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July 2009 Archives

July 1, 2009

Pro Review: Portrait Professional v9.0

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By Cheryl Pearson

Many photographers spend countless hours learning the latest tricks and techniques for retouching images using Photoshop. Accomplishing the desired effect can be tedious and time consuming. Then we work to perfect the techniques so that retouching won't slow down our workflow.

But what if you didn’t have to work so hard? What if one application did all this retouching for us with just a few simple steps? Anthropics Technology’s Portrait Professional v9.0 software attempts to create what we need, and even goes one step further. Not only does this program retouch the photograph, it slightly restructures the face giving it a more pleasing appearance. While most of us would need an array of tools, filters and adjustments to accomplish all this in Photoshop, Portrait Professional v9.0 can do this extremely complex task with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Portrait Professional v9.0 seems too good to be true, but it’s actually extremely easy to use and streamlines workflow in a way that saves a tremendous amount of time. So how does it work? The software was developed through analysis of hundreds of faces and the creation of a knowledge base of appearance and aspects of attractiveness so that the software could be programmed to essentially  know the changes needed to make a portrait more appealing without altering the facial features too drastically.

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Images ©Cheryl Pearson.

Continue reading "Pro Review: Portrait Professional v9.0" »

Pro Review: Datacolor SpyderCube

By Stan Sholik

I’m sure most professional photographers have some device in their camera bag to white balance their digital captures by now. The majority of these devices, ranging from an ExpoDisc to a coffee filter, provide a white balance by correcting the color temperature of the light before you begin shooting, saving it as a preset for the session.

While this approach yields excellent results for white balance, these devices do nothing to assist us in adjusting midtone brightness, shadow density and contrast to ensure we are taking full advantage of the dynamic range of the capture.

Datacolor, with the introduction of the $59 SpyderCube, takes a different approach to white balance and in doing so provides a device that addresses all of the visual elements we need to extract the maximum tonality from our images. Standing only a little over three inches tall, the SpyderCube is the Mighty Mouse of color balance.

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Also included in the SpyderCube box is a cloth carrying bag, not shown.
©Stan Sholik

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Tips for Greener Photography: 7 Ways to Pool Resources

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By Megan Just

One of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by pooling resources and combining efforts. Teaming up with other local photographers and businesses is not just good ecological sense, it's good business sense. Pooling resources will reduce your overhead costs and increase your profits. Here are seven tips to help you begin combining efforts:

1. Exchange Information

Develop a directory of green-minded photographers and photography-related businesses in your area. Networking can lead to more local shoots and helps build a stronger local economy. Approach related businesses and establish a referral program for their clients and yours. Make it a point to share information with other nearby photographers about your locale, like new shooting locations or shops that give discounts to locals. With the combined knowledge of your group, everyone can be a local expert.   

2. Go Halfsies

Buying in bulk is better for the environment because it reduces packaging and transportation (and cost!). Team up with other photographers to buy high-count packages of stock items you all use, such as print bags and print boxes.

3. Cooperative Studios

Why pay for a studio space that you only use a few times a week? Organize a cooperative studio space with other photographers. You can share more than just the cost of the space and utilities; in a cooperative space, you can share common tools like studio lights, tripods, backdrops, etc.

Continue reading "Tips for Greener Photography: 7 Ways to Pool Resources" »

July 6, 2009

Correction: Phase One P65+ Review

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In the July issue of Professional Photographer, information in the Phase One P65+ review (p. 48) regarding Sensor+ technology should have read:

"Sensor+ technology was developed under the guidance of Phase One—holder of the proprietary rights to its use—by Dalsa, one of the two companies producing sensors for use in medium-format backs."

For a detailed explanation of Sensor+ technology, download "Phase One Patent Pending Sensor+ Explained."

The incorrect information was inadvertantly introduced in editing and should not be attributed to the reviewer. We regret the error.


 

July 13, 2009

First Look: Creative Light

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By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

“You get what you pay for” is an adage you’ll often hear amongst any group of photographers. They’ll discuss quality, service and price and how it pertains to either their business or that of a competitor. High quality products and great service don’t typically accompany a low price; you can have two of the three factors but not all three. Creative Light (www.creativelight.com), distributed by the MAC Group in the U.S., has a new line of lighting accessories that are definitely worth taking a second look. They have done a great job providing a quality product at a very fair price.

I recently had the opportunity to review their new 90x120 (3’x4’) soft box in both the flat front (FF) and recessed front (RF) models. I must say that I am impressed. The soft box I got for review is well made. Not only does the fabric have a quality feel to it, but the actual stitching and construction of the soft box do too. Combine a well made product with very competitive pricing and I think you’ll find many satisfied customers. I’ll have more to say in an upcoming review for Professional Photographer magazine.

Image ©Don Chick

July 21, 2009

Review: 120 Format Kodak Professional Ektar 100

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By Curtis Joe Walker

As choices for film dwindle, especially in medium format, any new entrant to the market is greeted with open arms. Kodak Professional has introduced a medium-format version of their new Ektar 100 film, and it’s pretty great. Like the 35mm version, this film is exceptionally fine grained and colorful in an attempt to bridge the gap between analog and digital photography. While the priciest DSLRs are now shooting full-frame 35mm photos, full-frame medium-format sensors are still out of reach. The exceptional depth of field of pro cameras is still a film-only feature. Some pros are even using film with toy cameras to give a vintage imperfection to their images.

For this round of testing, I used a Mamiya RB67 with 50mm and 150mm lenses and a Holga 120S with open sunglight, overcast sunlight and studio lghting as the main sources of light. The film was lab scanned.

In the Mamiya, Ektar performed flawlessly and maintained detail in the highlights and shadow areas. It is hard to imagine a film better suited to a sunny day at the car show. This shot was taken at the Viva Las Vegas car show in Las Vegas, Nev.

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©Curtis Joe Walker (Click for larger view. The full-frame image scans have been downsized for web viewing.)

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Closeup of fender detail from same image. ©Curtis Joe Walker

Continue reading "Review: 120 Format Kodak Professional Ektar 100 " »

July 22, 2009

Review: Gitzo Series 2 Carbon Fiber 6X Traveler Tripod Kit

By Curtis Joe Walker

Gitzo's new Traveler Series 2 tripod kit (GK2580TQR) aims to please shooters who weren't satisfied with the stability of the original Traveler series. Though undoubtedly rigid, the original had limited capacity, a modest ball head and relatively skinny legs.

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This new model aims to accommodate larger cameras, while remaining exceptionally portable and light. When folded, the 4-pound tripod with head measure just under 17 inches, but opens to 60 inches and is built to support DSLRs with up to 300mm lenses. The sturdiness lends itself well to medium-format cameras as well.

The tripod has four section legs that lock solidly with Gitzo's twisting G-Lock joints. Unlike the previous design, this improved engineering actually makes the legs lock firmer when weight is applied, eliminating the need for a herculean grip to open and close the locks. They require only about 1/4 turn to open and close and are designed to resist the elements. When closed, all three of the locks fall within a one-handed grip and you can unlock them simultaneously with a single motion. The tripod can go from fully closed to fully set up in about 2 seconds with practice. At the end of each leg is a removable rubber foot. These can be replaced with spikes or snowshoes if desired.

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July 17, 2009

Review: Tenba Black Label Camera Bag Collection

A line that complements your best professional attire and even fits a petite body size

By Cheryl Pearson

Tenba has a new Black Label line of premium camera bags that consists of two handcrafted shoulder bags and three photo satchels, all representing Tenba’s innovative design and constructed with the highest quality materials.

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I tested the Medium Photo Satchel, the mid-size bag in the collection, intended to fit a medium-size DSLR body and 2-3 lenses with a flash. With an interior that’s 13.5W x 9.5H x 6D inches, the medium satchel was able to perfectly fit my Canon EOS 5D camera body, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lenses, as well as flash. Although it was a tighter fit, there was even room for a third small lens. To adequately fit three lenses in the bag comfortably, however, they would need to be small to medium focal length.

The movable padded dividers make custom configuration easier, allowing you to arrange the camera and lenses the way you would prefer. To test if a larger DSLR would fit in the bag, I attached the battery grip to my Canon 5D. After rearranging the equipment I found I could comfortably fit the camera body with grip, flash and either two smaller lenses or one larger focal length lens if needed. While the items fit in the satchel, it is probably best to pack what Tenba recommends for the bag’s design, as it seemed to provide the most optimal fit.

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July 23, 2009

Review: Lensbaby 0.42x Super Wide Angle Lens

By Corey Shelton

Before adding the 0.42x Super Wide Angle Angle Conversion Lens to your camera bag, let me first suggest that you purchase a large bib to catch your own drool as you shoot with this new Lensbaby family addition.

When I was first handed the lens, I knew nothing of its specs, so abiding by man-law, I immediately regressed into my “I don’t read manuals” self and began to play, easily screwing the adapter into the 50mm Composer via its 37mm metal thread.

After a quick view of how wide the now 21mm Composer seemed, I was then taken aback by the discovery of the lens’ macro capability, which Lensbaby claims to be up to 2.75 (7cm) inches. So, with the ability to now go wider and closer, along with Lensbaby’s inherent sweet spot and blurring features, it was fairly easy to get the creative juices flowing with thoughts of using the accessory for both product and food photography. Hence, the drool.

One noticeable contrasting element of this lens is its construction. Compared to the Composer, which is made of plastic and aluminum components, the 0.42x Super Wide Angle is a compact metal accessory with a nice weighty feel (nearly two-thirds the weight of the Composer).

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Continue reading "Review: Lensbaby 0.42x Super Wide Angle Lens" »

July 28, 2009

Seeking Reader Input: Photo Industry Inventors

Professional Photographer magazine is planning an article that takes a look at the innovators among us. Men and women who were photographers first have invented some of the handiest and inspiring gadgets and gear that we use today—people like Lensbaby inventor Craig Strong, camera bag creator Jim Domke, and Jean-François O'Kane, who patented the PhotoMasterTarget.

Do you know an inventor you'd like to recommend for our story, or love a particular product and would like to know more about who came up with the idea? We're looking for living inventors who were photographers when they conceived their innovation. Let us know about it in our comments below.

About July 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in July 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2009 is the previous archive.

August 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


 
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