Retouching- To Shop Or Not To Shop


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I avoid Photoshop like the plague, love Lightroom and hate Photoshop. Retouching portraits is a bit of a pet hate, back in the day I spent many an hour doing this for various mags and swore I would never do it again but never say never. Retouched one of the headshot done the other day. Smooth skin, took off some shine, skills are a bit rusty though.



The Portrait Project- The Eyes Have It

I tend to shoot wide open, after all if you have a fast lens use it right? so the edit process begins with the eyes. Lightroom enables you to preview shots at 1:1 so I move through the files using the arrow keys to move and the P key to “Pick”. This flags the sharp files and gives me a group of pics to work with. With my bad eyesight its pleasing to note I can still nail about eighty percent of the pictures, manual focussing for me is still more accurate and easier to compose that auto so its important to focus, shoot, refocus and shoot again. I tend to shoot more frames but who cares? Its digital and you are only paying with time.

Working the eyes- review the picks at 1:1 in lightroom on the initial edit.
Working the eyes- review the picks at 1:1 in lightroom on the initial edit.

Medium Format Vs 35mm Zeiss Smackdown

Are you ready to rumble? Maybe not but here is a screen shot of a frame from the A7 and a frame from the Hasselblad H4-50 CCD back. Have a close look. The Sony uses the 50mm Loxia which when placed in the same side by side with both the Nikon and Canon is much better. When I did the comparison with the medium format I was astounded- it made my beloved Loxia look like an 18-55 kit lens.

Again, don’t take my word for it book a demo and test it yourself. Both images are at 1:1 in Lightroom. It will be interesting to do this with the Canon- if anyone is getting one and wants to compare lets meet up. The door in question is in Marrickville just near Mackey Park.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 8.15.17 pm

JPEGS from the two files are included below. The settings are-

JPEG 100% Quality

72 DPI

Apart from that they are full size and untouched.

Image shot with the Hasselblad H4-50 50mp CCD back
Image shot with the Hasselblad H4-50 50mp CCD back
Image shot with Sony A7 and 50mm Loxia
Image shot with Sony A7 and 50mm Loxia

The Zeiss Loxia Lenses

Zeiss have always held a special place in my heart after i first used the 85mm Sony Zeiss some years ago. Since then I have shot a lot of great Zeiss glass on film, Leica and Sony cameras- all of it quality stuff. This weekend I briefly had the new 50mm and 35mm Loxia lenses come into my possession and was able to bung off a few frames. Now remember: I work for the company that imports these things so test them yourself. Having said that, I will also say: I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t believe in.

First of all I think its worthwhile commenting on the build quality of these- all metal with silky smooth focus. Primo quality product that lives up to the Zeiss legacy of quality lenses. There is no plastic here only finely machines metal. Anyone who has shot with their M mount lenses will be familiar with the feel.

Secondly is the ball tearing, mind blowing image quality. The way Zeiss looks, and its a distinctive German look, leaves their big brand cousins dead in the water. Like the Leica  Summicron range these two f2 lenses are so sharp, and thats compared to lenses two to three times their price. I am not sure what the deal with this is, Sigma is also being disruptive in this area with its Art series but Nikon and Canon need to take a good look at themselves- perhaps near enough is not good enough?

In the end, if you shoot any E Mount body these lenses are a must have. The perfect kit of A7 plus the two Loxias and you can shoot just about anything.

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Back To Where It All Began

Spent some time in the photography faculty at Sydney TAFE in Ultimo today. Good to see they are using the latest in studio flash plus some Hasselblad digitals as well. Just about everything is now digital but they still have a cracking darkroom. I went through there in the late 80’s early 90’s and spent two years learning how to correct verticals on 5 x 4 before even being allowed to look at medium format, now its literally state of the art stuff- well done to the new breed of teachers.

So  here is the wish list, inspired by my visits with all technical and fine arts teachers I have visited with over the last two weeks-

  • Shoot some 5×4
  • Buy a printer
  • Do some scanning
  • Develop some film myself
  • Print some black and white

Photography in all its forms seems to be on the rise and I think there is hope for us all that our industry is getting on with it and moving forward, its up to us older lot to make what we sell and teach relevant to the new breed. For the young photographer of today the DSLR and its lenses are commodities to be purchased from the cheapest supplier, and so it should be- they are by and large the same. Where the local supplier and specialty store comes in is to value add their purchase with accessories and grow with their skills. I believe that there is still a place for studio flash and medium format cameras and I am backed up by the students who are learning on this very equipment. Its funny how they value the difference where a vast majority of the film to digital crew were willing to run with 35mm and smaller and forget the lessons of the film days. Imagine turning up to a shoot with an APS-C film camera.

Apologies for the ramble and rant.

As usual this is really only an excuse to shoot the ‘Blad-

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