Hi {name},

Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus May 2020 newsletter.

I hope you’re well and coping with the Covid-19 disruption. If you find you need some reading to help pass the time, I have something to share in this month’s newsletter. I’ll be explaining how to download a great photography magazine from the past. Not only is this a wonderful photography magazine, it’s free to download. I also to introduce another “Photographer you might not know” who has some wonderful photography on their website.

But first, I’ll start by sharing a few of the things catching my attention over the past month.

Filling Time at Home

With many of us unable to venture out to photograph the landscape, we often need to find other ways to “fill our time”. Whilst I don’t have much free time, I have still been experimenting with a few things photography related.


New York Subway 1998-27 - Man leaving station image by Exploring Ed

New York Image courtesy of Exploring Ed

I used to do a lot of scanning but over the past 5-6 years it’s tailed off. Just looking through my folder of XPan negatives/slides I have some 3,500 that I haven’t scanned. I probably also have just as many medium format images that need scanning.

If you follow me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/robin_whalley/), you may have noticed I’ve posted some scans of old images. But it isn’t Instagram that’s rekindled my passion for scanning. I’ve been working with a photographer (Exploring Ed)  over in New York who’s using the current lockdown to fulfil his dream of publishing a book. He has a large back catalogue of wonderful B&W negatives he shot on the New York subway from around 20 years ago.

I’ve been helping Ed with finding ways to scan them (using an Epson flatbed), with enough quality for a book and prints. It’s quite remarkable the quality he’s achieved with this equipment.

You can find Ed’s work on his website (https://exploringed.com/) as well as his Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/exploringedtravel/).

Topaz Gigapixel

Lenscraft Newsletter May 2020 Gigapixel example

Topaz Gigapixel uses artificial intelligence to enlarge images. I did a YouTube video comparing the software with Photoshop in May last year (https://youtu.be/GHnBMuPE48k). The results weren’t always good and not much better than Photoshop with many of the images. But the killer for me was the time it took Gigapixel to produce the enlargement.

Recently Topaz launched a new version of the software, so I decided to download the 30-day trial. So far, I’ve only tried it on around 20 images but WOW!

Most noticeable is the speed of the software which is at least 10 times faster on my Mac that the original. It’s still slow in comparison to the likes of Photoshop but it’s an acceptable speed. I can also use my computer for other things whilst Gigapixel’s running, which I couldn’t before.

As well as the speed, my results have improved considerably. The software has made a great job of every image I’ve tried it with so far. Most of these are images I’ve shot in the past with low resolution cameras of 6-12Mpixels.

For one of my tests I used the above image above, which I shot on a 6Mpixel camera in 2008. The original file is around A4 size when printed at 300dpi, so I decided to resize it to A3. The resized image and print looked great. But this wasn’t really a good test, so I resized it to A2. Again, the print and image looked good, so I decided to resize it to 34” wide.

At this size, I could only print small sections of the image on A4 paper. It’s also the size at which I could see the image starting to break down when I looked very closely. But viewing the print at around 12 inches it looks great.

Having been impressed by Gigapixel’s resizing of a 6Mpixel digital image I wondered how it would cope with a film scan. I decided to try it on one of Exploring Ed’s New York subway scans I mentioned above. The original scan was slightly more than 16.5” wide at 300dpi. It was shot on 35mm Kodak TMAX3200 and I used Gigapixel to double it to just over 33” wide.

I can’t show you the result here but it’s amazing. It’s exceedingly difficult to resize a scanned image and the consensus is you can’t do it. This result would suggest otherwise and it’s something that I’m going to investigate further. I’ll try to get a detailed review together for the next newsletter.

Organising Photos

The final thing I’ve been doing is tidying up my image library. I’ve let it grow significantly over the past few years and it’s in need of attention. I’ve also changed my approach to managing images in the past and I need to migrate those into my new system.

Whilst I’ve been doing this, I also realised that a lot of people have a similar problem. They have either drifted into disorganisation or they just don’t have a system for organising their images. That’s when I had the idea for a couple of videos explaining the basics of a simple approach. You’ll find these on my YouTube channel.

You’ll also find the tutorials on my website mentioned below.

New Lenscraft Content

Over the past month I’ve focused on publishing new tutorials and updating old ones. Here’s the list of what you can find on Lenscraft.

Organising Your Photos Using Lightroom Smart Collections
Organising Your Photos Using Lightroom Smart Collections In this tutorial I want to explain how to use the power of Lightroom Smart Collections when organising your photos. This is the…

How to Use The Patch Tool in Photoshop
When you need to quickly remove a large object from a photograph, the Photoshop Patch Tool could be the solution. In this tutorial, I’m going to explain how you can…

Organise Your Photos Using Adobe Lightroom Collections
In this tutorial I am going to explain how Adobe Lightroom Collections work. Importantly, we also look at ways you can use Collections to better organise your photography. We will…

DxO PhotoLab 3 Wins Prestigious TIPA 2020 Award
DxO PhotoLab 3 Wins Prestigious TIPA 2020 Award DxO PhotoLab 3 has just won the TIPA 2020 award for the best imaging software. I make no secret of the fact…

Using Affinity Photo with Adobe Bridge
If you made the switch to Affinity Photo to avoid the Adobe Subscription costs, it’s possible you’re missing Lightroom. As great as Affinity Photo is, it doesn’t have the digital…

How to Resize Images in Affinity Photo Desktop
In this tutorial I look at ways you can use to resize images in Affinity Photo. I’ll be covering several options that you can use depending on your needs. I’ll…

Camera Club Presentations

Unfortunately, with the spread of the virus in the UK and government restrictions, I’ve suspended all camera club presentations. Once life gets back to normal, I’ll publish a list of presentations here.

From Around the Web

This month, I’ve discovered a few things that you might find useful or interesting.

F11 Magazine

F11 Magazine Website

Do you know about F11 magazine? For a while I subscribed to this excellent magazine, but they published the last edition in June 2017. But they also did something else rather remarkable and I only found out about this the other day. They put all their back issues on the web so that the photography community would continue to benefit. You can read them online with your browser or download them as PDF’s to read anywhere.


What a wonderful act of generosity.

The Joy of Film

The Joy of Film XPan Image