Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Final Hours - $200 Off The Topaz Collection until May 22

403x403

I just found out that my friends at Topaz Labs are running an incredible sale on their entire suite of products with $200 off! Normally you don’t see these kind of deals until the end of the year, so it’s a great time to buy if you have been thinking about getting this collection already.

Click here to learn more and/or order. Be sure to use the coupon code SpringSummer 2016 to save!

Other articles you may enjoy

Here’s some of my Topaz Labs software reviews:

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these articles:

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded. Residents from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and where prohibited by law) may be prohibited from using the links to make purchases, so please consider making a donation instead. This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thanks! The sale has ended!

 

The sale has now ended.

For those of you who purchased and helped to raise $50,000+ for charity – thank you!

 


5DayDeal Learn More Button

The 5 Day Deal is back and this time it’s targeted at video creators.

One of the questions about these deal bundles I get asked is “what do you really get”? Well, it starts with an email that includes links to download the products that you get which looks like this:

In addition to the downloads, there are also products that need registration codes so there are also a series of those which appear like this:

Promo Video

Conclusion

It’s a lot of cool stuff offered by video industry experts targeted for the video enthusiast which would cost a fortune if purchased separately, so I’m excited to be able to share this deal with you. The fact that they also share a portion with charity makes it even better!

Where to order

Click here to learn more.

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded. Residents from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and where prohibited by law) may be prohibited from using the links to make purchases, so please consider making a donation instead. This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Nikon D5 First Look

Nikon D5 DSLR Camera
Nikon D5 DSLR Camera

I’ve been a fan of the Nikon D series pro bodies going back to the D3, and the D4s was one that I loved so much that I almost sold my 1D X to switch to the Nikon camp. As a result, when I heard the D5 announcement I quickly made arrangements to review it even before the Canon 1DX Mark II. Would this be the one that makes me switch camps? Read on to get my initial thoughts.

The AF system is scary good and the range at which you can move your focus point across the 55 physical points (but the system has 99 cross-type points for tracking). What this means you can easily put your AF point where you want it – especially at all rule of thirds points where most cameras fall short – and once you are in continuous mode the AF system will track your subject extremely well.

The touch screen support is pretty comical as its primary value seems to be in playback mode for swipe and pinch to zoom. In live view you can tap the screen to move your focus point, but it doesn’t actually focus until you press the shutter button. As a result, I don’t see much value in the touch to focus point feature other than the fact it might save a millisecond or so.

Thankfully the body is an evolution over its processor in that it offers more programmable buttons without removing all of the features D series bodies users have come to love. A fast 1000 Base-T (Gigabit) Wired LAN port, USB 3 and HDMI port (for the 4K UHD 3,840x2,160 / 30 fps video support) means its well equipped to interface with your accessories, but wireless still requires the optional  WT-6A Wireless Transmitter.

I haven’t tried out the ISO 3,280,000 yet, but I was playing around when I unboxed it and got this ISO 14,400 shot that impressed the heck out of me given how crazy low the noise was as well as how readable the text was – handheld in low light at 200mm standing about 6 feet away:


f/2.8 @ 200mm for 1/400 sec at ISO 14,400

Normally I’d delete a garbage shot like this, but this is definitely an impressive case of real world performance of the in-camera noise reduction being very impressive.

Here’s a better real world shot where ISO 5600 is as clean as some cameras minimum ISO setting:


f/2.8 @ 130mm for 1/2000 sec at ISO 5600

I was also aiming at Kai’s left eye when he jumped and the AF did a good job of staying focused on his eye despite his arm creating a distraction that would trip of older AF systems.

Automatic AF Fine Tune Feature

I was planning on doing a video on this feature but this one on YouTube was very good so I decided to point to it instead:

In theory this is how things are supposed to work, but in practice it was finicky and difficult to make it happy enough to get the shot with the 70-200mm that I’m testing with. I finally got it to work with the camera body on a firm surface on the floor pointing at a Datacolor SpyderLensCal Autofocus Calibration Aid, but that wasn’t as easy as what you see in the video. Granted, I was indoors so I’ll do more testing outdoors on a sunny day and see if that helps.

I’m very excited about this feature as AF microfocus adjustments are a pain even with some of the advanced software that’s out there like Reikan FoCal, so this is a game changing feature I hope they can perfect with firmware updates. In the meantime, FoCal, is still the way to go!

Real World Shots – A Walk In The Park

This is just a tiny sample of what’s to come, so check the gallery to see my latest uploads both now and after the final review is published.

These photos were taken during a casual walk through the park with my kids at the end of a sunny day. While the target demographic for D5 is sports photographers, any parent can confirm that keeping up with the kids will show the flaws of even the most advanced pro camera bodies. As a result, I’m impressed with what I’m seeing so far:


f/2.8 @ 200mm for 1/200 sec at ISO 280

At first you might be thinking, why are you showing me this fat baby shot?
The answer is because I pushed the stroller and let it roll on a flat surface, then I raised the camera and took the shot pointing at her left eye WHILE WALKING – at 1/200 sec!!!
I quickly saw the AF system was good, but this was ridiculous – I’ve never had a camera pass this test – until now.


f/2.8 @ 78m for 1/2000 sec at ISO 5000

Kai was hyper and jumping off the rocks, but it was no problem for the D5
as every frame I took came out with sharp focus


f/3.2 @ 80mm for 1/2000 sec at ISO 900

As a Canon shooter, I always struggle when I do my D series reviews at first because the metering doesn’t work the way I’m used to it performing with the Canon bodies. As a result, the images were darker than hoped, but you see 14 frames starting here that came in perfectly focused while shooting RAW+JPEG. I did this test 5 times and got identical results each time – all in focus.


f/3.2 @ 200mm for 1/2000 sec at ISO 1800

Same with the running test where I repeatedly got 42 shots in focus time and time again – also shooting RAW+JPEG. This indicates a very big and fast buffer to keep up with 14 frames per second even with the dual CF option I chose over XQD.


f/2.8 @ 200mm for 1/2000 sec at ISO 3600

Kai is unpredictable so when he randomly decides to jump on a swing the wrong way and gives me a funny shot like this, I was delighted that the D5 nailed it before I even knew what was happening. This is true point and shoot!

All of the shots featured in this article are unedited and come from the in-camera JPEG, but RAW’s were taken at the same time. No processing (not even cropping) has been performed on these images.

All images are copyright Ron Martinsen and may not be used in any way beyond viewing in conjunction with viewing this article. Downloading, printing, copying, editing, linking, etc… is prohibited.

Conclusion

Come back next week for the next part of my review where I’ll share more thoughts after doing a deeper analysis of the D5. For now though I’m loving it and wondering if I’ll need to buy this camera instead of sending it back!

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order on the B&H web site. I opted for the dual CF version, but an XQD version is available at no extra charge.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded. Residents from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and where prohibited by law) may be prohibited from using the links to make purchases, so please consider making a donation instead. This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

$10,000 Giveaway by Adobe, Sony & More

Click here to learn more

My friends at 5DayDeal.com are giving away some great prizes in advance of the deal coming up this week. It’s free to enter, so go check out and sign up to win!

Ron

Disclosure

This is a contest provided by external party and is not directly affiliated with this blog. Your click will be tracked to this site.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded. Residents from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and where prohibited by law) may be prohibited from using the links to make purchases, so please consider making a donation instead. This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

REVIEW: WhiteWall HD Metal Print


WhiteWall HD Metal Print (36 x 24 inches)

I had a cool photo from Kyoto, Japan that I loved but on the screen it didn’t wow me as much as the scene did in real life. With my background in printing, I knew the solution to the problem was to print it large – very large – so I could have an image that was big enough that it made me feel like I was looking through a window at scene.

My friends at WhiteWall offered me the opportunity to review their cool new HD Metal Print as a way to make that idea a reality, so I quickly jumped at at chance to do it.

Ordering & Travel Time


Placing an order was easy

The ordering process was easy and mostly painless. The upload time for my 445 megabytes 16-bit ProPhoto TIF image was longer than I hoped, but it was a big file being sent to Germany so that was somewhat to be expected.

I ordered on April 25th and by the 29th the print had shipped from WhiteWall (based in Germany) via FedEx, and it arrived on May 4th. This was within their 10 days or less promise, but a little longer than you would expect from when ordering from companies in the US. Keep this in mind if you are in a rush so you are sure to plan in advance – it’s worth the wait!

Packaging

The packaging was extremely well done and this 14 pounds print made its way all the way to the West Coast of the US with no problems. Here’s some pictures I took with my iPhone that show how well it was packed:


Big prints come in big packages, but the important part is that they arrive safely - it did!


The print was wrapped very well on the inside

Sandwiched safely inside
Sandwiched safely inside


The print arrived safely without a scratch

Frame Quality


Frame construction was excellent, and Seal of Quality was a nice touch

I was very impressed with the frame as it not only protected the edges of my print, it was beautiful to display with solid German construction. There’s no flex or rattle with the fame joints. The print also included a “Seal of Quality” which is a nice touch that should impress clients.


The Aluminum Art Box 1" frame was very professional looking

The Aluminum Art Box 1” that I chose has a 1” stand off from the bottom of the frame which gives it a floating appearance. The edges were measured perfectly, and despite the magnification here – in the actual print you have a hard time even telling that the image is floating like this (under normal incandescent lighting conditions).

Print Quality


The Original Image

While I love this image, all of the compression that occurs when you show it at screen resolution makes it dreadful to look at online or in small prints. This is why I was excited to see it both as a large print and with the pop you get from metal.

I’m an X-Rite Coloratti Pro and NEC Color Visionary so I’m very well versed in a proper color managed workflow. I know what it takes to get accurate color prints, and I’ve talked about it at length in my printing series and eBook, so my biggest concern about this print was going to be the accuracy of the color – especially with so much red!

I’m happy to report that the color is true to my original file and compares well against the prints I’ve done of this image with my Canon iPF6450 printer. 

Conclusion

While this print was obviously more costly than a paper based print and took a while to arrive, it was worth the wait. The results are fantastic, and I would highly recommend them for anyone who is looking for fine art caliber metal prints.

Where to order

Click here to learn more.

Other articles you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy these:

Disclosure

If you make a purchase using links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

Click here to learn more about how this blog is funded. Residents from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming (and where prohibited by law) may be prohibited from using the links to make purchases, so please consider making a donation instead. This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity