Archive for category Reviews

Tonality from MacPhun video

One of the things I always love it playing with new software, being it plugins or apps, it’s always nice to see if a piece of software can give you a boost in workflow or simply give you a new/better/faster way to make your images stand out.

TonalityPro_icon_512

Now there are some great BW converters out there, I love Alien Skin Exposure, SilverFx and DxO filmpack so when the guys from MacPhun asked me to testrun their newest app called Tonality (in base a BW convertor) I was very curious what they could add to the market with their app, but after some weeks of test-driving Tonality I can tell you that it ROCKS, the interface is very easy to understand but most of all the options you have to really custom make the look you want for your image is awesome. I’m 100% sure you’re gonna love it.


As with all MacPhun software it’s for Mac only, it will work as a plugin in for Lr, Photoshop but also as a standalone.


You can order it here :
https://secure.avangate.com/order/checkout.php?PRODS=4626017&QTY=1&AFFILIATE=59677&CART=1


Congratulations to our buddies at MacPhun for releasing another awesome app.

 

And here is my video on Tonality Pro.
As you can see I don’t use the layers option, this is something I do use in Photoshop, but if you want it in the software it’s there.

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IceLight review

Today a small review on a speciale piece of lighting kit, the Westcott Ice Light.
Let’s first look at what it is…
Annewiek called it my short lightsabre and I have to be honest, it does remind me of one :D
Here you see one in action in the shot.

Chantal Juni 25 2014 161 1

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California Sunbounce

I love to play with light, being it ambient light, strobes big or small or whatever as long as I can tell my story I’m happy.
I always tell people that we as photographers are story tellers and light is our language, one can of course just put some words together to make oneself clear but one could also work like a poet and really play with the words. For photographers this translates in just using light to show something, or play with light and create something beautiful.

 

On location it’s not always handy to bring strobes and when you already have a  great looking set and model and plenty of light it’s often even better to just go for the natural light, but…. that being said I always like to work with accents, fill in etc. In the past I’ve used different reflectors for fill in and some extra accents but I never really was super excited about what I could do with them creatively…. that was until I got a California sunbounce from a friend, this thing is awesome.

 

I’m using a larger version and actually only use the silver side to really throw some light in the scene, in fact they are so powerful that one day by accident (yeah Frank) I pointed it inside the studio from outside and Annewiek came running out to see what was going on, the whole studio was brightly lit :D, they are for that matter also not perfect for your models, often the models feel a lot of heat in the burning sun and looking into the light… well it’s not something you will do for pleasure (so counting down 3-2-1 open eyes) will work pretty well.

 

The thing I love about the California Sunbounce I use is that it’s very easy to travel with and assembles pretty fast, but most off all when it’s in the sun…. it REALLY bounces the light. Of course I can write 1000′s words about it, but what about just showing some images I shot during the workshop at Great Fosters in the UK, all were shot with Natural light and the California Sunbounce. You’ve seen the images before but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about the Sunbounce and these images show my point best I think.

 

All images are 100% natural light, and as you can see the pop and accents the Sunbounce give really mimics the way I would normally use strobes in these situations, but Annewiek likes this a lot more :D So if you’re shooting a lot with natural light and travel light, check out the California Sunbounce products.

9 Juni 2014 Marie 0025 1

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Which RAW software DxO vs Capture One vs Lr

I think that on software this is probably one of the most asked questions “Frank which RAW convertor do you use and which one do you advise?”

 

Well let me start with saying that there is no 100% best solution, in this blogpost I can only tell you what my experiences are and my results, the problem is that all three convertors are strong in certain areas and less strong in others but none is the strongest in all. So in this post I will tell you my opinion and how I use them, this might differ from yours of course.

 

The contenders :
DxO optics 9.5
Lightroom 5.x
Capture One

 

First lets look at my opinion on them and when/why/how I use them.

 

Lightroom
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I think it’s no secret that Adobe is a huge company and their products are among the best photographers use, in fact it’s the standard for most professional workflows. Adobe has several software packages I use including Premiere for video, Lightroom and Photoshop of course, and I have to be honest I LOVE all their products, and probably that’s also the reason that they are the standard in the industry for so many people.

 

Lightroom is where all my files “life”, it’s my hub where I keep everything combined, make smart albums, label and keyword my images, and yeah I’m even using their GPS map module. In short Lightroom is what is on my computer screen a lot and when I search the archives it’s actually the only software I use.

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Toughtech duo backup solution

We’re on the road a lot and one thing that always worries me (well there are a lot of things that worry me but that’s another story) is my data. In the past I travelled with 2 separate harddrives with USB3 connections that made pretty fast backups, but I have to be honest it’s not the perfect solution.

 

So I was looking for a small Raid1 system where I did not have to think about backupping but where it would just happen. In other words, write everything to one drive and the enclosure automatically writes it also to the second (as Raid1 works).

 

During a tradeshow in the UK my buddy Glyn Dewis showed me his Toughtech Duo setup and I was sold. This review I’m writing after working with the system on the road.

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First review FujiFilm XT-1

I’m not really a brand person, we use a lot of Apple but I’ve always said that if I found something better I would switch, well up until now we never did so I guess Apple still fits my needs. Cameras the same thing, I’ve used Canon many many years (and loved it) but switched to Sony for the sheer dynamic range of the cameras, but let’s be honest sometimes you want something a bit smaller, so the search began for the perfect small camera… and I gave up….. to say they were all junk was well…. actually the truth, of course there were some nice ones but in the end I never used them…… that was until I first got to know FujiFilm, wow amazing cameras with a small form factor and finally the image quality we are used from a DSLR, but the X100 only had one lens so… not my thing.

 

When FujiFilm introduced the X-Pro1 and later the X-E1 I was sold.
FujiFilm not only knows how to build a camera that brings the joy back into photography but they also know how to build lenses, good grieves those babies are sharp and good, the kitlens gives a new meaning to the word kitlens (normally not that good but this one rocks), and FujiFilm knows how to keep us photographers happy, if you want faster AF don’t worry you don’t have to buy a new lens… they just upgrade the lens COOL.

 

When released the A7r I was triggered, a FujiFilm like camera with 36MP, Sony dynamic range AND no AA filter wow.
And Sony delivered, an amazing camera which I actually got for street and travel but at the moment keeps my A99 in the safe, I’m using the A7r almost exclusivly.
So why test the new FujiFilm X-T1 when I’m so happy with my Sony?
Well there are always things to improve of course, for example size. If you use the A7r with A glass (to get the fast AF and use my standard glass) it’s still a big camera (ok big lens small camera), the AF from the A7r is very good but only when coupled with the convertor for the A/Minolta mount on the A7r and not so with the standard lenses, in that case the A7 is the better choice. So you see my dilemma, sometimes I just want a small camera and although the A7r is a huge difference compared to the A99 the FujiFilm X-T1 is…. well even better, or is it?

 

Let’s not make this a Sony vs FujiFilm review, yeah I know you want it but I won’t.
Ok very quickly, but after that it’s all FujiFilm I promise.

April 12 2014 Fuji XT1-43-Edit

Let’s first look at resolution
The FujiFilm uses a 16MP sensor, the A7r an EE less 36MP sensor, wow no competition right?
Well not quite…..
Although the 16MP FujiFilm sensor is “just” 16MP is puts out some amazing detail and I always said if I compare it to a normal DSLR I would rate it to be as detailed as a 22MP DSLR, sounds weird right? Well that’s because most people judge their images by the amount they can zoom in on their screens…. wrong. I always judge from a print and that’s actually how you should judge a camera, zooming in is cool and makes your heart pump but in essence it’s useless, you’re cropping your images and only looking at one part, as soon as you print you see the WHOLE image and you can stand closer to see the detail, and this my friends is where the FujiFilm shines, the detail is stunning.

 

But in all honestly the Sony A7r has no AA filter and 36MP and yeah indeed it gives a LOAD more detail, but…. you have to wonder, do you ever need to print THAT large? I think not.

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Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Today some more information on the camera function of the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and my experience with Android.

 

A few weeks ago I was asked to test the Sony Xperia Compact Z1 next to my iPhone 5s and be honest about my experiences.
Well as you know I’m always honest in reviews so let’s see what I think about the phone after a few weeks.

 

1. Design
I can be short about this.
I like the design, it feels nice and it’s very lightweight. What I really like (and would love Apple to incorporate this) is that the phone is 100% water proof, I’ve already shot some cool shots in the rain with it and with the iPhone I would not have the guts to do this. And let’s be honest you don’t always carry your camera with you in the rain.

 

2. Screen quality
Compared to the iPhone 5s I think the screen quality is about equal, the Sony is a bit sharper in some areas but I like the color accuracy of the iPhone just a bit more. What I do like is the screen size of the Sony, I don’t believe in phones where you do some extra fitness by carrying a small iPad as phone so for me this screen size is pretty much perfect, maybe a little bit bigger but not too much.

 

3. The camera
Well it’s a Sony right…
And I think Sony by now already proved they know how to build a sensor and the camera in the Z1 Compact is a very nice one.
With higher ISO I strongly feel the iPhone 5s wins hands down, but as long as the light is pretty nice the Z1 Compact has one heck of a camera, I love it.

 

The camera has 2 settings, the full auto which will give you a lower resolution but will optimize everything for you, and the full manual (including exposure compensation which I really like) which gives you the full resolution and loads of extra option to play with. Overall I’m more than happy with the camera and it would actually be a reason to carry the Z1 Compact with me just to be able to use it as a camera when I don’t carry anything else.

Corine Sony Xperia Maart 26 2014 (4 of 23)-EditA shot we recently took in the studio with the Sony.
On my Flickr I have a whole album with images by the way if you want to see more.

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