31 October 2012

DxOMark test results for the Canon 1Dx

Knowing that the Canon 1Dx is a great camera with great features and that is is a hefty competitor for Nikon's flagship camera, the D4, I had been waiting for the DxOMark sensor with great anticipation. Now the results are in, I have to say I am a bit disappointed.

While the 1Dx gets the highest score of all Canon DSLR bodies, its sensor quality is no match for the newer Nikon bodies. In fact, the 1Dx “only” gets 82 points, the same score as the Nikon D3s available in 2009.

Of course, sensor quality is not all there is to a camera. For instance, the right set of features and ease of handling play a huge role too. Furthermore, the test results for the Canon 1Dx do show it is a superb camera with a great sensor (some available cameras just have a slightly better sensor).

Here are some interesting comparisons (click for larger view):
1Dx versus Canon 1Ds and 1D mkIV
1Dx versus Canon 5D mkIII
1Dx versus Nikon D3s and D4

Please visit the DxOMark site to read their full review or perform your own comparisons.

30 October 2012

Nikon updates View NX2 and Capture NX2

Nikon released updates for their View NX2 and Capture NX2 software. The following improvements have been made:

Nikon View NX 2.6.0

  • Focus points are now displayed in images captured with a Nikon 1 camera.
You can download the new version from the Nikon EU website.

Nikon Capture NX 2.3.5

  • Windows and Mac OS X versions: Support for RAW images captured with the Nikon 1 V2 has been added.
  • Mac OS X version: support for Mac OS X version 10.8 has been added.
You can download the new version from the Nikon EU website.

24 October 2012

New Nikon 1 mirrorless camera: Nikon 1 V2

In addition to the new 70-200 f/4 lens, Nikon also announced a new camera in their Nikon 1 series of mirrorless cameras. The new Nikon 1 V2 is an update of the current Nikon 1 V1 camera.

Improvements to the V1 are, amongst others:
  • a new 14.2MP sensor,
  • 15fps continuous shooting speed with full AF (!),
  • a built-in flash,
  • a new better grip, and
  • the addition of a “command mode dial” to provide easy access to features and controls.

The Nikon 1 V2 camera (with 10-30mm lens) will be available in late November 2012 for the suggested retail price of $899.95.

New Nikon lens: AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f/4G ED VR

Nikon has just announced a new, highly sought-after, lens: the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200 f/4G ED VR. The 70-200 f/4 is a lighter “brother” of the pro-grade 70-200 f/2.8.

Highlights of this lens are a constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the 2.9x zoom range and a new VR system, stabilising up to 5 stops (previous systems stabilised up to 4 stops).

The AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR will be available in late November 2012 for a suggested retail price of $1,399.95. Nikon also offers an optional Tripod Collar, available in the near future for a suggested retail price of $223.95.

18 October 2012

Firmware update for the Canon EOS-1D X

Canon just released a firmware update for its flagship camera, the EOS-1D X. The firmware update addresses the following two issues, making this update a “must have” for most 1D X shooters:
  • AF Point Illumination During AI Servo AF
  • Cross-Type AF Support at f/8
You can download the firmware from the Canon USA website. Also be sure to download the revised instruction manual there as well.

Details for firmware 1.1.1

Firmware Version 1.1.1 incorporates the following improvements and fixes.
  1. Enables the centre AF point to autofocus when the camera is used with lens/extender combinations whose combined maximum aperture is f/8 (f/5.6 without the firmware update).
    *Please see the “Lenses and Usable AF points” section of the revised instruction manual for more detail on the lens & camera combinations.
  2. Displays the viewfinder information (such as the AF frames, grid, etc.) in red during autofocusing in AI Servo AF.
    *When shooting in dark environments during AI Servo AF, the AF points can be easily confirmed.
    *During AI Servo AF, the viewfinder will be lit intermittently, not continuously.
  3. Corrects a phenomenon in which the metering value of the AE sensor becomes incorrect and the captured images become pitch-black depending on the timing of lens attachment and/or detachment.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which Err 70 may occur during AEB shooting.
  5. Corrects errors in the Arabic menu.
  6. Fixes a phenomenon in which the firmware of the lenses cannot be updated normally./li>
The instruction manual has been revised consistent with the changes outlined in items 1 and 2 listed above.

16 October 2012

Architecture in Valencia

We're constantly on the lookout for new workshop possibilities, and besides animals and landscape, I have one other photographic passion: architecture. And for some reason, Spain seems to have been a breeding ground for excellent architects through the ages.

Veles e Vents
(architect: David Chipperfield)
When thinking of Spanish architecture, the first city that comes to mind is inevitably Barcelona. However, the architecture in that city has been photographed to death already. Therefore we opted to visit Valencia lately, to see what could be done there.

We were not disappointed. While Barcelona is absolutely beautiful, most of its architecture is dominated by the Spanish art nouveau style (“modernisme”) represented by, amongst others, Gaudí. Valencia is more of a smorgasbord of different architectural styles, ranging from medieval Gothic architecture to modernism to ultra-modern. Especially the latter proved to be pretty spectacular.

(architect: Félix Candela)
After deciding to reroute the river Turia in order to prevent flooding of the city, Valencia was suddenly left with 9 kilometres of dry rived bed. What to do with that? Well, of course, you ask a famous architect that was born and educated in your city to design a prestigious complex of museums and art centres. And so a whole complex of spectacular buildings, designed mostly by “local boy” Santiago Calatrava but also by Félix Candela, arose within the city. Work was started in the '90s of the last century and completed in 2005.

Throughout the week we spent in Valencia, this complex proved to be the most rewarding subject. However, we were in for a few surprises while shooting this spectacular architecture.

Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
The sheer size of the complex and its buildings forced us to take a different approach when shooting. For starters, comparing viewpoints to choose the best composition took hundreds and hundreds of metres walking back and forth (which is pretty gruesome in the July summer heat in Valencia, by the way – thank god for the excellent beer garden on the grounds!).

Also, we usually to like to have our images as “empty” and “clean” as possible, but here we deliberately chose to include people in our shots, just to give a good feeling of the sheer size of the buildings. What surprised us the most is the seemingly endless amount of good viewpoints – the buildings are so beautiful and so vast you seem to find a great shot wherever you point your lens.

Mercado Central
(architects: Alejandro Soler March
and Francisco Guardia Vial)
Since Valencia has many more beautiful buildings to offer (both old and modern), we've spent more than a week shooting at different locations. We've come back with quite a few images we're very pleased with and like to share with you — please see our website for more images.

Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe
(architect: Santiago Calatrava)
If you are interested in any of these or similar images, please let us know; they are available as prints in various sizes and finishes. If you would like to photograph any of these buildings yourself, please send us an email – we're investigating the possibilities of a photography workshop in Valencia and will gladly keep you informed!

3 October 2012

Adobe updates Lightroom, Camera Raw, and DNG converter

Adobe has just released updates for Lightroom 4, Camera Raw, and DNG Converter. The updates include support for many new camera models and lenses.

You can download the new versions using these links:
  • Lightroom 4.2: WindowsMac
  • DNG Converter 7.2: Windows, Mac
  • Camera Raw 7.2: Use the update mechanism of Photoshop CS6

Below is the full list of fixes and added camera/lens support.