Isle of Man TT Race Images

I spent a great 4 days at the Isle of Man TT as a guest of Honda Racing. Here is a link to the photos. It was surprisingly difficult to achieve sharp images as the bikes are travelling very fast and close to you, within a few meters. Fast shutter speeds are required with small apertures, as so little of the bike would be in focus otherwise. This lead inevitably to high ISO’s (up to 3200) in the sections under the trees, such as at Ramsey.

IOM TT-0151

IOM TT-0933-Edit


Zeiss 500mm f8 Mirotar with Focus Confirm Adapter

Testing the Zeiss Mirotar with focus confirm adapter on a Canon 5d mk3

I recently acquired a “focus confirm” adapter for my Zeiss Mirotar 500mm which comfortably won my previous test on mirror lenses.

Read the review here

Read the review here

Zeiss 500mm F8 Mirotar with Focus Confirm adapter on Canon 5d mk3

Tests with “Focus Confirm Adapter” on the Zeiss Mirotar 500mm f8.


Mirror lens testing on DSLR – article

Focus Confirm Adapter

Noise Reduction Testing – Neat Image and iPhone

In the early days of digital photography I used Neat Image to reduce noise in my images. Early cameras suffered from noise even at low ISO, despite their low pixel counts, and enlarging for print made the problem even more visible.

Recent full frame DSLR’s have significantly improved however so I rarely need to use a specialist noise reduction (NR) program, instead a small adjustment of the NR  sliders in Lightroom is usually sufficient, and while this may reduce sharpness, with 21 MP to start with, it is unlikely to be noticed in print and certainly wont be on screen.

However, I have started shooting more recently with the iPhone (4.54×3.42 mm), the Sony RX100 (1″ Sensor 13.2 x 8.8mm) and a newly acquired – from ebay Sony R1 (APS-C Sensor 21.50×14.40 mm).

The tiny iPhone 4s sensor suffers from a high level of noise and artifacts even at low ISO. The Sony RX100 is surprisingly good – better in fact that the bigger sensor in the “vintage” Sony R1 – which I am finding is surprisingly noisy for a relatively large sensor at 400ISO upwards.

Neat Image works by taking a sample of noise, either from the picture itself, if it can find a large enough – uniform area, or it can use a previously saved noise profile with ideally the same settings for ISO and shutter speed. There is a little skill involved in this as it is possible to do a better job at finding the uniform area than Neat Image can automatically! It is also possible to display a test target on your screen – or print one, and take pictures of it with a range of settings, that can then be processed as a batch by Neat Image to create profiles to be used in future. This works really well when you can alter the settings – but not so well on the iPhone.

The only way to get profiles for the iPhone then is to take lots of pictures in different lighting conditions, and thus different ISOs and shutter speeds and manually “auto profile” each image then, if the score is high enough (over 90% save the profile for future use. Another useful tip is to shoot something uniform whenever you take pictures, under the same lighting as this could give you a useful profile for the images taken on that occasion, and be useful for future use. I should say at this point that I use the “645Pro” Camera app on the iphone which gives me a TIFF output before compression, rather than JPEG.

Several people have uploaded their sample profiles and these can be accessed here


And the iPhone…


Shooting a Calibration Target

Note that it is meant to be blurred! Set your AF to manual and focus on infinity.


Setting up batch Processing

Menu for Neat Batch

Batch Processing

Optimising performance.

Neat Image can carry out a test on your hardware to determine whether it is better to use teh graphics card processor, or the CPU of the computer or a combination of both. Very clever!

Neat Image Performance Optimisation

Neat Image Website
Neat Image Profiles

645Pro for iPhone

How to import raw files from a recently released camera into an old version of Photoshop.

If you have recently purchased a new camera, and want to work with RAW images but are still running an old version of Photoshop there is a work around.

You’re maybe in this situation if you have an old PC running Windows XP as LR4 and Photoshop CS6 require Windows 7. Or if you just don’t want the expense of updating LR or Photoshop.

The process is straightforward. First you convert all the RAW files into “Digital Negative” format, this is an open, non proprietary RAW format – your camera makers format is specific and bespoke. I convert all my images to DNG anyway, and there are some advantages such as slightly smaller (10%) files size.

This conversion is lossless, and the files can then be imported into older versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.

Find the software here.

The important thing to remember is that there are different versions of Adobe Camera RAW – more capability is added as camera manufacturers introduce new features – so you must choose the correct version to save to depending on the Adobe Photoshop version you have, but you must use the LATEST version of DNG converter if you have a new camera.

For example if you have CS3 then choose DNG v4.6 see picture.

So you are converting from a current version of ACR to an older one effectively. Leave the other options as I’ve got them.

Once the conversion has taken place, simply import into Lightroom or Photoshop as normal.

Most recent cameras that the latest version of DNG converter will convert for includes:
Canon EOS 1D X
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EOS 60Da
Canon PowerShot G1 X
Canon PowerShot S100V
Fuji X-Pro1
Nikon D4
Nikon D3200
Nikon D800
Nikon D800E
Olympus OM-D E-M5

RPS All About Imaging Day

A symposium organised by the School of Media, Arts and Design of the University of Westminster and the Imaging Science group of the RPS.

I attened this event in Harrow today, very interesting exploring some of the more technical aspects of digital imaging.

Highlights for me were.

1. Reproduction of texture in artworks. Carinna Parraman from the University of Bristol discussed obtained texture in printed images like brush strokes of a Van Gough painting, a halfway house between 2D and 3D printing.

2. Using photographs (and maths) to visualise the damage on a ceiling at Hampton Court. Lindsay MacDonald. Using a Nikon D200 (hardly state of the art) to photograph the ceiling in very small precise areas, with flash in different angles producing multiple images, including HDR to further analyse to highlight cracks, flaking paint and previous restoration efforts.

3. Video evidence for legal use from CCTV images by Ken MacLennon Brown
This covered the difficulties of getting high quality images from CCTV cameras, good enough to stand up as evidence in court, given the wildly differing lighting quality, bandwidth requirements at different times of day – affecting compression eg. packed station concourse vs empty and quality of installed cameras and locations.

It was an excellent day, I am looking forward to the next one!