Lenscraft in Focus May 2021 Newsletter
Welcome to Lenscraft in Focus for May 2021.
This month my planned articles for May’s newsletter have gone a little awry. I had intended to produce at least a couple of articles about film scanning using SilverFast. It’s software that I’ve used for a long time and when version 9 launched earlier this year, I immediately upgraded for my Epson V700. Perhaps next month I will be able to keep on plan to publish some scanning articles.
The thing that distracted me from my plans was that I’ve continued to experiment with the new Enhanced Resolution feature in Adobe Camera RAW. I found the results fascinating and often excellent. In a similar vein, DxO then launched their new DxO PureRAW software and it set me off on another quest for better image quality.
If you don’t know about DxO PureRAW, it’s a RAW pre-processor that brings the quality of DxO processing without the need to change your existing RAW converter. I was fortunate to have a pre-launch version of the software for testing and you will find my review amongst this month’s articles.
Using PureRAW has given me endless hours of fun, especially revisiting old RAW files to test the quality of the results.
I shot this image back in 2006 using a 6Mpixel Canon 300D with a Sigma 10-20 lens at 12mm. Looking back, the Sigma lens was a disappointment at the time because it suffered from distortion and softness. After using DxO PureRAW, the problems vanished, and the image quality is excellent. Unfortunately, the 6Mpixel canon only produces a 10-inch print at 300dpi, but if I run it through Gigapixel and reduce the resolution a little I can easily produce a photo quality 25-inch print.
Processing old RAW file with modern technology seems to produce some excellent results and you begin to wonder if all the quality improvements in photography have really been in software.
But I’m getting carried away again with all the possibilities. Instead, I’m going to leave you to read the articles and hope that you enjoy the newsletter.
From Around the Web
Here are a couple of things that caught my interest on the internet over the past month.
Does Photography Today Require Less Skill than 50 Years Ago?
I suspect I’m a relative newcomer to photography compared to some of you reading this. I remember shooting and developing black and white film in the school darkroom back in the 80’s. To be totally accurate, I was taking photos and my friend was developing them. At the time I didn’t have an SLR because someone had told me they were difficult to use, and they doubted I would be able use one. I believed him and waited another 15 years before buying an SLR camera.
When I finally did purchase an SLR, I found it easy to use and I had worried about nothing. I quickly gave up on the automated mode and began to build my skills with aperture priority. Then the digital revolution happened but I didn’t change my photographic approach. Instead of relying on electronic wizardry, I trusted my own judgement and largely ignored new camera features. That said, I do find myself now relying on tools like the histogram, the moveable focus point and focus peaking because they make photography easier.
Today we have camera phones that can more than outperform the early DSLR’s. These little wonders of technology seem to do everything for you like balancing the light in tricky situations, produce long exposure night photography and can even produce shallow depth of field images. We have reached a point where photography takes much less skill than it did. Or have we?
Personally, I don’t think we have. New technology seems to have levelled the photographic playing field at a higher standard than before. Now a technically good photo is within reach of anyone with a mobile phone. But when you compare this to a photo taken by a skilled photographer who knows how to use their camera, there is no comparison. My personally view is that photography requires skill to master, and I suspect camera manufacturers will give up before they replace the skills of the photographer.
What sparked me sharing my thoughts about this question was an article I read on Fstoppers. See what you think.
Landscape Photography Magazine Free Issue
I’ve mentioned Landscape Photography magazine in the past. It’s one that I’ve subscribed to since issue 2. It has some interesting articles and some of the photography they feature is superb. Something else that I like is that they produce a free monthly version of the magazine with some of the material from the full magazine. You do need to create an account but it’s free and I feel personally well worth doing.
If you want to sign up and view this month’s free issue, use the link below.
Digital to Film?
As I mentioned in this month’s newsletter introduction, I had intended to publish a couple of articles about scanning. But have you ever considered going in the opposite direction to take digital images and convert them to film? Whilst I knew this was possible, it wasn’t something that I had ever considered doing until I read this Fstoppers article.
But whilst this article talks about using film to archive digital images, I have a different goal. You see I love the look of film, but I prefer the flexibility of editing digital RAW files. What I’m interested to find out is if I can create digital images that meet my vision but then have the distinctive film look.
Following a little searching on the internet I found two “digital to film” services in the UK that I may be able to use. The first is by Firstcall Photographic who I already use when buying film and paper, but I didn’t know they offered this service. Unfortunately, it looks like I will need to wait a little until their machine is repaired.
The other service I found is a company called Digital Slides. As well as offering digital to B&W negative, they also do colour slides and all at 35mm, 6x7cm and 5x4inch.
I hope to try these services over the coming months and report my experience in a future newsletter. If anyone has already used these or other companies, please get in touch to let me know your thoughts.
On1 Release Photo RAW 15% Discount Code
This note is just a reminder in case anyone wants an On1 discount this month. The code is LENSCRAFT which I understand can be used against anything in the On1 website Store.
Photographers You May Not Know – Melvin Nicholson
Melvin is a UK based professional photographer, having turned professional in 2014. He offers 1-2-1 tuition as well as workshops and tours in the UK and further afield. There are some wonderful images on his website. Whilst the overseas images are excellent, it’s the UK images and particularly Scottish locations that I enjoyed most. I hope you like his website.
Books & Course News
Latest book and course news.
Nik Color Efex Pro Rewrite
My rewrite of Nik Color Efex Pro book is one thing that has progressed to plan and it’s on track for release in early May.
Last month I asked if it was worth me publishing a print version of the book. Interestingly almost everyone who replied said they would prefer it to be in an electronic format. Based on this I will publish the book in the usual Kindle, ePub and PDF formats as a priority. I’m hoping to keep the price in the £4.99 to £5.99 range, but this depends on the delivery charges. These charges have increased substantially in the past couple of years and now often account for a large portion of the book price.
As soon as the book is released, I will send out an email with full details.
Until next month, stay safe.
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