Monday, October 16, 2017

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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.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

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!

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The 5DayDeal.com $10,000 giveaway has opened up for entries!

image

Check out the 5DayDeal now to learn how you can enter to win via the big giveaway and be the first to know about when the big photography bundle sale starts!

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

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!

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

REVIEW: Hahnemühle Matte Fine Art Smooth Rice Paper 100 gsm

Hahnemühle FineArt Inkjet Paper - Matte FineArt Smooth Rice Paper

In this article, I share my thoughts on the Hahnemühle Matte Fine Art Smooth Rice Paper (100 gsm). This is a less common and exciting paper to work with given its wonderful texture and semi-opaque nature. The specifications according to B&H are:

  • 100% Alpha-Cellulose Laid-Finished Paper
  • Basis Weight: 100 gsm
  • Thickness: 5.9 mil
  • Whiteness: 88%
  • Opacity: 85%
  • Water Resistant
  • No Optical Brightening Agents
  • Acid Free & Calcium Carbonate Buffered
  • Surface Finish: Matte

You can learn more about this paper on the website and get a datasheet here.

Unfortunately it seems to only be sold in 3 roll sizes plus one sheet size here in this US at this time.

ICC Profile / Color Gamut Analysis

The graph below shows how the color gamut of this paper is nearly identical to the German Etching paper I reviewed recent. In both cases I'm using the ICC profiles from the Hahnemühle Download Center.

Hahnemühle Rice Paper vs German Etching Color Gamut

Please note that ColorThink Pro gamut graphs are highly accurate but the mechanism to present them to you involves screen shots and imprecise window resizing so do not compare the height and width of this graph to other articles and draw any conclusions. The takeway here is that this has nearly an identical gamut to German Etching.

Pattern, Texture & Tooth

One of the reasons you get a paper like this is all about its texture. The following image is a crop from a 1200 dpi scan I took of this paper with the texture emphasized. Click to view the full size and zoom in and out to get a feel for the pattern and texture of this paper:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper High Resolution Scan of paper surface
High Resolution Scan - Click for Original

While the scan above most accurately reflects what the paper is like in real, here's a photo that emphasizes the "tooth" of this paper:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper High Resolution photo of paper surface
Photo of the paper's "tooth" with side lighting

This paper is semi opaque just like the rice paper screens you'd see in Japan which makes it wonderful for hanging in a way that allows for backlighting with the right image.

Test prints

I only had 25 sheets to test with, so I went through this paper really quickly testing it. What follows are a few letter sample prints that I made specifically for this review.

The first print is the the Outback Printer image is courtesy of the late but great Uwe Steinmueller and used by permission of Bettina Steinmueller. The semi-opaque nature of this paper makes it possible to see (at the right angle) light on the 253 square which is rare to see. The 2 & 4 squares both look the same shade and 6 is very hard to make out. 8 is really where you stat to see the grayscale appear. It should be noted that if you don't over ink the paper, you can see the  purple gradient under the 2nd baby almost all the way to the bottom of the bar:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper High Resolution scan of a Outback Printer image
Click to see the original Epson V850 high resolution scan

Relative Colormetric rendering intent ended up being the best choice for this image

The colors were typical for a matte paper.

Overall, this paper performed significantly better than I was expecting in turns of color accuracy and tonal range. It really is great stuff!

Zen Pathway

While this paper doesn't have the DMax of a baryta or resin-coated substrate, it's a paper that begs for Japanese calligraphy. As a result, I decided to go out on a limb and try this black and white image with loads of black to see how it would do. I'm happy to say that I was happy with the results and it looks good both in a frame or held up with soft indirect light backlighting the image:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper High Resolution scan of Zen Pathway (c) Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Click to see the original Epson V850 high resolution scan

Perceptual rendering intent ended up being the best choice for this image

Ancient Staircase of Mystery

This is one of those times where a blog article is inadequate as this print in real life held up to a window is simply magnificent. The semi-opaque nature of this paper creates a transparency effect that allows the light come through enough to make the vivid colors pop off the page, yet there's still enough substance to the paper to retain some of the depth of the blacks. This was truly a magnificent print that was ideal for this paper, and it is noteworthy as it's the first and only time I've found an image where the Saturation rendering intent was the right choice:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper High Resolution scan of Ancient Staircase of Mystery (c) Ron Martinsen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Click to see the original Epson V850 high resolution scan

Saturation rendering intent ended up being the best choice for this image

Photoshop for Windows settings using a Canon PRO-2000

The website instructions for this paper were totally wrong, so definitely plan to do some experimentation using test prints before you'll get it dialed in with the right balance of ink to avoid oversaturating the paper.

For Canon printers, they fortunately have "manual" media types specifically for this scenario. The way it works is that there are 5 ink levels and Special media types dedicated to 5 levels of Photo Black ink (Special 1 - 5) and 5 levels dedicated to Matte Black ink (Special 6 - 10). For this paper, I found Special 7 was the right choice to maximize ink but minimize saturating the paper:

Canon PRO-2000 Main settings for Hahnemühle Rice Paper on Windows

Some might want to push the edge and do Special 6 to get more ink, but you'll need to be very careful to leave the paper alone after printing and let it dry in a very low humidity environment. Eventually the oversaturation marks (shown below) will go away, but they'll freak you out when you pull the print out of the printer:

Hahnemühle Rice Paper oversaturation example
Example of oversaturation on the backside of the paper
Click to see the original Epson V850 high resolution scan

To keep oversaturation problems to a minimum, I also took advantage of the High setting which still gives you 600 dpi but seemed to apply slightly less ink. I also increased the drying time between scans to 3 seconds and did unidirectional printing to ensure that the ink started to dry sufficiently after each pass before the next overlapping pass was applied:

Canon PRO-2000 Paper Detailed settings for Hahnemühle Rice Paper on Windows

This helped quite a bit, so I highly recommend it. Eventually, I'll need to create a media type file that has these settings built in.

Like always, I turned off the printer driver color management:

Canon PRO-2000 Paper Color settings for Hahnemühle Rice Paper on Windows

Despite my box (ref no. 10 641 482) being labeled as 13 x 19, my Canon PRO-2000's auto-detect paper width feature alerted me to the fact that this paper actually measures out to A3+ size. As a result, I either needed to manually tell the printer it was 13 x 19 enter that in the driver OR let it auto detect as A3+ and match that setting in the driver as shown here:

Canon PRO-2000 Paper Page Setup for Hahnemühle Rice Paper on Windows

The only downside to using A3+  as the size is that the printable margin of this paper caused the image to not be centered perfectly. 13x19 solved that problem, SO this paper behaves best as 13x19 even though it is really A3+ sized. Well, at least that is the case at the time this article was written, but I suppose that could change with a printer driver update or possibly if printed from a different operating system.

I didn't try printing this paper from my Mac since I didn't have enough to test with.

As discussed above, Photoshop will accurately show you how your image will print so if you want it to be vertically centered the best then use 13 x 19 as shown here. However, please make sure that the printer, driver and Photoshop are ALL in sync on the size that you use - don't mix and match:

Canon PRO-2000 Photoshop Settings for Hahnemühle Rice Paper on Windows

About Hahnemühle

German paper maker Hahnemühle is well-known for making some of the best papers in the business since 1584 with the highest paper quality parameters for its Digital FineArt papers.

Conclusion

If you are the type of print master who enjoys matching the right paper to the right image or environment where your print will hang, then this is a paper you are sure to enjoy. While it is a delicate paper, it held up to reasonable handling much better than I expected.

The color gamut was significantly better than expected and the final result is something that is unique and special enough to get that "wow" factor out of your clients who appreciate something unique.

If you are the type of person who isn't a big fan of matte paper or  does most of your prints on Luster, then this definitely isn't the right paper for you.

While I was disappointed at the poor instructions on the website, my contact at Hahnemühle informed me that their website is currently being re-written and that a product support manager. As a result, I'm hopefully this problem will be addressed. Until then, I'd say plan on using about 5 sheets to dial in the right settings if you aren't able to mirror my settings that I settled on for the Canon PRO-2000. While I didn't print this paper using my PRO-1000, I'm confident that these same settings would be appropriate on it as well.

My Epson P800 ran out of yellow ink, so I didn't get a chance to test with it before I ran out of paper.

Overall, I highly recommend this paper for the serious print master. Amateur / casual users should work with Hahnemühle product support or a skilled print masters recommended settings for their printer to avoid oversaturation problems.

Where to Buy?

CLICK HERE to learn more or buy today.

Other articles you may enjoy

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

Enjoy these and more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

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. While I was given paper for testing for this review, I was NOT paid or solicited to do this article.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

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!

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Point and Shoot Beats Most DSLR Portfolio Shots

All of the following photos were taken with a point and shoot (and no, it wasn't a Leica) which I serve up as evidence that it's more about the photographer than camera (although this is a pretty damn good camera too).

All images are Copyright Douglas Dubler 3 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may click to view full size versions in Google Chrome, but you may not save, print, download, link to, repost, etc... any without written consent.


"Summertime Boy" - 1/1250 at f/5 ISO 100 (-1 1/3 EV)


“Peruvian Jungle Lily” - 24mm at the closest focusing distance ( less than 8 inches) At f5.6


f/6.3 for 1/40 sec at 24mm (-1 EV)


"Lilies" - 24mm (widest) end of the zoom lens. At f4.5 at almost the closest focusing distance

And the camera was...


Sony RX100 IV  at B&H (review)
Also on available at Amazon

Yes, the Sony RX100 IV was used for all of those shots except the first one which was actually taken with he Sony RX100 III!

Of course, to be fair these were taken by one of the greatest living photographers of our time, Douglas Dubler (website). This legendary photographer has shot more magazine covers than most photographers have (or will have) portfolio caliber shots in their lifetime. He's also been the featured photographer for the launch of major products from Nikon, Epson and so many more. Simply put, these weren't taken by a mere mortal, but it does show off what this camera can do.

In Douglas Dubler's own words


24mm for 1/160 sec at f/8 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Many people who are familiar with my work most likely associate me with high resolution capture and large format gallery prints. Much of this work is/was done on medium format digital backs or high megapixel DSLRs. Lately I have been exploring a different direction. Several years ago I purchased a Sony RX100 III for my girlfriend and began giving her photography lessons. As her photography progressed I noticed a look that I began to admire. 


24mm for 1/80 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

They were done mainly at the 24mm focal length at the closest focusing distance (around 4 or 5 inches ). The small sensor gave her more than adequate depth of field at modest apertures (f4-5.6).  The wide angle lens gave just a little distortion which enhanced the subject. My best description is a hybrid of environmental and semi Macro.


24mm for 1/60 sec at f/5 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Inspired, I began to emulate the effect with my A6500 and larger A7RII. Even with the APS-C sized sensor in the A6500 with various focal length lenses from the Sony 12-24mm ( on the A6500, a 18-36mm), to many different Zeiss,Sony and Sigma prime lenses I couldn’t get the look.  If I was shooting flowers to get the depth of field I would end up with a shutter speed that was too slow (wind vs. flowers!).  So I borrowed her camera and spent a few days at the New York Botanical Garden seriously photographing flowers. It took me one day to work out my approach but I was very happy with the beginning results.


"Maleficent Tree" - 24mm for 1/160 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 (-1 1/3 EV) RX100 III

The next step was to make some prints, the whole point of photography.  With a little editing in my favorite Capture One V10 and of course B&W conversion done with Nik’s Silver EFex Pro 2 I was ready for the litmus test..  With my Epson P5000 and Epson’s new Legacy Platine paper I made prints that rivaled the best silver-gelatin prints.   As a test, at the beginning of one of my classes I had the students look carefully at one of  the prints and guess what camera I had used. Unanimously they declared a high resolution professional DSLR or mirrorless camera. I showed them the diminutive Sony and at first they thought I was joking. I assured them I wasn’t.


24mm for 1/60 sec at f/4 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Since then I went out and purchased a MarkIV model which is around my neck whenever I leave my house. Even on my bike I can easily carry it in a small bag around my waist. Now no one even looks at me and I blend in with the iPhoners. I hand hold almost all of the images and as a result am able to shoot many more images. It doesn’t mean I will abandon my abstract Macro studies with the larger cameras and tripod but I have a feeling I will always have this camera hanging around my neck…

Douglas Dubler's thoughts on a couple shots



Black Dahlia - 24mm@f5.6@1/80sec, ISO 100, exp.comp.-1.3 stops

I found these two blossoms in perfect juxtaposition, full face and profile, which I am always looking for. They were the last shots out of 250 exposures that I did during my B&W class at NYBG last week.

I was actually on my way out of the garden and, in exiting, revisited the flowers I had shot earlier at around 6 P.M. I was tired after a long day of teaching but instinctively knew that those last few minutes of sublime light (exactly 7:11 P.M.) reward those who are patient. 

Processed in Capture One V10 and B&W conversion done in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.


“Empress Lotus”

I have been trying for quite some time to get a good shot of a lotus blossom. For me that meant getting directly over the flower. Not so easy when you consider they grow in water, in this case, water that is over 5 feet deep. I surveyed all of the lotus in bloom and decided this was aesthetically my favorite. All I had to do was wait for the best light.  At around 7:10 P.M. the sun was no longer directly on the flower but was creating a beautiful soft illumination that seemed to be emanating from within the flower.

With some help from my friend Steve Titus (shown below) I was able to get an almost vertical camera angle and with the advantage of the articulating LCD could precisely compose the shot. It still took over 40 shots to get this precise uncropped composition.

Post processing, I had my friend Irfan Yonac do some digital enhancement using an “analog film” technique. It was the final step in the evolution of this photograph. Shot at 28mm@ 100 ISO @ f5.6 @ 1/200 sec, exp.comp.-1.0 stops.

Processed in Capture One software available at B&H.

Here's a funny behind the scenes shot of what it took to get this shot...



Conclusion

My review shows what mere mortals will get with this camera, but it's fun to see that in the hands of an X-Rite Coloratti Master like Douglas what is possible!

I really hope you enjoyed this guest blog from as much as I did. If so, please leave comments and check out more of Douglas's work on Instagram, Facebook,  or his website. Here's a couple more guest blogs from Douglas with his amazing work:

And here's one where Douglas breaks out the big camera that will really blow your mind:

Thanks Douglas!

Sincerely,
Ron Martinsen

Want to do a workshop with Douglas?

Contact me if you are interested in working with Douglas or doing a workshop with him in New York City.

Other articles you may enjoy

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

Enjoy these and more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

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.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

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!

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

REVIEW: Topaz Impression for Topaz Studio - Save 40% for a limited time

Topaz Studio featuring Topaz Impression Pack


If you haven't Topaz Studio, it's a new product by Topaz Labs that is free and is built from the ground up to give you access to some great editing tools, but it also gets enhanced frequently to include new features. Recently they added Clarity and now they've added Topaz Impression (Normally $99.99, now just $59.99).

Impression is our their most popular effect software, it’s capable of a near endless variety of realistic painting effects in a very short amount of time, so this is a great opportunity to get your followers and online communities excited about it’s release. Topaz Impression generates natural painterly effects by painting brushstrokes one at a time. (It just does this very fast!) Impression can paint over 10,000 brushstrokes in less than a second, all while completely following your artistic direction, making truly personal art that you can call your own.

Check out my Topaz Studio article if you want to learn more about Studio and check out my Impression review if you want to see what Impression can do for your images in the full stand alone version. The good news is here is that much of that functionality of the full version comes to studio along with many of its popular presets. Here's but of few of the 116 presets featured in the beta I used for this review:

Topaz Studio featuring Topaz Impression Presets

The final version is AVAILABLE NOW, so check it out!

Where To Learn More or Buy

Click here to download the Topaz Studio application and USE THIS LINK to buy Topaz Impression (Normally $99.99, now just $59.99), or CLICK HERE to learn more. This OFFER EXPIRES on Friday September 29, 2017 so act fast!

Clarity Now Available Too

I was shooting in Vancouver, Canada when the announcement that Clarity has been added to Topaz Studio:

Topaz Studio featuring Topaz Clarity

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Clarity plug-in pack for Topaz Studio.

Other articles you may enjoy

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

Enjoy these and more on the Reviews tab as well as Ron's Recommendations.

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.

NOTE: This site requires cookies and uses affiliate linking to sites that use cookies.

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!

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