ISSUE 91 17 Aug-13 Sept 2021 photographynews.co.uk
Profile / Meet Margot
Big test: Sigma fp L / Is £2K for 61 megapixels a bargain?
Prize word search / Win a Samsung 256GBmicroSD memory card
Raggett, founder of Remembering Wildlife
Sigma’s first lens for full-frame mirrorless Sigma unveils its Sports line lens for mirrorless systems: all hail the 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS
Make the Switch goes live Join PN and Fujifilm for an exclusive photo experience in London. Get in touch now if you want to be considered ONE OF THE regular features of Photography News is Make the Switch. Every month, we take a look at a reader’s journey, from their existing kit, to investing in a Fujifilm mirrorless system. The plan was to launch a live version of Make the Switch last year, but it was scuppered by the pandemic. However, with society gradually moving back to normal, we are delighted to offer PN readers the opportunity to join us for a memorable photographic experience in London. There are six spots available on the day, and readers will get the chance to use the Fujifilm X-S10 and a range of the latest X Series lenses. We are finalising details, aiming for a date in September or October. If you are interested in joining us, please email PN ’s editor at email@example.com in the first instance. Add ‘Fujifilm MTS’ to the subject box of your email, and include details of the camera you are currently using. We’ll reveal more information as soon as we have it. photographynews.co.uk
DESIGNED FROM THE ground up, specifically for full-frame mirrorless cameras, and offering cutting-edge optical performance throughout its range, the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG DN OS Sports has all the credentials to be something special. Available in L-Mount and Sony E-mount fittings, the lens’ advanced optical construction features 25 elements in 15 groups. These give high-contrast images even in direct backlighting, tight control of
aberrations, and the best possible resolution of fine detail. Sigma multi-layer coating technology ensures minimal flare and ghosting when shooting into the light. Consideration has even been given to out-of-focus areas, so backgrounds
to focus tracking of moving subjects. A three-zone focus limiter helps speed up AF and restrict focus searching. There’s an OS (optical stabiliser) giving up to 4EV benefit for slower shutter speeds, and the lens has a dust- and splash-resistant build. A removable,
have smooth, eye-catching bokeh. Autofocusing is performed by an AF unit featuring a high-precision magnetic sensor and stepping motor, so the process is very quiet, precise and fast – especially when it comes Panasonic’s speed sensation With a constant f/1.7 maximum aperture throughout its focal length range, this Micro Four Thirds telezoom sets a new standard Arca-Swiss-fit foot is attached. Sales start 27 August, and the price is £1199. sigma-imaging-uk.com
THE LEICA DG Vario-Summilux 25-50mm f/1.7 ASPH is the world’s first telephoto zoom with a constant f/1.7 throughout its focal length range. Featuring an optical construction of 16 elements in 11 groups, it includes one aspherical lens and three ED lenses to help deliver an outstanding optical performance.
Focus breathing through the entire zoom range is tightly controlled with a special mechanism, and autofocusing is silent, thanks to an inner focus drive system. The stepless aperture ring and micro-step aperture control drive mean smooth brightness control when panning or zooming.
It’s a rugged lens, weighing in at 654g, boasting a dust- and splash- resistant build. Other key features include a 77mm filter thread, and for close-up work, the lens focuses down to 28cm at the wide end – and 31cm at the 100mm setting. This lens is priced at £1799. panasonic.com/uk
2 Photography News | Issue 91
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A trio of lenses are due in 2021, including the first all-in-one zoom for Sony APS-C and Fujifilm X Series cameras Three tasty Tamrons
WORK IN PROGRESS Tamron has devoted a great deal of time and resources to making lenses in Sony E-mount fitting – and there’s plenty more to come
got to the Gap via the harder, hillier route. I thought I had the place to myself; until I spotted a kindred spirit – who turned out to be Chris – on the northern side of the Wall. He was taking a different view of the tree – that’s me adding scale to his shot shown below. His plan, as I found out later, was to wait for darkness and shoot the stars. I left him after sunset with the idea that, if the skies stayed clear, I’d head back to do the same. This time, I took the easier walk to the Gap; when I got there at about 1am, I saw a white torch moving around in the darkness. “Hi, Chris, it’s Will. How’s it going?” I shouted. “I’m not Chris, I’m David,” was the reply. It transpired Chris had finished – and David was heading off, too – so I was definitely on my own when he left. I didn’t shoot anything decent, but after 16-odd months of the pandemic, it was an absolute pleasure being out there trying – even if not succeeding. When I left the tree at 3am, the sky was already light, and I vowed return. In fact, I’ll be going back there next month.
EDITOR’S LETTER WILLCHEUNG
THE BIG NEWS this month is that I’ve been on holiday. Yay! We kept it simple and loaded up the car with camera kit (and some clothes) for a multi-centre, ten- day trip. Newcastle, Holy Island, Hadrian’s Wall and the Yorkshire Dales were on the itinerary – and although the mid-July light was not too scenic-friendly, we shot a lot of pictures. One of our aims was to shoot Sycamore Gap. The sycamore that nestles perfectly in a dip is the best-known spot along Hadrian’s Wall, and has starred in films, pop videos and TV programmes. It is probably the most photographed tree in the country. I walked there twice, and met photographers both times. It’s great when you go out shooting, bump into fellow image makers and end up swapping stories. I suppose it’s
FUJIFILM X SERIES and Sony APS-C users will welcome the news that Tamron is working on an 18- 300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III-A VC 16.6x zoom lens that gives the equivalent coverage of 27-450mm in the 35mm format. Key features include focusing down to 15cm at 18mm, Tamron’s VXD (Voice-coil eXtreme- torque Drive) linear focus motor, and VC (Vibration Compensation). The other two lenses announced in development are the 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD and 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 – both for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless. The 35-150mm f/2-2.8 Di III VXD is the world’s first lens of this speed in this focal length range. It also has a VXD motor for fast AF, and can focus to 33cm at the 35mm end. The 28-75mm f/2.8 Di III VXD G2 is an update of a popular zoom of the same range, and the optical construction has been revamped for even better performance from the latest high-resolution cameras. Tamron’s VXD linear also makes an appearance, and minimum focus is 18cm at the short end – for a magnification of 1:2.7. We’ ll bring you prices and all the availability details when we get them. transcontinenta.co.uk
inevitable when there’s only two of you standing next to each other. Both of the guys were pro photographers from Newcastle – Jason Friend and Chris Lishman. Jason was waiting for sunset, but sadly there wasn’t much of one. The second time was also late evening, and I
“The 35-150mmf/2-2.8Di III VXD is theworld’s first lens of this speed in this focal length range”
What’s inside 03 News Catch up with all the latest announcements, kit launches and Win a Samsung 256GB microSD card by scouring our puzzle for the missing word – plus, we have a Vanguard tactical backpack up for grabs, too 10 Club news It’s the holidays, so it’s pretty quiet for the members at most camera clubs – but the new season is just around the corner, and there’s lots of exciting events in store industry software updates 08 Word search
12 Nature special Get ideas, inspiration and the gear you need to make the most of the beautiful natural world that surrounds us 22 Wildlife SOS PN meets Margot Raggett, the founder of Remembering Wildlife , a charitable book series aiming to generate £1m to help save endangered species 26 Make the Switch: Wendy G Davies Wendy’s photographic journey was inspired by her family – and now she’s a committed street photographer, capturing decisive moments on her Fujifilm X-T3
28 Big test: Sigma fp L The fp L is Sigma’s second model in its series of super-compact, full-frame cameras, and this one is full of great features – not least its 61-megapixel resolution. While its predecessor focused more on video capabilities, this quirky new model is aimed at still photographers. Read our full test here 33 First tests l Zhiyun Weebill 2 gimbal
l Vanguard VEO Range T 48 backpack l Benro Tortoise TTOR34C+GX35 tripod l WhiteWall RoomView print service l Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 macro lens
Issue 91 | Photography News 3
Every picture tells a story Share your images and win great prizes with Fujifilm’s printlife@home exhibition
A specially-designed Lee100 filter holder is now available for the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. Made from aluminium alloy, the holder features a bespoke compression system to ensure secure fitting on the lens barrel, with markings to help with correct positioning. An integrated gasket and anti-reflective coatings help avoid light leaks. New filter frames mean you can use standard 100x100mm and 100x150mm filters in this holder. The holder kit costs £149.99, the grad 100x150mm filter frame is £51, and the 100x100mm frame is £45. Dedicated Big and Little Stoppers are £121.20 each. These products are available through Lee stockists and also from Lee Direct. leefiltersdirect.com A wider aspect Lee Filters has introduced a holder, frames and filters for the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 lens The innovative Weebill 2 is a pro-level gimbal with an impressive feature set, designed for popular camera/lens combinations. Its responsive, super-stable performance is Smooth moves from Zhiyun The Weebill 2 is an industry first, with its flip-out touchscreen
If nothing else, the pandemic and long lockdowns showed us the importance of photography, as a way of sharing memories, experiences and stories. Fujifilm recognises this – its second virtual exhibition is a chance to give voice to your own stories. Entry is open to all, and images can be taken on your phone or smart device – upload your favourite images or something to suit the week’s theme. Everyone submitting from the UK will get a free 10x8in print in the post, receive a 20% site-wide discount
on myFujifilm.co.uk, and be in with a chance of winning a prize. There will be five winners every week, with entries judged by an independent jury. You could be in with a chance of winning two cameras – the instax mini 40 and instax mini 10 – and three vouchers of £100, £150 and £200 to be spent on any photo gift from any Fujifilm photo retailer (in-store or online) – or on myFujifilm.co.uk. Entry to the printlife@home exhibition is open, and closes on 5 December 2021. fujifilm-printlife.eu
Manfrotto’s one-legged option
Impressive Element MII monopod weighs just 1kg, making it the lightest on the market
Affinity powers up The popular software suite enjoys its biggest performance update yet
Aimed at travel videographers and enthusiasts, the Element MII monopod is super light, weighing in at 1kg including the base feet and head – yet it can take a 15kg payload. It packs down to a length of 60cm, making it convenient for packing, or just to have in the bag ready for use. Made from aluminium, this five-section monopod is also Manfrotto’s first to have twist- grip leg locks for quick set-up and comfortable adjustment, while giving maximum grip for excellent stability. The Element MII can currently be found for a guide price of £79. manfrotto.co.uk
Affinity v1.10 is a free upgrade for existing users of Affinity Designer, Publisher and Photo. Each program has benefitted from significant enhancements – so, whether you are using an iPad, Mac or Windows, you can work faster than ever before. Publisher has enjoyed a complete memory management rewrite: very large documents can be loaded quicker and live editing is smooth. The rendering engine of Designer has had a lot of attention – huge
files can now be rendered up to ten times faster than the old version. Finally, Photo has received notable performance tweaks, with greater efficiency when blending layers, while still providing a non- destructive workflow. All three softwares are available to buy now, and cost £47.99 each, with iPad versions of Designer and Photo priced at £19.49. Trial versions are downloadable from the website. serif.com
thanks to a new Infineon chip and upgraded algorithm, with convenient control provided by the flip-out 2.88in LCD touch monitor. The monitor can show the camera image with the optional transmitter. The Weebill 2 is available on its own at £509, or in three kits – starting from the Combo at £599. Read our first test of this Zhiyun gimbal on page 33. zhiyun-tech.com/en
Photography News is published 11 times a year by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. Photography News is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Photography News that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While Bright Publishing makes every effort to ensure accuracy, it can’t be guaranteed. Street pricing at the time of writing is quoted for products.
Editorial team Editorial director Roger Payne Editor Will Cheung FRPS 01223 499469 firstname.lastname@example.org Chief sub editor Alex Bell Sub editors Elisha Young, Matthew Winney Contributing editor Kingsley Singleton
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4 Photography News | Issue 91
Issue 91 | Photography News 5
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Go large withWhiteWall
YOU CANMAKE an extraordinary statement with great photographs enlarged to a big size. In terms of sophisticated interiors, large format pictures transform into fascinating design objects, steering the atmosphere of the room in a certain direction. They can charge the energy, giving it more depth or exuding a calming mood. But the larger the format, the more visible the fine details of a photograph become. So it’s vital to ensure the highest quality with large formats, so that every line, and even the smallest image component, remains razor sharp. This is why the premium photo labWhiteWall offers customers a variety of large format photo prints and, in some cases, specially developed processes. With exhibition image prints, every detail is perfectly executed – even when the edge length is up to five metres. If your images look brilliant on- screen, imagine how incredible they would look seriously big – and hanging on your wall Impressive images set behind acrylic glass A particularly elegant presentation can be achieved by laminating a photograph behind crystal-clear acrylic glass. This technique makes colours shine brilliantly, and gives them a subtle depth effect. This lamination is ideal for large formats from 120x80cm. For macro photography or highly detailed images, WhiteWall's award-winning ultraHD print is the best choice for image sharpness.
For monumental sizes: the WhiteWall Masterprint This innovation was honoured with the TIPA World Award in 2020. WhiteWall is the only photo lab in the world that can print seamlessly in a format of up to 500x180cm, thanks to specially developed technology. The revolutionary, fine art pigment printing system, on exclusive paper, gives a photograph the highest colour brilliance and detail. WhiteWall experts ensure perfect execution of every production step at their in-house workshop – from the initial review, to millimetre-precise fabrication, the handmade frame and special shipping process.
“In terms of sophisticated interiors, large format pictures transform into fascinating designobjects, steering the atmosphere of a roomina certaindirection”
Panorama photography on Alu-Dibond Be it a wide landscape shot or a glittering skyline, panorama formats unfold a captivating effect as an Alu-Dibond lamination from WhiteWall. Each image can be ordered as a real photo print, with either a matte or glossy surface. The lamination is always made to fit exactly – and is particularly suitable for panoramas of 150x50cm. At WhiteWall, customers looking for an extraordinary presentation also have the option to have their photography produced as a direct print on Alu-Dibond. The surface of the mounting material then gently shimmers through in the lighter areas of the image.
6 Photography News | Issue 91
Four more fromVanguard
A new set of versatile tripods has been added to the award-winning VEO 3+ series
Vanguard’s VEO 3+ tripods have won great acclaim for their innovative design, sturdy build and value for money. The aluminium VEO 3+ 263AT and carbon VEO 3+ 263CT sell for £189.99 and £249.99, respectively, and both are available as tripod only. Each has a reversible 1/4in to 3/8in screw thread to cater for all heads, and three grub screws ensure a secure fit. The aluminium VEO 3+ 263AB 160S and carbon VEO 3+ 263CB 160S are priced at £249.99 and £319.99, respectively. Both are sold complete with the VEO BH-160S ball head, a dual-axis head capable of accepting a 15kg
payload. The dual axis means the camera plate can be rotated independently of the ball itself. The new tripods share the key features of existing VEO 3+ models, including three sections, three easy-set leg angles, a detachable leg that converts to a monopod, and the Multi- Angle Central Column (MACC) feature. The MACC is a brilliant innovation that lets you securely position the camera in any manner of different angles, and comes with the MA1 mount for adding an extra accessory such as a
Nik Collection updated
Nik Collection 4.1 is now available, with a new rendering engine optimised for Viveza 3 and Silver Efex 3. The update gives better support for very large images, more responsive control points and adjustments, and faster effect previewing – whether in fit or fill mode, or zoomed in. Nik Collection 4 offers 250 pro- quality filters and the flexibility of U Point
technology, making local adjustments incredibly simple. Eight plug-ins are available to use, including Silver Efex – one of the most effective monochrome conversion softwares available to buy. The collection costs £133, or £69 for the upgrade, and a 30-day fully functional trial version is available for download, too. nikcollection.dxo.com
monitor or light to the centre column. The new tripods are available now. vanguardworld.co.uk
Lexar goes for Silver
Flash memory expert Lexar has introduced its Silver series of CFexpress Type B memory cards, for image creators who demand fast and reliable performance. These cards are backwards-compatible to
suit XQD cameras and offer lightning-quick performance – read speed is 1000MB/s and write speed is 600MB/s. A 256GB card is £319, with a limited 10-year warranty. lexar.com
Hear our pod PN’s latest pod is guaranteed to get you thinking about your summer photo action
Elinchrom going for the ONE
On the menu now The 2022 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year contest is open for entries With over 25 categories to enter, the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year is a huge celebration of food images. Last year, over 10,000 entries from over 70 countries were received for this prestigious contest. The large number of categories covers various imaging disciplines, so you might interpret the subject with street photography, create a still life, take a portrait, or shoot your entries on a mobile. Naturally, there’s an impressive array of prizes to be won, with the overall winner scooping £5000. Entry closes at midnight on 6 February 2022, so you have plenty of time to think about your creative approach and start shooting images. pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com
The Elinchrom ONE is the company's first battery powered monolight. Each head weighs just 1.5kg with a battery and it's not much bigger than a 70- 200mm f/2.8 lens. Despite its compactness the ONE packs a decent punch with a maximum light output of 131W and the Li-ion battery gives up to 725 full power flashes with a recycling time of 0.9secs. Active battery charging is via the USB C port, which means you can carrying on shooting while it is on charge.
Notable features include TTL flash with manual lock and high speed flash sync up to 1/8000sec with a compatible trigger. There's also a bicolour LED modelling lamp. Modifiers fit via its Profoto OCF mount and Elinchrom mount modifiers fit with the supplied adaptor. The Elinchrom ONE is available for preorder from The Flash Centre now. A head costs £799 and the ONE Off Camera Flash Dual kit is £1599. theflashcentre.com
Kingsley Singleton, Contributing Editor
Will Cheung, Editor
Roger Payne, Editorial Director
Episode 28 is a collector’s item: it’s the first-ever PN pod featuring two of the team in the same room. Who knows, as life returns to normal, we might manage to record one with the whole team in the same place. There’s a focus on getting out with the camera. Editor Will has been on his holidays, enjoying some great locations in the north of England.
The PN podcast is an opportunity for you to get involved, too. So, if you have any thoughts, opinions or questions – whether on what kit to buy, advice for improving your pictures, or techniques to try – please email us at email@example.com. photographynews.co.uk/ podcast-library
Issue 91 | Photography News 7
A Samsung memory card! WIN! It’s in the bag with Vanguard
O L S S P I R T B C P R W A L K S H M L C K R R E M M U S P U V N R Y D O N T S A E F I S X H D T T A E H N N F O E U O A N Q D M B X R N R F J H H R H R F T M M N U O N O R I L S B S A W P H U N G O X S C Y I A O G S H O L S W C A E D H D T D K P N D Z D J T E U S V I L O U T I N G S N C P I O G C G L M O S L P N U M H L U O V U B E A C H E S A S H L Q M H P A R K S E Z H I L L S W E A T R E Capture life’s magical moments across all devices with the Samsung Evo Plus 256GB microSDXC memory card with SD adapter, offering read speeds of up to 100MB/s and write speeds of up to 90MB/s. Samsung’s latest cards are also ultra-reliable and water, temperature, X-ray and magnet proof, so shooting in the most challenging conditions isn’t an issue. We have one Samsung Evo Plus 256GB microSDXC card with SD adapter, worth £51.99, for the eagle- eyed winner. Complete the word search below, and you’ll find one word in the list that’s not in the grid. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org with that word in the subject box by 12 September. The correct answer to PN 89’s word search was ‘distort’, and the Samsung Evo Plus 256GB card was won by S Baker from NewMilton. • samsung.com/uk/memory-cards
You can never have too many camera bags – and this month’s prize is a well-appointed big ’un for a seriously large outfit
To enter, go to photographynews.co.uk and follow the link. The closing date for entries is 13 September 2021 – the first correct answer drawn at random after that date will enjoy the company of a Vanguard VEO Range T 48 backpack. The winner of the Vanguard VEO 3T+ 234AB tripod featured in PN issue 89 was Deborah Knight from London. Thank you to everyone who entered. vanguardworld.co.uk
VANGUARD’S VEO RANGE T 48 is a high-end photo backpack that comes with great capacity, but also tremendous flexibility – thanks to a system of belt loops, to which extra pouches can be secured. Factor in superb build quality and high levels of protection for your precious kit, and the VEO Range T 48 backpack is well suited to the demands of the modern image maker, rounded off with a laptop sleeve, padded shoulder straps, and front and back access.
The VEO Range T 48 backpack has a guide price of £149.99 and comes in three colours (blue, black and stone) – the winner can choose which one they prefer. There’s a first test on page 34 of this issue. To be in with a chance of winning this
FREE TO ENTER
impressive Vanguard prize, simply answer the following question: what does PALS stand for?
A) Photos and lenses syndicate B) Prawn and lettuce sandwich C) Pouch attachment ladder system
X-Rite’s portfolio of photo and video colour management products will now be known as Calibrite
BEACHES BITES BLUE BRIGHT DAWN
DROUGHT FLOODS HEAT HILLS HOLIDAYS
OUTINGS PARKS PICNICS STORMS SUMMER
SUNHAT SWEAT THUNDER TRIPS WALKS
LEADING COLOUR MANAGEMENT specialist X-Rite decided the imaging market would be best served by a brand focused solely on the needs of photographers and videomakers. So, Calibrite was formed by a group of passionate experts who have worked with X-Rite over many years. The new brand will license X-Rite’s core technologies, and continue to research and develop colour management
products for the future. Meanwhile, all Calibrite devices will look similar to existing X-Rite products and be rebranded under the Calibrite ColorChecker name. Existing X-Rite customers will continue to be supported by Calibrite via a dedicated portal on its website, and existing warranties will be honoured by the new brand. calibrite.com
If you do not want to receive any marketing information from Bright Publishing or our partners, please type NO INFO in your email entry.
8 Photography News | Issue 91
Issue 91 | Photography News 9
SUCCESS + EXHIBITIONS + PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS + OUTINGS News Camera club
four members achieved distinctions. Carmen Drake and Paul Waller were awarded Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society, Simon Street attained the Fellowship of the RPS in two categories, and Graeme Wales LRPS achieved BPE1. kingstoncameraclub.co.uk KingstonCC KINGSTON CC rounded off its year with its Best in Season competition, won by Mark Blackwell and his image Kingston Riverside, shown here (left). Last year was very successful for the club: in February it won the Albany Cup with images from Sumit Chanda, Jim Robinson and Tim Morland ARPS, and
The new season for Battle PS starts on 6 September in its usual meeting place, the Battle Memorial Hall. Print evenings and PDI events will continue by Zoom. Online lectures last year included a photographer from Namibia. “Our keynote speaker was Antony Penrose, on the subject ‘The Indestructible Lee Miller’, and a visit to Farleys House has been arranged,” says publicity officer Liz Blackwell. battlephotographicsociety.co.uk
© Phil Lumb
Loughton CC has enjoyed a varied programme during the pandemic. “We took advantage of the wider area that could be covered with Zoom, and managed to have a lecture from America and a competition with an Australian club,” says Thelma Banks, the club’s publicity secretary. “Next season, we are having hybrid meetings to start with. Members can meet at our usual Lopping Hall venue, but those who prefer not to go into an indoor situation can join in from home. Of course, everything depends on the situation in September.” loughtoncameraclub.org.uk LoughtonCC
Chester PS Chester PS’s season starts on 7 September, featuring the fine art images of David Garthwaite, and for the first half of the season meetings will be online. Guests are welcome to book for individual talks through Eventbrite. chesterps.org
© John Gravett
ClactonCC Bungay CC’s online show
Clacton CC kicks off its new season on 3 September, and its first online presentation will be on 10 September. It will feature John Gravett of Lakeland Photographic Holidays, with ‘A Lakeland Perspective’. Non-members can attend for £3. Email email@example.com. clactoncameraclub.co.uk
© John Lethbridge
Following last year’s successful online annual exhibition, Bungay CC is set for a repeat. The new show will appear on the club’s website from 4 September. bungaycameraclub.co.uk
Frodsham & District PS
Frodsham PS is holding an exhibition of members’ work entitled The Joy of Photography , and will run until 18 September at the Castle Park Arts Centre. This venue is off Fountain Lane in Frodsham, WA6 6SE. Each member was given the chance to have at least one image on display, and the final
50 images reflect the wide range of genres, techniques and interests within the club. This variety is indicative of the programme planned for the new season, which starts on 6 September. Meetings will be online until Christmas, returning to normal in the new year. frodsham.photos
The next issue Send your contribution to clubnews@ photography-news.co.uk with the text document and image (1500 pixels across) attached. Deadline for the next issue ISSUE 92: out from 14 September, deadline for contributions: 3 September
© Lynda Haney
10 Photography News | Issue 91
ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Poseidon adventurers
Corrosion-resistant, sand proof and waterproof, Leofoto’s latest carbon-fibre tripods are designed to survive the most challenging watery assignments
a wipe-down and that’s it – no need to disassemble leg locks to clean them before packing the tripod away. The LP-284C has a 10kg maximum load rating and extends to 1.29m, while with no centre column, a camera viewpoint as low as 16cm is achievable without having to modify the tripod. The LP-284C comes with the LH-30 ball head that takes a15kg payload, and you get all this great performance from a tripod and head that weighs a mere 1.55kg. The LH-30
is compatible with Arca-Swiss quick- release plates, allows quick switching to and from upright and horizontal shooting, and ball head friction is easily adjusted with a handy dial. Sporting a similar features list is the LP-324C, which is slightly heavier at 1.95kg, can safely take
a 15kg payload, and gives a maximum height of 1.395m. All Leofoto tripods come with a ten-year warranty. leofoto.eu
LEOFOTO’S POSEIDON TRIPODS are blessed with unique properties that make them ideally suited to regular use at the coast and in other watery environments, withminimal aftercare needed to keep them in tip- top condition. Two newmodels – the
LP-284C+LH-30 and LP-324C+LH-40 – are available, retailing at £429.99 and £529.99, respectively. Both have legs made from ten-layer woven carbon fibre, so they are lightweight, sturdy and give excellent support, with impressive maximumpayload ratings. The no-centre-column design helps keep weight down and delivers a slimline profile, too. But what sets the Poseidon tripods apart from the rest is not just the distinctive blue finish, but the fact titanium is used in the parts of the tripods that come into contact with water. Titanium is known for its corrosion-resistant qualities, even against seawater. In combination with a new-design TwistLock system, the legs are sand-, grit- and waterproof, and keeping such nasties at bay means low post-shoot maintenance. A quick rinse under a running tap and
SPECS › Prices
Poseidon LP-284C+LH-30 £429.99 Poseidon LP-324C+LH-40 £529.99 › Leg sections Four/four › Leg angles Three/three › Folded length 54cm/58cm › Max height 1.29cm/1.395m › Min height 16cm/16.5cm › Weight 1.55kg/1.95kg › Contact leofoto.eu
BEAUTIFULLY RUGGED Leofoto Poseidon tripods have sealed leg joints and use titanium fittings
It’s done with mirrors Tokina’s new 400mm mirror lens gives incredible telephoto power in a tiny and light body form
SPECS › Price £250 › Optical construction Six elements in five groups › Lens hood BH-673 (screw type) supplied partner for the latest cameras – especially mirrorless models – because of its compact stature. It measures just 74mm and weighs 355g – ideal for photographers on the move. It’s even small enough to be left in your camera bag at all times, ready in case a long MIRROR LENSES USE a catadioptric design that ‘folds’ light paths, so you get a long focal length in a short and lightweight body form. They used to be popular with film cameras, but fell out of favour, because their small, fixed maximum apertures – usually f/8 – meant unless it was very bright, you needed high ISO film to get sharp shots, impacting image quality. The situation now is very different, and digital cameras are capable of critically good image quality at very high ISOs. There’s potentially a huge market just waiting for a mirror lens like the Tokina SZX SUPER TELE 400mm f/8 Reflex MF. This manual focus lens is the perfect
lens is needed – for instance, to capture a distant bird during a country walk. The lens has a smooth-action focus barrel, with a 270° travel from infinity to the minimum focus distance of 1.15m, where it gives a magnification of 1:2.5, meaning close-up subjects can be enjoyed. Mirrorless cameras with high- resolution electronic viewfinders, and features like magnifier focus check and focus peaking, mean manual focusing is much easier, and the risk of camera shake is minimised on cameras with in-body image stabilisation. Amirror lens not only gives amazing reach, but a creative benefit, too. The SZX SUPER TELE 400mm f/8 Reflex MF is designed for smooth bokeh and, with bright out-of-focus highlights, you get ‘doughnut ring’ effects that give your shots a signature look. Photographers of all brand loyalties can exploit Tokina’s latest lens, because it uses the inexpensive T2 mount system, so you can quickly switch it between different cameras with suitable mounts. The SZX SUPER TELE 400mm f/8 Reflex MF’s diminutive stature, light weight and high optical quality are all positives you’d expect from a Tokina product, but there’s a final surprise. It retails for an inexpensive £250, so you get super telephoto pulling power at a bargain price. tokinalens.co.uk
› Filter size 67mm › Focusing Manual › Minimum focus 1.15m › Macro ratio 1:2.5 › Dimensions 74x77mm › Weight 355g › Contact tokinalens.co.uk
LONG, YETVERY SHORT Mirrors and lenses are used in mirror optics, so they are physically compact and lightweight, too
OFFICIAL DISTRIBUTOR FOR LEOFOTO &TOKINA hahnel.ie
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LURKING IN THE SHADOWS Herons are a common sight at nature reserves and country parks. This was taken at Greenfield Valley Heritage Park, Holywell, North Wales – using the Sony A7 III and Sony 200-600mm lens, 1/160sec at f/6.3 and ISO 160
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FIND THE BEETLE Weevils are tiny beetles – around 6mm in length – so spotting them is a challenge in itself. This is an acorn weevil, shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, 1/200sec at f/14 and ISO 400, with flash
Great pictures of captive creatures are not beyond the realms of possibility. Look for good vantage points clear of any fencing, and where backgrounds look more natural, then learn when feeding times are, so you stand a chance of capturing activity. Some venues are more photographer- friendly than others – check this first on their websites. Speaking of feeding, food is the perfect way of getting birds within camera range, whether that’s swans and ducks at the local park, or starlings and goldfinches in the garden. Feeders are easy to set up, with seeds, nuts and fat balls widely available. Give it some time and you will quickly build up a regular avian clientele. Generally, a telephoto lens is demanded for a good image size, perhaps with the camera on a support to aid stability. That said, with today’s image stabilisation systems and high ISO skills, you can work handheld. Shoot birds on feeders, but if you prefer a more natural look, place feeders near a perch like a bough – or set up a branch stood in a soil-filled pot for the birds to sit on, while they wait their turn at the goodies you provide. Such pictures look best with natural-looking backgrounds, so position your perch to avoid fencing and brick-wall backdrops. Garden birds have great potential for photography, but if you are feeling more ambitious, there are plenty of viable locations around the UK – check out the RSPB and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust online. Their URLs and other useful websites are in the Contact panel. There are also plenty of pro photographers and businesses specialising in nature photo breaks, “You should always respect your subject and its environment, so thismeans not getting too close”
NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY IS a huge subject – and because our islands are blessed with such a beautifully rich and diverse range of living things, you can indulge yourself without having to leave those shores. Assuming you’re not already a dedicated birder or bug photographer, nature presents such a diverse canvas, it helps if you narrow down what interests you – that will dictate how to approach the subject and the gear that’s required. Let’s kick off with the great range of photogenic native mammals – and you may not have to go far to enjoy them with your camera. Rabbits are very common, as are grey squirrels. For all you know, your garden might already be a stopping-off point for the local fox and a regular port of call for hedgehogs. Depending where you live, venture further afield and deer of various sorts, hares, wild horses and seals are also worth considering. Experienced nature workers have fieldcraft to help them get the most from their targets, so at this point, a few online searches are essential. Most active times, food preferences, points of behaviour and potential locations are things to look at – or you could just wing it. A walk in the local park or wood may deliver photo encounters with grey squirrels, or if you’ve spotted rabbits on the roadside, park up safely and wait for them to make an appearance. Coming up soon is a popular autumn subject. Red deer are the largest UK land mammal; always worth photographing, especially during the annual rut (their mating season), which starts in September and continues to early November. It is worth saying that you should always respect your subject and its environment, whatever you’re photographing. This means not getting too close or disrupting them, or leaving behind litter. If you intend to bait animals to entice them to your camera, check what you should use – or even that it’s OK to do so. If your taste is for more exotic creatures, a trip to a zoo and wildlife park is in order. They have their own challenges, and you may be dealing with fencing in the foreground, untidy backgrounds, and have to shoot through thick, perhaps dirty, glass.
BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLIES This is a green-veined white, captured on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100mm f/2.8 macro, 1/200sec at f/11 and ISO 800
Natural Britain Of course, it would be wonderful to photograph polar bears in the Arctic, penguins in the Antarctic or lions in the Serengeti. But great nature pictures are never far away – and can be found in your garden, the local park or nature reserve. We take a closer look at the vibrant opportunities on your doorstep
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OH DEER! The annual rut that takes place in autumn is a popular time for deer pictures, but pictures can be taken all year round. Shot on Big Moor, Derbyshire, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, with Olympus 300mm f/4 lens and 2x teleconverter sunlight, though, does mean high contrast – and the best days are when the sun is diffused by thin, high cloud and there’s little wind, because even a gentle breeze can seem like a hurricane when you’re close up. While we have highlighted some options for you to consider, we haven’t touched on gear yet, which is a huge subject. You probably own the basic kit – camera and telephoto lens – that you need to get going. For smaller subjects, a telephoto lens that focuses close would suit, and you can enhance this with close-up lenses or extension tubes, both allowing you to focus more closely than normal. If you have the budget, investing in a macro lens is the next step. They have a medium telephoto focal length, and most give 1:1 life-size magnification. With macro, you have to be careful with focusing, because the amount of depth-of-field lessens as you get closer. Fill the frame with a butterfly at f/11 or f/16 and you get a depth-of-field of a few millimetres. In these situations, positioning the camera so its back is parallel to the subject helps you get head and wings sharp. More and more cameras are coming out with focus stacking or focus bracketing features. These can help you achieve greater depth-of-field in shots, and although the end result is the same, the two features work differently. Focus stacking is done in-camera – and the individual images
events, tours and organised walks – and shooting opportunities suiting less-experienced photographers, plus anyone who prefers the company of like-minded people. The last subject area to discuss is the hugely popular one of insects. This time of year, gardens, meadows and hedgerows are buzzing with life – from the tiniest weevils and spiders, to butterflies and dragonflies. Your garden is a good starting point, while parks, meadows and nature reserves offer excellent chances for pictures, but for insects – just like birds and mammals – you need patience, fieldcraft and good technique. You’re dealing with small subjects that are often fast-moving and easily disturbed, so it’s not as easy as you might think. Early in the day is the time favoured by experts, when their prey is less lively. As temperatures rise and the sun warms the air, insects get more active, which makes photographing themmore challenging. Sunny, warm days are best for insect life, especially if you want to shoot butterflies and dragonflies, simply because you don’t see as many when it’s cool and cloudy. Strong “You’re dealing with small subjects that are fast-moving
and easily disturbed”
TALL AND HANDSOME If native wildlife doesn’t appeal, then get along to a zoo or wildlife park to indulge your camera skills. These giraffes were taken at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, using an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with an Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens, exposure was 1/500sec at f/5 and ISO 200
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Technique merge automatically, whereas with focus bracketing, the images have to be merged in software. In both cases, the subject and the camera need to be as static as possible for good results, but handheld in-camera focus stacking is possible with practice. Macro lenses can ‘focus hunt’ and rack back and forth when shooting close. A focus limiter helps, but don’t be surprised that you have to intervene and manually fine-tune focus, perhaps with the help of peaking, or even the focus magnifier check. This needs practice if you are shooting handheld – and it’s easier when you’re using a camera support, although a monopod or tripod is not always feasible. For distant subjects, a teleconverter gives your lens more pulling power. A 1.4x teleconverter on a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens makes it an effective 98- 280mm f/4, or a 140-400mm f/5.6 with a 2x converter. The increase in focal length comes with the minor penalty of light loss, hence the maximum aperture is slower than the lens on its own. The slower maximum aperture is not too much of an issue with modern digital cameras, where using high
ISO speeds still delivers good image quality, so you can keep shutter speeds fast to record sharply. Get into nature work and you may decide to invest in a telezoom with a longer range. Although bulkier, this option probably gives better image quality compared with a telezoom fitted with a teleconverter, and a faster maximum aperture. Long zooms from independent brands Tamron, Tokina and Sigma are worth a serious look, together with those from the big camera brands. Camera supports make life easier, but what works best depends on the situation and how you prefer to work. Such accessories might not even be practical and slow up the shooting process too much, or even disturb the subject. From your car or a hide, a beanbag or mini tripod can work perfectly well. If you are trying to capture flying birds and struggling handheld, a tripod fitted with a gimbal head is worth a thought. Nature is a massive subject, so we only have space to scratch the surface. Hopefully, we have given you inspiration – and this time of year is perfect for sampling what’s on offer.
CONTACT For more information about British nature, locations and what to photograph, here are some websites to check out. › British Dragonfly Society
› National Trust nationaltrust.org.uk › Nature Net naturenet.net › RSPB rspb.org.uk
› The Big Cat Sanctuary thebigcatsanctuary.org › TheWildlife Trusts wildlifetrusts.org › Wildfowl &Wetlands Trust wwt.org.uk
british-dragonflies.org.uk › BritishWildlife Centre britishwildlifecentre.co.uk › Butterfly Conservation butterfly-conservation.org
RED-EYE Sarah Horrocks landed this red-eyed tree frog on a training session with Wild Arena. Shot on a Sony A7 II, 90mm macro lens 1/50sec at f/11 and ISO 640
ON THEWING Practice, practice, practice – that’s how to get sharp shots of flying birds, plus a capable AF system, good coordination and fast shutter speeds. Nikon D500 with Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens at 95mm, exposed at 1/2000sec at f/2.8
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Natural Britain Buyers’ guide
One of the most challenging genres is nature photography, demanding good camera skills, fieldcraft and suitable gear. Here’s our guide to some of the best kit money can buy – helping you get the most out of Britain’s photogenic creatures
KowaTSN-99 Prominar spotting scope › £2999 › kowaoptic.com
Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DGOS HSMSports › £1429 › sigma-imaging-uk.com
NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY CAN be enjoyed with a wide range of camera kit – and you may already own everything you need, but there’s always room to embellish your outfit to fulfil its potential. Of course, which direction you choose to take depends on where your interest lies. For birds and mammals, you may want to expand your telephoto lens armoury, because you’re often working with very distant subjects. While using high-megapixel cameras means the image file can be enlarged for a good result, it always pays to get the biggest image possible in the first instance. Adding a teleconverter further increases the lens’ potential. However, if your nature interest lies with insects, a long lens can still be useful – although an extension tube or two may be required to enable closer focusing, otherwise you’re working a long way from your subject. The other lens to consider is a macro that focuses close enough to give 1:2 or 1:1 life-size magnification. Getting in this close to a subject to enjoy such magnifications demands patience, and depth-of-field in such instances is very limited, even with small lens apertures – but the potential for fascinating pictures is there. Tripods, LED lights and bags also feature in this guide, plus there’s guidance on spotting scopes, with the latest addition to Kowa’s range very much worth a look. It’s time to get geared up.
Sigma’s 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM belongs to its Sports series – but an optically different, slightly less robust lens is also available in Sigma’s Contemporary series. Sigma has also recently introduced a revamped 150- 600mm Sports series lens for Sony E-mount and L-Mount fittings, to make the most of mirrorless cameras using those mounts. See the cover story for more. Sigma’s 150-600mm f/5- 6.3 Sports lens has an optical construction of 24 elements in 16 groups, with two FLD (“F” low- dispersion) and three SLD (special low-dispersion) glass lenses. It’s ruggedly built, too, with a dust-
and splash-proof construction, so it’ll continue working perfectly in poor weather – and the front and rear lenses are protected with a water- and oil-repellent coating. Another technical highlight of this lens is its two-mode OS (optical stabiliser) – mode 1 is designed for general photography; mode 2 for motor sports, whether the camera is shooting horizontally or vertically. This lens is available in Canon EOS, Nikon F and Sigma bayonet fittings, and it is compatible with Sigma’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters for even greater telephoto pulling power, with minimum sacrifice in optical performance.
Kowa Optics is a renowned brand, with spotting scopes, camera lenses and binoculars in its line-up. The newest arrival in Kowa’s impressive Prominar series is the TSN-99, available in both angled (TSN-99A) and straight (TSN-99S) versions, with sales from Kowa- authorised dealers starting 1 October. The scope on its own is £2999, while the zoom kit – that includes the TE-11WZ II 30-70x eyepiece – is priced at £3549. Kowa has also announced the TE-80XW 40x wide eyepiece, which gives a field of view of 80°, priced £649. The TSN-99 has a 99mm pure fluorite crystal objective, which is paired with a Kowa XD concave lens to deliver incredible sharpness and resolution, with minimal chromatic aberration. Its awesome optical performance also has a benefit when it comes to digiscoping, and the TSN-99 can be quickly transformed into a
super telephoto lens, with Kowa’s extensive range of digiscoping kit. Physically, the TSN-99 is built to last a lifetime, with its super-strong, yet lightweight magnesium-alloy body – and a unique KR lens coating that actively repels dirt, dust and water. Kowa has also applied its precision skills to make the TSN-99 great in use, featuring a dual-focus mechanism with quick focus to get the subject in view sharp, and a fine focus control for the ultimate in accuracy. Minute adjustments are possible, even when wearing gloves! All in all, the TSN-99 is one of the best scopes money can buy.
Tamron 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di IIIVCVXD › £1379 › tamron.eu
MindShift FirstLight 30L › £260 › snapperstuff.com
Tamron’s 150-500mm f/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is one of its latest offerings for the Sony E full-frame cameras. Used on Sony APS-C format cameras, the 35mm equivalent focal length range is 225-750mm. This top-rate super telezoom uses 25 elements, including several special glass lenses, in 16 groups, to minimise optical aberrations and maximise optical sharpness in a reasonably compact body form – the lens weighs 1.75kg.
Autofocusing is handled by Tamron’s VXD linear motor, giving fast, slick and precise focusing – even when used at 500mm – and it’s super quiet, too. A three-mode VC mechanism helps to achieve sharp pictures with slower shutter speeds. This lens also has potential for macro shooting, with a magnification of 1:3.1 at the 150mm focal length, where you have a minimum focusing distance of 60cm.
Get into photographing nature and you need kit that might be bulky or big – often both. Unless focusing on subjects in your garden, you will need to move equipment from location to location, so a quality bag is essential. Snapperstuff has Think Tank and MindShift products, ideal for nature photographers of all levels, and for camera outfits of all sizes. The MindShift FirstLight backpack family has three sizes on offer: the 20L, 30L and 40L, priced at £215, £260 and £300, respectively. They‘re specifically designed for the outdoor travel photographer. These are high-capacity bags (even the 20L will take a camera fitted with a 200-400mm lens) and comfortable to carry, even when fully laden, thanks to an adjustable torso feature. Other features include a tripod mounting system, rain cover that doubles as a ground cloth, and ballistic nylon bottom panel to help durability.
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