Editorial

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 104 I wrote at length on the subject of choice of camera equipment and the trends that are expected to influence future choice. As reported, it is anticipated there will be an increasing move towards the introduction of APS-C and full-frame mirrorless models, especially from the likes of Canon and Nikon who have been markedly reluctant to enter this sector. There continues to be little news from Nikon on this subject but the Canon web site currently features the EOS M50 (mirrorless) camera on the home page. There is even a a pointer to an 'Explore – Mirrorless or DSLR ' feature guiding viewers on the choice between the two types of camera. This shows a number of examples of what Canon regards as comparable models between the conventional EOS DSLRs and the new M-range models.

As discussed in the previous Newsletter, current DSLR photographers are likely to be torn between the cost benefits of retaining compatibility with existing lenses and specific accessories, and the size and weight benefits (both bodies and lenses) that go with mirrorless models. In this respect the chances are that many members will have built up a collection of compatible lenses, either from the same manufacturer or the likes of Sigma and Tamron. However, the increasing availability of adapters presents the possibility of utilising these legacy lenses with the more compact mirrorless models.

Many members will know that I have adopted this practice, using Canon lenses (both FD-fit from the days before autofocus and newer EF lenses) on my Panasonic GX8 camera. Later in this Newsletter you can read about Don Morley's use of a very old lens system, via adapter, on his Canon DSLR. Don has told me that this use of adapters goes beyond that of the Canon to include his Fujifilm camera.

Discussion Topic

I would like to hear from other society members who might have gone down this same path. I hope to publish an article on this topic in a future Newsletter and it would be interesting to hear of your experiences. We already have the basis for the article in terms of the systems used by myself and Don (who will hopefully include details of adapters with Fujifilm and any other cameras that he has).

Please contact me, either at one of our meetings or via email with brief details. I would very much appreciate any of your input on this subject.

Jack Thomas

PF

Further to the two articles published in Newsletters 103 and 104 I received a further email from Jack's daughter, Helen, on 8 April 2018 -

Dear Peter,

Thank you so much for forwarding this link to your newsletter. And thank you also for the warm and interesting reminiscences and photos you have included in the article about Dad. I know that the friendships and shared interests that he enjoyed through RPS were very much appreciated over the years, and he got enormous pleasure from producing photos of quality and skill.

I hope that the RPS continues to go from strength to strength, and I wish you all the very best. Helen

Saturday Natter etc – 7 April 2018

Report by Peter Flower

This was a special event, initially starting at Denbies Vineyard, combining the morning Saturday Natter, a briefing by Don Morley on the techniques required for capturing action at a football match, lunch in the restaurant and a visit to a football match at Banstead.

Saturday Natter

Because of the forthcoming photographic visit to the football match at Banstead there was even more camera equipment than normal brought to this morning's event. Without doubt the most spectacular kit consisted of two huge lenses brought along by Stephen Renouf, together with his bulky Nikon DSLR. As can be seen in these photographs by Lester Hicks, Mark Thomas is definitely out-gunned by Stephen!

© Lester Hicks

Stephen was evaluating two long focal length lenses, an f/2.8 120-300mm zoom from Sigma and a NIKKOR f/2 200mm lens. The size can be judged from the two lenses sitting side-by-side on a table. The NIKKOR is shown fitted with a Nikon AF-I Teleconverter TC-14E which gives a 40% increase in focal length whilst reducing the maximum aperture by one stop.

© Peter Flower

Briefing by Don Morley

An upstairs room was used for Don's briefing. This was designed to give advice, in general terms, on how to capture action during the match. Because of the variety of cameras and lenses that would be used by members it was not possible to give specific guidance, but to explain how best to deal with capturing the action which would be moving erratically around the field. There were a number of problems associated with keeping the area of interest in focus. Don suggested that photographers should experiment with both autofocus and manual focus methods. Some cameras would have 'follow-focus' capabilities that, having obtained focus on a particular player, could keep focus as movement towards or away from the camera took place. On the other hand pre-focusing manually could be used where action was anticipated in a specific area of the pitch. A prime example of this would be that taking place near the goal-mouth. Depth of field could often be relied upon to mask minor errors in focus. Some cameras provided what was termed a 'back-button focus' facility (so called because it normally utilises a function button on the back of the camera where it is convenient to press). With this the autofocus retains the focus at a specific distance, unaffected by the normal focus adjustment that takes place with a half-press on the shutter button.

There were numerous other tips given, too many to be mentioned in this brief report. As regards the image itself, backgrounds played an important part. The ground at Banstead had residential buildings surrounding it, together with fairly unattractive fences. Even with largest lens apertures in use it could be difficult to render these out of focus. However, the most important advice was to keep your eye on the ball! A photograph would have no impact if the ball was not in the frame. This could be particularly problematic if a player headed the ball or if it was obscured by other players in a close contact situation.

Don illustrated his advice with images that he had taken at previous matches. These showed some of the pitfalls, including such basic errors as the autofocus system choosing the wrong point. This could be a particular problem if shooting from the rear of the goal, with the netting being in focus rather than the players. As was to be expected, Don's briefing was backed up by his years of experience and was full of practical advice for many of us who do not normally attempt this form of photography.

Football match at Banstead Athletic F C ground

The organisers of the event must have been very pleased with the increased number of spectators, represented by members of our society! Also, I doubt if any football match in this league has had so many photographers recording the action. We were met at the ground by Don who was sporting some interesting photographic kit, illustrated in the following pictures.

© Peter Flower

This shows the very ancient Noflexar f/5.6 280mm lens on the Novoflex rifle-like system attached by adapter to the Canon EOS 550D. This is not the sort of kit that you would want to take into a venue with high security! The focus is controlled by a trigger system which is so much easier and faster than the rotary manual control on a normal lens. Fortunately for Don he had also brought along a conventional Canon lens to use for part of the time, as will become obvious from the details in the following article based on email conversations after the event.

Members were able to move freely along the fences bounding the pitch and into the two low grandstands. These provided slightly elevated viewpoints, but not sufficient to have a noticeable effect in eliminating background clutter.

Some of the member's photographs are shown in the following collages. Including two of my own there are images chosen at random from other members who posted them on the society's Flickr site.

© Mark Thomas - Nikon DSLR

© Paul Renouf - Nikon D4 DSLR

© Don Morley - Canon EOS 5D 70-200mm f/4 L lens

© Pete Welch - Olympus E-M5 Mk. II

© Stephen Hewes - Pentax K-1

© Jill Flower - Olympus E-PL7 14-150mm Olympus lens

© Peter Flower - Panasonic GX8 45-200mm Panasonic lens

Don's problems with the lens adapter

Don explained the problems to me in a series of emails -

10 April - Last Saturday I shot most of the time with my old Novoflex Follow Focus lens which as you know is manual everything, and until I got home thought I can done quite well with it (I don't chimp). Anyway when I tried to download my picture I had nothing.

Luckily I had used two cameras so was sort of OK with the pictures on the other one though it had a shorter focal length lens which of course was not as good for killing the background. What had happened with the Novoflex was that the cheap Chinese adapter had broken up inside with a big bit having fallen off which somewhat frighteningly I HAVE STILL NOT FOUND!

There is no other adapter option if I wish to continue to be able to use my Novoflex's on my Canons. I have already sent off for another one - £13 post free from Beijing. We live and learn, but the moral for me as ever is always to use at least two cameras.

15 April - I bought the adapter I have several years back on ebay from China. Although it falls very much into the cheep and cheerful category it has worked perfectly until that Saturday when the electronic contacts must have fallen off. I assume that this happened when I was fitting the lens to camera when we were all chatting in the car park (I have searched my camera case, car boot, and the camera itself but not found the missing bit).

If you look on ebay at Leica R to Canon EF adapters you will see lots of them and mine was exactly the same as the ones listed by a company 'Digiunitedcom' at £13 and claiming to be from Ireland, which to my slight annoyance they are most certainly as again it is coming from China so I have no idea when it will arrive. Anyway, the bit that fell off has the electrical contacts which are fitted to fool the camera it not only has a lens fitted, but also a Canon lens. Without these none of the other settings work, not even in manual, hence my shooting away for most of the time with a camera which was not getting anything!

Ironically it was only my age that saved me as my muscles are not what they were and I suffer quite badly from joint arthritis. So on that day I got to a point where I could no longer use the squeeze focus as it had become too painful. Otherwise I might not have used the other camera and its Canon lens at all, so would not have had anything to show for my own efforts.

16 April - The replacement arrived this morning and seems a bit better made than the old one. The old one is on the left and as you can see the contacts have gone AWOL.

© Don Morley

Fine Art Flower and Nature Photography – 9 April 2018 – Andy Small

Report by Lester Hicks

This was an evening with a difference. It was not about photographic technique as such but photography as a tool to produce marketable visual art. Andy Small is a trained artist and art teacher with highly developed photographic skills – most notably, on what he showed us, in applied macro photography. His output has a broad span, not only teaching courses on flower photography for the RHS but also used in commercial work, including promotions for IKEA.

Most of his photography is done indoors, backlit by natural light through a large window, using a tripod and a range of glass background screens tinted with acrylic paint. Flower and plant specimens are supported with a diminishing stock of 35mm film cassettes. Other tools included a light box and background cards, with black proving particularly effective in isolating the subject, card or painted glass “windows” to shoot through, and where possible the use of Zeiss lenses.

Many of the presented images dated from the film era, based on repeated shooting in Fuji Velvia, Agfa Ultra 50 and back into Velvia to achieve high saturation and visual punch. While many of Andy’s recommended techniques would not find favour with judges assessing “pure” photographic merit, a lot of what he said should be helpful for those seeking to learn, or improve techniques in artistic flower photography (or even fruit and vegetables, for those seeking variety). Here is a selection:

Pay attention to the Colour Wheel; use opposites for impact and contrast;

Colour and impact are so important; remember buyers are often more interested in the right colour for their intended setting than content of the picture.

Avoid solid backgrounds – even when out of focus some background texture sets off the foreground;

Composition is key; carefully select the elements, and then crop and focus to get the effect you want;

Think about shape, line and pattern in composing an image that will grab and attract attention;

Don’t always position subjects centrally;

Things don’t all have to be sharp for the composition and structure of the image to achieve the effect you want;

Put yourself in the mind of the viewer: what journey do you want their eyes to take?

Think about negative space – the spaces between the elements of the picture are crucial to overall impact;

Position your subjects in relation to your intended depth of field – a shallow depth gives a painterly feel;

For some subjects, for example seed heads and vegetables, cutting through to expose interiors and use of a light box can achieve graphic results;

To achieve impact always aim for contrast – light/dark, horizontal/vertical, background/foreground, sharpness/softness.

Andy Small’s distinctive and enjoyable presentation ended with some landscape pictures, using the same ideas on colour and composition to make an impact on the viewer and stimulate a response.

Finally, an early comment should lead to quiet satisfaction on the part of those Committee members responsible for the fairly recent purchase of the Society’s new projector after several years of judges and visiting speakers commenting adversely on the quality of the old projector’s on-screen reproduction. Andy said very early on that the on-screen quality was excellent and “not usually this good when I give these presentations elsewhere”. For someone so evidently concerned with the importance of colour in making a visual impact on the viewer this sounded like high praise

Editorial comment – We normally include images from the talk to accompany the text of the report. In my absence Lester produced this excellent report but I had to attempt to contact Andy Small to obtain pictures or get his approval to reproduce some from his web site. At the time of publication I have not received a response to my request so all I can do is refer you to his web site at this link -

http://www.andysmall.co.uk/

'Be There or Be Square' Quiz - 16 April 2018 - organised by Paul Renaut and Louise Barker

Peter Flower

Unlike some of the quizzes from earlier years this one was not at all about photographic topics. There were a number of different categories, such as history, sport, identification of international airports and outlines of world-wide countries that were not even orientated correctly. This was entertaining, but at the same time mind-bending. It would even have challenged the brilliant minds of the 'Eggheads' who feature daily on BBC2 !

As shown in the results list below, the winning team was 'Out Of Focus'. The members were Lester Hicks, Marion Gatland, Jan Adcock and Chris Worsley. The lowest-scoring team were 'The Big C' comprised of myself, Jill, and Gerry Stone. In defence of our low score I should point out that we were the only team with just 3 members. If we added a 'virtual' fourth member, increasing our actual score pro rata the score would have been 93.3, promoting us to second place !!

OUT OF FOCUS 99

THE POLARISERS 89

EAGLES 87

NO BRIANS 86

THE OLD DUFFERS 85

THE BIG C 70

Photokina 26-29 September 2018

PF

As reported previously, this exhibition which was traditionally run every other year is now changing. As a follow-on to this year's exhibition in September there will be another exhibition on 8-11 May 2019. There had been reports that the changes were not popular with some prospective exhibitors and even a rumour that Canon would not appear at the forthcoming show. However, an up-beat press release reports high exhibitor demand and that five months prior to the start of the 35th edition of Photokina the organisers are expecting every single exhibitor space in the halls in Cologne to be filled. Leading companies of the industry like Arri, Canon, Cewe, DJI, Epson, Fujifilm, Kodak Alaris, Leica, Manfrotto, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Profoto, Sigma, Sony, Tamron and Zeiss have already secured their stands at the coming event. The application phase is also moving full speed ahead for Photokina on 8-11 May 2019.

Reigate PS mentioned in Amateur Photographer

Peter Flower

In Newsletter 104 I wrote two brief articles in which I mentioned the appearance in the Amateur Photographer edition of 24 March 2018 of features by Sue Bishop and Colleen Slater on the topic of macro photography. I was struck by the coincidence of two photographers known to me being featured in the same edition of the magazine.

Subsequently I wrote to Amateur Photographer on this topic, and I was pleased to see my letter published in the 21 April edition of the magazine. This is shown below -

Photograph by Peter Flower of the page from 'Amateur Photographer'

TIPA 2018 Awards

Techman

In Newsletter 97 I reported on the EISA Awards for 2017-2018. As stated at the time these awards were given to cameras and equipment tested prior to the 31 March 2017 deadline. The TIPA awards are more recent and thus include models that were not on the market, or were too recent to have been tested, by a different selection of world-wide photographic magazines. Whereas Amateur Photographer represented the UK in the EISA awards selection team Photography News, Practical Photography and Professional Photo UK magazines were involved in the TIPA selection.

Cameras included in the TIPA awards listing are - Canon 200D, Nikon D7500, Canon EOS 6D Mk.II, Panasonic G9, Nikon D850, Canon EOS M50, Sony a7 III, Sony a7R III, Sony a9, Panasonic TZ200, Sony RX 10 IV, Canon G1X Mk III, Panasonic GH5S and Nikon W300. There are many other categories, including lenses and accessories. The full details can be found at -

http://www.tipa.com/en-en/awards/tipa-world-awards-2018.html

Image Stabilisation

Techman

There is a general rule that to avoid perceptible camera shake showing in an image the minimum shutter speed for any hand-held shot should relate directly to the focal length of the lens (e.g 1/200th for a 200mm lens). This applied before the introduction of image stabilisation. Either by the inclusion of additional optics in the lens or minute adjustments to the sensor positioning, reacting to the camera movement, it was possible to overcome this problem. Present stabilisation systems are capable of up to 4 stops, or more, advantage (e.g. 1/25th for the 200mm lens). It should be stressed that the 'rule' is a very general one and that success depends upon the ability of the camera operator to hold the camera reasonably steady in the first place. Holding the camera at arm's length, viewing the rear screen, is not ideal. The ultimate stabilsation device is a sturdy tripod!

The earliest stabilisation systems were built into the lens. Canon released its first IS (Image Stabilisation) lens in 1995, while Nikon’s first VR (Vibration Reduction) lens came out in 2000. This was at a time when the majority of cameras were still film-based, so lens stabilisation was the only option. Obviously, sensor image stabilisation could only be applied to digital cameras. In 2003 the Minolta DiMAGE A1 was the first to offer sensor stabilization in its camera.

Early comparisons between lens and in-body stabilisation systems tended to favour the former. The reason for this was that it was argued that the lens-based system could be tailored specifically for the given weight and focal length of the lens. On the other hand the in-body system had to cope with a variety of lenses. Advances in technology have largely eliminated the differences. The choice of systems has largely come down to one of economics. Lenses with stabilisation systems are obviously more complex and costly. The in-body system now involves a relatively low additional cost and avoids the complexity of each lens needing to be stabilised. Having said this, there are manufacturers who embrace both systems. An example of this is in the M4/3 world of Olympus and Panasonic. Olympus traditionally relied upon in-body stabilisation whereas Panasonic supplied stabilised lenses. The lenses being interchangeable between the two makes there is now the situation where some models are capable of utilising the benefits of both forms of stabilisation at the same time.

The most significant development has been that of the 5-axis in-body stabilisation system. This was first introduced in the Olympus OM-D camera in 2012, but similar systems are now available in other manufacturers' cameras.

Image from internet source

These notes are just intended as a simple guidance to the subject. If you delve more deeply into the subject it will be found that there are other factors that come into play. For the ultimate picture quality it is essential that all aspects of potential vibration at the time of taking the picture are eliminated. As stated before, a sturdy tripod (or firm rest for the camera) is the starting point. But even then the triggering of the shutter or movement of the mirror in an SLR camera can cause vibration. This is the reason why many serious photographers use a remote release or the shutter delay mechanism and even the electronic shutter if this is available.

Stabilised binoculars

Peter Flower

My first encounter with Canon's stabilised lenses came at a camera shop in Oxted, probably about 20 years ago. The store also sold binoculars and the owners were keen to show me how effective the latest Canon binoculars were. It really was a revelation. Across the wide street from the store there was a post-box. With the stabilisation switched on and hand-holding the binoculars I could clearly read the collection times on that box.

End of 100 Days challenge 2

Jill Flower

As announced in Newsletter 102 Rosemary Calliman and I decided it would be good to start another 100 day challenge. I set up a flickr group and sent out a message to members. We opted to start on the first of January. 9 members took part.

Now we have got to the end I feel a mixture of relief and loss. No more five to midnight photography! Equally no need to take pictures of quirky things spotted on my commute to Uni in Brighton (and there are some things there that make rich pickings). All told this process does stretch photographers and encourages them to tackle a range of things not considered previously. We had a lot of rough weather and this brought out a lot of creative work based on stuff that was found in the home. I am pleased that no one dropped out and all achieved the challenge. We got to enjoy glimpses of Pete W's trip to South America and Les's novel take on Redhill, this time worked on in coffee shops rather than pictures of coffee shops.

A few themes developed and a little friendly banter. We also seemed to attract viewers from elsewhere on flickr who 'fave' our pictures or leave notes. This was a very enjoyable activity, if a bit frustrating at times! Maybe someone can come up with a new challenge to have a go at? An opportunity to submit work in a relaxed and non-competitive way is a great way to develop your art.

A random selection of images from each of the participants is shown below.

© Top row - Gillian Elliott, bottom row - John Fisher

© Top row - Jill Flower, bottom row - Les Dyson

© Top row – Marion Gatland, bottom row – Lester Hicks

© Top row – Peter Flower, bottom row – Pete Welch

© Rosemary Calliman

The link below is to the group site where anyone can see all the pictures produced. If you are a flickr member you can leave comments or fave our pictures.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/rps100-2/

Casio cameras – the end of the line

Techman

According to a report on the Japanese Nikkei website electronics manufacturer Casio, one of the pioneers in the digital camera segment, is exiting the digital compact camera market. The company suffered a considerable financial loss in the fiscal year that ended March 2017, and has come to the conclusion that no market growth or increase in market share can be expected for the future. The company had already silently withdrawn compact cameras from markets outside Japan. (A visit to the Casio UK web site reveals a a total blank underneath the 'Digital Cameras' heading. However, the casio-intl/asia site still shows some models available, including a number in the EXILIM range, and these are available for purchase from various web site suppliers)

Casio has a long history in production of digital cameras. The company launched its first electronic still camera, the VS-101, in 1987. But it was expensive, had no display and images needed to be output to a printer that was sold separately. It was not commercially successful. With a limited budget engineers produced a follow-up model by 1991, the DC-90. Perhaps it was just as well the following prototype did not make it to market!

Casio DC-90 prototype - acknowledgement. Casio image from web source.

In 1995 the QV-10 was launched, the world's first consumer-grade digital camera to come with an LCD for previewing and viewing images. This was rapidly followed (1996) by the QV-300, which offered an impressive (for its day!) 640 x 480 pixel resolution and a 47-106mm equivalent zoom range.

Casio QV-10 and QV-300 cameras. It will be noted that, like many other cameras of that era, the lens element swivels on the end of the body. Images from internet source.

Arts Society Photographic Exhibition - Ian Hunt awarded a cup

Peter Flower

As reported in Newsletter 101 Ian Hunt gained top marks in a popular vote for images submitted in the Arts Society Reigate competition based on the theme of “Reigate” with his photograph of West Street in October 2016. At a meeting of the society on 26 April 2018 Jill and myself, plus John Gaul and his wife were on hand to see Ian presented with his award. Unlike a cup presented by our own society this will not require polishing to keep it in good condition. It is china and can be dealt with in the normal washing-up after supping a cup of tea or coffee !!

Not many people know that

PF

During the second game of the World Series in Minneapolis a news reporter took a picture with a Canon still video camera and wired the image via a telephone line to the HQ of USA Today for printing. The picture of the two fans was printed the next day on the first page of USA Today on 19 October 1987. It was the first time that an electronic image of a still video camera was printed in a newspaper.

Acknowledgement – source information from digicammuseum web site.

Rollei revival

Peter Flower

I have written extensively before about Polaroid and other instant film cameras. One of the companies that is of interest in this respect is a small company called MiNT. It refurbishes and upgrades old Polaroid cameras as well as manufacturing a model of its own. This is a twin-lens reflex camera, in appearance much like the Rolleiflex camera of old but which went out of production many years ago.

Now, in a combined project with RCP-Technik GmbH, a company based in Hamburg, which purchased the Rollei trademark licensing rights for the whole of Europe, MiNT has co-operated in the design and development of a more advanced model which will be sold under the Rollei brand name. This is the Rolleiflex Instant Kamera.

A Kickstarter campaign has been launched, with first deliveries of cameras anticipated for October 2018. The Rolleiflex features the same twin lens system found on the models before it, but has been optimised for use with Fuji's instax Mini film.

The Instant Kamera has a built-in electric flash, f/5.2 to f/22 aperture, a magnifier, manual focus (48cm to infinity), Multiple Exposure and Long Exposure modes, an ambient light meter, Fresnel anti-glare coated viewfinder, and a 3-element aspheric lens. Rollei slimmed the Instant Kamera down 30% compared to past twin lens cameras and added simplified buttons and knobs.

And finally . . . . . .

Peter Flower

Image from internet source

This is a special item for the members who are passionate about fast cars and expensive camera gear. This is, according to the makers, "the world’s fastest purpose-built camera car." It was created by Incline Dynamic Outlet (IDO), a California-based company that usually specialises in aerial camera rigs. The basis for this is a $200,000 Lamborghini Huracan. Attached to the inside of the bonnet of the Huracan is a half-a-million dollar camera gimbal set-up created by Gyro-Stabilized Systems (GSS) and fabricated to fit the vehicle by IDO. Inside the gimbal is a RED Helium 8K camera with the option to mount multiple lenses—a fittingly expensive camera for an incredibly expensive camera car.