Monday, November 19, 2018

On A Bright Sunny Day, Nokia Asha 300

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On A Bright Sunny Day, Nokia Asha 300

'Mobile Photography - A look back at the past for archived images worth presenting'

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was quite disappointed with the early images from the consumer-grade smartphone and I am quite reluctant to use the camera further, for a while at least. Having said that, and for the need of another camera to keep up with my Mobile Photography posts, I went for a dig back and managed to salvage a stack of images captured with the Nokia Asha 300 feature phone which I was using quite a while back.

Nokia Asha 300
I took the time to dig up the phone as well, dusted it off, hooked it up to the battery charger and all seems to work fine.

The stack of images includes this set of views taken on an outstation trip to a huge oil and gas fabrication facility. It was a very bright and sunny day and we were looking across the ground from the 7th-floor rooftop of the administration building.

The view across the sub-segmented fabrication yards from that elevation was breathtaking, and the images (after a few post-processing tweaks) are just as scintillating.

Later in the evening, the golden hour was another joyous moment as I enjoyed the sunset from the hotel balcony looking over to the cove and the island across the bay which becomes a perfect stage for the setting. Looks like the Nokia Asha 300 is just as capable in capturing the essence of the scene as well.

What is most interesting to me is the fixed focus F2.4 5MP camera on the Nokia Asha 300 is very capable of doing a very good job with images in bright daylight situations. For images otherwise, the cable connectivity of the phone is an easy path for connectivity and uploads to post-processing apps, an idea to look forward to.

Together with the interest in the analog and film cameras, and now a bit with the digital past (maybe only momentarily), it should be fun to see how things play out and add to the strength of this blog.

Resource Links:
Tips for Mobile Photography for Beginners
Beginners guide to Mobile Photography- how to take breathtaking photos without a professional...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Take Your Pick, Olympus XA4

Take Your Pick, Olympus XA4

'Analog Diary - The last leg of a mini-series post with images from the Olympus XA4 at the Ramadan Bazaar'

I am on the last leg of a mini-series with images from the Olympus XA4 at the Ramadan Bazaar, a series which took off with Squaring the 28mm, All Set and ReadyThe Ladies Are All Smiles, and finally, this post. Though captured on a street-smart 28mm F3.5 lens of the Olympus XA4 on a single roll of negative film during a single outing, the images were squared off to the 1:1 aspect ratio from their original 3:2 via the desktop image post-processor.

Olympus XA4 Macro
The square format, or images in 1:1 aspect ratio, is a beautiful format to work with. It works well when you are trying to simplify the composition when eliminating superfluous elements or empty spaces. The composition itself can do away with the much-vaunted one-third rule, placing the subject in the center of a square frame, for example, or close to the edge, works just as well.

For a rather laid back novice street photographer like me, who is still timid to the idea of being right there, in the middle of it all, a 28mm focal length lens tends to draw in a lot more of the previously mentioned superfluous elements into the picture. Cropping the image to the 1:1 ratio means that you can cut away a third of the original, which can give you a better framing option.

As a street photographer's camera go by, the capsule style Olympus XA4 35mm film camera might be just the right choice for you. The camera is fitted with a 28mm F3.5 super sharp focal length lens and is highly recommended for landscapes, people at work, at play, or for when and where you can get in right into their midst.

Olympus XA4 Macro

The camera reverts the focus distance back to the optimum 3 meters when you close and re-opens the capsule cover, sets the AE system on automatically, and you are ready to shoot in the instant you slide back the capsule cover.

Resource Links:
Color or Black and White for Street Photography?
Olympus XA4 Macro, Sharp and Sweet

Monday, November 5, 2018

Digital Moments, Canon FD 50mm F1.8

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Digital Moments, Canon FD 50mm F1.8

'A sampling of images with the manual focus Canon FD 50mm F1.8 mounted on the digital Olympus E-P5'

My first post on digital images captured with the Canon FD 50mm F1.8 was titled Digital Moments: Tagging On RawTherapee 5.4 as it was more about the RAW image processor rather than the lens itself. Let's hope that this post will give more justice to the lens itself.

The Canon FD 50mm F1.8, first introduced in 1971, the lens was the smallest, lightest, and cheapest of Canon's 50mm primes. The first version sports chrome filter threads and silver breech-lock ring. The model was replaced in 1983 by a version with black plastic filter threads. The 'New FD' range, where the breech lock mount was replaced with an internal locking device, was introduced in 1978, and this series is commonly recognized as the 'FDn' lenses.

Olympus E-P5, Canon FDn 50mm F1.8

The update saw the minimum aperture of the lens lowered from ƒ/16 to ƒ/22, reduction in the number of aperture blades from 6 to 5, and with more plastic components incorporated, a decrease in weight from 255g to 170g. Mounting the lens with the new lock mechanism is much easier, and can be done using only one hand.

Except for the 50mm F1.8, all other lenses in the 'FDn' series were given the S.S.C. (Super Spectra Coating) treatment. Image quality, as can be seen from these images, may not auger much if you are thinking about this lens as the top prime of your collection.

Resource Links:

Canon FD 50mm F/1.8 Lens Review - The Original Nifty Fifty - Casual Photophile

In previous weeks we've talked about some noteworthy lenses, including a Minolta fish-eye and a Nikkor ultra-wide. Today, we'll talk about a more standard focal length, a focal length that many consider to be the standard, in fact. It's the 50mm ƒ/1.8 FD (and FDn) lens from Canon.

Canon FD 50mm f1.8 Manual Focus Lens & Sony A7 | Review & Images

The Canon FD 50mm f1.8 lens is a manual focus lens used on Sony mirrorless cameras or any other brand that develops mirrorless cameras with an adaptor. The FD range of lenses had a breech lock type mount produced from 1971 up until 1992.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Classic, Nokia Asha 300

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The Classic, Nokia Asha 300

'Mobile photography, digging up the archive for images worth presenting'

I wasn't too happy at all with the images from an early outing with the Nokia 3.1, that came with a camera, as they say, is just another run of the mill product with not much more to add to it. Though the camera's HDR function may help to boost the dynamic range and contrast, and gives you slightly better images, let alone be and I rather leave it aside for the moment.

Nokia 300
The bump sets me back from posting a subsequent to the post with images already recorded but instead had me digging the archives for materials for the next scheduled post on Mobile Photography.

Luck was with me as I came across a selection of images which were previously recorded on the Nokia 300, a candy-bar cellular phone model introduced way back in 2011, which I was using then.

Small and diminutive when compared to today's smartphones, the cell is really compact and it sits comfortably in your hands. This may prove, however, to be a bit of a trifle when used as a camera with your fingers fumbling all over the camera control interface. On image capture, the Nokia 300 came with a 5MP fixed-focus rear camera, capturing images with maximum a resolution of 2592 x 1944.

While views and reviews of the camera capabilities are mixed and varied, I tend to look at it as being on the better side, with clear and sharp images befitting its small sensor size.

These initial group of images, which I referred to as 'classic', not for any reason at all, were from around the office where I was previously working. While the first image is a good example of the capability of the camera, the others are a bit muddled up as they have been edited and re-edited again away from their original pixel size.

I did, however, found more images in the archive, including a small batch of images which are quite beyond what I have expected. Surprisingly, these include a batch of pretty sharp and clear images, with a good color rendition, which I will polish up and post in the next post of the Mobile Photography series.

Resource Links:
Take better smartphone photos with these simple tips and tricks
Tips for Better Smartphone Photography

Monday, October 22, 2018

The Ladies Are All Smiles, Olympus XA4

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The Ladies Are All Smiles, Olympus XA4

'Analog diary, the ladies are all smiles as they are all set and ready for the rush at the Ramadan Bazaar'

I am still following up on the images of Squaring the 28mm which was posted way back over a year ago, and the more recent All Set and Ready. The scene was at the Ramadan Bazaar and the camera was, of course, the Olympus XA4 Macro. The images sort of grew me as I went through repeatedly, and it all seems fitting with the square 1:1 image aspect ratio that I am posting them in.

The Olympus XA4 Macro, as you know it, came fitted with a Zuiko 28mm F3.5 lens, which is about the best, and is a highly recommended focal length for street photography. Considered as a wide-angle lens, using a 28mm lens means that you have to get in close to the subject, or go for the scenery, which is not always the best solution.

Cropping the images back to the square, while removing the superfluous, helps to simplify the composition. You can also do away with the 'rule-of-thirds, and with extraneous elements removed, and adjusting the frame to capture only the strongest elements of the image, you might end up with an image worth presenting.

Elements that are prominent in the square format are shapes and lines. Shapes, unlike in the one-third rule, can be placed centrally in the composition, while triangulated lines make the composition stronger as they pull the viewer’s eye through the frame. With the 28mm lens, getting good bokeh shots are naturally out of the question, and you may also get stumped when going for a balanced composition.

Resource Links:
Why B&W is Still the Favorite of Street Photographers
Olympus XA4 Macro, Sharp and Sweet

Monday, October 15, 2018

Digital Moments, Canon FD 28mm F2.8

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Digital Moments, Canon FD 28mm F2.8

'A sampling of images with the manual focus Canon FD 28mm F2.8 legacy lens mounted on the digital Olympus E-P5'

One of the options of having the equivalent of a 'nifty-fifty' on a 2x crop sensor Micro 4/3 digital camera, is to mount the camera with a manual focus lens with a focal length of 28mm. This setup will give you a lens with the equivalent focal length of 56mm, which is slightly longer than what a true 50mm prime will give you. You might, on the other hand, try the option with an ultra-wide 24mm lens, which makes it the equivalent of a 48mm lens, but like you it, these ultra-wides could cost you much more to acquire.

Olympus E-P5, Canon FDn 28mm F2.8
One good example of a 28mm F2.8 manual focus lens, appreciated and acknowledged because of its exceptional quality performance, is the Canon (new) FD 28mm F2.8. the last and most popular among Canon's FD 28mm lenses.

The lens is very compact, with plenty of plastic parts, measures 40mm overall, a lightweight at 170 grams, and is the second lightest among the FD lenses. The lens takes 52mm filters, and unique in a that this 7 elements in 7 groups lens have two convex front elements incorporated into the design as elements to reduce spherical aberration.

If you are like me, as some of you might have noticed, I shoot both in analog and digital. Having a lens that can be used both on a digital (Olympus E-P5 with adapter) and analog (Canon 35mm SLRs) is always a cost saving, with an added advantage that I also have a lens with 2 effective focal lengths. On the E-P5, the lens is almost a perfect 'nifty-fifty', and on Canon's A-series 35mm SLRs, it is the perfect wide angle lens.

Resource Links:

Canon FD 28mm F/2.8 - Lens Review - Casual Photophile

For a lens to be remarkable it doesn't always have to be exceptionally gorgeous, have the highest specification, or cost as much as a small, used car. Sometimes the best lenses are modestly specced and modestly priced. These lenses quietly go about their business, never being lauded with high praise or photographed for Instagram camera-porn.

Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 Lens Review Sample Images

Review of the Canon FD 28mm f/2.8 lens with sample images

Monday, October 8, 2018

Starting Out, Nokia 3.1

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Starting Out, Nokia 3.1

'Mobile photography, testing out what the Nokia 3.1 has to offer in image capture and in-camera editing functionalities'

Nokia 3.1 Camera Interface
I ended up downgrading from my old and beaten up Nokia Lumia 720 to the consumer grade Nokia 3.1. As the reviewers put it, there's nothing great about this run of the mill model. Rather slow and sluggish, it falls short on what the competition has to offer, camera and all. The default 13MP resolution of the F2 AF camera setup is only for taking photos in 4:3 aspect ratio. Change the setup to 16:9 or 18:9 image aspect ratio and the effective megapixel count goes down to 8MP.

The camera itself is a straight and simple affair, an interface with the shutter release at the bottom of the viewing screen, a switch to video mode next to it and a shortcut to the gallery on the other side. On the top is a tiny mode selector gives you the option to choose Regular photo, Panorama, or (very basic) Manual mode, and toggles for Beauty, Self-Time, HDR, Flash, and Selfie switch mode.

In retrospect, the image capture ratio does not matter much really, as I am now doing a lot more images in the square 1:1 format. This means that I will be doing image cropping in-camera and with the editing functions that are available, I may be able to reduce the time spent on the desktop.

These early images are what I came up with in the short run leading to this post. They are not at their best, with lots of room for improvement.

Resource Links:

Tips for Mobile Photography for Beginners

Mobile photography basics and tips for anyone with a cell phone. Learn how to take professional pictures with these easy tricks. Taking pictures is a snap!

35 Mobile Photography Tips That'll Help You Take Much Better Smartphone Shots

Update: contest & promotion has ended. Promo and Giveaway ALERT! From today through Monday February 24th, 2015 when you upgrade your 500px account to Plus or Awesome for 15% off , you're automatically entered for a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Monday, October 1, 2018

All Set and Ready, Olympus XA4

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All Set and Ready, Olympus XA4

'Analog diary, all set and ready for the crowd rush at the Ramadan Bazaar with 1:1 aspect ratio images squared off from the XA4'

A long time coming, this belated post should have been posted much earlier and not too long after the initial Analog Diary: Squaring the 28mm, Olympus XA4 post. Images were from the same bazaar environment, with this post focussing on the pairs or individuals who were in the midst of setting their stall up ready for the crowd that was due. While these images show that the crews are only of the male gender, they are not necessarily so.

Different from original Olympus XA, the only true rangefinder camera of the series, the Olympus XA4 Macro is fitted with a wide-angle 28mm F3.5 lens with close focus capability, thus the Macro designation, which is at 0.3 meters (12 inches).

Standard with the camera is a lanyard cord which can be used to measure this distance. Flash units are optional between the A11 of the A16 which uses 2xAA batteries instead on one as found on the A11.

Keep the notion of the macro mode aside and you will find that the XA4 is a great street shooter as well. Though the lens, at F3.5, maybe rather slow, the 28mm focal length lens is perfect for street photography, as you can follow with the resource links listed:

Resource Links:
28mm - The Perfect Lens for Street Photography?
Olympus XA4 Macro, Sharp and Sweet

Monday, September 24, 2018

Adieu #III, Nokia Lumia 720

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Adieu #III, Nokia Lumia 720

'Mobile photography, saying Auld Lang Syne to my old and trustworthy Nokia Lumia 720, Part III'

What I enjoyed most with this low-end / mid-range phone are the high contrast and punchy colors of images as captured by the 6.1MP rear camera. This is helped, undoubtfully, by the Zeiss optics and fast f/1.9 lens. The camera itself is rather a simple fare, it does not have optical image stabilization of the Lumia 920 or the huge sensor as in the PureView 808, neither does it come with HDR or Panorama shooting modes or creative filters.

The camera served me well, and with its Windows 8 OS, creating a workflow from the camera to my desktop image management system, Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3), for post-processing is equally easy. On OV3 the images were given the minimum one-two-three tweaks with Auto Tone Correction, Brightness & Contrast, and Unsharp Mask, or more when I was looking for a more creative look for the images. Final print sharpening is normally done on Google NIK Sharpener Pro 3.

Resource Links:

Shoot better photos with your phone by following these simple rules

Social media mavens have noticed a trend over the last few years: Images have begun to displace words as the dominant cultural currency. While services like Twitter - once the third most trafficked social network - have stagnated, apps such as Instagram and Snapchat have exploded.

Take better smartphone photos with these simple tips and tricks

By now we're all familiar with the basics of smartphone photography: You pull out your phone and push a button. But if you really plan to preserve those memories for posterity, then you'll want your phone snaps to look their best. So up your phone photo game with these nine tips and tricks.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Adieu #II, Nokia Lumia 720

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Adieu #II, Nokia Lumia 720

'Mobile photography, saying Auld Lang Syne to my old and trustworthy Nokia Lumia 720, Part II'

This is the second of a three-part post where I say adieu to my old and trustworthy Nokia Lumia 720 which I have been using for almost five years to the day. The phone has been through tough and thin with me, the screen is cracked and is taped over with a couple of small camera LCD screen protectors, and the battery is getting depleted even before the day is over.

Most of the images were originally captured in 16:9 aspect ratio, out of which a collection of it has also been posted as part of my weekly musing on this blog. These 1:1 image crops are edits which I am also using on my Instagram profile, with which you can do the likes, follow, or post a comment or two. Thank you.

Resource Links:

How to Improve Your Mobile Photography in 2018

Smartphones have taken the fine art of photography and put it in the hands of anyone willing to hone their skills. Unfortunately for a lot of us, developing those skills could take a long time-time we really just don't have in between careers, personal relationships, and figuring out which new

Moment - The Ultimate Guide to Shooting Manual Photography on Mobile

Everything you need to know for getting the most out of your photography with manual settings on your mobile device.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Adieu #I, Nokia Lumia 720

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Adieu #I, Nokia Lumia 720

'Mobile photography, saying Auld Lang Syne to my old and trustworthy Nokia Lumia 720, Part I'

This will be Part I of a three-part post where I say adieu to my old and trustworthy Nokia Lumia 720. It has been quite a while since I began using the consumer grade Nokia Lumia 720, about five years ago, and the phone is now showing severe sign of old age. The battery does not keep its charge for more than a few hours, the screen is cracked and is taped over with a couple of small camera LCD screen protectors.

The Nokia Lumia 720, together with its Windows Phone 8 OS, was arguably the slickest mobile phone system available then and was super-desirable. Though it came with only a decent display (low on the pixels), it does have a very competent 8MP rear camera that makes up for other shortcomings and was good enough for me to enjoy an archive of high-quality images.

Resource Links:

Creating High Contrast Black and White Photos With Your Smartphone

One of the most popular looks that many photographers showcase on the web is the high contrast black and white look.The growing popularity has to do with the fact that it obscures everything else in a scene to a certain point and forces people to focus on the most simple parts of the scene that they really want you to pay attention to.

A Beginner's Guide to Doing Black and White Photography

If you've never tried black and white photography before, you may be wondering what the appeal is. After all, isn't it a little like black and white television or silent movies - an anachronism in our modern, high-tech age? The answer is no, definitely not.

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