Drone photography is gaining in popularity every single day and camera manufacturers have taken notice. We are at the very beginning of the new drone era and imaging companies are producing more advanced photo and video products every day.
GoPro was the first to really promote the use of their cameras with drones. Their line of Hero cameras integrated very well with the DJI Phantom series of quadcopters . This integration brought about a revolution in the photo industry that allowed just about anybody with $1,000 to capture high quality HD aerial footage of their adventures.
Now, in the quest for 4k drone video and super-high resolution stills, new players are jumping into the ring with incredible cameras specifically designed for drone usage. Here’s a run down of some of the new high resolution drone cameras available on the market today.
GoPro continues to up their game and this year they released the new Hero4 Black edition that captures 4k video at 30 frames per second. The Hero4 comes with a live view system that integrates with wi-fi enabled devices such as tablets and phones. Price is $499.99.
B&H Link: GoPro Hero4 Black
Sony just announced a new series of 4k ActionCams called the FDR-X1000V to compete directly with the GoPro Hero 4. These use a live-view remote that you wear on your wrist for easy control of the camera from a distance. That’s cool. Price is $498.00.
B&H Link: Sony FDR-X1000V
Phase One just announced the iXU 180 drone camera with 80 MP CCD sensor. The price is $60k. Yes, $60,000 USD! These products are designed specifically for aerial imaging where you need the utmost in image quality for applications like surveying, scientific analysis, wind turbine inspections, crowd monitoring, and mapping.
Read more about the iXU 180 here: Phase One Industrial Imaging
Canon XC10 4K camera with a 1” sensor. This is a small form factor camera with a 24-240mm zoom lens. It has the ability to shoot 4k video, 12MP stills and grab 8MP JPGs during live recording. It is smaller than 5” in all dimensions and just under two pounds, so it could be mounted on medium to larger drones such as hexa-copters and octa-copters. Price is a very reasonable $2,499 with free shipping from Adorama and B&H.
Adorama Link: Canon XC10
B&H Link: Canon XC10
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 has been out for about a year and is commonly used in drone photography because of it’s light weight and 4k video capability. Add to that the fact that you can attach virtually any lens from any manufacturer with an adapter, and you have a powerful video platform. Price is $1,498.
B&H Link: Lumix DMC-GH4
During the 2015 NAB show (National Association of Broadcasters), Blackmagic announced its new Micro Cinema Camera. The Micro is designed specifically for drone cameras and POV shooting for extreme sports. This little wonder shoots Ultra HD files at 4k 30 fps or can be configured to at 1080p60. Price is set for $1,295.
Product info page: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Product Info
B&H Link: Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera
DJI’s new Phantom 3 Professional drone comes equipped with a 4k camera on a full 3-axis gimbal. This system offers Lighbridge technology, which allows operators to see what the drone sees in real time, in HD, and from up to a mile away. Price is $1,259.
B&H Link: DJI Phantom 3 Professional
The newest issue of the Nikonian eZine just published one of my articles on photography in the Galapagos. Clink this link to download eZine issue 58.
The article covers:
Also, follow this link to the eZine archive to download free issues from previous editions of the Nikonian eZines. http://ezine.nikonians.org/archive.html
A brand new version of Snapseed for mobile image editing is live, now called Snapseed 2.0. I’m on the beta team and have been testing this new version for a few months. Version 2.0 is a significant update and best of all, it is free!
This program is a winner because of all the local and selective adjustments you are able to incorporate into image development. Also, you are able to work in stacks that allow you to go back and re-edit changes you’ve previously made. This is a solid mobile image-editing app and should be on everyone’s phone or tablet.
Here are a few Snapseed 2.0 links:
iOS: Snapseed 2.0 iOS Info and Download
Android: Snapseed 2.0 Android Info and Download
Product forum: User to user Snapseed forum
G+ page: Snapseed 2.0 Google+ Page
Here’s a cool video from Google showing how easy and quick it is to use Snapseed:
Announcing my newest book: The Nikon Autofocus System – Mastering focus for sharp images every time.
Publisher RockyNook and I are in production right now and targeting a November 2015 release date. We’ll have pre-order links ready in the next few weeks. More information coming very soon!
With today’s advanced camera technology, achieving focus on a photographic subject seems like it should be a straightforward task. But many photographers know that it can be deceptively difficult, especially when shooting moving subjects or in challenging situations. Now, there is a complete guide available for Nikon shooters that will help them get tack-sharp photos every time.
In The Nikon Autofocus System, photographer Mike Hagen, author of the bestselling The Nikon Creative Lighting System, takes his deep knowledge of Nikon technology and concentrates on its focus features. In this book, which covers all current Nikon DSLR models, Hagen fully explains how Nikon autofocus works, including detailed discussions of all the autofocus modules, drive systems, and camera buttons and menus. He also devotes an entire chapter to explore how focus works with Nikon’s lenses.
Armed with this general knowledge, Hagen then dives deep and offers camera setups, settings, and best practices for specific field techniques that address the photographic genres that are notoriously challenging for focus: action and sports (indoor and outdoor), wildlife (including birds in flight), and macro photography. He also covers genres such as portrait, landscape, underwater, low-light, and street photography. Hagen not only advises on the best ways to set up the camera and focus systems, he gives helpful tips and tricks throughout the book.
The Nikon Autofocus System also covers:
• Live view autofocus methods and settings
• Achieving great focus in video
• AF tracking
• AF shooting styles, such as back-button AF and shutter-release AF
• HDR, panoramas, and other techniques for shooting with a tripod
• An entire chapter on additional terms and techniques, such as hyperfocal distance, calibrating lenses, focus and flash photography, and more
Creating artistic photos of my home town of Gig Harbor, Washington is one of my favorite things to do. I love capturing the rich heritage of my town and finding different ways to represent its local icons.
One of the more important families in the history of Gig Harbor was the Skansie family. They were boat builders in the early 1900′s and produced over 100 commercial fishing vessels and ferries. Their original netshed still stands along the waterfront. A few years ago, the Gig Harbor Historical Society was able to secure funding to refurbish the Skansie Netshed and open it to the public. Their work helped beautify and preserve this classic building.
For this image, I waited for a day with puffy clouds in the sky, then took my Nikon D800 down to the waterfront with a single lens, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. I kept my kit light and decided to leave my tripod at home. I shot a few compositions of the building, then decided the best look for the given light was a tight crop with no other distracting elements such as buildings or boats. The D800 has an incredible dynamic range, so I exposed a single image to hold detail in the clouds. In Lightroom, I pulled out a bit of shadow detail then sent the file to Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert it to black and white. After the conversion, I brought it back to Lightroom to do the final crop.
Here’s some more information from the Harbor History Museum’s blog:
For more information on the remaining 17 netsheds in Gig Harbor, follow this link:
My old business just won the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award for commercial photography. This is pretty cool, and I’ll take the accolades, but I haven’t lived or worked in Vancouver for over ten years now. It’s good to know that I’m the best in the business, even in places where I don’t work!
Here’s the link to the press release and a bit more about the award:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Out There Images Receives 2015 Best of Vancouver Award
Vancouver Award Program Honors the Achievement
VANCOUVER March 12, 2015 — Out There Images has been selected for the 2015 Best of Vancouver Award in the Commercial Photography category by the Vancouver Award Program.
Each year, the Vancouver Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Vancouver area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Vancouver Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Vancouver Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Vancouver Award Program
The Vancouver Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Vancouver area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Vancouver Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Vancouver Award Program
What is the Vancouver Award Program?
Each year, in and around the Vancouver area, the Vancouver Award Program chooses only the best local businesses. We focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.
For most companies, this recognition is a result of your dedication and efforts as well as the work of others in your organization that have helped build your business. Your team is now a part of an exclusive group of small businesses that have achieved this selection.
This week I’m shooting about 250 portraits for Harbor Covenant Church. I’ll share more of the results of the photo shoot in a future blog post, but in the meantime, I wanted to show how I set up the studio with this time-lapse video. My goal for the photo shoot is to produce a bright white background for each of the portraits. To do this, I used a white muslin backdrop and lit it with four slave flashes in umbrellas. These background flashes are set to produce about 1.0 to 1.5 stops more light than the Profoto D1 monolights I’m using for the people in the foreground.
I’m triggering everything optically, which is another way to say that all the flashes are set to fire when they see a flash pulse from the main camera. For the Profoto D1 monolights, I’ve set them to trigger using the IR mode. For the Nikon flashes, they are all set to trigger in SU-4 mode. On my Nikon D800 camera, I’m triggering everything with a Nikon SB-700 flash set to manual output so that when it fires, everything else fires. All slave flashes are set for manual output and I metered everything using my trusty old Sekonic L-358 (no longer sold).
Here’s all the gear I used to create the location studio.
Last week, my daughter participated in an adjudication for her flute quartet. After the adjudication, my wife and I took her to the Pantages Theater for a concert with the Tacoma Concert Band. As I always do, I brought a camera and found a great opportunity to take a vertical panorama of the interior before the show began. To get the shot, I found an open seat in the middle of the theater and took 10 photographs, starting with the stage, continuing towards the ceiling, and ending with the row of seating behind me.
Back at the computer, I processed the images in Lightroom for proper white balance, shadows, and highlights. Then, I exported out the shots to Photoshop CC’s panorama merge utility. The result is a very interesting looking vertical panorama of the interior of Pantages Theater.
Here are a couple of other shots from the day.
A couple of days ago I was in Gig Harbor taking some photos for a new project I’m working on. While shooting in a local housing development, I came across a line of houses that reminded me of the famous row houses in San Francisco near Alamo Square. These famous Victorian houses were affectionately called The Painted Ladies because of their bright colors and beautiful architectural details. These San Francisco Painted Ladies are iconic and have been photographed millions of times by tourists and locals.
When I saw the similar style of homes here in Gig Harbor, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create my own local version of the Painted Ladies. To get these photos, I shot with my Nikon D750 and the Nikon Triple Crown of lenses. These included the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.
Back at my office, I imported the shots into Lightroom 5 and added just a little bit of clarity and vibrance. Then, I opened them up in Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to further pull out a little bit of detail and add a polarization effect for the clouds in the sky.
Here are a few links for those wanting to photograph the San Francisco Painted Ladies or the Gig Harbor Row Houses at Harbor Crossing housing development.
Nikon today announced the D7200 digital SLR camera along with a new microphone and a new software package. The D7200 comes along
There are a few improvements to the camera over the D7100.
- Larger buffer capacity that will hold 18 RAW shots (14-bit)
- Improved 51-point AF system with -3 EV sensitivity (center point works at f/8)
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
- Faster Expeed 4 processor
- Better battery life
- Improved 24 MP sensor
- No OLPF (optical low pass filter)
- Broader native ISO range (100 – 25,600)
- 6 fps frame rate (7 fps in crop mode)
- 150,000 cycle-rated shutter
- Full 1080p 60 video recording
In my opinion, the single most important thing Nikon did with the D7200 is add increased buffer capacity. Honestly, the most frustrating thing on the D7100 (and D750 for that matter) is the limited buffer capacity when shooting sports or wildlife. Now, with a decent buffer size of 18 14-bit RAW photos and a professional-level autofocus system, photographers have a real tool they can use for action photography. The buffer is also projected to hold 27 12-bit RAW or 100 JPEG photographs.
One of the things that surprises me is that Nikon didn’t add an articulating screen like they did with the D750. I use this screen all the time on my D750 and have found it to be a fantastic tool to use in the field.
Over the last two years, I have recommended the D7100 to hundreds of photographers and now the D7200 will get my wholehearted recommendation. If you own a D7000 or a D90 and are looking to upgrade your camera, then buying the D7200 is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you have a D7100 and mostly shoot landscapes/portraits then it doesn’t make sense to upgrade to the D7200. If you own a D7100 and need the extra buffer capacity for sports/action/wildlife, then the D7200 is a great camera for you.
Pricing for the D7200 will be $1,199,95 for the body only, and $1,699.95 with the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.
Nikon also introduced two other products that should garner some interest among shooters: Nikon View NX-i and the Nikon ME-W1 wireless lavalier microphone.
View NX-i is a new image browsing program that looks like it will replace View NX. Nikon says that it will allow users to browse RAW files that were adjusted by Capture NX-D while also allowing easy upload of images to social networks. More information here: http://nikon.com/news/2015/0302_soft_02.htm
The ME-W1 wireless microphone is a lavalier mic designed to be used in the outdoors under any weather conditions. Most professional wireless microphones aren’t designed to withstand the elements, so the ME-W1 will surely fill a gap in some videographer’s camera bags. Pricing for the ME-W1 will be $249.95.
Here are pre-purchase links for the products listed in this article