It's a relatively well known fact that some lenses work better with IR photography than others. The most common lens issue – hot spots – are bright, visible circles in the image (sort of like flare) typically caused by various lens and barrel coatings which reflect IR light in undesired ways.
A few Canon and Nikon lenses which are prone to hot spot include (according to Life Pixel):
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 20-35mm f/2.8 USM
Canon EF 28-70mm f/2.8 USM
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR
But I recently ran across another issue when it came to utilizing two different lenses under identical lighting conditions; the images looked completely different (angle of view differences aside). A white balance target taken with one lens didn't seem to work well with the other lens. And even when I took a second white balance target image with the second lens, I could never get the image to look the same as the first image. Hmm...
Bear in mind, I have the Super Color IR conversion which allows you to captures yellow and blue hues in IR imagery. Obtaining the correct white balance in a Super Color IR image is critical for isolating the various wavelengths for proper post processing. At least, I've found it's critical when shooting landscapes. Typically speaking, I take a picture of a pure (or nearly pure) white target in the same light that is illuminating the landscape. With a custom white balance selected in post processing, foliage becomes yellow and the sky remains blue after switching the red and blue color channels.
I called the helpful people at LifePixel to inquire about white balance variations and other differences between lenses. The technician I spoke to believed that various lens coatings might make a significant difference in the quantity (and possibly quality) of IR light that makes it to the sensor.
Intrigued, I decided to conduct a little experiment. I chose five different lenses (two zooms and three primes) which all feature 24mm focal lengths and shot the exact same scene on a cloud free day. The lenses were:
In post processing, I white balanced each lens' scene with an identically sampled color patch (pure white) on its corresponding ColorChecker target image. The red and blue color channels were swapped and an identical Hue/Saturation adjustment layer was added with Yellow Saturation set to -100 and Lightness to +100.
Here were the final results:
In the images above, the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM produces the results I want to see when capturing IR photography. In other words, there is a very clear distinction between the color hues that are recorded. Notice how muddy most of the other results look by comparison. The only lens that comes close is the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.
Are lens coatings solely to blame for the varying results? I'm not sure. The lenses vary widely in their design, introduction year and [likely] coatings. But one thing is certain; a couple of them look better than the others, and one stands out above them all.
Now I'm curious to know if more simply designed lenses and lenses with minimal (or no) coatings may provide results similar to the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM, even though the 24mm STM is advertised as featuring coatings to reduce ghosting and flare. For my next test, I'll disregard focal length differences and choose lenses which I hope will mimic the 24mm STM's results.
Get hands-on with Sigma’s brand new 85mm F1.4 Art, 12-24mm F4 Art, 500mm F4 Sport, Cine lens line and sd Quattro camera lineup, learn tips and techniques from Sigma Pros, and stop by booth 537 for a chance to win big!
New York, NY – October 14, 2016 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading DSLR lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, has announced its participation in the 2016 PDN PhotoPlus International Conference + Expo (PPE), held at the Javits Convention Center in New York City from October 20-22, 2016. In addition to presentations by its esteemed group of Sigma Pro photographers, Sigma will display the brand-new 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art, 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art and 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sport Global Vision lenses and its new line of Cine lenses at booth 537.
Adding to this year’s excitement, Sigma will also have one giveaway each day for attendees who visit the booth. Attendees can enter the daily drawing for a chance to win a 24-35mm Art lens, 50mm Art lens or a Sigma sd Quattro with a 30mm F1.4 Art lens, a total value of more than $2500.00!
Brand New High-Performance Sigma Global Vision Lenses Unveiled at Photokina 2016, the highly anticipated Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art, 12-24mm F4 Art and 500mm F4 Sport Global Vision lenses will headline the Sigma photo exhibit.
Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art – the ultimate portrait lens. The new Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art lens is engineered to support the highest resolution sensors on the market with an exceptional degree of sharpness. The high-performance optical system is purpose-built by Sigma R&D to produce the attractive bokeh effect sought after by discerning photographers.
Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art – an ultra-wide angle zoom for the era of high resolution digital cameras. Boasting the renowned Global Vision image quality from center to edge, the new Sigma 12-24mm F4 features the largest aspherical glass in the industry, offering photographers an ultra-wide angle zoom with virtually no distortion, flare or ghosting.
Sigma 500mm F4 DG OS HSM Sport Lens – the pro fast-aperture prime super telephoto. The flagship Sigma super telephoto 500mm F4 Sport lens incorporates the very latest in Sigma optical technology and innovation. Designed for the professional sports and wildlife shooter, the ultra-durable lens features magnesium alloy components, a carbon fiber hood and a water- and oil-resistant front element, and is dust and splash proof. In addition to the enhanced weather sealing, the 500mm F4 features a drop-in rear filter slot for polarizers, UV and other critical filters.
In addition to the new lenses announced at Photokina, Sigma will have the sd Quattro H, its second camera in the Quattro DSLR line up, on hand. Sigma’s highly unique APS-H mirrorless camera features the Foveon sensor and is renowned for its incredible image quality and color fidelity; producing imagery comparable to that of a 51MP DSLR with a Bayer-pattern sensor.
A Leap Forward for FilmmakersSigma will also be showcasing for the first time in the United States its new lineup of Cine lenses. A bold step forward into the world of cinematography, the new Sigma Cine lineup features eight high-performance lenses purpose-built for the latest, high-resolution digital cinema cameras. Supporting 6k and 8k productions, the new Sigma Cine lenses leverage the outstanding optical design of the company’s world-renowned Global Vision still photography lenses. Engineered with a completely new mechanical lens body, the new Cine lenses are designed to meet the needs of modern-day cinema production with the core optical quality DNA that has defined the Sigma benchmark of imaging excellence.
The Cine High Speed Zoom Line - 18-35mm T2 and 50-100mm T2 The high speed zoom line offers the constant aperture of T2 throughout the zoom range with superior optical performance that is capable of high-resolution 6K-8K shooting. Delivering the highest image quality in its class, the High Speed Zoom is ergonomically compact and designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts.
The Cine FF Zoom Line - 18-35mm T2.2 FF Compatible with a full-frame image sensor, the FF Zoom’s outstanding optical performance also supports 6K-8K shooting. Because so few lenses cater to the requirements of the latest digital cinema cameras’ image sensors, this line provides a rare option for cinematographers. The FF Zoom is designed for E and EF camera system mounts.
The Cine FF High Speed Prime Line - 20mm T1.5 FF, the 24mm T1.5 FF, 35mm T1.5 FF, the 50mm T1.5 FF and the 85mm T1.5 FF The Cine High Speed Prime lineup features lenses ranging from 20mm to 85mm, with all five touting an aperture of T1.5. Highly compact and compatible with full-frame sensors, these lenses offer superior resolution. They bring a consistent level of light to the production, offering greater consistency to any film’s color, contrast and overall look before it enters post-production. The FF High Speed Prime line is designed for E, EF and PL camera system mounts.
Sigma Pros and Experts Headline the Sigma Theatre Sigma Pros and experts will once again take center stage on the Sigma PPE Theater. Fan favorites Roman Kurywczak, Brian Linhoff, Andy Marcus, Jen Rozenbaum and Jim Schmelzer will share their latest tips and techniques in the following presentation topics: Paradigm Shift in the World of Bird Photography, Fast Glass for Night Photography, Destination Weddings, How to Empower with Boudoir, Design your own Portrait, Maximum Impact and Creative Flair as well as a special presentation on the new Sigma Cine lenses. For more information including presentation descriptions, please visit: https://blog.sigmaphoto.com/2016/sigma-at-photoplusexpo-2016/.
Sigma Giveaways at PPE 2016 PPE 2016 attendees who visit Sigma at booth 537 will have a chance to enter and win one of Sigma’s daily gear giveaways: 24-35mm Art lens, 50mm Art lens or a Sigma sd Quattro with a 30mm F1.4 Art lens.
One of my favorite aspects of photography is being transported back in time, with memories of sights, sounds, smells and dormant emotions flooding back (even if ever so briefly). It's why couples treasure their wedding pictures. It's why we take so many pictures of our children. It's why pictures of lost loved ones adorn our walls. A cherished picture is simply a physical manifestation of a memory, but one which provides a catalyst for reflection and appreciation for our own experiences in life [Sean].
Taking videography content creation wanderlust to a new level
Upper Saddle River, N.J. (October 13, 2016) – Manfrotto, a leading global innovator and manufacturer of premium photo, video and lighting support products and accessories, launches Befree Live – the smallest, most on the go versatile video tripod and kits in the Manfrotto range. Befree Live will premier in the U.S. next week at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.
Key features include:
The most compact and lightweight high-quality video tripod kit
Intuitive and easy to use, rapid to set up, effortlessly versatile on the move
Reliable & stable Fluid Drag System to ensure the smoothest pan & tilt movement
Video head compatible with the existing Befree family of products
Befree Live meets all the needs of emerging CSC & DSLR content creator communities, including vloggers and mobile journalists. Suitable for both indoor and dynamic outdoor use, Befree Live follows video content creators on their exciting quests for ground-breaking discoveries, enabling them to always be prepared to capture amazing video footage with an extra focus on ease of use and portability with a minimalist design.
The new Manfrotto Befree Live foldable video tripod has all the quality characteristics that made the Befree line such a success. Among its distinguishing features, it boasts awesome fluidity on pan & tilt along with precise leveling. The pan bar is removable and foldable for easy portability. The tripod reliably supports a payload of 8.8 pounds, extends to a height of 59.4 inches and folds down to 16.5 inches. It weighs only 3.9 pounds and also features a sliding plate for use with a wide array of camcorders, CSCs and DSLRs. It has larger feet and a special hook for extra stability, regardless of where it is set up.
The Befree Live assortment also includes the Befree Live Fluid video head: the smallest fluid video head version available on the market. It provides reliable fluidity on pan & tilt, has a removable and foldable pan bar on a very compact head and is compatible with the existing Befree family, 290 Light and all 40mm diameter tripods.
The following models will be available this fall:
MVKBFR-LIVEUS – Befree Live Aluminum 4 Section Kit with Befree Fluid Head – $239.99 MVH400AHUS – Befree Live Fluid Video Head – $99.99 MK290LTA3-VUS – Befree Live Fluid Video Head with 290 Light Kit – $169.99
Marketing firm Mediakix has designed an infographic comparing the GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic Pro drones. Because of the large size of the infographic, we've only posted a small part of it here. Click on the image below to see the full infographic on Mediakix website.
Shooting "straight down" at a tabletop is very popular these days. There are many techniques for lighting these shots and in this video Greg from Lens Pro to go and I breakdown the "Drop Shadow" technique.
The New Collaboration Will Promote Consumer Safety Around Intellectual Property (IP) Theft and Safety Concerns Related to Counterfeit Power Accessories
MELVILLE, N.Y., October 13, 2016 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced its collaboration with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to promote awareness around the safety risks of using counterfeit power accessories, such as batteries, chargers, and external flashes. The production and sale of counterfeit products is an issue that not only affects the consumer electronics industry, but can affect consumer safety as well. The launch of this collaboration is scheduled to coincide with Crime Prevention Month in October, and will continue through 2017.
Together with Canon U.S.A., NCPC will use its resources to provide educational tools to crime prevention practitioners, law enforcement officials, and educators who, in turn, can use those resources to teach their communities about the dangers of purchasing counterfeits. The awareness campaign will also include digital messaging directed to consumers and public service announcements as well as other videos featuring McGruff the Crime Dog.
Counterfeit items are illegal replicas of real products, designed to deceive and take advantage of the superior value of genuine merchandise. They are produced in a manner that is increasingly more difficult for average consumers to identify, which is why awareness and education efforts are so important. Furthermore, counterfeit power accessories can lead to potentially dangerous results. They typically do not contain important safety technologies and are not tested to meet industry safety standards. As a result, they may overheat, smoke, melt, ignite, or create power surges and electrical irregularities that may cause personal injury or property damage.
“The safety of our customers is of paramount importance,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “We want to make sure our customers are aware of the dangers of counterfeit power accessories so they can avoid potential risks of hurting themselves or damaging their equipment.” “As counterfeiting of camera accessories continues to evolve, we want to make consumers aware of this risk so they can keep themselves and their equipment safe,” said Ann Harkins, president and CEO, NCPC. “Counterfeit products designed to look like genuine products from major camera manufacturers may cause damage to people and property.” NCPC is a private, nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization whose primary mission is to be the nation’s leader in helping people keep themselves, their families and their communities safe from crime.
I ran across some UV/black light portraits not long ago and was intrigued by them. I decided to do some research to see if I could produce similar black light portraits on a reasonable budget.
When it comes to black light photography, you need two things – something that is fluorescent under UV/black light and a product to emit the light.” Searching for "black light makeup" on Amazon left me with dozens of options to choose from. I settled on an 8 tube set of water-based face paint. Next up, the black light.
Searching Amazon again I found a myriad of black light products available for purchase including flashlights, dance club lights and the run-of-the-mill black light bulb that many of us had in high school and/or college. After weighing the options I decided to get a couple of black light CFL bulbs that I could install in a three bulb floor lamp that I already owned (similar to this). The UV bulb reviews warned that the light emitted wasn't terribly powerful, but I hoped that using two bulbs positioned relatively close to the subject would do the trick.
And speaking of the subject, I was aware of a model here in Savannah (Kim) that was looking to expand her portfolio with "creative ideas." I contacted Kim to see if she'd like to try out some black light photography. I explained to her that I was completely inexperienced with this particular field of photography but I thought it might be fun and yield interesting results. She readily agreed and we set a session date.
After receiving the face paint and bulbs, I set up a small test in my studio to see how well the UV face paint glowed under the black lights. My initial tests were a little disappointing. It was early in the evening and I still had some ambient light coming through my studio windows. Considering that Kim was only available during the day, I knew I would have to limit the amount of ambient light that would be flooding into the room under broad daylight conditions to maximize the effect of the black lights. Thankfully I already had a couple of blackout curtains that I use to eliminate glare on my living room TV produced from a large pair of windows behind the couch. The blackout curtains allowed me to turn my studio nearly pitch black in the middle of the day.
When Kim arrived for the shoot she was carrying a box full of makeup. While the makeup she brought was superfluous in this case, it was comforting that she knew how to handle her own makeup needs. I handed her the bottles of face paint and the brushes and sponges I had purchased for application needs. I said, "Have fun with it! But from what I've read, the blue is more fluorescent than the other colors. You might want to use it sparingly."
However, working with the UV face paint proved problematic as it's quite watery (making it challenging to apply) and it doesn't show up very well in regular light, so it's difficult to judge exactly what the final results will look like. Kim simply had to deal with the first issue the best she could. However, the second issue was easily remedied by her applying the face paint in the darkened studio with the black lights illuminating her face.
Even knowing that blue was the most fluorescent color, we were still a bit surprised by just how much brighter it was compared to the other colors. In fact, Kim ended up washing off her first application of the blue paint so that her face wouldn't be overly bright in those areas.
With the face paint applied and my tripod mounted 5D Mark III and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM (precursor to the version II) ready, we started shooting. I don't usually use constant lights for portraiture, so it was a little challenging finding the right balance of relatively slow (but fast enough) shutter speed without pushing the ISOs too high. Even wide open at f/2.8, I still needed shutter speeds of 1/30 - 1/40 second at ISO 6400 - 8000 with the black lights positioned just out of the frame.
After figuring out the exposure and shooting a few images, I quickly noticed that because there was very little light hitting the background (which is what I had intended), the photos lacked punch; it needed some light. I reached for a Canon 580EX Speedlite (precursor to the 600EX II-RT), added a deep blue gel, a speed strap and a 1/8-Inch Universal Honeycomb Grid. Even with the gel in place and the flash set to its minimum of 1/128, the light was too bright for my exposure settings. Adding a 1-stop ND gel to the mix helped bring the background light down to a tolerable level.
My favorite image from the shoot appears at the top of this post. Following are two more images from the session that I liked.
What I Learned
First off, UV/black light photography is really fun and quite economical. The black light bulbs I purchased have an 8,000-hour life expectancy, so their cost is very reasonable considering their life span. However, I wish I had gotten just one more bulb so that I could have shot with a higher shutter speed (for more keepers) or lower ISO (for cleaner images). The amount of face paint I received will likely be enough to cover 2-3 sessions, so the cost is relatively reasonable as well. Using a full frame camera (the 5D Mark III in this case) proved extremely beneficial in producing satisfactory results at my exposure settings (though I still applied some noise reduction in post-processing).
If you have any UV/black light specific recommendations (products / techniques), please leave them in the comments.
Photographing siblings takes practice, patience and a bit of silliness. Once you know your way around your camera, you can focus on being playful and doing what you need to do to get your kids to play along, so you can get that shot of your little ones together that you’ve been hoping for.
If you show your photography to enough people, you're bound to hear the same exclamation more than once: "You must have a really nice camera!" While I know it's not intended to be an insult, I'm always offended by that seven-word sentence.
We are a photography gear news and reviews website. We know all too well that the quality of the gear you use in photography can certainly make a tangible difference in image making. A camera with a fast burst rate and an advanced AF system may mean the difference between capturing an optimally-timed, in-focus moment or something much less memorable. A high resolution DSLR paired with a pro grade lens can enable a photographer to produce beautifully detailed, high resolution prints that may not have appeared as striking if taken with a lower resolution camera and a lower grade consumer lens. But notice I said "can enable" in the previous sentence; I did not say "will enable." Those are the tools and should not be mistaken with the foresight and experience required to get the most out of them.
At the end of the day, a great image is created when a photographer uses whatever gear is at hand to make his or her creative vision come to life. If you were to hand a Canon EOS 1D X Mark II and an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM to a novice photographer, they're simply not going to create compelling imagery on a consistent basis compared to a pro photographer. The experience gained over years of trying, failing and trying again allows for the seasoned photographer to get the most out of the gear and a given situation.
That's why I cringe every time someone says, "You must have a really nice camera!" That one short sentence negates a photographer's time, effort, energy and vision and instead gives all the credit to the tool. In short, the phrase devalues all of our work. It's like saying...
To a chef: "That was an excellent meal. You must have a really nice oven!"
To a sketch artist: "That is a very life-like drawing. You must have really nice pencils!"
To a music artist: "That was an amazing melody! You must have a really nice piano!"
To a sculptor: "That's an incredible sculpture. You must have really nice chisels!"
To a writer: "That's a beautiful story. You must have a really nice (laptop/typewriter/notepad)!"
And so on, and so on...
So the next time you hear, "You must have a really nice camera," please take 30 seconds to explain to the person what went into creating your image. Explain what lens and filters (if applicable) you used, why you chose your specific exposure settings and how your planning affected the resulting image. The brief explanation may help the viewer understand the biggest differentiating factor in your photography – you.
Does the phrase irk anyone else as much as it does me? Do you have a specific technique for dealing with it? Sound off in the comments.
Halloween is right around the corner, and what a great holiday for photographic inspiration: From cute kids in costumes to spooky haunted houses; eerie glowing jack-o’-lanterns to pastoral pumpkin patches – Halloween offers an endless variety of unique subjects.
Here are a few photographic tips to make the most of this Halloween.
As shown in the lead image, the 16-35 f/2.8L III, shown immediately to the right of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens, has obviously grown modestly larger than the II and has received noticeable aesthetic improvements. The next lens to the right, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens, shows similar updates from the lens most-considered its predecessor, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens. As shown in the image below, the oversized hoods of the older two lenses have been significantly reduced in size, a major improvement in my opinion.
Using the site's Lens Product Images Comparison Tool, the new 16-35 L III can be visually compared to most other current and recently discontinued lenses. I have preloaded that link with a comparison you may find interesting.