Lightroom, Capture One, White balance and the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV

The Sony a7rII received a small amount of criticism from some for not having a built in flash, and it was only a small amount of criticism but it’s reassuring to see the Sony a7rIII lacks a built in flash. Regardless of the brand, occasionally, you’ll read the odd forum post requesting such a silly feature. The general argument pro this idea is that if it’s not used, it does no harm and you’ll occasionally forget to bring a light. My argument remains the same… Built in flashes introduce an extra point of entry for water i.e. the flash has to pop up somewhere and water can get in said “somewhere.” Additionally, you need a large capacitor inside the camera for the flash to function. This takes up extra space and capacitors are generally quick to fail.

I’m hiking the Great Divide Trail in Canada, this June, and I recently bought a Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV light for it. It’s advertised as having a 5000K colour temperature, a high CRI, it’s lightweight and upon switching it on, you can instantly tell it’s different to other lights of its kind. In case you misinterpret this post because I write too much, the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV is the perfect tool for a hiking photographer in my opinion; it can be used as poor man’s flash, a video light, and a hiking light. It has a nice spread, there’s no horrifying hotspot, it’s incredibly bright for its size and it’s great. This page isn’t a review, so I’m not going to be posting photographs of it and whatnot. I will be reviewing the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV light at some point though.

If you use it with a Nitecore F1 and a 18650 lithium battery, you can have a small USB powerbank and a light for whatever you desire too but again this might not interest everyone. When I write my review, I plan to review all of these products mentioned as I think it’s a light that should be a part of a system rather than a light on its own.

Summation:

  • Built in flashes — The Devil
  • Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV — Amazing
  • Adobe Lightroom — The Devil
  • One One Capture One — Awesome

I’m a nerd weird and I guess the thought of spending so much money on a tiny little light meant something to me. This should behave as advertised right, or why not just get a cheaper light? I felt I was being pedantic for caring but these things aren’t cheap. Okay, so I took a photograph of a grey card, completely disregarding whether the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV would be useful for hiking with, and in Lightroom I noticed it said 4600K or thereabouts. I emailed the shop I bought it from and they were incredibly kind on the matter. They said I could return it if it wasn’t suitable.

I tried ArgyllPRO ColorMeter trial software, it crashes a lot and uses the battery even when the app is closed, but I really like the look of the app and this could be useful to me. I didn’t realise the readings aren’t real in the trial version (in fairness to the author, this is clearly stated if you click “read more”.) I wonder if the full version has more updates and crashes less. If it were cheaper, I’d take the risk but at £93.99, it’s a bit much.

So here’s where things get interesting… I installed Phase One Capture One 11 software for Sony. It’s free and it looks good. The colour temperature was different with the grey card, and I thought how could this be? I prayed for a blue sky to use as a reference, and it only rained more. So I began looking at all my old photographs looking for blue skies (which in England is no easy task) and judging white balance based on that. Additionally, I used the camera’s built in white balance tool and it yielded the same results as Capture One 11. .

 

I know what you might be thinking… The wall looks slightly cooler in one, and yes you’re right. The shadows are different. It all looks a bit different, but that’s as close as you can get it with the white balance tool alone. If you type in the same numbers for each program, for the white balance, you’ll be horrified at the results.

I did this with hundreds of photographs, using different lights (flashes, natural, natural cloudy, the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV) but trying not to use the Zebralight H600Fd Mk IV very much in case I returned it, and it’s my belief that Adobe Lightroom is full of shit.

I’ve drawn the conclusion that this light is indeed the advertised 5000K or thereabouts. It matches natural light close enough.

It looks slightly cooler here but that’s just the angle. It’s actually slightly warmer than sunlight. As with all lights, the smaller the light source the more defined the shadows, but it’s still quite nice for macro photography I think. I think it’s bright enough you could add a modifier too. Again, this isn’t a review but it’s a few points to consider.

 

 

Sony 24-70 GMaster and Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 Review

I can’t remember if I mentioned that I bought the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GMaster lens. When I initially planned to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (I’d still like to, perhaps in 2020 if I can find the funds), I imagined myself only taking two small, lightweight lenses.

After two visa denials, some other problems and a metaphorical kick in the face, I sort of impulse bought the Sony 24-70 GMaster lens. It’s a bit heavy than what I’d like, and I considered the Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GMaster lens but I can’t afford it. I’ve decided I’m going to bring a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens to accompany it. The latter will stay in my backpack until evenings most likely.

I would like to write a review of the Sony 24-70 f/2.8 G Master lens but it’s likely I am going to wait until I’ve hiked the Great Divide Trail in Canada. My photography skills should increase ten fold, well, perhaps not that much, haha, and I’ll have lots of photographs to show in my review.

My first impressions of it are great though. Everything about it is pretty awesome excluding the weight. It doesn’t focus breathe much either which is a rarity for Sony.

Several years or determination, website plans and whatnot

For the last few years, my plans have been turned upside down repeatedly. As my about page explains. Finally things are going according to plan and buying lots of hiking and camping equipment has hit me in the face, I’m finally going to be doing this! I think 2018 will potentially be the best year of my life :).

Before I travel to Canada, I’d like to neaten my website up a bit. I should really put more effort into my reviews too! I’m one of these people who will either spend hours on a minute detail or rush something altogether.

My plan for the website while I am travelling is to post a few photographs with a short bit of information attached and details of how the hike went for that week. My long term plan is to provide a lot of information about hiking the Great Divide Trail in general. There is tonnes and tonnes of advice for the Pacific Crest Trail, but only about 30 people each year hike the Great Divide Trail. It’s also a bit confusing because there’s a bike route with the same name; it’s not the same hike though–it’s much longer and is in America. This aids to the fun of things too because it’s going to be a completely unexpected experience.

At the moment, the current style of my site isn’t too suitable for blog photos with photographs attached as the front page only shows a part of the title. What I might do is put each week/day under the travel section and separate it from my blog posts. It’ll be cleaner that way and if I change website themes, it won’t upset anything too much :). I’ll give it some thought :).

I’m still waiting for a lot of items to arrive, but I’ll take a photograph of them when they do!

 

Back from holiday, thoughts and photographs

My holiday was nice. I stayed around the western boarder of England, just next to Wales. It’s allowed me to chill out and think about what I’m going to do this year and next–the last few months have been stressful to say the least. I’ve had time to think about my travel plans for next year some more, and I’m slightly over the disappointment of my US Visa being declined, although I’ll never come to terms with how unfair it is but it doesn’t have to prevent me from going to a nice, more accepting country i.e. Canada :).

Here’s a few photographs I took. I haven’t edited many; I have hundreds to go through. The chicken shot is composed really poorly, I know, I know, haha. However, I thought he looked cute in that position, and I only had half a second to get the shot :D.

I used a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.0 lens and a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens for these shots. I have been thinking I would like something wider and something longer, but I’m not 100% sure what I’ll get yet. a Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 FE lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens would be really nice, albeit out of budget.

I’ll probably start writing more about my travels on the travel section of my site, so I’ll keep this post short for now. I just wanted to share a few pictures.

My Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should arrive this monday. I would have liked it on holiday, so I could edit photographs and post in the evenings (I had good internet there, haha) but I’ll try it out soon enough and report my findings.

UK Holiday and some thoughts about lenses

I’m going to be gone for a week or so, as I’m going on holiday. I’ll mostly be staying in England but I will briefly visit Wales as well. I’ll be doing a bit of hiking despite what the people at the US Embassy think, I do actually like to walk places lol and photography.

When I return home, I should have my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and I’ll work on doing a review for that. I’ll be reviewing it as a portable backup solution and a device to benefit travel photographers, rather than the stereotypical type of review (there’s plenty like that that’re far better than anything I could create; I suggest you check out Krystal Key on YouTube and Flossy Carter.)

A telephoto lens for Canada

I’ve also been looking at more photographs of Canada and it’s really pretty! I need to give lens consideration some serious thought. For my planned Pacific Crest Trail 2018 hike, I thought taking a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 or a Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2.8 lens would be enough. Weight’s a serious problem for a hike like that.

However, as I’ll be going to Canada and will likely not have to stress about hiking speed quite as much, I definitely feel I should concentrate a bit more on photography and I’m considering all options really.

The Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is overpriced (in my opinion), it’s relatively lightweight and it’s a fairly good focal length. If it was a macro lens as well, this lens would be a no-brainer for me.

The Sony 70-200 f/2.8 GM lens is beautiful by all accounts, but it’s big and expensive.

The Sony 100-400 f/4.6 to f/5.6 GM lens is lightweight for its focal length but it’s still a heavy lens in its own right. This lens could be incredibly useful for wildlife photography, including bears and wolves.

The Sony 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens is a great standard zoom, it will allow me to take flower shots, landscape shots and various things. Combine this with my Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens and I’d have myself a decent kit, with the exception of being able to take wildlife shots (I mean, you can, but it’s not an ideal focal length.) It’s expensive and heavy but I think it’s priced about where it should be.

I’m considering bringing a Zeiss Loxia 21mm f/2.8 lens, a Sony Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens and a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens, but perhaps 135mm isn’t long enough. It’s a really hard judgement to make. I really want a telephoto zoom, but the weight of one might prove to be too much. At about 600 grams, the Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens is considerably lighter than all the other longer focal length lenses, and 21mm is incredibly versatile for landscape shots. Plus I’ll be able to use my phone’s cameras a bit; its quality isn’t as good obviously but it will still have its place in my bag.

In truth, the prices of all these lenses stretch my budget beyond what I’m comfortable with, but I really don’t think 21mm to 50mm is long enough. I manually approve all comments, so if something doesn’t appear, please wait a week until I’m back.

Travel News, Canadian Visa and The Photography Show NEC

As previously stated, there’s a Photography Show held at the NEC in Birmingham every year. The event starts March 18th. I won’t be attending but you can usually find cheaper equipment at UK stores during the days the show runs. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 lens announced around then too. I’m still looking for a telephoto lens but I’m not sure if I can afford one yet; it’ll be especially useful for travel photography. Continue reading “Travel News, Canadian Visa and The Photography Show NEC”