Scorched bushfire survivors in a sea of golden yellow winter wattle with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens

Written by admin on September 11th, 2017

Survivors of a bushfire engulfed in a sea of golden yellow Australian wattle in late winter, heralding in our Spring.

Here are a couple of images from the weekend on one of my late winter walks amongst the recovering eucalypt forest trees in central Victoria near Melbourne taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I with Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8 lens.

forest

forest

It was such an incredibly beautiful, relaxing although at times strenuous walk in the near silence of our bush with not a soul to be seen except for the odd kookaburra, brightly coloured green and red rosellas and little wrens to keep me company.

It always amazes me the lengths people go to to travel and yet ignore the beauty in their own back yard – perhaps it is best that way, otherwise my quietude may be destroyed.

 

Winter insists on continuing on – some winter oaks in Australia

Written by admin on September 3rd, 2017

Most of us in the southern parts of Australia can’t wait for Spring to kick into gear.

For those of us in Melbourne, the next few days will bring another cold polar vortex blast from the Antarctic which will bring damaging winds and snow down to 400m.

Here are a couple of images last week of my winter walks amongst the oak trees in central Victoria near Bendigo taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens.

oaks

oaks

This might be winter but unlike Europe, that does not mean there be lush green grass at the foot of the oaks – no this is Australia and it has it’s own ambience.

Will I brave the wind chill and risk of falling branches today and head out exploring – let’s see how I am feeling!

 

 

New gear announcements – Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, new Canon pro lenses and the Photonicz One – an amazingly powerful and versatile portable studio type LED flash which may revolutionize lighting

Written by admin on September 1st, 2017

Well it’s been a big week in photography!

Canon announced  4 new very expensive pro lenses which are essentially redesigns with some extra features (eg. macro for the tilt-shift and IS for the 85mm) and, importantly, improved optics to allow for the new high resolution full frame dSLRs as well as a budget mirrorless camera and a revised twin macro flash:

Yesterday, Olympus announced their upgrade to the entry level Micro Four Thirds mirrorless Olympus OM-D E-M10 now in mark III which adds some nice features including better IS, simpler operations and perhaps importantly for some, 4K video.

There are also strong rumours Olympus will also soon announce 3 new PRO level weathersealed prime lens – 12mm f/1.2, 17mm f/1.2 and 45mm f/1.2 and a zoom lens.

Some people still gripe that Olympus has still not added radio wireless TTL flash capability, but if you have been reading my blog posts, this technology is no longer necessary built into the camera system as 3rd party manufacturers such as Cactus and Godox have created far more versatile cross-platform radio remote TTL flash solutions.

Panasonic also announced their promised v2 firmware upgrade for their flag ship Panasonic GH-5 Micro Four Thirds camera which adds some incredible video capabilities such as Professional 400Mbit ALL-I intraframe codec for 10bit 4K 4:2:2 which is said to be incredibly cinematic, with flawless image quality and colour, and “Open Gate” High Resolution Anamorphic Mode (4992 x 3744) which uses the entire sensor with a recording resolution of 18MP instead of the usual 8MP of 4K Ultra HD and thus allows 10K footage in post when used with a 2x anamorphic lens, plus Hybrid Log Gamma and some AF improvements and bug fixes. This should make videographers salivate!

The PHOTONICZ ONE portable studio light

But now onto something which on paper looks to be a truly revolutionary development in photographic lighting solutions – the just announced PHOTONICZ ONE battery operated LED studio light with an industry standard Bowens S mount for lighting accessories and touch screen interface as well as a remote smartphone control interface.

Why is this so revolutionary?

Up until now all studio flash systems of similar designs use flash bulbs and require capacitors to be charged up before firing hence they have a recycle time, and the flash duration is generally dependent upon the flash output power setting for a given unit.

The PHOTONICZ ONE however does away with a flash bulb and instead uses an incredibly powerful LED light source capable of 2500Ws power output (the powerful Godox AD600 only gives 600Ws, although you can combine two to get to 1200Ws). The light color should be accurate as it is stated to have light color rendering index of 95+ across the entire power output range. Of course,  it’s firmware can be updated via  USB port.

But wait, there is MUCH MORE REVOLUTION promised such as:

  • weathersealed (no bulb makes it easier to weatherseal) made using aircraft grade aluminum
  • more compact
    • only 12.5 x 12 x 9 cm for the main body (or 4.9 x  4.7 x 3.5 inches) and 1.5 kg / 3.3 lbs
  • can deliver thousands of full power flashes on a single battery charge (uses V-Lock battery system which can also power other accessories)
  • wirelessly sync to your camera from up to a kilometer away (requires a brand-specific remote trigger RRP $US299 each or $US150ea during Kickstarter campaign)
  • InstaCharge – Zero recycle time
    • from my recent tests, the Godox AD600 needs to drop to 1/32nd output to keep up with a 15fps burst from my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, this new light can do this at FULL OUTPUT – THAT IS REVOLUTIONARY INDEED!
  • Extremely short flash duration down to 1/50,000th sec!
    • this will be amazing for those shooting fast moving subjects such as bullets bursting balloons, etc
    • the Godox AD600 will only get to around 1/10000th sec (at 1/256th output) and some AC-powered Godox studio lights can get down to 1/28,000th sec.
  • TrueSync – Native camera compatibility
    • the brand-specific remote transmitters will adjust the flash duration dynamically to the needs of your camera system, enabling communication with most Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, Panasonic, Olympus, Hasselblad, and PhaseOne cameras.
  • HSSPro – Next Gen High Speed Sync
    • perfectly sync with the camera’s shutter at up to 1/32,000th of a second (not sure what this means as most brand cameras with electronic shutters to these speeds do not allow flash sync at this speeds – but maybe this is coming with global shutters)
  • TruTTL – Actual TTL metering
    • once upon a time, back in the 1970′s, Olympus introduced an amazing flash TTL system that was true TTL DURING the exposure – the Olympus OM-2 film SLR was truly revolutionary, but then, along came digital sensors and that system could no longer be used, and ever since we have had to put up with annoying pre-flashes so the camera system could calculate how much output the flash should send.
    • BUT NOW, we are back to the good old days – NO PRE-FLASH for TTL! I am not sure how this works but that is the promise!
  • TrueBracket – Flash bracket multiple exposures
    • allows shooters to bracket exposure with the strobe output rather than shutter speed, aperture, or ISO alone, which means no lag between exposures for crisp HDRs and much reduced post processing for images where you combine multiple bracketing approaches.
  • VariSpeed – Variable flash output
    • VariSpeed can extend the flash duration, effectively contributing more artificial light to your exposure (remember, after all we are using LED which can be a continuous light source). This effectively raises the output equivalent to levels impossible to achieve with traditional technology.
  • VariShape & VariPattern
    • customize light shape and emission patterns – not sure how useful this is from a small light source but who knows?
  • No more blown or broken flash bulbs!

If what they say is true and it works out, then this technology could radically change the lighting industry as we know it!

This is an exciting possibility for location photographers and for high-speed photographers wanting super short flash duration.

See their Kickstarter campaign for more details. Early bird gets you one unit with V-Lock power supply (but no battery) for $US749 plus add $US150 for each transmitter you need.

14.4V V-Lock lithium ion batteries will cost you around $AU 330-425 depending upon capacity.

 

Nikon ups the ante with its D850 full frame dSLR – but will it be enough?

Written by admin on August 24th, 2017

Nikon makes great dSLRs, and their Nikon D850 full frame dSLR which they announced today is likely to continue on that relatively matured path, but it is hardly revolutionary although for the Nikon die hards and pros it does have some nice improvements over its highly regarded predecessor, the Nikon D810.

But in the speed stakes, it is not going to compete with the likes of a Sony a9 or Olympus OM-D E-M1 II (which is a totally different beast but far more affordable).

We are quickly running out of great reasons to pay a lot of money for full frame cameras these days, when most of their “advantages” have been addressed by smaller cameras, while the pros are looking for even larger sensor cameras to differentiate themselves from the droves of enthusiasts with full frame cameras.

There are still many who prefer an optical viewfinder over mirrorless, and for them, a big, clunky, noisy dSLR is the way to go.

The feature set that Nikon has given this does allow it to target a variety of uses – landscape and studio use with its high mp count, weddings with its full frame shallow DOF capability, and even sports with its excellent Nikon D5-like AF system although the 9fps bursts may be limiting and we are yet to see what the high ISO performance is really like, or its dynamic range for landscapes.

Major weaknesses appear to be it’s extremely sub par WiFi functionality, limited electronic shutter capabilities, lack of built-in image stabilisation and perhaps its video capability – but this will need further assessment, although preliminary comments by a respected videographer can be seen on EOSHD.com who suggests it is much better than the Canon 5D Mark IV and looks quite good but still with many deficiencies compared to Sony, Panasonic and Olympus.

The RRP is slated to be $US3229, and it will be available next month.

What has Nikon improved over the Nikon D810?

  • more megapixels – 47.75 vs 36mp – most people won’t be able to tell the difference in image detail, as substantive differences usually need a doubling of megapixels, and there are a lot more factors which limit the image detail you get – optical quality, camera shake, etc.
    • note that, like the D810, there is no anti-alias filter on the sensor – this promises more image detail but at a cost of more moire artefacts with textures if your lens can out-resolve the sensor – so may not be so great for fashion.
  • backside-illuminated CMOS sensor (BSI sensor) for hopefully lower noise and less vignetting, while ISO range is 32-102,400.
  • improved AF and metering system – similar AF and metering as the Nikon D5:
    • 153-point AF system (up from 51pts with the D810), with 99 bring cross-type, including 15 central ones are sensitive to f/8, and with 30% more frame coverage than the D810  – but still no where near the coverage of a Sony a9 or E-M1 II which severely limits face AF and AF on subjects towards the edges.
    •  central AF point is rated as working in light as low as -4EV, with the rest still active at -3EV
    • D5′s AF module, AF modes and dedicated AF processor
    • D5′s 180,000-pixel metering system (up from 91,00-pixel in the D810) which works in concert with the AF system to give “3D tracking” and give much better subject tracking than with the D810
    •  automated system for setting an AF Fine Tune value ALTHOUGH it only calibrates the lens based on the central AF point and for a single distance, but better than nothing!
  • improved optical viewfinder
    • now gives 0.75x magnification (up from 0.70x in the D810) for brighter wider view
    • features a new condenser lens and an aspherical element in the design, and retains a reasonable (17mm) eye point
    • viewfinder shading when using different image aspect ratios to assist composition framing
  • improved burst rates and buffer capacity
    • can now shoot at 7fps (up from 5fps with the D810), and with the aid of the battery grip and EN-EL18b battery, up to 9fps (although this pales in comparison with the Sony a9 or Olympus E-M1 which can hit 15fps in mechanical shutter mode, or up to 60fps full output RAW in electronic mode)
    • buffer allows up to 51 frames of 14-bit lossless RAW capture / 170 frames of 12-bit lossless
  • can now choose various RAW files sizes:
    • 45.4mp large, 25.6mp medium and 11.4mp small
    • 20mp DX crop mode, so you can get some telephoto reach and no longer need a DX camera as well
    • in addition, can now batch process these in camera – not sure why a pro would do this, but it’s there.
  • at last a tilting more usable touch screen and it is higher resolution
    • ah, yes, it has take Nikon a long time to catch up and it still doesn’t swivel like the E-M1 II, but at least it’s a step in the right direction, and some prefer a tilting to swiveling screen.
    • it is also much higher resolution at 2359k-dot compared with 1,229k-dot in the D810
    • unlike the D5 and D500, this touch sensitivity can be used in live view mode and for navigating menus, as well as for playback mode
  • support for radio TTL remote wireless flash with the optional SB-5000 Speedlight and WR-A10 and WR-R10 accessories, but these days, one has lots of options here such as cross-platform TTL flash with Cactus, or the Godox system allowing TTL with studio lights that works on most systems and is more affordable.
  • dual card slots – SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
  • illuminated buttons to help in the dark
  • focus stacking up to 300 shots, but unlike Olympus, no built-in automated focus stacked output
  • more comfortable grip
  • improved battery capacity:
    • CIPA battery life rated at 1840 shots
  • improved video features:
    • 4K UHD MPEG-4 H.264 MOV format at 24/25/30fps without cropping edges
    • 1080 HD MPEG-4 H.264 MOV format up to 120fps for slo-mo
    • focus peaking (but not in 4K mode) and zebra stripes in video mode
    • 8K / 4K time-lapse
    • uncompressed, broadcast quality 4:2:2 8-bit 4K UHD footage HDMI out
    • ‘Attenuator’ mode for the camera’s audio capture, that rolls-off any loud noises to avoid unpleasant clipping sounds
    • Power Aperture feature that allows the camera to open and close the lens iris smoothly when in live view mode

And, the usual features one expects in such a camera in 2017:

  • mechanical shutter speed to 1/8000th sec
  • 100% optical viewfinder coverage
  • exposure compensation to ±5
  • flash sync presumably still 1/250th sec
  • weather sealing (better than the D810 thanks to no built-in flash) – albeit probably not as accomplished as the Olympus E-M1 II
  • self-timer
  • intervalometer
  • WiFi with smartphone remote control
  • Bluetooth
  • stereo mics + mic port + headphone port (mono only)
  • USB 3.0
  • orientation sensor
  • Face detect AF but not closest eye as with the Olympus E-M1 II, and only works in limited region where the AF pots are located
  • flash PC sync socket and hotshoe
  • medium weight at 1015 g (2.24 lb / 35.80 oz)
  • medium size 146 x 124 x 79 mm (5.75 x 4.88 x 3.11″)
  • must use rear LCD for Live View or Video modes (unlike mirrorless cameras which give the option of using the EVF or the screen)

What has not been addressed?

  • apparently, no 1st curtain electronic shutter in normal mode to reduce shutter shake – but how much of a problem will this be?
  • no built-in anti-moire system
  • electronic shutter silent mode only works in Live View mode and only to 6fps with AF/AE locked – no hybrid optical viewfinder yet, and no match for the Sony a9 or Olympus E-M1 II, and we need to see how the rolling shutter artefacts are controlled
  • no super short electronic shutter modes as with the Sony or Olympus
  • no built-in flash
  • no GPS
  • no Scene modes – but then this is aimed at pros who should not need a dummies guide
  • AF in Live View unlikely to match the speed of the Sony or the Olympus, no DualPixel AF as with Canon dSLRs
  • no built-in sensor based image stabilisation system – the Sony and Olympus have one which works on EVERY lens and can work in concert with proprietary lens based optical IS systems
  • unlike the Olympus, no awesome run and gun built-in IS for videos
  • no Log gamma options for high-end videographers, but does have the ‘Flat’ Picture Profile to squeeze a little extra dynamic range into its footage
  • quality of the video footage is yet to be assessed but it does seem to use pixel-binning which reduces details, and rolling shutter may be an issue.
  • the Snapbridge bluetooth tethering system is still used and has apparently not gained too many fans – let alone sending 46mp RAW files in this manner.

If the image quality is as good as they make it to be then this will be a great dSLR albeit with a few flaws.

It would seem that the image quality should be more than adequate for most purposes, the AF capabilities and 9fps burst rate adequate for most sports and wildlife situations, while the 20mp DX mode really negates the need for a DX/APS-C dSLR. Although not quite up to the D5 camera’s 12fps and possibly high ISO performance for sports/action/wildlife capabilities, the 46mp does give a lot more versatility with post-processing cropping which a 20.8mp full frame D5 or a DX dSLR wouldn’t give.

See Nikon’s announcement here.

See my wikipedia for more details and links as they arrive.

 

More photos from Paris and the Notre Dame cathedral in Reims

Written by admin on August 23rd, 2017

More images from my brief interlude in Paris and Reims, all taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Micro Four Thirds camera hand held.

Paris

The morning jogger in Paris, makes me exhausted just seeing him work out so early in the morning when I am looking for a coffee to get me started.

Paris

A lone guitarist on the Seine.

Paris

One of my favourite images – Gucci man – a candid portrait.

Reims

Greg Tricker’s Lumiere Divine – Joan of Arc in Notre Dame cathedral in Reims.

Reims

Notre Dame cathedral in Reims.

The above image was taken using the Olympus mZD 25mm f/1.2 PRO lens at f/1.2, 1/30th sec, ISO 200.

Reims

The unsettling “Smiling Angel” statue near the front door.

Reims

Notre Dame cathedral in Reims.

Reims was once the capital of France, and the birth place of the Frankish Empire and catholicism in France, having evolved as the main Roman trade city. Most of the French kings were crowned here up until Charles X in 1825.

Sadly it was decimated in the World Wars, and its famous Notre Dame cathedral suffering major damage in each and requiring restoration, and now it’s main claim to fame is  being in the center of the champagne wine district.

It is only around 1 hour train ride from Paris, but unlike Paris, is not over-run by tourists and there are some nice AirBnB options – just don’t expect any Uber rides or eats, and its art gallery is quite small but still worth a visit if you love art.

 

A midnight stroll around Paris

Written by admin on August 20th, 2017

It’s a stiflingly hot summer’s night in Paris – 37deg C during the day and not really dropping much by midnight and with little breeze to cool the apartments – the best place to be is out on the streets having a wander and exploring without the crowds.

Paris

My quaint hotel room decorated by famous designer Christian Lacroix at Hotel Le Bellechasse adjacent to my favourite art gallery, the Musee D’Orsay in Saint Germain. The staff at this hotel were always extremely pleasant and helpful, and the room clean and quiet, and thankfully was fitted with an air conditioner. There was a lift to avoid the common struggles of staircases and luggage, and a nice buffet style breakfast if one wished to partake.

As nice as it was, the streets of Paris at midnight beckons.

And thanks to my Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera, there is no need for carrying cumbersome tripods, just hand held image stabilized night street photography, discrete enough to hide it if danger lurked in the dark recesses along the Seine.

Paris

But in Paris, one is never alone, lonely perhaps, but not alone.

Paris

And though it was dusk, in a city where the threat of terrorism is ever present, being able to capture this lovely fleeting candid street photography style shot of these two ladies oblivious to the world and having a laugh is what brings joy to photography – Paris is not just the old buildings and art galleries – it is the people who remind us that humanity is not all that bad.

Paris

I am guessing you don’t need me to tell you this the the famous Louvre, but here are a couple of images before they turn the lights off at midnight and evacuate the square.

Paris

Paris

Paris

Paris

I can’t write a blog post like this and not include the Eiffel Tower at dusk – oh yes, the sun sets late in Paris, and dusk is around 11pm!

Paris

Or, for that matter, romance along the Seine – they are just too iconic to ignore even for me!

 

Can you really protect your images posted online – AI and automated watermark removal

Written by admin on August 19th, 2017

I have always made the assumption that if you post an image online, no matter what website, there will be ways that people can download it and then re-use it.

Some sites such as Facebook and Tumblr make it extremely easy for users to download posted images in whatever resolution they were uploaded albeit with some probably loss of quality due to the web site’s image “viewing optimisation” process.

Some websites like IG, Flickr, 500px, etc do an OK job at making it hard for users to download images, but if one really wanted to, they could use a screen capture tool, or with a tiny amount of programming knowledge gain access to the higher resolution image files through manipulation of URLs (yes apologies, I briefly did test this just to see if it can be done before I wrote this post) – although it seems most websites are now making this harder to achieve. If you are not a programmer, a search of the web can usually find third party tools to download Instagram, etc – although I am not sure why anyone would bother downloading the poorly compressed, low res IG imagery – but its not that hard to do. This does NOT mean that I condone abusing an online image site’s terms of use, I am just pointing out that it can be done and so you should assume someone will do it.

Many online image hosting websites like 500px.com also offer to automatically apply an ugly watermark to your images (or you can do this yourself in Adobe Lightroom, etc before uploading them).

Google research has just posted a blog on how AI software can easily and automatically remove most watermarks effectively - see HERE for the post.

It seems that if you want to make it harder for AI to do this, you not only need to introduce randomness to the position of the watermark but a random warping of the watermark.

I guess randomly warped watermarks will come in future versions of Lightroom – but for now it seems that all your efforts with watermarking may be in vain and just makes your photos ugly.

So current state, your watermark will be easily removed thus assume once uploaded, there is a risk others could abuse your image copyright without your permission.

 

Can the Godox AD600B radio remote TTL battery portable flash keep up with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II at 10fps and 15fps? My test results.

Written by admin on August 17th, 2017

As mentioned in an earlier post, the Godox system now allows radio remote TTL flash at up to 100m from the camera when used on most camera systems, including Micro Four Thirds at last!

The Godox AD600B is a Bowens S mount studio flash with attached 500 shot lithium ion battery and ability to use a remote head also with Bowens S mount lighting accessories.

This makes it a great option for location shooting, but how well will its recycle time keep up with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II rapid fire burst modes of 10fps and 15fps mechanical shutter (NB. unfortunately you can’t use the flash in electronic shutter mode rapid burst modes as sync speed is far too slow).

The short answer is extremely well IF you drop the flash output level to around 1/16th or 1/32nd of full output.

When testing I have taken the flash out of TTL mode and used Manual mode so I can see exactly what outputs will keep up.

Let’s first look at 10fps (the usual LOW burst setting on the camera):

At 1/16th output or less there were ZERO dropped frames where flash did not fire.

At higher outputs up to 1/4, there were sequences of mainly 2 (and sometimes 1, 3 or 4) consecutive frames where the flash did not fire:

At 1/16th + 0.3EV, you get 29 frames then drops 2, then 11 frames then drops 1, etc.

At 1/16th + 0.7EV, you get 14 frames then drops 2, then 5 frames then drops 2, then 6 frames then drops 2, etc.

At 1/8th output, you get 9 frames then drops 2, then 4 frames then drops 2, then 3 frames then drops 2, then 4 frames then drops 2, etc.

At 1/4 output, you get 3 frames then drops 2, then 2 frames then drops 4, then 2 frames then drops 3, then 2 frames then drops 3, etc.

At 1/2 output, you get 2 frames before dropping frames

At full output you get 1 frame before dropping frames as it does a full recycle.

Now let’s first look at 15fps (the usual HIGH burst setting on the camera):

At 1/64th +0.7EV output or less there were ZERO dropped frames where flash did not fire.

At higher outputs up to 1/8th output, there were sequences of mainly 5-6 consecutive frames where the flash did not fire:

At 1/32nd output , you get 26 frames then drops 5, then 10 frames then drops 5, etc.

At 1/16th output , you get 10-11 frames then drops 6, then 5 frames then drops 6, etc.

At 1/8th output, you get 5 frames then drops 6

At 1/4 output, you get 3 frames then drops frames

At 1/2 output, you get 2 frames before dropping frames

At full output you get 1 frame before dropping frames as it does a full recycle.

Summary:

If you don’t want any dropped frames for the 1st 25 frames, use 1/16th+0.3EV output or less at 10fps, or 1/32nd output or less at 15fps.

In reality most of use just need the first 9-10 frames or so, and if this is the case then 1/16th at 15fps is fine, as is 1/8th output at 10fps.

The flash sync on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II in TTL mode or manual mode with this outfit is 1/250th sec (it can be pushed a little faster if you use PC sync only connection to the trigger and only use manual mode).

The kit will allow HSS / Super FP mode but this does drop the flash output and significantly affect the recycle times when using TTL FP mode as well as increase the risk of over-temperature protection system kicking in (at 50 full output flashes or 100 1/8th output flashes, or 150 16th output flashes) which forces the unit to recycle at 10 secs instead of a full recycle of 2.5 secs, and you should then cease firing for 10 minutes.

At 1/16th output, the t0.1 flash duration is 1/3448th sec which should be plenty short to stop most action such as a ballet dancer in a studio and at a GN of around 16m at ISO 100, you are still getting a reasonable output, so that when used at ISO 200 which is the base ISO of the Olympus cameras, you need to use f/11 with the flash at around 2m away from subject with just the standard Bowen’s 7″ reflector head in place – enough output to get it back a bit further.

Bouncing off an umbrella or shooting through a double diffused softbox at 1/16th output will give you exposures around ISO 200, f/2.8 at a flash to subject distance of around 3m, but at f/2.8, ISO 200 and 1/250th sec, you do then run into potential issues with a bright outdoor ambient lighting – in this case, use the bright outdoor ambience to backlight your subject.

At 1/32nd output, the t0.1 flash duration is 1/4651th sec which again should be plenty short to stop most action.

Of course, you could go down to 1/128th output on the remote which gives a t0.1 flash duration of only 1/8130th sec, and although the AD-600B itself allows you to manually dial in a 1/256th output setting which gives a t0.1 duration of 1/10,000th sec, this is not currently possible to use with the Godox XT1-O transmitter which will set it back to 1/128th output as lowest output.

If you need more power output at 1/16th output, buy two AD600B units and a 1200Ws bulb and the 1200Ws remote head connected to your two AD600B units.

 

 

A final Parisian art gallery post – can’t end the series without some works from the Louvre

Written by admin on August 6th, 2017

A brief exposé of some of the lesser known works in the Louvre art gallery.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

A touch of my own styling to some of the beautiful marble sculptures:

Louvre

Pierre Paul Rubens Portrait d’Helene Fourment 1636:

Louvre

Pierre Paul Rubens Clélie passant le Tibre (Cloelia crossing the Tiber) 1635:

Louvre

Antoon van Dyck Les Amours de Renaud et de l’enchanteresse Armide (The loves of Rinaldo and the enchantress Armida) 1641:

Louvre

Jacob Jordaens Le roi boit (The king drinks) 1638-40:

Louvre

My take on the Restoration of Melpomene Muse de la tragedie in marble 1st century AD Rome:

Louvre

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Saint Jean-Baptiste 1513-16 – sometimes reflections are impossible to get rid of, and I didn’t bring a polarising filter to help – my bad:

Louvre

Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli Un jeune homme presente par Venus 1483-85:

Louvre

Alessandro Filipepi dit Botticelli Venus et Le Trois Graces offrant des presents a une jeune fille (Venus and The Three Graces) 1483-85:

Louvre

My take on the Winged goddess of Victory of Samothrace 3rd-1st century BC Greece:

Louvre

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson Pygmalion et Galatee 1824:

Louvre

Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson Atala au tombeau 1808:

Louvre

Louise David Les Sabines 1799:

Louvre

Louise David Les Amours de Paris et d’Helene 1788:

Louvre

Pierre Peyron La mort d’Alceste 1785:

Louvre

Anselm Kiefer Athanor 2007:

Louvre

Perhaps it is that we can’t appreciate life without seeing death, and perhaps we all too often take for granted the wonderful aspects of culture that history has betrothed upon us even though their permanence is not guaranteed in our violent world. Live in the presence and appreciate what we have, protect our past and look to a future enhanced by us being here – not a future of despair and destruction as has been the case so often in our past.

 

Hands on testing of the Godox AD 600B for radio remote TTL mobile studio flash, high sync and pushed sync on Olympus OM-D cameras – even works in conjunction with Cactus V6 II system!

Written by admin on August 6th, 2017

Godox has created a dream come true for many Micro Four Thirds users with Olympus OM-D or Panasonic mirrorless cameras – not only do we now have access to a radio remote TTL flash system but it is easy to use, seems reliable and you can get an amazing very powerful battery operated studio flash with Bowens S mount – the Godox Wistro AD600 / 600B which remotely supports TTL exposures as well as high speed sync (Super FP flash mode in Olympus nomenclature) for flash at all shutter speeds to 1/8000th second (with mechanical shutter).

The instruction manual for the Godox X1TO remote TTL flash trigger can be downloaded here and that for the Godox AD 600B downloaded here.

AD600

 

First the hard bit – upgrading the firmware of the AD600 unit for Olympus TTL capability:

The AD600 does not come with Olympus/Panasonic radio TTL compatibility by default thus you need to upgrade the firmware, nor does it come with a USB cable – but most of us have plenty lying around – you just need to find one that fits the AD 600 USB port.

Next you need to download the Godox firmware updater software from the Godox download web page, as well as the correct firmware for your flash model, noting the G1 install procedure instructions.

You then need to extract the software installation files from  the .rar format for both the updater software and the firmware file – you can use a program such as 7-zip to do this.

Then you run the setup for the updater software installer, however, on the latest versions of Windows 10, BEFORE you can install the USB driver correctly, you may need to Disable Signed Driver Enforcement – see instructions for doing so here. Then you must reboot the computer and then install the software by running setup.exe of the updater software and hopefully all will install properly.

Next you need to TURN OFF the Godox Remote Controller AND DISCHARGE ANY POWER buffered in the AD 600 unit by REMOVING the BATTERY then press OFF/ON Button for 2 seconds BEFORE YOU ATTACH USB cable to computer – otherwise I am guessing you can fry your computer.

If your device driver installed correctly, when you attach the USB cable to the computer, it should be recognised.

Now run the Updater Software and click on the bottom left button to select English.

If you are running a high resolution display, you will not see the bottom buttons which makes life harder – in this case change your display resolution to 1920 x 1080 temporarily so you can use the software better.

Now it becomes obvious that you first press the top left button called Select File and then you need to find the firmware file you downloaded and extracted which has the file extension .fri.

Then you press the top middle button to Connect to the flash unit – if this fails, either your USB cable is not the right one or is faulty, or, you didn’t install the USB drivers due to the issue above.

If the flash is detected then you are ready to upgrade the firmware by pressing the Upgrade button – of course, you do NOT want to disconnect the unit until this is complete!

Configuring the AD600B flash for radio wireless TTL flash:

Connect the lithium ion battery (after you have charged it up which takes 4hrs).

Plug in the globe (many use gloves to avoid skin oils contacting the glass but its not as critical as with halogen globes) – or plug in the optional very useful H600B remote head and the globe plugged into that instead.

Turn the flash unit ON using the On/Off button.

Press the “Z” top middle button on the flash unit to activate the WiFi mode (other options on toggling are Manual mode or optical remote TTL Canon/Nikon).

Ensure the channel is on the desired one (usually Channel 1 by default – press and hold GR/CH button then use the dial to change it).

Ensure the Group is the desired one (usually Group A by default – toggle through the groups by pressing the Gr/Ch button).

The flash should now be able to be fully remotely controlled from your X1 remote controller which sits on your camera hotshoe.

Using your X1T-O remote controller:

You need to purchase the Olympus version which is the X1T-O model (can be used on any Micro Four Thirds camera including Panasonic).

X1

Install two AA batteries then attach it to the camera hotshoe.

Turn the camera on, and I generally set the camera’s PASM dial to Manual so I can choose shutter speed (to control ambient exposures) and the aperture (to control depth of field) and generally set ISO to base ISO of 200.

Ensure the camera’s flash mode is set RC = OFF (RC is for optical remote control which we are NOT using) and to Fill-in flash or similar so that a signal will be sent to the hotshoe. Note , you don’t activate Super FP in the camera – the remote control will do this for you!!!

Turn the  X1 on using the switch on the side, and decide which mode you want to use for the other switch – normal or HSS (Super FP mode) – unless you are shooting in bright sun and need a fast shutter speed to allow a wide aperture, use the normal mode.

Check the LCD screen on the X1 to ensure the channel corresponds with that on your flash unit and use the rear dial to go to the Group – you can then use the mode button to choose TTL  or Manual Flash Output control.

By default, turning on the X1 will activate the flash’s controls automatically (if your channel and group are correct) and so the LED modelling light will be turned on (you will need to go to the flash unit to turn this off manually).

Now the fun part – it just works!

The X1 remote specs indicate you should be able to control the flash up to 100m away – assuming you have no nasty water pipes, etc in the way which block radio signals.

Change your shutter speed to give a desired ambient exposure for a given aperture and ISO.

Take the shot and hopefully it will all work as if you are using a normal Olympus remote flash but without the annoying optical pre-flash signals and with far more flash output and remote distance capability.

HOWEVER, an important point – the camera’s flash settings such as flash exposure compensation and FP mode are IGNORED by the X1 – to set a flash exposure compensation, select the flash group on the X1 then, assuming the flash mode is set to TTL (use the mode button for this),  press GR button then the dial to change flash exposure compensation and then GR button again to save it. As mentioned above, if you want to use FP mode, slide the side switch to H mode.

Now for some advanced stuff – over-powering the sun:

On the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark I and Mark II, you can flash sync up to 1/250th sec in normal mode – the camera won’t let you go faster than that shutter speed unless either:

  • you set the X1 to HSS mode (but this dramatically reduces the maximum output of the flash as shutter speed gets faster), OR,
  • use what I will call “push-sync” (similar to the Cactus Power Sync or Pocket Wizard Hypersync mode) you still use the X1 in normal mode, but trick the camera into firing flash at faster shutter speeds without FP mode by placing a single flash pin hotshoe adapter between the camera hotshoe and the X1 (or connect to the X1 via a PC sync cable) in which case you lose TTL capability but my tests show you can now fully sync at 1/320th sec, and even get to 1/500th sec with some loss of flash effect (black band) on the top 1/3rd of the image – but this could be usable for some compositions in outdoor shots and allow you to over-power the sun.

Using an on-camera flash as well:

If you attach an Olympus TTL flash onto the X1′s hotshoe, unfortunately, the X1′s hotshoe is only a single pin type and NOT a TTL pass through (unlike the cactus V6 II remotes which do have TTL passthrough) and thus the ONLY control over the flash via the camera is triggering the flash.

The flash unit acts like it is connected via a PC sync cable – no auto TTL, no auto zoom control, no RC master capability.

If the X1 switch is turned OFF, then the flash does not fire at all.

If the X1 is switched ON and set to HSS mode, the flash will fire, but at shutter speeds above 1/250th sec, it will not sync properly as the flash HSS mode will not be activated – at 1/320th sec with an Olympus FL-50R flash only 1/3rd of the top of the image receives flash which is the opposite to usual over sync speeds and thus unusable.

The good news is that if the X1 is set to normal mode (not HSS), you can just use the flash in “AUTO” mode (you must manually dial in the ISO, aperture and exposure compensation as well as zoom position), or in Manual mode where you just dial in the manual flash output and the zoom position.

One man band hand held Octabox outdoor portrait shooting:

The Godox AD600B can be mounted to any Bowens S mount studio light accessory (there is a locking device to ensure they don’t fall off) such as the 43″ Godox Umbrella style Octabox softbox for nicely diffused portrait lighting, and usually these are mounted on a lighting stand.

However, the AD600/600B has a wonderful trick in that you can remove the flash bulb, plug in a remote head (the AD-H600B), plug the flash bulb into the remote head and mount your softbox to the remote head.

remote head

This allows you to carry the heavy part , the AD600 itself with battery, in a specially designed shoulder strap case (the Godox PB-600 should case/carry bag), or perhaps in a backpack, hand hold the AD-H600B with softbox attached in one hand and shoot with your light Olympus camera in your other hand.

Tiring – yes, but at least it is possible, and you may be able to overpower the sun!

Need more power? Just buy a 2nd AD600B and attach a 1200Ws AD-H1200 remote head with a 1200Ws bulb and you have twice the output from the one remote flash head!

And of course, you can add other radio remote slave units:

There are a range of other X1 compatible Godox flash units which can be used in the same or in different flash groups (each group will have the same exposure setting).

If the AD600B is too big for you, then you can still get to a Bowen S mount lighting system via the Godox AD-B2 twin head which allows you to use either:

  • power it with either one or two Godox AD-200 units plugged directly into it
  • use either one or two Godox AD 200 flah bulbs, or one Godox AD 360 bulb (which is a little more powerful than just using one AD 200 bulb)

If that is too big, then the very popular Godox Wistro AD360 with separate lithium ion power pack gives you plenty of power in a more speedlight styling although too heavy for on-camera use.

360

 

For additional remote slaves, there are the pocket sized but powerful Godox AD 200 units, or you can go the traditional speedlight route with a variety of Godox on-camera style TTL flash units – some of which are cross-platform for on-camera use on a variety of camera brands.

AD200

Godox also make a range of AC powered studio lights with various capabilities and also the AR-400 hybrid ring flash/LED.

But why stop there – you can even add a Cactus V6II radio remote flash system into the mix!

Now I am really going crazy!!!

Stacking a Godox transmitter on top of a Cactus V6 II transceiver really does work amazingly well to give you TWO SYSTEMS at the same time!

First, insert a Cactus V6 II radio remote controller onto the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera’s hotshoe.

Insert a Godox X1 TO radio remote transmitter onto the hotshoe of the Cactus V6 II and turn it on.

Turn on the camera, and half-press shutter while turning on the Cactus V6 II transceiver to transmitter mode, it should then AUTO-DETECT BOTH the camera AND the Godox X1 as being Olympus TTL devices – now we are cooking indeed!

Ensure the Cactus and the Godox are set to DIFFERENT CHANNELS (and any slave devices for each are set to the appropriate channels to match).

NOW, you can use the Cactus V6 to control your Cactus V6 II compatible transceivers or flash units (and when the firmware upgrade comes this month hopefully, we are promised Olympus TTL compatibility of remote flashes – even Canon/Nikon flashes – until then we have to use manual power control only but there is HSS functionality) PLUS you still get TTL remote control of your Godox mediated slaves including the AD600B!!

Furthermore, if you set the Cactus V6II mode to Normal-HSS so it can automatically use either, the X1 switch of HSS or normal will control the Cactus and the camera as to whether to use HSS or not! Now that is very cool indeed.

I have tested this with a Cactus controlled remote Olympus FL-600R flash in manual output control at the same time as remote controlled AD600B in TTL mode and it seems to work very nicely, even in HSS/FP mode.

This should then allow 8 groups of flashes to be remotely controlled from your camera at up to 100m away, with each group having their own power output setting, and once the Cactus firmware is available – all with TTL and HSS functionality, even if they are Canon or Nikon flash units (just need a cactus V6 II transceiver for them).

If you have a Sony A7 II full frame mirrorless camera as well – just buy the Sony versions of the transmitters to go on the camera and all should be well.

Likewise for your Canon, Nikon or Fuji cameras (although for these you only need a special Godox transmitter as the Cactus V6 II will fit all except Sony).

Enter the new world of cross-platform radio remote TTL flash compatibility!

For more information on the Godox and Cactus systems see: