Few months ago, I posted here a review of the LENSKIRT. For those unfamiliar, LENSKIRT is a shade one uses to take photos through glass (examples in the review).

In the review, I explain that while LENSKIRT works well, I felt disappointed with the quality and the way it was put together. And it seem I was not the only one. Few weeks ago, I was contacted by the makers of LENSKIRT and they offered to send me a new, updated version, which addressed these issues. And since it arrived last week, today I will take a look and how they succeed with it.

Update

On first look there is not much change. The way the LENSKIRT works stayed the same, and it also looks the same. It’s hard to say if the materials changed, but the front material feels a tiny bit thinner, while the back material feels thicker. Where I before complained about the materials feeling cheap, now they are much better, and I have more confidence in them lasting longer.

LENSKIRT
LENSKIRT

The biggest difference is in the way the pieces of the LENSKIRT are put together. This updated one, was properly aligned, the logo was stitched in properly and also all the connections are now very clean and you don’t see the inside of the material. It’s a total 180 in quality compared to the previous one. Here you have comparison photos of the old and the new one. You can easily see the change. The suction cups are also a tiny bit different, but I have not noticed any change in usage.

LENSKIRTNew version, nicely stitched
LENSKIRTOld version, horribly stitched
LENSKIRTNew version, straight logo
LENSKIRTOld version, crooked logo

Conclusion Update

It’s really nice to see that LENSKIRT corrected all the problems I had with the previous version. Now it works as it should and also has the build quality one would expect. It now makes it so much easier to recommend. So as I stated before, if you know you will take photos through glass, you should get one.

Last week Topaz released and update to one of the plug-ins from their popular collection, the Topaz Impession, and today, I will take a look at it.

What is it for?

Topaz Impression changes your photos into paintings, by simulating brush strokes. It provides many (over 150) presets for different styles and also gives you access to huge amounts of settings, so you can further tweak the look you are going for.

How does it look?

It’s really hard not to be impressed by the results. If I did not know, you could easily fool mi with the results, claiming that they are paintings. I especially liked the impressionistic presets, that provide just wonderful one click results.

For each preset, you can also go into the settings and tweak many attributes. From the size and shape of the brushes, to color tones, textures, lights and more. It’s not always easy to tell what will result from a specific change, but exploring is part of the fun here.

Usability & Performance

Again, it’s hard to not be impressed by the speed of this software. Switching between presets takes a second (it get slower by huge photos, but one should expect that :)) and changes in settings take effect almost immediately. This really makes experimenting that much more enjoyable. The interface is very simple, similar to other plug-ins from topaz, with the presets being the center element here. You just select the one you like the most, and than just tweak the result a bit.

The quality of the result is really nice, with the brushes being high enough resolution, that it looks great even when zoomed in.

Conclusion

While the results are impressive, there is a question, where you would use something like this. For me, the usability is very limited, as I tend to go more toward realism. But if you want to put a more artistic touch to your photos, or you have a client that would be interested in something like this, you should really give it a try. For more info and a trial version, head over to the Topaz Impresion 2 webpage here. (btw. there is also currently a introductory price with a 40% discount available, the code is on the Topaz website)

Last of the look back post will be one I posted in December of last year. And you may noticed, I don’t always post the photos in the month I took them, but thats quite normal if one does not travel all the time :)

Low clouds over Paris

I love going back to Paris. So many great locations, so many great spots. Been there last year, been there this year, and will go back again :)

From the Alexander bridge

Last year I did quite a lot of travel in Austria, and one of the places I wanted to visit for a long time was Hallstatt. Not that I got a nice weather the day I was there, but what can you do :)

Hallstatt

FREE EBOOK!!!
Subscribe to my newsletter and get a free Capturing fireworks ebook. 
Subscribe