwise used without the prior written consent of