Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Camera Tech You Need To Know About
These days, a lot of innovation in photography is starting out in lower-end cameras. Some of these features are going to change the way you work as a pro.
Current cameras like the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV are pushing the bounds of high-speed shooting.
HDR (high dynamic range) digital photography has become popular over the last few years, thanks to its ability to render remarkable detail from darkest to brightest areas, even in high-contrast scenes, and its special-effects capabilities. The idea is to shoot a series of frames at different exposures, then, using HDR software, combine the best detail from each frame into a single image with a wide dynamic range.
A number of pros have been enamored of the hyperreal look you can create with HDR, and now some cameras provide automatic HDR in-camera. When set up for it, the camera shoots two or three bracketed exposures and processes them into an HDR image automatically. The results aren’t as extensive or controllable as doing it from many frames in-computer with special HDR software, but the convenience can’t be beat—and the results are good. We think this will be a popular feature in pro DSLRs of the future because it allows the photographer to create a “quick and dirty” effect with minimal effort to give a client a sense of the more precise shot that you could make if they want to pay for it. Think of it like having the camera make a mock-up of the effect.
You’re familiar with the process of creating a panorama. These high-impact photographs always generate buzz because they’re unusual and they stand out. The downside is that they can be time-consuming to shoot and to combine in the computer.
Sony has offered in-camera Sweep Panorama for a while in some of its compact digital cameras, and the features is now available in the SLT-A55 and SLT-A33. Activate the mode, press the shutter button and sweep the camera across the scene horizontally (or vertically, if desired), and the camera will align the images and stitch them into a wide (or tall) panoramic image.
Now, there’s 3D Sweep Panorama: As you sweep the camera across the scene, it records separate right-eye and left-eye images that are then viewed in 3D on 3D TVs. At Photokina 2010, Panasonic revealed the Lumix G 12.5mm ƒ/12 3D lens for its Lumix DMC-G2 and GH2 mirrorless cameras (it’s a Micro Four Thirds System lens, but only these two cameras can use its 3D capabilities). The compact lens contains left and right optic systems (4 elements/3 groups each), and the resulting processed images appear in 3D on a 3D TV set like Panasonic’s 3D Viera. The lens can be used for moving subjects and static subjects as close as two feet away. The Lumix G2 and GH2 aren’t actually DSLRs (they’re mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras), but they’re capable of delivering pro performance and image quality, and this is a feature that will interest some pro photographers, especially as more 3D TV sets are sold.
We think Sweep Panorama and 3D Sweep Panorama should be on pro models for the simple fact that they enable high-end photographers to create a specialized look easily and quickly. As a pro, you’re always looking for a way to show a client a high-impact shot that will help get a gig—something that sets you apart.
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