Raw DNG Samples from the Nexus 5

Android L, the next major release of Android will allow apps to get raw data from the camera. This lets photographers extract more information and develop photos a lot more than they could with simple Jpeg files. They’ll be able to “push” the image further to recover blown out highlights and recover detail from shadows.

At least that’s the theory. You’re still working with the relatively small lenses and sensors in camera phones so they’re not going to compare to a DSLR or dedicated camera but images will get closer in quality.

This thread on r/Android has some samples of DNG files you can work on in Lightroom or whatever your RAW processor of choice is. The photos were taken with lcamera as the official Google camera app only records to Jpeg images. I took a stab at the “auto exposure” image here and came up with this:

2014-10-19-182340-gp

That’s pretty good for a photo taken by a Nexus 5 at ISO 1635. Lightroom settings were as follows:

Settings:

  • Temp: -1.65
  • Tint: +59
  • Exposure: -1.65
  • Highlights: -100
  • Shadows: 100
  • Whites: +2
  • Blacks: -29
  • Clarity: +22

Detail

  • Sharpening
    • Amount: 67
    • Radius: 1.0
    • Detail: 10
    • Masking: 70
  • Noise Reduction
    • Luminance: 20
    • Detail: 50
    • Contrast: 0

I’m really excited to see what Android L will bring to camera apps once it’s officially out in the wild and more phones have it installed!

How to remove the shine on faces with Lightroom

I had to develop a bunch of photos I took at an event recently and some of the faces in the photos had distracting highlights. The shine wasn’t too bad, but it mocked me and my initial attempts to fix it!

Lightroom is limited in it’s editing tools but it does have a powerful brush tool. The instructions I found here worked a treat. You can use the brush tool, healing tool or a combination of both.

  • Select the brush tool and change the colour to a shade close to the skin colour. Do this by clicking on the colour tool and when the colour picker popups up drag the cursor to where you want to grab the colour in the picture.
  • Set the brush to a low opacity and colour in the shine. Go slowly, it’ll take a number of passes.

You can also use the heal tool, but again make sure the opacity is set low.

Retro Gaming at jQuery UK 2013

Just a few photos that have been sitting in my “upload folder” for the last year or so after attending jQuery UK. Look at all those old 90s consoles! Snes and Megadrive machines? There’s another machine there too but I don’t recognise it. I wasn’t a fan of console gaming back then, but if they’d thrown in a C64 I’d have had fun!

It was an amazing conference and best of all, the talks are online. I remember being blown away by Wait, Chrome DevTools can do THAT? by Ilya Grigorick.

Scenic photos of Oxford will eventually make their way to my photoblog at In Photos dot Org.

Get out and make some memories

It can get pretty crazy at live performances can’t it? I’m 100% guilty of taking photos at concerts and I recorded video of my son’s stage performances at school. I even sneaked a camera into the Irish Bruce Springsteen and Take That concerts.

Meanwhile, this is what Louis CK has to say about posting videos of your kids on Facebook. It’s very NSFW obviously so be warned!

Do you wonder if you’ll ever watch any of those videos again? You need to make it easy for your family to do. Grab Plex, install it on your PC and tell it where your family videos are. It will do the hard work of indexing them. You can browse them from a web interface, on your phone in their app, on PS3 or Xbox 360 even. I’ve rediscovered videos taken when my son was only two years old that make me smile and laugh all over again!

I found the video above on fstoppers where Mike Wilkinson mentions a singer named Mayer Hawthorne who told people to get out their phones and cameras and he and his band posed for photos. Apparently everyone put their cameras away afterwards and enjoyed the show. Good idea. Taking that one step further it’d be great if performers put photos and videos of their shows online for fans to download. Put that URL on the ticket. Could schools do something similar? Most schools must have a reasonably competent (or enthusiastic) photographer and videographer as a parent. Delegate the job perhaps?

Finally, keep making memories and recording them but as I’ve been reminded many times, get your face out from behind the viewfinder too!

Portals in the Sea

portals-in-the-sea

Garrettstown Beach in Co Cork boasts a number of attractions. Chief among them are the waves loved by surfers in one area and a long sandy beach next door.

There are also a few Ingress portals there and I managed to capture some of them. The two in the sea only have a couple of resonators and not the full complement of eight because I was standing at the bottom of the sea wall with my hand outstretched trying to reach them. After almost getting caught by a sudden wave I beat a hasty retreat.

2013-04-14-7438-m
When the tide goes out however I’ll be back!

Tethered shooting Android apps for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

I discovered Helicon Remote a few days ago. It allows you to hook your Android phone to a Canon or Nikon DSLR via the camera’s USB port and control many aspects of photo taking. It even has live preview on the phone screen which is a nice bonus.

The app itself is free to download but is limited in that it won’t allow you to shoot RAW images. It also doesn’t restore the camera settings when you shut it down so you may need to fix those after using it. If you register it by handing over $38 (discounted price, it’s normally $48!) you’ll be able to make RAW photos.

There is also the free remote release app by Chainfire and his (much) more advanced DSLR Controller costing only €7.13 that looks to be similar to the Helicon app but more reasonably priced.

I tried the Helicon app with my SGSII, an OTG USB cable and my Canon 40D. Images are stored on your phone just in case you’re wondering where they’ve disappeared to after disconnecting everything!

Three Days in Dungarvan

I spent the last few days in Dungarvan, staying in the Park Hotel with my family. It’s a really nice town, small enough that you can walk around it in half an hour but plenty of places to eat and drink.

I took my camera of course and almost always shot in b/w mode with my Canon f1.8 50mm lens. I cheated a little as I used RAW+Jpeg mode but I’m happy with the results. RAW lets me recover the colour information while the Jpeg records a useful b/w image I can check against during post processing.

I love that 50mm lens but rarely use it so a whole holiday was a challenge. With such a short depth of field it’s really important getting the focus point right. I usually used the center point or a side point rather than trust the matrix to pick out the right one!

Oh Corel, you’re still around? Hello Bibble!

I’m a big fan of Bibble Pro by Bibble Labs so when I saw an email from them a few days ago announcing their sale to Corel I was a little worried. The last time I had anything to do with Corel software was when they had a Linux distro. That didn’t end so well.

Here’s some blurb from the press release:

Corel bought us for a couple of reasons. First, they were looking for a top-of-the-line technology to complement PaintShop Pro, their flagship photo editing solution. They were blown away by the speed of Bibble’s technology and saw the opportunity to invest even more in development and in bringing our technology to even more users- something that Bibble Labs simply couldn’t afford to do on our own. We’ve been working with the Corel team for the past few months and it’s clear they’re committed. They are excited about our technology and processing power, and the opportunities we see to take the product forward. They recently released PaintShop Pro to very strong user and industry reviews, and are now keen to offer photographers a powerful workflow and management solution. Corel knew there was no better match for them than Bibble.

All of us at Bibble have joined the Corel team. We’re keeping Mac and Linux support and we’re staying in Austin. I’m now running product development for Corel’s new photo workflow solution that is based on the core Bibble technology. What’s even better is that I now have access to dedicated user interface and graphic designers who are helping to improve usability and make the product even better looking. I also now have a full QA team dedicated to product testing, along with documentation and localization teams, marketing and sales teams, and a huge, international distribution system to help get our technology the notice it deserves. We also have access to a customer support team to help provide the personal attention I had always wanted to provide, but couldn’t do on my own. Not only does this mean that many more folks are working on this product than ever have before, but it als o means that all of us at the Labs can focus 100% on the core technology and the product.

Bibble Pro has been transformed into Aftershot Pro. You can download a trial version here. It looks very like Bibble Pro but it’s a lot snappier. It loads very quickly, previews show quickly, applies filters quickly. It also feels lighter on my system.

The upgrade for existing Bibble users is $19.99 (EUR/GBP 14.99 incl. VAT) up to the end of January so I decided to go for it. Hopefully the speed increase isn’t because there isn’t a huge catalogue of imported photos! It would be nice to have some way of importing the Bibble photo catalogue.

Reaction elsewhere has been mixed. Check out these threads: one and two.

Oh yeah, Bibblelabs and Corel. Thanks for supporting Linux!