TWiP #236 – The Fantastic 4’s – Upgrades to Nikon and Lightroom

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This week on TWiP: Adobe releases the Lightroom 4 public beta, Nikon announces the much anticipated D4, and updates on Olympus and Kodak.

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson, Andy Biggs, Nicole S. Young, and Steve Simon.


There’s been a lot by way of travel plans for our guests lately. Steve Simon is preparing to go to Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai shortly, Nicole Young has visited New York and Vietnam in the last few months, and Andy Biggs just returned from Antarctica – but is already preparing for a trip to Africa. The guests come together for an engaging discussion on some big stories that have broken this past week

New cameras announced by Nikon, Canon and Fuji

Nikon announces its new pro body, the D4, while Canon reveals a new “Master Compact” camera, the G1x, and Fuji takes the wraps off its much-rumored and talked-about entry into the Interchangeable Lens Compact (ILC) market, the X-Pro1.

The hosts have a lot to say about these cameras. Steve calls the Nikon D4 an “evolution,” not a revolution, though he likes a lot of the new changes. He appreciates that they didn’t go with an ultra-high-megapixel sensor and finds the 200,000+ ISO capability remarkable.

Frederick highlights the two big changes in this camera – its video capability and its XQD card slot. Andy is very curious to get his hands on this new body, suspecting that it might be the ideal camera to bridge the gap between the D3s’ speed and the D3x’s high resolution. He feels like it might replace both those cameras for him.

Listen in as the hosts discuss buying advice, whether to rent or buy, and how – and where – this new body fits into the workflow of photographers and videographers of all types.

The Canon G1x draws a more blasé reaction from the panel, as Nicole points out that cameras like this really don’t have a place in her bag. Much to the horror of the rest of the panel, she relates a story about giving away a G12 she won at a party because she knew it would just sit around and gather dust. Andy, however, loves the small APS-C sensor compact cameras and carries a Sony NEX-5. There’s a good discussion about the place cameras like this have in photographers’ bags.

And, speaking of small cameras, Fuji’s X-Pro1 is another one that draws mixed reactions from the panel. Andy loves the three fast prime lenses that are being released with the X-Pro1, and feels like it’s better thought-out than the G1x. Steve wouldn’t mind being marooned on a desert island with this camera, and Nicole hopes that the focus issues present in the Fuji X100 are absent from this one.

Adobe releases the Lightroom 4 Public Beta

Adobe updates its image management application with loads of new features, like expanded video support, new Shadow and Highlight tools, additional local adjustments like noise reduction and white balance, and a new book module that uses Blurb for fulfilment.

Nicole likes the Blurb integration, having used the service before. The new features in Lightroom also garner some attention, such as the new “Whites” slider (former, there was only a “Blacks” slider in Lightroom). Nicole also recommends the NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals) Lightroom 4 learning center as a great resource.

Andy is relieved to be able to talk about Lightroom 4 openly now, as he’s been on the Beta team for a while now. He warns that when you first update your images with the new processing engine in Lightroom, the images are going to look pretty bad, as the new version of Lightroom doesn’t have controls equivalent to those in Lightroom 3. However, he loves being able to bring out detail in images that he had previously not been able to with Lightroom 3.

Steve, who is an Aperture user, and feels that many of these features exist in Aperture already, is nonetheless happy that people are moving to apps like Lightroom and Aperture in droves, mainly for the catalog functions. He’s pleased that we can now go into our archives and find those images that are like needles in haystacks.

Despite its troubles, Olympus marches on, while Kodak scrambles to survive.

First, Olympus has revealed that it’s working on a new camera with “an epoch-making viewfinder,” perhaps something similar to the hybrid viewfinder found in the X100. Olympus also unveiled 7 new compact cameras at CES. Meanwhile, Kodak scrambles to restructure amid continued rumors of its bankruptcy and possible de-listing from the NYSE.

No one’s quite sure what to make of Olympus’ claims of “an epoch-making viewfinder,” choosing instead to take a “wait and see” approach to that announcement. Steve points out that it’s not the engineering department’s fault that the accounting department messed things up so badly. He feels it’s still a strong company, engineering-wise.

Frederick finds Kodak’s decline saddening, but Andy points out that they have a multi-billion-dollar patent portfolio. He also talks about a lawsuit they’ve filed against Apple, likely for patent infringement. Steve feels like they’re lost at sea. He doesn’t really see them as having decided which direction they want to go in.

Stay tuned for more coverage as the story continues…

President Obama has joined Instagram

Or, as Frederick puts it, someone on his staff has started an Instagram account.

Nicole has checked out the President’s Instagram stream, but feels like it’s not really an organic approach to communicating on Instagram, and thinks it’ll go away after the eletction. Andy points out that there’s no really good way to access Instagram images on anything but his iPhone.

Steve directs folks to the White House Flickr Feed, and makes the point that the still image can do things that video cannot. “We think in still images,” he says, “and the still image isn’t dead.”


Twitter use pixelgrind asks: Why isn’t electronic shutter an option on most DSLR’s so you can go beyond the 1/250 hard sync speed for off-camera flash?

Nicole: Digital point-and-shoots that have electronic shutters use only part of the pixel to capture light. This results in more noise and in a loss of image quality. For smaller cameras, this is compensated for; however, for larger sensors, this is not always possible, hence the presence of a mechanical shutter.

Editors note: There are a number of other reasons why electronic shutters aren’t as prevalent in higher-end digital SLRs. For example, in cameras with CMOS sensors, the speed at which the sensor’s pixel columns register light from left to right isn’t always fast enough at all shutter speeds, resulting in something of a “smear” in the image, especially if the camera is moved during the exposure. Think of the rolling shutter effect that HDDSLR video shooters experience to get an idea of that.


Andy: Fuji X-Pro1

Nicole: Custom SLR Strap

Steve: Gulf Photo Plus

Frederick: Shut Up and Shoot and the One Camera Bag system.


Follow us on twitter.com/ThisWeekInPhoto. Join the Flickr critique group. You can also join our Facebook group and add us to your circles on Google+.

Steve Simon: www.stevesimonphoto.com, twitter.com/stevesimon and www.thepassionatephotographer.com (coming soon)

Nicole Young: www.nicolesyblog.com or www.nicolesyplus.com (G+). On twitter: twitter.com/nicolesy

Andy Biggs: http://www.andybiggs.com and http://www.theglobalphotographer.com


[box]TWiP is brought to you by the following sponsor:

Squarespace.com, the fast and easy way to create a high-quality website or blog.  For a free trial and 30% off your new account for three months, go to Squarespace.com, and use offer code TWIP13.

Pre-Production and Show notes by Sohail Mamdani. sohailgplus.com or twitter.com/sohailmamdani

Producers: Suzanne Llewellyn

Bandwidth provided by Cachefly

Intro Music by Scott Cannizzaro



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