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This week on The Digital Story podcast: New Photography Workshops for 2014; The Nimbleosity Report -- Has the Canon G-Series run its course? From the Photo Help Desk -- Which New MacBook Pro Laptop is Best for Photographers? All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - New Workshops for the Coming Year - I've been working on the 2014 workshop season for a while now, and I think I have a very tempting line up.

  • High School Senior Portraits, Inside and Out - Feb.
  • Fine Art Photography - HDR and B&W - March
  • San Francisco Street Photography - May
  • Sonoma Coast Workshop - August
  • Fall Color with Safari West - Oct.

I talk about these events in the first segment of today's podcast.

Story #2 - Nimbleosity report on the Canon PowerShot G16 - Has the G Series run its course? I cut my teeth on digital photography with the Canon G1 and G2 cameras. I still have them. But as I've compared the latest member of this family to the competition, I'm wondering if the G Series has finally run out of gas. I go into detail in today's Nimbleosity Report.

Canon PowerShot G16

I compared the G16 to a direct competitor, the Fujifilm X20. The results were interesting.

They both weigh about the same. The X20 has the edge in image sharpness, sensor size, AF speed, and burst mode. The G16 has better spec for the LCD monitor, 240 fps video recording, and longer battery life. Plus the G16 includes built-in WiFi costs $50 less.

So is the G16 a worthy competitor? I answer in today's show. And don't forget to visit the official Nimble Photographer web site.

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk: Which of the new MacBook Pros are best for photographers? Now that Apple offers Retina Displays for both the 13" and 15" models, which is best for photographers?

MacBook Pro Top View

Three considerations: 1) Budget: 13" runs from #1,299 to $1,799 while the 15" runs from $1,999 to $2,599. 2) Portability: which laptop fits in your ideal carrying solution? 3) Applications you use: the $2,599 MBP has both Intel Iris Pro Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M graphics card. The 13" has Intel Iris Graphics. Photoshop and Aperture can take advantage of GPU acceleration. Lightroom does not. I sort this out in the third segment of today's show.

If you have a question for the Photo Help Desk team, visit PhotoHelpDesk.com.

Chuck Jones is the winner of the Nimble Photographer T-Shirt giveaway. He wrote, "I think my favorite item in the store is the cap. All of the items look great, but I wear caps all the time and this one has a classic look to it." Thanks Chuck for your feedback, and I hope you enjoy the T-Shirt.

New Ad tiles on TDS. If you're going to purchase from Amazon of B%H Photo, please click on the respective ad tile for those suppliers, located in the second column on every page of TheDigitalStory.com.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (34 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The October 2013 photo assignment is "My House is My Castle."

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

OM-D E-M1 Front View

Citing extensive customizability and super fast autofocus, DP Review awarded the Olympus OM-D E-M1 micro four thirds camera and overall score of 84 percent and a Gold award in their deep dive, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review.

They also liked the excellent image quality, rugged all weather construction, built-in WiFi, and the bright, sharp, electronic viewfinder. On the negative side, DP Review felt that the interface and controls can be overwhelming, auto focusing with Four Thirds lenses can be slow in dim conditions, and they weren't crazy about having only a single SD card slot.

From my Nimble Photographer point of view, I'm a bit concerned about bling bloat. The E-M1 has put on a bit of weight and will grow further with 4/3 lenses. Plus the base price for the body has expanded to $1,399 for the OM-D E-M1, compared to $999 for the OM-D E-M5. I'm actually surprised that more people haven't commented on the $400 increase.

That being said, the E-M1 looks like a heck of a terrific camera. DP Review leaves no stone unturned. So a Gold award from them has substantial weight... and in a good way.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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All 2014 TDS Workshops Are Sold Out! We will announce the 2015 Season in November.

The 2014 season will debut with five photography workshops ranging from the streets of San Francisco to the Fall colors of Sonoma County wine country.

San Francisco Night Scene Night shooting will be included in the SF Street Photography Workshop.

Our photography workshops are extremely high value, personalized events. Participation is limited to 8 attendees with hands-on instruction, multiple shooting sessions, post production lab time, and plenty of sharing and feedback.

You can get on the Reserve List now for the event of your choice by using the Send Me Info form in the middle of the Workshops page. By getting on the reserve list, you can save your place at the front of the line. Those on the reserve list have the opportunity (but not the obligation) to secure a seat for any of the listed workshops. You can learn more about how the Reserve List works.

Make 2014 the year that you treat yourself to an immersive photographic experience. Just you and a handful of peers focused on improving your craft and having a good time.

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Light-Footed Nature Photography

October is a wonderful time of year to immerse in nature. And outdoor photography doesn't have to be a burdensome affair. I was out shooting on Tuesday morning with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and just two lenses: the Olympus 75mm f1.8 and the Olympus 17mm f1.8. All fit comfortably in my svelte Lowepro Urban Reporter 150 shoulder bag.

Grape Leaf Oct 2013 Grape Leaf - Olympus OM-D E-M5, Olympus 75mm lens, ISO 200, F/2 - Photo by Derrick Story.

I did include a few accessories, such as a polarizer, small flash, Joby Gorillapod, iPad mini, and a couple snack bars. I dressed in layers so I could adjust my clothing as the environment changed. I wore the Nimble Photographer Walking Man cap to keep my head warm and the low-angled sun out of my eyes. In one of the side pockets of the Urban Reporter, I carried a water bottle to keep me hydrated while working.

Self Portrait in Dry Creek Self portrait with my light-footed nature photography kit.

Could I capture every type of nature shot with this rig? Of course not. Some days I take big tripods and big cameras. But other times, I just want to enjoy nature and bring home some images. And those are the times that I love traveling light.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This camera kit has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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

iPad mini with Retina Display

Apple clearly designed the iPad mini with Retina display for nimble photographers. At .75 pound (341 grams) and fitting in an 8" x 6" area in your camera bag, you can have high resolution editing, publishing, and sharing with you at all times.

I was particularly happy to see the A7 processor included in this second generation tablet. Not only will it help power the 2048-by-1536 resolution display (at 326 pixels per inch), but it will make our photo editing a more pleasurable experience.

This will be the model where you'll want to spend the extra money for the WiFi + Cellular. I recommend the 32GB mini ($629) as the entry level model for nimble photographers. If you can afford to move up to 64GBs at $729, you'll probably be glad you did over the long haul.

With the added connectivity, you're not dependent on flaky WiFi networks while on the go. I think there's also an added level of security using cellular instead of public wireless. And in a pinch, your iPad can serve as an Internet access point for your computer and other devices. If you're using AT&T as a provider for your iPhone, then I would select Verizon for your iPad. That will expand your coverage area.

I would also take advantage of Cloud storage services, such as Photo Stream, Everpix, and Dropbox to help keep your mini from gobbling up too many megabytes on the device itself.

Since the second gen iPad mini won't be available until November, we have some time now to gather our resources. Highly recommended.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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

Dot Releases for Aperture and iPhoto

iphoto-aperture.jpg

Keeping with its current maintenance approach for photo applications, Apple released Aperture 3.5 and iPhoto 9.5. Each update is a combination of new features and bug fixes.

Aperture 3.5 Update

Under the heading, "We Knew the Other Shoe was Going to Drop," Apple replaced Google Maps with Apple Maps in Places. They added support for iCloud Photo Sharing, including the ability to post videos to shared photo streams and to have multiple subscribers contribute to a shared stream. And they provided the ability to sync and add galleries to Smugmug. iOS 7 filters also found their way into Aperture 3.5. Beyond that, the update focuses mainly on bug fixes.

iPhoto 9.5 Update

Many of the same themes we saw with the latest Aperture apply to iPhoto too. Beyond that, iPhoto users now can enjoy 64-bit processing, a redesigned interface for printing, and video sharing for Flickr users. Then of course, lots of bug fixes.

Both Aperture 3.5 and iPhoto 9.5 require Mac OS X 10.9. If you haven't upgraded to Mavericks yet, then you'll have to hold off on the new versions of the photo applications.

Full Version Updates?

Many users are asking about full version updates, especially Aperture 4, and when they will be released. That's difficult to predict. Since the introduction of the Mac App Store, Apple seems content to work with dot releases that are incremental and free. Will there ever be an Aperture 4? Outside of Apple, I don't think anyone knows.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, take a look at Portrait Retouching with Aperture. You may want to check out my other Aperture titles, including Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture. Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Aperture Workshop Coming on Nov. 16 and 17, 2013

Want to learn Aperture in a hands on environment? My next Aperture workshop will be Nov. 16 and 17 in Santa Rosa, CA. We'll review all of the basics, plus work on portraiture (including a live model shoot), product photography, and more. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more information and a reservation form.

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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Sony drops the full frame bomb with the a7; The Nimbleosity Report - Panasonic's diminutive GM-1; From the Photo Help Desk - How can I repair a scratch on my camera's LCD screen? All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Sony's full frame a7 - Now you can have your compact system camera and full frame sensor too. As early as November, well-heeled shooters will be able to order the Sony Alpha a7 Mirrorless Digital Camera with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens for $1,998. More lenses are promised, although they will not be cheap.

Highlights from this remarkable camera include:

  • 24.3MP full frame Exmor CMOS sensor
  • 3" tiltable TFT LCD with 1,229K dots
  • 2.4M-Dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Fast hybrid AF; 5 fps burst rate
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 1080/60p video with uncompressed output
  • 14-bit RAW output

A few drawbacks to consider. Oddly enough the a7 does not ship with a battery charger. You have to recharge in-camera. The new FE lenses would be available for months, and when they are, they will be pricy: (FE 35mm F2.8 ZA $799.99, FE 55mm F1.8 ZA $999.99, FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS $1,199.99 (coming in early February), FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 ZA OSS $499.99, FE 70-200mm F4 OSS G (Pricing and release date TBA). And even though you can you existing E-mount lenses, they will only work in a crop mode on the A7/A7r, since they were not designed to cover a full-frame sensor.

Story #2 - Nimbleosity report on the tiny Panasonic GM1 mirrorless M 4/3 camera with 12-32mm Lens ($749). Amazing, roughly the size of the Sony RX100 compact camera, this little guy is the smallest micro four thirds camera to date.

But there are tradeoffs for this pint-sized wonder. Top shutter speed is 1/500th, no in-body image stabilization, no 1080p video, so-so battery life, no option for electronic viewfinder, and no hot shoe.

Personally, I'd much rather have the Panasonic GX7, even though it costs $250 more, the feature set is much more appealing.

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk: How do I mitigate a scratched LCD on my camera. I have a home brew recipe to help.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (32 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The October 2013 photo assignment is "My House is My Castle."

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.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

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

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Zebras Playing

We spent the afternoon exploring the hills above Santa Rosa, CA at Safari West searching for African game. Among our many finds were these two Zebras playing.

Zebras Playing Canon 70D, 70-200mm f/2.8, ISO 800, 1/1250th, f/2.8 - Photo by Derrick Story

The rest of our TDS Fall Color Workshop crew also captured compelling images during our afternoon shoot. The combination of good light, great subjects, and beautiful setting made our jobs as photographers so enjoyable. The Fall workshop will be on the calendar again for 2014.

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

That wonderful 2/3" X-Trans CMOS II sensor that powers the Fujifilm X20 is now available in a smaller package: the just-announced Fujifilm XQ1 ($499).

Fujifilm XQ1 Family

Weighing in at 7 ounces and measuring only 3.94" x 2.32" x 1.30″, the XQ1 is truly shirt pocketable, but captures 12 MP Jpeg and RAW files. Its 25-100mm zoom lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 at the wide end, but quickly diminishes to f/4.9 for telephoto shots. The compact includes a 3" 920,000 dot LCD, image stabilization, 1080p video capture, and built-in WiFi.

The XQ1 competes with the popular Canon Power Shot S120 ($449) that has a smaller sensor and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II ($748) that has a larger sensor, but also has a higher price tag.

Keep in mind, that unlike its bigger brother the X20, the XQ1 only has an LCD for composition, and no accessory viewfinder options. But like the X20, it does have that terrific 2/3" X-Trans sensor. So if you're looking for excellent image quality at a moderate price for a luxury compact, you may want to further investigate the XQ1.


Nimble Photographer Logo

This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

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

Long Exposure, Streaking Lights

Long exposures for cityscapes are easy if you have a way to steady the camera. And the results can be beautiful.

San Francisco Night Scene

The most important thing to remember is to shoot RAW so you can adjust the color later and play with the highlights and shadows. For example, I used the Tungsten WB setting for this shot.

You'll probably need a bit of exposure compensation too. Seems like I'm usually at -1 or more. And keep your ISO low. You'll need it at 100 or 200 in order to get the long exposures and to control image noise.

And finally, if you don't have a remote release, use the self timer. That's what I did for this shot with my OM-D E-M5 and the 17mm f.1.8 lens.

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Nimble Photographer Logo

The OM-D with 17mm lens that I used for this shot has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.