All posts for the month August, 2012


GMC distribution has just announced three new photographic books;

Night and Low Light Photography

by David Taylor,

Photographs captured in low light conditions, or even in the dead of night, can be powerfully dramatic, moody, or vibrant and glistening with the illumination of stars, streetlamps, or other artificial lighting. But the knack of capturing photographs in low light requires a basic understanding of the way images are captured by the camera. Modern digital SLR cameras are impressively capable of rendering images shot in low light, and professional photographer David Taylor discusses, clearly and concisely, the best cameras, lenses, tripods, filters, reflectors, cable releases, flash and other equipment that are essential for this enthralling genre of photography. A detailed, jargon-busting guide to exposure includes information on metering, dynamic range, aperture, depth of field and hyperfocal distance when related to shooting in low light. Getting the best results from your camera also requires an appreciation of the effect of its ISO range and the ability to lessen the obtrusive ‘noise’ that can detract from a successful image.

ISBN: 9781907708619  PB £14.99 Ammonite


Creating HDR Photos
The Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Photography

by Harold Davis


Amateur photographers can create more nuanced, high-impact photography with this guide to the complete HDRworkflow. High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging has become synonymous with compelling photography in today’s digital world. This gorgeously illustrated guide by popular author Harold Davis brings HDR within reach of every photographer, offering a broad introduction to the complete workflow, from shooting to processing, as well as a range of techniques not covered anywhere else.

ISBN: 9780823085866  PB £9.99 Amphoto




A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital

by Todd Gustavson and George Eastman House

This gorgeous cornerstone volume celebrating the camera and the art of the photograph, created in collaboration with the George Eastman House, spans almost 200 years, from the first faint image ever caught to today’s state-of-the-art digital equipment. The informative narrative by Todd Gustavson, including insightful essays by Steve Sasson (inventor of the digital camera) and Alexis Gerard (visionary founder of Future Image Inc.), traces the camera’s development, the lives of its inventors and the artists behind the lens. Images of more than 350 cameras from the George Eastman House Collection, plus historic photos, adverts and drawings, complement the text.

ISBN: 9781454900023  PB £17.99 Sterling


Canon produces their 80 millionth EF lens

Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of its EOS system, Canon has today announced the production of its 80 millionth EF lens.

The EF lens series, which comprises of over 76 different models, is designed for both photographers and videographers. Included in the range is an expanding selection of 4K-resolution EF Cinema Lenses for high-end professional video performance and  a new line of EF-M lenses developed for Canon’s EOS M compact system camera, announced in July of this year.


Canon PIXMA Pro 1

Canon Pixma Pro 1 printer review.

If you have a premium brand camera then you will want a printer that will reproduce the best quality photo possible from your equipment. Canon has a great reputation with a comprehensive range of dye and pigment ink printers. In October 2011 Canon announced their new top of the range Pixma Pro1 pigment ink printer. photo-i is pleased to bring you a full review of this exciting printer.

Canon are not new to pigment ink printers, they also offer the Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II which is a 10 ink printer. The Pro 1 goes two steps better by offering 12 inks, with each tank containing 36ml of ink. The 12 Lucia pigment inks remain in a fixed position in two groups of six on either side of the printer’s paper out tray. On the Pro 9500 Mk II the smaller capacity tanks travel in a cradle above the print head to deliver the inks to the media surface, whereas the Pro 1 inks remain stationary and ink is fed via flexible tubes to the print head. This means that during the initial priming process a quantity of ink will be used to fill the tubes and print heads. You may notice a drop in the ink levels before you have made the first print, this is normal. However, any subsequent ink tank replacement will not need this priming.

Canon Luicia pigment  inks

The Canon PIXMA Pro 1 uses 12 inks, six tanks on each side

The twelve Lucia pigment inks include; Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Photo Magenta, Photo Cyan, Red, Dark Grey, Grey, Light Grey, Photo Black, Matte Black and Chroma Optimizer. As with other pigment inks, the tanks have to be shaken before they are installed in the printer. The shaking is necessary to circulate the heavier pigment particles which may have settled at the bottom of each cartridge during storage. Dye inks do not need to be shaken.

Setting up

The printer is a hefty 27.7kg (61lbs), lifting this onto a work surface is a two person job. The printer is supplied with a comprehensive and well illustrated printed manual, which guides you through setting up for first time use. The twelve ink tanks need to be installed in the two front compartments, each tank has its own unique key so you can’t physically fit it in the wrong slot. Next, the print head needs to be installed, detailed instructions are provided in the manual. The advantage of an easy to install print head is that you can replace this yourself at a later date, should you need to, without having to send the printer to a service centre. The printer now primes itself ready for use. This process takes about 20 minutes. Next, install the printer drivers and software, when prompted by the wizard connect the printer to a computer using a USB or Ethernet cable.

The EASY install option installs all software

Custom install will be a better option for advanced users

For this review we chose a custom install of the included Canon software, we have left out applications such as Easy PhotoPrint EX, EasyWebPrint EX etc., which are better suited for entry level printers. The printer performs an automatic head alignment for which you will need two sheets of Canon MP-101 matt paper. The media must be loaded into the rear feed tray and not the rear manual tray. The printer prints a series of patches which are read inside the printer and the heads are automatically aligned.

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Panasonic, the official AV sponsor of the Olympic Games and London 2012 used twenty, twenty thousand lumens brightness PT-DZ21K Series projectors during the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. The projectors were used to cast bright, high resolutions images onto four sides of a typical British suburban residential house which was inflated on the field of play in the Olympic Stadium. Images were thrown from the projectors more than 100 meters to show thousands inside the stadium and millions around the world extracts from some of the most iconic movies and music videos performed by Britain’s best known artists and actors.

Projectors were just one part of the incredible AV technology Panasonic supplied to help bring the London 2012 Olympic Games to life.

press release

 Panasonic Projectors Help Deliver a Spectacular Performance at London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

 At 9pm on Friday the 27th of July 2012 the London 2012 Olympic Games were officially opened with a spectacular Opening Ceremony which took place in the Olympic Stadium located at the London 2012 Olympic Park. Prior to the parade of more than 200 competing nations, visitors seated in the vast stadium, which has an 80,000 person capacity, along with millions of television viewers worldwide were witnesses to ‘Isles of Wonder’.  A spectacular show unfolded that reflected the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation.  ‘Isles of Wonder’ was a Ceremony ‘for everyone’ that celebrated the contributions the UK has made to the world through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people.

The spectacular finale of the event saw the Olympic Cauldron, formed of 205 copper petals representing the competing nations, coming together in London for the Games, ignited by seven young Torchbearers nominated by Britain’s past and present Olympic and sporting greats.  The show was backed up by a host of staging technologies using latest audio visual equipment. Panasonic as the Official Worldwide Audio Video Equipment Sponsor of the Olympic Games contributed the very latest ultra bright projection technology to light up a chapter of the story that celebrated British music culture and heritage from past to present.  For this typical British suburban residential houses where erected on the field of the Olympic Stadium within a very short time frame. In the next moments the houses’ facades came to life showing extracts from some of the most iconic movies and music videos performed by Britain’s best known artists and actors.

Those videos were projected onto the four sides of the building’s surface using the very latest Panasonic twenty thousand lumens[1] brightness PT-DZ21K Series projectors which were installed more than one hundred meters away on the stands and below the roof of the Olympic Stadium. In total 20 projectors shooting their images from eight different angles illuminated the outside fascias of the houses turning them into giant screens full of vibrancy and colour. This application with a very long projection throw distance and a large, complex shaped projection surface required a powerful projection system with high performance masking and 3D mapping capabilities. In keeping with the upright orientation of the projection surface the projectors where mounted and stacked in portrait mode position, using the high installation flexibility of the PT-DZ21K series[2].

Incredible images with vivid colours and high resolution detail were projected from the PT-DZ21K series projectors to blend the video content of the portrayed clips into the excitement of the performance within the stadium, making links to the hundreds performers on the field and on the stages in their colourful costumes and building an unprecedented scenery of light, colour and music that captured everyone’s imagination and emotion.

Panasonic is proud to have contributed to the unique visual experience seen at this first truly global showcase of the new 21K projector at the Opening Ceremony and in doing so has accomplished a new benchmark for the industry with the smallest and lightest 20.000 Lumen projector available.  Along with other Panasonic audio visual solutions ranging from IP surveillance equipment, which helped ensure a safe and enjoyable games, along with P2 broadcast camera equipment and large ultra bright screens seen in the park and across the country, Panasonic has shown the scale dedication and innovation required to deliver one of the most impressive shows ever seen.


[1] 20,000 lumens brightness measured with ISO 21118 compliancy

[2] Portrait mode capability of PT-DZ21K series requires a firmware upgrade to the current product generation which will be commercially available from fourth quarter 2012

HDSLR video

Digital photography has widened the creative possibilities for photographers, you don’t have to worry about how many exposures are left on a roll of film, just shoot away until the shot is “in the can”.  In recent years digital cameras have become more and more sophisticated, it’s now easy to produce technically near perfect exposures time after time. With compact consumer cameras the pixel count has steadily increased from 3 megapixels, to 10 or 12 megapixels. Professional DSLR cameras are producing 12 to 24 megapixel files. This, together with very advanced built in computer technology, means photographs are now technically superior to anything seen in the past.

So where are digital cameras going from here?

The next step was to produce digital cameras that could also capture the moving image. Although for some time compact digital cameras have been able to shoot short video clips usually 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 pixel dimension generally using a slow frame rate, of 15 fps (frames per second), some of the more advanced cameras offer larger resolutions and 30 fps capture.

Nikon D90

In 2008 Nikon introduced the D90, the world’s first HDSLR camera capable of capturing High Definition video (HD). Before the D90, it was not possible to capture video on a DSLR camera, due to the mirror which has to flip up in order to make an exposure. Although some professional DSLR cameras can achieve a frame rate of up to 10 fps, this rate is too slow and produces jerky video. Smooth action video needs to be shot at 25 or 30 frames per second and DSLR mirrors can’t flip up and down this fast. To get round this problem today’s Video-HDSLR cameras use Live View (as used on compact cameras) for monitoring and viewing. When in Live View mode the mirror locks up and a continuous live feed is given to the rear LCD screen.

The concept of just one camera that does it all sounds interesting, just imagine going out on a shoot and being able to switch between capturing stills and a High Definition movie at the flick of a switch. Well this is now possible with most manufacturers offering a choice of cameras,  Nikon D3s, D90, D7000, Canon 5Ds MkII, D7,  Panasonic GH1 etc. So let’s take a closer look at some of the features that will help you to decide which camera is the right one for you.

Recording formats

At one time there were two video formats VHS and Betamax, those days have gone forever. Now we have a plethora of format choices led by High Definition and they all have their uses.

Full – HD. – This is the largest frame size that most current HDSLR cameras offer, The frame size is 1920 x 1080 pixels, this produces stunning quality on large plasma and LCD screens. The downside is that this large size frame can make a lot of processing demands on your computer.

  • HD – Still high definition but at a smaller frame size of 1280 x 720. Nikon digital cameras use this format and although smaller than Full-HD it still offers outstanding picture quality. If you intend to produce DVDs or want to upload to the web then the 1280 x 720 HD format is a good choice.
  • HDV – High Definition Video, this format is mainly used on tape based camcorders. The format is 1440 x 1080 anamorphic. Once downloaded the frame expands to Full-HD (1920 x 1080), but because the frame is squeezed during capture it may lose some definition.
  • SD – Standard Definition. This format conforms to the 720 x 480 (NTSC – North America) or 720 x 576 (PAL – Europe) formats. Almost all commercial DVDs are produced in Standard Definition. The image format can be either 4:3 (720×576) or 16:9,(1024×576)  again the larger size is an anamorphic squeeze.
  • VGA – Video Graphics Array, this is now a dated format of 640 x 480, which has its uses for web video and other presentation clips etc. Many digital cameras still have this as an option
  • AVCHD – Advanced Video Codec High Definition, this is a system that supports tapeless recording media and has many options including 1080i, 1080p and 720p.  AVCHD was originally conceived for the production of Blu-Ray discs.

Full-HD 1920 x 1080 format

HD 1280 x 720


SD 1024 x 576 (16:9)

SD 720 x 576 (4:3)

VGA 640 x 480

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Printing for the Professional Photographer

Today’s digital technology seems to be geared up towards images being viewed on multiple devices. These devices can be almost anything from SmartPhones, iPads, computer monitors  to large LED TV screens and projection. It makes sense to embrace all and any new visual technology, even David Hockney is now using an iPad to create his latest masterpieces. However, the tried and tested method of producing hard copy is still as popular as ever. The Social/Wedding photographer will no doubt always have a demand for a framed photograph for display in the home. The Fine Art photographer still needs to produce a physical print. In short photo printing is not in decline, in fact far from it.

The printer

Although a relatively new medium, inkjet printer technology has improved in leaps and bounds over the last ten years, to the point that it is now the preferred choice for print production by many professional and Fine Art photographers. From the outset inkjet printers suffered with a bad reputation due to fade and unstable colours. Today’s photo quality printers use dye inks for dynamic colours or pigment inks that can last for up to 100+ years.

Starting at a very basic level with water based dye ink printers, many manufactures use the phrase Photo Capable or Photo Quality. Photo capable printers generally use four inks Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK). These printers are suitable for producing good colours on plain paper or for proof printing on photo quality media, however, they are not suitable for final delivery to a client. Photo Quality printers generally use six or more inks, which include CMYK plus a Light Cyan and Light Magenta. The light inks produce a much higher quality print with subtle shades of colour rather than dithered colour shades.


Epson-PX720WD A4 All-in-One dye ink printer

The advantage with dye ink printers is prints are instantly dry to touch and colours look vibrant especially when used with High Gloss Photo media. The delicate dye inks penetrate the micro pores of the media surface and are generally well protected against handling abrasion. However, the micro pores also let in airborne pollutants including ozone, it’s these pollutants that generally destroy the delicate ink dyes. The other problem is light fade, again this will be due to the delicate nature of dye inks being destroyed by bright light sources. Dye ink prints can start to show signs of fade after a relatively short period of time, especially when cheap inks and media are being used. For the Fine Art photographer, and indeed any photographer who sells prints, dye ink printers should not be a first choice.



The other ink type is pigment inks, these use larger ink particles, the particles are too big to penetrate the media pores, so they remain on the surface. Each ink particle is covered with  a resin coating which offers some protection against handling. However, because the pigment particles remain on the media surface, Glossy Photo prints can display a gloss differential. This effect can be clearly seen when viewing a print at an angle, the effect being most noticeable on areas where the media has ink applied compared to areas where there is no ink (white paper base). Manufacturers use a clear Gloss Optimizer ink to fill in these white areas to reduce or eliminate the effect. Because of their heavier density and resin protection, Pigment inks are probably the most stable colours available and they are claimed to have a 200+ year life (not tested in a real time situation).


Mixing Pigment inks

This makes a pigment ink printer the ideal choice for photographers who rely on print sales as part of their services.

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Whitby Abbey


This is a photograph I took of Whitby Abbey using a Canon PowerShot compact camera. The photograph is not what it seems, I manipulated this image to produce the lens flare and silhouette effect. The phrase “photographs don’t lie” has long since become redundant.  I will put together a Photography Masterclass to demonstrate the technique used.

Photograph © Vincent Oliver 2012

Coutances Cathedral France

This photograph of Coutances Cathedral France was shot on a Nikon D90 with an 16 to 105mm Nikkor zoom lens. The original image was shot in colour and converted in Photoshop to B/W using the Black and White Adjustment setting. I aimed to keep as much detail as possible in the shadow areas as well as in the highlights. Getting the exposure right in the first instance helped with this, I used the Spot reading feature on the D90 and took a reading from the  arche. The final photograph was printed on an Epson Pro 3800 using Ilford Gallerie Gold media.


Nikon D800


EISA  (European Imaging and Sound Association), has announced their top photographic awards for 2012 – 2013. 

The EISA organisation has been awarding the photo  industry with much coveted awards for more than 30 years. The nominations are selected by over 50 specialist interest magazines from over 20 countries. Pity they haven’t moved with the times and included the many specialist web sites on their panel. Here are some of the EISA highlights.



Adobe Lightroom 4, a complete image editing and management package, ideally suited for photographers who know what they want and acheive a quick result. Lightroom is now used by many photographers as their first choice for image editing and resorting to Photoshop CS6 for more advanced image editing.






Nikon D800


The Nikon D800 wins the European Camera of the year award. The Nikon D800 has a massive 36 million pixel full frame sensor for ultra high resolution images. The camera has a exceptional high ISO with low noise levels. This camera also has superb video capture capabilities as well as the ability to use the older manual lenses – an important feature if you want full control with video capture.  This is the camera that could give the Canon EOS5D Mk III some stiff competition.




The Canon EOS 5D series of cameras opened up opportunities for photographers who wanted to try movie making, but didn’t want to invest large sums of money in specialist video equipment. The camera also opened  a whole new industry for third party accessories. Besides the ability to capture movies, the Canon  EOS 5D Mk III has an impressive range of features including; a 22 million pixel CMOS sensor, 61 point AF, 6fps shooting as well as full weatherproof resistance.



The Canon PIXMA Pro-1 is a well deserved winner for the European Photo Printer award. I have reviewed this printer and can vouch for the outstanding quality photographic quality that it produces. The  printer uses 12 high capacity pigment ink cartridges, which includes five dedicated monochrome inks for outstanding quality with black and white images. I will publish a full review of this printer shortly.




The Canon PowerShot G1 X wins the European Compact Camera award. This camera features a 14-3 million pixel APS-C sensor and its Digic 5 speeds up image processing as well as noise reduction. The camera also features a 4x zoom lens with built in image stabilizer.





The Fujifilm X-Pro1 wins the European Professional Compact system camera category. If you are used to using traditional style cameras then you will be at home with this 16 million pixel camera with its traditional layout of controls and hybrid viewfinder .




Full list of photo awards:

  • European Photo Software 2012 – 2013 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
  • European Advanced SLR Camera 2012 – 2013 Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • European Photo Printer 2012 – 2013 Canon PIXMA Pro-1
  • European Compact Camera 2012 – 2013 Canon PowerShot G1 X
  • European Professional Compact System Camera 2012 – 2013 Fujifilm x-Pro1
  • European Professional Camera 2012 – 2013  Nikon D4
  • European Camera 2012 – 2013 Nikon D800
  • European Compact Sytem Camera 2012 – 2013  Olympus OM-D E-45
  • European All Weather Camera 2012 – 2013 Olympus TOUGH TG-1
  • European Compact System Lens 2012 – 2013 Panasonic LUMIX G Vario 12 -35mm f2.8
  • European Advanced Compact Sytem Camera 2012 – 2013 Samsung NX20
  • European Macro Lens 2012 – 2013 Sigma APO Macro 150mm f2.8
  • European Travel Camera 2012 – 2013 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX20V
  • European Advanced Compact Camera 2012 – 2013 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
  • European SLRCamera 2012 – 2013 Sony SLT-A57
  • European Lens 2012 – 2013 Tamron SP 24-70mm F2.8 Di VC USD


Corel DRAW X6

Corel has just announced that users can connect directly to CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 through a cloud based environment. Two membership levels are available, Standard Membership gives users product updates plus access to online content. Premium Membership provides exclusive digital content and early use of new product features. In addition, Premium members will receive major product upgrades as they become available.

Corel press release

Corel Announces New CorelDRAW Membership Program

New Program Offers Two Levels of Membership to Extend CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X6

Maidenhead, UK – Wednesday 15 August, 2012 – Corel today announced its new Membership Program where CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite X6 users can connect through a new cloud-based environment to leading edge graphic design tools and digital content. The new Membership Program will officially roll out today across multiple regions and will offer two membership levels. Standard Membership gives users product updates, as well as online access to digital content. Premium Membership provides exclusive digital content and early use of new product features before they are introduced to the broader CorelDRAW community in future product releases. In addition, Premium members will receive major product upgrades as they become available.

“Allowing users to create, connect and work with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite in a way that best suits them is a top priority for us. With the introduction of our new Membership Program, we’re excited to offer more choice and extra benefits to ensure our users are getting the most out of their CorelDRAW experience,” said Nick Davies, Executive Vice President of Graphics and Productivity at Corel.

The new Membership Program expands on the current CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 experience by offering members exclusive premium content, early access to new features and choices that go beyond what’s included in the box. The CorelDRAW Membership includes:

  • Cloud-based connectivity to all existing digital content (Standard and Premium Members)
  • Product updates, previously known as Service Packs (Standard and Premium Members)
  • Exclusive content including clipart, photos, fonts and more (Premium Members)
  • Early access to new product features (Premium Members)
  • Future access to online services (Premium Members)
  • Major version upgrades (Premium Members)

New Membership Options Available Through New X6.1 Update

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 customers can download this first update (previously known as a “Service Pack”) from to become a Standard or Premium member. X6.1 delivers new valuable features and additions like new dockers, scanning capabilities, PowerClip and PHOTO-PAINT™ enhancements, additional OpenType support as well as general performance updates.

The X6.1 update will allow Standard members to experience most of the Premium Membership features for free. For future updates, users can continue to enjoy exclusive features and online content by purchasing a Premium Membership.

Availability and Pricing

Standard Membership is free and Premium Membership is available for the equivalent of £7.95 per month when signing up for a £95.40 annual membership, including VAT.

To become a Standard or Premium Member, users must create a Corel account within CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6. Membership options are available to box and electronic download customers of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6 at this time.

Meet the CorelDRAW Community

About Corel

Corel is one of the world’s top software companies providing some of the industry’s best-known brands, including Roxio®, Pinnacle™ and WinZip®. Boasting the most comprehensive portfolio of graphics, productivity and digital media products, we’ve built a reputation for delivering innovative software that’s easy to learn and use, helping people achieve new levels of creativity and productivity. The industry has responded with hundreds of awards for innovation, design and value.

Used by millions of people around the world, our product lines include CorelDRAW® Graphics Suite, Corel® Painter™, Corel® PaintShop® Pro, Corel® VideoStudio®, Corel® WordPerfect® Office, Pinnacle Studio™, Roxio Creator®, Roxio® Toast® and WinZip®. For more information on Corel, please

© 2012 Corel Corporation. All rights reserved. Corel, the Corel logo, the Corel Balloon logo, CorelDRAW, PaintShop, Painter, PHOTO-PAINT, Pinnacle, Roxio, Roxio Creator, Toast, VideoStudio, WordPerfect, and WinDVD are trademarks or registered trademarks of Corel Corporation and/or its subsidiaries. WinZip is a registered trademark of WinZip International LLC. All other names and any registered and unregistered trademarks mentioned are used for identification purposes only and remain the exclusive property of their respective owners.