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I remember this funny scene in the old sitcom Get Smart where the Don Adams character orders his robot agent, "Hymie, hop to it!" Hymie then jumps off on one leg.

Ordering your camera to be creative for you might produce similar results. "Canon PowerShot N, be artistic," as you move the slider on the side of the camera to Creative Mode. The camera then produces a series of interesting interpretations of a scene.

Canon PowerShot N Creative Mode Photography Compact Camera A variety of scene interpretations produced by the Canon PowerShot N in Creative Mode.

The trick is, as I see it, is not to view the camera's output as final product. Rather, see the images as a series of directions that I may want to follow later in post production. I don't plan to abdicate my creativity to a point and shoot. But in just a few seconds, I can let the machine show me a collage of possibilities. Maybe the faded Polaroid look is just right for that picture. I might not otherwise have thought to pursue that direction.

And in that spirit, I like some of the creative features offered by the latest batch of cameras. I look at them as suggestions. But I'm still in charge of the final product.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

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As I was watching clouds pass overhead this afternoon, I started thinking about the unique X-Trans camera sensor (that doesn't require a traditional low pass filter) in the Fujifilm X20, and how it might handle infrared photography. X-Trans technology is also found in the Fuji X100S, X-E1 and X-Pro1 models. And yes, those are the sort of things I think about on beautiful spring days.

Anyway, I'm curious because I don't have any current cameras that perform well with the RM-72 Filter, and I had a good feeling about the X20.

Line of Trees Infrared Fujifilm X20 "Line of Trees" handheld with a Fujifilm X20 camera with Hoya RM72 filter. ISO 800, 1/20th at f/2.2, using the B&W simulation setting. Photo by Derrick Story. Click on image for a larger view.

As it turns out, my hunch was right. I used the Fujifilm Lens Hood that has a 52mm adapter to mount the RM72 filter. I fired up the LCD monitor and pointed at the sky. Jackpot. It looked fantastic.

I then fine-tuned the settings a bit. First I experimented with the different built-in B&W film simulation filters and settled on B&W w/Yellow. At ISO 800, I could handhold the camera around 1/15th of a second (the RM72 optical filter is very, very dense). I did capture in RAW + Jpeg, but actually liked the Jpegs better after reviewing them in Aperture.

Schulz Museum Infrared Fujifilm X20 "Schulz Museum" handheld with a Fujifilm X20 camera with Hoya RM72 filter. ISO 800, 1/18th at f/2.5, using the B&W simulation setting. Photo by Derrick Story.

Bottom line is, I already like the Fujifilm X20 as a B&W street shooter. But now that it has proven to be a capable infrared camera too, I'll be experimenting with it even more. Does it shoot infrared better than my other cameras because of the X-Trans sensor? I'm not sure. I'd love to get me hands on an X10 with the EXR sensor and compare the two.


iPad for Digital Photographers

This is the kind of stuff I write about in iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks format.

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iPad for Digital Photographers Book

Back in February, I recorded a movie for Wiley & Sons Publishing about my latest book, iPad for Digital Photographers. The movie is on the Amazon catalog page. But a nicer presentation of it is embedded in the official Press Release for the book.

If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to watch it just for the perky music that accompanies my words...

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I don't know about you, but I like my work area a little tidier than this.

San Francisco Street Scene Construction Fujifilm X20 Camera San Francisco construction site captured with a Fujifilm X20. Click on image for larger version. Photo by Derrick Story.

I captured this scene with a Fujifilm X20digital camera, which is perfect for discrete street shooting. I used the standard Provia film mode, ISO 100 at f/4.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

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We see it all the time. People holding up their iPads and taking pictures. Thanks to the smaller size of the iPad mini, this endeavor doesn't look quite as awkward as with the full sized version.

But can you capture quality images from an iPad mini? Thanks to software optimization from independent developers, my answer is yes.

Here is a four shot comparison to help you draw your own conclusion. I captured three images using the iPad mini with Digital Negative HD in Tiff mode, Pro Camera HD in high quality Jpeg mode, and the Camera app that comes with iOS 6. I also shot a reference photo with the Fujifilm X20 12 MP digital camera in Jpeg mode.

Here's how the comparisons shook out. (Click on images for larger versions.)

Digital Negative HD app for iOS in Tiff capture mode

digital_negative_hd_exif.jpg

Pro Camera HD app for iOS in high quality Jpeg mode

pro_camera_hd_exif.jpg

Camera app that comes with iOS 6

ios_camera_exif.jpg

Fujifilm X-20 digital camera in Jpeg mode

fujifilm_x-20_exif.jpg

Conclusion

The iPad mini doesn't produce images as detailed as a dedicated compact camera, but it's not bad either. And thanks to clever software apps such as Digital Negative HD and Pro Camera HD, you can squeeze every drop of quality out of that tiny sensor.


iPad for Digital Photographers

This is the kind of stuff I write about in iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks format.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This week on The Digital Story: The groundbreaking Canon PowerShot N; the versatile, affordable Sigma 17mm-70mm f/2.8-4 zoom lens for APS-C DSLRs; and a visit to Carpinteria. All of this and more on The Digital Story podcast.

Story #1 - The Canon PowerShot N is a 12MP super compact camera featuring a DIGIC 5 processor, 1080p HD video, built-in WiFi, and a ton of creative features. I've been putting this little wonder through its paces and have a report to share.

Story #2 - The impressive Sigma 17-70 2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM for Canon (Black) that's part of the new Creative line of Sigma zooms. The lens has a nice weight that balances perfectly on my Canon 60D, 72mm front filter ring, 1:2.8 macro, IS and AF switches on the side of the barrel, and very impressive performance. And the frosting on the cake: less than $499.

Story #3 - Carpinteria. I spent last week updating my Flickr Essential Training for lynda.com. In addition to refreshing movies that were out of date, I recorded over 20 movies on the new Flickr Mobile app for iOS and for Android. The title should be out in late June.

Story #4 - iPad for Digital Photographers is off to a great start, in large part thanks to the support of our virtual camera club. For those of you who have purchased the book and posted a review, a hearty thank you. I love the support you're giving. If you haven't ordered your copy yet, I encourage you to do so. I think you'll very much enjoy the book.

Reminder! - If you're going to purchase gear through Amazon or B&H Photo, please stop by the TDS home page first. Look for the "Products" box about half way down the page in the second column. There you will see display tiles for Amazon, lynda.com, and B&H Photo, in that order. By entering those sites through those display tiles, you help support The Digital Story.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (31 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The May 2013 photo assignment is Food.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

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Finally, In Black

olympus_75mm_black.jpg

Two very desirable prime lenses in the Olympus Micro Four Thirds lineup are now available with a black finish. Both the 75mm f/1.8 and the the 17mm f/1.8 are listed on B&H for preorder.

Why is this a big deal? For those of us who have the black Olympus OM-D E-M5 body, the silver lenses appear mismatched. I know it sounds funny, but I don't shoot as much with my silver 45mm f/1.8 as I should because I don't like the way it looks on the black OM-D. So I use it when I need it, but not much more.

I'm now considering the 75mm f/1.8 with the black finish, which has garnered excellent reviews. I'll keep you posted if I get it.


Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

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If you're looking for a compact camera that works seamlessly with your iPad (or iPhone) for on-the-fly processing and sharing of images, you may want to investigate the just-released Canon PowerShot Nwith built-in WiFi. When paired with Canon's Camera Window app for iOS, you have an ultra compact "capture - edit - publish" duo.

Canon PowerShot N Camera Apple iPad mini PowerShot N with an iPad mini.

Why not just use the camera on your iPad or iPhone instead? Of course you can (we all do). But the PowerShot N gives you these additional features.

  • Sharp 28mm - 224mm optical zoom (8X) with additional 4X digital zoom available.
  • High quality 12 MP sensor that is remarkably noise-free at higher ISOs.
  • True Program mode with exposure compensation and metering patterns.
  • Plenty of creative tools to create interesting images.

Device Options

Connecting to the iPad

You can communicate with your iOS device over an existing network or have the camera establish its own access point. You can also set up a preferred device, such as an iPad, that connects with a single push of a button on the right side of the camera.

But you can add additional devices too, such as an iPhone and computer, that can be selected using the WiFi menu. Once you become familiar with navigating these menus, you can switch from one device to another in just a few seconds.

Creating an Access Point

Communication between the iPad and PowerShot N was flawless while at home or at my studio when I had control over the network. But what about in public? I packed my tandem and traveled to Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA to watch the Golden State Warriors battle the San Antonio Spurs with 19,000 of my closest friends. The networks are often quite busy at Oracle. So how would the PowerShot N fare there?

Right away it decided to create its own access network. It presented a network name and password on its LCD that I was to enter in the Settings app on my iPad. I did. And it worked.

While at Oracle, I published four images that I had just captured to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr -- all from my iPad mini after transferring from the PowerShot N. This shot of Klay Thompson, for example, required all of 224 mm optical zoom on the Canon (ISO 1600). This is the actual shot I published to Flickr from Oracle Arena from the iPad mini.

Klay Thompson

Ultimate iPad Companion?

So is the $299 Canon PowerShot Nthe ultimate iPad companion? Well, in terms of communication and transferring photos, I would say that it's top drawer. But I'm still learning about this camera, and will file another report once I have a bit more experience with its other features. For the moment, however, I give it a very high nimbleosity rating.

PowerShot N and iPad Connected


iPad for Digital Photographers

This is the kind of stuff I write about in iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks format.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The latest flagship Olympus PEN E-P5 has all the goodies you would expect in a premium Micro Four Thirds camera. But it also has some cool new features. Here are my favorites.

Olympus Pen E-5

Built-in WiFi that connects to the excellent Olympus I. O. Share app. WiFi is good, we see that more and more these days. But pairing it with an excellent mobile app is even better.

QR Code Connection - Take a shot of the QR code on the camera's LCD monitor with your smartphone and your camera and smartphone are sync'd instantly using the OI.Share's private connection.

Interval Shooting with Time Lapse Video - Interval shooting allows 1-99 shots, from 1 second to 24-hour time interval to record a series of pictures. The E-P5 can also convert a series of pictures taken using interval shooting into a time-lapse movie (Max 10 seconds movie at 99 shots).

Focus Peaking that makes manual focusing much easier. And with so many lens adapters available for Micro Four Thirds, you can put just about any type of glass on the E-P5.

Live Bulb with Histogram that allows you to see the progression of exposure with the live histogram shows you how exposure is distributed across all points of the image.

The Olympus PEN E-P5 is available for $999 body alone, or in a kit with the 17mm f/1.8 prime and VF-4 electronic viewfinder for $1,499 (that's the one to get!).

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Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

Creating a portfolio on your iPad says that you have reached a certain point in your photography. It makes the statement, "Not only do I know how to make a photograph, I know how to present it as well."

Here are five tips from my latest book, iPad for Digital Photographers that will help you build your mobile portfolio.

iPad Portfolio

  • Don't add too many images. Limit your portfolio to 12-28 photographs.
  • When in doubt, leave it out. If you're debating whether or not to include a certain photo, you probably shouldn't.
  • When sharing your portfolio, avoid pointing out aspects of an image you don't like. Once you point out a "flaw," that's all the viewer will see.
  • Hand the iPad to the viewer and let them navigate. This allows them to enjoy your work at their own pace.
  • Listen to what viewers say. Comments about your photos are gifts. Accept them with an open mind.

Assemble your portfolio now and have it ready to go. Nothing kills the moment like fishing around for shots on a mobile device.

There's plenty more about this topic in Chapter 6 of iPad for Digital Photographers, titled, Presenting Your Mobile Portfolio.

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