How to Build a Digital Camera with a DIY Image Sensor By Hand

It’s alive! It’s alive! This guy not only built his own camera but also made the 1-kilopixel brain by hand.

Having a digital camera that only has a single kilopixel isn’t really anything to brag about…unless you built that friggin’ thing with your own two hands, sensor included. That’s exactly what YouTuber and creator Sean Hodgins did.

Meet the “digiObscura”, a hand-made digital camera made from 3D-printed parts, a custom image sensor, and a broken Canon 35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. Find out how Hodgins built this thing from scratch in his video below.

As you might be able to tell from the camera’s name, the digiObscura was originally meant to be a pinhole camera. However, when Hodgins realized it wasn’t producing enough light, he decided to repurpose the front glass of an old Canon 35-105mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.

And even though the image sensor itself is only comprised of 1000 pixels, I think we can all appreciate the fact that Hodgins placed and soldered each and every photo cell by hand.

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Audiio Lifetime Music Subscription for $199 USD

Music licensing platform Audiio has just launched and to kick it off, they are offering lifetime subscriptions for anyone who signs up in the first 60 days for USD $199 which would normally get you annual memberships. The music licensing company, Audiio, is a new online platform that currently comprises of 3000+ songs from 250+ indie artists and … Continued

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This Photographer Used a Drone to Lightpaint a Giant Baby Yoda in the Sky

Let’s be honest, we all saw this coming. Given the meteoric success of the Disney+ show The Mandalorian and the universal appeal of “Baby Yoda,” it was only a matter of time before a photographer decided to pay tribute. Light painter Russell Klimas did just that.

The light painting you see above was captured using a Lume Cube Strobe strapped to a DJI Mavic drone:

But that’s just the beginning. Since it would be next-to-impossible to fly a drone this precisely by hand, Klimas used a combination of two programs to make this photo a reality: Google Earth, and an autonomous drone flight app called Litchi.

First, Klimas plotted a “course” for the drone in Google Earth, using a photo of Baby Yoda as a guide. Then he took that course and imported it into the Litchi app. The app is able to guide the Mavic along the correct path at a pre-set altitude, drawing Baby Yoda among the stars as it goes.

All that’s left is for Klimas to set up his tripod and fire off a (very) long exposure.

Klimas actually shared an in-depth tutorial of this exact technique with PetaPixel‘s readers earlier this year. As you can see from those images, the only real difference between his Baby Yoda and previous night sky light paintings is that he used multiple colors by switching out the filter on the Lume Cube halfway through the exposure.

The final image is a single exposure, not a composite:

If you want to learn how to capture giant drone light paintings like this, definitely check out Klimas’ tutorial here. And if you’d like to see more of his creative light painting work, visit his website or give him a follow on Instagram.

(via Fox21 News)


Image credits: Photos and screenshots by Russell Klimas, and used with permission.

Blogging for Photographers in 2020: What Actually Works?

Blogging for Photographers in 2020: What Actually Works?

When it comes to blogging, there are a lot of things that can help drive traffic to your site. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of things that you can spend tons of time on and be left with a minimal return. In this video, Cory and Dylan give photographers a solid game plan for going into 2020.

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The Most Important Piece of Advice to Creators in 2020 From a Creator

The Most Important Piece of Advice to Creators in 2020 From a Creator

As the 2019 year is gone, it’s time to start setting goals and making this your best year to date. In this article, hear the most important piece of advice to creators in 2020 and learn how to maximize your creative growth.

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Autofocus For Everyone!

Fujinon just demonstrated their UA 107×8.4 AF Outside Broadcast Lens with Auto Focus at InterBEE 2019, the first box lens with stand-alone AF technology.

The Box Lens Goes Autofocus?

The past couple of years in camera technology have been kind of amazing if you look at the tools we’re now using objectively. One area that has grown in leaps and bounds is autofocus technology. At InterBee 2019 outside of Tokyo, Fujinon showed a fairly revolutionary lens.  They were demonstrating their UA 107×8.4 AF Outside Broadcast Lens with Auto Focus for the first time. If you’re not familiar with what a box lens is, think about those pedestal-mounted large 2/3-inch broadcast cameras that are typically used to shoot live television. We’re used to seeing lenses in a cylindrical shape, but box lenses are so large and have such large glass elements, motors and electronics that it makes more sense to enclose all of the internals in a box-like rectangular housing, hence the name. This type of lens is large and heavy and would never be used handheld; they’re used in the realm of televising live sporting events and that sort of thing.

What was revolutionary about this new box lens that Fujinon demonstrated was that it’s the first lens of its kind that utilizes autofocus technology. The UA107x8.4 AF broadcast lens utilizes a brand-new phase-detection autofocus sensor; Fujinon says fast, sharp focus images with a response speed as quick as 0.5 seconds. Keep in mind the huge weight and diameter of the lens elements that the lens motors are moving to zoom and focus on a fast-moving subject. The UA107x8.4 also features the company’s image stabilization mechanism and a 107x ultra-magnification zoom that covers focal lengths from 8.4mm to 900mm (1800mm with 2x)! Think about that for a second—an 8.4-900mm zoom lens with autofocus. The fact that this lens will retail for $212,000 is beside the point. The fact that it’s this type of lens with high-quality AF technology, which operates independent of the camera, is kind of amazing as there are no broadcast 2/3-inch removable lens cameras that have any sort of built-in AF. This is a lens company acknowledging that some of the highest-end televised events in the world can benefit from AF technology.

Trickle Up Technology?

Autofocus For Everyone
Fujinon also makes one of my favorite lenses, the XF16mm f/1.4 WR that utilizes, along with the XT-3 camera, similar technology for AF.

What’s also interesting to me is that this technology is the same AF technology that’s used in my mirrorless Fujifilm XT-3 camera and my favorite Fujinon XF16mm f/1.4 WR lens. Talk about two opposite ends of the production spectrum, right? It’s unusual but not unheard of for high tech features like AF to migrate from an $899 consumer lens and $1,400 mirrorless camera body to a massive 52 pound, 24-inch long box lens; it kind of makes you think that there’s something new afoot here with this “used to be consumer” AF feature, doesn’t it?  

My Pro Video/Digital Cinema AF Experience

Autofocus For Everyone
I’ve shot extensively with the Canon CN E 18-80mm t/4.4 IS compact servo lens with AF; it works well in documentary and event shooting.

Besides the Fujfilm XT-3, the other professional video camera that I own is the Canon EOS Cinema C200. In my time with the C200, I’ve had a chance to use many different lenses with it, from an inexpensive Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens all the way up to some high-end cinema lenses that cost many times what the C200 itself costs. Here at HDVideoPro, I had a chance to use the Canon CN E 18-80 t/4.4 and CN E 70-200 t/4.4 servo zoom lenses with the C200 and the C300 MKII cameras. The one distinguishing feature that makes both of these lenses unique is that they’re high-quality servo zoom lenses that utilize Canon’s excellent dual pixel autofocus system. The CN E compact servos aren’t really cinema lenses, they have no hard stops and are geared more toward documentary and event shooters, but the fact that they are $4,600 high-quality lenses that utilize AF is notable. Not that long ago, fast-paced event and documentary shooting were both types of production that used to be the sole domain, on a pro level at least, of manual focus lenses. Now, we have choices.

The Newest AF Technology—Combined

Autofocus For Everyone
Sony’s new PMW-FX9 camera menu offers sophisticated AF controls that work well to acquire and track subjects, keeping them in razor-sharp focus in many different situations.

As I write this, I’m waiting for Sony to ship us out a review copy of its brand-new full-frame digital cinema camera, the PMW-FX9. The FX9, from preliminary reports from our colleagues in Europe, has some outstanding new AF technology built in that was adopted from the A7 mirrorless line up. Once again, AF technology is migrating upward. If you take a look at the menu of the FX9, you can see options for AF transition speed. AF responsiveness, Face detection AF and lots of other settings and parameters to fine-tune the FX-9 with.  

Autofocus For Everyone
The new Sony FX9 AF system works best with native AF Sony lenses like this 28-135mm f/4.0 G OSS servo zoom.

It used to be that most AF systems utilized either contrast detection, which didn’t always work very well on low contrast or low-lit subjects or phase detection, which reads the differing contrast ratios between adjacent pixels. With the new AF technology, Sony has figured out a way to layer a phase and a contrast-detection AF system over one sensor, which by all accounts gives you the best of both worlds.

Autofocus For Everyone
The Sony AF system utilizes both contrast and phase-detect AF technology sandwiched on a single sensor. The combined system works remarkably well in all kinds of conditions that usually cause AF to lose tracking.

The current Sony version offers a combined 824-point AF system that provides seamless AF that locks onto the subject earlier than other systems and tracks more faithfully through all kinds of lighting and contrast conditions.

The Next Frontier

While us medium to lower-end production users are enjoying and using different types of AF technology to help us shoot sharper and more in focus images, in the high end of narrative filmmaking and digital cinema, today, in 2019, ACs (assistant camera operators) mostly utilize wireless FIZ controls (Focus/Iris and Zoom) that, when paired with a small wireless video monitor, allows the AC to faithfully track focus. There’s a lot more to focusing the camera than just acquiring a subject and faithfully tracking it in narrative filmmaking. There’s a lot of emotion, drama and intent that the AC brings to how they focus the lens, how long the focus takes and when to shift focus from one character to another that just can’t be programmed to be taken care of by a camera’s electronics. At times, the challenge is just how to keep a subject in sharp focus with shallow DOF as the subject and camera move. That is an art and a skill, and many are skeptical about if any kind of autofocus will ever replace that.

Keep in mind, though, that this sort of creative, artistic focus pulling isn’t needed or used all of the time in narrative filmmaking. In some instances, creative focus pulling is a requirement, but in many other circumstances, there’s little need to be creative with focusing; the director mainly wants the main subject in the frame to stay in sharp focus, period. I’m personally convinced that autofocus technology is coming to high-end cinema optics, but it will probably be external rather than integrated into the lens body as it is in the lower end. This will allow current high-end optics to still be used, but in different ways: AF for some shots and sequences, manual focus with the AC for others. The future of the AC’s job description will undoubtedly shift in the coming years, from the fully manual focus pulling of today, often with digital distance finders/digital focusing scales, to the AC minding AF systems and then switching back to manual focus when needed.

There are focus pulls that I’ve seen that would be nearly impossible for a human AC to nail and had AF systems nail, but conversely, autofocus systems lack the human touch, visual signature and discernment. Yes, I’m of the opinion that what ACs do can be artistic, not just technical, and for autofocus to replace that is many years away with AI and learned behavior. In 2019, this aspect of filmmaking still required the human touch, but stay tuned, it’s evolving.          

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DJI releases ‘GEO zone’ firmware update for the Mavic Mini

When DJI announced the Mavic Mini, its 249-gram drone that doesn’t require registration (unless used for commercial purposes), the general public was disappointed with the fact that it was missing some important features. One of those was the inability to unlock GEO Zones. Right in time for the New Year, DJI has released its latest firmware update, v01.00.0400, which also includes two important safety features.

The latest firmware update for v1.0.4, or later, of the iOS and Android version of the DJI Fly app now allows you to unlock GEO Zones. DJI also added in a feature that prevents you from taking off when the GPS signal is weak (GPS <8) and the environment light is too weak to safely operate the aircraft. This feature has been missing from all previous firmware updates, including those created for the DJI GO app, and will hopefully be implemented there, as well, going forward.

Another pertinent safety update is the requirement for compass calibration before takeoff if environment light is not sufficient or if the compass experiences magnetic interference. The latter is a leading cause of flyaways. The Mavic Mini is an entry-level drone that appeals to beginners who are especially susceptible to losing a drone. Anyone who remembers the disaster that took place in Las Vegas, when a drone flew off and landed on an airport runway, will appreciate this feature. To properly calibrate a compass, make sure you do so in an area absent of any magnetic interference.

A few other new features in the firmware update include:

  • Adjusted flight altitude and distance in payload mode.
  • Added warning prompt for battery cycles.
  • Reduced noise during self-diagnostics after powering on.
  • Fixed issue: linking was abnormal in some regions.

DJI has also noted that ‘the update may reset various main controller settings, such as the RTH altitude and the maximum flight distance, to default settings. Before updating, take note of your preferred DJI Fly settings, and readjust them after the update.’ If the update fails, it is recommended that users restart the aircraft, remote controller, and DJI Fly or DJI Assistant 2 for Mavic, and retry.

Red Zones are Restricted Zones. Users will be prompted with a warning and the flight won’t be authorized. Anyone who believes they have permission to operate in a Restricted Zone has to contact flysafe@dji.com or go through the Online Unlocking portal on DJI’s Fly Safe site.

When it comes to GEO Zones, unlocking a low-risk area requires a few taps or clicks. High-risk zones require prior approval, along with proof of credentials, and can’t be accessed within the Fly app. Basically, don’t attempt to unlock a high-risk or Red Zone, especially in close proximity to an airport, unless you know what you’re doing. Information, and other safety tips, can be found on DJI’s Fly Safe portal.

Why I’m Sticking with Lightroom Classic… for Now

Ever since Adobe announced that Lightroom would become “Lightroom Classic”, the writing has been in the wall. Lightroom as I know it will someday become a technological dinosaur. If Adobe gets their way, the replacement—confusingly known as Lightroom (non-Classic)—is the way of the future.

Adobe’s priority is clear in the naming of the products. As of 2017, “Lightroom” refers to the cloud-based version. “Lightroom Classic” is the term used for the older software. To avoid confusion in this article, I’ll refer to Lightroom Classic (the old version) as “Classic”. I’ll refer to the new cloud-based Lightroom as “CC” for “Creative Cloud”.

When CC came out, I opened the program and poked around a bit. But it was such a different interface and I couldn’t really see the point. I had photos to process, so I closed CC and went back to work in Classic.

A few months ago, I completed a survey for Adobe and was very dismissive of CC.

Maybe I haven’t given CC a fair shake.

In this article, I’ll give you my impressions as I revisited CC with a view to switching from Classic.

I went into this project with an open mind. Maybe all those things that drive me nuts in Classic have been fixed in CC. Maybe I’ll have new post-processing tools to play with. Maybe I’ve been missing out and my editing will take half the time in CC!

My current setup in Lightroom Classic.

General Background

Since I seem to get Adobe upgrades every few weeks, let me take a moment to document which versions of Classic and CC I’m working on. I’m up to date with CC version 3.1 and Classic 9.1.

I do most of my image post-processing in Classic with a round trip or two to Photoshop (version 21.0.2) for some content-aware fill and the occasional overlay or composite.

I subscribe to the yearly Photography Plan from Adobe which comes with 20GB of cloud storage. I’ve been using this storage to share albums through Lightroom Web – which is different from both Classic and CC. I discovered Lightroom Web by accident. This third version of Lightroom can be accessed at https://lightroom.adobe.com/.

I do a lot of traveling and my internet access can be slow and at times non-existent. I simulated travel conditions by periodically putting my computer in airplane mode. I get a lot of post-processing done on airplanes, so this was a good test. 

In CC, I tried to replicate as closely as possible the post-processing workflow I’ve developed in Classic. But I was also on the lookout for new and interesting features in CC that might make my workflow more efficient.

Getting Started in CC

When I opened CC for the first time, I was surprised to find some of my photos were already in the program. Apparently, my Classic has been talking to CC for a while now. Some of the images are from albums I’ve shared through Lightroom Web. But most of the photos I don’t remember syncing to CC.

My new iPhone also seems to talk to CC. I’m not sure how I arranged that, but photos from my phone are synced to CC.

Workspace for Lightroom CC.

Since I already had photos to work with, I started with a bit of editing in CC.

Editing in Lightroom CC

The CC photo editing interface is a bit different from what I’m used to in Classic, but I found most of the tools I frequently use. Adobe has changed the look of some of the tools or relocated or renamed them. For instance, the term “Optics” replaces “Lens Correction and “Geometry” replaces “Transform”.

Tone Curve tool is located as a button in the Light panel, Split Toning is located under Effects, and Temperature is located under Color. It took me a bit of time to find these tools, but once I did, they worked as I expected.

The editing panel in Lightroom CC.

All this I can get used to. In fact, if I’d learned to post-process on CC in the first place, I wouldn’t think twice about the layout.

As I played with a few photos, I did find some things that were different from Classic. Some I could get used to; others might be deal-breakers. Here are a few differences that I noted.

Tone Curve

In CC, I can’t adjust the tone curve by dragging on the histogram. In Classic, I can grab my shadows and move them left or right and quickly see the difference in the image.

Also, the tone curve (when I finally found it in CC) doesn’t have Medium and Strong options. I’ve only just discovered these options recently so maybe they are new to Classic. In the past, I would have to round trip into Photoshop and apply a blend mode to get the strong contrast I like. Now, I can get the same effect in Classic – but not in CC.

Adjustment Tools

The adjustment tools like Spot Removal and the Radial Filter (called Radial Gradient) seem to work in a similar fashion in the two programs. But the adjustment tools don’t include a list of presets.

I dodge and burn a lot and I really don’t want to tweak every slider each time I want to make a change. In Classic, I can create my own adjustment tool presets.

Not quite a deal breaker, but close.

The healing/clone tool functioned similarly to that in Classic. I was hoping for an upgrade on this tool. I used the healing brush for small changes, but I still had to round trip from CC to Photoshop for the more powerful content-aware fill.

Comparing the radial filter tool: Classic on the left, CC on the right. The Classic list includes some of my own presets like “Sun Effect”.

Hotkeys

Some of my hotkeys don’t function as they do in Classic. The use of alternate hotkeys is fine. I can relearn key combinations. But some of the hotkeys are simply missing.

For instance, I toggle back and forth between color and black and white using the V key a lot in Classic, which I can’t do in CC. Also, the Create Virtual Copy hot key (command-‘) doesn’t work in CC. I can right click on an image and make a duplicate, but it’s not the same thing.

While we’re talking about virtual copies, I can’t easily see which file is the original and which is the copy. In Classic, the virtual copy is tagged.

Photoshop Round-tripping

When round-tripping into Photoshop from Classic, I’m given a few options. Most of the time, I choose to “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments”, but sometimes I want to edit the original. I don’t seem to get this option when roundtripping a file from CC.

I also have to close down the file each time I want an image to appear in CC. With Classic, saving the image does the trick. I often edit many files at once and don’t want to be closing and re-opening files in Photoshop all the time.

Conclusion

In general, the editing tools in CC created a similar product to Classic. But I found myself having to click a lot more in CC to get the same job done.

For this image, I copied my Classic edits as closely as possible in CC. I can’t seem to copy crop settings in CC, so this may be slightly off. The CC file seems a bit darker and less distinct.

Above, I listed some tools that seemed less convenient in CC and some tools are simply missing from CC. But sadly, I didn’t find any cool new tools to play with.

Most of the differences between Classic and CC are minor and there are probably work arounds. But I’m a bit ADD when it comes to technology. If I can’t learn a program quickly, it’s not going to happen. And I already have a work around – I can edit in Classic.

Exporting & Printing

After I finish editing an image, I usually want to share it to Instagram or Facebook or another site like Flickr. I export to jpg and I usually put my signature on the image.

My export options in CC are severely limited.

In CC, my export size options are “small”, “full size” and “custom”. But for custom, I only have the option of setting the long size. I’m also not able to set the export file size in CC, a feature I use a lot in Classic.

I can’t create export presets in CC. I export for lots of different publications and social media platforms. I don’t want to remember the optimal specifications for each.

I also like to rename exported files. Often, I tack on a description so I know immediately what the file is. For instance, I’ll add the word “web” to the title if I export a file sized appropriately for online viewing. I can do this in CC, but for individual exports – not automatically as part of a preset.

Most importantly, I don’t seem to be able to watermark my images when exporting in CC. This is a real problem. Maybe the option is located in a preference somewhere and I just haven’t found it yet.

Finally, the entire Print module is missing from CC. I frequently print from Classic using exposure and sharpening presets, so I’d really miss this.

Comparing the export modules for Classic (left) and CC (right). CC is much simpler, but I’d miss the ability to create export presets.

Conclusion

Exporting from CC is much simpler, but that means giving up customizability. If I can’t figure out how add a watermark, this is a deal breaker.

Importing & Accessing Files

To get new photos into CC, I tried two things:

  1. Accessing the thousands of images I have stored on external hard drives
  2. Importing new files from my camera’s SD card

The process of importing files into CC is easy. Select ADD ITEMS (plus sign in upper left corner) and then the source. In the case of my previously stored files, I selected an external hard drive. In the case of new files, I selected the SD card.

But I quickly encountered a problem.

I have nearly 200GB in files from just the month of December – well beyond my current 20GB storage limit. Not all these files are important. I’ve already rated these files in Classic and I really only want the 3-star files (my “keepers”). But I can’t see the ratings until after I import the files. I simply don’t have enough cloud storage space in CC.

In Classic, I can see all my files along with ratings and metadata, even if the external hard drives aren’t plugged into the computer. I can edit files on the road by creating Smart Previews. My current system would need to change substantially if I switched to CC.

I also imported files directly from an SD card to CC. The SD card contained about 700 files from a recent trip to a local wildlife area where I photographed migrating birds.

I had enough storage space left to import about ½ of the photos on my SD card. Just because Sony lets me shoot 10 frames per second doesn’t mean Adobe is happy about it.

The first thing I noticed was that CC doesn’t have import presets. I don’t have the option to apply edits or my copyright information. Nor can I change the title of the images or add global keywords.

There must be a way to fix these issues. I’ll add them to my growing list.

The import screen on Classic. I have all sorts of options including naming, creating previews, applying presets and keywords.
The import screen for CC is much simpler than Classic. I don’t have any options – including the option to import suspected duplicates.

I imported all the images I could and went through my regular culling workflow in CC.

I clicked through and flagged or rejected images (using the Z for “Pick” rather than P – a hot key change that would take me some time to get used to).

Then my current workflow hit a brick wall.

My next step would be to select all the flagged images and add a star to the ones that I want to see again. This is easy in Classic. I click one button (the flag) in the default filters just above the filmstrip. Only flagged images appear and all other images are hidden. In CC, all I seem able to do is sort by rating. This really didn’t work for me. I could never seem to find the files I wanted to look at again.

In Classic, I can also create Filter presets that allow me to find photos with certain attributes quickly. Not an option in CC.

Most alarmingly, color labels are missing in CC. This is a big problem for me. I use color labels a lot. For instance, I use a color-coding system to remind me on which social media platform I’ve posted the image. I have a preset that allows me to find images that are finished but have not yet been published. This preset looks for a unique combination of star ratings and color coding.

Comparison of the filters in Classic (top) and CC (bottom). Missing in CC are filter presets and color filters.

Also, at the end of my culling, I usually select all rejected photos and delete them (there’s a hot key for this in Classic). I can’t quite figure out how to do this in CC. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

During my import and culling, I noticed a problem with keywords. Specifically, the Keyword List is missing.

Comparison of Classic (left) and CC (right) keyword screens.

In Classic, I’ve painstakingly crafted a long Keyword List. Many keywords contain synonyms. When I start typing a keyword, I’m presented with a short list that I can choose from. There’s nothing like this on the keyword screen in CC. It looks like the photos I’ve keyworded in Classic transfer over to CC. For new files, I have to type in all keywords in full.

I also don’t seem to be able to apply a list of key words to multiple photos. As if I don’t hate keywording enough!

Finally, I can’t select photos by keyword in CC. I often use keywords to organize content in Classic. Clicking the arrow button next to each entry on my Keyword List brings up all photos with that keyword. I use this process because the images load faster than if I create a collection. This option seems to be gone in CC.

Keyword List from Classic. I can search for keywords, see how many files contain the keyword, and select these images by clicking the arrow on the right side of the keyword.

Conclusion

The import and culling process was a bit rocky in CC. The simplicity of keywording in CC is a deal breaker.

I also had a problem with storage. It looks like the 20GB of storage included in my Photography Phan tops out around 7,000 photos. Let me see how difficult it would be to get more cloud storage.

Storage Space in Creative Cloud Plans

In my current system, I keep my Lightroom catalog on my computer’s hard drive and my image files on external hard drives (with back-ups, of course).

My Adobe Photography Plan comes with 20GB of cloud storage, but this isn’t enough for me. In an average year, I need about 3TB of storage. Granted, I tend not to delete heavily so I could probably cut this down. But I do a lot of Photoshop processing. An image edited in Photoshop can be 1- to 2GB. So, my current 20GB plan isn’t going to get me far.

I took a look at the Creative Cloud plans to see what my options were. 5TB looked like the plan for me. I checked the price. Then I double checked the price.

The price is 10 times what I pay now to Adobe.

10 times.

Did I mention 10 times?

Am I doing the math correctly?

Even subtracting the amount I pay for the external hard drives I use to store my images, I would be paying a lot more for CC.

They say, “storage is cheap”, but apparently not at Adobe.

To use CC, I’d need to be much more ruthless about the images I keep. I would need to merge layers and compress files in Photoshop before adding them to CC. The problem is that I often revisit Photoshop images and want to be able to edit the original layers. That means keeping the uncompressed files.

The max storage offered by Adobe is 10TB. At my current image-making pace, that’s only about 3 to 4 years of photos.

At this time, the 10TB plan is nearly $2000 per year.

I can’t quite wrap my head around this number. It’s so much more than I’m paying for the Photography Plan.

And what if something happens and I can’t pay for all of this storage one year? Do I lose my photos as well as my Lightroom edits? If I understand the system correctly, I’m locked into $2000 per year for life.

The thought fills me with icy dread.

Final Thoughts

I took Lightroom Creative Cloud out for a spin and overall I’m left appreciating what I have in Lightroom Classic.

Can I use CC? Of course. This tool works fine.

CC has the cool-factor. The interface is at times more colorful and on the surface, friendlier. I was worried about the online nature of CC, but this proved not to be a problem. The program seemed to work fine in airplane mode.

If I switched to CC, there would be some things I’d need to get used to or learn to live without, but I could probably do it.

The problem is that I’m just not motivated to do it. Adobe seems to be asking me to give up post-processing tools and to substantially change my workflow. They’ve limited the customizability of Lightroom and have opted for a sleeker, one-size-fits-all interface.

There just don’t seem to be any features in CC that are worth it for me.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with CC and I’ll continue to use the sharing albums feature of Lightroom Web. But I simply can’t see the draw of switching to CC.

The biggest stumbling block is the price of cloud storage. As I understand it, I’d be locked into paying almost 20 times what I’m paying for now for a tool that works less well than the tool I’m currently using.

I must be missing something. If you really love CC, let me in on the secret.

I’m ok with my current Classic workflow and I see no reason to change it. If Adobe figures out a way to make CC more useful for me in the long run and adds in some cool editing tools, then I might reconsider. But not with the current price tag.

For right now, I’ll continue to use Classic.


About the author: Jenn Mishra is a travel and landscape photographer based in St. Louis. She is a classical musician by training and author of the book iPractice: Technology in the 21st Century Practice Room. Her photos have been featured in a number of solo exhibitions. Her studio is Wits End Photography. You can see more of Jenn’s photos on her website or by visiting her Instagram @jennatwitsend. She photographs with the Sony system.

Lighting Ratios Explained Simply

Lighting Ratios Explained Simply

Lighting can be as simple or as complex as you make it. As someone who uses light meters myself, I struggle to articulate why using this handy tool can be a far more efficient way to light a scene. In this informative video, the simplicity of lighting a portrait using ratios is explained far better than I ever could!

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This New Music Licensing Platform Offers $199 Lifetime Subscriptions

Audiio, the former licensing company to Netflix and Nike, has a new business model for filmmakers that features a lifetime subscription for the first 60 days of its launch.

It’s a new year…need some new music? Who doesn’t! Whether you’re creating the best video ever made about [insert your client’s product] or crafting an epic short eyeballing that elusive Vimeo Staff Pick, there’s one thing that separates the flims from the flams: music.

High quality, unique songs bring your video to life. And if you’re beginning to wish you could afford to license more than your current platform, you’re in luck.

Just launched today, Audiio decided to turn their business completely around. Instead of focusing on licensing music to television advertising agencies for brands like Nike, Netflix, Mars, and Toyota, they decided to focus on independent filmmakers around the world. What makes Audiio’s model different from other music licensing platforms?

Here’s what Audiio co-founder and former Universal Music Group artist, Clay Jones, has to say about the launch:

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Chris Terrio Apologizes to ILM for Leia VFX Slight

Lots of reasons are swirling around the internet for the Rose Tico minescule screentime, but you can scratch ILM off the list after Chris Terrio misspoke.

If you’ve been on the internet the last few weeks its been impossible to avoid talk about Star Wars and its treatment of Rose Tico. She was only in Rise of Skywalker for a little over one minute long, and the general reason given by Christ Terrio was that she had much more time on screen planned, including a few scenes with Leia.

Terrio said:

We wanted Rose to be the anchor at the rebel base who was with Leia. We thought we couldn’t leave Leia at the base without any of the principals who we love, so Leia and Rose were working together.”

While that sentiment appeased some, people wanted to know why those scenes didn’t make it into the movie.

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The Problem with Presets: Why You Should or Shouldn’t Use Them

A month ago, a photography podcast slammed the preset industry in a scathing episode that was all about how presets and the photographers who sell them are terrible. Now, the photographer duo behind the popular YouTube channel Mango Street are speaking up and sharing their thoughts on this contentious topic.

While the original podcast didn’t name names when they were discussing presets, Mango Street do in fact sell their own presets, so they have a reason to speak up on this topic. If all of the original “accusations” are true, then they’re “creating a clone army” and hurting beginner photographers.

In the video, Rachel and Daniel first tackle four “common objections” to using presets, explaining why these objections do or do not actually hold any weight:

  1. Presets create photographer clones
  2. Lighting and Color are too photo-specific for presets to work well
  3. If you use presets, you’ll never learn how to actually edit
  4. If you use presets, you’re lazy

Then, after diving into each of these points, Rachel and Daniel answered some Preset Q&A from their 100K+ Instagram followers. This includes questions like:

  • How do you make presets that work across different lighting conditions?
  • What’s the best way to use presets for learning?
  • What’s a reasonable amount to spend on presets?
  • … and several more

As you might imagine, there is no clear-cut answer here. Using presets isn’t “always” right or wrong. It depends on how you use them, why you use them, when you use them, and, of course, the style and quality of the presets themselves.

Check out the full video up top for a more nuanced discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of presets, and why they’re maybe not quite as evil as some people seem to think.

My Best Photography Buys of 2019

My Best Photography Buys of 2019

In 2019, I switched mounts, tried out some new gear, and built a new editing setup. Looking back at the year, there are some pieces of equipment I’d buy again in a heartbeat, while others weren’t even worth the cost of return shipping.

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Insta360 Literally Blended a Drone and Three Cameras for This Teaser Video

This one is painful to watch. In a new video teaser for an upcoming modular camera, Insta360 decided to get creative (and destructive) by literally putting an action cam, a 360 camera, a “1-inch cam” and a drone into a blender.

The video is titled “Adapt to the Action” and the concept isn’t what we would call subtle. The upcoming Insta360 camera will supposedly combine all of the best parts of a drone, an action cam, a 360° camera, and a Sony RX0-style 1-inch cam into a single system, so the video literally blends those four ingredients together into a heap of metal and plastic.

The text that flashes across the screen confirms as much, reading:

“…our next camera combines an action-cam, a 360 cam, a drone, a ‘1-inch’ cam into one.”

Points for creativity… and cringe.

The camera—which we assume will be part of Insta360’s “One” lineup given the teaser text—is set to be officially revealed on January 7th, the first day of CES.

Ten Creators to Watch on TikTok

Ten Creators to Watch on TikTok

A lot of people think TikTok is juvenile, or have not even heard of it. Yet, after 1 billion downloads and upwards of 500 million monthly users, the app is on the map.

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New Canon Patent Shows IBIS System for EOS M and PowerShot Cameras

Canon News has uncovered a fresh patent that shows Canon working on a dual IBIS + Lens IS system for its more affordable, entry-level cameras like the EOS M and PowerShot series.

We’ve seen similar patents for Canon DSLR and full-frame mirrorless cameras, but this patent reveals that Canon is actively developing a dual IS system for enthusiast level ILCs and even fixed-lens point-and-shoot cameras. It seems pro users won’t be the only ones benefiting from this improved IBIS + Lens IS system if and when Canon makes it a reality.

The patent itself describes how Canon plans to deal with the issue of vibration caused by the IBIS + Lens IS modules when they’re used in a smaller ILC like the EOS M5 or a compact camera like the G1X. According to Canon News, “what Canon is doing is finding a way to reduce the vibration caused by the IS units.”

What’s more, CN says the patent describes “in very exact details” how these cameras might be manufactured, which gives us hope that the next-generation EOS M5 Mark II or G1X Mark IV could actually feature this dual image stabilization system when they’re released.

You can peruse the Japanese patent application for yourself here. In the meantime, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that this—and the other Canon IBIS + Lens IS patents we’ve seen recently—actually pan out. The lack of IBIS is a glaring omission from the EOS R lineup, and a big differentiator for almost all of Canon’s competitors; we’d love to see Canon not only catch up, but put a little pressure on Sony for a change.

(via Canon Rumors)

Insta360 teases a combined action, 360-degree, drone and 1-inch camera

Insta360, the company behind consumer 360-degree cameras, such as the Insta360 Go or One X, as well as professional models like the Pro 2, has posted a teaser video hinting at the launch of some kind of multi-purpose or modular camera on the 7th of January.

In the video footage of several electronics items being shredded in a blender is interspersed with various action-cam and drone-filmed scenes and viewers can read the sentence ‘our next camera combines an action-cam, a 360 cam, a drone, a 1-inch cam into one.’

It appears the company is close to launching a camera that is capable of providing the functionality of a GoPro-style action cam, presumably a consumer-level 360-cam like the One X, and a camera with 1″ sensor, like the Sony RX0. And presumably this camera or modular camera system can be used for aerial filming in conjunction with a drone.

This sounds like quite a unique concept that, depending on pricing, accessory compatibility and other factors, has the potential to appeal to a very wide range of customers. We’ll know more on the 7th of January when the new product is scheduled to launch.