Flickr Blog: Selected pictures of Flickr.

Flickr Blog: Flickr best selected photos.
One of the photography blogs I do follow is Flickr Blog. In this Flickr page, which is the most important page photograph in the world, they are conducting thematic selections or focuses attention on a photographer or group of photographers. The result is often spectacularly good.

FLICKR BLOG: WHY IS INTERESTING?

Grace, of course, is in the excellent selection Flickr people do. Flickr also provides a daily “Explore”, which is a complicated selection-by-programming algorithm of the 500 most interesting photos that have been uploaded in the last hours. I’ve been lucky enough to see my photos in Explore on many occasions, but the truth is that I have appeared on the blog. Yes, you can take a look at my photos on http://flickr.com/photos/archerphoto

Screenshot of Flickr Blog. The rights belong to the author of each photograph.
Screenshot of Flickr Blog. The rights belong to the author of each photograph.

In any case, the blog is chosen by direct human intervention using a computer valuing  many factors, and the result of personal touch is much better and more interesting. Whether you’re a professional photographer or just an amateur photographer you love photography, I recommend it.

And one more thing, Free Flickr accounts now have 1 GB of free storage, so if you liked your blog, you might want to join the page and have chances to appear on your blog. It’s not impossible 🙂 This also should join one of their groups, Flickr Friday, where calls for photographs related to the theme each week.

Transcend 16GB Wi-Fi. A bad experience.

I usually write longer reviews, but in this case, with a brief comment will suffice because this is not a detailed analysis but a simple note discussing a bad experience with a Transcend 16GB Wi-Fi I bought in late July 2013.

Having taken a look at the options available (Sandisk Eye-Fi, Toshiba Transcend AirFlash and Wi-Fi), the best option seemed Transcend, so I decided to get myself one.

Transcend 16GB Wi-Fi. A bad experience.

The first moments were a bit disappointing: the card works as a Wi-Fi server and can connect up to three devices, very intuitive to set up, but a few minutes later I could see the photos shot on my Nexus 7 and mobile, thanks to the Android application. In a few minutes, I could see them on the laptop with Windows 7 but here came the first major problem: not only does not transfer RAW files with ease, but to photos download to the computer has to be ONE by ONE. There is a web interface that connects to the card, but you can not automatically download the pictures to your computer. This would streamline the work flow when we are shooting in the studio. I contacted the technical support team to confirm this software flaw and they did.

Transcend 16GB Wi-Fi by Archerphoto, professional photographer in Valencia, Spain
Transcend 16GB Wi-Fi

However, the card was relatively affordable (about 45 €, shipping included) so the profitability could come by the card capacity to transfer directly photos to the cell phone. I was mistaken. That evening I took my EOS 5D Mark III and the card to a beauty event, and suddenly, the card locked my camera. It could not read the pictures and I couldn’t shoot. I had to restart the camera and remove the SD card. Photos are not lost and did not lose the work done that day, but if it was not because I had a second memory card, I’d had not been able to work. In any case, when I got back home, the SD remained unable to work, so I decided that my new SD Class 10 would be returned.

As a commercial photographer I rule out the use of this card and I do not recommended neither for amateur use. The odds that this is only one point of failure are high, but if a professional photographer can not rely on his memory card and this one not only does not permit significant function  (Wi-Fi transmission) but also did not you allow view photos in the camera, those are determining factors to qualify as a bad product.

Julio Portet, personal trainer

Julio Portet is a known bodybuilder in Spain. He’s been Spanish Champion and he’s been also a world contestant who has been in competition since 1994. That’s quite impressive if you just think he was just 17 years-old. Julio is a really strong competitor, but he’s also a successful trainer: his team has been getting on the podium during years. As a commercial  photographer I’ve known some members of his team and I’ve watched him in competition and exhibitions.  He doesn’t just train athletes for competition: Julio Portet is also a personal trainer who brings out the best of each person who prepares. His latest achievement, 6th in Mr. Olympia, N.A.C., in 2013. His biggest one: 2nd in Mr.Universe NABBA 2008 in Cancun, Mexico.

Julio Portet, personal trainer
Julio Portet

Other info

He is also a great goldsmith, specialized in traditional Valencia crafts, in brass, silver and other materials. As long as we’ve been friends for some years, I’ve got lots of pictures of him, even from his closest family and friends. Most of the pics are in stock. Perhaps some day I’ll show them, but at this moment, here there’s some pics of this versatile man in his sports side: as a personal trainer and some promotional pictures of Julio in the gym .

His website is only available in Spanish: http://www.portet-team.com/ but you can see some of my photos there.

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Valencia Dreamhack 2013

Valencia Dreamhack 2013

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.

There’s been competitions in Starcraft II, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Counter Strike Global Offensive and Dota 2, you can check results here. http://www.dreamhack.es/news/dreamhack-valencia12-esports-resultados/

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.

 

Dreamhack 2013 by Archerphoto
Dreamhack 2013 by Archerphoto

 

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Landscapes

LANDSCAPES

Almost sunset, by Archerphoto
Almost sunset, by Archerphoto

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.

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If you prefer taking a look to the same gallery in Flickr, https://secure.flickr.com/photos/archerphoto/sets/72157633098999305/

 

Sigma 35 1.4 Review and gallery

Sigma 35 1.4 Review and gallery

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.

Sigma 35 1,4 review by Archerphoto, professional photographer in Valencia, Spain
Sigma 35 1,4 review by Archerphoto

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.

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Samsung Galaxy S4: impressions

Some ideas about Samsung Galaxy s4

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.

 

EOS 5D Mark III review: Personal Impressions

EOS 5D Mark III
EOS 5D Mark III

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…

AF System

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.

EOS 5D Mark III review
EOS 5D Mark III review

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.

Processor

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.

Rate button

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.

Screen

From 3″ to 3’2″ and from 940,000 to 1,040,000 pixels. OK, an improvement, but not a critical one.

Viewfinder

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.

Silent shutter

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.

5D Mark III review
5D Mark III review

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 🙂

Review list:

http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_eos_5d_mark_iii_review/

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/digital-cameras/1294075/canon-eos-5d-mark-iii

http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/5d-mk-iii.htm

http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/digital-slrs/canon-eos-5d-mark-iii-review-50007897/

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-eos-5d-mark-iii/