Contrast in videos

Lucerne waves in Plotagraphy ProI noticed that when I share plotagraphs as mp4 videos, they look differently depending on where I play them.

For instance, on Instagram or in Opera browser, they have much more contrast, while in my media player or in Edge, they look as they should. I tried to look if one can embed the color profile as in images, but no luck finding a way. Any of you maybe know one? For now I started to lower the contrast a little in the source images, directly in Plotagraph Pro, but thats not really a great solution.

The Lucerne waves in a plotagraph

I just love how the motion in the waves worked out. It just a perfect spot for adding movement into the photos. What do you think?

(if you are on a mobile or use an old browser, you may only see a static image)

VFFOTO

VFFOTO is a smaller manufacturer of photo filters, based in the Czech republic. They mostly specialize on circular filters, but offer also some square ones. They kindly provided me with two filters from their range for a test. The GS ND 1000, which is a 10 stop ND filter, and the GS ND 2000 which is a 11 (!) stop ND filter. Both circular, in the 77mm size.

You can see their products on their official Czech site www.vffoto.com.

VFFOTO filters
VFFOTO filters

I tried both on the Canon 24-70mm F2.8 lens with the Canon 5D mark IV. I also took the same shots with the Formatt Hittech firecrest 10 stop ND filter, for comparison.
VFFOTO filters

VFFOTO GS ND 1000

So let’s first start with the GS ND 1000 filter. This is a 10 stop circular filter. The build quality looks great and it has a very thin profile, to avoid vignetting. Here you can see how it performed compared to the Formatt Hitech firecrest square filter. All photos have the same ISO, aperture and white balance. The only change is the exposure time. The first one, without any filter has an exposure time of 1/30 of a second. The filtered ones are both at 15 seconds.

Here is the first series of photos:

No filter photoNo filter
Formatt Hitech photoFormatt Hitech
VFFOTO filters photoVFFOTO ND1000

And here a second one, focusing more on the water.

No filter photoNo filter
Formatt Hitech photoFormatt Hitech
VFFOTO filtersVFFOTO ND1000

As you can clearly see, there is quite the difference. Where the Formatt Hitech pushes the color quite a lot towards blue/green, the VFFOTO has a much smaller effect and the final color is more towards yellow/purple. The VFFOTO is also much more closer to the no filter exposures. On the other hand, the VFFOTO filter introduces more vignetting, but I presume that is due to the difference in filter types (square filter is bigger, therefore less vignetting).

When looking at sharpness and chromatic aberrations, I can’t really say I seen any difference between the no filter shots and the ones taken through the filters. It looks about the same in all of them.

Overall I think the result from the VFFOTO filter is quite good. It needs a bit of tweaking, as with all ND filters, but it’s quite close to how it should be.

VFFOTO GS ND 2000

This is a more unusual filter. Most companies darkest ND filter is a 10 stop, not a 11 stop one. One tends to stack the filters to get them as dark as this one. As I did not have a second one, I had no filter to compare it with. So what I did, I took the exact same shots as with the 10 stop filters, but of course with double the time. Here you can see both of them, both taken with a 30 second exposure. The results came out very similar to the 10 stop ones.

VFFOTO filters
VFFOTO filters

The color cast, sharpness and chromatic aberrations look all the same as with the 10 stop VFFOTO GS ND1000 filter. It is really impressive how much you can stretch the time with a filter like this. From 1/30th of a second, to full 30 seconds, without the need to change any other settings. It makes for some buttery smooth photos. And to show you that, I tried one at full 4 minutes. To be exact, I did it twice, one at ISO 100 and one at ISO 400 to get a +2 EV exposure. And here you can see the final blend. It was not a very colorful evening, but it does show how nice and smooth everything is.

VFFOTO filters, long exposure, Bratislava, Slovakia

Overall, both filters create some very nice results, and I can’t wait to use the more, once the weather get a bit better.

Trying out Plotagraph Pro

For the last few days I have been experimenting with the Plotagraph Pro. I wanted to try it earlier, but I did not want to pay for a full year without trying it out first. And since they introduced a monthly plan recently, I thought I will give it a try.

I have to say, I’m enjoying it quite a lot. It’s quite fun to add a bit of movement to a photo. It makes it look quite mesmerizing in a way. I already edited quite a few, and I still want to try it on more photos, so I will share with you some in the following days and weeks.

Please note, I’m sharing the plotagraphs as looping mp4 videos, not as gifs. The reason is that I can get a much smaller file (10-20 times smaller) and of a comparable or higher quality with MP4 than with a GIF. So if you are on mobile, or are using an older browser, it may be that you will see a static image, instead of the motion. I’m looking into how to make it work on all browsers, but have not found a way yet.

Moving pink sunset

This is the fist ploatagraph I was happy with. The subject really lends it self for a bit of motion. The movement in the sky and the reflection in the puddle really pull you into the photo. I tried to leave it quite subtle, so it looks still quite realistic, even with a bit faster movement that there would be. I do hope you like it :)

Also for those curious, this is a 10 second video, 5times 2 second loop, with a resolution of 1200×798. And it is only 600kb big :)

I have been updating this blog for almost 7 years now, with over 2000 posts and pages. And to keep the site fresh, I like to updated it every 1-2 years with a new, hopefully better, look. And you may have already noticed, if this is not your first visit, that yesterday evening the site changed again.

New look for 2017

This time I went with a more open look, with bigger photos, full screen sliders and more. The biggest change I did, was to return the full blog to the front page. While I liked the way it was showcasing all different content from around the site before, I noticed that a lot of things got last that way. As I like to include all the new stuff in daily post, it was missed by those that only visited the frontpage. So like this, with this latest update, it is right there in the center.

The return should also bring back the easy way to look over recent posts. Lets call the last years theme an experiment. While there were things I liked, and I will keep, there were also ones I did not like. You know how it is. You may like something on the first look, but over time you start seeing faults.

So I hope you will like this new look, and you will enjoy visiting my blog more than you did before :)

HDRshooter new look, site, surface, samsung

And as always, please note that there may be some errors here and there. I did tweak the theme I use quite a bit, and while I tested it for over a week on my local server, it’s never exactly as on the live one. So some problems may arise. I try to correct all I find right away, but as I mentioned, there are over 2000 posts here, and I just can’t go over everything.

Today I bought a new camera. It’s a Canon 5D mark IV. You may wonder why after the Sony a7R I switched back to Canon, and in this post, I will try to explain my reasons.
Canon 5D mark II camera

My camera history

My first camera I bought, was the Canon 450D with a Sigma 18-200 3.5-5.6 (I still have it, and it works fine after one repair :)). It was in 2009, right after it was releases. It was a big decision between that and a Nikon (D60 probably, not sure) and the Canon won because it was a new release for the same price.

After that, in the beginning of 2012, I got a 5D mark II. The reason for that was simple. The shutter on the 450D broke, and I was going on a planed trip to Spain, and I had no camera. And since I wanted to do the photography more professionally, it was time for a better camera.
Sony a7R camera

Switching to Sony

Two years ago, when I bought the Sony a7R, the reasons were multiple. Firstly, there was no good replacement for the Canon 5D mark II directly from Canon. The 5D mark III was available, but the differences to the mark II were minimal. And there is just no reason to get a 1D for landscape photography. I looked at the Nikon D810 (or D800, not sure which one was available then), which strangely, is still the best value to result ratio camera right now, but I did not want to get all new lenses. You may say I would be better off waiting, but I needed a second camera, as doing photography professionally without a backup camera body is just asking for problems.

Sony a7R cameraSo I had only one option, the Sony a7R. It offered compatibility with Canon lenses, gave me bigger resolution and more dynamic range. All I wanted. I even planed to switch over time to Sony lenses, but in the end I only bought one bigger lens during the time, and it was a Canon Tilt Shift.

Back to Canon

The Sony gave great results, even with Canon lenses. The sensor is just the best you can get. The resolution and dynamic range can make for some stunning photos. But over time, frustrations came. The a7R is just not build for professional use. If you take few photos here and there, its fine. The moment you need to perform it for hours at a time, to give consistent performance, it just falls short. It can be so frustratingly slow, it’s a pain to control, its hard to get around the UI and similar.

If you take photos rarely, these problems are not such an issue. You get a good results and thats it. But when you need to take photos almost daily, this is just not acceptable. I felt it every time I picked up the 5D mark II. So snappy, so fast. So easy to use. And don’t get me started on the button placement on the Sony.

Canon 5D mark II cameraWhen the Sony started to exhibit more problems few months ago, I started looking for a new camera. The Sony is now working fine again, after a warranty repair, but I already had my mind set to buy a new camera anyway. I had a look at the Sony a7R II, but from all I seen, it’s the same as a7R. Great sensor, in a mediocre camera. So I decided to go back to Canon.

What I chose now?

From Canon there were two cameras to choose from. The 5D mark IV and the bit older 5DsR. The price is similar, so the decision was based on features. I don’t care that much about auto-focus, ISO performance or how many shots it can take per second. It just not that big a part of what I shoot. For me, its mostly resolution, dynamic range, and how fast the camera is. In the end I decided for the 5D mark IV. Mostly it was due to the dynamic range. I got used to the better one on the Sony, and it’s easier to just do a panorama for a bigger resolution, than blend for bigger dynamic range.

So these are my reasons and thoughts on why I got every of my cameras and why I’m going back to Canon this time.

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