It is now over a month since Cameracraft September/October 2023 went out to printed edition subscribers and was released in the App and Pocketmags, and to our digital-only subscribers who received the link to download in a September 1st email.
With main features previewing the season we are now most definitely in – Autumn or Fall – it’s only fair to let the world see the issue with the informative New England Fall article by Jeff Folger, and the introduction to wonderful Welsh waterfalls at this time of year from Jon Rees. And as usual it’s an edition with plenty to read as well as great photography. Please subscribe to our worldwide digital delivery £15 a year to get future issues on the day they are published, or choose the printed edition sent out by mail at the same time. Just click on the cover for the download link to read this edition free!
As Gary says, his e-books do not replace the camera manual and also don’t replace Camera Controls 101 – he writes for the user who already knows which end of the lens fits a screw filter and which end goes on the camera body. His new NEX-7 book fast-tracks into many key features of the camera before backtracking into depth and detail, a great way to introduce owners to making better use of the advanced functions they have bought.
The only downside to the book is the cover, which features a new addition to the long line of bald heads Gary has used for his cover shots (always in the same style) – a penalty for visiting Gary just before the book was going to e-press!
The $26.45 download (PDF, full colour, with additional resources for Kindle and other bw reader platforms) now strikes me as even better value after the last week of wandering through California by car in search of images. The USA is now fairly expensive compared to much of Europe, not affordable as it used to be – and this comes as a surprise, because things like the camera prices at B&H do not give much clue, they are still generally lower. In California at least things like motels (except the most basic), beer, coffee, snacks, entry or parking fees are maybe 50% more than UK costs – so to all our US readers, be assured, now is a very good time to use your NEX-7 skills and take a trip across the pond. You can find an award-winning b&b with one of the best full breakfasts in Scotland for under $75 (£=$1.60) in our home town with a pretty good photographer running it!
You can open or download an excellent (slightly dated, unrevised since ACR 6.1 but finally translated into English from the original Italian by Francesco Marzoli) guide to all the deeper functions and tricks of efficient workflow using Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, Lightroom and Photoshop from X-Rite:
This PDF instruction book obviously mentions the use of X-Rite’s ColorChecker Passport for calibrating cameras, that’s why they have sponsored the guide. But it goes far beyond this to explain with clarity all the controls of ACR, and many tips are given on how to use them best.
As an example, we didn’t know that Bridge could be forced to use Camera Raw without taking over Photoshop – meaning it can be run separately, allowing you to do other work in Photoshop while ACR does file conversion and saving from within Bridge alone.
You can load this guide into your iPad or other reading device. Just SAVE the target file, and ADD to your iTunes Bookstore Library, it will then be readable. For other devices simply save the PDF and transfer.
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.
The final release of Adobe Camera Raw 6.2, DNG Converter 6.2 and Lightroom 3.2 includes raw conversion support for the Alpha 33 and 55 models as well as the NEX-5 and NEX-3, Alpha 290 and 390 which were included in the Release Candidate versions. These August 30th releases are final version, RC versions are a form of beta test.
The bad news is that anyone using the LR3.2 RC as a temporary free solution for getting full profile correction without investing in Photoshop CS5 will lose their freebie. But Lightroom is eminently affordable, and it can function as a raw conversion front-end for any earlier Photoshop or Elements version. On its own, it is a mere 10MB of program data fatter than Adobe Camera Raw as a plug-in and runs with great efficiency on modestly specified laptops (etc). It’s a lean, keenly priced solution which offers many further benefits as a DAM (Digital Asset Management) library such as keywording, copyright control, metadata editing, version stacking and multiple catalogues. http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/new.jsp
I am informed that support is included for the 16mm lens on NEX (profile) but I can’t tell whether it is the profile I supplied to Adobe Labs, or a new one, because my profile has remained unchanged on my system – same names, same modification date. And there’s no NEX-3 version which might be expected if they had created new profiles. So it looks as if it could be worth sending profiles into Adobe after creating them.
It’s fantastic news that Adobe has released ACR for the new Alpha 55 16 megapixel sensor before the cameras even hits the street – mine is on order, waiting! Not so great for Nikon users; no D3100 raw conversion in this release. But Canon users get the 60D (despite Adobe missing it out from their front page list). Adobe did this Sony friendly pre-release once before, for the Alpha 100, getting the conversion into place before the camera went on sale.
The bad news is that the Alpha 580 and 560 models are not in the list alongside the fixed mirror pellucid, transflective (anything but Translucent, please…) cameras.
The instruction manual for the Alpha 33 and 55: http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-documents.pl?mdl=SLT-A33®ion_id=1
is already on-line and shows a March 2010 publication date, which means that Sony has had these new cameras in existence since the beginning of the year, certainly well before PMA when mockups were shown. It’s likely that Adobe’s Thomas Knoll has been using one from the first bug-free pre-production model onwards!
Now all we need is the revised lens series with SAM or SSM motors fitted into the 16-80mm CZ, 16-105mm Sony, 18-200mm and 18-250mm Sony; the 11-18mm wideangle replacement, the 75-300mm SAL replacement, and a few other goodies. Hopefully all Zeiss glass gets SSM where possible. That 16-80mm CZ is four years old now as a design. A tweak to the maximum aperture, or the zoom range, would revive interest. – David Kilpatrick