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Welcome to

The

CSC
Camera
Book
The compact system camera market has rapidly grown in recent years, with
more and more photographers opting for the mirrorless option over the bulkier
DSLR. The CSC Camera book is the ultimate guide to mirrorless cameras, whether
you are looking to buy your first CSC and need help picking the right one, or just
want to know how to take your imagery to the next level, we’ve got it covered. In
this brand new book we have rigorously tested over twenty of the best mirrorless
cameras on the market from all of the key manufacturers, and have looked at a
range of the best lenses.
We have interviewed professional photographers to find out why they switched
from shooting with a DSLR to a CSC, and have included essential shooting tips
and techniques that will help improve your photography today. Discover how to
pose subjects for the best possible portraits, shoot landscapes that will stand out,
perfect composition every time, and so much more!
The

CSC
Camera
Book
Future PLC Richmond House, 33 Richmond Hill,
Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 6EZ

Editorial
Editor Rebecca Greig
Designer Madelene King
Editor in Chief Jon White
Senior Art Editor Andy Downes

Cover Images
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³ǝɖɎɎƺȸɀɎȒƬǸٖȇƳȸƺɯxƏɵȒɮɀǸɵɵً³Ȓȇɵ

ǼǼƬȒȵɵȸǣǕǝɎɀƏȇƳɎȸƏƳƺȅƏȸǸɀƏȸƺȸƺƬȒǕȇǣɀƺƳƏȇƳȸƺɀȵƺƬɎƺƳ
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!ȒȅȅƺȸƬǣƏǼ(ǣȸƺƬɎȒȸClare Dove
ƬǼƏȸƺِƳȒɮƺ۬ǔɖɎɖȸƺȇƺɎِƬȒȅ
International
XȇɎƺȸȇƏɎǣȒȇƏǼnǣƬƺȇɀǣȇǕ(ǣȸƺƬɎȒȸMatt Ellis
matt.ellis@futurenet.com
Circulation
RƺƏƳȒǔzƺɯɀɎȸƏƳƺTim Mathers
Production
RƺƏƳȒǔ¨ȸȒƳɖƬɎǣȒȇ Mark Constance
¨ȸȒƳɖƬɎǣȒȇ¨ȸȒǴƺƬɎxƏȇƏǕƺȸ Clare Scott
ƳɮƺȸɎǣɀǣȇǕ¨ȸȒƳɖƬɎǣȒȇxƏȇƏǕƺȸ Joanne Crosby
(ǣǕǣɎƏǼ0ƳǣɎǣȒȇɀ!ȒȇɎȸȒǼǼƺȸ Jason Hudson
¨ȸȒƳɖƬɎǣȒȇxƏȇƏǕƺȸɀKeely Miller, Nola Cokely,
Vivienne Calvert, Fran Twentyman
Management
!ǝǣƺǔ…ȵƺȸƏɎǣȒȇɀ…ǔˡƬƺȸ Aaron Asadi
!ȒȅȅƺȸƬǣƏǼIǣȇƏȇƬƺ(ǣȸƺƬɎȒȸ Dan Jotcham
0ƳǣɎȒȸǣƏǼ(ǣȸƺƬɎȒȸ Paul Newman
RƺƏƳȒǔȸɎۭ(ƺɀǣǕȇGreg Whitaker

Distributed by xƏȸǸƺɎǔȒȸƬƺً‫!ד‬ǝɖȸƬǝǣǼǼ¨ǼƏƬƺً!ƏȇƏȸɵáǝƏȸǔًnȒȇƳȒȇً0‫דג׏‬RÈ
ɯɯɯِȅƏȸǸƺɎǔȒȸƬƺِƬȒِɖǸÁƺǼ‫׏׎׎חוזוב׎א׎ي‬
The CSC Camera Book First Edition
© 2018 Future Publishing Limited

áƺƏȸƺƬȒȅȅǣɎɎƺƳɎȒȒȇǼɵɖɀǣȇǕȅƏǕƏɿǣȇƺȵƏȵƺȸɯǝǣƬǝǣɀƳƺȸǣɮƺƳǔȸȒȅȸƺɀȵȒȇɀǣƫǼɵȅƏȇƏǕƺƳً
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ƏȇƳȵȸȒƳɖƬƺƳǔȸȒȅɀɖɀɎƏǣȇƏƫǼƺȅƏȇƏǕƺƳǔȒȸƺɀɎɀًƬȒȇǔȒȸȅǣȇǕɎȒɀɎȸǣƬɎƺȇɮǣȸȒȇȅƺȇɎƏǼƏȇƳ
ɀȒƬǣȒƺƬȒȇȒȅǣƬɀɎƏȇƳƏȸƳɀِÁǝƺȅƏȇɖǔƏƬɎɖȸǣȇǕȵƏȵƺȸȅǣǼǼǝȒǼƳɀǔɖǼǼI³!٢IȒȸƺɀɎ
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ǼǼƬȒȇɎƺȇɎɀ۰‫ז׏׎א‬IɖɎɖȸƺ¨ɖƫǼǣɀǝǣȇǕnǣȅǣɎƺƳȒȸȵɖƫǼǣɀǝƺƳɖȇƳƺȸǼǣƬƺȇƬƺِǼǼȸǣǕǝɎɀȸƺɀƺȸɮƺƳِ
zȒȵƏȸɎȒǔɎǝǣɀȅƏǕƏɿǣȇƺȅƏɵƫƺɖɀƺƳًɀɎȒȸƺƳًɎȸƏȇɀȅǣɎɎƺƳȒȸȸƺȵȸȒƳɖƬƺƳǣȇƏȇɵɯƏɵɯǣɎǝȒɖɎ
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ǔȒȸƺȸȸȒȸɀȒȸǣȇƏƬƬɖȸƏƬǣƺɀǣȇɀɖƬǝǣȇǔȒȸȅƏɎǣȒȇِçȒɖƏȸƺƏƳɮǣɀƺƳɎȒƬȒȇɎƏƬɎȅƏȇɖǔƏƬɎɖȸƺȸɀƏȇƳ
ȸƺɎƏǣǼƺȸɀƳǣȸƺƬɎǼɵɯǣɎǝȸƺǕƏȸƳɎȒɎǝƺȵȸǣƬƺȒǔȵȸȒƳɖƬɎɀٖɀƺȸɮǣƬƺɀȸƺǔƺȸȸƺƳɎȒǣȇɎǝǣɀȵɖƫǼǣƬƏɎǣȒȇِȵȵɀ
ƏȇƳɯƺƫɀǣɎƺɀȅƺȇɎǣȒȇƺƳǣȇɎǝǣɀȵɖƫǼǣƬƏɎǣȒȇƏȸƺȇȒɎɖȇƳƺȸȒɖȸƬȒȇɎȸȒǼِáƺƏȸƺȇȒɎȸƺɀȵȒȇɀǣƫǼƺǔȒȸ
ɎǝƺǣȸƬȒȇɎƺȇɎɀȒȸƏȇɵȒɎǝƺȸƬǝƏȇǕƺɀȒȸɖȵƳƏɎƺɀɎȒɎǝƺȅِÁǝǣɀȅƏǕƏɿǣȇƺǣɀǔɖǼǼɵǣȇƳƺȵƺȇƳƺȇɎ
ƏȇƳȇȒɎƏǔˡǼǣƏɎƺƳǣȇƏȇɵɯƏɵɯǣɎǝɎǝƺƬȒȅȵƏȇǣƺɀȅƺȇɎǣȒȇƺƳǝƺȸƺǣȇِ

IɖɎɖȸƺȵǼƬǣɀƏȵɖƫǼǣƬ !ǝǣƺǔƺɴƺƬɖɎǣɮƺ Zillah Byng-Thorne


ƬȒȅȵƏȇɵȷɖȒɎƺƳȒȇɎǝƺ !ǝƏǣȸȅƏȇ Richard Huntingford
nȒȇƳȒȇ³ɎȒƬǸ0ɴƬǝƏȇǕƺ !ǝǣƺǔˡȇƏȇƬǣƏǼȒǔˡƬƺȸ Penny Ladkin-Brand
٢ɀɵȅƫȒǼ‫ي‬IÈÁ«٣
www.futureplc.com Tel ‫גגڷ‬٢‫׎‬٣‫גגאאגגדאא׏‬
CONTENTS
What is a CSC? 8

Pro interviews: Making the switch 12

Buyer’s Guide
Panasonic G9 22

Panasonic GX9 24

Panasonic GH5 26

Lens buyer’s guide: Panasonic 29

Sony Alpha 7R III 30

Sony Alpha 9 34

Sony Alpha 7S II 38

Sony Alpha 6500 40

Lens buyer’s guide: Sony 42

Fujifilm X-H1 44

Fujifilm X-T20 48

Fujifilm GFX 50S 52

Fujifilm X-Pro2 56

Fujifilm X-T2 58

Fujifilm X-E2S 60

61
82

22

44 12

6
84

Lens buyer’s guide: Fujifilm 62

Hasselblad X1D-50c 64

Lens buyer’s guide: Hasselblad 67

Leica M-D 68

Leica TL2 70

Leica SL 72

Lens buyer’s guide: Leica 74

Canon EOS M5 76

Canon EOS M100 78

Lens buyer’s guide: Canon 80

Olympus Pen-F 82
8 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III 84
102
Lens buyer’s guide: Olympus 87

Techniques
The art of composition 90

Master posing for portraits 102

Shoot landscape photography 112

10 essential wildlife techniques 120

Get more from the scene 130

Tell a story in pictures 144

Perfect your processing 158


120 Build and maintain an image library 170

130

206 158

7
WHAT IS A CSC?

WHAT IS
A CSC?
Discover what makes a CSC different to digital SLR
cameras and why many are making the switch

T
hey go by a number of different Compact system cameras, on the other cameras were based around the Micro Four
names: Hybrid, MILC (mirrorless hand, tend to offer more manual control over Thirds system, a standard developed by the
interchangeable-lens camera) camera settings, and high-end features such two companies that enables lenses from one
– even EVIL (electronic viewfinder as faster continuous shooting, 4K video manufacturer to be used on cameras from
interchangeable-lens) – but however you recording and weather-sealed bodies. another. Since then, the likes of Sony, Fujifilm
prefer to refer to them, CSCs (compact There’s a lot to be said for shaving weight Panasonic and Canon have released
system cameras) all do the same thing: they from a camera kit. You’re more likely to take mirrorless cameras with continually
offer the advantages of a digital SLR in a it with you, for a start, meaning that you’ll advancing technologies that are prompting
smaller, lighter format. be able to make the most of potential photo more and more photographers to opt for
Those advantages include larger sensors opportunities. Being more unobtrusive than mirrorless over the bulkier DSLR.
than compacts (for the most part – see over a full-size DSLR – when they’re twinned with Because CSCs have fewer moving parts
the page), interchangeable lenses, the a suitably stubby lens, at least – CSCs make inside, they don’t have to follow the
ability to use hotshoe flashguns and other excellent cameras for street photography, traditional SLR design. A number of CSC
accessories, and advanced controls. It’s the reportage and documentary work. manufacturers have opted to keep DSLR
latter that helps to differentiate a CSC from Panasonic kicked off the current CSC styling, albeit miniaturised, but there are also
a small SLR. Many camera manufacturers boom with the release of the Lumix G1 plenty of retro-looking and rangefinder-like
have compact DSLRs in their range, but mirrorless camera in 2008, followed by cameras, including those in the Olympus
these are invariably targeted at beginners. Olympus with its Pen E-P1 in 2009. Both Pen and Fujfilm X ranges.

8
WHAT IS A CSC?

ANATOMY
OF A CSC
A compact system
camera is similar to
a DSLR, with some
notable exceptions…

1 2 3 4
Interchangeable lenses Look, no mirror! Pocketability Viewfinder – or not
Like an SLR, a compact system The most significant difference As the name suggests, compact The lack of a mirror means that a
camera doesn’t feature a fixed lens. between an SLR and a compact system cameras are small – CSC can’t be fitted with an optical
Instead, you can swap between system camera is the lack of a smaller than the majority of SLRs. TTL (through the lens) viewfinder.
lenses depending on the subject mirror assembly in the latter. Not (Obviously you lose the size Many SLR-styled CSCs include a
you’re photographing or the effect only does this allow CSCs to be advantage the second you add a built-in EVF (electronic viewfinder)
you want to achieve. The lens much smaller and lighter, it also filthy great telephoto lens!) – a small screen showing the Live
mounts on CSCs are different to means they’re much quieter in Rangefinder-style CSCs are more View feed generated by the
those on SLRs, which means that operation. Having no mirror pocketable than those styled like imaging sensor – while others
you can’t use SLR lenses on a means that you have to use the diminutive SLRs, but the grip and can be fitted with a small
compact system camera, unless Live View monitor or an electronic handling afforded by the latter can viewfinder accessory on the
you use an adapter. viewfinder to compose your shots. be an advantage. camera’s hotshoe.

AF MF

STABILIZER
ON OFF

Size matters
Some compact system cameras may
look just like miniature DSLRs, but they
don’t work in the same way.
The key difference is the CSC’s lack of
a mirror assembly. Removing the mirror
and pentaprism – the ‘reflex’ bit of
single-lens reflex (SLR) – means that
CSCs can be made slimmer. 1 2 3 4
This has an impact on the design of Light path In a digital FFD The Flange Shorter distance Electronic display
lenses, as the Flange Focal Distance SLR, some light Focal Distance is The FFD in a CSC is In a CSC, the light
(FFD) – the measurement from the point passes through the comparatively large in significantly shorter. strikes the sensor, and
where the lens is mounted to the imaging mirror to the AF a DSLR. It remains For example, Canon’s an image is generated
sensor – is shorter in a CSC than it is in sensor, but the constant across a EF and EF-S DSLR on the rear screen and
a DSLR. The FFD is an important majority is reflected manufacturer’s DSLR mounts have an FFD electronic viewfinder,
consideration, as a lens is calibrated to up to the pentaprism, range, ensuring that of 44mm, whereas the if present. This means
be sharply focused at this distance. This exposure meter and lenses will deliver a Q mount used in that the body can be
is why you can’t use a DSLR lens on a viewfinder assembly. sharp image no Pentax’s CSC range much slimmer and
CSC – the point at which an object would This system takes up a matter which body uses a distance of just shorter in height.
appear sharply focused isn’t the same. lot of space! they’re on. 9.2mm.

9
WHAT IS A CSC?

IS BIGGER
BETTER?
The size of a sensor has implications for image
quality, as well as camera and lens dimensions
Don’t be too swayed by the megapixel easier to achieve shallow depth-of-field similar proportions to a frame of 35mm
count when you go shopping for a effects, while smaller sensors enable film (‘full-frame’) and those with
compact system camera – you need to the design of smaller and lighter sensors closer in size to a frame of
take the size of the sensor into account, cameras and lenses. Unlike DSLRs, Advanced Photo System ‘Classic’ film
too. Larger sensors typically produce which are broadly separated into two (‘APS-C’) – CSCs offer a much wider
cleaner images at high ISOs and make it camps – those with sensors that share range of sensor sizes.

1 2 3 4 5
1/1.7 INCH 1 INCH 4/3 APS-C FULL FRAME
The Pentax QS-1’s 1/1.7 inch Nikon has opted for a 1-inch Panasonic and Olympus use Fujifilm, Samsung, Canon Sony is the only CSC
imaging device is truly tiny, sensor in its ‘1’ series of the Micro Four Thirds format. and Sony use APS-C sensors manufacturer to widely
giving a crop factor of x4.6. CX-format CSCs. This is Unlike APS-C and full-frame, for all or selected models in adopt a full-frame sensor,
Attach a 20mm lens and it a quarter of the size of the this has a 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s their CSC ranges. APS-C is which can be found in the
gives a full-frame equivalent sensors used in its also physically smaller, with a the sensor size of choice for majority of its E-mount-
angle of view of 92mm DX-format digital SLRs crop factor of x2 most DSLRs, too compatible cameras

10
WHAT IS A CSC?

MIRRORLESS
SYSTEMS
A who’s who of key players in the compact system camera market

Canon Fujifilm Sony


CSC system Canon EOS M CSC system Fujifilm X CSC system Sony E-system
Lens mount EF-M Lens mount Fujifilm X Lens mount E-mount
Sensor size APS-C Sensor size APS-C & Medium format Sensor size Full-frame & APS-C
Crop factor x1.6 Crop factor x1.5 Crop factor x1.5 (APS-C)
Although Canon still seem Fujifilm has thrown themselves at the Sony continue to impress with their
predominantly focussed on the DSLR growing interest in mirrorless mirrorless cameras. Find out if the
market, they have in recent months cameras with barely a whole year outstanding Alpha 9 on p34 truly
invested time in their CSC offerings. passing by without a new release or proves its worth for sports and action
Head to p76 in order to discover more advancement. We’ve looked at their photographers or check out the
about the EOS M5 or to p78 for a newest offering the X-H1 on p44 as A6500 on p40. We’ve also looked at
closer look at the beginner friendly well as the impressive X-T2 (p58) and the best Sony lenses to help you get
EOS M100. the medium format GFX 50S on p52. the most out of your chosen camera.

Panasonic Olympus Hasselblad


CSC system Panasonic Lumix G CSC systems Olympus OM-D & Pen CSC systems Hasselblad X1D
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds Lens mount Micro Four Thirds Lens mount XCD
Sensor size 4/3-inch Sensor size 4/3-inch Sensor size Medium format
Crop factor x2 Crop factor x2 Crop factor x0.82

Panasonic has recently upped their Olympus has two lines of Micro Four Hasselblad introduced the X1D -50c
still image game with the introduction Thirds compact system cameras – in 2016 before Fujifilm ventured into
of what they claim to be the ultimate the Pen and the OM-D. The Pen-F on the medium format mirrorless
outdoor and wildlife camera , the p82 is suited to the more advanced market. They remain the only two
Lumix G9 , which we have reviewed on mirrorless shooter and the OM-D medium format mirrorless cameras
p22. If it’s moving images you are range is a little more accessible. The available at the time of writing and
after then the Lumix GH5 might be OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the ideal travel both offer outstanding image quality.
more up your street on p26. companion, see p84 for more. Find out more about the X1D on p64.

11
PRO INTERVIEWS

MAKING
THE SWITCH How has the big change from DSLR to CSC
impacted the work of leading professionals?

T
he decision to switch between any choose to move systems are based around best able to assess these advantages are
type or brand of photographic weight and portability. The omission of the professional photographers, who work with
equipment is a critical one, and reflex mirror, found in a DSLR, enables the their cameras all day and rely on them to
should never be taken lightly. A new proportions of a CSC camera body to be perform flawlessly. In the following
camera must represent enough of an minimised. This makes a CSC a perfect interviews, we hear from the industry’s
upgrade and provide a significant benefit to travel companion – aside from being easier leading pros, all of who have switched to
our images to justify the challenges of to carry, more space for additional kit is CSC. Their expert insight will help build an
making the transition. Before choosing to made available in your camera bag. CSCs accurate picture of the true versatility of
jump to a CSC system therefore, it pays to are also more discrete, allowing images of mirrorless systems, so you can decide how
understand the key advantages on offer. candid moments to be captured with ease downsizing your kitbag can help you take
The main reasons a photographer may without alerting the subject. The people your best ever images.

12
PRO INTERVIEWS

KEVIN MULLINS
Documentary wedding photographer Kevin Mullins
explains how discretion is the order of the day
kevinmullinsphotography.co.uk

Wedding photography is a potentially


high-pressure working environment, Candid expressions
where image opportunities appear and This image means a lot to me as a
vanish instantly. Photographers working photographer, but more importantly it’s a
in this area need a camera that is able to unique moment in time between the bride
and her grandmother
keep up with this fast-paced style of
shooting. Kevin Mullins has found the
small size of his mirrorless cameras to
be a huge benefit, so much so that he
has abandoned his DSLR system.
“I moved entirely based on size”
explains Kevin. “I was tired of carrying
big, heavy systems with me, and
adopted the X100 when it was first
released in 2011. I’ve not looked back
since. Once the X-Pro1 was launched in
2012, I made the switch. I had a very
capable DSLR system, but was not Film-like quality
A recent image that emphasises how important good
using it once the X-Pro1 arrived. I sold natural light can be in an image. I’m a big fan of
off all of my DSLR equipment and monochrome images, and the Fujifilm cameras help
invested in a second X-Pro1 system.” immensely with that
Since changing systems, Kevin’s
CSCs have changed the way he shoots
his wedding images. “It’s allowed me to
get closer to my subjects at weddings
without them being too concerned
about my presence. I can now produce
more intimate, documentary-style
wedding photographs. I just simply
couldn’t create the same type of images
with DSLRs without the subjects being
very aware of me shooting.”
As a self-dubbed wedding
photojournalist, Kevin has a candid
shooting style, making his mirrorless
system a perfect match. “I choose not
to direct or control my subjects at all. I
love to shoot images that show
humanity between people. I don’t want
to ruin these moments by ‘spraying and
praying’ and so I have to shoot very
considerately. I’ve been shooting
weddings like this since 2009.” Professional techniques
Although any system change can Despite their small size, Kevin’s Fuji CSCs are able to
cause stress, Kevin has experienced a produce shallow depth-of-field through use of larger
smooth transition “[While] challenging sensors than regular compact cameras, allowing full
creative control
at times, systems have matured,
making the change a lot easier.”
13
PRO INTERVIEWS

WHA
THEIR T’S IN
KITBA
G?
C amera
: X-T2
16-55m Lense
s:
m 2.8,
50-140
mm 2.8

CHRISTINA
LAUDER
Portrait photographer Christina Lauder explains how
a connection with the subject is vital for success
christinalauderportraits.com

When Christina Lauder first depths of field, this can often


experimented with a CSC, one of mean missing the crucial focus.
the biggest aspects she The method of focus and
appreciated was the increased recompose doesn’t work in this
interaction with the subject when situation and my eyesight isn’t Ballet Dancer
My favourite image, created during a
free from using a traditional good enough to rely on manual
live demo for Bowens at The
DSLR viewfinder. focus. The X-T2 and others like it Photography Show. It not only turned
“A couple of years ago I was have a much greater number of out close to perfect, it also happens to
given the opportunity by Fujifilm points, which span across a large be of my daughter
to be one of several DSLR users rectangular plane“
to test the X-T2 while it was still in Shooting people and pets is
its development stage” she what Christina loves most. She
Subject connection
An image that sums me up best. Inspired by
explains. “I fell in love with several often uses film simulation modes Vanity Fair, this image of a young man in his
features, the main two being the for creative effect when working prom suit has many elements (texture,
LCD screen and vast number of with unique images. “I regularly mood and lighting) that speak to me
focusing points. Leaving the change the film simulation mode
viewfinder behind has changed depending on the situation I am
how I work, and I think it has in. At the moment my ideal
made me a better photographer. subject is a teenager – it’s a
I no longer have a camera in market that isn’t thriving yet in
between my eyes and my the UK, and I hope to help change
subject, muffling my voice and this. I have fully switched
disconnecting me” systems and was surprised at
The coverage of the focus how easy it was to [adapt].”
points allows Christina to
compose more freely than the
standard DSLR array. “A DSLR is
“I think it has
very limited on the number of
focus points available, none of
made me a
which reach the corners. When
precision is key and when dealing
better
with close-up images and shallow photographer”
14
PRO INTERVIEWS

WHA
THEIR T’S IN

HUGH
KITBA
Came G?
ra : Sony
a9, Le
Canon ica M,
EOS 1D
Lense X
range s:
from 1
0 mm
the So Voigtla

HASTINGS
ny alph nder fo
a 9 to 3 r
f2.8 fo 0 0 mm
r the C
a n on

Shooting two usually unrelated adapt to each subject. “I live in


From sport to architecture, pro photographer Hugh photographic genres side-by- the south west of England,
Hastings requires a versatile camera system side, Hugh needs a different set where nearly all my commercial
of camera features every day, a work is for architects. I also
universal requirement, being a used to be the official
lightweight camera. photographer for Chelsea FC
“As much as possible I like to for ten years, and I still work for
reduce the density and weight them now. Currently I shoot
of my kit. The lighter it is, the Sony a9 and Leica M [systems]
better I work and the longer I and a Canon EOS 1DX – it all
work, every day” he describes. depends on the type of shoot
“I reckon I take more images and what lenses are required. I
with a compact system than I will never totally ‘switch’ – my
do with a DSLR. I don’t feel so kit evolves all the time”.
burdened down with Considering the vast
equipment, and that means at number of techniques Hugh
the end of the day I am still has to employ in his everyday
rolling along, shooting away at workflow, he felt immediately
full capacity. If I am fresh it also at home using the unfamiliar
means my head is still in a good CSC format. “I was handed a
place and I’m able to see Sony alpha 9 an hour before I
interesting angles.” was using it to shoot a Chelsea
Operating multiple camera home game. A quick run
makes and models can have its through the menus with a
Discretion delivers challenges, but this approach Sony technician and I was off
Hugh also works in street photography, where gives Hugh the versatility to and running.”
mirrorless cameras like the Leica digital M
models are very much at home, allowing candid
shots to be captured without alerting the subject

Fixation
When shooting fast-paced sport images, Hugh appreciates the size
and weight of his CSCs, which allow him to work for longer, capture
more images and therefore create more successful shots

Flexible
photography
Hugh’s equipment
decisions are based on
system adaptability and
lens availability. For his
most-shot subjects he
needs a broad range of
optics, from ultra-wide to
super telephoto

15
PRO INTERVIEWS

BEN CHERRY
Environmental documentary photographer Ben needs a
WHA
camera portable enough to travel the world with him THEIR T’S IN
KITBA
Came G?
bencherryphotos.com ra: F ujifilm
X-Pro1
X-T1, X , X-Pro
Lense -T10, X 2,
s: XF16 -100S
WR , X -5 5 m m
F18-13 f2.8 R
OIS W 5mm f3 LM
R, XF5 .5-5
Ben Cherry spends his professional scenarios that constantly evolve. For 0-140m .6 R LM
LM OIS m f2.8
life shooting stills and video for the action/wildlife work I regularly use WR , R
XF100
fields of science and conservation. His aperture priority, allowing the camera -400m
m
main focus is wildlife, but he finds to adjust the shutter speed when I’m
himself creating images of a varied following a bird dropping down from
set of subjects. It was for this reason a the sky, to a darker background. The
mirrorless camera appealed to him. preview offered by the EVF allows me
“I needed a lighter setup” says Ben. to accurately adjust my exposure with
“I travel a lot with assignments, so the exposure compensation dial. This
having a more compact system allows keeps me focused on shooting,
me to either carry less, or even better, instead of checking my exposures.
carry a more creative kit in an airline “There are many challenges with
carry-on bag. That was the first [wildlife photography], from harsh
reason for switching, but the form conditions trying to break you and
factor of the Fujifilm X-Series, having your equipment, to limited power
all the physical dials and then the supplies. Of course, with wildlife you
benefits of using an EVF, improved are never fully in control, with many
my photography.” subject species proving elusive. The
The electronic viewfinder has luxury of time is always important
become invaluable to Ben, who with these projects.”
appreciates the increased versatility Nevertheless, Ben has enjoyed an
over a traditional optical viewfinder. efficient CSC transition. “Back [in
“The biggest thing for me is the 2014] the system wasn’t as mature as
efficiency of an EVF. Having an it is now, but a wide lens range means
exposure preview is so important in that it is easy to switch nowadays.

Rugged flexibility
The need to travel and the requirement for
weather resistance and high specification
seem contradictory, but his CSCs allow Ben
to capture his stunning wildlife images in a
way DSLRs couldn’t

Dynamic shooting
The Fujifilm X series and equivalent systems now
offer an extensive variety of lens options, from
wide-angle to ultra telephoto. This maturity provides
alternatives to a DSLR in all genres
PRO INTERVIEWS

LISELOTTE
FLEUR
Portrait expert Liselotte Fleur enjoys operating both
CSC and DSLR camera systems in tandem
liselottefleur.com
Liselotte studied studied appreciates the choice of
photography at the art having mirrorless and DSLR
Close connection academies in Rotterdam and cameras at her disposal. “I feel
Made in Los Angeles, this photo shows that the
locations and light are as important for me as my Milan after developing a love for each system has its own
models. I always prefer to capture in a dreamy way the medium 12 years ago. qualities. I like my full-frame
“People describe my style of DSLR, and I’m happy to capture
photography as clean, feminine my travels and daily photos
Gioia and pure, and I agree. I’m with my lightweight CSC.”
I captured some always searching for surprises After starting to use her
portraits of Gioia when I’m behind the camera” mirrorless camera, it took
because I
she explains. Liselotte invested Liselotte a while to become
wanted to try my
new Olympus in a CSC because she found her accustomed to the
OMD EM1 Mark DSLR difficult to carry on long functionality of the EVF,
II and 25mm f1.2 shoots, leaving her with only a although she quickly found it
lens. I loved the compact camera. intuitive. “First I had to get used
sharpness
and lines
“I heard about the Olympus to the electronic viewfinder, but
PEN E-PL7 and soon I bought soon it became very easy for
this camera, together with me to work with both systems
three f1.8 prime lenses, to next to each other.”
achieve high quality.” she Without worrying about her
recounts. “In a certain way it camera, she is free to connect
has changed the way I shoot, with her subjects. “While
because it enables me to fashion is all about the beautiful
WHA capture everything at any clothes, make-up and
THEIR T’S IN moment. I’m taking even more accessories, a portrait is about
KITBA photos because now I like to capturing a person in a natural
Came
ra:
G?
MARK
Olymp
us OM
walk around with my camera.” and personal way. That’s why I
II, Olym D E-M Liselotte has not fully love the combination: it’s the
Lense 1
s: Olym pus PEN E-P
f1.8, M
pus M
.ZUIKO
L8 switched to CSC, as she mix that makes it interesting!”
.ZUIKO 17MM
M.ZUIK 25MM
14-42M
O 4 5M
M f3.5
5.6 EZ
f1.8,
M f1.8
, “It enables me to capture
PANC
AK E everything at any moment”
17
PRO INTERVIEWS

KEN LYONS
Shooting everything from landscapes to motorsports, Ken
Lyons find his Fujifilm cameras powerful and versatile
kenlyonsphotography.com.au

Ken’s photographic portfolio is highly


varied and covers the majority of
genres. He adopts the philosophy that
no single camera can provide
everything the photographer needs,
but finds his mirrorless system more
than capable.
“I truly believe there is no one
perfect camera system, and the best
camera you can have is the one most
likely to be with you, when you want to
use it. Obviously there are times
where one particular camera system
performs better than others, but for
the most part it comes down to what
is the most comfortable for you” says
Ken. “I’ve used my CSC cameras to
shoot all sorts of images – weddings,
sport, motorsport and portraits.” WHA
Ken’s switch to CSC was once again THEIR T’S IN
KITBA
motivated by size and weight, and
Came G?
once he started using the Fujifilm ra: Fuji
Travel companion Fujifilm
film X1
00S,
system, he became a devotee. “I made “I enjoy the freedom of the smaller compact system X-T1
the switch to CSC back in 2013, cameras” says Ken Lyons, who travels the world in Lense
10-24 s:
search of images. Originally investing in an Olympus , ƒ4, 18
although I did hang onto my Nikons for -135, ƒ3
50-140 .5-5.6
CSC, he now uses Fujifilm , ƒ2 ,
a while. I finally sold all the Nikon gear 10-24m .8-Fujinon
m f4 OIS
in 2016, and haven’t looked back.” lens
With less weight to worry about,
Ken can ‘forget’ about his equipment
and focus on the scene before him.
“My trusty X100S travels with me, and
is so light and easy to use I can ‘set
and forget’ when it comes to exposure
and then concentrate on framing my
subject. I find the Fujifilm X System
ideal for the way I shoot.”
Ken found the CSC system concept
beneficial to his photographic
Dynamic
approach. “The transition to CSC was action
Ken is as much at
pretty seamless. Once I decided to
home shooting
move to mirrorless cameras, I was fast-paced action
hooked. My X100S is still my favourite photography as he is
camera today, although I’m planning portraits, with his CSC
equipment. He enjoys
an upgrade to the X100F shortly. I love
the balance of
interacting with people, and I find portability and image
them much more approachable when quality the mirrorless
you’re carrying a smaller camera.” format offers

18
PRO INTERVIEWS

WHA
THEIR T’S IN
KITBA
Came
ra:
G?
Lense Fujifilm
s: Fuji X-Pro2
non 16 B o dy
Fujino mm f1
n 35m .4 lens
m f1.4 ,
5 6 mm lens, F
ujinon
f1.2
10-24m lens, Fujino
m f4 O n
IS lens

RILEY JB
Landscape and commercial photographer Riley finds his
CSCs have streamlined the way he shoots
Riley’s favourite image
“A little guy skating for the first time with his
Mother, at sunset, on a country pond. The On his photoshoots, Riley adopts the retro styling, including the knobs and
adorable factor is through the roof in this one” ethos of ‘real people, in real places, dials. With the electronic viewfinder I am
doing real things.’ definitely am taking less photographs – I
“I love making images of people in an see what my photographs will look like
environment where they are connected. before I press the shutter, so I can just
The challenge for shooting lifestyle get right to making images.”
stock is making sure it doesn’t cross the Although he liked the CSC design
line into the predictable and cliche of philosophy, Riley found some early
micro stock of yesteryear” he explains. functionality issues. “The difficulty was
“Currently, I mostly do lifestyle shoots the auto focus on the early Fujifilm
for my Stocksy United portfolio. These bodies. It was slow and clunky, and did
images are licensed for commercial not fare well in low light. Since then, auto
purposes around the world. Prior to this focus has vastly improved, and I rarely
I mostly made landscapes.” have a complaint.”
As with many photographers, it was Riley now has complete faith in his
the compact nature of his Fujifilm mirrorless gear and has fully
system and electronic viewfinders that transitioned from his DSLRs. “I started
attracted Riley to mirrorless. “I switched with the X100, then bought the X-Pro1
from a full-frame dSLR to the Fujifilm and the initial three lenses and used it
X-series because of size and weight. along with my dSLR. In a few months I
Even with just a full-frame body and was convinced by the X-series, sold my
three lenses, it was not fun trekking out full-frame kit, and have been solely using
with my gear. I was also drawn to the the Fujifilm X-series since 2013.”

Portable quality
Riley enjoys the low weight of his CSC
equipment, and finds the preview image
in the EVF allows him to capture
‘correct’ images with less trial and error
BUYER’S GUIDE

BUYER’S
GUIDE icking the camera that best suits your needs can be a daunting Every camera featured has been rigorously tested both in the

P and difficult process. Before shelling out your hard-earned


money, it pays to do a little research in order to find the
perfect camera for the photographic pursuit of your choosing.
Over the next few pages we have done all of the hard work for
you. We’ve tested more than twenty of the latest mirrorless cameras
field and the lab. Real-world testing is the most important part of
our camera reviews as we firmly believe that the best measure of a
product is how it performs in the field, or studio, doing the job for
which it was intended. We’ve analyised the handling and performance
of each camera, then assessed the image quality produced in varying
and looked at a range of lenses to enable you to make an informed conditions. The second part of our testing process involves testing
decision about your next kit purchase. the output of cameras under controlled conditions.

20
BUYER’S GUIDE

Panasonic G9 22
Panasonic GX9 24
Panasonic GH5 26
Lens buyer’s guide: Panasonic 29
Sony Alpha 7R III 30
Sony Alpha 9 34
Sony Alpha 7S II 38
Sony Alpha 6500 40
Lens buyer’s guide: Sony 42
Fujifilm X-H1 44
Fujifilm X-T20 48
Fujifilm GFX 50S 52
Fujifilm X-Pro2 56
Fujifilm X-T2 58
Fujifilm X-E2S 60
Lens buyer’s guide: Fujifilm 62
Hasselblad X1D-50c 64
Lens buyer’s guide: Hasselblad 67
Leica M-D 68
Leica TL2 70
Leica SL 72
Lens buyer’s guide: Leica 74
Canon EOS M5 76
Canon EOS M100 78
Lens buyer’s guide: Canon 80
Olympus Pen-F 82
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III 84
Lens buyer’s guide: Olympus 87

21
BUYER’S GUIDE
3
2

w w w. p a n a s o n i c .c o.u k

Panasonic Lumix G9 4

£1,499/$1,698 (body only)


Panasonic’s G9 is built for capturing fast
action at high frame rates

SPECIFICATIONS BILLED as the ultimate 1

outdoor and wildlife The G9 is quite


Sensor 20.3MP MFT Live MOS,
camera, the G9 substantial for an MFT
17.3 x 13.0mm
is Panasonic’s flagship camera – it should
Image processor Venus
stills-oriented camera. It joins balance well with
AF points 225-area DFD contrast AF
the company’s video-orientated longer, heavier lenses single 80-megapixel image.
ISO range 100-25,600
Max image size 5,184 x 3,888 GH5 and GH5S at the top of the Panasonic says the G9 has the
Metering zones 1,728 range. With a focus on fast-burst 2 world’s fastest AF speeds for a
Video 4K UHD at 30fps shooting and refinements to its mirrorless camera with a focus
You can buy the G9
Viewfinder OLED EVF, 3.68 million dots AF system, it’s up against the time of just 0.04 sec with the Leica
body-only or with
Memory card likes of the action-focused Canon 12-60mm f2.8-4.0 ASPH lens. It uses
a basic 12-60mm
2 x SD/SDHC/SDXC, both UHS II
EOS 7D Mark II and Nikon D500. lens, but the Leica Panasonic’s Depth From Defocus
LCD 3-inch vari-angle
The G9 has a 60fps burst 12-60mm f2.8-4 is the (DFD) autofocus technology and
touchscreen, 1,040k dots
mode, which comes down to best standard zoom, there’s a joystick on the back of the
Max burst 20fps with AF, 60fps with
20fps with continuous focus and even if it pushes the camera for moving the focus point.
focus locked at start (600 JPEG, 60 raw)
6.5-stop image stabilisation price up
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size 137 x 97 x 92mm in-body and lens-based Build and handling
Weight 658g (body only, stabilisation system. 3 The G9 is pretty big for a Micro Four
with battery and memory card) The G9 inherits the 20.3- Thirds mirrorless camera – but
The OLED viewfinder
megapixel Micro Four Thirds is clear and sharp, that’s no bad thing, because it gives
sensor from the GH5, which has though there is a little it better handling with larger lenses
no optical low-pass filter. The lag during high-speed like telephotos. It’s about the same
The G9 appears to be Venus image processing engine is shooting – you have to size as a mid-range enthusiast DSLR,
the same, but Panasonic says the trust the autofocus to but the smaller sensor does mean
the start of something processing itself has been do its work that the lenses for this camera are
new for Panasonic, and improved. The G9 also has a High smaller and lighter than their DSLR
Resolution capture mode, which counterparts. The G9 might not be
is the company’s most takes a sequence of images with a
4
any smaller than a DSLR, but your
The top status panel
capable camera for a tiny shift in the sensor position for is unusual in a kit bag is still likely to feel a good
stills audience to date each, then combines them into a mirrorless camera deal lighter.

22
COLOUR ERROR

SCORES CLOSER
PANASONIC G9 1.7
TO ZERO ARE BETTER

FUJIFILM X-T20 4.7

NIKON D500 1.6

OLYMPUS E-M1 II 8.2

-5 0 5 10 15 20

We’ve pitched the G9 against the Fujifilm


X-T20, the Nikon D500 and the Olympus
OM-D E-M1 II. It comes out joint top for colour
accuracy alongside the Nikon D500. It’s
a very good result from both cameras

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10 HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

Above This was The G9 is strong here despite its smaller MFT
taken with the sensor, matching the Fujifilm X-T20 closely.
Panasonic Leica But Camera Raw produces noiser high-ISO
DG Vario-Elmar results than Panasonic’s own raw software
100-400mm
f/4.0-6.3 ASPH at
an effective focal RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
length of 800mm. 14
The lens and the G9

Exposure Value
between them have 12

delivered biting
clarity and 10

sharpness – even at
8
this distance
6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
Left The lens this RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

time was the Leica 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600


DG Nocticron The G9 delivers very good dynamic range
42.5mm f1.2 ASPH. right across the ISO range, along with the
POWER OIS, taken Olympus. Both buck the wisdom that large
Performance for a stills audience to date. It’s more at f1.4 to deliver sensors deliver the best dynamic range
background blur
Micro Four Thirds sensors are about substantial in the hands than the
half the size of ASP-C, and this has company’s non-video-focused
WE SAY...
some impact on image quality at models, and more significant a
higher ISO settings, but at low to departure from the likes of the G7 The Panasonic G9 is a fast and effective
medium sensitivities, the G9’s than its name suggests. camera for both 4K video and fast-action
images are a match for any DSLRs There is a slight lag in the photography. It’s substantial in your hands,
which gives you a good grip, especially with
with the same resolution. electronic display which means you
longer lenses, and its image quality is very
So although the G9 has a Micro have to place your trust in good. You are paying a premium for the
Four Thirds sensor and is designed the autofocus system to keep a high-speed shooting, of course, so it’s an
for speed, this does not compromise moving subject in focus, but it does expensive choice for regular static subjects.
image quality. It’s a very good this very well.
camera for regular static Its continuous shooting speed, VERDICT
photography too, and even more so dual image stabilisation system and
FEATURES
when you factor in its clever 6K lenses like the Leica DG Elmarit
photo modes. 200mm f2.8 make the G9 a keen BUILD & HANDLING
proposition for sport and wildlife
Verdict photographers, while its price PERFORMANCE
The G9 certainly appears to be the keeps it within the reach of the
start of something new for enthusiast market. VALUE
Panasonic, and is unquestionably Rod Lawton with
OVERALL
the company’s most capable camera Matt Golowczynski

23
BUYER’S GUIDE 2 3

4
w w w. p a n a s o n i c .c o.u k

Panasonic GX9
£879/$998 (with 12-60mm f3.5-5.6)
Panasonic’s latest rangefinder-style mirrorless camera
offers plenty of features in a compact, well-made body

SPECIFICATIONS WE’VE looked at 1


Panasonic’s flagship
You can buy the GX9
Sensor 20.3MP MFT Live MOS, G9 stills camera; the body only or with a
17.3 x 13.0mm new GX9 is a step choice of kit lenses.
Image processor Venus down from that, with a smaller This is the 12-60mm
AF points 49-area DFD contrast AF
rangefinder-style body but the f3.5-5.6mm (not to be
ISO range 100-25,600
same 20-megapixel resolution. confused with the more Panasonic continues to develop its
Max image size 5,184 x 3,888
Metering zones 1,728 It’s designed as a premium expensive Leica 4K Photo modes with Auto Marking,
‘street photo’ camera that looks 12-60mm f2.8-4.0) where key moments in your 4K bursts
Video 4K UHD at 30, 25, 24fps
Viewfinder EVF, 2.76 million dots like an evolution of the high- are tagged automatically for easy
Memory card quality GX8. A handful of key 2 navigation later, and a new in-camera
1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC, UHS I changes includes a smaller body; focus stacking option for merging
The rangefinder-style
LCD 3-inch tilting touchscreen, the removal of the image sensor’s post-focus frames into a single shot
body means there’s
1,240k dots optical low-pass filter with full near-to-far depth of field.
no ‘pentaprism’
Max burst 9fps, 6fps with Live View (to improve fine detail rendition); Its also possible to select key frames
viewfinder housing and
(100+ JPEG, 30+ raw)
an L.Monochrome picture mode; a shallow grip in a 4K burst and merge them into
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
an optional grain effect; slightly a single multiple-exposure image.
Size 124 x 72 x 47mm (body only)
Weight 450g (body only, improved continuous shooting
3
with battery and memory card) speed; and a more effective Build and handling
Power Save mode for extending This focus lever swaps The GX9’s Micro Four Thirds sensor
the battery life. The GX9 also gets between single-shot, is roughly half the size of the APS-C
continuous and manual
Bluetooth, a built-in flash, an sensors used in most mirrorless
focus, but for focus
optional grip and improved area selection you’ll
cameras, so you might expect the
in-body image stabilisation. need to use the GX9’s body to be correspondingly
This works with Panasonic’s on-screen interface smaller, but it’s actually about the
image-stabilised lenses to give a same size as a Sony A6500 or a
hybrid dual-stabilisation system. Fujifilm X-T20. On the plus side,
4
Panasonic says the GX9 has although the body is not smaller, the
improvements in both resolution The rear touchscreen is lenses are. You do end up carrying
Although the body is and dynamic range, plus not fully articulating around a lot less weight.
not smaller, the lenses improved tracking autofocus but does have a tilting
mechanism, which is
The external controls work well
using 3D measurement of the for the most part. The exposure
are. You do end up entire image. The AF sensitivity
the next best thing
compensation dial has a good, firm
carrying around a lot has been improved too, with feel, and you can spin it with your
less weight a low-light Starlight AF mode. thumb. The main mode dial, stacked

24
COLOUR ERROR

SCORES CLOSER
PANASONIC GX9 6.0
TO ZERO ARE BETTER

CANON EOS M5 6.2

FUJIFILM X-T20 4.7

OLYMPUS PEN-F 11.6

-5 0 5 10 15 20

We pitched the GX9 against three close


rivals – the Canon EOS M5, Fujifilm X-T20
and Olympus PEN-F – and found that all
four showed moderate colour error, with
the PEN-F the worst

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10 HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

The GX9 and Fujifilm X-T20 were very close


directly above, is smaller and Unfortunately, in continuous for noise performance, with the Olympus and
even firmer. The top-mounted shooting, the Tracking mode Above The tricky the Canon a little way behind. Panasonic
mixed artificial does seem to have nailed noise control
control dial feels really positive, quickly lost focus with any subject
lighting in this
but the rear control dial under movement and framing changes; seaside museum
your right thumb is slightly less and while the Custom Multi mode gave the GX9 no
RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
accessible and a tad more vague. maintained focus pretty well with trouble at all, and its 14
The ISO setting, white balance, changing subject distances, a auto white balance

Exposure Value
12
drive mode and focus mode are combination of screen blackout setting ‘neutralised’
accessed via buttons on the rear and display lag meant that it was it perfectly
10
and the four-way D-pad. Here, the hard to judge focus while
camera’s firm and positive shooting. In fairness, the GX9 is 8
Left The warmth of
exterior controls give way to the not billed as a sports specialist. It the afternoon sun
on-screen interface with its can shoot at a decent frame rate has been captured
6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
menus and touchscreen controls. when required, but if this is your nicely in this river
Adjustments become a little main area of interest, you’d be shot, again using 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

more complicated, and it can take better off with a camera designed auto white balance Again, the Panasonic GX9 takes the lead,
a little while to navigate to some for the job. narrowly beating the X-T20 for dynamic
of the more esoteric options The image quality is very good. range. The Olympus PEN-F and Canon EOS
provided by this camera. It looks The difference in sensor size only M5 again lag a little way behind the top two
reassuringly ‘physical’ from the appears at higher ISO settings,
outside, but you’re also going to where the GX9’s images start to WE SAY...
have to spend a lot of time swiping lose detail and smooth over more
The GX9 ticks all the right boxes in terms of
and tapping on the screen. quickly than those captured with
specifications, size and price, but despite its
larger sensors. traditional-looking exterior and external
Performance Dynamic range is very good dials, it relies heavily on its menus and
Panasonic’s DFD autofocus too – another thing smaller touch-screen interface and can feel fiddly
system is very fast for single-shot sensors are not supposed to be to set up. Its features and image quality,
photography. The Face/Eye good at. however, can hardly be criticised.
detection mode identifies The L.Monochrome mode
features almost instantly; the gives nice results, with a little
Tracking mode, once locked on, more depth than the regular
VERDICT
follows a subject round the frame mono mode, but while the new FEATURES
quickly and reliably; the 49-Area grain effect does a convincing job
mode just picks a focus point for of simulating film grain, it’s a little BUILD & HANDLING
you; the Custom Multi mode lets too strong on its High setting and,
you pick a focus zone for the in the L.Monochrome mode, PERFORMANCE
camera to work in; and the 1-area seems to create some faint
VALUE
and Pinpoint modes give you all vertical banding.
the accuracy you could need. Rod Lawton OVERALL

25
BUYER’S GUIDE

w w w. p a n a s o n i c .c o.u k

Panasonic Lumix GH5 3

£1,700/$2,000 (body only)


Panasonic’s flagship Micro Four Thirds mirrorless
camera blurs the lines between stills and video

SPECIFICATIONS THE Lumix GH5 forms 1

Sensor 20.3MP Live MOS sensor part of the line-up of Inside the GH5 is
(17.3 x 13.0mm) Panasonic’s top-of- a newly-developed
Focal length conversion on lens 2x the-range GH series of 20.3-megapixel Micro
Memory 2x SD card slot mirrorless cameras, which have Four Thirds sensor, 1.66x faster processing power thanks
Viewfinder OLED EVF, 3,680k dots carved out a real reputation which Panasonic to an additional processor core,
Max video resolution 4K says delivers its
among videographers thanks to with Panasonic promising more
(3,840 x 2,160) best quality yet
their breadth of movie-making natural, true-to-life images with
ISO range 200-25,600,
features. Panasonic launched better noise control.
expandable to 100-25,600 2
this model hoping that it will not The GH5’s sensitivity range
Autofocus 225-zone DFD contrast AF
Max burst rate 60fps (4K photo), only cement the brand The electronic improves on the GH4’s, running
30fps (6K photo), 12fps as the number-one choice for the viewfinder boasts from ISO 100-25600 compared
Screen Vari-angle 3.2-inch professional videographer, but a very high resolution to 200-25600 on the GH4. The
touchscreen TFT, 1,620k dots will also appeal to a wider market of 3,680k dots, reduction in base sensitivity to ISO
Shutter speeds 60-1/8,000 sec, Bulb of enthusiast photographers, together with 0.76x 100 is welcome, especially if you want
Weight 725g (body only, with battery who are looking for a highly magnification and a to take advantage of some of those
and memory card) longer-than-usual
capable camera that can shoot fast Micro Four Thirds prime lenses in
Dimensions 139 x 98 x 87mm 21mm eye point for
great stills and movie footage. easier viewing
bright conditions. It would have been
Power supply Lithium-ion battery
nice to have seen the ISO range
(supplied), 410 shots
Features extended further at the higher end of
The GH5 features a 20.3MP Micro 3 the range, where the GH5 loses out to
Four Thirds sensor with no low- A lot of thought has rivals like the Nikon D500 and Sony
pass filter, for maximum detail. gone into the controls. Alpha 7S II.
Panasonic is hoping While the resolution matches that The White Balance The Lumix GH5’s electronic
that this model of the Lumix GX8, Panasonic says button is convex, the viewfinder brings a staggering
it’s a different sensor, and claims ISO button is flat with 3,680,000-dot resolution and 0.76x
will appeal to a wider two dimples, and the
it’ll yield the best image quality magnification, while the 3.2-inch
market of enthusiast yet from a Lumix camera.
EV compensation
touchscreen vari-angle display has
button is concave
photographers There’s also a Venus Engine, with a resolution of 1,620,000 dots and

26
employs Panasonic’s WhiteMagic
technology for increased brightness.
The GH5 also gets Panasonic’s Axis
Dual IS II anti-shake system. This
in-body image-stabilisation system
works in tandem with Panasonic’s
range of optically stabilised lenses to
deliver up to five stops of correction.
Much has been made of the ability
to extract 8MP still images from 4K
footage in the past, but the GH5 takes
this idea even further, offering what
Panasonic calls 6K Photo. This means
it will be possible to extract 18MP still
images (at either 4:3 or 3:2 ratios) from
ultra-high-quality video footage at
30fps at an unlimited burst rate. Very
impressive stuff.
The GH5 will also allow 4K Photo
extraction, but this will now be possible
from footage captured at 60fps –
staggering when you consider that a
£5,000/$6,000 Canon EOS-1D X Mark
II has a maximum burst rate of 14fps.
(Admittedly, this is from a 20.2MP
full-frame sensor.)
If you require the full sensor
resolution, the GH5 can shoot at up to
12fps with focus locked at the first shot,
or 9fps with continuous AF – that’s with
a 100-shot raw buffer, too.
Finally, there’s built-in Wi-Fi
and NFC, as well as a low-energy
Bluetooth connection that establishes
a permanent connection between the
camera and your smart device for easy
transfer of images.
Given the GH4’s video capabilities,
it’s no surprise to see the GH5 sporting
an impressive movie spec. Rather than
using a cropped area of the sensor
2 3
when shooting 4K as was the case with 1
the GH4, the GH5 uses the entire width Detail rendition Image noise Dual Image Stabilisation
of the chip and then downsamples the The GH5 uses Panasonic’s Panasonic’s noise control is The GH5 features in-body
footage in-camera. This also means latest sensor and processor first-rate, and the GH5 holds stabilisation, which works
that framing won’t be cropped, and combination, and delivers up well against rival cameras alongside the optical stabilisers
you’ll be able to use your lenses as if very good image quality with larger sensors in Lumix lenses
you’re shooting stills.
Currently the Lumix GH5 allows you
to shoot Cinema 4K (4,096 x 2,160) at
60p with a bit rate of 150Mbps, while Meet the
Full HD video is obviously also possible,
up to a very impressive 180p. rivals
Build and handling The cameras
Fujifilm X-T2 Olympus OM-D Sony Alpha 7S II
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 is actually taking on the £1,400/$1,600 E-M1 II £2,900/$2,700
13% larger than the GH4, but it’s all the Panasonic GH5… The X-T2 does shoot £1,850/$2,000 The modest pixel
better for it. Panasonic has done away 4K video, but it’s The E-M1 II doesn’t count delivers higher
with the GH4’s built-in flash; this design more of a stills have quite the same dynamic range than
tweak, combined with the magnesium camera. Handling is breadth of video its rivals and lower
alloy chassis and large, purposeful superb, while the features, but it’s noise than rivals at
24MP images deliver more compact and higher sensitivities
hand grip, means the GH5 feels every FOR MORE
lovely colours and offers faster burst – but this comes at
inch the high-end professional piece of CAMERA
excellent detail. shooting speeds. a price.
kit it’s meant to be. REVIEWS, VISIT
Reviewed: Page 58 Reviewed: Page 38
It’s also fully weather-sealed, and www.techradar.
freeze-proof down to -10 degrees com/cameras

27
COLOUR ERROR

Panasonic GH5 11.1

Fujifilm X-T2 16.1

Olympus E-M1 II 8.2


SCORES
CLOSER
Sony Alpha 7S II 9.7 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER

-5 0 5 10 15 20

The GH5’s colour accuracy was roughly in the


middle of the pack, although few users at this
level would leave images unprocessed.

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Decibels
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

Despite having one of the smallest sensors,


the GH5 delivered some of the best noise
control. High-ISO images start to suffer in
Despite the emphasis on comparison with APS-C models
video, the GH5 is also a
very good stills camera
RAW DYNAMIC RANGE

Exposure Value
Celsius, while the heat-dispersing design intending to shoot. (The GH5 now has
means you’re unlimited in your video motion-tracking built into the system.)
recording time – you’ll only be restricted by AF performance is brisk. Paired with the
the capacity of your storage media. new 12-60mm f2.8-4 Leica lens, the GH5
Panasonic has also overhauled the quickly and silently locked onto subjects
shutter. It’s rated to 200,000 cycles, just as under a range of lighting conditions (the HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
on the GH4, but there’s a new spring drive, GH5 can focus down to minus -4EV) RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

with a floating construction for the shutter without hesitation.


frame that reduces the shock to the camera With the GH5’s uprated DFD (Depth The smaller size of the Panasonic’s Micro
body by one sixth when the shutter is fired. From Defocus) autofocus technology, we Four Thirds sensor shows up in the dynamic
The inclusion of a touchscreen hasn’t found the camera’s tracking performance range results, which lag slightly behind those
stopped Panasonic littering the GH5 with to be very good, happily following fairly of APS-C and full-frame rivals
a wealth of buttons and controls. On either fast-moving subjects in our tests.
side of the pentaprism are chunky drive and The GH5 uses the company’s tried-and- WE SAY...
mode dials, while just behind the front tested 1,728-zone metering system to work
command dial are buttons to access White out exposure, and it does a solid job. There The GH5 can shoot great stills as well as
breathtaking video. Build and handling are
Balance, ISO and exposure compensation. were very few occasions when we had to
both good. Then there’s the five-axis IS and
All three buttons are finished slightly juggle with the exposure compensation to
super-quick AF system, as well as the rapid
differently – the White Balance button is get the results we were after. It’s a similar shooting speed and very good image quality,
convex-shaped, the ISO one is flat with story with the Lumix GH5’s auto white making the Lumix GH5 a camera that will
two little dimples on it, and the exposure balance system, with the camera returning keep up with even the most demanding of
compensation button is concave, so you natural-looking results. shooting situations.
should know which of the three controls The GH5’s hybrid image stabilisation
you’re accessing just by feel. system works a treat – even when the
VERDICT
shutter speed was at a slow 1/10 sec, it was
Performance possible to get sharp hand-held shots with FEATURES
The Panasonic Lumix GH5’s AF system a focal length equivalent to 120mm.
has seen quite a jump from the GH4 it Dynamic range is very good, and it’s BUILD & HANDLING
replaces, to a 225-area system that covers possible to recover a good amount of
the vast majority of the frame. You can detail, even in JPEG files. For best results, PERFORMANCE
also set up four different profiles with though, raw files deliver the widest latitude,
VALUE
adjustable sensitivity, AF area switching enabling you to pull back detail in shadows
sensitivity and moving object prediction, and highlights. OVERALL
depending on the type of subject you’re Phil Hall

28
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

PANASONIC
One of the original mirrorless manufacturers, Panasonic offers
access to one of the most comprehensive CSC lens systems

B
ack in 2008, the Micro Four Thirds compact, removable lens camera models. The parallel lens lines, providing added flexibility.
mirrorless system was born via joint major advantage of the Micro 4/3 format is its Furthermore, Panasonic itself offers a broad
support by both Panasonic and Olympus. universality, with both systems being designed range of cameras, from enthusiast all the way
This marked a shift in the focus of around the same sensor type and therefore up to top-tier, professional-spec models, to
camera manufacturers, who collectively turned functioning interchangeably. This gives users pair with its quality, own-brand and Leica-made
their attention towards developing high-quality, of either brand’s cameras access to two compatible optics.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm


f3.5-5.6 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S f4-5.6 II Power O.I.S
£299/$420 (approx) £380/$530 (approx)
RATING RATING

This mid-range zoom lens offers and the lens also benefits from One of the biggest advantages of autofocus functionality. The optics
an equivalent 28-90mm of reach, full-time manual focusing for quick the Micro 4/3 system is the 2x are sharp, and the built-in Power
making it an ideal ‘standard’ lens focus refinement, even with AF crop factor the sensor applies O.I.S effective at reducing the
for your Micro 4/3 mirrorless activated. It’s a great all-round to images. Since it effectively negative effects of camera shake.
camera. The construction includes lens to complement an enthusiast- doubles the focal length of any lens An excellent companion to the 14-
a single aspherical lens element level camera. attached to a micro 4/3 camera, 45mm range.
to cut down on aberrations and the format provides immense
produce a clear, sharp image. Technical data flexibility for telephoto photography. Technical data
The good-quality optics are Manufacturer Panasonic The Lumix G Vario 45-200mm Manufacturer Panasonic
complemented by an effective Web www.panasonic.com has the weight of a mid to medium Web www.panasonic.com
image stabiliser (denoted by the Elements/construction 12 / 9 Groups telephoto focal range, but the Elements/construction 16 / 13 groups
Mega O.I.S suffix) to make hand- Angle of view 75°-28° reach of a fast 400mm high- Angle of view 27°-6.2°
held shooting of crip digital files Max aperture f3.5 powered zoom. The f5.6 aperture Max aperture f4
easy. The design of the lens barrel Min aperture f22 is not incredibly fast, but in Min aperture f22
is simple, so should appeal to less Min focus distance 0.30 m daylight conditions combines Min focus distance 1.0m
experienced photographers. It is Mount Micro Four Thirds well with the magnification to Mount Micro Four Thirds
also comfortable to operate, while Filter size 52mm create a very usable specification Filter size 52mm
taking up little space in a kit bag. Length 60 mm for action photography. Build Length 100mm
Autofocus is snappy, locking on to Diameter 60 mm quality is reasonably good and Diameter 70mm
the subject without much delay, Weight 195g internal focusing offers rapid, quiet Weight 370g

29
BUYER’S GUIDE

2 3

4
1
w w w . s o n y. c o . u k The Alpha 7R III’s
sensor is very close

Sony Alpha 7R III to the front of the


camera – easy for
cleaning, but a bit

£3,199/$3,198 (body only) of a dust magnet

2
This mirrorless full-frame takes its The touchscreen
predecessor’s superb resolution and display tilts up and
down, but it doesn’t
to a halt after a burst of just a couple
of seconds. Instead, it can keep going
throws in 10fps shooting too – amazing! fold out to offer full
articulation, so it’s
for more than seven seconds, and
that makes a big difference for a
not so good with the
professional sports photographer.
camera held vertically
This camera has another trick – a
SPECIFICATIONS OF course, it was bound completely silent mode that will allow
to happen. We knew 3 you to shoot in situations where the
Sensor 42.4MP full-frame Exmor R Sony had the You can move the machine-gun clatter of a regular
CMOS, 35.9 x 24.0mm technology to combine focus point/zone DSLR would be banned.
Image processor Bionz X
high resolution with high-frame around with this new The A7R III has dual memory
AF points 399-point phase detection, multi-selector, and
rates from the moment it card slots too, though despite the
425-point contrast detection there’s now an AF-On
ISO range 100-32,000, launched the Alpha 99 II, and then emphasis on speed, only one of
Nikon announced the D850, button too these is UHS-II compatible – a bit
expandable to 50-102,400
Max image size 7,952 x 5,304 which pulled the same trick. of a surprise given this camera’s
Metering zones 1,200 Some might be disappointed 4 performance potential and, let’s face
Video 4K UHD at 30, 24fps that the sensor resolution is The body is very it, its price.
Viewfinder Quad-VGA OLED, unchanged from the A7R II’s at slightly thicker than The autofocus system has been
3.69 million dots 42.4 million pixels, but this sensor the A7R II’s and the designed to match this camera’s
Memory card 2 x SD/SDHC/SDXC, is capable of outstanding quality grip is deeper, but continuous shooting performance,
inc 1 x UHS II
and the improvements to the otherwise the with a 399-point phase-detection
LCD 3-inch touchscreen, 1,440k dots handling feels
continuous shooting speeds are array already seen in the A7R II
Max burst 10fps (76 compressed much the same
RAW) much more important – because combined with a 425-point contrast
Connectivity Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth the new model can top out at an AF array inherited from the Sony A9.
Size 127 x 96 x 74mm amazing 10 frames per second at Sony says this system is up to twice
Weight 675g (body only, with full resolution. Not only that, it can as fast in low light, twice as precise
battery and memory card) sustain this for up to 76 for continuous focus tracking and
compressed RAW files. reliable down to -3EV.
Frame rates grab the headlines, Sony says its in-camera five-
but they mean very little without axis SteadyShot system has been
the buffer capacity to go with enhanced to offer 5.5 stops of
them. If the A7R III had the buffer effective compensation, and a new
capacity of a typical non- NP-FZ100 battery offers 2.2x the life
professional camera, it would grind of the NP-FW50 battery used in the

30
BUYER’S GUIDE

Provided you’re using the


best lenses and shooting
technique, image quality is
as good as it gets for
full-frame cameras.
A7R II. That will be music to the ears
of any long-time Alpha 7 users, who
by now will be accustomed to
carrying around a set of spares
for longer shoots.
The video capabilities get a boost
too, with a new HLG (Hybrid Log
Gamma) picture profile for an instant
wide dynamic range movie effect
without the need for grading on a
computer, in addition to S-Log2
and S-Log3 modes.
Last but not least, the A7R III has
a new Pixel Shift Multi-Shooting
mode, which takes a series of shots
in quick succession with a one-pixel
shift between each to capture a
special higher-resolution image file
(as if this camera needs one), with full
colour information for each pixel and
reduced moiré in fine patterns and
textures. This requires a longer
overall exposure, though, and hence
a relatively static subject and
external processing on a computer.
Similar technology has been used
already on certain Olympus, Pentax
and Hasselblad cameras.
In short, the A7R III is a substantial
upgrade of the ‘old’ A7R II. The
resolution is the same, but the
continuous shooting speed has been
doubled, with a buffer capacity and
upgraded autofocus to match, and
a series of other enhancements
make the new camera an altogether
more powerful and versatile
proposition for professional
photographers, videographers
and well-off enthusiasts.

Build and handling


There’s something different about
the way the A7R III feels in your hand
compared to the A7R II, and on closer
inspection it turns out the new there is a caveat. Sony’s camera second, the lenses do feel a bit big
camera is 73.7mm thick, compared bodies might be small, but its for the body. We tried the A7R III
to the 60.3mm of the old model. Part lenses – especially its good ones – with Sony’s 24-105mm f4, 16-35mm
of that is due to a slightly larger grip, certainly aren’t. These are just as f2.8 and 70-200mm f2.8; and while
and part from a slightly thicker back big as comparable full-frame DSLR it’s perfectly manageable with
section. It’s an observation rather lenses, sometimes bigger, and this these big lenses, action or portrait
than a criticism. Otherwise, the A7R has two effects. First, with a pro shooters might want to look at the Above The new
focus-point selector
III shares the same remarkably small lens fitted, the A7R III doesn’t offer Sony VG-C3EM grip to make the
on the rear of the
frontal area as previous models. the size advantage over a full-frame camera-lens combination a bit camera helps you
That’s a good thing if you want the DSLR that the body-only more wieldy. The rear screen tilts up target off-centre
most compact camera possible, but dimensions might suggest, and and down but isn’t fully articulated, subjects quickly

31
BUYER’S GUIDE

When you’re being attacked


by a sword-wielding kenshi
you want an autofocus
system you can rely on. We
weren’t expecting the yelling

so it’s fine for horizontal shooting simulate exposure, white balance Above The A7R III camera out in the field – to find the
at all sorts of angles, but less and image effects are concerned. comes with twin autofocus settings that best suit the way
flexible when the camera is being It’s a digital display like any other, card slots, but only they work.
held vertically. The electronic and this one is pretty contrasty one of these is Apart from the autofocus mode itself
UHS-II compatible
viewfinder in the A7R III is crisp and could make you think – single shot, continuous AF or automatic
and lag-free, but doesn’t give a shadows and highlights are selection – there’s a choice of five AF point
very good representation of the clipped when actually they aren’t. modes, including Wide, Zone, Center,
dynamic range the camera will The A7R III’s shift towards Flexible Spot, and Expand Flexible Spot.
capture. There’s a general action photography gets a boost It doesn’t stop there. All five are available
assumption that electronic with a new multi-selector on the under an additional Lock-On AF mode,
displays will give an accurate back of the camera to set the where the AF system will track your initial
rendition of what the sensor will focus point/area position for locked-on subject within the zone/area
capture, but that’s only true as your shot. Alternatively, you can you’ve selected.
far as the screen’s ability to tap on the screen to set the focus It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t
point. Both worked fine, though take too long to grasp the principles and to
the autofocus options in general pick out the modes that sound like they
With a big pro lens are not for the faint-hearted. This might work best for you, although it might a
fitted, the A7R III doesn’t is a professional camera aimed at good deal longer to check and compare the
professional users, so you might results with real-world subjects, which
offer the size advantage not expect any particular don’t behave in a predictable fashion.
over a DSLR that the beginner-friendliness; but here For our tests, we recruited the help of a
even experienced photographers kenshi (swordsman) running through a
body-only dimensions will need to spend some time with series of kenjutsu patterns, which
might suggest the manual – and with the combined movement across the frame and

32
COLOUR ERROR

Sony Alpha 7 III 4.3

Canon EOS-1D X II 2.9

Nikon D850 7.1

Sony Alpha A99 II 1.1 SCORES CLOSER


TO ZERO ARE BETTER

-5 0 5 10 15 20

We matched the A7R III against three top


professional rivals – the Canon EOS-1D X II,
Nikon D850 and Sony’s own A99 II. In our
colour error test, the A7R III came out in
the middle of the pack with a good result

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

Decibels
40

30

20

10 HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

towards the camera. We wanted to Capture One to process our images Above One shot The noise results mirrored the resolution of
find out how well the AF system This revealed the full dynamic range from a multi-frame these four cameras. With the fewest pixels,
could track the mask on the helmet available from this sensor, together sequence – at 10fps. the Canon produced least noise, while the
and keep that sharp as the key point with extended highlight detail that The A7R III lets you 46MP Nikon was marginally the noisiest
of focus through these fast and was sometimes clipped in JPEGs. It capture the ideal
moment in a fast-
complex movements. In fact the might deliver very high resolution, RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
changing scene
A7R III kept up pretty well, although but it’s not at the expense of overall
14
each AF zone had its pros and cons. image quality.

Exposure Value
The Flexible Spot mode was best for The A7R III even proved pretty 12
keeping the mask in focus, provided impressive at high ISO settings,
we kept the AF point in the right where we found the image quality 10

place – but that wasn’t easy with perfectly acceptable right up to ISO
8
sudden lateral movements and 12,800. There is visible noise and
sword strokes in front of the mask. some loss of fine detail at this 6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
Using a wider focus zone and focus setting, but from normal viewing RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

tracking took the pressure off distances it hardly shows. 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
accurate focus point positioning and We don’t normally cover video in The Canon showed a small advantage, with
allowed a steadier camera position, depth, but we did try out the Sony’s the Nikon D850 in second place. The A7R III’s
but if the subject left the zone the AF 4x full HD slow-motion capabilities dynamic range performance proved good in
defaulted to the background, and in and its five-axis in-body our lab tests, but not quite the best
some instances the camera lost stabilisation. The slow motion
focus completely for a frame or two looked great, but while the
WE SAY...
for no obvious reason. stabilisation smoothed out shake,
you’ll still need a tripod or stabilised The A7R III is so powerful and versatile that
Performance rig to iron out slower movements it seems churlish to criticise it at all – but
It’s hard to fault the A7R III’s and ‘drift’. we are going to knock off half a star for its
troubling body-lens size mismatch, and
performance. If sports and action The A7R III’s sensor is very close
530/650-shot battery life, which is good for
were your main field, you’d probably to the front of the body, though, and
mirrorless but poor next to a pro DSLR. The
choose the Sony A9 over this model, has no mirror to protect it, so it’s a A7R III’s speed makes it supremely versatile
but if your work relies on quality and bit of a dirt magnet. It’s easy enough but it also puts it up against tough rivals.
speed, then the A7R III delivers to clone out sensor spots in stills
both brilliantly. but less easy in videos. VERDICT
The image quality is equally Overall, the Alpha 7R III’s
impressive. Provided you’re using performance is deeply impressive. FEATURES
the best lenses and shooting It offers superb resolution and BUILD & HANDLING
technique, this is as good as it gets overall image quality, with 10fps
for full-frame cameras. shooting plus 4K video and full HD PERFORMANCE
The A7R III’s JPEGs show good at 120fps.
colours, contrast and definition, but This is a seriously powerful and VALUE
to get the best from this camera versatile professional camera.
OVERALL
you’ll want to shoot RAW. We used Rod Lawton

33
BUYER’S GUIDE

2
1 3

4
w w w.s ony.co.uk

Sony Alpha 9
£4,500/$4,500 (body only)
Canon and Nikon look out! This camera could topple
the twin titans of professional sports photography
SPECIFICATIONS JUST when we thought 1 way as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark
the Sony Alpha 99 II II and the Nikon D5. These two
Sensor 24.2MP full-frame Exmor RS The A9’s 24MP full-
was the ultimate frame sensor swaps professional DSLR workhorses
CMOS (35.6 x 23.8mm)
camera for continuous outright resolution for have had the world of pro sports
Focal length conversion on lens 1x
Memory 2 x SD card slot (1 x UHS-II, 1 shooting and autofocus stunning continuous photography to themselves for some
x UHS-I) performance, it gets the rug shooting speeds time now. They may not have been
Viewfinder OLED EVF, 3,686k dots pulled out from under it by a rival particularly rattled by the A99 II,
Max video resolution 4K UHD 3,840 – and it’s another Sony. 2
but the A9 is different.
x 2,160 In many respects, these two This is not just because of its
ISO range 100-51,200, expandable camera lines are in direct The ‘quad-VGA’ OLED speed and the sophistication of its
to 50-204,800 electronic viewfinder
competition. We wondered how autofocus system. It’s different
Autofocus Hybrid AF, 693 phase- boasts a 120fps
long Sony’s ageing Alpha system because when it’s running at 20
detection AF points, 25 contrast AF refresh rate
would be allowed to keep its frames per second it’s completely
Max burst rate 20fps (electronic
technological lead over the silent. In theory, the A9 could let you
shutter), 5fps (mechanical shutter) 3
Screen Tilting 3-inch touchscreen, mirrorless A7 series: the Alpha shoot at sporting events, musical
1,440k dots 9 is our answer. The touchscreen performances and speeches where
Shutter speeds 30-1/8,000 sec, The A99 II still wins for outright display is not fully any other camera would be banned.
Bulb, 30-1/32,000 sec (electronic) resolution – 42MP versus the articulating but does It’s all made possible with an
Weight 673g (body only, A9’s 24MP, but the A9 thrashes it tilt up and down electronic shutter mechanism that
with battery and memory card) with its 20fps continuous has a third crucial advantage – no
Dimensions 127 x 96 x 63mm shooting speed (with AE and AF 4 screen blackout. With any camera
Power supply NP-FZ100 lithium-ion tracking), massive buffer that uses a mechanical shutter, the
battery (supplied) The controls are
capacity (362 JPEGs, 241 RAW well-spaced, despite screen blacks out for an instant
files) and an on-sensor autofocus the A9’s compact size. during each exposure. This gives the
system with no fewer than 693 AF The stacked drive autofocus less of a ‘window’ to work
points covering 93% of the mode and AF mode in during continuous shooting, and
image area. dials (left) work makes it harder for the photographer
The A9 is an out-and-out especially well to follow a moving subject in the
action specialist, sacrificing viewfinder. With the A9’s electronic
resolution for speed in the same shutter mode, however, there is no

34
1 2 3

Continuous shooting Restrained image noise White balance


At 20 frames per second we had no problem With good lighting and a fast f/2.8 lens we were The Auto white balance setting gives great results in
capturing the moment the chalk dust flew able to shoot at 1/1,000 sec at ISO 800, but we a variety of conditions, and with the 241-shot RAW
as this gymnast clapped his hands wouldn’t hesitate to push the ISO higher buffer you can worry about the white balance later

screen blackout, even when shooting system plays its part here, with an AF bodies are tiny, its lenses are not.
at 20 frames per second. The only area extended to almost that of stills Using the new 70-200mm f2.8 G
penalty is a drop in the viewfinder’s mode and a reduced ‘slow’ focus brings this home – with a small
refresh rate from 120fps to 60fps, speed for smoother slow focus camera attached to the back of this
but a minor increase in screen lag effects while filming. monster lens, the balance feels
is surely a small price to pay for We said at the start that the A7/A9 a little bit wrong.
continuous and seamless viewing. series and the older Alpha SLTs were Sony fans, not surprisingly, don’t
The A9’s performance has been in competition, but there is some find this a problem, but for those
made possible by Sony’s cutting- crossover. The A9 can use Alpha migrating from a high-spec DSLR, it
edge ‘stacked’ sensor technology, mount lenses via Sony’s LA-EA3 could prove off-putting. There is a
with integral memory, backed up by a adaptor, which enables the full solution, however – the Sony
Bionz X image processor to deliver 693-point AF system and shooting VG-C3EM battery grip. It increases
what Sony says is a 20x faster at up to 10fps with AF tracking. So the height of the camera, offers a
readout speed and a performance although there are still some gaps duplicate set of vertical shooting
“far exceeding SLRs”. in Sony’s professional lens range, controls and holds two NP-FZ100
The A9 also benefits from Sony’s particularly for super-telephoto batteries.
in-body five-axis stabilisation primes, there are a couple of big The size of the body means there’s
system. This is in addition to the A-mount lenses that will do the job for not an awful lot of space for the
image stabilisers built into some of the time being. The adaptor controls; Sony has done well to
Sony’s pro lenses, such as the new FE also offers a way for SLT users to squeeze them on without making the
70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS, one of the transition to the E-mount system camera feel cramped. The drive
lenses used in our tests. of the A7 and A9. mode and AF mode dials are stacked
Movies, of course, are a big feature on the left side of the top plate; each
in any new Sony camera. The A9 can Build and handling has a locking button. Over on the
shoot 4K UHD video with full pixel The first surprise is that the A9 is right is the main mode dial, the
readout without pixel binning – in no larger than the A7 – the only exposure compensation dial and C1
other words, instead of combining difference is a couple of extra and C2 custom buttons.
pixels to produce 4K resolution, it millimetres in the thickness of the In addition to these, there are C3
uses the sensor’s full resolution, then body. We’re used to pro DSLRs with and C4 buttons on the back of the
‘downsamples’ it by a factor of 2.4 for the heft of a brick, so this is quite an camera, with 72 different functions
better detail rendition. The autofocus achievement. While Sony’s full-frame you can assign to each. You can

35
confirmation that the camera is
actually doing something, and it also
helps you time your burst shooting
more effectively. To switch to fully
silent operation when you need it, you
simply disable the audio feedback in
the menus.
But what about the A9’s
‘quad-VGA’ viewfinder? Does its
120fps refresh rate and 3,686k-dot
resolution truly replicate the look of
an optical ’finder? Not quite. There’s
no real lag in regular shooting, and
the lack of screen blackout in high-
speed continuous shooting is a
tremendous step forward over
regular cameras, but you can
sometimes see pixellated
‘staircasing’ in diagonal lines and
while an EVF shows you the scene as
the camera will capture it, that’s not
always helpful. In high-contrast
lighting, you may have to twiddle the
exposure settings to see what detail
exists in the shadows and highlights,
whereas with an optical viewfinder
you can do this instantly with your
naked eye.

Performance
The A9’s continuous shooting
performance is genuinely awesome.
Individually, the frame rate, buffer
capacity and zero viewfinder
blackout are impressive – but when
you put them together, the shooting
experience is transformed.
For our shots of gymnasts, staged
by Sony, the Zone mode was very
effective because the movement of
the subjects was predictable. For our
create your own custom mode uses the central AF point. Above Shot at own experiments, with faster, more
My Menu, and save seven sets of There’s also a Flexible Spot you dusk at f/2.8 and erratic subjects, the Wide mode was
registered settings – three to the can position over small subjects ISO 25,600, these just as effective, finding our subject
camera, four to a memory card. and an Expand Flexible Spot cornflowers have and following it doggedly.
It’s a lot to take in – but it does option if the camera’s struggling an impressionistic However, the AF system does
provide an opportunity to get the to focus. look, but the detail seem to need a decent area of
at the focus point is
A9 working exactly how you’re In Continuous AF mode, the high-contrast detail to lock on to. Its
surprisingly crisp
used to if you’re migrating from camera continues to focus on speed of acquisition and continuous
another brand. your selected subject, and you Opposite page focusing accuracy when shooting
The autofocus system is choose the focus area depending The A9 isn’t just moving cars was very good. We got
complex too, but comprehensible on how predictable or erratic the good at action sharp results even with instant
enough. Wide mode finds a subject movement is. It’s also photography. It’s ‘reaction’ shots.
subject automatically within the possible to ‘register’ specific a great all-rounder, With ‘softer’ subjects, or small
whole scene, Zone mode narrows focus points and assign them to a delivering rich, objects against a diffuse background,
natural colour
this down a bit, while Center function button. it ran into problems. The A9 simply
rendition and high
For all its complexity, the A9’s couldn’t focus on a stormy sky, even
levels of detail
AF system is not that difficult to though the clouds and clear sky
get to grips with. The real beyond were well-defined, and
revelation comes the first time struggled with small objects against
The A9’s images are you use it in the 20fps continuous the same sky. It also had a panic
shooting mode with no viewfinder attack capturing the chromework
super-sharp and the blackout. That’s when the A9’s and paint job of a classic car in
resolution is easily potential becomes obvious. sunlight with bright, specular
The A9 makes a discreet highlights, and only managed to lock
a match for its electronic ‘shutter’ sound by on after we pre-focused on a nearby
main rivals default to give photographers object a similar distance away. Maybe

36
COLOUR ERROR

Sony Alpha 9 4.1

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II 2.9

Nikon D5 7.9
SCORES
CLOSER
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II 8.2 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER
-5 0 5 10 15 20

We pitched the Sony Alpha 9 against three


high-speed pro rivals: the Canon EOS-1D X Mark
II, the Nikon D5 and the Olympus OM-D E-M1
Mark II. In the colour error test, the Alpha 9 was
just beaten by the Canon

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10

0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

These cameras are evenly matched here.


Again, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II was a
narrow winner, while the Olympus and its
smaller sensor lagged a little behind

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE


14

Exposure Value 12

10

4
10 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

Despite its newer sensor, the A9 does not


have the best dynamic range here. At low or
medium ISO settings, both the Canon and
the Olympus are modestly better

WE SAY...
The Alpha 9 is simply stunning – both as
a technical achievement and as a tool for
it was the 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master and larger photosites really pay off
capturing fast-moving action. The silent
lens we were shooting with. here. If you shoot raw and use Adobe 20fps continuous shooting mode can
This was annoying, but given the Camera Raw you get tight, hard noise capture shots you would once have missed,
AF’s speed and accuracy with regular but even better detail – and you can and the AF system is complex but extremely
subjects, it wouldn’t put us off too choose your own balance between effective. Bravo!
much. All cameras have foibles. noise reduction and definition.
The 24MP sensor might seem like Some reviewers have questioned
VERDICT
a step down compared to the A7R II, the A9’s dynamic range. Our lab
but the A9’s images are super-sharp tests reveal it’s a whisker behind the FEATURES
and the resolution is easily a match EOS-1D X Mark II and similar to the
for its main rivals, the EOS-1D X Mark D5. In real-world shooting we found it BUILD & HANDLING
II and the D5. High-ISO performance to be fine. It’s possible to pull back
is competitive too. JPEGs taken at highlight detail in RAW files in Adobe PERFORMANCE
ISO 25,600 show noise and a loss of Camera Raw and shadows seem to
VALUE
detail, as you’d expect, but the overall come up very well too.
quality is good – the lower resolution Rod Lawton OVERALL

37
BUYER’S GUIDE

3
1

w w w . s o n y. c o m
4

Sony Alpha 7S II
£2,499/$2,998
This low-light and video-centric CSC gets 4K video,
better noise control and improved autofocusing

ALTHOUGH the Alpha capture grading. S-Log2 is designed


SPECIFICATIONS 7S II nominally has 1
to preserve highlights, while S-Log3
Sensor Full-frame (23.8 x 35.9mm) the same 12.2MP Sony’s NP-FW50 captures greater tonal range in
Exmor CMOS sensor with 12.2 million full-frame Exmor CMOS batteries don’t last shadows and mid-tones.
effective pixels sensor and processing engine as long when recording
Crop factor 1x the original A7S, there have been video: four or five are Build & handling
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC/ needed for a day of
changes. It’s been optimised for Like the A7 II and A7R II, the A7S II
Memory Stick hard video shooting
video and has new circuitry, along feels well-made and is comfortable to
Viewfinder 0.5-inch EVF with improved noise reduction hold, with most controls within easy
with 2,359,296 dots
algorithms. 2 reach. The new camera is tougher
Max video resolution 4K (3,840
x 2,160), 30fps
Other changes brought by the Gamma Display Assist than the original model, with more
ISO range 100-102,400; expandable A7S Mark II over the Mark I are also lets you see the scene magnesium alloy and a reinforced
to 50-409,600 welcome, but its specification with natural contrast lens mount. It’s also weatherproof
Autofocus points 169 sheet holds few surprises: many of when shooting with an and has the same handling changes
Max burst rate 5fps (AF locked the upgrades have already seen S-Log gamma setting that were made for Mark II versions of
at start) 2.5fps with AF elsewhere in the range. Like the the A7 and the 7R.
Screen Tilting 3-inch A7R II, for example, the A7S II can 3
1,228,800-dot LCD record 4K 4:2:0 8-bit video, and it Performance
Shutter speeds 60-1/8,000 sec Sony has increased
has a five-axis stabilisation system. the number of AF While you wouldn’t want to use
plus Bulb
However, one significant A7 first points from 25 on the the A7S II’s ISO 409,600 setting
Weight 584g (body only)
Dimensions 127 x 96 x 60mm
scored by the A7S II is the ability to A7S to 169 with the routinely, you’ll get something just
Power supply Lithium-ion NP-FW50 record Full-HD footage at up to A7S II about recognisable if you need to
120fps. Sony’s Picture Profiles are shoot in near-darkness. Dropping
also available to tailor the back within the native range to ISO
One significant A7 first appearance of video and stills
4
102,400 produces more acceptable
scored by the A7S II is in-camera. The options include Audio can be recorded
via a 3.5mm mic jack
results, with granular noise that has
Sony’s S-Log Gamma settings, no banding or clumping. While JPEGs
the ability to record which can increase dynamic range
on the side, or an
look pretty similar to those from the
optional XLR audio
Full-HD footage at up to by up to 1,300% by creating jackpack in this Multi A7S, high-sensitivity RAW files have
120 frames per second flat-looking footage ideal for post- Interface shoe more even noise distribution from the

38
COLOUR ERROR

SONY ALPHA 7S II 9.7

PANASONIC GH4 5.6

SONY ALPHA 7R II 3.6 SCORES


CLOSER
TO ZERO
SONY ALPHA 7S 6.3
ARE BETTER

0 5

Like the other cameras, the Alpha 7S II gives


colours in its shots a boost so they appear
more saturated than they are in reality to
give more pleasing images and video

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

A7S II’s autofocus system over the Above This Despite its larger than average pixels, the
A7S. While it’s still unlikely to tempt hand-held shot Alpha 7S II produces a lower signal-to-noise
serious video shooters away from from the Alpha 7S II ratio than the GH4. Noise appears to be
manual focus, it’s helpful for stills. was taken at 1/15 controlled well, even at high sensitivities
You can expect a little hunting in dark sec to blur the
interiors or at night, but it usually gets cyclist’s
movement, but the RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
the subject sharp, provided you can
stabilisation 14
find an area with reasonable contrast. system has

Exposure Value
In more average lighting conditions, managed to keep 12
it’s fast and accurate. It’s also capable the background
of tracking a moving subject, perfectly sharp 10

although it’s often distracted by other


8
objects in Lock-on AF mode, so
it’s better to use Flexible Spot or Left The Alpha 7S 6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
Expanded Flexible Spot mode while II’s autofocus RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

trying to keep the active AF point over system struggled 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
the subject. to keep up with
The Sony A7 S II’s RAW files have a very
The five-axis image stabilisation the action in the
impressive dynamic range at the lower ISO
system works well in video mode with flat low light of
settings, but it can’t compete with the the
a gym
appropriate lenses, removing the results from the Panasonic GH4
micro-jitters that are the tell-tale
signs of a bad hand-held shot. With
WE SAY...
Mark II. For stills, it’s best to keep stills, we found it possible to get
sensitivity to ISO 25,600 or lower to images that are consistently sharp at The A7S II is the best video-shooting stills
avoid noise being clearly visible in 100% when using a shutter speed of camera available, with more pro-level
even-toned areas at normal viewing 1/15 sec with Sony’s FE 90mm f2.8 features than any other. Its images and video
sizes. Meanwhile, videos remain Macro G OSS lens mounted. Many aren’t noticeably better than those from the
A7S except in very low light, but its handling
usable when shot at up to ISO 6,400. shots at slower shutter speeds also
is improved. It’s a good low-light camera if
The quality of the 4K XAVC S video stand muster, even a few at 1/5 sec. you don’t need to print larger than A3.
is impressive – close to that from Unfortunately, overheating can
Sony’s larger pro-level video cameras be a problem when recording 4K
– and colour reproduction in low light footage to a memory card, especially VERDICT
is improved from the A7S. Most other when using the EVF and the image
cameras lose colour information in stabilisation system. When it gets too FEATURES
very low light, but the A7S II does a hot, the camera shuts down to
BUILD & HANDLING
good job of hanging onto it. Rolling protect itself. The only real solution is
shutter, or jello-effect, is still an issue. to limit recording times to less than PERFORMANCE
It’s fine with walking-pace movement, 30 or 40 minutes, or to use an
but there’s some noticeable skewing external recorder instead of the VALUE
when you move at 30mph or faster. SD card.
Sony has significantly improved the Angela Nicholson and Dan Chung OVERALL

39
BUYER’S GUIDE
1

3
4

w w w . s o n y. c o m

Sony Alpha 6500


£1,500/$1,299 (body only)
It’s Sony’s most advanced APS-C format mirrorless
camera, but is its premium price still justified?
IF we discount the compact but robust and packs some
SPECIFICATIONS ageing A5000, the 1 high-end specifications. It’s dust and
Sensor 24.2MP APS-C Exmor A6000 series is Sony’s The 16-50mm Power moisture-resistant too, with seals
Focal length conversion 1.5x sole remaining APS-C Zoom kit lens adds around the buttons and dials, and a
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC(inc UHS-I)/ mirrorless camera. Since the only a little to the double-layered design for tightly
Memory Stick Pro Duo launch of the A6000 in 2014, camera’s profile interlocking panels.
Viewfinder XGA OLED; 2.36 million dots Sony has added the A6300 (early The 24.2 Exmor CMOS sensor has
Max video resolution 4K UHD at30, 2016) and A6500 (late 2016). All 2 the same resolution as the earlier
25, 24fps three of these cameras remain on models, but is paired up with a new
ISO range 100-25,600, expandable to Not only does the
sale. The A6000 continues at a A6500 offer a built-in front-end LSI and Sony’s BIONZ X
51,200
very competitive price point, even flash, but there’s also image processor to produce this
Autofocus points 425 points
(phase-detect AF); 169 (contrast-detect AF) though it’s actually quite a hotshoe camera’s impressive speed and
Max burst rate 11fps advanced even by today’s performance. The A6500’s
Screen 3-inch LCD, 922k dots, tiltable standards. It doesn’t shoot 4K autofocus system is powerful and
3
Shutter speeds 30-1/4,000 sec, Bulb video though, and it doesn’t have advanced. It uses a combination of
Weight 453g (including battery Sony’s newer 425-point The Fn button brings 425 phase detection AF points over
and memory card) autofocus system. Both these up commonly used the entire image area and 169
Dimensions 120 x 66.9 x 53,3mm options, and these can
features arrived with the A6300. contrast AF points. Sony says its
Power supply Rechargeable Li-Ion be customised
The A6500, brought 5-axis high-density AF point array can
battery (NP-FW50)
in-body stabilisation and a big seamlessly activate AF points to
increase in buffer capacity. The 4 track objects around the frame. You
A6500 has the same maximum The camera’s rear can tap on the touch-sensitive screen
The A6500’s 11fps continuous shooting speed screen can be tilted up to set the focus point or drag the
as the earlier models, but can and down, and it’s focus point around the screen while
magnesium alloy capture up to 307 JPEG files or touch sensitive looking through the viewfinder.
rangefinder style body 107 RAW files in a burst. The in-camera 5-axis Steady Shot
image stabilisation system is likely to
is compact and robust Features be one of the biggest draws for the
and packs some high- The A6500’s magnesium alloy A6500 and Sony claims it offers 5
end specifications rangefinder style body is stops of shake compensation. The

40
COLOUR ERROR
SCORES CLOSER
Sony Alpha 6300 -3.7 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER

Fujifilm X-E2S 19

Panasonic GX8 -6.6

Olympus PEN-F 11.6

-10 -5 0 10 20

The A6500 lies in third place for colour error,


but it’s not a bad result. These differences
would easily be swallowed upby post-
processing adjustments

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

leave you spending a good deal of Above The


20
time navigating menus and tapping camera’s Vivid
on the touch-screen interface. Creative Style has 10
given the green HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
and red tones in
Performance this image a
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

In single-shot photography, the pleasant boost, Here, the Sony A6500 and Nikon D7500
A6500’s performance is very good, without languish a little way behind the Fujifilm X-T2
with fast focus acquisition and oversaturating and Panasonic G9. The G9’s performance is
snappy responses. In continuous especially good given its smaller sensor size
mode it’s slightly more mixed. There’s
no doubting the power of Sony’s RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
425-point autofocus system, but in
14
low light at the maximum 11fps speed
Left Above The

Exposure Value
our hit rate of sharp shots dropped as 12
camera’s Auto
the camera sometimes lost focus
White Balance
with quickly changing subject system keeps
10

distances for a few frames before colours faithful 8


catching up. There is, of course, a under a range of
great deal of skill involved in following conditions 6
fast-moving subjects anyway, and the HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
A6500’s 4K video features are A6500’s maximum 11fps mode 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
especially impressive. To maintain doesn’t provide a Live View display. Here, the Panasonic G9 scores another
maximum image quality it uses The in-body stabilisation is surprising win. Indeed, the A6500 lies in
oversampling rather than pixel definitely worth having, both for stills fourth place behind the rest, only catching
binning – the video is actually and video, though it can’t Left Below The up at higher ISO settings
captured at the equivalent of 6K compensate for careless and jerky A6500 has reliable
(20-megapixel) resolution and then movements so you still need to shoot exposures from
handheld video with some care. You the multi-pattern WE SAY...
downsampled to 4K for sharper
metering system,
detail. It benefits from the A6500’s can choose from three different The A6500 isan oddity. It s a street-style
effective auto
Touch Focus feature and 5-axis autofocus speeds in movie mode to camera with sports camera performance and
white balance
in-body stabilisation and can shoot in control how quickly the camera high-end 4Kvideo capabilities. It just feels the
across a range of
S-Gamut/S-Log modes. refocuses on different subjects. wrong shape for the things it s designed tobe
conditions, and
good at. Worse, it s been overhauled and
Image quality is good, with reliable good colour
even overtaken by recent rivals, and it s
Build & handling exposures from the multi-pattern rendition
starting to look expensive.
The A6500 doesn’t look very metering system, effective auto white
different to the A6300 and A6000 balance across a range of conditions,
before it. Its rectangular rangefinder and good colour rendition. The lab VERDICT
style design is neat and uncluttered results show, however, that it lags a
and it feels well made. The top plate little behind never rivals for noise and FEATURES
has a mode dial, a control dial and two dynamic range. The fact that the
BUILD & HANDLING
custom buttons, and that’s it – the A6500 is now a couple of years old
shutter release and power lever are probably doesn’t help it against PERFORMANCE
on the front grip. newer rivals. It’s still capable of
The A6500 is certainly packed excellent results, however, if you pair VALUE
with features, but its external it up with the right lenses.
controls are pretty minimal and could Rod Lawton OVERALL

41
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

SONY
Having secured a foothold in the professional mirrorless landscape
and travel photography market, Sony is a serious contender

W
hile it took some time for landscape and travel shooters. While these prospective Sony users with a great choice
mirrorless cameras to be considered are full-frame models, they remain compact of quality and compact optics for use in both
a genuine option for professional enough to offer an advantage over a DSLR. general and niche areas of photography. This
use, cameras such as the Sony Alternatively, cameras like the a6500 contain is reflected in the prices, which vary in their
a7R and the latest generation model, the a7R APS-C format sensors and the array of accessibility, but for a working professional there
III, have become a favourite among expert dedicated lenses in the E Mount provide are many great-value options.

Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS


£570/$800 (approx) £1,199/$1,680 (approx)
RATING RATING

For APS-C format cameras, the rapidly in everyday situations. Build A common indicator of a associated ghosting and flare effects.
‘standard’ focal range usually quality is also admirable, while professional lens is a constant An unusual and versatile additional
bundled with the camera body is handling is comfortable – zoom and aperture, where the maximum feature is the on-lens AF Stop
in the region of 18-55mm. This focus rings are smooth, offering the available f/number does not vary as button, which allows focus to be
18-135mm lens offers greater right balance of resistance. A great the focal length is altered. This 4x locked on the subject as pressure is
reach while maintaining compact all-purpose lens. zoom lens covers all the main focal removed from the shutter release.
dimensions and minimum weight. lengths for standard photography,
The minimum focusing distance Technical data while maintaining f/4 at all settings, Technical data
of 45cm, combined with the f/5.6 Manufacturer Sony making it ideal for medium-to-low Manufacturer Sony
maximum aperture and circular Web www.sony.co.uk light shooting of interiors, portraits Web www.sony.co.uk
aperture blades, mean pleasant Elements/construction 16/ 12 Groups and events. This combines well Elements/construction 17/ 14 groups
bokeh can be created for attractive Angle of view 76°-12° with the optical image stabiliser to Angle of view 84°-23°
backgrounds to close-up subjects Max aperture f3.5 allow the photographer to shoot at Max aperture f4
and portraits. Optically, the lens does Min aperture f36 a shutter speed below that equal Min aperture f22
not quite achieve the image quality Min focus distance 0.45 m to the focal length of the lens. The Min focus distance 0.38m
you’d get from a professional prime, Mount Sony E-mount optics are excellent, featuring Mount Sony E-mount
but delivers good sharpness and Filter size 55mm Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass Filter size 77mm
contrast. Autofocus is very usable, Length 88 mm to minimise chromatic aberration Length 113.3mm
offering smooth and quiet operation, Diameter 67.2 mm and Sony’s own Nano AR coating Diameter 83.4mm
allowing images to be captured Weight 325g to reduce internal reflections and Weight 663g

42
BUYER’S GUIDE

Sony E PZ 16-50mm Sony E 18-200mm


F3.5-5.6 OSS F3.5-6.3 OSS
£319/$450 (approx) £719/$1,000 (approx)
RATING RATING

Pancake lenses are frequently reproduction of fine details in larger Superzoom lenses are designed the 67mm filters won’t rotate. The
found as kit lenses for CSCs, close-up subjects. This optic is not a solely for convenience, providing a 30cm focusing distance and focal
although these are fixed in focal specialised model, but fills its niche huge range of focal lengths, from range make the lens a good choice
length. This zoom lens is not well, and is a good everyday lens for wide to upper telephoto. There is for portraits, although f/6.3 limits
much bigger than some pancake a Sony E-mount camera. often a trade-off in image quality bokeh and low-light shooting.
models, measuring a little under and while this is noticeable with this
30mm in length when retracted Technical data Sony 18-200mm zoom, sharpness Technical data
and weighing only 116g. This makes Manufacturer Sony is relatively good throughout the Manufacturer Sony
it incredibly portable and an ideal Web www.sony.co.uk whole focal range, even at the widest Web www.sony.co.uk
travel companion. The focal lengths Elements/construction 9/ 8 groups aperture. At over 500g, this optic Elements/construction 17/ 12 groups
are useful for street and candid Angle of view 83°-32° is not light, though more portable Angle of view 76°-8°
photography and are complimented Max aperture f3.5 than multiple lenses. The zoom and Max aperture f 3.5
by a fast AF system and image Min aperture f36 focus rings are sizeable, providing Min aperture f40
stabiliser. Optically, there are better Min focus distance 0.25m an easy grip and speedy operation. Min focus distance 0.3m
lenses out there, with peripheral Mount Sony E-mount A potential drawback is that the Mount Sony E-mount
sharpness and vignetting a common Filter size 40.5mm lens barrel extends noticeably as Filter size 67mm
problem, however centre sharpness Length 29.9 mm the zoom ring is turned, making the Length 99mm
is good. The focusing distance Diameter 64.7 mm photographer quite conspicuous, Diameter 75.5mm
is also quite low, allowing decent Weight 116g although focusing is all internal, so Weight 524g

HOW THE Zeiss Sonnar T* Tokina FÍRIN Samyang 100mm Zeiss Distagon T* Sony E 20mm Zeiss Vario-
FE 55mm F1.8 ZA 20mm F2 FE MF f2.8 ED UMC FE 35mm F1.4 ZA F2.8 Tessar T* E
LENSES Macro 16-70mm F4 ZA
COMPARE OSS

Contact www.sony.co.uk www.tokinalens. www.samyanglens www.sony.co.uk www.sony.co.uk www.panasonic.


com global.com com

Street price £969/$1,355 £700/$980 £389/$540 £1,619/$2,265 £319/$450 £899/$1,250

Elements/Groups 7/ 5 13/ 11 15/ 12 12/ 8 6/ 6 16/ 12

Angle of view 43° 92.66° 24.8° 44° 70° 83°-23°

Min focus distance 0.5m 0.28m 0.3m 0.3m 0.2m 0.35m

Maximum aperture f/1.8 f/2 f/2.8 f/1.4 f/2.8 f/4

Minimum aperture f/22 f/22 f/32 f/16 f/16 f/22

Mount Sony E-mount Sony E-mount Sony E-mount Sony E-mount Sony E-mount Sony E-mount

Filter size 49mm 62mm 67mm 72mm 49mm 55mm

Dimensions (D x L) 64.4 x 70.5mm 69 x 81.5mm 72.5 x 149.1mm 78.5 x 112mm 62.6 x 20.4mm 66.6 x 75mm

Weight 281g 490g 730g 630g 69g 308g

OVERALL
OVERALL

43
BUYER’S GUIDE

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Fujifilm X-H1
£1,699/$1,899 (body only)
The Fujifilm X-H1 looks like an X-T2 on steroids, 4

but there’s a lot more to it than that

SPECIFICATIONS POSITIONED above 1


the current X-Pro2 and The X-H1 is easier to
Sensor 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III,
the X-T2, the Fujifilm hold than the X-T2 and
23.5 x 15.6mm
Image processor X Processor Pro X-H1 is to be “the better balanced with
AF points 91/325-point highest-performance camera in Fujifilm’s ‘red badge’
hybrid contrast/phase AF the X Series range of mirrorless pro lenses
ISO range 200-12,800, cameras,” according to the firm.
expandable to ISO 100-51,200 Key features in this latest 2
(in 35mm terms) and a 100fps
Max image size 6,000 x 4,000 pixels arrival include Fujifilm’s 24.3 refresh rate; while the 3-inch tilting
Metering zones 256 megapixel X-Trans CMOS III The X-H1 uses the LCD screen has a 1.04-million-dot
Video 4K 4K at 30fps, same 24MP X-Trans
sensor and X-Processor Pro panel and is touch-sensitive – it also
UHD at 30/25/24fps Sensor Pro as other
processor, familiar from other Fujifilm models, but
has a sideways tilt action.
Viewfinder OLED EVF, 3.69 million dots
models. In the X-H1 these are now it’s attached There’s an LCD panel on the top
Memory card 2 x SD/SDHC/SDXC,
UHS II teamed up with a brand-new to an in-body plate, too, for displaying key shooting
LCD 3-inch tilting touchscreen, five-axis in-body stabilisation stabilisation system and exposure information. This is
1,040k dots system – a first for Fujifilm – the first time such a panel has been
Max burst 8fps (11fps with optional which works alongside its incorporated on an X-series camera,
3
grip), 14fps electronic shutter stabilised lenses to provide up to though the medium-format GFX
Connectivity Wi-Fi an impressive 5.5 stops of The rear screen is 50S has one.
Size 140 x 98 x 86mm exposure compensation. touch-sensitive and At first glance, the X-H1 doesn’t
Weight 673g (body only, with tilts up and down; it
The X-H1 body itself is made seem to be any more sports-
battery and memory card) also has a sideways
from a magnesium alloy that’s orientated than the X-T2. However,
tilt action for low-
some 25% thicker than in the angle shots with the it comes with a new optional grip
X-T2, and that has been weather- camera held vertically accessory: the VPB-XH1 Vertical
sealed for protection against Power Booster. In addition to
the elements. Fujifilm has boosting battery life and making
4
additionally fitted the new portrait-orientation-shooting easier,
camera with a 3.69-million- The X-H1’s top plate the VPB-XH1 also increases the
dot electronic viewfinder, has a welcome status maximum burst rate of the
which has a 0.75x magnification LCD for showing mechanical shutter to 11fps, and
camera settings

44
also features a headphone port for 2 3
1
audio monitoring while recording
video. With the help of this grip, the Image noise Detail rendition Colour rendition
X-H1 becomes a pretty serious sports The X-H1’s X-Trans sensor offers With no low-pass filter over the Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes
and action camera. very good noise control, even image sensor, the X-H1 delivers closely match the properties of
at high ISOs crystal clear images its classic film emulsions
Build and handling
Compared with the X-T2, the biggest
control layout change is a more
Meet the
defined grip and the 1.28in rivals…
LCD screen on the top-plate.
Like other higher-end X-mount The cameras
Panasonic G9 Sony A6500
Fujifilm cameras, the X-H1 uses taking on the £1,499/$1,698 £1,349/$1,298
a traditional control layout, with a Fujifilm X-H1… The G9’s Micro Four The A6500 looks like
shutter speed dial on the top plate Thirds sensor is it should be a good
and a lens aperture ring on the lens roughly half the size match for the X-H1,
itself (though not on all lenses). but it hits back with but its small body
There’s no need for the mode dial you ultra-high-speed makes it handle
typically find on other cameras, FOR MORE shooting and 4K awkwardly with
since the regular ‘PASM’ exposure
CAMERA photo modes. big lenses.
REVIEWS, VISIT Reviewed Page 22 Reviewed Page 40
mode options can be achieved by
digitalcamera
setting either the lens aperture ring world.com
or the shutter speed dial to the

45
Above Fujifilm’s secret weapon is its extended dynamic range mode. This can
produce raw files with a huge tonal range, as shown by this edited image

A position and adjusting the other certain functions (such as


manually – or you can set both to instantly zooming into the image
A for Program AE mode. upon playback). It is possible to
The rear LCD maintains the ‘click’ sometimes when you
X-T2’s three-axis pivoting design, meant to ‘spin’, but the X-H1’s
which is especially useful when dials have a pretty firm action, so
you’re shooting in a portrait in practice this shouldn’t happen
orientation. The screen works often. The main surprise is the
well, although it’s not always shutter release. It is extremely
easy to see clearly when you’re light – much lighter than any
outdoors in bright light. It’s other camera we can remember
touch-sensitive too, though testing – and it could be some
perhaps not quite as responsive time before your trigger finger
as some rival cameras. This is not adapts to the very light touch
necessarily a bad thing, though: needed to half-press the button
you’re less likely to inadvertently for focusing, or the very slight
Above The X-H1’s
press it with a stray finger or, extra pressure needed to fire off Performance
size increase over
indeed, your nose. the shutter. The X-H1’s autofocus system looks
the X-T2 gives it
Both front and rear command The second surprise is the better balance complex, but is actually quite
dials on the X-H1 move easily and uncanny quietness of the shutter. with longer lenses straightforward. You can choose
click into the body to perform Fujifilm says it has incorporated from single-point autofocus, zone AF
a new shock-absorption system (you can change the size and position
for what it calls “almost silent” of the zone) and wide-area AF. You
The X-H1’s shutter operation. We’ve heard this kind switch between single-shot AF,
action is not silent, of claim from camera makers continuous AF and manual focus with
many times before, but this time a lever on the front of the camera, and
but it’s way softer it’s true – the X-H1’s shutter in continuous AF mode, the wide-area
and quieter than any action is not truly silent, but it’s AF option becomes a tracking mode.
way softer and quieter than any Tested with Fujifilm’s ‘red badge’
mechanical focal plane mechanical focal plane shutter 16-55mm f2.8 lens, static autofocus
shutter should be should be! speeds are very fast. If you

46
COLOUR ERROR

SCORES CLOSER
FUJIFILM X-H1 -1.3
TO ZERO ARE BETTER

NIKON D500 1.6

PANASONIC G9 1.7

SONY ALPHA 6500 -3.5

-5 0 5 10 15 20

We compared the X-H1’s lab results with


those from three rival cameras – the Nikon
D500, the Panasonic G9 and the Sony A6500.
The X-H1 produced the lowest colour error
out of this quartet

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10 HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

Above The X-H1’s The X-H1 and the Panasonic G9 come out on
rich colours and top for noise. The G9 is very slightly better
subtle tones are at low ISO settings – surprising, given its
just what we’ve smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor
come to expect
from Fujifilm
X-mount cameras RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
14
Left The in-body
image stabilisation
Exposure Value
12
system greatly
extends the X-H1’s 10
low-light shooting
capabilities 8

6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

Again, the Panasonic G9 is a surprise winner


in this test. But the Fujifilm X-H1 is a close
accidentally give the super-light Fujifilm models – is its expanded second, tying very closely with the Nikon
D500 for dynamic range
shutter release a full press dynamic range modes, which can
instead of a half-press, you might be set to 200% or 400%, or left
think the camera has fired on ‘automatic’. Expanding the WE SAY...
without focusing. It hasn’t – it’s dynamic range pushes up the
Some might be disappointed that the X-H1
just very fast, and very quiet. base ISO level by 1 or 2EV, which appears only a modest upgrade over the
Older, less sophisticated lenses some photographers might not X-T2, but Fujifilm’s changes are aimed
like the 23mm f2.8 pancake lens like, but the payback is raw squarely at professionals and experts and
are slower and noisier, but that’s files with a huge range of tick the few remaining boxes that the X-T2
the lens, not the camera. tonal information. The noise left unchecked. The new in-body stabilisation
In continuous shooting mode, levels are equally impressive. alone is enough to justify the modest price
the autofocus system keeps up Even at ISO 6400, real-world increase over the X-T2.
very well, both for single-point, images still look remarkably
VERDICT
zone and wide area tracking – sharp, textured and noise-free.
though in tracking mode, very When you factor in Fujifilm’s FEATURES
erratic subject movements can excellent film simulation modes –
cause the autofocus to lose the black-and-white Acros mode BUILD & HANDLING
contact with the subject. is especially impressive – you
The X-H1’s regular JPEGs have a camera that doesn’t just PERFORMANCE
and raw files offer good dynamic perform well as a device, but
VALUE
range, but the camera’s secret produces first-rate photographic
weapon – common to all the quality too. OVERALL

47
BUYER’S GUIDE
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Fujifilm X-T20 £800/$800 (body only) 4

Love the idea of the Fujifilm X-T2, but can’t afford


it? Well, now you can get its little brother…

SPECIFICATIONS FUJIFILM’S X-mount 1


Sensor 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III cameras have truly The X-T20 takes the
sensor (23.6 x 15.6mm) re-invigorated the same X-mount lenses including the new black-and-white
Crop factor 1.5x enthusiast as the X-T2, X-Pro2 Acros option. The ISO range is also
Memory 1x SD card slot interchangeable-lens camera and other X-cameras higher than the X-T10’s, with a
Viewfinder OLED EVF, 2,360k dots market. The quirky X-Pro and the maximum of ISO 12,800, or 51,200 in
Max Video resolution 4K 3,840 SLR-style X-T1 kicked the whole ‘expanded’ mode.
x 2,160 2
thing off, with Fujifilm’s terrific, Best of all, the X-T20 gets the new
ISO range 200-12,800, expandable The rear screen
almost film-like X-Trans sensor, autofocus system seen in the X-T2,
to 100-51,200 doesn’t have the
an excellent range of zoom and with 91 AF points (325 in single-point
Autofocus points Hybrid phase- sideways tilt of the
detection/contrast AF, 91 AF points, prime lenses, rugged build and AF mode) covering around 85% of
X-T2’s, but it is
49 cross-type old-school external controls. touch-sensitive
the frame (you don’t get that
Max burst rate 14fps (electronic The original 16-megapixel coverage with a digital SLR) and 49
shutter), 8fps (mechanical shutter) X-Trans sensor was starting to cross-type AF points in a central area,
LCD screen Tilting 3-inch touchscreen look underpowered in a market 3 covering around 40% of the frame.
TFT, 1,040k dots dominated by 24MP cameras, so The EVF is slightly Fujifilm’s aim is to match the
Shutter speeds 30-1/4,000 sec, Bulb, the arrival of the X-Pro 2, X-T2 and smaller than the continuous autofocus and subject-
T (mechanical), 4-1/32,000 sec now the X-T20 has caused quite a X-T2’s, but it’s a crisp tracking capability of the best
(electronic) and clear OLED
stir. In effect, the X-T20 replaces SLRs; it’s taken another big step
Weight 383g (body only, with battery display with 2.36
the X-T10, but the improvements closer here.
and memory card) million dots and little
Dimensions 118 x 83 x 41mm go far beyond a simple increase Round the back, Fujifilm has added
or no visible lag
Power supply NP-W126S lithium-ion in resolution. The new sensor is touch control to the tilting LCD
battery (supplied) teamed up with Fujifilm’s new display, and on the top of the camera
X-Processor Pro image processor 4 there’s a new Auto lever to quickly
to deliver faster start-up, better It’s like stepping back switch the camera to full auto mode
autofocus tracking and improved in time! The X-T20 has when there’s no time to think about
continuous shooting. an old-school shutter the settings or you’re passing it over
The X-T20 can also shoot 4K speed dial and, on to someone else to use.
video and, thanks to the more most lenses, an The X-T20 represents a major
powerful processor, it can apply aperture control ring upgrade over the X-T10. In fact, it’s so
on the lens rather
Fujifilm’s famed Film Simulation powerful you may be wondering what
than the body
modes to shots at the same time, the more expensive X-T2 has that this

48
1 2 3

Bokeh Detail Dynamic range


The X-T20’s 18-55mm kit lens can produce The combination of the new 24.3MP sensor and Fujifilm’s dynamic range expansion options
an attractively shallow depth of field at its an above-average kit lens can result in beautifully make it easy to capture good shadow detail
maximum wide-angle aperture of f2.8 sharp shots, containing bags of detail without risk of blowing any highlights

camera doesn’t. Well, the X-T2 is edges of an old-fashioned 35mm film good too; while it doesn’t have the
larger and more robust – it’s dust- SLR. Fujifilm’s 18-55mm f2.8-4.0 kit sideways tilt of the X-T2, it does
proof, splash-proof and freeze-proof lens feels a fraction large for the have Touch Focus, Touch Focus
down to -10 degrees Centigrade. camera when it’s fitted, but you Area Selection and Touch Shot, if you
It has an ISO dial and a metering shouldn’t let that put you off: it’s the enable it. If you don’t want to use the
mode switch, while the X-T20 relies best match for the X-T20’s features touchscreen for focus point
on menus for these settings; it has and image quality. selection, you can press the ‘down’
a slightly better buffer capacity The OLED electronic viewfinder is navigation button and move the AF
and – with an optional battery grip – a excellent. It’s sharp and vibrant and point with the directional controls.
faster 11fps continuous shooting shows no discernible lag, even in dim The X-T20’s top view highlights
speed. The X-T2 also has improved lighting. The tilting rear screen is the difference between Fujifilm’s
video options, a sideways tilting
screen (as well as up/down) and
twin UHS II card slots. (The X-T20 has Meet the
a single UHS I card slot.) rivals…
If you don’t need these features,
or don’t think they’re worth the extra The cameras
money, the X-T20 is a tempting Canon EOS M5 Fujifilm X-T1 Olympus OM-D
taking on the £1,050/$980 £800/$1,300 E-M5 Mark II
proposition. It may be the X-T2’s little
brother, but it still packs plenty of
Fujifilm X-T20… Canon’s first The arrival of the £750/$900
mirrorless EOS M X-T2 means prices The Micro Four
power, and it sacrifices fewer of the
with a built-in for the X-T1 have Thirds sensor is half
X-T2’s capabilities than you’d think. viewfinder looks fallen – but the the physical size of
both expensive and, X-T20’s newer the Fujifilm’s, but the
Build and handling FOR MORE well, a little dull up technology makes E-M5 is an extremely
The X-T20 is a likeable little camera CAMERA against the X-T20. it a clear winner. powerful camera.
that impresses you as soon as you REVIEWS, VISIT Reviewed Page 76
pick it up. It’s more compact than an www.techradar.
APS-C SLR, with the squared-off com/cameras

49
to +/-3EV but has an additional C
position, which allows you to go up to
+/-5EV using the front control dial.
These control dials have different
functions, depending on the mode
you’re in. They work pretty well, but
their ‘click’ action for additional
functions can be annoying. It is easy
to press too hard as you try to turn
them, and activate a function you
didn’t want.
More annoyingly, it’s too easy to
press the ‘up’ navigation button on
the back of the camera with the base
of your thumb as you’re handling the
camera. This displays the Sync
Terminal M Setting screen, which is
no doubt useful in the right context,
but we were sick of the sight of it by
the end of the test.
As good as the dial-based controls
are, there are still some settings that
need the menus. There are two
bracketing settings on the drive
mode dial, for example – which is
very handy – but you have to dig
pretty deep into the menus to change
the EV steps for exposure bracketing,
which are in the Drive Setting section
of the Shooting Setting menu.
The X-T20’s state-of-the-art
hybrid autofocus system sounds
complicated, but actually it isn’t.
If you want to follow fast-moving
objects in continuous shooting mode,
your best bet is to use the Zone AF
mode and try to keep the AF zone
over your subject. Remember to turn
the AF mode switch on the front of
the camera to C or ‘continuous’, or
the AF will not track your subject.
Despite all those lovely external
dials, the X-T20 still relies heavily on
X-mount mirrorless cameras and position to effectively get Above Here we see its menu system and its ‘Q’ quick
other SLRs and CSCs. For a start, Program AE mode. the X-T20’s superb settings screen. It may take a little
there’s no mode dial. You set the The aperture setting is where exposure metering while to figure out the location of
shutter speed using a dial on top it can get slightly complicated. system performing some of the more in-depth controls.
of the camera or set it to the A Only a few of Fujifilm’s high-end faultlessly, backed
up by wide dynamic
position if you want it to select the lenses have aperture rings with Performance
range and faultless
shutter speed automatically f-stop markings. Lesser lenses, The X-T20’s performance is so good
auto white balance
(Aperture Priority mode). like the 18-55mm kit lens, have in so many ways that it’s hard to fault.
Likewise, you choose the a simple manual/auto switch: The metering system produced great
aperture value on the lens, or set when the lens is set to manual, results across different situations;
this to A if you want the camera to you turn a ring on the lens to the only time compensation was
choose it for you (Shutter Priority adjust the aperture value, which needed was with intrinsically light or
mode). Or you set both to the A is shown on the camera’s display. dark subjects – and that’s the same
Some lenses lack either, and the for any in-camera metering system.
aperture is set solely by the It’s worth mentioning Fujifilm’s
So often, when you controls on the camera body. dynamic range expansion system.
choose a cheaper Fujifilm’s dial-based exposure You can set this to 100% (no
control is a brilliant idea; it’s just a expansion), 200% (1EV expansion)
model, you feel you’re shame it’s not carried through or 400% (2EV expansion); or set it
giving away more fully on all of its X-mount lenses. to Auto so that it adjusts the dynamic
performance than you Still on the top of the camera, range automatically.
there’s a drive mode dial on the This can be useful in bright or
want – but that’s not far left and an EV compensation contrasty conditions, and it can be
the case here dial on the far right. This goes up used with the camera’s highlight and

50
COLOUR ERROR

Fujifilm X-T20 4.7

Canon EOS M5 6.2

Fujifilm X-T1 6.7


SCORES
CLOSER
Olympus E-M5 II 5.7 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER
-5 0 5 10 15 20

The X-T20 wins narrowly in this comparison,


although all of the cameras we tested it
against – the Canon EOS M5, Fujifilm X-T1
(now the same price as the X-T20) and
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II – are pretty good

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

With up to 325 focus points 40


covering 85% of the image

Decibels
frame, nailing a precise 30

focal point is a breeze


20

10
shadow tone adustments to control It’s pretty impressive with moving HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
really bright highlights or dense subjects, too; although we did get a few 0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
shadows. This, combined with dud shots during our continuous
Fujifilm’s attractive Film Simulation shooting tests, that was more to do with Again, all four cameras are pretty close for
modes, means that you can get operator error than the camera’s AF noise control, but the X-T20 is at the front of
closer to the perfect ‘look’ without system. It takes practice to centre the pack and marginally better than the ‘old’
having to shoot and process a fast-moving subject, and it’s easy X-T1, despite the increase in resolution
RAW files. to blame the camera for unfocused shots
The most striking film simulations when in fact it’s the framing that caused RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
are Velvia, which produces dense, the error. 14
vivid colours, and the new Acros Having said that, the combination of
black-and-white mode which seems screen blackout and slowdown as the Exposure Value 12

to deliver deeper, richer tones than buffer fills can make it difficult to follow 10
the regular monochrome option. subjects towards the end of a burst – it’s
Fujifilm’s 18-55mm f2.8-4.0 kit probably best to stick to JPEGs rather 8

lens is a cut above the average kit than RAW files if you don’t know how
6
lens too, producing great detail, long you’ll need to keep the shutter HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
contrast and sharpness. The X-T20 button pressed. 4
10 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
can match any digital SLR or The X-T20 is a really impressive little
mirrorless rival in its price range for camera. It uses the same sensor as the Another close result. The X-T20’s results
image quality. more expensive X-T2 and matches most have not been compromised by the higher
The new autofocus system is good of the bigger camera’s features. So often, resolution – though the smaller sensor of
too. For single-shot photography, its when you choose a cheaper model, you the Olympus delivers some great figures
acquisition speed and accuracy feel feel as if you’re giving away more
as good as a mid-range SLR and it performance or control than you want to WE SAY...
doesn’t slow down when you switch – but that’s not the case with the X-T20.
The X-T20 is a very compact camera that,
from the viewfinder to live view. Rod Lawton
now and again, feels like there are a few too
many controls to leave proper space for your
hands – but that’s a minor quibble in the
face of its image quality, features and
performance. It’s not just a brilliant camera:
it’s a bit of a bargain too.

VERDICT
FEATURES

BUILD & HANDLING


Right The new X-T20 easily
outperforms its predecessor PERFORMANCE
in continuous autofocus
performance, providing you VALUE
move fast enough to keep
your subject framed correctly OVERALL

51
BUYER’S GUIDE
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Fujifilm GFX 50S £6,200/$6,500 (body only)


Hot on the heels of the Hasselblad X1D comes the
long-awaited GFX, a very different kind of camera 3

SPECIFICATIONS FOR a long time, 1


Sensor 51.4MP medium-format medium-format digital The GFX 50S takes
Bayer sensor (43.8 x 32.9mm) cameras have been new G-mount lenses,
Crop factor 0.8x big, heavy and with a crop factor of
Memory Two SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I/II incredibly expensive. Now we approximately 0.8x.
Viewfinder OLED, 3,690k dots have not one but two lower-cost This 63mm f2.8 is
Max Video resolution 1,920 x 1,080 cameras that could at last bring roughly equivalent
ISO range 100-12,800 medium-format to the masses to a 50mm lens in
(50-102,400 expanded) full-frame terms
– the Hasselblad X1D and the
Autofocus points Contrast AF,
long-awaited Fujifilm GFX 50S.
117 points
Max burst rate 3fps You’ll find the Hasselblad X1D 2
LCD screen 3.2-inch tilting LCD, review on page 60 – we found its The GFX is a
2,360k dots minimal design effective and mirrorless camera, so If you’re waiting for an affordable
Shutter speeds 60-1/4,000 sec, attractive, and its results superb. it uses an electronic full-frame 645 model with the
Bulb, Time (electronic shutter, up to Now it’s the turn of the GFX 50S. viewfinder. The same sensor as the 100MP PhaseOne
1/16,000 sec) The ‘50S’ refers to the GFX’s standard unit can be XF100, you could be waiting a while
Weight 825g (body only, with 50-megapixel sensor, which is the slid out and replaced yet. In the meantime, the GFX and
battery and memory card) same size and resolution as the with a tilting version X1D still offer a sensor area 68%
Dimensions 148 x 94 x 91mm
one in the X1D. larger than a full-frame camera like
Power supply NP-T125 lithium-ion
These are not actually 3 the Canon 5DS.
battery, 400 shots
‘medium format’ in the old film Let’s start with that sensor. This is
Like the Fujifilm
camera sense. Digital medium- X-T2, the GFX
a regular ‘Bayer’ sensor (not X-Trans)
format cameras break down into has traditional measuring roughly 44 x 33mm,
two main camps: ‘full-frame’ 645 ‘mechanical’ lens compared to 36 x 24mm for 35mm
film equivalent models like the aperture, shutter full-frame cameras. Although the
PhaseOne XF100, and smaller- speed and ISO dials 50MP resolution sounds high, the
sensor models like the GFX, the pixels are packed in no more tightly
This is not  an action X1D and the Pentax 645Z. These than they are on the 36MP Nikon
camera. The GFX is bear the same size ratio, very D810, say, so you can still expect low
roughly, to ‘full-frame medium- noise and good dynamic range.
designed for ultra-high- format’ that APS-C cameras do Unlike the Hasselblad X1D, the
quality photography to 35mm full-frame. GFX uses a regular focal plane

52
1 2 3

Film Simulations Focus accuracy Background blur


You can choose from a variety of Film The GFX’s AF system lacks the speed of a The larger sensor brings more pronounced
Simulations, including Velvia, Provia and smaller-format camera’s, but its precision is depth-of-field effects, and can produce
Astia, though most users would probably invaluable when shooting detailed subjects at beautifully defocused backgrounds at
shoot RAW wide apertures wide apertures

shutter. This makes the body a good relative: it’s still a chunky bit of glass. camera. It offers a comfortable hold,
deal thicker, though overall it’s little Other lenses in the range, such as the though, with enough height in
heavier or larger than a pro-level GF 32-64mm F4 R LM WR are much the front grip for you to get three
35mm full-frame DSLR like the Nikon larger, an inevitable result of the fingers around it, with your index
D810 or the Canon EOS 5DS. sensor size. finger resting over the shutter
It’s a mirrorless design, so the The autofocus system is primitive release, and your thumb against a
viewfinder is electronic rather than by full-frame and APS-C standards. It large protrusion on the back and
optical. You get a regular eye-level relies on contrast AF (no on-sensor resting on the rear control dial. If we
viewfinder with the camera, which phase detection). Similarly, although gave cameras ratings for their grip
slides into an accessory slot on the the GFX’s shutter speed range is alone, this would get a ‘5’.
top of the camera – you can also get pretty good, its continuous shooting
a tilting viewfinder as an optional speed is capped at 3fps. But this is
extra, an sign that the GFX may not an action camera. The GFX is
develop into a true ‘system’ camera. designed for ultra-high-quality Meet the
The EVF is complemented by a photography in a package far more rivals…
tilting LCD display on the rear and an portable, robust and easy to use than
‘always on’ mono OLED screen on the anything the medium-format market The cameras
top plate: this shows battery status has seen before (though the Pentax Hasselblad X1D
taking on the £7,790/$9,000
and shots remaining when the 645Z arguably started this).
camera is switched off, and shooting
Fujifilm GFX… The slim X1D is a
very different beast
settings when the camera is on. Build and handling
to the GFX, but
Fujifilm has announced six On paper, the GFX and 63mm f2.8 delivers the same
lenses for the GFX G mount – three lens combination looks no bigger or style of big-sensor
available now and three later in 2017. heavier than a serious 35mm FOR MORE image quality at a
We were supplied with the 63mm full-frame camera. If you put it side by CAMERA similar price point.
f2.8, equivalent to roughly 50mm side with a Nikon D810, the two look REVIEWS, VISIT Reviewed Page 64
in 35mm full-frame terms. It’s the similar in size and bulk. But when you www.techradar.
smallest lens on offer, but ‘small’ is pick it up, it feels like a much larger com/cameras

53
The power switch is a lever by setting both the aperture ring Above The sensor screen is touch-sensitive and can be
around the shutter release – it’s and shutter speed dial to A. For produces RAW files used for setting the focus point, you
easy to flick on if you’re using the Aperture Priority mode, you set with beautiful may not get a feel for it straight away.
camera sporadically – and the the shutter speed dial to A and rendition and a You also get touch control in Playback
startup time is around a second. choose your aperture manually; large tonal range, mode, where you can swipe through
The controls are refreshingly for Shutter Priority mode, you set allowing heavy your images and pinch them to zoom
adjustment without
old-school. The aperture is the aperture ring to A and choose in. You can also double-tap to view
degrading quality
adjusted with a ring on the lens, the shutter speed manually. your images at 100% – which you’re
with one-third EV increments On the left of the top plate is an likely to do very often, in awe of the
between each full value – or you ISO dial. Like all of the dials here, it level of detail.The one control that
can set the lens to the A position has a firm ‘click’ and just the right grates is the EV compensation
for automatic adjustment. amount of weight. button, a tiny pimple near the
Shutter speed adjustment is The rear dial could do with a shutter release.
carried out via a lockable dial on fraction more space round it to You hold this down with your index
the top plate. Again, you can set make it easier to spin, though, finger while turning the rear dial with
shutter speeds manually or and some minor controls are in your thumb, and it feels a lot trickier
choose A to let the camera work odd positions. Once you learn than it ought to be. Overall, though,
them out. There’s no mode dial. where they are, however, you the GFX feels solid and well-made,
Instead, you get Program mode realise there’s some thought with an unusually good grip and very
behind it. The ‘Q’ button on the good controls. If regular DSLRs and
You can double-tap rear thumb protrusion, for mirrorless cameras were made this
example, is in the perfect position way, we’d probably get a lot more
the screen to view for your thumb to find by feel. satisfaction out of using them.
your images at 100% – Just to the left of where your
which you’re likely to thumb naturally rests is a small Performance
but precise thumbstick for By full-frame or APS-C standards, the
do very often, in awe changing the AF point. This is GFX’s operational performance is
of the level of detail handy, because although the rear pretty pedestrian. The contrast AF

54
The GFX excels
in the studio, and
as a hand-held COLOUR ERROR
camera too
Fujifilm GFX 50S 9.8

Canon EOS 5DS 2.3

Hasselblad X1D 15.1


SCORES
CLOSER
Pentax 645Z -5.2 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER
-5 0 5 10 15 20

The full-frame Canon EOS 5DS gave the best


colour accuracy, while the Fujifilm GFX,
Hasselblad X1D and Pentax 645Z were more
wayward. However, most users of cameras like
these will edit colours to their taste anyway

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

system is effective and versatile, and The dynamic range results were
10
covers nearly all of the frame – but it’s only average in the lab, but it was a HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
not especially fast. But the GFX is different story in real-world use. To 0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
made for considered photography, keep the playing field level, we don’t
and in these situations the AF is fine. use in-camera dynamic range The GFX’s RAW files gave the best signal-to-
It might take a second to adjust to enhancement options in the lab tests, noise ratio we’ve yet seen at ISO 100 and it
a big change in focus distance, but but we did use Fujifilm’s dynamic range keeps its lead through most of the ISO range.
smaller adjustments are quicker. expansion mode in the field, and this With JPEGs, the results are much closer
The image quality, however, adds substantially to the tonal range it
quickly makes you forget any of this. can capture. RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
The level of detail the GFX captures is In Lightroom or Camera Raw, the 14
simply stunning. Part of this can be GFX’s RAW files reveal substantial
attributed to the 50MP resolution, reserves of shadow and highlight Exposure Value 12

part to the larger sensor size, and detail. 10


part – we suspect – to the new It would take a long time to test the
G-mount Fujifilm lens we were using. Fujifilm GFX 50S in every possible set 8

We’ve seen with cameras like the of conditions, but our time with it
6
Nikon D810 and Canon 5DS that reveals a camera that delivers superb HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
high-resolution sensors need the image quality and handles brilliantly. It 4
10 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
best-quality lenses, since they show might not have the responsiveness of a
up any edge softness or fringing smaller-format camera, but that’s both The GFX delivered slightly disappointing
mercilessly, but the 63mm f2.8 lens a by-product of the larger sensor and dynamic range results in our tests, which
supplied with our camera showed an acceptable compromise in a were, however, carried out with its dynamic
none of these. It was sharp and clean camera that can do what this one can. range expansion mode disabled
to an almost uncanny degree. Rod Lawton
WE SAY...
Left The 50-megapixel
sensor and 63mm f2.8 It’s unrealistic to expect a large-sensor
lens can capture amazing camera to match the autofocus and
levels of detail continuous shooting performance of a
full-frame or APS-C camera – or the price.
But the GFX takes a massive step towards
that, bringing with it the beautiful fluidity of
big-sensor images and superb resolution.

VERDICT
FEATURES

BUILD & HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

VALUE

OVERALL

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BUYER’S GUIDE

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Fujifilm X-Pro2
£1,349/$1,699 (body only)
With a new sensor and an overhauled AF system,
this is a significant update to a revered pioneer

SPECIFICATIONS FUJIFILM’S X-Pro1 1 new command dial. This joins the


Sensor 24.3MP APS-C X- provided the firm with The shallow grip has a previously seen rear dial, while
Trans CMOS III a solid start to its textured coating that a control for the ISO setting has been
Crop factor 1.5x X-series range gives good purchase integrated into the shutter-speed dial
Memory SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II in slot 1) of interchangeable-lens on the top plate. This is adjusted by
Viewfinder 0.48in Advanced Hybrid cameras – but in the face of 2 pulling the dial upwards; while
Multi Viewfinder, 2.36million dots technological progress, its perfectly usable, it’s somewhat
Max video resolution Full HD (1,920 x This hotshoe allows
winning formula could only keep compatible flashguns
fiddly, and also means that the ISO
1,080) up to 60p
the original model afloat for so to be mounted setting can no longer be changed
ISO range 200-12,800;
long. The X-Pro2 picked up through the menu system.
expandable to 100-51,200
Autofocus points 77 points the baton, debuting a 23.4MP The shutter speed dial itself,
3
(expandable to 273 points) X-Trans CMOS III sensor and however, is less obstructed than the
Max burst rate 8fps an upgraded X Processor Pro, The screen is fixed X-Pro1’s, and thus easier to turn. The
Screen 3in LCD, 1.62 million dots together with a raft of changes rather than tilting, exposure compensation dial is also
Shutter speeds 30-1/8,000 sec across the rest of the spec sheet. which is a shame now larger than before and can apply
(to 1/32,000 sec in electronic shutter The X-Pro1’s existing up to -/+3EV compensation (and up
mode), Bulb autofocus system has been 4 to -/+5EV on its new ‘C’ setting),
Weight 445g (body only) replaced with a 77-point system in although it suffers from the common
Dimensions 141 x 83 x 46mm Small prime lenses
the X-Pro2. This sees 40% of the with an aperture ring issue of being inadvertently knocked
Power supply Rechargeable
frame covered by phase- are the ideal choice out of position all too easily.
lithium-ion battery (NP-W126)
detection pixels and a 273-point- for the X-Pro2 The viewfinder is much improved,
expansion option, together with with a faster display rate of 85fps
Zone and Wide/Tracking options meaning that details appear smooth
for moving subjects. and natural when moving around the
A new three-inch scene. Its high resolution means that
LCD screen offers Build & handling clarity is excellent. It also does well to
The magnesium-alloy body is keep the feed relatively clean when
an impressive sealed against dust and splashes. lighting conditions fall. While it’s a
1,620k-dot resolution The main design change sees a shame that the LCD screen beneath

56
COLOUR ERROR

Fuijifilm X-Pro2 3.9

Panasonic GX8 -6.6

Olympus E-M5 II 5.7


SCORES
CLOSER TO
Sony Alpha 7 II 1.8 ZERO ARE
BETTER
-10 -5 0 5 10

In the default settings, colours in JPEGs are


measured to be more accurate than most
of the X-Pro2’s peers and even the X-Pro1,
just slightly behind the Sony Alpha 7 II

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

Above The X-Pro2 sources. Colours are accurate and 20


enables you to pleasing on the default Standard/
reduce the size of Provia Film Simulation option. 10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
the focusing point, The metering system does well in RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

which was helpful unbalanced scenes dominated by 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
here, as it enabled highlights or shadows, although
me to focus tightly While the X-Pro2’s signal-to-noise ratio is
highlights can occasionally roll off respectable at its base ISO, and relatively
on the stamens of
sooner than expected. consistent across the rest of the range, it’s
the flower in
this shot There’s typically a little noise a little lower than those from rival cameras
visible in images at the camera’s
Left The effects of base sensitivity of ISO 200, although
the camera’s Low
RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
this is generally well-controlled
Noise Reduction 14
throughout much of the sensitivity
option can be seen

Exposure Value
range. The camera’s noise-reduction 12
in this ISO 12,800
image, but good options can successfully process out
detail has been the worst of this without too many 10

retained in busier artefacts remaining, although better


8
parts of the scene results can be achieved through
manually processing RAW images. 6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
While both the X-Pro2’s sensor RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

and many of the lenses ideally 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
partnered with it lack image Up until ISO 3,200, there’s little to split the
the viewfinder is neither touch- stabilisation, the OIS system found X-Pro2 from its peers. Things take a slide at
sensitive nor physically adjustable in inside certain lenses does make a and after ISO 6,400, though, where the likes
any way, it similarly displays details difference to the sharpness of images of the Alpha 7 II continue to hold up
well and has a decent viewing angle. at longer focal lengths and slower
shutter speeds. We found this to work
WE SAY...
Performance to an advantage of around 3EV on
Focusing speeds are noticeably average with the XF 50-140mm f2.8 R The X-Pro2 is a worthy update to the X-Pro1.
improved. The new Zone and Wide/ LM OIS WR, for example, although The original’s classic styling has been
Tracking modes also mean that the this varies with subject distance. retained and many of that camera’s foibles
camera can be used to follow moving It’s great to see more control over addressed. While a few of the changes aren’t
entirely for the better, the X-Pro2 is a much
subjects where its predecessor could video recording options than before,
more capable tool for a broader range of
not, doing well to stay with the subject not to mention a port for external genres, particularly moving subjects.
in good light and contributing to a microphones, Footage is recorded
high hit rate when combined with the smoothly and with good detail.
camera’s 8fps burst mode. Now At 210 frames on the camera’s VERDICT
and again, the system is distracted High Performance setting and 250 on
by surrounding subjects, but this is the Standard option, you may need a FEATURES
true of many similar systems. spare battery.
BUILD & HANDLING
Images from the X-Pro2 are There’s an Economy setting that
characterised by accurate white boosts this to 330 frames, although PERFORMANCE
balance in most conditions, with the drop in electronic viewfinder
the automatic setting only really performance may discourage you VALUE
showing any serious errors under from using this.
Matt Golowczynski
OVERALL
certain mixed natural/artificial

57
BUYER’S GUIDE

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4

Fujifilm X-T2
£1,399/$1,599 (body only)
The X-T1 brought real class and style to the mirrorless
camera market; the X-T2 adds speed and resolution

SPECIFICATIONS IT’S no surprise the 1 side for portrait-format shots.


Sensor 24.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor X-T2 gets the The X-T2 uses Interestingly, Fujifilm has not
(23.6x15.6mm) impressive 24.3MP Fujifilm’s expanding included a touchscreen – it’s spoken
Focal length conversion on lens 1.5x APS-C X-Trans III range of premium with customers and says there isn’t
Memory 2 x SD/SDHC/SDXC CMOS sensor first seen in the X-mount zoom and the hunger for it on X-series cameras.
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder, X-Pro2, and the 50% larger pixel prime lenses The X-T2 is the first Fujifilm
2,360,000-dot OLED count is a welcome upgrade X-series camera to shoot 4K UHD
Max video resolution 4K (3,840 from the sensor in the X-T1. 2 (3,840 x 2,160) video, offering a bit
x 2,160)
The X-T2’s electronic The electronic rate of 100Mbps (compared to
ISO range 200-12,800,
viewfinder has the same 2.36 viewfinder has a high 34Mbps on the X-T1) at 30, 25 or
expandable to 100-51,200
Autofocus Intelligent Hybrid AF, million-dot OLED display with resolution (2.36MP) 24fps. It offers recording times of up
325 points 0.77x magnification, but it’s and a higher frame to 10 minutes – although if you attach
Max burst rate 14fps now twice as bright, there’s an rate for less lag the optional VPBC-XT2 battery grip,
(electronic shutter mode) automatic brightness adjustment this is extended to 29 minutes and
Screen 3-inch, 1,040,000 dots, function and it features a higher 3 59 seconds. There’s HDMI output,
vertical/horizontal tilt baseline frame rate of 60fps – audio volume live monitoring and
Shutter speeds 30-1/8,000 sec, Bulb Unusually, the rear
and there’s now a Boost mode adjustment, and a microphone
Weight 507g (body only, with battery) screen tilts sideways
that increases this to 100fps to as well as vertically
socket in the body (and a 3.5mm
Dimensions 132.5 x 49.2 x 91.8mm
ensure that fast-moving subjects – handy for portrait- headphone terminal in the optional
Power supply NP-W126S lithium-ion
are displayed smoothly, although format shots grip). This all-new VPB-XT2 battery
battery (supplied)
this also drains the battery faster. grip improves the burst performance
The rear display has been of the X-T2 from 8fps to 11fps. Fujifilm
4
updated too. The 3.0-inch display claims the grip is good for 1,000
keeps the same 1.04 million-dot This is a modern shots with its two batteries fully
The SLR-like X-T2 resolution, but it has a new camera with classic charged – and that’s not forgetting
double-jointed design, making it controls, including the other battery in the camera.
is designed for the physical ISO, shutter
possible to pull the screen Finally, the X-T2 now features
brand’s growing outwards and away from the body
speed and exposure
dual SD card slots, both of which
compensation dials
range of fast zooms when the camera is tilted on its are UHS-II compatible.

58
The X-T2’s continuous autofocus performance
represents a big step forward, both in comparison COLOUR ERROR
to the X-T1 and for mirrorless cameras in general
Fujifilm X-T2 16.1

Olympus E-M5 Mk II 5.7

Panasonic GX8 -6.6

SCORES CLOSER
Sony Alpha 7 Mk II TO ZERO ARE 1.8
BETTER

-20 -10 0 10 20

The X-T2’s colour error value is on the high


side, but that’s more a reflection of its rich
and intense colour reproduction than any
issue with specific colours

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

Build and handling


10
There’s no radical redesign here. HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
Fujifilm has elected to take the X-T1 as 0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
its starting point, refining and
tweaking elements of that design. The X-T2 delivers good noise control, despite
As before, the body is crafted from its relatively high resolution. We used the
magnesium alloy, providing a solid bundled SilkyPix raw converter for this test,
and durable feel. It’s also weather- though not for dynamic range (see below)
sealed at 63 points to protect the
camera from dust and moisture. RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
The ISO and shutter speed dials 14
have been raised slightly compared

Exposure Value
with the X-T1, while the dial locks that 12

divided opinion on the X-T1 have been


10
adapted, making it now possible to
toggle each dial’s setting without the 8
need to release the lock. This is Above The X-T2’s expect to shoot 27 uncompressed
certainly a welcome improvement, X-Trans III CMOS RAW files at this rate before the 6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
and makes it easier to change sensor delivers buffer fills up. If you’re shooting RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

settings as the camera is raised to very good levels JPEGs, 81 files are possible before it 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
your eye, though it still feels slightly of detail for an slows down.
APS-C Initially, the X-T2’s RAW dynamic range
awkward when setting the ISO like With the optional battery grip, the looked poor, but this was traced back to the
sized sensor
this. The exposure compensation dial burst rate increases to 11fps, or if you SilkyPix raw converter. Adobe Camera Raw’s
has also been tweaked, so as well as switch to the electronic shutter, it’s dynamic range results are more in line with
offering physical adjustments of up to possible to shoot at 14fps without the its rivals
±3EV in 1/3 increments, there’s now need for the optional grip.
WE SAY...
a C position to set compensation up The X-T2’s new 24.3MP CMOS
to ±5EV with the front dial. sensor produces a noticeable jump in With a brilliant new AF system, lovely
detail recorded compared to results handling and an updated sensor that delivers
Performance from the X-T1. It does an excellent job pin-sharp images, the X-T2 has to be one of
the most desirable cameras available right
The new hybrid AF system in the X-T2 at resolving detail across the
now. It combines classic-style controls with
employs both phase-detection and sensitivity range, especially when state-of-the-art imaging technology and an
contrast-detection points, with up to compared to APS-C rivals with expanding range of first-rate lenses.
169 phase detect points arranged in a a similar resolution.
large square formation (13 x 13) in the The original X-T1 has been a firm
centre, supplemented by two grids of favourite amongst photographers, VERDICT
6 x 13 contrast-detect points either but the AF performance, particularly
side, to deliver a total of 325 focusing in continuous mode, was a stumbling
FEATURES
points across a large area of the block. The X-T2 changes that, with BUILD & HANDLING
frame. Fujifilm has overhauled the AF a big leap in AF performance. It
algorithm to boost accuracy, as well delivers fast and reliable autofocus PERFORMANCE
as allowing you to fine-tune how the that when matched with the fast
camera reacts to moving subjects. burst shooting mode, make the X-T2 VALUE
The burst rate is a decent 8fps, and a very capable camera for action.
OVERALL
with an SDHC UHS-II card you can Phil Hall

59
BUYER’S GUIDE

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Fujifilm X-E2S
3

£549/$699 (body only)


The X-E2S looks to refresh what the X-E2 offered.
Where does this leave it in an expanding category?

SPECIFICATIONS THE Fujifilm X-E2S 1 and a gently redesigned grip on the


Sensor 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II updates the well- The revised grip front. The rear command dial has also
Focal length conversion 1.5x regarded X-E2 with a doesn’t make too been restyled; this feels good under
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC modest collection of much difference, but the thumb, although it’d be useful to
(inc support for UHS-I) improvements. Many of these the camera handles have the Q button further down the
Viewfinder 0.5 inch organic EL concern focus, with the inclusion well nonetheless body for easier access.
Real Time Viewfinder, 2.36 million dots of a 49-point AF system that can The LCD and viewfinder both
Max video resolution Full HD be expanded to 77 points, as well 2 perform well, although increasing the
(1,920 x 1,080) up to 60p
as the option to track subjects Controls on the rear LCD’s brightness outdoors is a good
ISO range 200-6,400
with new Zone and Wide/ are mostly large, idea, as it can sometimes be difficult
(expandable to 100-51,200)
Autofocus points 49 points Tracking options and the promise well spaced out and to view. The focusing system
(expandable to 77 points) of faster focusing speeds. A new clearly identified performs admirably in good light and
Max burst rate 7fps electronic shutter permits only slows a touch when faced with
Screen 3 inch LCD, 1.04 million dots near-silent shooting and a top 3
darker conditions, while the kit lens’
Shutter speeds 30-1/4,000 sec shutter speed of 1/32,000 sec. image stabilisation system proves to
(1/32,000 sec using electronic These are joined by the same The dials on the top be effective too.
shutter), Bulb plate provide
16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor
Weight 350g (including battery immediate control
as before, as well as a 2.36 million over shutter speed
Performance
and memory card)
dot electronic viewfinder and and exposure With images, noise is well-controlled
Dimension 129 x 75 x 37mm
a 3-inch LCD that dominates the compensation throughout the ISO range and detail
Power supply Rechargeable
lithium-ion battery (NP-W126) rear. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation is generally good, although there is
modes provide control over a little softness at the telephoto end
4
colour and tonality, while Wi-Fi of the lens at f4, so it’s best to use a
connectivity means you can leave An easily reached Fn smaller aperture where possible. The
your card reader at home. button accesses Wi-Fi standard of JPEGs straight out of the
Noise is well controlled as standard, but this camera means these can be relied
can be customised
throughout the ISO Build & handling upon most of the time, although any
The camera has been fashioned RAW files can be quickly spruced up
range and detail is with a sturdy metal top plate and with in-camera processing.
generally good milled dials, with a textured wrap Matt Golowczynski

60
COLOUR ERROR

FUJIFILM X-E2S 19.0

OLYMPUS E-M10 II 7.1

PANASONIC GX80 -0.1


SCORES
CLOSER
SONY ALPHA 6000 -1.4 TO ZERO
ARE BETTER

-5 0 10 15 20 25

Sadly, this is one area where the X-E2S falls


short, with lab testing revealing colours
to be slightly out of line when the better
performance of rival models is considered

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Decibels
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

While the X-E2S doesn’t fare too badly for


noise in its raw files, performance by rival
cameras – notably the Panasonic GX80 –
shows it to be a touch behind

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE

Exposure Value

HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

1 2 3

Bokeh brilliance Sharp details A decent start and finish from the X-E2S with
Metering regards to dynamic range in raw files, but
Being able to focus closely to The camera’s default multi- In a shot captured at a shutter
the subject together with the speed of 1/70 sec, the image performance in the middlemost ISO settings
metering pattern has done a
kit lens’ maximum telephoto stabilisation system in the lens leaves room for improvement
good job at balancing the
aperture of f4 allows for exposure here. Highlights have has intervened to maintain
lovely, creamy, defocused been kept in check and details sharpness in focused areas WE SAY...
backgrounds are visible in shadows
While there may not be a world of difference
between the X-E2S and the model it updates,
it nevertheless has a lot going for it. With
Meet the a lovely design, an excellent viewfinder,
rivals… compatibility with a range of high-quality
glass and great image quality straight out of
the camera, it’s a welcome and competent
The cameras Olympus OM-D Panasonic Sony Alpha 6000 addition to the mid-range mirrorless sector.
taking on the E-M10 II Lumix GX80 Price: £510/$700
Fujifilm X-E2S Price: £550/$650 Price: £600/$800 (inc 16-50mm lens)
VERDICT
(inc 14-42mm lens) (inc 12-32mm lens) The A6000’s
The diminutive A slimmed-down 24.3MP sensor and FEATURES
E-M10 II matches the version of the 11fps burst shooting
X-E2S with a 16MP excellent GX8, make it a very BUILD & HANDLING
FOR TEST
sensor, a 3-inch LCD with its 16MP Micro strong competitor,
IMAGES AND
screen and a 2.36- Four Thirds sensor as does its cracking PERFORMANCE
RESOLUTION
million-dot viewfinder. allowing 4K focusing system.
CHARTS, VISIT
video shooting. VALUE
www.techradar.
com/cameras OVERALL

61
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

FUJIFILM
Fujifilm is a company intent on securing the lion’s share of the
mirrorless market through its beautifully designed X-System

F
ujifilm X-Series cameras and lenses from as wide as 10mm to 400mm. A reason a retro camera work experience that
have garnered a reputation for for choosing the Fujifilm system is the tactile will appeal to users of older 35mm film
outstanding image quality and robust functionality – many lenses feature a physical SLRs and rangefinders, while offering
construction. The lens range provides aperture ring on the lens barrel for adjusting modern photographers all of the digital
users with an extensive mix of quality fast the fstop, rather than relying only on a technology expected from a present-day
primes and zooms, covering focal lengths control dial on the camera body. This provides photographic tool.

FUJINON XF23mmF2 R WR FUJINON XF16mm F1.4 R WR


£419/$590 (approx) £849/$1,190 (approx)
RATING RATING

While there are faster prime is performed internally, so The 24mm equivalent focal length levels, aided by aspherical and
lenses available to buy in the mechanical noise is reduced and of this lens and wide f1.4 aperture low dispersion glass. Furthermore,
same focal length range, notably AF speed enhanced. The key feature make this optic a great choice for the nine-bladed aperture utilises a
the Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 R, of this lens is its price, which wedding and event photographers circular diaphragm for attractive
these come at the relatively is almost half the rrp of the who seek an inclusive angle-of- background blur. An overall
substantial cost of additional size, f1.4 variant. view, low light capabilities and excellent high-quality, general
weight and, of course, money. good depth-of-field control. While
This 35mm equivalent lens has the Technical data 24mm is not considered ultra-wide Technical data
ideal focal length for a range of Manufacturer Fujifilm by modern standards, it is a very Manufacturer Fujifilm
subjects, from landscape and Web www.fujifilm.eu usable focal length, so everyday Web www.fujifilm.eu
street life to environmental Elements/construction 10/ 6 Groups landscape and interior architectural Elements/construction 13/ 11 groups
portraiture, and at less than 200g, Angle of view 63.4° imaging needs are well covered. Angle of view 83.2°
is perfectly balanced on any of Max aperture f2 Featuring an all-metal build and full Max aperture f1.4
Fujifilm’s X-series CSCs. The Min aperture f16 weather resistance, this premium Min aperture f16
construction is excellent, as is Min focus distance 0.22 m construction makes it suited to Min focus distance 0.15 m
image quality, even when shooting Mount Fuji X mount outdoor photography. It is also Mount Fuji X mount
wide open at f2, at which edge Filter size 43 mm very lightweight considering the Filter size 67 mm
vignetting and distortion are well Length 51.9 mm maximum aperture, so travels well. Length 73mm
controlled. Autofocus is very Diameter 60 mm Sharpness and contrast of images Diameter 73.4mm
capable, and all focusing Weight 180g is very good, as are distortion Weight 375g

62
BUYER’S GUIDE

XF56mmF1.2 R APD XF80mmF2.8 R LM


OIS WR Macro
£1,159/$1,620 (approx)
£1,149/$1,610 (approx)
RATING RATING

As an f1.2 lens, this is a sizeable well controlled and sharpness is Adding flexibility to the X-series a focus and distance scale which,
optic, though smaller than full-frame excellent, with the exception of edge lens line-up, this 122mm equivalent although by no means a dealbreaker,
DSLR equivalents. A metal lens detail wide open. It has a high price macro model boasts weather may put off those who are used
barrel and internal focus mechanism tag, but is an investment if you resistance, image stabilisation and to manual focusing and precisely
indicate that this is a professional shoot in darker environments. Fuji’s Linear Motor (LM) for fast calculating depth-of-field.
tool, aimed at low-light and portrait autofocus. The OIS is highly effective,
photographers. Handling is good, Technical data offering up to five stops of shake Technical data
with a wide and smooth-rotating Manufacturer Fujifilm reduction – a bonus when shooting Manufacturer Fujifilm
focus ring and easy-to-grip aperture Web www.fujifilm.eu handheld, which is often necessary Web www.fujifilm.eu
ring. The unique feature of the lens Elements/construction 11/ 8groups when photographing quick subjects. Elements/construction 16/ 12 groups
is the built-in apodisation filter, Angle of view 28.5° The optical design features one Angle of view 20.1°
which compensates for differentially Max aperture f1.2 aspherical element and both ED Max aperture f 2.8
bright highlights in out-of-focus Min aperture f16 and Super ED glass for maximum Min aperture f22
regions, creating a smoother Min focus distance 0.7m image quality. The lens delivers high Min focus distance 0.25m
bokeh. The filter is effective, but Mount Fuji X mount detail, resolving fine textures, such Mount Fuji X mount
only permits the use of the slower Filter size 62 mm as those on flower petals and insect Filter size 62mm
contrast-detection AF method Length 69.7 mm wings. Contrast is also excellent, Length 130mm
in-camera due to its light-reducing Diameter 73.2 mm remaining fairly uniform from the Diameter 80mm
properties. Optical distortions are Weight 405g centre to edges. The body lacks Weight 750g

HOW THE Fujifilm Fujifilm Zeiss Touit 12mm Fujifilm Fujifilm Zeiss Touit
XF55- XF10-24mmF4 R f2.8 XF27mmF2.8 XC15- 2.8/50M
LENSES 200mmF3.5-4.8 OIS 45mmF3.5-5.6
COMPARE R LM OIS OIS PZ

Contact www.fujifilm.eu www.fujifilm.eu www.zeiss.co.uk www.fujifilm.eu www.fujifilm.eu www.zeiss.co.uk

Street price £699/$980 £879/$1,230 £712/$1,000 £389/$550 £259/$360 £723/$1,010

Elements/Groups 14/ 10 14/ 10 11/ 8 7/ 5 10/ 9 14/ 11

Angle of view 29°-8.1° 110°-61.2° 99° 55.5° 86.9°-35° 31°

Min focus distance 1.1m 0.24m 0.3m 0.35m 0.13m 0.15m

Maximum aperture f3.5 f4 f2.8 f2.8 f3.5 f2.8

Minimum aperture f22 f22 f22 f16 f22 f22

Mount Fuji X mount Fuji X mount Fuji X mount Fuji X mount Fuji X mount Fuji X mount

Filter size 62mm 72mm 67mm 39mm 52mm 52mm

Dimensions (D x L) 75 x 118mm 78 x 87mm 65 x 86mm 61.2 x 23mm 66.6 x 44.2mm 75 x 91mm

Weight 580g 410g 270g 78g 135g 210g

OVERALL
OVERALL

63
BUYER’S GUIDE
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w w w. h a s s e l b l a d .c o m

Hasselblad X1D-50c 4

£7,790/$9,000 (body only)


Find out whether the image quality of this radical
new mirrorless camera matches that divine exterior

SPECIFICATIONS HASSELBLAD is 1

Sensor 50MP medium-format CMOS best-known for its The X1D uses a range
sensor (43.8 x 32.9mm) professional medium- of XCD autofocus
Focal length conversion on lens 0.82x format camera lenses designed for any given effective focal length. The
Memory Two SD card slots systems – and their £20K+ price this camera X1D has an unusual crop factor of
Viewfinder XGA, 2,600k dots tags – but the X1D is a radical 0.82x, so the 45mm f3.5 XCD lens
Max video resolution Full HD 1,920 step. Its mirrorless design 2 supplied to us for review is equivalent
x 1,080 means it’s a fraction of the size to a 37mm lens on a full-frame SLR.
ISO range 100-25,600 The rear screen uses
of a regular medium-format large, simple icons The design, look and layout of the
Autofocus Contrast AF, 35-point
camera, and scarcely larger than and large type to X1D is also quite unique. This is a
Max burst rate 1.7-2.3fps
Screen Three-inch touchscreen TFT, a 35mm full-frame model. And produce an unusually contemporary camera, built from
920k dots while it’s a long way from cheap, straightforward and milled aluminium to produce a strong
Shutter speeds 60-1/2,000 sec, its price puts a Hasselblad within visible set of controls and durable body. Round the back is
Bulb, T the reach of more professionals a modern touchscreen display, which
Weight 725g (body with battery and well-heeled enthusiasts. 3 is just as clean and minimal.
and memory card) So what’s the big deal about Hasselblad has launched a series
Dimensions 150 x 98 x 71mm The X1D has an
medium-format? It’s all about of XCD autofocus lenses for the X1D
Power supply Rechargeable electronic viewfinder;
image quality. At 50 million pixels, the resolution of 2.6
(although its H System lenses work
lithium-ion battery (supplied)
the X1D seems to have no million dots means it’s via an optional adaptor). Each lens
inherent advantage over Canon’s crisp and clear has an integral leaf-type shutter – the
50MP EOS 5DS, for example – X1D does not use a focal plane
The bigger sensor but there’s more to it. The bigger
4
shutter. This means less vibration,
sensor means bigger photosites, plus flash synchronisation right up to
means bigger which should mean less noise The control layout is the top speed of 1/2,000 sec.
photosites, which and a wider dynamic range – refreshingly simple. We tested the camera with the
Hasselblad claims up to 14 stops. The main mode dial is 45mm f3.5 XCD and 90mm f3.2 XCD
should mean less The larger sensor also delivers
spring-loaded – press
lenses; there’s also a 30mm f3.5 XCD
noise and a wider a very different ‘look’, with a
it down to lock it flush
with the top plate
lens. Prices range from £1,900 to
dynamic range much shallower depth of field for £3,300 ($2,300 to $4,000) – within

64
1 2 3

Exposure Detail XCD lenses


The X1D’s exposure metering is slightly Unsurprisingly for such a high-megapixel Introduced alongside the X1D, Hasselblad’s
biased towards retaining highlight detail, sensor, the X1D is capable of resolving new XCD lenses really get the best out of
but the wide dynamic range allows for stunning detail, right up to its maximum ISO the camera and are sharp from edge to edge
shadow recovery 25,600 sensitivity

striking distance of the prices for spirit level using a solid circular lever, the battery pops out a short
top-spec full-frame prime lenses. ‘bubble’ along horizontal and vertical distance – you then have to push
The X1D is very much a ‘RAW’ axes. It’s both more intuitive and the battery against spring pressure
camera. The JPEGs it saves are more responsive than usual. to release the catch fully.
one-quarter size and designed for Two buttons on the top plate offer This might all sound like change
quick reference or sharing, not quick access to focus modes, ISO for change’s sake, but it seems to
for final use. Instead, you use and white balance, and there’s a echo the X1D’s style – fewer parts,
Hasselblad’s own Phocus software, or depth of field preview button on the less fuss.
third-party programs like Camera front. On the back are an exposure
Raw, to process your images. lock button and an AF-D button for Performance
activating the autofocus, which can The X1D lacks the speed of a
Build and handling also be initiated by half-pressing the smaller-format SLR or mirrorless
The X1D may be comparatively small, shutter release in the normal way.
but it’s still a solid and hefty camera. There are some quirks. Initially, Meet the
Although the body is impressively we thought it didn’t offer shutter
light, at well under a kilogram, the speeds longer than one second in
rivals…
lenses are pretty substantial. manual mode. In fact, as you turn the
The controls are really good. There dial it goes from one second to the B The cameras Sony Alpha 7R II
aren’t many of them, but everything and T exposure settings, then into taking on the £2,900/$2,900
you need is there. The mode dial has longer exposure times. In Shutter Hasselblad It has a smaller
an interesting action: to lock it, you Priority mode, the shutter speeds X1D sensor than the X1D,
press against spring pressure until it follow the normal sequence, with the but you could spend
locks flush with the camera top plate. B and T settings at the end. the money you save
To change the mode, you press it The battery arrangement is on some of Sony’s
spectacular new G
again to release it and it springs up. interesting. For a start, there is no FOR MORE
Master prime and
It’s a neat idea, although perhaps the door to the battery compartment. CAMERA
zoom lenses.
dial could be a little larger. Instead, the base of the battery sits REVIEWS, VISIT
The touchscreen interface is clear flush with the base of the camera. www.techradar.
and responsive, and there is a digital When you flick the battery release com/cameras

65
COLOUR ERROR

Hasselblad X1D 15.1

Canon EOS 5DS 2.3

Pentax 645Z -5.2

SCORES
Sony Alpha 7R II CLOSER TO ZERO 3.6
ARE BETTER

-20 -10 0 10 20

The X1D doesn’t come out too well in our


colour rendition lab test, but real-world
results look good and you will process RAW
files to your own tastes anyway

The medium-format RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


advantage can give 50
close-ups a sumptuously
smooth look, thanks to a 40
shallow depth of field

Decibels
30

20
Right With no
in-body or lens 10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
stabilisation, you’ll RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
0
need to hold very 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
steady or use a
tripod to get There’s surprisingly little difference in the
maximum image lab results at lower ISO settings, but at
sharpness in higher sensitivities the two medium-format
murky conditions cameras show a clear advantage

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE


14

Exposure Value
12

10

camera, but it’s still pretty snappy. The 90mm at a range of apertures, we’d have
6
start-up time is disappointing, admittedly, no hesitation in using both of them wide HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
taking a few seconds, but the autofocus open – the contrast and edge-to-edge
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
response isn’t bad at all. Sometimes it sharpness are almost undiminished, even
hunts around a little or even fails to focus at full aperture, and this will also The larger sensor size gives the Hasselblad
completely in low light, but it’s no worse emphasise that wonderful shallow depth and Pentax cameras a dynamic range
than early mirrorless cameras or a Nikon of field that you get from the large sensor. advantage of about 1EV over the full-frame
EOS 5DS and Sony Alpha 7R II
SLR in Live View mode, for example. Neither the camera body nor the
This is not really a camera for lenses have stabilisation systems, so if
taking shoot-from-the-hip shots, but more you’re shooting hand-held, it’s wise to WE SAY...
for indulging in considered photography. keep the shutter speeds well above the
The X1D needs to be used at a slightly slower
You can shoot relatively quickly, but the minimum ‘safe’ levels. pace than full-frame rivals, but the payback
more you rush it, the more frustrated The exposure system seems geared is spectacular image quality and a rewarding
you’re likely to get – and the more you risk towards highlight preservation, which is shooting experience. The clean design is
losing some of the image quality this ideal in a camera of this class. The auto matched by an equally efficient set of
camera is capable of. white balance system did a good job in controls, and the two lenses we tested are
It’s not just the megapixels, but the our tests, and while the X1D didn’t do just as impressive. The Hasselblad X1D has
extraordinary clarity and precision of especially well in our colour rendition lab certainly set the bar very high indeed.
each pixel. Hasselblad says its XCD lenses tests, the real-world results looked good,
VERDICT
are optimised to get the best results from if a little undersaturated. The point here is
its sensor; on the basis of the 90mm and that the X1D is designed for RAW imaging, FEATURES
45mm lenses we tested, it’s done that. and you will modify the exposure and
The X1D’s non-anti-aliased sensor gave colour settings to your own tastes BUILD & HANDLING
our resolution test chart some issues with during processing.
moiré, but our real-world images look The X1D delivers spectacular results, PERFORMANCE
razor-sharp, right out to the edges. The but it demands a fraction more care and
VALUE
lenses undoubtedly play a part in this. time than the average camera.
Having used both the 45mm and the Rod Lawton OVERALL

66
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

HASSELBLAD
A respected name in professional photography, Hasselblad has broken
new ground with the first greater-than-full frame mirrorless camera

H
asselblad is a name synonymous big and heavy, more so than most full-frame adaptability. The system offers a more
with medium-format film and digital DSLRs. With the introduction of the X1D-50c, compact alternative, while maintaining all of
photography, and its cameras and the firm has brought medium format to the advantages of a larger imaging sensor,
lenses are trusted by some of the the mirrorless market. While there are currently including greater dynamic range, resolution,
world’s most iconic photographers. However, only a few XCD Mount lenses available, the noise control and limited depth-of-field, for
traditional cameras with large sensors are range is soon set to grow, extending its artistic purposes.

XCD 3,5/120MM Macro XCD 3,2/90mm


£4,188/$5,860 (approx) £2,870/$4,015 (approx)
RATING RATING

Shooting on medium format for image stabilisation is provided, While medium-format lenses are thanks to the wide, textured focus
macro has a key advantage – that which may make hand-holding the always going to seem oversized in ring. The feature list may seem
of being able to focus down to life heavy lens problematic in lower light. comparison to full frame or APS-C, a little sparse when weighed against
size, revealing fine detail, while Overall, this is a good option if you this 90mm is relatively compact the price, but its focal length,
still including the surrounding want a sharp multi-functional optic when you take the focal length and quality and portability make it a
environment in the frame for for your Hasselblad X1D-50c. aperture into account. Furthermore, worthy contender.
context. This 120mm lens (roughly it is not overly heavy, making it a
equivalent to a 95mm lens in 35mm Technical data true CSC option and satisfying Technical data
format terms) features a reasonably Manufacturer Hasselblad the premise of the compact X1D Manufacturer Hasselblad
wide f3.5 aperture for nicely diffused Web www.hasselblad.com system. The optics display great Web www.hasselblad.com
backgrounds, which make it suitable Elements/construction 10/ 7 Groups levels of sharpness throughout the Elements/construction 10/ 8 groups
for both macro subjects and Angle of view 26° aperture range and across the frame, Angle of view 34°
portraits. The ‘macro’ designation Max aperture f3.5 with minimal fall-off towards the Max aperture f3.2
may be a little misleading, as Min aperture f32 edges. Barrel distortion is very well Min aperture f32
technically 1:1 life-size magnification Min focus distance 0.43 m managed, as are other aberrations. Min focus distance 0.7m
is not possible (1:2 is the highest Mount Hasselblad XCD Mount Vignetting can seem a little more Mount Hasselblad XCD Mount
available), but the high resolution of Filter size 77mm noticeable than expected, especially Filter size 67mm
the X1D camera will allow enormous Length 150 mm in this price group, but this can Length 100mm
potential for cropping in software, Diameter 81 mm be corrected in software. Build Diameter 77mm
and still produce large prints. No Weight 970g quality is good and handling easy Weight 619g

67
BUYER’S GUIDE

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h t t p : // u k . l e i c a - c a m e r a . c o m 4

Leica M-D (Typ 262)


£4,650/$5,995
Rediscover the joy of anticipation with the digital
rangefinder camera that comes without a screen…
YES, it’s true: the Leica You get a 24-megapixel full-frame
SPECIFICATIONS M-D really doesn’t 1 CMOS sensor, but no video or Live
Sensor 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor have a rear display. Behind this small View. The sensor is also designed to
(23.9 x 35.8mm) The back of the camera window is a rotating work with Leica’s extensive collection
Focal length conversion on lens 1x is taken up instead by a large ISO mirror that produces of lenses from the analogue era, and
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC card setting dial. The direct-vision the rangefinder not just modern digital glass. The
Viewfinder Direct vision with optical viewfinder shows you focus image maximum ISO is 6,400 – again, not
framing guides nothing but the scene in front of that high, but bear in mind that
Max video resolution N/A the camera, a set of frame guides 2 Leica’s lens range is populated by fast
ISO range 200-6,400
for your current lens and the bare The M-D has a direct- primes in the f1.4 to f2 range.
Autofocus Manual, via rangefinder
minimum of exposure and status vision viewfinder. It’s Image processing is carried out
Max burst rate 3fps
Screen N/A information. You can’t look at the a separate viewfinder by Leica’s own Maestro processing
Shutter speeds 60-1/4,000 sec, Bulb photos you’ve shot with the M-D that does not show engine, and pictures are saved as
Weight 680g (body only, with battery) until you get back to base and the view through DNG files only.
Dimensions 139 x 42 x 80mm transfer them on a computer. You the lens
Power supply BP-SCL2 lithium-ion can’t check the exposure, the Build and handling
battery (supplied) composition or the sharpness 3 Shooting with a Leica M-series
as you shoot. Does that sound rangefinder is unlike anything else.
No, there’s no LCD!
terrifying? Well, it’s how we all The space where it
The viewfinder is a separate unit and
used to shoot in the days of film – would be is occupied does not show you the view through
and we managed all right then. by an ISO dial the lens. You see the same angle of
In fact, Leica has a point here. view regardless of the lens you fit,
You can’t check your photos, so so you have to remember to use the
4
you devote all your attention to brightline framing guides in the
shooting them. For those used to viewfinder, which change according
This camera has today’s giant primes, to the lens.
the M-D’s lenses
caused a great deal Features
look tiny
Then there’s the unique
The removal of the screen is the rangefinder focusing mechanism.
of controversy in the M-D’s key feature. Otherwise, it’s You focus by lining up a small ‘ghost’
Future office essentially a Leica M (Typ 262). rectangle in the middle of the

68
Leica lenses have a COLOUR ERROR
reputation for beautiful
rendering, which this Leica M-D 27
shot exemplifies
Fujifilm X-Pro2 3.9

Leica Q -2.6

SCORES CLOSER
Olympus Pen-F TO ZERO ARE 11.6
BETTER

-30 -20 0 20 30

The M-D looks far less accurate than its rivals


– but how your raw files turn out depends on
how you process them. We used Camera Raw;
other software may yield different results

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
viewfinder. When it’s superimposed 0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
exactly on the image, your subject is
in focus. It relies on a mechanical The M-D sits pretty much in the middle of
linkage between the lens’s focus ring the range. Real-world shots at ISO 200 look
and a small rotating mirror behind clean, and the maximum ISO is just 6,400,
a little window on the front of the so the image quality has not degraded badly
camera. The only issue is that the
mirror image isn’t always very easy to RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
see, and it works best when there are
14
clear edges in the subject you’re

Exposure Value
focusing on. Patterned surfaces are 12

especially tricky. You also have to


remember to focus before each shot. 10

The M-D feels heavy for its size.


8
The lenses are tiny by modern
standards, but reassuringly solid and Above The M-D’s you are. The exposure system does 6

with a silky-smooth focus movement. metering system a good job, favouring highlight detail
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
favours highlight
It’s rather easy to move the aperture over shadowed areas, which is what 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
detail – you can
ring by mistake when your fingers are bring out the most keen photographers would The M-D’s DNG files look dense and contrasty
looking for the focus ring, but that’s shadows later if prefer. The continuous shooting when first opened in Adobe Camera Raw, and
just a question of familiarisation. you need to speed of three frames per second is the dynamic range is adequate. You may
The controls are super-simple. unremarkable to say the least, but need to work on bringing up the shadows
Each lens has an aperture ring, and this isn’t a sports camera.
you control the shutter speed with a The images have a distinct ‘look’,
WE SAY...
dial on the top of the camera. If you however, which could be due to
want the camera to take care of the Leica’s Maestro image processor or The Leica M-D is tricky to rate. Normally, you
exposure for you, just set the shutter the particular optical quality of could add up the sub-scores below to arrive
speed dial to ‘A’ to switch it to Leica’s lenses. Images are sharp and at the final rating, but the fact is that the M-D
is bad at some of the things we score for
Aperture Priority mode. (There is no contrasty, and the Summilux 50mm
while being brilliant at things we don’t. It’s
Shutter Priority or Program mode on f/1.4 in particular delivers beautifully a unique and challenging camera that you
the Leica M-D.) defocused backgrounds. The M-D will find either inexplicable or inspiring.
Oddly to remove the memory card and its lenses produce a very
or battery, you have to unhook and appealing ‘filmic’ look.
remove the baseplate each time. This There’s nothing in its technical VERDICT
is an echo of the old Leica film performance from the point of view
cameras, where you had to remove of resolution or noise that makes the
FEATURES
the baseplate to take out the film. M-D stand out from a crowd of other BUILD & HANDLING
24-megapixel full-frame cameras,
Performance but there is something in the way it PERFORMANCE
We can’t talk about the autofocus, renders images that sets it apart –
because there isn’t any, or the white that and the unique shooting VALUE
balance: the M-D only shoots RAW. experience of Leica rangefinders.
OVERALL
The manual focus is as accurate as Rod Lawton

69
BUYER’S GUIDE

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1

w w w. l e i c a .c o m

Leica TL2 4

£1,700/$1,950
Leica’s newest mirrorless camera is certainly
a style statement – but what about its photos?

SPECIFICATIONS LEICA’S best-known the 35mm f1.4 lens supplied for our
1
for its old-school test, and the most common ‘bundled’
Sensor 24.3MP APS-C format CMOS M-series rangefinder The only control lens for this camera. It’s fast and
Lenses Leica-L cameras. It also makes on the front of the sharp, but costs even more than the
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II) camera is the lens
full frame mirrorless and TL2 and produces a front-heavy
Viewfinder Optional release button
Max video resolution 4K (UHD) at 30p
medium-format DSLRs for the combination that doesn’t sit well in
ISO range 100-50,000 professional market. The TL2 is your hands. The TL2 really needs a
Autofocus points 49 at the opposite end of the range: 2 less optically ambitious but smaller
Max burst rate 7fps mechanical it’s a style-conscious fashion Correct – there’s no ‘pancake’ lens.
shutter, 20fps electronic shutter statement that’s also intended to viewfinder. Leica’s The minimalist controls look
LCD screen 3.7-inch touchscreen, be a serious photographic tool. optional clip-on beautiful but take a little figuring
1,300k-dot LCD Machined from a single block Visoflex costs out; some common adjustments are
Shutter speeds 1/4,000 to 30 sec, of aluminium, the TL2 has as much as an harder to get to than you expect.
Bulb; electronic shutter to 1/40,000 sec a slim, minimal look. There’s entry-level DSLR The 3.7in touchscreen display is bigger
Weight 399g (with battery
no viewfinder, although you can than normal and works well.
and memory card)
Dimensions 134 x 69 x 33mm
purchase a clip-on Visioflex for 3 When everything’s perfect, the
Power supply BP-DC13 lithium-ion a further £350/$575. The twin camera and the 35mm f1.4 lens can
The rear touchscreen
battery, 250 shots dials on the top are unmarked, turn in some super-sharp results. But
offers responsive
and adjust different settings access to the camera there’s no image stabilisation and the
according to the shooting mode. settings… once you’ve autofocus is not particularly fast –
Inside there’s a 24-megapixel figured it out it also threw us a curved ball a few
APS-C sensor teamed up with times by focusing on the wrong thing,
Leica’s Maestro II image despite what it showed on the screen.
4
processor. The TL2 has a new The image quality is likely to leave
49-point AF system and an ISO All the advantages of the TL2’s buyers perfectly happy, but
It’s the camera’s quirky range of 100-50,000, and can the TL2’s super-slim it’s the camera’s body/lens weight
body are lost when
controls and sometimes shoot 4K video. It can also shoot distribution, quirky controls and
you attach a lens like
stills at up to 20fps. sometimes sluggish responses that
sluggish responses that Unfortunately, the slim and
Leica’s excellent but
we’re worried about.
bulky 35mm f1.4
we’re worried about elegant body is overbalanced by Rod Lawton

70
COLOUR ERROR

LEICA TL2 14.4

FUJIFILM X-PRO2 3.9

OLYMPUS PEN-F 11.6


SCORES
CLOSER
SONY A7 MK II 1.8 TO ZERO
ARE BETTER

-5 0 5 10 15 20

The TL2’s colour error is higher than its


key rivals, although our test is made more
complicated by the fact that the TL2 does
not shoot Adobe RGB JPEGs

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Decibels
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

The TL2’s noise performance is good


generally – but while it stretches ahead of
the Olympus Pen-F, it can’t match the Fujifilm
X-Pro2 or the full-frame Sony Alpha 7 II

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE

Exposure Value

HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

1 2 3
The Sony Alpha 7 II is the winner for dynamic
Exposure accuracy Colour rendition Detail rendition
range, but only just. The TL2 is a close
The TL2’s metering system The auto white balance system The Leica sensor and 35mm
second at low-medium ISOs, and starts
gave us reliable exposures does a good job, but most TL2 lens can resolve very high
to ease ahead at high ISO settings
throughout our testing, and users would probably shoot levels of detail – but there’s
has judged this scene nicely raw and adjust colours in post no image stablisation
WE SAY...
With most Leica cameras, you can at least
see how they could appeal to a very specific
kind of user and style of photography – but
Meet the it’s different with the TL2. The camera body
is slim, minimal and attractive in its own way,
rivals… but the quirky controls and front-heavy
handling with a lens fitted make it really
The cameras rather difficult to use as a photographic tool.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Olympus Pen-F
taking on the £1,350/$1,700 £950/$1,100
Leica TL2… The X-Pro2 compact The Pen-F has a VERDICT
system camera is a smaller sensor than
modern classic in its the rest, but still FEATURES
own right, and it’s delivers competitive
also cheaper and image quality. It’s BUILD & HANDLING
FOR MORE more practical than also small and
CAMERA PERFORMANCE
the Leica TL2. looks wonderful.
REVIEWS, VISIT Reviewed Page 56 Reviewed Page 82
digitalcamera VALUE
world.com
OVERALL

71
BUYER’S GUIDE

1
3

w w w. l e i c a .c o m

Leica SL (Typ 601)


£5,050/$7,450 (body only)
Leica’s full-frame mirrorless system camera brings the 4

company right up to speed – and possibly a little ahead


STRICTLY speaking,
SPECIFICATIONS Leica was the first 1

Sensor Full frame (24 x 36mm) CMOS company to introduce This grip is large, but
sensor with 24 million effective pixels and digital mirrorless is not particularly
no OLPF system cameras. But it wasn’t ergonomically shaped
Focal length conversion 1x until the Leica T (Typ 701) was
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC introduced in April 2014 that the
2
Viewfinder 0.66-inch EVF with company had what most would
4.4 million dots consider a modern mirrorless or An HDMI port enables
Max video resolution 4K (4,096 videos to be recorded
compact system camera (CSC). optics to be used on the SL, but there
x 2,160), 24fps externally in 4:2:2
While the T followed Leica’s will be new ones to enable Leica S, R
ISO range 50-50,000 10-bit format;
Autofocus points 49/Infinite minimal design ethic, many were otherwise it’s 4:2:0
and Cine lenses to be used.
Max burst rate 11fps surprised by its dependance on 8-bit format The new SL has the highest-
Screen Touch-sensitive 2.95-inch the touchscreen for making resolution electronic viewfinder
1,040,000-dot LCD settings selections. This seemed currently available, along with a
3
Shutter speeds 60-1/8,000 sec a major departure for a company 2.95-inch, 1,040k-dot touch-
plus Bulb to 30 mins that tends to make cameras with There are two SD card sensitive rear screen. Thanks to the
Weight 771g (without battery) traditional controls. slots: one compatible Maestro II processing engine, the SL
Dimensions 147 x 104 x 39mm Now we have a second with UHS II and the can shoot up to 11 frames per second
Power supply Lithium-ion BP-SCL4 other with UHS I
mirrorless system camera, the SL for 33 DNG or 30 simultaneous JPEG
(supplied)
(Typ 601). Instead of the APS-C and DNG files, while 4K video can be
format sensor of the T, inside is a 4 recorded in MP4 or MOV format
full-frame CMOS device with 24 In manual focus mode, at 30fps.
million effective pixels. The new
The SL’s viewfinder is camera has the same lens mount
depressing the
shutter release Build and handling
smooth, responsive as the T, so existing T lenses are reveals the focus The SL’s body shell is milled from
directly compatible, although distance and back and two blocks of aluminium with seals
and clear. The main using them on the SL produces front focus points in around the joints and controls to
screen is very good, 10MP images. Leica already has this screen make it dust- and splash-proof. It
showing lots of detail an adaptor that allows M-mount gives the camera a very solid feel, and

72
COLOUR ERROR

LEICA SL -9.6

NIKON D4S 4.5

SONY ALPHA 7 II SCORES 1.8


CLOSER
TO ZERO
SONY ALPHA 7R II 3.6
ARE BETTER

-10 0 10

The SL under-saturates some colours, erring


on the side of subtlety. Other manufacturers
opt for a bit more vibrancy to make JPEGs
more attractive straight from the camera

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25000


1 2 3
The larger pixels on the Nikon D4S give it a
Screen idol Under control Natural colour big advantage, but the Leica SL compares
The Leica SL’s 2.95-inch, Leica allows some Colours are generally well throughout its sensitivity range, showing
1,040k-dot rear display granular noise to show understated and natural in that images are not excessively noisy
provides a nice, clear view through rather than JPEGs, but most owners will
when you’re composing smudging detail. This is an process the excellent raw
images like this ISO 25,600 shot files post-capture RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
14
it looks beautiful but big. With the massive seem to confirm this is the case here.

Exposure Value
Leica Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 Low-ISO dynamic range is very good, but the 12

ASPH mounted, it’s front-heavy and in need scores fall dramatically from ISO 1,600. It’s
of a more ergonomically shaped grip. clear from the high-sensitivity images that 10

Leica has used a similar control the SL doesn’t apply a heavy noise-
8
arrangement on the SL to the one it adopted reduction treatment.
for the S (Typ 007), its latest medium-format Although there’s not masses of chroma 6
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
camera. For example, there are four long noise, there’s quite a bit of luminance noise RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

buttons at the sides of the screen on the visible in JPEGs at 100%. The simultaneously 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,000
back of the camera, whose function changes captured raw files (conveniently, they’re in Although it can’t quite match the high of the
depending upon whether you use a short or DNG format) look a little crisper, but the Sony A7 II, the SL has excellent dynamic
long press. It’s also possible to customise the JPEGs don’t have the heavy smoothing we range. Images have smooth tonal transitions
function of these and other controls. sometimes see. throughout the sensitivity range
One of the buttons on the top of the Some raw files shot at ISO 40,000 or
camera is used for switching between stills 50,000 exhibit a hint of banding in some
WE SAY...
and video mode and accessing exposure darker areas. The banding becomes more
compensation. I found this awkward to visible if images are brightened post-capture. The superb electronic viewfinder, responsive
reach, and set the top-right button near the Using the default settings, the JPEG files touchscreen, 11fps continuous shooting and
screen to access this key feature. have a pleasant level of contrast and a snappy focusing system put the SL right at
the cutting edge of camera technology. It
The SL’s viewfinder is smooth, responsive saturation and colours have subtle
produces high-quality images too. However,
and clear. Similarly, the main screen is very gradations. Firmware version 1.2 has
it’s much bigger, heavier and dearer than its
good, showing lots of detail and responding improved the results of Gamma L-Log mode main competition, the Sony Alpha 7-series.
quickly to your touch. However, Leica could – although video footage is flat, the scene is
have made more use of the touch control, recognisable and you can focus.
and made it possible to navigate the menu The SL’s autofocus (AF) system is fast, VERDICT
with swipes and taps on the screen. but not up to the speed of an SLR like Nikon’s
D4S or Canon’s 1D X in reflex mode (when the FEATURES
Performance viewfinder is used to compose images). BUILD & HANDLING
The SL is capable of resolving the level of However, it is certainly faster than most
detail that we’d expect from a high quality SLRs set to Live View mode, and it compares PERFORMANCE
24MP sensor. In an effort to produce more well with many smaller-format compact
natural, detail-rich images, Leica typically system cameras, being able to keep up with VALUE
allows a bit more noise to be seen than other subjects moving at 30mph.
OVERALL
manufacturers might, and our lab results Angela Nicholson

73
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

LEICA
Offering both full-frame and APS-C format mirrorless cameras, Leica
complements these with a huge selection of excellent lenses

A
n iconic brand and an undoubted has been producing a compact system for already comprehensive, and includes numerous
favourite for documentary and street decades – its M line of rangefinder models professional-specification optics. If you can’t
photographers, some of the most offer top-quality images in a condensed and find what you need in the L mount, there is a
recognised photographs through discreet body form. The latest-generation M10 huge variety of M and R mount Leica lenses
history have been captured on Leica cameras. is by no means big, but the L Mount cameras that can be adapted for use on your CL or TL2.
You could argue that the German company are Leica’s true CSCs. The TL lens range is TL lenses also fit the Leica SL.

Leica Elmarit-TL 18mm Leica Summicron-TL 23


f2.8 ASPH f2 ASPH
£1,020/$1,430 (approx) £1,199/$1,680 (approx)
RATING RATING

Holding the title of the world’s plastic-y than other Leica models, Equalling the 35mm focal length, relatively wide angle of view should
smallest wide-angle lens for but the metal mount lends it a that has long been a favourite mean that is not much of noticeable
APS-C format cameras, this Leica professional feel, in line with the amongst rangefinder users looking problem. Autofocus may be slightly
18mm is the perfect partner to construction of the various to shoot street life images, this slower than expected, but is still
the CL mirrorless camera, weighing other cameras that it will be 23mm prime is small, lightweight capable. Commonly available 52mm
an almost insignificant 80g, paired with. and bright. The f2 aperture allows filters are compatible.
while still offering f2.8. The good control over depth-of-field
lens is exceptionally sharp at Technical data and extends the lens’ usefulness in Technical data
the centre of the frame, with an Manufacturer Leica low light. The minimum focusing Manufacturer Leica
admirable performance at the edges. Web us.leica-camera.com distance of 35cm is an added Web us.leica-camera.com
Although chromatic aberration is Elements/construction 8/ 6 Groups bonus, providing opportunities Elements/construction 9/ 6 groups
visible, it is barely noticable and Angle of view 75° for wider-framed environmental Angle of view 64°
easily removed in processing, as Max aperture f2.8 portraits. However, when the lens Max aperture f2
is the case with distortion of Min aperture f16 is focused at this extreme, the Min aperture f16
straight lines in images. The Min focus distance 0.3 m aperture is automatically stopped Min focus distance 0.35m
dimensions of the lens body Mount Leica L down to a maximum of f2.8, cutting Mount Leica L
make it pocketable, and although Filter size 39mm out a full stop of light. Sharpness is Filter size 52mm
this likely comes at the cost of Length 21 mm good, especially when the aperture Length 37mm
build quality, this is not too Diameter 60 mm is closed to f4 and above. No Diameter 63mm
evident. The lens seems more Weight 80g image stabiliser is present, but the Weight 154g

74
BUYER’S GUIDE

Leica Summilux-TL 35 Leica APO-MACRO-ELMARIT-TL


f1.4 ASPH 60/F2.8 ASPH
£1,900/$2,660 £1,945/$2,720
RATING RATING

Sporting a very bright f1.4 maximum scrape. Due to the light-gathering This is a true macro lens, offering cannot be guaranteed a safe shoot
fnumber, this could be considered capabilities, the host cameras can life-sized 1:1 magnifications. With in adverse outdoor conditions. At
the standard professional lens find focus quickly and accurately, a focal length of 60mm and a under 350g, weight shouldn’t be too
for users of the Leica CL and TL although a depth-of-field scale is minimum focus distance of just much of an issue, although the price
cameras. Although not officially notable by its absence. 16cm, this optic could be just as may be, depending on your budget.
weather-sealed, the barrel is well comfortably used for portraits,
put together, offering a professional Technical data where the user would like to throw Technical data
handling experience. The focus ring Manufacturer Leica the background completely out- Manufacturer Leica
makes up a large percentage of the Web us.leica-camera.com of-focus. Once again, handling is Web us.leica-camera.com
lens’ length, making operating the Elements/construction 12/ 8 groups very well thought-through, and Elements/construction 10/ 9 groups
focus mechanism easy. Even when Angle of view 45° the manual focus ring is large and Angle of view 27°
shooting wide open, the resolution Max aperture f1.4 textured for a comfortable grip. Also, Max aperture f 2.8
and contrast are very good, making Min aperture f16 full-time manual focusing is possible, Min aperture f32
f1.4 a genuinely useable option when Min focus distance 0.4m even when autofocus is active, so Min focus distance 0.16m
big prints are the end goal. Metal is Mount Leica L AF can be used to find general focus Mount Leica L
the primary construction material, Filter size Internal (E60) and then the photographer can Filter size 60mm
so photographers can be confident Length 77mm apply manual tweaks at will. While Length 89mm
that the internal workings are well Diameter 70 mm build is good overall, full weather Diameter 68mm
protected from the odd knock or Weight 428g sealing is not included, so the user Weight 320g

HOW THE Leica Leica Leica Leica Noctilux-M Leica Leica Fisheye-
APO-Summicron Summilux-M Macro-Elmar-M 50 mm f0.95 Summilux-SL 50 Elmarit-R 16mm
LENSES – SL 90 f2 ASPH 35 mm f1.4 ASPH. 90 mm f4 ASPH (Adapted) f1.4 ASPH. f2.8 (Adapted)
COMPARE (Adapted) (Adapted)

Contact leica-camera.com leica-camera.com leica-camera.com leica-camera.com leica-camera.com leica-camera.com

Street price £4,100/$5,740 £3,749/$5,245 £2,430/$3,400 £7,730/$10,824 £3,700/$10,800 £600/$840

Elements/Groups 11/ 9 9/ 5 4/ 4 8/ 5 11/ 9 11/ 8

Angle of view 27.3° 63° 27° 46.7° 47.9° 180°

Min focus distance 0.6m 0.70m 0.77m 0.95m 0.60m 0.30m

Maximum aperture f2 f1.4 f4 f0.95 f1.4 f2.8

Minimum aperture f22 f16 f22 fxxx f22 f16

Mount Leica L bayonet Leica M Leica M Leica M Leica L bayonet Leica R Mount

Filter size 67mm 46mm 39mm 60mm 82mm N/A

Dimensions (D x L) 73 x 102mm 56 x 46mm 52 x 41mm 73 x 75.1mm 88 x 124mm 71 x 60 mm

Weight 700g 320g 240g 700g 1065g 460g

OVERALL
ERALL

75
BUYER’S GUIDE
3

2
1

w w w.c a n o n .c o.u k
4

Canon EOS M5
£1,150/$1,100
Canon launches an EOS M mirrorless camera
with a built-in viewfinder – and it’s about time

SPECIFICATIONS WHILE camera makers 1

Sensor 24.2MP APS-C CMOS like Sony, Olympus, The EOS M5 is usually
(22.3 x 14.9mm) Fujifilm and Panasonic sold with a compact
Focal length conversion on lens 1.6x have been forging 15-45mm lens, but it It’s a tiny camera, but it still packs
Memory 1x SD/SDHC/SDXC ahead with their high-profile will also be available in a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor.
Viewfinder EVF, 2.36 million dots mirrorless camera ranges, with this EF-M The resolution is the same as the
Max video resolution 1,920 x 1,080 18-150mm f3.5-6.3
Canon has been quietly existing EOS M3, but the M5 has
ISO range 100-25,600 IS STM 8x zoom
pottering away on a different the more advanced Dual CMOS AF
Autofocus Dual Pixel CMOS AF,
path. Its M-series models to date system found in the EOS 80D, where
49 points 2
have been pretty conservative each photosite is split into ‘left’ and
Max burst rate 9fps, 7fps with AF
Screen 3.2in, 1,620k, tilting touchscreen box-shaped shooters with The rear screen is not ‘right’ parts to offer on-chip phase-
Shutter speeds 30-1/4,000 sec, Bulb a modest M-mount lens range – fully articulating, detection autofocus. This AF system
Weight 427g (body only, with battery) although they can take regular but it has a tilting works across 80% of the width and
Dimensions 116 x 89 x 61mm EOS lenses via an adaptor. mechanism and height of the frame. This sensor is
Power supply LP-E17 lithium-ion The EOS M5 is different. It’s touch focus matched up with a Digic 7 image
battery (supplied) shaped more like a miniature SLR processor, which offers in-camera
and has a built-in electronic 3 diffraction correction for sharper
viewfinder. The EOS M5 is The M5 is the first
images at super-small apertures
Canon’s flagship mirrorless mirrorless Canon and improved noise reduction.
camera, replacing the EOS M3 at to come with a The EOS M5 can tackle action too,
the top of its line-up – though the viewfinder built in at an impressive nine frames per
The aim is to provide EOS M3 continues, as does the second if the focus is locked on the
enthusiasts with the entry-level E-M10. The new model first frame, or 7fps with autofocus.
4
presents Canon fans with an The specs don’t include the buffer
speed, quality and interesting dilemma: it’s a This is the EF-M capacity, but Canon has posted a
18-150mm kit lens
handling of an EOS fraction of the size of the Canon
option. The 15-45mm
video introduction quoting a buffer
EOS 80D SLR, but it has the capacity of 20+ RAW images.
camera in a much same sensor and many of the
lens has a retracting
The M5 doesn’t shoot 4K video,
mechanism and is
smaller body same features. much more compact but it can shoot full HD at up to 60fps

76
COLOUR ERROR

Canon EOS M5 6.2

Olympus Pen-F 11.6

Panasonic GX8 -5.6

SCORES
Sony Alpha 6300 -3.7 CLOSER TO ZERO
ARE BETTER

-20 -10 0 10 20

The EOS M5 yields very similar colour error


results to its rivals, the Panasonic GX8 and
Sony A6300. The Olympus Pen-F’s results
are a little more saturated

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40
The high-ISO image

Decibels
quality is good, although 30

it falls off past ISO 6,400


20

10
for smooth 2x slow-motion effects. It HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
also has five-axis digital stabilisation; 0
100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
that’s not the same as proper optical
image stabilisation, but it should The EOS M5 may have an APS-C sensor, but it
improve handheld footage whether fares no better than the smaller-format GX8
or not the lens being used has built-in and Pen-F in this test. The results are good
image stabilisation. right up to ISO 6,400, however

Build and handling RAW DYNAMIC RANGE


For such a small camera, the EOS M5 14
handles remarkably well. There’s not

Exposure Value
a lot of room on the top plate, but 12

Canon has still found room for a


10
good-sized mode dial on the left, two
control dials on the right and 8
a separate EV compensation dial.
Above Exposure
One of the control dials is for bad in a camera squashed down 6
accuracy was HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
customisable camera functions. You to almost half the size. really good on RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

press the central button repeatedly to The image results are very the whole, 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600

choose the function, then turn the good, although the response of the although now and Dynamic range was not really the EOS M5’s
dial to change the setting. It works Evaluative exposure metering system again, a high- strong point in our tests. It’s still perfectly
really well, but initially only two proved hard to predict. Very bright contrast subject adequate for everyday use, but its rivals
functions are assigned to it, and you subjects led it to under-expose now fooled the M5 edge ahead in this respect
have to dig pretty deep in the custom and again, so we had to dial in some into heavy
settings menu to add more. positive exposure compensation to underexposure
WE SAY...
restore brightness to the scene.
Performance The dynamic range proved good The EOS M5 really opens up the SLR-versus-
The M5’s touchscreen focus works but not exceptional in both our lab mirrorless debate. Many people like
well, but if you use the viewfinder and and real-world tests. Bright, overcast electronic viewfinders because they show
the image exactly as the camera will capture
the touch-focus feature on the main skies could be an issue, for example,
it, but others prefer the visual clarity of an
screen at the same time, it’s all too as the camera tends to cut off the
optical viewfinder. The M5 is tiny, where
easy to touch the screen accidentally brightest areas fairly abruptly. similarly powerful EOS SLRs like the 80D
with your nose and focus on At ISO 1,600, the EOS M5’s images are big, but the lens range is restricted.
something you didn’t mean to. look crisp, colourful and relatively
While Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus noise-free at this setting. They’re a VERDICT
is better than regular contrast little noisier and softer at ISO 3,200,
autofocus, it seemed to hunt and fail and more so at ISO 6,400 – which is FEATURES
sometimes in poor light situations, probably about as far as you’d want BUILD & HANDLING
where we’d expect an EOS SLR to to go. The results at ISO 12,800 are
focus without any trouble. In good still OK, but at the maximum setting PERFORMANCE
light the autofocus works fine. With of 25,600, the combined effect of
the 15-45mm STM kit lens, it felt noise, smoothing and general VALUE
almost but not quite as snappy as a softness is pretty excessive.
OVERALL
mid-range EOS SLR – and that’s not Rod Lawton

77
BUYER’S GUIDE 1 2

4
w w w.c a n o n .c o m

Canon EOS M100


£569/$599 (with 15-45mm lens)
There’s simple, and there’s simplistic. Has Canon
taken this baby mirrorless camera just a step too far?

SPECIFICATIONS THIS entry-level noticed in Canon’s low-end DSLR


1
camera in Canon’s models. Perhaps the biggest problem
Sensor 24.2MP APS-C mirrorless EOS M range The M100 has a neat is that the small body doesn’t give you
Dual Pixel CMOS AF minimalist look. It is
packs in Canon’s latest much to get hold of.
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) available in three body
24-megapixel Dual Canon has also super-simplified the
Viewfinder No covers and with a
Pixel CMOS AF sensor for variety of brightly external controls: there’s no mode dial,
Max video resolution
high-speed autofocus, high coloured Face Jackets. only a full auto mode, manual mode (in
1,920 x 1,080 at 60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps
resolution and first-rate images. It that you can then dip into the menus to
ISO range 100-25,600
Autofocus points 49 also boasts a full set of PASM choose the mode you want) and movie
2
Max Burst rate 6.1fps (21 raw) exposure modes and a tilting mode. Everything else is controlled
Screen 3-inch tilting touchscreen display. The rear touchscreen through the touchscreen display,
touchscreen, 1,040k dots This camera is not really display flips upwards which is fine if you like to shoot on auto
Weight 302g designed for enthusiasts and through 180 degrees but less fine if you want to take over
Dimensions 108 x 67 x 35mm experts, but more so for bloggers, for selfies and is handy the settings.
Max image size 6,000 x 4,000 for low-angle shots.
vloggers, Instagrammers and
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC It doesn’t offer any
fashionistas who’ve outgrown their downward tilt, though
Performance
Image processor Digic 7
smartphones. The 180-degree The EOS M100 may not be stellar to
Metering zones 384
rotating rear screen with use, but the pictures are great. The
automatic selfie mode activation is 3 sharpness, dynamic range and noise
one clue; the three body colours There’s no viewfinder, performance is just as impressive as
and array of bright ‘Face Jackets’ but there is a pop-up Canon’s mid-range/enthusiast DSLR
are another. Ours has a silver and flash activated by a cameras. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF
tan body and with a custard button on the side of is fast, smooth and quiet too – at least
yellow jacket. the camera in good light. In dim indoor lighting it
can slow up considerably and start to
Build and handling 4 hunt around a lot more.
The Face Jacket looks striking and From the top the M100 The small body and Canon’s
saves the base of the camera from looks more like a retractable 15-45mm kit lens make it
being scratched if you place it on Canon PowerShot than easy to forget this is a proper APS-C
rough surfaces, but it doesn’t add a mirrorless camera. camera; anyone upgrading from a
The M100 has been made much to the handling, and you have There’s no mode dial, smartphone will be blown away by the
so small and so simple to take it off to get to the battery just an auto/manual/
movie mode lever
pictures. But the M100 has been made
and memory card doors. so small and so simple that it’s a little
that it’s a little trickier to The build quality is OK, but has trickier to use than we’d like.
use than we’d like the distinctly plasticky feel we’ve Rod Lawton

78
Canon M100 Fujifilm X-A10
Olympus E-PL8 Sony A6000

RESOLUTION

Line widths
We tested the EOS M100 against three
similarly-priced rivals. The older Sony Alpha
6000 offered the best resolution

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Decibels
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

The EOS M100’s noise scores are very good,


narrowly beating the Fujifilm X-A10 despite
having a higher-resolution sensor

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE


Exposure Value

HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

It’s a close-run thing at low-to-medium ISO


settings, but the Olympus pulls ahead for
dynamic range at higher ISO settings

WE SAY...
The EOS M100 feels like a great sensor and
processing system wrapped up in a cut-price
body. It’s certainly compact, but is a little
awkward to handle and relies very heavily on
its menus and touchscreen interface for even
the most ordinary adjustments. Shame.

VERDICT
FEATURES
1 2 3 BUILD & HANDLING
Exposure Detail rendition Dynamic range
This shot is perfectly exposed
PERFORMANCE
The M100 doesn’t deliver the Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF
despite the high-contrast highest resolution we’ve seen sensor delivers good dynamic VALUE
lighting, so the EOS M100 is in a 24-megapixel model, but range, with detail in both
pretty foolproof for beginners it’s sharper than 16MP rivals shadows and highlights OVERALL

79
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

CANON
Canon has shown increased investment in their mirrorless system in
recent years, now providing a more competitive range

B
oth Canon and Nikon were a little slow a set of enticing cameras and interesting Adapter), opening up access to dozens of
to join the mirrorless race, but with the lenses with a dedicated lens mount. Beyond general-purpose, professional and specialised
increasing popularity and quality of high- the M System optics, the entire range of EF models. New and existing Canon users
end CSC options, it became clear that it and EF-S lenses can be used when employing have plenty to keep them happy in this
was a growth market. Canon has since produced the appropriate adaptor (EF-EOS M Mount growing system.

Canon EF-M 11-22mm Canon EF-M 15-45mm


f4-5.6 IS STM f3.5-6.3 IS STM
£300/$420 (approx) £149/$210 (approx)
RATING RATING

Bringing ultra-wide-angle shrinks lens length for storage, Designed primarily as a kit lens, distortion. When compared to the
photography to the M range, this making this an attractive travel this 24-72mm equivalent mid-range Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS,
EF-M fit zoom offers impressive companion overall. The price is also zoom offers users more than you get a smaller aperture and
sharpness, low distortion for the accessible for a lens of this type. An just bundled convenience. It slightly lower reach, but gain the
extreme angle-of-view and a essential item in any EOS mirrorless possesses an effective image STM focusing and a retractable
workable aperture range. When user’s camera bag. stabiliser for discrete hand-held design, for around £170 less.
combining the widest setting with shooting and a stepping motor STM
image stabilisation, it is possible Technical data drive, which offers low-noise, rapid Technical data
to handhold the camera setup at Manufacturer Canon autofocus. The latter is especially Manufacturer Canon
unusually low shutter speeds – a key Web www.canon.co.uk useful for complimenting the HD Web www.canon.co.uk
benefit when handling a lightweight Elements/construction 12/ 9 Groups video mode found in EOS M camera Elements/construction 10/ 9 groups
camera, which can be difficult to Angle of view 102°-63° bodies, where mechanical noise Angle of view 84°-33°
keep steady. The barrel construction Max aperture f4 can spoil the audio quality. Very Max aperture f3.5
is above average and gives the lens Min aperture f32 unusually for a kit optic, full-time Min aperture f40
a robust feel. Handling is designed Min focus distance 0.15 m manual focus is possible, so Min focus distance 0.25m
with the host cameras in mind, Mount Canon EF-M focus can be adjusted to taste at Mount Canon EF-M
creating a seamless experience with Filter size 55mm any time. Performance is more Filter size 49mm
EOS M CSCs. AF performance is Length 58.2 mm than acceptable for everyday Length 44.5mm
good, thanks to the inclusion of an Diameter 60.9 mm photography, with good centre Diameter 60.9mm
STM drive. The retractable barrel Weight 220g sharpness and low rectilinear Weight 130g

80
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TO SLR & CSC PHOTOGRAPHY
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BUYER’S GUIDE
1
2

w w w . o l y m p u s - g l o b a l . c o m /e n 4

Olympus Pen-F
£999/$1,999
The most advanced Pen-series camera has
the features and handling to charm enthusiasts
frame rates; 28 Art Filter effects;
SPECIFICATIONS OLYMPUS has two 1 Wi-Fi connectivity; and the High Res
Sensor Four Thirds (17.4 x 13mm) lines of Micro Four This dial gives a route Shot mode first seen on the OM-D
LiveMOS sensor with 20.3 million Thirds compact to the Art Filters and E-M5 Mark II.
effective pixels system camera: Pen Color Creator as well This system makes use of the
Focal length conversion or lens 2x and OM-D, with the latter the as the Monochrome Pen-F’s stabilisation system to shift
Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC more ‘serious’ of the pair. The Profile Control and the sensor between shots as it
Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder Colour Profile Control
Pen-F comes in at the top of the captures eight 20MP images. These
with 2,3600,000 dots current Pen line-up and has a files are then merged into a single
Max video resolution Full HD
20-million-pixel Four Thirds type 2 high-resolution image. On the E-M5 II,
(1,920 x 1,080), 30fps
sensor – that’s four million more This 3-inch 1,037K-dot High Res Shot mode delivers 40MP
ISO range 200-25,600
(expandable to 80-25,600) pixels than previous Pen models. LCD is touch-sensitive JPEG images or 64MP RAW files; but
Autofocus points 81 Until now, one of the key and attached via an on the Pen-F, the JPEG image size has
Max Burst rate 5fps with AF distinctions between the two articulating bracket, been increased to 50MP, while the
(10fps with AF locked at start) lines has been that the OM-D so it can be flipped out RAW files are a whopping 80.6MP.
Screen 3-inch 1,037,000-dot TFT cameras have a built-in and angled up or down However, the maximum shutter
Shutter speeds 1/8,000-60 sec viewfinder, while the Pen models speed available is 8 sec, while the
plus Bulb don’t. The Pen-F changes that, 3 minimum aperture is f38 and the
Weight 373g (body only) integrating an OLED electronic highest available sensitivity setting is
Dimensions 125 x 72 x 37mm There’s a small, but
viewfinder with 2.36 million effective thumbgrip ISO 1,600.
Power supply Lithium-ion
dots into its body. It also has on the back, which
BLN-1 (supplied)
Olympus’s excellent five-axis helps keep the camera Build & handling
image stabilisation built-in. steady in your hand The Pen-F has the type of build that
Other highlights include a makes you smile when you pick it
The Pen-F integrates maximum continuous shooting up – solid and made from metal.
4
an OLED electronic speed of 5fps with full AF and While the body and milled metal
metering operation (or 10fps There’s an exposure dials are of high quality, the buttons
viewfinder with compensation dial on
without); an 81-point contrast on the back of the camera are the
2.36 million dots into detection autofocus system; Full
an Olympus digital
small plastic affairs. The 2.36-million-
camera for the very
its body HD (1,920 x 1,080) at a range of first time dot electronic viewfinder is very

82
COLOUR ERROR

Olympus Pen-F 11.6

Fujifilm X-E2S 19

Olympus E-M10 II 7.1

SCORES CLOSER
Panasonic GX8 -6.6
TO ZERO ARE BETTER

-5 0 5 10 15 20

The Pen-F tends to produce quite saturated


colours in its Natural Picture mode, although
the Fujifilm X-E2S JPEGs are more vibrant

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO


50

40

Decibels
30

20

10
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600


The Dramatic Tone II Art Filter can produce some attractive high-contrast images
Although the Pen-F scores well, it can’t
match the heights of the Panasonic GX8.
good, with a high refresh rate so you can pan with Also, JPEGs viewed at 100% lack the ‘bite’ In High Res Shot mode, the results are better
than in the standard mode
moving subjects, and it shows lots of detail in good or sharpness of files from some other
light. The 3-inch, 1,037k-dot LCD on the back of cameras, but they look good when sized to
the camera is also very good, responding quickly make prints. Noise is controlled well for most RAW DYNAMIC RANGE
to a touch and displaying lots of detail. of the Pen-F’s sensitivity range. As usual, in
14
It’s a shame that it’s not possible to make main the default noise-reduction setting you can

Exposure Value
menu selections and adjustments using touch expect to see some fine details lost from 12
control, but it is possible with the Super JPEGs at the upper sensitivity settings.
Control Panel. Nevertheless ISO 6,400 images look good at 10

A3 size.
8
Performance There seems to be an near-infinite number
Our lab tests reveal that, in comparison with the of ways to tweak the colour of JPEGs to suit 6
Pen E-P5, this brings a significant hike in the your preferences, so if you don’t like the HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF
amount of detail in images at lower sensitivity results from the Pen-F, you probably just need 100 400 1,600 6,400 25,600
settings. However, above ISO 3,200 the level of to find the right setting. The Natural Picture
The Pen-F’s raw files are quite similar to the
detail in Pen-F images is a little lower than in the Mode makes a good starting point and JPEGs and don’t match the high scores of
E-P5’s shots. produces natural, if slightly muted, colours the competing cameras. However, they have
and contrast. If you want a bit more punch, good scope for post-capture adjustment
switch to the Vivid or I-Enhance mode.
Although the Pen-F has a contrast-
detection system, rather than a hybrid
WE SAY...
solution that combines contrast detection The Pen-F is an excellent camera with
with a phase system, it’s fast and accurate in bags of features, plus lots of scope for
many situations. It works well in quite low customisation of both the controls and the
light, but you can expect a bit of hunting as appearance of the images it produces. It may
contrast levels drop further. Provided that you take you a while to work through the various
options and optimise it for the way you want
keep the active AF point over the subject, it’s
to shoot, but it’s worth taking the time to
also pretty good at keeping moving subjects explore and experiment.
sharp in continuous AF mode, but the
Tracking AF mode is more hit-and-miss.
Olympus’s stabilisation system is well VERDICT
regarded, and it doesn’t disappoint in the
Pen-F. When shooting with the popular FEATURES
12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ ED MSC lens at 50mm BUILD & HANDLING
(100mm equivalent), for example, we found
that we were able to get a high hit rate at 1/6 PERFORMANCE
There are dials
a-plenty on the sec, producing close-range images that look
Pen-F’s top plate acceptable at 100%. That’s a compensation VALUE
factor of around 4EV.
OVERALL
Angela Nicholson

83
BUYER’S GUIDE

4
w w w.o l y m p u s .c o.u k

Olympus OM-D E-M10


Mark III £699/$799
(with 14-42mm pancake zoom)
Our favourite travel camera gets 4K video

SPECIFICATIONS THE ‘old’ OM-D E-M10 1 processor that brings 121 autofocus
Mark II was an With the EZ 14-42mm points, together with a new Bleach
Sensor 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds
impressive camera pancake zoom lens, Bypass Art Filter and a modest
Image processor TruePic VIII
suitable for travel the E-M10 III is just reworking of the camera’s exterior
AF points 121 (contrast AF)
ISO range 100-25,600 photography, and this new Mark a masterpiece of and controls.
Max image size 4,608 x 3,456 III version is really more of an miniaturisation Inside it has the same 16MP
Metering zones 324 update and a refresh rather than Micro Four Thirds sensor. We were
Video 4K UHD at 30, 25, 24fps a brand-new camera. 2 wondering if it would get the same
Viewfinder EVF, 2,360k dots It uses a smaller Micro Four 20MP sensor as the more upmarket
Memory card SD/SDHC/SDXC The rear touchscreen
Thirds sensor than rival PEN-F and OM-D E-M1 II models, but
LCD 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040k display swings out on
mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, clearly Olympus is keeping that back
dots a tilting mechanism
which might put some people off; for now.
Max burst 8.6fps (22 RAW)
but this sensor is still way bigger
Connectivity Wi-Fi 3
than those in regular compact Build and handling
Size 122 x 84 x 50mm
Weight 410g cameras and smartphones, so Entry-level or not, the The E-M10 III is certainly small, but it
the quality difference between E-M10 III has a terrific crams on a lot of exterior dials and
the little E-M10 and a DSLR is 2,360k-dot electronic buttons, so it’s ideal for enthusiasts
really not that big. The advantage viewfinder and a too. The rear touchscreen and its
of the smaller sensor format is souped-up 121-point touch focus, touch shutter option is
autofocus system
that the lenses are small too perfect for smartphone upgraders
– which is where rival APS-C and novices.
It’s the entry-level camera systems fall down. 4 At the far left of the top plate is
It’s the entry-level model a big on/off switch, which is a really
model in Olympus’s in Olympus’s OM-D range,
Is this really a
nice echo of the classic Olympus OM
beginner’s camera? It
OM-D range, although although it’s actually a lot more has full PASM modes, SLR cameras. On the right side is a
it’s actually a lot more sophisticated than most beginner twin control dials and
a new AP (Advanced
big metal mode dial and two (yes,
cameras. The key new features in two) metal control dials. Most
sophisticated than the E-M10 Mark III are 4K video Photo) mode entry-level cameras offer just one
most beginner cameras and a more powerful image dial, but the E-M10 III is not your

84
1 2 3
ordinary entry-level camera.
Small as it is, the OM-D E-M10 Detail rendition Exposure Dynamic range
Mark III handles brilliantly. The You don’t get Olympus’s latest The lighting in this scenes There’s detail in both the
dials have a firm, positive feel 20MP sensor, but the 16MP presents plenty of challenges, shadows and the clouds,
and the controls don’t feel version in the OM-D E-M10 but the E-M10 III’s metering has reflecting the great dynamic
cramped. The four-way captures very good detail coped perfectly range results in the lab tests
navigation pad on the back is a
little small, but it works well.
Olympus packs a lot of very
smart shooting options into its revised 121-point autofocus Meet the
cameras, and the mode dial system does not offer
now has an AP (Advanced on-sensor phase-detection rivals
Photo) mode which displays autofocus, but that doesn’t
the camera’s Live Composite seem to hurt it at all – it’s really The cameras
Fujifilm X-T20 Canon EOS M5
mode, Live Time exposures, quick and responsive, almost taking on the £899/$999 £999/$1,049
multiple exposures, HDR uncannily quick if you use the Olympus OM-D The X-T20/16-50mm Canon’s first
mode, silent mode, panorama touch shutter option on the E-M10 III... zoom combo is compact system
and bracketing modes. rear screen. It does start to larger and more camera with a
slow down a little in poor expensive than the built-in viewfinder
Performance indoor lighting with longer E-M10 III, but it does is small, neat and
FOR TEST
have a bigger APS-C powerful, but it’s
The motorised EZ zoom lens zoom settinwgs, but not by IMAGES AND
sensor and 24 also pretty pricey
slows down the startup time much, and there’s very little RESOLUTION
million pixels. compared to rivals.
slightly, but after that the hunting. The viewfinder is CHARTS, VISIT
Reviewed: Page 48 Reviewed: Page 76
OM-D E-M10 Mark III feels bright, clear, colourful and www.techradar.
extremely responsive. The lag-free in good light. It does com/cameras

85
COLOUR ERROR

Olympus E-M10 III 10.1

Canon EOS M5 6.2

Fujifilm X-T20 4.7


SCORES
CLOSER
Nikon D5600 -1.4 TO ZERO ARE
BETTER

-5 0 5 10 15 20

We found the E-M10 III worst for colour error,


thanks to its saturated colours (which some
might prefer, of course)

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Decibels
HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW
RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

The Fujifilm X-T20 streaks ahead for noise


control and the D5600’s non-anti-aliased
sensor makes it the noisiest. In the middle,
the Olympus and EOS M5 are matched well

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE

Exposure Value

HIGHER SCORES ARE BETTER. RAW


RESULTS USE IMAGES CONVERTED TO TIFF

It might have the smallest camera sensor,


but the OM-D E-M10 III delivers extremely
good dynamic range and only the mighty
Fujifilm X-T20 comes close

WE SAY...
We’re a little disappointed that the E-M10 III
The E-M10 III delivers good uses Olympus’s 16-megapixel sensor and not
detail plus great colours its latest 20MP unit, but apart from that it’s
and tonal rendition good news all the way. The autofocus is very
fast for a simple contrast-based AF system
and the 4K video is a great addition, but most
of all this camera’s combination of size,
get a little jittery if you move the camera can shoot raw files instead, of course. You design and power just make it a joy to use.
quickly in dim, indoor lighting, but it’s unlikely really do get a lot for your money. It might be
to become an issue unless you’re trying to the base model in Olympus’s OM-D range, but
VERDICT
track a fast-moving subject.The 4K movie really it has the features and controls of a
mode is a great addition, and Olympus’s mid-range mirrorless camera or DSLR, or FEATURES
in-body five-axis stabilisation system does a even some more advanced models.
great job of keeping handheld footage steady. If you already have an OM-D E-M10 Mark II, BUILD & HANDLING
Even though the E-M10 III doesn’t get there’s no point in upgrading to the Mark III
Olympus’s latest 20MP sensor, its 16MP unless 4K video is a priority; but if you have PERFORMANCE
shots are sharp and full of detail. The colour the original E-M10 Mark I and you love it, you’ll
VALUE
rendition in JPEGs is terrific, if a little love the Mark III even more.
saturated at times, but keen photographers Rod Lawton OVERALL

86
BUYER’S GUIDE

LENS BUYER’S GUIDE:

OLYMPUS
As the second of the original two Micro 4/3 employers,
Olympus offers a diverse system

F
eaturing a Micro 4/3 lens mount, Olympus without image stabilisation can provide a sharper mount. Between the two parallel lines, there is
CSCs accept both Olympus-made lenses, image at slower shutter speeds. Panasonic an inclusive abundance of lenses for every photo
while simultaneously accessing Panasonic- customers, meanwhile, must rely on their lenses genre, with a broad price range. Olympus has a
branded 4/3 units. A key advantage users featuring the company’s O.I.S system. Although greater photographic history, and so appeals to
of Olympus cameras can enjoy is integral shake third-party options are currently limited, Tamron those looking for high-spec, retro-styled camera-
reduction technology, meaning even optics do offer their 14-150mm f3.5-5.8 Di III in a 4/3 lens combinations.

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 7-14mm M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm


1:2.8 PRO 1:3.5-6.3 EZ
£949/$1,330 (approx) £279/$390 (approx)
RATING RATING

Comprising many advanced optics, but this is not a problem when Filling the same niche as the quality is high, and while edge
including multiple ED and super mounting the lens on a stabilised Panasonic Lumix G Vario sharpness can drop at f3.5 and
ED elements, plus aspherical and Micro 4/3 body. An advanced tool 14-45mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH. MEGA 12mm, the centre of the image
Dual Super Aspherical (DSA) for Olympus and Panasonic CSC O.I.S, this 24-100mm effective remains detailed. A high-spec lens
elements, this super wide-angle users, the Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f4 zoom lens covers a greater range, which offers a little more than the
is aimed at enthusiasts and is cheaper, but a stop slower. but falls behind on the maximum Lumix lens.
professional photographers. The aperture at the longest setting. It
35mm corresponding focal range Technical data is similarly priced and weighs only Technical data
is 14-28mm, but being designed for Manufacturer Olympus slightly more, so the two are the Manufacturer Olympus
the Micro 4/3 format, even with a Web www.olympus.co.uk greatest competitors in this range Web www.olympus.co.uk
maximum f-number of f2.8, the lens Elements/construction 14/ 11 Groups for Micro 4/3 photographers. An Elements/construction 10/ 9 groups
dimensions remain constrained. At Angle of view 114°-75° advantage is the presence of Angle of view 84°-24°
7mm and wide open, resolution is Max aperture f2.8 weather sealing, which the Max aperture f3.5
exemplary, with a notable drop in Min aperture f22 Panasonic offering lacks. Another Min aperture f22
sharpness at the edges. Build is to Min focus distance 0.20 m standout is the zoom ring, which is Min focus distance 20m
pro standards, while users benefit Mount Micro Four Thirds movable to switch between Mount Micro Four Thirds
from full weather sealing. Focusing Filter size N/A modes. M-Zoom allows normal Filter size 52mm
is internal, but the lens lacks a Length 105.8 mm zoom control, while E-Zoom Length 83mm
forward filter thread for screw- Diameter 78.9 mm provides an electronically Diameter 57mm
type filters. Stabilisation is missing, Weight 534g monitored slow zoom. Image Weight 212g

87
TECHNIQUES

TECHNIQUES
O
nce you’ve chosen the mirrorless camera that is right for you, seventeen essential tips on how to make your landscape shots stand
then it’s time to explore the photographic techniques that will out and ten informative wildlife tips from professional photographer
enable you to take your photography to the next level. Richard Peters.
Learn how to improve your images by discovering all of the If that wasn’t enough we have also looked at how to tell a story in
essential tricks, techniques and skills you need to ensure you get the pictures and embrace the many exciting possibilities of documentary
composition of an image right every time. Master the art of posing for photography, as well as how to perfect your image processing. There
portraits and find out how to best pose both male and female models is a photo-editing application to suit every photographer, so follow our
and produce captivating portraits full of emotion. We’ve included advice in order to get more from yours.

88
Nikon Advanced Handbook
TECHNIQUES

The art of composition 90 Get more from the scene 130


Master posing for portraits 102 Tell a story in pictures 144
Shoot landscape photography 112 Perfect your processing 158
10 essential wildlife techniques 120 Build and maintain an image library 170

89
TECHNIQUES

THE ART OF
COMPOSITION
Improve your images by discovering all of the essential
tricks, techniques and skills you need to ensure you get the
composition right every time

H
ave you ever wondered why some the rules and techniques that you need to
pictures just look ‘right’, while others improve your composition skills, how to use
don’t? The answer lies in composition, them and how they affect your images.
which relates to the positioning and While we can’t teach you the ‘gut feeling’,
relationships between areas and focal points in simply getting out there and using these
the subject you are shooting. Understanding composition techniques will help you discover
how composition works is the single most which ones work for you and the subject
important thing you need to know to improve that you are shooting. Even if you already
your images. instinctively ‘know’ when an image looks right,
Composition is a combination of art, a little learning about the rules of composition will only
bit of science, and a significant sprinkling of ‘gut add to your skills and help you to create more
feeling’. In these 12 pages, you’ll discover all of dynamic and striking images in the future.

90
Claus Christensen / Getty Images

91
TECHNIQUES
TECHNIQUES

THE BASICS
Achieve balance and form by using these simple techniques in your shots

Identifying and positioning the focal points to help you get better great, instead of one that is only destined
main subject, and other focal points, balance, shape and distribution of form in to be deleted.
in your image is at the heart of good your photos. No single one of these rules Remember that before you start
composition. Get this wrong, and you’ll and techniques is the ‘golden bullet’ to using these techniques you’ll first need
simply end up with an unbalanced, getting the right balance every time you to decide which elements of the subject
awkward and unfulfilling image that take a shot, but if you are struggling to you want to include – and, often more
will never look quite ‘right’. find a framing and composition that importantly, which you can leave out of
So here we’ll start with the building works, implementing one of these rules the frame because they distract from,
blocks of where to place subjects and can really help you get a shot that looks rather than add to, the image.

Chris Rutter

RULE OF THIRDS
This age-old composition trick is placing the main elements of the
the perfect place to start when you are scene. Position your main subject on
thinking of placing subjects off-centre one of these lines, then use others for
to add balance and dynamism. The important elements such as the
rule of thirds works by splitting each horizon, secondary focal points or
side of the frame into three equal strong vertical lines.
lengths, then adding horizontal and The other key areas in the grid are
vertical lines that partition the frame the four line intersections, which give
into nine areas. The key areas are the optimal positions for the main
lines themselves, which are perfect for focal point.

92
THE GOLDEN RATIO
While the rule of thirds is the most common way of dividing the
frame, it’s certainly not the only one. A popular alternative is the
golden ratio, which places the optimal positions for focal points and
important elements closer to the centre than the rule of thirds.
This grid divides each side into sections with a ratio of 1:0.618:1,
which means that the centre section is smaller than the outer ones.
This is also known as the
‘divine proportion’ or the Phi
ratio, and is based on the
proportions that can often
be found in nature.
But that’s not all; this grid
also supplies the proportions
for the golden spiral. This
intersects the lines found in
the golden ratio, with the arc
of the curve giving you the
optimal positions for placing
interesting elements of the
picture as well as the main
focal point.

Right Here, the horizon is on


the upper part of the golden
Chris Rutter

ratio lines, while the shore


and focal point correspond
to the golden spiral.
Chris Rutter

FOCAL POINTS ODD NUMBERS


Although it’s true that you can produce a strong, simple When you’re shooting multiple subjects or focal points in a single
composition with a single focal point, such as a person or frame, you should get in the habit of considering how many to
dominant subject, you should also look for other focal points in include, as well as where you position them. One or two subjects
the frame that can give your image more balance and depth. work well, but when it comes to larger amounts, odd numbers
This can be particularly useful when placing subjects off-centre produce more balanced and pleasing compositions than even ones.
using one of the compositional ‘grids’. You can position these so that one is near the centre of the frame,
For example, if your main focal point is on the top-right then distribute the others evenly on either side, for a balanced feel.
intersection of the rule of thirds, try to look for a Alternatively, you might decide to offset the composition by
complementary focal point in the lower-left one to including different numbers on either side to emphasise one side of
counterbalance the dominance of the right of the frame. the frame from the other.

93
TECHNIQUES

CREATIVE
CONNECTIONS
Go beyond the basics to help tell a story with your shots

The basic rules governing the positioning of


objects and focal points are great for many
shooting situations, but they can only give a
bare structure to images. Thinking about
how the different areas, objects and subjects
in the picture interact with each other and
add to the story will enable you to go beyond
simply where to position them in the frame.
These connections are sometimes
obvious and literal, such as a line or an object
linking two areas of the frame, but can also
be more ephemeral, such as using similar
shapes or subjects to add to the story. It can
also involve using two strikingly different
subjects or colours to create a contrast to
add impact or even conflict to the narrative
of the image. 3
When you are thinking about these
connections and contrasts, it’s also worth
considering how we normally ‘read’ an image.
In western cultures, most people read from
left to right, so this corresponds to the way
that we will tend to look at images. This
means that the distribution of elements in
an image from left to right is normally more
pleasing to these cultures than right to left.
Obviously, the opposite is true in other 2
cultures, though, which can influence
how they react and read an image.

Leading lines
The two curved roads leading from the bottom-
left and centre-left of the image create strong
leading lines towards the middle of the image.
These are intersected by the strong diagonal
from right to left, enabling the viewer to create
their own visual pathways into the image.

Vertical obstacles
The main diagonal line leads out of the frame,
but this has been countered by the strong
vertical lines of the building on the left-hand 1
side. This barrier prevents your eye following
the road out of this side of the frame, and
encourages your view to return back into the
central area of the image.

94
TECHNIQUES

3 4 5 6

Focal point Vertical lines Blurred clouds Strong diagonal


This brightly lit tower creates a The horizon is broken up by the The blurring of the clouds creates The strong diagonal line created by
perfect focal point because it is vertical lines of the towers and a subtle counterpoint to the the largest road from the bottom
located at the end of the strong buildings. These verticals make you stronger leading lines of the roads right to the left leads your eye
diagonal line of the road. This take more time to explore the shapes in the bottom of the frame, as they across the whole frame, enabling
means that as you follow this line, and details of the different areas create opposing diagonal lines to you to then scan across the focal
your eye naturally rests here for around the centre of the image, lead you back to the main focal points of the buildings. This ends
a while before you move on to rather than simply following the points of the buildings in the in a gentle curve, to draw you back
take in the rest of the image. horizon out of the image to the right. centre of the image. into the frame.

6
Yongyuan Dai / Getty Images

95
TECHNIQUES

USE DEPTH
Convey depth and distance to help draw in the viewer

While the basic positioning and placement techniques that can help emulate a and objects getting smaller as they get
of the elements within a picture is vital to three-dimensional scene within the further away from you, giving a sense of
the composition, this is only one part of constraints of a two-dimensional depth that would otherwise be missing
improving your images. Even when you photograph: leading lines and aerial from a two-dimensional image.
have positioned your subjects beautifully, perspective. The first relies on using Aerial perspective is a touch more
you can end up with very flat-looking shapes, lines or curves in the subject to difficult to use in many shots, because it
images, so you need to use some other draw the viewer into the picture. This relies on tones becoming lighter and the
techniques to add a sense of depth and technique can be enhanced by using reduction of contrast to make objects
distance to shots. There are two main geometrical rules such as vanishing points appear further away from the viewer.

stock_colors / Getty Images

AERIAL PERSPECTIVE
This effect relies on the fact that objects a telephoto lens will emphasise this
tend to get lighter and also have less effect, although you still need the right
contrast the further away they are, due to atmospheric conditions. It‘s most
water vapour and pollution in the pronounced in misty, hazy conditions, and
atmosphere. This means we assume also when you are shooting into the light.
objects that contain deep blacks are closer So these situations are perfect for using
to the viewer than lower-contrast and aerial perspective in your images. In
Chris Rutter

lighter ones, which helps give the contrast, thick fog can hide the entire
appearance of depth in your composition. background, producing a more
Shooting from a distance and using two-dimensional effect.

96
LEADING LINES
Diagonal lines and shapes that converge in
the frame can be incredibly useful for adding
a sense of depth to your two-dimensional
images. These geometrical effects are
known as leading (or sometimes lead-in)
lines, as they lead the eye from the
foreground to the background. You can find
these lines or shapes in a huge range of
subjects, from an obvious road, track or path
to a more subtle shadow, linear object or
shape in the subject that leads from the
foreground to the main subject. Getting close
to the object that you want to use to lead the
viewer in, and using a wide-angle lens, will
help emphasise this effect, although you can
also find subtle shapes and lines when using
other viewpoints.
Chris Rutter

97
97
TECHNIQUES

SPACE &
SIMPLICITY
Less is more when you want to add impact to your composition

You don’t always have to fill the the extra space helps to give the isolate the subject, you can use
frame with the main subject or viewer more time to ‘find’ the a couple of techniques that aren’t
include loads of different elements subject in the image without the immediately associated with
in a scene to produce striking competition of other elements or composition: long shutter speeds
compositions. In fact, it’s often focal points in the scene. and shallow depth of field. These
better to isolate a single focal point Finding this perfect simplicity enable you to blur distracting
or leave space around the subject isn’t always easy. You will need to elements around the subject,
to give it room to ‘breathe’. This identify the dominant subject and producing a much stronger and
approach to composition will help then isolate it from any distractions simpler composition than if there
you produce more relaxed, around it to produce a really were too many other distractions
contemplative images, because striking composition. To help you visible in the frame.
Chris Rutter

LEAVE SOME SPACE


Leaving large areas of blank space or simple patterns than overpower it. Then the viewer will feel that looking
around the subject enables the viewer to spend more at these areas adds to the experience, rather than
time contemplating the whole image. The easiest takes away from it.
approach to take to achieve this is to shoot the subject Outside of the studio or a controlled situation, this
against a blank background, such as white, black or a balance can be hard to achieve because you will need
single colour. But a simple pattern or softly varied to work hard to find a background that both adds to
background can work just as well, on the condition the image, but doesn’t distract attention away from
that these areas complement the main subject, rather the subject.

98
COVER STORY

GO CENTRAL
In the previous pages we’ve concentrated on
placing the subject away from the centre of
the frame – but, as with all artistic
techniques, this isn’t the only approach.
When you are shooting a single dominant
subject, placing it in the centre of the image
will emphasise its importance in the frame.
This technique goes against all of the advice
given about adding balance and movement
to your shots, as the viewer’s eye isn’t
tempted to look around the frame as much
as an off-centre subject, but this is what
helps to add impact to this composition
style. You can add to the effect by cropping
to a square format, rather than the normal
Chris Rutter

rectangle, as it places even more emphasis


on the central area of the frame.
TECHNIQUES

LENSES &
PERSPECTIVE
Experiment with viewpoints to give your shots a new look

From the wide view of a short focal length composition armour. Your perspective is zooming in or out (or changing lenses) to
to the high magnification of a telephoto, governed simply by the relative distances include more or less of the scene: you’ll
the type of lens that you use has an between your viewpoint and the different need to move to really transform your
impact on the composition of your subjects in the scene. composition. Also consider high or low
images. But it’s actually your viewpoint So, when you are out shooting, don’t viewpoints, to give your images and
that is the real weapon in your simply stand in one spot and rely on composition a distinctive twist.

PICK THE CORRECT LENS


The lens you use simply determines how when you combine this focal length choice
much of the scene you can include in your with your viewpoint that you can begin to
final shot. A short-focal-length lens enables transform the appearance of your images
you to include a wide view, while a longer and add some real impact to your
focal length gives a narrower view. It’s composition choice.

DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS
The position that you choose to take a the frame, moving your viewpoint is often smaller, emphasising the distance
shot is the key decision that will decide the first and best thing that you can do to between them. In contrast, moving further
on the perspective – and consequently improve your composition. Getting close away from the foreground subject will
the appearance – of your images. So to the foreground will make it appear make the foreground and background
if you’re unhappy with how the different much larger in the image, and more equal in size and therefore seem
elements of the scene are positioned in consequently make the background closer together.

Wide-angle lens
Using a wide-angle lens takes in more of the scene ahead
of you, so you’ll need to compose elements accordingly.

Telephoto lens
From the same viewpoint, switching to a telephoto lens has
a ‘cropping’ effect compared with the wide-angle lens.

100
TECHNIQUES

Different distance, different perspective GETTING THE


RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
To help your understanding of how the relationship between
how viewpoint, perspective the building and the
and lens choice affects your background changes
images, here we have taken a each time.
series of shots using different The final two images are
viewpoints and lenses to show shot from the same position,
how dramatically they can but with different lenses.
alter the results. Despite this, if you look
The first image is taken closely at the building in the
from very close to the ruined wide shot, the perspective
building, using a 20mm lens effect is exactly the same.
on a full-frame camera. The To really get to grips with
next two images are shot the creative possibilities of
from viewpoints that become these effects, it’s worth taking
increasingly distant from the some time to shoot a subject
LENS USED: 20mm building as we use longer yourself at different distances
From very close the building dominates, and focal lengths. You can see and with different lenses.
a 20mm lens is needed to include it all.

LENS USED: 35mm LENS USED: 75mm


At around 8 metres away, the building still From 15 metres away the mountain and
appears much larger than the background. building appear closer: a longer lens is needed.

Same distance, same perspective, different lenses

LENS USED – 200mm LENS USED – 28mm


From a distance, building and background Taken from the same position; perspective
appear close, and a 200mm lens is needed. is the same, it’s just a much wider view.

101
TECHNIQUES

MASTER
POSING
FOR
PORTRAITS
Learn to pose both male and female models and
produce captivating portraits full of emotion

T
he art of successful posing is process that requires little conscious thought
absolutely vital for great portrait – and for some more experienced portrait
photography. Unless one is shooting photographers, it is – but for most it requires
candids, the photographer must deliberate, considered attention. Over the
interact with the subject and direct them next few pages, you’ll discover techniques
in order to achieve the very best possible for posing female subjects, male models
results, as well as understanding how to place and group shots, enabling you to take your
the subject within the frame for compositional portrait photography to a more professional
purposes. This all sounds like an instinctive level and create incredible images.

Aim for allure


Encourage your female subjects to touch their face
and hair for a more sensual pose
© Oleg Gekman

102
TECHNIQUES

103
TECHNIQUES

POSE FEMALE SUBJECTS


Discover how to work with female models to create seductive and sensual captures
The perfect pose is key for creating a good As always the body part closest to the To create a more seductive image get the
portrait, both for flattering your model and camera will appear larger, so you must be model to tilt her head downwards slightly,
also for conveying the mood and overall feel aware of what that is. You should also focus asking her to look up at you with her eyes.
of your image. Lighting, hair and make-up are on how the model’s arms are positioned, as Ask the model to relax her jaw so that her
very important too, however the pose and even the thinnest of models can look larger lips part, then get her to press her tongue
positioning of your subject will arguably have due to a misplaced arm. into the roof of her mouth. Asking her to play
the biggest effect on the final image. Your goal should be to work to define the with her hair or touch her face will also create
When photographing a female subject jawline. If your model’s jawline isn’t clearly a more sensual and alluring image.
your aim should be to enhance her natural defined then shoot from slightly above “Poses are always chosen in accordance to
beauty and features, so you must pay close looking down, as this gives the jawline more the image in mind,” explains beauty fashion
attention to any unflattering and unforgiving definition and will also slim the body. It photographer Oleg Gekman (500px.com/
angles. Having a chat with your model before might even be a good idea to ask the subject heckmannoleg). “An important factor is the
the shoot is always encouraged and can help to lean into the camera. Leaning her face choice of the best angle for every model. I
you with your setup and pose. If the model towards you will elongate the subject’s neck, try to avoid hard light for women’s portraits.
is experienced she might already know her define the chin and should encourage her I create a soft lighting that enhances the
best and most favoured side, or the most hair to fall beautifully across her shoulders. beauty of the model’s skin and her make-up
flattering angle to position her head. Asking It may also help you to emphasise the size and hair. To achieve that I use softboxes and a
about this first will help you to quickly of the model’s eyes, which can be a very beauty dish with a scrim. To soften shadows I
understand what works best for your subject. attractive and desired trait. use a deflector and white panels.”

Left
Tilt the shoulders Hands in hair
Asking the model to tilt Give the model something
her shoulders slightly will to do with their hands.
help to create a more Hands in hair helps to create
flattering shape a sensual image

Essential kit
Gather key accessories
in order to shoot the best
possible portraits
REFLECTOR
A reflector is truly key
for all portraiture; use it
to bounce the light back
into the model’s face
to fill any unflattering
shadows. Reflectors
can be used for both
male and female
models effectively.

BEAUTY DISH
Similar to a reflector,
a beauty dish can be
used with a studio light
to further illuminate a
model’s face and ensure
harsh shadows are lifted.
They are commonly
used for female portraits.

GOBO
You can add some
extra creativity to your
portraits by adding a
gobo attached to a
light into your setup.
Use it to create some
© Rebecca Greig

interesting shadows
across the model’s
face and body.

104
TECHNIQUES

EYE CONTACT
Direct eye contact
will help to engage
the viewer

DEFINED JAWLINE
The model’s jawline is
clearly defined, creating
a flattering shot
PARTED LIPS
Her lips are slightly
parted, which aids in
defining the jaw and
creates an alluring
expression

HAND ON FACE
Having the model touch
her face helps to create a
more alluring image
© Oleg Gekman

105
TECHNIQUES

INCORPORATE THE
SURROUNDINGS
Enhance your portraits by including props and
add context by embracing the environment
Integrating props and the surrounding the photographer themselves, and can be
environment into your portraits is a great a way of distinguishing the photographer’s
way of adding context and personality to work from someone else’s.
your shots. It can help to tell a story and “As I mostly deal with beauty portraits my
add a narrative to your imagery. Props and shooting props are different jewellery, clothes
accessories will add atmosphere and also and other accessories,” says Gekman. “At
help the viewer to understand the personality, first, I decide what kind of image I am going
emotions and role of the subject. to create, and then I choose props for the
Environmental portraits can be very shooting. I always come up with the theme
powerful, whether you are just making for a photoshoot myself – I think through
the most of nature to add interest to your every detail in the image of the model and
imagery or are using the environment to tell buy accessories.”
a story about your character – it will help to
draw the viewer in and hold their attention.
Props can also add creativity and contrast “Props will help the
to a scene. For example, adding an object
that doesn’t quite fit and seems out of viewer understand
place can actually add a level of conflict and
intrigue into an image, which will help to hold the emotions and
© Oleg Gekman
the viewer’s attention and force them to
really think about what they are looking at. In role of the subject”
addition, props can often tell us more about

Add extra interest


Match the pose to the props or the environment
© Rebecca Greig
© Rebecca Greig
© Oleg Gekman

USE THE PROP INTERACT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT WEAR IT


Here the prop is a camera, so it would Ask the subject to lean on something within the Props don’t have to be objects, they can also be
look odd if the prop wasn’t being used. scene in order to incorporate it into the shot. dominating clothing. Ensure that the piece of clothing
Ask the model to actually use the object Having something to lean on can also help a is the focus in the shot and use it to tell the story or
for its intended purpose. subject to look and feel less awkward. convey emotions.

106
TECHNIQUES

© Rebecca Greig

Left Above Below


Tie the colours together Create balance Create abstracts
Here the model is holding flowers that Use the elements of the Props can also be used to
match the background colours, and environment to create create more abstract and
this helps to tie the image together balance in a scene evocative imagery

© Sandra Limberg

107
TECHNIQUES

TELL A STORY
Give the model a prop or
task to make them look
DIRECT GAZE more comfortable
Eye contact is a powerful
tool for drawing the
viewer into the image

MANLY TRAITS
Focus on a strong facial
feature, like a beard or
a moustache
© Oleg Gekman

108
TECHNIQUES

POSE MALE MODELS some poses will probably work better for men
than for women because of the impression
they convey. For example, asking a man to
cross his arms, to put his hand or his hands
Effectively pose male models for striking imagery in his pockets, or do up buttons of a jacket.
“The light setups I use will be the same
The main difference between men and generally associated with manhood. Helping as the ones described for female models,
women is their body shape. Women are a man pose well will be easier once you but I may use harder light. For instance, the
generally less angular than men, while the have decided which impression you want to age of the model may change the way I light
male body consists of defined angles and convey to the viewer. For example, if you ask him. If the person is quite old for example, I
rigid shapes. For Gekman, “While creating a a model to convey an impression of strength may try to use harder light to emphasise the
man’s portrait I follow the same rules as for and confidence, telling him that this is your wrinkles and thus the character of the model.
a woman’s one. I choose poses depending intention will help him a lot. You may then ask However, hard light may also be interesting
on the theme of the shoot and the image I him to close his eyes (I use this tip a lot and it for a younger model if you intend to have a
want to create. For men’s portraits I usually works very well for me) and think of moments more dramatic effect.”
use harder lighting. As a rule, there are one in the past when he was very confident –
or two sources of light, I put up a sidelight to the confidence should be seen in his eyes.
get deeper shadows and to make the image Asking him to lower his head just a little
more dramatic. To create deeper shadows I may increase the impression of strength and
use black panels. In addition, I use one source determination. With this intention in mind, a
of light to illuminate the distance shot thus posing mistake, in my opinion, would be to tilt
separating the model from the background.” the head back a little, for this conveys more of
Samuel Bouget (www.portraitsbysam. an impression of haughtiness. Or, if the body
com) says, “Because often the intention was too slumped, it may prevent you from
behind a male portrait will not be the same conveying confidence.
as the one behind a female portrait, posing “If you are following me with this notion
will be affected. Male portraiture is not of intention, and the fact that the posing
generally considered in terms of beauty or will depend on the type of portrait you want

© Sandra Limberg
pleasing appearance, but more in terms to make, I think you will understand that I
of conveying an impression of confidence, cannot give you a list of poses that work best
strength, willpower or any other quality for men. However, I think we can say that

Above

LEARN TO POSE
Strong lines
Use lighting to emphasise
the texture and rigid lines on
a man’s face

WITH PERFECTION
Professional photographer Samual Bouget shares
some top tips for posing your subjects

1
ASYMMETRY OF THE FACE impression by asking the model to bring a few emphasise or de-emphasise. If somebody has
If you notice that some parts of the face locks of hair on the sides of their face. a large forehead, you can use a longer lens
are asymmetric (it can be the mouth, and a lower point of view to make it look less

4
the nose, the eyebrows), then try to consider POSITION THE ARMS obvious. If a person has a double chin, you
using light and posing to divert the look away If you are doing a side profile picture may take a higher point of view less.
from this asymmetry, for greater interest. In and the model is bare armed, you may

7
terms of posing, this can mean tilting and/or ask the model to detach their arm a little CHOOSE A LONGER LENS
turning the head right or left to avoid facing from the body and turn it slightly, as this will With some subjects, opting for a longer
the model. In terms of lighting, this can mean help the arm look less wide. lens can be the most appropriate choice.
avoiding simplistic butterfly lighting. For example, if a person has a big nose and

5
GET THEM MOVING if you use a short lens, you will make it look

2
PAY ATTENTION TO THE If you make a portrait of somebody bigger, which might not be desirable in the
ALIGNMENT OF THE SHOULDERS who feels uneasy because they lack look you are going for.
Asking the model to put their shoulders experience for example, make them move

8
in three quarters view will generally be an if you want them to look more natural in KEEP A PORTFOLIO
option that works for every model. It will also their posing. Movement in general is a good To finish, the various social networks
add depth to your pictures with the line that technique to consider if you want to convey that exist today offer you the possibility
the shoulders will draw. some energy. to make your own posing guide by recording
the poses that you find most flattering (I

3 6
SHAPE WITH HAIR BE AS FLATTERING AS POSSIBLE mainly use Instagram and Pinterest for this
If the face is a bit round or square you There may be elements of a person’s purpose). Don’t forget that not every pose can
may also use the hair to break this body or face that you wish to either be used for any situation.

109
TECHNIQUES

POSE TWO SUBJECTS


Learn how to shoot with more than one subject
Having more than one person in your scene get about the same quantity of light, with nice
will become more of a challenge. You’ll need soft shadows on their face. The bigger the
to consider how to light and frame each family, the larger the light source will need to
subject to ensure that each person is framed be. For a family you may also want to use two
in a flattering manner. light sources, one above you about one metre
If you are shooting a couple or even close away on your left, and one above you about
friends your aim will most likely be to show a one metre away on your right.
connection, interaction and feelings between “These two lighting setups will make it
the subjects. Even in scenes where the easier for you to have flattering shadows on
subjects don’t necessarily have a relationship, the faces of every member of the family. With
the models should still engage with each only one light source placed on the left or
other in order to create a level of harmony right, the person who is the furthest from the
in the scene. light source will get less light than the other
“You definitely need more patience and members of the family, and will run the risk
a perspective view for details,” explains of having less flattering shadows – though of
Sandra Limberg (sollena-photography.de). course retouching is possible afterwards.
“For photos with more than two people I am “It all depends on the story I want to tell.
always happy to have assistance with me to Do I want to put emphasis on one of the
watch and keep an eye on the details. For models in contrast with the other? Do I want
group pictures it is important that the people to light them ‘equally’? If the light is hard, I
in the group like each other. In my opinion, may use the sun as a backlight for example. I
distances and discrepancies in photos are may shoot in the shade and make the family/
visible immediately. If all optical details are model’s face where the main light source is.
right, I leave them be. In groups, I’ll give a little If the light is soft because it is cloudy, I will
more guidance and instructions concerning generally make the family/model’s face where
movements or who should look in which the main light source is.”
direction, but basically, let them be people.
Let them be a group.”
Bouget explains that, “The rules for posing
with more than one person will actually be
the same as posing with one person. You
will have to observe the same details as the
ones as I have told you to pay attention to
throughout this feature. The additional thing
you may be able to do will be to create an
interaction between the models in terms of
posing according to the story you want to tell.
“For a family the first lighting setup is one
© Samual Bouget

large source above me (you will need an


overhead boom arm). This way everybody will

Above
From above
Approach your capture
from a variety of different
angles for a new approach
to the image’s narrative

Right BALANCE
Harmony Symmetry also works
How you pose your particularly well when
models together will shooting two subjects
depend on the story you
wish to tell in your image

Left
Shadow
© Rebecca Greig

For a more attention-


grabbing capture
consider a creative
lighting approach

110
TECHNIQUES

DYNAMISM
Emphasise the
movement with
CENTRAL ELEMENT flowing material
Here the door in this
shot helps to anchor
the image

ACTIVITY
You can get your models
to move around for a
more energetic shot

111
TECHNIQUES

SHOOT
LANDSCAPE
PHOTOGRAPHY
17 ways to make your landscape shots rock

112
TECHNIQUES

1 ©Shutterstock / Andrew Mayovskyy


Timing is everything
With landscape photography the conditions can
change drastically from one moment to the next.
One minute the sky might be full of cloud;
suddenly a small break allows dramatic light to pour
into the scene; and then it’s gone as quickly as it came.
Being in position and set up ready to shoot when these
situations arise is part and parcel of landscape
photography. One way to maximise your chances of
good light is to shoot around sunrise and sunset.
Known as the golden hour, the short period just before
sunrise and after sunset is when you’re most likely to
see richly coloured light. But even at these times
conditions can change quickly and you have to be
ready for them. In a shot like our main image, the
frames before and after can look completely different.
This spectacular moment can be over in a flash, so
you have to be prepared, with your kit set up and
settings figured out.

113
TECHNIQUES

2 Maximise image quality


Image quality is important regardless of the
subject, but for landscapes, where you have the
time to slow down, the best image quality possible
is essential. To do this, shoot at ISO 100 or 200, or
the lowest setting for your camera. Shoot in
Aperture Priority at f11 or f16 to take advantage of
the sharpest aperture on the lens, and to help
create a large depth of field. The camera will select
the appropriate shutter speed for a correct
exposure automatically.
Exposure times will often be too long to hand-
hold the camera, which makes a tripod a must-have
accessory. Set the metering mode to Evaluative/
Matrix or Centre-Weighted to achieve an exposure
as close to perfect as possible. If the image looks
too light or dark, use exposure compensation to
override the camera exposure to correct it. Take
a look at tip 4 to learn about focusing.

3
Blend day
and night
Digital photography allows us
to achieve impossible images
that look completely natural and, most
importantly, visually exciting. When you
shoot a landscape with a road, ideally a
reasonably busy one, running through
it, you’re presented with a fantastic
opportunity: to capture a shot at dusk before
waiting for darkness to fall and then shooting
light trails as cars navigate the road.
Shoot with a camera on a tripod and make
sure it doesn’t move between the dusk shot
and the one of light trails later. Once you have
your two images, open them in Photoshop
and copy and paste the light trails into the
dusk shot. Set the blend mode of the light
trails layer to Lighten, then mask out
everything but the light trails.
James Abbott

114
TECHNIQUES

4 Focus with ease


Focusing your camera lens is one
of the most challenging aspects of
landscape photography – after getting
to a great location and experiencing
amazing light, of course. The thing about

GaudiLab / Shutterstock
focusing, despite what some people
might tell you, is that it’s actually really
simple, and there are two straightforward
approaches you can try to make the task
much easier for yourself.
One popular method is to turn on Live
View and zoom the screen into a point when you pilot an aerial device that can
that’s roughly one third of the distance
into the scene and manually focus on this
point. Another trick, and one that may
5 Take to the skies
Drone photography has taken off
in recent years. (No pun intended.)
injure people. But in scenic locations
with few or no people around, drones
allow you to get a unique perspective
seem haphazard, is to set the focus on Thanks to falling prices and advanced on the landscape below. Most drones
the lens barrel to just before infinity (as systems helping novices to fly safely made by DJI and Mavic allow you to
shown above). It may need tweaking without crashing, drone photography is shoot stills in raw, and will hover in the
slightly, but it’s a quick and easy way now accessible to all. Of course, a large same spot while shooting three
to focus perfectly. dose of common sense is required bracketed exposures.

7 Try a telephoto lens


It goes without saying that an ultra wide-angle lens,
such as 10-15mm on APS-C cameras and 16-35mm for
full-frame, is an essential piece of kit. But relying solely on
this focal range will severely limit your ability to capture
every scene at its best.
Wide-angle lenses are best for landscapes where
there’s strong foreground interest or lead-in lines close to
the camera. Telephoto lenses are great for scenes where
the main subject, like mountains, has no foreground
Petr Jilek / Shutterstock

interest and is some distance from the camera.


Another advantage of telephoto lenses is that they can
create the illusion of perspective compression, making
elements at different distances from the camera appear
closer together. A 70-200mm f4 lens is ideal because it’s
small and light.

6
Shoot wide open
Achieving a large depth of field is a mantra you’ll hear
over and over again when talking about landscape
photography. This is a decent rule of thumb for many
shots, but it’s not always the best or only option.
For images where there’s foreground interest, such as wild
flowers or cracked earth, knocking the background out of focus,
so it’s recognisable enough to add context but not sharp enough
to demand attention, is a great technique. Focus on the
foreground object and set the aperture to f2.8 or f4.

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TECHNIQUES

8 Use a tripod
You’ll hear this over
and over again, but
serious landscape
photographers should
always carry a tripod to
ensure their camera is
completely still during
exposures that are
typically longer than
other subjects. Throw
an ND or graduated
filter into the mix and
exposures could run
as long as minutes,
making robust
support a 9 Attach filters
Get the most out of your shots with
10 Make it level
Getting a perfectly level horizon
is one of the key ingredients of a good
real necessity. three essential landscape filters. ND shot. Some photographers favour a
A medium- grads are used to reduce the exposure in hotshoe-mounted spirit level to make
size carbon-fibre the brighter sky while leaving the darker sure their camera is level on both the
tripod and ball ground unaffected for an all-over level horizontal and vertical axis. However,
head like this exposure. ND filters reduce light entering most cameras now have a built-in virtual
Manfrotto model the lens, allowing you to shoot with horizon that does exactly the
is always a good slower shutter speeds. Polarising filters same thing and can be
option because it’s can be used to reduce the effect of harsh activated when you use
light and affordable. light, reduce reflections, increase Live View.
saturation and deepen blue skies.

Try adding scale


11 with people
A trend that’s sweeping landscape
photography is having a person in the
foreground of a shot, with their back to the
camera, looking out over the scene. This
human element helps viewers to connect
to the image and imagine being there
themselves. A person in the landscape can
also be used to add scale. To include a
human element, ask a friend to pose, or use
the camera self-timer set to 20 seconds
and step into the shot yourself.

James Abbott

12 Use shape and tones


Colour and contrast are powerful tools in landscape photography, and
can help you to achieve creative shots you might normally walk past. The secret
here is to simply slow down and observe the landscape and how it behaves.
Reeds blowing in the wind, swirl pools at the foot of waterfalls and the tree
canopy twinkling in the bright sunlight all provide opportunities for the
photographer, but they’re the kind of thing that can easily be missed.
No matter how slow the movement of natural elements in a scene is,
extending exposure time to anywhere between three and five seconds can be
enough to create detailed images that command as much attention as the
perfect sunrise or sunset. For the best result, try to include an element that’s
completely still, to give the viewer a focal point.

116
13
Head for the forest
Trees are such common subjects for forget evergreens that maintain colour throughout the year,
landscape photography that they need little with their perfectly straight trunks that appear to erupt out
or no introduction. From neat rows of of the ground.
managed evergreens to more naturally positioned Photographing trees follows all the same technical
deciduous species, trees can provide a wealth of great and creative rules as standard landscape photography.
images at all times of the year. The same forest can change Sharpness, depth of field and composition remain as
completely from one season to the next, so regular visits to important as ever, although there is more room in a forest to
capture the changes as they occur are worthwhile. break the rules of composition than you’ll get with some
Autumn, winter and spring are great for mist and fog, other subjects.
although mist can also occur during the summer months. You’ll almost certainly get the best result heading out
Bluebells in spring can cover the forest floor in a blanket of at the extreme ends of the day around sunrise and sunset.
colour, while autumn is all about warm colours as the leaves With the sun lower in the sky, the forest will look amazing

James Abbott
begin to turn to incredible red and orange hues. And let’s not back- or side-lit, and mist is always a huge bonus.

117
TECHNIQUES
Clifford Pugliese / Shutterstock

14 Zoom into detail

fiz_zero / Shutterstock
With all this talk of fine detail
and sharpness, you can be forgiven for
thinking that abstraction doesn’t have a
place in landscape photography. When
you’re in a great location, it can be easy
to become fixated on the wider scene. speed and move the camera during
Details are a great way to make use
of the middle of the day, when light
conditions may not be suitable for wider
15 Capture
movement
Movement is a common theme that’s
exposure to create the movement blur.
An in-camera blur technique that
produces stunning results at the coast is
shots. Whether you’re at the beach, in the usually approached from the perspective a horizontal pan looking out to sea.
woods or in the hills, there will always be of capturing movement within the You just need a one-second shutter
photogenic details worthy of your landscape itself. Another option that’s speed. The best time to shoot is at
attention. For these types of shots, a kit a lot of fun is in-camera movement; sunrise or sunset, when there’s colour in
lens or telephoto zoom will be ideal. that’s where you use a slow shutter the sky.

16 Anticipate
the tide
Seascape photography is an
excellent way to take some
fantastic scenic images full
of movement. The best
exposure time to capture
dynamic movement of is one
or two seconds, so this is
what you should aim for.
With the camera set to
Aperture Priority and using
a low ISO, you may find the
shutter speed is still too fast.
A polarising filter can block up
to 1.5 stops of light, so try
attaching one to the lens;
alternatively try an ND filter.
Now wait for the tide to lap up,
then release the shutter just
as it begins to recede. It may
take a few shots to get the
timing just right, but you’ll
soon be getting results.

118
TECHNIQUES

17
Find new perspectives and camera set up, ready to shoot. If you find that the best
Whatever the subject and wherever you’re viewpoint is close to the ground, you may be lucky and have a
shooting, you should always experiment with tripod that has an articulating centre column, allowing the
the viewpoint to find the best composition. camera to be positioned low when the legs are fully splayed.
Walking to your chosen spot to shoot from and simply setting If you have a standard type of tripod, remove the centre
up your camera on a tripod might produce a good image, but column and insert it from the bottom up – the opposite way
wouldn’t you like to be sure it’s the best image it could to usual so the tripod head is upside-down between the
andreiuc88 / Shutterstock

possibly be? three legs.


Before even setting up your tripod, move around, trying The camera can now be attached to the head, upside down,
different angles and heights to shoot from. Don’t be afraid to and can be incredibly low to the ground. In this situation Live
lay on the ground: this could be the perfect viewpoint. Once View is the best way to compose the shot – and if you have a
you’ve explored the possibilities, it’s time to get your tripod tiltable screen, even better.

119
TECHNIQUES

ESSENTIAL
WILDLIFE TECHNIQUES
Expert photographer Richard Peters reveals how to make the
most of your wildlife images with these essential tips

120
TECHNIQUES

G
etting your subject within range of the about to take the shot, the lighting suddenly it before even taking the camera out of the
camera is only half the battle. Once changes and the subject starts to move. How bag, is one of the biggest advantages you
you have, then what? A viewfinder- quickly can you react to adjust your exposure can have as a photographer, and being able
filling subject seen through a or framing to suit the new and unexpected to react quickly will be sure to improve your
telephoto lens isn’t a guarantee to success; it conditions, and should you now switch lenses portfolio significantly.
doesn’t matter how exotic the subject is or if to consider the scenery change as the subject
you’ve travelled for 20 minutes or 20 hours to moves through the landscape? Of course it Below
see it, because there are a multitude of factors isn’t always going to be quite as dramatic as Pelican line-up
With the right approach and
to consider before you take any photos. What that but when you’re out with the camera, technique, even the dullest of days
are the lighting conditions like? How does the these factors should be running through your can be used to create images with
background look? What is the subject doing? head as second nature. Being able to read the mood, drama and atmosphere
Once you’ve figured these out and you’re scene before you, and plan how to photograph All images © Richard Peters

121
TECHNIQUES

UNDERSTAND
THE LIGHT
Knowing how to read the
conditions is critical
A beautiful subject bathed in warm light might
be appealing on the face of it, but it won’t get
the creative juices flowing. By looking for ways
in which you can potentially use any light,
understanding the different ways that variation
will impact the image and, more importantly,
the way in which the sensor will expose for it,
you will be able to quickly determine how best
to use aperture, ISO and shutter speed for
more creative control. Shooting at sunrise and
sunset will often pay dividends, but make sure
you pay close attention to how the light falls on
the subject and act fast. At sunrise for example,
it won’t take too long for the Sun to rise high
enough that a subject’s deep-set eyes will
become shaded. And with that thought, keep
in mind that shade is as important as light, and
the way they complement each other as they
both emphasise contours, textures and shape. Left
Once you’ve got a picture or two in the bag, Intrigued little owl
Here the evening Sun has created warm
try moving around – the direction of light light that highlights the owl’s profile,
relative to the subject will also provide very separating it from the background and
different effects. adding shape and depth to the bird

Below
Red deer silhouette
By placing the subject between the

TAKE ATMOSPHERIC Sun and the camera and exposing for


the rim-lit fur, a dramatic single-toned
portrait is captured

MONOCHROMATIC PHOTOS
For stylistic merit and high impact, aim for images with a single colour or muted shades
This style can produce very memorable images
and works well with strong, bold outlines and
silhouettes. Generally you will need a dark-
coloured background along with a strong back
or side light, or to be shooting towards the light
at sunrise or sunset to produce warm pastel
shades. The best effects tend to be when
the difference in dynamic range between the
light and shade is large; exposing for the very
brightest highlights as they fall on the subject
renders the shade completely black, allowing
for the subtle light to really pop. Because
ambient light can change quickly, it’s a good
idea to practise being able to quickly dial
in underexposure to override the metering
system, which will want to produce a balanced
and even exposure. If the camera were to
expose the scene evenly, the ISO would be
raised to allow the shaded areas to retain
detail, while blowing all the highlights.

122
TECHNIQUES
SEE THE
BIGGER PICTURE
It’s not all about frame fillers – including habitats can be as important as the subject
Tight crops with clean backgrounds are always frame look and compressing the surroundings, depth of field. Most variable aperture lenses
appealing but thinking wider is a very good switching to a wide-angle lens offers a unique sharpen up considerably around f8 and having
way to add more depth to your photos. While and unrivalled perspective. Plus, this technique a wide-angle zoom can allow more flexibility in
a habitat shot can be quite easy to achieve doesn’t rely on fast, prime wide angles, as camera placement, as you may find the need
with a telephoto by going for the small-in-the- you’ll often need to stop down to create more to trigger the camera remotely.

Right
The Wick
The temptation is to capture a tight crop with the
puffins, but shooting wide allowed this pair to be
immersed within the beautiful sunset above them

Remove colour altogether


Allow beautiful tones to come into their own by shooting for a full mono conversion
Some images lend themselves
to black and white conversion,
often producing a far more
powerful image than their
colour counterparts. The key
to successful mono images
lies within scenes that have
lots of contrast that can
be emphasised more when
converted to black and white
during the edit.

Right
Wise old man
Animals with contrasting colours and
strong facial detail especially
suit black and white,
providing particularly
engaging portraits
UNDERSTAND
YOUR KIT
It’s crucial to understand how
your camera equipment works so
that, in the heat of the moment
when you only have a second
or two to react, you are able
to quickly change any
necessary settings.
123
TECHNIQUES

CLEAN UP YOUR
BACKGROUNDS
Look beyond the subject and consider
what’s behind the main point of focus
Anything that unwittingly draws attention
away from the subject is a compromise to
your photo. Even with a wide-open, shallow
aperture these distractions usually come in
the form of hard, man-made lines or stray
background elements. These can include areas
of contrasting colour that break up uniformity,
don’t complement the colour of the subject
or objects that are too close and therefore not
in focus enough for attention-grabbing detail
to be recognised. If the distraction is moving,
such as another animal, wait until it has moved
from view before releasing the shutter. Even
moving the camera several centimetres can be
enough to remove background elements from
the composition, either pushing them out of
frame or behind the subject itself.

DRESS
APPROPRIATELY
Don’t forget to put some
thought into the clothing you
wear when photographing
wildlife. Nothing will break
your concentration faster
than being too cold, wet,
hot or generally
uncomfortable.

Left Above
Red deer distraction Red deer dawn
Beautiful light and subjects can With a clean background free of
be easily ruined with conflicting distractions, the viewer can fully
background elements such as appreciate the clean lines and
man-made objects beautiful colours of the image
CONSIDER
PERSPECTIVE
Change your position and get
down low for a compelling view
One of the best ways to obtain a clean and
aesthetically pleasing image is to get eye
level with the subject, especially with animals
that are low to the ground. If you can get your
camera roughly head height to the subject, the
background will be further away than if you
were looking down from up high. This gives a Make eye contact
cleaner look, allows the subject to really pop An important element for the
from the frame and the low-level perspective ultimate viewer engagement
offers a much more interesting view by
providing a glimpse at the animal’s perspective Ensuring eye contact with the subject
on the world. of your photo does something crucial:
it draws the viewer in by commanding
Top Right attention, making it one of the most
Water level pelican Morani
powerful tools in gaining a connection with
Laying the camera just millimetres from One of the most regal lions in
the water’s surface, the lake’s background the Maasai Mara is Morani, but the subject. Often it is the final ingredient
is diffused and the viewer’s focus is drawn to capture that feeling of grace, needed to make a good image a great one.
straight to the dalmatian pelican eye contact was essential

CAPTURE
CHARACTER
A static subject can be visually
boring, even in good light, so look for
behaviour to add more impact
While extremely captivating behaviour
such as a fighting or hunting can really
elevate your image, don’t forget to think
about the smaller, less-pronounced
behaviour, as it can often still have a
big impact. Even a photo of something
as grand as a lion can be dull if it’s just
sitting around sleeping, but waiting for
it to wake up and yawn can transform
the image. The same principle applies
to even the smallest of species, such
as birds – capturing one singing with
its beak open results in a far more
appealing image than a straightforward
bird on a stick.

Left
Waking lioness
After watching this lioness
sleep for almost an hour, the
wait was rewarded with a brief
yawn before it walked away

125
TECHNIQUES

CAPTURE MOTION
AND MOVEMENT
Be it fast and vigorous or There are three key ways to give a feeling of
movement. A slow shutter speed combined
consider the slower the shutter speed the
longer the blackout time in the viewfinder,
slow and steady, use with panning creates blur and momentum, which makes the subject harder to track.
shutter speed to but although it is the most effective way to
emphasise motion, it’s also important to think
Smooth panning is the key to success with
this technique, so ensure you use a tripod and
emphasise animal activity about framing and subject posture by allowing gimbal when working with longer focal lengths
room to move into or across the frame. Also and slow shutter speeds.

Above
Wings of gold
By combining backlight and a 1/60sec
shutter speed at 400mm, the rapid
motion of this puffin coming into land
was captured in a unique manner

126
TECHNIQUES

USE SPECIALIST Getting the shot can sometimes require


equipment above and beyond a simple CSC
ACCESSORIES and lens combination
From right-angle viewfinders that make distance between yourself and the subject,
shooting at ground level more comfortable enabling you to quickly fire your camera at the
to shutter-release cables and full-blown right moment without being too close. A PIR
camera trap setups, there are a multitude of motion sensor, that triggers the camera when
Below
accessories available to aid in capturing that movement is detected, enables you to hide the Perched little owl
tricky image. Wired shutter-release cables camera away and return to it later to see if the By using a motion sensor, the camera was left in an old farm
with extension leads allow you to have some animal has come by. house for several weeks to capture this little owl in position

127
PERFECT
YOUR FOCUS
Learning which focus modes
to use and when can be the
difference between successfully
capturing the shot and not
Use back-button focus to disengage the
autofocus from the shutter release in order LONG LENS
to have more control over how and when TECHNIQUE
focusing is engaged. Always select the active When shooting with a long lens,
AF point closest to the eyes for your desired always support it with a tripod to
composition, rather than using the centre point avoid camera shake. If handheld
and recomposing. Recomposing after focus shooting, keep your elbows
acquisition shifts the focus plane away from tucked in, use your left hand to
the intended area. For fast-moving subjects, support the lens and press
use smaller groups of AF points to help keep the camera up against
your face.
the focusing locked on when you have trouble
tracking the target through the viewfinder. If
you find the focus often snaps to a distraction
other then the intended target, switch on AF
tracking delay, if your CSC has it. This will
delay how quickly the camera tries to lock on
to competing elements within the frame.
Above
Red kite flight
With a similar coloured background, setting focus delay and
nine group points kept the focus system locked and accurate

128
USE AUTO ISO
By using Auto ISO in
conjunction with manual
aperture and shutter speed, the
exposure will be balanced by
adjusting the ISO. This ensures
you always get the lowest ISO
value possible for your
chosen settings.

Above
Shafts of light
By incorporating off-camera flash and a garden

WORK CREATIVELY bench, creative lighting was utilised to emulate


the dark and light markings on the badger’s fur

WITH SPEEDLIGHTS
Below
Use a camera trap
This was photographed by attaching two
flashguns up off the ground and using a PIR
Don’t just stick to conventional methods for capturing sensor. Using multiple wired flashes is very easy
with a hub, which allows quick connection and
great images – add interest with artificial light control of three flashguns at a time

A flexible way to inject creativity into your


images is to introduce artificial light. Doing
so should always be approached with care
however. For example, control your CSC’s
sensor sensitivity to light with aperture and
ISO, rather than setting the speedlight’s power
too high, and be sure to place diffused artificial
lights on the periphery rather than at eye
level. By having full control of the main light
source, it’s possible to take photos that would
be otherwise impossible with natural light. One
way to utilise flash is to underexpose on an
overcast day while using it to fill in the shadows
and illuminate just the subject. Or, you can
combine it with long exposures of up to 30
seconds at night to freeze the motion of the
animal, using the natural, low ambient light to
show a star-covered sky. Using speedlights to
create lighting that can’t be found naturally is
one of the best ways to allow creative freedom.
TECHNIQUES

GET MORE
FROM
THE SCENE
A successful image is more than just an
accurate exposure. Learn to use every ounce
of location potential for dramatic photographs

W
hen we start out in photography, the first exposure than simply choosing to blur or freeze water,
things we learn about are composition leading lines are not the only influence on perspective,
and exposure. Regardless of the books, and far more thought should be invested in lens choice
websites or tutorials used to learn the than purely deciding to ‘shoot wide or long’. Unlike
essentials, there are certain staple topics that will be video, a still photograph captures a scene in a single
mentioned time and time again. You’ll always see the state – something we never see with our eyes in reality.
rule of thirds and leading lines appear in composition Therefore, in order to create an impactful representation
articles, while shutter speeds, f-stops and basic lens of that scene, it’s vital to carefully consider every
types are a must on exposure-related pages. However, decision we make with regards to framing, perspective,
as we mature as photographers, we begin to realise that time of day, tone and post-processing. In this guide
these fundamental aspects are only a framework, and if we cover everything from the basics of composition,
we are to produce images that have unique personality all the way through to advanced exposure choices and
and atmosphere, we need to differentiate our style professional editing techniques, to help you capture the
and approach from those of others. There is more to ultimate image every time you fire the shutter.

130
TECHNIQUES

Natural beauty
The world around us is full of potentially
stunning photographs. In order to achieve
the best possible results, the full range of
colours and details must be utilised
© Simon Xu

131
TECHNIQUES

Re-think your composition


Consider creative framing and capture
images that make your viewers look twice
All digital cameras are designed to be held in frame up into the middle and background.
landscape format, with the rectangular-aspect This technique has its own set of challenges;
sensor positioned to create an image that is the camera can be placed so close to the
longer than it is tall. There is a logic to this foreground that depth of field is severely
approach – human vision has a panoramic limited, resulting in a blurred background or
quality to it that means landscape orientation loss of fine detail through diffraction, caused
feels natural to us. The only time we usually by very narrow aperture settings. This can be
consider turning the overcome through
camera to shoot careful focusing and
tall images is when “Our framing should placement of the
shooting portraits foreground subjects
or very tall, thin not simply re-create within the focal
subjects such as plane. Panoramas
buildings. There what our viewers see allow ultra-wide
are many other perspectives
occasions however every day” that encompass
when a switch in tremendous expanses
frame orientation can benefit composition of detail, and so are ideally suited to capturing
– the photographer simply has to be able to wide landscape vistas.Meanwhile, lens choice
recognise when this is the case. When there can be a complex business. Sometimes the
is a strong foreground element, a popular widest or longest lens is not suitable, but when
technique is to choose a low angle and use using a mid-range focal length, we have to
portrait format to produce a sense of depth, be sure our framing is not simply re-creating
with the eye being led from the bottom of the what our viewers see every day.

Succeed in panoramic photography


Panoramic images can have unrivalled impact. We explain how to create them with ease

1 Level the tripod A tripod is 3 Lock your exposure Set an


aperture of f8-16 and take an
needed for precise camera
movement, but make sure the
2 Shoot in portrait While
shooting in landscape format
will cover the scene in fewer
exposure reading, metering from the
highlights to prevent clipping. Once you
legs are perfectly level. This have found the correct shutter speed,
images, portrait orientation will
will ensure that when the setup switch to manual mode and enter the
produce less distortion around
is pivoted around the central measured settings.
the areas where each segment
column, the sensor and lens track
joins to the next, making the
the horizon, creating aligned
stitching stage easier.
segments.

4 Lock focus Pre-focus your


lens, using depth-of-field
5 Shoot your series Take
your first shot, pivot the
preview or a test shot to check
background sharpness. Turn off
camera and shoot the second,
overlapping the segments by 6 Stitch panorama Process
the RAW files using
synchronised settings and go to
around 20-30%. Add a marker,
autofocus to prevent the lens File>Automate>Photomerge in
such as a finger, to a shot before
re-focusing each time the shutter Photoshop. Select files, choose Auto
and after your series to mark
button is pressed, preventing any Layout and click OK to begin stitching.
the start and end, for archiving
stitching problems. Crop out peripheral white space or
reference.
use Content Aware Fill.

132
TECHNIQUES
2x © Robert Schmalle

Left Above
Shoot portrait format Shoot in landscape
Creating taller compositions can help exclude extraneous detail The native, horizontal format outputs a natural, ‘widescreen’ frame,
around the periphery of your scene and focus attention within the similar to the perspective we’d see with our own eyes. As demonstrated
frame. Here the format produces a tight, tunnel-like composition here, compositional elements must lead in from the edges

Left
BEFORE Overlapping segments
Using a focal length of between 24mm and 50mm,
most scenes should be covered in between four to ten
vertical segments. Scroll through images to ensure
the horizon remains fixed

Below
Panoramic perspective
The panoramic format suits the ‘shape’ of this
landscape, where most interest is located close to the
horizon. This shot gets more from the scene than any
single wide-angle frame

AFTER
© Roberto Pavic

133
TECHNIQUES

Find a new angle


Change your perspective and think
creatively for an engaging image
An area in which new photographers can fail to perform
is composition. A key reason for this is that they neglect
to invest time in studying a scene to find the most
engaging perspective. As great as the lighting may
be, or as spectacular as the landscape may seem, by
simply shooting it from standing height you are never
going to capture a unique composition that stands
out from those taken by other photographers. Altering
camera height is a great way of showing a scene in a
novel fashion, as the relative proportions of the scene
elements appear different. By combining unusual angles
with varying focal lengths, it is possible to refine your
framing and capture the perfect balance of objects
within the scene. A useful technique is to leave your
tripod packed away when you first arrive on location,
instead choosing to hand-hold your camera while you
hunt for potential images. Working in this way gives you
freedom to move unrestricted while you find a suitable
viewpoint, speeding up your workflow and encouraging
creative thinking. Start by shooting at the extremes of
your lens’ focal range, zooming in to isolate your subject
and then shooting wide to show it in the context of the
environment. From there you can refine your framing to
locate the focal length with the most suitable balance of
subject and background – sometimes a few millimetres
makes a big difference.
A common issue when shooting famous locations is
that certain compositions become clichéd. Rather than
shying away from these challenging conditions, you can
use this public familiarity to your advantage. By finding
an unusual perspective, we can produce shots that
surprise viewers and inspire their imagination. Shooting
from ground level is a good place to start, providing
exaggerated perspectives and emphasised foreground
detail, which may not be visible in the ‘standard’ tourist
shot. Using a camera featuring an articulated LCD
© Robert Schmalle

will help with composing the shot. When constructing


images, remember that something made you want to
photograph the scene – your job is to find it and then
make it engaging.

Below left Below right Above


The obvious shot The creative shot Look up
The centralised composition and front-on view of the church The low angle reduces the grassy area and makes a An effective method of showing well-known landmarks or locations
produce a ‘standard’ image, lacking depth and interest around the feature of the sky. The use of the arch and wall serves to in a different way is to get close and shoot vertically, from the ground
frame edges. Meanwhile, the areas of grass act as a distraction frame the subject, adding interest and focusing attention up, producing extreme perspectives with graphic results
2x © Dale Johnson

134
TECHNIQUES

Experiment with camera Simply varying tripod height can reveal many new image possibilities

1 Standing height By extending the legs


to full height, the tripod will place the
camera at eye-level. This provides a natural,
2 Tripod legs retracted This lower
perspective will draw together the
foreground and background, minimising
3 Ground level Offering a ‘bug’s eye’
view of the scene by splaying the tripod
legs enables the photographer to isolate a
but potentially uninteresting view, and middleground detail and thus creating a small detail of the scene, while showing it in
foreground detail is often lost. tighter composition. the context of the environment.

135
TECHNIQUES

© Robert Schmalle
Adapt to changing conditions Choose your time
Each hour of the day has something to
offer photographers – use it like a pro
Make the most of each type of weather and time of day
DAWN LIGHT
Whenever a photographer chooses to work carefully select which subjects you photograph This image makes use of
outdoors, they are susceptible to whatever in each lighting condition. Rural landscapes the mix of cool and warm
conditions the ambient environment provides and coastlines are often best suited to ‘golden colours found in pre-dawn
them with, so must learn to be flexible in their hour’ lighting, as they contain more soft light. At this time, magentas
often dominate, with cool
approach. Settings and compositions that textures such as foamy water and delicate
hues remaining in the
work for images shot at dawn are incompatible vegetation. In the harsher light of midday, shadows. Subtle saturation
with those taken modern cityscapes works best when processing.
under the midday are an ideal focus,
sun, but also subtly “Isolating one area due to the reflective SUNSET COLOURS
differ for sunset surfaces and Sunsets are often ‘warmer’
lighting. Equally, of the scene picks angular lines of the in colour than sunrises,
due to the temperature of
what works for architecture.
scenes bathed in out any small points Meanwhile, it
the atmosphere. Make the
most of golden colour and
light from clear skies is an essential
will fail to extract the of interest” photographic
directional light to capture
rich tones and enhanced
detail at this time of day.
potential from an skill to be able to
overcast landscape. Dawn and dusk images make the most of any weather. Cloudy days
are favoured by landscape photographers for produce diffused light, which is perfect for HIGH NOON
their warmer, directional lighting, however macro images, but tends to produce a lifeless Choose a subject that
benefits from high contrast,
the low sun angle creates problems with lens landscape devoid of texture and form. In these
use a polarising filter and
flare and can introduce exposure challenges. situations, isolating one area of the scene pick out deep colour.
Meanwhile, noon lighting is flat but undiffused, picks out any small points of interest and Alternatively, monochrome
which makes maintaining highlight and forces the viewer to look closer. In misty or images can look fantastic,
rainy scenes, making a subject of the weather where tonality and detail
shadow detail difficult, while simultaneously
are the focus.
presenting a risk of a ‘snapshot’ atmosphere. itself and focusing solely on atmosphere is a
3x © Simon Xu
The best solution to all of these problems is to tried and tested professional technique.

136
TECHNIQUES

Opposite
Use what
you’re given
Weather phenomena
Use the weather Every condition has its own appeal, so find the best elements of each
such as mist add
a great deal of
atmosphere, but
can create exposure
difficulties. Learn to
adapt to every weather
condition to make each
one a feature

© Peter Fenech

© Peter Fenech
© Simon Xu
Below
Dark tones
Every time of day has
its own challenges
and benefits for 1 Capture mist Mist and fog limit
visible detail, so make minimalism
a theme in your images. Find a
2 Embrace the rain There are
many uses for rain. Head into an
urban area at night to capture wet
3 Shooting snow For snow, always
use your histogram to avoid
underexposure, employing exposure
photographers. As
lighting and contrast subject that either contrasts with or streets, reflecting colourful artificial compensation to correct brightness.
change, camera blends into the misty surroundings light, or shoot dramatic storm Ensure you have a strong subject to
technique must be
adapted to ensure
for a simple composition, pushing the clouds, underexposing to create deep hold attention, or images can lack
correct exposure and theme of emptiness or isolation. contrast and saturated colour. interest and depth.
scene atmosphere

© Robert Schmalle

137
TECHNIQUES

Consider processing techniques “Sometimes it is


For digital photographers, only half the work is done
in the field. Vary processing to unlock creative options beneficial to shoot
One of the greatest advantages of digital longer tailoring your edits for each specific images with the
imaging is the flexibility to revisit photographs shot, processing experimentally to find unique
and apply new processing styles. Several styles. This approach ensures you present final processing
years after taking an image and processing it each scene element at its best.
for the first time, it is possible to completely However, sometimes it is beneficial to shoot method in mind”
change the tone and atmosphere by altering images with the final processing method in
colour, exposure and cropping. Transforming mind. If you intend to employ high-contrast
files in this way opens up multiple exciting adjustments in software, shooting images with Below
possibilities from every shot, enabling us to lower contrast will avoid clipped highlights and RAW file
This out-of-camera image lacks colour and contrast.
extract more from a scene than was possible shadows in the final image. Similarly, if you are There are also some exposure issues to be rectified
in the days of film. Pro digital photographers aiming for a high-key look, shooting a brighter in the highlights. With software, there are a variety of
such as Robert Schmalle (robertschmalle. image in the field will avert emphasised noise, different ‘looks’ with which we can experiment
com) know how to take advantage of these through increasing exposure in Photoshop.
opportunities. “For me, processing is when Either way, since all digital images are likely BEFORE
the fun begins,” says Robert. “When deciding to be processed at some stage, placing varied
what processing techniques to use, I start editing at the heart of your workflow will
with Lightroom Classic, then move to provide the greatest experimental freedom.

All images on spread © Peter Fenech


Photoshop, where I work with luminosity “When I take the shot I will generally have
masks. After that, I will work with different something in mind for an edit. However, the
plug-ins to bring out [specific] aspects of end result is very often different from the
the image.” When shooting images, you plan,” explains Robert. “I try to let the editing
may have a certain ‘look’ in mind, so these lead the way – it’s a constant experimental
preconceptions can inhibit your creativity. process and I try not to let my initial
In the digital darkroom, free from the time conception of the shot impede another good
limitations of changeable light, you can spend idea that arises during processing.”

COOL

3. TARGETED
COLOUR
1. SELECT ADJUSTMENTS
YOUR WHITE Remove colour bias
BALANCE using Split Toning. Here
Choose a ‘cool’ cyan was neutralised in
WB – this was shot in the shadows using blue toning.
Tungsten, but Daylight
was considered less extreme.

2. CUSTOMISE 4. LOWER THE


COLOUR EXPOSURE
A temperature between To create a dramatic
Tungsten and Daylight pre-dawn feel, darken
was finally selected, the image. Lower
while positive Tint Saturation to offset
provided colour contrast. introduced oversaturation.
TECHNIQUES

1. BRIGHTNESS
AND WARMTH
Increase exposure for
an airier atmosphere
and increase
Temperature and Tint to
produce warmer tones.

2. PAINT
WITH
3. LIGHTING EFFECTS COLOUR
Choose a warm colour,
Use Adobe
paint over a highlight
Camera Raw’s
and change the
adjustment brush
layer blend mode
(or Photoshop brushes set to
to Screen.
‘Colour’) to warm the horizon.

4. COLOUR CONTINUITY
To complete this
sunrise-like effect,
be sure to
naturally warm
other highlights
in the image.

WARM

VINTAGE

2. SILVER
EFEX PRO
1. PROCESS Use this first
RAW FILES plug-in for
Later processing monochrome
often adds contrast, conversion. For
so treat your RAWs to variety, a retro-style
be ‘flat’, to avoid clipping. preset was selected.

3. COLOUR EFEX PRO


Double-processing
in a second plug-in 4. BLEND
extracted detail,
for depth. Settings
THE
were tweaked in EFFECTS
each application. The resulting style
layers were masked in Photoshop
to apply effects selectively, for
localised enhancement.
TECHNIQUES

Use filters and exposure


Work with artistic exposure techniques and creative filter effects
Exposure effects are a popular route with detail scenes, where multiple subjects may
landscape photographers, as they often otherwise act as distractions. Simply rotate
require very little additional equipment. The your lens’ zoom ring while the shutter is open, Right
most simple effects are created by lengthening selecting a exposure of between 1/15 sec and Capture
the shutter speed, so that moving elements 1 sec for the best results. Meanwhile, software natural colour
Longer exposures
within the scene are blurred. The most filters provide scope for experimentation with can also produce a
obvious application selective blurring painterly quality to
is for rivers and and colour effects. light. Combine this
waterfalls, where “The circular polariser While many filters with filters, such as
polarisers, to cut
we can illustrate a can be simulated
contrast of softness is essential for in Photoshop, the
through reflections and
haze, to access punchy,
in the blurred water effects of hardware natural hues
and sharp detail of removing ‘sheen’ from models such as
surrounding rocks. polarisers cannot
However, we can the surface of rocks” be so easily. The
Give the
Below
also generate blur circular polariser is
scene energy
by moving the camera or lens, relative to the essential for removing ‘sheen’ from the surface Lengthen your
subject, during an exposure. Panning blur, of rocks and vegetation, deepening colour and exposure to create a

2x © Robert Schmalle
where the camera is pivoted, is useful for contrast. Regardless of the technique or filter view we never see –
photos of shorelines or other flat landscapes, you use, it is imperative that it enhances a long shutter speeds
create light trails from
where there is more colour interest than scene, rather than dominating it – the effect traffic and paint
detail. This finds potential in an otherwise should complement the subject and never be streaks of cloud colour
empty landscape. Zoom blur is ideal for high- the main focus of the shot. across the sky

140
TECHNIQUES

Perfect your shutter speed


Photographer Chris Zimmermann
(chriszimmermann.com) explains how to
select the ideal exposure for any scene

1 Too short
This composition
emphasises the effect
of exposure on the
waterflow at 1/100
sec at f11. The water
looks a bit harsh at this
speed and contradicts
the smooth snow
cover. The water and
the rocks also don’t
separate well.

2 Lacking impact Taken at 1/10 sec at f16.


The water is much smoother than at 1/100
sec, but it still has texture and feels too dynamic
for this serene winter scene. Where the water is
slower, it doesn’t separate well with the rocks.

3 The other
extreme This
image was taken at 15.0
sec at f18. The water
looks extremely silky
and loses its texture,
becoming nearly
transparent – it looks
frozen. However, there
is a good separation
between the water
and rocks.

AFTER
Just right
Taken at 0.8 sec at f13, the speed of the water
in the river and the speed of the capture are a
perfect match, creating a soothing texture blend
4x © Chris Zimmermann
TECHNIQUES

Create dramatic images


Simon Xu (simonxuphotography.com) explains the shooting and editing process behind his compelling landscape style

1 Lighting, location and time Choose to


shoot during golden hours within one hour of
sunrise/sunset and at a location that consists
of both shaded and sun-lit elements. I waited
for the sun to drop behind the rock for softer
lighting, fiery colour in the sky and no lens flare.

AFTER
Lightroom’s Photomerge/HDR capability does not
work well in this case, with moving subjects such as

4x © Simon Xu
splashing waves. So, luminosity and manual mask
techniques were used in Photoshop to manually
blend the exposures

2 Use an ND filter The ideal shutter speed is between 1/4


and 1/20 sec – fast enough to freeze the wave, but slow
enough to capture the trails of water sprays. An ND8 filter, which
3 Bracketing The contrast of lighting and shadow is
challenging for the camera because it usually exceeds the
dynamic range of the sensor. Bracketed exposures solve this –
darkens the scene by three stops, can help to achieve this. set the camera to high-speed mode to capture the waves.

Right
Try something
abstract
Creative blur effects
can be produced
in-camera, using
long exposures and
camera movement
© Robert Schmalle

or simulated with
software filtration. Both
approaches can give
colourful scenes added
interest and life

142
TECHNIQUES

TELL A STORY
IN PICTURES
Embrace the many exciting possibilities
of documentary photography

G
one are the early remnants It advocates for viewing this space as an
of the Canadian West, but its understudied region, with a particular
legacy still endures. Crown Ditch type of landscape, industry and most
and the Prairie Castle is a long- importantly, people, who are a resilient
term project that documents the spaces breed created by generational lessons in
and people of the last great ‘proving out’. fortitude and fortuned circumstance.

PRO BIO
Kyler Zeleny (1988) is a Canadian
photographer-researcher and Below
author of Out West (2014) and Western-
Found Polaroids (2017). He Chinese
received his masters from restaurant,
Goldsmiths College, University of
London in Photography and Urban Ab, 2016
Cultures. He is a founding member Undertaking a
of the Urban Photographers documentary project
Association (UPA), a guest editor is all about telling an
for the Imaginations Journal of engaging story
Cross-Cultural Image Studies and
a guest publisher with The Velvet
Cell. Kyler currently lives in Toronto,
where he is a doctoral candidate Right
in the joint Communication and Real lives
Culture program at Ryerson and A retired worker on his
York University. daily walk, Ab, 2017
kylerzeleny.com
All images © Kyler Zeleny
LOCATE
YOUR TOPIC
The importance of research
and writing in making
engaging documentary work

Undertaking a long-term documentary


project requires a different level of
commitment than simply going out on a
Sunday afternoon and shooting images.
Long-term projects require a potent mix of
persistence and patience complemented by
a hefty dose of creative stamina. You need to
ensure that you enjoy the topic and are ready
for unexpected hurdles.
But how do you decide on your topic,
especially if it’s your first long-term project?
WHO, How do we fully invest ourselves into a
WHAT, WHERE multi-year project? It’s important to
Home or away, it doesn’t come prepared; having done your
matter. You don’t need to be
Above Below
homework, you should arrive at a
covering famine or a war zone to
Shoot a story Grain elevator, Ab, 2015 topic that is not only timely, but
make an intriguing project, so check
Kyler shot this image of a man Always keep your project’s ‘big
your backyard first before you start that lies at the intersection of what
looking for dinosaur bones in picture’ in mind, and let that dictate is important to you, and secondly
Alberta, Canada, 2015 your choice of shots
packing a helmet and flak jacket.
Be mindful not to pick a topic what is important to others.
that you will lose access The research and writing phases
to halfway through are important. You need to be able
a project. to convey your attitude, knowledge
and sense of the project effectively. The
motto that images speak for themselves is
problematic and not always self-evident. Can
images alone tell the story? Yes. Can it be told
better with thorough research and writing?
Likely so. You need to become an expert on
the subject. Start with online research, but
don’t be afraid to visit your local public or
university library. Seek the help of a librarian
and start looking up and down the stacks.
Conducting research has more utility than
simply informing you about the project; it can
tell you if a topic has been covered before. If
the answer is no, then you have full creative
range to express it. If the answer is yes, then
you need to ask yourself, “How can I do it
differently? How can I apply a new angle?”
A common failure of photographers is
that they are unable to express themselves
through text, often failing to see the synergic
possibilities offered by the combination of
text and image. Conducting research early
can help improve your ability to execute a
project statement, a related essay, a grant
application, or your ability to interact with
your subjects.
Opposite above Opposite below
Build a connection A new perspective
Talk to your subjects and If a topic has already been
learn their story, as this also explored before, try to take
forms an important part of a fresh, new approach to
the research process documenting it
Reach out
to others
Seek potential work
partners in the field
Are there organisations or
other artists who have the
same agenda as you and who
you can collaborate with? Are
there artist grants you can
apply for? Doing research early
on will help you determine if
these are potential options.

147
TECHNIQUES

CONNECT WITH
YOUR SUBJECT MATTER
Shooting skills for undertaking a documentary project
If you’re looking to create a well-rounded serious questions. Continue to allow time
documentary project, consider including for an introduction and for you to become
individuals. Think about them as characters comfortable with the subject and the subject
and participants. As you undertake the with you. Put yourself into the work. The
project, consider how you can learn from each closer you get and the more attachment you
encounter, how can they enrich your process form with the subject, the better the work will
by posing or offering you new information. be. We often forget that the camera can be a A two-way process
It is important to have a general focus of barrier, a device that creates distance, so try It’s all about respect: if you take
what you want to learn and how you want to to limit the distance by being present in the
something, leave something
interact with the project’s subject matter, but work. Doing this will help you remember that
keep in mind the importance of balancing you’re simply one human trying to connect to Make an effort to balance interactions –
that with being adaptable. Be open to learning other humans. Make this your mantra. It will don’t simply take images and leave them
from the process and remember to balance help you avoid the ‘othering’ process that can with nothing. This can be accomplished
your perspective with the expertise of those occur when you photograph. Avoid fetishising by something as simple as leaving a
around you. their position as this can lead to exploitation. Polaroid or a postcard. A postcard can
Be authentic, as the more honest you are It is difficult to tell when this happens, so it’s be a great way to communicate your
with your intentions and the more genuine important to keep it in mind as you continue project and gives participants the ability
interest you show in your topic, the more your project. Don’t become discouraged to communicate with you later on. It is
willing people will be to opening up. This next if it’s difficult to connect with a group. Be good practice to seek permission for a
piece of advice is very simple but is often patient and respectful. Stick with the motto portrait, and this can be achieved before
overlooked: don’t simply converse with your that anything worth doing will be difficult. or after an image is taken. Ensure the
subjects, but enter into a dialogue with them. Often the more difficult the process, the subject comprehends what you’re doing
Think about it as talking with them rather to more rewarding it can be. People will say no and why. Explain to them that they have
them. And remember, not all encounters must and will deny you information or their image the option of retracting their consent.
result in a photograph or a hot tip. Sometimes – that is their right, and however important You might lose a good photo but you’ll
you have to spend time discussing nothing you feel the image is, handling the encounter keep your integrity, and when working
to learn something. You might have to respectfully says a lot about your character with a community or a specific social
discuss the weather before you can ask and may help open doors later. group this can go a long way.

Left Below Opposite


Man of God, Ab, 2016 Authenticity Grocery store worker
Explaining the purpose of your A retired farmer having a tailgate Think about your subjects as
project may open up people’s discussion, shot in Alberta, characters and consider their
willingness to be photographed Canada, 2015 place in the overall narrative
KNOW
YOUR
POSITION
Be aware of your position,
gender, orientation, culture and
power you might hold over your
participants. Take steps to ensure you are
being reflexive throughout the process.
Power imbalances are common when
photographing, but they can
be minimised. As the photographer,
you should continue to re-assess
the power relations existing
in the project.
TECHNIQUES

CONVEY
THE STORY
Learn how to present your
narrative in innovative ways
The photographer is dead, long live the
photographer. Of recent, photo theorists have
been exploring the death of the traditional
photographer. With the proliferation
of internet access and smart phones,
everyone has become a photographer.
As censors and processors improve, and
our visual literacy through mediatisation
becomes commonplace, learning the craft
of photography is ultimately expedited and
democratised. As a result, documentary
photography is going through a renaissance.
Never has there been so many well-produced
projects. With the bar raised the question
becomes, how does one stand out?
Photo-theorist Joan Fontcuberta has
written extensively on the idea of post-
photography, where the idea of photography
as a 20th century operation and practice
has been radically altered. As Fontcuberta
explores in Pandora’s Camera, “We may well
be witnessing the death of photography,
or, to pursue the biblical analogy, it TIME
might be more fitting to speak of its
CAN BE
YOUR FRIEND
crucifixion. Because here, too, we are Be patient when shooting; you
dealing with a painful but essential cannot rush good work. Tell your
prerequisite of a resurrection.” story through details but don’t forget
The idea of photography is it must add up to the ’big picture’. Take
fundamentally different today the viewer on a journey, teach them Above
than it was 100 or even 20 years something or move them in some Small-town
ago. As Matt Black, creator of way. As photographers, we should demolition
constantly be thinking about the derby
the Geography of Poverty project, Have a story in
writes, “We are not photographers role we perform and why we
mind, but be willing
are drawn to the story
– we are no longer technicians with a to adapt and
or subject. change direction
camera – but we are authors. Our role
after evaluation
is to tell stories by not merely illustrating
but creating”. Black’s point is similar to
Fontcuberta’s idea that photography has
Left
changed, and we should no longer think
Star Trek
of our activities as simply producing Enterprise
photographic content, but as storytellers. replica
Adopting this epistemological position into Be ready to
remove an image
your practice will help your project stand out.
from the final
Photography is a key component for project if it doesn’t
effective storytelling, but it’s not the only add to the story
option. There are numerous ways to achieve
this. Look to include found imagery, archived
images, video and audio clips, emerging Opposite
recording/representational technology (VR, Mr. Fox
360 cameras, etc.), sculpture and installation. looking for a
ride, Mt, 2015
Collect objects, shoot them, modify them, It can take time
re-contextualise them. A number of new for a subject to
projects mix these components in interesting feel comfortable
and effective ways, often resulting in dynamic enough to open
up to you
book publications and exhibitions.

150
Embrace change
Continue to assess the direction
your project is going in
The ideas you begin with can often
be radically different from that of the
final outcome. Part of the process is
continuing to critique and evaluate your
work. Shoot often, review your work, and
share it with others. Keep shooting until
you feel you’re done, then shoot some
more. Make an effort to engage with
photographers who are doing similar
work, request their opinions and be
ready to offer yours if they request it.
BRING IT
TOGETHER
Different mediums can
come together to create
a meaningful project

Keep the big picture in mind. Remember that


the whole is more important than the parts
that make it up. But what is the ‘big picture’?
This can be difficult to ascertain, especially
KEEP when it’s your first documentary project. Two
IT SIMPLE bits of information can help guide you. At
In documentary photography, a bare minimum, begin the project by
it’s best to avoid over-editing your drafting a concise project statement.
images. Simply maintain a consistent Write it as if the project has already
style and stay away from gimmicks like been completed. Use this as your
HDR or automatic filters, as rarely are these initial goal with a secondary goal of
processes needed to tell a story and they
modifying it at least three times as
often come across as unprofessional. Keep
you navigate through the project.
it subtle, minimal and unnoticeable. This
will help keep the focus of the story on The more research you do upfront,
the strength of the images themselves the easier this will be to construct.
and in turn help your credibility Research other photographers and see
as a serious documentary what you like about their descriptions.
photographer. Be able to pitch the project in 30 words
(an elevator pitch) and 250 words (the
standard length for a project description).
Thinking critically about where you
would like the final work to be displayed will
determine how it is produced and compiled.
Is the project for online use, a traditional
exhibition, will it end up as a monograph, or
will you decide to hide it from the world? Be
fluid and allow for change, but keep a general
idea of what you’re working towards and why.
Be realistic about where the work belongs;
we cannot all hang work in an esteemed
commercial or public gallery, nor should we
all want too.
Returning to the idea of the ‘big picture’,
some images, however stunning, will have to
be left out if they do not fit the narrative or
further the story. Think of these components
as building blocks. Each image, audio clip,
found object or section of text is a building
block. The difficulty in curating a project
is determining which blocks convey to the
viewer something unique, and which ones
only duplicate ideas.
Left top Opposite top
Detail shots Farmer’s wife,
Local foliage, fence and Ab, 2016
camper, Ab, 2015 – Placing people in
capture details in order to the context of their
complete the story environment is important

Left bottom Opposite bottom


Farmer portrait Edge of a
Farmer at a local small town,
demolition derby, Ab – Sk, 2016
close-up portraits such as Images that set the scene
this are always worthwhile are also vital elements
Use other media
The use of other media forms
can help tell your story
Adding more than just images (text,
audio, objects, sculpture, etc.) to your
project can make it original and dynamic,
but also difficult to successfully execute.
Keep in mind how different media
forms interact with one another as you
progress. For instance, if you’re looking
to exhibit your work in a gallery, what
possibilities exist when text is laid next to
a set of images, or audio recordings next
to a series of found objects?

153
TECHNIQUES

SHARE
THE PROJECT
Where can your project exist,
and how should it look?
It was not too long ago that sharing your work
meant having access to the gatekeepers of
the industry, being based in a cultural hub, or
putting up big dollars. With the emergence
of new media and Web 2.0, the process
and pathways for photographers to display
their work and interact with an interested
audience has been upended. This has created
a dynamic environment for the discussion
and exchange of photography. As a result,
a photographer can now live and work in
remote areas and communicate directly with
a global audience.
To use social media effectively you need
to choose the appropriate platforms. Be
selective: you likely do not need more than
three social media accounts to convey your
project. Think quality over quantity and be
consistent with your message. Posting is as
much about sharing your work as it is about
creating a brand or cohesive style for yourself.
Spend some time researching other projects
found on Instagram or Facebook. Ask yourself
simple but crucial questions: What do I like
about them? What can be improved? Will this
style fit my work? Who is my audience? Do I
need dedicated social media channels for my
project? When you do start to post content,
be selective. You want to tease your audience
as you produce the project, as sharing too
much doesn’t give them any reason to
continue to follow the project.
Depending on the project you may also
want to look at a project-dedicated website or
an app. Dedicated websites and apps can be
highly interactive and enable you to effectively
include additional media texts like audio and
video in a seamless way. Natasha Del Toro
and Joakim Eskildsen’s American Realities, as
well as Matt Black’s Geography of Poverty are
strong examples of American poverty projects
that were realised through dedicated websites
as well as being published in book form.
When choosing a model of output, whether
it’s a website, in print, a traditional exhibition
or solely on social media, it’s important
to remember that they are not mutually
exclusive and embracing numerous output
options simultaneously may help extend the
reach of the project.

Right
Small-town book seller, Sk, 2015
Post across social media in a manner that
ensures a consistency in the portrayal of
your brand and cohesion for your project

154
XXXXXXXXXX

The power of print


Showcase your story by
presenting it in photobook form
The photobook is entertaining a period
of unprecedented growth. And in
addition to traditional publishing models,
photographers now have the ability to
crowd-source their projects, enabling
them to sell directly to an audience. The
quality of books and the content within
them has never been higher, and as a
result, competition is stiff. Ensure you do
your homework before deciding to put a
project into book form, and think about
what model works best for your work.
CULTIVATE
THE RIGHT
TOOLS
In addition to your photographic
skills, if you fully embrace social media
as a platform you may need to become
an expert and learn the principles of visual
marketing. If you’re building a project-
specific website you may need to learn
web design, and if you are looking to
use audio or video then you will need
additional skills. These are skills
worth cultivating, as they
add to your ‘creative
toolbox’.

Above
White church,
Sk, 2016
Remember to ensure
that images have a
consistent, uniform
look to them if they are
to go together

Left
Checking her
phone in the
pickup, Sk
Images that have a
reportage feel can also
make good additions
to the overall story
TECHNIQUES

Digital darkroom
Using Photoshop or any of the image-editing
software packages available, digital photographers
have a vast arsenal of creative tools at their
disposal. Post-processing can now be considered
to make up half of the total photography workflow

158
PERFECT YOUR
PROCESSING
There is a photo-editing application to suit every photographer. Learn to get more from yours

P
ost-processing of images has help you build a structured and effective
become an essential part of the workflow, from the essential adjustments
digital photographer’s workflow. such as exposure control and contrast,
There are a vast array of photo- through colour correction and on to
editing software packages available, effective image database organisation.
from highly simplified programs for Then, once you are confident with the
beginners, to high-end specialised tools baseline editing techniques we will move
used by professional photographers on to those ‘tricks of the trade’ that will
and retouchers. Of these options, some make your shots stand out from the
clearly lead in terms of popularity and crowd, including noise control, next-level
number of users. While choice is often sharpening policy and professional-grade
attractive, it can be daunting when it RAW file handling. This will give you the
comes to choosing a package to start confidence to work with any of the most-
with and because of the sophistication used software and more importantly,
and variety of tools found in the teach you how to make the most of
professional software, it is possible to the powerful features at your disposal,
be left feeling a little overwhelmed. In without the danger of taking things
this guide, we will cover all of the key too far and potentially jeopardising the
areas of post-processing in an effort to quality through over-editing.

© Juuso Hämäläinen

159
TECHNIQUES

Why process BEFORE

your images?
The key reasons for
editing and how it fits
with your workflow
While digital camera technology is constantly
improving, people’s perception of image
quality evolves in equal measure – even
non-photographers are now able to recognise
when a shot has been ‘Photoshopped’ and are
even aware of when an editing technique has
failed. It is therefore vital that photographers
recognise the need to develop their post-
processing skills, so that they have a rounded
skill set and are able to produce quality
images in-camera and intelligently process
these files with an end product in mind.
In most cases we will start our image
editing with basic adjustments such as
brightness and contrast, simple colour
© Peter Carr

correction and sharpening. These are often Above


referred to as ‘essential’ adjustments, since Dramatic sunset
While composition is
errors in these areas are the most noticeable good, the original image
if left uncorrected and should be applied to lacked contrast and
every digital image as standard. Beyond these, colours are not vibrant
most software offer tools to precisely control enough. With some
careful exposure and
colour via colour profiles, remove unwanted contrast adjustments,
lens distortions and apply localised edits, ADJUST GLOBAL CONTRAST this scene now shows its
which affect only part of an image. Next you full, colourful potential
might consider using a third-party plug-in
– ‘satellite’ software which can apply further Below
bespoke effects and correct highly specific Washed out
Lighting was too uniform in AFTER
technical defects. These are optional edits
and some of the effects they provide can be this macro shot. With a crop,
curves adjustment and a
created manually, however they are often very darkening of the edges using
powerful and offer great advantages in speed a layer mask, the eye is now
and versatility. drawn to the insect

BEFORE

CREATE CONDENSED LIGHTING

160
TECHNIQUES

AFTER

Adjustment versus manipulation


Image editing has long been steeped in controversy, but is it justified?
There can come a point where more
of an image is created in software
than in-camera. For some genres like
photojournalism, this raises moral
questions regarding authenticity, while
some argue this is more digital art
than photography. However, there is
a distinction between adjusting and
manipulating an image – creativity
should never be discouraged.
Photographer Vladimir Kochkin
says, “Photoshop is only one of the
photographer’s tools – if you opened
a photo on a computer, analysed and
decided that processing is not required,
that means so be it. If you think that the
treatment is needed, then it should be
imperceptible to the viewer.”
Right
At the extremes
© Ronny Garcia

Sometimes creative use of effects produces images


that are more impactful than those treated with ‘safe’
editing techniques. Here, Ronny Garcia wanted to
create a surreal scene with a fairytale look

161
TECHNIQUES

Correct your contrast Control


Contrast determines depth and mood in an image – highly important for
drama in a two-dimensional photograph exposure
SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS
Similar to Lightroom, these sliders in Photoshop
can lift shadows and darken hotspots. Tonal
Range dictates which tones are affected.
ADJUST LEVELS
More versatile than Brightness and Contrast,
pull the input sliders until they touch the
histogram for a quick contrast boost.
and contrast
Brightness and contrast
control can really make
or break an image
It is desirable to achieve an accurate exposure
at the shooting stage, as this minimises
post-processing work and generally reduces
the chance of software-induced artefacts
like image noise and banding. It also
encourages the photographer to be mindful
of overexposure and loss of highlight detail,
which cannot be recovered at the computer.
It is almost always necessary to tweak
exposure and contrast, however – contrast
is often lacking in out-of-camera shots, while
an image that looked accurate on a 3.5-inch
LCD screen may seem slightly too bright
or dark when enlarged. Furthermore, an
MICRO CONTRAST EXPLAINED ADJUST CURVES
Global contrast is the difference between brightest Highly powerful, Curves allow precise tonal
‘accurate’ shot – one that produces a perfect
highlights and darkest shadows. Micro contrast edits. A classic S-shaped curve boosts contrast, histogram and ticks all of the technical
defines detail, controlled by Midtone Contrast here. while the centre adjusts the midtones. boxes – may not be the most punchy and
attractive image possible; correct does not
always mean exciting or dramatic. There are
multiple ways of making these edits and often
Achieve a perfect exposure you’ll find two or three methods in any given
Adobe Camera Raw is a versatile RAW editor, capable of making software application, from simple work with
the Brightness/Contrast control in Photoshop,
essential edits to exposure to complex Curves adjustments in Capture
FAMILIAR LAYOUT EXPOSURE SLIDER One and advanced work in Lightroom using
Both Lightroom and Camera Raw This simple slider adjusts overall brightness,
share sliders for adjusting exposure and useful for minor changes for the sake of
the Shadows, Highlights, Whites and Blacks
contrast, with both creating similar ‘looks’. atmosphere or quick exposure fixes. sliders. In addition to this, it is possible to use
tools such as the Brush and Gradient tools
in Camera Raw/Lightroom and layer masks
in Photoshop to perform local adjustments,
thereby solving problems or enhancing an
isolated image area. This is a vital stage as
often an effect applied globally can spoil areas
that do not benefit from that change.
Professional photographers often shoot in
RAW format, as these files contain all of the
image data captured by your camera’s sensor.
So, unlike JPEGs, which are compressed files,
more editing can be carried out before quality
begins to suffer. While Photoshop offers
more tools for fine retouching work, RAW
processing applications now offer enough
tools to perform most of your workflow on
your RAW files, the other benefit being that
this style of editing is non-destructive. This
means it is possible to revisit an image at
any time and easily alter the exposure again,
HIGHLIGHTS AND SHADOWS WHITES AND BLACKS
Detail is revealed in overexposed areas Use these to set Black and White
without degradation.
by dragging Highlights to the left. Drag points – areas of true black and Whatever software package you use, an
Shadows to the right to lift dark areas. white that ensure a full tonal range. appropriate exposure and contrast will define
the success of your image.

162
TECHNIQUES

BEFORE

AFTER

Why local adjustments matter


Make your editing more precise with adjustments to exposure and contrast
Global adjustments enable us to correct major In this image the overall exposure is good, but
© Peter Fenech

image-wide issues, but in many cases you’ll there are some small shadow areas that need
want to look closer at individual areas that brightening and the scene would benefit from
might be lowering the shot’s overall impact. some localised lighting effects to add depth.

1 Open in Camera Raw Try to perform as


many adjustments as possible on your RAW
files to future-proof your editing decisions.
2 Use Adjustment Brush (K) Available in
both Camera Raw and Lightroom, drag the
exposure slider to the right a little and paint
3 Check your adjustments Tick the Show
Mask box to see if you’ve spilled over into
other areas of the image. Select a pin and
Capture One also works in a similar way. with the brush in areas you want to brighten. click Erase to undo brush strokes.

4 Use Gradient tool (G) The top left of


the scene needed a little added exposure
and warmth. The Gradient Tool was selected
5 Finish in Photoshop You will often find
it necessary to move into Photoshop for
more complex edits. Working on a duplicate
6 Apply local sharpening The edges of
the frame are slightly soft. On a duplicate
background layer, use the Sharpen Tool to
and a gradient drawn down over the area. layer maintains a non-destructive workflow. extract detail.

163
TECHNIQUES

Advanced portrait post-processing


Photographer Adrian Dewey guides us through the processing of one of his portraits

1 Camera Raw The first stage


of my editing process is to
open the image in Adobe Camera
2 Open in Photoshop Next I
will open in Adobe Photoshop
(CS6 on my MacBook, or CC on
3 Gels As I had used gel lighting
I now enhance where the
colour hits the skin. Using a soft
4 Colour balance In Image>
Adjustments>Color Balance I
use the sliders until I’m satisfied.
Raw and make the initial changes. studio Mac) and using the Spot brush set to Soft Light at 30% In this case, with Midtones
Using the simple sliders I have Healing Brush Tool I take time to opacity, with a colour similar to selected I moved towards the
altered the exposure, shadows, tidy up the skin without losing the the gel colour, I go over these cyan levels, and then for Shadows
contrast and vibrance. skin texture. areas to make the colour stronger. I went for red and yellow.

5 Actions I use a lot of


Photoshop actions, some that
I recorded myself, some that I
6 Brightness and contrast
The previous action did
take some of the contrast out,
7 Selective colour At this
stage I just used Selective
Color to make the whites more
8 Brushes I felt the background
was looking a bit dull. Using
some ‘light’ brushes I downloaded,
have bought. Here I ran one of so I will go back and alter the blue and the blacks darker. As I added some white and blue
my actions, called ‘blue fashion’, brightness and contrast from the a portrait I am happy with the lights in the background and
for colour, tones and contrast. It’s Image>Adjustments>Brightness/ image now, although the photo as overlaid the model to make the
often a case of experimentation. Contrast option. a whole needs more punch. image stand out a little more.

BEFORE
Potential
This image has all the
ingredients of a great
portrait: effective
composition, pose
and lighting. However,
post-processing can
be used to create
something unique
© Adrian Dewey

AFTER
Enhanced in post
I finished by using Unsharp Mask
to make the image even crisper, as
on portraits I like to see skin texture

164
TECHNIQUES

Craft colour
and tone
Produce special effects
while avoiding the
common pitfalls
Colour correction is one area where shooting
in RAW provides arguably the greatest
advantage, as applications like Camera Raw
and Lightroom have the option to change
the white balance of an image at any time,
just as it is possible to do in-camera. Presets
are available that mirror most camera white
balance settings, including Cloudy, Daylight,
Tungsten and Shade for rapid one-click
adjustments, and for more precise alterations
sliders are present for colour temperature and
tint selections. It is also possible to eliminate
colour casts easily using the White Balance AFTER
selection tool – simply click once with the tool
BEFORE
on an area of neutral grey to remove colour
bias. Beyond this, highly advanced colour
and tone adjustments can be made using
Curves, where each of the RGB channels can
be manipulated individually. By controlling
each of the Red, Green and Blue Curves, the
dominance of each colour can be varied
to either remove or apply colour casts, for
correction or creative effects respectively.
Tone refers to brightness values found
in an image (luminosity) and the warmth of RAW COLOUR ADJUSTMENT
the colours present (temperature). When
editing either the colour or tone of a shot, it Above
Mood lighting
is important to remember that in most cases
Using a RAW processor
one affects the other and so they should like Lightroom, it is
be considered in unison. When making possible to greatly
contrast adjustments (altering tonality) colour enhance colour and
saturation is often increased, emphasising any tone. In sunset images ,
these colour edits are
temperature bias. In Photoshop it is possible required to retain the
to avoid this by using the Luminosity layer mood of the scene
blend mode on an adjustment layer. © Johan Lennartsson

Colour spaces demystified


When outputting an image you can choose
several colour spaces, but why do they matter?
A colour space represents the breadth
of available colour in an image, with each Choose
one having a slightly different gamut – the your space
total number of colour values that can be In Photoshop go
effectively reproduced. The sRGB colour to Edit>Convert to
Profile and select
space has a smaller gamut than Adobe a new destination
RGB (used by most cameras as default) or colour space. In
ProPhoto RGB (Adobe Lightroom’s default). Capture One follow
However there are exceptions; when sharing Export>Variants
and choose an ICC
images online it is better to use sRGB for
Profile under Recipe.
consistent colour, since this is the only sRGB is a good multi-
space supported by most web browsers. purpose choice

165
TECHNIQUES

Know when to stop Add the


Part of developing a professional post-production workflow is
recognising when you’ve gone too far finishing
There is a disadvantage to having so many
editing packages at your disposal, each
with a vast number of tools. Sometimes
degrade the final image. A useful technique
is to lower the opacity of any effect you’ve
applied or even turn it off completely, then
touches
it is useful to combine effects for creative gradually increase it again to see how or Take these final steps to
reasons, but you have to be able to define if it benefits the image. If you’re unsure,
the point where further adjustment will you’ve probably reached that critical point. guarantee viewers see
Top your work at its best
In need of
improvement If you shoot in JPEG format it is possible to
The tones and select the level of sharpening that is applied
colour of this image to your images in-camera. This is quite
are pleasant, but
could do with some
limiting however, since these changes are
boosting t. There non-reversible and so any over-sharpening
is little depth and is difficult to eliminate. This is an especially
the colour doesn’t inconvenient problem because the amount of
accurately recreate
sharpening an image requires is influenced
the real-life hues
greatly by its output destination – images
Middle bound for the web often don’t need as much
Over the top sharpening applied than those destined for
This shows
unrealistic print. The same principle is applicable to
saturation, BEFORE noise reduction, in that it is better to have full
introduced partially control at the post-processing stage. In Adobe
through aggressive Lightroom and Camera Raw, the level of
Curves adjustment
and an unnecessary
sharpening is controlled by the Amount slider,
application of Radius handles the softness of the effect and
Vibrance. The Detail enhances fine textures. Capture One
changes have also has a similar set of sliders, but the Threshold
accentuated noise
slider determines how pronounced an edge
Below has to be before it receives sharpening – low
A correct values include more flat tones and higher
balance settings limit sharpening to high-contrast
In the final shot there
is an equilibrium of edges. This is useful for minimising noise in
depth, drama and flat areas. This equates to the Masking slider
realism. The clouds in Lightroom and ACR. The Unsharp Mask tool
have added shape in Photoshop is effective when sharpening for
and impact, but the
colours are easier on
print; try sharpening a duplicate layer (Layer>
the eye and noise is Duplicate) and changing the blend mode to
TOO FAR
less pronounced Luminosity to prevent any colour shifts.
Regarding noise, there are two types:
Colour and Luminance. Use the respective
sliders in Lightroom/Camera Raw to reduce
both, visiting the Detail sliders and Contrast
slider to compensate for detail smoothing and
flatness introduced by removing noise.
Meanwhile, lens corrections are a staple
adjustment to most images. In Lightroom
you can apply a lens profile under the Profile
tab and customise distortion and vignetting
removal for your image, before switching
to the Colour tab to remove distracting
chromatic aberration (coloured fringing) from
high-contrast edges. In Photoshop you can
apply lens corrections from the Filter menu,
choose a camera and lens profile and apply
custom tweaks to all other factors.
© Peter Fenech

While noise reduction, sharpening and lens


corrections may be subtle, they can make
AFTER
the difference when submitting your work for
commercial use.

166
TECHNIQUES

AFTER
The perks of plug-ins
Plug-ins can really expand the
capability of your software, so
here are some recommendations
There is a plug-in for almost every
adjustment you could need to make
to an image, and they are often hugely
beneficial because they are designed
for specific functions – they do a small
number of things very well.
HDR EFEX PRO
HDR can be used
for artistic effects or
versatile exposure
balancing. Photoshop
has its own HDR
feature, but HDR Efex
Pro is one of the best
third-party options.

SILVER EFEX PRO


The main advantage of
this plug-in is the wide
array of film simulation
presets, capable of
producing stunning
analogue-like effects
ENHANCED MOOD for dramatic black and
white conversions.
Above
Added realism TOPAZ ADJUST
Controlling colour This plug-in is used for
temperature ensures enhancing detail and
scenes appear colour in your images.
realistic – unnatural It’s a quick and intuitive
colour creates route to stronger colour
emotional barriers and depth, where you
between an image can create gritty artistic
and the viewer BEFORE looks or realistic ‘pop’.
© Johan Lennartsson

When should you sharpen?


When you sharpen during your workflow is as important as how much you apply
RAW processing offers the greatest flexibility selective adjustments using brushes and When upscaling an image or preparing for
when sharpening as, once again, it is masks. Another useful aspect is that each print, it also advisable to apply a further
non-destructive and unfixed. Camera Raw, one allows sharpening and noise reduction round of sharpening, either in Photoshop or
Lightroom and Capture all offer tools to to be performed from adjacent panels, so by selecting a preset in your RAW application.
perform precise sharpening and even make it’s easy to find a balance between the two. This ensures crisp final results.

Sharpen for the web Sharpen for print


Since online resolution is limited by your computer monitor, less sharpening is When printing, you want to make the most of your camera’s resolution and
generally needed for uploading to online galleries. A simple sharpening reproduce as much detail as possible. Sharpen twice in this case, once in
application using the settings shown here will suffice for most web purposes. Camera Raw/Lightroom then in Photoshop using Unsharp Mask.

167
TECHNIQUES

Keep your images organised


Devise a logical and structured archiving workflow
It is critical that you keep an organised and desktop, you may find that Lightroom has
structured database. This should be backed missing photos if you remove the external
up to ensure you have redundant copies drive from the system. Being sure that all your
of every shot should your main storage images are available in synchronisation can
location be compromised. It should be easily help streamline your workflow.
searchable, so that you can quickly find When importing images or outputting an
images later. It is important to remember that edited version it is useful to add keywords
once you start with an organising workflow, to the files so that you can find them later
it is helpful to stick to it from that point on in your database. If you hope to sell work to
to minimise the chance of misplacing files publishers or stock image sites, intelligent
and creating searching conflicts. For example, tagging will make your work easier to find, Above-top
when utilising Lightroom to organise your giving you an advantage over the competition. Other software options
work, it is a good idea to store all images for Add tags in Photoshop by visiting File>File There are lesser-known editing options to consider.
The free application Gimp is surprisingly powerful
that collection in a single folder; this feels Info, where you can also embed descriptions and offers many features found in high-end packages
counter-intuitive if you have been manually and copyright information into your files.
sorting files into folders based on date or Keep your edited images alongside your Above-bottom
genre on your hard drive, but it will make it originals at all backup locations, so you know Endless creative options
Professional digital photographers have learned to
easier for Lightroom to keep track of your that you have both safely duplicated and make the most of what the medium has to offer.
photos. If you have some images stored on available. With ACR, remember to back up the To motivate yourself to creatively experiment, try
an external hard drive and others on your XMP files, generated when you edit a RAW file. entering a post-processing contest

Master the Lightroom archives images in directories and professional, photography genres or
Lightroom catalogue called catalogues. You can create as many year. Once you’ve started using Lightroom, it
of these as you need, so it is possible to is highly advisable that you continue to do
Use Lightroom to efficiently store, have a different catalogue for every group of so for all your image sorting; moving files
organise and find your images related images you have, such as personal manually creates synchronisation issues.

1 Create a catalogue Create a new


directory for your images and select
its destination on your hard drive. This
2 Import images Click Import to begin.
Choose a source folder, such as an
external hard drive or your memory card.
3 Copy, move or add Lightroom can copy
or move your images to a new folder on
your hard drive, or you can simply add the
file doesn’t contain your images, simply Tip: keep all photos for the catalogue in a images to the catalogue, leaving them in
catalogue information. single folder so Lightroom doesn’t ‘lose’ them. their source folder.

4 Duplicate and add keywords If copying


from a card, select a destination and tell
Lightroom to make a second copy to another
5 Create Collections Further organise
your images by grouping them into
Collections. Select your images, go to
6 Back up your catalogue Go to Edit>
Catalogue Settings and choose to have
Lightroom back up whenever you close the
drive by ticking the box. Add keywords to be Library>New Collection. Collection Sets can program. Select an external destination for
applied on import to aid with searching. group similar collections for convenience. the backup.

168
TECHNIQUES

Keep your
images safe
Storing your images correctly
is just as important as how
you take them
It is good policy to have at least two
copies of every image you take on
separate drives. Many professionals have
a third copy located at another physical
location or in cloud storage. It’s best to
back up as you import originals and then
as you save edited finals. When copying
images, always duplicate originals –
don’t copy copies as this can eventually
lead to file corruption over time. Choose
BEFORE hard drives of 500MB or more.
Never too safe
Cloud storage is
Right
a convenient way
Noise reduction
to create off-site
Noise in shadow areas can
backups. Sites
become more pronounced
like Dropbox or
with exposure adjustment.
Google Drive offer
Using noise reduction on
considerable
RAW files smooths grain in
storage space
a non-destructive way
© Peter Fenech

MINIMISE LUMINANCE NOISE


AFTER

169
TECHNIQUES

BUILD AND
MAINTAIN AN
IMAGE LIBRARY Learn to successfully sell images for
use as stock from your own website

S
elling images to a stock photography library. The main advantage of this approach
agency can be a lucrative venture. is the level of control over the pricing and
There are photographers who make distribution of your photography – when
a living solely from files they sell selling to an agency, fees are decided by
through sites such as Getty Images and management and you have little say in
Alamy, while the world-wide audience these who uses your images. Once your files are
pages reach has further advantages for self- uploaded to the agency servers, anyone
promotion. However, there are disadvantages can buy and use them for a multitude of
to supplying imagery to an agency and for purposes. There is also the consideration
some professionals it is a more attractive of the creator’s fee – the agency is a third
option to run their own, personal image party which, while promoting your work and

170
TECHNIQUES

Captions and keywording


Always accompany your image files with
precise metadata – use this to describe
the location, mood and intended
message. Geotagging can also increase
your shot’s visibility and usefulness
All images © Jason Row

171
TECHNIQUES

Subject matter
Not every image makes a suitable shot for stock.
Ensure you know what clients are looking for
When shooting for individual customers, photographers
can tailor their approach to the requirements of that client,
working to a specific brief. In these cases it is clear what the
focus should be when composing, since the image function
is likely known. Stock images however are pre-shot and
the user must search for a file that most closely matches
what they need. Always make your subject as universal as
possible – avoid logos or elements that suggest a specific
region or time, to increase the application possibilities and
longevity of your products, as these attributes are more
attractive to end users.

Photos with movement and energy appear ‘active’ and so have great potential for
use in magazines or advertising, to attract the attention of audiences

172
TECHNIQUES

driving sales, takes a share of the profits, library is not without its challenges however.
leaving the photographer with a fixed rate of
payment. When selling images directly to the
Firstly there is the concern of customer
access – the market needs to know you are
File size and
customer, whether on a Business to Business
(B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) basis,
supplying images and can offer a competitive
advantage over the big agencies. Stock
resolution
photographers running a unique image library photography is only a truly viable source of The quality of files is foremost on
can negotiate terms of usage and pricing income when files are sold in large numbers, the mind of buyers, so make sure
more flexibly, for or to clients willing to you meet their specifications
higher profit margins. pay premium prices While it is important that you offer the
Furthermore, there “When selling directly for large resolutions highest resolution possible to maximise
is the matter of and long-term the versatility of your images, it is equally
image specification to the customer, you licences, making essential for commercial clients that
regulations – stock marketing vital. A you provide multiple file size options for
sites have very can negotiate terms solution could be to your products. Many companies won’t
strict requirements start selling locally, be keen to buy the highest resolution, as
regarding image of usage and pricing building a reputation this is uneconomical for them in the long
resolution, file size, for capturing term – so, you may miss out on business
lens and camera more flexibly” region-specific opportunities by not selling low-res, web-
combinations and images, where there ready files as direct downloads.
post-processing procedures. This can limit is less competition. Another difficulty is
your turnover if your files are rejected on rights management – agencies can provide
quality control grounds. Conversely, you have you with full details of which model and
the freedom to assess the requirements of property releases you need in any situation,
your customers when supplying images from whereas you are solely responsible for this
a personal database, and may perform sales when selling your own stock. It is advisable
to users who don’t require higher resolutions, therefore that, when starting your library, you
or images made with a higher specification build it from newly shot photographs, taken
camera or lens. Maintaining your own specifically for stock usage, rather than

Good practice is to measure the print sizes possible from


your files at 300ppi, as this enables maximum usability
for a range of clients, across print and web functions

Opposite Left Above


Multiple uses Further afield Look for details
Compose your images with Images of more unusual Capturing detail shots of
their potential end use in mind. locations or subject matter locations adds versatility to your
Leave space so that text can should demand a higher price, library. Isolating smaller areas
be added for example, as this due to the outlay involved that give the impression of a site
will appeal to designers when in travelling to the site and increases the chances you will
looking for photos capturing a rarer image have exactly what a client needs

173
TECHNIQUES

utilising pre-existing files. This will reduce


the possibility of accidentally licensing a
photo without the appropriate releases,
creating potential legal issues. You also have
to consider the interface through which
customers will purchase your files. Your
website is your ‘shop front’ and needs to
appear appropriate for your target client
base. This is an element that is arranged for
you when you sell via agencies and it can
add considerable cost to your personal
operation, when you take into account
the number of files you will need to store,
categorise and sell through the site. Often,
corporate customers seek a streamlined,
functional experience from a website,
so invest more in storage capacity and
transaction features than aesthetics. DP

Left
Capture the familiar
Focusing on identifiable subjects can keep your images rated
highly in search engines. Here Jason Row has successfully
injected some creative flair to this commonly captured location

Right
Capture symbolism
Images with symbols or clear metaphors are popular due to
their ability to convey a concise concept in a simple way. This
shot is one of Jason Row’s best-selling files

Pro case study


We chat to Jason
Row (jasonrow
photography.co.uk),
who specialises in travel
stock photography
How long have you run an image
library for?
I was running a library of sorts back in
the Nineties on transparency film. It was
hugely time-consuming and difficult to
maintain. Two developments made it
much easier: the advent of digital and
the introduction of image management
software like Aperture and Lightroom.
Being able to catalogue and easily edit
RAW is the biggest development of the last
20 years.

What are the first steps when setting


up an image database? What common mistakes should beginners metadata – to be found, images must be well
Ruthlessly edit your collection. Cut watch out for? described with very specific keywords.
anything that’s not commercially The biggest is selecting too many images of
viable. I then assign 3-5 star ratings to the same subject – this waters down your How do you decide on pricing?
the remaining images – three star is collection. I stick to four or five angles of the I price my three-star images around
commercially viable, four stars are more same subject for each location. Another is current microstock prices. There is a lot of
unusual shots that attract a higher price, going for visually stunning shots that have controversy over microstock, but to stay
and five stars are worthy of my portfolio. no commercial value. A typical example is competitive you need to follow trends. The
For an online catalogue, it’s best to have the generic sunset shot – a look through any four/five-star shots are priced according to
a bespoke website where you can control stock agency will show thousands of similar macro stock agencies such as Alamy. They
the SEO and refresh content. images. A further big error is skimping on the are the shots that are rare or difficult to shoot.

174
TECHNIQUES

Left Below
Time of day Choose your angle
Sunrise and sunset photos continue to be popular amongst Be highly selective with your shooting angle. Jason only Jason’s tips for
image buyers, however a strong subject is still required –
don’t make the light a subject, use it to enhance your scene
displays a few different compositions of each subject in
his image library, so that each file maintains its impact library building
Image management Catalogue
your images using software such as
Lightroom. Pull all your images into
one location and back them up.
Choose what will sell Ruthlessly
but carefully edit your images to
narrow down the most sellable.
Check want lists at stock agencies
to see what shots are in demand
and what the best sellers are.
Remain current Be meticulous in
your post-production. Image sales
go through phases. Sometimes
the saturated, bright-colour look is
in fashion, sometimes it’s high-
key lighting. Adapt your library to
current trends.
Assign metadeta You must add
descriptions and targeted keywords
to all images. You should aim for
40-50 keywords describing not just
the physical aspects of the image,
but also the emotion and mood.
Keep updating Constantly refresh
your catalogue with new images.
Adding new content will help to
keep the collection high in the
search ratings.

175
 
 

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