Archive | November 2012

DSLR vs. iPhone

The other evening I went down to the new cycleway near my house, in the hope the at the city council might have built a nicely photogenic object near my home. As it turns out the cycleway is not as photogenic as I’d hoped – it might be better in fog or rain though. The lights in the distance are quite distracting. You don’t really notice them when you are there, since these are on the other side of the harbour, but they stick out in the photos.

I took a few shots, and I’ve posted the best one here. It’s not a great shot. The lens flare detracts from it, and the lights in the background also remove the atmosphere. But, apart from the lens flare, it is clear and sharp. It was shot with a Pentax K-5 on a tripod, using a Sigma 10-20mm lens.

But on the way home I thought I’d give my iPhone a shot at the same scene. This is an iPhone 4S with a Schneider wide-angle lens, and uses Hipstamatic. The iPhone really is not a great device for shooting in poor light, yet the results here are not too bad. It’s not sharp, but it is atmospheric. Since I used the randomise function on the iPhone (see the post below on serendipity) I had no idea what the shot would turn out like. I took eight shots – four were complete rubbish, and the remainder each had something to recommend them.

With the shot from the Pentax shot you can see the distracting background. I was thinking that some fog or rain might add the atmosphere I felt I needed for the shot I imagined, yet the unusual, LoFi exposure of the iPhone has provided me with a similar effect to the fog.

Conclusion – you can’t expect an iPhone to compete with a serious camera in terms of getting a detailed sharp image, but sometimes you can get an interesting atmospheric shot, a shot where the low quality can enhance the emotional impact. And, of course, the best camera is the one you have with you.





COMPLETELY FREE 001 courses (for the first ten people only)

The Online Photo Institute will give the first ten people a completely free 001 Foundation Camera Skills course valued at $NZ185 ($US135). What is special about this course is that it comes with personal feedback on your work – you’ll be assigned a personal photography mentor (i.e. a human being), and they will give you feedback on your work and answer your questions.

The course consists of six modules, and is a very straight forwards, step-by-step course for people who are completely new to photography. This course is great for beginners, or people who want to get to know how to use their camera better. You’ll have an assignment for each of the six modules, which you will complete and email in to your mentor, who will respond with personal feedback and tips on how you can improve your work. This course is a very easy introduction to photography, not an advanced course (we do have more advanced courses, but this offer is limited to the 001 course).
To enter – go to the contact page on our website
and send us an email saying “I want one of the ten free 001 courses please!”
PLEASE – spread this offer around – if you already are a skilled photographer, this course won’t interest you much, but please let your friends know about this great offer.
Terms and conditions:
– The ten lucky people’s names will be announced on our Facebook page
– To do the course you will need a computer, and an internet connection so that you can email photos to your mentor, and a camera (preferably a reasonable quality camera that allows you some control over your images, such as a DSLR – there is little point in attempting the course with a phone camera or point-and-shoot model that does not allow you to control the settings).
– The offer applies to 001 Foundation Camera skills only

OPI now on Facebook

The Online Photo Institute now has a facebook page!

Bridge and ACR vs. Lightroom

These are two software packages that do very  similar jobs, but essentially the difference is that Lightroom is oriented towards photographers and Bridge is oriented towards multimedia professionals (including photographers but also designers and video editors).

Lightroom only supports the main photography file formats (Raw, .dng, .jpg, TIFF, .psd and Quicktime movies), wheras Bridge supports a huge range of formats for different types of media.

Lightroom has a variety of views ideal for comparing one photo with another; Bridge is more limited in this regard, but still has some useful viewing options.

Lightroom is a database based application while Bridge is a file browser.This means that Lightroom is faster and more efficient at managing large volumes of files in collections and searches.

You need to import photos into Lightroom. Bridge allows you to browse the photos that are already on your hard dive.

Because Lightroom is a database it is better suited to a single person operator. Bridge allows several people to work on a project at once. For example in a large studio you might have several photographers uploading files from a wedding, one editor, and another person just doing retouching.This kind of environment is much better suited to Bridge.

Lightroom allows you to make virtual copies, Bridge doesn’t.

You need to buy Lightroom. Bridge comes free with Photoshop. Of course, for some photographers, Lightroom might be all your need anyway, and Photoshop can be expensive if you can’t get the student price. At least Lightroom is not expensive.

In general, Lightroom has a more streamlined and intuitive workflow, while Bridge requires you to have a bit more experience in knowing what you are doing.

If you have Bridge, it will do everything you need for Photography. Lightroom will do it slightly better and slightly more elegantly. Fortunately Lightroom is not very expensive. For me I think it is worth the money to use Lightroom, but if you have been happily using Bridge to keep track of your images, and know it well, I don’t think there would be much advantage in changing to Lightroom. For novice photographers I think Lightroom is a wise investment.