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First Look at Editing Photos in iPadOS

One of the reasons that I upgraded from the iPad mini 2 to the 2019 version was to be ready for iPadOS and the redesigned Photos app. And after my preliminary testing, I can tell you that I'm not disappointed.

IMG_0033.jpg Highlights adjustment in iPadOS

There's a lot to unpack in iPadOS, and even the Photos app is worth a few articles itself. But I thought that I should start with the new editing tools, since that's what many of us have been waiting for.

New Adjustment Sliders

The interface is redesigned. It's clean and easy to navigate. When you enter Edit mode, you have adjustment categories on the left side: Adjustments, Filters, and Cropping. When you click on a category, the tools appear on the right side. Click on Adjustments, for example, the the following tools are available:

  • Auto
  • Exposure
  • Brilliance
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Black Point
  • Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Warmth
  • Tint
  • Sharpness
  • Definition
  • Noise Reduction
  • Vignette

Next to each tool, there's an adjustable scale that allows you to apply the effect in the desired amount. With Auto, you can move the scale up and down to fine tune the appearance of the image. So it's no more "all or nothing" for Auto.

Having the additional adjustments are welcomed. I can perform many of the basic edits that I need in the Photos app, which wasn't the case before. And the quality of the adjustments are quite good.

A Few Missing Pieces

There are still a few missing pieces, however. I would love a Retouch brush for simple spot removal. I'm happy to have Vignette, but I wish I could control its shape as well as the amount applied. At the moment, it's just amount. And Apple has abandoned the B&W tools. I loved those.

There is some compensation for taking away the B&W panel by making the Filters amount adjustable. So I'm no longer stuck with just Mono, for example, I can apply the filter at different percentages. But it's still not the same as the excellent B&W panel that we once had. Gone are Intensity, Neutrals, Tone, and Grain. Maybe they will come back some day.

Beefed Up Cropping Tool

IMG_0034.jpg The Crop tool in iPadOS Photos.

The Crop tool now supports vertical and horizontal transform tools. We have flip and rotate. And the Auto correct is now an option and isn't automatically applied.

Filters Are Now Adjustable

Apple didn't add any additional filters. But as I mentioned earlier, all of the existing ones are now adjustable from 0 percent to 100 percent. This definitely makes them more useful.

Edits Saved to iCloud

Once I tapped the Done button in Photos, my edited image was uploaded to iCloud and shared across my devices, including the Mac that is running Mojave. On the iPhone running iOS 13.1, I could see the individual edits in the Photos app. On the Mac, the picture had been enhanced, but no sliders we modified. I'm guessing that that will change with Catalina.

Bottom Line

The new Photos app on iPadOS is a substantial improvement over its predecessor. I really like it now. And I hope Apple continues with its evolution.

I will cover more aspects of Photos and iPadOS in upcoming articles.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #706, Sept. 24, 2019. Today's theme is "The Good Shot, Plus the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

New York Times photographer Lynsey Addario once said, "With photography, I always think that it's not good enough." And she's not alone in this belief. But there's a wide chasm between good and good enough. And understanding the difference between the two is the top story of today's TDS Photography Podcast. Plus, we've finally got a date for the release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. I hope you enjoy the show.

The Good Shot

Road-through-the-forest.jpg

Last week, our workshop crew push the limits of their creativity in the redwood groves of Humboldt County. Their challenge was to produce eight images for our class presentation on the final day. And I'm sure that each of them was wondering, "How do I distinguish my work from the efforts of others?"

To help them with this challenge, one of the things that I talked about was the virtue of the good shot. These images tend to be simple in composition, technically solid, and understandable by a broad audience that includes non-photographers as well.

The good shot may at first appear to be basic in design, but it strikes an emotional chord with its viewer. Photographers may think that, "I could have made that picture," yet, they don't have it in their library.

As an example of what I was talking about, I posted a good shot on Instagram. It had twice as many likes as anything else I published that week.

I go into greater depth about this type of photograph in the first segment of today's show.

E-M5III will be announced on October 17 and feature the "same" 20 MP sensor

You can read the entire post on 4/3 Rumors. They report:

I now have learned that the E-M5 III will be announced on October 17 and feature the "same" 20 MP sensor of the predecessor. Of course there will be a new processor that will improve the IQ. But it definitely sounds like this camera is going to be an incremental evolution of the current E-M5 II model.

And unlike what reported by some [that] the E-M5 III has not a "surprise" new feature. Don't trust those sites :)

E-M5 III rumor summary:

  • Announcement on October 17 (99% certain)
  • Same E-M1II sensor with 121 cross-type phase detection pixels. (80% certain)
  • New processing engine (90% certain)
  • Lighter, more plasticky but still weather sealed body (60% certain)
  • Same BLS-50 battery of the PEN and E-M10 camera series (60% certain)

TDS 2020 Photography Workshop Season to be Announced on October 1

Next year's workshop lineup will include 4 physical events plus online classes as well. My goal is to make it hard to you to decide which workshop you want to attend.

On next week's podcast, I'll unveil the new schedule and share the locations that we will be exploring. You do not want to miss this podcast.

TDS listeners can reserve a spot on the event of their choice with only a $100 deposit that applies to workshop fees. Those on the reserve list are guaranteed the opportunity to register for their favorite event. Participation is limited to 9 for each physical event.

The ultra-wide camera in the iPhone 11 models is fixed-focus, doesn't support Raw capture

You can read the entire post on DP Review. They report:

Last week, Apple debuted its new iPhone 11 devices, all three of which feature an ultra-wide camera module. This marks the first time Apple has put an ultra-wide camera in an iOS device and with the new camera comes all-new capabilities and shooting modes.

Not all of the cameras are made equal though. In addition to not having optical image stabilization, it's been revealed the ultra-wide camera unit on all three models isn't yet capable of capturing Raw image data or manual focus, unlike the wide-angle camera (and telephoto camera on the iPhone 11 Pro models).

Revealed by Halide developer Ben Sandofsky, the ultra-wide camera has a fixed-focus lens and doesn't offer any Raw photo output. The reasoning isn't yet known, but as noted by a number of responses to Sandofsky's tweet, it's possible the reason for not offering Raw output from the ultra-wide camera is due to the barrel distortion present in the uncorrected images from the ultra-wide camera. If not corrected, the distortion would be dramatic considering the 13mm (35mm equivalent) focal length, and without having iOS apps with that correction built-in it would result in rather distorted images.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Podcasting Skills Course - The course date is scheduled for November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com. Click on the Workshops tab.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

A Stroll Along the Eel River

There were a many moments during last week's TDS Photography Workshop that stay with me. One of my favorites was the walk at twilight along the Eel River.

P9190496-Fortuna-Luminar.jpg Barn and Cattle at Twilight - Olympus PEN-F with Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, 30 seconds at f/11 using a fence post for a tripod. Captured at the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Photography Workshop. Photo by Derrick Story.

Each day during the workshop is a busy one. We start with breakfast at 7am. This is another enjoyable gathering as each photographer wanders in the dining room at his or her own pace. Folks sit around tables in small groups and talk shop before class begins.

By 8am, we're in the meeting room that serves as our lab. I go over the day's assignments, we discuss the activities ahead, and I answer any questions that participants might have as they prepare for the upcoming shoot.

Once we leave the classroom, we usually stay in the field until around 2pm. I have the locations scouted, and we move from one place to another over the course of the morning. When we arrive at a site, photographers have the freedom to explore the areas that interest them. We don't march around the forest in a group.

When we return to the classroom, about 3pm, it's time to work on the images that we captured earlier. This is another time that I like. During the course of uploading, sorting, and refining, we can talk about the day, or just about anything else that comes up.

By 5:30pm, it's time to break for dinner. People can break off on their own, or join others for a bite to eat. And this brings us to the twilight walk.

For those who wish to, because this is optional, we gather in the parking lot around 7:15pm for a walk along the Eel River. It's right there in our backyard. We all bring cameras, but there is no assignment. It's just an opportunity for us to close out the day together.

DSCF1696-Humboldt-C1P.jpg Eel River at Twilight - Fujifilm XF10, ISO 200, f/2.8 at 1/20th. From the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Workshop. Photo by Derrick Story.

On one side of the path we have the river, bending gracefully off into the horizon. On the other side is pasture land with cattle, barns, and Highway 101 in the background. This is our opportunity to squeeze one final image from the day. But that's not the real purpose here.

These are the moments that stay with me from our workshops. I remember having beers at Mono Lake at sunset, wandering as a group through the French Quarter as the lights came on, standing together at the shore of Lake Almanor, and this time, chatting with my friends as we stroll along the Eel River.

There's a good feeling that comes from knowing that you've put in a solid day's work. And being able to share it with others afterward just makes it all the better. This is one of the many reasons why I love spending time with members of our photography community.

Note: The 2020 TDS Workshop Season will be announced in early October. We're having four events next year, each in a fantastic location at a very affordable price.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

5 Roadside Motel Hacks for Photographers

Backroad explorers often find themselves in quaint, but aging motels. My motto is, "If it's clean, comfortable, and affordable, I'm fine." That being said, adding a little photographer ingenuity can help make your stay more pleasurable. Here are five of my favorites.

Fresh Water Meltdown

Tepid motel tap water can discourage even the thirstiest traveler from staying hydrated. Sooth that parched throat by hitting the ice machine right away and filling up your bucket.

IMG_5235.jpg

Those clear ice cubes will meltdown into delicious purified drinking water that you can fill your water bottle with and enjoy. I typically go through a bucket a day when I'm on the road.

Tripod Window Stop

Generally speaking, the doors are secure at just about every establishment. But I can't always say the same about flimsy aluminum-framed windows with wobbly locks.

IMG_5234.jpg

Use your tripod (or better yet monopod) as a window stop to help secure your room. Adjust the leg to the proper length then tighten the locks for added window security. If you like fresh air while you sleep, readjust the leg to allow for a 6" opening in the window.

If someone were foolish enough to attempt to further open your window from the outside, they would be met with the resistance of your tripod leg. It ain't gonna happen, and if they persisted, it would awaken the deepest of sleepers.

Ironing Board Workbench

I don't iron many shirts when I'm exploring the backroads, but that folding ironing board makes a great workbench in my room. It's a nice height for working while standing, it's padded to protect your camera gear, and it folds away neatly when you're not using it.

Some ironing boards even have adjustable heights so you can use it as a deluxe TV tray for enjoying a meal while watching the evening news. Just remember to put a towel over the top first to serve as a makeshift placemat.

Sipping in Style

I'm not a huge fan of sipping my favorite whiskey from a motel paper cup. So I pack two inexpensive glasses in a cardboard cylinder (I think mine once contained Almond Roca) and add a bit of civilization to the evening cocktail hour.

IMG_5240.jpg

The cardboard cylinder is padded with paper towels (which also seem to come in handy) and both glasses fit snugly inside. They also bring a bit of elegance to sipping chilled fresh water from the ice cube bucket.

I also pack my own durable coffee cup. Drinking coffee from a paper cup isn't nearly as bad as whiskey, but my morning brew somehow tastes just a bit better from my travel mug.

Encrypted Room Number

When you first get your room keycard, it's handy to have that paper sleeve with the number on it. But once you're set up in the room, leave the sleeve behind.

I recommend taking a picture with your smartphone camera of the room number (just in case you have a rocking wild night). That way, your motel and room number remain private.

Plus, if you do accidentally lose your keycard, whoever finds it won't have a map leading back to your hotel and room.

Final Thoughts

With a little bit of preparation, we can make ourselves comfortable just about anywhere. I hope these motel hacks enhance your next overnight adventure.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #705, Sept. 17, 2019. Today's theme is "Time for a New Bag and Triple Cam Trippin'." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

Sometimes you open up the closet, peruse your options, and mumble to yourself, "I just don't have anything to wear." In this case, I'm talking about camera bags. I have all of these great adventures lined up, and none of my existing carrying solutions feel right. So I did something about it. Also this week, I take a peek at the new triple camera trend in smartphones. Maybe we don't need a bag after all? Today, on the TDS Photography Podcast.

Time for a New Bag

Nobody wants to explore the magnificent Redwoods with a suitcase in hand. Now, I wasn't planning on doing that, but my existing urban gear just didn't feel appropriate, and my current backpacks look like they have thousands of dollars of gear inside.

I wanted something that was more like the Big Lebowski and less like Wall Street goes to the forest. So I made a checklist of features that I wanted, starting with "casual vibe," and began nosing around on the Internet. When I found the Vanguard Havana 48 ($103), my first impression was that I had hit pay dirt.

But how would the pack hold up during testing? Was it all looks and no brains? Here are the features that are important to me:

  • Lots of room to serve as my Point-A to Point-B gear bag. (This is the bag that goes from the house to the hotel, with everything in it. I can then switch to a smaller bag for the field once I'm there.)
  • Looks more like a regular backpack than a photo bag. (I have a couple nice backpacks already, but they scream: "Lots of expensive equipment in here!")
  • Removable inserts allow me to convert it to a regular backpack. (Versatility is important. Maybe needs a change-up for a particular outing, and lunch and clothing are required instead of gear.)
  • Comfortable harness system so I can wear it for extended periods of time if necessary. (You never know when suddenly you have to hoof it for a distance.)
  • Plus it has to have:

  • Rain cover
  • Trolly sleeve
  • Fast laptop access
  • Easy iPad access
  • Dual water bottle pockets
  • Affordable

The bottom line. I like the Vanguard Havana 48. I really do feel like the dude with just a regular backpack. It does a good job of helping me organize my gear. And the extra room is really handy. I have a feeling that I will be using the Havana 48 for some time to come.

If you want to learn more about it, and see my pictures of the backpack, check out my review on The Digital Story.

Thoughts on the New Triple Camera iPhone

triple-camera-iphone.jpg

Last week Apple announced the iPhone 11 Pro with a triple camera setup. This is part of a trend that we are seeing by other manufacturers as well. What exactly is the triple camera?

It is exactly what it sounds like - 3 separate cameras integrated into one device. The cameras themselves are interesting.

  • The Ultra Wide - 13mm focal length with an f/2.4 aperture. It features a 5-element lens with a 120 degree field of view and a 12MP sensor.
  • The Wide Camera - Most of us are already familiar with this 26mm focal length with a f/1.8 aperture. This is the workhorse camera on top tier smartphones. Apple's has a 6-element lens with optical stabilization and a 12MP sensor.
  • The Telephoto Camera - This is a bit of a misnomer in that it's a 52mm lens at f/2.0. (My iPhone X is f/2.4.) It also has optical stabilization and a 12MP sensor.

The iPhone 11 Pro provides a 4X optical zoom range. This is different, and better, than digital zoom which is based on electronics and not actual lenses.

You start adding other features, such as Night Mode, Portrait Mode, Smart HDR, and you can see why many people consider Apple a camera company as well as computers and tablets. They've also brightened the flash by 36 percent, which is think is very important. And the display is improved as well.

Humboldt Redwoods Workshop This Week

I'm thrilled that our Humboldt Redwoods Workshop is finally here. There's a little rain in Northern CA right now, which is going to make the redwoods this wonderful, mystical, fragrant environment for our photography.

I'm working on next year's workshop schedule, and I'll be announcing the line up in October. Stay tuned for more information.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

Podcasting Skills Course - The first two course dates are scheduled for October 12 and November 9, 2019. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com. Click on the Workshops tab.

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper - Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

The Nimbleosity Report

Do you want to keep up with the best content from The Digital Story and The Nimble Photographer? Sign up for The Nimbleosity Report, and receive highlights twice-a-month in a single page newsletter. Be a part of our community!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I have some wonderful outdoor adventures this Fall, including the TDS Humboldt Redwoods Photo Workshop that I'm preparing for right now. And as I was thinking about these trips, I decided that I wanted a new photo backpack. And the one that caught my eye was the Vanguard Havana 48 ($103). Here's what I wanted, and what I got.

IMG_5208.jpg

The features that I was looking for included:

  • Lots of room to serve as my Point-A to Point-B gear bag. (This is the bag that goes from the house to the hotel, with everything in it. I can then switch to a smaller bag for the field once I'm there.)
  • Looks more like a regular backpack than a photo bag. (I have a couple nice backpacks already, but they scream: "Lots of expensive equipment in here!")
  • Removable inserts allow me to convert it to a regular backpack. (Versatility is important. Maybe needs a change-up for a particular outing, and lunch and clothing are required instead of gear.)
  • Comfortable harness system so I can wear it for extended periods of time if necessary. (You never know when suddenly you have to hoof it for a distance.)
  • Plus it has to have:

  • Rain cover
  • Trolly sleeve
  • Fast laptop access
  • Easy iPad access
  • Dual water bottle pockets
  • Affordable

The Vanguard Havana 48 met every item on my wish list. Its attractive design looks like something I'd toss some clothes and a toothbrush in for a weekend trip. It doesn't scream photo bag. But the lower compartment features a removable insert that protects my camera gear. And it accommodates my laptop as well.

P9128142.jpg Plenty of room for my camera, lenses, and accessory pouch in the lower compartment.

I can remove the camera insert, stash it in a hotel safe, and use the Havana 48 for a regular hiking bag. The divider that separates the top and bottom compartments is secured by velcro, so you can open it up if you need the entire 48 liters as open space.

The top compartment can be used for clothes and accessories. Most of the time I keep a Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 shoulder bag in the top with a camera and extra lens. This allows me to leave my bigger bag (the Havana 48) behind when I go out exploring and want to travel light with smaller shoulder bag.

P9128147.jpg I keep a smaller shoulder bag in the top compartment.

The front zippered pocket provides fast access to my iPad mini, and my 13" MacBook Pro fits in the back compartment. You can easily fit a 15" laptop in this backpack as well.

P9128145.jpg iPad mini 5 with case and Apple Pencil fit snugly in the front pocket.

The harness system is comfortable. The shoulder straps adjust easily ensuring a good fit. A "tuck away" waist belt helps stabilize the load for long walks. And there's even an adjustable breast strap (not shown) to further enhance stability. The trolly sleeve stays snug against the back padding using velcro, and when you need to slip your Havana over a suitcase handle, it just pulls out. Very nice.

P9128140.jpg Excellent harness system with trolly sleeve.

If you wish, you can secure a tripod on one side and a water bottle on the other. Or you can go with two water bottles. Either way, I like the roomy drawstring pockets on both sides. They are easy to use, and I think they look cool.

P9128154.jpg Roomy side pockets. You can use the strap above the pocket to secure a tripod is you wish. (The blue snap hook is mine and not included.)

There are plenty of other goodies included with the bag, such as a detachable rain cover, memory card pocket (that I use for batteries), mesh pockets that I use for hard drives, and a comfy top handle.

After a month of use, I'm very happy with the Vanguard Havana 48. I think it's a great value for $103. And I feel more like a dude with a VW van than a working photographer when I'm on the road with it. Two thumbs up.

Next stop... the Humboldt Redwoods!

P9128136.jpg

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I have a traditional lightbox anchored at the studio that I use for viewing slides and negatives, and sometimes product photography as well. It's big, bulky and works great. But sometimes I want to work in other places as well. And in those instances, the iPad makes a great light source.

IMG_5194.jpg

There are several apps you can use to enhance this experience. I like Light Box - Illuminator Viewer that I bought a while back for 99 cents. It keeps the screen lit without the iPad going to sleep, and makes it easy to adjust brightness. Plus it has some cool grids available as well that I've used for product shots.

IMG_0029.jpg The 99-cent app, Light Box - Illuminator Viewer

Different iPad Resolutions

I have the original iPad that was released in 2010. And yes, it still works great. I use it for sleeving negatives and organizing slides. Because it isn't a retina display - only 1,024 x 768 pixel at 132 ppi - it isn't as good for critical viewing of negatives and slides via a loupe because you can see the pixels of the screen itself when magnified.

IMG_5196.jpg

It's great for sleeving negatives, however, because the illuminated surface is the exact width of 5 frames, which is the length that I cut my negative strips. And if I want a closer look with a loupe, I can certainly do that as well.

If you're going to spend a lot of time with the loupe, then you'll probably want to use a tablet with a higher resolution screen. My iPad mini 5 display has 2048 x 1536 resolution at 326 ppi, and it's great for examining image detail with a magnifier. The pixels aren't an issue.

So it really depends on what you're going to do and the needs you have. I actually use both devices for my work, and I have the Light Box app on each iPad.

Other Illuminating Uses

The iPads also make great light sources for product photography. And because we're just talking about continuous light output, the resolution doesn't really make a difference. Just position the iPad like you would any softbox and fire away. You can even use your smartphone as the camera (why not?) to complete the super mobile studio.

I also use the older first gen iPad as an illuminated platform for product work. For a high tech look, I sometimes use the Grid 1 in Light Box. It looks pretty cool.

Bottom Line

The continuous, adjustable illumination from a tablet can be used in many ways. I find it interesting that I leverage the iPad for traditional film work all the way to a modern photo studio. And the fact that a 9-year-old device is still productive today just makes it all the better.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

By the time Tim Cook and Phil Schiller took the stage on Sept. 10, 2019, most of us knew that the latest iPhone wouldn't support 5G connectivity. We had seen the pictures of the third camera, however, so it was time to learn about some of the details. And for the most part, they were quite good.

IMG_5184.jpg

The bottom line is, if you like smartphone photography and videography, then you're probably going to love the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. They are computational photography beasts. Starting with the A13 Bionic processor, adding a third camera that covers ultra wide (13mm equivalent f/2.4 5-element optic that provides a 120 degree field of view), and topping it off with a beautiful Super Retina XDR screen, iPhone 11 Pro has some serious game for picture lovers.

IMG_5182.jpg

Other noteworthy enhancements include night mode, beefed up battery life, and a few imaging tricks including Deep Fusion, which Phil Schiller gushed as, "computational photography mad science."

As Macworld more calmly described it: "It's Night Mode on steroids. When snapping pics in low to medium light, the AI engine will snap 9 images - 8 images before the shutter is snapped and then a long exposure shot when the button is pressed - to get every possible exposure. Deep Fusion will then examine every pixel to optimize the shot for detail and noise, creating the best possible photo."

IMG_5191.jpg

Pricing is about what one would expect, with iPhone Pro starting at $999, and iPhone ProMax weighing in at $1,099. If you're fine with just two cameras and more modest features (probably not many in this audience), then the regular iPhone 11 starts at just $699.

The big question for many of us is: do we want to hitch our wagon for the next 2-3 years to a smartphone without 5G? Unless you're the type to upgrade every year, the prospects of entering 2021 without a 5G phone that you're still paying for is worth thinking about.

If 5G isn't an issue for you, however, and you just love the thrill of computational photography, then the iPhone 11 Pro is a tempting device for sure. And I'm sure the images it produces will look great on that new Super Retina XDR screen.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This is The Digital Story Podcast #704, Sept. 10, 2019. Today's theme is "My 6 Favorite Digital Cameras of All Time." I'm Derrick Story.

Opening Monologue

In the early days of digital photography, the medium seemed almost too good to be true. You didn't have to buy film, there was no processing lab, and you could shoot as long as your batteries lasted. And the cameras along the way have been equally remarkable. And over the last 20 years, 6 in particular stand out for me. I'll tell you which ones, and why, on today's TDS Photography Podcast.

My 6 Favorite Digital Cameras of All Time

OK, so I tried to whittle this list down to 5, but I just couldn't. So, maybe we'll look at it as 5 +1 great cameras of all time.

canon-dslr-v2.jpeg

The very first camera that blew my mind was the ground-breaking Canon EOS 10D, released in 2003. For less than $2,000, I had an interchangeable lens DSLR with a 6.3MP sensor. It felt so good in the hand with its comfortable grip and Magnesium alloy body. I could finally afford a semi-pro DSLR, and I loved the heck out of that camera.

Just two years later, in 2005, Canon released the full frame Canon EOS 5D. This was the camera I used while working at the Beijing Olympics and on my first trip to Iceland.

The 5D was more expensive, $3,200, but was relatively affordable for a semi-pro full frame 12.8MP sensor. It was also compact for a full frame DSLR, and that was what closed the deal for me. I traveled all over the world with the 5D, and will always consider it one of the best cameras of all time.

In 2008, Nikon released the D700 12.1MP full frame DSLR, a camera that I still use to this day.

The D700 is a stunning camera. The color it captures is as beautiful as any camera I've ever used. The metering is amazing. And I can use practically any F-Mount lens on this digital body, which is why I still covet it today.

If you want to have a Zen-photo moment, then mount the classic Nikon 105mm f/2.8 on the D700 and shoot portraits. It's as thrilling now as it was 10 years ago. I could spend the entire podcast reviewing all of its impressive features. It is truly a DSLR for the ages.

Fast forward to March 2016 when Olympus released the PEN-F, a classic digital camera for the ages. This is one digital that I will never part with. Every aspect of the camera is machined to perfection, and the images it produces are outstanding. The PEN-F has garnered more conversation in the field than any camera I've every used. It's now discontinued, but you can still buy a new one today.

Right on the heels of the PEN-F, in October 2016, Olympus released the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. In my mind, this camera marked the coming of age for Micro Four Thirds. It was the first MFT camera that I could use professionally, and I still do to this day.

For $1,500, you get a compact, durable, weather resistant, fast, reliable 20MP camera that accepts a huge catalog of lenses that range from the amazing 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, to the diminutive Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake. The E-M1 Mark II is the most versatile camera I've ever used.

Then in 2017, Pentax released the Pentax KP DSLR, 24MP APS-C compact camera has outstanding sensor-based IS like the E-M1, but gives me a beautiful optical viewfinder, great color, and super-editable RAW files.

I know that Pentax isn't very popular these days with most photographers, but I have to say that the KP provides unmeasurable joy when I'm using it.

These six cameras, four of which I still use, are among the best creative tools I've ever worked with. I don't know what manufacturers have up their sleeves next, but it's going to be hard to top this list.

New Course Offering: Podcast Skills

A course on podcasting has been the number 1 request for new workshop topics. And after some time thinking about the best way to make this happen, I've come up with a one day skills course that you can attend from home, or wherever you have an Internet connection.

This one day event will cover the following topics:

  • Recording Hardware
  • Editing Software
  • Concept and Creation
  • Essential Storytelling Techniques
  • Show Notes
  • Syndication and RSS Feeds
  • Getting Your Show on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Stitcher, and More
  • Adding Music to Your Show (and Where to Get It)
  • Editing Workflow
  • Promoting Your Podcast
  • The Ins and Outs of Advertising and Sponsorships

The topics will be divided into modules and presented live, and they will be recorded as movies as well. Each participant will receive the catalog of HD movies from the day as part of their tuition.

The course will include insider tips, best practice techniques, and multiple Q&A sessions. Each participant is also entitled to one follow up one-on-one session after the workshop to address questions unique to his or her goals.

The live course, set of recorded videos, and the follow up one-on-one session costs only $249. Inner Circle Members get a 10 percent discount on tuition.

The first two course dates are scheduled for October 12 and November 9, 2019. Participation is limited to 10 people per course, first come, first served. Registration is open now at www.thenimblephotographer.com. Click on the Workshops tab.

Scientists Who Took the First Picture of a Black Hole Awarded with $3M Prize

You can read the entire article here.

The world's first photo of a black hole, revealed this past April, was the result of years of collaboration between 347 astronomers from around the world. Today, those astronomers get to figure out how to split $3,000,000 in prize money for their hard work.

In case you missed the news in April, an international consortium of over 300 astronomers were able to achieve something previously believed to be impossible: they captured a photograph of a black hole using a planet-scale array of eight ground-based telescopes. And now, they're being awarded with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics, sometimes called the "Oscar of science," and $3 million in prize money to split between them.

So, I did a little math, and that prize works out to be $8,645 each. Doesn't seem like much for photographing a black hole.

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  • Download to mobile app for offline viewing Download and watch courses on the LinkedIn Learning mobile app for internet-free viewing.
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On our Facebook page, Harold wrote: "After hearing your comments on the transition from lynda.com to be included in linkedin.com/learning, I went there where one free month is offered. I then went to lynda.com. On that website, there is a link to migrate, and it, too, included adding one free month. All my saved programs moved over. Just and FYI for your fans."

You can get started today by clicking on this link to start your 30 day free trial.

Updates and Such

Inner Circle Members: A big thanks to those who support our podcast and our efforts!

B&H and Amazon tiles on www.thedigitalstory. If you click on them first, you're helping to support this podcast. And speaking of supporting this show, and big thanks to our Patreon Inner Circle members:

And finally, be sure to visit our friends at Red River Paper for all of your inkjet supply needs.

See you next week!

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Dedicated Camera vs iPhone - Fill Flash

When I'm out in the world as a tourist or family guy, people (who don't know me) always act a little surprised when I pull a camera out of my pocket instead of an iPhone. One of the reasons why I do this is for fill flash.

Yes, smartphones do have tiny little LED flashes that work in some situations. But when you have a really bright background, they just don't get the job done. If you've tried it, you know what I mean. More often than not, you end up with an overexposed background and underexposed subjects. With a decent fill flash, however, you can balance all of the elements.

Wine-Country-Portrait.jpg "Family Portrait with Fill Flash on a Bright Day" - Fujifilm XF10, Program mode, fill flash at +1.0 , RAW+Jpeg, processed in Photos for macOS. Picture by Derrick Story

One of my favorite "family on vacation" cameras is the Fujifilm XF10 because in part, it has a great flash. It's far more powerful than my iPhone, and it's very intelligent.

For this portrait, I captured in RAW+Jpeg with fill flash set to +1.0. It was a very contrasty afternoon, and taking the group shot in the bright natural light was out of the question. Nobody would have liked it.

So I moved the family to the open shade with a pretty background - definitely a better recipe for success. Others were trying it as well with their smartphones (some of which I took for them), and they couldn't quite tame the light. The LEDs just weren't powerful enough.

One side note to technique: even when using the Fujifilm XF10 or similar camera, give it a chance to evaluate the scene. Compose the shot, press the shutter half way until you get a confirmation light, then continue pressing to take the picture. You will get the proper balance of fill light and background exposure. If it's not quite right, you can always increase or decrease the fill light via the flash exposure compensation setting.

When I handed my camera to others to take a photo with myself included, they didn't understand when I explained that they had to press the shutter button halfway first. They are so used to shooting with smartphones that they "tap" the shutter button. The exposures were not nearly as good as a result.

Bottom line for me is that I save one of my front pockets for the XF10 when hanging out with family. I still use my iPhone for many of the pictures. But when the situation demands a bite more finesse, I'm so happy to have a dedicated camera as well.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.