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Contrasty Cuba

Impressions from Cuba 2012 - please take your time for this photo- & video-mix, you will not regret it!
This video was assembled from photos and video snippets taken in Cuba, March 2012 and demonstrates the potential of Sony's NEX-7 and current E-mount prime lenses.

Best viewed in fullscreen-mode. If you can not see the embedded video, please follow this link.

The FullHD (1080p) version can be found here: vimeo.com/39946249. You can download the original video upload with better quality there as well.

Used cameras: Sony NEX-7, Panasonic Lumix GH2
Used lenses: Zeiss 24mm F1.8, Sony 50mm F1.8, SLR Magic CINE 50mm T0.95, SLR Magic 12mm T1.6

Thanks for watching. You find a Flickr album with most of these pictures at
flickr.com/photos/hhackbarth/sets/72157629726737761/

 

Fullsize comparison SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 - Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 ASPH et al


Beside the rolling review of the pre production sample of the SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE that you can read here, I decided to focus on a Leica Noctilux 0.95 ASPH - HyperPrime CINE T0.95 - Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH comparison in this particular article. So if you you want to get some general information about the CINE T0.95, please read the rolling review first.

This comparison was taken unter soft "available light" conditions as this may probably be the main situation where you will use such a fast prime lens as well. It will be followed by comparisons under different lighting conditions as well. I compared the CINE with the Leica Noctilux 50/0.95 ASPH and the Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH. On the NEX-7 I compared to the Sony SEL 50F18 (50mm F/1.8 OSS) as well and on the GH2 additionally to the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F/1.8.

The images were taken from a tripod, the shutter was remotely triggered. Focus was set on the hairs of the brush. The RAWs were developed with ACR'Adobe Camera Raw 6.6 with identical settings, only white balance was adjusted a little bit seperately. Due to the slighty different focal length (the Leica seems to have about 52mm), the camera was tilted a little bit in order to still keep the bottom of the picture at the green "gras". The result was that the focus, that was always adjusted to the brush's hair, is a little bit shifted at the bottom.

First let us have a look at the pictures taken with the Panasonic Lumix GH2 (MicroFourThirds sensor with crop factor 2):

Leica Noctilux @F0.95:


(Click for other sizes)

SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE @ T0.95 (F0.92):


(Click for other sizes)

Read more...
 

Just About The Limit - SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 50mm T0.95 (Rolling Review)


If you are a bokeh enthusiastic and love shooting at low light (flash - what is that?), here is something that may make you even more addictive. SLR Magic is going to launch a new 50mm lens, the HyperPrime CINE T0.95 that will push the limit to a new level. This rolling review will keep you informed and will be continously updated with more images, videos, experiences and comparisons.

First let me state that I am not affiliated with SLR Magic, Leica or Sony, so you will see and read my pure personal impressions and opinions here. You may have heard already from SLR Magic's HyperPrime 50mm lenses and when first impressions of the CINE T0.95 were posted in the beginning of this year, I saw many people quite confused because they thought those reviews still adressed the 50m F0.95 lens that is already sold for some time under the NOKTOR label for MicroFourThirds and E-mount (Sony NEX). One of the reasons may have been that also the first prototypes of this new lens still carried the neon green ring, that Noktor lenses used to come with. But believe me: This new lens is a COMPLETELY different standard! The pre production sample that I received from SLR Magic already shows the final design (but carrying a "concept" mark) of the black ring version.


The new lens weighs about twice that much of the earlier model and although it is designed as a professional cinema lens, there is absolutely no doubt about it's qualities to be used for enthusiastic photography as well. The aperture ring can be moved stepless and it is calibrated in T-stops. It has no focus shift which means the focus will not move when stopping down the lens. It has no breathing which means the focal length and so the angle of view does not change when moving focus. The aperture blades close in a very round circle so that bokeh still keeps those nice round circles of confusion, when stopping down the lens - lights do not mutate to "stop signs"! The near distance is 0.7 meters (competitors like the Leica Noctilux usually start at 1m) which gives you some extra potential for creative usage of DOF.

So what means T0.95? As mentioned before, the aperture is calibrated in T-stops which is important for film makers that must make sure that the light transmission keeps the same when changing lenses at the same T-stop whereas F-stops only describe the calculated ratio of focal length and how wide the lens can open. Due to vignetting and other properties of the lens design, an F-stop of 0.95 typically results in a T-stop of 1.1 or so. Optically the lens is designed to have an F-stop of 0.92 at open aperture which makes it the fastest camera lens currently available for M-mount. This is possible due to an extremely large rear lens element:

Read more...
 

E 1.8/50 OSS is ... HOT! (Rolling Review)

15. Feb. 2012 - After a first shipment of the new E 1.8/50 OSS (SEL 50F18) reached German retailers, it's time for a first look. This rolling review will be continously updated with more images, experiences and comparisons.

Now, as more and more fast prime lenses wit autofocus become avialable, the NEX system get's what it deserves since a long, hard time. Although SONY had good mirrorless bodies with excellent sensors already quite a long time, I could not get warm with that system so far. Meanwhile we have the excellent (but pricy) Zeiss Sonnar 24/1.8, the 30/3.5 macro and now the stabilized 50/1.8. As I especially like portrait photography, the latest member of the E-mount lens family was really an important milestone for me. This fast prime lens allows available light photography due to it's F1.8 aperture and optical stabilization as well as semiprofessional (or may be even professional) studio portrait photography in combination with the NEX-7 and it's 24 MP sensor and its option to trigger remote flashes.

HOT E 1.8/50 OSS
The E 1.8/50 OSS is ... HOT!

The first thing, people buying this sort of lens will be interested, is it's sharpness at open aperture in combination with its out-of-focus rendering (the bokeh). After I got this lens short before shop closing time, there was not much time left for an extensive shooting and none of these lovely models were at hand, that I have been working with during the last months. So I was attracted by this lovely little case for painters as it was displayed in front of a shop full of bookshelfs. This allowed me to test both aspects at the same time - so let us take a look at the original "out-of-cam" JPEGs:

F4.0:


(click image for other sizes)

F1.8:


(click image for other sizes)

As you can see in the 100% magnifications, the focused areas (e.g. the paintbrushes) are still pin sharp at open aperture. The bokeh in the out of focus areas is rendered quite well.

Compared to the 50mm reference lens, the Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH, you still see an advantage for the (10 times more expensive) Summilux, which has about half a stop wider aperture and is able to render a perfectly creamy bokeh. But the E 1.8/50 OSS can make some points with autofocus and optical stabilization which helps a lot in more agile situations.

Read more...
 

Venetian Carnival 2012 in Hamburg

Hamburg is not only known as a town with more bridges than Venice, it also celebrates a Venetian carnival since 10 years now. It's an enchanting event for every visitor and a "must see" for every photographer.

This time I decided to catch the magic moments with a Leica Summilux 50/1.4 ASPH mounted to a Sony NEX7 to get that perfect melange of sharpness and bokeh in order to keep that mood of light and poetic noblesse. But pictures speak louder than words...

Sorry, no Java support available, please install here.

(Switching to fullscreen mode (left to the (i) button) is highly recommended)


If you can not see the (Java applet based) slideshow above, you may follow this link to the Flickr slideshow.


All images copyright by 3D-Kraft.com.



 

UPDATED: NEX-7 vs. GH2 side-by-side video comparison (Part 1)

After evaluating some aspects of the image quality of Sony's new NEX-7 it's now time for a closer look at the video quality by comparing it to the current flagship of the MicroFourThirds (mFT) system cameras, the Panasonic Lumix GH2.

In order to compare it to a GH2 with current V1.1 firmware as well as to a GH2 with a patched V1.0 firmware, three cameras were taken to a side-by-side video shootout. As a movie speaks louder than words, let's quickly come to the video result and take some time for further explanations and a conclusion afterwards.
First an important note:

The Vimeo video that you find embedded here is NOT applicable to judge the quality of the ouput of these cameras due to the fact that the original FullHD 1080p video was rendered with 28 Mbps to 25 frames per second (fps) and the video that Vimeo streams is re-rendered by Vimeo at about 4.5 Mbps. As a result, you will see a video with less details and a lot more artifacts. So, to get a realistic impression, you will have to download the master file that was originally rendered and uploaded to Vimeo. If you are a registered Vimeo user, you find a download link on the Vimeo video page (please right click that link and select "Save to..." in order to download that file). This resolution and this high frame rate requires very powerful ressources from your playback equipment. Only systems that support hardware H.264 decoding on their graphics card will be able to play it without judder. The MediaPlayer included in Windows 7 supports many hardware accelerations of today's graphic cards, so chances are good with that player. VLC's support for H.264 hardware decoding are still experimental and must be explicitely activated in the VLC player's settings. If you have very powerful ressources you may try the 1080p 50 fps @ 32 Mbps version as well, that you find here: http://vimeo.com/35823620 (but please also download the source file, as the Vimeo rendering to 30 fps is awfully choppy with a lot of judder). For the sequences that were recorded initially in 25fps, the 25 fps version is fairly enough, only the 50 fps sequences loose some information accordingly.

Read more...
 

NEX-7 : Moiré and other Tradeoffs - and how to counteract them

After some shootings taken with Sony's new NEX-7 it may be time for a first interim conclusion. As you might already know, the NEX-7 has an APS-C sized sensor with 24 million pixels and a very large dynamik range of about 13 EVs. This sounds quite impressing but may have also some tradeoffs that you should be aware of. In many photo forums people are discussing the pro and cons and most of the time you will find complaints about colorshifts when adapting particular M-mount superwide angle lenses or more noise at high ISO levels. I will not go into details about these issues but at least two sentences: If you scale down the high ISO images to resolutions of other currently popular mirrorless system cameras like the NEX-5n, you will see that the noise is comparable. Colorshifts, that you may have seen with the Leica M9 in some cases as well, can be avoided by selecting wide angle lenses with a more telecentric design like the Tri Elmar or by applying post processing corrections e.g. with Cornerfix.

In this article I will focus on some other aspects that you may recognize when shooting with the NEX-7: Moiré.

Moiré example
Moiré in a 100% crop that may occur with sensors that have no AA-filter

When I had the chance to shoot with a Leica M9 about 18 monts ago, one of the issues that I was confronted the first time with was moiré. You may know moiré patterns already from other situations e.g. when looking on the surface of a CD ROM. Moiré patterns on textures you usually find on images, when the textile structure interferes with the pattern structure of the red, green and blue pixels on the digital image sensor. Typically, camera manufactures try to avoid this by applying additional high-pass filters (also called AA-filter or anti-aliasing filter) on the sensor's surface. The penalty of these filters is, that they do not only help avoiding moiré, they also reduce detail resolution and low light sensivity. Leica decided for it's M9 to go for a sensor design without AA-filter. Also Sony attempted to preserve as much details as possible with the new 24 MP sensor of the NEX-7 by applying no AA-filter (or may be a very thin one only - Sony currently provides no details) - and so I was confronted again with moiré...

Wich other options do you have to get rid of moiré without loosing detail resolution? Fujifilm announced a new sensor technology for it's first mirrorless system camera, the Fuji Pro X 1. The sensor does not have an AA-filter and tries to avoid moiré structures in a hardware manner by a less regular arrangement of the RGB-pixels within a 6x6 matrix.

What options else?
Removing moiré in post processing without loosing details is extremely difficult with standard tools. Big relief comes now from Adobe: In the public beta preview version of Lightroom 4 you find additional options for the correction brush after switching to the "new process". One of these options is a very powerful moiré reduction. Look here for the result, when this algorithm was applied with the default setting of 25%:

Moiré removed
Moiré removed with Adobe Lightrooms new moiré correction brush available in Lightroom4 and Camera Raw 7

To give you an idea about the area that was cropped in that example, here is the full image:

Scuba
(full image, click for other sizes)

If you think this issue may occur only very rarely, you may be quite optimistic...

Read more...
 

Dancing Eyes

Stunning eyes, enchanting oriental dance - enjoy!

If you can not see the embedded video, please follow this link.

Choreography & dance performance: Paulina,
Hair & make up: Kerstin Piehorsch,
Concept, production, cam & edit: Helge Hackbarth,
Music: Dinletir - Ice Queen

Filmed with Panasonic Lumix GH2 (with 720p60 @ 44 MBit), Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 and Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8

(This movie will be available in 3D as well soon, please come back regulary or subscribe to the RSS feed)

 


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