The Overlooked Part of the Photography System

We have come a long way since 2008 in terms of cameras and what they can do. But there is often a forgotten part of the photography Eco-system. We talk about cameras and lenses but we forget the very important part of the overall picture.

Four Key Areas

There are four aspects that have a huge impact on your photography and each of these four components make up and contribute towards the results. Consider all four when you are thinking about improving photography. Number one is the skill level that you possess as a photographer. Number two is the camera that you use. Number three are the lenses that you invest in which should be optically bright and cover ranges that are appropriate to your style of photography. However number four, and one that really needs to be thought about carefully, is the imaging software that you use for either raw conversion or enhancement.

Lets Compare 2008 – 2019

Take a look at the following photo. It was taken in October 2008.

Lenscraft October 2008

Lets take a closer look into the image and see what is in there. Canon 24-105mm F4 lens.

Lenscraft 2008
Lenscraft 2008

Lets take another look but this time lets take the same image and process it using modern software. That’s right – the fourth and vital part of photography.

Photography results are dependent on the photographers skill and his tools. The four tools he has are his skill, cameras, lenses and his software.

Lenscraft Photography
Software 2019

When you compare the photograph above with the photograph below it is obvious that there is significantly more detail and a lot more shadow information that has been recovered with today’s software.

Lenscraft Photography
Software 2008
Software 2008

In the photograph above, Adobe software has been used to develop the raw image. Over the years a significant number of developments and a significant number of releases have provided us with much better tools to extract the information locked into those raw files. In the image below we suddenly see foliage as well as the details in the rock. It was a very windy and windswept day and now the detail within the waves and on the sand comes into focus. The two figures in the photograph are very tiny but they have a much more real feel when we develop them with today’s software. There is a warning sign in the rocks and whereas it almost blends into the background in the first photograph you can see it’s clear yellow colour and shape much more forcibly in the second development below.

Software 2019
Software 2008

Software, back in 2008 was certainly able to extract shadow detail however, in the process it often revealed noise that tended to slightly pixelate the image and detract from the overall look of the finished photograph. The scene itself is a remarkable rock coastline and having the two figures walking towards the sea in the bottom of the photograph made it pretty much a no-brainier when it came to use in tourism photography. For that reason, despite the absence of too much detail, the photograph was well received and well used.

Software 2019

Investing In Software Is Well Worth The Exercise

An experience that some photographers have commented on has been purchasing a more up-to-date camera, something that all photographers are very likely to do in any case, and then discovering that the work that they are producing is pretty much on a par with what they were producing with an older camera and then discovering, as a result of investing in raw conversion software, that both cameras had similar latitudes in terms of what could be extracted from the images.

The Canon camera that was used to take these photographs produced excellent images up to ISO 400. Personally today I would never be satisfied with the camera that didn’t work well virtually noise free up to around ISO 1600. So I am not advocating that people don’t update their cameras. Instead, the point we are making in this particular article is that it is important to remember that essentially there are four sides to the picture in terms of what you can get out of your images. Number one is the skill level that you possess as a photographer. Number two is the camera that you use. Number three are the lenses that you invest in which should be optically bright and cover ranges that are appropriate to your style of photography. However number four, and one that really needs to be thought about carefully, is the imaging software that you use for either raw conversion or enhancement.

There is a Substantial Difference In Results Obtainable From The Same Raw Files

There is a substantial difference in the performance of the various raw converters. Personally I have available to me at any time five different raw converters. That is a significant investment but I have discovered that some raw converters are more effective than others with various files. There is an argument that you can get there with just about any raw converter to which I would reply that some of them make it incredibly tough to get to the end result if they are not tuned to suit your camera and style. It’s also worth noting that some imaging software really doesn’t extract anything like the level of detail that is available and also some imaging software seems to get lost when it comes to dealing with noise. With noise you don’t want the noise reduction to make areas of the photograph look messy or blurred or muddy, you want to retain detail. Not all imaging software can handle this issue well.

What is the moral of this little experiment? Before you consider upgrading your camera or lenses, consider your software and your skill level. It could be that poor camera technique is resulting in poor quality images or else it could be that your raw converter is simply not able to extract the detail and style that you are aiming at. It takes time to really get to know a camera well so moving onto a new camera too soon can be quite a wasteful exercise. Worth thinking about.


The Photographer’s Perspective

The photographer’s perspective.

You read through the magazine or the review on the site and immediately you start thinking about how your photography would improve if you had that camera or lens. But is it true? Do you really need all that gear and all those innovations? Will all those extra, often incremental improvements, really show up in the finished shot?

Lenscraft Photography The photographers perspective
Latest & Best

Initially, when you first get involved in photography you might genuinely believe that you need all the gear that you could possibly get your hands on. Or you might feel that you must have one particular camera or lens and it will make all the difference. Photography experience however provides insight into the overall craft. Camera craft is something that you acquire as you get involved in photography. Genuine photography assignments provide insight into photography that you might never experience in the casual setting. Whether you get involved in actual professional or semi-professional photography or you join a camera club and put your work against others so that you can improve your skill, you quickly realise that it isn’t all about the gear. In fact, you might realise that the photography market is sometimes overly influenced by the emphasis placed on certain innovations as opposed to what is really important in photography.

Cameras have been very good for quite a while now.

To illustrate this I have several hundred thousand images available on my hard drives and I’m still getting very good sale from images that were taken by cameras that were available in 2008. Ask any professional photographer who’s been around for the last decade and don’t be surprised to find the same story. You will often run into professional photographers using photography equipment that is six or eight years old and getting excellent results. They will read the reviews and look at the innovations with genuine interest but with an experienced eye that helps them to sort the difference between what is needed and what isn’t. Genuine photography experience provides that extra insight.

Lenscraft Photography
Still Used Today – Taken 2009

Don’t Get Me Wrong – Gear is Important!

There is however an important distinction to make in this discussion. There is an old story about the person who goes out and buys a top of the range tennis racket, which makes the point that, they don’t automatically become a better tennis player just because they own a better racket. However, it’s also true that a better tennis player will often use a better tennis racket for the simple reason that a better player is able to get and use the benefit of a more balanced racket that is strung in a particular way.

Practice Makes You Better!

The same is true with cameras. Buying a better camera will not make you a better photographer. However, a better photographer will probably use a better camera for the simple reason that they now know how to get the best out of the camera and they see the benefit of having a better dynamic range or a faster focus or a better colour gamut overall.

My brother once put the point bluntly when we were talking about the old saying that a workman doesn’t blame his tools. He replied that the good workman wouldn’t let himself be found with useless tools. The same is true with a photographer. You do need good tools.

It Has To Perform

It Has To Perform Lenscraft
It Has To Perform

However, in the field the photographer needs the camera gear to perform. He isn’t thinking about how many megapixels the camera has or what it can do in different areas of performance when he’s in the field. Regardless of the style of photography you are focussed on, there are just so many other things that you need to think about. Composition is the key. Whether you’re shooting nature and you need to grab a specific moment or action where the same is true or if you’re photographing a group when you’re trying to organise everybody in the group into something that doesn’t look like a dog’s breakfast, you’ve got so many more things to think about other than how many megapixels your camera has or how many frames per second it can do in the field.

There are always Compromises

You choose the right tool for the job and then you get on with photography. If you need something with high frames per second you are perfectly happy to accept a lower megapixel because you recognise that you can’t have both. And for that matter a 24-megapixel camera that can shoot at 12-20 frames per second is pretty much going to be able to do just about everything that you as a photographer will want.

You can have too much emphasis on gear, and you can have misplaced priorities when it comes to what is important. The problem with this is that it can also stifle your photography. Using just the gear that you need and that is appropriate to the style of photography that you’re doing at that point is just so important.

Perspective Means That Often Photographers See Cameras Differently

Photographers often see things differently Lenscraft
Photographers Often Have Different Priorities

I read a letter just recently about how a group of camera reviewers rated a group of 10 cameras and how another group of photographers rated the same group of cameras. The reviewers placed the cameras in one specific order using megapixels and frames per second as the priority whereas the photographers put the cameras in a completely different order based on how they perform in the field and how quickly they acquire focus. There were points of overlap such as the placement of buttons and tools and the comfortable feeling of the camera system in the hand. However whereas the reviewers were focusing on the number of lenses that were available in each system, the photographers knew that as long as they had the principal lenses available that were appropriate to their own application, it didn’t really mean an awful lot to them that the given camera didn’t have quite the range of lenses that another camera manufacture offered. This just illustrates how the difference in view can occur.

Acquire the Craft

So, there is a difference between the perspective of a photographer when it comes to looking at photographic equipment. If you understand the different perspective that you will acquire as a photographer when you have a deadline to meet and performance in the field is absolutely essential, then you will acquire camera craft. Photography experience provides insight into the overall craft of photography. When you put yourself in photographic competitions against other photographers you will quickly realise that having 10 cameras in the closet will not make you a better photographer. Two photographers with identical equipment will produce very different results. There is a divergence between perception and reality in photography and it’s important to capture this difference and understand what is really important.

Another Look At Fairy Wrens

Fast Moving Birds Are A Challenge

For an amazing experience that is sometimes frustrating try shooting fast-moving birds. The Blue Fairy Wren appears to live in a state of nervous agitation moving at considerable speed. Perhaps it’s just that they’re concerned about predators. After all, blue doesn’t really blend in well with green and some of these blue fairy wrens have a cobalt blue colour that is simply staggering. When you show pictures of the Blue Fairy Wren, especially the splendid version, people often stop and ask if the colours are real. Surely a bird couldn’t be that blue. But this is real and they are an absolute delight when you see them. They just don’t stand still for photographers.

One Split Second And They Are GONE!

Lenscraft Photography
Fairy Wren

Long Lenses Are a Must!

We had come across a few sites where the Wren seemed to live and we decided that we would give this a go. For the purpose of taking these photographs we were using both the Nikon 28 to 300 lens and the Canon 100 to 400. On paper and in reviews these lenses appear to be poles apart however the reality is that in situations like this you cannot tell the difference. Both lenses were paired with bodies that have freakishly good autofocus which was absolutely essential. Obviously the Nikon locked on like a homing missile which is a characteristic of the Nikon DSLR cameras. but I would have to say in fairness that the Canon was also remarkable and certainly up to the task.

Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT
Blue Fairy Wren in Wild Western Australia

The Blue Fairy Wren Looks Unreal

Blue Fairy Wrens are an amazing bird but they move quickly. The splendid fairy wren (Malurus splendens) is a bird in the Australasian bird family, Maluridae. It also known simply as the splendid wren or more colloquially in WA (Western Australia) as the blue wren. The splendid fairy wren is found across much of the Australian continent. The male in breeding plumage is a small, long-tailed bird of predominantly bright blue and black colouration. Non-breeding males, females and juveniles are predominantly grey-brown in colour; this gave the early impression that males were polygamous as all dull-coloured birds were taken for females. It comprises several similar all-blue and black subspecies that were originally considered separate species.

Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT

The birds move very quickly. They don’t pose for photographers as some birds do. Some birds seem to pose for longer moments and you can take your time. I’ve been able to take several minutes to compose and shoot some shots as the birds survey the surroundings. A lot of birds are very obliging. These birds in contrast don’t stand still for a moment. Well maybe just a very slight moment at times. For some of the shots we were at a tearooms in the forest near Margaret River enjoying some amazing scones along with English breakfast tea. We had heard that it was possible that we might see them but we weren’t expecting to get some of these images shown here. It was a real bonus and an absolute treat.

Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT

You have a split second to get the shot. You can’t wait for your camera to get there..

This is one of those features about photography that reviewers seem to miss. Whether you shoot professionally or in this sort of situation you have a split second to make a decision and get the shot. Your gear mustn’t get in the way. Sadly some gear takes way too long and is just not there when it comes to that split-second moment when you just have to get the shot. The autofocus needs to lock on quickly and you have to have made some decisions well in advance in regard to shutter speed and aperture that would be optimum. (Whether you work professionally or are shooting for fun there seems to be a moment when it is right to take the photograph. For example a bride smile is there and gone and can be replaced by a not so spontaneous smile if you keep asking for it. Better to catch it at the optimum moment. Your gear just has to work and you have to get on with the job.)

Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT
Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft MFT Photography Shot in Western Australia
Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT
Blue Fairy Wren Western Australia

Thankfully the birds seem to establish a pattern

The Blue Fairy Wren is a bird on the move. And they like to loop in areas which makes it possible to predict their behavior slightly. Though having said that it’s still advisable to get a move on with the shot. We found three locations where they come and go and then staked them out. One was a dead loss. The other two were quite good. And overall I was delighted to add these shots to the collection. For those who want to try it out. The first location was Neil Hawkins Park. Take a walk and keep your eyes open and your camera ready. The second was just out of Margaret River in the forest heading south along Caves Road. For these shots I used a Canon DSLR and a Nikon DSLR on different occasions. One had twice the megapixels of the other. But there’s nothing to pick between them. There is an even mix of both in these images presented here. And of course they are all crops and therefore, even though they can be printed easily up to poster size they are essentially images of around five megapixels.

-Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT

Pre-Select both shutter speed and aperture and make the shutter speed fast.

The key to these was bright light and pre-selection of the aperture and shutter speed. I selected a 400th of a second as the speed I needed and hoped for enough light for f8 as the aperture. Some ended up as f5.6 due to less light but because of the speed the birds moved I wasn’t prepared to compromise the shutter speed. As it was they came out quite well. In fact we got a mix of images that I’m happy with and some are already in use.

Blue Fairy Wren Lenscraft Photography MFT

The colours are always a problem with Blue Fairy Wrens. They never look real. And these days there are so many shots with false colours that people look sideways at you when you show these images. Can a bird really have cobalt blue colours like this? Yes! This is real.

Here behind the scenes in Lenscraft MFT we are totally focused on real photography and we are going to bring you a lot of shoots like this with insights into the sort of gear and thinking that went into taking these images.

In summary the minimum shutter speed that we use for images like this is 1/400 of a second. Optimum aperture is between F5 .6 and F8.

A few comments re Lenscraft Photography. When we comment on equipment in these pages the comments are based on use in the field. They are never based on a single use or just a couple of days using the equipment. We try the equipment with at least two disciplines in photography and determine how it performs from there. Lenscraft Photography is a website devoted to photography and sharing experiences with equipment. We are not affiliated with any manufacturer. We have used equipment professionally from Canon, Nikon, Ricoh, Minolta, Sony, Leica, Olympus, Hasselblad, Zeiss, Sigma, Pentax, Zenit, Bronica, Rollei & Kodak.

Some of these companies have been absorbed into others. Currently we regularly use equipment from Olympus, Nikon, Sony, & Hasselblad. [Plus lenses from Zeiss and Sigma]

Lenses Used For These Images

Nikon 28-300 Lens we often use
Canon 100-400L One of my favorite Canon Lenses

Four of The Best Canon Lenses That You Can Buy!

Canon have an extremely good reputation when it comes to lenses. This reputation is well earned. They do make some extremely good lenses and it is one of the attractions of using Canon cameras. There are a bewildering array of lenses to choose from and you could easily find yourself wondering what would be the best thing for you to use personally. The more photography as a subject can be made simple then the better it is for all of us. That’s our approach and that’s why we provide short and simple advice.

Not all photographers will outgrow the kit lenses that come with their camera. So don’t be in a particular hurry until you have really mastered the lens that you have already. You can get the sort of mentality that says that if you get a better lens it will make you into a better photographer. Better lenses or lenses with greater ranges will give you different opportunities but often provide more choice and this in turn can confuse the photographer. Sometimes less is more when it comes to being an effective photographer. Some photographers have learned that simply using a standard lens of either 50 mm or 35 mm or thereabouts is more their style and actually helps them to grow as a photographer.

When it is time to buy that next Canon lens here are 4 that should be on any shortlist for consideration.

Having said this if you are interested in taking your photography further and you are wondering about the various lenses that Canon make here are some of our observations based on our own experience using a number of Canon lenses over the years. There are four lenses in particular I would recommend. I know that at the conclusion of this section there will be people reading thinking, why wasn’t this lens or that lens included. And yes there are other options. But the fact is that for a variety of styles of photography that are more specialized there are lenses that are appropriate but there wouldn’t necessarily be useful in every situation. For example, one of my personal favorite lenses is the Canon 100 to 400 mm L-series. It’s great for bird photography and for capturing distant objects. But most people are going to be focused on other aspects of photography and therefore this is a general guide. I also use a Tamron 24-70mm lens but this section is on Canon and all of the photos were taken with the lenses mentioned. So here are four of the best.

The Canon 24-105mm L Series F4 is a classic workhorse

Canon 24-105mm lens
Canon 24-105mm lens

The first lens that I would always encourage people to try is the Canon L series 24 to 105 mm lens. It’s a F4 lens with image stabilisation. It has excellent contrast. It’s a very useful range and the images that come from this lens are sharp and clear. For some professional photographers this is the one and only lens that they use. That’s right they just use one lens and this is it. So, try it out. Here are a few images take it with the 24 to 105 mm lens.

Canon 24-105mm Example

Canon 24-105mm Example

Canon 24-105mm Example

The Canon 24-70mm F2.8 Series 2 is simply amazing.

Canon 24-70 F2.8

The second lens which is really an alternative to the one above is Canon’s famous 24 to 70 mm lens F2 .8 in the L-series. It’s a brighter lens but doesn’t have the reach of the 24 to 105. Wedding photographers love this lens because it’s a beautiful lens to work with and works very well both inside and outside. Most commentators lament the fact that it doesn’t have image stabilisation however we’ve never ruined any photographs as a result of not having stabilisation with this lens.

Its sharp and bright and beautiful. Here are a few images taken with 24 to 70 F2 .8 lens.

Canon 24-70 F2.8 L series 2
Canon 24-70 F2.8 L series 2
Canon 24-70 F2.8 L series 2
Canon 24-70 F2.8 L series 2

Sharp wide and beautiful! Canon 16-35mm F4 IS L series lens. Seriously great lens!

Canon 16-35mm F4 L Series IS Lens

The third lens that I would always encourage people to look at is the Canon 16 to 35 F4 image stabilized Zoom which is also an L-series lens. This lens is incredibly sharp. The angle of view is beautiful and it also focuses very close. Again there are landscape photographers for which this lens is an absolute must. It’s pretty much perfect. It’s one of the sharpest lenses that can produce and when you’re doing landscape photography you want to capture good contrast this lens is ideal. Here are some photographs taken with the 16 to 35 F4 L-series.

Canon 16-35mm F4 L Series IS Lens
Canon 16-35mm F4 L Series IS Lens
Canon 16-35mm F4 L Series IS Lens

The Canon 70-200mm L Series Lens. One of the very best lenses available.

Canon 70-200 Classic

The final lens that we would recommend is to take a look at either of the 70 to 200 lenses. There are two lenses that stand out. The 70 to 200 L-series F2 .8 and its sibling which is an F4 lens.

I love the rendering of the F2 .8 version but there are a lot of people who swear by the F4 version because it is smaller and lighter and I know a number of photographers that prefer it to the F2 .8.

It’s an excellent lens whichever you choose. Here are some images taken with the F2 .8 version current at 2019.

Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L Series 3
Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L Series 3
Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L Series 3
Canon 70-200mm F2.8 L Series 3

A few others.

Honorable mentions. Just for those that think that the lenses should have been included. The Canon 50 mm 1.2 lens and its 1.4 lens sibling are both excellent lenses. Also the Canon 85 mm 1.2 and its 1.4 sibling are worth considering. 1.2 version of the 85 mm lens is a challenge to work with and a lot of people preferred the F1 .4 with its image stabilisation. I love the 1.2 version myself but I would warn you that there is a steep learning curve. It can also fool the metering on the Canon camera and as a hint if you have that lens take a look at that area because it will help you to master the capabilities of the 1.2.

Just a comment to ponder…

When you have mastered your standard kit lens and you are ready to move on to other lenses that you feel will genuinely help your photography it’s always a good idea to borrow or hire lenses and give them a go. See whether they are suitable for your style of photography. Ignore the jokes about the cost of some of the L series lenses. They seriously are good kit. But you will probably find that lenses that you thought were going to be ideal may not be and others that you thought were probably not worth thinking about, may in turn, be perfect for you. It’s one of those aspects of photography that we all learn as we go along. There are steep learning curves with some lenses. I’ve seen photographers purchase the Canon 70 to 200 for use taking weddings who have struggled to master its unique abilities. It doesn’t just happen. You work it out. Its strengths are amazing so persist. Work at it and make the lens a tool that you use to achieve on the sensor the image that you visualize when you step into the situation.

As we said earlier. The more photography as a subject can be made simple then the better it is for all of us. We hope that is simple guide assists you.

Chatsworth House with Canon 5DS

Chatsworth House Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth House Canon 5DS Lenscraft

Chatsworth House Canon 5DS Lenscraft

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is one of the jewels of the county with attractions in the garden and attractions in the house. You can use photographs taken at this venue for your own private use or in situations such as this but there are strict limits on what you do with the photographs as far as sales are concerned. You cannot for example submit images to stock libraries for sale. This is one of the conditions of entry to a number of sites that you need to take into account when you are visiting the United Kingdom. Having said this, it is a great place to take photographs and you will find tens of thousands of images on websites and social media sites which highlight the attractions of a day’s visit.

Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth Gardens Canon 5DS Lenscraft

When we visited Chatsworth House we were trying out to different pieces of technology. One was the A99 from Sony which was equipped with the ability to combine three images quickly in order to capture excellent high dynamic range images. This allowed us to achieve images with reduced noise inside the building. We were also taking photographs with a 50 megapixel Canon camera the 5DS which, despite having a limited upper ISO limit is still one of the better higher megapixel cameras available and in fact provided some of the most detailed images that we have ever recorded being far in excess of what we could record with medium format digital cameras.

The real reason that we were visiting the area however as far as photography was concerned was not simply to try out equipment. On this particular visit we had especially coincided our visit with autumn. When you travel around the world and you see photographs taken in autumn at different locations you can see that there is quite a variation as far as scenery and lighting is concerned. For example we live in Australia and a lot of the trees in Australia do not have leaves that turn brown and golden and fall to the ground. In fact a number of these trees have been planted in recent times but you don’t get quite the degree of this sort of thing happening that you have in the northern hemisphere. For example I was once in the United States during autumn and I saw vast sections of trees with autumn leaves and golds and it was somewhat amazing. The eucalypt trees in Australia do not have this feature. But when you see some oak trees or other similar trees that have been planted and their leaves are falling against a backdrop of the deep olive greens that you often find in the Australian outback and among the Australian trees it does provide a remarkable contrast that is well worth taking.

Chatsworth House Canon 5DS Lenscraft
Chatsworth House A99 HDR Lenscraft
Chatsworth House A99 HDR Lenscraft

In the United Kingdom of course you have a lot of trees whose leaves change colour and the leaves fall. This is a more common tree in that part of the world. Sometimes they fall like snow!

And the light is different. Instead of the harsher light of the Australian continent or the different bright light that you find in other parts of the world, in Yorkshire and Derbyshire you have a very definite softness in the light in that part of the year. So we had the chance to combine the magnificent gardens of Chatsworth, to try out some equipment that we wanted to put through its paces, and the opportunity to shoot the gardens during autumn when we really want to see the diverse range of colour. You have to bear in mind that the gardens of Chatsworth were developed over hundreds of years. These are not something that was planted just a couple of decades ago. This is one of the jewels in the crown of Derbyshire.

You get to see a mixture of colours in plants and plantings that you will not find anywhere else in the world. You also get the benefit of a magnificent house as well as magnificent use of water. The whole thing combines to make it a most interesting outing. For us it began with a drive to the grounds that took us to some awesome areas of countryside. When we arrived at Chatsworth we were not disappointed in the slightest. The grounds were in blazing colour and the autumn leaves were really showing off what they could do. So here are some of the photographs that we took.

Chatsworth House A99 HDR Lenscraft

A couple of conclusions that are well worth mentioning. The high dynamic range feature in the Sony camera is a perfect tool for this sort of photography. We were able to capture details and colours inside the house that were not able to be captured with cameras that were not similarly equipped. I would highly recommend this feature to anyone interested in shooting this sort of setting.

As far as the Canon 5DS is concerned / Some reviewers have suggested that having an upper ISO limit so low on this camera is a serious deficiency. All I can say to you is that most professional photographers limit the upper limit of the ISO that they use with their camera to below 1000 ISO with a camera of this kind and that most of us try to work with the lowest ISO we can use as we are trying to avoid noise. I found working below ISO2000 was no limitation whatsoever and even in lowlight situations it was easy to get the images that I wanted working within this limit. I’d much rather be a little bit more thoughtful about the photograph that I take than introduce noise. I’m not a fan of winding the ISO up to really high limits and even on cameras where the ISO can comfortably be shot at 12,000 ISO I will generally limit the usable auto ISO range that I will let the camera use to approximately one quarter of the range. Thus for example the Nikon D850 is limited in my case to 6400 ISO whereas it will comfortably shoot very nice and usable images much higher. They’re just not good enough for me. The advantage of the Canon 5DSR is the ability to choose formats so that you can in fact shoot a square image or a small image that simply records to part of the sensor or at least acknowledges just part of the sensor in the way that the images recorded. This was interesting because it gave you the view through the viewfinder there was somewhat similar to a rangefinder where you could see outside the area that you were shooting. This is always interesting for action because you can see people moving in or out of the shot but know that you are shooting just within a designated area in the viewfinder. I think it’s fantastic personally. It’s a really good idea and very effective.

This camera performed flawlessly. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you are looking at a higher megapixel camera and you are interested in using Canon. Having said that, I think that the Nikon higher megapixel cameras have greater versatility and I would encourage you to compare the two before making your decision. Canon glass appears to be a little brighter and sharper to my eyes and that’s also a consideration. In any event, these are images of Autumn and Chatsworth. Enjoy.

Lenscraft Photography

Pinnacles With Canon 24-105L

Hot and Sandy Pinnacles Desert WA

If you are traveling with just one camera and one lens, what would you use? There are so many different choices. Some people prefer the 50 mm or 35mm prime. On this particular trip we were visiting the Pinnacles National Park or desert area which is 200 km north-west of Perth. You can now get there along the Indian Ocean Drive which is a relatively recent link and makes it a pretty straightforward trip to get to Cervantes.

To the desert

If you type in the word pinnacles Western Australia into a browser you’ll come up with a description of a desert area with thousands of limestone formations which stick up out of the sand. There are literally thousands of these limestone formations but nothing really prepares you for what you will see. And it’s good if your vehicle is reasonably rugged as some of the terrain that leads to the actual national park itself can be just a little bit taxing. I had to do some repairs prior to driving back to Perth and the garage owner wasn’t at all surprised when I called in to borrow some tools. He greeted me with a wry grin.

The garage does a decent trade in dents and repairs….😁😁 It keeps on improving as the tourism network works out that this is an attraction people want to see.

Roads are long and deserted for much of the journey and the bush is literally low bush. But at sometimes it is green and there are flowers as well to brighten the drive.

Its a rugged location even if its a tourist spot.

Knowing that I would want to be travelling light and that it would be blazingly hot in the desert I decided to use one of the Canon fullframe DSLR’s and I fitted the 24 to 105 mm F4 L-series lens which is one of theworkhorses of the Canon L series lenses. It’s never let me down and it didn’t on this trip. Working in very bright light with two distinctive colours beingthe colour of the desert and the blue sky overhead. Yellow and blue and blazingheat and flies. What could be better?

When you get to the park you basically drive around on a clearly marked exterior road but you can pull off and you can wander through what you can see. My recommendation is to have plenty of water on board. When travelling in Western Australia on very hot days, and especially if you come from Europe, nothing can prepare you for the oven like conditions that you can find yourself in. It really is oppressive and can sometimes be accompanied by high humidity. And as I’ve mentioned already the flies can be a problem. You don’t really want to be changing your lens when you are surrounded by sand and flying creatures.

Flies and Sand. Not the best place to be changing lenses.

Choose what to take in advance is always our suggestion.

In those sort of conditions I generally preselect the equipment that I’m going to use. These are the sort of rugged conditions that call for one of the Canon 1D series of virtually indestructible beasts. For this particular shoot I was using a Canon 1DX and it performed faultlessly. Overall I think we got a reasonably good collection. I especially like the way that you can capture a view of the various pinnacles against the blue sky and then in some instances you can even capture the view where the Indian Ocean in the background. Some people have said that it is a bit like looking at the landscape of the moon and you certainly get the idea of some of the science fiction sets that have featured in some post apocalyptic scenes. It’s not really hospitable. It does in fact get tens of thousands of visitors each year and you wouldn’t be surprised to find several other cars doing the circuit. However such is the vastness of the distance that often you feel as if you are on your own. You don’t necessarily need something as indestructible as the Canon 1D series and I’ve known people wander around with a mobile phone or any one of the small cameras that you find around. But I’d definitely recommend something that can meter in the glare as the reflections are strong against surfaces polished by sand and wind.

The 24-105L is a work horse and focuses very fast.

Sand, flies, dust and heat. Ideal for photography….

Why the Canon L series 24 to 105 mm lens? There’s a couple of things that really work amazingly well with this lens. Obviously you can take for granted the rocksolid performance as far as focus is concerned. It’s F4 as well which means that you going to get a really good sharpness in the image that you get. But the thing that really works with this particular lens is that it has an excellent way of capturing contrast. If there is contrast in the scene you can capture it. Contrast sometimes helps you to see more clearly the sharpness and vivid detail that you find in an image. The 24 to 105 mm lens L-series F4 has much better contrast than the 24 to 70 mm lenses but at the same time it doesn’t have the overall sharpness for the same degree of range. It’s still one of my go to lenses if I’m working with Canon and I want to use the zoom. [In fact we used it in Sydney on the harbor and took a lot of images that have been seen around the world.]

Harsh lighting

If you visit the pinnacles to take photographs like this one of the things you want to have his sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and a long sleeve shirt. The incredibly high ultraviolet light in this part of the world is one of the distinctive features of the light reflects off objects when you’re shooting outside and it can quickly burn you. You get a very distinctive look which is harsher than you get in other parts of Australia. You can virtually pick an image taken in Western Australia in the sort of conditions even if it isn’t something as distinctive as the pinnacles. It’s a harsh light. And these are harsh conditions. So definitely wear sunscreen and always use the highest degree of protection that you can. Most people tend to disregard the idea of a long sleeve shirt but given the number of horror stories that you hear about skin cancer i’m committed to lightweight long sleeve shirts for protection.

It’s a unique landscape

Like a gate way to where??

Some of the views around the pinnacles that I’ve shown here show virtual pathways or gateways. One of these we’ve dubbed the gate of death as if you go through a portal and along the way towards your doom. I think it provides quite a dramatic scene in the setting against that backdrop and of course none of these pinnacles were placed here by anything other than the effect of sand and wind. I provided a bit of a description below about the desert itself which should provide you with a bit of extra information that you might find useful if you are thinking of traveling to this area.

One of the things you may notice is there’s quite a lot of detail in these limestone pillars. Some of them look almost as if there is a detail within as if there something hiding within to find. There isn’t but it just has that look.

We spent about an hour traveling around the pinnacles Desert to establish this particular set of images. I’ve included 30 and a few pictures of the gear that we used on this particular shoot. Those of you that are familiar with the sort of work that I like to do will probably wonder at me not using either a Nikon or a Sony or an Olympus camera on this particular shoot given that I am a fan in more recent times of these ranges. To be honest most of my work these days comes as a result of working with an electronic viewfinder.

Indian Ocean in the distance

However the viewfinders in the Canon 1D series are very bright and clear and therefore I do not feel disadvantaged. However if you gave me a choice between a camera with a standard viewfinder without a really good image or view and I had the option of working with the camera with electronic viewfinder instead then I would probably go for the EVF for the simple reason that they just give you much greater control over what you are doing. The Canon 1D series are weather sealed and the Canon 24 to 105 mm L-series lens is also a rugged lens and for me it was a no-brainer. I got the choice right.

Nambung National Park is a national park in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, 200 km northwest of Perth, Australia and 17 km south of the small coastal town of Cervantes. The park contains the Pinnacles Desert which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinnacles.

The park derives its name from an indigenous Australian word possibly meaning crooked or winding. The word was first used in 1938 when naming the Nambung River which flows into the park and disappears into a cave system within the limestone. The Yued people are the acknowledged traditional custodians of the land since before the arrival of Europeans.

Thousands of huge limestone pillars rise from a starklandscape of yellow sand to form one of Australia’s most intriguing landscapes.

Parking bays are provided at various points along a one-waydrive for those wishing to stop and explore the fascinating Pinnacles Desert onfoot.

In places, the pinnacles reach up to 3.5m tall. Some are jagged, sharp-edged columns, rising to a point, while others resemble tombstones.

Features that provide clues to the origin of the Pinnaclescan be seen by the astute observer. For example, many pinnacles displaycross-bedding structures, where the angle of deposition of the sand changesvery abruptly. This indicates that the dunes from which the limestone bed wasformed was originally laid down by the wind.

Some pinnacles have a mushroom-like shape, due to remnantsof a calcrete capping. The mushroom shape has formed because the capping isharder than the limestone below it and therefore weathers at a slower rate.

The Canon 24 to 105 mm lens performed flawlessly. It’s a sort of situation where you do want to have some wide-angle shots and also the ability to zoom in and get in quite close. As you can see there is quite a lot of detailing some of these photographs and the rocks to reveal quite a lot. There was a fair amount of wind and sand blowing around which just confirmed the idea of not changing lens on site. I don’t know about you but going back to your car to change lenses all the time when you’re on a shoot isn’t appealing to me. This particular lens offers that little bit extra range than the 24 to 70 mm and I found it very useful. I’m planning to go back and do a shoot using either the Z7 or possibly the new Olympus which we hear is going to be released in 2019 with some pretty spectacular lenses. If that happens I will provide a post. Having said that the existing Olympus OM1 is the sort of tool that I would enjoy taking some shots with in the near future at the pinnacles.

If you check online you’ll find some photographers who have posted shots here taken at sunset with spectacular sunsets. [There are some obvious fakes if you look closely.] I’ve never tried a sunset but its on my list. I’ll let everyone know when I tick it off.

A few comments re Lenscraft Photography. When we comment on equipment in these pages the comments are based on use in the field. They are never based on a single use or just a couple of days using the equipment. We try the equipment with at least two disciplines in photography and determine how it performs from there. Lenscraft Photography is a website devoted to photography and sharing experiences with equipment. We are not affiliated with any manufacturer. We have used equipment professionally from Canon, Nikon, Ricoh, Minolta, Sony, Leica, Olympus, Hasselblad, Zeiss, Sigma, Pentax, Zenit, Bronica, Rollei & Kodak.

Some of these companies have been absorbed into others. Currently we regularly use equipment from Olympus, Nikon, Sony, & Hasselblad. [Plus lenses from Zeiss and Sigma]