I love my pets. You love your pets. If I were a betting man I may even suggest you like to photograph your pets as much as I do. Getting a perfect focus on our pets though… not the easiest thing to get right. Well, Nikon just made your pet photography a little bit easier with the addition of Animal-Detection AF for the Nikon Z7 and Z6. The bonus, this is not the only update Nikon made to the Z7 and Z6 either. They even threw in a little update to the new Z50 as well.
Nikon announced the release of firmware Ver. 3.00 for the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 full-frame mirrorless cameras and Ver. 1.10 for the Z 50 DX-format mirrorless camera. These latest updates offer several significant improvements and feature additions to make Nikon’s Z series mirrorless cameras even more powerful.
Firmware Ver. 3.00 for the Nikon Z 7 and Nikon Z 6 adds:
Addition of Animal-Detection AF: The Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 will now recognize the eyes and faces of dogs and cats, allowing users to concentrate on their creativity and easily capture intended images without worrying about focus. When multiple animal faces or eyes are detected, photographers can use the camera’s left and right indicators to select the face or eye that the camera focuses on. When recording videos, face detection will be enabled.
Enhanced Functionality for subject-tracking AF: Subject tracking for still shooting in AF-C mode has been modified to provide a more familiar operational feel similar to that of the 3D-tracking feature built into Nikon DSLR cameras. To enable the feature, users can hold the AF-ON button or half-press the shutter-release button to initiate. Subject tracking disengages when users take their finger off the button, causing the camera to switch back to the original focus point before subject tracking began. Additionally, the transition from the Auto-area AF display to the subject selection display can be assigned to a custom control button, allowing for more customized user experience. These improvements to subject tracking operation will make it easier and quicker for users to activate and change the subject while looking through the viewfinder.
Support for CFexpress memory cards: In addition to Sony® CFexpress1 memory cards, select Type B CFexpress cards manufactured by ProGrade Digital® and Lexar® will also be supported with the firmware update.
Improved AF Operation in Movie Mode: Nikon has improved autofocus operation in the Z 50 when recording movies in self-portrait mode. The new feature will lock focus at AF-F mode, allowing the camera to better maintain focus on a user’s face while recording video.
This monitor mount from Inovativ is durable, travel-friendly, and on sale.
Whether you need to set up monitors on your DIT cart, video village, or editing work station, you’re going to need a strong, portable, and versatile mount that can get the job done.
There are plenty of great mounting options out there, but considering the number of displays you’re likely in need of, even on a small production, the cost can quickly grow past the high hundreds if not surpass the $1000 mark.
If you’re looking for a good mount for your monitors but want to keep costs as low as possible, you might want to take a look at the Pro Monitor Mount from Inovativ, which is currently on sale at Adorama for $150.
Made with premium 6061 aluminum and stainless-steel hardware, this mount works with most monitors thanks to its 100×100 VESA plate and is compatible with industry-standard Baby Pins. It allows you to rotate and tilt your monitor, as well as lock it in a specific vertical or horizontal position.
PolarPro—maker of high-quality filters for full-sized cameras and drones—has just launched the LiteChaser Pro: a filter system for all three iPhone 11 models that includes a case, four filters, and a grip that doubles as a tripod and accessory mount.
The PolarPro LiteChaser Pro wants to be all things to all smartphone shooters, without reaching the size of products like the BeastGrip. Instead, you get a standard phone case with an aluminum filter mount over the dual or triple cameras, a removable grip that you can attach when you need more stability, and four different filters: an ND8, an ND64, a 3-5 stop Variable ND, and a Circular Polarizer.
As a bonus, the grip also includes a 1/4-20″ thread on both ends, allowing you to use it as a tripod mount, while simultaneously attaching a small mic or other accessory to the top.
The only limitation of the system is on the Variable ND, which is not officially compatible with the Ultra Wide lens.
Here’s a quick intro to the LiteChaser Pro:
And a closer look at the whole setup:
“Since the launch of Apple’s iPhone 11 in September 2019, the goal was to develop a complete creative system worthy of replacing your DSLR/Mirrorless camera and help transform your iPhone 11 into the ‘A’ camera,” says PolarPro Founder and CEO Jeff Overall. “In the end, the [LiteChaser Pro] is a complete creative system built specifically for mobile filmmakers and photographers to deliver shots never before possible on iPhone.”
We don’t know about the phone becoming a “system worthy of replacing your DSLR/Mirrorless camera” unless all you do is vlog—and even then…—but it does seem like a complete system for anybody who wants to get serious about smartphone photography and filmmaking.
The LiteChaser Pro is available at special “Pre-Order” pricing for the next 30 days. You can pick up the Photographer Kit (case, grip, circular polarizer) for $100, or the Filmmaker Kit (case, grip, variable ND) for $120. After the intro pricing, retail will be $120 and $150, respectively. You can also “build your own” kit and get up to $57 off during this pre-order period.
The first 1,000 orders will begin shipping March 28th, the second 1,000 will begin shipping April 28th, and the third 1,000 will begin shipping (you guessed it) May 28th. To learn more or pre-order your own, click here.
In 2020, Atomos will celebrate its 10th anniversary which is a big milestone for any company in the production space. Over the last ten years, you can see how technology has progressed from their original Ninja and Samurai which recorded ProRes in HD to their current models, recording ProRes RAW in 4K and above. Just … Continued
I’ve always laughed when, as a photographer, people ask me if I can deal with a difficult client or shoot in a difficult situation. But even still, things are never going to be as bad as the conditions on my most recent trip – after this, I feel like I can shoot anywhere.
I travel the world, self-funding personal projects that many people wouldn’t touch. My latest personal project took me to Indonesia, starting in Jakarta and ending on Bali. My local team and I zig-zagged down through the Islands, shooting two very different projects, and Pemulung is the first project from the trip to be finished and released.
The Pemulung are scavengers, working on the local dumps scouring through the waste to try and collect plastic to sell, or anything they can use.
They work outside under brutal conditions, the smell is horrendous, and the heat is unrelenting and they have no protective equipment. There is no shade apart from homemade shacks, and they work constantly – the sites are 24 hours a day operation. With heavy machinery and ground giving way underfoot means its an incredible hazardous job and that is before we start talking about the trash they are picking apart.
Aiming to collect plastic to sell for processing, they can earn about 6000RP/kg (Indonesian Rupiah) which is about £0.34/kg or $0.20/lbd. If they find other things, they can use or sell that’s a bonus, and many have collected makeshift building materials and created shacks to live in on the dump.
When we arrived at the first dump, I choked and was instantly sick; the smell of the dumps is genuinely awful and impossible to describe with the correct gravitas. The smell is so thick it immediately closes your throat, it made my eyes water, and we all felt instantly ill. I had just put on my respirator and was checking the seals—the seal wasn’t quite right, and the smell rushed in straight down my throat.
It wasn’t pleasant.
I’ll walk you through a broad overview of the trip with behind the scenes, and portraits taken in each location.
First we flew into Jakarta where we met our local fixers, Dery and Yusak, got food and got to know each other. Until this point we had only had a quick chat but mainly WhatsApp and e-mails, so it was nice to sit down and chat—it turns out we have a mutual appreciation of rock and roll. It was also at this point I discovered Nasi Goreng, and it’s become one of my favourite dishes (it’s delicious – you should try it!)
We spent a night in Jakarta as I got over the long flight. I checked the kit, triple checked all the batteries, and quadruple checked all the flash kit to make sure it had survived the long haul flight. The next day, we set off.
The first stop on the trip was Bantar Gebang, a sprawling 200-acre landfill site that services Jakarta province. It has 8,000 tonnes of fresh waste delivered each day and works 24 hours a day with many scavengers working in the dark with head torches. The site is home to many scavengers—locals estimate that Bantar Gebang is home to more than 100,000 Pemulung.
The main thing that struck me about the Pemulung at Bantar Gebang was how happy they were despite working in some of the worst conditions on Earth; many came over and volunteered to have their picture taken, it was a lovely atmosphere in the worst conditions!
After Bantar Gebang and Jakarta, we headed south to Yogyakarta, known locally as Jogja and previously the capital city of Java (before Jakarta). It’s a very artistic place with lots of art universities and known as the centre for Javanese arts and culture.
The dump we visited near Jogja was called Piyungan. Thousands of cows live on this vast site, eating whatever they can find in the newly delivered rubbish. Like Bantar Gebang, The Pemulung at Piyungan are incredibly friendly and were very happy to take part in the project; when we arrived we had a great chat with the management of the site who fed us and offered us drinks and iced tea.
Unfortunately, after shooting for half a day, disaster struck. I was crouching down, taking a shot of a cow, when I heard shouting and my fixers ran over and tried to pick me up. It turns out there was a bull running at me from one side and a bulldozer shoveling about 5 tonnes of waste to the other side of me, both which I hadn’t seen in my peripheral vision. The bulldozer driver hadn’t seen me either.
My fixers probably saved me from a very nasty ending, but when I got up I twisted my body, dislocating my knee and immediately collapsing into a heap on the ground while the Pemulung beat back the bull with their sticks and managed to stop the bulldozer.
Now, for anyone who has met me, I’m a big guy and not the easiest person to carry as you can imagine – but still, my fixers and the locals managed to drag me out through the rubbish on to the main path, clear from most of the danger.
Cue colossal pain, a trip to the hospital, wheelchairs, and forcing my leg to go straight to fit in their small x-ray machine (again, I’m large). The medical staff could not have been more lovely, but they did end up comparing my knee to dislocated knees on Google Image search; they then didn’t do anything, gave me some crazy strong painkillers and discharged me with crutches all for the cost of £65—£35 below my minimum claim on my travel insurance. Still good to have it!
Shooting on crutches is awful, given the terrible conditions of shooting on a massive landfill coupled with the ground giving way under the crutches.
Here are a couple of shots of me loving life shooting on crutches. I did this for two full days, it was hell.
And here are a couple of the portraits from the Piyungan dump, shot on crutches:
Finally, after two days of dislocation, my knee decided to just… pop back in. I was flying my drone whilst I was sat in the car looking out. I landed the drone and to everyone’s surprise (including my own), I got up and just walked right over to it. I hadn’t even felt it pop back in.
We then set off and shot a whole load of other work for the second project, which I will release later this year when it is finished. After hundreds of more miles in the van, we ended up getting the ferry over to Bali. We headed to our final destination of Suwung, the dump servicing the capital of Bali, Denpasar.
Here are some of the portraits from Denpasar:
This project was shot entirely on the Fujifilm GFX 100 with their GF 32-64mm f/4 R lens using a Profoto 3ft RFi Octa and alternating between a Profoto B1X and B10 Plus flash head. The Fuji is a great camera, but I’ve since sold my system made the system swap to Leica, mainly for that extra character from their lenses.
I travel a lot to difficult locations so I have to keep the lighting kit small. I tend to use one or two heads for most of my shoots, but this series was shot with one head at a time—I used the B1X head mainly, but changed it up from time to time to a B10 Plus—I wanted to see how the smaller B10 Plus held up shooting in heat, as it has less ventilation than the B1X, but it was fine, just less battery capacity.
Technique wise, I used the Profoto HSS withe Fuji trigger to drop the ambient light and upped the power on the flash.
To see the complete collection of the Pemulung portraits please click here. I’m proud to say that one of the images won a Gold Graphis Award and another won a Silver Graphis Award. You can read more about that here.
About the author: Tom Barnes is an award-winning portrait photographer whose work has taken him across the globe, working with the full spectrum of humanity from refugee camps in war zones to the highest arenas of politics. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Instagram.
Ever wonder what it would be like to use a high-end telephoto prime to shoot portraits? Daniel and Rachel of Mango Street have, and so they decided to rent the $12,000 Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM IS lens and take it for a joy ride shooting their particular style of urban portraiture.
There are two main challenges to using a sports/wildlife lens like this for portrait work: weight and distance. The lens weighs 2.8 kg (6.3 lbd), so a monopod mounted to the lens’ tripod collar is a must, and carrying it around to various locations is a drag. And when you’re as far away as you need to be to get some full-body shots, you’ll have to either use walkie talkies or yell your instructions.
What do you get in return? Crazy background compression because of the field of view, for one, and the ability to make the background melt away completely, even at f/2.8. As Rachel points out in the video: even with your subject a full 20 meters (65.5 feet) away, your depth of field is still just 0.42 meters (16.5 inches) when shooting wide-open.
Interestingly, this is not the first or the most extreme experiment of this type that we’ve seen. A few months back, Manny Ortiz teamed up with Irene Rudnyk and Gerald Undone to try and shoot portraits at 900mm using a 600mm lens and a crop-sensor camera. But while that idea was totally unreasonable—an exercise in “wouldn’t this be fun to try?”—using a 400mm f/2.8 lens for portraits is actually somewhat reasonable if you’re looking to capture some unique portraits and you’re ready to deal with the downsides.
Check out the full video up top to see Mango Street struggle with this behemoth of a lens, and see some of the shots they were able to capture. Then head over to their YouTube channel if you want to see more from Daniel and Rachel.
Nikon Z Series mirrorless cameras receive a firmware boost.
Nikon made a splash into the full-frame mirrorless camera market with its Z Series. There are currently three different models in the line, the Z 50, Z 6, and Z 7, its most advanced version to date. All three models have received a firmware upgrade to improve camera performance.
Firmware version 3.00 for the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6 adds Animal-Detection AF, improves subject-tracking AF, and adds support for CFexpress memory cards. The Nikon Z 50 sees an update with its AF in movie mode with version 1.10.
Musicbed’s #whenimstuck conversation is the group hug frustrated filmmakers need right now.
We all get stuck creatively. Maybe you can’t seem to get past the first act of your screenplay. Maybe finding financing for your feature is starting to look like an obstacle you will never overcome.
Regardless of what you’re currently struggling with, it helps to know that you’re not the only one experiencing the frustration and anxiety that comes with it.
This is precisely what Musicbed is hoping to address with #whenimstuck, a hashtag that will allow filmmakers from all backgrounds to not only have vulnerable conversations about their own experiences of being “stuck” but to also share the practical things they’ve done that led to a creative breakthrough.