Posts Tagged ‘ZENFOLIO’

CARBON-FIBRE KUN VOCE

CARBON-FIBRE KUN VOCE

Something a little different this time : in the last six months, my LX3 has proven to be a fantastic camera for product images, and much of this is to do with – again – that f2-2.8 Leica lens, often in ‘macro’ mode, in combination with relatively larger pixels on a 10MP sensor, and a successful in-camera processing engine.

I was taking these shots this morning, and decided to try capturing the product against both white and black backgrounds. So What ?

Here’s a thought … take a look at the two images, taken with pretty well the same LX3 settings. If you ignore the background colour in each, and then take a look at the different colour rendering and detail between the two…

 Although the product is made of carbon-fibre, and is carbon grey in colour, with a satin but reflective finish, notice how the white-background version on the left has reflected right around the product, diminishing contrast. There’s also a warmth to the image, which was not my aim, and which I could have corrected in post-processing. 

The dark background – by far my preference for this image – has not added extra light, and the result seems much closer to the look I was after. The background has a huge effect on any image, rather than just the obvious, and some images of course suit high-key, and some low-key, against whichever background. It’s certainly an area worth thinking about in your own images, safe in the knowledge that the LX3 will perform very well, whatever your choice for the final ‘look’.

If you’re into product/macro subjects, you’ll find more LX3 galleries that relate at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com … and don’t forget that the LX3 is less expensive in itself than even some ‘average’ DSLR macro lens (only) … also, with its proven light-gathering capability and superb image stabilisation, you’re likely to get way better-than-average results every time !

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In a way, I’m revisiting here a couple of recent posts with new comment below added in the light of news over the last week or so … three hot topics as the title of this entry.

DSLR publications – can these be at all relevant to LX3 users ?

On a positive note, in observing a few of the recent/current mag covers I’ve shown above – some from the USA, but mostly UK issues, I still really enjoy learning all I can on photography, and getting different angles (ouch!) on imaging, as well as gaining an insight into maybe some new piece of software, or a different technique, that deserves attention. Sometimes it can be just for inspiration, or can trigger an idea that had been filed away in the grey matter.

The ‘DSLR’ mention – in mag name(s), front cover headlines, and of course inside … well, you know my opinion on that from my June 9th post – but there is something valuable in these issues, that can be very useful to all LX3 users, especially new ones that may have moved up from a standard pre-set point & shoot. No, it’s not a DSLR …there’s no interchangeable lens for starters – although it has a lens spec : f2-2.8, 24-60mm full-frame equivalent – that every SLR user would love if they could afford it. Some might say it’s the perfect range anyway, so no need to change. As a comparison, the lens I use most of the time on my D3 covers 24-70mm, but at f2.8 all the way …and is the best of that range that Nikon makes/has ever made !  Back to LX3, there’s no pentaprism, so reduced weight, no mirror slap, smaller form factor… ok, and a smaller sensor, for now. 

But, LX3 is a fully-manual camera, if you want it to be. That means that apart from all the ‘consumer’ stuff on there, you’ve Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority settings on the dial, as well as the crucial ‘M’ …so you can control lens aperture and shutter speed independantly, exactly as on a DSLR. And record a high-quality RAW file. This means that you may find such mags a great help in getting into the Manual settings on your new LX3 , to get the very best out of it – and I recommend you do that asap for better, & much more creative results. Promise I won’t mention magazines again today.

E-P1 … the first of many new m4/3 models

These designer types – you know, the guys (and girls, no doubt) that we are all deeply appreciative of, for their frankly amazing technological achievements, are extremely talented, but in my own experience are often not very good at communicating with real people.

Olympus is different. Their verbose technical guy/spokesman has seemingly been quoted in the last few days that E-P1 is the first of many m4/3-design cameras that will see the light of day in the relatively near future – for all of us, this could be very good news. Different models, different specs and features, smaller cameras, larger models ….very good news indeed.

Because this means that Panasonic will have to already have their competing range well into the prototype/pre-prod stages if they’re to fight their corner on such cameras, and meet what are now, thanks to LX3, G1, GH1, etc very high global market expectations.

So, you can wait a while … or, you can just buy (or keep on using, if you already have one) the LX3, safe in the knowledge that so far, at anywhere near its price point or form factor, there’s nothing to touch it for the range within which it works. But then, you expected me to say that.

The reality is that the LX3 will remain a totally valid tool even later on … the E-P1/2/3 etc lens line-up so far doesn’t get close to the LX3’s stunning built-in Leica 24mm f2, and that, in combination with the LX3’s 16:9 format, remains a real favourite of mine.

Go to http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for many new & updated LX3 galleries, separated into different subject areas for your ease of use … and enjoy !  Incidentally, they’re pretty well all in 16:9 format, my own preference.

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Came across this scene while out walking earlier this weekend, and found that LX3 RAW file flexibility was ideal in pulling out the entire colour range and detail in this image.

Intentionally, I’ve used Nik Color Efex filters to modify the image to what, for some reason, reminds me a little of a Japanese garden. With ‘Russet’ and ‘Polarisation’ filters in play, the Nik system is always useful in adding something of value to virtually any image, with its selection of Styling and Traditional versions. These can of course be mixed to obtain the look you’re after.

Incidentally, that’s not chromatic aberration on the tree branches – its the Nik colour boost & processing that has given it that look, which on this image, I’m quite happy with, as it adds to the feel I was after. Needless to say, the Leica lens on the LX3 is stunning, and suffers very little from ca generally … that’s a quite different story from the Canon G10, for example, where ca rears its ugly head in a very noticeable way much of the time. Thankfully, software these days can easily reduce/remove it, but its good to have one less processing step to deal with.

The Nik Color Efex filters come very highly recommended, and I have them set up to run within Capture NX. Along the same lines, but specialising in mono conversions, the Nik Silver Efex Pro filters are also superb, and can take your images into an entirely different realm.

Both software versions are available on a free trial basis – but you will find you want them ! Check them out at http://niksoftware.com, where there are also PDF and video lessons, alongside Online training.

If you’d like similar mono results to those produced by Silver Efex Pro for a much lower investment, I recommend DxO FilmPack as a great package for colour positive, colour negative, cross-processed and black & white film replications. In addition, there are toning filters that add to its flexibility – see more at http://dxolabs.com, where there are again free trial downloads. 

Again, there are examples in many of my galleries for you to see at http://nickbland.zenfolio.com