Richard Sisk

I am a photographer, in particular since 1993 a full time photographer. I have specialized in landscapes and city skylines.

It has been an interesting journey that has taken me all around our great country. I have visited many historic sites and most of our magnificent cities. One thing that has struck me has been the kindness and helpful spirit of the many people I’ve met along the way.

It has been an opportunity to learn a great deal about many remarkable locations and people. I was able to travel a remote portion of the Oregon Trail in Idaho. I visited the source of the Missouri River in Montana, and reached down to taste the cold, crystal clear water, as Meriwether Lewis had done 200 years earlier. A few months later I found his final resting place along the Natchez Trace in Tennessee.

There have been many moving moments during this long journey. However, the wonderful and kind people of America have been the greatest source of inspiration throughout my travels.

Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop

 Technique  Comments Off on Twenty Helpful Tips and Tricks for Photoshop
Nov 202017
 

Photoshop is a tremendously intricate and nuanced program, and you can never have enough tips and tricks to navigate all its features and options and make your workflow both more powerful and more efficient. This helpful video will show you 20 more tips and tricks you might not have seen before.

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DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101

 Gear  Comments Off on DxOMark’s Pentax 645Z Review is Out After 2 Year Delay, Scores 101
Nov 202017
 

Last month, we reported that DxOMark had reviewed the Pentax 645Z back in 2015 and given it a highest-ever score of 101 before pausing its medium format camera reviews prior to publishing any. That Pentax 645Z review is finally out, and DxOMark still has glowing things to say about the camera.

DxOMark says the 51.4-megapixel camera has extremely good image quality scores, and the large pixels on the sensor gives the camera the best low-light ISO scores ever recorded up to this point among all cameras.

“It’s clear from our testing that the Pentax 645Z’s sensor is extremely capable, coming within a whisper of matching the performance of the Hasselblad X1D sensor (our highest-scoring sensor to date),” DxOMark says. “The 645Z’s high dynamic range and color sensitivity make it ideally suited for capturing the types of scenes that are traditionally favored by medium-format photographers — landscapes, weddings, portraits, and still lifes (commercial).”

The camera is interesting to compare against the Nikon D850, DxOMark says. The Pentax has a sensor that’s 1.7 times larger, but the D850 is about 3 years newer. The Nikon D850 actually stacks up well against the medium format camera thanks to Sony’s sensor manufacturing prowess.

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SmallHD Firmware OS3 Adds Auto Calibration And Custom False Color

 Technique  Comments Off on SmallHD Firmware OS3 Adds Auto Calibration And Custom False Color
Nov 132017
 

SmallHD has released a firmware update they are calling their biggest yet. OS3 is available for all current SmallHD monitors, sporting advanced false color and waveform functionality, as well as much need auto calibration.

The above video gives you a nice little run down of SmallHD firmware update OS3.

SmallHD has focused on updating their false color and waveform exposure tools to make them much more customizable.

Customizable False Color

Previous to this update, the false color feature on SmallHD monitors was fairly standard – the image displayed was broken down into color shades that stretched a gradient from 0-100%.

Now, you can select specific IRE values (up to 10 different ranges) and assign them different colors.

How does this help? Primitive false color is one thing, but having the ability to really home in on certain IRE values is a step further in advanced exposure assistance.

You can set a certain level of IRE values that you know is good for skin tones, or set a low and/or high end cap on edge range values to ensure you don’t under or over expose.

It can be really good for greenscreen and cyc work also, as well as keeping track of exposure tones for long-term projects.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Gear  Comments Off on FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Canon XF405 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions
Oct 262017
 

With the introduction of the new Canon XF405, XF400, LEGRIA/VIXIA GX10 – as well as the whole of Sony’s new line – one can assume that the fastest growing market for news and documentary shooting is coming in the form of 4K (UHD), handheld 1” sensor-size cameras. It is not that we haven’t had them before, but they certainly have been getting better and more feature-rich with time. When it comes to affordability… well, it totally depends on who you are talking to and the model you choose.

Canon XF405 camera

If you are an independent filmmaker looking for an all-round shooting device that can produce a bit of a cinematic look thanks to a slightly larger sensor than those traditionally found in these type of cameras, or if you’re a broadcaster looking to equip news crews with a versatile and affordable piece of equipment, then the Canon XF405/400/LEGRIA GX10 might be the right cameras for you. Sound tempting? Then read on for my full Canon XF405 review.

Before continuing, it is important for me to make it clear that the image coming out of the camera I tested may be slightly different than that of the final product.

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Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony a7R III Announced Along Sony 24-105mm f4 and 400m f2.8
Oct 262017
 

Today is a Sony announcement day that sees the unveiling of the Sony a7R III and 24-105mm f4 zoom, and the announcement of an upcoming 400m f2.8 G Master lens.

Sony a7R III

The wait is over: Sony has finally unveiled the first in the new generation of the A7 series. As always, the Sony a7R III comes at the vanguard of the new announcements – ahead of the A7 and S models – and this time brings a host of improvements to existing features and a few new surprises.

As expected, the new Sony a7R III brings a high pixel-count sensor, with its 42.4MP of resolution once again making this the model aimed primarily at professional stills photographers. The camera’s back-illuminated Exmor R and BIONZ X processor make this model capable of capturing 10 still frames per second, for a buffer of 76 continuous compressed RAW or JPEG images. ISO is available from 100-32000, and Sony claims that noise has been reduced by up to a full stop.

All of this with the advanced autofocus capabilities we have come to expect from this line’s R model, thanks to its 399 phase-detection AF points across 68% of the image, in addition to 425 contrast-detection points. Sony also claims that the camera’s Eye AF performance has been improved when the subject is moving, backlit or looking down.

What about video?

Just like with the II, the new Sony a7R III is capable of recording internal 4K in both full-frame and Super 35mm modes. As you may remember from some of our camera tests of the previous generation, the A7R II offered a better 4K image in crop mode, so it remains to be seen whether this will still be the case with the a7R III (take a look at some comparisons here, and our review here). It’s worth mentioning that the camera also supports proxy recording for easier editing of high-resolution videos, particularly useful when dealing with the relatively processor-intensive XAVC codec. Additionally, one of the biggest improvements to the video capabilities of the camera is the ability to achieve an increased resolution of 5K in Super 35mm mode thanks to an oversampling of a 15MP section of the sensor.

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Pre-Order:

Sony a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera Body

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS E-Mount NEX Camera Lens

DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne

 Gear  Comments Off on DJI AeroScope is Designed to Track Down Your Drone While Airborne
Oct 262017
 

DJI has unveiled a new tool designed to increase safety and security in a world of crowded air space. AeroScope can identify and track any DJI drone by using the existing link between the drone itself and the controller on the ground. A bold move, you might think. Certainly, but also a necessary one!

Security is always an issue, and it’s always about keeping a balance. Surveillance, incapacitation and big brother authorities on the one hand, privacy and freedom on the other.

Photograph credit: Bertrand Bouchez | unsplash.com

We need regulation for the increasing air traffic caused by affordable drones, sure. But we also need to avoid a surveillance state in order to enforce these regulations. In comes DJI AeroScope, a tool which tries to satisfy both sides.

DJI AeroScope

This upcoming technology won’t be available for everybody. It’s designed to be used by authorized parties like police or aviation authorities only. AeroScope has been installed at two international airports since April, and DJI is continuing to test the system in other environments.

Basically AeroScope is a receiver that can detect any drones within its range once that drone is powered on. Before it’s even airborne, AeroScope can already know its location and its unique registration number, which relates it directly to its registered owner.

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Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018

 Technique  Comments Off on Why the Brush Tool Has a Weird Purple Line in Photoshop CC 2018
Oct 242017
 

If you’ve started using Photoshop CC 2018, you may have noticed a strange purple line following your brush around as you’re using it now. That line is called a “brush leash,” and here’s a helpful 6-minute video by retoucher Pratik Naik about what that purple line is and how you can use and customize it.

Basically, the purple brush leash is meant to serve as a guide for the Smoothing feature of the Brush Tool. Turning Smoothing down to 0% removes the purple line and restores the brush tool to the original version.

You can also turn off the brush leash in the Cursors panel of your Preferences.

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Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Nikon D850’s Negative Digitizer Isn’t Ready for Prime Time
Oct 242017
 

 

A couple weeks ago, I got a chance to run the Nikon D850 through its paces as a scanner. The “Negative Digitizer” feature, which can automatically flip negatives to positive got a lot of buzz as the camera was being released, and I was eager to try it out.

I’ve been using digital cameras to scan my negatives since I was first able to put my hands on one. When done properly, it’s possible to digitize very large collections quickly and efficiently.

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How to Use the Foreground to Create Depth in Landscape Photos

 Technique  Comments Off on How to Use the Foreground to Create Depth in Landscape Photos
Oct 242017
 

Sometimes a beautiful landscape scene doesn’t look as good on camera as it did to your eye, but that’s because translating a 3-dimensional scene into a 2-dimensional space is challenging. Using strong foreground elements in your composition is one way to create depth and counter this problem, as shown in this 8-minute tutorial from Nature TTL.

There are a huge number of different rules and compositional guides you can adhere to, but one lesser-known rule is the “Rule of Odds.”

This suggests using an odd number of objects in your foreground, as the eye tends to find itself being drawn to the middle one. This means that you can use objects as stepping stones, drawing the eye into the image.

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LG’s V30 Smartphone: 10-bit color, LG Cine-Log Video in a Phone?

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on LG’s V30 Smartphone: 10-bit color, LG Cine-Log Video in a Phone?
Oct 162017
 

Move over Apple, there’s a new kid in town. The LG V30 takes mobile video to new heights with a 10-bit HDR Image Sensor and LG Cine-Log gamma.

In case you didn’t catch that: the LG V30 promises to record 4K video at 10-bit color depth with log gamma encoding. Before getting too excited about this, it is important to separate fact from fiction, and cinema5D will do exactly this with the LG V30 after some thorough tests, the results of which you can expect in a subsequent article.

Meanwhile, check out Parker Walbeck’s LG V30 vs RED Weapon video on his YouTube channel Fulltime Filmmaker:

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Fast and Affordable Mitakon Creator Primes Now Available for E-Mount

 Gear  Comments Off on Fast and Affordable Mitakon Creator Primes Now Available for E-Mount
Oct 162017
 

Lens manufacturer Zhongyi has expanded the Mitakon Creator line-up, with the 35mm f/2 and 85mm f/2 now available for Sony E-mount.

Zhongyi Optics is a lens manufacturer out of China that specialises in affordable fast glass and lens adapters under the Mitakon banner, which includes the Speedmaster series of primes and the Lens Turbo focal reducer – think of it as a Speed Booster without electronic contacts, but which has proven popular with beginner filmmakers due to its low cost and good compatibility with manual cine-style lenses like the Rokinons.

Their Mitakon Creator line of fully-manual primes consists of a 35mm f/2, an 85mm f/2 and a 135mm f/2.8, and had until now been available in Sony A, Canon EF, Pentax K, and Nikon F mounts. Now, the Mitakon Creator series is expanding, offering both the 35mm and the 85mm also in Sony E-mount.

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PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots

 Gear  Comments Off on PolarPro FiftyFifty Review – A New Way to Compose Your Watersport Shots
Oct 162017
 

The PolarPro FiftyFifty is the latest gadget for the GoPro HERO 5: a dome for split shots over and underwater. Read on for sample footage and my impressions.

Having used GoPro gear for the last few years, I am constantly amazed by the evolution of the cameras and their accessories. I recently got my hands on the PolarPro FiftyFifty, a dome shaped-accessory that allows you to achieve shots above and below the water surface simultaneously.

Now you may ask, why would I need a dome? Couldn’t I just hold the GoPro half way over and under water? There are two reasons why this isn’t a good idea. First, the GoPro’s tiny lens makes it difficult to accurately hit that half/half position. Secondly, there’s the small detail of physics blurring your image: the surface tension of the water, in addition to the air and plastic front lens creates a contact angle with a water surface curvature, acting like an optical element. If this happens directly on your front lens, it blurs a lot of your recorded image. However, if this phenomenon happens further away – hence the dome – then it occupies only a small portion of the image, and you get a clear split shot.

The PolarPro FiftyFifty

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Adobe Portfolio Now Integrates with Lightroom Collections

 Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Portfolio Now Integrates with Lightroom Collections
Oct 082017
 

Adobe Portfolio, a platform for photographers to share images online on their own websites, will now integrate with Lightroom collections. This means you can upload entire collections at once, straight from Lightroom to your online portfolio.

The “Manage Content” section that Adobe Portfolio users are familiar with has been changed to make all this as easy as possible. It’s now broken down into two separate tabs, “Website Pages” and “Integrations,” and you can quickly get an overview of your portfolio and use the powerful new features.

“Website Pages” will show you all of your galleries and pages, whereas “Integrations” will enable you to connect Lightroom collections as well as setting which gallery future Behance projects will appear in.

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A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor

 Gear  Comments Off on A Canon Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera May Arrive in 2018 with New Sensor
Oct 082017
 

It looks like Canon and Nikon are now racing to unleash a full frame mirrorless camera on the world of photography. Nikon has given numerous statements in recent days that seem to confirm its development of such a camera, and now more details are emerging of an upcoming Canon full-frame mirrorless camera as well.

Canon Rumors is hearing from a trusted source that Canon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera will contain its own dedicated CMOS sensor rather than one that’s already being used in Canon’s full frame DSLR cameras (e.g. the 6D Mark II and the 5D Mark IV).

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Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Nikon D850 Best DSLR Ever, Gets First Full 100 Score at DxOMark
Oct 082017
 

The Nikon D850 was just awarded the first full 100 overall score ever given out to a DSLR by the testing lab DxOMark. The D850 now sits alone in the top spot on the camera leaderboard, with the full-frame mirrorless Sony a7R II sitting at #2 with a score of 98.

This is the first time a full-frame backside-illuminated sensor has appeared in a Nikon camera, and it’s a sensor that “breaks new ground for image quality,” DxOMark says. The D850 has the best color and dynamic range at base ISO among all commercially available cameras tested by the lab — it’s so good it rivals medium format sensors in some aspects.

“At base ISO, the Nikon D850 image quality for color is unrivaled for a DSLR, although the mirrorless Sony A7R II and full frame compact RX1R II comes pretty close,” DxOMark writes. “The D850’s color is on par with the best results we’ve seen on medium-format sensors, such as the Phase One IQ180 digital back, and fractionally ahead of the Phase One P65.”

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Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan

 Gear  Comments Off on Looking Through the Viewfinder of a Hasselblad XPan
Oct 022017
 

The XPan was the first Hasselblad camera to 35mm film and was able to shoot ultra-wide panorama negatives. Photographer Jordan Lockhart decided to mount an action camera to his XPan to capture what it’s like to frame the world and shoot with this unique camera.

“It took us a while to figure out a proper way to make this work but we eventually found out a decent solution, which I hope will give you a taste of why I love this camera so much,” writes Vincent Moschetti of OYWFO, who made the 6-minute video above showing the experiment. “We used a roll of Kodak Portra 800 which seemed like the perfect film to use on this rainy day and explore the city of Tampere in Finland.”

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Panasonic GH5 Cage Review & Shootout – Zacuto vs. Movcam vs. Came-TV

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Panasonic GH5 Cage Review & Shootout – Zacuto vs. Movcam vs. Came-TV
Oct 022017
 

We put three camera cages for the Panasonic GH5 head to head for an in-depth look, review and comparison. Came-TV, Movcam, Zacuto… Let’s see which one comes out on top on this GH5 Cage Shootout!

To use the full potential of any camera, it is crucial to find the right cage on order to mount whatever third-party accessories you may need. That said, cages don’t just add several mounting threads and cold shoes, they also improve protection of the camera body, usually add better grips and handles, and protect the HDMI connector and other ports.

In the case of the Panasonic GH5, there is now wide variety of compatible cages, and the quality differences are quite significant. For this comparison, we received three popular cages for testing, but please note that this is not an exhaustive list of Panasonic GH5 cages.

Structure of Each Review:

  • Ease of assembly and disassembly.
  • How securely is the camera attached to the cage?
  • HDMI cable protector design.
  • Do we have access to the side outputs, slots and all the buttons?
  • Is it possible to use the Panasonic XLR adapter?
  • How good is the included Rod Support?
  • Quality of the Metabones Mount.
  • The top-handle design.
  • Overall ergonomics.
  • Conclusion.

At the very end of the article I’ll summarize the main pros and cons of each cage and announce our veredict. Please note that no cage is perfect and it’s up to each user to decide which cage better fits their needs and preferences.

Came-TV

Came-TV has the simpliest design out of all three tested cages. It does not feature HDMI support, but has many threads and offers a rod support piece. How well did it perform?

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Phantom Flex VEO 4K-PL Exclusive Hands-On

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Phantom Flex VEO 4K-PL Exclusive Hands-On
Oct 022017
 

Vision Research has recently introduced a new Phantom VEO 4K-PL, which like its older brother Phantom Flex 4K, can shoot up to 1000fps at full 4K DCI resolution, but in a smaller and more compact body.

What is the Phantom VEO line?

They say that when you touch a Phantom camera you go straight to heaven. At least that’s how I feel. Vision Research is a company that started out with high-speed cameras for military testing and analysing car-crash impacts, only to later turn its eye to the film industry with its revolutionary tech. In 2014, Vision Research introduced the mind-blowing Phantom Flex 4K camera, capable of 1000 frames-per-second at full 4K DCI resolution, in what many would consider the best quality 4K RAW compared to RED and even ARRI. Last year, Vision Research introduced the VEO line, a more compact version of their film industry cameras that continue the trend set by the ARRI Mini and RED – that smaller is better. Less weight and a more compact design mean more possibilities, such as the use of stabilisation platforms and even UAV. In comparison, the Phantom Flex 4K body weighs an incredible 5kg without ANYTHING on it. Add a lens, follow focus, rods, viewfinder, batteries, monitor and you can easily accumulate a weight that not many gimbals can handle.

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GoPro HERO6: This Is the Moment in 4K!

 Cinematography, Gear, News  Comments Off on GoPro HERO6: This Is the Moment in 4K!
Sep 282017