New Software: Luminar AI

“Meet the first image editor fully powered by Artificial Intelligence. With Luminar AI, creating striking photos becomes surprisingly easy and fun.

Get it now: https://skylum.com/luminar-ai

Your story matters. Not the process Let’s face it — traditional photo editing can be boring and time-consuming. Luminar AI is all about the result, not the process. It automates the most common manual tasks and simplifies complexity so that you have more time to create an engaging story.”

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Luminar AI artificial intelligence-driven automatic image editing software by Skylum. Image courtesy of Skylum.

Links

New Software: ON1 Portrait AI

https://www.on1.com/products/portrait-ai/

“You Will Never Need Another Portrait Editing Product

Flawless retouching is just a click away with ON1 Portrait AI. It uses machine learning to find every face in your photo and make them look great, automatically.

It analyzes each face and adds just the right amount of retouching to the skin, eyes and mouth, giving you professional results in no time at all….”

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ON1 Portrait AI automatic artificial intelligence-driven portrait retouching standalone application and plug-in.

Links

New Software: Nobe OmniScope

https://timeinpixels.com/nobe-omniscope/

“Nobe OmniScope is loaded with powerful features that make color grading easy.

Compatibility:
macOS, Windows

Available for various platforms:
DaVinci Resolve, Scratch, Premiere Pro & After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom as well as DeckLink, UltraStudio, AJA U-TAP and more!”

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Nobe OmniScope by timeinpixels. Scopes for a range of video and photography applications.

Commentary

Tomasz Huczek of timeinpixels tells me that their new scopes application will be adding support for Apple’s Final Cut Pro X aka FCPX in future.

In the meantime I am impressed by what timeinpixels states the company has achieved with the current version of Nobe OmniScope and look forward to future developments.

Links

Philip Bloom: Can you TRUST the FUJI X-T4 video AUTOFOCUS? – Commentary

“This isn’t a review of the excellent Fujifilm X-T4 but a detailed look at whether the improved autofocus abilities over the X-T3 get close to the superb AF of the Sony and Canon mirrorless cameras.”

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Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujifilm VG-XT4 Vertical Battery grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens. The battery grip is essential if you need a headphone port for monitoring audio while shooting. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Commentary

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The “best camera ever made” according to Philip Bloom. ALPA XO Exoskeleton aka cage for Fujifilm GFX 100 medium format camera with ALPA Switar 140mm cinema prime lens. Image courtesy of ALPA.

I came across this video by Philip Bloom while researching recently-released Super 35 video-capable cameras.

Autofocus capabilities of current affordable Super 35 hybrid cameras are a constant subject of discussion online, with different manufacturers achieving various degrees of success with it.

Theoretically all makers of such cameras should be able to achieve near-parity in autofocusing given time and R&D dollars, but there is a question of when and whether all current makers will stay in business until they do.

Having grown up as a photographer and videographer during the analog era before autofocusing cameras and lenses even existed, I have always seen autofocus as something of a luxury and fall back on manual focus and back-button focusing anyway.

Philip Bloom has an obsession with autofocus in video and speaks about it well and in detail.

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More substantial grip and better hardware design. Fujifilm X-H1 with VPB-XH1 battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR professional zoom lens. Image courtesy of Fujifilm Australia.

Meanwhile I believe it is a good idea to keep an eye on developments in affordable manual-focus Super 35 prime and zoom lenses that are native to Fujifilm X-mount or that can be adapted.

Keep an eye also on the coming Fujifilm X-H2 professional hybrid camera, successor to the under-rated X-H1, though its arrival may be some time off.

I found the X-H1 much easier to use handheld all day long than the X-T3 and its more hand-friendly design ranks alongside the X-Pro2 for ease of use and of carrying.

As for autofocus on Fujifilm cameras, perhaps the X-H2 may see it come to fruition and match if not beat that in Sony and Canon’s mirrorless cameras, along with new and redesigned Fujinon prime and zoom lenses made for video as much as stills photography.

We can only live in hope.

A “phenomenal” manual focus lens and adapter combo for Fujifilm video

Links

Firmware Update: X-Pro2 Firmware update, Version: 5.10, Last Updated: 09.17.2020

https://fujifilm-x.com/global/support/download/firmware/cameras/x-pro2/

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens and Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip, a necessity when attaching lenses larger than this one.

Detail of the firmware update

Ver.5.10

The firmware update Ver.5.10 from Ver.5.01 incorporates the following issue:

  1. Camera performance used with the XF50mmF1.0 R WR is optimized.
  2. The phenomenon is fixed that in a multiple-flash shooting where the EF-X500 is used as a commander, flashes in some groups sometimes don’t fire correctly. Also in case the EF-X500 is used as a commander and the EF-60 as a remote flash, upgrade the camera firmware to the latest version.
  3. Fix of minor bugs.

Links

Firmware Update: Free firmware update for FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR Lens

https://fujifilm-x.com/global/global-news/2020/0917_3724073/

“September 17, 2020
FUJIFILM Corporation

To our customers:

FUJIFILM Corporation is due to release a free firmware update for FUJINON XF50mmF1.0 R WR on September 17, 2020.

This latest update enhances the lens’ AF speed and enables Color Shading Correction to mitigate subtle color casts when images are made at the lens’ maximum F1.0 aperture. Please note that the lens must be connected to a supported X Series camera body for the firmware enhancements to take effect.

Links

Press Release: Development of firmware that enables the RAW video data output from Olympus Mirrorless Cameras to the ATOMOS NINJA V HDR Monitor Recorder

https://shop.olympus.com.au/news/post/development-firmware-atomos

Or in other words, Olympus OM-D E-M1X and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Micro Four Thirds cameras will be able to record Apple’s ProRes Raw video footage via the Atomos Ninja V 5-inch monitor/recorder in late 2020. 

Development of Video Raw Output Firmware With Atomos

September 15, 2020

Development of firmware that enables the RAW video data output from Olympus Mirrorless Cameras to the ATOMOS NINJA V HDR Monitor Recorder

Olympus is pleased to announce the development of firmware that enables output of RAW video data output from Olympus OM-D E-M1X and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III mirrorless cameras to the ATOMOS NINJA V HDR monitor recorder. Development is underway in collaboration with ATOMOS. Data is recorded to the ATOMOS NINJA V as Apple ProRes RAW for flexible image editing. This lends greater flexibility to professional video production post-processing tasks such as adjusting exposure and colour grading recorded footage. The firmware is scheduled for release in summer 2020.

Olympus will continue supporting authentic video production and further improve hand-held high-definition video recording via compact, lightweight system thanks to unrivalled portability and powerful in-body 5-axis image stabilisation.

About ATOMOS

Atomos exists to help creative professionals cut through technology barriers by creating easy to use, cutting-edge 4K and HD Apple ProRes monitor/recorders. These products give video professionals a faster, higher quality and more affordable production system, whether they create for social media, YouTube, TV or cinema. Atomos continues to demonstrate its commitment to putting users first through continual innovation at amazing price points. The company developed the AtomOS operating system dedicated to video recording with an elegant and intuitive touchscreen user interface and was also the first to implement the professional Apple ProRes RAW format for recording with cinema cameras. Atomos is based in Australia with offices in the USA, Japan, China, UK and Germany and has a worldwide distribution partner network.

ATOMOS website: www.atomos.com

Commentary

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American-Australian cinematographer and Director of Photography John Brawley’s lens kit in 2018. Note the Olympus Micro Four Thirds lenses. Image courtesy of John Brawley.

I am yet to have the pleasure of trying out the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and so have no experience-based opinion to share about their video capabilities.

Until now Olympus has concentrated on developing its cameras for stills photographers rather than videographers but flagging sales and changing perceptions about hybrid cameras appear to have tipped the balance.

So much so that Atomos and Olympus has just announced this completely unexpected turnabout, with the result that the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II can now be regarded as serious video production cameras.

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The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro professional prime and zoom lens collection as of late 2017, all with manual clutch focus, invaluable for fast, accurate and repeatable manual focusing as well as linear focus-by-wire and autofocus. Image courtesy of Olympus Global.

I do have an experience-based opinion about Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality Micro Four Thirds prime and zoom lenses – they are just one feature short of perfect, missing only an aperture ring that can be set to de-clicked or clicked.

Otherwise they are amazing and if I had the means to purchase every one of them, as cinematographer John Brawley clearly does, then I would do so.

The lenses’ manual clutch focus capability via a retractable focusing ring is their strongpoint, allowing easy focus-pulling for video and deadly accurate manual-focusing when making documentary photographs in available darkness.

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Olympus lens roadmap of July 2020. Image courtesy of Olympus Global.

One item in the lens roadmap that Olympus released earlier this year has grabbed my attention, the coming M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f/4.0 Pro with its focal length range equivalent to 16-50mm in the 35mm sensor format.

The closest current M. Zuiko Pro lens to this is the M. Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro while the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric is Panasonic’s closest lens in focal length terms.

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Patent document diagram for coming Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f/4.0 Pro superwide-to-standard zoom lens.

Those lenses’ 35mm equivalences are 14-28mm and 20-50mm respectively, but the downside of the M. Zuiko Pro 7-14mm f/2.8 is its protruding convex front element that mitigates against screw-in neutral density and protective filters.

An Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 8-25mm f/4.0 Pro superwide-to-standard zoom lens would be tempting as a replacement for my beloved M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro daily-carry lens, though I would supplement it with an M. Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro for available darkness work or an M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro for extra reach and portrait photography.

Links

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT Pro Releases New LUTs & Updates for Fujifilm X Series, Blackmagic Design Pocket 4K & 6K, DJI Mavic Mini & Osmo Pocket, & GoPro 8

Regular readers may have noticed I have written posts about Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming and his Leeming LUT Pro look-up tables for top-quality video production for some years, so I will not repeat any of that here right now, save to say that Mr Leeming’s LUT sets are currently the best and they continue to become even better with every new version.

Fujifilm X-T4 with Fujifilm VG-XT4 Vertical Battery grip and Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR kit zoom lens.

As Paul recently wrote in his Facebook Group page (edits applied by me):

… I’ve spent the last six months developing a new methodology to make these the most accurate LUTs ever. That methodology, which takes into account all the edge cases I’ve seen here (S-Log2 gamut issues, green tints etc), is now being applied to all cameras.

Like a fine wine, it takes time, because I have set stupidly high standards for myself. I want these LUTs to be the be-all and end-all of accuracy. And honestly, with Athena and Pro II, I’m done for accuracy. There’s nowhere else to go.

Athena is my new go-to for actual work, since it’s a brighter starting point with a gentle S-curve built in, so that I can simply apply it and get to work colour grading creatively. But Pro II remains as the no holds barred Rec. 709 standard, bang-on for luma and colorimetry, baseline LUT.

My long term goal is to get all cameras upgraded, then move to some really high end Super Quickie packs based on the Athena series as the base. These will probably be paid, but it won’t be much, maybe 5-10 EUR. But they’ll be perfectly harmonised for Athena and fit like a glove.

Then I also want to provide Rec. 2020 LUTs for all cameras, but to do that I need a Rec. 2020 setup, so I’m waiting on the release of the LG CX 48″ TV / monitor, which will be Rec. 2020 compatible and OLED for perfect colorimetry and luma….

… [I] forgot to mention all the NEW cameras that will be added to the inventory too, like the original Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro, etc.

I have just downloaded the Leeming LUT Pro set for Fujifilm X Series, comprising the F-Log, Eterna Cinema, Pro Neg Std and HLG for Rec.709 LUTs, and am looking forward to shooting some fresh footage with F-Log in particular to try this latest version out.

I am also looking forward to the coming updates of the Leeming LUT Pro set for Panasonic G Series cameras.

Fuji Rumours Shares Huge Fujifilm Custom Film Simulations Spreadsheet Compiled by David Triregno

Fujifilm’s customizable in-camera film simulations for output as JPEGs are justly celebrated by JPEG-reliant photographers, and I find them useful as graphic reminders of how I visualized a photograph just before shooting it for later processing of the raw files.

I am, as they say, a “raw plus JPEG” shooter and I often discard the JPEGs during post-production after I have processed the raw files to satisfaction.

I have met several magazine and commercial photographers who shoot JPEG-only with their Fujifilm cameras, relying heavily on the cameras’ built-in and customized film simulation profiles and treating their JPEG files as reproduction-ready artwork to be shared with their clients without delay when needed.

JPEG ~ negative, raw ~ transparency

Shooting raw-plus-JPEG or JPEG-only can be compared, somewhat, to shooting negative film and colour transparency film during the analog era when I chose transparency films for magazine assignments and negative films for newspaper work.

The magazine art directors I worked with back then did little to no post-processing on transparency scans themselves while newspaper picture departments were in the throes of installing computers and film scanners to shorten developing-to-print times on daily editions.

Before that, their photographers were expected to develop and print their own black-and-white film while handing their unprocessed colour negative film over to in-house technicians.

My magazine clients would respect their photographers’ intentions when shooting transparency film by applying minimal cropping or colour correction, while newspapers’ nighttime subeditors would often crop the life and the meaning out of images and even apply crude image manipulation such as heavy vignetting.

Shooting JPEG-only and treating it as one would colour transparency film allows photographers to take back a little control over their images and how they should be seen on the printed page and the electronic screen.

At least, that is my theory, and if magazine work ever becomes available to me again I may well have a go at supplying JPEG-only to clients while reserving the raw files.

Too few custom slots?

There are only so many custom memory slots in every Fujifilm camera, and it has proven annoying when I want to set a film simulation that worked well for a specific subject in the past but had to remove it to make way for others more suitable for a different project, and then I cannot remember where I got the simulation recipe or even what its name was.

Photographer David Triregno has leapt to the rescue and is sharing an already large and growing spreadsheet that he has compiled from film simulation recipes by a number of photographers including Kevin Mullins (KM in the Name column), Peter Evans (PE) and Ritchie Roesch (RR) as well as the currently mysterious JC and LC.

Credit where it is due to Patrick DiVino of Fuji Rumours for sharing this huge and growing collection of custom film simulation recipes.

Credit is also due to Thomas Fitzgerald for his extremely detailed ebook on shooting and post-processing Fujifilm JPEGs, and I am looking forward to the second edition of this ebook.

Links