My first time in Dreamhack is a LAN party with focus in gaming. Valencia (Spain, UE) has had its second edition with 20,000 people, about three times the number of participants last year. 500 professional players and about 40,000 € in prizes. And popular casters such as Shaun ‘Apollo’ Clark and Dan ‘Artosis’ Stemkoski.
Dreamhack -world’s largest computer festival, apparently- is replacing, somehow, the Campus Party events, but the interest of the gaming is undoubtedly less than all the science, design and entertainment Campus Party offered. Valencia had Campus Party for 15 years, so people in the city is very familiar with LAN parties and similar, but the limited gaming experience lacks of the most valuable innovation and thinking that Campus had. The event is placed in Valencia Fair, the same where Campus was during years.
As a matter of fact, there hasn’t been a very wide reportage: I was recording some video for a website, so I had very little time for shooting photos. However, here it is the result.
I am not a specialist in landscapes. But sometimes I can’t help to shoot some of them. I suppose it’s most common reaction when you have a camera in hands and feel compelled to capture the moment. I am just a commercial photographer, I don’t feel like an artist, but eventually the situation is claiming for a picture. So, there I am, having lots of time working just for having the pic. And I don’t even print them! The big pic was shot in Xativa, Valencia, Spain, while I was walking down a mountain. [slickr-flickr type=”gallery” search=”sets” set=”72157633098999305″]
Sigma 35 1.4 is a really interesting lens I reviewed recently for a Spanish online magazine. Here you can find the English version.
It’s obvious that a good camera helps to make good pictures, but any photographer will tell you that the most important part of the pack is always the human element. Now, we photographers have a weakness for a particular part of the stuff that come with us: lenses. A good lens allows you to work on better, gives better results and even, sometimes, a good lens gets a mediocre camera make a great job. At the end of the day, we will see through the lens, so it is very important to choose the right equipment. In addition, lenses can be used longer than camera bodies. They do not so easily become obsolete. Using adapters, you can use lenses from the 50’s or 60’s with great results in our current DSLR.
Choosing a lens is usually complicated, but we can talk about a standard that is giving great results and has appeared less than a year: the Sigma 35 1.4. With a similar angle of view to human vision, the 35mm has been, in addition to 50mm, a classic in many cameras with fixed lens and a safe for many photographers. It becomes a wide angle and, if placed in a camera with an APS-C sensor (almost all SLR cameras that you can see in the street) it is equivalent to a 56mm, very close to the absolute standard, the 50mm. By the way, the front of the lens does not rotate when focusing, so if you want to use optical filters, no problem: 67mm thread.
The attributes of the Sigma 35 1.4 are easy to point out: amazing optical quality at a reasonable price. The disadvantages are much less obvious, and always relative. It’s better if we explain this particular matter: this lens competes in the same focal length with three Canon lenses: 35 f2, 35 f2 and 35 f1.4 IS. The first two have a lower optical quality. 35 f2 is, however, considerably unexpensive. The 35 f2 IS features a stabilizer that can be useful in certain situations, but it is not essential, and with a price slightly below the target of Sigma. The 35 f1.4 Canon lens is a professional grade sealed against water and dust and similar to Sigma quality but at a price that it’s almost twice the Sigma. Also competes with two lenses without autofocus: the Zeiss 35 1.4, with higher price all previous epic and manufacturing optical quality, and Samyang 35 1.4, with good overall quality, and lower price than the Sigma. Nikon and Sony have similar lenses to professional Canon (AF-S Nikkor 35 1.4 and Sony 35 1.4G) which have very similar characteristics and the comparison terms would be equivalent.
After trying a couple of weeks the Sigma are some things that I can say is somewhat bulkier and heavier than expected, but its autofocus is fast, accurate and quiet. The optical quality is undisputed with a spectacular bokeh and is almost impossible to find aberrations like purple fringe. The biggest problem you could charge against the Sigma during the test result is it results highly addictive. The reserves I have regarding this lens are related with opinions of other people, including a camera mechanic I trust deeply and told me he had in his hands a broken unit that he had opened to repair and confirmed the comments I had read: construction is fragile. The toll paid by a lens and at a competitive price is which is less robust than a professional photographer would like, but probably for a careful amateur will not be a problem. In daily use certainly caused no problem, as we have said, beyond the farewell. This is a lens which one catches you love very easily.
Weight: 665g Size: 77mm in diameter x 94 mm long Mounts: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Sigma. Approximate price: € 900.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently the best mobile phone available. It feels great in your hands (perhaps you can read some reviews where people complains about a plastic feeling. Forget it. Take one in your hand and tell me), and gets you the feeling of a really great product. Innovative features like a real translator from voice to voice (it’s not perfect yet but it gets the work done), a wonderful big screen and great connectivity
Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset, 2,600mAh battery, a 4,99 Full HD ” display, Gorilla Glass 3, LTE where available, Wi Fi, NFC, Infra red LED for remotes, nice sound, eye and motion tracking… A speedster, elegantly built, full of features, great to use and sporting the best camera in a real cell phone available (Nokia 808 is not really a mobile phone available worldwide). However, one of the most relevant updates in all the mobile phone is its new 13 Mpx backside illuminated camera, 31 mm equivalent, that gets stunning results. The camera is astonishing, but the software pack is also really interesting: of course, the Auto Mode is delivering great pics, especially sharp, due to a higher pixel count and convenient process, but there is new features.
Eraser Mode gets a 5 pic series in which the software will delete mobile elements like cars or people, getting great results for tourism pictures or simply for getting cleaner pics.
Frontal and back camera can work simultaneously for making dull pics with a stamp with our faces in it (Dual shot) or
Animated shot: you take a series of pics and camera animates only the moving parts. Eventually works.
Drama shot. You shoot a burst of pictures of something or someone moving. Keeping the background, the images are combined in a final pic with the moving subject appearing several times. Not a great feature.
Best shot. Shoot up to 8 pics, you choose the best, and camera will delete the rest. Useful.
Some pics shot with Samsung Galaxy S4. Reduced for convenience, but not edited.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark III review is one of the matters I had to do. I’ve had this camera for more than 6 months now, so it’s time to make an accurate analysis about my personal impressions. Here you will find detail of technical issues and links to other review, but mostly you will find my personal feelings about this camera. It’s possible you are interested in raw data comparisons, and you can have them, but when I look for an important piece of work like that, I love to find what other photographers have said about it. Especially when they are not paid by any company to bias their written opinions. I am paid by Jalalala SL, my own company, so you may understand I am not marketing any camera.
EOS 5D Mark III review. What’s new.
If a camera is called EOS 5D Mark III you have to make the references to Mark II. I won’t be very innovative. EOS 5D Mark II was an impressive feature that brought outstanding HD video and high ISO with impressive performance with affordable prices. And 5D Mark III is more of those features. Some people expected a big leap from Mark II to Mark III with some impressive new feature. Bad news. Mark III is an impressive camera with lots of small details improved from its predecessor, but there is no miraculous new feature. And, oh, it’s more expensive. But we can take a look to the highlights…
Perhaps the most important improvement in the camera is introducing the same AF System (and hardware) used in the EOS 1Dx. The Mark II had a 9-points system. Good, but probably too humble for such a great camera. In its usability it was probably the most important problem you will use if you are going to work with Mark II. Mark III has61 bright points with advanced programs depending the movement you think are going to find. Of course there is an automatic version, but adding options to improve performance is important in this camera.
Shots per second
If you add the dramatic increase in AF performance to the update in shots per second (from 4 to 6) you find that now it is a suitable camera for sports. Not as good as EOS 1D series, but now you don’t feel like a turtle when you shoot in bursts. Shutter has an average life of about 150,000 shots. It may sound very high, but it’s just standard in Canon. My Mark II had an estimated life of 150,000 also and I sold it with 180,000 without any problem (I told the guy, of course, but I haven’t received information that he has had to replace it yet). There is some curiosity about the shutter life. I saw a web with info about shutter lives, with info added by customers and it seems it is not exactly a normal distribution: if camera is OK, shutter will live way far more than 150-200,000 shots. But the average number of shots is pulled down if it’s defective (those die before 15,000 shots). In that case, I suppose, Canon would replace your shutter if in warranty, so, effective shutter life is more than that those 150,000 declared shots.
Dual slot: SD and Compact Flash
Really interesting. There is lots of combinations to take advantage of this feature.
Digic 5+ is one of these magic things… You don’t see it, you can’t touch it, but it’s there and it’s making changes. Better performance with high ISOs and, what it is very important, it will correct lot of defects of older lenses you have or buy, so suddenly everything looks slightly better. That makes the camera even more valuable, because is improving your actual gear value. But not all lenses profiles are included, so perhaps you will need to connect your camera to your computer uploading profiles in camera.
Depth of field button
Right to its place. Now it’s more usable.
Interesting for classifying pictures while are in the camera. I don’t use it, but it can be worth in some situations. Not to me, yet. Mostly gets my pics rated when I fail to push another button.
From 3″ to 3’2″ and from 940,000 to 1,040,000 pixels. OK, an improvement, but not a critical one.
From 98% to 100&. It’s OK. Thanks for that. Another of the little things from Mark II that help to understand why EOS 5D Mark III is a better camera.
To be honest, I didn’t notice it had this feature until some days after I bought it. For ceremony, theater, classical music, etc, it’s a blessing. Unexpected.
EOS 5D Mark III review. The quality
Holding a 5D Mark III doesn’t feel very different from holding a 5D Mark II. Strong, bulky but tolerable and solid feeling. But it feels very differently from holding, for instance, a small DSLR like a 400D or 600D. The grip is much better and you can feel 5Ds have a heavier, more trustable skeleton magnesium-alloy from the first moment. Of course, the cost of that is not just money: weight is serious, but you can be sure that you can hold the camera all day long even when you are not a strong guy. If you have big hands, there is no problem: the camera is easy to handle and has all the controls with distance enough to be accessed in a quick and handy way. As usual in Canon, two control wheels to quick access to main features. Don’t expect using this camera with one hand, because you will need both of them. However, one of the most important features in this camera is not easy to find in any sheet of characteristics: everything is accessible. Even if you are not an expert photographer, you’ll get used to it in minutes.
Even when I was not unhappy with my 5D Mark II, the AF performance, the dual card slot and the extra ISO are useful features, but the real advance is in quality. Sharper, nicer, better pictures with better colors. The new sensor and image processor are conceived to provide better results without complicating the work for the photographer.
The camera is better sealed than Mark II, which is a good feature for a professional photographer in Spain, but I am sure is even better for photographers who work in more extreme environments. I feel quite comfortable with the general sealing of this camera, but I would love to have it totally impervious to water and dust. Just paranoia.
Another improvement that is really interesting is the headphone socket: this camera has a real usability for video, so it’s very useful having controls and feedback in audio. Mic hasn’t improved, however.
As a conclusion: for me, it’s unmistakably a great camera. Great heir to the 5D Mark II and it’s worth the about 3,299 € it costs. I’ve read some comparisons with Nikon D800 and it’s impressive sensor, but the results are not really different. However, I am a Canon boy. But it’s not a matter of heart, it’s a matter of gear. I just could not afford to buy the same gear again :)
I love experiments. As a photographer, I feel compelled to make all kind of images with conventional objects that can have an interesting aspect or perspective. I haven’t thought thoroughly on this, but I suppose it’s something related to curiosity, more than to creativity .
Valencia is my home town and it’s where I live now. Sun, beach, colorful place and funny people. On the other hand we’ve got some issues with our politicians but, then again, who hasn’t?
Valencia is a 800,000 inhabitants city on the shore of Mediterranean Sea. If you include the metropolitan area you can count about 1,300,000. Mostly flat, as long as an important part of the area was desecated from a lagoon, the Albufera de Valencia. The Albufera is partially wet and it’s the only protected natural space in a capital in a UE city. Or I read that some time ago.
Valencia is very famous for the Fallas, giant monuments made of cardboard and wood that are exposed in the street during less than 1o days. After that they are burnt in March 19th, Saint Joseph. It’s kind a way of a good-bye to the winter. The festivities are popular, but you can find a growing social pressure against it. Lots of problems with traffic and the constant fireworks and explosions happening. People hurt by fireworks, wasted money, social discussions. Yeah, I’m one of the people who disagrees with the festivities, I’m not trying to be impartial.
Architecture in Valencia
The cultural inheritage is really important. Valencia was a kingdom some centuries ago and was integrated in Aragon Crown and after that in Spain. Palaces, religious and civil buildings are very important, and also contemporary architecture. Most important civil Gothic building in the world, Silk Exchange, is inside Valencia.
There is also a cathedral, important baroque palaces (Marqués de Dos Aguas). Architecture in Valencia is really interesting. As a commercial photographer in Spain, when I have some time I love to shoot those buildings.
Part of my job is precisely making these fashion pics. There is some runway pictures from Valencia Fashion Week, mostly, some editorial work for upcoming designers and some backstage. There is some pictures or famous models such Andrés Velencoso and Jon Kortajarena.
Hope you like them.
Some pictures with different designers and models.
But fashion isn’t just on the runway. [slickr-flickr type=”gallery” search=”sets” set=”72157633094965245″]
Behind the lights there is a lot of activity. [slickr-flickr tag=”backstage”]
This is my English-speaking website: Archerphoto commercial photographer. My name is Sergi Albir, I am Spanish (I live in Valencia, Spain), so you may find some odd-looking English in these pages. Please be patient and if you just can’t stand one of my mistakes, please send me an e-mail and I will correct that one.
I am a Spanish professional photographer and writer (and producer) who does love pictures, images, movies and all these things. One of my main activities is shooting portfolios for incoming models. I encourage you to come to Spain and shoot with me, take a look and, if you’re interested, ask me for a quote.
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