To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of the 1914-1918 war this special heading was created. It includes an image of the Royal British Legion 'There But Not There' installation in Penshurst Church, Kent, of 2016. Acknowledgement to the Remembered Charity. Other images by Marion Gatland and Peter Flower.

Editorial

Peter Flower

This edition of the Newsletter is a very full one, packed with information about the exploits of some of our members, reports on two interesting talks and announcements of many new cameras coinciding with the recent Photokina Exhibition.

In Newsletter 94 (2 June 2017) an article entitled 'Blue on Brighton beach' gave details of Jill Flower's project to create a lengthy cyanotype print, with exposure carried out by sunlight on the beach in Brighton followed by development in the sea. Fast forward to 25 August 2018 when an article 'Story of the blues' by Angela Chalmers appeared in Amateur Photographer explaining the way in which she used the cyanotype process to create photograms of flowers. I suggested to Jill that she should write to Amateur Photographer about her project of the previous year. This email obviously intrigued the staff at the magazine who suggested that the details in it could form the basis of an article.

Sincere thanks are due to Hollie Latham Hucker, Technique Editor of Amateur Photographer, who collated the information on this project from Jill and condensed it into the interesting article that appeared in the magazine of 6 October 2018.

When news of the publication was sent to members Ian Hunt sent Jill a congratulatory message to which he added his own recollections of working with cyanotypes during his time in the print industry. His article is also published below. He added a final comment - 'I know cyanotypes well and congratulate you for splashing about in the sea as a way of developing. It's a good job our company was based in the Cotswolds and not at the seaside!'

Photokina marked the announcement of several new cameras, some of which we reported in the previous Newsletter, and yet more that are included in following articles. Following the introduction of the new Canon and Nikon mirrorless models it was interesting to read reviews that regarded the inclusion of only one card slot as one of the most significant shortcomings. As will be seen from the following articles, Panasonic have avoided this potential criticism by including two card slots, but the Zeiss ZX1 has NONE!

Amateur Photographer

Peter Flower

My first encounter with this weekly magazine was many decades ago when my father, a keen photographer, use to buy it regularly. This was in the days when it was limited to black and white printing. I have only vague memories of the features in those times, but do remember a person writing under the pseudonym of Ricardo who appraised reader's photographs, marking them with triangles, circles, leading lines, and thirds to show the strong and weak points of their composition.

There then followed many years when I read it on a casual basis until recent years when I placed a regular order with my local newsagent. The attraction for me has been the wide variety of topics covered, plus the fact that it publishes on a weekly basis. In the past I read other magazines but found that their tendency to concentrate on a particular aspect of photography soon resulted in a loss of interest.

Recent topics, such as those on cyanotypes, historic cameras, use of filters, post-production techniques, large Polaroid prints, rephotographing Tutankhamun artefacts, equipment reviews, wildlife photography and the problems for professional photographers in working with local newspapers are indicative of the variety of interest provided in each edition.

These are difficult times for printed media, but hopefully Amateur Photographer will continue to provide its mix of news for the keen photographer.

Note: The magazine is also notable for its membership of EISA (the European Imaging and Sound Association). It was one of the originating members in 1982 when the editors-in-chief from five European photo magazines came together to select “The Camera of the Year” for the first time. This organisation expanded, both in membership and the products tested each year, to become what we now know as EISA.

Working with Cyanotypes

Ian Hunt

In the 1960s Cyanotype paper was available commercially in rolls of various sizes and lengths. It was commonly used in the engineering industry for recording technical drawings. In my 'own' print industry it was a pre-print proofing medium. We would just cut it from the roll to the size we needed. Rather like domestic wallpaper. However it was pre-coated with a light sensitive chemical and thus used under 'safelight' conditions.

Our print projects used continuous tone negatives for illustrations and Lith film for text/captions. These negatives were the results of photographing original oil paintings/watercolours/engravings etc. in the studio on Gallery Cameras and Stand Cameras.

Negatives as mono and/or colour separations and text negatives would be sellotaped in specific positions on the lightblock paper (Golden Rod). Book work was usually 8 images to view on a 30" x 40" sheet. Postcards might be 36 or 42 to a sheet. The whole sheet was flipped over and holes cut out of the paper to allow the light to pass through the negatives both image and text on a mono (black) printing job.

If we were using the four colour printing process we would also prepare sheets for the separations of yellow, cyan, and magenta printings. Any extra colours required would have their own separate sheet. Registration pins and trim (cut) marks would ensure each sheet fitted on the print plate and at the printing press. We would always apply a tonal step wedge to each colour separation sheet for assessing correct exposure of the negative to the final printing plate.

In the early days of using blue prints (1963/64) the negative sheet would be loaded and sandwiched in contact with the blue print paper under yellow safelight conditions in a glass and wood framed box. This will seem very 'Heath Robinson' but the box would be taken into what looked like a green house, flipped over and all the negative holes covered with dense cardboard piece larger than the negative.

Using Daylight - whether it be spring, summer, autumn or winter, and having determined the density of each negative, an overall assessment was made of how much exposure each negative needed for the blue print and then printing plate.

Individual heavy card covers would be removed from each subject image during the exposure. At the end of two hours in high summer or a day and a half in the depths of winter.... When the overall exposure was complete and the frame with negs would be moved from the 'green house' to back under safe light conditions.

The box would be flipped back over, lid removed and the blue print paper taken to a large sink for developing. The exposed hydrogen peroxide allowed the images to appear. The blueprint would be stopped and fixed by running water. When done it would be hung in a drying cupboard with fans to assist the drying process.

This was a long drawn out process. Wooden bars, wooden wedges and a carpentry mallet were used to compress the sheet of negs and blue print paper under a second sheet of glass, so a deft touch with the mallet was needed to ensure good contact as well as avoiding catastrophic consequences of uneven pressure breaking glass and ruining the lot.

Get the exposures wrong, or needing an alteration to a neg or text, and it was case of repeating the whole thing again. This was 1962/63.

Needless to say it didn't take long to decide this was a long winded and potentially time consuming process especially when the weather was cloudy! Remember the blueprint constituted a first proof. If it was deemed O.K. the whole process was repeated but using a printing plate coated a light sensitive collodion solution took the place of the blue print paper. Exposure was geared to the results of the blue print.

Developing the glass printing plate (30x40 x 1/2 an inch!) was done by water washing out the light sensitive solution out of the gelatine. Then drying out the plate.

Our friends across the water in the USA had started using carbon arc lamps for exposure and vacuum frames to do the job in minutes rather than hours and days.

We said we'll have some of that as well as the thin aluminium printing plates they were using in both rotary and flat-bed applications! No more 'Superman' muscle work-outs every day.

We progressed from hazardous carbon arc to more user friendly daylight balanced tubes, then bulbs as a consistent non flickering exposure source.

The blue print system first proof was used for a good ten years before I left the company in 1975 where I'd gone from apprentice to plate-making department manager.

Our company products and endeavours - postcards to fine art prints were renowned around the world. We reproduced paintings from the major art galleries, and educational institutions. Did the nature drawings from Cook's voyage to Australia, Dead sea scrolls, Reproduced Leonardo Da Vinci drawings from HM the Queen's Collection at Windsor Castle to L S Lowry paintings.

Traditionally the UK printing industry was slow to adopt new technology but by the early 1960s it's general advancement accelerated.

Fox Talbot photography inventor and experimentalist from the mid nineteenth century would have recognised the chemicals and methodology in our and the wider print industry dark rooms of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Even with more efficient processing and modern materials that had been adopted our artisan methods were not enough or economically viable to satisfy the accountants and the company closed in 1981.

I've scanned a few of my Kodachrome 35mm transparencies which date from 1974.

This one illustrates the hand retouching of a colour separation negative. The artist's original oil painting was matched to obtain a facsimile reproduction at press. Up to 12 different colour plates could be produced for a totally faithful result. Printed on handmade paper, proofs would be commented on for alterations and then signed off, in person, by the artist. L S Lowry was just one of a number of famous artists, authors and even royal visitors to our factory.

The next stage showing the way the continuous tone negatives are mounted on light block paper. If one substitutes unexposed 'Blue print' paper for the coated plate shown, the principle is the same as making a 'same size' contact print with negative and bromide paper under glass and safelight conditions in the old hobbyist's darkroom.

The last photo shows the exposing process under UV lamps. The lamps above the vacuum exposing frame are in banks and had to be monitored daily to ensure a consistent and even illumination.

That was checked with the equivalent of a light meter set on the end of a pole. Readings would be taken from edges and centre of the flatbed. The lamps took a short time to warm up. The hinged panel would be lowered for exposing to start, then raised to stop.

You will note the timer clock and boards on the glass surface. All negatives started off covered and then removed at intervals determined by the density of individual negs.

Trends

Peter Flower

While Canon and Nikon have entered the full-frame mirrorless camera market, soon to be joined by Panasonic, other manufacturers are adopting a different strategy. Fujifilm has indicated that it will concentrate on development of its existing X series (APS-C) camera range, but has already taken the leap into medium format with its GFX 50S and 50R models. This seems to indicate that it will not enter the full-frame sector which is likely to become increasingly crowded when Canon and Nikon release second generation models. In discussion with Digital Photography Review Toshihisa Iida, General Manager of Fujifilm's Optical Device and Electronic Imaging Products Division said “We don't see any point in Fujifilm entering that market. If we entered full-frame [our systems] would just start cannibalising each other. We're happy to stay with two completely independent systems”.

Pentax already has a medium format camera, the 645Z announced in April 2014, but this brand has seen little activity in more recent times. Unsurprisingly, Hasselblad with models like its X1D and H6D, and Phase One have been in the medium format sector for some time. Leica had a foray into medium format with its S2 model, announced in September 2008, but this is no longer listed. In its place is the SL3 (as reported below) which is due for release in spring 2019.

Notably absent from the list of major makes to be involved in either full-frame or medium format sectors are Olympus. Rumours are circulating that this company has plans to launch a significant new product to coincide with its 100th anniversary on 12 October next year. This will almost certainly be a flagship model in the M4/3 range. Olympus has been renowned for its compact camera body size, starting with the OM-1 film camera introduced at Photokina in 1972. It is likely that it will aim to retain the size advantage of the M4/3 body, but will concentrate on developing features that will allow it to compete with the larger format cameras from competitors.

Meanwhile, Leica continues to plough its own furrow, expanding its partnership with other companies whilst continuing to produce quality, and very expensive, cameras that retain many of the traditional manual control functions that are valued by their enthusiastic followers.

Panasonic S1R and S1 cameras

Peter Flower

Panasonic S1R and S1 cameras (these are photographs of pre-production models at Photokina)

In Newsletter 111, dated 12 September, we posed the question - Panasonic to unveil a Full Frame Mirrorless Camera? We didn't have to wait long for confirmation. On 25 September Panasonic formally announce two new cameras. These were the 47 megapixel S1R and 24 megapixel S1. It was explained that these new models are aimed at use by professional photographers as well as serious amateurs. The most interesting fact was that the two cameras would use the Leica L-mount found on that company's SL. In addition there will be three new Panasonic lenses available, with the first three being a 50mm F1.4, 24-105mm and 28-70mm. Panasonic plans on releasing more than ten lenses by 2020. Users can also use Leica's expanding L-mount collection, and Sigma will also be producing lenses for the system. Together, the three companies have formed the 'L-Mount Alliance'. This means that the new models will start with the advantage of a number of 'native' lenses without the need for adapters. An additional factor is that the Leica L-mount allows an almost limitless array of options in combining different interchangeable lenses with cameras featuring different sensor formats. Leica Camera, Panasonic and Sigma are set to offer a user-friendly solution that will allow photographers to ‘mix and match’ any of the three manufacturers’ APS-C and full-frame cameras with any lens from each other’s product portfolios. Regardless of which combination you might choose virtually all functional and qualitative characteristics of each respective system will be fully retained.

The S1R and S1 will support Panasonic's Dual IS technology, which combines in-camera shake reduction with optical stabilization built into select lenses. Both camera will be able to capture 4K/60p video, which Panasonic says is a first for a full-frame mirrorless camera.

The S1R and S1 will have a three-axis touchscreen LCD similar to the one on the Fujifilm X-T3. It will have dual memory card slots: one XQD and one SD slot. (A feature missing from its Canon and Nikon rivals)

Panasonic says both cameras will be weather-sealed and will feature 'high resolution' electronic viewfinders. Both feature top-plate settings LCDs. They include the dual-hinge tilting rear LCD panels that Fujifilm has used on its recent high-end models. Both cameras will use Panasonic's Depth-from-Defocus system for autofocus. This takes information about each lens's out-of-focus characteristics to help the camera assess the distance to the subject, to support its contrast-detection AF system. Perhaps tellingly, this description closely matches the way Leica discusses the autofocus in its SL.

Deliveries are expected to commence in the first quarter of 2019.

Comment: For many years there has been considerable co-operation between Leica and Panasonic, with Panasonic's compact model cameras forming the basis for many Leica models and Leica providing their optical expertise for Panasonic's compact and Micro 4/3 models. The adoption of a common lens mount, plus the addition of Sigma to the alliance, will provide a formidable challenge to the existing manufacturers of cameras in this market segment.

Details of the new models can be seen at this link -

https://www.panasonic.com/uk/Lumix-S.html

Details of Leica's models and involvement in the alliance can be seen at -

http://uk.leica-camera.com/

Sigma lenses

Peter Flower

On the 14 October 2018, Barney Britton of DPReview posted a report on an interview with senior executives of Sigma, including CEO Kazuto Yamaki, at the recent Photokina show., This followed the announced L-mount alliance. The question was asked - 'Do you have any predictions for the proportion of your lenses that you expect to sell in mirrorless mounts versus DSLR mounts, in the future?' The reply - 'Within three or four years I expect our mirrorless mount lens sales to be much bigger than for DSLR. Maybe 70% to 30%.'

Zenit M camera

Techman

Zenit M camera

On 26 September 2018 there was a further announcement of a partnership; this time between Leica and Zenit. A day after the company announced it was teaming up with Panasonic and Sigma on the L mount, Zenit took the wraps off the 'M', a Zenit-designed, Leica-manufactured rangefinder camera which has a lot in common with Leica's last-generation M Typ 240. Leica is currently assembling the 24 megapixel full-frame Zenit M rangefinder alongside the M10 at its Wetzlar plant in Germany. According to Russian news sources production will be limited to 500 copies, to be sold exclusively in Russia and Europe.

The Zenit M will be available in a black or chrome finish, and will be shipping 'later this year or early 2019'. There is some confusion about the prospective cost. According to one source it will cost 'between 4,000-5,000 euros' kitted with the Zenitar 35mm f/1.0 lens. This conflicts slightly with a Russian news report which puts the cost at between 5,000-6,000 euros. While the M is manufactured by Leica, the Zenitar 35mm f/1.0 is designed and built entirely in Krasnagorsk.

Zeiss ZX1 camera

Techman

Zeiss ZX1 camera images showing the unusual curved back and distinctive yellow lettering

Zeiss has unveiled its first-ever digital camera, the interesting ZX1 compact. It has a full-frame 37.4-megapixel sensor and a fixed 35mm f/2.0 T* lens, putting it into exclusive company with Sony's RX1 and the Leica Q. The boxy body is distinctive with a triangular grip and bright yellow lettering on the lens and dials. Notably, Zeiss teamed up with Adobe to build Lightroom CC into the camera, letting you shoot, edit and share images.

The ZX1 has a large 4.3-inch 1,280 x 720 multi-touch display with an unusual curve to help you not just shoot but edit photos afterwards. It's also equipped with a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) OLED electronic viewfinder. Unusually, there is no card slot, but it has 512GB of internal storage that Zeiss said can hold up to 6,800 RAW files in the DNG format. On the connectivity side, it has WiFi, Bluetooth and USB-C.

It can shoot at 3 fps. Autofocus details are scant, but it works in both continuous and single mode. Zeiss said it designed both the lens and high-resolution sensor to work in harmony with each other to create images "with that typical Zeiss look." The ZX1 can also shoot video at 4K 30fps, and full HD at up to 60 fps.

Availability is anticipated in early 2019.

Leica SL3 (Typ 007)

Techman

Leica SL3 medium format camera

This has been an especially busy time for Leica. In addition to the projects listed above there was the announcement of an updated model in this medium format series, due for release in the spring of 2017. Specific details of the new model are scarce, but the following details are quoted from the official Leica information.

'The Leica S CMOS sensor provides the necessary leap forward (unique to medium-format cameras) in terms of resolution and dynamic range, whereas Leica ProFormat in 3:2 ratio gives the pixels the space they need to produce the high quality results required by professionals. This level of performance is not only reached at basic sensitivity but can still be attained when you are dependent on the ambient light. Although it was previously assumed that you had to compromise on format for the sake of fast image sequences, the Leica S has rewritten the rule book. The lightning fast shutter mechanism, the CMOS sensor, the Maestro II processor, and predictive autofocus all come together to ensure that the Leica S combines the image quality of a medium-format camera with the fast responses of a 35 mm model. Its strengths not only become apparent in still photography, as the imaging quality of the S-Lenses and the sensor also come to the fore when recording video footage.

The Maestro II processor, which has been specially developed for Leica, is four times faster than its predecessor and, with a frame rate of 3.5 fps, sets a new record in the medium-format category. The Leica S possesses all the proven qualities of the S-System, in particular the innovative, 30 by 45 mm Leica Max 37.5 megapixel CMOS image sensor in Leica Pro Format. This sensor is more than 50 per cent larger than that of a 35 mm camera. It is large enough to deliver significantly higher imaging quality and shallower depth of focus than 35 mm and is suitable for a broad spectrum of photographic uses that go far beyond conventional medium format photography.'

Leica M10-D

Peter Flower

Leica M10-D camera

This was yet another model which has just been released by Leica. It is the third model in the M10 mirrorless full-frame range, following the M10 (January 2017) and M10-P (August 2018). It should be explained that on this rangefinder-style camera focus and aperture control is totally manual. In appearance it is very similar to the preceding models, except that it now lacks a rear LCD screen, as can be seen from the following image.

In addition to the lack of a screen (a feature on the almost identical M10-P) there is what appears to be a film wind lever. In fact, as can be seen, this lever is used as an effective thumb grip for the otherwise very smooth body. Quite apart from the question of why anyone would want to work with a modern camera lacking the ability to review images there is the question of cost. Both The M10-P (with screen) and the M10-D (without) are priced exactly the same, currently £6500 at Park cameras. The M10, the older model, is discounted to £5699.

The only way that you can review images, when out and about, is via a smartphone using the Leica FOTOS App (which also enables remote control of the camera) or by purchasing the optional Leica Visoflex finder, currently priced £370 at Park Cameras. The final shortcoming that I am aware of – it is not possible to format the memory card in the camera.

This is obviously aimed at a niche, likely to appeal only to true Leica enthusiasts with deep pockets. I have witnessed a rave review of this camera (on the Leica site) by just such an enthusiast. but other comments by review sites have reservations about Leica's logic for introduction of this particular model.

Leica Q-P camera (Typ 116)

Peter Flower

Leica Q-P camera (Typ 116)

In Newsletter 111 I commented on Don Morley's Leica Q camera that he had brought along to the Saturday Natter event. Coincidentally, Leica has just announced an upgrade to this model, the Q-P. Significantly, it now loses the distinctive Red Dot on the front, replaced by the classic script logo engraving on the top plate. A new paint finish in a high-resistance flat matte black gives the camera an even darker 'stealth' look and subtle textured feel. Minor changes have also been made to the controls.

The price for the new model is currently £4100, compared to £3650 for the older model, but you do get the benefit of an adjustable-length high quality brown leather strap and a second rechargeable battery included in the price.

Zeiss Batis lenses

Techman

The latest new lens in this range has recently been announced – the 40mm f/2. This range of lenses is renowned for superb optical performance. An unusual feature which aids creative photography is the innovative OLED display on the lens barrel which shows the distance and depth of field to ensure the focusing range can always be perfectly set.

Zeiss Batis lenses showing OLED display

Lumapod - The World's Fastest Tripod

Peter Flower

I am a person who very rarely resorts to the use of a tripod. I like to travel light and hate the encumbrance of a tripod which weighs more than the camera. I appreciate the views of others who are happy to spend more time setting up their viewing point and enjoy the certainty of pin-sharp images even at slow shutter speeds. Even carbon fibre tripods are generally bulky, although lighter than models of old.

Lumapod addresses these problems. It is an ultra-compact and lightning-fast tripod solution for those who enjoy exploring freely. Unlike traditional tripods, which rely on three legs attached to a centralized column and mounting point, the LumaPod is essentially two tripods in one that folds down into a single tube that looks something like the handle of a light-sabre. The base of the LumaPod is similar to a standard tripod in that it uses three rigid aluminium legs to keep the thing upright and steady. These low-profile legs serve as the attachment point for a telescoping column and three kevlar cables that hold the central column in place using tension. The important difference, and the way it gains its speed of operation and lightness, is this use of tension rather than compression of a conventional tripod.

Lumapod tripod, showing how it relies on tension of the kevlar cables for stability and its compact measurements when folded

Deemed the 'world's fastest tripod,' the LumaPod is a compact tripod that uses patented tension technology to stabilize your shots without weighing a ton. It comes in two models — the Go85 and Go120 — for varying camera sizes and can also be used as a monopod and selfie stick. The Go85 LumaPod weighs just 400g/0.88lbs, measures in at 85cm/33.5in and can hold 1kg/2.2lbs of camera equipment. The larger Go120 weighs 690g/1.65lbs, measures in at 120cm/47.3in when closed, and can hold 2kg/4.4lbs of camera equipment.

LumaPod is currently available to back on Kickstarter. (Note: It has already reached its target)

Underwater Photography – 17 September 2019 – Linda Pitkin

Report by Peter Flower

Linda started scuba diving in 1979 and took up underwater photography a year later, in 1980, joining the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP). Diving usually with Brian, her husband, she has travelled to many parts of the world in search of a wide range of underwater subjects, from immense whale sharks to tiny shrimps, and scenic views of reefs and wrecks.

She is the author and photographer of four books and a number of articles. Her stock photography features widely in books, newspapers, magazines and journals, including Professional Photographer, BBC Wildlife, Nature, and leading diving magazines. Other uses of her photographs include calendars, brochures, cards, advertising, and in an IMAX multi-screen presentation. She also undertakes commissioned photography.

In the early days, using film, her previous cameras were Nikonos V and a Pentax LX in Hugyfot housing. She used these with a range of lenses, particularly NIKKOR 15 mm for wide-angle and Pentax 50 mm for macro. The film stock was mainly Fujichrome Velvia 50, Provia 100, and Sensia 100. Her switch to digital came in 2007 and she currently uses a Nikon D90, in a Sea & Sea D80 housing, plus two Inon Z240 flashes (strobes). Lenses include Nikon 60 mm, 105 mm, 20 mm, and 10.5; Sigma 17-70 mm and Tokina 10-17 mm.

We have had talks on underwater photography in previous years but Linda's pictures were in a very different category. There were scenes of wrecks and other divers accompanying shoals of fish but the majority of images were what I would refer to as 'underwater portraits'. These were beautifully composed close-ups of individual fish, or small groups, and corals, rather than record shots of the underwater world. There were examples from many different parts of world, illustrating the sheer variety of marine life.

Examples of these carefully composed close-ups are included in the following collage.

© Linda Pitkin – Masked Butterfly fish: Emperor shrimp on sea cucumber, Sulawesi: Lionfish, Red Sea: Collared Butterfly fish,Thailand

Linda's travels have taken her to many parts of the world. There is a tendency to think of far-off locations as the best for marine photography, but as two of the examples in the next grouping shows there can be interesting subjects found nearer to home.

© Linda Pitkin – Manta Ray, Maldives: Basking Shark, Cornwall: Blue Shark, California: Grey Seal, England

Another strength of Linda's images was the careful composition applied to images that put the presence of divers into the marine environment. Such images are fairly conventional when dives are taking place on wrecks, but here we saw them with banks of coral, underneath the support boat and with other marine life.

© Linda Pitkin – Divers on Sulawesi coral reef: Diver, Brian (Linda's husband), on Red Sea wreck: Whale shark with divers: Divers beneath the boat, Norway

The images of the fish shoals illustrate the need for provision of lights on the camera to counteract the drop-off in natural lighting at depth, and where it is filtered by the water to a blue colour. The central image shows an attractive composition taking advantage of the speckled light from the water surface.

© Linda Pitkin – Bluespine Unicorn fish, Red Sea: Bigeye Trevavally shoal, Borneo: Guelly Jacks, Canary Isles

Linda explained that the camera had two lights attached by long arms that enabled the lights to be angled inwards towards the subject. This was unlike the normal positioning of a flash unit, either inbuilt or attached directly to the camera, which would cause reflection back of any murkiness in the water. This could be a problem, especially in British waters. The use of lights was essential to reveal the bright colours of coral and plants, as seen in the following examples.

© Linda Pitkin – Jewel Anenomes, England: Coral reef: Orange Cup coral, Bonaire: Feather Star, Sulawesi

Towards the end of her talk Linda brought us back to Surrey and underwater photography that did not involve the requirement for scuba gear. She described a couple of projects that involved photographing frogs and toads in freshwater ponds, at Doods Place in Reigate and at Coldharbour.

© Linda Pitkin – Common toads, Coldharbour: Common toad in a pond

Summing up, Linda presented us with an interesting commentary on her underwater exploits as well as showing us a wide range of photographs from locations around the seas of the world. The quality of the images was superb. This article has presented just a random sample of these. Many more can be seen on the gallery list of the web site at the following link address -

http://www.lindapitkin.net/gallery.html

Without Gloss - 1 October 2018 - Krystina Stimakovits

Report by Peter Flower

Originally from Vienna, Austria, Krystina moved via Paris to London in the 70s and has lived in London ever since. After completing a sociology degree in the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex in the mid-70s she had a long career in the voluntary sector. In the early 90s, she studied Fine Art and Photography at Camberwell School of Art in South London, and returned to work in an urban regeneration project before taking early retirement in 2006. Since then she has pursued her passion in photography, shooting in both colour and black and white.

Krystina was introduced by Stephen Hewes who had met her on a workshop in London some years ago.

Compiling this report was not an easy task. The title of her talk was an enigma. Fortunately the diary entry for this talk contained the following detailed description in her own words - 'In the cities change is constant. We pass by road works, demolitions, constructions, refurbishments, repairs or places of neglect: man-made and organic forms exist side by side or intertwine in often incongruous and chaotic fashion. I am interested in the layers to be found in these sites of transition and like to hone in on space dividing structures such as glass, mesh or fences and on the traces left upon them be they by human action or the forces of nature'.

The opening image gave a flavour of what was to follow.

© Krystina Stimakovits

On the face of it this is a simple record of some twisted rope and faded green strapping. But a more careful look reveals the link to the green wall in the background, virtually identical in colour. It was this careful observation of detail and relationships of objects within the frame that is indicative of Krystina's method of working.

We have our own members who specialise in photographing close-up detail such as rusty doors and ironwork, gleaming parts of shiny car bodywork, abandoned wrecks in Arizona, hinges and locks on doors, or working parts of steam engines, but Krystina takes this genre to a new level. We have also had a talk by an UrBex 'warrior', a photographer of derelict and abandoned old buildings from the past. The challenge for them is to gain entry to buildings where access is not obviously evident. In the case of Krystina she is able to identify opportunities to photograph neglect and dereliction without trespass. However, she is likely to be subject to the same curiosity by the general public in the street (that we all experience) expressing puzzlement at why she is closely photographing some obscure object.

When I asked Krystina (as I do to all our speakers) for a few images to accompany this article she was keen to find out what I would choose. This was a worrying dilemma, but I hope that the choice is representative of some of the themes that ran through her talk. One of the themes is obviously 'shadows'.

© Krystina Stimakovits

A rather more complex version of this theme is shown in the following image. It is extremely difficult to figure out what we are looking at and how it was taken. As I recall it, even Krystina was unable to recall the method used.

© Krystina Stimakovits

The composition includes reflections, another theme that ran through many of her pictures. This is just one example of this type of image, where interior objects are overlaid with the reflection of the street scene behind.

© Krystina Stimakovits

There was another subject matter that drew her attention on numerous occasions. The whitewashed windows of closed shops provided a wide variety of images. The random way in which the paint had been applied gave rise to many different patterns, some of them that might have raised a high price if exhibited in an 'arty' gallery! This particular example is enhanced by the random remains of corners of posters that have since been removed.

© Krystina Stimakovits

Although the majority of her photographs were of detail there were many that included pedestrians. The following is an example of one that shows superb timing in framing the mothers pushing buggies in the opposite direction to the figures on the board behind, with the combination of cranes above.

© Krystina Stimakovits

This was a most interesting evening. The 'vision' that Krystina brings to the photography of otherwise mundane objects and scenes was a revelation. More details about her and a gallery of her photographs can be found at the following links -

http://www.londonphotography.org.uk/showcase/2010/01/krystina-stimakovits/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/casualties/

Ricoh GR III camera

Techman

Ricoh GR III camera

Ricoh announced the development of this third model in the GR range on 26 September, at Photokina. The forthcoming GR III will feature an updated 24MP APS-C sensor, which should improve upon the rather old 16MP sensor used in previous models. The new sensor brings with it phase-detection autofocus and in-camera stabilisation. The magnesium alloy-bodied GR III is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessors, the GR and GR II. The 28mm effective focal length of it 18.3mm F2.8 lens is unchanged, but it has been redesigned. The new lens features six elements in four groups, including two aspherical elements. The GR/II's lens was made up of seven elements in five groups, also including two aspherical elements.

The GR III does not include a built-in flash - partly, it is understood, because it would have taken up too much space in a body that now incorporates a stabilised sensor. There is also a change to the GR III's screen which is now 3:2 aspect ratio (as opposed to 4:3) but the diagonal length is the same and resolution (1.03 million dots) is unchanged compared to its predecessor. The difference is that the GR III's screen is touch-sensitive.

Pricing and availability has yet to be confirmed.

Kodak Ektachrome film

Techman

On 27 September 2018, following the limited shipments it initiated in August, Kodak Alaris announced that it is now distributing its new Ektachrome film products to global stock house dealers and distributors. It is currently shipping the Ektachrome Film E100 product, which will initially be available in the 135/36x camera format.

Starting on October 1, Eastman Kodak Company will also offer the Ektachrome 7294 Colour Reversal Film in Super 8 format. Additional Ektachrome film products in 16mm format will be available later this year. According to Kodak, both the Ektachrome 7294 Colour Reversal Film and E100 feature "extremely fine grain," as well as a neutral tone scale and "clean, vibrant colours." Prices have not been announced.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 6 October 2018

Peter Flower

It is always difficult to report on all the discussions that take place at these meetings, but I received the following information at a later date in an email.

Stephen Hewes

At the last Denbies meet, which followed the Welcome session on shutter speeds, Jan and I got into a conversation with Don Morley about the best shutter speeds for panning shots and 'just how low can you go'. The next time I saw Don, he had dug out these examples of his panning shots from his archives and put them on a CD, many with the shutter speed in the title. I've put the images in a dropbox folder – let me know if you have difficulty accessing.

Please take a look and enjoy! And many thanks to Don!

© Don Morley

The two images of runners show the difference that shutter speed can make. Although both images were taken with a panning motion on the runner there is very different motion blur in the legs. Photos taken at 1/80th second and 1/500th.

© Don Morley

These images show the even greater blur, especially of limbs, obtained at 1/10th second.

© Don Morley

It takes a lot of practice to keep the image of fast-moving motorcycles sharp with slow shutter speeds, but Don has achieved this. Note that although the riders are pin-sharp, motion can be seen in the wheels of their bikes.

Annual Exhibition – Reigate Community Centre – 27 October 2018

Colin Hodsdon

© Nick Rogers – Views of the Annual Exhibition

Massive thanks to everyone who provided help and support with the Annual Exhibition on Saturday.

In particular, my thanks to those members of the 'hanging' team, Carol and Steve, who helped me sort out all the prints into matching pairs; for all the efforts of the helpers who gave up their time on Friday to set up the exhibition; all the stewards who did a great job meeting and greeting our visitors on Saturday, and taking it all down, in record time.

My special thanks to Peter Tucker for his unstinting work in putting together and distributing all the publicity across the various media outlets.

This year's exhibition attracted more visitors than last year, which I think was largely due to the other events taking place in the Centre on the same day. Also, it was great to see quite a number of our own members who came along to support us.

One final thank you to everyone who entered prints into the exhibition competition. Without those we wouldn't have an exhibition! I look forward to doing it all again next year!

For those of you who were not able to make it to last night's meeting, you may be interested to know the results of the public vote for the best image on display at the exhibition.

The joint winners with 18 votes were: Dave Lyon - 'Sunset at Herringfleet' and Nick Rogers - 'Bee-eater and dragonfly'

16 votes: Nick Rogers - 'Migration'

13 votes: Stephen Renouf - 'Musical Spoons'

9 votes: Paul Renaut - 'Wigeon over Long Pit'

8 votes: Dave Lyon - 'High and Low' and Dave Lyon - 'The Marshes'

Many congratulations to Dave and Nick for two fantastic images.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 3 November 2018

Peter Flower

About a dozen of us turned up for this meeting. The restaurant was buzzing with runners and cyclists but we were able to gather at a group of tables in a side alcove. As always there was plenty of discussion about cameras. Stephen Hewes arrived with a mysterious bag, which turned out to contain the dismantled remnants of his Pentax lens that had been attached to a camera that fell down a ventilation shaft. Stephen had taken the lens apart in order to see what the internal mechanism looked like. (Read Stephen's separate report which follows in this Newsletter)

Photograph by Peter Flower

Mike Weekes had brought along his recently acquired Sony a6000 camera. He said that he was very happy with this choice, but was still attempting to get to grips with the large number of operational facilities. (A dilemma that will be familiar to most of us, given the complexity of menu items on modern cameras!) After the meeting I did a search on the web and found a lengthy video that covered many of the points that Mike queried. I passed the link details on to him.

Don had a look at this camera and said that this was a camera that he had considered acquiring. On a different topic, elsewhere in this Newsletter you will see my comments on the announcement of the new M10-D camera from Leica. Knowing Don to be an avid Leica enthusiast, and owner of many models over the years, I asked him for his opinion. Don agreed that the logic of this variation on the M10 model was difficult to comprehend. We agreed that one of the principal reasons for expenditure on costly Leica cameras was the access to the superb quality lenses. I asked if it was not possible to adapt Leica lenses to fit on other makes of camera, but Don explained that not all lens variations would perform adequately in this scenario.

Ian Hunt was sitting at the far end of the table with his bulky Nikon D610 and 28-300mm zoom lens. I was talking to Mike about the advantages in size of the M4/3 camera such as my GX8. To demonstrate, I took a photograph of some bikers at a distant table with my Panasonic 45-200mm zoom lens (equivalent to 400mm at its extreme zoom range). I then asked Ian to take a similar photograph with his camera. The results (without any cropping) are shown below. (It should be noted that the difference in frame appearance is because the Panasonic produces a 4:3 ratio image as opposed to the 3:2 ratio of the Nikon) Without disrespect to Ian, or image quality comparison which I am sure would fall in favour of his Nikon D610 fullframe image, I know which outfit I would prefer to carry around!

© Peter Flower - photograph at 400mm equivalent with GX8 camera          Ian Hunt – photograph at 300mm with Nikon D610

Rescued by TfL / accidents will happen

Stephen Hewes

At a Denbies natter earlier this year I’d mentioned to Peter how I’d had an accident with my camera and tripod. My recent PDI entry helps to set the scene.

The shot was taken looking down on the Victoria line platform at Euston from above. Obviously not the normal sort of view you get on the tube network, I was in a service tunnel looking down a deep ventilation shaft. It was very dark, very grimy and a confined space. I’d just taken the shot below with a wide-angle lens on my Pentax K5 on a tripod a bit further along the tunnel which also perhaps helps set the scene.


I was on a Hidden London photographic tour of Euston’s old tunnels. The format was 8 photographers split into 2 at a time in 4 areas for 20 minutes each – i.e. 80 minutes in total, plus a bit of time as a group of 8 in other areas. So working against the clock… a bit too quickly…

I’d put the K5 and tripod to one side of me on the planked floor, and when taking a close up shot with my K1 knocked one of the tripod legs which promptly fell through a gap in the dimly lit planking. Aware that there was a safety railing around the top of the ventilation shaft, I certainly didn’t expect the camera/tripod combo to be so top-heavy that it would somersault over the railing – but that’s exactly what it did! All I was able to do was utter an expletive very loudly. The drop was probably about 4 metres down to a narrow concrete ledge next to the grill, the camera and tripod just visible in torchlight.

A short while later I was introduced to the TfL duty manager at Euston in another part of the station you don’t normally see. Contact details exchanged I glumly returned home in the knowledge that one of my cameras was left abandoned beside a grill metres above the live rail.

I was then most impressed when just 36 hours later I got a call – would I like to collect my camera from the station manager’s office? Fortunately, my daughter was not far from Euston so she brought it home. The lens was in a bad state – glass smashed / zoom mechanism broken. One of the tripod levers had also taken a heavy blow – an 8mm solid metal shaft bent to an angle of 30° illustrating the force of the blow. But as remarkable as TfL’s swift rescue, when I switched the camera on not only could it read the memory card, it was fully functioning to live another day as the shot below from our subsequent motocross trip testifies.

Here’s a selection from Euston:

 

 

And finally . . . . . . . . . . .

A photograph submitted by Stephen Hewes entitled 'Eye wear for a champion tog'. Turned round the other way it could produce the highest possible quality 'selfie'!

(P.S. Tog has nothing to do with warmth rating of duvets. It was a term used by Terry Wogan who referred to his radio programme listeners as 'Terry's Old Geysers')

© Stephen Hewes – image taken with Pentax K-1, the one that didn't fall down a ventilation shaft!

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Postscript - 11 November 2018

In memory of all those who died or suffered as a result of the 1914-1918 Great War. This photograph is of the torch-light display at the Tower of London, taken on the evening of 10 November 2018.

 © Peter Flower

 

 

 

 

 

Depth of field, Differential Focus and Perspective

Peter Flower – October 2018

 

The purpose of this article is to give general guidance on these topics, and then to suggest ways in which they may be used creatively to produce interesting photographs. The extent to which each individual will be able to achieve all the aims will depend upon the camera equipment that they have.

The diagram shows examples of the two extremes.

Acknowledgement: Illustration from photographylife web site

The terms depth of field and differential focus are used to indicate opposite ends of the technique to capture images that appear to be in focus over a range of distances, or to concentrate attention on a selected object by blurring surrounding detail.

Note: The majority of photographs illustrating this article were taken with one of two cameras – Panasonic GX8 (Micro 4/3) and a Panasonic TZ90 compact camera. The focal lengths are shown as equivalent to that of a full-frame camera for consistency. The images are generally shown unedited.

All photographs, except those annotated otherwise, are the copyright of Peter Flower.

It is necessary to understand the some of the technical terms used and the reasons why they affect the ability to achieve the desired result, and the limitations of your own equipment.

First, an explanation of the terms used -

Lens aperture – This is a measure of the size of the iris through which the light passes in the lens. It is adjustable and the size is expressed in f-stop values. The actual value is obtained by a calculation that involves the radius of the aperture relative to the focal length. You do not need to know the details, but because of this relationship lenses of different focal lengths can achieve the same f-stop value.

The calculation of f-stop values results in the largest aperture having the smallest numeric value, and the largest number representing the smallest aperture. For example, the widest lens aperture might be shown as f/2.8 (or F2.8 or 1:2.8) and the smallest as f/16 (or F16 or 1:16)

Acknowledgement: Illustration from photographylife web site

The term f-stop term originated from the era of mechanically controlled lenses, when there were click-stop settings for the range, such as f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16 etc. Modern cameras with their electronic control may well set the aperture at any point in between these values.

Focal length – This is the measure of the distance of the lens from the sensor in order to bring parallel rays from a source into focus. In the case of a simple lens, like that of a magnifying glass bringing the rays of the sun to a focal point, it is easy to comprehend and measure. However, camera lenses are composed of multiple elements contained within an outer shell. This is further complicated by zoom lenses where internal elements are adjusted, not only for focus but also to vary the focal length.

Prime lenses – This is the term used to refer to lenses that have a fixed focal length.

Zoom lenses – These are able to vary the focal length between two points. (Note: It is important to remember that, with the few exceptions of very expensive lenses, the maximum aperture shown on the lens will become smaller as the focal length is increased. This information is normally shown on the lens – e.g. 1:4-5.6 indicating that as the focal length increases to its longest setting the maximum aperture will decrease from f/4 to f/5.6.

Sensor size – The size of the electronic sensor that measures the electrons of light entering the camera. These vary considerably, but with the exception of expensive and specialist cameras are generally regarded as being relative to the original 35mm film camera. The most popular variations are detailed below. These can be very confusing due to the descriptive terms which are applied.

Full-frame – The sensor is 36x24mm, the same size as the picture area of 35mm film.

APS-C – Originating from the term Advanced Photo System type-C, which was a smaller version of cartridge film introduced by Kodak. The approximate sensor size is 23.7 x15.6mm (Canon 22.2x14.8mm).

4/3 – This is the sensor size used by Micro 4/3 cameras, mainly from Panasonic and Olympus. Unlike the previous two sensors, with a dimensional ratio of 3:2, these cameras have a native ratio of 4:3, hence the name. The frame size is roughly half that of the full-frame camera.

1” - This is a smaller size again, used in numerous compact cameras.

1/2.3” – This is one of the smallest sensors, widely used in compact cameras. These are popular because their small size allows a greater zoom range whilst still retaining relatively small bodies. (Note: The smallest aperture available on cameras of this sort tends to be something like f/8. The reason for this is that diffraction from the small iris tends to degrade the otherwise sharp image if the aperture is closed beyond this point)

The relative sizes of the various sensors are indicated in the following diagram.

Focal length equivalents – Because the sensor sizes vary so widely so do the focal lengths of lenses required. As an example, a 4.3mm focal length lens on the smallest sensor mentioned above will give the equivalent angle of view as a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera. In a similar way, a camera with a 4/3 sensor (being half-size of full-frame) would require a 12mm lens for the same angle of view.

The following generic terms apply to lenses on full-frame cameras.

Wide-angle lens – Generally in the range of 12 to 28mm focal length.

50mm – Generally regarded as the standard focal length. Often referred to as the 'nifty fifty'. This is regarded as the lens that provides the most representative field of view relative to our own natural view. (Although we have much wider optical vision than this our concentration tends to be on this central perspective.

75-90mm lenses – Lenses in this range tend to be most popular for portrait photography. The reason is that facial images can be recorded without the distortion that comes from lenses that are used closer up. (Especially smartphone 'selfies' !)

Telephoto lens – These are regarded as being in the range from 135mm up. Depending upon their actual length they are sometimes referred to as 'short' or 'long' telephotos.

Important Note: In the context of focal lengths it should be remembered that actual focal length is the deciding factor when depth of field is considered. This is the reason why, at the same aperture, the compact camera will give a greater depth of field.

Photographs taken from the same position. Note that the image taken with the GX8 (M4/3 camera) shows more differential than that from the small sensor of the TZ90.

Depth of field

Does not exist! - the captured image is either in focus or not.

We rely on the perception of things being almost in focus. Apparent depth of field relies on the distance at which we view the image. If the image is enlarged, or looked at too closely, out-of-focus elements becomes evident. There are scientific measures of what is acceptable, but for simplicity of this article I do not attempt to include these. The important thing to remember is that slightly out-of-focus objects within the image, viewed at the right distance, will be accepted as being in focus.

Light from an out-of-focus source will cause what is known as a circle of confusion. If this point is small enough (indicating that the source is almost in focus) it will not be noticed when viewed.

The following diagram shows the reason for circles of confusion.

Diagram showing how circles of confusion are formed from inaccurately focused sources

Example photographs showing circles of confusion -

© Gavin Hoey The background highlights come from out-of-focus fairy lights

© Peter Flower Grasses taken against the backdrop of trees. The bright spots, varied in size by the f-stop settings, are caused by light filtering through the leaves.

As will be explained later, there are technical reasons why cameras with different sized sensors and lenses will have limitations in the extent to which they are able to capture depth of field.

In a slightly different context, this limitation also applies to us. Our vision adapts to the subject we are looking at. This is why paintings (generally) do not have out-of-focus backgrounds. As the artist scans around the scene he or she changes the eye's focus to make everything clear.

Images from internet source. It will be obvious that such a depth of field, from close foreground objects to the far horizon, would be virtually impossible photographically

Returning to the subject of photography, there are three factors to take into consideration – distance of the subject from the lens, aperture, and lens to sensor distance (focal length). Perhaps the subject where depth of field is most important is in landscape images. The chances are that you want the foreground, middle ground and distant features to be pin-sharp. The following two images are representative. In the first it was desirable to keep the foreground slipway and boat in focus, as well as the historic ship and background of Portsmouth Harbour. In the second, of a beach in Canada, the foreground log, boat, lake and distant hills have all been kept in focus.

© Peter Flower – Portsmouth Harbour Jill Flower - Canadian Lake

As a general rule, expect the depth of focus to be less in front of the focus point and more beyond. This can be useful, particularly in landscape photographs, when it is wished to show a great depth of field, from a foreground object to the far horizon. Focusing beyond the foreground subject can still render it (apparently) sharp, whilst retaining detail of a distant mountain range. (However, remember that a slightly hazy distant view may not spoil the picture)

Regarding calculation of depth of focus, it is possible to research information, either on the web or phone apps, that enable this to be obtained. In the days when manual focus lenses were the norm it was likely that depth of field markings would be engraved on the lens barrel. An example of this is shown in the following images where it is possible to gain an indication of the likely depth of field available from a particular aperture and focus setting.

Differential focus

This is where other subjects such as portraits, plus details of plants and flowers may preferably use this technique. The objective is to isolate the main subject sufficiently from intrusive other details so that it becomes the main focus of the viewer's attention. The level to which this carried out is important.

This technique requires the use of a wide aperture and/or the maximum difference in distance between the desired subject and the surroundings. However, remember that it may be desirable to retain some degree of surrounding detail in order to show the context within which the image was taken.

Note: In this instance cameras with larger sensor sizes will be at an advantage over those with smaller ones, because the lenses used have actual focal lengths that are longer.

Some examples of this are shown in the following images.

The comparison photographs of autumn berries show the value of differential focus. I did not notice the man in a white shirt in the far distance. Despite the fact that the camera was very close to the berries the small f-stop still rendered him fairy clearly. Changing to the maximum aperture eliminated this problem.

Reinforcing the message that the actual focal length is the controlling factor, the following photograph, taken up close to leaves in Priory Park, shows the limitations of the small TZ90 sensor. Although the f/4 aperture was selected this still did not render the distant goal sufficiently out-of-focus.

However, utilising the TZ90 long zoom range (where depth of field is less) enabled the red rose in the following picture to be presented against a suitably blurred background. The same applied to the pink rose. Despite being taken at f/8 (sufficient to keep both front and rear petals sharp) the long focal length threw the background out-of-focus.

The value of careful choice of aperture is demonstrated in the following photographs. These were taken at the two extremes of the available apertures, where the shot at f/2 is much more successful.

The following portrait shots were deliberately taken with telephoto lenses, showing the advantage of focal length choice and wide apertures.

These two photographs illustrate the improvement that choice of aperture makes. The second one retains the context of the scene, but directs interest to the central figure.

This point is further reinforced by the photograph of the someone doing some artwork on Brighton beach. The differential focus successfully brings attention to the drawing activity. At the same time the background, whilst not detracting, is sufficiently detailed to show the context within which the picture was taken.

The following photographs were taken in a lavender field at the peak time of its colour. Numerous visitors had been attracted, including the two young people shown. The long focal length lens was chosen to concentrate on them, showing the setting, but not swamping them with detail of the lavender bushes.

Perspective (and viewpoints)

Angle of view is another factor that is closely associated with the ability to capture interesting images. There is a perception that telephoto lenses 'compress' the perspective. In fact it is the taking position relative to the scene that governs the perspective. This is demonstrated in the following photographs. Which is the wide-angle shot and which is the telephoto one?

In fact they are both the same photograph. If you look closely at the first you will see two ladies on the pedestrian crossing. You will see them more clearly in the second. This is the same photograph, with the second image cropped to give the appearance of being taken with a telephoto lens. This third image, taken from the same point, is the real one taken with a telephoto setting.

The only way that you change perspective is by moving yourself. A wide-angle lens will give a more panoramic view of the scene, but as demonstrated above the narrower angle of the telephoto is recording an identical image, just concentrated on a more central area. Another street scene (of Guildford High Street) shows the impact that a different viewpoint can give. Two shots show it from different points above ground level.

In comparison to the Reigate photograph it will be seen that, being closer to the pedestrians, they are much more dominant in the scene.

It is an unfortunate habit that, using cameras with fixed viewfinders, there is a tendency to take photographs from head height.

The effects of height relative to the subject are summarised below -

High viewpoint makes subject appear 'weaker'

Low viewpoint makes subject appear more dominant

High viewpoint not ideal for babies, dogs, cats, low-growing flowers.

Viewpoint at the same level is often best

The different viewpoints show the advantages. The portrait is taken at the small girl's level. In the case of the flowers they also demonstrate the advantages of avoiding distracting backgrounds, either using the blue sky or background in shadow.

Summing up

It is desirable to control the aperture manually, setting a large f-stop for shallow depth of focus, or a small one to give the maximum desired depth of field.

As explained earlier, choice of the exact desired focus point (in combination with aperture) is necessary to achieve the desired result.

There are guides to assist in obtaining acceptable depth of field. In general terms the shortest focal length lens will be capable of producing the greatest depth of field (and telephoto the least), whilst the largest lens aperture will produce the least and the smallest aperture the most.

If you use the automatic settings of the camera, such as Program mode and/or Automatic Focus the software within the camera will decide the settings. For example, Program mode will decide the combination of aperture and shutter speed control. By the same token, automatic focus is likely to set the focus on the nearest object within the focus zone. (On most cameras it is possible to select a variety of focus point groupings) The Spot focus setting, if available, is one that can be relied upon to pinpoint the desired position accurately. (Note: Some cameras enable 'eye focus' and selective focus point settings, sometimes controlled by touch-screen or a toggle switch) Manual focus may be a problem with some cameras. If so, you should familiarise yourself with the autofocus option that gives you the most reliable result that you desire.

This article set out to give you a comprehensive understanding of the factors involved. It is not necessary to remember all the details, but to remember the general principles. With practice this will enable to you to improve your photography. Experiment. Try different focal lengths, apertures, focus control and point of view to change perspective.

Technical Stuff

As explained before, sensor sizes vary enormously. It is not possible to provide scale diagrams in this article because display screen sizes on pads, laptops and PCs vary so widely. However, to give an impression of the vast difference between full-frame and compact camera sensors I took the following photograph.

The colour slide shows the equivalent size of a full-frame sensor. The tiny pink sticker on my smallest finger-nail shows the approximate size of a 1/2.3” sensor.

In order to try to equate the lens focal lengths that will provide identical frame-filling images on different cameras the term equivalence was adopted. This took into account the diagonal measure of the sensor relative to the full-frame (35mm) sensor at 43.3mm. By this means it is possible to do a simple calculation relating to your own camera. (Note: The figures relating to these diagonal measurements are approximate, but give a reasonably accurate comparison)

Camera Diagonal

Full-frame 43.3mm Ratio 1:1

APS-C 28.2mm Ratio 1.5:1 (Canon different, normally regarded as 1.6:1)

4/3 21.6mm Ratio 2:1

1” 15.86mm Ratio 2.7:1

1/2.3” 7.6mm Ratio 5.6:1

Under normal circumstances these figures are not important. But, if a lens from another manufacturer (or lens not specifically intended for this model) is fitted via an adapter it does become significant. As an example, Canon EF lenses (intended for full-frame models) can be fitted to smaller APS-C models. However, the smaller sensor will, in effect, crop the image. On the other hand an EF-S lens (intended for their APS-C range cameras) would not provide a wide enough image for the full-frame model. For this reason, EF-S lenses cannot be fitted to the larger models.

With the increasing popularity of fitting legacy lenses from one manufacturer's range to the cameras of another, using adapters, the focal lengths (equating to angle of view) have become a more significant factor for consideration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editorial

Peter Flower

The publication of this edition of the Newsletter coincides with the long-awaited announcement of the entry of Nikon into the full-frame mirrorless camera market. Keen photographers have been waiting for this with great anticipation. It now remains for the other major player, Canon, to issue its response.

As for more local matters, we are fast approaching the start of the Society's programme for the coming year. The summer 'break' can hardly justify that term thanks to the number of events such as the Saturday Natters and Monday Evening series of events which are the subject of reports that follow.

Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras

Peter Flower

23 August 2018 – At last the wait is over. Numerous 'teaser' videos from Nikon and speculations on rumour sites about two new mirrorless full-frame cameras have ended. Today's announcement now confirms the exact specifications, the prices and anticipated release date. Unfortunately, prospective customers have a further wait until they can get hands-on at their local dealership. I checked this point with Park Cameras today. Although selected journalists and professional photographers have been able to handle them (in many cases pre-production models) the delivery of demonstration models is still awaited.

There are two models – the Z7 with 45.7MP FX BSI CMOS Sensor, 493 Autofocus points, 9 FPS Continuous Shooting, eXpeed 6 Processing Engine, 5-Axis In-body Image Stabilisation

and Weather & Dust-resistant Body. Prices from £3399 (body only) up to £4099 with 24-70mm f/4 lens (plus FTZ adapter)

The Z6 has a 24.5MP FX BSI CMOS Sensor, 273 Autofocus Points, 12 FPS Continuous Shooting, eXpeed 6 Processing Engine, 5-axis In-body Image Stabilisation and Weather & Dust-resistant Body. Prices from £2099 (body only) up to £2799 with 24-70mm f/4 lens (plus FTZ adapter) Note: The adapter is not needed with this lens, but saves money if bought as a kit.

At the launch date only three NIKKOR Z lenses with the new mount will be available. The Nikon announcement includes a road-map for introduction of more Z mount lenses. Following the three in 2018 there will be 6 in 2019 and a further 3 in 2020.

The FTZ adapter allows the use of the full range of existing lenses and the provision of in-body stabilisation for the first time by Nikon in a full-frame camera will be a useful aid in this respect.

Nikon Z7 with FTZ adapter and F-mount lens

Existing Nikon DSLR should be able to adapt to the use of electronic viewfinders without undue problems due to the high definition (3690k), backed up by crisp images on the 3.2” rear tilting LCD screen. This is touch-sensitive, but without full controls, such as adjustment of autofocus point.

Nikon D850 DSLR compared with Nikon Z7 camera

As will be seen from the above image the camera bodies are noticeably smaller (and also lighter) than a DSLR with equivalent specification. Nikon have focused on making it comfortable to hold - with a deep grip and textured grip.

In this report it is not intended to attempt to cover all the details of these new models. That information is readily available from the numerous web site announcements. However, it is relevant to make a few more general comments. The Nikon D850 is currently priced at £3499 at Park Cameras, which places it at the same price level as the Z7 with FTZ mount adapter. The new Nikon models enter a fiercely competitive market where Sony has already established itself as a leading full-frame camera contender. The Sony α7R III at £2899 (complete with free Rotolight worth £299 at Wex) contends with the Z7 and the α7 III at £1999 with the Z6. Even more importantly, Sony already has an extensive range of 'native' lenses available.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 4 August 2018

Peter Flower

This meeting was another one taking place during the seemingly endless heatwave of the past few weeks. Unlike last time we were unable to take advantage of the Garden Room, which was set up for some other event. The temperature in the main restaurant area was quite high, but some judicious work by Jill Flower in moving around a number of sun shades meant that we were shielded from the worst effects of the sun shining down through the glass roof. She also managed to relocate some of the fans to blow across the area where we were seated.

This time there was not so much camera equipment brought along, but a good deal of interest was aroused by the tiny Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1 that Jill showed the other members. (Fuller details are available in the following article) This was a camera that caught her attention on a recent visit to the London Camera Exchange store in Guildford and which she subsequently purchased. This is a 1/3rd size replica of a Leica film camera, with dummy controls (like film winder, speed setting and frame counter) giving the appearance of a camera of that era, but in fact being a digital model. As can be seen from the following images the camera is fitted with an optical viewfinder and a live view rear screen. The lens provides a simple three-position focusing feature.

 Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1

Don Morley, as an avid enthusiast for Leica cameras, was particularly interested in this working replica, and is shown discussing this with Mike Weekes.

Photograph by Peter Flower - Mike Weekes handling the Minox camera with Don Morley looking on

It is interesting to compare the minuscule size of this camera with that of a full-frame DSLR. Fortunately Ian Hunt was on hand with his Nikon D610 enabling me to capture a shot which showed this contrast.

Photograph by Peter Flower - Minox DCC 5.1 and Nikon D610

The camera lacks the sophisticated developments that feature in modern cameras but it is capable of providing quite good quality images, as shown in the following group shot taken by Jill.

Photograph by Jill Flower

Jan Adcock was seeking more advice on the operation of her Panasonic TZ80. I have a later model, the TZ90, so was able to give some help. The TZ90 has the advantage of a fold-out rear screen, although the cameras are otherwise very similar. We agreed that the image quality from the far end of the 30x zoom (equivalent to 720mm) could be a little soft, but whether this is due solely to the lens or limitations of the image stabilisation system is debatable. (A subsequent test that I did with a stable camera support – not a tripod – gave quite a reasonable image quality)

Photographs by Peter Flower – Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth.

The full-length shot was taken at 61mm (equiv), the second at the extent of the zoom at 720mm (equiv). The final image is the last one enlarged by 100%. Not perfect, but the writing can be read clearly.

We also discussed another potential limitation with small-sensor cameras regarding inability to achieve satisfactory differential focus. However, the following photograph, taken at a different time and with a Samsung Galaxy camera (but same-sized sensor) showed that careful choice of distance and zoom power could overcome this problem.

Photograph by Peter Flower – showing focus differential from compact camera

Reverting to discussions with Don Morley that were reported in Newsletter 108, Don has collected yet further evidence of unauthorised sales of many of his historic sports images. The sheer cheek of these 'pirates' was evidenced by some of their images for sale that had been marked with a 'DO NOT COPY' notice! He said that, reluctantly, he had decided that attempts to sue these people would be fruitless. Examples of these sales items on ebay are shown in the collage below.

Images captured from ebay advertisements on the internet (323184487791 and 372230112614) showing copies based on Don's original images of Barry Sheene. The 'autograph' is meaningless, being a machine-produced facsimile.

In a further example of the unauthorised, and unpaid, use of his images Don sent me this further message -

'I had another instance, nothing to do with ebay this week. I was sent a latest monthly magazine issue by the publisher. It has lots of my pictures in it including the cover and I will get paid for them. However, also inside is a full page advert for a new book about Mike Hailwood showing its cover, and guess what? It is one of my pictures as I suspect will be many of the other illustrations inside. There was a email address so I got straight onto the publisher who says they have made alterations to a picture the author gave them and no they are not prepared to pay. I will have to do something about that one probably via the small claims court, and I have told them to take my (uncredited) picture off the cover and not to sell any copies of the book meanwhile.'

Members who know Don well will be aware of the extensive collection of cameras that he owned, of many different makes and with some dating well back to the days of his professional career. I was surprised by his disposal of many of these. I asked Don for details and received subsequent information in an email from him -

'As to what I have kept. I have still got my old Canon 550D, plus a 750D and a couple of ancient zooms which I used when we did that photo shoot at Banstead football club. The 400D and lens has been sent as a gift to my son Peter who lives in Germany. He is not into photography but I am hoping he and/or our grandsons might use it. Leica-wise I have quite a few old screw thread film cameras as well as a M3 and a very rare version M5, plus a film Leica CL outfit, though I have no intention of ever using any of them again. However I might just bring out my old Press Speed Graphic camera and use it again one day, just for the hell of it!

So to my continued use from now on. Not the Canon's, though I will keep them, but my digital Leica CL outfit and my full frame fixed prime lens Leica Q. I have given my very much loved and rated Leica X-Vario compact to Jo, though it might get borrowed again yet by me. I still have my folding Agfa Isolette 120 film camera which I bought in 1957 and have had hundreds of National Newspaper publications from, and I kept a Olympus OM1 and a OM2 plus a few lenses.'

In his earlier, bearded, days Don used and promoted Olympus OM cameras, as can be seen from the following images of advertisements at that time.

Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1

The key features of this camera are its 5.1megapixel CMOS sensor 1/2.3 inch 4:3 ratio 6.16mm x 4.62mm, 9mm f/2.0 lens equivalent to 42mm, 2inch LCD Screen and optional optical viewfinder, 320x240 video at 30 fps (but without sound), 3-distance focus settings at 0.5m, 1m and infinity, a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, 128 MB of internal flash memory plus a SDHC slot that is expandable up 16GB. In respect of size and weight it is a minuscule 110g 74x44x47mm (W,H,D) It was announced in 2010. ISO is set at ISO100 by the camera regardless of lighting conditions. White balance options are: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Lamp, Tungsten, Night. The Minox is somewhat unique as a replica of an old classic camera, and at its original price of £139 was reasonable value for money, compared to a real digital Leica at a cost much closer to £5000.

Minox DCC camera – showing compact size, dummy controls and another version that mimics the Leica M3 complete with red dot.

Interestingly, Minox GmbH is also based in Wetzlar, the home of Leica, and was at one time closely associated with it. It appears that at one time Leica held shares in Minox but is now independent.

Not many people know that

Peter Flower

To photographers and many people Minox is best known for its 'spy' cameras, and there is the supposition that they were always German-made. However, the history began in Tallinn, Estonia, where Walter Zapp and Richard Jurgens founded a company in 1932 to build cameras. Having experimented with medium format cameras their attention then turned to design of a sub-miniature camera. A prototype was constructed by VEF of Riga, Latvia, in 1936 and then went into production in 1938.

Minox Riga camera

War then intervened, Latvia being first occupied by the Soviets in 1940 and then by the Germans in 1941. Minox GmbH Wetzlar was founded in 1945. A series of the sub-miniature models, giving 8x11mm exposures on 9.5mm film, proved increasingly popular during the 50s to 70s. However, the 80s were more difficult and by 1989 Minox was bankrupt. It was subsequently revived with the return of Walter Zapp and taken over by Leica in 1996, who subsequently retained a shareholding after a management buy-out in 2001. Over the years a variety of models was produced, with advances such as exposure metering and synchronised flash. An example is shown below.

 

 Minox C camera, produced between about 1969 and 1979.

Fujifilm to increase lens production

Techman

On 20 July 2018 this news appeared on the internet - “FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) has announced that it will substantially reinforce its production capacity for interchangeable lenses in response to a growing demand for mirrorless digital cameras. Additional production facilities will be set up at the Taiwa Factory of FUJIFILM Optics Co., Ltd. (“FFOP”), a subsidiary for producing cameras and lenses in Japan. The new facilities will go operational in stages starting in September 2018. This expansion will boost the production capacity by approx. 70% in 2020, when all of the new facilities go fully operational.

Fujifilm entered into the mirrorless digital camera market in 2012 and continued to expand the lineup of the X Series of highly manoeuvrable APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. In March 2017, the company introduced the FUJIFILM GFX 50S ( “GFX 50S”), a medium-format mirrorless digital camera featuring a large sensor 1.7 times the area of a 35mm full-size sensor. Its superior image quality based on Fujifilm unique colour reproduction technology, elegant design and outstanding operability have given the camera a strong reputation from professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. Tapping into the optical technologies nurtured through the production of FUJINON lenses, widely used in the broadcasting and cinematography industries, Fujifilm has worked on developing interchangeable lenses with excellent descriptive performance. The current lineup of interchangeable lenses includes 36 models, with sales expanding at the rate of over 20% per annum.

Fujifilm is substantially reinforcing the production capacity of FFOP's Taiwa Factory in response to a growing demand for mirrorless digital cameras and to achieve further sales expansion of interchangeable lenses for the X Series and GFX Series. Among new facilities to be installed are a large-scale clean-room featuring the cutting-edge cleanroom analyzer, and other latest facilities that use AI to improve accuracy in optical adjustments. This will enable the production of interchangeable lenses at high quality and efficiency, resulting in advanced productivity in manufacturing ultra wide-angle lenses and large-diameter lenses, which require a high level of image resolving performance. Through this investment, the Taiwa Factory's production capacity will be raised by approx. 70% from the current level by 2020, when all of the new facilities go fully operational.

After the upgrade, the Taiwa Factory will combine the state-of-the-art facilities and production technology of skilled workers to manufacture not only the GF lenses, which draw out the advanced resolving performance of the GFX 50S, but also other interchangeable lenses which require highest manufacturing skill. They include an ultra wide-angle zoom lens announced today with a maximum aperture of F2.8 and focal length range equivalent to 12-24mm, addition to the line-up of XF interchangeable lenses for the X Series, as well as a large-diameter telephoto lens, being developed for anticipated demand during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with a maximum aperture of F2.0 and focal length equivalent to 305mm. Interchangeable lenses with “Made in Japan” quality, manufactured at the Taiwa Factory, will be distributed worldwide.

Fujifilm will continue to tap into its optical, precision processing and assembling technologies that have been nurtured in the cutting-edge imaging field over many years, to further expand the lineup of mirrorless digital cameras and interchangeable lenses, thereby broadening the photographic appeal of the X Series and GFX Series.”

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS camera

Techman

Canon SX740 HS camera

Canon's new PowerShot SX740 HS is an ultra-compact long-zoom camera that replaces the SX730. It features a 24-960mm equivalent F3.3-6.9 lens, 20 megapixel 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor and flip-up LCD. It gains Canon's latest processor (Digic 8), together with UHD 4K video capture and 7.4 fps burst shooting with continuous AF. The camera also features Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, with the latter providing the ability to automatically transfer images to both mobile and desktop devices.

The PowerShot SX740 HS will be available in August, in silver or black, at a list price of £379.

Looking Back

Peter Flower

I recently visited the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, near Chichester in West Sussex. The aerodrome was operational from 1918 until 1970. In addition to the displays of RAF aircraft there were numerous exhibits of equipment dating from the early days of military flying until recent times. One section which caught my attention contained a comprehensive display of aerial cameras that were used for ground surveillance during the war years as well as some which were synchronised to guns to record 'hits'. From the early days the importance of aerial observation of enemy dispositions was an important factor in warfare. However, it was quickly realised that aerial photographs that could be studied in detail were even more useful. Early methods used photography from balloons, kites or aircraft, but their relatively low altitude made them vulnerable to ground fire. The exhibit that particularly caught my attention was the one in the following photograph.

Photograph by Peter Flower – Model of pigeon with Doppel-Sport Panoramic Camera

This was a representation of the 1912 Doppel-Sport Panoramic Camera invented by Dr. Julius Neubronner of Kronberg, Germany, that was carried by a pigeon. A delayed action shutter on the swing lens camera was set before the pigeon was released and gave a 3cm x 8cm exposure.

This image immediately brought to mind an earlier article containing similar images that I had written in Newsletter 92 of 22 March 2017.

Michel B 995 camera - Image courtesy of Novacon Display at CP+ - Image courtesy of DP Review

That article referred to the development of a pigeon camera developed by the Swiss clockmaker Christian Adrian Michel (1912–1980). In 1933 he began work on adapting Neubronner's panoramic camera to 16 mm film, and improving it with a mechanism to control the delay before the first exposure and to transport the film between exposures. In addition to the fact that a pigeon would be less vulnerable to ground fire there was the advantage of fairly consistent flight speed and a direct line between the release point and its homing point. In this way the ground covered and the setting of exposure timing could be predicted to provide the imagery needed.

Although war pigeons were deployed extensively during World War II, it is unclear to what extent, if any, birds were involved in aerial reconnaissance. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later developed a battery-powered camera designed for espionage pigeon photography, but details of its use remain classified.

Looking Forward

Chris Worsley

I hope that you've had a cracking summer with all the sunshine and heat and that you've got some stunning photos to share with the rest of the club.

Our 2018-19 season kicks off on 3 September with an inspirational evening from our own Nick Rogers presenting on his Alaskan adventures. Yes, snow, ice, cold, wild animals - all jaw-dropping stuff. Do come and invite any interested friends and family.

Our second evening of the season on September 10 will be more of a catch up. As you know we have changed the rules of the competition this year and so we will be explaining the changes and answering questions. We'll also be updating you on some new ideas and outline the year's programme. After the break, some of our members will be sharing what they've got up to over the summer, photographically-speaking.

Monday Meeting – 6 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

This was the first of the extra summer evening events organised by Stephen. We met at the café in Reigate Priory Park. In addition to a significant number of members we were joined by three prospective new ones. Stephen suggested that we should concentrate on a limited number of specific subjects, including action photography. The presence of a large group of youngsters with BMX bikes, scooters and skate boards doing acrobatics on the skate park provided opportunities to capture plenty of action. Don Morley could be seen taking shots from a low position to frame them against the sky. I was with Jan Adcock, using my Panasonic TZ90 to guide her with settings on her similar TZ80 model. We switched to continuous drive to assist with capture of the critical moment of the mid-flight action.

After this action session a number of us wandered down to the lake. This is not the Florida Everglades so I was surprised to see a croc in the lake. It has to be admitted that this was in fact a child's Croc (pink) shoe floating amongst the swans and ducks. Other members photographed the flowers and general scenery in the park, taking advantage of the warm evening light. As we prepared to leave we were able to observe spectacular rays of the sunset. The photographs are a random collage of those posted on the web.

© Photographs by Don Morley (1 & 4), Peter Flower (2 & 3)

© Photographs by Jill Flower (1, 4 & 6), Peter Flower (2), Malcolm Bewes (3), Andy S (5)

Monday Meeting – 13 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

The meeting point for this event was in the car park adjacent to the Junction 8 café at the top of Reigate Hill. Unfortunately this was already closed. It would have been nice to enjoy a tea or coffee looking out over the sunlit scenery to the south. The rain experienced earlier in the day had passed. This, combined with the pleasantly warm temperature, allowed us to enjoy a pleasant walk in a circuit that went towards Gatton Park.

As with the previous week's event this was well-attended. Fortunately, Stephen had arranged to do the walk in the opposite one to that published online by the National Trust. This meant that we started the walk with the steep descent that almost parallels Wray Lane, thus avoiding the weary plod up this hill at the end of the walk if is done in the opposite direction. A short way down this path we enjoyed our first view down the valley in the direction of Gatton. Near some residences there was then a turn back along a broader track that again led to more open views of Gatton Park. This was landscaped between 1762 and 1766 by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, a leading landscape architect. The warm low sun enhanced the tree-framed vistas to a series of ponds winding their way down the valley, including the Hop Garden Pond, Engine Pond and Serpentine to the large Main Lake.

On the rise to the left could be seen the school buildings and residences of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School within the Gatton Trust area of parkland. Gatton Park comprises 250 acres of manor and parkland. The last private owner was Jeremiah Coleman, most famous for Coleman's Mustard. In the other direction, to the left of the path, was the Millennium Stone Circle, placed in the park by the Jerusalem Trust to commemorate the turn of the Millennium. Each stone represents a 200 year time period and is inscribed with quotes and poems of its respective era. Unlike its more famous counterpart, Stonehenge, it is freely accessible, so we were able to wander around and take photographs at close quarters. We then took the gently sloping path back up to the car park, enjoying views down to a meadow with a herd of cows framed by the sunlit hedgerow.

This had been a most pleasant walk, with ample opportunities to photograph a variety of grasses, plants and scenery. The warm evening sunlight was ideal for photography. We parted company at the car park, with some members heading for a committee meeting that followed. What a pleasant way to end the day!

© Photographs by Peter Flower (1 & 4), Mark Thomas (2), John Fisher (3)

© Photographs by Chris Worsley (1), John Fisher (2), Jill Flower (3), Peter Flower (4)

Monday Meeting – 20 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

The venue for this evening's event was the Deepdene Trail in Dorking. The brochure for this Trail which takes visitors into an extensive country estate mentions 'A Lost Landscape To Explore, A Beautiful Ruin To Admire and A Once Buried Treasure Brought To Light'. Situated as it is just a 15 minute walk from Dorking town centre it is a site which was unknown to most of us, and even to two of the members who said that they resided with a short distance from it. Entry is from the A24 main road running south from the Cockerel roundabout, and just beyond the Kuoni offices. There is not an official car park, although some of us were able squeeze into the entrance gateway.

There was another good turnout of members who set off through an initial woodland trail to explore and photograph the few remaining highlights of what had at one time featured in a grand country mansion and exotic gardens. The first sight of interest was down to the partere (currently under renovation) with an impressive stone statue, Coady the Lion. Descending to this level there were ample opportunities to photograph this impressive 'beast' from various angles, as well as the nearby Embattled Tower. From there we proceeded along the fairly level grassed area towards the grotto and then up a lengthy flight of flint steps to viewpoints on the top of the hill. The circuit was completed with a walk downhill through the wooded tracks to the area where our cars were parked. Some members had parked near the Dorking Halls so arrangements were made to transport them back in spare seats of the available vehicles. At the end of the evening ten of us went to the Pizza Express restaurant in the town centre. This had been a very enjoyable evening and a fitting end to this brief set of Monday evening outings. Our thanks go out to Stephen for his efforts in organising this series of events.

© Photographs by Mark Thomas, Jill Flower & Peter Flower

Note: Apologies to members whose photographs are not shown. Due to time constraints I found it difficult to locate images posted on Flickr.

Huawei P20 Pro smartphone

Peter Flower

For this event Pete Welch had brought along his newly-acquired phone. I subsequently asked Pete for his thoughts on initial experiences with this, and some images that he had taken on that evening. I gave some details of this smartphone in an earlier article (Newsletter 104) where image quality was compared with that of two other leading contenders. But, just to remind readers of the most significant features of the Huawei I mention these again -

The phone is co-engineered with Leica which provides the three-lens camera system. This works together with AI (Artificial Intelligence) to ensure you always get the perfect photos every time. The 3 lens/sensors are - 40MP Light Fusion sensor for remarkable light and definition, 20MP black and white lens for unrivalled depth, and 5X Hybrid Zoom for detail from a distance. The combination of lenses with different focal lengths and sensors for colour and monochrome enable the clever software algorithms to provide high quality images. These give the ability to provide such features as differential focus (giving background blur) and limited telephoto with small loss of definition that normally goes with digital zoom on other cameras. Some benefit also comes from the 1/1.7-inch image sensor, larger than that fitted in most smartphones.

Pete Welch provided the following photographs and comments -

Here is an example using the 'photo mode' this uses the 10 MP lens, which allows for zoom etc.

© Pete Welch

These were all taken using the 40 MP camera in pro mode saved as raw files (each is 80 mb !!!) I imported them to my pc via an app that comes with the phone, and from there into lightroom. I then deleted them from the phone because they are so large. The pictures have been edited in lightroom. They're not brilliant, but that's not the camera's fault.

© Pete Welch

Here's one using the aperture mode (emulates really since nothing moves I don't think) and another showing hand-held night mode (actually a 3 or 4 image HDR stacked in real time - each use takes 4 seconds and seems to take into account camera shake, though obviously you'd try and hold it steady.

© Pete Welch

Comment: The original image of The Running Horses shows excellent quality for a hand-held night shot.

CMOS sensors in short supply

Techman

The trend for multiple cameras and sensors on smartphones is on the increase, with even mid-range models often featuring dual setups now, sometimes at front and back. As a result big suppliers like Sony and Omnivision are increasing their prices for image sensors. Smaller smartphone manufacturers who don't get the same priority access to the big suppliers as major manufacturers are diverting orders to smaller sensor makers, such as Pixart and Silicon Optronics (SOI) to keep component cost under control. The trend mainly affects the smaller sensors used in smartphone cameras so the impact on the market for the larger units used in DLSRs and most mirrorless system cameras should be minimal.

Olympus & Panasonic Micro Four Thirds system -10 years old

Techman

In August 2008 Olympus and Panasonic announced a new, mirrorless format and lens mount. The Micro Four Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) as the previous Four Thirds system cameras but allowed slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The new format had half the flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor reduced from 40mm to 20mm), a smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller) and additional contact points for lens-to-body communication (now 11 points). Removing the mirror mechanism allowed this shorter flange back distance, meaning lenses for the new mount could be considerably smaller than current Four Thirds designs. Framing the image could be achieved via the Live View on the rear LCD monitor or the electronic viewfinder. Existing Four Thirds lenses could be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras using an adapter. Product announcements were not made at the time but were anticipated shortly.

The first Panasonic model of this new range, the DMC-G1 was announced on 12 September 2008. Olympus released its first camera, the Pen E-P1 in July 2009. As can be seen from the following images the Panasonic body design mirrored that of existing DSLR cameras whereas the Olympus, without an electronic viewfinder, was much more compact.

Panasonic DMC-G1 and Olympus Pen E-P1

Sony Full-frame cameras

Techman

On 15 August 2018 Sony Electronics, Inc. announced that it had overtaken and held the No. 1 overall position in the United States full-frame interchangeable lens camera market in the first half of 2018, in both dollars and units. In fact, four out of every 10 full-frame cameras sold during this time period have come from the Sony brand. Much of this recent success has been driven by sales of the acclaimed α7R III and α7 III models, as well as the rapid adoption of the α9 camera amongst professional sports photographers and photojournalists.

EISA awards for 201819

Techman

There was further encouraging news for Sony in these awards, just announced. (It should be remembered that these EISA awards only apply to products launched in the year up to the end of May 2018)

Sony did particularly well, coming away with five of the eighteen prizes. The Camera of the Year award went to the Sony α7 III, while the α7R III took Professional Mirrorless Camera of the Year and the Cyber-shot RX10 IV bridge camera came away with the award for the best superzoom model. Three of the lens awards went to models designed for the Sony system, with the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GN OSS and FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM being joined by Tamron’s 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD in the mirrorless sector.

The prize for the best mirrorless camera went to the Fujifilm X-H1 and the Canon EOS M50 was the recipient of a new award for Best Buy Camera. Nikon’s D850 deservedly won Professional DSLR of the Year and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II took the DSLR title. Best Photo Video Camera went to the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s, the Photo Innovation prize went to the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI and the 40MP sensor of the Huawei P20 Pro was one of the factors that won it the Best Smartphone award.

Full details are available at - https://www.eisa.eu/awards/photography/

Leica M10-P camera

Techman

Leica has introduced the M10-P, a higher-priced version of the M10 that removes the famous red dot and adds a quieter shutter in order to make the camera 'the stealthiest M ever'. Though ironically, if stealth is its aim, Leica has also added its trademark script to the top plate, which is hard to miss.

A more significant addition is a touchscreen LCD: the first to grace an M-series camera. This lets you position the area to magnify in live view or double-tap to jump straight to an enlarged view. You can also swipe and pinch-to-zoom in playback mode. There's also a new spirit level on the LCD and in the viewfinder.

As with the M10, the M10-P has a 24 megaixel Full-frame CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100-50,000, a 3" LCD, Wi-Fi and – of course – the M's timeless styling. Neither camera has I/O ports: not even USB.

The M10-P is available in black or silver and black for a price (body only) of £6500.

Panasonic LX100 II camera

Techman

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is a 17 megapixel enthusiast zoom compact with a 24-75mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 lens. It uses up to 85% of the area of a Four Thirds-sized sensor to give a choice of aspect ratios without narrowing the field of view.

Like the Mark I, the LX100 II features extensive external control points but it now also gains a touchscreen to speed up processes such as AF point positioning and interacting with the customizable function menu.

Key features:

Up to 17MP (from 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor)

24-75mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 zoom

4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios using selector switch on lens

4K video at up to 30p

2.76M-dot equiv. electronic viewfinder

1.24M-dot rear touchscreen

Wi-Fi with always-connected Bluetooth

Along with the higher-resolution sensor, the LX100 II gains a host of clever features the company has developed since the launch of the original model. But, perhaps more importantly, it also gains the improved colour rendering Panasonic introduced with the GH5, which should mean more attractive JPEG output.

The LX100 II is expected to be available in October.

Kodak Films return

Techman

At CES 2017 Kodak Alaris announced plans to reintroduce its Ektachrome film, which was discontinued in 2012. The film is not available for purchase yet but Kodak released sample images shot on the new Ektachrome in June and has now started shipping test film to select photographers.

Kodak Alaris has also announced that its 35mm Kodak Professional Pro Image 100 film is now available in Europe. Until now there was no official means of acquiring this film in the European market. Released in 1997 this film has been widely available in Asia as well as a handful of South American countries, but not through official Kodak retailers in Europe.

Two exhibitions to view

Jill Flower

I went to see the Shape Of Light at the Tate Modern (until October) followed by Dorothea Lange at the Barbican (until 3rd September). These exhibitions are both photographic in nature but could not be more different.

Photographs by Peter Flower

The Shape Of Light is an exhibition designed to show the use of photography as an abstract art form with many experimental approaches to the technology including cyanotypes and photograms. There is also the inclusion of some well known paintings and collage which shows where the inspiration for some of the work originated. I found the exhibition delightful and came away buzzing with ideas which I may or may not put into practice! It is not for everyone though and if you are not a serial experimenter, like me, and like your photographs to resemble the real world this may not appeal. A number of the pictures were familiar to me but the great thing about this exhibition is the way they are presented in context of each other and the art work. Abstract tends to be a love hate type of thing and some things will resonate with the viewer and some will not. Presenting the images in context helps the viewer to understand the images and sort out what they like and do not like.

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/shape-light

 

Acknowledgement to Dorothea Lange – Migrant Mother, Cars on the road

Dorothea Lange at the Barbican is a completely different type of photographic exhibition. There is a bonus exhibition by Vanessa Winship which you get entry to on the same ticket.

Dorothea Lange was a brilliant photographer, taking pictures in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Having started as a portrait photographer with a high class studio on the west coast of America she progressed to working in social documentary dealing with the plight of migrant workers in dust bowl America during the depression and Japanese internment during World War 2. Dorothea's pictures are always beautifully constructed and convey the story in a simple and compelling way. Those depicted always retain their dignity in the photographs and I think this is the reason they were so effective in getting the message out and changing attitudes. There are so many photographs in this exhibition it is difficult not to be overwhelmed. They are, however, high quality silver prints .

Vanessa Winship is also a documentary photographer from a later era. Her work is good but after visiting the Lange exhibition the contrast in style and the digital black and white as opposed to the silver prints falls a little flat for me, but it is interesting to compare the two exhibitions.

https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2018/event/dorothea-lange-vanessa-winship

 

And finally . . . . . . . . . .

Image from internet source

Right-angle viewfinder required

Editorial

Peter Flower

In the build-up to the Photokina event, scheduled for 26-29 September, there have been a number of significant new camera announcements. In addition to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras which we reported on in the previous Newsletter there has since been significant news of new models from Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fujifilm. We report on these in following articles. Instant cameras are increasing in popularity in some market places. The new Polaroid camera and printer are evidence of this, although it has to be said that the Zink printing model is just another variation on a number of these that have been previously available.

The society activities for the new season kicked off with the Saturday Natter and Nick Roger's talk on a trip to Alaska to witness the brown bears enjoying the salmon run. The following meeting was targeted at familiarising members, and prospective members, with the organisation of the society, how to obtain information and assistance, and plans for the year ahead. Following the presentation of awards for previous competitions there were a number of brief talks by members on topics such as competition rules and the events programme by Paul Renaut, finding information from the web site by Jill Flower and details of additional events by Stephen Hewes. In the second half there were presentations of photographs by Les Dyson, Modesto Vega and Jill Flower.

Reinforcing the guidance from Jill Flower about web site information, remember that you can find details of forthcoming events in the Current Events section on the right-hand side of the Home page or by clicking on the Programme tab. These details can be downloaded to your own calendar.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 1 September 2018

Peter Flower

Another sunny day for our meeting, but just a hint of cooler weather to come and slight signs of autumn colour in the the surrounding vineyards. There were just nine of us at this meeting, but with just two tables occupied this meant that there was greater opportunity to converse with one another.

Initially it appeared that a mini committee meeting was taking place at one end of the table with plans being discussed for events at the early part of the new season, including two exhibitions which Colin Hodsdon is planning. Sitting opposite me was Don Morley, sporting a Canon-branded camera bag. Needless to say the contents were in fact two Leica camera bodies and some lenses. Don explained to the group of us sitting nearby that he had found it very difficult to find a bag that satisfied his detailed requirements. Although the two bodies fitted neatly into two of the internal compartments it was rarely possible to store them with the lens hoods fitted. He liked to be able to have the cameras with controls pre-set and ready for quick action, complete with lens hoods in position. One of the cameras that Don had with him was this Leica Q model that I photographed.

Leica Q, showing the fixed Summitar f/1.7 28mm lens and controls (Photographs by Peter Flower)

This is a beautiful full-frame camera to handle, solidly built and with well-designed controls. The electronic viewfinder with its 3.68 million dot resolution was, at the time of the camera's release in June 2015, the best available. The shutter speed dial on the top, together with the aperture and focus control rings on the lens, provide for quick and easy settings to be made. We discussed this aspect of the Leica and expressed regret that so many modern cameras do not provide this same level of intuitive control; instead requiring the use of buttons or menu selection.

Stephen Hewes had brought along his newly acquired Pentax DFA 50mm f/1.4 lens, mated to his K-1 camera body. The combined weight is 1920g. Both Don and I were able (just!) to handle it. Although Don's camera only had a 28mm f/1.7 lens, not totally matching that of Stephen's outfit, it nevertheless highlighted the immense disparity between two full-frame cameras, both of which are solidly built. Stephen took a number of photographs, including this one of me. I must say that I was disappointed with the quality of the image from this expensive lens – it didn't make me any better looking!

Photograph by Stephen Hewes

In answer to my query after the event Stephen sent me the following comments - 'My previous 50mm is about 25 years old so I thought it would be good to replace it – the old one's gone onto my old K-r body to be my equivalent of a compact – only 820 grammes combined weight (less than the new lens on its own) and fully amortised so I can take it anywhere!'

In a previous Saturday Natter report (Newsletter 108) I reported on Rosemary Callinan's imminent plans to move to Edinburgh and that this might be her last attendance at one of our events. Due to slight delays in those plans she is still living locally and we were happy to greet her at this latest Natter.

Comment: Referring back to the new 50mm f/1.4 lens that Stephen had brought to the meeting and subsequent comparisons with Don's Leica camera, I thought that it would be interesting to research details on a Canon A-1 camera, complete with 50mm f/1.4 lens, that I still own. Although the A-1 is a film camera it is comparable in the image size recorded (being 35mm or what we now call full-frame). Admittedly we are not comparing like with like (camera bodies being 1010g for the Pentax and 620g for the Canon) but it is the disparity in weight and size of the lenses that is most surprising. Compared to the bulk of the Pentax lens (620g and dimensions of 106mm long, 80mm diameter) the Canon FD lens is minuscule at 235g and approximate dimensions of 52mm long with 65mm diameter.

Dorothea Lange – Migrant Mother image

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 110 Jill Flower reported on a visit to the Barbican to see an exhibition of Dorothea Lange's photographs. In that article the famous 'Migrant Mother' image was reproduced. Stephen Hewes had also visited that exhibition and emailed me to comment on the fact that the image normally featured had in fact been edited to remove a finger on the post in the bottom right-hand corner. Jill and I were already aware of this but I followed up on Stephen's suggestion that this would make an interesting item for the Newsletter. I have carried out further research and found an image of the original version. Both images are reproduced below to illustrate the minor but significant editing that had been performed.

Acknowledgement to Library of Congress – the second image is annotated - '(b&w film copy neg. of an unretouched file, showing thumb)'

It is interesting to speculate on the thinking that went behind the decision that such a minor distraction in the image needed to be covered up.

Alaska, Brown Bears (and other things) - 3 September 2018 – Nick Rogers

Report by Peter Flower

Society member, Nick Rogers, got the new season off to a flying start with his talk about a recent trip to Alaska to photograph the wild life and in particular the brown bears salmon fishing. He had brought some of his camera equipment that he had taken on the trip. Most of the photographs had been taken with his Nikon D850 and Tamron 150-600 f/5-6.3 lens, although he also had a D810, Tamron 24-70 f2.8 and Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lenses in the kit that he took with him. He explained the technique whereby he used underexposure of his shots in order to preserve the highlights. It should be said that the lack of stabilisation, either in-body or with the lenses, required careful choice of camera settings to capture movement in the sometimes dim lighting conditions. He stressed that he deliberately did not use a tripod because this would have hampered quick changes of viewpoint to react to the rapidly changing scenes before him.

Nick set the scene for his visit by displaying maps of the area, showing where he had initially flown into Anchorage. There followed various internal flights, mainly by floatplane, to the remote region where the bears were gathering to feed during the salmon run. The principal area of interest centred on Brooks Falls Trail.

Access to the viewing platforms overlooking the falls required a lengthy trek from the visitor centre along tracks with no rangers and where bears might be encountered. The viewing platforms had limited capacity and visiting times could be restricted. The following two images show the viewing platforms and the unusual sight of men fishing in the river in close proximity to bears.

© Photographs by Nick Rogers

Talking about the internal flights by floatplane, Nick showed the following image of one being refuelled. Explaining the reason for its inclusion in a section which was largely devoted to images of brown bears he said that shortly beforehand they had made a landing where the fuel had run out!

© Photograph by Nick Rogers

We were shown a large selection of photographs that Nick took at the falls from the viewing platforms. These included close-ups of bears actually catching the salmon as well as fights that took place.

© Photographs by Nick Rogers

The weather was changeable and Nick showed this image of a particularly wet bear, one of many that he photographed on another day.

© Photograph by Nick Rogers

However, perhaps the most interesting, and scary, shot was this one. In the Newsletter 109 feature 'And finally . . ' I posted a picture of photographers racing away from an angry bear with a text that I hoped Nick would not encounter something like this. He did! His own close encounter is illustrated below.

© Photograph by Nick Rogers

Nick also included some shots of the local scenery, including that of a beautiful flower meadow and a glacier.

© Photographs by Nick Rogers

In the second half of the evening Nick presented a variety of photographs including some from the remainder of his trip via San Francisco with visits to Monterey Bay and the giant redwoods forests. He also showed more photographs from this country and earlier visits to the countries of south Africa. (As reported in Newsletter 102) A particularly humorous story concerned an attempt to photograph a kingfisher. The photograph shown was just of a stream in the lower part of the picture, no kingfisher and a slim branch arching above it, where the kingfisher was expected to perch. Despite the fact that the stream concealed some fish in an underwater container, designed to attract the kingfisher into a dive, several hours of watching proved fruitless. The following images are just a small selection of the African pictures shown – a beautiful night shot, a hippo showing why it is such a dangerous animal and touching affection between two monkey siblings.

© Photographs by Nick Rogers

In my earlier report I commented that Nick should learn from the travelogue films that were so popular at one time. There would be a typical cliché ending 'And as the sun sinks slowly in the West we say farewell to the wild life and glorious scenery of South Africa'. Nick obviously took my advice. The following is one of two images that he showed at the end of his talk!

© Photograph by Nick Rogers

It is not possible within these reports to cover all aspects of the talk which in Nick's case provided us with a variety of superb images and an entertaining commentary, but this should provide a flavour of the excellent talk by one of our own members.

Comment: This evening was exciting for another reason. We saw the first use of our new microphone and speaker system. Both Stephen Hewes, who did the introductions, and Nick were equipped with the light head-mounted microphones. The system was very effective and should overcome the complaints levied at some speakers that their voice is difficult to hear towards the back of the audience.

Nikon D3500 camera

Techman

Nikon D3500 camera

Nikon has replaced its entry-level D3400 DSLR with the new D3500. The main change is that the body is similar to that of the even-smaller D5600, minus the articulating touchscreen display. The new model has increased battery life, up 30% to 1550 shots per charge, despite using the same processor and battery as the D3400. The new model has the same 24 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, 11-point AF system, easy-to-use Guide Mode, 1080/60p video and Bluetooth-only connectivity as the D3400. The D3500 is also cheaper than its predecessor, priced at £499 with an 18-55mm lens AF-P DX VR or £479 with an 18-55mm lens AF-P DX. Availability is anticipated in late September.

Sony HX99 and HX95 cameras

Techman

Sony HX99 camera

Sony has announced these new HX compact models in a series which it claims to be the world's smallest camera with wide zoom range. These are similar to previous models, currently featuring the BIONZ X image processing engine, front-end LSI and 4K video recording. Both models are nearly identical, each sporting a 180-degree tiltable LCD, OLED Tru-Finder, and 1/2.3" Exmor R 18MP CMOS sensor. They are fitted with a ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-720mm High Magnification Zoom lens, Optical SteadShot image stabilization, Zoom Assist, and auto focus speeds as fast as 0.09 seconds. Both models support 4K video recording at 3840 x 2160.

The Cyber-shot HX99 camera differs from the HX95 in a few ways, one of which is an OLED Tru-Finder with a control ring versus the HX95's retractable viewfinder. The HX99 also features a control ring for customized camera functions, Touch Shutter, Touch Focus, and a focus point shifting function called Touch Pad.

The HX99 at £449 and HX95 at £429 will be available in October 2018.

Canon EOS R mirrorless camera

Techman

This exciting new camera was formally announced by Canon on 5 September 2018. Unlike the Nikon Z6 and Z7 models there were no previous 'teaser' releases on the web, although there had been what appeared to be very informed rumours circulating for some time. This included a copy of a PDF file containing the full camera specifications.

Canon EOS R camera

Canon makes it very clear that this is merely the first in a new system. The EOS R has a 30.3 effective megapixel CMOS sensor incorporating its Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature with an impressive 5,655 selectable points. Significantly, unlike its Nikon and Sony rivals it does not have In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). Other features include a DIGIC 8 processor, ability to focus down to -6EV (though this is rated with an f/1.2 lens) and a native ISO range of 100-40,000 that expands to 50-102,400. It has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3.69 million dots, a magnification of 0.76x and a 23mm eye-point. The fully articulating 3.2" LCD screen is touch-enabled and has 2.1 million dots. A customizable touchpad to the right of the viewfinder allows for quickly changing ISO, white balance, movie shooting and more. In common with the new Nikon models the EOS R offers just one memory card slot, which supports UHS-II media, regarded as a shortcoming by professional photographers. It uses RF-mount lenses, four of which will be available at the launch date, but also supports existing EF and EF-S lenses via one of three optional adapters. In addition to a basic adapter there is another with a customizable control wheel and a third with support for drop-in filters. The adapter with control ring allows operation in much the same way as compact cameras like the Sony HX and Panasonic TZ range cameras. The ring is customisable and easy to find without taking the camera from your eye offering tactile manual control over various settings.

The lenses initially released in the RF range are all of premium quality, ranging in price from £519 for the 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro to £3049 for the 28-70mm f/2L USM at £3049. This last lens lacks in-built I.S. and so is completely unstabilised on the Canon EOS R. It also weighs in at a hefty 1430g and requires a massive 95mm filter.

In many respects the camera is similar to the EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, having the same-sized 30 megapixel sensor. However, it weighs in at 660g compared to the 890g of the 5D. It is also cheaper than that model which is priced at £2999.

The EOS R will be available in October priced at £2349 (body only) or £3269 for the kit with 24-150mm f/4L IS lens.

Fujifilm X-T3 camera

Techman

Fujifilm X-T3 camera

On 6 September 2018 Fujifilm announced this new model which introduces further enhancements over the popular X-T2. These include a new 26 megapixel BSI X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor that can shoot at up to 30 fps (in crop mode) and capture 4K/60p video. The T3's X-Processor 4 is three times faster than that of current X-series models. The camera also has a native base ISO of 160, down from 200 on the X-T2. The autofocus system is a big improvement over previous X-series models.

Comparisons of improvements between the X-T2 and X-T3 include increase of sensor from 24 to 26 megapixels, more focus points, 325 up to 425, EVF definition up from 2.36 to 3.69mp and faster frame rate, 14 to 20 fps. The autofocus system has been improved over previous X-series models, with 2.1 million phase detection pixels providing nearly 100% coverage. The system checks focus and metering 1.5x faster than the X-T2 and is capable of focusing in light levels as low as -3EV. Face and eye detection have been improved, with the latter now available in AF-C mode. Fujifilm has also added a 'Digital Microprism' focusing aid, simulating the view through an old-school film SLR finder. There are even apparently minor improvements such as the ability to lock the EVF diopter setting, which can easily be disturbed when handling other cameras.

The new models is priced at £1349 (body only)

Polaroid 2-in-1 camera and printer

Techman

Polaroid has announced two new devices that utilise Zink print technology to provide instant prints. The first is the Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 instant digital camera and printer. As can be seen in the following image this is available in a range of colours.

Polaroid Mint 2-in-1 instant digital camera and printer

The device features a 16-megapixel digital camera 'for snapping memories of everyday life'. Photos are stored through a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 256GB of storage.

It has automatic LED flash and self-timer. You can select one of three shooting modes (colour, sepia, or black and white), use the integrated selfie mirror and produce prints using the built-in ink-free Zink printer.

Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Pocket Printer

Also available is the Polaroid Mint Instant Digital Pocket Printer in the same range of bold colours. It pairs with the Polaroid Mint smartphone (iOS and Android) app via Bluetooth and can create 2×3-inch full-colour glossy photos in less than a minute. The app offers editing, filters, frames, stickers, and more. The printer has a battery life of 50 prints per charge via the USB port.

Both models should be available in October.

Comments from Ian Hunt on Nikon Z

I was very excited by the prospect of the mirrorless Z Nikons but in my opinion Nikon will fail to capture the Pro market with it. Only one slot and around 300 shots per battery charge. EVF is all very well but consumes current.

The reason why I moved from Nikon Bridge cameras were the EVF consuming power and slow warm up and reaction times. DSLR was a revelation after that!

OK, so the D610 has the weight of a housebrick and is more wieldy than the 850 so I cannot see myself being tempted by the new toy in it's current form. I can also take in excess of a 1000 images and use the second card as overflow. Battery is always charged to 100% before I go to an event.

When the Sony A7 came out I was uncomfortable with it's ergonomics and it's price. When it came out at 2,200 quid that seemed steep to me so three and four grand on the Nikon...I think not. Yes we can use FX lenses with the adaptor which should have been thrown in with the camera for free.

Sales trends

Techman

The following sales graph from CIPA is interesting. Speculation goes on about the potential for interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras to replace the conventional DSLR, especially since the entry of Nikon and Canon into the market. The most significant aspect of this graph is not just the trend for increasing sales of mirrorless cameras, climbing relatively slowly, but the dramatic drop in DSLR sales over the past 5 years.

Acknowledgement to CIPA

Panasonic to unveil a Full Frame Mirrorless Camera?

This is the latest rumour on certain web sites. If it happens, remember that you read it here first!

And finally . . . . . . . . .

Photographer checking the weather-proofing of his camera.

Acknowledgement to Veselin Malinov. Image from boredpanda.com

 

 

Stop press

by Jill Flower 

 

We went to a superb exhibition at the museum of London called London Nights. This has some very good and interesting photography covering London at night from the 1930’s to current day. Names such as Bill Brandt and Bert Hardy featured strongly but someone you may not know, who was a Reigate photographer killed by a bomb in Reigate in 1944, Harold Burdekin, has some pictures of sinister London streets in this exhibition. These particular pictures reminded me of some we attempted to stage on a previous extra event to shoot London at twilight. We are going to do this in Greenwich this season, so if you are thinking of going on this event, or even if not, I can recommend this exhibition as a wealth of ideas for city night time photography.

on until 11/11/18

https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london

 

 

Editorial

Peter Flower

As reported in this Newsletter, Fujifilm continues to expand its range of cameras as well as proceeding with its planned road map to produce a comprehensive range of lenses for them. Announcements of a new camera and lenses from Fujifilm provide a guide to the health of this company in contrast to that of Nikon. In the year from August 2017 Nikon has announced just two new models, the acclaimed D850 DSLR and the recent P1000 bridge camera, whilst at the same time continuing withdrawal of models as reported by Techman in a following article. In the same period Fujifilm has released 6 new models - Fuji X-E3 (Sept 2017), and this year XP130 (January), X-A5 (January), XH1 (February), X-T100 (May), XF10 (July).

However, it may not be all bad news for Nikon. The company has recently posted a video 'teaser' of what appears to be its forthcoming mirrorless camera. The first part of the video seems to be a cinematic representation of light hitting a sensor, but the last few seconds give a glimpse of the shadowy outline of a camera on a tripod. The original video is very dark, but by taking a screen grab and brightening it up I have been able to produce the following image that appears to show a very shallow body depth.

The new Nikon mirrorless model?

Rumours about a significant new model from Nikon have been circulating for some time, as previously reported. However, the timing of this from Nikon probably has major significance as it comes shortly before the Photokina 2018 event scheduled to take place from 26 September to 29 September.

Nikon – more discontinued cameras

Techman

Information from DPReview on18 July 2018 - 'Nikon now lists its KeyMission action cameras as discontinued on its UK and Japan websites, a change first spotted by Nikon Rumors. The maker's UK website lists the KeyMission 80 as "discontinued," though neither the KeyMission 170 or 360 models show the same notice. The Nikon Japan website lists the KeyMission 360 as an "old product," but doesn't include the KeyMission 80 or 170 models under its discontinued action camera page.'

Fujiflm lenses - roadmap

Techman

20 July 2018 -

Fujifilm has added three new lenses to its X-mount roadmap. The most interesting of the lenses is definitely the XF 33mm F1.0 R WR, a weather-sealed lens that, when mounted on an X-series body, is equivalent to 50mm F1.5 on full-frame.

Also in the pipeline are a 16mm F2.8 prime and a stabilized 16-80mm F4 zoom, both of which are weather-resistant.

The 16mm prime and 16-80mm zoom lenses are expected in 2019, with the 33mm F1.0 arriving sometime in 2020.

Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR lens - On 20 July 2018 Fujifilm announced its widest X-series zoom to date. The lens has a total of 20 elements, including four aspherical, three ED and three Super ED, plus a Nano GI coating to reduce ghosting and flare. The lens has linear motors for responsive and quiet focusing, a nine-blade aperture and a minimum focus distance of 25 cm / 9.8". The lens is sealed against dust and moisture and operates down to -10°C/+14°F.

The XF 8-16mm F2.8 will be priced at £1799, expected availability late November 2018.

Fujifilm XF 8-16mm F2.8 R LM WR lens

Fujiflm XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR lens – On 20 July 2018 announced this telephoto lens, which will be bundled with a matching 1.4x teleconverter. The lens has a 'matte silver' magnesium alloy body with an eye-catching green hood and is sealed against dust and moisture. The 200mm F2 has a total of 19 elements, including one Super ED and two ED elements, and the front glass has a fluorine coating to keep away fingerprints and water. Linear motors allow quick and quiet focus and the image stabilizer reduces shake by up to five stops according to Fujifilm. The XF 1.4X TC F2 WR teleconverter boosts the focal length of the lens to 280mm, with the maximum aperture rising a stop to F2.8.

The lens complete with teleconverter kit will be priced at £5399, with expected delivery in late October.

Fujiflm XF 200mm F2 R LM OIS WR lens

Fujifilm XF10 camera

Techman

Fujifilm XF10 camera

On 19 July 2018 Fujifilm announced this new model, an APS-C sensor compact camera with a fast prime lens. It retains the same 28mm equivalent F2.8 lens as the X70 but now uses a 24MP Bayer colour filter rather than X-Trans one. It appears to be a simplified X70 with a higher resolution sensor. The XF10 has a mode dial in the place of the X70's shutter speed control and it also loses the focus mode switch from the front plate and the tilting screen that made the X70 attractive to street shooters.

This model is available in two different colours, black and champagne gold, at a price of £449.

Comment

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 106 I illustrated an article about comparisons of 35mm film cameras with modern digital models in a photograph that showed the very compact Ricoh GR1s. I commented about the quality of images that it produced and the fact that it was such a handy travel camera. The announcement of the Fujifilm XF10 aroused my interest because of certain similarities to the GR1s. Both have F2.8 lenses with virtually the same 28mm focal length (equivalent in the case of the Fuji). The sizes are also very similar, with the XF10 at 113x64x41mm compared to the Ricoh at about 115x62x33mm. Interestingly, the comparisons do not end there. Despite the fact that the GR1s was introduced in 1997 second-hand models are currently advertised on ebay and other web sites for prices around the £400 mark and above, which is an indication of how highly this model remains to be regarded.

Looking Back

Peter Flower

The Newsletter regularly reports on the monthly Saturday Natters that take place at Denbies Vineyard. Looking back through the Newsletter for some research I came upon the report in Newsletter 77 of the inaugural meeting of this popular event. This took place on 16 January 2016. It was the idea of John Fisher who invited members to come along, bring cameras, chat about anything photographic and socialise generally. It would also be an opportunity for new members to get to know existing ones and perhaps obtain advice on any queries that they might have about equipment or photographic techniques. Almost twenty people turned up and gathered around a group of tables in the centre of the café. John's concept for this additional event was a successful one, as proved by the fact that the Saturday Natters continue to be a regular feature of the society's programme.

In Newsletter 108 Techman reporting on the new Sony RX100 VA model commented on the strange fact that every model since the RX100 was first released in June 2012 was still listed on the Sony web site.

In a similar vein I have noticed that the Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras range also presents a similar picture. Every model since the a7 was introduced in October 2013 is still listed on the Sony web site, 9 models in all. In Newsletter 64, of 11 November 2014, I reported on the fact that the a7 was the first full-frame model to be available at under £1000. Interestingly, the Sony a7 with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens is currently listed by Park Cameras at £749 (£899 with £150 cashback).

Sony Sensor for smartphones

Techman

Sony has introduced a new smartphone image sensor, the IMX586. This has a 1/2" format (6.4 x 4.8 mm) stacked sensor, nearly twice the size of a typical 1/3"-type chip fitted in smartphones. This allows it to squeeze 48 megapixels onto its surface, each of 0.8 μm. The format of this sensor, referred to as a 'Quad Bayer' can be seen in the following image.

Sony IMX586 'Quad Bayer' sensor

The sensor combines high resolution with the Quad Bayer colour filter array in which every 2×2 pixel array has the same colour filter. This allows it to process its data in different ways depending on conditions. For example, in low light conditions image data from the four pixels in such an array is merged and processed as one single pixel, resulting in a reduced 12 megapixel image resolution. According to Sony, low light performance is comparable to large 1.6μm pixels. In another situation, with bright and contrasty conditions, it is said that the dynamic range could be compensated for by switching off alternate pixels mid-exposure, protecting highlight capture while still recording full shadow detail. The Quad Bayer pattern would lend itself particularly well to this.

Events for the summer and the 2018-2019 season

PF

I would like to draw attention to the special events, organised by Stephen Hewes, which will run on Monday evenings during August. These are an opportunity for members to meet up early evening and photograph local subjects, but also, hopefully, to attract potential new members to join us. A similar series of events which ran in July last year resulted in new members joining the society. Details of these can be viewed from the Current Events calendar on the Home page of this web site.

Members should also refer to this calendar where they will find listings of the programme of events for the new season organised by Paul Renaut.

And finally . . . . . . . .

Peter Flower

Two images this time.

1. I recently received an email from Nick Rogers in which he said that he was getting a flight to a remote island in Alaska, and I noticed that the first talk of the new season is by Nick with a talk about a recent trip to Alaska to photograph the wild life and in particular the Brown Bears.

I hope that he doesn't encounter a situation like this!

Acknowledgement - photographer identity unknown (Image from boredpanda site)

2. This is some hide! I hope that lens has a close-up setting!

Acknowledgement to animalworld.com.us (Image from boredpanda site)

 

STOP PRESS - 25 July 2018

After this Newsletter was prepared for publication the following official announcement was made by Nikon Inc. in the US. “MELVILLE, NY (JULY 25, 2018 at 12:01 A.M. EDT) – Nikon Inc. is pleased to announce the development of a next-generation full-frame (Nikon FX-format) mirrorless camera and NIKKOR lenses featuring a new mount.

The new mirrorless camera and NIKKOR lenses that are in development will enable a new dimension in optical performance with the adoption of a new mount. The system is the result of Nikon’s unsurpassed optical and manufacturing capabilities gained through more than a century of imaging expertise. Proven reliability and trusted performance are core traits of Nikon Digital-SLRs, and decades of feedback from professional creators around the world has further contributed to the development of this system.

Through the development of this new mirrorless camera, Nikon reaffirms our commitment to providing photographers with the ability to capture images that are richer and more vivid than ever before.

Additionally, an F-Mount adapter is being developed that will enable the use of a wide variety of F-Mount NIKKOR lenses with the new camera.

Nikon will continue to lead imaging innovation with the launch of the new mirrorless camera and the continued development of Nikon Digital-SLR cameras as well as the impressive NIKKOR lens lineup. Soon, Nikon users will have two industry-leading camera systems to choose from, giving consumers the choice to enjoy the unique values that each system offers.

Content relating to this product is available for viewing at the following URL: http://www.nikonusa.com/mirrorlessiscoming. Please stay tuned for more information.”