Mailed to our subscribers on September 1st and also published on Pocketmags, it’s now time to let everyone read the current magazine. You’ll notice that it contained a feature about The Photography Show, which reached subscribers over two weeks before the show. It’s not very often that we have articles which are time-sensitive but this is one reason it pays to subscribe and get Cameracraft hot off the press!CCSeptOct2021
You can now read the last issue – our next one is due out on September 1st – on ISSUU
We are able to offer, now, the complete 28-issue digital archive in page-turn format for the final eleven years of Minolta Image and Photoworld (as it became) from 2002 to 2011. For only £10, a one-off payment, you unlock the complete collection of digital versions of the printed quarterly magazine.
This collection forms a fascinating document, showing the transition from the last heyday of Minolta to the merger with Konica in 2004 and the launch of the Dynax 7D, through the takeover by Sony in 2006 and up to the launch of the NEX E-mount system in 2010 and beyond.
In interviews about the new micron-accurate aspheric lens element moulding process used to increase the resolution of the latest Sony G Master lenses, a visual has appeared which shows the ‘onion ring’ effect that coarser mould machining causes in lens elements.
Working independently, I’ve been aware of this for years – and I have used a point-source photography technique to study lenses. I’m not an optical engineer or scientist, indeed I don’t even have a degree in anything. I came into photography through Victorian books and teenage years experimenting with lenses, developer formulae, building my own equipment and using observation, corollary and deduction to understand how things work. It’s helped me explain difficult technical stuff to many thousands of readers through books and magazines, without using maths or formulae, and very few diagrams.
In the Cameracraft back in 2013 I published a home-brewed rendering of aspheric moulding visual analysis.
Here’s Sony’s visual showing the difference between traditional aspheric moulding (pressed glass aspheric, as pioneered by Leica and Sigma) and their new refined pressing with better engineering.
And here is my home-brewed visual from Cameracraft when I explained the bokeh and resolution issues created by pressed elements (and also, some other aspects of bokeh, which I’ll refer to below the image):
This is the clip from a 2013 article in Cameracraft dealing with broader aspects of bokeh, depth of field, aberrations and how images are rendered. You can download the two-page article here. Nine years after we launched Cameracraft the magazine is going strong, it’s a bit thicker and does have the occasional advert unlike our original, but it is still one of the best ‘never knew that before’ reads a photographer can have drop through the letterbox. You can arrange that easily enough here!
Sony’s new superlens was not any better than the Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro which I still use. My reasons for choosing this macro are simple – it is optically excellent and traditionally made without any aspheric or other special elements, and it uses simple focal extension for focusing, not rear or internal group movement. This means it’s a true 70mm lens even when used at 1:1 and gives the maximum lens to subject distance, for its focal length.
However, it’s MUCH better than the Voigtländer 50mm f/1.4 used for the colour bokeh shift example at the top. Sony’s information makes it clear that the new more precise aspheric moulding allows new surface profiles and the elimination of chromatic aberrations which cause this magenta-green foreground to background shift in so many otherwise excellent lenses. I’ve said that to do so, the new lenses must be what would once have been called Apochromatic, though that term has only ever meant that all wavelengths focused to the same plane and at the same scale. Even past Apo lenses can show poor colour bokeh. It’s interesting that Sigma, after years of plugging the APO (capitals not actually needed, folks!) label chose not to label some new lenses this way even through their performance matched or exceeded earlier APO models. Sony seems to be taking the same view – G Master will be sufficient label to imply very high resolution, elimination of bad colour bokeh shifts, and by implication an apochromatic performance on RGB sensors.
So will I be buying these amazingly expensive, large, E-mount dedicated lenses? Probably not. My unscientific observations tell me there are smaller, lighter, far less expensive lenses which will serve me better. Mirrorless digital camera bodies with high quality EVF and high magnification focusing allow me to do things I could never have done over 40 years ago when I took my first position as a Technical Editor (of the UK monthly Photography published by Fountain Press and edited by John Sanders). Geoffrey Crawley, editor of the British Journal of Photography, showed me how to evaluate any lens quickly with the help of a light bulb, a darkened studio, a roll of background paper and a sharp pencil. Back then you had to expose film, now you can just look through the finder. In a photo store, any LED spotlight will do for a quick check. Focus centre, magnified to max, at full aperture. Move to all corners in turn without refocusing, magnify each time. Refocus each corner in turn when magnified, examine change in rendering of point source. Buy the lens which shows symmetrical, balanced results and the best sharpness of the corners when the centre is correctly focused. Do this with a light source at least 3m/10ft away and if you can, even further. Repeat one stop down, two stops down, with zooms repeat at three or four focal lengths across the range. Never do it at close distance (hint: lens test chart results are only good for the distance you photograph the chart from, which is why Imatest, DxO and other labs have test targets the size of a wall and industrial sized space to work in).
And, if you have a single LED bulb or miniature LED torch, you can examine any of your lenses in a darkened room and produce a ‘bump map’ which will reveal its moulding defects, scratches or fungus, blemishes, and population of dust and microfauna.
– David Kilpatrick
For our PDF and App editions, go to Pocketmags where you’ll find Apple iOS, Android and all the usual choices to subscribe or buy individual editions.
And if you really want a trip back in time – there were huge changes between 2012 and 2015. Cameracraft documents the rise of mirrorless, the growth of hipster retro, and the discovery of older manual lenses as it happened. You can read a full set of the 12 issues via this one-off YUDU subscription:
Well, we knew it would take some time – Gary Friedman has been working on his Alpha 99 e-book since the camera was pre-released to the press, and six months later, he’s got a huge volume as a result.
“This is my largest and most comprehensive work to date – 625 pages!”, Gary says.
It is available in triple-digital form: Buy a DRM-free, digital copy for USD $29.95 and you can download it ANY of the following formats:
* .pdf, (great for your computer or iPad)
* .mobi (ideal for your Kindle)
* .epub (ideal for your Nook and other e-readers).
(Printed books will be available from April 2013.)
Here’s the link.
Gary has just returned from Malaysia and Singapore, where he was running workshops including one for Sony themselves. He’s also just finished signing off the proofs for the latest Cameracraft quarterly magazine, published by Photoclubalpha’s owners Icon Publications Ltd, edited by David Kilpatrick with Gary as US Associate Editor.
Issue No 3, 2nd Quarter 2013, will be available from the first week of April and includes a great story on Gary’s period working in China, a portfolio proving that pinhole photography does not have be soft and murky, a look at viewpoints and the camera, the best ‘historical battle recreation’ set we’ve ever seen, and more.
We have decided to make a Lulu print-on-demand digitally produced paperback edition covering the last three years of Photoworld magazine, covering the period from the launch of Alpha 900 and photokina 2008, through to the final edition of our quarterly magazine in Summer 2011, when the Alpha 77 was about to hit the streets.
This 312-page book includes the content of 12 editions of Photoworld, each with its cover and contents page, with some advertising and some regular content or ‘diary dates’ removed. A few items like this remain in place, notably Sigma advertisements, because the alternative would be to pay for a blank white page – or they are small ads and part of a larger page layout. We think even these are still of interest for the future.
Some typos and errors have been corrected so this book has more accurate versions of many articles. Some content has been changed, such as the A2 foldout print included in the Autumn 2008 edition to show the quality of the A900 24 megapixel file. As far as we know, Icon Publications Ltd remains the only photo magazine publisher to use the option of a ‘centerfold’. We’ve done it in our professional titles as well, to show medium format quality at its best. But in a digitally printed book, it’s not possible to staple in a 16.5 x 23.75 inch poster. Instead, we’ve used a different choice of a spread and two full page images.
Through this book-form edition, you can track the birth of the NEX system and the death of the optical viewfinder.
If you can not see the Flash preview above, use this link:
The book costs £64.50 – the original three years of magazines would have cost £53.85 absolute minimum (UK annually renewing subscription) and a typical binder costs £10. However, for worldwide customers the overall cost of the magazines over three years plus a binder would have been £90. Digital printing is expensive and we don’t make much on these, but we’ve had Lulu print calendars in the past (2011) with super results and this should be a very good quality book, fairly matching the original litho magazines.
– David Kilpatrick
STOP PRESS update: Cameracraft issue 1, Q4 2012, will mail out on Tuesday September 11th. Subscriptions placed by the end of Sunday 9th will be included in the mailout. Subscriptions placed after this date may be mailed before September 14th if possible, but the week after that is photokina – and we will be unable to mail out between September 15th and 21st.
One year ago we took the difficult decision to end the publication of Photoworld, though Photoclubalpha continues as an active and well supported site. Thank you for visitng here to see our news posts, reviews of equipment and forum.
I’ve been missing making magazines with true editorial freedom for some time. So, a new quarterly – like Photoworld in quality, starting out with 44 pages and no advertising – is about to appear. The name is Cameracraft, harking back to the West Coast American title (written as two words) which was published in the first half of the 20th century.
Cameracraft is an international magazine. Gary Friedman in Los Angeles is our US Associate Editor with a regular feature article. We’re looking for work of international interest, we have a small open picture gallery in each issue, and we are printing portfolios in classic style as an 8-page central section on heavier silk paper.
The first issue is scheduled for mailing before September 14th and has now gone to press. We will have a subscriber card, we plan a passworded private forum, and we offer optional magazine binders (fitting three years each). We plan to develop exclusive benefits for our readers in future. The subscriber card will be issued late 2012 and sent out with Issue 2 in December, once we’ve worked out a good way to ensure the right cards go to the right people…
Please take a look at the subscription page here:
On this page you will find a link to a downloadable PDF application form if you are interesting in subscribing and prefer not to use the Paypal payment method. At present the 3-year, 12-issue Cordex bookshelf binder is only offered on the webpage, but the address carrier sheet for the first issue has a form on the reverse for ordering. We expect to ship the binders mid to late October.
I hope you can join me on this new journey. It started over 30 years ago, in 1980, when Minolta Camera Co. of Osaka asked us to run the Minolta Club of Great Britain and upgrade their Photoworld magazine to a high quality colour title which became known as Minolta Image. When Minolta merged with Konica, we changed the name back. After Sony took over the camera brand, they asked us to stop publishing but didn’t offer to refund thousands of club members, so of course, we kept going independently. In Summer 2011 we printed the last copy of Photoworld.
At the time, we promised our remaining readers an Alpha Annual in 2012. For many reasons that has not been possible, and a return to publishing a magazine in quarterly form for a like-minded group of readers proves a more flexible offering. We do have Alpha content, of course, but from now on we can balance this. We’ve had comments along the lines that a 44-page magazine is too slim for a quarterly. Photoworld/Image was 36 pages, and in the last year or two, only 28. I have counted the editorial pages in magazines with 76 or 84 overall and find that most only have 44 (or so) with all the rest being advertising. We think it’s good value and if the readership grows we will take it as far as the printing and postage costs allow.
Best wishes –
Publisher and Editor, Icon Publications Ltd and Photoclubalpha
The Summer edition of Photoworld magazine is now available on-line in two forms – through our YUDU subscription, and through the Photoclubalpha website membership subscription. This will be our last quarterly, as over the last few years the website had taken over as a more practical vehicle for news and comment.
In place of the quarterly, our printed edition subscribers will receive in summer 2012 the first ALPHA ANNUAL, with 100+ pages and superior production quality. It will showcase good and innovative work and provide a summary of developments in the Alpha system, along with other features, just as MINOLTA MIRROR once did for Minolta owners.
To read (subscrition required) the on-line YUDU page turn version:
The latest Photoworld edition, No 1 2011, is now available to electronic edition subscribers (Normal or Premium) and is being printed to mail out before the end of January to all print edition subscribers.
The cover shot is by Shirley Kilpatrick, and is an uncropped capture very rapidly taken using the Alpha 550 with Sigma 18-250mm OS zoom at 250mm, a single frame as the hoopoe changed position and flew off immediately. With no time to make adjustments and the camera set to ISO 200 and aperture priority at f/8, the metering produced the dark result which would be expected from this situation and a shutter speed of 1/500th:
The Alpha 550 14 megapixel file is extremely low noise, so adjusting the image using Adobe Camera Raw produced hardly any loss of quality – including lens corrections for the Sigma automatically loaded, as all Sigma lenses are now included in Adobe’s database. For a rapid grabbed shot, the focus is spot-on and the Sigma lens at full focal length and only 2/3rds of a stop down from full aperture has performed extremely well. Shirley was testing the Alpha 550 for a week in November, after two years of using the Alpha 700. She found the smaller viewfinder acceptable and the general success rate and image quality to be an improvement; she has now traded the Alpha 550 up for the 580 which is even better.
Subscribers can download the full size 14 megapixel ACR converted file from our Extra Content area.
We have now expanded the archive of downloadable PDF files of our magazine issues, available to subscribers to Photoclubalpha, back to December 2002 with five issues of Minolta Image. The issues make a fascinating record of the transition from film to digital, and then from Minolta to Konica Minolta, and later to Sony.
The list of issues and their content (not including many portfolios, technique and travel or subject related features) is:
- Photoworld 2 2011 (Spring – new flashgun and accessories, Alpha subaqua, Sony World Photography Awards, Nissin Di866 Mark II flash, Sony ultrawide and fisheye converters for NAX tested)
- Photoworld 1 2011 (Winter – new Cybershots, Alpha in the studio, Kipon tilt adaptor for NEX, Alpha 580 test report, Duncan McEwan shoots the Commonwealth Games)
- Photoworld 4 2010 (Autumn – photokina & Alpha 55/33, Alpha 55 test, 3D feature)
- Photoworld 3 2010 (Summer – NEX 3 & 5 launch in Croatia, full test, NEX lens adaptors, Alpha 390 and 290 announced, Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 HSM and 70-300mm f/4-5.6 OS)
- Photoworld 2 2010 (Spring – SAM 30mm f/2.8 Macro, PMA 2010, Sigma EX DG 70mm f/2.8 macro, Delta TTL ringflash, Ray-Flash RAC175-2)
- Photoworld 1 2010 (Winter – Alpha System 25 Year Silver Jubilee issue; Alpha 450)
- Photoworld 4 2009 (Autumn – Alpha 500, 550 and 850 announced; Samyang 85mm f/1.4 test, HVL-F20AM)
- Photoworld 3 2009 (Summer – Alpha 230, 330, 380 launch; Alpha 380 test, SAM 18-55mm, Sigma 18-250mm OS, 70-200mm HSM, 10-20mm f/3.5, 10mm fisheye)
- Photoworld 2 2009 (Spring – Sony PVL-EW5 projector, rechipping Sigma 400mm f/5.6)
- Photoworld 1 2009 (Winter – Sigma 12-24mm and 50mm f/1.4 on A900, tilt and shift adaptors, Teleplus 2X)
- Photoworld 4 2008 (Autumn – photokina and Alpha 900)
- Photoworld 3 2008 (Summer – 70-300mm SSM G lens test, HVL-F58AM)
- Photoworld 2 2008 (Spring – Alpha 300 and 350 launch, 360° panoramas, HVL-F42AM, kit zoom lens choice, Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD Di AF Tele Macro test)
- Photoworld 1 2008 (Winter – Alpha 200 launch, Alpha 700 shoots Cirque du Soleil)
- Photoworld 4 2007 (Autumn – Alpha 700 launch, 16-105mm SAL lens, 18-250mm SAL)
- Photoworld 3 2007 (Summer – Photoclubalpha launch, roadmap speculation, 18-250mm Tamron test, Lensbaby 3G)
- Photoworld 2 2007 (Spring – 700/900 speculation with the wrong names, GPS CS-1 tracker, CZ 16-80mm test, flash choices, Loreo PC Lens In A Cap)
- Photoworld 1 2007 (Winter – CZ 135mm f/1.8, 8mm Peleng)
- Photoworld 3 2006 (Autumn – photokina, Apha 100 test, Sony DSC-R1)
- Photoworld 2 2006 (Summer – the amazing Alpha 100 launch in Morocco)
- Photoworld 1 2006 (Winter/Spring – the Sony takeover issue, 25 Years of Minolta Club, 18-200mm and 11-18mm KM zooms tested)
- Photoworld 4 2005 (Autumn – KM 5D test, colour looks, Dimage Master software)
- Photoworld 3 2005 (Summer – KM 5D announcement, Sony announce joint project, Dimage X1, Dimage A200, Jobo Gigavu Pro, Dimage Master techniques)
- Photoworld 2 2005 (Spring – Dimage Z5, 28-75m and 17-35mm lenses tested on Dynax 7D, digital infrared with Dimage 7 and Dynax 7D, colour to mono conversions, using Dimage Scan Elite 5400)
- Photoworld 1 2005 (Winter – Dynax 7D test, Minolta 16mm full frame fisheye)
- Photoworld 2 2004 (Autumn – photokina and Dynax (Maxxum) 7D launch)
- Photoworld 1 2004 (Spring-Summer, the first edition after the Konica Minolta merger, and the renaming of Minolta Image which we had published since 1981 back to its 1966-1980 title of Photoworld – mockup D7D shown at Focus on Imaging, Dynax 60 and 40 launch, Dimage Xt underwater, Konica Centuria Super colour film test, Dimage A2 test)
- Minolta Image Winter 2003-4 (the last edition of Image before the end of Minolta as a separate company – Dimage Z1 test, Dimage E323 test)
- Minolta Image Autumn 2003 (the A to Z of digital – Dimage A1 and Z1, Dynax 3L and Fujichrome Astia 100F test, A1 anti-shake test)
- Minolta Image Summer 2003 (Dimage Scan Elite 5400 test, new 28-100mm, Riva Zoom 60, Dimage Xt test, Wireless Flash)
- Minolta Image Spring 2003 (SSM 30mm and 70-200mm, converters, launched; F300 report)
- Minolta Image Winter 2002-3 (incomplete but includes – Low Light and Fast Film, Digital Diaries, Dimage 7Hi test, Dimage Scan Dual III)