MIOPS have just announced MIOPS Splash The world’s first smartphone controllable and stand-alone water drop kit designed to deliver the perfect water drop photography experience, with every drop and every splash!
I’ve long been a fan of the MIOPS products and the MIOPS Splash looks like an interesting addition to the product line up.
I recently got my hands on a copy of the excellent Photolemur 3 software. Photolemur is touted as the world's first fully automated photo enhancer that makes all your images great automatically with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
If you are expecting a photo editing package you will be disappointed. Photolemur does it exactly what it says in the tin - It enhances your photographs automatically and It does a pretty good job!
There are some presets included that give images certain ‘looks’ and these are fun to experiment with on various photographs. You can purchase more ‘packs’ from the Photolemur web site.
I tried Photolemur out on a number of photographs across a diverse style and in most cases the results are pleasing, achieving results that it would otherwise take some time to produce in a more traditional editing package such as Adobe Lightroom.
Photolemure 3 in action
Photolemur 3 example
Photolemur produces more striking results on images that have pre-existing problems such as under-exposure. The example below shows a challenging RAW exposure of a lavender field at sunset. Photo Lemur 3 has brought in details in the lavender and added some warmth and structure to the sky. The effect is pleasing in this instance. Photolemur includes an effect slider that allows you to tone down the effect between 0 and 100 percent.
Photolemur 3 before and after examples
I have edited some photos with Photolemur 3 and shown the before (un-edited RAW) and after shots in each case.
Unless otherwise stated all photos are edited in the the Photolemur 3 default style and settings. Click on the example photographs for a larger version
Photolemur 3 before and after slider
Photolemur features a handy before and after split screen. In this case a misty morning scene has been given contrast and impact.
Photolemur 3 ships with some photo styles that offer some interesting editing effect. Further style packs can be purchased. The Photo below was edited in Photolemur 3 - Apollo
Fuji have given me an opportunity to get an early hands-on review of the Fuji X-T3. The camera will ship in the UK from 20th September 2018 (In fact it was heavily implied that stock is already in place ready for sale in a number of stores)
The Fuji X-T3 is a promising upgrade to the Fuji X-T2 and handles very nicely. There are some example straight from camera JPGs at the end of this article.
Fuji X-T3 - If it ain’t broke don’t fix it
The X-T3 looks pretty much identical to the X-T2. There are some subtle changes including addressing the possibility of accidentally knocking the diopter or the exposure compensation dials. The Diopter now works much like the crown on a watch, pull out to adjust and push in to lock. The Exposure compensation dial has been shifted slightly inwards on the top of the body to reduce the chance of it turning as the camera is pulled from a bag. Overall the dials feel slightly larger and more robust than the X-T2 and the hand grip feels a little larger.
In use the camera feels noticeably snappier than the X-T2. The autofocus works well and latches on to subjects with ease even in low lighting situations.
Fuji X-T3 - Face and Eye Tracking
The Face and Eye Tracking seem to have benefitted in the upgrade from X-T2 to X-T3. I didn’t use these features very often on the X-T2 but in my time with the X-T3 I found that eye tracking was fast and effective. I recorded a short video clip (see below) where you can see the effect of eye tracking in practice during video recording.
Fuji X-T3 - Full Size JPG Examples
I took a number of photos with the X-T3 and have included some below for reference along with download links for the full-size JPGs. I used the 18-55mm ‘Kit’ lens as well as the pre-production version of the 8-16mm and 56mm f1.2
Fuji X-T3 - High ISO Example
I took this with my X-T3 - JPG at ISO 25600. The X-T3 and 35mm f2 did a pretty good job of grabbing focus in very low light.
Click on the image for a larger version. The noise is high and not noticeably cleaner than the X-T2 but that is to be expected to an extent.
Fuji X-T3 - Subject Tracking
I conducted an rather un-scientific test of subject tracking with the Fuji X-T3 and 56mm f1.2.
I locked focus onto the eye of a wooden duck and moved the camera in a roughly circular pattern. The X-T3 maintained lock on the subject and captured a sharp, correctly focused image for every shot. Animated GIF of the sequence below for fun
Fuji X-T3 - Eterna Film Simulation Examples
Adobe have not updated their software to read X-T3 RAW files just yet so I have been shooting JPG using the ETERNA film simulation. Here are some examples in a gallery and a link to a full size un-edited JPG straight from camera
I had the opportunity to try out a pre-production copy of the up coming Fuji 8-16mm lens. This is a heavy piece of glass that reminded me very much of the excellent Nikon 14-23mm f2.8
The Fuji 8-16mm has the same domed front element as the Nikon which means that it won’t accept standard filter optins. You will have to wait for your filter manufacturer to come up with a solution.
I used the Fuji X-T3 with battery grip during my time with the 8-16mm and I would recommend this option as the 8-16mm felt un-balanced on X-T3 body only due to it’s relative weight and size.
I shot this real world test of the Parrot Anafi Vertical Gimbal. The shot is taken in 4K video and shows a line of sun-lit trees from straight on and vertically.
Fuji have announced the Fuji X-T3 which is expected to ship at the end of September 2018. There are some reasonable trade-in and finance offers available through the usual suspects including WEX.
DPReview have shared an initial review article which shows promising specs especially for those interested in Video. DPReview Fuji X-T3
I spent an evening walking around the Shoreditch area of East London with the London Photography Meetup Group (LPMG)
There were around 40 Photographers on the day and we had a great time stalking the characters of the area and photographing the world famous graffiti
If you are looking into camera drones it is easy to focus on DJIs range of solutions. DJI are the market leader and they offer a number of options to suit most budgets and requirements.
I'd recommend also considering the offerings by Parrot especially the recently launched Parrot Anafi (Pictured above) The Anafi is intended as a direct competitor to the compact DJI Mavic Air.
The Anafi is lighter than the Mavic Air and over £100 cheaper to buy. While it misses out on the obstacle avoidance built into the Air it is much quieter and has a better camera, capable of shooting 21MP Stills in RAW.
After many weeks of research and testing I decided on the Parrot Anafi and have found it to be a very capable device. I have uploaded some example footage to my YouTube channel and included an example still below.
I was lucky enough to visit the town of St Gilgen in Austria.
I captured these scenes by Lake Wolfgangsee at dawn. I like the way that the passing swan it returning the look of the swimmer. Shortly afterwards she was joined by a friend. I can tell you that the glacial waters in Lake Wolfgansee are very cold.
I converted the Fuji RAW images to black and white using NIK Silver Efex Pro
Fuji has announced a roll-back to its recent X-T2 Firmware 4.0. Firmware 4.1 effectively restores the camera to Firmware 3.0 features (and stability)
I have not experienced any of the defects listed by Fuji and am debating keeping 4.0 installed but as I have a shoot coming up I will plan to keep a spare SD card with 4.1 ready to go should I need it...
I updated the firmware on the X-T2 to Firmware 4.0 which includes the addition of a focus stacking function. The Manual is a little obscure on how to use this feature but a bit of trial and error results in good results.
I set up with the Fuji X-T2 and 10-24mm @ f8 - I focused on a foreground subject at about 1 foot from from the camera and focused on this.
I set the Focus Stacking settings to 99 frames and 3 steps with a 0s interval. The camera took 5 frames to step from the focus on the foreground to infinity. I blended the 5 frames in Photoshop using Auto Blend Layers.
Fuji X-T2 Focus Stacked Landscape Example
I have taken a 100% crop of the wooden shed in the background of the image. This shed is appx. 60 feet from the foreground subject and in the un-blended shot (on the right) the focus is very soft due to focus point being 1 foot in front of the camera. It would be possible to get a better spread of focus with hyperfocal distance techniques but not the level of sharpness that can be achieved with a blend.