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Dave Collerton

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Dave Collerton

Smartphone camera, Compact or DSLR?

Smartphone camera, Compact or DSLR?

A lot of people ask, what's the best camera for taking great pictures? In general terms, the answer will be,  the one you've got with you, as this is the only thing you've got to capture the moment. Of course, if we all had crystal balls we could prepare for that one in a lifetime shot but unfortunately, life's generally not that kind.  In this example the lighting all wrong, the colours could be stronger and the background is a little distracting. However, my eyes are drawn immediately to the two main characters and in particular, the smile of the young lady and the enigmatic gaze of the man. As a composition, it really works and with a little post processing, this is a 100% un-edited photo, some of the issues mentioned above could definitely be improved. However, as a spur of the moment photo, I think it's nailed. 

The key question is then if I had had a Nikon D600 as opposed to my trusty Samsung Note 3, would the photo, if taken spur of the moment, be any better? The answer is possibly, the D600 has excellent low light capability after all, but to be fair, I suspect that unless the shot was staged, which it most definately wasn't, the smartphone captured the moment pretty well.

So, as my arsenal of cameras grows will I rely less and less on my smartphone? Probably not. For street photography, even at low light, a good smartphone such as the Google Pixel, Samsung S6 / S7 / S8 or iphone etc perform really well and can grab shots photographers often miss wielding a 2lb, state of the art DSLR to their eyes to capture a moment that probably lasted just 10 seconds! The shot below is a good example of of where having a smartphone just works. 

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Dave Collerton

The Pentax K1. My next camera?

The Pentax K1. My next camera?

Moving to a full frame camera requires a major investment in time, effort and money as these babies aren't the cheapest things on earth. However, they are gorgeous! The Pentax_K-1 is a full frame camera redefined with approx. 36.4 megapixels, 35 mm full-frame format CMOS sensor, 5 axis five shutter step built-in SR mechanism. It features pixels shift resolution, shoots up to ISO 204800, has a newly developed image engine, the PRIME IV as well as a flexible tilt type LCD monitor, AA filter simulator and a new AF system, the SAFOX 12. It also includes built-in Wi-Fi, GPS and ASTROTRACER (for astronomy buffs). The Pentax K1 is also dustproof, weather-resistant and -10℃ cold resistant.

Why do I love it? 

A model as widely anticipated as the Pentax K-1 has to work hard to meet the expectations of professionals and serious amateurs. For those who have waited patiently for so long, are, thankfully, likely to be very pleased. Its design for success is simple: not only does it offer an awful lot for its very reasonable asking price, but it also marries this with amazing performance in many key areas.

Crucially, and this is the primary goal of any top end camera, image quality is one of its major strengths. The camera is capable of and excellent dynamic range and high resolution, noise is well controlled. And while the abundance of colour and white-balance options means that you can easily get the results you want in camera – particularly if you take advantage of post-capture raw processing.

Just as noteworthy is the model’s design, and more specifically its handling and operation. With only very minor exceptions, there isn't any physical aspect of the camera’s design that would benefit from being revised. Controls are easily accessible and clearly marked, and the camera has a comfortable feel in the hands, providing the ideal body for both everyday lenses and some of the more weightier optics.

With its agreeable price tag and a handful of more specialist features, it’s clear that this is a camera is designed for a broad audience, and although there are some areas where the advantage lies with rivals such as Canon, Sony and Nikon bodies. Video quality is perfectly good, for example, but control over it isn’t quite as good as you’ll find elsewhere. Meanwhile the performance of the continuous autofocus system is average at best.

On a practical level, while the model is compatible with a wealth of legacy lenses and supports APS-C lenses, too, there is understandably a more limited range of full-frame lenses available than in other stables, and fewer third-party options, too. This may be something to consider for photographers working in specific genres. Hopefully we’ll see the Pentax range expanding in the near future.

For me, the Pentax K-1 is well worth a spot on my full-frame shortlist. With what seems to be a more than solid set of specs, excellent handling, strong image quality and best of all, a very competitive price, it’s one of the most exciting DSLRs I've seen in recent times.

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Dave Collerton

Photo Enhancement

Photo Enhancement

One of the services I offer alongside my photo / film work is to enhance photos in order to bring out detail otherwise hidden. It's important to note that where a photo is over-exposed, detail in that photo is often lost and for that reason it is generally better to err on the side of caution and under-expose the image or better still, get your exposure 100% right. 

Below is an example of a photo taken after sunset using a good quality DSLR camera. The detail in this image appears to be completely missing but in fact, it's still there waiting to be teased out. The image above is that exact same photo processed to bring back the detail that was so sadly lacking in the first. Its quite remarkable really just how much detail still exists in under-exposed images.

 

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Dave Collerton

I'm looking for local businesses who want a free media shoot. Interested?

If you feel that your business could benefit from a media makeover give me a call, I'd really like to hear from you. I've got a no strings offer you could be interested in. Call me on 07791 299 611 to see if it's for you.

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