Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Monthly Archives: November 2016

Lost England – photographs from 1870 to 1930

The Guardian has a rather excellent selection of images from the past.

10 best mirrorless cameras in 2016

A mirrorless camera, sometimes referred to as a csc type camera has interchangeable lenses like a dslr, usually as good quality as a dslr but does not have an optical viewfinder, some have electronic viewfinders some rely upon the monitor on the back for composing the pictures. They are gaining in popularity because they are small and light but offer good quality like a dslr camera. This review on Techradar will help you


Once upon a time, keen photographers bought a DSLR – it was the established order of things. But the mirror mechanism of a DSLR is complex and noisy and adds to the weight of the camera, and that’s where the mirrorless camera, or compact system camera comes in. They keep the big sensors and interchangeable lenses of DSLR cameras but ditch the mirror to produce a smaller, lighter and simpler camera.

In fact, there are still pros and cons to both designs. If you want to find out more, read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences.

Some mirrorless cameras have a compact, rectangular body, some are styled like DSLRs with a ‘pentaprism’ on the top – though this houses an electronic viewfinder rather than the optical viewfinder you get with a DSLR.

Be aware, too, that cheaper mirrorless cameras don’t come with viewfinders at all – instead, you compose the photo on the rear screen, just as you do with a compact camera or a smartphone. (If you’re still not sure what kind of camera you need, read our easy to follow guide: What camera should I buy?)

No two photographers are exactly the same – we’re all looking for slightly different things, so we’ve ranked the 10 best compact system cameras you can buy right now based not just on specs, handling and performance, but size, simplicity and value for money too.

1. Fuji X-T2

A stunning camera perfect for enthusiast photographers

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: EVF | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle display, 1,040,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Polished handling
Fast autofocus
No touchscreen
Not much else

2. Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

The brilliant E-M10 II ticks boxes you probably didn’t even know about

Sensor size: Micro Four Thirds | Resolution: 16.1MP | Viewfinder: EVF | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle display, 1,037,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8.5fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Compact size, lenses too
Excellent viewfinder
Smaller sensor than some
Pricier than original E-M10

3. Sony Alpha A7R II

Sony’s highest resolution full-framer is going down a storm

Sensor size: Full-frame | Resolution: 42.4MP | Viewfinder: EVF | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle display, 1,228,800 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate:5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Expert

Huge, high quality images
Excellent quality viewfinder
Needs a faster AF point settings
Tilting rather than vari-angle screen

4. Fuji X-T10

The X-T10 makes access to Fuji’s terrific X-mount system affordable

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 16.3MP | Viewfinder: EVF | Monitor: 3.0-inch tilt-angle display, 920,800 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Beginner/intermediate

Excellent build and design
Value for money
High ISOs are JPEG only
Lacks X-T1’s weatherproofing

5. Fuji X-Pro2

Classic styling houses a stack of features aimed at the enthusiast photographer

Sensor size: APS-C | Resolution: 24.3MP | Viewfinder: EVF & Optical | Monitor:3.0-inch display, 1,620,000 dots | Maximum continuous shooting rate: 8fps | Maximum video resolution: 1080p | User level: Expert

Clever viewfinder
Very good detail and colour
Fixed rear display
EV dial easily knocked
see all the review here on Techradar
Got the camera get a course to learn how to use it, we recommend our Understanding Your DSLR course, ideal for this sort of camera

10 best compact cameras 2016

so you have decided that someone in your life needs a new camera and a compact is the one, this review from Techradar will help you decide


Compact cameras and the compact camera market have changed a lot over the last few years. Smart phones have decimated the entry-level range of point-and-shoot models that used to be popular and as a result manufacturers have concentrated on putting more advanced features into cameras to make them more attractive.

In addition to a move towards having physically larger sensors to boost image quality, some compact cameras now have lenses with long zoom ranges or wide apertures and there’s better control over exposure along with a much wider range of settings than in the past. Wi-Fi connectivity is also now de rigueur, so you can transfer shots quickly to a phone for sharing on Facebook etc.

Many enthusiast photographers used to be very sniffy about compact digital cameras, but there are now many that make a great alternative to a DSLR or mirrorless system camera.. And those who are new to photography and thinking about stepping up from a smartphone have some pretty sophisticated choices. There are small cameras that can slip in a pocket yet have huge zoom ranges, and large bridge cameras that look like DSLRs, but have a fixed lens and lots of automated easy-to-use options.

These cameras prove that you don’t have to buy a camera that takes interchangeable lenses to get great shots.

If you need a bit more help figuring out what kind of camera you need, then read this article: What camera should I buy?

Or if you already know what kind of camera you want, then check out our more specific compact camera guides:

1. Panasonic LX100

A compact masterpiece, with a big sensor, classic controls and a viewfinder

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 12.8MP | Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8 | Monitor: 3-inch, 921,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 11fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

Big sensor, small body
Traditional controls
Prone to lens flare
Modest resolution

2. Fuji X70

Great for those who want a larger than average sensor and traditional controls

Sensor: APS-C, 16.3MP | Lens: 28mm, f/2.8 | Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: No | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Movies: 1080p | User level: Expert

High quality APS-C format sensor
Traditional exposure controls
No viewfinder
Fixed focal length lens

3. Sony RX100 IV

Sony’s super-high speed sensor tech is brilliant but pricey

Sensor: 1-inch, 20MP | Lens: 24-80mm, f/1.8-2.8 | Monitor: 3-inch tilt-angle display, 1,228,800 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 5.5fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Intermediate/expert

High-speed shooting and 4K
Compact design
The tech makes it expensive
Only a 3x zoom range

4. Panasonic TZ100 / SZ100

Panasonic’s premium travel camera has a larger sensor than the rest of the range

Sensor: 1-inch type, 20.1MP | Lens: 25-250mm, f/2.8-5.9 | Monitor: 3.0-inch touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Viewfinder: EVF | Continuous shooting: 10fps | Movies: 4K | User level: Beginner/Intermediate

1-inch type sensor
10x zoom range lens
Small electronic viewfinder
Fixed screen
Bought the camera now get the course, our Beginners Photography course is perfect for someone with a compact camera

Paddy Summerfield – The Oxford Pictures 1968-1978

It may have taken too long in coming but now there is a book of images by Paddy Summerfield from his early Oxford period. You may not know Paddy but he has been part of the photographic firmament of Oxford for ever. I first met him on June 6th 1982. I had just opened the doors of my new business, The Photographers Workshop, and in strode Paddy. I had heard tell of this mythic man and when he said who he was and could he help I thought this is it, I am on the road. Paddy and I have been friends now for more than 30 years and I cherish that time. I remember the first time I saw his Oxford pictures appearing under the red lights of the darkroom and wondering how this man before me could have taken such brilliant photographs. Prior to seeing his work I had only seen similar in books by people who were really famous, and this man was in my darkrooms.

He shared his passion and knowledge with anyone who would benefit; teaching, mentoring and helping and never for reward, he didn’t want money he just wanted to be involved with interesting images and people.

So to his book, a beautiful edition with many of the pictures from a period when Oxford was still the Oxford of memory. What has amazed me about the book is how close the reproductions are to the prints he would work on in the dark, they have a quality, an intensity that I don’t see from digital work. This is a wondrous thing to behold, I would recommend you find a copy and spend time indulging your love of photography. Do not expect warm, honey coloured stones, this Oxford is much darker and more interesting.

Go to Paddy’s website to find more information http://paddysummerfield.com/


Paddy Summerfield 1

Paddy Summerfield 2


The New York Times no less reviewed this book, go here to see 16 images on their gallery

Sprawled on grass, floating down a river, or gazing blankly into the distance — all the subjects captured, unawares, in the photographer Paddy Summerfield’s new book “The Oxford Pictures” share a certain listlessness. In 1968, having been “thrown out” of Guildford School of Art (“the staff weren’t particularly sympathetic towards my vision”), Summerfield returned to his hometown of Oxford, England. He spent the summers of the next 10 years wandering around the grounds of the elite Oxford University, where he photographed students at leisure.

What he sensed at the university, he says, was an atmosphere that mirrored how he felt about his own life. “I was young,” he says, “It’s a young person’s vision, noticing girls and noticing other people’s relationships — but I was always outside everything.” He recognised a similar nervousness in the subjects of his photos, who hovered between the social rituals of university and an existential uncertainty. At the time, Summerfield was heavily influenced by John Lennon — and there is something personal and deeply melancholy about these images. “I set out to show heartache and disappointment,” he says. “It’s about feeling… well, I suppose, isolated and lonely, and full of sexual anxiety.

A selection of Summerfield’s pictures was shown at the Museum of Modern Art Oxford in 1976. But this month, 40 years later, they become the subject of a new book. Summerfield says that the fashionable British documentary photographers of the time — Don McCullin, David Hurn, Ian Berry, Tony Ray Jones — were more preoccupied with society than with introspection. “They were interested in the world around them,” he says. “I’m interested in the interior world.”

Best entry-level DSLR 2016

It is that time of year when knowing what to buy to get one of the best cameras for your purposes and budget becomes more focussed because of the short time before it gets wrapped and stored under a tree. This might help from Techradar

If you’ve outgrown your point-and-shoot camera and feel like you’re ready to take your photography to the next step, then an entry-level DSLR is the obvious choice. You might also want to consider a mirrorless camera as an alternative, although you won’t find one with a viewfinder at the same price as a DSLR.

If you are thinking about a mirrorless camera, then you might want to read this: Mirrorless vs DSLR cameras: 10 key differences. Or, if you’re not sure what kind of camera you need at all, then read our easy to follow guide to camera types: What camera should I buy?

DSLRs deliver a big step up in image quality from a compact camera, far more manual control and the ability to change lenses to tackle a huge variety of projects. Obviously, the more features you want, the more you’ll pay, but do you actually need them? Our top camera is one of the cheapest on the market, but still offers impressive performance and image quality, plus enough features to handle most assignments, especially if you’re still learning.



1. Nikon D3300

It’s not the most expensive entry-level DSLR, but we think it’s the best

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Screen: 3-inch, 921,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed: 5fps | Max video resolution:1080p | User level: Beginner

Great image quality
Guide mode
Fixed screen
No built-in Wi-Fi

2. Canon EOS Rebel T6i / Canon EOS 750D

A compelling combination of top-notch ergonomics and a superb sensor

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen:3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed:5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Terrific sensor
Wi-Fi with NFC
Average battery life
Only 95% viewfinder coverage

3. Nikon D5500

Choosing between Canon and Nikon is tougher than ever

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Nikon DX | Screen:3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed:5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

High-res, non-anti-aliased sensor
Touch-sensitive articulating screen
Slow live-view focussing

4. Canon EOS Rebel T6s / Canon EOS 760D

Like the EOS 750D, but with better handling and a second LCD

Sensor: APS-C CMOS | Megapixels: 24.2MP | Lens mount: Canon EF-S | Screen:3-inch articulating touchscreen, 1,040,000 dots | Continuous shooting speed:5fps | Max video resolution: 1080p | User level: Beginner/enthusiast

Great touchscreen
Excellent sensor
AF point selection fiddly
and remember the camera is nothing without knowing how to use it so head over to our courses and grab one now

Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2016

I know you have been waiting for this, now the winner has been announced

FIRST PRIZE: Claudio Rasano


Katlehong Matsenen 2016 from the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare by Claudio Rasano, February 2016
© Claudio Rasano
First Prize: £15,000

Swiss-Italian photographer Claudio Rasano was born in 1970, Basel, Switzerland. The portrait, which is part of the series Similar Uniforms: We Refuse to Compare was taken in Johannesburg, South Africa and focuses on issues of preserving individuality in the context of school uniforms. The photograph was shot in daylight, outdoors and in front of a plain white paper background. The sitter for this particular pigment print is eighteen year old Katlehong Matsenen.


any comments about school photography gratefully accepted

here is a link to the TW award site