The REALLY compact camera with interchangeable lenses

Amateur Photographer For everyone who loves photography

News, views and reviews


Canon 'launches mid~range 18MP EOS 70; 'NE'uV full-frame model from Sony; Samsung reveals WB5000; Panasonic GFl unveiled; Canon debuts 'touch-screen' DigrtallXUS compact

10 Review

The latest books, exhibitions and websites

12 Letters

AD readers speak out on the week's issues

13 Backehat

A P reader Steve Brl2\Neris tryi ng to captu re a world of his oon making

90 Thefinalframe

Roger Hicks dismvers that in photography, ~he more you pay, the less you get


14 Photoinsight

David Clapp recalls his first attempt at stitching together images and offers his tips for aeating perfect panoramas

19 Reader masterelass

Three AD readers join Bob Banclay at the Isle of Skye Highland Games toleam how to capture oolourflll candids. Gemma Padley reports

On test and technical

41 Testbench

The Delkin Devices SO to CF adapter and the Branda Ultimate 3-Point leather hand strap

42 QaA

Our experts answer your questions

Send US your pictures

To have your pictures published in Gallery, send in a selection

of up to ten images, They can be either a selection of different images or all have the same theme. Digital files sent on CD should be saved in a PhotoshoP"compatible format, such as

JPEG or TIFF, with a contact sheet and submission form Visit www.amateurphotographer.co,uk/apgallery lor detai Is. We

cann at pu bl ish i m ag es with out Ih e ne cessa ry tech n ical deta i Is. Each RGB image should be a minimum of 2480 pixels along its longest length, Transparencies and prints are also accepted, We recommend that transparencies afe sent without glass mounts and posted via Spetial Delivery. For transparencies, prints or discs to be returned you must include an SAE with sufncient postage.

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45 Panasonic Lumix GFl COVER STORY Angela Nicholson gives the excl L1Sive first verdid of Panasonic's new Mirra Four Thirds model, the oompadstyle OMC -GF 1 Is tbs th e end of the road for enthusiast compacts)

53 Macro photography

explained COVER <;TORY

In the second part of his feature, Geoffrey C:rawley looks at the equirment available for close-up work

56 Ricoh GR Digital III

Barney Britton explores the latest innovative features said lobe offered by Riooh's newest luxury compact digital camera

Your pictures

31 Gallery

Another selection of superb reader images

38 Appraisal

Oarni€fl Oemolder examines your images, offering words of wisdom and constructive ad)!ic€

, ~

-~ -~


I l. '.: ~


25 Make the most of ••• late summer


Colin Varndell e;;plains why late summer offers a wealth of hidd€fl. gems for the macro enthusiast

37 Icons of photography Geoffrey Crawley on the men who gave their names to the first film speed system: Ferdinand Hurter and vero Charles Driffleld

Our address and other contact details

Amateur Photographer,

IPC Media, Blue Fin Building,

110 Southwark Street, london SEI OSU

AP Editorial Telephone: 02031484138 Fax 020314B 8130

Email amateurphotographer@ipcmedia.com AP Adverlis i ng Telephone: 0203148 2517 Emaillee~morris@ipcmedia.com

AP Su~scliplions Telephone: 0845 6767778 Email ipcsubs@Qss-uk.com

AP leslreporls Telephone: 01707273 m www.testreports.co.uk/photography/ap

From the Editor

Shifting sands

When you're

the underdog,

you work extra hard, New guys have to make more of an effort to get noticed, and the start-up business in a mature market needs buming hunger and

drive to succeed. Without strength and determination you fail to make a mark, but with the right attitude a rising star can eclipse the leading lights of yesterday.

In our industry there are a lot of established names, but there are dangerous new boys, too. To the establishment those new boys probably felt like not much more than an irritation

at first. We are, though, going through

a stage of movement, of shifting plates

in the photographic world, and in the tremor new mountains will be formed,

and old landmarks may be lost. Sony and Panasonic in particular are making the earth shake, with new technologies, and multiple bodies and lenses to support their missions. Whether they can do enough

to pull back the leads of Nikon and Canon remains to be seen. What's clear is that the landscape is changing and, as far as I can see, it's all for the better.



Our quest-on (jJf the week

In AP 29 August we asked ••• What's the most you would pay

for a fixed focal length lens?

You answered ...


A Up to £250 19.5% 1%

B Up to £400 19%

( Up to £600 15%

D Up to £800 9%

E Up to £1,00015.5% F Up to £2,000 9%

6 Up to £4,000 7%

H More than £4,000 6%

This week we ask- ..

Do you think the likes of Sony and Panasonic can topple Canon or Nikon from the top of the charts within the next three years?

A Yes B No ( Don't know

Vote online

www .. amateurphotographeu.o.uk

12 September 20091 www.ameteurphotoorepher.co.uk 13


Not a Compact. Not an SLR.It's a PEN.


Since 1959

In 1959 the Olympus PEN revolutionised photography. 50 years later we have done It .agaJn. The new Olympus PEN delivers SLR. power with compact size and simplicity by doing away with th~ mirror bOK. A sel of Interchangeable lenses and an adapter for E·System lenses offer you mo re creative freeclo m. Art R lters, variable aspect ratios and multi-exposure make your pbotoa unique while HO movie and

stereo sound allows artistic film-making with SLR picture quality. You can even use the art fillers in movIe mode. Add to thai 12.3 Megapixels,.3fps. image stabilisation with 4EV s1aps. and pf l:ive View for real-time effect and you start to get lust a hint of tile creative power avaJlable in the palm of your hand. The new Olympus PEN - yet another Olympus revolution.


Do vou have a slorv? (onla [I CIl ril Cheellm n Tele.ph one 0203 143 4129 lax 02o:l1A B 3110

...... _ ..... Email amateurpllotographer@iplm~dia.(om

News I Analysis I (omment I PhotoDiary 12/9/09

r?r? The ful..frame LJLJ Alpha 850 is expected to cost nearly £500 lessltlan

theone-yearold ~~ Alpha 900

New Sony DSLR, page 6

Semi-pro digital SLR out next month I New l8MP sensor and new AF

canon revea s EOS 70

CANON has announced the EoS 70, a mid-range digital SLR featuring. a new lS-miliion-pixel CMOS ,imaging sensor (APS-C size) and eight frames per second shooting.

The Uve View-equipped 70 will cost :£ 1,699.99 and is due to arrive in October.

Features include a Full HO movie (1'920xlOSO-pixel) option and equivalent ISO sensitivity expa nda bl e to ISO 12,800.

Dual Digic 4 processors are designed to enable 'more advanced algorithms' to be used to ach i eve Sips at the fulllSMP resolution.

C a non adds that th e newcomer's magnesiumalloy body boasts dust and moiSture resistance on a par with the EOS-l N 35mm fJ'lm camera

The company says it has 'completely redesigned' the autofocus system to include a separate processor to handle AF calculations. 'This, along with AI Servo II AF, enables the sos 70 to offer accurate, reliable and continuous shooting at Sips: claimed a spokesman,

adding, that all 19 AF points are of the 'cross-type' kind'.

The new imaging sensor features 'condensed circuitry', yet with 'improved sensitivity', according to Canon, which cia i ms to have increased the capacity of the photodiodes and used 'gapless microlenses' that have been moved closer to them.

The 3in LCD screen has a resolution of 920,00 dots and a claimed viewing, angle of 160°.

Also on board is spot AF, a new mode that uses a smaller area of the sensor to determine focus, says

Sigma SD15 launch date unclear

SIGMA is gearing, up to launch its latest digital SLR. the SO 15, but it is still unclear when it will be released onto the market

The SO 15 will house the same 14-miUion-pixel Foveon X3imaging sensor that is employed in Sigma's current S014 model.

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It will incorporate a new True II image processing engine and 3in LCD monitor.

The camera had been due for launch this summer following a modification to the processor.

However, when asked when we can expect it in the shops a Sigma Imaging UK

th e firm 'Th is is usefu I for small objects where there is backgro un d detail that ca n dis tract the A F sensor: explained a spokesperson.

The 70 also includes zone AF, allowing photographers

to ensure th ei r su bject is 'automatically'selected,

by limiting automatic AF selection to 'one of five zones'.

The user can customise autofocus settings. Different AF points can be set for vertical or horizontal or.ientation, for example, allowing photographers to 'switch between landscape and portrait shots without

spokesman said he was not yet aware of the launch date. We understand that the camera's manual is yet to be printed

Sigma ccnbrmed the upcoming launch of the camera at last year's photokina trade show in Germany when a spokesman said 'Photographers expressed a desire to incorporate the True image processing engine - which


touching a button'

The camera also houses

a new metering system

that includes Focus Colour Luminance - technolog.y designed to measure locus, colour and luminance across 63 zones.

The 'dual layer' metering sensor aims to tackle overexposure ceused by

it being; more sensitrve to

red subjects. 'The dual-layer sensor has one layer sensitive to red and green light and one that is sensitive to blue and green light: explained the firm The metering algorithm then compares

the level of the two layers and adjusts the meter reading accordingly.'

The camera's view1inder features a new Transmissive LC D' that can be illuminated on demand in low light to show the grid, spot metering and AF points superimposed

Meanwhile, a Dual~AxiS Electronic Level, displayed

in the viewlinder and on the LCD monitor, should ensure level honzoos when captur.ing landscape shots.

Canon has aso announced three new lenses, details of which will appear next week.

is used in the DPl - into a digital SLR camera

'In order to meet this demand, the SD 15 - with high-resolution direct image sensor - has been designed around the new True II image-processing engine.

'This combination

delivers superior image quality as well as improved proce.ssing; speed, operation and performance:

Latest news everyday


Handbook discount

The 201 0 edition of The Freelan(e Photographer'S Harket Handbook goes on sale on I Oelober. Palked with nearly 1,000 listings of potential markets for tile freelance or aspiring freelance photographer,

the book details the types of pictures required and fees paid. AP readersca n claim a £I disco unt. To ord er the book at the dls(Ou !lted price of f13.!l5 (inc Il P&p) call 0208 882 3315 or send a (II eq ue to BFP Bo oks, Focus Ho use, 497 Green La nes, Lo ndon Nil 4BP.

Moore energy Jesse pssa.ys Its new chief e)(~utive Trevor Moore,

40, brings retail experience from previous jobs at Select Property, Thresher Group, Whitbread and HSBC. Heis also a former operations director at (of lee Rellub Ii r, 'He is a high Iy ene rg etic and experienced retailer, so he will take us to the n ext stag e,' said d1ai rma n David Adams.

Clarification Edinburgh PhotographiC

S ociely wa nls to make

dear thaI its website

add ress is www. edinburghphologra phicsocietv. co.uk and not www.

edinb urghca meraclub .co.u k. The society says It has no

con nedion with'Edinbu rgh (a m era (I ub' ... AP is ha p pv to clarify th is, following recent entri es in the 'PhotoD iary' sedion of th e magazi ne, which stemmed from information listed by the Roval Pholographk Society.

12 September 20091 www.amateutphotographer.co.uk Is


A week of photographic opportunity


EXHIBmON D0ngto Know by U award-winning photographers, last day, at P3, London NW15LS. VISit www,dyingtoknow.org,uk.

DON'T MISS 60 Year Anniversary Rower Festivat Ceiebroting Arlington (llam-Spm), until 13 September at Allington Court, Devon EX314lP.

Tel: 01271850 296. V~it www.nationaltmstorg,uk.


EXHIBmON Pastoral Vi~ons by Groham Ovenden, unlil1 8 October at Dimbola Lodge, I~e of WiJhI P040 9Qf, Tet 01983756 814. Visit www, dimbola.CO.uk, EKHIBmON The Forgotten caves and Coves of the causeway Coast by AlldV Mcinroy (whose work was featured in AP last year), unlil3 October at Riverside Theatre, Un iversity of U Isler, Colero[ne. Tel: 0287 032 3m. Visit www,andymcinroy.com.



DOWT M ISS One-day b&w dar1<room pr,i nling cou rse Oncludes tuition in b&w film processing), at Pholmhats, london ES. Costs £75. Tet 0208 986 92S3. EmaH peteryoungll)@yahoo,(Q,uk. DON'T MI~S Mayor's Thames Festival, unli 113 Septem ber. Amateur Photographerand lWIat Digital Camera have teamed up with O~mpus to offer free drop-in masterclosses on ialdng photog ro phs of london ond the river. Vi~t wwwlhamesiestivaLorg, DON'T MISS last Night of the Proms, includes Proms in the Park concert in rtyde Park, london,

Visit www:bbcco.uk/proms.


EXHIBmON Polaroids:Mapplethorpe, untu 13 September at Modem Art Oxford, OXllBP. Tel: 01855 tn m. Visit wwwmodemartoxford.org:uk.


EXHI BIllON A Shadow Fal~ by Nick Brandt, until 3 October at Atlas Gallery, london WIU 7NF. Tet. 0207 224 4192. VIsH www.atlasgallery. com, ~HIBITION by PhotoSj){lce members, until 19 September at lSI Gallery, Middlesbrough lS12Al Visit www,thephotospace.co.uk. EXIHBtTlON I Wanl ~ All, indudes images of James Dean and Twiggy, unlillO October at The Hltle Black Gallery, london SWlO OAl. Tel: 0207 349 9332. Vlsit www.theltttleblackgallerY.com.



EXHIBmON living with the Wall: Bellin 1961-1989, until 21 March 2010 at Imperial war Museum North, Manchesler H17lTZ. Tel: 0161836 4000. Visit www.iwm.org.uk. EXHIBITION When YoLl're a Boy, until 4 October at The Photographers' Ga llery, London WIF 7lW. Tel: 08452621618, Visit www.photonet.org,uk.

61 www.ernateurphotcqrapher.co.uk 112 September 2009


Sony Alpha 850 mls cost of full-frame

S ONYwil1 next month launch its second full-frame digital SLR, tile Alplla 850, which is expected to cost nearly £500 less than the Alpha 900 launclled last year,

AP understands that the Alpha, 850 will carry an of1icial UK retail price of around £2,000.

There are two key technical differences over the Alpha 900, according to Sony

The A'ipha 850 has a 98% viewfinder coverage and three frames per second (fps) burst rate, compared to the 5fps shooting and 10.0% viewfinder coverage on Sony's 'professional' flagship model, the Alpha 900.

The camera otherwise shares many of the same features, including the weather and dust sealing of its one-year-old sibling, said PaUl Genge, tedncel

Samsung reveals WBSOOO

sales manager for DSLRs at Sony U K_ Similarities extend to the 24_6-million-pixel Exmor imaging sensor, weight [850g] and dlmenscns.

Sony decided to develop the Alplla 850 following corsurrer feedback

51J gg es ti ng photo emh usi asts were demanding a lowerpriced version of the Alpha 900, added YOJiro Asai, product manager at

Sony UK's Oigitallmaging BIJSiness Unit

Features include a function that allows photographers

to preview their pictures on-screen 50 they can

fl ne- tu ne chara cteristics such as white balance and the Dynamic Range Optimiser before recording the image_

The Alpha 850 also incorporates Sony's SteadyShot InSide image stabilisation, claimed to deliver an anti-shake effect equivalent to 2.5-4 stops

of shutter speed. The 3in screen carries a resol ution on 921,000 dots,

The Sony Alpha 900 carries a current reta i I P rice of 5:2,500. However, unlike the Alpha 900, a remote control unit will not be indlJded w.ith the Alpha 850's kit.

Sony UK has also confirmed that its 28-75mm ff2_8 SAM lens, which was smounced earuer this year, will go on sale in November. The price has yet to be announced,

• For details of Sony's new Alpha 500 and Alpha 550 DSLRs, see next week's News pages,

SAMSUNG is set to release a new 12_5-million-pixel dign-al compact camera sporting a '26mm' f/2,8 5chneider-Kreuznach equivalent lens at the wide end.

Due out this month, and aimed at photo enthUSiasts, the WB5000 features a 3in, 23o.,00o.-dot resolution screen and a maximum equivalent ISO of 6400

(at 3MP resolutiOn)

The WB5000 also incorporates riM file shooting, plus aperture and shutter priority and manual. shooting options.

Also on board is an HD (720x1280-pixel, 30 frames per second) movie mode, plus optical image stabilisation, blink detection, smile mode and beauty shot.

Samsung UK has confirmed that the camera will cost around £350.

For details call Samsung on 0845 7267864,

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Manfrotto is set to release a new M-V(arbon ilillOd, called the mev, that is desig ned to be compact and Ii ghlweigl1l, an d withstand payloads of up to 3,5kg, '1he M-V camon is the perfect solution fo r tile new genetiltion 01 photog rapher who is looking for an easy-Io-use, compact and

lig htweighl su pport for their OSLR, with out (omp [omising on pertormance,' claimed a Manfrotto spokesma n. The tripod wei glls less than Ikg

an d folds down to 41,5cm when not in use.!t readIes B45(m when fullvenended. The Manfrolto H2O will cost £169.95 when it hits UK stores thi.s month.


Microsoft has confirmed that the ima ge atthe centre of an intemational race row has now been removed from its Poli~h business website. The move came after it emerg ed thai digital trickery had been used to replace a black man's lace with thai 01 a while man. In a statem en~ a Microsoft

sp okesman said: 'The image has been removed. Diversity and ind usion are (Ore val ues and business i mperat!ves of Microsoft, an d we apologise lor any offence that might have been taken.'

Press ace dies

One of the Ii 1St female press photographers, Mary MOllis lawrence,. has die d, aged 95. lawrence ioi ned Assodated Press in New York as a features photographer in 1936, at

a time when there were

lew lemalesatthe agency. She went on 10 sh oot sta IS such as Ma lilvn M on roe and frank Sinaba, and her work appeared in magazines slIch as life. 'She prided herselfin Iher interviews 01 being able to get a person's lile stOlY in ten minutes,' her huslia nd Harold told the agency.

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Do you have a story?

Contact (hri> Cileesmil n Tetephone 020314B 4129 Fax 020l14S 8BO Email amilteurph{loographer@jpcITIediil.wm ........

Panasonic GF1 goes to war with E-Pl

P ANASONIC has unveiled the company's first true compact~style Micro Four Thirds digital camera. The Lumix DMC -GF 1 is set to go into battle against the Olympus Pen E-Pl when it goes on sale next month.

Boasting a 'neo-classic' design, the GFI is the third camera in Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds stable.

It houses the same 12.1-million-pixel LiveMOS sensor as featured in

the Lumix OMC-Gl and borrows its Venus Engine HD processor from both the G 1 and Lumix DMC-GHI

'The GFI is primarily targeted at photo enthusiasts looking for a compact camera to use at the weekend or when their DSLR is not with them: said a spokesman, who claimed the GFI delivers the responsiveness and ,image quality akin to a DSLR

However, Panasonic

also hopes it will appeal

to compact camera users looking for a 'more powerful

and flexible camera', withOut having to buy a DSLR

Promising to be the first

in a 'newine-up', the GFI measures 119x71x36.3mm and weighs 2.8.5g body only (lOOg lighter than the G 1) The slightly heavier Olympus E-Pl, which debuted in June, measures 1205x70x35mm.

Leica M and R-mount lenses can be attached using an optional adapter

A 1 . .5i n 'tiltin g' extern a I live View viewfinder (I 00% field of view) will be available as an optional accessory, for those who don't want to use the camera's built-in monitor

The GFI houses a built-in flash and 720x1280-pixe'l 'HO' movie recording

A 'peripheral defocus' option aims to enab.le 'easy and fun depth of field control.'. This is for people who are not used to controlling depth of field, although itis adjusted via the camera's aperture in the same way (in other words, it is not software-based).

The GFI also features an 'exposure meter' graphic,

more entries than last year.

Organisers have released two of the winning selection of images in the annual contest, which pulled in a record 43,000 submissions from 94 countries Pictured below left is 'Footsteps' by

displayed to i II.ustr ate sh utter and aperture settings to help newcomers 'understand the relationship' between them.

F u ncti ons a so i ndu d e three frames per second shooting and a 3in (460,OOO-dot resolution) LCD screen

Also new are two Mirro Four Thirds lenses: the Lumix G Vari.o 20mm Ill} 'pancake' and Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm.

The GFI will cost :1:549 body only. It will also go on sale as a kit with a 14-45mm lens and in an OUtfit that 'includes the 20mm optic

(kit prices to be confirmed).

The firm has no plans to

la u nch a version that i nclu d es a built-in optical viewfinder Neither are there moves

to market a new flashgun

to complement the smaller proportions of the GFt

Panasonic also plans to launch 1 OO~ 300mm f/4-.5.6 DIS, .8mm f/35 'flsheye' and 14mm f/2.8 lenses.

• Turn to page 4.5 for

AP's exclusive test of the Panasonic Lumix OMC-GFI

Robert Friel and 'Arctic Fight' by Morten Hilmer.

The contest is sponsored by Veolia Environnement, the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife MagaZine.

The overall winner will be announced in October.

Home Office:

We listened to AP readers


Record entries in wildlife comp

THIS year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition has attracted 33%

CommiHed to defending vour photographic rights!

THE Home Office says

ihalt it lisle ned to concerns @Xfjressed by AD readers when it drew up ITS recently published anti-terrorism guidance on photography in public (see last week's News)

The Govemment issued the circular without notifying the magazine, contrary to the Home OfJice's repeated assu r a nces tha tit wo uld issue a draft version to AP ahead of flna'i publication

A spokesman has since apologised for the apparent mix-up, adding that the

draft had been issued to the National Union of Journalists.

Commenting on the circular, which contains

no speotc reference to photographic enthusiasts, a Home Office spokesman said. 'The Home Office listened to all concerns and requests for clarification ...

'We have no intention of Section 44 or Section

S8a being used to criminalise ordinary people taking photos or legitimate Journalistic activity

'We have issued guidance to all police forces advising them that th ese offences shou I d not be u sed to capture an innocent member of the

p ubi ie, tourist or respon si ble journa list ta ki ng a p hotogr ap h of a police officer.

'These offences are intended to help protect those in the front .1 i ne of ou r counter-terrorism operations from terrorist attack For the offence to be committed, the information would have to raise a reasonable suspicion that it was intended to be used to provid e p r acti ca I assistance to terrorists.'

In March, AP handed the Home Office a file, detailing the experiences of AP readers.

For details visit 'publications' at www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 17


Canon debuts 'first 'touch-screen' IXUS

NON has unveiled he first DigitallXUS arnera to feature a 'touch screen'

The 121-million-pixel Digital 'IXUS 200 IS (pictured), priced !t 329, sports a lens that aim<; to deliver the 35mm viewing angle equivalent of a 24- 120mm lens.

The screen includes Touch AF, so users can select

obJ ects or faces on screen for th e ca mera to trac k an d automatically 'keep in focus', says Canon.

The 3in, 230,000-dot PureColor II Touch LCD allows the photographer to review captured' images by drag.ging th e i r fl nger across th e screen.

iPhone back .. up The latest product nom Clickfl'ee allows photog ra phers to bad! up their photographs using the excess stornge

sPiKe on their iPhone 0 r iPod. Clickfree Trnnsfonner, prked £45, aims toautomaHcally

bad! up photos to the Apple devices when connected to a computer. Software installation is not I~ui red and exisHng iPhonefi Pod data will not

be overwritten, says maker Stornge Appliance Corporation. Vi~1 www.dlckfree.com for more details.

Rare Jackson photos

'Rare' private photos of Michael Jad!son and his

tam ily, many 01 which have never been seen before,

were unea rthed Just in ti me

for What would have been

the late singer's 51sl btrthday on 29 August. The pictures

- released exd usively to

AP - documenl the star's

ea~y yeaJS. Thev were fOIl nd ina collection 01 music and entertainm ent photos captured bypllo!ographer Michael O<hs. For more on Ihis. see next week's i.$Slie.

Portable printer boasts 'voice guidance'

:NEW to Canon's Selphy range of compact portable printers is the ES40, a :I: 179 model that includes a 'voice guidance'system

The voice guidance instructs the user to '$el eet a colour' or 'se I ect the a rea for printing', for example. It also tells the user when the ink ca rtri dge needs cha ng i ng.

The ES40 sports a 3. 5in (230,000-dot resolution) screen and is compatible with 15 types of memory cards, including the microSO type used in mobile phones

Also on board is an Auto Image Optimise function

Mov.ing and tilting the camera a Ilows users to sta rt a nd stop movies, for example

Also unwrapped is the DigitallXUS 120 IS, a :1:299 model described by the firm as an 'ultra-slim' compact. It houses a 12.1-million-pixel

imaging sensor and a 27in, 2 30,000-dot monitor.

Both cameras feature 'HO' video, recording; images at a, resolution of 720x1280 pixels.

They are due in shops in 'early September'

that aims to automatically detect and correct 'image imperfections' An optional Bluetooth adapter will also be available.

Times camp deadlinelaams

A SIX-MONTH stint as a trainee pbotoounalst on The limes is up for gra bs

to the winner of The Times Young Photographer of the Year competition

The winner will also receive a Canon EOS 50 Mark .11 (with 24-70mm 1/2.8 and 70-200mm 1/28 lenses), plus a Speed lite flash and a year's membership to the British Press Photographer's Association.

Six shortlisted candidates will be sent on assignment by The limes picture editor Paul Sanders, from whom three finalists will be chosen.

81 www.amateurphotographer.oo.uk 112 September 2009

Their work will go on show at Canon's Pro Photo Solutions exhibition, due to ta ke place at the Busi ness Design Centre in Islington, London on 27-28 October.

The com petn:i on is :backed by Canon, which this year celebrates 50 years of making SL'Rs.

PreviOUS winners have gone on to establish ca re ers with intematonel news

wire services or national newspapers.

The closing date is

12 September 2009. For details visit wwwtimesonline. co.uk/youngphotographer.

AP's weekly round-up of club news from allover Britain On 9 September (to mark the date 09.09.09) photographers are invned to document life

in Axminster, Devon. TIl e resu Hi ng pictu res are to be hel din a photogra phic arch ive lor posterity. Visit www.axpI10tographV.orQ.uk.

AP expert Tom Mackie del ivers a ta Ik on 14 Septem ber at Bra ncaster S ta ithe Village Ha II, Norfolk PE31 ESP. Th.e event starts at 7.30pm and costs £2.50. For detai~s call 01485 ZIO 013.

The club began ~s new season on

7 Septem ber with a natu ral history theme. Th s yea (5 p rogra m me includes tra i ni ng, talks, practical sessions and themed

comp et~ions. Meetin gs take pia re at Foresters Hall (Marlborough House, first floor), 69 High Street, Kidlin gton, Oxon OX5 20N. Visit www.kidlingtoncameraclub.co.uk.

Send club news to: apeventS@ipcmedia.com

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Your guide to the latest photography books, exhibitions and websites

Website www.benedic~jones.co.uk

AP readers often email us a link to. their website and we always look at wilat they are up to. When we looked at Benedict Jones's site,

we were impressed the high standard of his images. What is most impressive, though, is that Benedict is an A-level photQgraphy student, and to. have such a wide range o.f top-quality images at such a young age is no. mean feat. Benedict has also. had wQrk exhibited at the gallery@oxo in London and his images have been published in two. national magazines,

There are rive main portfolios on the site:

Landscape, Graphic, Abstract. Urban and People. Benedict's passion is 'graphical landscapes', and whi Ie hiS 'Landscape porttol iQ co nta ins a few stark-looking scenes, there are many beautiful riversde views and verda nt vstas. The Gra ph ic

an d Abstract portfolios feature excell erl~ly observed snippets ot life - from close-up mono shots of flowers to car head light trails at night We are sure we will be seeing more from Benedict in the futu re

Gemma Padley

10 1 www.ameteurphotoorepber.co.uk 112 September 20.0.9

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

10 September-1O January 2010.

The Royal Observatory at the National Maritime Museum, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, London SEIO 8XJ. Open Mon-Sun lOam-Spm (last admission 4.3Opm). Tel: 0208 858 4422 Webslte.- www.nmm.ac.uld visitlexhibilJons!astronomy-photographer-ofthe-year. Admission tree

No one really knows what is cut there - the 'there' being space, of course. But that doesn't mean we can't use our cameras to create beautiful, images of the sky at night. Winning and shortiisted images from this year's Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition are about to go on display at The Royal. Observatory in London. The competition is in its first year and coincides with the Intemational Year of Astronomy 2009, which celebrates 400 years of the telescope,

Photographers coo Id enter three categories:

Earth and Space, Our So.lar System, and

Deep Space, and imag.es were uploaded to a dedicated group page on Flickr. The exhibition features photographs of far-off buming cosmoses taken uSing a telesco.pe and camera, but there a re also i mages photog ra ph ed with ordinary DSLR cameras featuring landscapes, people or other 'near~earth phenomena' -

the moon or aurora, for example. Amateur photQgraphers took all fueimages that made the shortlist I n addition to the 20 P ri nts on display, there is a video. screen with a selection Qf some of the best images from the Flickr page. To see more images from the competition viSit wwwflickrco.m/groupS/astropho.tofpool/ Gemma Padley

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Rotherhithe Photographs: 1971-1980

By Geoff Howard

Vane Publishing, paperback, 80 pages, £22.50 (inc p&p), ISBN 978-0-956'389-0~3. COpie5 available from the photographer at WlII/W.geof{ahoward.com

Geoff Howard's book of photographs of 1970s Rotherhithe, a peninsular district along the docks

of London's East End, is unassuming. it doesn't

bowl you over with an ambiguous title or try to wow you with its packaging. But it does grow on you. Once you get past the fashion statements of the day you can see that Howard has provided an intimate portrait of a working class community.

We tend to look back at times past with an air of arrogance and superiority, but Howard's black & white collection suggests, whether he intends it to or not, that all our change has moved us away from the community spirit once shared in places like Rotherhithe.ln his street shots, there are no people lost in their iPods or mobiles. Instead, they're lost

in conversation with their neighbours. Howard is a fantastic documentary photographer and proof that

you don't need to travel to the deserts e' I:.. I . of the Middle East to make a com pelli ng

photo essay. Jeff Meyer



Book review

Lee Frost's Landscape Photography

How to take speaoaso« photographs in 01/ environments

valu e in h is chapters of locationspecific advice. From coasts to canyons,Frost reveals the most photogenic elements and how

you can emphasise them with your camera. The tips and techniques sometimes repeat themselves (he might have been better off telling us when not to

use a polariser), but that's to be expected and there is plenty of good information here. Plus, his supporting pictures are stunning. Jeff Meyer

David & Charles, pap€rback, 144

pages, £12.99, ISBN 978-0-7153-2564-3

So many people have made books like this, but Lee Frost's guides are some of the better titles out th ere. Whi Ie goin g th raug h the bases of u nd erstandin g the lig bt, usn g ~llters an d plan n in g you r trip, F rest's latest ho Ids its

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.oo.uk 111

Letterof the week

wins a. 20-roll pack of 36-exposure FUJifilm Superia

ISO 200 35mm film or a Fujifilm 4GB media card (in a choke of

(0 m pactFlas h, SO or Memory Stick)". The sender of every letter pu bl i sh ed re (eives a free roll of Fujifilm SuperialSO 200 36-exposure film worth £4.99


Share your views and opinions with fellow AP readers every week


Never happy

rrn sure there will be many readers wanting to help Roger Hicks resolve the dilemma he described in AP 22 August, and I am one such person,

Despite his dubious claim to have been a teenager in the 1950s,Roger's picture suggests he is about 100" Heis certainly older than I am (which means more than 77), and I therefore ccnclude that he may have developed that seemingly incurable ccncmon commonly observed among older people (older than me, that is) where nothing pleases As such.l guarantee that he will tire of Aries much more quickly than he has tired of his present abode.

That said, there are many better and more inspirirlg places to live than between an office and a weekend home, but he d.oesn't need to go to the trouble and expense of moving to Aries, I have lived in the same spot in mid-Wales for 22 years, and hope to die here. It was my first country home and I never tire of it I feel excited every morning when I wake up and look out to see what the day looks ,like as it's always different I'm quite certain that Roger could picture it better ~han j_

,Incidentally, Vincent van Gogh left Aries because the police closed his horne there, following an angry pention by the other residents. Shortly afterwards admitted to a mental, hospital in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Upon release, since he could hardly go back to Aries, he apparently went to Auvers to be nearer his brother. Perhaps if he had lived between an office and a weekelld cottage in Aries, there would have been

fewer complaints"

Jeff Walmsley, Powys

Let's hope you live in the same spot in mid-Wales for a #ttJe longer at least - Damien Demo/de" Edff:or

Point of no return

The item in News in AP 29 August, where the fonmer chainman of Jesscps gave his views on the reasons for the company's hnandal problems (much to the annoyance of the cursnt chairman), struck me as an argument that I have believed in for some time.

Years ago, when I visited Iesscos,

it was undoubtedly a photographic shop, stocking new end second-hand equipment, chemicals, papers, films and all sorts of related accessores. Now, when I visit my local branch, I find mysel.f walking around something akin to a computer shop specialising in picture-making.

Film photography has shrunk

to a kitchen shelf with a few boxes

of paper and a limited selection

of chemicals. Recently, I called in to Imd that not even a roll film was on display, yet m in utes late rl discovered' it was for sale in a non-specialist supermarket It's the old story where people say they are not stocking something because there is no demand. Well, in a few years' time people with any knowledge of film will have been replaced by a generation for whom film is totally unfamiliar Sma'il wonder there will be no demand.

I have fewer and fewer reasons for visitin g J essoos as it stocks less and less of interest to me, and I am sure that a large number of potential customers feel the same way. For

J essops to say ~hat you can get

whatever you want by placing an order is basically like dealing with a mail-order company Orl the intemet, but without the price cut Surely, the attraction of a shop i.5 that you Gill see what you like, and buy it there and then.

I have no desire to see Jessops (or any other business) slide into decline, but eventually there comes a point of no return.

M Tomlirn;on, Wrexham

On the (over

I picked up the 29 August copy

of AP to see if I had any success in the Looking Closer round of your Amateur Photographer of the Year competition, and !I couldn't believe my eyes wherli saw my photograph on the cover. Th is is my first-ever cover shot, and deflnirely one for hangirlg on the wall. Many thanks

to all at AP for the cover and the new poillts that bring me a little closer to the top of the leader board I haven't had the cha nce to use last month's prize camera underwater yet, but I've taken some shots that I'm very happy with.

Sean Slevin, Co Wexford, Ireland

We do all right

Chari es Twist says in h is a rtide The long and the thin of it (AP 29 August) that, r Pan ora mic pi ctures are eith er strips of 120 or 220 roll film ... (known as 6x17cm) or are made by stitching together pictures taken on a camera with a smaller aspect ratio'

I have news for Mr Twist While the format he uses may have the edge on alternatives, some of us do very well with Hasselblad XPans and swing~16ns cameras

Harold Gough, Berkshire

YOti hove a swing lens foryour XPan, Harold? Only joking! You are right, of course, as panoramic models exist {or a/moscall {llm{ormats - Damien Demofdet; Editor





Write to Letters, Amateur Photographer,lpe Media, Blue Fin Building, 110 SouthwarkSlreet, London SEI OSU fax 10 020 3148 8130 or email to amateurphotographer@ipcmedia.com

, Please indicate whether vou would like to reteive Fujifilm film or a memory card (please sidle type preferred) and include your full postal address

121 www.emeteurohotorjrapherco.uk 112 September 2009

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A liberating experience

As a photographer for more than 50 years, I was interested to read Graham Horne's letter (AP 8 August) bewailing the possible end of film photography, as my own experience is almost the opposite of his. l.ike him, my first modern camera was an Olympus OM-l with various lenses, andl found it an excellent choice, Unfortunately, I had no darkroom facilities so I worked solely with 35mm colour transparency film; indeed. However, eventually I decided that the proportion of failures to successes was making it too expensive to continue and for some time I gave it up.

The coming of digital photography was a liberating experience, Now that I have paid for the camera, the computer, the printer and memory cards, my photography is effectively cost-free. Instead of a camera and sever allenses, I carry aroun done bridge camera with a 28-400mm

zoom lens, I can edit my pictures

in my lounge, obtaining effects

that would be difficult and timeconsuming, if not impossible, to obtain in the darkroom, and delete the failures without expense. True, the old 'core skills that made a photographer' a re grad ually di sa p pea ri ng,but I doubt if even Mr Home regrets the passing of even older skills such as bromoil and wet-plate processing. The real skills of photography, as in

all forms of art, lie in deciding what effect you want and how to get it, and thiS is no easier to achieve in digital photography than in film.

Jim Brown, london Ell

Indeed it is the dedsion-making process, and the acting upon it, that produces good picwres, but how can you not regret the passing of wet-plate processing? I can't find suppliers anywhere- Damien Demo/der; Editor

Happyal Holkham

A friend and I recently spent a short holiday in 'Norfolk where we visited various stately homes and, as such, became fully acquainted with the usual signs forbidding photography. So, as we approached the front door of Holkham Hall, the traditional home of the Earls of Leicester, and still owned and lived in by the family, my friend and I put cnr cameras in our bags and zipped them up

You can imagine our surprise when the very friendly gentleman who took our tickets, upon noticing our bag5, told us we could take photographs of anything in the house. We couldn't believe our ears 'Anything?' we asked. 'Yes: came the reply As we were in what is possibly the most dramatic marble entrance hall in England, it was only seconds before my camera was out recording thiS large amazing room (see above).

I spoke to one of the room stewards about this refreshing approach and he said' that it was Viscount Coke's belief that those taking photographs would show them to friends who would in turn visit Holkham Hall. For imy part I am pleased to pass on this very we'lcome news and to encourage other AP readers to support thiS enlightened family. Let us hope others may be persuaded to adopt a similar policy. Details and opening hours can be found at www.holkham,co.uk.

Ian Gee, Gloucestershire

Viscount Coke for president! - Damien Demo/del; .Editor


I 5 photography documentation or art? This question has been at the heart of photographic practice from the word go. It is tempting to believe that the camera renders an exact view of the world, that photographs are SCientifically accurate copies of reality. And in a way, that's true. Realism has always been a central strand in photography: we think of the camera as a documentary or even scientific tool. Thus photographic practices such as photojournalism, street photography, scientific imaging and the millions of snaps taken by people to chronicle their lives are based on the principle that the camera never lies. We assume that what we see in a photo exists or has existed.

However, even the most scientific photograph is a representation - a 're-oresentetton - of reality: an artefact, not the real thing, As such, it is open to interpretation. With such things as camera angles and darkroom tricks, photographers have always been able to pull the wool over our eyes. Today, digital. photography and image-manipulation software have further weakened photography's daim to veracity.

We shouldn't forget, either, that photography's artistic, creative, symbolic and expressive side has always clamoured for attention. The camera developed from the camera obscure, a device used for centuries by artists as a drawing aid. The artistic impulse of early photography is clear in the work of Oscar Gustave Rejlander, particular.ly in his 'The two ways of life' photograph (1857). Drawing inspiration from narrative and religious art, Rejlander produced his own symbolic world in this ambitious combination print depicting virtue and vice. My point is that many photographers have used photography as a way to express their vision of the world, much as artists use paint and other media to give form to their own vision.

Why am I talking about this? I have realised that I am more interested in using cameras to express my personal view of the world than to produce copies of reality: I want vision, not verisimilitude. Of course, I still take photos to record and document, and many of my photos are depictions of recognisable people, places, objects and events. But what really excites me is using a camera and post-processing tools to create my reality. I want my photos to express my feelings and my thoughts. If this requires lens distortion, blur, false colours, cloning, noise, colour cast, curves, levels, cropping, burnt-out highlights, blocked shadows and all the

rest, then bring it on.

I'm building my world,

not the world. My aim

is art, however modest.

.; "' I want my photos

to express my feelings and my thoughts. If this requires lens distortion, blur and false mlours , then bring it on r

AP reader Steve Brewer is trying to capture a world of his own making

Your thoughts or views (about 500 words) should be sent to'Backchat' at the usual AP address (see page 3). A. fee 01 £50 will be paid on Dublication

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.oo.uk 113

Photo .Insight David (lapp

The APexperts

Earn wee~ one of our team of experts of Steve Bloom, David Oapp, Tom Mackie and CI ive Nichols will reveal the secrets behind one of their great images. This week it's David Clapp

./ DAVIDCLAPPLandscape ••. Our landscaDe and travitl

ex pe rt. Base din 9 10 rioll5 • . .

south D eva n David is

represented by seven

stock agencies worl dwide J

BRIXHAM, in SOU~.h Devon,. ls a dsssc seaside town. With a .strong fishing community, it's a complementary balance of pavement fish boxes, upturned ice cream, net mending and .intelligent gulls As a local.skipperin my early 20s,landing at Brixham on a high tide was always a treat. As we glided throug h the entr an ce, th e co 10 urful houses rising out of the harbour sat stacked I ike a n ex pecta nt th eatre audience, the sea walls lined with children clutching crab lines and brig ht buckets.

One summer evening at the start


of my digital photographic journey, I got it into my head that nearby Sharkharn Point was the place to

be for a return dawn. A bungled film experiment on the Brixham coast the previous year had left its card,

so this was unfinished business.

That morning, l.slipped down dewy-wet cliffs in tr a i ne rs to r u ina, beautiful coastal dawn with exposure compensation, every shot grossly underexposed. The failure had me

so enraged that it was a huge dent

in my conJid.ence. I am certain it was thiS moment alone that defined my hatred for fi·lm photography. So there

I was again at pre-dawn, this time armed with digital confidence, my (anon EOS 50 primed, but cursing once more. There was the 'band of cloud', my meteorological nemesis, the shapeless damp duvet of doom, blocking all chance of a rematch. This thick cloud layer spends its rime ruining my dawn shots, just mine, all the time ~ or that's how it felt asl stomped childishly back to the car

It was time for a cup of tea. The cafes open early in Brixham to fuel fishermen before they fuel their trawlers. Motionless herring gulls stared with cold eyes asl turned

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cobbled street corners. The tide

was unusually high, so I forgot the tea and walked around, There wasn't a breath of wind, just soft morning harbour sounds, Looking from

left to right the whole town was perfectly inverted, I could capture a breathtaking high-tide panoramic, but as I opened my camera bag I suddenly realised - I have no idea how to stitch a panorama!

With a Tamron 28-70mm 1/2.8 attached to my Canon EOS 5D, I was certain 21111 had to do was level the tripod, put the middle of the scene in the centre of the viewfinder and take a few shots in a sweeping action from left to right So without a bubble level in sigh!, I bungled

my first panorama with a few haphazard images, lined up by

eye, and just prayed it would work back home, The camera was set

'in manual mode to fl20 and this worked to smooth out the slight ripples, but in hindsight this 'hsec shutter speed wasn't intentional.

I was concentrating too much on lining things upl took just three

I and scape -0 rienlated s hots to capture this huge scene. Looking

t5~ This thick cloud layer spends its time ruining my dawn shots, just mine, all the time - or that's how it felt ~~

back now,1 realise my method was very crude.

With, automated merging software ben gin its infancy, the edibn g took many hours. Algorithms were grinding hard drives and steam was pouring from my insufficient PC as rny first 270MB image was born. The ed'ges didn't line up perfectly, so I tweaked the limited settings again and again, finally giving up, putting on my retouching overalls an d getting under the bonnet This image was worth the effort The computer had ta ken it as fa r as it COU Id; it was up to me to push it home. AP

To o;ee more pictures by DaVid Clapp visit www.davidclapp.(o.uk

David Clapp Photo Insight

Talking technique

Since my first bungled attempt, my technique and equipment have become much better. I nDW use a Really Right Stuff Single Row Psnn Kit [www. reallyrightstuffcomito make rotational panoramas. Here's a checklist .of consreranms when preparing to ShODt a simp~e rotating stitched panorama:

• Choose a walk·around zaern lens lor scenes like the harbour shot [below!. as this will help you trams the image better • Put the camera in vertical orientation. It is far better to ShDDt seven or eight vertical images than tWD Dr three images in la ndscape like I did., as there will be far less distortion

[more on this below I

• Level the tripod :legs with a spirit bubble, checking that the camera is level as you turn through the scene from .0 ne si d e tn the other

• Use a cable release Dr 2sec timer with mirrDr luck-up enabled to keep yuur hands .off the camera during exposures, .otherwise some shots in the sequence could be sett

• Set your camera te raw mode,


manual mode and the white balance tD daylight Dr similar. Avoid all auto modes, including auto white balance. Each shot's eqmsure has to be technically identical for seamless merging

• Avoid shooting with the lens wide open Set the lens to tl8-Ullto avoid vignetting on each exposure, .otherwise the software wiU have a difficult time stitching the skies

• 'Meter the camera on the brightest part .of the scene and take a lest shot Use this as your setting, .otherwise you will swing the camera into a brighter area as y.oU move the camera through the scene and blow the highlights

• Watch the clouds before you start. It can take up to a minute to make seven exp.osures, so ensure the light levels remain ccnsisteet otherwise your picture willlo.ok inconsistent

• Leave plenty of overla p ro am between images fer the stitching. software tu U S8

• Excessive wind and other movement will cause all manner of problems. You need stitl c.onditiDns .otherwise the software wi II t ite ra lly alwa ys I aiL It may mean visiting the scene again and again

On the computer ••• lin raw software, make any celnur corrections on Just one image, then copy and paste the same cnrectiens onto the other images in the sequence

2 0 nee co nverted to 16 - b it T IFF, co r rect lens distortion on each picture using software like PTLens [www.epaperpress. coml before open ing the images in stitching settwae. This will help align the images more accurately

3 Be prepared to retcueh. Sometimes pictures just will net g.o t.ogether with.out strange .overlaps, no matter how many times y.oU attempt the stitch. Be methodical and scrutinise y.our ret.ouching as it will make or break

the final result

4 Save the archive file at the highest resolution. You can print an enormous image from a seven-shot perneit stitch, but it will not be necessary for most requirements. Having a 200-million-pixel image may be consdsred an incredible achievement. but it's likely to end up reduced in size lor most printing uses

12 September 20091 www.ernateurphotoqrepher.co.uk 115


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A unique opportunity to photograph Inside the House of LO.l'ds with Britain's highest decorated'press photographer, Mi'ke Ma'ioney oer:

Mike Maloney has won over 100 major photographic awards and in 2005 became the first ~Fleet Street" photographer to have been awarded the aBE for services to photo-joumafsm .. Three times voted Press Photographer of the year, he was Chief Photographer for the Mirror Group Newspapers before turning freelanoein 2002. He also has numerous .Royal tours to his credit, as well as photographing world leaders such as Clinton, .Reagan, Gorbachev and Yeltsin,. with resulting invitations to dine at both The White House and the Kremlin.

Morning session

• An illustrated talk by Mike Maloney inside the House·of Lords

• Mike Maloney will answer questions and offer advice and assistance Afternoon session

• A practlcal session with Mike Maloney in which he will set a photographic. challenge, for which a prize will be offered

• James Banfield, Head of Nikon Professional SUPJXlrt from Nikon UK and Simon Stafford, Technical Editor of Nikon Owner magazine, will also be available throughout the aftemooo

Evening at the 100 (Institute of Directors)

• A celebratory three-course dinner,. created by an award-winning chef in the beautiful historic surroundings onne 100,116, Pall Mall, london. The Institute of Directors is a magnificent Grade I listed, Crown Estate building, close to tI1e Mall, Trafalgar Square and St James' Park.

Welcome and opening address by Andrew Main Wlison, Chief Operating OffICer of the 100, who is also a wor1d~renowned travel photographer and Nikoo user.

Cost including dinner at the 100: £245.00 (£195.00 for members of Nikon Owner)

How to Book Your Place al the House of Lords PhotographicWorkshop

To reserve a place at the House of Lords Photographic Workshop, please call 020 7828 4925 or forlntemational calls, telephone + 44 (0)20782.64925 between 10.00 a.m.- 5.30 p.m. Please note mat there will only be a limited number of ticketsavaiJable ..


N Ikon UK have kindly donated a new Nlkon 0300S camera for thellest Image 01 the day.

• Subscribing; to the Nikon Owner group allows you to receive a £50 discount off this worl<sllop, a discount off other photographic evenings and courses, a three-year warranty available on yoIJr new Nikon Purchases from Grays of Westminster, use of a c{)mprehensive technical helpline and the interactive website, as well as the prestigious

quarterly Nikon Owner Magazine. The price of an annual subscription to the Nikon Owner group is £59 .. 00. Sponsored by N!ikon

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Colourful (andids Reader Masterclass

In assoclation with

HE sound of bagpipes fills

the air and' swishes of tartan clothing catch in the wind. For

this month's Reader Masterdass, three photographers from Moray Camera Club join Bob Barclay at The Lump amphitheatre in Portree on the Isle of Skye to capture the colour, character and carnival atmosphere of the Isle of Skye Highland Games.

From track and field events, i nclu ding th e famous tossi ng of th e ca ber and hammer throwing, 10 piping and Highland danCing, a traditional Scottish Highland Games always guarantees a li\l0ly day out Safety restrictions meant the sports field itself was off limits, but th e dancers, pipers and spectators all around provided ample opportunities to create exciting images.

'I'm .Iooking for bold dose-ups of competitors and crowd members,

full of action and colour/says Bob. 'Experiment with your aperture to throw the background out of focus and think about orealing light interesting crops, such as coming in close on the feet of dancers or the hands of a piper.



Experiment with motion blur or use fast sh utter speeds to freeze the action and think about your shoobng angle: you don't always have to shoot

from eye .leveL'

The photographers were each equipped with a Samsung GX~20 with 18-55mm and 50-200mm lenses. Bob reminded the participants to choose a lens and focal length to

suit the composition they were trying to create. 'Try a few wideangle shots to capture the atmosphere of the scene, but if you use a greater depth of field, make sure you think about your background and shoobng angle to avoi d d istr acti ngl su bJects: he says. Bob was on hand to advise, but it was down to the readers to produce punchy pictu res.


BO B BAR(lAY wo rked a s a to p Fleet Street photographer for more than 30 years, but left photojournalism in 1998 to set up his own studio and photography business in Surrey. During his career, he has covered news assignments in the UK and abroad, and got the first picture

of the OE2 in mid-Atlantic as it

bra u g ht t reop sham e fro m the

1982 Falklands War.

Born in Scotland, Bob worked for a Scott i sh news a!l€n<r before movin!l til London in 1968. He has worked for'1"1l£I Daily Telegraph', the Press Association and EXpress

n ewspa pers, and now freelances. To see Bob's images,

visit www.

ro bertba rc I av photography. com.

1.2 September .20091 www.arnateurphotoprapher.co.uk 119

Reader Masterciass (olourful (andids

Plain-cololJred backdrops like this marquee make great clean backgrounds 50-200mm, 1/3000sec at f/5_6, ISO 1600

Linda creates an abstract image by coming in close on these colOlJrful drum reflections

18-55mm, 1/250sec at fI/5,6, ISO 800

~ ? I still need to work on the technical aspects of capturing action, but I now feel more mnfident in my ability ij"

Bob says

UndB was very good at cropping and she had' an eye for colour When she was panning with the action, some of her images were slightly out of focus so I explaned how to use continuous focusing to make them

sharp. I also reminded Linda to vary her shooting angle, Low angles work especially well for capturi ng a ction that is close to you because yeu can create a sense of drama and excitement. Linda's drum

ima,ge (above) demonstrates a subtle use of colour and inventive use of reflection She has used a bold crop, but has sn II i nd uded the kilts in the frame, which adds to the Scottish context The bold crop draws attention

to the coloured reflections and shows she was thinking about how to frame her compositions. Linda was great at spotting detail and

I liked how she didn't give

up until' she got the p ictu re she wanted. She had great

enthusiasm, too, In her other image (top), the girl is deep

in co ncentr alron Lin d a has captured a great expression and mood, and the tent in the background provides a dean backdrop. which makes the

su bject sta nd out I t is a ti g htly cropped, composition, but there is still some space to the left of the frame If linda had shifted her shooting angle slightly to the right she could have removed this space, but as its rands it is an exce II e ntly observed image,

201 www.emateurphotoorepber.co.uk 112 September 2009

Unda McMahon Age 52

lives Morav

Oc-<upation Training facilitator for wuncil Photographic interests

A bslra d photog ra p hv

When I'm out taking pictures, I tend to concentrate on a single subject or stay in one place until I get a shot I am happy with, but on this occasion I tried using different shooting angles and moved around a lot more. Bob's tuition was useful and I tried to keep the brief in mind throughout the day 10 make sure I ga.ve all the different techniques a go.

I had a good selection of shots by the end of the day, including some with blurred backgrounds or where .1 had concentrated on a small detaiL I enjoyed shooting from a low angle because you can create interesting effects, but this wasn't always appropriate because you risked looking up people's kilts! I could seethe image

I wanted to create .in my mind, but achieving it was more of a challenge. I. still need to work on the technical aspects of captunnq action, but I now feel more confident in my ability to use different shutter speeds to create a ra nge of effects.

It was easy to feel a little overwhelmed at the start because there was so much going on, but I began to tune my eye into individual subjects and became more focused as the day went on. I was thinking carefully about my choice of subject and Where I was standing to take my shots; I also paid close attention to the settings I was using.

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Graham Clark Age50

lives Morav

Occupation Electrical engineer Pholographic interests

Wildlife and sports photog raphv

I enjoy photographing. liVe events because there is always so much going on. I'm not overly confident when approaching people, but as the day progressed my confidence grew and most people were happy to be photographed.

I was drawn to the runners and competitors because I wanted to capture movement I used the telephoto lens to get in dose to the action and changed my shutter speed depending on the effect I wanted to create. I used a shutter speed of 1/30sec when photographing the long jumpers and panned with them to capture the blUr as they moved. I also switched the camera to a multi~.shot setting so I could take several exposures in quick succession.

There were numerous subjects to photograph throughout the day and Bob encouraged us to experiment with our compositions - to try a different viewpoint, experiment with a larger aperture and focus on subject details such as parts of bagpipes, Which I tried to do. I don't usually work to a brief, but it focuses your mind and makes you think about the images you are taking.

r J There were numerous subjects to photograph throughout Ute day and Bob encouraged lIS to experimentJ~

Colourful (andids Reader Masterclass

Bob encouraged the photographers to zoom in dose on small details, such as this piper's fingers

50~200mm, 1/9Qsec at 1/56, ISO 200

Bob says

Graham was very good

at 'finding' a picture. From the start he was th i n ki ng: carefully about his cropping. Graham's image of the

little girl (below) works because it is spontaneous He has captured her expression beautifu Ily an d used a shallow depth of field to make his subject stand out from the background You need:

qu ick reactions to capture

a shot like this, and Graham was great at antici pati ng when to II re til e sh utter Th e kilts in the background and the flag blowing in the wind combine to create a very Scotnsh-lcokl n g picture. In his other image (le!t), Graham draws attention to the piper's fin gers by fill i ng the frame with his subject. He has captured scme movement

in the ha nds but the overa II image is sharplma.ges of dose-up details only work

if the .backgroun d is blurred

a nd here it gives d efl n mon

to the edges of the Jingers, making. the subject stand

out even more


12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.oo.uk 121

Reader Masterciass (olourful candids

22 I www.arneteurphotoqrapher.co.uk 112 September 2009

Bob says

Phil was confident and took a lot of pictures, but some of his early images were repetitive, At live events it is easy to see an interesting subject and keep pressing the shutter without varying your shooting position, so I reminded him to move around: his subject

rather tha n stay in th e sa me p I'a ce Phil's winning image (above) is a very bold crop and he has deliberately not included the girl's head in the frame

By cropping out her head, Phil draws attention to the girl's arms on her hips; if you look close,ly, you can see the girl's knuck'ies are clenched so hard they have turned white. This emphasises

the tension and anticipation all the performers must have felt The stern expresSion of ~he judge adds to the tense atmosphere. The deep shadows and reflected light from the white ground make ths a dif1icult scene to expose for, so Phil has done well to achieve a correctly exposed image without burning out the highlights, His other image (left) shows good use of colour. Here, Ibold areas of red and yellow are juxtaposed and Phil has angled hs camera slightly down to

give an interesting perspective,

Phil Galloway

Age 53

lives Banffshire O«upalion Retired Photographi( interests Landscapes

I wanted to get an overview of what the Games were about For me, that meant capturing the expressions of the onlookers and competitors.

I. was looking out for interesting characters to photograph and tried to include 'clean' backdrops in my compositions. If the subject was a dark colour, I. looked for a light-coloured backdrop

to complement it. When I wanted to show the environment 01 the dancers, for exarnple, I tried to choose backgrounds that told the viewer something about the context of the Games.

The day was quite overcast so I kept an ~e on my ISO setting and switched to ISO 800 for some of the time. I mainly used the camera in apertureprioritY mode sol could control my aperture, but I occasion ally used shutter priority. Th is was useful for photographing the competitors as I could use a slow shutter speed to capture the movement in the arms of a hammer thrower, for example. I'm going on a five-week trip abroad very soon and 'people photography' is high on my list of things to do - this day was great training for that.

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In conclusion ...

As the sun and

sound of bagpipes began to fade, it was dear the photographers had wholeheartedly embraced:

the cllall en ges of th e day. Packed crowds meant it wasn't always eijSY to create uncluttered images, but the three pa rti ci pan 15 ad a pled

by choosing their shooting angles carefully and cropping in creative,imaginative ways.

'I was impressed by how qu i ckly th e readers picked

up the different techniques: says Bob. 'As the day went on, they became more adept at adjusting their photographic approach to suit their subject They experimented with aperture control, and came

in close on details and were aware of the backgrounds they were using. The day

was quite cloudy and they altered their ISO depending on how the .Iight changed.

All three gradually became more confident when

photographing people and made sure they moved around their subjects rather than staying in one place.

'Approaching people is never easy, but they had

the courage to seek out unique candid images Most impressively, they looked for expressions on peop I e's faces, which is key to capturing the atmosphere of a live event Overall, they showed great enthusiasm and created

some truly excellent ,images'

'When taking pictures

at live events, using a: wide a pertu re to throw the background out of focus

is a good way to minimise dis tr acti ng detail a nd focus attention on you r subject; says Bob. 'The longer your focal. length, the more

you will be able to blur

the background, so use a telephoto lens if you have

Colourful (andids Reader Masterclass

one. Wideangle lenses are excellent for adding impact to a foreg rou nd su b ject, 'but you have to be careful with your choice of background. A wideangle lens will give

a greater depth of field so any distracting elements

will be more obvious in your composition. Even if you

are using a shallow depth of f eld you sn II need to thi nk

Bob took this image from a low angle to focus attention on the colou rful kill as it billowed in the wind. He used a shutter speed of 1 {500sec to freeze the motion, but

the fanlike shape of the skirt creates a sense of movement

about how your background will look. In Phil's image

of a piper, (below left) the backg rou n dis blu rrsd but

the girl doesn't stan d out as much as she could. If Phil had zoomed in closer using his telephoto lens, or changed his vantage point to include fewer spectators, he could have made the background less busy. Phil's other image (left) of a different girl is a much 'cleaner' composition. He

has used a large aperture to blur the background, but also made sure the background subjects .balance with the main foreground subject. You can just see a runner making his wcry towards the viewer, but heis not competing for attention with th e girl.

To see more images by

Bob Barclav, vi'ii' WWW.

robe rl bard aypbolograp by. (om Special thJllks to the Isle of Skye Highland Games. For more informaiion vis t www.skye-

hi g hla n d- games. (uk

Reader Masterclass Every month we set three AP readers an assignment over the course of a day. Each partidpant will use a 14MP Sam sung GX·20 OSLR fitted wilh a stan da rd 18·55mm worn, thou~ h Silmsu ng SlI p P lies olher Ie rses for s p eeific su bi eels. The person who takes the photograph Judged the best picture of the day will win a Samsung GX ·20 wilh an 18 -55 m m ler.s, wort h £700.

If you would like to take part, send a letter, including your age, photographic interests and daytime phone numlm,lo: Reader Mastercim, Amateur Photo grapher, IPC Media, Blue nn Building, 110 Southwa rfc Sire-et, London SEI OSU or email us at amaleurphotographer@ipcrnediuom.

5UOscn'oo 0645 676 me

'Ihanks to SamsImg for providing all the read ers tak ing part this mo nth with a Silmsung GX·20 kit and SamsunQ SD memory carr!. The Sa mSUI1Q GX-20 is a 14M P DSLR wit h

aelva need features, great ha ndling and h ig h image ~ua I it y, aimed at the e nlhusiast photogra p her. Visit www.samsungcamera.m.uk. AP test soore 85% (24 May 2008).

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 123


professional. every tune

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24 I www.amateurphotoqrapherco.uk 112 September 2009

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Make the most of. ..

(olin Va,rndell explains why late summer offers a wide range of hidden gems for enthusiastic macro photographers

ATE summer is an excellent time for macro nature photography, as there are &till

plenty of insects and: late summer flowers, as well as some of the early autumn subjects like cobwebs, nuts

a nd colourful berries. The fl rst signs of fu ng i are j ust begi nn ing to a ppear. an d mosses and lichens will be sprouting

lush new growth. Macro photography at th is ti me of yea r ca n be great fu n, and it need not cost a lot of money, either. All you have to do is add: a dioptre or an extension tube to a short zoom and you are ready to take amazing close-ups So why not take advantage of th e great flora an d fa una in the British countryside,

Add a dioptre

Accessory close-LIp lenses or dioptres are single-el,ement lenses similar to magnifying glasses These dioptres screw into the front element filter

th rea d to provide an i nex pensi ve alternative to splashing out on a macro lens. They come in a variety of strengths and are available in sets of

-t- 1, +2 or +4 dioptre magnification, Dioptres are also available to fit Cokinstyle square filter systems, as well

as lens filter th reads, Add a d i optre

to a bridge or a compact camera to achieve amazing close-up detail, The picture (right) shows a golden-ringed dragonfly shot in late summer.

Late Summer Macro Photography


12 September 20091 www.erneteurphotoqrapher.co.uk 125

Macro Photography late Summer

Use a third hand

A third-hand device is an essential macro accessory for holding small subjects like twigs or ferns in place. It will enable you to support or oosinon subjects Just where you want thsrn.in the best light and with the most complementary background_

A third hand can provide endless possibilities when positioring your own printed (matt-

FI n ish )backg rou nds.

Focus carefully

Depth of field in close-up photography is at a premium, and the closer you go the more this reduces. The point of focus is therefore critical and anotocus is rarely a reliable option in such situations. A subject may look sharply focused in the viewfinder and even on an LCD panel, but always check this by enlarging. part of the image, or use Live View if your camera has that tuncton. YOLI can even change the appearance of an image by focusing on a different plane_ ln thiS pair of pictures of a teasel head, both were shot at maximum aperture but me paint of focus was changed by Just a couple of millimetres to produce an entirely different effect.

261 www.amateurphotoqrepher.co.uk 112 September 2009

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Late Summer Macro Photography

Nikon D200, 150mm macro, 1/1 Osee at f{S,ISO 100, auto white balance

Check your composition

The look of a macro subject can change dramatically by viewing it from different angles. Remember to consider how the subject looks from above and below as weAl as side-on. Also, if pcsslble, move around

tne subject to view it from all sides as this may produce different backgrounds. These three pictures of sulphur tuft toadstools demonstrate how an different effect can be achieved just by changing the viewing angle.

Nikon FIOO, 10Smm macro, 1/15sec at f/l1, Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fine-tune compositions

A'ithough we can crop and change things with software later.it ,is still the best policy to flnetune compositions in-camera at the time of shooting as much as possible, This will help to preserve maximum information. With close-up pattern details, I like to make sure they either fill the frame completely to bleed off every edge, ensuring there are no gaps in the comers, or to give the subject room and show the entire pattern with space all around it These two shots of the same fungus were taken to illustrate these two approaches to macro patterns,

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 127

Macro Photography late Summer

Consider the angle of light

Look at your subject from different angles to see how it appears with ambient light striking it in front or from behnd These two shots of s.ilk button galls on an oak leaf demonstrate the extreme different effects of front and back lighting. In the shotimmediatE'ly above, with the light coming from behind, the galls appear to be almost floating above the leaf.

28 I www.arnateurphotoprapher.co.uk [12 September 2009

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Late Summer Macro Photography

Use a mirror to fill in shadows

In macro mode, we have the opportunity

to play around with ambient light on sunny days. Try shading the sun when it is high or harsh and refl ect it back a nto the su bject from a lower angle with a small mirror, These blackberry pictures were shot in natural sunlight For the shot on the left, the berries were shaded from the sun and a, mirror was used to reflect the sunlight horizontally to simulate light at the end of the day

Try shooting close-ups of morning d €Ow at tuII a pertu re, This ma kes any out-of-focus highlights look like bubbles, Shooting into the light emphasises the highlights (see left), but take care to shade the front element of the lens to prevent fl are. T he pi cture below

is of dewdrops on moss spore capsules, shot in early morning

'I Nikon D200, 150mm macro, 1/13sec at f18, ISO 100, cloudy white balance

Keep the camera parallel

The closer you get to a small subject, the more you decrease depth of field. Check that the back of the camera ,is parallel with the overall plane of your subject in order to make the most of what little depth of field can be achieved, Both these images were shot at f/8 on a 150mm macro lens. The shot on the left has very little sharpness because the camera back. was not parallel to the bracken The camera was moved into a more parallel position for the shot on the right, which shows more of the bracken fronds in focus

Nikon D2x, 200mm macro, 1/1600s& at f/4, ISO 100, auto white balance

To see more of Colin's images visit www.wlinvarndell.tl).uk, Colin will be holding two one·dav autumllilature workshops on 3 October (fungi and macro) and 30 October (New Forest autumn colour). Visit his website for more details


12 September 2009 I www.arnateurphotoprapher.co.uk 129



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36 1 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 112 September 2009

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, Ferdinand Hurter 1844-1898

I Vero Charles Dr"ffield 1848-1915

Geoffrey Crawley looks at the lives of two men who made a huge impact on photography and gave their initials to the first film speed system

I WHENweadJustthe Curves and Levels in an imag.e-editing program or study 1fl e characteristic curve of a film or the dynamic range curve of a digital camera, we are following in the footsteps of the pioneers Ferdinand Hurter and Vero Charles Driffleld, also known as H&D. They laid 1fle foundaucns for modern sensitometry, which is the science of the response to light of a recording medium.

Although of similar ages, the two men came from quite different

, backgrounds Hurter was bomin Schaffhausen, Switzer.land, while Driffleld was born in Preston, lancashire. After a high school education, 19-year-old Hurter became an apprentice in a silk dyeing works, while studying parttime at the Zurich Polytechnic He was so successful on the course that his tutor gained a place for him at Heidelberg University in Germany. There he studied climatology, stoichiom etry, a nd an a Iytica I an d organic chemistry Graduating summa cum laude, the top honours degree, he came to England and took a post at Gaskell, Deacon & Co in Widnes, Cheshire. There he was rapidly promoted to works chemist, where he met Vero Driffield.

Dr'iffle.ld, though a Lancastrian, I spent his chil'dhood in London

Vero Charles Driffleld (far right) and Ferdinand Hurter,inventors of the H&D film speed system


before returning north to attend tne liverpool (ollegiate Institution and Sandbach Grammar School. As a lS-year-old he became interested

in photography and in 1865 worked lor six months in Henry Sampson's photographic studio in Southport, learning the wet-plate process and emulsion preparation In 1871, after serving as an apprentice, Driffleld joined Gaskell, Deacon & Co as works engineer Following the amalgamation w.ith United Alkali in 1890, he became works manager.

H&D became friends throu.gh

a mutual. interest in music, and Driffleld encouraged Hurter to

take up pictorial photography As a sci €nti st. Hurter was exasperated

by the ignorance of exposure determination and of how light acted on 1fle emulsion. He invented a device, the Hurter a cti nometer, for

measu rin g th e stren gth of dayl ight Oriffleld realised 1fle advantages of

a sdentmc a pp roach a nd assisted

in an improved model, enabling ~he light to be continuously monitored during the day, and from day to day. A year's data, when analysed, provided a seasonal exposure calculator. Since photographers prepared their own emulsions, it was also necessary

to determine their sensitivity They decided to assess it on the volume 01 light needed to overccme what they termed: the 'inertia' of an emulsion and record a minimum density.

At that time, the wet-plate was being replaced by the modem dry-plate, gelati no-bromide process. Now plates could be manufactured and sold retail in boxes. The need to rate their sensitivity was becoming imperative. As an extension of their work on the actinometer, H&D

Icons of Photography

-- - - - -----1

designed an instrument to give a I

precise exposure to a plate un der test:

a sensitometer They used the British standard candle and a ferrous oxalate developer rather thsn an organic

one. Both were criticised, as was their concept of a precise exposure The results of their work were announced

in a paper to the Society of Chemical Industry on 31 May 1890 called Photochemical Investigations and a

New Method of Determination of the Sensitiveness of PhotDgmphic Plates.

The density (degree of transparency) of the developed silver from an exposed step wedge was measured. Each step's value was then plotted on a graph against

the exposure level producin9 it. The result was the H&D curve. It is still often rele rred to as such, tho ug h

th e terms 'ch a r a cteri s tic cu rve' for film and 'dynamic range' for digital camera sensors are commonly used. By determining the exposure inertia point and giving it a number, plate users had a reliable emulsion speed number: the H&D speed The system was taken up by the leading London firm Marion and Co. Soon plates came in boxes with the H&D Qpeed on the label. It was the forerunner of the now global ISO speed! system.

Apart from this, the pair made many other contribubons of lasti ng value to ph owgraphy. Hurter d iedin 1 898 and Driffield ceased photographic research. We should remember that the works manager and the works chemist of Unitedi AJkali did all their photographic research in the.ir leisure time: amateurs indeed par excelercel AP

--- --------------------

12 September 2009 I www.arnateurohotoprepher.co.uk I ~

Expert advice,. he:lp and tips from AP Editor Damien Demolder

Howto submit your pictures

Se~d up to six pri~ts, slides or images on CD (please i~dude the origin a I fi les from th e ca m era along with you r su b m itte d versions on your CD), Tell us a little about the pictures and, if you can, i ncl ude d eta ils of equ ipme nt used an d ex posu re se ttin g5,

Send your photographs to 'Appraisal' at our usual address (see page 3), Please endose

an SAEif you would like them returned.

Hoopoe Frank Harris

Canon EOS 400D, 28-135mm, 1/400sec at f/5.6

Bird photography is very difficult,

as I'm sure any bird enthusiast will know. First, you've got to "lind an interesting subject, then you've got

to get close enough to fill the frame and make a good picture. I tend to

fall at both hurdles. Frank, though, has sent ina collection of pictures that demonstrate that he is able to find interesting subjects and get close to them, I've chosen this picture of a hcopoe. It's certainly an interesting bird, and Frank has got close to filling the trame. I suspect he's done a bit of cropping,but that doesn't matter, as it's sharp, nicely composed, with the whole bird' inoluded and its head in the rig ht place

My only problem ,is that beyond the fact that it's an unusual-looking bird, there's nothing. of any real interest happening, Whether or not it was Frank's intention, he's captured a

very factual photograph that presents the bird in a fine pose and in a lot of detail. I suspect that if you're really into birds then you'll find this fascinating. However, it doesn't make me go 'Wowl' Perhaps it lacks creativity.

Given how difiicult it is to take

this type of picture, I rea I ise th at th is criticism might sound harsh, but the point of taking photographs is to

get people's attention, and beyond being a we.ll-photographed subject the picture does little to grab my attention. However, I'd be interested to know what other readers think: am I being. harsh or not? I have seen what I Jud.ge to be brilliant pictures of

birds, but they appeal to me because they are photographically interesting or presented in a dynamic way. To me this is a bit static, but it's a good natural history-type picture, and no doubt very educational. I just find it

d iffl cult to get excited! by rt

And the heavens rained fire Charles Woodford

Canon EOS 400D, 70-300mm, l/30sec at fill, ISO 100

38 I www.ameteurphotoorapher.co.uk [12 September 2009

Charles says that one of his photographic ambitions is to get his pictures published in the UK's best photo magazine - well, Charles, here's one to get you started. His picture shows the River Forth, looking north-west towards Kincardine

bridge, Stirling and the mountains beyon d C h a rl es has used a neutra I density g radu ated filter to hold back the exposure in the sky and,like his title exclaims, the heavens really are raining fire in a very dramatic shot He has captured a fantastic moment with

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See your pictures in print

Dami~n's pi(tureotthew~ek wins a ,J' E.~.: 5' 5·0 p" 5" £50 Jessop, store voucher. The two

run ne rs-u p each wi n a m vouche r to

spend on photobooks from Jessops'

online service at www_jeS5Gpuom YOUR PICTURES. OUR PASSION.

Resting porter Quinton Murray

Canon EOS 40D, SOmm,l/800sec at f/2, ISO 100

Quinton is only 18 years old, but he says he's been taking pictures since

I he was five, when he was given a sinqle-use camera while in Nepal.

He says the on Iy barrier so far has been when a monkey jumped down in Pashupathinath in Nepal and stole his camera, thinking it was a banana. However, I can't think ot any camera that looks like a banana, unless it was a Minolta Vectis underwater camera that is painted bright yellow,

Quinton says that Nepal is his favourite subject. particularly the people of the region. This picture of a resting porter was taken in the foothills of the Himalayas. He's used a wide aperture of f/2 to create a really shallow depth of field, although because he's using a SOmm

lens on a Canon EOS 400 he's got the slightly telephoto effect of a 75mm optic It is this combination of focal length and aperture that has created a fantastic picture There's just enough depth of field to keep the porter in focus, and there's enough detail in the out-ot-locus areas for us to clearly see that there is a rope bridge sweeping through the jungle.

The focus is excellent, and although QUinton seems

to have focused on the man's shoulder (so I suspect

the camera was set to autotocusl when bhe picture

is blown up to its normal size you can see the marrs eyelashes, his hair and detail in his T-shirt. Wh<lt also helps is the soft lighting, which looks a bit like studio lighting because it is coming directly from above. There's no light coming from the sides because it's in a Jungle, and so the only place for the light to come in is through the canopy overhead and through the break in the trees where the bridge is constructed. There's also a 'bit of light reflecting back from the wood of the bridge,

giving a little fill light

Th e effect Quinton has ach ievedis just g re.at; the exposure is absolutely spot on, and the colours are excellent I can't see a way of improving it at all, The bridge maybe isn't quite straight, but it's <I wobbly bridge and so it possibly wasn't straight in realilife, so it doesn't matter.

It's also i nteresti ng to see the out-of -focus effecti n

the weave of the wire on the side of the .bridge, It turns into <I mass of confusion along with those leaves in the distance, and really helps to bring out the in-focus porter It's a grea,t shot, and that's why it's my picture of the week.

~ Cha~es has captured a fantastic moment with the sunslreaking out of 1he sky 2J2J

the sun streaking out of the sky, like stairways to heaven, illuminating What looks like the tower and steeple of a church in the dstence.

Although we can't see anything in the foreground on the silhouetted strips of land,l think it's probably a good thi ng, beca LJSe like th is th ey make interesting shapes whereas the reality is probably less attractive. But most importantly, Charles has succeeded in capturing the tonal differences an d layers of the hills

and mountains stretching off into the distance, which really adds depth to the pktu re, a nd is one of rhe th in gs that often gets lost when people adjust the contrast post-capture.

The problem for me is mat streak of light in the water - it conflicts with the soft contrast in the rest of the picture, spoiling the subtle tones. Admittedly, there's probably not much that can

be done aboutit, because the sun is shining directly at Charles and into the carrera Nonetheless,it's a distraction in what is a quiet scene, and although it probably does .accurately reflect what the scene was like at the time,in terms of completing the picture it JUst doesn't Quite work for me

What I try to do on these occasors ,is move myself perhaps the light could have been made to fall instead on the spit of land coming from the left-han d side of the fr am e. I n this


W<lY, he could have kept the depth and' th e bea utiful transitions ,i n the :background, and the water would

still have been lit up, but the sun would be reflecting, off the land ramer than the water I think it would probably have created a more balanced contrast. although it's possible

that there was something on the left~hand side that would have been insppropriate ill include,

I've made a quick crop of Charles's picture, which is not necessarily ~he best crop or one to say tbet this is how Charles should have photographed the scene It is rather to demonstrate what it would lookjka with the harsh sunlight removed,

12 September 2009 1 www.amateurphotoprapher.co.uk 139

For full details or to book online visit www.lightandland.co.uk or call 01432839111

Ap and woe have teamed up with Ught& land - the UK's leadi ng p hot og ra p h ie to ur com pany - to olle r an exclusive workshop hosted by landscape legend Charlie Waite and AP Editor Damien Demolder.

This exclusive tour will take place from 8-11 November in the beautiful English Lake District and will be limited to just 14 photographers, to ensure the maximum tuition and guidance througl10Ut.

Based in the heart of the lakes, in the beautifu II V sit uated G I enriddi ng Hotel on the shores of La ke U II swater,. the g ro up wi II use a private minibus to travel to locatio rs further afield. Charlie Waite, the founder

of Ught & La nd, has a wea Ith

of experience photographing lakeland landscapes and is

an expert at finding those magical compositions that ofte n el ude oth ers

The lake District provides an astonishing variety of landscapes: from the bucolic beauty of sheep grazing in the Newlands Vallev and the stark setting of the Neolithic Cas!lerigg Stone Ciide beneath shapely Blentathra, to the lovely wooded shores of Rvdal Water, the awesome Hard. Knott Pass and the towering bulk of the ScafeH range, England's highest mountain.

The evenings will provide the opportunity to receive LOnst ructive fef'd ba ck 0 n yo ur wo rk Thi s tau r is desi g ned

to appeal to digital and film photographers of all levels and experience, regardless of the format they use.


Dales: 8 -11 N ovem be r 2009 Price: £830 per person before 30 September, £Sgspp after 30 September Indudes: Full-board accommodation, with

da i Iy packed lunch, Ira nsp 0 rt d uri ng tou r,

tuition from Charlie Waite and Damien Demolder. Exdlldes: Travel to and from hotel, insurance. Final boo king: 11 October 2009

(ontad: li g ht & La nd 01432839111 or .Iog on to www.lightandland.co.uk Full terms and conditions can be found at www.lightandland.co.uk

Forthcoming tests

I n the next few months AP hopes to run the followi rtg e{juipment th rough the most rigorous testing proced ures in the industry ...

N ikon 0300s Se p

{anon Pixma Pro 9500 II Se p

Sigma IO-20mm 1/3.2 vs

Jokina IH4mm f/4Sep

Samsung 5T550 Od


Welcome to our test, reviews and advice section.

Over the next few pages we will present this week's equipment tests, reader questions and technique pointers

Dedicated to thorough product testing

Our guarantee

to you

A II our tests are mnd ucted by people who understand the product area, olS well as photography. We a im to discover any shortcomings, as well as finding those

aspects that deserve p ra ise. A II our te~ts a re thorough, honest and independent

Delkin Devices SD to CF adapter £24.99

HE Delkin SO to CF adapter takes the form of a Type II Compact Flash card, but contains no memory. Instead, it features a slot for an SO card. Once the SD card is installed, the adapter Simply slots into a camera's CF card bay.

I, used the adapter at a music concert, with an 8GB SanOisk Extreme 111, in a Nikon 03. I found that until the camera's buffer was fun, I could shoot uncompressed NEF (raw) files at my normal rate. However, once thelimi't of the buffer had been reached, data was written to the SO card very slowly compared to a 'conventional' Extreme 1.11

CF card. and my camera 'froze' for several seconds until enough buffer wac; freed: up to take another shot Nikon 0300s and 0700 users should also be aware that Type II CF cards are fractionally thicker than Type I. and these cameras do not support the Type II format. As a result, the Oelkin SO to CF adapter is too large for their CF card bays, Barney Britton

• For more information visit www.defkin.com/store/uk

Brando Ultimate 3-Point leather hand strap

$19.00 inc p&p (around £12)

THE Brando Ultimate 3 - Poi nt leath er ha nd s tr a pis designed to

distribute the weight of an SLR camera more evenly than a conventional hand strap. Made of leather with a padded rubber rear, the strap wraps eroun d the wrist a nd is

secured with both Velcro and a quick-releao;e mechanism.

Att<Jchi n g th e strap to the ca mer ais

fairly straightforward A plate sorews to the bottom of the camera via its tripod screw

mo unt a nd the attach ed stra p th read s th rouq h the camera's existing strap loops.

I found that the strap was extremely

secure, and even if you let go of the camera completely it only strays around a centimetre from your hand. This makes the strap great for times when your camera may 'be iI,t risk from dropping out of your hand. such as when photographing from a moving vehicle, Richard Sibley

• For more information visit www.brando.com

12 September 20091 wwwamateurphotog",pher.co.uk 141

Let the AP team answer your photographic queries

Do you have a photographic question that you would like answered?

Be it about modern technology, vintage equipment, photographk scienc e or he Ip with tech n iQ ue - here at AP we have the team

that can help you,

Simply send your Questions to:

a pa ns wers@ipemedia.com

or by post to: AP Answers, Amateur Photographer Magazine, IPe Media, Blue Fin Building,

no Southwark Street London SfIOSU,

How to import succesfully

Sue Webster asks I currently have around S,OOO images catalogued in AdobePhotoshop Elements 6, but I am thinking of buying Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2. I'm a little concerned that I will have to re-cataloque all the images again. Is there a way I can import the catalogue into lightroom?


Photoshop' Elements 6

Richard Sibley replies Adobe has made it very straightforward to import Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 organiser Gltalogues into Lightroom.

In the Elements 6 catalogue select all the images and choose File>Write Keyword Tag and Properties Info to Photos, This will embed any keywords and tags into the image file itself, so Ughtroom can read them.

Open Ughtroom and select File>New Catalog and then File>lmport from Photoshop EI'ements. Now find your Elements catalogue file and Ughtroom w,ill import all the images into the new catalog~e,

If you have a number of images this process will take

some time, and a few files may not successfullY import. This is usually because of the file format Try resaving any .images that don't successfully import as TIFF files

Those using Elements 7 should note that Lightroom 2 is currently unable to import

catalogue Files from this software. WiVly

ThiSW. i.1Ino doubt be fiXed.ina,future _' ''''$

version of Ughtroom. • . .• %

For more information on ~ :. .",.' ~

Lightroom, or if you encounter any ~. .:::..

problems, visit www,adobe,(om/ "'-?'o ~$


support!photoshoplightroom, "'I

Scanning negatives

David Dunn asks I have an HP Scanjet 4070 Photosmart scanner, which scans prints with good results but is not SCI good with 3Smm slides and negatives.

I recently put a film through a

421 www.arnateurphotoqrapher.co.uk 112 September 2009

Zeiss Ikonta camera, producing 31Ax2\.1iin negatives to see if it still worked. When developed, the negatives looked normal.

I then tried to scan them using the flatbed scanner, first with a white paper backing, then with a mirror behind them. In both cases the scans were so dark as to be unusable.

I am sure I read in AP some years ago that medium-format negative.s can be scanned by a flatbed, but I can you tell me how to do this?

Richard Sibley replies By u.sing the technique you mention, it is possible to produce an image of a scanned negative, but you will need to perform a fairly extreme Curves adjustment to

More and more digital cameras now feature an inlervalometer, or an interval shooting mode. This allows

a photographer to take a set number of images at regular intervals, usuallv with the intention of (reating a video animation from tile images.

Most vid eos play at between 24 and 30 frames per sNond, but if, for example, 24 images a re taken over a period of one hour, when you !hen create a video from the images you can show what ha ppens in an hour in jus! one second.

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Spots of bother

Your questions answered

Lee 74 asks I have had my Nikkor 18-70mm lens for a couple of years now. Recently, I have noticed that on the inside of the rear lens element there are two white spots.

However, they don't seem to show up on any photos that I have taken. Is there any cause for concern and is there any way of removing them without it proving too costly?

AGW replies Chances are that they are nothing more than dust specks and they will have no signitlcant impact on performance so are absolutely nothing to worried about

Roger_Provins replies They might be fungus - keep an eye on them and if they grow .Iarger you'll need to get the lens deaned.

Richard Sibley replies As AGW has said, Dhey are most likely dust specks, but you should keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get larger, which, as Roger says, would indicate mould_

If the lens does need cleaning and a service, contact Fixation (www fixationuk.com), who will service a Nikon lens starting at around .£40.

see the image. Unfortunately,it will not really be suitable for much, except for checking to see what the image is or for producing a, contact sheet

You could try backlighting the negative using a smaillightbox, though the reselts can be just as hit and miss as th e scann ers bu i It-in up lig ht ca 1'1 often interfere If may be worth trying, but I wouldn't go to the expense of buyin g a lig htbox especially.

Alternatively, if you do have lightbox, use a DSLR and simply take a photo of the medium-format nega'lives, and then use editing software to invert them and correct the colour

The best solution would be to buy a

Ty.pical subjects fo r lime-lapse photography are small movements that ()(cur over long periods of time, such as flowers growing or buildings bei ng erected.

For best results, you need a tripod to keep Ihe camera steady and in a fixed position, pointing at the su~ject, and the camera musl be set at appropriate intervals. To show somelhing like a flower willi ngin heat you mighllake 20 pllotographs an hour

for a number of hours, while for a building conslrudion you may lake only one image an hour for a few weeks or monlils.

Once Ihe images have been ta ken lhey need 10 be compiled into a video, which is something we are often asked how 10 do.

As hundreds of images mighl be needed 10 make just a few seconds of video, il

is best to resize a lithe images to a more

flatbed scan ner desi gned for rned iu rnformat negatives. I would suggest the Epson Perfection 4490 Photo, Which can scan medium-format negatives up to 6x12cm in size. A'ithough there are better-specified scanners, the 4490 (pictured below) does a very good job and costs £156.58.

aPllropriate size for video use, or better still, take the pktu res at the camera's lowest resolution. A 640x480-pixelresolution will suffKe if you plan to show your video on

a standard television or the internet. OlKe tne images have been reSized, you need 10 merge them into a video.

There are a number of pieces of software that can do this for you, but perhaps the simplest is Apple's Quicklime Pro, which costs £20 and is available for both pes and Maes. Selecl File>Openlmage Sequence and selecl the desired fra me rale (the nu mber of frames or i mages thai will be shown each second). OlKe rendered, the video can be saved to a suitable oulputsize, either for television or inlemet viewing. For more informalion on Quicklime Pro visil www. apple.com/uk. Ridlard Sibley

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In the run-up to the announcement of Panasonic's first compact-style Micro Four Thirds camera, the Lumix DMC-GF1J AP was given a full production model to test. Is it the end for enthusiast compacts?

compromise in the level of oontrol

or image quality. He nodded sagely, but I could tell he was pleased by

my response He went on to say that Panasonic could do this by using a more compact-camera-style design

I t Ira nsp i res that th e com pany had consi d e red thisi nilially, but felt th e mini-DSLR styling of the G 1: better conveys an impression of high image quality capability to the general public It was Glear that Panasonic had big plans for small cameras.

So, it wasn't a huge surprise whell, just a few weeks ago, Uematsu retumed to our office to reveal a preproduction compact-style camera, called the lumix DMC-GF1, that

Angela Nicholson Technical Editor

PANASONICS first Micro Four Thirds camera, the Lumix DMC-Gl, has won itself many fans because of its small size, DSll"Htyle controls and impressive ,image quality. However, when Panasonic's Michiharu Uematsu first spoke to me about the G 1, he asked if I thought people would like an even smaller camera I told himl thought they would, but that emhussst photographers wouldn't want much

Panasonic Lumix DM( -GFl (amera Test

Exclusive first test!

Panasonic Lumix DMC -GFl Hybrid

Lu ..... lOt cr t
I j
-, _.J" • accepts .interchangeable lenses. My f rst impressions were I avou r a b I e and a short while later I was given a full production model to test Receiving a production-spec model pror to

a camera's formal announcement (made on 2 September) is very unusual, and it means we are able

to bring you the first full test of the GFl in print in the UK.


.12.1 million effective pixels

• Four Thirds Live MOS sensor

• Micro Four Thirds lens mount

• nop video at 25fps

• RRP £549.99 (body only)


Uke other Micro Four Thirds cameras. the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GFl doesn't have a reflex mirror, but it accepts .interchangeable lenses. This means it is a hybrid that doesn't lall neatJy into the categories that we

generally refer to as 'compact' or 'bridge'.

This lack 01 a mirror means that when the lens is removed Irom the GF1, the normal-sized (17.3x13mm)


- l

RAW •• : •


Camera Test Panasonic Lumix DMC -GFl

Reso ution, noise and sensitivity

Pa nasa nie has reee ived criticism fro m so me p eo pi e becallse of the high level of noise

in images Iromits olher Mi CloFou r lh i«ls cameras .. A firmware upgrade for the iii helped red uce noise I evels, but when! produced the graph lor the IirJ I could see it has !owerlevels still. Fortunately, this isn't altlle expen se of detail resol uti on and th e GFI im presses on this score. As usual, the raw files have more (010 ured speckl ing and greater detail than simultaneously captured high -sensitivity lPEIi files.

lhere is a glallular texture visiblei"

i m ag es th [Ill) ghout these ns itivi Iy sell.ing ran 9 e, whet h er Ih e hi g h- sensitivi Iy noise reduction is set to its highest or lowesl setting. However, chroma noise does not

100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400

S.O -----;±;;;;;;;;;;;;::::::=d;=====±;;;;;;;;;==:±;;;;;;;;;;:::;;;;;;;;:r--i-==__ ISO


c; ~~~~~--~-----t--~=+

4.0 -.j!t---+F==-------'+


3.0 'iff'!



2.0 b- s::O-_=--=-I=.====-=-+===+===-,==c---o-f-,---,-,I

'0 1.0 e::=::::Z:===i====4=======;;;Hc=~I=.

NR Default. Luminance • Red channel. Gl"I:'en channel. Blue channel NR Low Luminance _ Red channel _ Green channel _ Blue channel

Dynamic range

rea IIV b ecom e ap parenti n j PE Ii images unlil ISD 1600 with noise reduction at its

minim u m setti ng. In it s sta n da rd selli n g, Ihe noi se -red ucti a n sy stem re moves

Ani mpressive dyna m ic ra nge

mea su rement of 12E V puts tile 1iF! 0 n a

Ila r with th e DStR ca meras that Pa na sonic intends it to replace. So the reduction in camera size ami th e fOil r Th lrds sensa r - wlli chis .sl ig lilly sma lIer th a n th e more (ammon APS-C-sized device - have no negative impact upon the dynamic range.

nle IiFl'.s intelligent exposure dynamic range optimisation system made no difference to the result of our dynamic ran gel ab test wh etlleri! was III rned off or set to its highest setting. With realworld photographic scenes I found that it usually has a fairly subtle impact that manifests itself as a slight brightening ollhe shadows and midtones 01 lPEIi

i m ag es. It is uselu I in h ig h °C ontrast situations and usually produces naturallooking results, bul (an make more average scenes appear flat,



e Four Thirds-type Live MOS sensor is visible. Fortunately, 1'1 built-.in supersonic-wave dust-removal system is

on hand to keep the 12.1-millioneffective-pixel sensor clean.

Images are processed using the same Venus Engine HD device as

in the Gland GH 1, and it enables the camera to record JPEG files at up to 3fps or 2fps until the SD (or SDHC) card is full While these rates are conservative when recording the smallest images, I found that I could shoot 152 highest-quality JPEG images in one minute, giving a rate of a rou nd 2.5 fps, AJternative.ly, up to seven raw files may be recorded in a si ngle burst.

Unlike Panasonic's Lumix DMC-Gl and GH1, the GFl doesn't have


GF1 DR = 12

Understanding the graph

Th i s 9 ra phs haws the brigh tness va lu es reco rded by th e test ca me ra wh en it is used to photograph a stepped graduation wedge. The wedge has transmission values in I!JEV steps ranging from 0 to 12EV. The camera's exposure is set ,0 the 12EV section in the wedge has

a brightness value of 255. Software analvsis of the imilge then determines the recorded brighlness values 01 all the other steps and calculates the camera's dynamic range.

a built-in viewfinder, although

an optional electronic viewflnd.er

(EVF) - the DMW-LVF 1 E - is available. This device slots into the hotshoe and connects to the camera via a small port visible just above

the LCD screen Without tns device, images must be composed on the 3in, 460,OOO-dot LCD screen, which I'll discuss in more depth later.

Panasonic has decided to make the GFl available body only orin two kits. with a choice of a zoom (price to be announced, at the time of writing) or pancake kit lens (kit price £19999). We have seen the Lumix G Varia 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 Asph/Mega 015 kit lens before and found it to be a solid performer, but the l.urnx G Vario 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens is new Oddly, the continuous AF mode is not

46 I www.ameteurphotoqrepherco.uk 112 September 2009

available when this lens is mounted on the GF1, but the AF tracking and face-detection systems both work.

While the new GF 1 can record video, it isn't at the 1920xl 080-

pixel fuII-HD resolution of the GH1. Instead, movies are recorded at 720p (l280x720 pixels). There is monaural sound recording rather than stereo, and there is no external rruc socket.

Panasonic marketed its "first Micro Four Thirds camera. the Lumix

DMC -G 1, at novice photographers who wanted to move up from a compact camera but were put off by the size, weight and cornplkancn of a DSLR However, the G1's extensive feature set and high level of control make ,it appeilling to more experienced photographers looking for a smaller camera. The Lumix

12800 25600

most of the (Olomed speckling at ISO 1600, hut images are a little softer and, when viewed at 100% on the com puler screen, some edges appear to bleed into their surroundings. The dillerence in sharpness between the standard and low noise-reduction images is apparent when images are sized to make A3 prints.

For dedicated jPEIi shooters I recommend customising the film mode options 10 settha high-sensitivity noise reduction to low to preserve as much detail as possible. The best results,

tho ugh, are pro d u ced Ir om raw file s wilh a spot of post-capture noise reduction.

••••••••• (28/30


M.9.q~.m~m .

sRGB,- __




Wilen set to its Adobe RIiB colour space mode, the IiF! is capable of reproducing a wider range of red, magenta, purple and blue tones than is cOl1lainedwithin either the Adobe RIiB or sRGB gamut. Like many cameras, though, it struggles to record all the greel1tones thai are encompassed by the Adobe RGB colo u r spa ce.

DMC -GFl offers a similar collection

of features, inCluding a built-in flash, hotshoe, some customisation and saturation, sharpness and contrast adjustment plus video recording, in an even more streamlined body It coul.d be perfect for p ho tographers on th e move who aren't concerned about appearing to have a mini DSLR

Although we were told our test sample was a final production model, there 'is always a chance of last-minute changes being made to the firmware. This test was periormed on a camera with firmware version 0.1.

••••••••• 9/10 Bulld and handling

With the 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens mounted', the GFl could easily be

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Panasonic Lumix DM( -GFl (amera Test

Tiles e [rna 9 es show 12pp i (100% on a computer stream sections of

ima 9 es of a reso lulion chart, slilHife scene and a grey card. We show

the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts 10 fail to reproduce th e Ii nas separatelv. The higher

th e nu mbe r visible in

th ese ima 9 es, the

better tile camera's

d eta il resol utlen is

at the specified sensitivity setting.

The section 01

the still·life image

co nlains the em b I em

on a standard sized matchbox. The full scene can be viewed at hllp:lJ ti nyu 11. co m/67sj96

mistaken for a larger version of the L:umix OMC-lX3_ The round-edged, rectangular body of the GFl feel.s very tough thanks to its aluminium construction, and even the casual

o bserver ca n see it is a hig h -quality item, Sma'il ridges on the front and rear of the camera provid'e JUst enough purchase for the fingers and thumbs, making the GF1 comfortable to hold between shots. However, I found n more comfortable to carry the G F 1 usi ng its stra p over my shoulder when walking for longer periods of time The thumb grip

cou I d do with a ru b berised pa d

to give it more grip.

Although it has almost exactly the same functionality as the G 1, the change from a mini-DSlR design to a more compact-inspired look has


necessitated a few changes in the control layout The most noticeable

is that ~he focus mode selection dial on the left of the G I's top-plate has gone and this area houses the popup flash unit on the GF 1_ The focus mode (Single, continuous or manual) is selected using the button to the left of the thumb rest on the camera's back. The Quick menu (Q menu) button found on the top-plate of the G 1 has a Iso sh ifled to the back of the G F 1 (where it is easier to reaCh), while the film mode button has disappeared and these settings must be accessed via the quick menu, main menu or Function (F n) button.

As with Panasonic's earlier Micro Four Thirds cam eras, th e G F I's navigation controls also act as shortcut buttons to a ccess til e sensitivity,

white balance and AF area selection options In addition, the Fn button can be set to give access to one of e.ight features. I was torn between using this to reach the d.ynamic range optimising intelligent exposure and film mode settings_ However, it is possible to register up to four sets of personal settings, which are then accessed via (1 and C2 options on the GF1's mode dial. Option (2 provides the user

with a choice of up to three stored

ca mera arr angements_ There is just one co II eclion of setti ngs ava i I a b I e with option C1, making this quicker to use It is therefore sensible to use this to store setn ngs that are most likely to sun: a quidk-iire situation.

The Q menu button on the camera's back provides access to 14 camera controls. The options

are located and selected using the navigation controls. If t:he histogram display mode is activated (via Custom menu 1). the Q menu and navigation buttons can be used to select it so

it can be moved around the LCD screen With 15 options to toggle through, it can take time to re<lch

the desired feature It would be nice if it were possb Ie to custom se the quick menu to reduce the number

of options, by removing those that the p hotograp her rarely uses or

that have shortcut buttons.

Apart from a problem with reflections on the LCD (see the 'LCD, live View and video' section for more on this), I found the

Danasonic Lumix DMC - V GF1 0' pleasure to use

Its compact size makes

12 .5eptember20091 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 147

Camera Test Panasonic Lumix DMC -GFl

{it an ideal travel partner, especially when coupled with a small lens such as the 20mm pancake, yet it affords p.lenty of control. The buttons and dials are wi.thin easy reach and the menu is clear. However,l would like to be able to customise the 'My Menu screen rather than use it to access the last Five featu res used.

••••••••• 9/10 White balance and colour

,I was impressed with the Gl's automatic white balance system when I tested it in AP 13 December 2008, and the GF l's system doesn't disappoint. It coped admirably with

a range of lighting conditions during ths test. A sequence of shots taken of a bridge that combines shadow, shade and warm early morning sun look slightly different depending upon whether they were taken

using the daylight. shade, cloudy or automatic white balance setting,

but they all look natu ra I. Even in the dim, semi-fluorescent-lit gloom of a multistorey car park the auto white balance system managed to produce acceptable results with a hint of

greenish-yellow. The images aren't completely neutral, but they capture the atmosphere well.

Panasonic's custom white balance system is one of the easiest to use

It makesit very clear which area of the scene is being used to calculate the correct colour temperature and does a good Job of rendering most targets neutral.

like the Gl and GHl, the GFl has

a collection of film modes: standard, dynamic, nature, smooth nostalgic, vibrant b&w standard, b&w dynamic and b&w smooth, which tailor the appearance of JPEG images. Each

of these optio ns can be adjusted

to the user's taste, and control is provided over the saturation, contrast, sharpness and noise reduction of coloured images. The saturation of images produced using the standard setting can be a liHle on the high

side and it suits some subjects more than others.l generally shoot raw

and J PEG files simultaneously, but

it's helpful to be able to save my own satu r ati on, sharp ness a nd contrast

preferences for J PEG -,

images as 'My Film r V

Th ere is little fri n gin g in my images captured using

48 I www.arnateurohotoprapher.co.uk 112 September 2009


ocal po·nts

SUpersqnic wave filter

The GF1"s supersonic wave filter vibrates the a if above the lew- pass filter over the sensor 50,000 times 0' second to remove dust. but if necessary the filter can be cleaned with swabs whenever the lens is removed

Preview modes

The GFl has aperture il~d shutter speed preview modes that enable the LCO screen to display how a

sc e n e \'In uld ilp pear

if captured at the selected aperture or shutter speed settings. The shutter speed previ.ew could be very useful when shooti~g moving subjects and helps determine the desired level of blur when panning


Silkypix Developer Studio 3 .. 0 SE is sup.plied with the GFl lor processing raw

files. Although it has a comprehensive set 01 controls. it isn·t tailored to process inaqes from the GFt Consequently, it isn·t possible to apply specific film modes or rna ke in-camera type adjustments to images post-capture

Four Thirds.sensor This type of sensor results in a LX focal length magnification factor. As a result. the Lumix G Varia LOmm f/1.7 pancake

kit lens has an effective local length of 40mm. while the Lumix G Varia lH5mm 1/3.5·5.6 ASPH Mega 0 IS optic

is comparable with a 28·90mm lens on a 35mm camera

Panasonic, Panasonic House, Willoughby Road, Bracknell. Berkshire RG12 8 FP. Tel: 08448 443 852. Website: www.panasonic.cD.uk

RRP Sensor


F 0 u r Thi rds·type Live MOS device wi th 12.1 m ilUon ettec Uw pixels


40 OOx] 000 pixels

F~calle Hgth m_!9 lensmeunt

Max file size


Micro Four Thirds

Ap p rox M M B raw.. 5.2M B J P EG [hig h quality. III e]

File format

Raw. J PEG. raw ... J P EG simult.Jneously

Compressie n Ce leur space Shutte r type Shutler spe eds

Two-sta ge J P EG Adobe RGB. sRGB

E lectroni cally controlled fo cal· plane uO·l!4000S€c in 113 steps plus B to 4mins

Max flash sync


ISO 100·3100in 1/3EV or lEV steps

Expo sure m odes PAS M. plus 4 custom modes. In teliigent Autv.

17 scene modes


Metering system 144·zone Intelligent Multiple.

centreweighted. spot

±3EV in 1IJ EV steps

±2EVover 3.5 or 7 exposures in 113 or Zf3[V steps

Aulo. 5 presets. plus 2 custom and Kelvin settings


Expo sur~ com II Exposure bracketing




Single. tv ntinu 0 u s [HVLa S€lecta ble. 3fps/1fps fu r 7 raw files or unlim ite d J P EG filesl. se~·

ti mer .[IO/2seGS sele ctable]

Drive mode


Fixe d' 3 in m w.irh 4~ 0.000 dots

No. 0 p tional EVF ApproxlOO% Dioptre adjustment ·4 to ... 4 diopure

Fe~using modes Manual. single shot AF. continuous AF.

AF points 23 auto mati c(llly selectable poi nts, si n g[e

vari-zone sele.ction

o of preview Yes

PCsocki31 No

------- ---

Buill-in flash Ves.G N 6 m [jj ISO 100

Cable release No. optional rem ote release

M erne ry card SOlS 0 H C

P=ow.:..::.e:.....r -r-r-' __ ...:.:Re'7ch?argeaiJle U·.lon iJattery (supplied]

Connectivity USB Z.O Hi·Speed/HOMI

Weight ZS5g [witllO ut ba tte ry 0 r ta rd/s]

Dimensions l19x71 x36.3m m

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Panasonic Lumix DM( -GFl (amera Test

LCD, Uve View and video


The sma II pop· u p flas h

(GN 6m @ISO 100) is useful

for fill· i n purp 0 sas, but the hotshoe can accept compatible flashguns such as Panasonic's DMW·F220 (GN 22m @ ISO 100) that has an RRP 01 £127.98

Exposure meter display

A simple exposure graphic can be displayed on the LCD stree n when the exposure

is adjusted. This shows the fa n!le 01 se ttings possib Ie and could help those who are new to setting exposure. Settings outside the

rece mmen ded I an ge

have a red back g rou n d

Camera shown actual size

Exposure control dial

A single 'press·and·roll' dial is used to select

the exposure settings. In manual exposure mode,. pressing this dial switches between the ap ertu re and shu Iter speed settings, while

in the aperture and

shu Iter priority modes ilenables the spedlic seUi ngs to be all er ed or exposure c omp ens ali 0 n to be dialled in. The

sel ected optio n iss hown in yellow on the screen while the unselected item is white

Function button

This button can be set to give access to one 01 eight features including the Film,

metering, image Quality and Intelligent Exposure mo d e





,. 1& QUALITY RAW';'


Allhough the optional DMW·LVF1E external electronic viewfinder was not available for this test, I have briefly

us ed a pre- prod uc ti 0 n v ersle nand I believe Ihal it is a useful accessory. It

is especially helpful 10 those who like

to shoot from groumllevel because it artiwlales through 90' lor convenient viewing from above. It also displays the sa me i nlo rmati 0 n as the LCD scree n, so it is possible 10 assess exposure and c!lange camera settings with it held to the eye. AI


the time of writing the price had yet 10 be confirmed.

Like Panasonic's existing Micro Four

Th i rds c amer as, th e Gfl h as a 3in, 460,000·dot LCD screen, although the new model has a fixed screen rather than an articulated one. This means the screen is ha rder to se e when shooting fro m h ig h or low angles.

In low light, the GF1's LCI} screen provides a clear view of the scene being composed and, thanks to the 51( and lOx

magnilication feature, there is enough detail visible to allow precise manual focusing. As with most LCD screens, the image is hard to see on the GFI's monitor in br igllt su tlligi1t even when it is at its

b ri gllte st setting. Even at this sell i n 9 I found the screen a little darker IIlan the G 1 's atits sta n d a rd b ri g htnes s,

With a resolution 011280x720pixels at 25fp5, video from the GFI isn'l quite up 10 the standard of the GHI, although movement is smooth. Unfortunately,

the mie picks up the sound of

the camera's AF system and the photographer's hand movements, and exposure cannot be adjusted during recording. Video may be shot in any

of the expos u re mod es, but exp osure cannot be changed during recording footage. Re(ording can be started al any time by depreSsing the dedicated button on the camera's top·plate.


12 September 20091 www.ernateurphotoorepher.co.uk 149


Camera Test Panasonic Lumix DMC -GFl

i his is Ih e ro of of a fl u ores cent-Ill mu llisto rey ca rp ark. I seith e ru stom whIle bal ance

u sing the second- nearest <on crele bea m as a ta rge!.l! ha s been re n de red ni tel V neutral, but the lights operate at different temperatures and this has caused the stripes of colour

C the 20mm f/n pancake kit lens and this only appears

to be a problem in extreme lighting conditions with a lew s tron g Iy contrastin g edges,

••••••••• 9/10 Metering

I used the GF 1 in its 14 4-10ne intelligent multip,le metering mode

lor most of this test and it perlormed extremely well. It manages to correctly expose the main subject in most instances, even when the scene has some very bright areas.

'In the past I have had problems with the G 1 's live histogram being unreliable, sometimes showingl the

hi g hi ig ht peak further ave r to thelelt than it should, I had no such problems with the GF 1 and I was able to use it to guide exposure setting selection.

Compared to the average DSlR, the GFl has a low-powered built-in Ilash with a guide number of just 6m @ISO 1 00 It is sti II, usefUl for fill ~i n pu rposes. although I recommend using the flash exposure compensation facility to reduce its output by lh-¥3EV for

more natural-looking results,

••••••••• 9/10 AutofoCU5

:Being a hybrid camera wN:h no mirror to d ell,ect light onto an A F sensor means that the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GFl uses a contrast-detection eutorocus system. There are lour AF modes: face detection, AF tracking,

2 3-area-focusing and 1-areafocusing, On the whole I found the l-area-Iocusing the most useful as

it puts the user in comp,lete control over where the AF point is located Occasionally, I used the option in the custom menu to allow me to shift

the location of the A F point usi ng th e navigation buttons. The downside of this approach is that it prevents these controls bei ng used for th eir assign ed sh ortcuts to set the wh ne balan ce, and so on Consequently, I prefer to use the indirect method of positioning the AF point that requires a press of the left navigation button, followed by a press of the down button before the navigation controls can be used to move the point

Although the G F1 's contrastdetection system is slower than the phase-detection systems of most DSUls,it compares favourably with the Live View contrast-detection mechanisms that these cameras offer,

In the A'F tracking mode, the AF area starts in the middle of the frame a nd half -pressi ng the shutter release triggers the AF system to attempt to lock on to the subject Once N: has faun d its target, the cam €Or a tr a oks th e subject as it, or the camera, moves,

In good light and with reasonable subject contrast, thiS mode performs well and can keep up with a slowmoving subject It isn't perfect, though, and because reflections on the LCD screen in bright light can make it hard to see if th e point is over th e su b]ect, it isn't always the ideal mode to Lise

The GFl 's face detection mode does a good job of locating faces within the scene and focuses on them reasonably quickly. When focusing on very close or complex subjects ,it ,is helpful to Lise the option in the GF1's custom menu to allow manual' focus adjustment while the shutter release remains half-pressed in autofocus mode. Another custom function

can a so be set to tri gger automatic magnilication of the on-screen view as soon as the lens focus ring is moved.

50 I www.arnateurphotoqrapber.co.uk 112 September 2009



Our verdict

HERE have been a few cameras that have really aroused my interest and made me look at my bank balance recently, but none more so than the Panasonic lumix DMC -G Fl, It may not be quite the all-rou nde r or have th e I ightn i ngquick autofocus system and incredible low-light ability 01 a Nikon DSlR, but in good lighting conditions it does a very respectable job. Importantly, it is also capable of producing images with plenty of detail.

Although its design and dimensions put it closer to a compact camera than an SLR in appearance, it offers the level of control we expect from

a decent DSLR without too much

delving around in the menu And significantly for a smaller camera, it feels rob ust enou gh to su rvive bein g taken just about everywhere. Due

to its low profile, the Lumix G Varia 20mm 1/l.7 pancake lens is the perfect complement to the GF1 I really appreciated the depth of Field control afforded by this last I ens and it allowed me to produce images that just aren't possible using a compact camera with a smaller sensor. Of course, the added benefit 01 the

G F lover a compact camera is that th el enses are i nterchangea b Ie. Th e downside is that most Micro Four Thirds lenses aren't cheap. I'm going to have to start sav.ing my pennies

Lab results

Features ••••••••• 9/10 Noise/resolution •••••••••• 28/30

Dynamicrange •••••••• 8/10

lCDtvitle;) ••••••• 7/10

Build/handling ••••• •••• 9/10

Alflolorus •••••••• 8/10

Metering ••••••••• 9/10

AWB/mlour •• ••••••• 9/10

Pana$0Il1! lumlx DM(-GJ1 Tested as: H\bid


OIympus.Pen E-P1

DA1HEIl'En 18/7/G9

(anonPowerShot 611


ALTHOUGH there are now four Micro Four Thirds cameras, only the Olympus Pen E-P1 has the same compact-camera-like design principles This camera is widely believed to ha.ve the same Live MaS sensor as Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds models, yet when images are put under CI.DSe scrutiny it seems Olympus can't quite match the detail resolution

of its R&D partner's cameras The excellent build quality of the E~Pl is also a little marred by a few odd' quirks, ,including the fact that the shortcut/navigation buttons are rather cramped together with tne dial that surrounds them, so it's easy to press one accidentally. At around ~549, its body-only street price is the same as the RRP of the GF l.

Excluding the lens, whioh can be removed for more convenient transport, the GF 1 is smal.ler in two dimensions than the new Canon PowerS hot G 11 , which has an RRP of ~569. This true enthUSiast-centriC correact camera has the benefit 01 a 28-140mm f/2.8-4.5 zoom lens that retracts into the body when switched off, plus a slim articulated LCD screen for convenient image composition

from a range of angles. A past test revealed that the G11 '5 predecessor, the PowerShot G 1 0, could not match the Panasonic Lumix OM ( -G 1 for detail resolution or dynamic range. However, according to a spokesperson at (anon, the improvements made with the G 11, including its lager photosites, mean

that the new camera can resolve more detail. It's something I look forward to

i nvestigati ng in the not - too- d isla nt future.

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12 September 2009 I www.amateurphotographer.co.uk I 51



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Macro Photography Geoffrey Crawley Explains ...


N part one of Illis article (AP 8 August),llooked at dose-up photography in general. The focus

was on the macro zoom, which is often the beg in ner's first encou nter with

the word 'macro' - a term that really means imaging the subject on film or a digital sensor at a size larger than life However, the word macro has become attached to a ny lens that is able to focus closer than woul'd normally

be ex pected for its focal .Iength. Th e longer the focal length, the further away its minimum focus distance will be. If you look at the specification

data of a lens, there will be a listing

for its closest focusing distance. This

,is measured not from ~he front of the lens, but rather from the film or sensor plane. If this is not marked, and unless you are into accurate technical work, it is safe to take this measurement from the back of the camera.

The advantage of a long focal length, such as 90-1 OSmm for a full-frame camera and 60-70mm for an APS-C -format model, is that


the working. distance between the front of the lens and the subject is also long. That means that in nature photography there is less chance of scaring a .Iive subject away. Indoors, there is more room to arrange lighting in a set-up. Furthermore, a long focal length lens has shallow depth of

field:, which helps isolate the subject from the background. The threedimensional. effect this can produce is an important technique among those need ed fa r creative dose-ups

Moving on

Naturally, the scope of a lens is widened when a close-focusing or 'macro' monofocal - a lens of fixed focal length -is used. For full-frame cameras (135 film or digital), a 50mm lens is regarded as standard. A 'macro' version costs more, but most can be focused to 1:1 (life size), For 3Smm and full-frame digital SU~s, the minimum focusing distance for a, 50mm standard lens is about 45cm (18in). A 50mm, 1:1 focusing

version comes in to about 18cm (75in) from the subject

What is sometimes seen as a

barrier to buying a stan d a rd foca I lenglll macro lens is the idea that IT

is inferior to a normal one in distance work (out to inflni,ty). However, this is not the case. Performance will be at least as good, and quite often it will

be better. This is partly because the maximum aperture will be f/28-3.5, wh ichis srna II er th an the f{l.8 or f/2 of a normal standard lens. Provided the work does not need a faster aperture of 1/1.4-2, trading up to a macro optic should be a good move.

At about 18cm, the working distance between the front of the

lens and the subject is not great with

a 50mm macro lens. It is even less when a standard macro lens is fitted to an APS-C-format camera, whose standard focal length is about 27mm. This is why for APS-C-format cameras a macro lens should be around 60mm, which is the equivalent of 90mm focal length on a full-frame

Supplementary close-up lenses come in a range of different strengths. It is worth paying for high-quality optics

mod el The a lternative to $U bstinnin g a close- focusin g stan d a rd m onofoca I lens for a 1:1 focusing version is to :buy a macro lens of longer focal length, which gives the advantages of the greater working distances discussed earlier Photographers owning' a medium-span zoom lens as the standard fitting rather than a monofocal optic should also consicer opting for a longer focus macro 'lens.

For general use, a focal length in the aforementioned range ~ 90-

1 OSmm for 3Smm film or full-frame digital SLR cameras, or 60-70mm for APS-C -format models -is advised. Obviously, for the latter a 60 or 70mm lens will not give as helpful a working distance as a 90 or 1 OSmm optic on full frame However, it will nevertheless be an improvement on the standard 27-35mm focal length lens. A lOSmm full-frame macro lens presse d into occa sional service on an APS-C -format model gives a 160mm equivalent, but the viewing angle will be too narrow for many close-up purposes. There are 200mm, fullframe, close-working. macro lenses, such as Nikon's Micro Nikkors, but they are for speCialised applications such as medical work and long-range nature photography

A lower-cost al.ternative to upgrading to a macro monofocal

optic is to Lise ill supplementary lens attached to the front filter screw of a normal lens. The lens maker's specially corrputsd supplementary optics

work very well. There are even lowercost alternatives, although these may need the prime lens stopping well down to give cross-frame definition and quality, as they usually introduce spherical aberration.

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.oo.uk 153

G.eoffrey Crawley Explains ... Macro Photography

Above: These two images were taken at the closest focusing point of a 24-70mm zoom lens (at 70mm) with and without a bank of three 3+ dioptre lenses. The focusing point was much closer with the +9 dioptre, making the flower at the front of the scene significantly larger in the frame. Also, there is less depth of field in the image taken with the supplementary lenses. Both shots were taken at f/8

Right: The AF DC-Nikkor 1 05mm f/20 has a minimum focusing distance of 90cm. At this distance the subject is 7.7x smaller in the frame than it is in real life. Attaching a 3x dioptre lens reduces the focusing distance to 40cm and increases the magnification to 1:2.5.lncrea.sing the strength of the dioptre lens to +7 brings the coin close to life size. The largest coin shown was captured using the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 at its closest focusing point (31cm), which gives 1:1 magnification

L OOK.ING down the lists of lenses from the wor'ld's optical manufacturers, there are always a few of fixed focalleng!h (monofocal) that are labelled 'macro'. Ihese are available from the camera manufacturers in their own-brand 5LR and D5LR 1ittings, and from the independents in a variety of fittings

U sua 11.y, th e.y wi II focus in close to a

1:1 repro scale. This lens type will, again usually, have a repro scale that discloses its current value as the focuSin g section extends. Internal focuSing makes mauo lens design more difficult, owing to the much longer focusing movement necessary, but when presentit has the advantage that the distance between the front

of the lens an d th I" su b ject do es not cha ng e du n ng focusi ng.

The distance between subject and camera is particularly important in nature photog ra phy, where the abi Ii tv to acquire a large image without alerting

a .Iive su bJect is val uable. The sta nd-off between the front rim of the lens and: th I" su bject in close-up work is termed th e 'working d sta nce'. The distance between the camera and the subject plane - the subject distance - is always measured from the plane of the film

or sensor in the ca mer a. l:t is usua Ily marked by a symbol on the top-plate of a 1ilm SU1, but less frequend.y so

on a D5LR Its precise plane can be

of importance, though, when deriving data in some scientific and technical applications Another field in which along working distance may be of importance is medical photography.

One for all

A close-focusing monofocal.lens is likely to be a" expenSive as a medium-pricerange standard zoom. 50 the frequently asked question is: willi be buying a lens that is on Iy usefu I for the occasional special subject, and not for general use? The answer is that the high order of

541 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 112 September 2009

correcton req ui red for a lens expected to produoe accurate imaging at close quarters maintains performance at a hig h I evel fer so bjects out toin1in ity For example, in distanoework a 'macro' deSign will usu ally at le.ast eq ual th e results of a standard 50mm lens. The downside is that the aperture may be lower (f/28-35 rather th.an fl1.8-2) but since many photographers are now happy with f/35-4 zoorrs, the earlier objections may have gone. Another criticism ls that with the long subject distan ce range, automatic focUSing

is slowed up - pa rticu la rly the i nilial search. This has been overcome by providing a range I i miter that ca n be switched between the dose-up sector and the more normal one out to infinity.

Close .. uplenses

Bellows, extension tubes and supplementary lenses are all

a Ire rn ative options for close- u p work. A supplementary lens is fitted in

front of th e pri me lens, wh eth er it is

a monofocal or a zoom. Its function

is to relay the rays coming from the close-in subject in such a way that

the prime lens 'sees' them as coming. from fur~her off and so within its own normal focus range. For example,

with the prime lens set to infinity, a one dioptre supplementary optic will give sharp focus at one metre, a 05 doptre supplementary at 05m, and so 00. Focal lengths in dioptres only really relate to single element thin lenses, such as those in spectacles for whiCh it is the standard rating. A useful rear -of -lens-Jilting supplementary was one giving a variable repro

scale. I know only of two: one was from Panagor, and is now a cult item in intemet circies; the other was

from the old UK firrn AICO. These oocasionally appear second-hand. The more complex multi-element supplementaries computed by optical. fl rms for thei r own lenses a re fa r

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superior to the simlJle doptre ones, They fully maintain the corrections of the prime lens, though there can be minimal, contrast loss.

Extension tubes

The extension tube or tube set was once part of every IJhotogralJher's kit The close-up devotees prefer extellSioll be I lows with th €I r COlltinuously varable repro scale, as tubes give only a iixed set of scales. The principle is simple: the further

a lens moves from the image plalle, the closer it focuses, This is true of any lens, though zooms introduce complications The problem is that most lenses are corrected for infinity focus. If used on extension tubes or bellows, corrections will falloff

Other methods

A solution to the problem of correction fall-off with extension devi ces is to reverse th e lens. III


Macro Photography Geoffrey Crawley Explains ...

A coupling ring allows a lens to tl'lmiched (via its filter thread) onto the filter thread of a lens that is mounted conventionally on a camera. This means that the second lens is reversed and the whole arrangement is turned into a multi-element macro lens, The maximum maqnincatlon is equivalent to the ratio of the lenses. For example, with a 200mm lens on the camera and a reverse-mounted SOmm optic, there is a magnification factor of 4:1, making subjects appear 4x life size in the frame

~~~~~~~~~~anda filter thread on the other. It therefore allows a lens to be mounted in the reverse position on the camera so that it can be used as a macro optic. The downside is that the lens has a fixed working distance, but high magnification is possible

normal, use the distance from subject to lens is much greater than that from lens to camera image plane. In closeup work it can be the opposite, where the distance from lens to image

plane may be even greater than from subject to lens. By reversing the lens so that the front glass is pointing at the image plane, a condition

closer to that for which the lens was desi gn ed is restored. ~Reversi ng rin gs to frt a lens screw-in fliter fitting are availabl'e from SRB-Griturn (visit www.srb-griturn.com or call 01582 661 878), A downside of Llsing this and other simple extension devices is that sutotocus and exposure electronic links are not maintained. But with tile easy post-capture review of images on digital cameras this is not a great problem Fully

1"1 ectronically linked extension devices are expensive, although the old problems of exposure calculation

with lens extensions have been

eased by throuqh-the-lens metering,

A fu rth er option is to use a teleconverter The function of a teleconverter is to increase the focal length of the lens, usually by a factor of 15x, 2x or 3x. It does this while maintaining the original distance scale of the prime lens, magnifying, as it were, the centre of its image circle. It follows, therefore, that at the minimum focal distance of the prime lens the subject wi.11 be imaged at 15x, 2x or 3x the prime lens size The distance between lens and subject remains the same, but the visual effect is of having. moved

closer. However, as well as magnifying th e su b jec t, the teleconverter a Iso magnifies any lens aberrations al'Ong with it - notably colour errors, which cannot be reduced by stoppinq down, By using teleconverters specially computed by lens and camera

mall ufactu rers for th eir prod ucts,

this can be avoided, but sinoe they

The Tamron 90mm m. 5 focuses to 1: 2, but with a 2x teleconvertet attached it becomes a 180mm optic focusing to 1:1

provide them mainly for long focus and: telelenses - and sometimes

long tele zooms - the minimum focus distance may not really qualify for dose-uo work.

The limits

'Macro' IJhotogralJhy is only the beginning. It is possible to go further than the areas that we have been exploring. It is easy to attach a camera to a microscope an expensive one is not essential. This opens LIP fascinating domains of high magnification, limited' only by imagination. An inexlJensive start can be made with a standalone USB conllective dev.icE':, such as

the Veho range, giving up to 200x magnification. Beyond the optical micro range lies the imagery possible with elecuon microscopy and then stereo electron microscopy Some of the most awesome of images have been obtained with thiS very advanced 'macro' photography, AP

12 September 20091 www.arneteurphotocrepher.co.uk 1 55

Ricoh GR Digital III Camera Test

Ricoh's latest luxury digital compact camera features a range of innovative new featu res. Barney Britton tests the

new GRDigital1ll

E Ricoh GR Digital III is the latest in Ricoh's series of flagship digital compact cameras, after the GR Digital and

GR Digital II (tested in AP 9 February 2008). The philosophy behind the GR-series cameras has remained more or less the same since the

first one was relea<;ed, and the

latest GR Digital is built around

the same principles.

Like its forebears, the G R 0 ig ita I

III offers a fast. high - q ua I ity fixed

lens (28mm equivalent), full manual control and exemplary build quality However, Ricoh hasn't rested on

its laurels, and accordingly, the GR Digital II.I comes equipped with a lot

of new functionality, some of which is inherited from the innovative eXl and shared with the recently announced (X2. These new features include

a 920,000-dot LCD screen, an electronic spirit level. in both landscape and portrait formats, and multi-point white balance, The GR Digital,lll also features the interesting DR dynamic range mode first seen in the (X 1.

ln DR mode, the camera takes two

i ma ges in quick succession, at different exposure values. They are then combined to create a single image with an extended dynamic range.

Build and handling

The GR Digital 1,1.1 is a well,-buillC(lmera 'I Is textu red b lack body is solid and reassuringly heavy, and a large wraparound rubber handgrip ensures a 11rm hold, even with sweaty palms Like its predecessors, the GR Digital III offers full manU(l1 control over exposure, and a tiny control ,input wheel above the handgrip serves to chang.e aperture and/or shutter values in lhEV stops The exposure mode is set using a standard PASM di,al on the top-plate, but unusually, this d ia I is locka b Ie. Th is takes some g.etting used to, but I soon fou nd that depressi ng the tiny lockin g

button before moving the dial quickly becomes second nature, and it has the benefit of preventing the camera from shifting out of my favoured: shooting modes by accident

The GR Digital Ill's LCD screen is the same 920,OOO-dot unit that Ricohlaunched in the eXl, and the extra resolution over most competibve models makes image composi1ion

and review very straightforward However, it lacks an effective antireflection cooting, so it is very hard

to see in bright lig ht. In fact, 0 utdoors on a sunny day, the screen's excellent resolution an d high refresh r ate is wasted. Fortunately, Ricoh produces two accessory viewfinders, ~he

GV-l and GV-2, the latter of

which has brightlines to cover the optional wid'eangle converter that converts the GR Digital' III's lens

to a 21mm (equivalent)

In virtually all other respects, the GR Digital III handles superbly Features

Ii ke the on-screen virtual hor.izon

are great to see in a camera of this type an d add real val ue to the user experience Another featu re that I 've grown to appreciate during my time with the camera ,is the flexible AF/AE point With this feature activated, the

AF and/or exposure can be locked from a spednc area of the scene, using a roaming target paint The system works well, although the logical next step for this Iu nction is integration with a touch-sensitive LCD screen


The Ricoh GR Digilalill's predecessors were praised for thei r so lid, I uxu ri ous handling and excellent image quality, but r.ightly criticised for being rather slow, Shooting in raw mode could be

a frustrating experience with both the GR Digital and GR Digital II, but not so with the GR Digital lll. It goes about

its business quickly, and! everything, from AF to image review, is fast and responsive Th e res still a short delay after capturing a raw file and the image appear,ing on the L(D saeen, but it is little more than a moment, compared to the several seconds in previous generations of the GR series

However, while image review is


• 10-mlliion-pixeICMOS sensor

• ISO 64-1600 (equivalent)

• 920,OOO-dol LCD screen

• DR (dynamic range) expansion mode

• 28mm (equivalent) f/1.9lens

• Streetprice£529.99

very prompt. the image shown in playback doesn't match the screen's high resolution. This is a fairly common problem with digital cameras, but

in the GR Digital III the modest 4x 200m setting is the last pont where detail resoluUon in the preview image matches the screen resolution. If you zoom in further, the preview image steadily deg rsdes into an u nsharp mush. A frrmware update to allow

the camera to capture a higher resolution preview alongside the fullsize J PEG would sofve the problem, albeit perhaps with some penalty in processing. and display speed.

Image quality

Images from the GR Digital 11.1 look great. At the camera's 'esse' ISO setting of 64, noise is nonexistent, and both J PEGs and DNG [(lW 11les have da rity and detail that a rei mpressive

in a digital compact camera. The

fixed 28mm lens is a fine performer,

r ] Like its forebears, the Rlcoh GR Digital III offers a fast, high-quality fixed lens, full manual control and exemplary build quality 2J

Ricoh's DR mode works by combining two exposures, one darker than the other. My first attempt at this shot shows the strange 'ghost' effect described in the 'Image Quality' section, while my second try was more successful

561 www.ameteurphotoorepher.co.uk 112 September 2009

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(amera Test Ricoh GR Digital III

A lot of detail can be drawn out of the Ricoh GR Digital 111'5 DNG files. To sharpen the raw image shown here, I opened it in Photoshop and converted the image to Lab Colour, then sharpened the luminance layer using U5M' settings of Amount 300%, Radius 0.4 and Threshold 3, and converted the image back to RGB

and out of the hundreds of pictures

I have taken with the GR Digital .1.11, none is marred by excessive fringing or distortion. At higher I SO setti ngs the ten-million-pixel sensor begins

to show its limitations, and although usable images can just about be obtained at ISO 800, the ISO 1600 setting shou Id be reserved for emergency use only. While highcontrast detail is rendered remarkably well, banding is a problem at this setting. Th is ban ding: ta kes a curious form, and resembles the effect of a blocked printer head on an inkjet print.

The GR Digital Ill's multHXlint white balance system is very effective, and after repeated comparison tests I ca n discern little differerce between colour rendition from the multi-point system and 'Vhe camera's WB presets in natural light In these conditions, the multipoint WB system is all but infallible.

The Ricoh GR Digital Ill's lens is fixed at 28mm, which will no doubt

give some potential purchasers pause for thought, although I didn't find

it limiting during my time with the camera. It is worth noting, that despite the wide angle of view, the unusually fast lens aperture of 1/1.9 does allow some control over depth of field. However, to get a decent out-of-focus background effect it is necessary to get fairly close to the su bjert and shoot wide open.

The DR mode of the G R Digital III operates in the same way as it does

in the CX1, and has the same benefits - and' the same di.sadvantages.ln

good light, with a static subject, the system works well, and recovers a lot of detail from highlight areas that would otherwise have 'been clipped. In poor light, wh ere the shutter speeds sta rt getting long, or ViAth movmg subjects, the delay between the two ima.ges being captured leads to a misalignmert that causes a 'ghosting' effect that renders the images unusable. AP


Ricoh UK Ltd, Ricoh H.ouse, 1 Plane Tree Crescent, Feltham, Greater London TW13 7HG

Tel: G20B 261 4000. Website: www.ricoh.co.uk




1 n million erfec tive pixels


3M 8xZ 136 pixels


18mm (equivalentl flU


ISO 6~-lunO

PASM. auto, plus MIl 101\'2 and MY3 custom modes, and 4 seae mooes, inctudilllJ DR and t~ITI'ie

EXJlosure modes

Exposure metering


3in LCD with 920.000 do ts

156 m u~i-zone. cellirewei g hted, spot

Auto. multi ·patte rn auto. 5 presets. plus man u al dnd W B bracketi n g,

White balance


Recha rgealJle Lit~ ium -Ion

Mu~i-AF. spot A:F. multi-target AF, manual. fixed focus [infinityl

AF modes


Secure DigitaVMMC

Weight Dimensions

10 7x1Sx56m m


The Ricoh GR Oigita.J t11is capable of very high detail resolution, as can be

seen from these enlargements. Even at its maximum ISO setting of 1600, the high-contrast detail in our test chart is impressively well defined .. fn'real-wor1d' shooting, however, resolution drops off in low-contrast, low-tight environments


I LIKE t. he Ricoh GR Digital III a

lot It takes th e best bits of its predecessors, and adds some significant new features that make it easier a nd faster to use Th e qu a I ity of the 28mm equivalent lens is excell.ent, and! although Ricoil's menu system is rather dense, the amount of fu n ction a lity accessed via th e 'ba rd points' means that I spent little time buried in it

A fixed lens and a rela'tively low pixel count might be considered a brave move in a consumer-orientated camera, but the quality of the images speaks for itsel f, a nd yet again, I f nd myself giving thanks to .Ricoh for supporting tile (almost) untversal Adobe ONG raw format rather than

a pro pri etary format of its own.

As far as the competition is concerned, the GR Digital 11.1 is up against the likes of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (tested in AP 20 September 2008) and the

as yet untested Canon PowerShot 590 The LX3 offers a slightlY more refined interface and a modest

loom range, 'but the GR Digital III offers a more compelling all-round feature set Like Panasonic with the LX3,Ricoh has designed the GR Digital III to appeal to a discerning market It won't suit everyone, but it isn't intended to, and its relatively high

cost reflects the fact that 8

this is an unashamedly II

niche product :r ' I. :

Fortunately, :Ricoh has ..

filled tbet niche very well. -

12 September 20091 www.amateurphotographer.co.uk 157





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''E"l'5 Cl< Dli.II:I. m FI.'SH \!lIT \U'lJSW),~1I1 JOI:ED 'S 1"'1 (;l<i,(»

We urgently require your used photographic equipment. We have customers waiting for: Nikon, Canon, Leica, Contax, Bronica, Hasselblad and most other makes of camera lenses, accessories, binoculars and collectables.

We will buy for cash from you, or we are happy to sellon your behalf on a commission basis. Best prices paid. We can arrange collection and even call and collect and pay on the spot if necessary anywhere in the UK.

The Final Frame


mu ch - pu bli )hed a uth or on photography. He

has written mo re than

th ree dozen books 0 n

the subject, many in partnership with his wife, Fra nces 5ch ultz Ro ger started D ho tog raphy a s a teenager in the 19605 and war ked profess i 0 na IIV

in a london advertising studio in the mid-1970s, He has been a freelance photographer/writer since 1981, contributing

to many photography magazi nes ,i n (I ud i n g 'Shutterbug' in America, Visit his we bsite at ww w. roge ra ndfra n res .om

Roger Hicks


UY a tripod for £30 or £40, and you get all the bells and whistles thrown in: geared centre column, built-in head, quite probably a quick-release plate. Pay five times as much, and normally, all yoo get is the bare legs. Likewise, buy a mid-range DSlP and you get an extraordinary number of 'modes' shutter priority, aperture priority, full-auto, action, landscape, low-light, portrait, maybe more Buy an Alpa, at ten times the price and you don't even

get an interlock between the film transport and the shutter

In other words, the more you pay, the less you get This is rather OJriOLl$. The easy explanation is that you are P<lying for quality, and for limited-production exclusivity, This is not, however, the whole story.

To begin IMth, there is the 'tum-key' aspect If you don't know much about bipeds, or photography, you want something that promises to do all you want, without further ado or effort on your part Perhaps later you'llleam the relative merits of .ball-and-socket heads, three-way heads, P<ln-and-tilt heads and such exotica as the NPC Pro Head. Maybe, too, you'll learn about shutter speeds and apertures, and how to achieve the effects you want by chooSing them yourself, rather than leaving it to the camera, ,It's alia defensible viewpoint

I can't help suspecting, th.ough, that it goes even deeper than this. Straight to the heart, in fact, of consumer capitalism.

There is no doubt that capitalism works, It has led to a higher standard oflMng, faster, for more people, than any other economic system What is less clear is how long, and to what extent, the current model of consumer capitalism can last. It is increasingly clear that pure 1inandal capitalism doesn't work, As long as capitalism slicks to material goods, it is (or can be) clever stuff, As soon as it starts trying to develop a theory of money - in other words, when it starts dealing vvith financial 'products' instead of material goods -it becomes too much of a, temptation for can men, crooks or those who simply think they are cleverer than they are.

Consumer capitalism relies on rapid consumption, and on people buying things they don't really need; in many cases, things that they don't even particularly want

It is the culture of the child who sees a shiny bauble and immediately wants it In the days of film cameras, many dealers admitted that a large part of their turnover, and profit, came from people who bought the 'wrong' camera and then traded it in for another one, anything from a few months to a year or two later. As well as the profit on the new camera, there was the profit on the second-hand one, too.

Nowadays, digital cameras pour forth in bew,ilderlng numbers, and only the best of them have any residual value after they are more than a few months old. The

second-hand market

is not, therefore, what it was. In order to make any profit. the camera shop owner would have to make such a low offer that most people 'NOuld say, 'Forget it -I'll keep

it as a spar-e'

This in tu rnleads to an almost end less a ccu mu latior of stuff, not just digita I' cameras I define stuff in this cortex! as 'things that are too good to throwaway, but not really very much Lise because they've been replaced by something better, and don't even have sentimental value.'

Most people are (quite reasonably) disinclined' JLI$t to throw such stuff away because, after all, it was useful once, and will be useful again if its replacement fails in some wa,y, usually at the least convenient time to replace it

Th e troub Ie is that 'superseded' is all too often shorthand for 'replaced 'by something wtth more bells, whistles and gewgaws, which were added by the unscrupulous in order to sell more stuff to the hard of thinking' This is the peint

at which consumer capita I ism starts to look as if it is stretched a bit too thin, We

buy cheap, flashy tat with a short lifespan on a whim because we can. Or to put it another way, we buy what we dent need when others are in want. Regardless of our own consciences, or of how hard we are willing to examine our motives, there is a limit to how long the have-nots will put up with ms sort of behaviour, AP

[33 There is no doubt that capitalism works. It has led to a higher standard of living, for more people, than any other economic system ZJ2J

90 I www,amateurphotographer.co.uk 112 September 2009


A msteu r fiilotlJgrapher, I P( Media ,. 81 ue Fin 8 ui I ding, no So uthwil rk Street, Lo ndon SE1 OSU

Telephone 02031484138 fax 02031488130

Email am ateu rphotog ra pller@ip(mediiHom Subscriptions

Telephone 0845 6767778


Amateur Pllotl}Qr~pher, IP( Media, Blue Fin Building, no Sou thw ark Street, London SEI OS U. Ielep hen e: 0203 148 2517 Emaill~ morris@ip(media.colll

ClassifiedlelePhone 0203 148 2929. Fax: 020) 148 8158 Displav lelephone 02031482517. Fax: 02031488158

Inserts call1nnuvalar on 02031'48.3710

Editorial team

Editol Da mien Demo lder

Editor's PA Christ.ine lay "----

ArlEdllnl Mol I1dawbs

Produclion Edilor lesley Upton

Technical Editor Angela Ni( 110lson

News Ellito r Ch ris eh eesma n

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~ uty Art Ed ilo r Si mon Wa rfen

Features Writer Jeff M ever

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Technical W,ita Barney Britton

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Sub Edito.r 0 I iver Cotton

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Studio Manager Alan M(Faden

Special thanks to

Ro~e Barlall (pi[ tu re retu ms) 0203148 4121 Email appi(turedesk@ip(media.com

The moderators 01 tbe AP website Andrew Robertson,

Ch lis (00 I, Dav id J White, Fenris Oswi n, Henry Rogers, I i.sad b, Nick Roberts, Richard Hardwick, The FatControlier

Advertising team

6100 .Advertisement Ma_njger Lee M orr is 0203 14 B 2511 Senior DiSplaY Sales Exec "'--7J u"'l ia"'-'S"'"pe"'n'-(e-r ---;;O""20""':l fi14""S 2~63~7

Senlo! Display Sal es Exet S im on Geril rd 0203148 2510

D.isplay.Sales Execulive Rob Selvey 01922 412 720

Business Development Manager Dave Stone 02031482516

Classified Team Leader Ben Iurpitt 02031482555

Classified Sal es Executive fa la, Eg bewa Ie 0203148 2929

_D_hp_@y:.Ad Produclion JI)11n Jones 020) 1482671

Marketing and promotions

~niol Marlo:etin _!o!_aj@_g_er Estelle Hicks-Bennett 020) 1484321

Online Manager Karen Sheard 02031484943

SPI AdmInistrator Charlene Baker 0203 1484326

Publishing team

Advellisem ent Dilector Cilri sTem pi emil n

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Man agIng DiJeclol Pil ul Will lams

/1.11 ronlriIM,lions to Im,l,ur Pilolograp"" mUll be origin,.. "'" ro~" or <IlJiJIi(aled

10 Olh" puhliC1lions. Thl edilor rile"'! Ille rt:jnllO Jlorlen 01 m,nill 001 1,lIlr 01 rml"i~ submilled. IP[ M,di, or ii, associat,d romp,,,i,, ""r"" 11>1 righl I. "."" 'OJ subm~s"n )1nlIO Ih.I~I~rs «)I,mn 01 AmI.I'"r Pliologr!pOer rmg"lifl!, in or" 101 mOl or m,di,m, WHEtHER PRI NT[D, ElECrRO~I[ OR OrHERWIIE

Am,I~ur PlIMogropl>@r@iS ,r~g'SI!r!d I rad~mart OIIP( IIOIdi, © I P{ Me<:I~ 1009

Am,~ur PlIoIograp"" (,"roroorali~ 1'11010 Tl'<1lniQue & [,mer, WeelM Em~I: 'mal!UrnMI~'nher~1ip(rned".cO/l1 Web$ill; nU~llwww¥n~I!I"Dhologr 'nnll,(~1~ II'( S.iild1board 11'1: 020 J~i 5000 IrmlPtlr FllOllljJrill!ller il ~i"',d •• eklj 00 Ihe T\Olsd" precOOl"!lIM (!l",r del~ " IP( INS~RE, n" I 0111{ Med" Gi'Olrn 01 (omp"ri'S. rnslnblrl,d " Markellor", (UKllld, Blue ri, B"ililifl!l.110 Soulll .. ,rt Ilr .. 1 SEi OIU. e

II'( l'i@d~ 11)11 0002 61!lG© (Cl)jrighIIP( lledra lid. No Jlarl 0110;$ nul)li(Olron mOl

be "produced, Ilor,d in ,relriml "I"nsmill.d i, all! lormal or meOOm. wh~ Il1r pri'led. !1~(lroni( 01 Olhlrwilt, wilhoulille prier wnll!n p~ mission oj Ihl DulllGher

or Ih, ,dilor. Tlli; is ronsid",d • breod1 01 roDVngM ,fill artion wli Ill' lak" where Ihis ccus. This n>lg'.JU>l ""Sl nOI be 1!~Ulld.~il!d or ~~erwiSI dGnosed 01 m a m"II~I'" cood;oo, or i, "II ,,,Ihonsed ,over by ""I. or try lrade. or ,,",xed 10 any publi(alioo

or .ad~1li liSihg rnall-er wilhOul rlrst ~aining wrin€l'IlJI'2rr'ni~:)(II'Ilrom Ihe Dllblisher.IPC 1~'di'lIdd",sn!l!aaepI"spor>Siliililvlorlossord'mag'lou[)S"li'iledDIloIograplt;,fIII rranusuints ,M nrodU(1 sa",p~s. I I{ Me<tA rile"!! Ih! 1 ~"IIO u'! iIIlll\JhmiSllOllS s",llo Amoll'tJl ~lol<>J"pher M"J01ine i, any lormal or medMm. ~'I"di,g ell'<llooie

lIS 'g,"l: MMlfV Inlerr>alional. M BI~r Rwd, !"'n~. NI 0)001. I'1!rioOicail Poid ~ Ra,wav, NII'OITMASTIR: Send address ch."'l" 10 Am.I,ur PlI<!!ograp"". 361 BI~r Road, A","I.NJOJODt


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