Hi {name},

Welcome to Lenscraft in Focus for December 2023.

In August, I shared my editing for a photo captured on my iPhone and promised more articles about phone photography. Since then, I’ve been using my iPhone more but haven’t captured anything worth sharing. Most of my images have been nothing more than snaps. Then, in November, I was fortunate enough to visit two countries that have long been on my wish list: Dubai and Japan. That’s when I managed to capture some better iPhone images.

iPhone shot of Dubai sunset Lenscraft in Focus December 2023

This was the view from my hotel room in Dubai, taken with a 12-megapixel iPhone SE. The editing was done on an iPad using the free Google Snapseed. Although I captured the image handheld as a JPEG at ISO640, I’ve been able to make a great A3+ print from it.

Then, a little later in the evening, I captured the same scene at night. This time, I used a slow-motion app on my phone. This allowed me to set the shutter speed to 4 seconds to produce the light trails from the cars.

Night time iPhone image of Dubai taken with the Slow Motion app

The only downside to this app is that it downsized the image. Printed, the image would only be 8 inches on the long edge. But that got me thinking. How big an enlargement can I make from an iPhone 12-megapixel image? You can find the answer to that in an article later in this newsletter.

I hope you enjoy it and everything else I have for you this month.


A New Tripod

For the past 10 years or more, I’ve been well served by two tripods. One is a Manfrotto 055 carbon fibre 3-section model with a 3-way head. The other is a Velbon RexiL aluminium model with a Manfrotto magnesium head.  Both have been great workhorses but now need replacing. In addition, I’ve begun using a Peak Design clip, which attaches my cameras to my backpack when trekking. This has an Arca-style plate which screws onto the base of the camera. But the Manfrotto tripod heads I use have an RC2 plate that isn’t Arca compatible. And whilst I have an RC2 to Arca adapter, it’s as heavy as my camera.

Considering everything, I decided to invest in a new head for the Velbon tripod. After researching my options, I decided on a Benro HD1A 3-way head, which I purchased from Amazon at a hefty discount. The head is small, light, smooth, incredibly well-made and a joy to use. Most importantly, it’s Arca compatible and so fits my Peak Design base plate.

It was only after buying the head that I remembered I had previously purchased a Benro RoadTrip Pro Carbon Fibre travel tripod (I believe that model has been discontinued). As I was heading to Japan, I decided to dust it off and take it along. As with the new Benro head, I found this tripod extremely solid and stable. I was so impressed I decided to buy a larger tripod for landscape work on my return.

Benro Rhino 34C

The new tripod I decided on was a Benro Rhino 34C with a VX30 ball head. Although this is described as a travel tripod by Benro, I wouldn’t like to carry it around overseas. While it’s compact when collapsed, it’s a little too heavy to be a travel tripod, in my opinion. What’s nice is that it’s taller than me with the centre column extended. It’s also incredibly solid and can take a 20 kg load.

I still need to evaluate how these new purchases perform over time, but early indications are extremely promising. If you’re searching for a new tripod at a reasonable price, I recommend looking at the Benro range. I’ve been very impressed.

New Lenscraft Content

Here’s the list of new articles you can find on Lenscraft over the past month.

How Big Can You Enlarge iPhone Photos
I recently wrote an article about how to enlarge iPhone photos. In it, I used the excellent Topaz Photo AI software to correct quality problems and make a two-times enlargement.…
How To Enlarge iPhone Photos
This article explains how I created a print-quality enlargement from my iPhone image using Topaz Photo AI.
Announcing The Dark Image System For Lightroom
The Dark Image System for Lightroom is a new approach to producing excellent landscape photography. It's counter intuitive but easy to learn and apply. Register your interest here.
Why You need to Use a Polarising Filter
In this article, we will look at the humble polarising filter. We also explore why you might want to use a polarising filter for landscape photography, the benefits, and some…

From Around the Internet

Here are some of the interesting photography resources I’ve found online this month.

ON1 Photo RAW 24 Launched

On1 Photo RAW 24 is now available. I’ve secured and installed my copy, but I haven’t had the time to use it yet.

If you missed their Cyber Week deal and want to purchase the software at a discount, try my LENSCRAFT20 discount code. It’s been around for many years, but they continue to accept it on their website.

Photography News 112

The latest edition of Photography News is now online. You can read it for free with the following link.


Photographers You May Not Know – Patricia Davidson

Patricia Davidson website

Patricia Davidson is a professional landscape and nature photographer based in Oregon. She spent over twenty years on the southern Oregon Coast, developing her landscape photography skills on the beaches and in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She’s also appeared in many publications, and her work strongly appeals to me. I love Oregon and felt like I’d been transported there when viewing the images in her website gallery. It’s well worth visiting.


Books & Course News

Latest book and course news.

Essential Adobe Photoshop CC, 3rd Edition

My latest eBook is now available from a wide range of online retailers and my Lenscraft website. I’m now working on the print version of the book. I can’t confirm the price until I complete the layout, but I hope to keep it in line with my other print books.

All being well, the print edition should be available from Amazon in December. As many readers have asked, I will send an announcement when it’s available.

Dark Image System

Dark Image System for Lightroom

Last month, I announced I wanted to develop a new course teaching my Dark Image System for Lightroom. Thank you to everyone who completed my survey to register an interest.

What surprised me about the responses was an even split of interest in the Zoom lessons, video course and eBook. Based on your feedback, I intend to do the following:

  1. Teach the system to a small group of photographers via Zoom, no more than 5 per session. Participants get early access to the system, but it also helps me identify areas where participants may struggle.
  2. After teaching the system, I will develop a video course.
  3. I will also produce an eBook version of the material.

Anyone attending the Zoom lessons will receive the course and eBook when available.

You will receive updates by email if you’ve registered an interest by completing the survey. I’ll also continue to report progress in this newsletter but in less detail.

If you didn't register but would like to, there is still time to use the online form.

Until next month, enjoy your photography.

Robin Whalley


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Lenscraft Photography
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Copyright: Robin Whalley 2020