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June 2013 Issue 75
CANON D-SLR SKILLS!
BEST-SE LIN G MAGAZINL E F OR CANON D-SL USERS! R
New shooting and Photoshop techniques to take your photography to the next level
CANON 100D & 700D SLRs The verdict on Canon’s new pair!
TOP PRO TIPS!
How to take great wedding portraits
Learn to shoot The Big Day!
Six of best portrait lenses
We help you buy a new lens for people pictures
iPAD INTERACT DIGITAL EDITIOIVE NS
A warm welcome to...
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THE BEST MAG FOR CANON D-SLR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Q We’re the only magazine in the newsagent that’s 100% dedicated to Canon D-SLRs – making us 100% relevant to your needs. Q We’re 100% independent. We don’t answer to Canon and don’t rely on them for advertising – if Canon brings out a new camera or lens and it’s rubbish, we’ll say so! Q We’re all Canon D-SLR enthusiasts and between us we’ve got 200 years of photography experience. We’re excited about passing on what we’ve learned – even from our mistakes! Q We don’t assume you’re a millionaire. We focus on the Canon D-SLRs most people buy, and feature software and accessories within the average person’s budget. Q Our Video Disc has an unrivalled collection of D-SLR technique and Photoshop videos – which can be viewed via our digital editions too! Q We are proud to feature some of the best writers and photographers in the business. Turn to page six to meet them all now!
s black and white the new colour? Probably not, however, blackand-white photography has never been more popular, or easier, thanks to Canon D-SLRs and photo-editing software that enables you to master monochrome much quicker than the days of blackand-white ﬁlm and darkrooms. To learn how to take and create brilliant black-and-white images we’ve provided a comprehensive techniques guide: from shooting landscapes and architecture, to portraits and abstracts, as well as camera skills and easy photoediting step-by-step advice. See page 30. We often get concerned readers writing in desperate for advice as they’ve been asked to photograph a wedding – they’re usually more nervous than the bride and groom! To help you build up the skills and conﬁdence to take great wedding portraits, we’ve enlisted the help of one of the UK’s best professionals, Brett Harkness, who helps our Apprentice to shoot The Big Day from morning to night on location in the beautiful city of Bath. See page 8. This month, we also bring you an essential and free eight-page guide to Raw with an in-depth overview of Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software that came with your EOS D-SLR. We also have full tests of Canon’s new pair, the EOS 100D and 700D cameras, plus we test six lenses perfect for portraits, and also test eight ND ﬁlters for capturing silky watery scenic shots. Plus lots more projects, tips and techniques to help you become a better Canon photographer, turn the page now to ﬁnd out more…
Peter Travers Editor
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PhotoPlus June 2013 | 3
Issue #75 June 2013
The Apprentice................ 8
Learn how to take great wedding shots with pro portrait photographer Brett Harkness
HOW TO SHOOT THE BIG DAY!
Our Apprentice captures wonderful wedding portraits with a Canon pro
Your Letters ................... 18
The latest from the PhotoPlus mailbag
Subs Club ........................ 20
Get a big canvas print for half price!
Inspirations .................... 22
Great bird shots from Canon photographers
Master monochrome! ... 30
Get better black-and-white images with our top photography and Photoshop techniques
PhotoPlus Skills ............... 41
D-SLR shooting and editing tutorials to try out
Essential guide to DPP ....55
Don’t miss our eight-page pullout on getting more from Canon’s Raw editing software
PhotoPlus Workshop.... 68
Make the most of Canon Picture Styles
Dream Team .................. 72
Canon queries? The team is on hand to help!
Your Photos ................... 76
Our experts critique and enhance your shots
Next issue....................... 81
See what’s in store in next month’s PhotoPlus
Canon EOS 100D test ..... 84 Canon EOS 700D test ..... 88
Find out what we think of the new EOS 700D
We put the brand-new 100D through its paces
Help Me Buy .................. 90
We help a PhotoPlus reader choose between six of the best Canon-fit portrait lenses
Super Test....................... 96
What’s the best ND filter for long exposures and blurring water? We put eight to the test
FREE GUIDE TO CANON’S DPP!
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED…
CANON EOS 100D AND 700D TESTS!
Pages 84 & 88
Should I upgrade my Canon 450D? p72
My Favourite Shot ...... 114
Tim Clayton’s striking mono shot of balloons 4 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Are you a subscriber? There’s stuff just for you in Subs Club! Page 20
CANON D-SLR SKILLS!
From portraits and landscapes to abstracts, take your mono shooting and editing skills to the next level!
SUPER TEST ND FILTERS
Improve your Canon D-SLR skills and images with our photo projects!
Turn to page 41 now for our Skills section
HELP ME BUY A PORTRAIT LENS
What’s the best lens for interiors? p74
To view our videos, click on the ‘Watch the Video’ badges that appear alongside the tutorials. Click on the badge to the right to see what videos are in store this issue…
How do I fix sloping verticals? p74
WATCH THE VIDEO
How do I insure my gear? p75
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 5
Meet the team
Who we are, what we do, and our best subjects for black and white… Peter Travers Editor • EOS 5D Mk III
PhotoPlus, Future Publishing 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW Editorial +44 (0)1225 442244 firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions and back issues 0844 848 2852 Or go to www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk The PhotoPlus team Peter Travers Editor Adam Waring Operations editor Claire Gillo Technique editor Hollie Latham Staff writer Martin Parﬁtt Art editor Angela Nicholson Head of testing Matt Richards Technical writer Guy Edwardes/Getty Cover photo Our contributors Rob Bowen, Tim Clayton, Amy Davies, Adam Gasson, Ben Hall, Marcus Hawkins, Richard Hood, Simon Lees, Mike McNally, James Paterson, Jesse Wild Without whom… Franciska Bodnar, Dan Burden, Andrew Colley, Yasmin Ellis, Brett Harkness, Alun Pughe Advertising Sasha Dodimead Advertising manager 01225 788186 email@example.com Penny Stokes Senior advertising manager 01225 442244 x2080 firstname.lastname@example.org Matt Bailey Senior sales executive 01225 732345 email@example.com Nikky Fox Senior sales executive 01225 822752 email firstname.lastname@example.org Malcolm Stoodley Advertising director Clare Coleman-Straw Sales director Management Matthew Pierce Group publisher Stuart Anderton Group publishing director Paul Newman Senior editor Steve Gotobed Group art editor Circulation and marketing Lyndsey Mayhew Marketing manager Samantha Book Marketing executive Dan Foley Trade marketing manager Chris Day Direct marketing executive Mark Constance Production manager Vivienne Turner Production controller Regina Erak Licensing & syndication director
Adam Waring Operations editor • EOS 7D
“This issue is a black-and-white photography special, and here are our favourite subjects to convert into mono. I love a moody landscape shot with dark, dramatic sky!”
“Portraits can have so much more impact in mono, especially when the power of Photoshop is used to eke out every detail. It’s handy for hiding unsightly skin blemishes, too.”
Technique editor • EOS 5D Mk II
Matt Richards Technical writer • EOS 600D
“I love to take an abstract approach to the monochrome medium by isolating patterns that leave the viewer unsure what they’re looking at. You can get some awesome results!”
“Architecture is one of my favourites for black-and-white photography. Shape, form and texture really do come alive once you’ve taken distracting colours out of the equation.”
Hollie Latham Staff writer • EOS 60D
Martin Parﬁtt Art editor • EOS 600D
“I love black-and-white wedding photography, with a reportage and documentary style spin for candid portraits that tell the story of the day! Are you listening, Rich?”
“Inspired by this month’s feature, I’ve been converting everything I can into mono – but with mixed results. My rainbows and sunsets aren’t quite the same, somehow…”
This issue’s contributors…
When we needed a mentor for this issue’s Apprentice on shooting the Big Day, pro wedding photographer Brett was clearly the ‘best man’ for the job (p8).
We coaxed wildlife shooter Ben out from his hide to offer his words of advice on one reader’s nature shot (p76) and images for our Inspirations section (p22).
Photography journalist Marcus is the boffin behind our PhotoPlus Workshop. This issue he tells you all you need to know about Picture Styles (p68).
Sports photographer Tim captured a stunning mass of hot air balloons – and explains why he shot these colourful subjects in black and white (p114).
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“I was at a race intending to get some shots of mates who were racing, but I noticed this guy was flying – just throwing the bike around – and I knew it’d make a good shot if I could get a decent one. The setup was pretty straightforward; I found a spot outside the track that had a good view of the jump, pre-focused on it, then waited for the riders to fly by. I got there just as that race started so was a bit rushed. I’m usually pretty modest and don’t really rate my photos, but I guess it’s pretty sharp, has good depth of field, and is framed pretty well!”
PhotoPlus is an independent publication and is not in any way authorised, afﬁliated, nor sponsored by Canon. All the opinions expressed herein are those of the magazine and not that of Canon. ‘EOS’ and all associated trademarks are the property of Canon.
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The PhotoPlus Apprentice
Learn how to p as top Canon p hotograph a wedding from m ortrait pro Bret orning to night on a location sh t , H a r k n e ss takes our Ap oot in beautiful prentice Bath
Words: Peter Tr avers Location shots: Jesse Wild
Name: Brett Harkness Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III
Manchester-based Brett, 42, is one of the UK’s top wedding and portrait photographers. He’s been using Canon cameras for 20 years, and shoots around 15 big weddings a year. Brett runs wedding portrait workshops, and has produced two wedding photography training DVDs. For more information, and to see Brett’s portfolio, visit www.brettharknessphotography.com.
8 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Your chance to shoot with a pro
Name: Yasmine Ellis Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II
Yasmine is a 53-year-old Fire Services Teacher from Devizes in Wiltshire, and she’s been using Canon D-SLRs for 15 years. Her ﬁrst EOS camera was a 350D, which she upgraded to a 400D before taking the step up to a 5D Mk II. Yasmine has already shot a few weddings, and she wants to improve her skills with a view to one day becoming a professional wedding photographer.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 9
The PhotoPlus Apprentice
“Most of our wedding shoots start mid-morning,” says Brett. “I’ll get a selection of shots of the groom and his best man and ushers before the ceremony, but in the morning you need to stick with the bride: it’s important to remember that weddings are all about the bride and her big day! I’ll shoot her getting her hair and makeup done, having a glass of champagne, having a laugh with her bridesmaids, getting her dress zipped up, with her father, in the car, coming down the aisle – all the shots that tell the story before the ceremony. After that you can focus on both the bride and groom!”
From the ﬁrst phone call to producing the album, Brett and his wife Kristie offer a complete wedding photography service. “We meet the bride and groom in our studio, show them our sample album, and talk through our pricing structure,” says Brett. “Kristie handles all the pre-shoot planning, and I stick to the photography. We’ve found it’s best she deals with the brides, as she empathises with the dilemmas they might have.”
KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #1
For low light and indoor shots you need a fast prime lens. “A 50mm prime gives the ideal focal length on full-frame cameras like my 1Ds and Yasmine’s 5D Mk II,” says Brett. He uses Canon’s pro (and expensive at £1,170) EF 50mm f/1.2L USM. We lent Yasmine the cheaper but still excellent EF 50mm f/1.4.
10 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Your chance to shoot with a pro
“In this shot we captured a wonderfully intimate moment just before the bride and groom kissed. Brett explained that you want to shoot couples just before they kiss, because when they’re kissing you can’t see their faces as well. As Brett suggested, I used the central AF point to focus on their heads (and to meter off their skin for a good exposure), half-pressed the shutter button then recomposed. I desaturated the car in the background in Photoshop, but ideally it wouldn’t be in shot.”
KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #2
Fast telephoto lens
“My Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS is my workhorse lens for portraits, and especially for weddings,” says Brett. “It allows me to keep my distance while still capturing intimate moments, and the combination of a long focal length and constant f/2.8 aperture is great for blurring foregrounds and backgrounds to really focus on your subjects. I’ve found the Mk II version of the lens has improved focusing and IS performance over the Mk I.”
Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/5; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
PhotoPlus Technique assessment
Is Yasmine ready to catch the bokeh?
Yasmine has a good eye for a shot, but she needed a few pointers to help her get the best from her 5D Mk II
P is for Professional!
“I often joke that the P shooting setting is for Professional!” says Brett. “I shoot mostly in Program mode for weddings, then adjust my exposure compensation up or down to brighten or darken shots. I ﬁnd that P mode and the Evaluative metering mode work well together to deliver good exposures. I’ll only switch to Aperture Priority mode when using my 50mm lens, as then I want to boss the aperture, and Manual mode for shooting with ﬂash.”
JPEGs vs Raw
“I prefer to shoot JPEGs rather than Raws, which may be controversial,” says Brett. “I ﬁnd high-res JPEGs are perfect for clients, and it’s a lot quicker from shoot to album: I want to minimise the time I spend in front of the computer editing images. However, I know what I’m doing so I’m conﬁdent I’ll get good shots that won’t need much work. I got Yasmine to shoot in Raw+JPEG mode, so she had the Raw ﬁle if needed to correct exposures.”
PhotoPlus June May 2013 | 11
The PhotoPlus Apprentice
Exposure: 1/1000 sec at f/2.8; ISO100 Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
“Capturing the bride and groom walking is a classic wedding shot; Brett explained that it also gives the couple something to do, so it looks nice and natural. We utilised the lovely Georgian architecture of The Circus in Bath for our backdrop, and I used a 200mm focal length and wide f/2.8 aperture to blur the background a little, but keep it recognisable. I used -1/3-stop of exposure compensation to retain detail in the all-important dress!”
Three shots from one
“When you’re shooting weddings you need to make the best of the locations you’ve got,” says Brett. “When I ﬁnd a good backdrop I ﬁre off a variety of shots, from wide to tightly cropped, with my 70-200mm lens.” Note how much more blurred the background becomes the closer you zoom in/the longer your focal length: the wider composition shows more of the background, and more of it in focus, while the tight shot does the opposite.
Horizontal to vertical
“Brett said I should always compose my portrait shots for the shape of the subjects,” says Yasmine. Be ready to quickly switch between a wider, horizontally composed (landscape) shot to a tighter, vertical (portrait) shot that ﬁlls the frame better.
12 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Your chance to shoot with a pro
Story of the day
“For our documentary-style wedding photography we’ll capture the full story of the bride and groom’s big day, from them getting ready and the ceremony to the wedding breakfast and speeches, and the ﬁrst dance at the evening party,” says Brett. “For our luxurious albums we present 75 processed photos telling the story of the day, with the JPEGs on a disc. We charge £35 per photo after that.”
“This shot was taken in Bath’s Assembly Rooms. The windows were at a high level and not lighting our bride very well, so Brett set up his Elinchrom Ranger portable light with a large diffuser to light her better. I got down low, and used the lines of the wooden ﬂoor to lead the eye towards the bride. I love the innocence of this shot, emphasised by her bare feet; Brett said he guaranteed that the bride’s father and mother would love this photo!”
Exposure: 1/125 sec at f/4.5; ISO400 Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Don’t crash the party!
“Remember that you’re there to work around the bride and groom’s schedule, not the other way around,” says Brett. “I ﬁnd that the more clients pay, the less time they’ll give you for photos; of course, they still expect top shots, so you must be ready to shoot at all times, and know where you need to be for the best light. Let them get on with their day, maximise any quality time you get with the bride and groom, and take unobtrusive documentary photos when you’re free to roam.”
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 13
The PhotoPlus Apprentice
Best days of their lives
Brett has photographed weddings all over the world, in locations ranging from the conventional to the spectacular. Here he tells us about three of his favourite shots…
Claire & Enrico
By focusing on the bride and groom’s noses and dialing in -2 stops of exposure compensation I made sure I lost all the detail in the couple, creating a lovely silhouette against a wonderfully colourful sunset.
Natalie & Chris
Shooting from ladders gives you a nice high perspective for group shots, so you can see everyone’s faces, and it helps you capture images with an informal and fun atmosphere.
Exposure: 1/25 sec at f/10; ISO400 Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
“I borrowed Brett’s wide-angle lens for this shot, and got down low to shoot upwards. I was amazed we were only shooting at 1/25 sec with Brett’s Elinchrom light. He explained that even shooting that slow you’ll capture sharp shots, as the ﬂash will freeze the subject, but with a slight hint of motion blur to suggest the movement of the bride and groom dancing.”
How to shoot with lights
Kate & Keith
Using an Elinchrom Quadra pack and S Head positioned just around the corner on my left gave me enough ﬂash light to overpower the ambient light for this shot, producing beautiful saturation and lots of depth.
“When shooting with ﬂash you need to work in Manual mode, as you’re taking full control of the light,” says Brett. “The technique is simple, however: adjust your shutter speed for the ambient light and your aperture for your subject; the ISO covers both. You then set the power of your ﬂash heads to light your subject.” A good starting point is 1/160 sec at f/11 and ISO200, with your ﬂash on 1/2 or 1/4 power. Tweak your shutter speed, aperture and ISO to brighten or darken your background and subjects, and only adjust the ﬂash power if necessary.
14 | PhotoPlus June 2013
“Brett encouraged me to zoom right in and ﬁll the frame with our couple, and even chop off the tops of their heads!” laughs Yasmine. As long as you can see most of their face, and eyes and mouths, such shots should work, and they’ll balance the more conventional compositions in the album.
KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #4
Okay, so they’re not exactly bum bags! Brett uses a Think Tank belt pack carrying system made up of a sturdy belt and lens pouches. “This gives me quick access to all my main lenses and my ﬂashgun, as well as batteries and memory cards,” he says. “It’s much quicker than slipping off and unzipping a backpack or shoulder bag. It also ensures I don’t leave a lens behind when I’m busy shooting!”
KILLER KIT OF THE PROS #3
Portable ﬂash light
“I use a battery-powered Elinchrom Ranger ﬂash head and Rotalux softbox on an extender pole that my assistant Paul holds,” Brett says. “It’s powerful, reliable and not too heavy to carry. For years we just used a Canon Speedlite and Lastolite ﬂash diffuser, which could capture equally striking results, but I would have to wait for the ﬂash to recycle, and change batteries frequently to avoid embarrassing delays at crucial moments.”
“Brett told me to turn off the beep on my D-SLR,” says Yasmine. “It says ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’, and it won’t ﬁll your bride and groom with conﬁdence. Plus, it can be off-putting for the vicar and the wedding party at quiet ceremonies, and in churches.”
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 15
The PhotoPlus Apprentice
Add colour and pizzazz!
Brett spotted an elegant purple front door, and showed Yasmine how a little colour can give wedding shots a contemporary feel if you make good use of it. “You can’t beat how some off-camera ﬂash boosts contrast and colours to bring your portraits to life,” says Brett. “Set up your ﬂashgun to ﬁre remotely and position it to one side (on a stand, or have an assistant hold it). Using a side-light will create shadows, which help to make a twodimensional shots look more three-dimensional.”
“Brett helped me set up the light and diffuser, which his assistant Paul held up high to my right. Brett explained that setting an exposure of f/22 and 1/160 sec would darken the building, and make the sky dramatic. The light then illuminates the couple, with the diffuser creating subtle catchlights in their eyes. I shot at an angle for a more dynamic composition.”
“Yasmine was a great 2 Apprentice, and it really shows in this shot. The bride and groom are well lit , 4 1 and the composition 5 is excellent, with the top of the building just in shot  and the lines in the paving 3 leading the eye to the subjects . The light is perfectly positioned, with the couple looking up towards it , and their happy and relaxed pose  really makes the shot work.”
THE BEST WOMAN!
PhotoPlus editor Peter Travers presents Yasmine with her Apprentice certiﬁcate
Be a PhotoPlus Apprentice!
Want help with taking your photography to the next level? We need more budding PhotoPlus Apprentices. Let us know what you want help with and we could pair you up with a top pro for the day. Email email@example.com or ﬁll in the form below… Name.................................................................................... Address.............................................................................. ............................................................................................................................................................................................... ................................................................................................ Postcode ........................................................................... Daytime telephone........................................................... Email ................................................................................... Your camera model......................................................................................................................................................... What you’d like help with................................................................................................................................................
Next issue... Shoot the wildlife!
Join our Apprentice as we head to a country park with award-winning pro wildlife photographer Ben Hall
On sale 25 June 2013
Return to The PhotoPlus Apprentice, PhotoPlus, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW
Your chance to shoot with a pro
Exposure: 1/60 sec at f/22; ISO200 Lens: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 17
PhotoPlus Mail Box
Send us your comments on the magazine, and photography in general. Drop us a line any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
My wife and I (with a combined age of 150 years and still active photographers!) have subscribed to PhotoPlus for nearly two years, after buying our ﬁrst copy at the international airport in Bali! The magazine is just great, but its quality paper, unfortunately, means that it slips from our laps on occasion! Are binders available? Henry George Birmingham
Photography or girlfriend?
I haven’t earned a penny from photography, but I have this uncontrollable urge to buy camera kit! I blame your magazine: all the shiny pictures and sophisticated words lure me down to a camera shop almost every month. I now have a kit bag full of delights, but I’m always looking to upgrade my gear, much to my girlfriend’s horror. I suppose there is one big question bouncing around in my head: photography or girlfriend? I hope I never have to make that decision – I know where my impulses lie! Doug Badcock Wotton-under-Edge, Glos
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Is my 500D too old?
I happened on your magazine in November of last year, and I’m very grateful that I did. At my age I’m ﬁnding that your explanations and guidance are easier to understand than all the other reading on photography that I’ve done. Keep up the good work! I’m a little bit worried, however, about the EOS 500D that I purchased in March of last year. I’ve seen almost no mention of it in your articles and reviews, and I can’t recall having seen any photographs that have been
submitted by anyone using this camera. Was there a problem with it? Did it become obsolete so quickly that no one remembers it? Was I lured into buying a reject line? I live in South Africa, and we have a great problem with obsolete ‘grey’ reject goods being off-loaded in Africa, and especially our country. I would be very interested in your comments. Thanks again for the wonderful magazine. Rodney Martin Johannesburg, SA
specced, for example boasting 18 megapixels compared to 15. A year later came the 600D, followed by the 650D last year, and the 700D this year! So we really wouldn’t
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the EOS 500D, Rodney! As you say, it’s just that the next camera that came along, the EOS 550D a year later, was naturally better
Although it’s an old model, the 500D is still a very capable D-SLR
18 | PhotoPlus June 2013
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Reader Derek thinks we were too modest in our ‘100 Secrets’ pullout!
worry – the 500D is still a cracking camera, even if it’s a little old and doesn’t have the specs of brandnew cameras like the EOS 700D. What’s more important is the photographer – and your lenses! Concentrate on your technique, and invest in good lenses when you can, and your photography will improve, regardless of the camera.
some essential lenses and I’m now getting great results, so thank-you all. At present I’m using iPhoto to edit my photos, but having read several of your tutorials I’ve been looking to get a better editing program. I’ve looked at Adobe Photoshop, and then there’s Elements and Lightroom – I’m not sure which one I should purchase. Mark Gwynn Central Scotland
You saved the best for last!
I’ve just been reading the May issue of PhotoPlus, and speciﬁcally the ‘100 Canon SLR Secrets’ feature. First came the introduction – and there was no mention of what I consider to be the most important, number one thing you should do in order to get the best out of your D-SLR. Next came the ﬁrst two pages of the list, and the top 20; surely it will be mentioned here? But there was no sign of it. There was auto exposure, auto ISO, half-pressing the shutter… Oh well, it’s bound to be in the 20 to 40 section! Imagine my surprise when I still didn’t see it, which turned to horror when it was missing from not only the 41 to 60 rankings, but 61 to 80 as well! Then, on the twelfth and ﬁnal page of the article, in last position at number 100, there it was: Read PhotoPlus! You really must start thinking of yourselves as one of the best; actually THE best! Derek Thow Caerwent, South Wales
It all depends on your budget and needs, Mark. It’s all change at Adobe just now, as the pro’s choice, Photoshop CS, is no more, with the new ‘Photoshop CC’ taking over – and this is available only as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud monthly subscription service. We’ll cover Photoshop CC in more detail next month. However, you can still buy Photoshop Elements 11, which we’d heartily recommend: it’s a great image-editing program at a great price of £78. Adobe Lightroom (£106), on the other hand, is very popular with pros, as it enables you to organise and batch-process multiple images effectively and efﬁciently. While it’s not as popular with PhotoPlus readers, we’ve been keen to show off its beneﬁts in our three-part guide to Lightroom: you’ll ﬁnd part 2 on page 44.
“We set you the challenge to shoot an image with a seaside theme. Thanks to all that entered. Our seaside winner is Stanley Brett. This is a great atmospheric seaside shot in which Stanley has made good use of the rocks in the foreground leading out to the pier in the background. Log on to Facebook every Saturday morning to ﬁnd out what our next weekly PhotoPlus Photo Challenge will be!”
past year, and in 2013 Canon has again been acknowledged for the breadth, strength and industry-leading quality present across its product line-up, with the Canon EOS 100D winning Best D-SLR Entry Level, and the EOS 6D winning Best D-SLR Expert…”
The new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 beta is available now as a free download on both Windows and Mac. Adobe says, “Lightroom is the essential tool for busy professional and discerning amateur photographers, who are uncompromising in the pursuit of image quality or searching for artistic expression. The Lightroom 5 beta is highly valuable in ensuring the new features support and address the needs of our customers and we look forward to hearing feedback.” (We’ll reveal more about Lightroom 5 next month)
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I’ve recently started buying PhotoPlus, and I ﬁnd it invaluable for advice on how to get the best out of both my new Canon 650D and the available accessories; on your advice I bought
“Canon wins ﬁve honours at the 2013 Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Awards, one of the world’s leading photo imaging and press associations. The TIPA Awards commend the most outstanding imaging products launched in the
Is Canon’s Project1709 software about to get a Mac upload tool? http://bit. ly/ZpAnWT Canon has just announced a new summer cashback offer, which includes the new 700D and 100D... http://www.canon. co.uk/summercashback
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 19
Welcome to the…
aving your best images professionally printed is a great way of showing them off – and the bigger the better! This month we’ve teamed up with our friends at Hello Canvas to offer PhotoPlus subscribers a fantastic half-price deal on giant canvas prints. And don’t miss out on your chance to be our next Subscriber of the Month: send us your favourite shots and tell us what you love about PhotoPlus, and you could win fabulous Serif editing software!
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The PhotoPlus shop is the place to buy a whole host of PhotoPlus-related goodies. Check out our range of bookazines – recent titles include Master Your Digital SLR, The Ultimate Canon SLR Handbook, Black & White Photography Made Easy, Sports & Action Photography Made Easy, A Photographer’s Guide to Photoshop and A Photographer’s Guide to RAW. Plus we have T-shirts, binders and DVDs. Head to www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/ ShopSubsClub to see what’s in store.
Peter Travers, Editor
Half price offer! Save 50% on photo canvases
e all have images that we’re particularly proud of, and what better way to show them off than by blowing them up to create a room-dominating canvas print? And now you can put your favourite images onto canvas at a bargain price – our friends at Hello Canvas are offering PhotoPlus subscribers 50% off a
16x24-inch (40x60cm) canvas. The regular price is £32 (plus p&p*), but you’ll pay just £16 (plus p&p*). Simply go to www.hellocanvas.co.uk and use the coupon code photoplus. But hurry, the offer expires on 23 July 2013!
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STEP BY STEP Ordering your cut-price canvas couldn’t be easier
Select your image and crop to ﬁt
Select your image and upload it. Choose the size you’d like from the list, then drag the sizing bars to crop your image. If you wish, you can tick the box for a plain white edge, rather than the default wraparound image.
Apply effects or conversions
You have the option to apply effects to your image. Converting to black-and-white or sepia is free, as is the removal of red-eye, if required. Other more complicated effects are available at an additional cost.
Claim your exclusive discount…
Enter your address and contact details and, on the next page that comes up, enter the code photoplus in the Coupon Code box. Click Update to apply your 50% discount, then proceed to the payment page to ﬁnalise your order!
20 | PhotoPlus June 2013
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sunrises – or sports such as motorsports, and I took this shot at a motocross event. I was intending to get some shots of mates who were racing, but I noticed this guy was ﬂying – just throwing his bike around – and I knew he’d make a good shot if I could capture him in mid-air. The setup was pretty straightforward: I found a spot that had a good view of the jump, pre-focused on it, then waited for the rider. I took the shot handheld, on Highspeed Continuous shooting mode, and got three frames, with the middle shot being the best; in hindsight, I probably could have dropped the ISO and shutter speed a little. I adjusted the exposure of the Raw ﬁle in Lightroom, but that’s all. I’m usually pretty modest and don’t really rate most of my photos, but I guess it’s pretty sharp, has good depth of ﬁeld, and is framed pretty well!
Lives: Sydney, Australia Camera: Canon EOS 7D Subscriber since: Issue 67
I’m 40, and I got my ﬁrst ﬁlm camera when I was around 12. In January 2012 I bought a Canon EOS 7D, and it rekindled the passion I’d had as a kid. I’ve since bought a battery grip and Sigma 10-20mm, Canon EF-S 15-85mm, EF 70-200mm and EF 300mm lenses, plus a couple of primes at 28mm and 50mm. I’ve recently been considering upgrading to the 5D Mk III, but I like the high shooting rate of the 7D, so I think I’ll
wait and see what the 7D Mk II has to offer, if it ever materialises! I’ve only been reading PhotoPlus since November 2012, when my family bought me an iPad digital subscription for my birthday. It’s been a great help in heaps of ways, but mainly for learning different techniques. In general, I just enjoy reading it, and will be renewing for years to come. Around 90% of the photos I take are landscapes – I love long exposures and
Lens: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Exposure: 1/3200 sec at f/4; ISO5 00
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PhotoPlus June 2013 | 21
Stunning imagery from the world of Canon photography
22 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Shining examples of Canon photographers in action
Gull in Motion by Ben Hall
“Capturing wildlife in motion has always been a passion of mine. Each image is unique, which creates a welcome element of surprise. The idea behind this image was to capture an impression of the bird, giving the image a painterly feel, while still revealing the identity of the subject. I used a slow shutter speed and shot into the light to make the most of the golden hues. I set an exposure compensation of -2 stops in-camera to prevent the highlights from burning out. This had the added beneﬁt of creating deep shadows behind the bird, which helped to eliminate any distracting elements. As luck would have it, a swan landed on the water just as I ﬁred the image. The resulting waves have been rendered as long streaks, which I feel adds tremendously to the composition.” Location: Redesmere, Cheshire Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mk IV Lens: Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Exposure: 1/2 sec at f/25; ISO50
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 23
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Shining examples of Canon photographers in action
Mute Swan Stretching at Dawn by Ben Hall
“Just down the road from where I live lies a large lake; the close proximity of this stretch of water means I can be there at a moment’s notice. The more times I visit an area, the more in-tune I become with the environment and the wildlife that can be found there. I also know how the light changes throughout the day – and even the year. Following a cold but clear night, mist often forms on the water. In winter, the sun ﬁlters through the trees that line one of the banks, casting shafts of light down onto the water. I nearly always shoot into the light in these situations to make the most of the golden glow that the dawn light produces. Here, a mute swan gently shakes the water from its wings. I placed the swan at the bottom of the frame so that I could include the beams of light ﬁltering down through the trees.” Location: Poynton, Cheshire Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mk IV Lens: Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/6.3; ISO320 LEFT
Alauda Arvensis by Nigel Blake
“I got this shot on a farm where the remains of the sugar beet crop is put into a heap. The rotten matter becomes a breeding ground for bugs and the local birds go there to feed. I have a hide set in place to photograph them as they hunt out worms and beetle larvae. By making a small mound and regularly placing some collected bugs in a buried shallow dish, I attracted some birds to the same spot. My 600mm lens and 1.4x extender combine to create a 840mm focal length – and at f/7.1 it really blurs backgrounds for birds to stand out. I shot in Raw and processed in DPP, then used Photoshop for ﬁnal tweaks to the contrast and colour, and sharpening was done selectively using Nik Sharpener Pro.” Location: Hertfordshire Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM + Canon EF 1.4x Extender Exposure: 1/400 sec at f/7.1; ISO400 ABOVE
Great Tit by Drew Buckley
“It’s very tricky trying to catch incoming birds in ﬂight – ﬁrst I pre-focus slightly behind the stump as the birds never approach perfectly perpendicular. Even the settings I’m using (which I believe to be the perfect trade-off between freezing the action, enough depth of ﬁeld and visible noise) still only gives me just over 3cm of sharpness at this shooting distance and focal length. On top of that, there’s judging when the bird is ‘in the zone’, its wing position and ‘does it make a pretty picture?’ There are a lot of duff shots, but here’s one I’m happy with from a very cold three hours in the hide.” Location: Pembrokeshire Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Lens: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM Exposure: 1/4000 sec at f/5.6; ISO1600
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 25
Great Crested Grebes Displaying by Ben Hall
“During the past few years I have spent countless hours photographing great crested grebes. Not only are they beautiful, elegant birds but they display an astounding array of behaviour. Most notable is their courtship ritual, which is perhaps the most elaborate of any British bird. For most of my grebe photography I use a ﬂoating hide. This homemade contraption conceals my presence while also enabling me to adopt a very low shooting angle – imperative for the sort of intimate images I like to capture. On this particular morning, the light was beautiful. As the sun rose it cast a warm glow, heightening the rusty-coloured reﬂections in the water. As a pair of grebes began to perform their head shaking display, I ﬁred off a burst of frames, capturing the birds in mid-action.” Location: Marple, Cheshire Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mk IV Lens: Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + Canon EF 1.4x Extender Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/8; ISO400
Common Redshank by Nigel Blake
“I bagged this shot at Salthouse on the north Norfolk coast. These pools have brackish water in them and contain the small crustaceans that form the diet of wading birds like this redshank. I usually lay down on the ground to photograph waders and place the camera on a beanbag; I also use a small plastic display turntable (a bit like a rotating cheeseboard) to making panning and tracking the bird easier. I use a low point of view to capture a more intimate portrait at eye level; this also enables me to isolate the bird from the background when using a wide aperture, but most importantly I don’t appear as much of a threat when I’m at the same level as my subject. These usually ﬂighty birds are therefore happy to come close enough so I can capture detailed shots. I processed my Raw image in DPP and made Curves adjustments and ﬁnal tweaks in Photoshop CS2.” Location: Salthouse, Norfolk Camera: Canon EOS-1Ds Mk III Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM + Canon EF 1.4x Extender Exposure: 1/800 sec at f/8; ISO320 Q
SEND US YOUR BEST CANON IMAGES!
The images that appear in these pages come from pros and fellow PhotoPlus readers. If you’d like your images to be considered, why not post them to our PhotoPlus Flickr group at www.ﬂickr.com/groups/photoplusmagazine (you’ll need to sign up to Flickr if you’re not a member, but it’s free, and a great way to share your best images).
26 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Shining examples of Canon photographers in action
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 27
Canon D-SLR Techniques
Discover the magic of monochrome, from camera settings and shooting techniques to converting and enhancing your images, from landscapes and portraits to architecture and abstracts…
All Images Future Owns
hen you strip away the colour from a scene you encourage the viewer to focus on shapes, patterns and textures, and on the contrast between light and shade, and this can produce wonderful results with the right subjects. In the age of digital photography and editing the timeless feel and elegance of black-and-white images remains as popular as ever, and whether you want to shoot mono landscapes, portraits or architecture, or take a more abstract approach,
we’ve got the entire black-and-white workﬂow, from composition and camera settings to conversion and editing, covered in this dedicated guide. We’ve broken our guide down by subject; however many of the tips and techniques included under portraits, for example, can be applied just as effectively to landscape or still-life shots. So turn the page to begin discovering the dark (and light) arts of black-and-white photography and editing; we’ll make you a master of mono in no time!
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Discover the magic of monochrome
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 31
Shoot striking landscapes
Learn how to create brilliant black-and-white scenic images
Darken skies for contrast
unny days with bright blue skies and white clouds are ripe for mono conversions, as the deep blues turn black, and you get lots of contrast in the sky and between landscape subjects. When converting shots, darken the blue/cyan channels to darken the blues for even more contrast.
Sky and texture
he sky can make or break a black-and-white landscape. If you have a featureless sky – either clear blue or flat white – then it’s going to appear very grey and boring in your image, and if this is the case it’s best to include as little of the sky in the frame as A clear sky will look ﬂat and grey possible. However, if the sky in a mono image is textured with clouds then use this to your advantage, and include plenty of it in your composition – stormy skies can be particularly dramatic in mono shots of rugged landscapes!
Skies ﬁlled with clouds can create a dramatic backdrop in black and white
Set your Picture Style to mono
hen shooting a scene with an eye to creating a mono image, select the Monochrome Picture Style on your Canon D-SLR: this enables you to see images in black and white when reviewing them on your LCD, or shooting using Live View mode. If you do this, however, make sure you’re shooting Raw images, or Raw+JPEG; if you only shoot JPEGs, the mono effect will be applied in-camera, and you won’t have the colour information to work with when converting your images; if you shoot Raw you can also change the Picture Style later.
Image with the Monochrome Picture Style effect applied
The same image in colour, with the Standard Picture Style applied
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Discover the magic of monochrome
Depth of ﬁeld
Aperture at f/1.4
Aperture at f/16
he depth of ﬁeld in an image is determined by the aperture setting. If you want to capture a shallow depth of ﬁeld, in order to throw distracting backgrounds out of focus while keeping your main subject sharp, then you’ll need to use a wide aperture setting, for example f/2.8; you’ll need to make sure you’re accurate with your focusing, however. If you want to add drama and atmosphere to your black-and-white landscapes you can create a cinematic effect by combining a shallow depth of ﬁeld with shooting from a low angle, as shown here. If you want more of your scene to be sharp from front to back you’ll need to use a narrow aperture setting, such as f/16.
In black-and-white film photography, coloured lens filters were used to lighten or darken particular colours and boost contrast, and you can apply similar filter effects when you select the Monochrome Picture Style
This is the subtlest of the ﬁlter effects. It boosts the contrast of your images slightly, and if a scene contains yellow tones these will appear almost white.
Not as subtle as the yellow ﬁlter effect, but not as strong as the red ﬁlter. This effect boosts the contrast and lightens orange tones.
The red ﬁlter darkens cool colours and lightens warmer ones, and will greatly increase the contrast in an image. It’s useful for darkening a blue sky.
The green ﬁlter is useful for scenes that contain lots of foliage, as it will lighten green tones. It also darkens warm colours and lightens cool ones.
HOW TO Edit your mono images in Canon DPP
Open your images
If you’ve selected the Monochrome Picture Style in-camera, the effect will be applied to both Raw images and JPEGs when you open them in Digital Photo Professional. If you open a colour Raw image, you can apply the Mono style here.
Tweak the mono settings
To adjust the settings for a Raw image, click the Tool Palette icon (top bar) and double-click your image. Using the sliders below the histogram you can adjust the Contrast, Filter Effect, Highlights and Shadows, and add a colour toning effect.
Change the style
If you want to remove the Monochrome Picture Style, simply click the Picture Style menu and select Auto, or another style – your image will be converted to full colour, and you can edit and process it in the usual way.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 33
Brilliant B&W portraits
How a good monochrome conversion can improve your people shots
B&W can be best!
In a high-contrast portrait skin tones are lightened while the eyes, and dark hair and clothing, are darkened for a more punchy result
lack and white is great for portraiture: by eliminating colour you can hide skin blemishes and spots, and without colour to distract the eye you’re instantly drawn to the subject’s face and expression, which in turn convey character. If there are distracting colours in the background a mono conversion will helpfully tone these down while boosting contrast in your subject.
t A low-contras fter portrait has so e or m d an s tone ne detail in midto in areas, such as hair this subject’s
Best ways to boost contrast
lack-and-white photography is all about contrast, and how you adjust the contrast of an image when converting and editing it will have a big bearing on the final result. More contrast is generally a good thing in mono images, but this isn’t necessarily the case with portraits, so while you can choose to pump up the contrast for striking shots with strong shadows and bright highlights, you can also reduce the contrast for a more subdued and subtle feel. There are lots of tools for adjusting contrast: you can use the Contrast slider in Adobe Camera Raw or DPP, and Curves, Levels or Brightness/ Contrast in Photoshop CS and Elements.
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Discover the magic of monochrome
Desaturate for a romantic feel
lack and white and sepia effects are popular for producing wedding portraits with a timeless and romantic feel, but for a variation on this effect try subtly desaturating the colours – it’s perfect for those bride-andgroom-kissing shots, especially if they contain splashes of colour, such as the bride’s bouquet in this shot. To tone down the colours, simply move the Saturation slider to
around -60, either in Adobe Camera Raw or using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop or Elements.
Add a splash of colour
fun technique to try with black-and-white portraiture is a selective colour effect. This works particularly well if you have an object or feature in your shot that’s red, as the richness of the colour will contrast wonderfully with the monochrome areas. If you’re creating the effect in Elements you’ll need to duplicate the ‘Background’ layer, go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White (see page 37), OK the dialog then add a mask to the mono layer; in Photoshop CS you can use a Black & White adjustment layer (see below), which comes with a layer mask attached. Select the Brush tool, make sure the foreground colour is black, and paint over the required areas to reveal the colour image.
Convert to mono, then selectively reveal colour details for a stylish and arty effect
HOW TO Convert colour images
to mono in Adobe Photoshop CS
Add a Black & White layer
Open your image, click the ‘New adjustment layer’ button in the Layers palette and select Black & White. A default mono effect is applied, and you can click through the list of presets to get an idea of the range of effects you can create.
Tweak the channels
You can ﬁne-tune the effect by adjusting the colour sliders to lighten or darken the corresponding greyscale tones – if there was lots of red in the colour image the red slider will have a big effect on the image, for example.
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Mono effects work equally well in shots of historic and modern buildings
Old school vs new school
hots of old buildings look great when converted to mono, as they tend not to contain a great detail of colour but have lots of interesting shapes and detail; stonework looks particularly good when you remove the colour and boost the contrast to bring out its texture. Modern buildings can make equally good subjects with their smooth surfaces and strong shapes, especially when sleek curves are juxtaposed with harder
edges. And don’t just focus on the exteriors of buildings; go inside to get interesting shots of stairways, arches and close-up detail, or use a wide-angle lens to capture imposing interior vistas. When shooting buildings watch out for perspective distortion or ‘converging verticals’. You can eliminate this problem by using a tilt-shift lens, although these are expensive; alternatively, you can correct shots in Elements with the Correct Camera Distortion filter.
Better exposures in black and white
hen you’re shooting a high-contrast scene – such as buildings in shadow on a sunny day – it can be tricky to expose shots correctly without ‘clipping’ highlight or shadow detail. To get around this problem shoot three bracketed exposures: you can then pick the
best image, or combine exposures at the editing stage if you can’t capture the full tonal range in a single shot. You can set your D-SLR to shoot three consecutive images up to two stops apart – go to Exp.comp./AEB in the main menu, or select the feature in the Quick Control screen.
Tints and tones
epia toning effects work particularly well for a timeless shot of an old buildings, and you can apply the effect in-camera by selecting the Monochrome Picture Style and changing the Toning Effect to Sepia. Don’t limit yourself to sepia though – blue toning effects work well for moonlight landscapes and more contemporary images. You can also apply toning effects in DPP or Photoshop Elements.
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Discover the magic of monochrome
HDR in black & white
igh dynamic range (HDR) images are a great way of capturing the maximum amount of highlight and shadow detail in highcontrast scenes, and you can create HDR images in Photoshop CS and Elements, or using dedicated HDR software. But instead of creating a colour HDR image that can sometimes look rather garish and unrealistic, try converting your merged HDR image to mono for a dramatic, detail-packed black-and-white beauty!
ISO settings in B&W
our camera’s ISO setting controls the sensitivity of the image sensor to light and, along with the shutter speed and aperture, dictates the exposure of a scene. If you select a low ISO setting, such as ISO100, you’ll ensure optimum image quality, but as you push the ISO higher you’re more likely to introduce noise, which takes the form of random light and dark pixels in what should be areas of smooth tones; it’s especially noticeable in
shadow areas. The downside to using a low ISO is that you may not be able to use a fast enough shutter speed to allow you to shoot handheld, particularly indoors. If you use very high ISO, such as ISO12800, you can obtain faster shutter speeds, but you’re more likely to get noisy images. However, noise is less of an issue with mono images than with colour, as it can enhance the atmosphere, so you can generally push the ISO a little higher than usual.
HOW TO Convert to black and white in Elements
Convert to Black and White
Duplicate your ‘Background’ layer so you’re applying the mono conversion to a new layer, then go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White. A new window will appear, containing Before and After images and a selection of controls.
Try the presets
At the bottom-left you’ll see a list of preset mono effects, such as Scenic Landscape and Infrared. Click through these – you’ll often ﬁnd that one will provide a useful starting point for the effect you want to create.
Tweak the channels
You can ﬁne-tune the effect by moving the colour channel sliders left or right to darken or lighten the corresponding greyscale tones: drag the Blue slider right, for example, to lighten a blue sky. You can also adjust the contrast.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 37
Go abstract in mono!
Look for form and patterns in everyday objects and scenes
Use Levels to boost contrast
Playing with the shadows
he Levels sliders in Photoshop CS and Elements are an easy way of adjusting the exposure and contrast of your images. As with all tonal adjustments, it’s best to apply Levels as an adjustment layer. You can increase the contrast of an image by moving the Shadows slider inwards to darken the darkest tones in the image, and/or by bringing the Highlights slider inwards to brighten the lightest tones; you can adjust the overall brightness of the image using the Midtones slider. If you hold down Alt when moving the Highlights or Shadows sliders, highlight or shadow tones that have been ‘clipped’, and so contain no detail, will appear as solid areas of white or black.
ead to the city on a sunny day to photograph the shadows of people and objects for striking abstract mono images. Around midday the shadows will be fairly short, as the sun is at its highest point; you’ll get better results earlier or later in the day when shadows will be longer. We flipped this image vertically for a quirky effect, and boosted the tones and contrast at the editing stage. When you expose a scene you’ll generally want to try and retain
detail in the shadows; however this is less important when you’re photographing shadows, so you can safely expose a shot for the highlights.
Create a stunning solarised effect
olarisation effects, which produce mono images with wonderful silverlooking tones, became popular in the days of darkroom processing, and you can replicate the effect in Photoshop CS. The effect works well for subjects such as flowers and other still-life setups, and fine-art nudes; for the best results shoot your subject against a dark background. Start by converting your image to mono, then add a Curves adjustment layer. To create the solarisation effect you need to create an inverted ‘V’ or ‘U’ shape in the curve window – you can do this either by dragging anchor points, or by drawing a freehand curve using the Pencil tool.
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Discover the magic of monochrome
Look up for abstracts!
ou’ll be amazed at how many wonderful abstract black-and white images you can capture by simply looking above you! Ceilings, light fittings and staircases – the spiral variety in particular – can all make interesting subjects. If your D-SLR has a Vari-Angle LCD you can use this to your advantage, so you don’t have to get into an awkward position to frame the composition.
here are repeating patterns everywhere you look: on the sides of buildings, and in ceilings, brick walls, pavements, car parks, windows – the list is endless. The trick with this type of shot is to come in close with your composition, to isolate the pattern and remove the context of familiar surrounds; that way you’ll keep your viewers guessing as to what they’re looking at!
Boost contrast with Curves
The continuing curves of a spiral staircase shot from below draw the eye into the image, creating an almost hypnotic effect
n Photoshop CS the most effective way to boost the contrast of your mono images is to use a Curves adjustment layer. The ‘curve’ actually starts out as a straight line, representing the tonal range of an image from shadows at the bottomleft to highlights at the top-right. To adjust the contrast of an image you click to place points on the curve, then drag these up to lighten the corresponding tones or down to darken them. A simple way to boost contrast is to create an ‘S-curve’: place
one point the way up i t about b t a quarter t of f th the curve and drag this down to darken the shadows, then place a second point three-quarters of the way up the curve and drag this up to lighten the highlights.
HOW TO Shoot an abstract still-life in black & white!
Create an abstract scene
Pin up some striped material, or search online for a striped pattern and print this out. Next take a selection of glasses of different shapes and sizes, arrange them in a line on a dark base and ﬁll them with water to different levels, so that they distort the striped backdrop.
Shoot the setup
Place your camera on a tripod, and come in tight with your composition. Set the camera to Aperture Priority (Av) mode, and set the aperture to f/10 to keep the image sharp from front to back. At the editing stage, boost the contrast right up to enhance the abstract effect. Q
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 39
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hatever your favourite genre of photography, we’ve always got something for you in our Skills section to help you improve your Canon D-SLR technique and your images. In this issue we’ll show you how to capture amazing macro shots of bugs in your own garden, and how to shoot dramatic and colourful action portraits using off-camera ﬂash. Also this month we have part two of our guide to Adobe Lightroom, in which we’ll show you how to use the Develop Module to correct and enhance your images. And in part three of our Canon software guide you’ll discover how you can create custom Picture Styles using Picture Style Editor, which you can apply to your shots in-camera or in DPP to get perfect colours. As always, we’re keen to hear how you get on with our tutorials – so don’t forget to share your results with us!
amazing macro bug shots 42 Capture
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motion blur to shots of aircraft 64 Add
See the Canon EOS 6D’s Wi-Fi feature in action!
better colour with Lightroom part 2: Shoot action-packed custom Picture Styles 66 Get Develop Module using ﬂash 44 The 48 portraits
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 41
Skills Macro project
WATCH THE VIDEO
Your guide Yo
Hollie Latham H
Capture creepy crawly macro shots
What you’ll need • Macro lens • Tripod How long it’ll take
Half a day
Get closer to nature by mastering macro photography, and discover a whole new world of wildlife in your garden
The skills you’ll learn
How to set up your camera for macro shooting How to focus precisely How to enhance your image in Photoshop Elements
acro photography simply means magniﬁed photography, which enables you to capture extreme close-ups of small subjects. For true macro shots you’ll need a dedicated macro lens, to enable you to focus precisely on small areas, and a tripod to ensure your shots are perfectly sharp. When you’re shooting macro images you need to be particularly aware of your aperture setting. The wider the aperture, for example f/4, the shallower the depth of ﬁeld will be, and when you’re shooting extreme close-ups at minimal focusing distances with
a wide aperture, the focus plane will only be a few millimetres deep. For the best results you’ll need to select a narrower aperture: shooting at between f/8 and f/16 will still give you a shallow depth of ﬁeld, but will also keep plenty of your subject sharp. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to capture macro shots of the kind of bugs you’ll ﬁnd in your own back garden. We show you how to set up your camera, and how to focus precisely on your subject. We’ll also show you how to bring out all the colour and detail in your macro image using Photoshop Elements.
42 | PhotoPlus June 2013
STEP BY STEP Shooting a macro subject
Many telephoto lenses claim to offer a macro function, but a true macro lens will offer 1:1 magniﬁcation; this means that you can capture life-size depictions of small subjects on your camera’s sensor, giving you the potential to produce large, richly detailed images. A cheap alternative to a macro lens is to use an extension tube, which sits between your lens mount and your lens, and moves the lens farther from the image plane. The farther away the lens is from the image plane, the closer to a subject you’ll be able to focus at a given focal length and distance from the subject, and so the greater the magniﬁcation.
Aperture Priority mode
Set your camera to Aperture Priority (AV) mode: this will enable you to have full control over the aperture setting, and therefore over the depth of ﬁeld, which will determine how much of your insect will be in focus. You ideally want to shoot using a narrow aperture, to keep as much of your subject as possible sharp – we kept our aperture between f/8 and f/11.
You may need to hunt around for interesting bugs, or wait for them to land on a suitable ﬂower or a leaf, so be patient. In the meantime, if you ﬁnd a snail, these make great macro subjects, especially if they have a colourful shell – and of course you’ll have plenty of time to set up your camera up and compose and focus your shot!
Narrower apertures mean slower shutter speeds, so if you’re shooting handheld you may need to balance this by upping the ISO. For a shutter speed above 1/200 sec the ISO may need to be as high as 800 or 1600. If you’re using a tripod you can afford to drop to ISO400, as camera shake will be minimised. We’d recommend, however, that you don’t drop the shutter speed below 1/60 sec.
Open your image in ACR to enhance the exposure and colours – for our shot we set Exposure to +0.80, Contrast to +27, Shadows to +26 and Vibrance to +18. Use to Crop tool to crop in on the bug. Open the image in Elements. To boost the contrast duplicate the ‘Background’ layer and go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White. Select a preset and click OK. Set the layer blending mode to Overlay and Opacity to 36%.
When shooting bugs and other timid creatures you’ll require a fairly long focal length, such as 100mm, to give you plenty of working distance so that you don’t get too close to subjects and scare them off, and also so that you don’t cast a shadow over subjects. You’ll need to check your lens’s minimum focusing distance, as this will determine how close you can get to a subject and still get sharp shots.
Set the focus
If your subject is stationary and you’re using a tripod, set your lens to manual focus and switch to Live View. Magnify the preview, and ﬁne-tune the focus to get the desired areas sharp. If you’re shooting insects that are moving you’ll need to shoot handheld for the best results. Set your lens to autofocus and set the AF mode to AI Servo, so that the autofocus system will lock onto and track moving subjects.
Create more contrast
Select the top layer, and press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E to create a merged layer. Take the Dodge tool, set Range to Highlights and Exposure to 20%, and brush over the bug’s body to boost the contrast. To darken the edges of the frame and focus attention on the bug, go to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion, and set Vignette Amount to -40 and Midpoint to +41. Add a Levels adjustment layer, set the Shadows slider to 3, Midtones to 1.09 and Highlights to 247.
Download start image at: http://downloads.photoplusmag.com/75_1.zip
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 43
Skills Adobe Lightroom
WATCH THE VIDEO
Lightroom’s Develop Module…
e delve a little deeper into Lightroom for the second part of our series, and reveal all you need to know about the Develop Module so you can fully enhance your images. The tools in the Develop module are broadly the same as those in Adobe Camera Raw for Photoshop CS, but the layout is completely different. Lightroom works with JPEG and TIFF ﬁles too, treating them just the same as Raw ﬁles – though
you need to shoot Raw to take full advantage of the highlight and shadow recovery tools and white balance options. All adjustments that you make in Lightroom are non-destructive, and can be altered or removed even after you’ve moved on to another image or quit and restarted Lightroom. You never ‘save’ your adjustments – they’re stored ‘live’ as you make them.
These are where the serious image-editing work is done. You can use them in any order – there’s no speciﬁc workﬂow you have to follow – and you’ll ﬁnd details on each panel opposite.
The Navigator has two uses here: if you move the mouse over a Lightroom preset, it displays a preview of the effect, and you can use it to pan around an image if you’re zoomed in.
Lightroom comes with a range of preset effects, organised into categories. You can make adjustments to an image and then save the settings as a new preset using the ‘+’ button.
Like Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom lets you take ‘snapshots’ of stages in the editing process to return to later. Unlike those programs, though, Lightroom stores these indeﬁnitely.
As you’re working on your photos, you may to want to change their attributes such as their Rating, Flag or Label to reﬂect your adjustments.
This panel displays everything you’ve done to an image from the moment you imported it, and this information is saved indeﬁnitely, or until you click the ‘x’ (Clear) button.
Lightroom doesn’t display Folders in the Develop module, but it does display your Collections – another reason for using Collections as your primary organisational tool.
Copy and Paste
Once you’ve applied a set of adjustments to an image, you can click this Copy button, then select another image and Paste the same set of adjustments onto it.
Before & After
In the Library module, this button is used to compare different images. In the Develop module, you can use it to compare before and after versions of the image you’re working on.
There’s no Grid view in the Develop module – you have to swap back to the Library module to display images as thumbnails – so the Filmstrip is a handy way to display the contents of the current Collection.
44 | PhotoPlus June 2013
These are your everyday tools. They include Lightroom 4’s redesigned Highlights, Shadows, Whites and Blacks sliders for more dynamic range control, and a more powerful Clarity slider for adding localised contrast.
This works just like the Curves panel in Photoshop – you drag on the curve to reshape it and change the contrast properties of the picture. But you can also use the Point Curve gadget to drag up and down directly in the relevant part of you image to darken or lighten those tones.
HSL lets you adjust Hue, Saturation and Lightness. Colour offers simpler adjustments based on speciﬁc colours. The B&W sliders can be used to adjust the colour mix when converting colour images to black-and-white.
Lightroom’s Sharpening tools include an Amount slider, Radius, Detail and Masking adjustments for maximum control, while the Noise Reduction sliders allow you to minimise both Colour and Luminance noise.
1 3 5 7 2 4 6
Lightroom can correct distortion and vignetting automatically in a large number of lenses, or you can apply corrections manually for those that aren’t supported. It can also ﬁx horizontal and vertical ‘keystoning’.
What is a histogram?
Histograms are a central tool in image-editing. They display the distribution of tones in your image from solid black (far left) to brightest white (far right). The histogram is effectively a bar chart, showing how many pixels there are at the different brightness levels in between. Always check that the histogram is not cut off abruptly at either end, because that means detail has been lost or ‘clipped’ in the shadows or the highlights. The histogram updates as you make adjustments, it’s a handy way of checking that your adjustments aren’t affecting image quality.
The Post Crop Vignetting tools enable you to apply vignetting effects that will be preserved even if you later crop the image, while the Grain sliders enable you to add grain to simulate the look of ﬁlm, and add atmosphere.
With Raw ﬁles, Lightroom applies Adobe’s own generic interpretation for the colour and tonal rendition, but you can choose a range of different cameraspeciﬁc proﬁles from the drop-down menu to get closer to your Canon’s own colour rendition.
Download start image at: http://downloads.photoplusmag.com/75_2.zip
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 45
Skills Adobe Lightroom
Selective Y adjustment tools in detail
Did you know you could make selective adjustments in Lightroom? Here’s how...
ou’ll ﬁnd the selective adjustment tools just below the Histogram panel, and they consist of a Crop tool, Spot Removal tool, Red Eye Correction tool and – most interesting of all – Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush tools. Between them, these tools go a long way towards closing the gap between Lightroom and Photoshop. You can’t add layers to images in Lightroom – you’ll still need to export them to Photoshop for that – but you can ﬁx minor blemishes, and also apply localised adjustments. Lightroom’s Spot Removal tool is especially effective, and after you’ve used the Graduated Filter tool a few times on your landscapes, you’ll never want to be without it again. These tools are also available in Adobe Camera Raw, but here in Lightroom they’re much more streamlined. The other thing we’ve not mentioned yet is Lightroom’s ‘Virtual Copies’. These are ideal for trying out different treatments on the same image without physically saving a new version to your hard disk. Lightroom simply creates a duplicate record of the same image, and displays it alongside the original.
Spot Removal tool Crop tool
When you click on the Crop tool, a series of Crop and Straighten settings open out beneath. You can use the Angle slider to straighten your shots, but it’s not very precise, you’ll get better results with the Angle gadget – you drag out a line on the image that corresponds with a horizontal or vertical edge that should be straight. Use the ‘Constrain to Warp’ box if you’ve applied Lens Corrections. You can also straighten images by rotating the Crop marquee – just move the mouse pointer outside any corner or edge control point. The Aspect menu lets you constrain the crop to one of a number of common different proportions, such as 4x6in prints or 16:9 TV displays. You can use the Spot Removal tool to remove sensor spots and other small blemishes from your images, and it’s extremely simple to use. First, choose a brush size slightly larger than the spot you want to cover up, then simply click once on the spot – Lightroom will automatically ﬁnd a ‘clean’ area nearby to use as a source for the repair. This will show up as a second circle with a thicker outline, and if you need to, you can simply drag it to a different area to get a better result. In Spot mode, it matches the source pixels to the destination area, while in Clone mode it preserves the source pixels’ tones.
46 | PhotoPlus June 2013
AdobeXxxx Lightxxxx room
Red Eye Correction tool
Red-eye isn’t so much of a problem with Canon D-SLRs, as the built-in ﬂash has a pop-up mechanism that distances the burst of ﬂash from the lens (external ﬂashguns are even more effective). If you do have red-eye images, however, they’re simple to ﬁx. If the tool is already set to the right size (use the edge markers as a guide), just click on the eye. If not, drag from the eye’s centre to adjust the size. Lightroom now applies red-eye correction; you can use Pupil Size and Darken sliders to ﬁne-tune the result.
Adjustment Brush tool
This offers the same adjustments as the Graduated Filter tool, but with additional brush options. Simply conﬁgure the edits you want to apply, adjust the brush size and start painting. Lightroom places a pin where you start painting, and as paint areas it adds to the adjustment ‘mask’. You can view the mask by moving the mouse over its pin. You can alter the adjustment settings after you’ve created the mask, erase parts of the mask you’ve created, and create additional masks.
Graduated ﬁlter tool
The Graduated Filter tool is most useful for darkening bright skies in landscape shots. With the tool selected, you drag in the direction you want the gradient to be applied. For a landscape, for example, you’d click and drag upwards from the horizon line. The Graduated Filter panel on the right shows a range of adjustments – to simulate an ND grad and darken a bright sky, for example, you can reduce the Exposure value. Once the graduated effect has been created, you can drag on its ‘pin’ to move it, drag on the horizontal line through the centre to rotate it, and drag up or down on the outer lines to adjust the distance over which the gradient is applied. Q
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 47
Skills Flash-lit action photography Masterclass
48 | PhotoPlus June 2013
WATCH THE VIDEO
Capture action at the speed of light!
Get colourful, dramatic action shots by using ﬂash and panning to freeze moving subjects and blur backdrops
What you’ll need • Wide-angle lens • Two flashguns • Light stand or tripod How long it’ll take
The Skills you’ll learn
How to set up two flashguns as master and slave units How to capture motion blur by panning the camera How to enhance your action shot for a dynamic result
ou may think that in order to get results as professional-looking as this you’d need lots of expensive kit, but in this Masterclass we’ll show you how to capture action shots of a cyclist using just two ﬂashguns and a wide-angle lens. For your model you’ll need to ﬁnd a friend who has a racing bike – and preferably some colourful cycling kit to add a splash of colour to your image and enhance the professional feel. For the best results try to ﬁnd an interesting location that complements your rider, but won’t distract from them – we found a winding stretch of road with a dramatic rocky backdrop for our shoot. You’ll also
want a spot that’s fairly quiet, both for safety and so that passing cars don’t keep moving into shot. Make sure your rider is conﬁdent in their cycling ability and comfortable with the setup, so they won’t be put off by your shooting them. And, even if you’re not in a busy location, be safety conscious at all times, and stay on the correct side of the road. To capture a sharp shot of your cyclist while blurring the background to convey movement you’ll need to pan the camera to follow them as they pass you. They don’t need to be going particularly fast however – it’s all about using the right techniques to create the impression of speed.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 49
Skills Flash-lit action photography Masterclass
STEP BY STEP
Lights, camera, action!
For great action shots you need to set up your ﬂash units and camera correctly – after that it’s all about timing!
Location and rider
Choose a location that will provide an interesting background against which your rider will stand out – we selected a winding stretch of road with a rocky backdrop. We asked our rider to wear a red top to match his bike, to ensure he stood out against the background. Discuss the shoot with your rider in advance so that they know exactly what to do, and what you’ll be doing.
Set up the master ﬂash
To illuminate our rider we used two Canon 580EX II Speedlites. You can use any type of external ﬂash units, as long as you can set them up so that one acts as the ‘master’ unit and the other as a ‘slave’ that’s controlled remotely from your camera. Attach the master unit to your camera, and switch it to its Master setting – on most Canon models this can be done by holding down the Zoom button, although if you have an older model it could be a small switch at the bottom; if you have a different model, refer to your Manual to see how to set up the units. Set the master ﬂash to Manual and set it to ﬁre at 1/8 power.
Set up the slave ﬂash
The slave ﬂash will be used to provide ﬁll-in side lighting. Make sure both ﬂashguns are set to the same channel, and set the slave unit to Slave mode – again, how you do this will depend on the model. You want the slave ﬂash to be more powerful than the master, so set the slave to Manual mode and set it to 1/4 power, which is double the strength of the master unit. Attach the slave to a tripod or light stand, and position it a little to your side in the direction the rider will be coming from.
50 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Add motion blur to action shots See page 64
Your focusing needs to be spot-on. You want to make sure that your rider’s face is in focus, and you also want the front wheel of the bike to be sharp – it doesn’t matter if there’s some motion blur in the rest of the subject. We set up our camera so that we could use the AF-On button on the back to lock the focus (via the Custom Function menus), rather than half-pressing the shutter button: this enabled us to focus and shoot at the same time, to maximise our chances of getting a good shot. Set the AF mode to AI Servo, so that the autofocus system will track your moving subject.
When you’re happy with your settings, get your rider to stand side-on to the slave ﬂashgun on the line they’ll be cycling down the road, and take some test shots to make sure the ﬂash isn’t blinding them and to check the exposure. Now get them to ride past they st you – t ey y don’t need to be going very fast to create the motion blur effect. As they come into the frame focus on their face, and pan the camera as you ﬁre the shutter – you’ll probably y need a few goes to get the effect right.
Set your camera to Manual mode, and set the shutter speed to 1/80 sec: you want to use a slow enough shutter speed to blur the background when you pan the camera. To balance the shutter speed for the ambient lighting we set our aperture to f/11 and ISO to 400. Take a test shot with the ﬂash; if it’s too bright either select a narrower aperture or reduce the ISO. Use the histogram in playback mode to check that you’re not overexposing any parts of the scene.
Respect the rules of the road!
Pick a quiet road for your shoot and, on a public highway, respect other road users. Position yourself at a safe distance away from the edge of the road. Wear bight clothes or a ﬂuorescent jacket. Make sure the ﬂash doesn’t blind your cyclist; ﬁre a few test shots when they’re stationary to check they’re happy with the setup.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 51
Skills Flash-lit action photography Masterclass
STEP BY STEP Edit your action shot
There are three AF options on your Canon D-SLR. One shot, AI Focus and AI Servo. One shot is designed for shooting static subjects, and AI Servo is the best choice for shooting moving subjects, whether it’s a cyclist or racing car, or children and pets that are constantly on the move. AI Focus is a hybrid of the other two modes: the autofocus system will lock onto a subject as in One shot mode, but will track the subject if it detects movement. This setting can be a little hit or miss, however.
Open masterclass_start.dng in ACR (if you’ve shot your own images you can adapt the following steps as needed). The image is slightly overexposed, so set the Exposure slider to -0.45. Set Contrast to +28 to boost the contrast, and set Highlights to -68 to pull back the overexposed highlights a bit more.
Tweak the contrast
Add a Levels adjustment layer, and set the Shadows slider to 16 and the Midtones slider to 1.26 to brighten the image a bit more and boost the contrast. Next add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, and set Saturation to +9 and Lightness to +3 to boost the colours.
Fine-tune the exposure
To brighten the rider a bit more set Shadows to +17, and to ﬁne-tune the exposure set Whites to -34 and Blacks to -23. Set Clarity to +29 to bring out detail, and Vibrance to +25 to boost the paler colours without oversaturating the reds. Select the Crop tool, and crop away some of the dead space at the right of the frame. Click Open to open the image in Elements.
Darken the sky
Next we’ll darken the top of the image to help the rider’s face stand out more. Add a new layer, set the foreground colour to black and select the Gradient tool. Click the Edit button below the gradient preview, and choose the Foreground to Transparent preset, then click the Linear button and check Transparency. Hold down Shift, and draw a gradient from the top of the image to about a quarter of the way down.
To get good results when panning you need to balance the shutter speed with the speed at which you pan the camera. As you’ll be shooting handheld you’ll need to use a shutter speed of around 1/30 sec or faster, although you don’t want it to be too fast – above 1/100 sec, say – or you won’t capture the motion blur. Around 1/60 to 1/80 sec will generally produce the best results.
Colour and contrast
Duplicate the ‘Background’ layer, go to Enhance > Convert to Black and White, and click OK to apply the default settings. Change the layer’s blending mode to Overlay, and reduce the layer Opacity to 25%: this creates a stylised high-contrast effect.
Blend the effect B
Change the gradient layer’s blending mode to Overlay and reduce its Opacity to 45% to blend in the effect. Add a layer mask, take the Brush tool and paint over the rider’s face with a black brush to remove the gradient effect. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer containing all the visible layer content.
52 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Download start image at: http://downloads.photoplusmag.com/75_3 .zip
Next issue Shoot aircraft from a whole new perspective
It’s personal preference whether you set your ﬂashguns to E-TTL or Manual mode. You have more control over the ﬂash power when shooting in Manual mode, and if you know what you’re doing you can get better results, especially if you’re working with a ﬁxed setup, as here. E-TTL mode is easier for beginners to use, as you can adjust the ﬂash strength in a similar way to applying exposure compensation: each turn of the dial increases or decreases the ﬂash power by a third of a stop.
Go to Enhance > Adjust Colour > Adjust Colour Curves. Push the Adjust Highlights and Midtone Contrast sliders right a touch, and the Midtone Brightness and Adjust Shadows sliders left by a similar amount, to create a gentle S-curve that increases the contrast. Press OK to apply the effect.
Clone out blemishes
Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create another merged layer, and use the Clone Stamp tool to clone out any distracting blemishes, such as the small lens ﬂare artefact at the top of our image. Alt-click close to a blemish to sample suitable ‘clean’ pixels, then click and drag to clone these over the blemish.
Correct the reds
The rider’s red top looks a little washed out, so to ﬁx it add another Levels adjustment layer. Set the Midtones slider to 0.62 to darken the image, then press Ctrl+I to invert the layer mask and hide the effect. Take the Brush tool, set the foreground colour to white, and paint over the jacket to reveal the darkening effect.
Add a vignette A
To ﬁnish off we’ll add a vignette effect – this will darken the lighter edges and corners of the image, and create a framing effect that draws the eye towards the cyclist. Staying on the top layer, go to Filter > Correct Camera Distortion and set the Vignette Amount slider to around -45. Q
Timing and exposure
You need to be on the ball to get the shot!
If the light is constantly changing while you’re shooting you may want to use Shutter Priority mode (TV), rather than Aperture Priority mode. Set the shutter speed to 1/80 sec, and the ISO to between 200 and 400 depending on the light. Keep an eye on the aperture setting as you shoot, to make sure it’s giving an acceptable exposure. Once you’ve got your ﬂash units and camera set up, capturing high-speed action is all about timing, as these images show…
Too early: the ﬂash has overexposed the rider
Timed to perfection: the rider is perfectly exposed
Too late: the ﬂash hasn’t properly exposed the rider
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 53
Your essential guide
DIGITAL PHOTO PROFESSIONAL
Get the most from Canon’s powerful Raw editing program – that came free with your EOS D-SLR!
EE T! FR -OU LL PU
1ti2 0 ps!
O vE eR O r V
Digital Photo Professional
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Main Window & Edit Image Window
The Main Window is for organisation, while the Edit Image Window displays a large view of your image, but you can apply edits in both…
You can view images from several folders together by adding them to the Collection. Navigate to each folder and select the image you wish to include, then go to File > Add To Collection (or press Ctrl+G to add and Shift+Ctrl+G to remove). You can store up to 1,000 images in the Collection.
Switches to the Edit Image Window view from the Main Window
Edit Image Window
Selects/deselects all images in the current window view
Select All/Clear All
Toggles a hierarchical view of the folder structure to help navigate through images
Rotates the image by 90º, thus quickly switching from portrait to landscape orientation
Saves all selected images as JPEG or TIFF ﬁles, enabling images to be resized and renamed in an automated process
Toggles the Tool Palette on and off – edits can be applied to images in both the Main Interface and Edit Image Window view. See over the page for a full guide to the four different Tool Palette sub-options
Displays the selected images at full screen, and allows easy manipulation of star quality ratings
Select an image by clicking on its thumbnail; select several by Ctrlclicking. All images highlighted this way have a darker border and will be available in the Edit Image Window
04 Displays the usual embedded
image data, such as exposure information, but also information exclusive to Canon ﬁles, such as Picture Styles
Accesses spot removal and cloning tools for the repair of dust spots and other imperfections
Opens a window for cropping the image and getting horizons perfectly level
The image with the yellow border is the one currently being edited, double-click an image to open it in its own window without switching to the Edit Image Window ﬁrst; you can even apply edits with the Tool Palette to the highlighted thumbnail without opening it up, although it’ll be tricky to see the results of your edits
EDIT IMAGE WINDOW
Thumbnails can be displayed in three sizes – or alongside a histogram and shooting data. Quickly switch views with Ctrl+1 to Ctrl+4
Toggles a row or column of thumbnails of selected images alongside the image being edited
Scrolls through the selected images, highlighting them in the editing window
Useful at-a-glance info surrounds thumbnails, indicating whether the exposure and white balance has been altered, if it’s a Raw ﬁle, and its star and check mark rating
Overlays a grid on top of the image, which is useful for checking wonky horizons or converging verticals
Rotates the image by 90º, switching from portrait to landscape orientation in the process
Press Ctrl+J to overlay a representation of the camera’s focus points on the image – any focus points that were active when the shot was taken are highlighted in red
Fit to Window/50%/ 100%/200% View
A lens icon indicates that the image has been taken with a compatible lens that can be ﬁne-tuned; a lens icon with a ‘+’ shows that the image has had lens tuning applied
These four buttons change the magniﬁcation of the edited image
Double-click anywhere to view that area at 100% – double-click again to revert to full-screen view
You can easily check for over- or underexposure in an image with the Highlight and Shadow Alerts. Clipped highlights can are displayed in red (Alt+M), while clipped shadows are displayed in blue (Alt+N)
See the effects of your edits instantly with a handy split-screen view
You can see the results of your editing handiwork more clearly by enabling the Before/ After Comparison (View > Before/ After Comparison), which gives the option of viewing an unedited and edited version of your shot side-by-side or in a split window. You can further choose to instead stack comparison images above and below each other.
You can navigate to view images in a folder on your hard drive, or create a ‘Collection’ and view it by clicking its tab (see left)
Quickly rate selected images by clicking these icons; you can check mark and rate images between 0 and 5
Go to View > Sort to determine in what order images are listed – you can sort by rating, check mark, ﬁle name, shooting date and ﬁle type
Switches back to the Main Window from the Edit Image Window
Digital Photo Professional
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Here you can tweak the exposure and other settings to tease the optimum detail out of your Raw images…
The RGB tab gives access to powerful Curves control for ﬁne control over image tones, in Raw, JPEG or TIFF ﬁles
This tab provides noise reduction and also allows you to adjust Auto Lighting Optimizer settings
Tune out optical anomalies such as chromatic aberration and distortion in an extensive selection of Canon lenses…
The Tool Palette
The Tool Palette is the workhorse of DPP, eking every last drop of detail from image ﬁles via four sub-tabs: RAW, RGB, NR/ALO and Lens…
Enables you to dial in up to +/- 2 stops of exposure compensation, either by moving the slider or typing the number directly into the box
WB FINE ADJUSTMENT
Click the Browse button to assign additional Picture Styles downloaded from Canon’s website or created yourself in Picture Style Editor
Clicking this disables Contrast/ Highlight/Shadow sliders when editing Raw ﬁles in separate software
29 Pick from the standard selection of white balance presets from the drop-down menu (Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Flash etc) 30 Select Colour Temperature from the White Balance menu and this slider allows you to enter a Kelvin value
Click the eyedropper, then select a white (or neutral grey) shade from the image to set white balance
White Balance menu
same preset to other images simply by clicking on its number, which is handy for quickly setting a Custom white balance to several images set under the same lighting conditions
Click Tune to access a White Balance Fine Adjustment panel; drag the point within the Colour Wheel for subtle white balance adjustments
36 This graph displays the dynamic range of the image, with the horizontal axis showing the input level and the vertical axis displaying the output level. Pulling in the graph from the left changes the Input Shadow Point; from the right changes the Input Highlight Point, from the bottom changes the Output Shadow Point, and from the top changes the Output Highlight Point 37 Pull the slider left to decrease contrast, push it right to increase it
The Highlight and Shadow sliders enable you to alter the brightness in only these areas
40 Used for adjusting skin tones
– moving the slider right makes skin more yellow, left makes it redder
Move the slider right to increase colour saturation through the entire image, left to weaken saturation
Sharpness/ Unsharp Mask
Click the Register button to assign a white balance value to one of three presets – you can then apply the
White Balance presets
A big advantage of DPP is that it carries over Canon-speciﬁc settings such as Picture Styles. Click the dropdown menu to change the Picture Style and it will be applied to the images as if it were shot in-camera
The drop-down menu toggles between a simple Sharpness adjustment slider and the more reﬁned Unsharp Mask, which gives three familiar sliders: Strength, Fineness and Threshold
Return each slider and setting in its section to its original position
DIGITAL LENS OPTIMIZER
apply corrections to a wide variety of lens aberrations and diffraction issues for certain Canon lenses. Turn all sharpening settings to 0 ﬁrst, as you won’t need to apply as much sharpening when using DLO move the slider right to brighten the edges of the frame; move it left to darken the edges
44 Even if you zoom right in, you can still see your whole shot here
Changes the coloured ﬁlter effect applied to Monochrome Picture Style images; choose between None, Yellow, Orange, Red and Green
Full frame preview
53 Use these sharpening tools with care – particularly when working on Raw ﬁles; there are sharpness sliders in both the RGB and RAW tabs, and the effect is cumulative
Auto Lighting Optimizer increases the dynamic range of a shot by boosting shadow detail and is useful for low-contrast scenes. If your shot was taken with the ALO setting applied, then the checkbox will already be ticked and strength setting applied
Auto Lighting Optimizer
Adds a tint to a Monochrome Picture Style images; choose between None, Sepia, Blue, Purple and Green
This is automatically set to the lens’s focal length
Shooting distance slider
Two automatic buttons alter the curve for you to adjust brightness, contrast and colour – the second gives a more extreme correction. The third button resets everything
Tone Curve Assist
When you’re happy with your noise reduction settings, click the Apply button
DLO has an initial Setting of 50, but the strength of the effect can be set between 0 and 100
Click to remove colour fringing, especially at high-contrast edges such as branches of a tree against a bright sky. The main slider controls the overall strength, while the R and B sliders focus on red and blue chromatic aberration respectively
48 One of the most powerful features of DDP is the ability to apply Curves – you can plot up to eight points on the graph to ﬁne-tune contrast throughout the tonal range
Edits the black line on the Tone Curve graph to affect the whole image, changing red, green, and blue colour channels in unison
Tone Curve Adjustment
Only one set of noise reduction sliders are available, depending on whether you’re working on a Raw ﬁle or not. It’s best to manipulate the sliders through the NR Preview button so you can see the effect more clearly
RAW or TIFF/JPEG
It takes a fair bit of processing power – and time – to produce a preview; tick this box to disable it
At the edge of very bright areas, you may occasionally see red or blue colour blurring. Tick to remove it
Clicking this button brings up a preview Window, showing a 100% magniﬁed view of the image so you can better judge the effects of the noise reduction applied to an image
Indicates whether lens data is installed for the edited image; if not click the Update button to download it, then check the boxes for the lenses you wish to download data for, but be aware that these are very large ﬁles
With wide-angle lenses, you may see distortion around the edge of the lens – straight lines become curved and subjects at the edge of the frame are distorted. Use this adjustment slider to ensure straight lines are straight
Lens Aberration Correction
Click the Tune button to manually make lens corrections
Toggles the navigator on and off; the navigator displays a blown-up portion of the image to more easily check the results of your adjustments
Enables you to edit red (R), green (G) and blue (B) colour channels separately – with each being controlled and displayed using a coloured line. This is great for ﬁne colour balance adjustment – or for creating psychedelic effects
R, G or B
Luminance Noise Reduction slider
These sliders are more useful for editing JPEG ﬁles. With Raw ﬁles it’s better to make the same basic adjustments in the RAW tab
Luminance noise is grainy noise that appears on images taken at high ISO speeds, in some cases this noise appears as ‘jaggies’. It is reduced by blurring the image slightly, so use the slider sparingly as it will soften the image and cause loss of detail
Removes corner-shading or vignetting. Click the checkbox then
Toggles the grid on and off – the grid is useful for checking distortion adjustments
LENS ABERRATION CORRECTION
Chrominance Noise Reduction slider
More useful with JPEG ﬁles, as ﬁner Raw adjustments can be made using the sliders under the RAW tab
Chrominance noise appears as coloured speckles on images taken at high ISO speeds, especially in shadows. Apply chrominance noise reduction ﬁrst as this reduces noise without loss of detail, and only use luminance noise reduction if necessary
67 68 69
60 Drag the crosshair to position a magniﬁed 200% view to see the effects of the edits more clearly 61
Digital Lens Optimizer
Click Tune to automatically
70 71 72
Digital Photo Professional
Quick Check is only available from the Main Window (the other options can also be accessed from the Image Edit Window) and offers a quick way to view images at full screen or 100% view to check their quality and apply ratings or check marks
Quick Check, Batch Process Trimming Angle & Stamp
How to use the powerful tools hidden behind the four rightmost icons from the Main Window (or three from the Edit Image Window)… STAMP 75 74 100% View Repair (Dark)
75 76 79 78 81 82 83
Click to apply Dust Delete Data appended to an image by your camera (this is automatically generated when the camera detects dust on the sensor)
73 Toggles between displaying the entire image on screen or a close-up view. You won’t be able to perform stamp operations unless at 100% View; double-click on the image at fullscreen view for a close-up of that area
Makes the window as large as your computer monitor will allow
77 Click this if the spot you wish to get rid of is darker in colour than the surrounding pixels
Click this and a crosshair appears – click to select your source point for cloning operations (alternately, you can Alt-click on screen to select a clone point)
Select Copy Source
Apply Dust Delete Data
Check this box and the source point reverts to the same position each time you release the mouse
Fix Copy Source Position
The Stamp window offers spot removal and cloning tools, similar to Photoshop’s Spot Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools
Click this if the spot you wish to get rid of is lighter in colour than the surrounding pixels
Selecting Brush feathers the edges of your cloned pixels for a smoother blend to your image, while Pencil leaves a hard edge
81 Moving the slider decreases and increases the area affected by the cloning and repair tools
The single arrows enable you remove and reapply corrections a step at a time; the double arrows take you to the beginning or end of the steps
90 Tick to draw a frame around the area to be cropped
Move the slider left to darken or right to lighten the crop area to suit your individual preferences
96 97 98
Allows you to copy corrections you’ve made to one image and apply them to others
Displays an on-screen grid, which is useful lining things up for pixel-perfect rotation
Cycles through selected images
Varies the size of the grid, and enables you to position grid lines close to edges you wish to straighten
Cancels all settings – you have to click this ﬁrst before selecting a new aspect ratio, for example
Centre On Screen
Centres the crop area
86 Reverts to how the image was originally shot
This drop-down menu enables you to select between a number of preset aspect ratios when cropping; the information below shows the exact number of pixels in the selection
Click-and-drag on the screen to deﬁne your crop area, if you’ve selected an Aspect Ratio from the drop-down menu, it will be constrained to this ratio. Once you’ve deﬁned your crop area you can move it by clicking-and-dragging within the crop area or resize it by clicking near the edge. Click-and-drag outside the crop area to rotate the image
Save your images as JPEGs or TIFFs, and resize them as you go… resolution, and also embed the ICC proﬁle to set up your printer correctly
88 Rotates the image in 0.01º steps, and can be set by typing into the box or using the slider beneath. The Rotate Left/Right buttons turn the image through a full 90º 89 Enables you to Copy the crop and rotation information and paste it to other images; Apply All pastes it to all selected images
You can change where your images will be saved by clicking the Browse button
Tick this box to resize images to speciﬁed dimensions as they’re saved
Organise your images into ﬁve separate groups with these check marks – or click Clear to remove it from a group
The drop-down menu enables you to choose between JPEG or TIFF ﬁles (either 8- or 16-bit). The slider below determines JPEG image quality
Click the ﬁrst option to append the current image ﬁlename, or the second one to give it a new ﬁlename, each with an ascending number
Rate the image out of ﬁve stars – or mark the duffers for rejection
Enables you to set the print
Tick this box and the Browse button to select the program in which the saved image ﬁles will open
Image Transfer settings
Tick to overlay an autofocus grid in the image – active focus points are marked in red
Toggles a shooting information panel with EXIF data – this is the same panel as the Info icon displays in the Main and Edit Image Windows
Rotate the selected image by 90º, switching from portrait to landscape orientation
88 89 84 90 91 93 95 94 92
All adjustments made with the Tool Palette are stored in a ‘Recipe’, which can be applied to other images – this is a useful and timesaving way of applying edits to several photos taken under the same shooting conditions. Once you’ve made your adjustments, you can copy it (Edit > Copy Recipe To Clipboard or Ctrl+Alt+C), then apply it to other images (Paste Recipe To Selected Image or Ctrl+Alt+V). You can also save it (Edit > Save Recipe In File) for applying to images later.
Trimming Angle allows you to crop images to a variety of aspect ratios and straighten wonky horizons
Digital Photo Professional
Compositing & HDR
DPP has some COMPOSITING TOOL tricks up its sleeve, setting it apart from other Raw editors
Toggles between full screen and 100% view – double-clicking on the image window zooms in to this area
109 110 111
108 Use the drop-down menu to pick your foreground image 109 Select between ﬁve different
methods to create your composite: Add combines the brightness levels of both images; Average overlays images applying negative exposure compensation automatically; Weighted enables you to set the relative brightness of the foreground and background images; Lighten combines only the lightest areas; Darken combines the darker portions
Blend two images together with the Compositing Tool – accessed via the Tools Menu, or Ctrl+X shortcut
110 Only available if the camera model, ISO, Highlight Tone Priority and image size settings are the same 111 When the Weighted composite method is selected, you set the relative brightness of the foreground and background images with this slider
Compose in Raw format
The single arrows shift the foreground image by one pixel; the double arrows shift it by 50 pixels
Exit the tool without saving
best to use these as a starting point – they’re the same as found in models of EOS that have built-in HDR processing
Move right to brighten the image, left to darken it
Combines the images so you can composite a further image
Select your images with the Browse buttons. Tick Auto Align if you haven’t used a tripod, then Start HDR
Save your composite image
Five presets allow you to choose varying HDR effects, and it’s
Move right to deepen colour saturation, left for weaker colour
120 Move right to increase the
contrast, left to decrease it
120 119 121
Adjusts the contrast of details; move right to increase the effect
Move the slider right for a smoother, more natural effect
Move the slider right to sharpen edge details – left to soften it
124 Once you’re happy with your
HDR image, you can save it as a JPEG or TIFF ﬁle, and resize it Q
Create an HDR composite from three images – once again, you’ll ﬁnd it under the Tools Menu, or Ctrl+Y shortcut
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Skills Photoshop Effects
WATCH THE VIDEO
Create movement in helicopter blades
What you’ll need
Use the Radial Blur ﬁlter in Photoshop Elements to make the static-looking rotor blades of a helicopter spin
How long it’ll take
The skills you’ll learn
How to use Adobe Camera Raw to boost image contrast How to use the Elliptical Marquee tool How to use the Radial Blur filter
hen photographing helicopters (or propeller planes) you need to set a slow enough shutter speed to capture the rotor blades in motion. The general rule of thumb for helicopters with three or more rotors is a shutter speed slower than 1/125 sec; for two-rotor helicopters it’s 1/60 sec. The problem with shooting at such a low shutter speed when using a telephoto lens is that you’re likely to
encounter camera shake and your entire image may end up blurred, not just the blades. There is a sneaky solution, however, and that’s to use a fast shutter speed to freeze all the motion, then blur the rotor blades in Elements. In this tutorial we’ll show you to get those static blades spinning, using the Radial Blur ﬁlter along with the Elliptical Marquee tool and a layer mask. Let’s get moving…
64 | PhotoPlus June 2013
STEP BY STEP Take your chopper for a spin!
By using the Elliptical Marquee tool to make a selection you can control precisely where the Radial Blur effect will be applied. If you didn’t make a selection ﬁrst the blur effect would be applied to the whole image.
Open and crop
Go to File > Open and select helicopter_start.dng; t t td it’ll open in Adobe Camera Raw. Select the Crop tool with the 2 to 3 ratio from the drop-down menu and remove some of the empty space surrounding the helicopter. Set the Temperature slider to 6400 to warm up the image slightly, then push the Exposure slider up to +0.90 to bring out more detail.
Make some motion M
Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create a merged layer. Go to the Elliptical Marquee tool. To put the blades in motion, ﬁrst make a selection to encompass the left-hand side set of blades. Then go to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur and set the Amount to 14. Make sure the Blur Method is set to Spin.
Rescue the highlights
To boost the contrast push the Contrast ntrast slider up to +33. To rescue highlight detail set the Highlights slider to -50. To throw some ﬁll light onto the helicopter put the Shadows to +52 and Blacks to +18. Set Clarity to +28 to enhance the detail and Vibrance to +17 and Saturation to +27 to boost the colours. Click Open Image to open the image in Elements.
Mask out M
To get rid of the unwanted blurred areas add a layer mask, and use a black brush at 50% Opacity to paint away at the edges the Elliptical Marquee tool has created. Once you’re happy with the result press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E to create another merged layer and repeat steps 4 and 5, this time working on the blades on the right-hand side of the image.
Radial Blur ﬁlter
The Radial Blur ﬁlter is an easy way to apply motion effects to your images. There are two options in the Blur Method box – you can either create a Spin effect or a Zoom effect – and you can adjust the intensity of the blur using the Amount slider. You also have the option to apply the blur at different quality settings. If you want to quickly preview the effect on your image, use the Draft setting to apply it; you can then go back and reapply the effect using the Best setting, which takes a little longer.
Adjust the Levels
Add a Levels adjustment layer and set Shadows to 50, Highlights to 244 and Midtones to 0.90 to boost the contrast in the sky. You’ll notice the helicopter looks too dark. To correct this go to the Gradient tool and, using the Reﬂected Gradient option, click and draw about halfway down on the image to remove the Levels adjustment from the helicopter.
Tone to ﬁnish
Add a ﬁnal Levels adjustment layer and this time set the Shadows to 19 and the Midtones to 1.38 to ﬁne-tune the contrast. Save it as a PSD ﬁle to keep the layers intact or, if you’re happy with the result, you can ﬂatten the image and save it as a JPEG. Q
Download start image at: http://downloads.photoplusmag.com/75_3.zip
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 65
Skills Canon Essentials
WATCH THE VIDEO
Your guide Yo
Hollie Latham H
Create custom Picture Styles for better shots
What you’ll need • Canon Picture Style Editor • Canon EOS Utility • Mini-to-Micro USB cable How long it’ll take
Use Canon’s Picture Style Editor to make your own Picture Styles and take control of the colour of your images
The skills you’ll learn
How to adjust individual colours in an image How to create and save your own Picture Style files How to upload your custom Picture Styles to your camera
or the third part of our series on Canon’s free software we’re going to show you how to create your own custom Picture Styles with Picture Style Editor. You can then apply these styles to images in post-production, and share them with other Canon users; we’ll also show you how to upload them to your camera, so you can use them when shooting! This clever software enables you to adjust the colours of your images to match the true colours you see with your own eyes – or do the opposite and give
them a hyper-real look. We’ll show you how to select and individually adjust several different colour ranges. If you can’t see an accurate colour representation on screen, any adjustments you make will be a waste of time, so it’s advisable to calibrate your monitor; there are various products available for this. Next, set up the Picture Style Editor software correctly. Go to Choose Preferences > Work Colour Space and select Adobe RGB. In the Colour Matching settings, select Monitor Proﬁle and then you’re all set to go.
66 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Next issue PhotoStitch
STEP BY STEP How to edit your Picture Styles
When you select a colour with the colour picker, check the ‘Show Affected Area of Image’ box to highlight in grey the colours that will be affected. If you select a colour that you’ve already adjusted, the slice in the colour wheel will turn grey. You can adjust the slice by dragging it around the wheel to affect certain colours, so you don’t change what you’ve already adjusted. An exclamation mark also appears in the colour swatch panel if you’re readjusting a previously adjusted colour.
Drag-and-drop picture_style_start.CR2 into the Picture Style Editor main window. Go to Tools > Preliminary Adjustment to make some initial tweaks. Set Brightness Adjustment to 0.33. Click on the White Balance Adjustment drop-down box and select the Daylight preset (alternatively, you could use the Colour Temperature or White Balance Picker options).
Fine-tune the colour
Adjust the HSL sliders to ﬁne-tune colours: for the sky we set the Hue to +7, Saturation to +9 and Luminosity to +9; for skin tones we set Hue to +10 and Saturation to +5; and for the dress we set Saturation +9 and Luminosity +3. A red dot on the colour chart pinpoints the adjusted colour and the colour swatch displays both the original and adjusted colours.
Save your Picture Style ﬁle Choose a Base Picture Style
Go to View > Tool Palette to bring up the Picture Style options. Select a Base Picture Style to work on: we chose Portrait to retain the natural skin tones. Make further adjustments using the sliders below: we boosted the Sharpness to 5 and Contrast to +1. Select the horizontal or vertical split view icon (at the bottom-left) for a before and after preview. Go to File > Save Picture Style ﬁle and enter the name, caption and copyright details. If you plan to share your Picture Style or don’t want to make any changes to it, check the Disable Subsequent Editing box.
The HSL system deﬁnes colours using three properties: Hue is the colour itself, Saturation is the intensity of the colour, and Luminosity is the brightness. When you adjust the HSL sliders, the degree to which you can adjust Saturation limited by the Luminosity value. If a colour’s Luminosity value is below 50, increasing Saturation will make the colours more vivid, and if the value is higher than 50, decreasing it will tone down the vividness. To lock Luminosity while adjusting Saturation, hold down Shift when moving the slider.
Select a colour
Click the Speciﬁc Colours tab. Grab the eyedropper and select the colour you want to adjust. The colour swatch displays your selected colour. A slice of the colour chart will now be selected, highlighting the range you can work with, and a white dot pinpoints the colour you’ve just selected.
Upload to camera
Connect your camera to the computer, turn it on, then open EOS Utility. Select Camera Settings/ Remote Shooting to bring up the Tool palette. Click on Picture Style in the shooting menu and select Register User Deﬁned Style. Click on the folder icon to locate your saved Picture Style, and click Open and then Apply to upload it to your camera. Q
Download start image at: http://downloads.photoplusmag.com/75_4.zip
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 67
Welcome to the Canon D-SLR photography service centre
How can I make the most of For quick access to Picture Picture Styles? Styles, customise your
Do the colours in your shots look a little ﬂat? Give them a boost, or get a whole new look, with Canon’s Picture Styles
anon’s Picture Styles enable you to ﬁne-tune the look and feel of your pictures by adjusting the way in which your camera processes shots. Whether you want more contrast or a punchier colour palette, or want to strip away the colour altogether and shoot in black and white, head for the Picture Style selection screen. All current EOS cameras come loaded with a collection of Picture Style presets. There are six basic options to choose from: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Neutral, Faithful and Monochrome, with the ﬁrst ﬁve offering various combinations of contrast, saturation, colour tone and sharpness; an Auto setting is also available on more recent cameras. The differences between styles can be subtle (you’ll need a keen eye to distinguish between the effects of Neutral and Faithful, for example), but they
provide an easy way of trying out different looks with a spin of the control wheel. Despite some Picture Styles having similar names to your camera’s shooting modes, they’re simply adjustments that are applied to an image, and don’t have any effect on camera settings. For instance, choosing the Portrait style adjusts the colour tone and reduces the sharpness to produce softer, more ﬂattering skin tones;
“Cook up your own unique Picture Style recipe using Canon’s Picture Style Editor”
68 | PhotoPlus June 2013
it doesn’t alter the exposure or focusing. You’re also free to choose whatever style you like for any shooting situation. So, while the Landscape Picture Style is tuned to produce vivid skies and foliage, the boost it gives to blues and greens, and the increase in overall saturation and sharpness, can be perfect for shooting motorsports, or for adding impact to interiors. In addition to using the default Picture Style options, you can also customise the settings to create your own mix. When you access the Picture Style selection screen – either through a dedicated button on the camera, the main shooting menu or the Quick Control screen – you’ll be presented with a range of sliders for customising the parameters of each style. You can set the
Customising a Picture Style
Canon cameras produce punchy, colourful JPEGs, but the default Standard Picture Style can beneﬁt from a few tweaks
SET FROM 0 TO 7 (3 BY DEFAULT) Avoid setting this too high, or you’ll end up with overly sharp, ‘digital’-looking pictures
SET FROM -4 TO +4 (0 BY DEFAULT) This boosts the colours across the entire image. Avoid setting this too high when shooting video
SET FROM -4 TO +4 (0 BY DEFAULT) Boosting the contrast gives a more dynamic result, although this can be at the expense of some ﬁne shadow and/or highlight detail
SET FROM -4 TO +4 (0 BY DEFAULT) This changes the tone of your images from red (minus) to yellow (plus)
degree of sharpening, for example, or adjust contrast and saturation. The colour tone can also be shifted to produce more reddish or yellowish images, which can be useful for enhancing skin tones in portraits. The original settings will always be visible (they’re indicated by a grey marker on each scale), and you can return a parameter to its default setting at any time. Scroll to the bottom of the Picture Style menu and you’ll ﬁnd three user-deﬁned settings: User Def. 1, User Def. 2 and User Def. 3. These enable you to create your own styles by choosing an existing preset and
customising the parameters. These slots can also be used to add additional Canondeﬁned styles. If you go to www.canon.co.jp/ imaging/picturestyle you’ll ﬁnd a small range of additional Picture Style ﬁles, which you can download and save to your camera.
Cook up a look
You can go one step further, and cook up your own unique Picture Style recipe using Canon’s Picture Style Editor program. You’ll ﬁnd this on the CD that came bundled with your camera, but you can also download the latest version from Canon’s website. Picture
Style Editor gives you precise control over how colours are rendered in an image, and the creative effects you come up with here can be applied when processing your Raw ﬁles, or loaded into one of the camera’s user-deﬁned slots and used when shooting. One thing to bear in mind when selecting Picture Styles is the ﬁle format you’re recording your shots in. Shoot JPEGs and, like white balance, noise reduction and other in-camera image settings, the Picture Style used at the time of shooting will be baked into the image ﬁle; there’s no magic ‘undo’ option here, and reversing the effect later can
STEP BY STEP
Create and save a user-deﬁned Picture Style
How to customise a preset and assign it to one of the spare Picture Style slots on your Canon EOS D-SLR...
Select User Def.
Select Picture Style from the main menu, and scroll down the list of presets until you reach the user-deﬁned slots. By default, each of these mirrors the Standard Picture Style.
Choose a preset
Press Set to enter the Detail screen – the Picture Style option will be highlighted. Select this, and choose one of the presets – the default settings will be adjusted accordingly.
Make your changes
Move down the list of parameters, and use the sliders to adjust the strength of each effect. The default settings are indicated with a grey marker to help you gauge your settings.
Assign the settings
Once you’ve saved your settings, select the userdeﬁned slot to assign the new settings to it. Any parameter that has been changed from its default will be highlighted in blue.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 69
Canon’s default Standard Picture Style boosts the saturation, contrast and sharpening of your shots, and it’s tailored to be ‘just right’ for most situations. However, there may be times when you want punchier colours, such as when shooting a sunset, or occasions when you anticipate working up an image in Photoshop, in which case more subdued tones and Standard produces colours might provide bright but not overa better starting point. saturated colours
Reduced sharpness and warmer reds and yellows for better skin tones
Punchy blues and greens, richer colours overall and increased sharpness
Picture Styles and Raw ﬁles
A Picture Style is only applied to a Raw ﬁle when it’s being processed, whether in-camera or on your computer. If your EOS offers in-camera Raw processing, you can change the Picture Style before you save a converted JPEG to the memory card. If you’re happy with the image preview on the LCD you can opt to go with the Picture Style used at the time of shooting; alternatively you can choose another style, and even customise its parameters.
Canon Picture Style Editor
For ultimate control over the colours in an image use Picture Style Editor, which you’ll ﬁnd on the software CD supplied with your EOS camera. When you open a Raw ﬁle (ending with .CR2) in the program, you can select colours in the image and adjust their hue, saturation and luminosity. Not only does this enable you to boost one or two speciﬁc colours – such as creating bolder reds and yellows – you can also build more creative overall proﬁles. These can then be saved out as custom Picture Styles that can be loaded into the camera, or applied in Digital Photo Professional. You’ll need to make sure your computer screen is calibrated before you make any adjustments, so that you can gauge the changes accurately. See page 66 for a full tutorial on creating your own Picture Styles in Picture Style Editor.
When you shoot in Raw, the preview you see on the back of the camera is a JPEG representation based on the selected Picture Style – here, Standard.
If your camera offers in-camera Raw processing, select this via the ﬁrst Playback menu. In the Raw processing screen, select the Picture Style icon, and select a new style using the scrollwheel.
Alternatively, press Set to go to the Picture Style screen. Here you can adjust the saturation, sharpness and other parameters. You can save as many versions of the same image as you like.
Picture Style presets can be applied when you process Raws in DPP. You can also download new Picture Styles from Canon’s site. These new presets can be used in DPP and uploaded to your SLR.
As well as adjusting colour in Picture Style Editor, a tone curve enables you to tweak brightness and contrast
70 | PhotoPlus June 2013
We generally advise against using a blackand-white shooting setting, but being able to ‘see’ how a scene’s colours translate into shades of grey can be difﬁcult when you’re out taking pictures. The answer is to select the Monochrome Picture Style, but shoot in Raw. The preview on the LCD will show a mono image, but the colour information will be saved in the Raw ﬁle.
Lower contrast and saturation, ideal for JPEGs you’ll process further
be time-consuming or – in the case of the Monochrome setting – impossible. The same is true when you’re shooting movie footage – choose the Picture Style before you start recording. Picture Styles can also be used when you shoot Raw ﬁles; however, as with white balance presets, you’re free to change your mind later. You might have taken a picture using the Standard setting, but you can convert the image using any of the other presets. It’s worth trying to get results you like in-camera though, as it can save you time in the long run. Canon’s Digital Photo Professional
Close to Neutral, but colours are more accurate when shot in standard daylight
(DPP) image-editing program, which comes with your D-SLR, recognises the Picture Style you selected in-camera, and applies it when you open a Raw image. DPP features the same set of Picture Style presets as your camera, making it a quick and easy way to try out different looks for a shot. The Adobe Camera Raw plug-in that comes with Photoshop CS and Elements also includes style presets, which you can select in the Camera Calibration tab. These produce similar, but not identical, results to the presets in DPP, although adjusting the parameters requires more to-ing and fro-ing. Q
When you select the Monochrome Style you can ﬁne-tune the contrast, and apply coloured lens ﬁlter and toning effects
5 hints and tips for…
Every month we highlight an EOS camera or type of lens, and provide some handy tips to help you get more from your kit
1 Filter edges
Check the corners of the picture when using ﬁlters on an ultra-wide-angle lens. The edge of the ﬁlter can end up being captured, particularly if you’re using a full-frame camera; if this happens, zoom in slightly.
3 Polarising ﬁlters
Avoid using a polarising ﬁlter when shooting clear blue skies with ultra-wideangle lenses. The polarising effect can end up being uneven across the frame, with some parts appearing darker than others.
5 Distance scale
Use the distance scale to help you set the hyperfocal distance for landscapes or other shots where depth of ﬁeld is critical. For more on hyperfocal distance focusing, see Dream Team, PhotoPlus issue 69.
2 Tripod technique
When setting up a tripod to support a long lens, you’d position the leading leg straight forward for extra stability. With ultra-wide shots there’s a danger that the leg will appear in the shot, so reverse the tripod.
4 Lens ﬂare
The lens hoods of wideangle lenses aren’t as deep as those of telephotos, so it’s harder to stop ﬂare and ghosting from appearing in shots. Try using your hand (out of shot) to shield the front element.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 71
Claire Gillo Technique editor
Peter Travers Editor
Adam Waring Operations editor
Hollie Latham Staff writer
Matthew Richards Technical contributor
Our experts tackle y your Canon D-SLR and photographic problems
D EOS 450
Should I upgrade my old Canon D-SLR?
I bought a Canon 450D when it ﬁrst came out and have since invested in a couple of good-quality lenses. Yet, I’m frustrated that, given the same subject, location, lighting, focal g length, shutter speed and aperture, my dad gets better pictures on his 60D than I do with my 450D. How do older cameras stack up against newer ones? Stephen Davis Co Durham Peter says Evolution in camera design has progressed at a rapid rate over the past few years. The 400D and 450D hark back to 2006 and 2008 respectively. While they were frontrunners when launched, they’ve become well and truly eclipsed by more recent models. For example, the 400D offered a mere 10.1Mp resolution and the 450D was a fairly minor step up to 12.2Mp Apart from the budget 1100D, all of Canon’s current APS-C D-SLRs feature 18Mp sensors. The greater image resolution brings the potential of ﬁner levels of detail within pictures, as well as greater freedom in creative cropping. Even so, the step up in
The EOS 650D delivers greater colour saturation, dynamic range and low-light detail, along with much less image noise, as demonstrated in this twilight shot
72 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Canon conundrums? Email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
STEP BY STEP Low-light performance compared
On the level
I’ve been told that tripods with centre columns that can pivot and act as horizontal boom are better for macro photography. Why? Jane Peterson Somerset
The 400D maxes out at ISO1600 and, even then, images look very grainy. There’s not much in the way of fine detail, and low-light areas look murky, so overall results are disappointing. It’s a sign of how much newer cameras have improved over the last few years.
The 650D takes ISO1600 and higher sensitivity settings in its stride. There’s excellent retention of fine detail along with silky-smooth image quality, and a remarkable absence of noise. It demonstrates just how good the ‘gapless micro lens’ image sensors really are.
Hollie says At their closest focus distance, which enables maximum magnification, the front of a macro lens will usually need to be positioned just a few inches from the object you’re shooting. This can often be difficult or impossible to achieve with a conventional tripod but, if the centre column can extend as a horizontal boom, placement is far easier.
Which video frame rate?
My camera has options for shooting video at 24, 25 or 30fps. Which should I use? Zach Baum Surrey Claire says Most of the world operates on a mains electrical frequency of 50Hz, so TVs and other viewing equipment will give best results from video shot at 25fps (frames per second). This is because it’s a multiple of exactly half. For the United States and Canada, which have a 60Hz electrical standard, it’s better to shoot at 30fps. The 24fps setting is a bit of a hangover from film recording, and more suited to shooting for cinematic projects.
Like the 400D, the 450D’s highest sensitivity setting is ISO1600. With slightly greater image resolution, image noise is fractionally more noticeable though there’s not much in it. There’s still precious little fine detail and, again, lowlights could do with a boost.
The bigger and more advanced 60D delivers marginally more fine detail at the expense of slightly increased noise, so there’s a bit less smoothing going on. However, the 650D has overtaken the 60D, thanks to its newer DIGIC 5 image processor.
resolution is arguably the least impressive of recent advancements. More critical is the actual design of image sensors which, in later evolutions, feature ‘gapless micro lenses’. This system enables each photodiode on the sensor to capture more light, boosting performance especially in terms of low-noise image quality at high ISO settings. Indeed, the 400D had a maximum sensitivity setting of ISO1600, whereas the 650D and 700D boast ISO ranges of ISO100-12800 in standard trim, and up to ISO25600 in expanded sensitivity mode. All-round image quality also gets a boost from recent and current generations of Canon’s DIGIC image processors. For example, the 60D features a DIGIC 4 processor while the newer 650D and 700D both feature DIGIC 5 processors. By contrast, the 400D and 450D have relatively old version 2 and 3 processing respectively. Advantages include much faster performance along with greater suppression of image noise, and a higher all-round standard of image quality. The 60D, 650D and 700D all feature 9-point autofocus systems, in which all nine points are based on
cross-type sensors. These can resolve detail in both horizontal and vertical planes, enabling greater accuracy. In the older 400D and 450D, only the central AF point had a cross-type sensor. Along with improved autofocus performance, all recent Canon D-SLRs boast iFCL (intelligent Focus Colour Luminance) metering. This uses colour as well as brightness information, while also linking metering to the active focus point (or points). The result is much greater accuracy in metering for more consistent exposures. On top of that, the enhanced ALO (Auto Lighting Optimizer) does an excellent job in controlling dynamic range, reining in highlights and boosting shadow detail. Overall, current cameras are able to deliver better image quality than their older counterparts, especially in challenging lighting conditions. Differences in image quality between, say, the 650D or 700D, compared with the 60D, are minimal. Where the 60D scores more highly is in terms of handling and direct access to important shooting controls, thanks to a body design that’s more suited to advanced, enthusiast photographers.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 73
PhotoPlus Dream Team
What’s the best lens and settings for interior shots?
I’ll soon be off to shoot historical buildings in Italy. I use a Digital King 0.7x wide converter with my Canon 600D and 18-55mm kit lens, but would like to upgrade to a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 or Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 lens. Which would you recommend, and do you have any shooting tips for church interiors where I can’t use ﬂash or a tripod?
John Varnish Warwickshire
What to look for…
Hollie says Get better batteries for your ﬂashgun
1 Alkaline batteries are cheap but can’t be recharged, and fullpower ﬂash recycling times can be sluggish. 2 Lithium batteries are expensive, but last ﬁve times longer than regular alkaline cells. 3 Rechargeable Ni-CAD batteries need to be completely discharged before recharging, to avoid the ‘memory effect’.
Peter says We’d go for the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM over the similarly priced Tamron SP AF 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II. The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is more advanced, being fast and practically silent, as well as featuring ng full-time manual override. Image quality is better, particularly when it comes to sharpness at wide apertures. This can be useful for interiors, as it enables a faster shutter speed and reduces the risk of camerashake when you can’t use ﬂash or a tripod. Flash is of little help when shooting large interiors, because the ﬂash will illuminate foreground areas much more brightly than the background, giving unnatural results. The iFCL metering system of your 600D should yield good results in Evaluative metering mode. The Auto Lighting Optimizer should also help to boost brightness in dark parts of the scene, while reining in the highlights of window areas. Another plus point of the 600D is that it gives very good image quality at quite high ISO settings. You should be able to get shake-free handheld shots at the ‘reciprocal’ of the effective focal length. For example, the effective zoom range of a 10-20mm lens would be
Shot handheld at f/3.5, 1/25 sec (ISO1600), this wide-angle shot has excellent detail and sharpness 16-32mm on a 600D. Therefore aim to keep shutter speeds at least as fast 1/15 sec or 1/30 sec at the short and long ends of the zoom range, respectively. Increase your ISO as necessary, you’ll usually ﬁnd that a setting of ISO1600 should be sufﬁcient for most church interiors. Ultra-wide zoom lenses like the Sigma 10-20mm will still give a large depth of ﬁeld, even at their widest apertures of f/4-5.6, helping to keep the foreground and background of interior scenes simultaneously sharp. To maximise the depth of ﬁeld, focus on a point that’s about a third of the distance into the area of the scene that’s framed by your composition. Auto white balance usually works pretty well for church interiors, as there’s mixed lighting from daylight entering the windows as well as tungsten or ﬂuorescent artiﬁcial lighting.
4 Rechargeable Ni-MH batteries are very cost-effective, but lose their charge over a few weeks, even if unused. 5 Sanyo Eneloop, Panasonic Inﬁnium, Uniross Hybrio and similar rechargeable batteries are ideal. They work like Ni-MH but retain their charge much better when not in use.
How can I fix leaning uprights?
I’ve taken some architectural shots with a wide-angle lens and the uprights converge. What can I do to correct this?
Martin Rogers Essex Hollie says
Keeping your camera as level as possible will keep perspective errors to a minimum, but here’s how to apply corrections in Photoshop Elements.
Open the image in Photoshop Elements and select the Correct Camera Distortion option from the Filter pull-down menu. This will open a new panel.
Click on Show Grid for an on-screen guide. Now drag the Vertical Perspective slider to the left to straighten up the sides of the building.
There’s also a little barrel distortion in the image. Correct this with the Remove Distortion slider, and remove any skew with the Angle dial.
74 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Need advice? Email our Dream Team at email@example.com
What’s the best insurance for my camera and lenses?
Having just acquired a (rather quite valuable) Canon 5D Mk III and 16-35mm lens, additional to my 50D and drawer full of EF and EF-S lenses, I’m thinking I should consider some form of insurance other than my household policy. I’m not sure that I need worldwide cover for trips up the Orinoco, but I assume some kind of specialist insurance would be better than leaving it on the household policy?
Bill Gibson Suffolk
SD Micro cards
I’m thinking of buying some Micro SD cards to use in my 60D with an adaptor, instead of regular SD cards. I’d then be able to plug the cards straight into a tablet to view photos when out and about. Would this work? Mark Evans Hampshire Claire says Adaptors for Micro SD cards certainly enable them to be used in cameras like the 60D. However, Micro SD cards are often slower than regular SDHC and SDXC cards, so may slow down shooting in Continuous drive mode, and cause problems with HD video capture. There’s also a risk of reduced reliability, because the adaptor adds an extra set of electronic connections.
come in useful if, for example, you’ve set up your camera on a tripod on a street corner and somebody trips over it and suffers an injury. Even if you’re semi-professional you can still use the Select policy rather than the more expensive Pro insurance, providing you earn less than 50 per cent of your annual income from your photography.
Adam says It’s deﬁnitely worth getting a specialist insurance policy for your precious Canon camera kit, rather than relying on your household policy. For the latter, the amount of cover for items stolen when you’re away from home generally wouldn’t cover the replacement cost of equipment. We’d recommend Photoguard, which you can ﬁnd online at www.photoguard.co.uk. The company’s basic ‘Select’ policy is very good and competitively priced. The standard package includes new-for-old replacement and reimbursement of up to £1,000 for hiring equipment while waiting for an approved claim to come through. Optional extras that you can add on to the policy include in-vehicle cover for leaving kit in the boot of your car, EU cover and worldwide cover, which are handy if you travel abroad for work or holidays. Another good additional option is public liability insurance. It might
It’s easy to complete an application online when applying for insurance, adding optional elements of the cover to suit your Canon kit and personal needs
One Raw fits all?
I’m the proud owner of a Canon 60D and have started shooting in Raw quality mode. Does it matter which size of Raw I use? I understand that the smaller sizes must contain less data but what is the difference?
Michael DiDomenico Florida
Claire says The three options for Raw ﬁle sizes refer to the physical size – or resolution – of the images. Smaller resolutions will naturally produce less data, so the size of the ﬁles varies as well, but they’re all recorded with the same high image quality. The 60D’s three options include Full Raw (18Mp resolution, approx 24.5MB data
ﬁle), Medium Raw (10Mp resolution, approx 16.7MB data ﬁle) and Small Raw (4.5Mp resolution, approx 11.1MB data ﬁle). The data sizes are only approximate, as images with more or less ﬁne detail will generate greater or smaller amounts of data accordingly. Full Raw takes advantage of the camera’s complete image resolution and enables the biggest print sizes, as well as more severe cropping of images. Medium and small sizes are useful when you only need relatively small images for A4 or postcard printing, or for sending as email attachments. The smaller sizes also enable you to ﬁt more images onto your memory cards. Q
Medium and Small Raw quality modes produce lower-resolution images but, crucially, all the usual Raw adjustments remain available in the Digital Photo Professional program
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 75
Get professional feedback on your favourite photos
By Daniel Myszkowski
Canon EOS 5D Mark II MC Rubinar 500mm f/8 Aperture f/8 Shutter Speed 1/500 sec Daniel says “I have been taking photos for 15 years and my favourite subject is landscape photography. A friend introduced me to flower photography, and with her help I started to visit Kraków’s meadows to look for intriguing angles in the tangle of flowers and grasses. I love the smell of grass in the morning, the silence of the sunrise, the sleepy bees and butterflies, and the multicoloured carpet of wildflowers. This photo was taken early in the morning in Piekary, a small town near Kraków, in a meadow located next to the Vistula, Poland’s biggest river. The fog had drifted over from the river, and the morning sun and dewdrops created an amazing atmosphere!” Hollie says “What a beautiful and dreamy image you’ve captured Daniel, well done! By shooting early in the morning, during the so-called ‘golden hour’, you’ve used the light to your advantage to create a wonderful glow for an atmospheric feel. I like how you’ve used the two poppies as a focal point in the image with splashes of colours surrounding them. By setting a low ISO of 250 you’ve captured a high-quality image, and your fast shutter speed of 1/500 sec has ensured a sharp image, too. To bring out your image’s full potential only requires a few tweaks in Photoshop. I’ve pushed the colours and brightness to really make it stand out. I’ve also added a subtle lens flare filter to add another element to the image and emphasise the early morning atmosphere.”
SHOT OF THE MONTH
Shooting early in the morning gives a wonderful warm glow The image has a dreamy atmospheric feel that draws the viewer in Good choice of exposure settings for a sharp, high-quality shot Could do with a boost to colour and brightness to reach its full potential
The two poppies make a great focal point, with splashes of colour surrounding them
76 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet our panel of experts
STEP BY STEP
Now try this...
How Daniel can add the finishing touches to his shot in Photoshop Elements
Peter is our resident expert on all Canon photography, and loves heading out with his trusty 5D Mk III.
Claire has been a keen photographer for the past ten years, and loves creative travel photography.
Staff writer Hollie enjoys shooting portraits, and has over ﬁve years of Photoshop experience.
Ben is an award-winning wildlife photographer. See some of his work in Inspirations, page 22.
Boost the colours
Open image into Elements editor, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and set the Saturation to +16. Add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set the Brightness to 60. Go to Layer > New Layer or click on the New Layer icon at the top of the Layers panel.
Add a Lens Flare filter
Go to Edit > Fill Layer and set Contents to 50% Gray. Set the blending mode to Normal with 100% opacity. Now go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare and set Lens Type to 50-300mm Zoom, and set Brightness to 97%.
Set the blending mode d
Adding a subtle lens ﬂare adds to the dreamy atmosphere
Boosting the colour and brightness adds the ﬁnishing touches
Drag the little cross on the lens flare image example to the top left hand corner to reposition the lens flare and click OK once you’re happy. Set the blending mode in the Layers panel to Hard Light and set the Opacity to 60%.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 77
Fox in the Grass
By Andrew Wordsworth
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Aperture f/4.5 Shutter Speed 1/2000 sec Andrew says “I headed to the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey to try to get a good shot of a fox. It rained all day, but having invested in some rain covers, my 7D and lens stayed dry. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and ISO1600 to increase my shutter speed as it was a dull day. Checking the histogram showed slight overexposure, so I dialled in -1 stop of compensation. I wanted to get down to eye level for a more natural and intimate portrait, so I lay on my belly in the wet muddy grass to get as low as possible. I think I’ve captured a wonderful shot. My wet and muddy clothes are now long forgotten!” Ben says “Andrew, you have captured a very effective portrait! The focus is spot on, the sharpest part of the image being the fox’s eyes. You were right to set a wide aperture, which has resulted in a shallow depth of field, eliminating distracting elements from the background and giving a lovely feeling of intimacy. I cannot fault the exposure either; there is plenty of detail in the highlights, and the low-key background really draws the viewer’s eye into the frame. Your composition is also effective. Placing the fox’s head left of centre, so it is looking into the frame, has created a feeling of balance. You could, however, crop even more off the left to create a larger area of negative space; this would also eliminate the grass stem, which distracts slightly. You may have got wet and muddy, but getting down low has really paid off! An even lower shooting angle would have helped to blur more of the foreground, further adding to the intimacy and depth. All in all, a superb shot of a beautiful animal!”
Accurate focusing on the eyes, making a great intimate portrait Shallow depth of ﬁeld separates the subject from the background Ex Excellent exposure, with plenty of de detail in highlights and shadows P Placing the fox further left would eliminate the distracting stem
By Sudad Al-Ajili
Canon EOS 60D Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Aperture f/5 Shutter speed 1/125 sec Sudad says “This is one of a series of photos in my ‘Faces’ project, containing 26 images from A-Z. I took this in Al–Mutanabi Street, one of oldest streets in Baghdad, Iraq. I noticed this old man speaking aloud – I first thought he was talking to someone, but realised he was talking to himself, so I carefully I took his portrait. What attracted me to him was his facial expressions; they seemed to represent the difficult life he’d had. When it came to postprocessing, I used DynamicPhoto HDR to emphasise the details to add more interest.” Peter says “What a fantastic portrait Sudad, well done! With street portraits you only have a matter of seconds to photograph your subject and you’ve managed to capture a portrait full of life. I like that you’ve filled the frame with a close crop of your subject, and by selecting a wide aperture you have a shallow depth of field to isolate your subject from the background. However, the man in to the left is a little distracting, so I’d be tempted to blur him a little more in Photoshop. The mono conversion gives a documentary feel, but the HDR effect is a bit too strong and looks over-sharpened; a subtler effect would work better. A vignette would help focus the viewer’s attention, too.”
A intriguing portrait that tells a story and draws the viewer in Excellent framing; the close crop makes a more intimate portrait The mono conversion lends the portrait a documentary feel The HDR setting needs toning down for a more subtle effect
78 | PhotoPlus June 2013
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SEND US YOUR SHOTS!
Would you like your images critiqued by the experts at PhotoPlus? Send them to us and we’ll help you improve your phototaking – and Photoshop – skills! Follow these three simple steps…
1. Big images please
My Favourite Place
By Alan Lodge
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Aperture: f/22 Shutter Speed: 5 secs Alan says “This was taken one windy evening when I went down to photograph the sunset at Porth Colman, but unfortunately the cloud was too much for the sun to shine through. I decided to walk around the rocks but nothing really caught my eye to photograph. Then I remembered a shot I’d seen of the cottage. It was a very overdone HDR image (which isn’t my kind of thing), so I decided to try my own shot. I set a low ISO of 50 for quality and then set the focal length to 20mm to capture everything in the scene, with an f/22 aperture for maximum depth of field. I also used a Lee 0.9 ND filter to hold back the sky and sea. Overall, I’m very happy with the result!”
To do your photos justice, we need your Canon images as high-quality JPEG files that can be printed at least 15x10cm at 300dpi – use Photoshop’s Image Size window (Image > Image Size) to check.
2. Tell us more…
Supply approximately 100 words on the ‘story’ behind your shot – how it was taken, any equipment used, obstacles overcome, and postprocessing work carried out. Also include details on your EOS D-SLR, lens, shutter speed and aperture used, plus the location.
Hollie Latham asks three PhotoPlus readers what they think of Alan’s landscape image
I was initially drawn to the bay, then the coastline led my eye nicely through the image to the main buildings with the blue doors. The composition is great, with a good balance of sea and sky. I do ﬁnd the grass tussock in the bottom left-hand side of the frame messy; maybe moving slightly to the right would have been an option? I feel there’s something missing – perhaps a ‘tweak’ to recover some detail is the way to go? Stan Brett I feel that Alan has tried to capture too much in one shot. A lower perspective and narrower angle of view may have helped lift the buildings and break up the horizon. Additionally I would have cropped the left of the image to eliminate the path bearing left, which I ﬁnd a distraction. I like the curves of the sea and land, which draw the eye in, and the variety of texture adds interest, while the moody sky and choppy waves add to the atmosphere. Keith Thain This is a really great picture, Alan. Given the 3:2 aspect ratio of your camera, I don’t think you could have framed it any better. Saying that, I think that with this ratio much of the impact is lost. I would try cropping to a 16:9 (widescreen) ratio to bring the horizon line to about one-third from the top and bring the path on to the foreground, which creates a leading line to the cottage. I’d also desaturate the green grass a little. Paul Mitchell
3. Send ’em
Email your JPEGs and descriptions to email@example.com with ‘Your Photos’ in the subject line (due to mailbox size limitations, please only send one image per email). Alternatively, post your images on CD or DVD-ROM to PhotoPlus, Future Publishing, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath BA1 2BW.
NOTE: By sending us your images you: (a) grant Future Publishing Ltd (‘Future’) permission to publish your images free of charge in print and electronically, in the UK and foreign editions of our photography-related magazines, and on our photography-related websites; and (b) conﬁrm that you have the right to submit the images to Future and that Future’s use of the images as set out above will not infringe the copyright or other rights of any person. You agree to indemnify Future against any loss, damage, costs or expenses it suffers as a result of any claim in relation to Future’s use of your images.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 79
Below the Wooden Steps
By Alan Fraser
Canon EOS 550D Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Aperture f/4 Shutter speed 1/30 sec Alan says “I was hoping to capture the ornate pulpit of Canterbury cathedral, while still showing the scale of the architecture around it. I set White Balance to Tungsten; I was concerned that this might wash out some of the colour, but was pleased to see it seemed to emphasise the blues and gold on the pulpit. The camera was set to Aperture Priority mode and I selected a wide aperture of f/4. I set a high ISO of 1000 to compensate for the low lighting.” Claire says “This is a wonderful shot, Alan! By shooting from a low angle you’ve captured plenty of detail and emphasised the grandeur of the interior architecture. Well done for setting a high ISO to increase shutter speed, but your wide f/4 aperture has created too shallow a depth of field; shooting with a narrower aperture would have captured more detail from front to back. However, you would have to set a much slower shutter speed to compensate for the low light conditions, so a tripod for a longer exposure would be required. I think your image is a little on the cool side, so I’ve warmed it up by adding a Photo Filter adjustment layer to add a warm orange glow. Finally, I’ve applied an Unsharp Mask for a crisper image.” Q
Adding an orange Photo Filter adjustment layer will warm up the cool tones
Adjusting the highlights and shadows will emphasise the details in the architecture
The viewpoint emphasises the cathedral’s grandeur A high ISO has enabled a faster shutter speed
Wide f/4 aperture results in a shallow depth of ﬁeld The image is too cool and needs warming up
Depth of ﬁeld is too shallow; use Unsharp Mask to sharpen some of the softer details
STEP BY STEP Now try this…
How Alan can correct the colour cast in his image
Add a ﬁlter
Add a Photo Filter adjustment layer, click on the coloured square, choose a deep orange, and set Density to 29%.
Go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Shadows/ Highlights. Set Shadows 6%, Highlights 11%, Midtone Contrast +16%.
Merge all layers. Go to Enhance Unsharp Mask and set Amount to 59, Radius to 2.3 and Threshold Levels to 3.
80 | PhotoPlus June 2013
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Find out all you need to know about every EOS D-SLR in Canon’s current line-up as we give them all the PhotoPlus test treatment
Wildlife Photographers Stalk Stags! Armed with telephoto lenses, our eager Apprentice and award-winning Canon pro go on the hunt for some great deer shots, on location in an English country park Master your Canon EOS D-SLR! Get your camera set up right as we explain all the key Canon settings, modes, dials and functions FREE! Guide to using Canon ﬂashguns! Discover how to easy it is to use a Canon Speedlite to improve your still life and portrait shots Canon Workshop! EXIF data – what’s that then? D-SLR & Photoshop projects and videos! We bring you more brilliantly simple projects to improve your Canon camera skills and images
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HELP ME BUY A… PORTRAIT LENS
Head of testing
SUPER TEST ND FILTERS
he two newest Canon EOS D-SLRs haven’t had an easy time since we got our hands on them – both have been put through their paces and fully reviewed by the PhotoPlus testing team. You can rely on us to tell it like it is, and so in our full tests of the new EOS 100D and 700D we reveal their good points – but also highlight their bad points – to help you make informed decisions when it comes to upgrading, or if you’re buying your ﬁrst Canon camera. Also this issue, we test eight neutral density ﬁlters – NDs are great for shooting long exposures to blur clouds, waterfalls or the sea, but with several different types available, and a wide range of prices, which is the best choice? Find out on page 96! In this issue’s Help Me Buy, we help a reader try out six top-quality Canon-ﬁt portrait lenses so he can choose the best optic for his needs – and just as importantly, one that complements his existing lens arsenal. 84
Full test: Canon EOS 100D
It’s small, light and powerful, but do great things come in small packages? We reveal all in our hands-on test…
CANON EOS 100D
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Full test: Canon EOS 700D
Is Canon’s new D-SLR just a 650D with a new badge? Find out in our full test!
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We help a PhotoPlus reader choose a top portrait lens from six optic options
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Buy an ND ﬁlter, and enjoy the delights of motion blur and long exposures
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PhotoPlus June 2013 | 83
Gear Canon EOS 100D full test
Canon EOS 100D
Street price: £540 body only; £650 with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Web: www.canon.co.uk
WATCH THE VIDEO
It’s the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLR, and it’s packed with user-friendly features. Meet the pocket-sized Canon 100D…
he interchangeable lens camera market has seen big changes in the past couple of years. Where once the bulky D-SLR was the undisputed king, smaller, compact system cameras (CSCs) are now offering real competition. Canon introduced its own CSC in the shape of the EOS M last year, and now it’s released the EOS 100D (EOS Rebel SL1 in the US). It’s the world’s smallest and lightest D-SLR; in fact, it’s around 25 per cent smaller than the EOS 650D, and 28 per cent lighter. Unlike the EOS M, the 100D features traditional D-SLR stylings, but the majority of the electronics have been downsized. The major exception is the sensor, which remains APS-C sized with 18 million pixels; while the module itself has been thinned to ﬁt inside the smaller body, it should put in the same kind of performance as the sensor in the EOS 650D/700D. The sensor is a hybrid CMOS AF II, the second generation of the type used in the 650D and EOS M. It uses phase detection pixels to assist with autofocus when using Live View or shooting video. Autofocus points cover approximately 80 per cent of the sensor, which should make for more accurate focusing across the frame. Canon is positioning the new 100D between the EOS 1100D and the 600D. Its small body size has led to the tagline ‘A D-SLR you’ll never want to leave behind’.
It also has plenty of fun features designed to appeal to the novice user. These include creative functions such as Kids’ mode, Candlelight mode and Food mode. There’s also a range of creative ﬁlter effects, such as Grainy B/W and Soft Focus, as found on the EOS M and 650D. You can see how these effects will be rendered on the screen (when shooting in Live View) before the shot is taken. There’s also Dual Shot Mode, which records one image with the ﬁlter, and one without if you can make your mind up. The ﬁlters can’t be used, however, when the Raw quality setting is selected. Despite being roughly the same size as some of the compact system cameras on the market, the 100D still has room for an optical viewﬁnder that boasts 0.87x magniﬁcation and 95% coverage. It has a smaller battery than the 650D/750D, which Canon says is capable of around 380 shots. The built-in pop-up ﬂash has a guide
Colours captured on the new Canon EOS 100D are vibrant without going over the top
The 100D retains the standard EF-S lens mount, making it compatible with Canon’s extensive range of optics
number of 9.4, compared with the older/ bigger 650D’s guide number of 13. Like both the 650D and 700D, the EOS 100D has a capacitive touchscreen. Other features include 4fps shooting, Full HD movie recording and Intelligent Auto. Although it’s a lot smaller than most of Canon’s other D-SLRs, the 100D retains the standard EF-S lens mount, making it compatible with Canon’s extensive range of optics. Of course, unlike CSC optics, these remain quite large – in other words, when using the 100D with larger L-series or telephoto zoom lenses it feels dwarfed and unbalanced. Canon could have chosen to use the EF-M mount, as on the EOS M, but the lens options are much more limited.
84 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Canon EOS 100D full test
Like all modern EOS D-SLRs, the 100D captures portraits with natural skin tones
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Build quality and handling
Not surprisingly, the ﬁrst thing you notice about the 100D is its size. But despite its diminutive dimensions, the button layout is user-friendly, and doesn’t feel cramped or awkward. It has a good chunky grip, making it feel secure in the hand, even when shooting one-handed. The majority of the buttons can be accessed with the thumb, and users of other Canon D-SLRs will feel right at home. The top Mode dial can be used to quickly ﬂick between the shooting settings, which include fully automatic, fully manual and semi-automatic (such as Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority) modes. Here you’ll also ﬁnd Creative Auto, which is intended as a guide for beginners, and provides a way to achieve effects such as background blur, without having to master the necessary settings. Movie mode, which was incorporated on the Mode dial of older Canon D-SLRs, is now accessed via the on/off switch: you push the switch further past the ‘on’ point to select Movie mode, which is a lot quicker than having to push the Mode dial all the way around, and makes capturing off-the-cuff movies a lot easier. As you might expect, there are fewer buttons on the back of the 100D to directly access certain settings. However, there is a button to access a Quick menu, which enables you to scroll through commonly used settings such as white balance and metering. You can use a combination of the arrow keys and the scroll dial on the front of the camera to make changes or, if you prefer, a combination of the touchscreen and the scroll dial. The Canon EOS 650D was the world’s ﬁrst D-SLR to feature a touchscreen, and this is a feature that’s becoming more and more commonplace on cameras. It’s It’ useful f l for quickly changing shooting settings, but it really comes into its own when reviewing images, enabling you to rapidly swipe through shots, and pinch to zoom so you can quickly check accurate focus. When shooting in Live View you can also use the touchscreen to change the focus point or activate the shutter release – something which is particularly useful when creating movies, or using the camera in a more awkward position, or on a tripod. One of the great things about the 100D’s design is that if you don’t like the touchscreen you
don’t have to use it; everything that can be done via the touchscreen can also be done via buttons, so it’s a nice enhancement if you want it, rather than an imposition. To change the autofocus point when not in Live View mode, there’s a direct access button at the top-right of the back of the camera. After you’ve pressed this, you can use the arrow keys to move around the frame to select a point. You can use the touchscreen to change the autofocus point after pressing the AF button if you prefer, but as you can’t see the scene in front of you yo it’s not particularly helpful. A number of Picture Styles are included as a presets, such as Landscape and M Monochrome. These can be accessed via the th Quick menu, and unlike digital ﬁlters th can be applied both in Raw and JPEG they qu quality modes. Canon has helpfully i included space for up to three of your own custom preset modes, which is useful if you want to create your own style, such as high-contrast black-and-white; for much more on Picture Styles see PhotoPlus Workshop (page 68), and our tutorial on creating you own custom styles (page 66). Anyone who has used a Canon camera will be at home with the main menu system, which is neatly organised into shooting options, playback options and general settings. At the end of the list of Menu tabs is the ‘My Menu’ shortcut, to which you can assign any features that
The 100D’s menu is neatly organised into shooting, playback and general options
Front and rear grips
The front and rear grips ensure the diminutive 100D still feels comfortable and secure in hand
Tap the Q button and you can quickly access all the major camera settings – such as WB, ISO, AF mode – via the touchscreen
Smaller rear dial
As the 100D is smaller, that means smaller dials and buttons on the back
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 85
Gear Canon EOS 100D full test
The 100D offer a native ISO range of ISO100-12800. Images taken at ISO100 to 800 are clear of noise with sharp detail and colour, and even at ISO3200 and 6400 it’s only when dark areas of images are viewed at 100% that you’ll really notice chroma noise and grain. At the top unexpanded ISO12800 setting, images were still usable, but we’d suggest only printing/ using them small – eg 6x4in.
you’re regularly using, to save you having to scroll through several tabs every time.
From its announcement, we were pretty excited about the EOS 100D. What the Canon engineers have managed to achieve in shrinking down the key components of the D-SLR is pretty remarkable, especially with a sensor that’s claimed to be similar in performance to the 650D’s. Happily, we weren’t disappointed by its performance. That 18-million-pixel sensor is capable of resolving masses of detail, with minimal evidence of image smoothing
at lower sensitivities. Colours are also excellent, being nice and vibrant without going over the top. Having the ability to experiment with Picture Styles also gives you the opportunity to boost elements such as saturation if a shot requires it. The Auto White Balance setting does a good job in the majority of conditions, but it does tend to favour slightly warmer tones when faced with artiﬁcial lighting. Switching to a more appropriate white balance setting is quick enough, though. The 100D’s Evaluative metering, Canon’s general-purpose metering mode, is a reasonable performer, helping the camera to produce balanced exposures in the majority of conditions. However, if a scene has high contrast the camera struggles, and
Noise performance is very good, with lots of crisp detail even at mid-range sensitivities such as ISO400
it will underexpose or overexpose shots depending upon the brightness of the subject under the active AF point. In some ways it acts more like centre-weighted, or even spot metering, because the exposure is signiﬁcantly skewed towards getting the subject under the AF point just right.
Bigger ISO range
Noise performance on the 100D is very good, with lots of crisp detail even at mid-range sensitivities such as ISO400. From around ISO1600, the amount of luminance and colour noise does increase, but it’s not particularly noticeable at typical print and web sizes. Even images shot at ISO3200 and 6400 are usable in small sizes, though if you zoom in to 100%, noise is apparent, along with a loss in detail. Shooting on the Raw quality settings gives you the opportunity to apply noise reduction to images, and is recommended if you’re shooting subjects with lots of ﬁne detail. Generally, however, the 100D’s JPEGs show a good balance of low noise while retaining a decent level of detail. The autofocus system performs admirably when you’re shooting through the viewﬁnder, locking onto subjects
The 100D Mode dial has many of the Scene modes tidied away under SCN
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Canon EOS 100D full test
Tech specs Canon 100D v Canon 700D
Full-framers, like the 6D, capture beautiful background blur (bokeh) at wide apertures
Megapixels Image processor AF points
Canon EOS 100D/Rebel SL1
Canon EOS 700D/Rebel T5i
18Mp, APS-C Hybrid CMOS AF II DIGIC 5 9 (f/5.6 cross type at centre, extra sensitivity at f/2.8) 100-12800 (100-25600 expanded) Raw (14-bit, CR2) 5184x3456 (Raw/Large JPEG) Scene Intelligent Auto, No Flash, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, SCN (Kids, Food, Candlelight, Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control), Program, Tv, Av, Manual 63 Full HD 1080p at 30, 25, 24fps 95% coverage, 0.87x magniﬁcation SD, SDHC or SDXC (UHS-I) card 3-inch Clear View II TFT, 1040K dots Yes 28 JPEGs or 7 Raws at 4fps 116.8 x 90.7 x 69.4mm 407 grams £540
18Mp, APS-C format CMOS DIGIC 5 9 cross-type (f/2.8 at centre) 100-12800 (25600 expanded) Raw (14-bit, CR2) 5184x3456 (Raw/Large JPEG) Scene Intelligent Auto, No Flash, Creative Auto, Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, SCN (Night Portrait, Handheld Night Scene, HDR Backlight Control), Program, Tv, Av, Manual 63 Full HD 1080p at 30, 25, 24fps 95% coverage, 0.85x magniﬁcation SD, SDHC or SDXC card Vari-angle 3-inch 1,040K dots Yes 22 JPEGs or 6 Raws at 5fps 133.1 x 99.8 x 78.8mm 580 grams £550
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Like most Canon D-SLR sensors, the 100D captures accurate colours and tones, if a little on the warm side for white balance
ISO range Raw quality Max image size Shooting modes
Metering zones HD video
quickly and accurately. Only the central AF point is of the more sensitive cross-type though, so you might want to use this in most situations, and focus and recompose shots when the circumstances require. Unfortunately, autofocus speed drops dramatically when using Live View, despite the hybrid autofocus system. You could be waiting for a few seconds for the camera to ﬁnish hunting for focus. Therefore we only really recommend using Live View for still – or near-still – subjects, and if you’ve got plenty of time to get the shot. It’s useful for macro or tripod work, though. Those who are put off by the electronic viewﬁnders on many compact system cameras will enjoy using the 100D’s optical viewﬁnder. Although quite small, it still gives a clear and bright view. It’s worth bearing in mind though that it doesn’t give a 100% ﬁeld of view, so you may need to bear this in mind when composing shots. Although it’s not an articulating device, the 3-inch screen gives a reasonable angle of view if you need to shoot from slightly awkward angles. It does suffer a bit from glare and reﬂections in bright sunlight, but in the majority of cases it’s easy to use. The touchscreen is very responsive, and is a nice bonus for those who like using them. It’s nice to see Canon considering its audience by including fun features such as the Creative Filter effects on the 100D; we particularly liked the Toy Camera and Grainy B/W effects, and it’s certainly worth having an play around with them if you like that kind of thing.
Viewﬁnder Memory card LCD Touchscreen LCD Max burst Size Weight (body) Street price (body only)
hat Canon has managed with the EOS 100D is pretty special – a very small body that retains the D-SLR stylings of its larger siblings, and produces impressive image quality, with lots of detail and bright, punchy colours. However, while the camera itself is small, the overall system isn’t. By the time you attach the kit lens it’s not much smaller than cheaper cameras in Canon’s range. It’s worth looking at the 40mm pancake lens as an accompaniment, as its small size makes for a reasonable combo for street shooting. However, it’s arguable that the intended users of the 100D won’t stray too much further than the new 18-55mm STM kit lens, which does keep the weight down – and it’s actually a very good lens in its own right, so if you don’t already have lenses it’s worth buying the new STM kit lens. Although it doesn’t help with size reduction, compatibility with Canon’s extensive lens range does make this a more ﬂexible system than the CSC’s that it’s designed to compete with. Once you get past all the hyperbole that comes Small body size; touchscreen; with that ‘smallest and good button layout despite lightest’ tag, Canon small size; great image quality has produced another Dwarfed by larger lenses; Art supremely capable and ﬁlters only in Live View mode; easy to use D-SLR. slow Live View focusing
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 87
Gear Canon EOS 700D full test
Canon EOS 700D
Street price: £550 body only; £650 with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Web: www.canon.co.uk
After less than a year Canon has replaced the innovative 650D and introduced the 700D. We play spot the difference as we test Canon’s new EOS D-SLR…
lthough the 650D was the ﬁrst EOS D-SLR to have a touchscreen, Canon sensibly decided that the touch controls should be in addition to – rather than instead of – the button and dial controls. This helped widen the camera’s appeal, making it attractive to novices upgrading from a touchscreen phone or compact camera as well as enthusiasts. As a result, according to Canon, the 650D has sold very well indeed. Nevertheless, after less than a year, Canon has decided to replace the 650D with the new 700D. Yet, disappointingly, the new EOS camera only gets a few upgrades on the model it replaces…
18-million-pixel APS-C sized sensor, DIGIC 5 processor and hybrid AF system with 9 cross-type phase detection autofocus points are identical, as is the excellent touchscreen LCD. As with the 650D, the sensor has pixels that are used for the phase detection part of the hybrid focusing system that is available when using Live View mode or shooting videos. The single biggest change is that the 700D the Creative Filters (Grainy B/W, Soft Focus, Fish-eye, Art Bold, Water Painting, Toy Camera and Miniature effect) which can be previewed on the screen when shooting in Live View mode.
The in-camera Monochrome Picture Style produces some great results
Any new features?
The vast majority of the 700D’s specs are the same as the 650D’s. For example the
Build and handling
Canon has clearly used the same mould for the 700D as it did for the 650D, as the two camera bodies look almost identical with
88 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Canon EOS 700D full test
Colours on the 700D are vibrant, but natural, and often beneﬁt from a little extra warmth
The mode dial rotates through 360 degrees and the icons are embossed
When it comes to image quality the 700D resolves the same amount of detail as the 650D
The 700D produces high-quality images direct from the camera with plenty of detail and pleasant, natural colours. As is Canon’s way, the white balance tends to lean towards warm tones, but this usually results in more attractive images. However, Canon’s Evaluative metering mode continues to give mixed results (as on the 100D – see page 84). In some situations it’s superb, but in high-contrast conditions you need to be alert to the brightness of the subject under the active AF point it can skew your results. Bright subjects can trick the 700D into underexposing, while dark ones can lead to over-exposed images. Our tests conﬁrm that Canon has improved the performance of the hybrid focusing system in Live View and video mode. We also found that the 700D is noticeably quicker to focus with one of the STM lenses mounted than the 650D.
the only visible difference being a change to the Mode dial. The icons on the 700D’s dial are raised rather than simply painted and it’s edged with a ﬁner texture. This higher-quality dial can also be rotated through 360 degrees, so you don’t have the turn it backwards and forwards to reach the options you want. The two cameras also have a slightly different texture, with the 700D feeling a little coarser – in a good way. The rubberised coatings over the ﬁnger and thumb-grips remain the same and give good purchase. The 700D has the same control and menu layout as the 650D that it replaces. As before the menu is spread across 11 tabbed screens in stills mode, including a My Menu option to which you can assign up to six features for quick access – we use this to reach the Mirror Lock-up, Highlight Tone Priority, Auto Lighting Optimizer and Flash Control options.
Still a top performer
As they have the same sensor, when it comes to image quality, it’s not surprising to discover that the 700D can resolve the same amount of detail as the 650D. Noise is well controlled throughout the sensitivity range, although as you’d expect, images taken using upper ISO values have some coloured speckling visible.
he new Canon 700D is a superb camera in its own right. It combines some of the best aspects of modern digital camera tech; good sensor, comprehensive featureset and responsive Vari-Angle touchscreen that provides a quicker method of controlling the camera than buttons and dials. However, the 700D is only a very minor improvement on the 650D. While the 650D’s new specs were great a year ago, these same specs appearing in a 700D-badged body seem somewhat lacklustre today, and 650D owners are being given no compelling reason to upgrade. It’s a shame that Canon hasn’t made the ratings option easier to Improved grip, Mode dial and access nor included hybrid focusing; street price Wi-Fi to enable wireless has dropped since launch control over for wildlife Disappointing lack of new photos and cable-free features; essentially a very minor refresh of year’s model image transfer.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 89
Gear Help Me Buy a… Portrait lens
We help a PhotoPlus reader ﬁnd the best lens for capturing perfect people shots
Help me buy a...
ike many genres of photography, when it comes to taking portraits there’s no right or wrong lens to use. However, many photographers believe that the most ﬂattering view for a portrait is a slightly magniﬁed one, ideally shot at a telephoto focal length in the range of 70-135mm, and so focal length is a key consideration when choosing a portrait lens. A lens’s focal length has a bearing on perspective, distortion and working distance. Longer lenses are ideal for minimising distortions, as they compress the perspective. When shooting with a shorter (wide-angle) lens you have to get much closer to your subject to ﬁll the frame, which in most cases causes distortions, as the proportions of objects in the foreground will be exaggerated: this can give your subject distorted features, such as a bulbous nose, that are unﬂattering. Getting very close to subjects when photographing them can also be off-putting for them; the longer your lens, the greater your working distance and the more relaxed
your subject will feel, enabling you to capture more natural shots. You also need to consider the angle of view. A wide-angle lens will capture much more of the background, which is ideal for group shots, and for adding context to portraits, but for close-up shots you may end up capturing distracting background details. A longer lens has a narrower angle of view, enabling you to focus tightly on a subject and isolate them from their background. Another consideration is how ‘fast’ a lens is. The lower the f-number, the faster the lens, and a fast maximum aperture is great for shooting in low light, as you can use fast shutter speeds when shooting handheld, and for producing a shallow depth of ﬁeld to blur backdrops. Lenses with more aperture blades (and rounded blades) are also preferable as they create a smoother background blur, or ‘bokeh’. PhotoPlus reader Andy Colley is preparing to shoot his ﬁrst wedding, and wants to add a portrait lens to his kit. We headed to Berrow Beach in Somerset to put six Canon-ﬁt lenses to the test…
90 | PhotoPlus June 2013
We help you choose new Kit
Name: Hollie Latham Camera: Canon EOS 60D
Staff writer Hollie is a big fan of portrait photography. Having previously worked in a portrait studio and shot several weddings she knows how important it is to have a good-quality fast portrait lens, so she was just the person to help Andy check out the options.
Name: Andy Colley Camera: Canon EOS 650D
Andy, aged 25, is from Brierley Hill near Birmingham, and is an assistant manager for a trailer company. He’s become increasingly interested in portrait photography in the past couple of years, and would like to start shooting weddings. Having upgraded from a 1000D to a 650D and collected an array of lenses, Andy is now looking for a fast portrait lens to fill the gap in his kit.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 91
Gear Help Me Buy a… …P Po ortrait l le ens
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM C
Web: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com Price: £270
Hollie says “A successor
to Sigma’s highly popular 17-70mm lens, this is the third model in this series, and is the ﬁrst product from Sigma’s new ‘Contemporary’ line. This edition has a new look and is compatible with Sigma’s new USB dock, which enables users to connect Sigma lenses to their computer to update ﬁrmware and customise options. It boasts a new optical construction, and is lighter and shorter than its predecessors. Image quality in the centre of the frame is good throughout the focal range, while edge quality is best between 28-70mm at f/4 and upwards. Peak performance is at f/5.6.”
Andy says “Having recently bought
the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM for £300 more than this lens, I was interested to see what it offered. With
its popular wide zoom range of 17-70mm it’s a versatile lens, and it has an equivalent focal length (EFL) range of 25.5-105mm on my APS-C camera. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a constant maximum aperture like my Sigma 24-70mm, although is does have a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 at the wide end and a respectable f/4 at the telephoto end. It features Sigma’s Optical Stabilisation system and hypersonic motor for fast focusing, but it doesn’t have full-time manual override. Build and image quality is great for the price.”
Good build quality; efficient and silent auto focus; great value for money, OS Image quality isn’t great at the edges at 17mm; lacks constant wide aperture
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
Web: www.canon.co.uk Price: £300
Hollie says “This compact and
lightweight lens has a ‘classic portrait’ focal length on a full-frame D-SLR like the 5D Mk III, while e on on APS-C bodies the 1.6x crop factor gives it an EFL of 136mm, making it ideal for when you need to give subjects a little breathing space; with eight circular aperture diaphragm blades it also produces a lovely bokeh. The lens features a fast ring-type USM, which offers full-time manual override. Image qual lit ity y is impressive, with excellent cent entr re sharpness and reasonably sharp harp edge edges at f/1.8; optimum sharpness at both the centre and edges is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8. Canon also makes an even faster 85mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.2, complete with ‘L’ series reﬁnements, but with that lens costing a whopping £1,600, the f/1.8 is much more affordable, and still offers great quality.”
Andy says “I was
keen to try this lens as the focal leng engt th is i id deal, and it exceeded my e ex xpectations, delivering superb image quality. The fast f/1.8 aperture is great for obtaining fast shutter speeds for shooting in low light and produces a really shallow depth of ﬁeld. Considering it doesn’t have the ‘L’ stamp of approval the build quality is very good. Its compact size felt well balanced on my 650D, and it’s great value for money, too.”
Excellent build and image quality; fast maximum aperture; great value for money Focal length at long end of the ‘ideal’ range on APS-C bodies; updated design would be nice
92 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
Web: www.sigma-imaging-uk.com Price: £325
Hollie says “This
lens is compatible with full-frame and APS-C cameras, and offers an effective focal length of 80mm on the latter, an ideal short telephoto reach for portraiture. While it’s a direct competitor to Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lens, it’s noticeably larger and heavier due to its oversized 77mm ﬁlter thread, and while it feels nicely balanced on larger camera bodies it may feel slightly front-heavy on smaller bodies. Sigma’s hypersonic focusing motor delivers fast and silent autofocus, with full-time manual override available. Image quality is very good, with high levels of centre sharpness at the widest apertures; however the edges look best as you stop down to f/4, and overall quality peaks between f/5.6 and f/11. The wide aperture produces beautiful bokeh and plenty of contrast.”
Andy says “I like the versatility this
lens offers. Its short telephoto reach is great for candid portraits, and ideal for wedding photography; however, I prefer the slightly longer working distance the 85mm and 100mm lenses for when I’m shooting close-ups. The build quality is what I’d expect from Sigma’s EX range: it feels solid and handles well. The fast maximum aperture of f/1.4 throws the background out nicely, and gave me some excellent results.”
Fast maximum aperture of f/1.4; fast and quiet autofocus It’s quite a chunky lens, and it may feel unbalanced on smaller Canon cameras
How your aperture affects depth of field
The aperture you select has a big bearing on the depth of ﬁeld you’ll capture, and this can make or break a portrait shot. A wide aperture, such as f/2.8, is ideal for achieving a shallow depth of ﬁeld that will throw distracting background detail (and foreground detail if there is any) out of focus to help your subjects stand out. A narrower aperture, such as f/11, creates a larger depth of ﬁeld and f/11 won’t blur the background detail. Unless your lens has a constant maximum aperture the aperture setting will creep up when you zoom in on a subject, so keep an eye on t th he aper apertur ture e value.
Focal length and controlling distortions
Your choice of focal length, and how far away you are from a subject, will make a big difference to how that subject appears in the shot. If you use a short focal length, or wide-angle view, you’ll need to get very close to your subject in order to ﬁll the frame, and when you do this you can introduce distortions that make facial features appear bulbous, which is highly unﬂattering. Standing further back and using a longer focal length will compress the perspective and minimise distortion, making for a much more ﬂattering portrait, and also helps you capture a shallower depth of ﬁeld at wider apertures.
PhotoPlus June 2013 | 93
Gear Help Me Buy a… Portrait lens
Canon EF 100mm f/2 USM
Web: www.canon.co.uk Price: £360
Hollie says “Another of
Canon’s older lenses, the EF 100mm f/2 is very similar to the 85mm f/1.8 on test, with the same impressive build and image quality, and fast USM autofocus with full-time manual override and internal focusing. This lens also shares the same wide eight-blade aperture as the 85mm f/1.8, which creates beautiful bokeh. Although this lens is a fraction of a stop slower than the 85mm, it’s still one of the faster lenses available, and it delivers top image quality, with superb centre-to-edge image quality even when wide open. This is a fantastic lens for the price.”
Andy says “I was intrigued to see
what the differences were between this lens and Canon’s 85mm lens. Hollie pointed out that while there’s not a great difference between the two focal
lengths on a full-frame camera, on an APS-C camera the difference is exaggerated, so the effective focal length becomes 160mm as opposed to 136mm on the EF 85mm, and that extra reach is ideal for me, as it gives me a little extra room to play with. Build quality was again excellent, and despite the fact that autofocus is a little slower than the 85mm it still felt very fast and accurate, and image quality was just as impressive.”
Excellent build and image quality; extra telephoto reach on APS-C bodies may be desirable A fraction of a stop slower than the Canon 85mm, and costs £60 more, old design
Canon EF 2470mm f/4L IS USM
Web: www.canon.co.uk Pric ce: £1 £1, ,270
Hollie says “This lens, ns, covering the popular ar 24-70mm focal length, is one of the latest additions to the Canon ‘L’ series range, and has all the features you’d expect from a top-quality lens, including the latest Image Stabilisation technology. With an EFL of 38-115mm on an APS-C camera it’s a versa atile ile lens, and with a constant max ximum aperture of f/4 it’s cheaper and nd ligh light ter alternative to Canon’s f/2.8 lens (£1,800). The centre sharpness is excellent wide open, while stopping down the aperture improves edge sharpness, with image quality peaking at f/8. A circular, nine-bladed diaphragm produces smooth bokeh that’s ideal for blurring backgrounds for portraiture.” Andy says “I was intrigued to see
how this lens compared to my Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8, especially as
it’s mo more tha than do double th the e price! Being one of Canon’s high-end lenses, build quality didn’t disappoint: the casing is made of tough plastics and metal, and features moisture and dust seals. It’s packed full of handy features too. The USM made focusing quick and quiet, and it offers full-time manual override; the IS is an added bonus. This lens felt more balanced and lighter on my EOS 650D than my Sigma lens, and it handled well. Unfortunately, such ﬁrst-rate features and image quality don’t come cheap!”
Top build quality, yet lightweight and easy to handle; high-end features, IS Maximum aperture is f/4, which isn’t as fast as other lenses on test; pricey
94 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Tamron SP 70200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
Web: www.tamron.co.uk Price: £1,350
Hollie says “This
new Tamron lens covers a versatile 70-200mm range, and gives the Canon equivalents a real run for their money: Canon’s f/2.8 image-stabilised version costs £500 more than this lens, although you can pick up the f/4 IS version for £400 less. As one of Tamron’s SP lenses, both features and build quality are ﬁrst-rate. It boasts Tamron’s Vibration Compensation system, and an ultrasonic motor for fast, silent autofocus, with full-time manual override. Image quality is excellent, with centre and edge sharpness superb at 70mm at f/2.8; peak sharpness across the frame is between f/5.6 and f/8 throughout the focal range. At medium focal lengths sharpness is still good, but it falls off towards the long end, as you’d expect.”
Andy says “I have Tamron’s SP AF
70-300 f/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens, so I was looking forward to seeing what this new 70-200mm had to offer. With an EFL of 109mm to 310mm on my 650D, this gives me lots of room to work with. Build quality is superb, and the focusing and zoom function internally, so the lens doesn’t extend, giving it a compact feel. It felt a bit unbalanced on my 650D, but I’m thinking of buying a battery grip, which might balance ou the e we wei ight.” out th
Build and image quality are excellent; fast and constant aperture; brimming with pro features Feels rather hea heav vy an and d unbalanced on smal smaller ler Canon D D-SLR bodies bodies; ; quit quite e pric pricey ey
Things to consider
Depth of ﬁeld
A wide-angle lens will capture a broader depth of ﬁeld at a wide aperture such as f/5.6, which is ideal for showing subjects in the context of their surroundings, without blurring detail. A telephoto lens, on the other hand, will reduce the depth of ﬁeld, particularly at longer focal lengths and wide apertures: this enables you to capture a shallow depth of ﬁeld and make subjects really stand out.
It was great to be able to test all the lenses with Hollie and our model, Fran. Having recently bought the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 IF EX DG HSM, I was eager to try both the Sigma 17-70mm and Canon 24-70mm lenses to see how they compared. The Sigma is a great budget option, with its focal length range offering plenty of versatility; the Canon, while impressive, was a bit beyond my budget. I also have Tamron’s SP AF 70-300 f/4-5.6 Di VC USD lens, so I was keen to try out Tamron’s new 70-200mm. It’s a fast lens with brilliant build and image quality; however, it felt unbalanced on my small camera, and it’s quite pricey. Having the above focal ranges already covered in my kit bag, I was most excited to test the three prime lenses. The Sigma 50mm had a fast maximum aperture of f/1.4, which was very appealing, but I preferred the extra working distance I got with Canon’s 85mm and 100mm lenses. There wasn’t a huge difference between them, but I liked the extra reach the 100mm gave me when shooting close-up portraits, so it’s my winner!
Primes vs zooms
A fast lens is crucial for portrait photography: in addition to throwing backgrounds out of focus, it enables you to get good results in low light without ﬂash. Generally speaking, prime lenses are faster than zooms, and obtaining the equivalent speed in a zoom lens will cost you a lot more. Primes also tend to offer better image quality, as there are fewer moving glass elements to introduce distortions; this also makes primes lighter than zooms, although you’ll need to take more lenses on a shoot to cover a decent range of focal lengths.
Gear Super Test
Neutral density ﬁlters
Neutral density ﬁlters enable you to tame bright lighting or add a sense of motion to your watery scenic landscapes. We check out the best of the ND bunch…
96 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Canon-compatible kit on test
eutral density ﬁlters have a variety of practical and creative uses. Most commonly they’re used to enable slow shutter speeds, so that you can create a sense of movement in water or clouds by capturing motion blur. Imagine you’re shooting a waterfall on a sunny day. Even at a narrow aperture (eg f/22), you’d be forced into using a fairly fast shutter speed, which will freeze motion. With an ND ﬁlter, you can use a longer exposure (say 10 secs rather than 1/100 sec) to give a milky smoothness to ﬂowing water, all without fear of over-exposure and bleached out landscape shots. ND ﬁlters can also smooth out ripples and waves in rivers, lakes and even the sea.
Long exposures aren’t just handy for landscapes; you can also use slow shutter speeds to get people-free shots of busy locations, with passers-by effectively being blurred out of the scene. ND ﬁlters are also invaluable if you want to use a wide aperture under bright daylight to create a shallow depth of ﬁeld, for example to blur fussy backgrounds in portraits. ND ﬁlters are even more essential when shooting video. The ideal shutter speed is generally regarded as being 1/50 sec, or 1/60 sec if you’re shooting for the American NTSC video system. This may be impossible to achieve under very bright light, even when shooting at f/22, so an ND ﬁlter really comes to the rescue.
OUR EIGHT ON TEST
1 SRB-Griturn ND1000 £28
2 Polaroid HD Variable ND £35 3 Cokin H270A Full ND P-series kit £40 4 Hoya Pro1 Digital ND x16 £60 5 Kenko Pro1 Digital ND8 £70 6 Tiffen Variable ND £150 7 Lee Big Stopper £155 8 Formatt Hitech Multistop ND £155
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How we tested… There are various types of ND ﬁlters – both individual ﬁlters
We checked the colour accuracy of each ﬁlter by ﬁrst taking a custom white balance setting under controlled conditions, without a ﬁlter ﬁtted. Each ﬁlter was then tested, and any colour shift was measured by using an X-Rite chart and processing shots with Imatest Master. We also checked the contrast of images, using DxO Analyser. To check that the actual reduction in light transmittance delivered by the ﬁlters matched the manufacturers’ claims, we again used controlled lighting, and measured how many stops the exposure needed to be increased by in order to give the same exposure with the ﬁlter ﬁtted. We also checked the effect of each ﬁlter on image sharpness.
It pays to be dense
and systems – so it’s well worth weighing up the options
any photographers are fans of conventional square or rectangular ﬁlters. An advantage of these is that each ﬁlter is simply a piece of resin or glass, without the added manufacturing expense of a ring that’s engineered to screw into a lens’s attachment thread. Instead, you buy a ﬁlter holder and attachment rings to suit the sizes of your various lenses. Popular makes include Cokin, Kood, Lee and SRB-Griturn. Kits of square or rectangular ND ﬁlters are often available, typically containing three ﬁlters with optical densities of 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9, which give a 1, 2, or 3-stop reduction in exposure respectively; these densities are also often labelled with an x-factor, namely x2, x4 and x8. Greater densities are also available separately, for example ND1.2 (equivalent to 4-stop or x16) and, in some cases, right up to ND1000 ﬁlters that give a 10-stop light reduction. Another bonus of the square approach is that it’s easy to stack ﬁlters without adding to the risk of vignetting (darkened corners in images). The downside is that stacking ﬁlters will inevitably lead to some loss of optical quality. Circular, screw-in ﬁlters are also popular, as they simply screw into the lens’s attachment thread without the need to use a separate holder. Again, multiple ﬁlters can be stacked for a stronger effect, but vignetting is more of a problem. It’s tempting to buy circular ﬁlters to ﬁt whichever of your lenses has the largest attachment thread, and use step-up rings to ﬁt them to smaller lenses;
Shot with and without an ND ﬁlter, this pair of images clearly shows the motion blur effect that the ﬁlters can produce, even under bright lighting conditions
however, vignetting can be an issue here too, especially with very wide-angle lenses. An alternative option is to go for a ‘variable’ or ‘fader’ ND ﬁlter. These are based on two polarising elements, and twisting the ﬁlter’s adjustment ring rotates one element in relation to the other, creating a progressively denser effect. However, variable NDs need to be used with care. At the densest end of their adjustment range the amount of light reduction can be uneven across the frame, and in extreme cases you can end up with a darkly shaded cross shape that completely ruins the image; the effect is more pronounced with very wide-angle lenses.
98 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Shoot better black and white See page 30
Going to the dark side
When using very dense ﬁlters, it’s best to take full control of camera settings yourself CUSTOM WB
A tripod is essential for shooting at very slow shutter speeds, and you should also use a remote release, or the 2-sec Self-timer option, to avoid jogging the camera at the beginning of the exposure. Mirror bounce is another problem with D-SLRs, as the reﬂex mirror ﬂips up immediately prior to the exposure, which can unsettle the camera, so to ensure sharp shots use the Mirror Lock-up custom function, which is available in all mid-range and advanced Canon D-SLRs, in conjunction with a remote or the self-timer. Finally, if you’re taking light readings with an ND ﬁlter ﬁtted, be sure to cover the camera’s viewﬁnder, otherwise light entering the camera via the viewﬁnder can result in incorrect exposures.
ven when you’re using mid-density ﬁlters, you can end up with a very dark viewﬁnder image, so it’s often easier to compose shots in Live View mode, which will give you a brighter preview image on the camera’s LCD screen. When using very dense ﬁlters, autofocus may be impossible, so you’ll need to autofocus before ﬁtting the ﬁlter, then lock the focus position by switching from AF to MF on the lens barrel. Exposure settings can also be hit and miss when using very dense ﬁlters, due to the limited light that’s entering the lens and passed through to the camera’s metering system. For the best results switch to Manual shooting mode and take test shots, then review these on the LCD screen, using the histogram to check for
Set a Custom white balance, captured with a grey card or white card, to avoid unwanted colour casts
‘clipped’ highlights or shadows. For ﬁxed-density ﬁlters like the Lee Big Stopper and SRBGriturn ND1000, it’s useful to take a light reading without the ﬁlter attached, then reduce the shutter speed by ten stops to give a good starting point. Neutral density ﬁlters should, by deﬁnition, be colourneutral, and so they shouldn’t introduce any unwanted colour casts. However, it’s practically impossible to avoid some
colour shift, especially with very high-density ﬁlters, and variable ND ﬁlters often create an increasingly strong colour cast as you progress through the range of available densities. Auto White Balance can work reasonably well, but it’s best to take a Custom white balance using a grey card. As usual it’s best to shoot Raw, so that you can easily adjust the white balance at the editing stage if needed.
STEP BY STEP How to ﬁt the various ﬁlter options
Square ﬁlters and rectangular ﬁlters 1 Square require a ﬁlter holder, which is
available separately or supplied as part of a kit of ﬁlters. The most popular size for D-SLRs corresponds to Cokin P-series ﬁlters, which are 84mm in width.
Circular ﬁlters Variable ﬁlters When ﬁtting a circular ND ﬁlter, ﬁrst density of variable ND ﬁlters 2 remove the UV ﬁlter if you use one 3 The is adjusted using a control ring.
for general shooting to protect the front element of the lens. If you don’t remove it, image quality may be impaired and the risk of vignetting will be increased. However, differing amounts of polarisation can occur when the whole ﬁlter is rotated, so you may need adjust its attachment on the lens by up to a quarter of a turn.
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Gear Super Test
Cokin H270A Full ND P-series kit
Popular and cost-effective, there’s a wide range of Cokin P-series ﬁlters to choose from, including a variety of ND graduated ﬁlters, but there are only three full ND options. This kit contains all of them, with 1, 2 and 3-stop ratings, plus a ﬁlter holder. You’ll also need to buy adaptor rings to ﬁt the ﬁlter threads of your lenses: these cost about £10 each, and are available in a range of sizes from 48mm to 82mm. Using the supplied ﬁlter holder you can use up to three ﬁlters simultaneously, and in this case stacking all three ND ﬁlters gives an effective light reduction of six stops. The downside is that stacking multiple ﬁlters is likely to degrade sharpness, and can cause ghosting and ﬂare as light bounces around between the ﬁlters. There can also be some vignetting when using very wide-angle lenses; a ‘wide-angle’ ﬁlter holder is available, but this can only accommodate a single ﬁlter. Unlike all the other ﬁlters on test, Cokin’s ﬁlters are made from resin rather than glass, but overall image quality is good nonetheless. Sharpness is respectable, and colour accuracy responds well to Auto White Balance, at least if you avoid stacking the ﬁlters.
Reasonable quality at a relatively low price; wide range of P-series filters available Filters need to be stacked for strong light reduction, which can impair image quality
Formatt Hitech Multistop ND
Well made, chunky and with good handling characteristics, the Multistop ND is a variabledensity ﬁlter with a range of 1-6 stops. That doesn’t go quite as far as most other variable ﬁlters, which typically stretch to an 8-stop reduction, but image quality is always the biggest concern – and it’s here that the Hitech impresses. Because variable ﬁlters are based on a pair of polarising ﬁlters, it’s impossible to avoid at least some polarising effect being apparent in images. This is often unwanted – for example, if you’re using an ND ﬁlter to smooth the surface of a lake you may still want the reﬂections of the sky to be strong in the water – and the Hitech keeps polarisation effects to a minimum. The forward-mounted polariser is substantially larger than the rear-mounted one, which helps to minimise vignetting, especially when using very wide-angle lenses. This type of ﬁlter isn’t really ideal for use with ultra-wide lenses, as the polarising effect can vary across the frame, but here again the Hitech performs well, and it also scores highly for sharpness. For a variable ND ﬁlter, colour shift remains remarkably constant through the density range.
Very good optical performance; impressive build quality Not quite as much stopping power as some variable ND filters
100 | Photo h Plus l June 2013
Help Me Buy a… portrait lens See page 90
Hoya Pro1 Digital ND x16
The Pro1 Digital series is a relatively recent addition to Hoya’s range of circular screw-in ﬁlters. The series includes ultra violet, circular polariser, close-up and star effect ﬁlters, plus a couple of others, and the ND ﬁlters come in ND 4, 8, 16, 32 and 64 options, offering reductions ranging from 2-6 stops. We tested the ND 16, which gives a 4-stop reduction. Like all Pro1 Digital ﬁlters, the ND ﬁlters feature multicoatings to help reduce ghosting and ﬂare, plus black aluminium frames with a satin ﬁnish, and black-rimmed ﬁlter glass, to combat stray reﬂections. The ﬁlters also have a low-proﬁle design to help minimise vignetting, even when used with very wide-angle lenses. The 4-stop ﬁlter gives a useful level of light reduction. It’s easily possible to smooth ﬂowing water, for example, while still enabling a good degree of accuracy in autofocus and light metering. In these respects, the ND 16 ﬁlter is often more userfriendly than the more powerful ND 32 and 64 options. Optical quality is impressive, with plenty of sharpness and pretty good colour accuracy.
Simple to use; a good level of light reduction that suits many shooting scenarios As with many screw-in filters, larger sizes are significantly more expensive
Kenko Pro1 Digital ND8
Kenko manufactures ‘old and new’ photographic equipment ranging from 35mm SLR ﬁlm cameras to digital light meters. It’s also part of the same group that produces Tokina lenses and Hoya ﬁlters, and there’s more than a passing resemblance between Kenko and Hoya ‘Pro1 Digital’ ﬁlters. Similarities include the same multi-coatings, black Almite frames, black-rimmed glass and low-proﬁle design, as well as knurled frame edges to help with ﬁtting and removal, and carrying cases that feature UV protection. One difference is that Kenko doesn’t offer as wide a range of densities. It makes 2, 3 and 4-stop ﬁlters, whereas Hoya offers 5-stop and 6-stop ﬁlters in addition to those. Both Kenko and Hoya ND ﬁlters are available in thread sizes up to 82mm, but Kenko goes further at the small end of the range, offering sizes down to 49mm whereas Hoya stops at 52mm. Quality and performance are essentially the same as for the Hoya Pro1 ﬁlters. Compared with the Hoya 4-stop ﬁlter, this Kenko’s 3-stop density can be a bit lacking when you want a slow shutter speed under bright lighting conditions, although colour accuracy is slightly better.
Very good quality, essentially the same as that of Hoya Pro1 Digital filters Three-stop density can be inadequate; more expensive than similar Hoya filters
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Gear Super Test
Lee Big Stopper
www.leeﬁlters.com For what is bascially a piece of dark glass with no moving parts, the Lee Big Stopper seems expensive at £155; and, unless you already use Lee ﬁlters, you’ll also need to buy the holder system foundation kit, plus an adaptor ring for mounting it to a lens, pushing the total price up to £230. Measuring 100x100mm, the Lee ﬁlter is larger than Cokin P-series ﬁlters. A more fundamental difference is that, whereas the Cokin ND ﬁlters are made from resin, the Big Stopper is made from top-quality, pro-grade glass. Moreover, while Cokin’s densest ND ﬁlter offers a 3-stop light reduction, the Lee offers a massive 10-stop reduction, enabling you to get long exposures of 30 secs even on a really sunny day. Any stray light can degrade images when using such a high-density ﬁlter, but the Big Stopper features a foam strip that forms a seal with the ﬁlter holder, and this stops light sneaking in between the ﬁlter and the lens. Performance is excellent: images are super-sharp, and the ﬁlter’s density is an exact match for its 10-stop claim. Due to its high density, however, colour accuracy isn’t great, and images exhibit a slightly cool colour cast.
A huge ten stops of light reduction; top-quality construction Colours aren’t perfectly neutral; pricey, especially if you also need the mounting kit
Polaroid HD Variable ND
www.polaroid.co.uk At less than a quarter of the price of the Formatt Hitech and Tiffen variable ND ﬁlters on test, the Polaroid looks like a bargain. But looks can be deceiving. Unlike the more expensive variable ﬁlters, the Polaroid creates a much more noticeable polarising effect in images, which can also vary greatly depending on the rotation of the ﬁlter on the lens, regardless of the rotation of the control ring used to adjust the density. In order to minimise the polarising effect, you may need to loosen the ﬁlter on its attachment thread by as much as a quarter of a turn after ﬁtting it to the lens. Sharpness is adequate for video, where you’re shooting at a maximum effective resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. However, still images are noticeably less sharp than those taken using the Hitech and Tiffen ﬁlters. The density range is wide, although while Polaroid claims a class-leading 1-9 stops of light reduction, we only got to eight stops before the effect became very uneven across the frame. Colour shift is also quite extreme at high densities, while even at mid-range settings light reduction can be uneven across the frame, especially with wide-angle lenses.
Inexpensive compared with other variable ND filters Uneven effect at high densities; lacks sharpness; noticeable polarising effect
102 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Next issue Every current Canon EOS D-SLR tested!
With a 10-stop light reduction rating, the SRB-Griturn equals the extreme density of the Lee Big Stopper, but at a fraction of the price. Being a circular rather than square ﬁlter, it screws directly into the ﬁlter thread of your lens, obviating the need to use a separate ﬁlter holder and adaptor ring. The main downside is that it takes longer to remove and reﬁt the ﬁlter if you need to adjust focusing. A wide range of thread sizes are available, from 46mm to 77mm. Build quality is good, with a black-rimmed glass element ﬁtted in a matte-black metal frame, which helps to reduce stray reﬂections, ghosting and ﬂare. The ﬁlter also has a very low-proﬁle design, ideal for use with ultra-wide lenses. In these respects, it’s similar to the Hoya and Kenko ﬁlters on test; however, SRB doesn’t claim multi-coatings for its ﬁlter, which is actually manufactured by Camdiox. Sharpness is impressive, and although the ﬁlter produces a noticeable warm colour cast, pretty much opposite to the cool cast of the Lee Big Stopper, it generally produces pleasing results, even in Auto White Balance mode. For such a high-density ﬁlter, it’s superb value.
Monster stopping power and quality build at a rock-bottom price Creates a noticeable warm cast; takes longer to remove and refit than a square filter
Tiffen Variable ND
A close match for the Formatt Hitech ﬁlter, this Tiffen boasts the same high-quality features in its design. The front polariser element is oversized to combat vignetting, and the adjustment ring is silkysmooth in operation. The Tiffen boasts a greater density range of 2-8 stops, compared with the Hitech’s 1-6 stops, which it manages to deliver without introducing an uneven effect across the frame, even when using wide-angle lenses. Sharpness is very good, and on a par with the Hitech. Both do well to minimise haziness, ghosting and ﬂare even under difﬁcult lighting conditions, which is a challenge for ﬁlters that have multiple elements, and thus extra glass-to-air surfaces. At its maximum density setting the Tiffen’s colour accuracy isn’t as good as that of the Hitech, although it does have an extra two stops of range; when used at its 6-stop setting, accuracy is on a par with the Hitech. Prices are similar for most available sizes, but the Tiffen is £70 more expensive if you need the large 77mm size. An 82mm option is also available for the Tiffen (but not for the Hitech), but this is a very pricey ﬁlter at around £290.
Excellent quality and versatility; generous 2-8 stop range Very expensive if you need the larger 77mm or 82mm thread sizes
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Gear Super Test
Neutral density ﬁlters at a glance
Fixed/Variable Cokin H270A Full ND P-series kit Fixed Formatt Hitech Multistop ND Variable Hoya Pro1 Digital ND x16 Fixed Kenko Pro1 Digital ND8 Fixed Lee Big Stopper Fixed Polaroid HD Variable ND Variable SRB-Griturn ND1000 Fixed Tiffen Variable ND Variable
Lens ﬁtment sizes Filter material
48mm to 82mm
67mm to 77mm
52mm to 82mm
49mm to 82mm
49mm to 105mm
37mm to 82mm
46mm to 77mm
52mm to 82mm
Claimed density range Tested density range Other densities available Colour error (uncorrected) * Target price for size range Target price (72mm ﬁlter thread) Verdict
1, 2 and 3 stops
1, 2 and 3 stops
2, 3, 5, 6 stops
2, 4 stops
2, 3 stops
1, 2, 3, 4 stops
+1.3, +0.4, +3.0
-3.0, -5.2, -32.6
-4.4, -6.2, -20.3
£140 to £170
£30 to £80
£35 to £100
£27 to £72
£20 to £30
£120 to £290
* For colour accuracy, scores closest to zero are better. Min, Mid and Max values are shown for multi-ﬁlter kits and variable ND ﬁlters
Variable ND ﬁlters are unrivalled for versatility, offering a range of densities in a single ﬁlter. There’s not too much compromise in terms of image quality, provided that you buy a more expensive example of the breed, such as the Formatt Hitech or Tiffen ﬁlters; the Polaroid is a relatively poor substitute. For square ﬁlters, the Cokin lacks outright stopping power unless you stack multiple ﬁlters, which degrades image quality. The Lee Big Stopper delivers a mighty 10-stop density, along with exceptional optical quality, making it an outright winner; however, it’s very expensive if you also have to buy the holder and attachment ring. At little more than a tenth of the cost, the SRB-Griturn ND1000 offers the same 10-stop density and good image quality, and is unbeatable value. If you don’t need such a high density, Hoya’s Pro1 ﬁlters are hard to beat, and come in a wide range of densities and attachment sizes.
Five things we learned in this test
Variable ND filters generally introduce some polarising effect, which may be unwanted. The Polaroid in particular can be problematic when panning in video shoots. Colour casts can be avoided by setting a Custom white balance. Casts are less of an issue than with ND graduated filters, however, as there’s no need to match filtered and unfiltered halves of images. A 3-stop ND filter isn’t quite sufficient to enable long exposures in very bright lighting, even when using a narrow aperture.
For very dense filters, it’s best to use Manual exposure mode and take test shots, as even the histogram preview in Live View mode can be inaccurate.
A pair of 4-stop and 10-stop screw-in circular filters can be more useful than a high-quality variable ND filter.
104 | PhotoPlus June 2013
Shot in the Back
My favourite shot
Talented sports photographer Tim Clayton reveals how he captured his unique black-and-white balloonists shot
This shot is from the World Hot Air Ballooning Championships, and the competition goal locations were set around Battle Creek in rural Michigan, USA, with nearly 100 of the world’s top balloonists competing over 10 days of competition. The hardest part was getting up before the crack of dawn, especially when a sports photographer’s life is covering many evening events as you tend to become a night owl not an early bird! Each morning, well before dawn, a pilots’ brieﬁng took place in the town centre where the day’s wind readings and competition goals were given to pilots and crew. Once the goal was set a frenzy followed as crews rushed to their vehicles, balloon baskets in tow and headed out into the countryside to work out the best take off point in order to reach the targets. The balloon chase was on! Some days would include three or four targets, usually a giant ‘X’ on the road or in a ﬁeld, with competitors throwing a marker tag as close to the designated point as possible. I varied my photo shoots each day. Some days I would head out and shoot the balloons preparing and launching, other days I would shoot as the balloons approached a designated goal. For these shots, I used a wide-angle lens more often than not. This image was taken as a host of balloons converged on a target. I used a Canon EOS 5D Mk III – which in my opinion still produces better quality images than the 1D X – with my favourite lens of all time, the Canon EF 200mm f/1.8. It’s over 15 years old, has gaffer tape holding it together, but it is the sharpest lens I have ever had. Fixed focal length lenses are better quality, plus zooms make you lazy. The telephoto focal length has helped to pull the balloons closer together for a densely-packed shot. My exposure was 1/2000 sec at f/5.6; ISO 100. Although hot air balloons are known for their vibrant and varying colours, I felt this black-and-white conversion works great with this silhouette shot to make it more atmospheric.
Website www.timclayton. photoshelter.com Age 53 Location New York Pro for 20 years
114 | PhotoPlus June 2013
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