Category Archives: Advice

Sony Global Imaging Ambassadors Interview

SGIA-intervew

Want to learn more about my story, my vision and how I work in the field?
Curious to learn how much work I put in one single image before, during and after I shot it? (and realize how insane I am about it?)

Check out the interview I did with the great people from the Sony Global Imaging Ambassadors.

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Fringing removal – Processing Private Mentoring

Being a fine art photographer (and a scientist) means that you have a high attention to details. Sometimes it’s a gift, sometimes it’s a curse. But it’s mostly a gift 🙂
It’s almost like having OCD for me at times, and it sure does feel like it when I process my images to allow extremely large printing.

This is what makes the difference between an average photograph and a hit! Here you see the image before and after removing fringes (respectively), zoomed in at 500% :

Sans titre-1 copie

Sans titre-2 copie
If you want to learn how to process images that will WOW people, send me a message and we’ll organize private mentoring sessions.

Sony a7RII: my opinion in 7 points

Yesterday, Sony announced 3 new cameras: the RX10 II, the RX100 IV, and the rumored a7R II, which we were waiting for and hearing about for a loooooong time.

Every camera is interesting and a huge step forward, but being a landscape photographer (mostly), I will tell you more about what excited me most about the a7RII, and especially in the light of long exposure photography.

11425539_846315538750965_7996445082006891878_o

Specs

  • 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
  • Internal 4K XAVC S Video & S-Log2 Gamma
  • Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
  • ISO 102,400
  • no shutter blade motion
  • 3.5x faster than the A7r
  • A7rII focus is almost 40% faster than the one of the A7r
  • Shipping in August

Estimated Price: $3200 USD

 

My opinion in 7 points:

1- The 42MP sensor:

Very little info has surface about it, but given the quality of the previous Sony sensors (including those being used by other major camera manufacturers), I expect and HOPE for a high dynamic range, a very low noise level and limited number of hot pixels. Two of the most important aspects for long exposure.

sensor2- No low pass filter:

Back to one of the greatest features of the original a7R in my mind: the absence of a low pass filter. This feature will lead to crispier images, and you’ll see how sharp your lenses actually are…

filter

3- The 5-Axis SteadyShot Stabilization system:

It will give stabilization to EVERY lens available on the market, including 3rd party lenses. That’s right, you read it: EVERY lens available! From zoom lenses to 30+ years old medium format glass. From the latest Zeiss beauties to the highly technical and fully manual Canon tilt/shift lenses. And all of the others as well 🙂

Potentially, it also means that it is possible to move the sensor around in the camera body. What’s the point you’ll ask me, right? Well, if you move the sensor one way, take a shot, move it the other way, take a shot and stitch them together, that’s a pretty good way to increase the resolution of your image… sort of like doing a pano.

OISlenses

4- New silent shutter with no blade motion:

No noise!! How cool is that for genuine street and portrait photography?

Even better in my mind (very biased toward long exposure of course), no blade motion, meaning less vibrations in the system, meaning even crispier images!

shutter

5- Internal 4K:

Sure I’m a photographer, sure I normally don’t do video. But hey, 4K!! And no need for an external recorder, it does it all internally. So damn, I think I’ll get into video at one point or another

sensor-size

6- ISO 102,400:

Why ISO 102,400? Hell, why not! 🙂 Again, high sensitivity can be a nice addition. Not that I would personally use it too much, but having the option seems like a great way to sweeten the deal: you can use fast or not so fast lenses for street or action photography more easily

7- faster everything:

Sony heard the complains that people had with the a7R: slow-ish auto-focus, especially with 3rd party lenses. Well, to go hand in hand with a higher sensitivity, they were able to speed things along: the camera itself is 3.5x faster than the A7r, and auto focus is almost 40% faster than the one of the A7r. I even heard somewhere that Canon lenses will have next to the same speed as on Canon bodies.

specsmovies

Conclusion:

I am very excited about this new release. Sony was able to take the best of every camera in the alpha line and concentrate it in this body: high sensitivity, higher resolution, 4K video recording, image stabilization, to name just a few.

One big question that remains unclear however is how the sensor will behave in terms of noise level, dynamic range and hot pixels.

Working closely with Sony, I hope to have more info soon on these aspects, and I also hope to get my hands on a body ASAP, take it in the field and let you know more about it… So hang tight!

Your thoughts:

What do you think about this new release? Are you excited? Indifferent? Would you have wanted to see more features and then, which ones? Let me know in the comments below!

Building a technical camera – Part I

$_57Fuji GX680 III basic body with rear and front elements and bellows. Missing lens, film back and viewfinder.

Step One of Building a technical camera

I have a new project: the ultimate DIY camera fun.

After much discussion with my buddy Satoru Murata, I decided to take on a project for the next few weeks. I will share with you some of the steps I will take into building a technical view camera… of sorts.

For those who are not familiar with such cameras, you can find a description here and a sketch below: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/View_camera

In a few words, this camera is made of a front board which holds a lens, and bellows that ensure the image coming from the lens goes without interference to a back element containing film or a digital sensor (there are also other types of capturing media but no need to go into such details here). What makes this type of camera special is the ability to move the front (and back) element in order to obtain large amounts of tilt and shift.

If you have been following me for a little while, you know that I use tilt and especially shift in my work, and sometimes using such special lenses in particular situations (for instance when you find yourself very close to the subject). For those who are into technicalities, another limitation of regular modern style T/S lenses is that movement happens at the front of the camera and not at the back. Back movement is however preferable because moving the front element changes the position of the image circle, and it usually is better to tilt (in particular) the rear element rather than the lens in order to avoid such changes in image circle position.

Now, you also now that I use Sony cameras for my work, as well as different sorts of lenses, ranging from modern and old Full Frame lenses to 30-ish years old Medium Format lenses (and I even also do Large Format film for fun). All these lenses are great, and MF provides a larger image circle, meaning that I can do larger movements than with FF lenses. Unfortunately, none of the adapters available on the market allow for full access to the MF lenses image circle, and some of them simply cannot be used, period (such as Mamiya RZ67). It is also impossible to use LF lenses on modern FF or MF dSLRs and backs.

So here is the idea: build a technical camera that will let me mount ANY (and I insist on ANY) lens (FF, MF, LF) on a modern digital FF mirrorless dSLR or MF back, and give TILT and SHIFT movement both at the front and back elements.

After some research online, I found that people can hack a Fuji GX680 body into doing something like this.

So I present you a new member in the family: a cheap (~$200 USD) Fuji GX680 III body which I will start stripping off its different elements in order to keep only the base body and moving elements.

$_573245Next steps to come, after I removed all the unnecessary parts! 🙂

On a different note, I’ll need to find this camera a name after it’s finished… let me know if you have suggestions! 🙂

Feature on Pullitzer Prize winner Brian Smith’s blog

brian_smith_featureI you want to learn more about my photography and the techniques and gear I use, check out the great feature that Brian Smith did of my work on his blog:

http://briansmith.com/long-exposure-photography-thibault-roland/

In this feature, I talk about my beloved Sony a7R camera and the different lenses I use, ranging from Canon to Mamiya and Voigtländer. I also show my setup when taking tilt shift photographs and point you to the different adapters you can use to turn “old” medium format lenses into fully manual and inexpensive tilt shift beauties 🙂

If you have questions on any of these aspects, please don’t hesitate to ask you questions below or on Brian’s blog!

Have a good read!

PS: of course, if you don’t know Brian’s work yet, please check it out ASAP!

Sony deals and Formatt-Hitech new filters

Good news!

SONY DEALS

For Sony aficionados or those who want to give these amazing cameras, good deals seem to survive Cyber Monday!

Check out these offers at B&H:

Sony‬ ‪‎A6000‬ Camera Body and kit have a $200 instant rebate $448 for the body alone or $598 in kit with a 16-50mm lens.

a6000a6000 - kit

Sony‬ ‪‎a7 Camera Body is available with a $400 instant rebate for $1298 for the body alone.

a7

Sony‬ ‪‎a7R Camera Body is available with a $200 instant rebate for $2098 for the body alone.a7r

 

FORMATT-HITECH NEW FILTERS AVAILABLE

On a different note, Formatt-Hitech has finally released the much waited for Joel Tjintjelaar kits with Firecrest Filters. To be complete, they actually released two kits for each size (screw in filters of different diameters, or square 100x100mm or 165x165mm): Kit I contains 3 filters, ND3, ND6 and ND10; Kit II contains ND10, ND13 and ND16.

For square filters you can also choose between kits with or without holders.

JT FirecretOn a personnal note, I consider the Firecrest filters as the best and most neutral filters available. The review is coming up soon, but I can already recommend you to get them, no questions asked. These are the exact same filters that I use during my work.

I would also remind you that the Firecrest line includes grad and polarizing filters as well.

SmugMug support and 40% off Thanksgiving discount

I am so very happy to announce that SmugMug will be supporting my work and events starting now! Keep tight for more great news for this coming Spring.

I am really happy to have their trust because in my opinion, SmugMug is the best website solution for pro and very serious photographers who want to promote their work with a beautiful website and sell prints without thinking twice about it: they have an automated system that allows your clients to order directly from the website, and everything is handled directly by them.

And guess what!?
To celebrate Thanksgiving, *************** SMUGMUG OFFERS 40% OFF *************** their annual Programs.
To know more about them and grab your discount, follow this link, or click the image above.

PS: I will soon talk more about SmugMug on my blog. So keep an eye out for it!