Roll Your Own Camera Profiles

Posted on


Have you ever wanted to tweak the camera profiles in Lightroom? Or perhaps you have wondered how Camera Profiles are created? Perhaps you don’t like the profiles that ship with your camera and want to create something better.

This short video introduces you to a great free tool from Adobe that allows you to generate new, bespoke camera profiles and install these to Lightroom. I demonstrate the process using RAW files from a Fuji X-T2 but you can apply this to any camera which shoots RAW. Just watch the video, download the software and in 5 minutes you will have created your own profile.

If I had to take a guess, I suspect 98% of you reading this will never have seen this technique before. Don’t miss out.

[This post includes an embedded video. If you are reading this as an email you will need to visit my blog]

If you have a You Tube account and want to subscribe to my channel you can access it with the link below. Just click on the subscribe button in the upper right of the screen.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYMWL3WXU9QMeOUhD3lOpEw

Installing Camera Profiles in Lightroom

Posted on


Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 with Infrared Conversion.
Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District. Olympus EM5 with Infrared Conversion.

My latest video is now live on You Tube. You can subscribe to my channel using the link below

https://www.youtube.com/user/rnwhalley/featured

or watch the video here (please note the video doesn’t show up in email, only on the blog).

If you’re a Lightroom user and aren’t familiar with changing your Camera Profile, be sure to watch this. There is a second part to this video which is coming soon and I doubt many people will have seen anything like it before.

The image you see above is the RAW file used in the video once it’s been fully processed.

Friday Image No. 113

Posted on


Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District, UK. Fuji XT2, 10-24 lens. ISO100, 0.6" at f/9.0. Polarizing filter.
Clappersgate Bridge, The Lake District, UK. Fuji XT2, 10-24 lens. ISO100, 0.6″ at f/9.0. Polarizing filter.

This week I want to share a simple image. There is nothing fancy here in terms of post processing. There’s no trying to be clever. It’s just a nice Autumnal shot that I made last weekend in the Lake District.

It was shot using the Fuji XT2 at a place called Clappersgate Bridge, just outside Ambleside. The lens was the Fuji 10-24 which has really impressed me with its quality. I processed the image using Lightroom and I think it looks great at full resolution.

There are though a few points I would like to highlight about the image:

  1. The colours look superb. The conversion was done using the Velvia film simulation in Lightroom. I did need to tone the saturation down a little as well as open the shadows, but overall this is exactly the colour rendition I wanted to achieve. Deep, rich, vibrant colours without needing to pump up the saturation. In short, it looks natural which is exactly what you want to achieve as a landscape photographer.
  2. The depth of field was front to back despite my low position. The image was only shot at f/9 and I focussed on the grassy bank just to the right of the bridge. When you zoom in you can see the leaves in the foreground are pin sharp as are the distant trees which can be seen under the bridge.
  3. I didn’t use a filter on the sky. It would have been pointless because there wasn’t any definition in the sky. Despite this I could recover all the blown highlights as well as open the shadows to achieve a full tonal range. All this was from just a single RAW file shot with the XT2 and the resulting image is very clean.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Save

The Big Decision

Posted on Updated on


Infrared image captured using a converted Olympus EM5 and 12-40 lens. Processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.
Infrared image captured using a converted Olympus EM5 and 12-40 lens. Processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

When I recently made the switch to Fuji I had a plan. I knew the release of the XT2 was imminent. I knew I could buy a used XT1 for a good price. So my plan was to buy the XT1 and use it until the XT2 came out. I would then buy the XT2 and have the XT1 converted to shoot infrared. Then I could sell the Olympus Micro 43 equipment. Great plan but it hasn’t quite worked out and I have a big decision…

I was out shooting landscapes at the weekend with the Fuji XT2. As the weather conditions threatened to be dangerously bright, I decided to take my EM5 infrared conversion along. I spent the day predominantly shooting with the XT2 which performed well (as expected) but I also shot a few infrared images. This that’s made me question my plan for the EM5.

The results from the infrared EM5 are simply superb. I can’t see what more I would gain by converting a Fuji XT1 to shoot infrared. The images won’t be any sharper, they won’t be any larger and I also run the risk of the Fuji lenses suffering hotspots. I know my Micro 43 lenses are fine with a couple of exceptions. In short, I want to keep my infrared EM5.

This decision means that I will also need to keep at least the Olympus 12-40 and Panasonic 45-150 lenses. It then doesn’t make sense to sell the standard EM5 body as the prices are quite low now. It would therefore be better to keep this as a backup body. And if I’m keeping the EM5 I may as well keep the Olympus 9-18 lens.

In short, I concluded that I should keep half my micro 43 kit, possibly sell the Fuji XT1 and sell all my Olympus prime lenses (I tend not to us them). I also took a closer look at the quality of the images from the Sony A7r with my Canon L series lenses. The image quality from this kit is nothing short of exceptional so I won’t be selling those either.

Looking at my other kit I still have a Sony RX10 which I love. A Canon G7X which fits nicely in my pocket. A Hasselblad X-Pan three lens kit and a Bronica SQAi with 4 lenses. These last two are film cameras and whilst I don’t use them often, I don’t want to part with them.

What I can conclude from this is that I either have too many cameras or that I don’t get out enough to use them all. I have decided that the problem is that I don’t get out often enough. Apologies for my ramblings but sometimes the best therapy is sharing a problem.

B&W Conversion Video

Posted on Updated on


You asked to see how it was done. Here is the video to explain. This shows how you can achieve quite dramatic black and white conversions using only Lightroom. You don’t need any other software or filters. What limits you is your imagination.

I hope you find this video useful and don’t forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel if you haven’t already.

Friday Image No. 112

Posted on


Rock and heather in the Peak District. Fuji XT1. Conversion in Lightroom.
Rock and heather in the Peak District. Fuji XT1. Conversion in Lightroom.

For this week’s Friday image, I thought I would show another shot that’s more heavily processed than my usual style. I shot this a couple of months back when the heather was in flower. The light was quite poor being high in the sky and blue from the presence of all the cloud. Here is the before and after comparison in case you’re wondering what it looked like.

Before and after comparison
Before and after comparison

The conversion was performed totally in Lightroom. I’m sure this image won’t appeal to a large audience but if anyone would like to know more about the conversion, let me know and I will record and share a video.

Have a great weekend.

Best Micro 43 Lenses for Landscape Photography

Posted on


Olympus EM5 with Panasonic 45-150mm lens. Want to know more about how this image was shot and edited? Check the video at the end of the blog.
Olympus EM5 with Panasonic 45-150mm lens. Want to know more about how this image was shot and edited? Check the video at the end of the blog.

Over the past week I have received at least four emails asking what Micro 43 lenses I would recommend for Landscape Photography. I can also see quite a few people reading a related post I created back in 2012. Given my advice has changed since I wrote the original post, I thought it was time to revisit the subject. If you would like to know more about the image above, check out the video at the end of this blog post.

Before I share my own recommendations, I believe there are a few points that need to be taken into consideration. These are:

  • Camera Ergonomics
  • Flexibility
  • Shooting Style
  • Budget
  • Quality
  • Features

You should consider these points carefully in order to come to your own conclusions. These points will also help you to understand my answers.

Camera ergonomics

Micro 43 is an extremely flexible format with a large range of available lenses. Unfortunately, not every micro 43 lens will suit every camera in the micro 43 range. The lenses may fit the camera and operate correctly, but are the two well matched. For example, the Olympus 12-40mm may feel great when used on the Olympus EM1. But place the same lens on the tiny Panasonic GM1 and it would feel completely out of place. If the lens makes your camera difficult to work with, it doesn’t matter how good a landscape lens it is.

Flexibility & Shooting Style

It’s a little difficult to cleanly separate these two areas so let’s cover them together.

Consider if you would prefer to work with prime lenses or zoom lenses. My own preference is for zoom lenses as sometimes you can’t get into position with a prime lens. I would much rather have the flexibility of using zoom lenses.

Consider the focal ranges you want to cover with your lenses. My kit covers 9mm to 150mm (or 18mm to 300mm in full frame equivalent). Would this suit your needs for Landscape? Do you need greater coverage of focal lengths or is such a large range unnecessary?

How will you carry your equipment? I use a small shoulder bag in which I carry the camera and main lens as well as two additional lenses.

Budget

The price of some lenses may be restrictive, especially if you are purchasing them new. Some lenses are quite difficult to obtain second hand so you might not have any option but to purchase them new.

Quality

Lens quality is of paramount importance to me. I want to render images that are superbly sharp and which contain lots of detail. This might not suit our style of photography or you might place other features ahead of image quality. A further example of this is lens distortion (Barrel and Pincushion). Although I say lens quality is paramount, I don’t really mind some level of distortion. If this becomes too obvious, it can usually be corrected by software during post processing.

Features

Are there any features that you need in a lens? For example, you may require the lens to be water resistant. One feature that I find important is the ability to mount filters to the front of the lens. Personally, in common with many landscape photographers, like to mount graduated ND filters on my lenses to help control exposure. Some ultra-wide angle lenses such as the Panasonic 7-14mm won’t accept such filters. The 7-14mm lens is a super performer but the frustration it caused me when trying to use filters resulted in me selling the lens.

Do you need image stabilisation in your lenses? I shoot with an Olympus EM5 which has in camera stabilisation so having a stabilised lens is not important to me. If your shooting with a Panasonic Micro 43 camera, this might not be the case. Equally, if you work exclusively on a tripod, you won’t need this feature.

How about having a constant fast aperture or close focus range? You need to think about these.

My Recommendation

Based on everything I have said, my current recommendation for the best Micro 43 lenses for landscape photography are:

  • Olympus 9-18mm
  • Olympus 12-40mm
  • Panasonic 45-150mm

These lenses are in my core kit and the ones that I take with me when travelling. All of these perform excellently, producing very sharp images and resolving fine detail. Of the three, only the 12-40mm is large. The other two are tiny for their focal range. I am prepared to accept the additional size and weight given the lens is weather sealed and has amazing optics. It also has a very close focus distance even at the 40mm end which makes it a pseudo macro lens if I don’t have room for one. In fact, the 12-40mm is such a great lens for my style of photography, it remains on the camera probably 90% of the time.

In the past I have worked with a Panasonic 14-45mm kit lens from a GF1. These are excellent lenses and available at a good price second hand. This is a good option if you don’t want the size, weight or cost of the 12-40mm lens. It’s sharp and versatile but lacks a little on the wide end of the focal range (for my preference).

If your confused by the multitude of lenses available in the Micro 43 range, consider the areas mentioned carefully before committing to a purchase. Whilst my lens choice is perfect for my needs, they may not be suitable for you.

If you like this video be sure to subscribe to my You Tube channel.

Robin Whalley You Tube Channel