Review of Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III for Sony FE mount

Sunset at Tadre Mill

Sunset at Tadre Mill in Denmark. One of the very first images I shot using my brand new Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III for Sony FE mount.

I have been waiting for this lens for what seems like AGES. Since I got my Sony A7R two years ago I have been looking for a good wide angle lens solution. I bought the Sony 10-18mm, and though some say you can use it for full frame, I do not agree. It is by far too soft in the corners, and the distortion is a mustache like distortion. And then I can use my Nikon lenses on my Sony cameras, using my Metabones adapter. But neither solution has been satisfactory.

The Metabones adapter has no electronic connection to the Sony camera, and does not transfer the EXIF information, and it does not trigger the focus peaking. Smaller things, and yet still annoying things. The reviews of the first automatic adaptor for Nikon to Sony FE mount, haven’t impressed me.

So Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III for Sony FE mount is the lens I have been waiting for, along with a native f/2.8 16-35mm.

At the time of writing, the lens is in pre-order most places. But if you like the review, and consider buying the lens, you can support me by using this link and buying it at BHphoto.

Overall remarks

The Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III for Sony FE mount is a prime full frame format lens. It also fits on APS-C cameras, like Sony A6000 and A6300, only it will be like a 22.5mm lens. Being prime means that it only has one focal length, in this case 15mm.

Continue reading “Review of Voigtländer SUPER WIDE-HELIAR 15mm III for Sony FE mount”

The weekend post – AuroraHDR is very fast to work with

The old Maritime building

Karlskrona in Sweden processed using AuroraHDR.

A few weeks ago I posted my test drive of AuroraHDR. In the meantime, I have got my new MacBook Pro and have been using AuroraHDR a lot more.

One of the risks of taking a new tool into use is that you change your style because you adapt your style to that of the tool.

The photo above is an old one from Sweden and it has been one of my ‘test-cases’. I already had processed it using Photomatix and my standard processing flow. I had got a different, yet similar result. I did not try to get a 1:1 version.What I particularly like to have in this image, is a strong texture on the building and the reflection in the water, so this was what I chased in AuroraHDR.

What I particularly like to have in this image, is a strong texture on the building and the reflection in the water, so this was what I chased in AuroraHDR.

What I have done, is to research what is possible to get out of AuroraHDR, and when I have found something that I like, I have created a preset. I have been trying to create presets that support my style, rather than adapt AuroraHDR presets into my style. You might feel different about that, which is perfectly ok, I just like to be myself with my own style.

Continue reading “The weekend post – AuroraHDR is very fast to work with”

5 good reasons to buy the Sony A7R and 5 good reasons not to

On a warm summerday, I went to see Thingbaek Chalk Mines in Denmark. When I arrived, the mine was closed due to a wedding. Instead of just abanding the plan, I killed some time at the nearby Rebild National Park. A famous Danish American National Park. When I got back to the mine, my waiting was rewarded. Because of the wedding they had lit candles all over the mines. It was very beautiful. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

 

On a warm summer day, I went to see Thingbaek Chalk Mines in Denmark. When I arrived, the mine was closed due to a wedding. Instead of just abanding the plan, I killed some time at the nearby Rebild National Park. A famous Danish American National Park. When I got back to the mine, my waiting was rewarded. Because of the wedding they had lit candles all over the mines. It was very beautiful.

I have made an article or review, call it what you like, on my take on the Sony A7R. The camera is in many ways awesome, but it will not completely replace my Nikon D800 or D600 for that matter.

Please read about my 5 reasons to buy the Sony A7R (A7) and 5 reasons not to buy it here.

What is the Dynamic Range of Sony A7R?

Liberty House is a beautiful shopping mall in London. An old one selling a lot of different things, but famous for luxury goods. You can almost see it on the building. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

What is the hype about the Sony A7R? For the last few months I have seriously been considering buying the Sony A7R camera. Why? Because I love the size of the camera. I find the D800 rather bulky, and sometimes I bring my Finepix X100 instead. The Finepix X100 is a great camera, but it is terrible slow, not wide enough and it is not great for HDR photography.

But having read many many reviews of the camera, to be sure it really is the right choice. To my amusement, I have come across many Canon users doing flip flops over the Dynamic Range of the camera.

Having had owned both Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800, I have learned that there are major differences in the two brands, and in particular when it comes to the Dynamic Range. The Nikons are so much better at Dynamic Range, than the Canons cameras. Apparently this is something that many Canon photographers is not really aware of. Canon 5D Mark III (according to www.dxomark.com) has a dynamic range of 11.7 EVS, while the Nikon D800 has got 14.4 EVS. That is 23% more dynamic range coverage. That is a lot! I

have covered this in detail in my comparison review of Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D600 and Nikon D800.

The switch from Canon to Nikon really is tough. Not only because it is really expensive to switch, because you have bought a lot of lenses. But Canon and Nikon also are rivals and it’s a religious thing, to be either a Canon or a Nikon guy. You do not go to the enemy!

But Sony has hit a sweet spot. They have crammed a similar sensor to that of the Nikon D800E into a very small body, and the camera delivers the quality. And attaching an adapter to the camera, you can use both Nikon and Canon lenses. Nikon only manual focus though.

Of course both Canon and Nikon photographers loves this little camera. But, the Canon photographers really goes “Wooohooohaahaaaay!” and gets a good surprise, when they realize what 14.4 EVS in Dynamic range truly means. The Nikon guys, they are used to this.

Dynamic range explained

What is the Dynamic Range? Well, it is how much light the sensor inside the camera can capture. What is too bright to capture for the sensor, will just be white. And what is too dark will just be black.

The better a sensor is, the more light it can capture. You measure the dynamic range in “exposure value steps”. One step is equivalent of doubling the shutter speed or cutting it in half.

Which is best? Canon vs Nikon? Or Sony?

On a winters eve I took out both my Nikon and my Canon cameras and took a lot of pictures with both cameras. Both I got fantastic photos from, but they were still quite different. Basically because the cameras chose different white ballances. The Canon tend to be more warm and purple-ish in this particular scenery. It was the last real photo shoot I did with both cameras and on basis of that, I started out on a camera camparison review you can read here: http://goo.gl/eEJt0N. Photo by Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.comNikon D800, Nikkor 14-24mm, HDR of 5 shots.

Updated 2015-07-13: Since I initially wrote this post, I have bought the Sony A7R and later I have bought the Sony A6000 as well. I have adjusted text slightly.

Which brand to choose? It’s one of the difficult questions. Is Canon better than Nikon? And how about Sony? How good are they? Before I got into photography for real, my impression was, that Canon and Nikon were about the same. Sony was somewhat behind and the rest of the brands even further away from the market leaders.

But having owned all three brands Canon, Nikon and latest Sony, I must admit that there are some quite big differences, both in performance and usage. I have written a very well-received review, based on my long time using both Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 and D600 all together intensively. Having owned both brands for a longer period, does give you a different platform, to write a review from, than if you borrowed a camera for a few days.

You can read the entire review here.

How about Sony? The Sony A7R has got the same sensor as the Nikon D800 and they perform almost equally as well.

After a long time considering it, I first bought the Sony A7R and more recently I also bought the Sony A6000. But, did I do the right thing? I still have my Nikon cameras and I still use them – a lot! The huge advantage is that despite the smaller size the Sony A7R delivers the same image quality as the Nikon D800. I can carry a standard 28-70 lens as well as a 10-18mm lens, and it weighs the same as the body of the D800.

The huge disadvantage of the Sony is, a rather small lens lineup for the Sony, but it is improving. New lenses are coming in a slow but steady stream, and some are good, and some are very good. However, it is not too much of a problem, with the weak lens lineup, because Sony has done a clever job with the Sony E-mount/FE-mount. You can buy adapters to virtually any camera brand. In other words, I can use my Nikon lenses on the Sony A7R. I lose my auto-focus and EXIF information, it’s annoying but not a big problem. The manual focus, using focus peaking, on the Sony A7R works extremely well. I have bought the Metabones adapter. There are cheaper options and one more expensive Novoflex.

In my opinion, Sony is in the lead when it comes to innovative, high-end cameras. The Nikon D800/D810 and Sony A7r sensors are the most awesome sensors made so far, for landscape photography. The Dynamic range is still unrivaled, and the amount of mega pixels is incredible. But Sony has managed to pack it into a very small body, without comprising quality. Nikon and Canon could learn a lot from this. If they don’t pull themselves together in this area, they will lose big time to Sony in the long run.

A lot of other cameras like the Fujifilm X100 or X100s are incredible too, but 12 or 16 megapixels, just doesn’t cut it for me. I would like to have the higher megapixels, to have the option to print really really big or to crop a photo.

My observations on the three brands are:

Nikon

  • Highest Dynamic Range available currently. Even entry level cameras have higher Dynamic Range than Canon 5D Mark III.
  • In entry level cameras, the low light performance is decent.
  • Very engineer like. It’s difficult to find your way in the menus.
  • The 3×00 series does not have Auto Exposure Bracketing (making it more difficult to make HDR’s)
  • Good lenses
  • Has got the best wide angle zoom lens available across all brands, the Nikon 14-24mm.

Canon

  • Has got the worst dynamic range through out the entire range of cameras.
  • Has got the worst low light performance, on entry level, but high end is up to speed.
  • More user friendly than Nikon.
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing is available on all models I have heard of.
  • Good lenses

Sony E-mount cameras

  • Mirror less and much smaller and lighter classic DSLRs
  • Exists from entry level to semi-pro
  • Entry level cameras have got the best low light performance
  • Using an adapter, virtually any lens can be used on the E-mount.
  • Has got similar performance in the Dynamic Range as the Nikons
  • Lacks the option to have Auto Exposure Bracketing on timer. It may seem like a small thing, but if you shoot HDR photos, it is pretty annoying.
  • The lens line up is not very impressive. Especially if you are looking into the full frame lenses, but this is compensated by the ability to use adapters for other brands. I use my Nikon lenses on the Sony Alpha 7R.

What is the real difference between high-end cameras, mid-range and low-end DSLR cameras?

What you pay the big bucks for is low light performance, low-end cameras simply have got worse low light performance. I have had entry level DSLRs, experience with mid-range DLSR cameras and owned several high-end DSLR cameras. They all take great photos if used right. Even the cheapest entry-level DSLR with a decent lens, can do awesome photos. This is a shot with my old Canon 400D using the kit lens:

The Beauty of Noravank

The ability to take (hand held) shot’s indoor in poor lighting conditions, that is what you pay for, when you buy a more expensive camera. Then you also pay for a number of features, which are nice to have, but not strictly necessary for everybody.

This photo is shot at ISO 12800 using the Nikon D800:

High Iso image

My old Canon 400D could go to ISO 1600, and the quality was much too poor to use for anything. I could never have taken the shot above, using that camera. And the same goes for any entry-level or mid-range DSLR or mirror less camera. This IS what you pay for, when you buy the high-end professional or semi professional cameras.

The technology is working for us and the sensors are getting better and better at low light photography. But in a situation like this, I couldn’t have gone higher than ISO 12800 to get this image. I used the Nikon 24-70 at f/2.8 (as open/fast as it goes) at 1/100 sec shutter speed.

A faster lens, of course could have helped a bit. But the essence is, that you pay to get a camera that can do this. The really expensive pro cameras like the Nikon D3s, or the Nikon DF and probably also the new D4s are extreme in this discipline. That’s because the sports and press photographers, they need to be able to take a photo in any condition.

As you climb the ladder and buy more expensive cameras, you get more features. Auto Exposure bracketing is not available on the Nikon D3x00 series, but available in the Nikon D5x00 series. Canon 7D offers an 8 shots pr second.

Features also gets easier access; instead of rumbling around in menus you get buttons. You also get faster cameras (more shots pr second). And in some cases more megapixels. Some are better at videos than others and some better at low light photography than others.

The real jump comes, when you move from cropped sensors to full frame sensors (I have an article on full frame and cropped sensors here, if you don’t know what the difference is).

A larger sensor is much better at capturing light. It is quite obvious that the larger each little sensor cell is, the better it is. And a larger sensor (given same pixel count), obvious has larger cells to capture the light.

So unless you jump to the full frame cameras, my opinion is, that you don’t get a low light camera, not yet at least. A lot of research happens in this area, and the technology is improving, with each generation of the cameras.

The D800 is just … JUST good enough. The 5D Mark III is better and apparently the new Nikon DF is even better again. But they are all within the same ballpark. And the cropped sensors are playing in a different ballpark.

So if your budget isn’t cut for a full frame camera, get a cropped sensor DSLR and invest what you can in a decent lens. The lens is more important.

 

This is 12mm on Full Frame – Personal review of Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG ASP HSM II

Mont Saint Michel in France is an island half a mile of the coast of Normandy. It's an old monastery, which is an architectural master piece, that is surrounded by a small village. The village has got a small chapel as well. And this is the small chapel. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com

Nikon D800, Sigma 12-24mm, ISO 400, f/8.0, 0.8 sec (0-exposure)

This photo is from the small church in Mont Saint Michel, France, just outside the huge monastery.

In my review of Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D800 and Nikon D600/D610 (you might want to read it here), I described my considerations on ultra wide angled lenses, and how it eventually made me switch from Canon to Nikon. A switch that first was more or less cost free, because I focused on fewer lenses, but as I have bought the lenses again, has become a very expensive switch.

For reasons I can’t explain clearly, I missed the fact, that Sigma does an extremely ultra wide angled 12-24mm zoom lens, for full frame cameras. I think the reason I missed it, might be that both Nikon and Canon does a 12-24mm for cropped sensors, and I just put the Sigma lens in the same basket, and that was a mistake!

Had I noticed this Sigma lens much earlier, I would probably never have changed from Canon to Nikon, because it is the ultra wide angle that I wanted. I do not regret the move from Canon to Nikon today, after having come to know and love the Nikons.

Why is it that you want to have an extremely wide angled lens? For me, it is to be able to include everything in a tight spot, like this very small church on Mont Saint Michel in France.

This is shot at 12mm on a Full frame camera. Even at 14mm I wouldn’t have been able to capture both arches, and include the alter in the near one, at the same time. I would have had to make a compromise on the composition and lose something.

Continue reading “This is 12mm on Full Frame – Personal review of Sigma 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG ASP HSM II”

First impressions – Review of Photomatix Pro 5 beta 4

The London Tower Bridge is one of the worlds most well known landmarks. Photo by: Jacob Surland, www.caughtinpixels.com
London Tower Bridge – a 5 shot HDR photo processed with Photomatix Pro 5 beta 4 and then mixed with a long exposure image for the fountain and the clouds. The Long exposure I made using my 10 stop ND filter from B+W. I did use a final filter High Key from Topaz Adjust to get the more pseuchedelic look.

Some of you might have noticed that a new version of Photomatix Pro 5 is on its way. The official beta 4 is now available and I have had a quick glance at it. After having played around with for a awhile I am a bit disappointed, but there are a few goodies too.

The wording – that is the usability – has changed in general to the better. By using the right words you can do a lot for the ease of use of a software program. For instance instead of calling a feature ‘Align source image – by correcting vertical and horizontal shifts’ it gets a lot easier to understand from the new wording: ‘Align source images – Taken on tripod’. I’m a great fan of usability and this is great usability in it’s essence. Straight talk for normal human beings to understand, not engineer talk that only a small group of people can understand.

There are a couple of others of these wordings that has changed for the better. The Button “Process” has been changed to “Apply and Finish”.

The algorithm for aligning images should be improved, but that is fairly hard to test. I have never really had any problem with the one from Photomatix 4 – but improvements of course is good.

The deghosting as been changed too and is better. However I never use the deghosting tool. I might give it a try or two, but basically I think you get a better result using by blending one of the source image in using layered masks in Photoshop or GIMP.

A couple of new processing methods has been added. Tone mapping has got a ‘Contrast optimizer’ method in addition to the Details Enhancer and the Tone Compressor:

Step 04 - Tone mapping methods

The ‘Contrast Optimizer’ is great for natural looking images, but is not worth much for more creative processing. I will probably not use it for much. The fusion also got an ‘Fusion/Real estate’ optimized for images to show both interior and the outside for real estate photographers. That’s not really me either. So I’m stuck with the Fusion/Natural and Tone Mapping/Details Enhancer.

The details enhancer has got a single change. Luminosity has changed to Tone Compression, but it does exactly the same. In fact the Details enhancer does exactly the same as before. I had hoped for more fun and creative options, but got disappointed on that. I have tried to process images with both Photomatix Pro 4 and Photomatix Pro 5 beta 4, with the exact same settings and the images are identical. That really disappointed me. The noise levels are the same. One of the weaker points in Photomatix Pro is the noise it produces. Of course there are other ways of handling the noise, would just have been nice if the algorithm had been better at handling noise.

I had also hoped for the loop feature to do a perfect processing, so that you would see the real deal, but that is still very poor.

First impressions - Loop still poor

Conclusion of a preliminary review of Photomatix Pro 5 beta 4

There are number of usability improvements in the software, which really makes it easier to use, and some improvements in some of the more automatic parts of the software, like deghosting and auto aligning.

There are also a couple of new processing algorithms, but they are targeted to a different group than the more creative HDR photographers.

But for the more creative side this version is a more or less 1:1 with the old Photomatix 4.

Good thing that if you bought Photomatix 4.2 or later, you get the Photomatix pro 5 for free.

So I’m a bit disappointed.

Try out the beta of Photomatix Pro 5 here – it will still water mark the images if you haven’t purchased it.

Remember that I have a detailed Free HDR photo tutorial and by by using the coupon code “caughtinpixels” you can get 15% off when you buy Photomatix Pro.

 

On a tight budget? Use GIMP instead of Photoshop!

Sunset From the Old Mound Not far from my home town Roskilde in Denmark, lies this mound from the Bronze Age. From this place you can see for many miles around. This photo I have created using Lightroom and Gimp.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on software to make great photos. There is only one piece of software, that you really need to buy and that is Adobe Lightroom. And it just got released today in version 5. Lightroom not only organizes your photos, it also gives an incredible power to post process your photos and combining it with GIMP, which is totally free, you get an amazing powerful set of tools.

Learn how to make the photo below look as great as this HDR photo by using Lightroom and GIMP. You find the GIMP tutorial here.

Denmark - Sunset from the old mound

This photo I shot from the top of an old mound from the Bronze Age. It’s located just out-side Roskilde. I shot seven bracketed shots using my Promote Control and a Nikon D600, but I ended up using only three.

Miniature review of the Fujipix X100

Viking ships on a rowBeen a while since I posted a photo of Viking ships. A thousand years ago, Roskilde was the home of the vikings, and the king of Denmark. The second king of Denmark Harald Bluetooth  (the modern technology is named after that guy!) rests in our Cathedral. We also have the worlds largest replica of a viking ship called the Sea Stalion. These are some of the smaller viking ships, and you can get to sail with them, as a tourist attraction.

ISO 800, 23mm, f/4.0, 1/140 sec

It has been a while since I posted a photo of Viking ships. A thousand years ago, Roskilde was the home of the vikings and the king of Denmark. The second king of Denmark Harald Bluetooth (the modern technology is actually named after that guy!) rests in our Cathedral. That kind of puts Roskilde on the map, so to speak. We also have the worlds largest replica of a viking ship called the Sea Stalion. These are some of the smaller viking ships, and you can get to sail with them, as a tourist attraction.

I shot this photo with my Fuji FinepixX100, a camera that I both love and hate and use far too little, and should have got rid of. The camera can take absolutely fantastic photos, but also has it’s flaws.

The camera looks awesome – like an old Leica or similar. I bought the brown leather cage for it as well, which only emphasizes the looks of an antique camera. And when ever I carry it around, it is always commented “Oh – that’s an old camera” – but it is not.

Basic facts:

  • 12 Mega pixels using an APS-C sensor. APS-C is awesome, compared to user smallish cameras. 12 Mega pixels is just a little to little.
  • Dynamic range 12.4 EVS (See dxomark for the lab test)
  • Maximum auto bracketing (aeb) is -1, 0, +1. As a photographer of HDR, this is just not good enough
  • Built-in Neutral Density filter ND 3. This is cool! I have used it far too little.
  • The lens is fixed at 23mm – equivalent of 35mm. A good all round size, but due to the small mega pixel cropping options are not that great. If I have the “wrong lens” attached, I will crop an image. 12 Megapixel just leaves less to crop from.
  • Weight Approx 0.5 kg. It’s not a light weight small camera.
  • Pretty awesome low light performance.

I have had the camera with me on a few vacations, but I tend to get annoyed with it. As you can see on the image of this post and this image the camera can produce absolutely awesome photos. But it has problems getting the focus spot on. I tend to get maybe 10% or 20% of my photos not tack sharp. But when it hits the focus point, the photos are awesome sharp. And the saturation I just love.

The camera is slow – it takes a long time to start up. And because of the mirrorless technology, it also focuses slowly.

The lens is fixed and not possible to switch – however, the lens is totally awesome. f/2.0 and produces fantastic images. The limit comes with the fairly low mega pixel count. If it had been a higher mega pixel count, I would have shot more shots and just cropped them.

It has a panorama feature, which works quite well. If you do it hand held, you of course have to have a fairly steady hand, otherwise you get skewed merges between images.

About low light performance. The camera is known for it’s low light performance, and that is in all fairness. However, it still get’s it ass kicked, by high level DSLRs. There is an upper limit for the everything, including Low light performance of the X100.

I love the camera because of the looks, the high image quality and the fairly compact format.

I hate the camera because, it is not good for HDR, because it only does -1, 0, +1 in automatic exposure bracketing mode. I also hate it because it fails on getting the focus spot on, in far too many photos, just as well as it is a slow camera, both in starting up and focusing.

For the casual shooter, that want’s something that that is siginificant better than the average snapshot camera, this camera really kicks in. But for the serious photographer, the camera comes in almost good enough. No doubt the image quality is totally awesome, but it’s flaws are considerate, and for that reason I use it far too little.

Lightroom 5 beta is available – and Jack the Ripper

I just had a quick look at the upcoming Lightroom 5 and some of the new features listed and I’m already very excited! I work a lot with Lightroom 4 and I’m amazed at what I can achieve with it, but there are some tasks, that always requires that I start up Photoshop. One thing I do not like about starting Photoshop up, is that Lightroom then generates a TIFF file, and TIFF files take up space on my hard drive. And even though hard drives are fairly cheap, it is becoming a problem to make back ups, carrying them around etc.

One thing I really love about Lightroom is, that everything I do to a photo in Lightroom is applied on top of my RAW file. If I make multiple virtual copies, to which I can make other adjustments, so that I have got several different photos, based on the same RAW file, but most important I still only have one photo on my hard drive. A great bonus from this feature is, that I can always dial back and press Reset.

But there are some features missing in Lightroom, which really pushes me into Photoshop. I use a wide angled lens a lot. 80% of my photos are shot at a wide angle lens, and quite often I have to shift the camera upwards or downwards, and when I do that, perspective gets distorted. That is a side effect from using a wide angled lens and some times it can be used as a feature, at other times it ruins the photo, if not straighten up. In Photoshop I use the “Perspective crop” tool to solve these problems. It does a decent job, but sometimes it squashes the the photo too much, like making the Empire State Building look like a small fat 20 story skyscraper.

In Lightroom 5 there is going to be a new Upright feature, aimed specifically at this task. This I’m really looking forward to. It can both save me from having a TIFF file around, and maybe even doing a better job than Perspective crop in Photoshop?

Another thing that pushes me into Photoshop, is when I want to do content aware removal of things. I can only remove round things in Lightroom 4, with the clone stamp, which is fine for removing sensor dust spots, but not satisfactory, when I clean up my photos by removing lamp posts and other stuff from my photos, to make a more clean photo. But in Lightroom 5, there will be an advanced Healing Brush.

Then there are some new features:

  • The Radial ND filter, can be a cool thing too. The Gradual Neutral Density filter I already use a a lot to make adjustments to a sky, by lowering the exposure on a very bright sky, increasing the contrast etc. to get the details and texture more clear. This gives a more balanced photo. The new Radial ND filter I guess can be used for some fun stuff on round objects, like the sun, faces etc. You can probably achieve similar things with the existing brush tool.
  • Smart reviews. I don’t think this feature will be usable for me, with my current workflow. The idea is if you are using your laptop is your primary machine to handle your photos, then you got a problem, when you are on the road. You can’t bring all of your photos along, because they take up way too many gigabytes to fit on your small laptop hard drive. What this new feature allows you to do, is to work “off-line” of your primary storage (like a NAS), on low resolution versions of your photos. You can do meta tagging and adjustments. I figure adjustments are post-processing. Though this is quite cool for some, I do have a much more powerful desktop computer, to do my primary post-processing on. For some this might be cool.
  • Photo book creation – I think not. I stick to www.pixum.com to make my family albums. They offer excellent quality and excellent flexibility. But of cause I will look at it, when Lightroom 5 is a available.

Adobe Lightroom 5 will also include a number of minor features and enhancements. More information is available here.

To create todays photo I have used the clone healing brush and the perspective crop in Photoshop.  It is a 7 shot HDR photo, and I used Photomatix pro, to create both a single tone mapped image and a double tone mapped image, which I mixed with the original ones.

The original photo is not a bad one, but neither perfect.

Jack the ripper is around - before v2

#1: I removed the branches. When I straighten the church, some disappeared, but I ended up removing them completely. When I took the shot, made sure, that they were included and did not cover the church. I used the brush healing tool in Photoshop.

#2 The sky I worked with, to emphasize the light in the mist. That is an important part of the mood. I increased the contrast and saturation a bit.

#3 The church I straighten to a certain level. I can’t straighten it completely, because it makes a small fat church, which is not the reality. The compromise is somewhere in between completely straightened and this. Ideally I would have gone further away, but that was not possible.

#4 The acid color of the light from these lamp posts I didn’t like, so I worked with the colors, and mixed that into my final photo. I did that, by making a new layer in Photoshop, opened the Hue/Saturation dialog (CTRL+U) and dialed back some of the yellow and green. I then mixed the lamps into my image.

#5 These lamps are blown out, but because I shot it in HDR I can achieve the moody great look from the lamps, in stead of just a white blob. There is not a lot of dynamic light in this photo otherwise, but the lamps I save.

#6 I then used more healing brush to remove the snow. I used a clone stamp after wards to get a better result on the cobble stones.

#7 The cobble stones is the double tone mapped image. What I get from the double tone mapped image, is the lovely reflections from the lamps and the many details and textures in the cobble stones.

This is one of the photos, where you might ask “Why HDR it?” – well I got more details within the windows of the church and on the lamps. I also got more shots, so that I could remove people and the car coming around the corner. And then it added some of the magic, mysterious Jack the Ripper mood.