Peak Design

I am still at a photo trip to Italy this week, but I thought I mentioned this here. I have written a lot about Peak Design products in the past, and also used a lot of them. And today they started a new Kickstarter campaign, so I think it’s worth a look.

Peak Design Travel Tripod

So as I said, Peak Design expanded into another category. They started with clamps, then moved into leashes, backpacks, bags and now to tripods. Their portfolio is really getting big.

The new tripod, named Travel tripod seems to fit it quite well. It looks nice, very compact and the specifications are decent. There are actually two variants, an alloy one (MSRP: 349.95 USD) and a carbon one (MSRP: 599.95 USD). So what are the specs?

  • Weight limit: 9.1kg
  • Colapsed lenght: 38.7cm
  • Max height with center column up: 148.6cm
  • Max height with center column down: 126.4cm
  • Min height: 11.4cm
  • Weight: alloy one at 1.56kg, carbon at 1.27kg
  • Leg sections: 5

It’s a bit short for my taste, but as a travel tripod, it’s still quite reasonable. And comparing that to the weight limit and how compact it is, it’s a good enough compromise.

They also changed the shape of the legs, to make the collapse together better. I think that it’s a good idea, and also that they try to move away from all other available tripods. The ball head that its build in also looks interesting, but it’s hard to say from the photos how good it is in use.

All and all, this looks like a very interesting approach to a tripod. I definitively want to try it out to see how it is, and how it compares to classic ones. But for that, I will have to wait.

I’m not sure if I will back this at Kickstarter, as I got a new tripod only recently, but will think about it. If you are interested, check it out on Kickstarter here. It’s a good way to get a discount on it, as usual, the prices on Kickstarter are lower than they will be once it’s fully launched.

Photos provided by Peak Design.

Luminosity masking

Over the last weeks, I have been adding articles about luminosity selections and masks. But since they were posted as normal daily updates here, they are getting lost between all the other articles. So this is an overview so you quickly can find all the posts from one spot.

Luminosity masking articles

Here they all are, in the order you should read them and what is every single one about:

  1. Understanding masks in Photoshop – what are layer masks, how they work and how they are used in Photoshop
  2. Understanding luminosity selections and masks – what are luminosity selections and mask, what do they select and how they can be created in Photoshop
  3. Editing photos using luminosity selections – how can you use luminosity selection when editing photos
  4. Blending photos using luminosity selections – how can you blend multiple exposures together using luminosity selections

Will update here if I add more articles on this topic.

And to make this post nicer, here are few images I blended using this techniques.

Luminosity masking
Luminosity masking
Luminosity masking
Luminosity masking

Super ultra-wide wallpapers

I like crazy monitors, and I always find it hard to find wallpapers I like in the resolution I need. So let’s add another category to the wallpapers selection on this blog. These ones are all for the super ultra-wide monitors with the crazy 32:9 aspect ratio and resolution of 512×1440 pixels.

Feel free to send or tweet to me a photo of your setup if you use one of these wallpapers. As I don’t have a monitor this big, I can’t try them for myself.

As always, these are all free for personal use and you can share them further, just link back to this blog. No commercial use without my permission.

Don’t forget to check out other available wallpapers:

32:9 super ultra-wide wallpapers

As mentioned, these are all in 5120x1440px resolution. Will work best on a 32:9 monitor, but if you have an ultra-wide 21:9 monitor, you can use them too, just the sides will be cut off.

Additionally, if you have a dual monitor setup at 2x 16:9 at 2560x1440px, you can use all these also as dual screen wallpapers.

All the files are around 7-9Mb in size, so download only on a fast connection.

Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers
Super ultra-wide wallpapers

Topaz Gigapixel AI

I wrote about Topaz Gigapixel AI before. It’s an application that you can use to enlarge your photo up to really huge sizes. And it’s pretty good at it. You can see my test examples in the article here, together with more explanation on this application. But while I was playing around with it, I was thinking, can’t this be used also for something else? Like oversampling? And today I will show you what I got.

Topaz Gigapixel AI

Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI

You probably already heard of oversampling while referring to some mobile phone cameras. It’s a process where the camera takes a high megapixel photo, which is then downscaled to the final resolution it provides. So for instance, to create a good clarity 12Mpix photo, the mobile phone takes a 48Mpix photo that is then resized. The results are usually much clearer and sharper than just taking the 12Mpix photo from the start.

And here is where Topaz Gigapixel AI comes in. What if I used it to upscale an image to something huge, and then downscaled it back to the original size. Would I get a similar result? Would it be worth it? And from me writing this article, you probably deduced the answer.

The results are really nice. Not only they are sharper, have more clarity, but even the noise is reduced. The details stand out more and overall there is more definition in the photos. It’s a bit longer process than just using sharpening, but the results are also a bit different.

Let’s look at a few examples. For all of these, I took the full-size JPG, enlarged it to the 6x size (32000px width as maximum, as that’s the limit of JPG file) using Topaz Gigapixel AI and then resized again using Photoshop to the original size. I did try downscaling again using the Gigapixel AI but it took longer, and I preferred the Photoshop result as it was a tiny bit sharper.

The left photo is the original JPG, the right is the oversampled one. All images were taken at 100% zoom.

Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI
Enhancing clarity using Topaz Gigapixel AI

Overall, I think in all the examples, the clarity and definition were enhanced, and the details just stand out more. Not yet sure if this could be used as a replacement for sharpening or something like a details enhancer. But anyway, it’s an interesting use for this application, and if you already got it for the upscaling feature, you can try also this process.

There is a 30 day trial available on the Topaz labs website, so you can get it now and give a try.

Innorel

In my article on the Innorel RT85C tripod, I mentioned that I also got the Innorel PW50 table tripod/monopod base with it. At that time I did not write anything about it, as it was not yet delivered. But it arrived a few days later and today I will share my thought on it with you.

Innorel PW50 table tripod & monopod base

The Innorel PW50 can be used as a small tripod, or as a monopod base. It’s well made, build completely from metal with rubber on the end of the feet. It can be collapsed in both directions, so it can be put into a small compact state. There is a 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter included, but by using it the tripod gets taller.

Innorel PW50 table tripod
Innorel PW50 table tripod

The legs lock into two positions, the lower will make the tripod 9cm in height (when without the adapter) and the taller will be 19cm (also without the adapter). The legs snap into place easily and in both configurations, the tripod feels solid. The manufacturer declares the weight limit at 10kg.

Innorel PW50 table tripod
Innorel PW50 table tripod

I tried it with a smaller and also a bigger camera. In both situations the tripod and also the ball head held fine. There is no slit on the side of the ball head, so you can’t put a camera vertically if you don’t have an L-bracket. This is not really a problem with a DSLR, as it’s big to rotate anyway, but if you want to do a vertical shot with a smaller camera, this is not the tripod for you. You also can’t point the camera up by more than about 45%.

Innorel PW50 table tripod
Innorel PW50 table tripod

The 3/8″ screw is quite long, probably because it’s also used as a monopod base. It makes attaching a plate clamp a bit problematic. For all I have, the screw goes through and mostly obstructs the quick release plate. Of course, you can use the 1/4″ adapter, and then another 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter on the plate clamp, but that makes the tripod taller and less stable. Luckily for me, if I use the L bracket, the screw is not in the way.

Innorel PW50 table tripod

When you remove the rubber foot from the monopod part of the Innorel RT85C tripod, you can attach the PW50 as a monopod base. It has a rubber foot on it, so you can keep it on even collapsed. It collapses around the monopod, so it does not add much bulk to it. The tripod feels stable when in the fully opened state, as the base of 34cm diameter is quite big.

Innorel PW50 table tripod
Innorel PW50 table tripod

Overall I’m quite pleased. It feels well made, sturdy and stable. I got it mostly to be able to take photos from really low positions and in places where I can’t use the big tripod. And for both this will work for me perfectly. I found only two issues. The long screw can be fixed by using a 3/8″ nut on it, so shortening it. The no side slit can be partially fixed with an L-bracket. But there will be situations where it will be limiting. Still, taking into account the price you can get this for, this is a well-made table tripod for a really good price.

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