Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Camera

Canon Roadshow Comes to T4 in Witney

The last remaining camera shop in Oxfordshire is to host the Canon Roadshow. This is an event with limited places so if you are interested you need to register and book with those nice people over at T4.

The event is on Tuesday 26th May 2015, there are 2 sessions, morning and afternoon


To register call  T4 on 01993-702687. Their address is 50 High Street, Witney, Oxfordshire, OX28 6HQ

Also their shop in Swindon has a special day coming up


6 things you didn’t know about focusing, but probably should

I found this on Digital Camera Magazine, an article about focusing issues.

portrait lenses on wall portrait in the background in landscape

Your camera and lenses are likely to suffer from front focus and back focus problems

There may be times when the camera confirms it has locked focus on a subject, but that subject appears out of focus in the final photo.

This is because some camera and lens combinations suffer from either front focus (where the photo is in focus in front of the focus point) or back focus (where the photo is in focus behind the focus point).

To improve focus accuracy, manufacturers include Autofocus Micro Adjustment (AFMA) as a menu option in many DSLRs.

AF Micro Adjustment enables you to compensate for front focus and back focus errors. You can make your own autofocus calibration test to help with the process, or use dedicated autofocus calibration software such as FoCal.

You’ll need to calibrate the AF for every combination of camera and lens you own, as well as saving AF Micro Adjustment settings for both the widest and longest settings on a zoom, as focusing errors are usually different at each focal length.

No I was unaware of this problem too, might need to check out my lenses

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II: new camera with surprising ability

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II – price tag £899.99 body only; release date late Feb 2015 – has been announced today, offering photographers the opportunity to create 40-megapixel images using its 16MP sensor.

I don’t quite know how they have done this, it seems like smoke and mirrors, maybe that is it.

ID: 17114

This new Olympus camera is able to offer this new functionality thanks to an enhanced 5-Axis Image Stabilisation system first introduced in its predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M5.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II is able to capture 40-megapixel still images by moving its 16-megapixel LIVE MOS sensor between each shot and merging eight single exposures into one final image with detail and resolution far beyond the sensor’s normal capacity.

Normally used by manufacturers to counteract the effects of camera shake, Olympus has used this sensor shifting technology to create high-resolution composites that Olympus says rivals the quality of many full-frame cameras.

But it also eliminates camera shake, too. Olympus says the enhanced 5-axis Image Stabilisation system can eliminate shake in all five planes of movement, achieving the equivalent of 5 EV steps faster than shutter speed. And because the system is built into the body of the OM-D E-M5 II it will work with any lens, is what we learn from Digital Camera World

More information is available at DP Review

Olympus’s OM-D E-M5 II is, like its predecessor, a small, attractive and usable 16MP camera. In fact, at first glance it looks relatively unchanged. The most obvious additions are its more advanced movie capabilities and a clever multi-shot 40MP mode, but you have to look a bit more closely to see how much work Olympus has put into this new model.

How do you follow up a classic? A little more time is going to have to pass before the E-M5 can truly wear that mantle but I have little doubt that that’s the question Olympus’s engineers and product planners have been asking themselves. And, it must be said, it’s quite a challenge. Technology has moved forward since the first OM-D was launched but simply bringing the camera up-to-date risks feeling like a let down.

Sure enough, the E-M5 II doesn’t feel like as big a step forward as its predecessor was. But how could it be? Cameras such as the Sony’s a6000 and a7, and Samsung’s NX1 have raised the expected level of capability so far that it would be hard for any new model to represent as much of a breakthrough. Nonetheless, Olympus has probably done as much as it can to move things forward.

Close examination of the camera shows that almost every aspect of its design has been tweaked, refined and polished. Without access to a higher pixel-count sensor, it’s not obvious what else Olympus could have added to the Mark II.


Olympus E-M5 II key features

  • 16MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • 40 MP multi-exposure mode
  • 1080/60p shooting and 1080/30p at up to 77Mbps (All-I)
  • 5-axis image stabilization in both stills and movie modes
  • 10fps continuous shooting, 5fps with AF
  • 1/8000th sec maximum shutter speed (1/16000th with electronic shutter)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Clip-on rotating, bounceable flash
  • The standout change for stills shooters is likely to be the 40MP multi-shot mode. This uses the camera’s sensor-shift system to move the sensor to eight fractionally different positions and create a high-resolution composite image from these eight exposures.

As digital photography and cameras continue to develop new and innovative ways of improving results step into the light every so often. These new innovations make us think wow I would like one of those but rarely do we actually stray from our preferred camera manufacturer. I still see classes on our excellent Understanding Your DSLR Camera where everyone has either a Canon or a Nikon. There is an very occasional Pentax, sometimes a Sony and less often still an Olympus but by a huge margin it is Nikon or Canon. We try to keep you up to date with new developments in cameras, do you remember last year we reported on the revolutionary Lytro. A camera so advanced that it allows you to refocus your image on the computer after you have taken the picture. Choose anything you want in focus in your image and it can be! If you don’t believe me here is a link to our post. Well I have never seen one, have never met anyone who has one or who has seen one. Will this be the case with this new Olympus, who knows? If the idea works and is a useful addition to the process of making images I guess Canon and Nikon will make their own version once they have figured out how to get around the patents.

So should you be considering changing all your gear for one of these? Personally I would wait to see how good it is, what problems with the moving sensor and then whether you actually need a 40mp camera. That will make a 120mb file! The Nokia Lumia 1020 phone has a 41mp camera, honestly who cares.

Leica Recreates 35 of the Most Iconic Photos Through History in Brilliant 100th Anniversary Ad

In this ad Leica claim ownership for inventing the idea of photography as displayed below and in the video….hubris springs to mind, watch out Leica

The award-winning ad agency behind the moving Leica ad “Soul” from last year have created another masterpiece. It’s called “Leica 100,” and it celebrates 100 years of Leica photography by paying tribute to 35 of the most iconic photographs of all time in an incredibly creative way.

Published by the Leica Gallery Sao Paolo and produced by agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad traces a path through some of the most memorable and powerful photographs ever captured, all the while making the case that, while not all were captured with a Leica, all owe something to the Leica.

Admittedly, this might not be a particularly popular assertion with somebody — the tagline of the video is that, while Leica didn’t invent photography, they invented photography — it’s hard to argue with the goosebump-inducing nature of this brilliant piece of advertising.

Below we’ve included a few screenshots of some of the most recognizable photos recreated in the video: See the video here





Camera Sensor Cleaning Techniques

From those very clever people at Cambridge in Colour a useful tutorial on how to clean the sensor on your camera. You may be aware of spots appearing in areas of clear tone in your pictures, areas like blue sky, these are almost always caused by dust on the sensor. This in depth article explains how to resolve the issue and explains about use of brushes, blowers and other stuff.

“If you’re using an SLR camera, you’ll eventually encounter spots in your photos due to a dirty camera sensor. If it hasn’t happened yet, don’t worry — it will. When it does, you’ll need to know if what you’re seeing is indeed from sensor dust, or is instead the result of a dirty viewfinder, mirror or lens. Most importantly though, you’ll need to know how to clean the sensor, and how to minimize the risk of this happening again.”

Breathtaking Urban Decay Photographs

As a subject area dereliction is often appealing, there is something about grime and decay that draws many photographers’ eyes. This display offers some really interesting images that make you think, wish I had seen that, but at the same time might encourage you to go and seek such locations for yourself.








Breathtaking Urban Decay Photographs | CreativeFan.

Karen Knorr

Strange that I had not heard of Karen Knorr before as she is certainly celebrated. Serious stuff often beautifully crafted with purpose and intent. This series of images from India had her using large format film cameras to capture the sumptuous palaces in Rajasthan and then photographing animals in nearby zoos and digitally combining the images. Can you see the join? Fun and beautiful. Her website has a number of other series of works worth investigating

Best compact system camera: 5 premium CSCs tested and rated

From those good ol’ boys at Digital Camera World

Want a small camera that’s big on performance? We compare five of the best compact system cameras on the market.

 Nobody really enjoys being burdened by the weight of a heavy backpack stuffed with a big camera body and even bigger lenses, especially when venturing off the beaten track or travelling.

Compact System Cameras, or CSCs, have therefore become increasingly popular.

They offer the crucial advantage of interchangeable lenses that were previously the preserve of full-blown SLRs, while often being only a little larger than compact cameras.

As such, they boast DSLR-like versatility in a more streamlined package.

There’s an increasing number of high-end CSCs that are designed to give enthusiast and pro photographers the type of control they are used to, but in a smaller camera. Which one makes the best alternative to a heavy SLR?


Best compact system camera: 01 Fujifilm X-E2

Price: $899/£759

Not just an update to the X-E1, this new Fuji camera boasts some desirable enhancements compared with the older X-Pro1.

The newer generation 16.3Mp X-Trans image sensor, for example, includes phase-detection autofocus as a supplement to regular contrast-detection AF.

The X-E2 also has a faster burst rate of 7fps compared with the X-Pro1’s 6fps, and a higher-resolution, 2,360k-pixel electronic viewfinder.

There’s also a pop-up flash, as well as a hot-shoe and Wi-Fi connectivity.

SEE MORE: 10 camera techniques to master in 2014

There’s no PASM dial as the camera uses ‘automatic’ positions on the well-implemented shutter speed and aperture selectors instead, along with a neatly positioned Exposure Compensation dial offering up to +/-3EV.

There are no scene modes either, which is a clear indication of the ‘enthusiast’ aspirations of the camera.

Given the comparative newness of the X-E2, the lack of a touchscreen LCD is a little frustrating, but the Quick menu system makes for easy adjustments to most shooting settings.

Autofocus isn’t blindingly fast, but it’s pretty respectable.

One of the benefits of Fuji’s X-Trans sensors is that they don’t need an anti-aliasing filter (which reduces the risk moiré patterning, but at the expense of slight softening of images), and this brings the potential for sharper, more detailed images.

The X-E2’s images look very natural, especially in the standard, Provia colour mode, with rather more vibrancy being delivered in Velvia mode.

Retention of fine detail is impressive, at least at low ISO settings.

When using higher ISOs, image noise is kept well under control, but fine detail and texture are slightly smoothed out.

Score: 4/5

See all the other best cameras here

2013 in just twelve images on different formats

You know I have almost no interest at all in the cameras people use. It seems pointless to ask the question,’what camera do you use?’ but it is one I hear often. Commenting on cameras is the dullest thing when looking at images. So I was less than thrilled reading the opening paragraph of this article recommended to me by my Danish friend Alisdair. Anyway I did look, I read nothing at all about the cameras but I  liked the pictures and I hope you will too.

Last year I did a – one year – 2012: 12 months, 12 images, 12 cameras / lenses in total guest report for Steve. It was tough to make, it’s really hard to narrow down a big production to just one image per month, but very rewarding as well.

So I decided to do the same this time around. Those familiar with my work, either here at Steve’s site or my own http://www.oneofmany.dk will notice that I’ve been drifting slightly towards film and large format recently. The slow process has been healthy for me mentally and photographically speaking. I shoot less images, but work harder for each one, and it’s a thrill to learn new skills — especially ones that aren’t linked to Photoshop.

2013 was a good year for me in many ways, and also challenging. Sometimes I feel I’m balancing between being creative and obsessed, both when it comes to shooting portraits as well as using new cameras and lenses, hehehe. I still treasure my Leica M9-P more than anything else, but the artistic freedom (and limits) the large format view cameras give are very inspiring. Nowadays, whenever I grab a digital camera, I miss the selective focus / shallow depth of field while shooting large format extremely open, but also the tonality and amount of detail that I get from even 100-year-old non-coated lenses. An 8×10″ is approximately 60 times digital full frame, and a Swiss built large format Sinar camera, be it 60 years or 6 years old, is at east 60 times more fun to operate than a modern Canon/Nikon.

Well, here are 12 images, one for each month, all shot on different cameras, formats and lenses by Bjarke Ahlstrand, see the full article here

7-july-8x10-Dallmeyer-2A-Petzval-f4-Fuji-Velvia-50-680x850 10-october-5x7-direct_positive_paper-680x856 4-april-5x7-kodak-2b-wetplate-collodion-berlin-680x906 11-november-1913-goecker-studio-wood-camera-expired-809-polaroid-680x927

9 Essential Tips to Conquer Available Light Photography

Natural light is the gift to photographers that we must never take for granted. When I am asked for one piece of advice I would give it is always find the light and then look for a subject. When I am travelling with my camera, as I am now, currently I am in Cambodia, I always move towards the light, put me in a market, a temple, a bar, in the jungle, wherever it doesn’t matter the thing I look for is the light. My great friend David Constantine always gets up at 5.30 when he is travelling just to be out when the light first arrives, you may remember his remarkable portraits taken from his wheel chair. If he can get his act together at first light so should we all when photography is out aim.

Here Jason Little writing on Lighstalking makes some very valid points about using natural light.

In some instances, we set the challenges for ourselves: to complete a 365 project, to refine our panning technique, to shoot portraits of strangers. Generally speaking, accomplishing these goals simply requires healthy doses of discipline, patience, and courage. Other times, challenges arise as a matter of circumstance; there is no shortage of things that could possibly go wrong or get in the way of getting the perfect shot. One of the obstacles that so often rears its ugly head is that of having to shoot in low light.

Here are the first of Jason’s tips

Available light photography (also referred to as low light photography) really is exactly what it sounds like: taking photographs using nothing but whatever light source is present at the moment (which is why there are some who will argue that shooting in the midday sun also constitutes available light photography; but for the sake of this discussion, I am on the side of those who define available light as low light).
You are bound to find yourself in a situation where the use of flash is prohibited or when you are out and about with just your camera, no extraneous gear; you cannot, in good conscience, pass up a shot due to any manner of external limitation. In fact, I am willing to bet that you will grow to appreciate the allure of available light photography, so long as you stick with it and learn some techniques to help you overcome the trepidation associated with using your camera in less than ideal environments. Thus, I present to those who may be feeling a bit apprehensive, a series of practical tips that you can hopefully call upon the next time a low light photography opportunity presents itself.
Use a fast lens. A fast lens is one with a larger aperture such as f/1.4; it is important to allow as much light as possible to hit the camera’s sensor and large apertures help accomplish this.
Use a prime lens. Prime lenses are typically faster than zoom lenses and tend to exhibit less flare, which is a significant consideration when shooting into the light.
Boost your ISO. Most DSLRs produce great results at ISO 3200 and many can easily do the same at ISO 6400 and higher. Don’t be afraid of a little noise; you can either deal with it in post or…just forget about it. A truly great shot will command attention and no one will even care about the amount of noise present, if they even notice it at all.

Read the rest of his tips here