Adobe have updated Lightroom Mobile to allow HDR RAW (in DNG format) from certain newer mobiles. I tried it out today on my commute in to London and it seems to work very well. The resulting DNGs have good range of exposure for post-processing and there does not appear to be much in the way of ghosting...
I set up a little bit more of an aesthetic test of the MIOPS Smart Trigger. I dropped a small strawberry onto a spoon of milk
MIOPS Smart Laser Trigger
I spent about 10 minutes setting up a quick test of the MIOPS Smart Laser Trigger functionality. Please excuse the use of my bathroom sink for the test shots :)
I attached the MIOPS via it's standard screw thread to a Tripod to the left of the sink and used a lighting clamp (Anwenk Super Clamp w/ 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 Thread) to hold a laser pen in place on a second tripod to the right.
The X-T2 and 35mm f2 was mounted on a third tripod. I focused on the water in the sink below the line of sight of the laser.
I connected the MIOPS to a hot-shoe adapter connected to my Cactus V6II and placed two RF60 flashguns either side of the sink to provide the light.
As with previous flash tests I turned out the lights in the room and took a 3 second exposure whilst firing the laser pen at the MIOPS sensor. I dropped a strawberry from around 6 inches above the water and as it broke the beam the flashes fired. I experimented with various delay options but found zero delay worked well for this set up.
The MIOPS worked consistently in this test (after I charged it up properly) and I was able to easily achieve the right timing for multiple drops. I made about 5 attempts and I think that the shot above is the best capture. I shot in RAW and brought the color temp in to a blue tone in post processing.
Gallery of additional Test shots
It was a wet and windy start to the day in London this morning. I used the Fuji X-T2 and Fuji 35mm f2 to capture some of my fellow commuters struggling with their brollies :)
I shot these images in RAW and converted to JPG in Adobe Lightroom and NIK Silver Efex Pro 2
I have been evaluating the MIOPS Smart Trigger and have been experimenting with the sound trigger feature.
I set up a small water-filled balloon with a Cactus RF60 Flash behind to backlight. The RF60 was triggered via a Cactus V6 II plugged into the MIOPS Smart.
I burst the balloon with a shot from an air gin.
The MIOPS Smart has done a good job of triggering the flash at about the right time. The gun was fired about 4 feet from the balloon which would have introduced a short delay.
This shot has caught an odd moment where the pellet can be seen entering the balloon but the burst has not kicked in
The MIOPS Smart Trigger can be set up to trigger a Flash Gun when a sound is detected. I set up a test for the MIOPS Smart Trigger this evening with a single Cactus RF60x Flashgun and some party poppers (The small plastic capsules that fire streamers)
Flash and MIOPS Setup
I connected the Flash gun directly to the MIOPS Smart via the connection cable and angled the flash head up and towards the X-T2. The X-T2 was set to take a 5 second exposure and the room had to be dark to ensure no ambient exposure.
I triggered the camera and fired the popper from a position around 6 inches above the flash gun.
The MIOPS Smart allows adjustments to how loud the sound needs to be to initiate a trigger and any delay between detecting the sound and triggering.
I experimented with delays of between no delay and 30ms for the shots shown below.
With no delay set the MIOPS has captured the streamers almost before they have begun to unravel.
Please excuse the soft focusing through the range of images. This was a quick timing test and I was not paying too much attention on the depth of field.
Trigger Trap Alternative
Trigger Trap recently announced the news that they are going out of business. I have been a long running user of the Trigger Trap system and participated in the early Beta Testing of the product.
One feature that I particularly liked was Trigger Traps ability to trigger a flash gun when a sound was made. This allowed for some creative captures for example when a water filled balloon is burst and captured at high speed (short flash duration)
I did some research for similar products and contacted the folks at MIOPS who where kind enough to supply me with a MIOPS Smart Trigger to review and compare.
I thought I would initially evaluate the MIOPS Smart Sound Trigger feature compared to my Trigger Trap Solution
Ping Pong Ball Bounce Test
I decided to set up a simple bounce test to compare the lag of the Trigger Trap Vs the MIOPS Smart.
Trigger Trap Setup
I connected the Trigger Trap Dongle to my iPhone SE via the Headphone Socket and to my Cactus RF60 Flash via the Trigger Trap Flash Adaptor
I set the X-T2 to take a 5 second exposure and the Trigger Trap Mobile App to Trigger when a sound is detected. I turned the lights out in the room to avoid any ambient exposure and dropped the ping pong ball from two feet.
As the ball hits the matt it triggers the RF60 which freezes the ball in flight. The height of the rebound corresponds to the lag between the sound of the impact and the flash firing.
Trigger Trap Sound Trigger - Test Photo
MIOPS Smart Setup
The MIOPS Smart connects to flash via a PC Sync lead. I don't have this port on my Cactus RF60 so had to grab a hot shoe adapter from Amazon (I went for a JJC JSC-9 which works fine)
I set up the sound mode on the MIOPS to 'listen' for noise and set the sensitivity down to around 50%.
It is useful to set lock mode on to prevent the MIOPS from triggering every time the ball bounces rather than just the one time.
As with the Trigger Trap I set up in a dark room with the X-T2 taking a 5 second exposure.
MIOPS Smart Sound Trigger Test Photo
I realize that this is a rather un-scientific test but from this initial test you can clearly see that the MIOPS Smart fires the Flash with significantly less lag. The Ping Pong Ball has not cleared the top of the base of the measure.
I will be continuing to test and review the MIOPS trigger in the coming days and will post my efforts.
I recently got hold of a MIOPS Smart Trigger for my Fuji X-T2. I plan to do some tests with this devices in the coming days and compare this option to the Trigger Trap System for Fuji.
The MIOPS Smart Trigger looks to be a full featured device that should be able to replicate and exceed the capabilities of Trigger Trap especially for sound triggered photographs.
Hoya 77mm Pro ND 1000
The Neutral Density Filter is used to uniformly reduce the amount of light that reaches the Camera Sensor. In the case of the Hoya 77mm Pro ND 1000 that's ten stops of light (NOTE: en stops, 3.0 density, 1000x and #110 all refer to the same extreme density)
Each Stop of light reduction is equal to a doubling of exposure time which equates to an unfiltered shutter speed of 1/100th being increased to 10 seconds.
The Fuji X-T2 does a pretty good job of focusing when an ND filter is attached. I have found that with exposures up to around the 30 second mark the camera can 'see' enough to lock.
It is however generally a good idea to compose and focus before attaching the Filter. This is perfectly practical with a screw on filter on a prime lens but care needs to be taken with Zooms as the focus can be effected easily as you attach the filter. It may be safer to check focus with manual focus and focus peaking after screwing on an ND filter in this case.
You might find a filter system to be a better choice as it is easier to add and remove the filter from the filter holder (see the Lee Filter System later in this article)
Screw on Vs Square Filters
There are a couple of options to consider when choosing an ND filter. Screw on type such as the Hoya 77mm Pro ND 1000 or 'Square' Filters such as the 100mx100m Lee filters.
The Advantage with the Screw on Type is size. I have an iGadgitz case which can hold up to three 77mm sized filters. I tend to use this for the Hoya 77mm Pro ND 1000 and a selection of step-up rings.
Square Filter Systems
The Advantage of a Square System such as the 100mm filter system by Lee Filters is that it is easy to add and remove filters. The Filter Holders have spaces for 3 square filters. It is possible to stack ND filters and/or add graduated Filters.
It is sometimes helpful when taking very long exposures to 'balance' the scene with a Graduated ND filter. This means that you can capture the scene in one shot rather than having to bracket for foreground and sky. Not much of an issue for a 30 second exposure but painful if you are exposing for 5 minutes.
It is an idea to buy your ND filter in a size to fit your largest lens. This way you can save money by buying Step-Up Rings to adapt the 77mm thread to various lens sizes.
The Camera can't calculate correct exposures above 30 seconds so you will need to do some math (or utilise a handy phone App such as NDTimer (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ndtimer/id390568001?mt=8)
- The ND filters can add some color casts to the photograph. These are fairly easy to remove in Post Processing but should be taken into account.
- Internal reflections of light can cause some un-wanted effects. This is more common with the square systems where there is a space between the filter and the lens
- Vignetting can sometime occur when using wide angle lenses. The only answer in this case is to zoom in slightly or edit in post.
Here are two example JPGs taken with the Fuji X-T2 showing the difference in color cast between the Hoya ND filter and the Lee 'Big Stopper'
You can check out the products mentioned on Amazon
I was sad to hear today that Trigger Trap are to close. Trigger Trap make a selection of excellent Camera and Flash Triggers. Although they will no longer be supporting the product you can still purchase mobile kits for your camera system while stock lasts. I recommend taking a look as this versatile system is great fun to use for creative photography
There are a number of excellent Photography related Podcasts out there and I've listed a collection of shows that I listen to with brief descriptions and links to the show sites.
This week in Photography (TWIP)
TWIP is a mainstay of my Photography Podcast listening. It is hosted by the personable Frederick Van Johnson and has grown over the years into a full network of top quality shows. These shows are well worth checking out and the diversity of subject matter and presenters mean that there is something here for everybody.
Tips from the Top Floor (TFTTF)
Chris Marquardt has been running a Photography Podcast for longer than anyone in the game.
Chris is based in Germany but his TFTTF podcast is presented in English. Chris is entertaining and covers some interesting topics on his show. He includes a Q&A section and seems to generally answer submitted questions within around 1-2 weeks of user submission.
Chris has a 'chatty' style of presentation which may not be to everyone's tastes. I have found that playing back the podcast at either 1.5 or 2x speed works better for me.
Chris also runs Photography Workshops and shares experiences from these in his excellent shows.
Petapixel Photography Podcast
Mike 'Sharky' James Podcast is great for up-to-the minute Photography news. You will find a number of his news stories repeated by other pod casters.
The Petapixel site is a great source.
Sharky has an entertaining presentation style and puts in a significant amount of work for each show which shows in the delivery.
The PetaPixel Photography Podcast is a twice-weekly podcast about the wonderful world of photography. It’s a fusion of news, opinions, humor, and real-world experience, bundled into a show that you can listen to on your way to work
The Improve Photography Podcast is hosted by Jim Harmer and features a weekly round table discussion on all genres of photography. Jared Polins RAW Talk Podcast (Audio and Video) is the Marmite of the Photography Podcast world. (You either love it or hate it)
Jared 'Fro' Polin has worked hard to establish an on-line presence and has built a professional show that frequently features high profile interviews
The show is angled towards entertainment and contains frequent course humour. The News round up consists mostly of Jared and teams spin on the Petapixel news articles of the week which is often entertaining. The shows run long (1+ hours)
Jared and team work hard on the content and maintain high production values. The show has recently moved from weekly to every 2 weeks but there is a wealth of video content available on Jareds YouTube channel.
Addtional Photography Podcasts
There are some additional Podcasts that I listen to occasionally that you might also like to check out
Scott Bourne runs a regular Photography Podcast in the form of Photofocus. I have never been a particular fan of Scott but the podcast airs regularly and he and his team run a professional show
The Improve Photography Podcast is hosted by Jim Harmer and features a weekly round table discussion on all genres of photography.
The Martin Bailey Photography Podcast
Martin hosts a regular show often featuring inspirational content from his highly rated workshops. Martin is an expert in color management and printing and his shows often include in-depth information on this subject.
The Art of Photography
I started a new job in January and my new journey in to London has given me the opportunity to explore some new areas. I took the Fuji X-T2 to London Bridge at dawn to capture the sunrise over the iconic Tower Bridge.
I utilised the Fuji Velvia Film Simulation option to create some punchy, high saturation images of the colorful sunrise.
The bright orange of the dawn sky created a silhouette of the bridge and HMS Belfast. I decided to blend two bracketed exposures together in Photoshop to bring some detail back into the shadows. I used the exposures below, opening them as layers in Photoshop and using a luminosity mask to blend them.
I use Photoshop actions developed by Jimmy McIntyre to create a range of masks which can be applied to the image. I recommend checking out his tutorials for more information.
I took a number of images around Tower Bridge and made sure to capture the famous Girl and Dolphin fountain on the North Bank of the Thames.