Redrock Micro’s HALO!


Redrock Micro might have just reinvented focus pulling. With their sonar or radar system focus pulling will never be the same.

Be sure to check out nofilmschool’s interview at NAB.

Red 8K Weapon

The Red 8K camera which out resolves many stills cameras has been announced. The dragon, which got the highest score of all new modern photo sensors in the DXO testing might now be eclipsed by this new beast. Red have claimed that cine and photo cameras merge  when working with their cameras which ultimately do shoot separate raw files for each frame. With this ultra high resolution camera and a very nice, over 35mm sensor it might just as well become an alternative. The question being who will be able to put up with the cost of such a system for photo use? Certainly only those of us who really do earn a buck, still it’s very exciting to see this new side of photography unveil.

Have a look at the preview at nofilmschool:

or at EOS HD:




Sony A7R teardown by Roger Ciala

Roger Ciala from the popular Lensrentals blog did a teardown of the amazing A7R. Many of us wondered how Sony managed to cramp the full frame sensor into such a tiny body. Have a look at what they discovered and why they praised the build quality so much here.



The A7R seems to be a milestone of the mirrorless revolution. Although many people prefer to have an analog viewfinder it is hard not to take into account the many advantages this mighty little camera possesses. Somewhere in between a large compact camera and the performance of a Leica S this beast has many people thinking where the camera market is heading. Miniaturization is a technological tendency and the Sony A7R is a good example of it.

Sony is known for good products, no only good-looking, but also well built. Their cameras are no different. The teardown illustrates the difference in very well thought through electrical and mechanical design, which sets it apart from many other manufacturers. This camera might just as well become your best friend for the next decade, as the specs are approaching medium format range, which you might in fact never need.

Most people talking about the downsides of the A7R point to the limited lens range. This is of course true, yet already in the begging there are a few fine options and as Zeiss has been providing the lens designs and will surely continue to help Sony in this regard, so I would be optimistic about the future of the E mount.


Samsung launches “S” premium lens line with a 16-50mm F2 – 2.8 S ED OIS

Samsung’s new premium lens line

Samsung S 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Lens 1

Samsung S 16-50mm F2-2.8 S ED OIS Lens

Alongside the NX30 Samsung launched a new premium lens line giving it an “S” symbol. Following the trend of creating higher spec lenses for users Samsung revealed its new design ahead of CES.

[Read more…]

Samsung Launches 20MP NX30 camera

Samsung NX30

Samsung NX30

Samsung launches NX30 20MP camera


Ahead of CES Samsung presented today it’s newest APS-C camera. Packed with new connectivity options as well as bright and tilting EVF and LCD for convenient shooting and filming, this camera might appeal to many amateurs, if the price won’t be too high. For now we still don’t know what price tag the company will set for the body.

Samsung is steadily broadening its camera portfolio to suit every pocket. With the new NX30 it is certainly targeting the more ambitious amateurs, which will surely reflect the price.
Lets look at other NX cameras offerings from Samsung to find out what we can expect. These amazon ads automatically display the current prices of a few Samsung NX models:


[Read more…]

Zeiss 85mm 1.4 Otus lens coming in 2014

Two days ago Zeiss has confirmed the next lens from the Otus range to be available in 2014. It will be a short tele 85mm f/1.4 lens. And so Zeiss confirms it will build a family of high-end lenses for full frame DSLR shooters ready to pay the premium price for extraordinary pieces of optics.

The 55mm Otus, which is already shipping, confirmed in tests and in the field its breakthrough qualities. The 85mm 1.4 Otus will now have to be at least as good to live up to the expectations Zeiss has set with the 55mm.

Does this mean a 35mm Otus is coming in 2015? Time will tell, or shall we say Zeiss will tell…

Zeiss 85mm 1.4 Otus confirmed

Zeiss 85mm 1.4 Otus confirmed








Spotted by the digital

2013 Photo Wish List

It begun to get really chilly and Santa is probably getting his reindeer ready, so if you haven’t written your wish list, this is certainly the time to do it. I thought about mine, but I couldn’t really make up my mind what to ask for and so the list is rather long and with many options.

645DFplus-with-IQ260-back.ashxIf Santa would not have any financial limitations, certainly I hope this is the case, then I would go pro all the way. Number one on my list is the Phase One IQ260 with a 645DF+ body and some of those beautiful Schneider leaf shutter lenses. Why the IQ260 and not the IQ280 you ask? The IQ260 is a breakthrough product. Although the resolution is a touch lower it sports the best long exposure on the market, at 60 minutes noise free photographs with 16-bit brilliant color and 13f stops of dynamic range. With this product Phase One beat itself, as the previous winner for long exposures was the P45+.

[Read more…]

Leica takes over Sinar

Latest News by an official press release confirm Sinar takeover by Leica

As Leica announced on its facebook page, the takeover of Sinar has been finalized. Leica Camera AG is now in possession of a controlling 51% of shares of Sinar Photography AG.

Back in 2006 Leica’s press release informed us of the beginning of the process:

Leica Camera AG, Solms, takes over 51% of the
shares of Sinar AG

Leica Camera AG, Solms, takes over 51% of the shares of Sinar AG, Feuerthalen /Switzerland, from JENOPTIK Laser, Optik, SystemeGmbH, Jena (“JENOPTIK”). JENOPTIK and Leica Camera AG have signed corresponding acquisition and transfer contracts on September 25, 2006. Confidentiality was agreed concerning the transfer price.
The existing technical cooperation between JENOPTIK and Sinar AG concerning digital camera backs will be continued.
Sinar AG serves professional photographers with leading solutions in medium and large format cameras, both with analogue and digital technology. Leica Camera AG will continue and develop the Sinar business with the Sinar brand and company structure, based on the shared values of excellence and innovation.

Yesterday’s press release confirms the end of this process [Read more…]

8-bit vs 16-bit editing guide

The 8-bit vs 16-bit dilemma made easy.

Should I be working in 8 or 16-bit? I have been asked this question more than a few times by various people, who felt unsure, if they should be working in 8 or 16-bit mode. Should they develop always to 16-bit and then convert to 8-bit in Photoshop, if 16-bit of information is unnecessary for the image, or maybe always go with 8-bit? I had asked myself this question many times in the past, but only when I really sat down and thought about it, had all the ins and outs become obvious. So if you are one of those people read on!



Don’t get discouraged by these numbers in the beginning, in fact it’s all pretty simple.
In an 8 bit image (all jpgs for example) every pixel has 256 possible shades of Red (R), Green (G) and Blue (B), which we will refer to as 8-bit RGB. This totals to 16.8 million possible colors for combined RGB, whereas a 16-bit image has 65,536 possible shades in each channel, which gives us 281 trillion colors.

[Read more…]

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 Update

Obviously lenses range from very sharp to the very unsharp ones. Sometimes the slightly unsharp ones are more popular as they have different qualities to them, which outweigh the slight loss of resolution. Yet there are few people who prefer blurry lenses, the soft focus era is definitely behind us. Nowadays many people get excited about resolution and forget the importance of low distortion, proper calibration, APO correction, bokeh rendition, etc. But what, if there was a lens which excelled in all these fields and still not sacrificed this by a loss of resolution? Read on as the Zeiss Otus delivers.

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4

[Read more…]

Nikon Df Retro styled digital SLR released

On November 5th Nikon released the Nikon Df. It is a retro styled DSLR following the hype of manufacturers going back to their tested film days body design. Many photographers welcome this with praise and  so these cameras are selling well. No wonder Nikon decided to join the game. Yet it is somewhat strange that they did not decide to give the body a sensor of at least the resolution of the D610. People look at the resolution of bodies and 16MP is not an outstanding resolution nowadays. Yet Nikon is aware of this, so could this be the first camera of a line of retro styled Nikon’s. Just as Fuji has a few to fit everyone’s budget. We will see…

For now all we know is this press release:

Nikon Press release
November 5, 2013

The fusion of responsive, intuitive dial operation and “flagship D4 image quality” in the smallest and lightest FX-format body

Df_ambience_5b_sm.lowTOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the Df, a Nikon FX-format digital SLR camera.

The Df combines intuitive, worry-free dial operation with superior image quality over a broad range of sensitivities in the smallest and lightest FX-format body, making the camera extremely portable. Large metal mechanical dials on the top of the camera enable direct, intuitive operation, offering tactile pleasure of shooting with precision mechanics, and allowing users to feel the joy of creating images that reflect their individual intent. The camera also provides a system that allows users to focus on shooting with the security that comes from visual confirmation of ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, and exposure compensation values, as well as the convenience of direct adjustment of settings at any time, even when the camera is turned off.

[Read more…]

Zeiss Otus 55 1.4 extended preview/ Medium format in a 35mm body? Yes, with the right lens.

Zeiss Otus 1.4 55mm ZE

Zeiss Otus 1.4 55mm ZE

Every now and then a piece of gear appears, which changes not only the photo gear landscape and forces the competition to alter their plans, but also pushes photographers into working differently using new equipment. The Fuji X system managed to do this, with lots of people switching to this system. The Nikon D800/e had a similar effect just as Canon 5D. And so we come to the Zeiss Otus 55mm 1.4, which might also be such a game changer, although matching its qualities will be very difficult for the other lens makers.  For now let us look at the basics.


Looking at the cosmetics, the lens has a modern look, an all metal barrel and a rubber like focusing ring, which is easy to detect with your fingers when looking through the viewfinder, easy to read distance and depth of field scales. Apart from the brilliant design (it won the 2013 IF product design award) the first thing you notice is the sheer size of this prime. It is after all a standard lens. It’s not a 50mm nor a 45mm, which is in fact closer to the diagonal 43.3mm, but a 55mm, yet the size and weight is much closer to a medium format 80mm, then the standard fifties we are used to.

All of this has a reason. The Otus, with the diastagon optical construction, is a very complex lens; 12 elements in 10 groups with floating elements design. The specialists at Zeiss worked on the whole project for 3 years, but the time from starting the work to building the first prototype was just one year. According to Dr. Nasse, scientist from Carl Zeiss and one of the first people to shoot with the lens, this was possible thanks to the extensive experience in building high performance cine lenses.

zeiss otus construction

zeiss otus construction

When designing the lens, the engineers and scientists had a totally free hand, not restricted neither by size, weight nor cost. Richard Schleuning from Zeiss says this was a new approach, as normally these restrictions are a part of every project of a new lens. This time there were no compromises with just one goal in mind, the absolutely best lens for 35mm.

The diastagon is normally used for wide angle lenses, it is a more complex, but also gives a possibility of correcting both for chromatic aberrations and field curvature. Schleuning claims both of these parameters are controlled across the whole aperture spectrum, if so, this is an amazing achievement.

[Read more…]

What to retouch- The stress!

     People often discuss the many retouching techniques to achieve the “best” or most “natural” effect, for example for skin retouching. Although it is true, that proper techniques should be used to retain the structure of the skin, textiles, etc., in my understanding, it is just as important to understand what should be changed using these techniques, and not only concentrate on the how.

     I have met talented retouchers or photographers who retouch themselves; young, full of knowledge, tricks and technical skills and yet their post production work, look of final images, lacked something. At first I did not know what I was missing, it did take me a while to understand that most people, at least at the beginning of their career, tend to concentrate too much on the technical side and keep forgetting that the most important aspect is the esthetics of a photograph (not going into the meaning of an image and it’s impact on its value). Everyone prefers a beautiful although a bit poorly altered shot to an ugly perfectly retouched one.

     And so when we retouch a person, to make him beautiful, by which I mean to show his natural beauty, not making him into a Barbie, or just to make him look appropriate to the context of the image, we should concentrate much more on “revealing” the person’s face, than just on altering the skin texture or removing wrinkles.

     When retouching human faces there are a number of things we usually correct (and it is not whitening teeth as most people might think); the most important thing for me is stress and tiredness. How do you remove that, you might ask? In fact it is not that complicated.

After stress relieving treatment

After stress relieving treatment

[Read more…]

ASAP? I would prefer ALAP!

ASAP- As soon as possible
ALAP- As long as possible

Having worked in the photo industry for over 15 years I can see an increasing pressure on the speed at which jobs are supposed to be handled over to clients. When I was starting off we were still shooting film and often, to speed things up, developing it on our own Jobo ATLs.

We thought that it was really fast. We thought of it as ASAP. Shoot a few rolls of film, pop it into the processor and bang, it was ready for an edit and scanning. Since than digital crept in. At first slowly, with a laugh, as the resolution was so poor, yet steadily it overtook the market. Analog, is now a thing of the past, used by those of us who still love film and shoot it for fun, and those few pros who can afford to work ALAP, or at least sort off.

In one of his books I read, that Ansel Adams used to say- Photography is not about comfort; Few of us would be ready to go shooting with such a heavy load as he often carried on his back. Similarly we could say, that photography is not about speed or rushing. In the days when everything has to be ready ASAP we like to forget, that haste rarely goes in hand with quality.

I shoot pretty quick and yet like to take my time during post processing. It is usually hard for me to decide which final grade to pick. Lightroom, Capture One, DXO or what ever developer you use offer an amazing set of options which lets us go in so many directions. Many times when I have developed color styles for clients, we have discussed for long periods of time which grading is the best for a set of images, as each treatment changes, often drastically, the perception of an image. Understanding the photograph and it’s meaning  requires time. We need to come back to the image after a few hours, or days (not on commercial assignments of course) and then at last the truth about the image strikes us. So obvious that at first overlooked.

Your workflow is surely different, and you may be as quick as flash, but each of us at some point needs a bit more time to think things through and give a finishing touch. For that we need a moment. I believe that we should constantly educate clients about the importance of not rushing jobs and a reasonable deadline is necessary to deliver quality. How otherwise can we stop the trend of ever shorter turnaround times and meaningless images? Of course it is a global trend and we can’t stop it. Educating our own ecosystem of clients will surely help us though, in our own struggle with time.

Lets not rush. A great image it worth more than countless snapshots. The more often we will give our utmost attention and craft to our creations, the more often we will be hired for those jobs where time is not as important as quality. And so:

Instead of ASAP go ALAP!


Nikon d610 is here to stay

nikon d610 camera

Nikon d610

The Nikon D610
is here and it is shipping. Since it’s October 8th release date at lot of people have been writing about the camera and no wonder. At a price tag of just $1999 the d610, with it’s 24.3-million pixels sensor is a steal.

Let’s sum up what’s on the web about it as of today, October 20th 2013:
Nikon press release, brochure
– Dpreview published their preview based on a preproduction d610
Ken Rockwell assembled an extensive review, also with all the specifications of the camera, its accessories and how it fares in comparison to the other Nikon’s as far as the specs go
DXO Labs test the d610 and gives its sensor the same as the d600, very high, 94 grade. Their review covers not only what’s new in the camera, but also how it compares to the competition.
Nikon Rumors confirms that users are not seeing any dust or oil spots, which as most people suspect was the reason for which Nikon decided to update the d600 so early in its life cycle.
The Verge publishes an article concentrating on the difference between d600 and d610, while Imaging Resource puts the d610 in perspective to their d600 review.



After digging into all that content we can clearly see that the d610 is a very slightly beefed up version of the d600. Is that bad? No, the d600 was, or is, a great camera, the oil issue of course created at first many problems for people, but nevertheless it still is a great camera with an amazing sensor. If the d610 is even better, than Nikon has raised the bar a tad higher.

So should you sell your d600 and head for your local photo store? definitely no, unless you think d610 looks so much better than d600… On the other hand, if you were thinking about buying the d600, but then decided to stick to your old body after hearing about the dust issues photographers were having, now may be the time to shell out that hard earned cash!

The d610 may not be an indestructible pro body, although it does have magnesium alloy top and rear covers, but don’t be fooled by that and the pop-up flash. It delivers outstanding 24MP images with 14 stops of dynamic range and very good high ISO capabilities. A few years ago all the pros would be ready to pay much more than 2K for it, so don’t get hyped about the fact that d800/ d800e has better resolution. Are you really making huge prints every second day? And even so, do you really think you would easily tell the difference? On top of that do you really have lenses which exceed the resolution of the 24MP sensor? I have retouched images for many famous photographers over the years and I can assure you, that many of them often shoot with funny old cameras and don’t mind the low resolution. So if you’re in for an upgrade and the extra K for d800 is a big leap, then don’t think about it and go for the d610; maybe just wait for a few more people to confirm the production version really rocks…