Thursday, 7 January 2016

Nikon D5 and D500 First Impressions.

Having had chance to consider the features offered by both cameras, I believe the D500 is the better choice to sit alongside an existing D4S. The marginal increase in resolution offered by the D5 won't offer any real world advantage over the D4S and the current flagship has high ISO capability aplenty. Looking at the D500 there's a great deal to like: A smaller, lighter body for occasions where minimal gear is appropriate, no anti-aliasing filter for sharper images from the camera and a tilt screen for video. Add to that, the D500 is the better connected camera. Looking at the existing Nikon lens line up, the 14-24mm is a superb lens, but focal lengths wider than 20mm have limited use. On the D500 it becomes an altogether more useful 21-36mm with the benefit of more depth of field as a result of the DX format. At the other end, the 70-200mm II which is marginally less useful than it might otherwise be due to considerable breathing would get a valuable boost. The 24-70, while a good lens, is not quite as capable as the other two key zooms usually carried and could be left behind, leaving coverage from 14-300mm (or so) depending on which lens is mounted on which body at the more useful focal lengths.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Siri: "I'm sorry Tom, I'm afraid I can't do that."

Another handy iOS 7 workaround, this time for iPhone: If you've had the experience of Siri refusing to dial a number he (or she) has always happily dialled in the past the reason is the number stored in your contacts is now too short for the nasal ninny. Edit the contact to add an extra zero at the end of the number to get around the bug.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

iOS7 "Have you tried turning it off and back on again?"

It's fair to say Apple has a few problems with iOS7 on iPad, not least of which is the nursery room iconography being used. In fact, some of the buttons, particularly in Mail, are packed so closely together only a small child would find them comfortable.

A couple of bugs to watch out for after installing:

Your clock is probably now showing the time in Cupertino with the result that many Americans were late for work on day one. To fix this go to Settings > General > Date and Time where you'll probably see iOS7 trying in vain to automatically set your time zone. Toggle Set Automatically to off, pick your own time zone manually (it's important that you do this rather than simply toggling the automatic setting) then turn Set Automatically back on if you wish. All will now be working as it should.

Siri has a cold. Yes, Siri now sounds muffled, like he is talking through a wall. Officially, the higher quality voice should download automatically the first time the iPad is connected to power and wifi. In practice this doesn't happen. The fix involves another trip to Settings: Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Languages & Dialects > Default Dialects. In my case I have British English selected. See the enhanced quality slider? If you try to move it, it will bounce back and a message saying preparing to download enhanced quality will appear. Nothing will download. To fix this, change to one of the other voices, such as Australian English, then back to your preferred choice after which the Enhanced Quality slider will work and Siri will be back on the job.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Ebb and Flow

©Tom Parkes

I've been a huge admirer of the visual style of the Channel Four series The Returned. Today's picture is of part of sculptor Kevin Dagg's installation Ebb and Flow which sits on the shore of Scotland's Kyles of Bute and emerges from the water at low tide in a way that will be familiar to French revenant fans.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

New Website - FIrst Look

A chance to take a first look at the redesigned main site which is being tested currently. The new site will feature full screen splash images and be adaptive for the best experience according to the visitor's screen size or device.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Month of May - Comment

May was an uneasy month for the world of photography. Adobe's announcement that its professional software would no longer be available for purchase on a 'perpetual' basis but would instead need to be rented from them month-by-month caused waves of anger around the world to judge from the reaction of the online photographic community. Stop paying the rent and your software stops working and you lose access to any work previously produced. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that model, I already rent Photoshop CS6 on an annual contract, but nevertheless in my view Adobe needs to re-examine the price point for single applications. Many photographers will only be interested in Photoshop and at £17.58 per month on the best value tariff, the break-even point versus purchasing the software comes after three years, after which and assuming you didn't previously expect to update every time Photoshop iterated, you will in future be paying a lot more to keep Photoshop on your computer.  Adobe's problem is many of its products are already developed to the point where customers often see no compelling reason to update more frequently than every once in a while. Adobe's rivals have been quick to capitalise on the unrest, with several offering special pricing for anyone jumping ship, conversion webinars and promises never to go down the rental route and one cheekily running a 'Welcome Adobe Customers' banner across its website.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was next:

"Today, with cameras as pervasive as they are, there is no such thing really as professional photographers" - Yahoo event

Mayer subsequently took to Twitter and apologised to the professional photographers paying for Flickr Pro accounts, saying her statement had been worded terribly.

News of the premature announcement of the death of professional photography seemed to reach the owners of the Chicago Sun-Times, who promptly sacked their entire 28 person photography staff. Pictures will in future be provided by reporters using smart-phones. Alex Garcia, a staffer at the rival Chicago Tribune blogged:

"Reporters are ill equipped to take over. That’s because the best reporters use a different hemisphere of the brain to do their jobs than the best photographers. Visual and spatial thinking is very different than verbal and analytical thinking. Even if you don’t believe that bit of science, the reality is that visual reporting and written reporting will take you to different parts of a scene and hold you there longer. I have never been in a newsroom where you could do someone else’s job and also do yours well. Even when I shoot video and stills on an assignment, with the same camera, both tend to suffer. They require different ways of thinking."

Garcia is correct, only very rare individuals can both write well and create excellent photography and to attempt both simultaneously is near impossible.  The same mistake is being repeated across the newspaper and magazine industry with publishers responding to falling advertising revenues by lowering the quality of the product. It should come as no surprise when customers turn away.

News came yesterday that this year's Focus on Imaging trade show was the last, with the organisers pulling the plug after 25 years. Always a barometer of the state of the industry, both technologically and economically, it will be missed by many both for the opportunity to see new products and the always well attended presentations and demonstrations. Hopefully, a group of manufacturers will take the initiative and put together a new show. Nikon ran a very successful event for its professional customers at Olympia a few years ago and what the industry really needs is a true equivalent of the BVE event with less emphasis on equipment and more on photography itself because the world continues to turn, there are always new customers, new outlets and new ways to make a living from photography. Certainly, the work I do today, the wonderful clients I have, I could never have imagined when I set out on this journey.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Live View Low Down

Something worth passing on after yesterday's firmware update:

"With live view photography in [M] (Manual) exposure mode, exposure preview was always on. This issue has been resolved."

To toggle exposure preview on and off, press OK. The last choice is remembered. This function applies only to live view in stills mode. This is a significant fix for studio photographers or anyone using live view in low ambient light.

I'm unable to determine what Nikon means by "Images are sharper and appear more three dimensional". In-camera jpegs look unchanged to me and a change to raw files would require an update to Capture NX2.