*Micro 4/3 Portrait Lens Shoot Out! Leica Nocti vs Voigtländer Nokton vs Olympus

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Few systems can boast multiple, high quality portrait prime lenses.  Here I’m looking at three, very good lenses all in their own, respective rights.  Each, have their upside and for a given shooter, a very justifiable argument in favor of, over the others.

While there are two more proprietary portrait prime, focal length lenses with a micro 4/3 badge printed on them (the Leica 45mm f/2.8 macro and the new Lumix 42.5mm f/1.7) I have been able to justify buying all three of these for one reason or another over the last few years.  I must cull my quiver to make room (and provide budget) for new, fun things to review, so I need to decide which I’m going to hold onto.

C’mon in for some shots, and my thoughts…

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*Lensbaby Velvet 56 for Micro 4/3 Review! w/ @SeeInANewWay


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There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the newest lens in the Lensbaby family.  The Velvet 56 offers a bit of a departure from what Lensbaby has been known by in that it has forgone the ability to selectively manipulate the plane of focus into a point or tangential plane, with most lenses offering the ability to be swapped into or out of one of their lens housing bodies like the Composer Pro, or Scout.

The new Velvet 56 is a solidly built, fixed focal length 56mm f/1.6 prime lens that has a different trick up its sleeve.  In days of yore, many portrait photographers used lenses that would intentionally soften contrast and the overall image, aptly called “soft focus” lenses.  

Enter the Velvet 56, and as its name suggests, it is as smooth as Barry White by candlelight.  C’mon in for some sample shots and my thoughts…

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*A quick color balancing tutorial vid using Exposure, with @alienskin

Hello everyone.  If you have ever been plagued by color casting or color temperature imbalance, here is a quick and easy way to neutralize color shift in an image.  I shoot a lot of product shots, and often do so with congruous backgrounds.  In these cases, I’ll often use different lights to get everything lit just the way I want it.  This often brings in some issues when wanting to balance that color in post.  Using Alien Skin Exposure (click here to give it a free trial and follow along), by converting a layer to a fairly flat, black and white image, I can control the shift in color while bringing back color where I want it to be.  As opposed to trying to reiterate the video, just give it a watch, and c’mon in for a few example before and afters…

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*Yes! Topaz DeNoise on sale!!! 25% off through June @topazlabs

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I’m often asked about various plugins that I use, and would recommend.  One that I always suggest, and state as one of my go to’s is DeNoise, and it is $20 off through the end of the month (use code “junedenoise” at checkout) HERE!  DeNoise usually goes on sale about once every year for a couple weeks, so if you’ve been waiting for this plugin to go on sale, here ya go!  If you’ve not yet tried DeNoise, I suggest downloading the free trial via the link above, at least and seeing what it can do.  C’mon in for some examples and my take on why I find it to be so useful.

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*Wrap your subject in light, a 4 light, high key setup.

 

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I’ve been working through some lens reviews, and wanted to take a break from the technical, to share a lighting setup.  Portraiture wise, I tend to normally go in one of two directions, either very minimal, directional, moody light, or a sh*t ton of lights.  This setup is the latter.  Using 4 lights and a reflector, my goal for shooting with Trisha was to wrap her in light from every direction.  I knew I wanted to really showcase her beautiful blue eyes, and getting enough light into them meant lighting her from the front high and low. C’mon in for the setup.

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*Might be close to the last chance to grab a GX7 kit on super sale @adorama

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Currently, and while they last, Adorama is selling the GX7 with the 14-42 kit zoom for $547.99 which also includes a $50 Adorama Gift Card.  This might be the last cache of new GX7 kits as they make way for a replacement later on this year.

The GX7, while heading toward the sunset, and rumored to be replaced this Fall, is a killer camera.  It still has the current Panasonic sensor used in most every Panasonic camera from the last couple years, which is a great sensor, especially for RAW shooters like me.  If you’re looking for a good, all around body that incorporates IBIS, an integrated tilting EVF, WiFi, Focus Peaking, 1080p at 60fps, and a slew of other bells and whistles, this is a great deal.

You can find them via Adorama here:

Black GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE

Silver GX7 + 14-42 kit with $50 Adorama Gift Card HERE

I’ve been a big fan of the GX7, and feel it has been the best overall, micro 4/3 camera yet… for me at least.  Great ergonomics, great features, direct external control for everything you need along with an intuitive and logical UI. It has a very good balance of size reduction while being very comfortable in the hand, even with larger optics, and I like mine very, very much.  

A great camera for a great price.

If interested in why I’ve grown to praise the GX7 quite as much as I have, you can read my personal reviews and comparisons via these following links:

GX7, an evolution Part 1

GX7, an evolution Part 2

GX7 vs EM5, round 1

GX7 vs EM5, round 2

GX7 vs EM5, round 3

Happy shooting, 

Tyson

*Monthly Flickr Photo Blog Challenge – June 2015 “Friendship” with @mirrorlessons

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“Faraway Friends” by Gonzalo Broto (Visit him HERE)

Welcome to our sixteenth monthly challenge theme, as chosen by last month’s winner, Gonzalo Broto.  If you’re just stumbling across these challenges, we (myself and friends Heather and Mat from Mirrorlessons) co-host a monthly photography theme challenge where anyone and everyone can submit an image, or images to our group threads over on flickr.

Simply interpret the theme, in this case “friendship” however you would like and as long as the image you submit is your own, it qualifies.  The theme runs through the current month, and at the end of the month, Heather, Mat and I each choose our favorite images and showcase those three along with a public vote on our respective websites, to be seen by all of you fine folks, giving us the ability to choose our overall favorite image.  The votes are tallied both from the polls here and on Mirrorlessons, and we crown the monthly winner after the vote is open for 5 days.

The real fun begins when we take our monthly winners, every 6 months, and showcase all the monthly champions again in a vote for the semi-annual champion, with the winner receiving free photography software, and various photo related hard goods.  We’ve been fortunate to have Alien Skin Software, Topaz Labs Software and Lensbaby all contribute in the past.  Great tools by great companies, by and for photographers.

Find the monthly theme threads in our Flickr Groups:

Tyson Robichaud Photo-blography Flickr Group HERE

Mirrorlessons Flickr Group HERE

It’s all free, and a fun way to provide a little motivation to get out and shoot while possibly connecting with fellow photographers all over the world, fittingly themed this month with ‘friendship’ so that’s pretty cool.

Take the theme, friendship, go forth, and enjoy.

To stay connected, find me via the socials, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram and if you prefer email, please feel free to add your email address at the top right of the page here.  You’ll get email alerts as new articles are released.

Thanks for the read and happy shooting,

Tyson