Nikon 35 mm f/1.4G in the detailed Review

Nikon 35 mm f/1.4G in the detailed Review.

The perfect guide to create a panorama photograph

The perfect guide to create a panorama photograph.

How to find the perfect aperture for the proper Subject

How to find the perfect aperture for the proper Subject.

   

05.09.2017

The Basics - Title Image

 

The second part is now online. This time it's all about the aperture.

The Aperture

The aperture of a camera lens controls how much light is falling on the sensor. It reduces the opening in the inner of the lens for less light. If you adjust a higher – the higher the number the smaller is the opening – aperture at the same exposure time, you will get a darker image. So why should you set a higher aperture number? To receive more depth of field or just to darken your image, because with a wide open lens the image would be overexposed. To break it down.

Depth of field

This term describes how wide the range of sharpness of an image is. The aperture is measured in f-stops. If you take a picture with the f-stop (aperture) 2.8 the depth of field is not very big. How wide the depth of field is depends on the focal length you use. If use a wide aperture on a 300 mm (telephoto), we stay at 2.8, the depth of field would be only some millimeters wide, wide enough to get the eyes of an animal sharp. If you use 2.8 at 14 mm (wide angle) the depth of field is some meters wide. The open – or a bit closed – aperture setting is useful for portraits or if you want to separate your subject from the background because the background is getting blurry (depends how far the subject is positioned from the background). The correct term in photography slang for a smooth blended background is the japanese word “Bokeh”.

Closed aperture, biggest f-stop numberOpen aperture, smallest f-stop number

When you shoot with a small aperture, that means you have a bigger f-stop number for example 8, than you start to reach the maximum sharpness of the lens. Almost all lenses have their sharpest performance between 8 to 11. After 11 the diffraction blur begins and the sharpness is moving away from the center of the image. If you want to know more about diffraction blur you should use an encyclopedia of your choice because this needs a very scientific explanation. So keep in mind if you wanna get the maximum sharpness of your lens then choose an aperture between 8 and 11.

Vignette

Every lens has vignetting at the start aperture. If my lens carries a description like "24-70 mm f-2.8", I can use the aperture 2.8 at every focal length and it is the widest opening of the lens. There is a “problem” at the wide openings: the corners of the taken photo are darkened. The lightrays which hit the corners of the sensor are shadowed, because they don’t go straight through the barrel of the lens, this is construction-conditioned. You see the difference in the center of an image: it is brighter than the corners. But if you close the aperture, for example 5.6 the vignette becomes less, almost not more visible. And otherwise you can remove the vignette by software nowadays by one click. For me this is the smartest way.

Aperture is more relevant for composing than to compensate the exposure time

Of course it is easy to bump up the aperture if you have bright light conditions to darken the image. But the aperture is more a composing tool than an exposure tool. The important part is the depth of field. I would not recommend to take a portrait with f-stop 8.0 just because you get the maximum of sharpness – the background of the photo would become very fretful and the picture is then uncomfortable to watch. If you take landscape photos or architecture the small apertures (high numbers: 8, 9 and so on) are compulsory to reach the maximum level of sharpness. With a full depth of field you let the viewer look in the far and allow him to explore things in the foreground at the same time. Topics like portraits or stills live from a calm background where the subject is undisturbed and can take effect on the viewer. It recommends to play with different apertures on the same motif.

Smooth bokeh, at f 1.8Full depth of field, at f 8.0

 

 

28.08.2017

The Basics - Title Image

 

We start with the entrance-series in photography. I will bring close the fundamentals of photography for a better understanding and just to take better photos. Leave a comment for any questions or ideas.

The Exposure

There are three possibilities how to control the brightness of a photo. One of them is the exposure or the shutter speed. This describes how long the shutter is letting light falling on the sensor (or the film for the nostalgics). So the correct term would be exposure time. You longer expose the sensor the image will get brighter and brighter. If you wanna get a sharp image the camera should be hold still or be mounted on a tripod during the exposure. Otherwise you get light trails or just a blurry image.

Long Exposure - 166 secondsPlane at take off - 1/4000th of a second

The most cameras are offering exposure times from 30 seconds to 1/8000th of a second. You want to take a photo in the dark or want to capture a scene with weak light conditions? Then you need a tripod and a long exposure time. You want to freeze a fly during flight? Then you need a short exposure time. Both examples read a bit special but illustrate how the exposure time work.

The two sample images above have a completely different exposure time: the image with the lightning was 166 seconds exposed. The plane was only for 1/4000th of a second exposed to freeze it in the air.

This is the logic part of exposure. When you expose the sensor the camera should be hold still. But the exposure is also a creative instrument:

Correct metering of the cameraChanged exposure

The left picture shows the “correct” exposure respectively what the metering has measured before the shutter was triggered. The right picture is showing a corrected exposure on a creatively way. The darker tones making it more dramatic and attractive for the human eye.

The key for a successful exposure is to keep this formula in mind: the exposure time should never fall under the size of focal length you have. If you shoot with 50 mm focal length the exposure time should never fall under 1/50th of a second. With this limit you can take sharp images. Nowadays there are very useful helpers like the VR on Nikon or IS on Canon cameras. These helpers allow you to fall below this limit. With activated stabilization I’ll get a sharp image even at 1/25th of a second and if you have really calm hands with another bit longer exposure time.

 

 

31.07.2017

Lightcolorshadow.com - Gallery Update

A HUGE update for the gallery is now online! Over 100 high quality photos have been added in all categories. And I added a new one: Aerials. The Phantom 4 is a nice tool for aerialshots so I wanted to share the results with you. Don't wait and click on the gallery button above and see all my photos I have made over the years, from places like Hong Kong, Saxon Switzerland, Rügen and of course there is a lot to see from Berlin.

On my YouTube channel you can watch now a new video. Several impressions of the popular baltic sea island Rügen. One half of the material were made in November 2016 and the other half in June 2017. This video is more a technical demo, for the Nikon D750 in combination with an Atomos Ninja Flame just to see what is possible in case of color correction and grading. 

 

 

 

12.07.2017

The DJI Phantom 4 Professional Plus

 

DJI Phantom 4 in flight

 

What a fantastic “toy” or as DJI is calling it: prosumer product. That is a good definition of this aircraft. The whole handling of it is really easy. You unpackage it, you charge the battery and the remote control, mount the propellers on it and you can already (the very first time you need to update the RC and the aircraft) start and can record some nice video material. But step by step.

What you get

I purchased the Plus Version of the Phantom 4. That means the remote control has an extra display, which is really bright and useful outside. This display can shine with 1000 cd/m2. But it is more than a display, it is a castrated smartphone with a modified version of Android-OS. The drone itself weighs 1388 grams with propellers and battery. With this characteristics you can start and fly the Phantom 4 Pro without permission here in Germany. Please collect all the information for your country what is allowed and what not before your purchase.

You get two sets of propellers. One battery. One micro-SD Card. Mine was from SanDisk (some exemplars get one from Lexar) with 16 GB capacity and up to 60 MB/s writing speed, so you can record in cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at maximum 60 frames per second. What else? Of course some cables: the power supply and a USB-Cable to connect it to the computer.

All that comes in a reliable styrofoam box which should suffice for the first usages. I bought an extra battery and some more will follow to get more flight time. With one charge you can fly 30 minutes under ideal conditions. Whatever these “ideal” conditions are. I would say one charge holds up from 20 to 25 minutes. Of course it depends on how do you fly and so on.

DJI Phantom 4 Remote ControlDJI Phantom 4 Pro on pad

What is possible with this quadrocopter?

I bought this aircraft to film and take photos. Not just to fly around and make some noise. The camera, the gimbal and the aircraft are absolutely well balanced. It is possible to make really smooth tracking shots. And we talk about tracking in over 100 meter and more in the air with over 40 km/h. And this is just wonderful what the Phantom 4 Pro is performing.

The system offers you a lot of modes for flying and comfortable options. Like the ActiveTrack for example. You mark your desired motive on the screen and the drone will follow the subject automatically. This works reliable under the requirement that the object is good enough silhouetted against the background. If you mark a car what is for a short time covered by trees, the drone will lose the marking and stops. And there are other functions like TapFly where you tap on the map or what is visible on the screen and the drone flys there. The Gesture Mode is for the selfie-lovers. In this mode you can use the Phantom without the RC so you can give instructions like to take a photo. I didn’t used the last two options until now. So I cannot say how well do their job.

The safety

Almost 2000 Euros in the air and you get a lot of mechanisms which protect your investment. The Phantom 4 Pro has a 6-Camera Navigation system to protect it from collisions. The infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors and cameras checking permanently for obstacles forward, backward and downwards. The infrared sensors are only active in the Beginner Mode and Tripod Mode There is a little downer. When it is too dark – the manual describes under 300 luces – the camera system for obstacle avoidance isn’t working correctly or not a bit. In my opinion everyone with healthy or fit eyes should solve this “problem”. Of course you get this messages on the screen of the RC.

If it is your first flight you should use the Beginner Mode. In this mode the whole flight behavior is very accommodating and slow. I would it in any case for the first flight lesson. Otherwise you have a simulator on the remote controller. But it’s just a virtual exercise and is not as real like a real flight. The reason why it makes fun since the first second you fly with this device is you don’t have to compensate any unpredictable behavior. When you don’t give any command to the drone it will just hover. Not more. This is why it so easy to fly with it. So don’t be so scary to fly your aircraft.

DJi Phantom 4 Pro in flightDJI Phantom 4 Pro downside

You have three flying modes. The P mode: All sensors are enabled and GPS supported (only outdoor and depending how well the Phantom 4 Pro is receiving the satellite signal) flight is warranted. Max speed in this mode is 40 km/h. The behavior of the drone is accommodating and calm.

The S mode: The Sport mode offers you the maximum speed of 72 km/h. The behavior is much more sensitive and agile. The braking distance is over 50 meters. And the obstacle avoidance is disabled. Don’t use this mode until you are confident enough in your flight skills.

The A mode: Altitude. Really challenging. No GPS and no sensor support. Only the barometer of the aircraft is active for positioning. Experience is indispensable.

These modes are set on the RC as with a selector lever. The RC is giving you all the time information on wich altitude you are, the speed, the wind conditions and any other circumstances which are related to the aircraft during the flight. And of course you have a permanent feedback how much time is left to fly.

When you are done you can land manually or with the “Return to Home” Button. This works only when GPS Signal is warranted during the start. It is impressive how the drone is flying back to you automatically without any commands.

The camera

For photos is the camera acceptable. You don’t get SLR quality but a usable image, which is very good editable cause of RAW. The photos come in the. DNG format. The focal length of the camera is 24 mm and the smallest aperture is 11. Open aperture is 2.8. The ISO range for photos is from 100 to maximum 12.000. All this in combination offers you a good camera for any kind of landscape pictures or cityscape by night.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro photo RAWDJI Phantom 4 Pro photo edited

Photos are fine with the camera. But the quality of the videos are exquisite. When you record at daylight you get a crispy sharp picture (almost too sharp) and well balanced colors. And for better post production you can record in D-Log (DJI’s own color gamut). The colors look washed out and flat. But this is the advantage of this profile. You have more opportunities to edit the look of your image. The recording format is H.264 or the still experimental H.265 codec. I only used the H.264 codec in cinema 4K resolution and the results are really great. At 4K or C4K you record at 100 Mbps. There is also a 120 fps option to create a smooth at 1080p.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro photo RAWDJI Phantom 4 Pro photo edited

The low light capabilities of the camera are good. You can film in the dark but then you should use the standard color profile, because D-Log is locked at 500 ISO. The maximum ISO is 6400, manual settings. This is still usable but you can see a lot of noise on a larger screen (PC Screen for example).

As I mentioned the gimbal is doing a wonderful job. You get smooth tracking shots in great height. Sometimes you recognize small squalls as shacking but this acceptable for a system of this size and weight.

Conclusion

Simple and very close to professional. It is my first remote controlled aircraft and I would say it has never been so easy to get such aerial shots and videos of this quality. You get a flying camera for photos and filming with really less learning effort and which allows you to create remarkable results with. For round about 1800 Euros it is an all in one package with almost no cons. A wish would be a camera lens made of real glass for a nicer lens flare. But this is a really small con in my eyes, so it is up to you if you want to film against sunlight. Just watch my demonstration video and form your own opinion about the lens flare. And for more comfortable filming I would recommend to buy more batteries for more flight time and maybe a more protective case for transportation.

 

         

 

 

   
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