Lindsay Adler Creates Wedding Cinemagraphs With Flixel

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All images by Lindsay Adler. Used with permission.

Photographer Lindsay Adler has always had incredible and creative ideas that simply make our jaws drop. But recently, she decided to step her game up a bit more and combine video and stills by teaming up with Flixel and releasing the images just a bit before WPPI 2015.

Lindsay set out to create wedding inspired cinemagraphs by using the Panasonic GH4, lots of lighting and majestic sets–which for the most part are typical of Adler’s shoots that also tend to take place in a controlled studio setting. In the video below, she cites that the GH4 was shooting in 4K and therefore gave her enough resolution to create a crisper, better and sharper cinemagraph.

What’s really cool about Flixel is just how simple it makes the act of creating cinemagraphs. In fact, we’re considering putting more of them into our reviews.

Three of the images and the video are after the jump.

Photography and Flixel: Lindsay Adler
Wardrobe: LSC for 4 Season Style Management
Hair and Makeup: Johnny Gonzalez
Model: Aurianna Joy
Set Design: Ivie Joy Flowers

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The Foldio2 “Bigger & Smarter” is a Pop-Up Photo Studio

julius motal the phoblographer orangemonkie Foldio 2

The folks at Orangemonkie are back with Foldio2 “Bigger & Smarter” on Kickstarter. We originally wrote about them a year ago when they debuted the original Foldio. Essentially, it’s a collapsible photo studio with LED lights that will help you take better product photography with either your phone or your camera. The original Foldio came in at 10.2 in. x 10.2 in. x 10.2 in. This time around, the Foldio2 is 15 in. x 15 in. x 15 in., which can accommodate bigger items.

The Foldio2 comes with three backdrop options: white, black and grey. The LED strips are also longer than the original, which provides much more light. The Orangemonkie team is also developing a smartphone to provide quick and easy editing for any photographs you take in the Foldio2.

This is definitely a boon for anyone looking to take better product photos or experiment with macro photography. Hopefully, eBay listings will look a little better, too, if this has a high adoption rate.

They’ve already blown past their $50,000 threshold, but if you’d like to get one early, head on over to their Kickstarter.

Product demo video after the jump. Continue reading…

Review: Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus (Nikon F)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus product photos (5 of 5)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 2.8

“Do whatever you need to,” was the response given to me by the other editors of the Phoblographer when asking about budget for the review of the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus lens. When we were calling it for review, it was also decided that I’d handle it–afterall, this is probably the single most important lens that anyone has created this year (with Sigma’s 18-35mm f1.8 being a close contender.) Then you add in the fact that we only had this lens for 10 days (we usually test a lens for an entire month before publishing a review) and you’ve got one of the most challenging reviews that we’ve ever done.

When Zeiss created this lens, they decided that it shouldn’t have a single compromise on the image quality. It was also designed for high megapixel DSLRs. The image quality is reflected in the price tag–which is just under $4,000. Indeed, it isn’t a lens that we believe everyone will go out and buy.

And while our thoughts on the lens are overwhelmingly positive, we encountered a couple of situational problems that made the lens’s functionality somewhat tough at times.

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Phottix’s Newest Umbrella is the Para-Pro Reflective

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Judging from the name of the new Phottix Para-Pro umbrella, one would think that it is a parabolic. In fact, many companies say that their umbrellas are parabolic. In fact, a parabolic umbrella is one that allows you to shape the throw of the light–and many use it to just market the fact that the throw can look like that of a parabolic umbrella. The company now has a brand new reflective interior umbrella listed on their site, and they’re stating that it will provide snappy highlights. Indeed, most silver umbrellas do this.

They’re available in a 72″, 60″ or 40″ size. The latter is guaranteed to give you some incredibly beautiful light output. Prices will be available within a couple of days.

Confused about whether or not you need an umbrella? You might want to check out The Phoblographer’s Introductory Guide to Photographic Umbrellas.

Review: Manfrotto Shoulder Bag 30

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Manfrotto Shoulder Bag 30 product photos (1 of 10)ISO 2001-250 sec at f - 3.2

If you ask anyone in the photo industry what Manfrotto is best known for, they’d probably tell you their tripods. That isn’t to say at all that they make awful bags though. Earlier in the year, we saw a couple of new bags from the company–and amongst the ones that we’ve been testing for a while is the Shoulder Bag 30. The 30 is a camera bag that is obviously meant to be a shoulder bag, but also meant to be placed somewhere in the middle. As the numbers get larger, so do the bags.

And even though we weren’t so sold on the 30 when we first got it in, we eventually warmed up to it. Now, we’re actually quite impressed with the way it works in real life.


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Running a Fashion E-Commerce? You Might Want to Look Into StyleShoots

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We all know the hassle with taking pictures of the latest fashion trends for our glossy magazines and designer outlet e-stores, right? No, not really. We don’t have a clue, because we’re not running a fashion e-commerce. But apparently, those that do are in dire need of a dedicated studio solution, according to a company from the Netherlands. They invented the StyleShoots, which is a dedicated, stand-alone, all-in-one photo studio for fashion e-commerces. And what the thing does is amazing. Not only does it take pictures with a built in Canon 5D Mk II, it also makes them ready for publishing by analyzing the structures and adding a true alpha-transparency background–something that can take quite a while if you have to do it by hand (second-assistant underscan rotoscopers will know what I’m talking about.) Finally, for extra convenience, the whole thing is operated by touch via an iPad.

So, if you’re running a fashion e-commerce and need to find a solution for the time-consuming editing process of your product shots, why not pay them a visit at their new NYC showroom? Details on the StyleShoots website.

Review: Sigma DP3 Merrill

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma DP3 product images (1 of 8)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 2.0

Sigma’s DP line of point and shoots have never really caught on with the public. The cameras have always exhibited exceptional low ISO abilities and some extremely detailed and  chromatically-rich RAW files. But the high ISO performance has generally been deemed as unacceptable by many reviewers across the web. With that said though, one could probably think of the Sigma DP3 Merrlill as a medium format point and shoot with a smaller sensor–this is due to the high megapixel count with the Foveon sensor. Further, modern medium format cameras all do quite poorly at high ISOs and this end the images are often converted to black and white. Sigma very subtly encourages this with their new Monochrome mode in Sigma Photo Pro–the company’s software needed to edit the RAW files.

But then you consider the fact that the camera also has a fixed 50mm f2.8 lens–effectively rendering a 75mm field of view and then you say, “what?” The DP3 is meant to complement the DP1 and DP2 Merrill; and by itself it is a little bit out of place of the conventional thought of a high end point and shoot user.

Then who is it for?

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Review: LightCraft Workshop DigiPro HD Vari-ND Filter

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer LightCraft Workshop Digipro HD filter product images (1 of 6)ISO 2001-125 sec

LightCraft Workshop has produced some very good variable ND filters that were all rated very highly on this site. Recently, they released their DigiPro HD line–which they state as having better optical qualities and better ergonomics than their previous lines. Specifically branded as the HD line, this means that videographers would probably be the ones to take the most advantage of this filter. However, ND filters have long been used by not only landscape photographers, but portrait photographers as well.

So how does it perform when used with a monolight?

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Spider Holster Introduces The Most Nerve-Racking Way to Store Your Speedlite

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Whoa, whoa, whoa! Do you see that right there? That is one way that Spider Holster is saying that you can use their new Spider Monkey. This is a brand new product that is bring introduced at WPPI 2013.  For those not familiar, this company was originally made famous by their Spider Holster, which we’ve tested and many staffers actually really like. But if you check out the video after the jump, you’ll see one of the biggest no-nos for any speedliter. Ever! Syl Arena might have a heart attack.

Now, this new product is meant specifically for accessories and they explicitly state not to put your camera bodies on it. But personally, I’d go for the HoldFast Gear [PHOTO]Belt and know that I’ve got a bit more security. Speedlites are expensive anyway! It seems like they’re also specifically targeting this at studio shooters since a light meter is shown off too.

Check out their quick intro video after the jump; and try not to cringe.

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Testing the Sigma SD1 Merrill In the Studio

Sigma SD1 Merrill
Sigma SD1 Merrill

Sigma SD1 Merrill

The Sigma SD1 Merrill is in its own right a revolutionary camera. Every other color camera on the market uses a Bayer pattern of alternating Red Green and Blue pixels, which they then interpolate data from nearest neighbors to fill in the missing two colors. This is a primary reason for jaggies, blurred edges, moire, low light artifacts and other unpleasantries. Sensor manufacturers have found various solutions to these issues both physical such as antialiasing filters and through improved fimrware and software. The only cameras on the market which do not have to deal with these issues in some way or other are dedicated black and white cameras such as the Leica M Monochrom for stills and the Red EPIC Monochrome (available soon) for video.

 

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Hungry? Feast Your Eyes On This Studio Photo Sample From the Olympus EPL5

 

We’re in the middle of testing out the Olympus E-PL5 and decided that since the sensor doesn’t have an Anti-Aliasing filter, the output should be super sharp, yes? Well to put that to the test, we slapped on the Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95, and hooked our PocketWizard Plus IIIs up to the Einstein E640. Then we bounced the light off of a wall. The lens was set to F11 and no post-production was done to this photo except for a bit of resizing for the web. This was shot at ISO 200.

What do you think?

Sunday Boredom: Ask Us Anything About the Sony A99

Hey readers, we just got the Sony A99, 135mm f1.8, 85mm f1.4 (yes the Zeiss ones) 50mm f1.4 and HVL-F60M all in for review and we’ve been playing with them quite a bit so far. We understand that there is a ton of interest about the camera and the system overall. To help you guys out, we’d love to answer any questions you have about the camera, lenses, flash, and system.

But before you fire away, take a look at our studio tests with the A99, high ISO test sample, our landscape tests, and our first impressions. Plus, be sure to check out exactly which lenses will take full advantage of Sony’s new AF-D mode. If you’re in the market for a Sony DSLR, also be sure to take a look at which lenses we recommend for the system at the budget level.

Leave us a comment down below in the post. I’ve got nothing to do until tonight and will be happy to answer your questions.

Update on the Litepanels Story

About a week ago, we reported about a patent claim and coincidental ITC complaint by Litepanels, which could effectively block the import of LED light panels from other manufacturers into the U.S. We also reported about the website PatentFreeLED.com, who are running a campaign to counteract this possible import blockade of non-Litepanels-made LED light panels. In the meantime, the company has published a statement on their website, trying to explain their side of the story: Continue reading…

LED Lightpanel Patent Claims Could Stop Import of LED Light Panels to U.S.

LED light panels. Who doesn’t love them? They’re awesome for videographers and photographers both, providing constant illumination for the former while enabling the latter to preview the effects of their lighting setup before taking the shot. In addition, LED light panels consume little energy and are thus more cost effective than conventional lighting equipment. And as with all technologies, Asian manufacturers are pretty strong competitors to those based in the U.S. In this case, however, a patent claim and subsequent ITC complaint by manufacturer ‘Litepanels’ could mean that soon LED light panels may no longer be imported into the U.S. from overseas. Continue reading…

Profoto Announces New B4 1000 Air Lighting Kit

Love your Profoto Air lights? We rated the D1 Studio kit very highly in our review, and today the company has announced another update to the product line with the B4 Air 1000 light (after teasing it on their blog). So what’s so amazing about it? Here’s the breakdown for us humans in bite sized packages:

– flash durations down to 1/25,000 of a second

– the company claims it is has the fastest recycling time in the world. In fact, it can fire 30 flashes per second at the lowest power setting and at full power the recharge happens in less than one second

– 1/10th F stop increments

– When the power is all drained, it can be recharged in less than 45 mins

– Aluminum chassis with rubber frame

No word on pricing or availability yet. But we’ll be sure to get our hands on a review unit soon. At this point, I should probably remind you guys that I’m a former MAC Group employee (Profoto’s mother company) and that I’m drooling to give these a spin.

Via Dan Carr Photography

Review: Elinchrom 500/500 BXRi To Go Light Kit

Product Shot Example 1
Product Shot Example 1

Product Shot Example 1

A few months ago I reviewed photographer Scott Kelby’s newest book, Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It. Mr. Kelby loves to use Elinchrom lighting gear which is evident by watching any of his videos or viewing his behind-the-scenes images. He’s even gone as far as to create special Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It Lighting kits that consist of Elinchrom BX 500 Ri monolights and light modifiers. In this post, we review the Elinchrom 500/500 BXRi To Go Kit that consists of everything you need to get started in studio lighting photography.

 

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Review: Profoto Acute2R 1200 Value Pack And Ringflash

Closer Look
Closer Look

Closer Look

When I think of high-end photography lighting companies, Profoto is the first one that comes to mind. Originally founded in the late 1960s, Profoto has been consistently producing high-quality equipment, making them the first choice for professional photographers. Profoto sent along an Acute2R 1200 Value Pack with Case which included the power pack, two Acute D4 heads and Tenba carrying case specifically designed for Profoto. This accompanied the Profoto Acute2 Ringflash.

So, how did they perform?

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Review: The Profoto D1 Studio Kit 500/500 Air


Sometimes our readers ask for us to review higher end gear. With that in mind we decided to test the Profoto D1 Studio Kit 500/500 with Air. It’s fairly undisputed that Profoto is the best-of-breed for studio lighting and chances are pretty high that if you walk into a professional studio and rent their gear you’ll be handed Profoto power packs and heads. They’re reliable, consistent, fast, durable and include every feature the demanding professional expects. They’re not as well known for their more portable monolights, so how let’s see how they stand up.

Note: A rep from Profoto just read my article and sent some corrections and clarifications. Edits are in bold.

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Using the Hasselblad H4D In an Outside Studio

A couple of weeks back, I helped my friend a co-worker Jason Geller with a test and shooting with the Hasselblad H4D-40. When using it, I mostly stuck with the 80mm F/2.8 lens that the camera can be bundled with. Now, 40MP and Medium format is usually above what I’d shoot with (I’m at most a full frame guy and own a Canon 5D Mk II) but I decided to give it a try. I came back floored by the results—especially when I let my creative side (both the dark and the fun) come out to play.

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