Tag Archives: review

Really Right Stuff Gear Review

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reallyrightstuff.com

 

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A low angle set-up was required to capture this sunrise at Joshua Tree National Park

Adding a camera support system to your gear, consisting of a tripod and head, opens up an entire new world of shooting possibilities, not possible with handheld photography. There are many tripod set-up options available, and surfing the web can quickly become overwhelming. When it comes to a camera support system, quality is of utmost importance, after all a tripod and head needs to function smoothly and accurately to give you the best opportunity to capture a sharp image, not to mention keeping your camera secure. That is why I was both thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to work with the Really Right Stuff Company, but seriously, they do not need my approval.

The really right stuff company started out in 1990, and currently ship their gear to over 120 countries. They have turned into a huge success, for good reason. The quality of their product is exceptional, and provides both pro and amateur photographer with a wealth of camera support gear necessary to capture great images.

As a landscape photographer, I have gone through several different tripod and ballhead combinations. Now, after 16 years of photographing in the field, I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I can choose photo gear which will give me the best chance possible to get the shot. Right out of the box, my RRS gear felt different than any other camera support gear I have used, giving me an instant feeling of having a professional quality product with me in the field. Using RRS equipment, has actually given me the chance to set up in more shooting situations than ever before. The piece of mind I have knowing my camera is on such solid support is invaluable, from the feel of the camera being firmly attached to the tripod and head, to the super-smooth action of adjusting the tripod legs and positioning the ballhead, for every shot.

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Tripod legs spread out unevenly on various sized rocks for this 25-second exposure was no problem using my Really Right Stuff camera support system

Whether shopping for a complete system package or individual piece of gear, Really Right Stuff carries everything required to keep your camera firmly supported in just about every situation. After careful research, I had no hesitation in upgrading to an RRS support system. I found their website to be very informative, and in no time I was able to find the best package to suit my needs. However, if more help is required, customer support is available by both phone or email, and the response time is typically very fast and very helpful. The RRS gear I chose to be my prime camera support system, is listed below. To help you select the right tripod, the RRS website includes an illustrated guide, specifically designed to match the length of each tripod model with the physical height of the photographer. I thought this was a very nice touch. Included in my package is a dedicated quick release L-Plate, which attaches to the camera, and is available for most DSLR models. The L-Plate makes the transition between shooting horizontal and vertical format, incredibly quick and smooth. For the ballhead, I chose lever-release over screw-knob as my preferred clamp option. This option allows for maximum speed during set-up, as well as offering maximum camera stability.

My camera support system set-up

TVC-23 Versa series-2 3 sections/leg Tripod

BH-40 mid-size lever release Ballhead

BD810-L L-Plate

It may have taken me a while to get on the Really Right Stuff band wagon, but now I have, I could not be happier. Their gear receives my highest recommendation.

 

David Shield  www.davidshieldphotography.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Capture One Pro 7 Review

BOX

Introduction

Capture One Pro 7 http://www.phaseone.com/capture-one is an extremely powerful raw software converter featuring a comprehensive set of tools to help create stunning results from your image files. Capture One’s performance and Image workflow sets it apart from any other imaging program I have used. With its fully customizable workspace, I am now able to process image files faster and can produce images with improved noise reduction, higher dynamic range and superior clarity. This is because Capture One Pro has created a new and groundbreaking image processing engine. With its new Bayer Interpolation Method, it will allow you to achieve vastly superior image quality with excellent color and fine detail from your camera’s raw files.

Importing Image Files

Importing image files in Capture One Pro is a breeze. Connect a card reader to your computer, insert a memory card and Capture One Pro will open the import window automatically. Image files can also be imported from your computer by clicking open the image and choosing Capture One from the program list. My preferred method is to click on the down arrow located in the top left corner, as shown in the screenshot below. The Import Images dialog box will open. Here you will select the location from where to import your files, fill in the desired fields and press import.

Click on screen to enlarge

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Exposure Screen

The exposure window screen is one area where Capture One really shines. This is where image exposure can be improved dramatically in a few simple steps. Using the High Dynamic Range tool, I have been able to correct extreme highlights and recover detail in deep shadows faster and more accurately than with any other software. The powerful Levels and Curve tools can be used to fine-tune exposure while the Clarity and Structure sliders will add punch and brilliant detail to each image.

Click on Screenshot to enlarge

Click on Screenshot to enlarge

Color Editor

Phase One states that the Color Tool Tab and its functionality should always be the cornerstone of your image editing workflow. Here, Capture One Pro provides a set of tools to adjust colors that are designed to produce stunning results more efficiently than ever before. Essential tools such as White Balance, Color Balance and a Histogram are found in this window. The powerful Black & White editing tool allows users to create stunning black & white images. The Color Editor tool will fine tune color in your images, and this is where the magic happens. Selecting the Basic Tab and color picker allows users to click on a specific color in an image to modify. When the View selected color range box is checked, only the color affected by any adjustments will be visible. In the screenshot below I used the color picker to select the blue area of the balloon.   Selecting the Advanced Tab allows users to adjust the most narrow color spectrum without affecting other colors in an image. For this screenshot, I placed the cursor over the Color Editor Icon to highlight it. Drag To Reorder appears in the pop-up box, allowing users to customize the interface to set up a workspace for a particular job.

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Built-In Presets

Capture One Pro offers a set of built-in presets similar to ones found in other image conversion programs. Presets can be found by clicking Adjustments>Styles, from the main menu. Even though most Capture One users will prefer to choose from the extensive adjustment tools available, individual presets can be applied alone or together very effectively, especially if a job needs to be completed to meet a deadline.

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Sharpening and Image Quality

Photographers with Photoshop experience will already be familiar with the Sharpening tools found in Capture One. The Noise Reduction Tabs found in this window provides yet another indispensable feature found in Capture One. The Noise Reduction tools will allow photographers to shoot using higher ISO settings with complete confidence knowing they will be able to produce noise-free images with superior clarity.

Click on screenshot to enlarge

Click on screenshot to enlarge

To export a processed file, go to File>Export and choose either the Originals or Variants option. Choosing Export Variants will export the processed version of your image file. The Store Files drop down menu will appear. Choose a location where your image file will open and complete the image output options, as desired.

Other highlights of Capture one include Lens Correction, where typical optical issues like distortion, light falloff and chromatic aberation can be fixed quickly and easily. The Keystone Correction Tool can transform warped captures into natural looking images in a few simple steps. Capture one incorporates Tethered Capture so you can instantly import and view images as you shoot them. Other features include Levels and Curves, a Composition Tool, Focus Check, Sessions, a Spot Removal Tool and much more…

The final balloon image processed in Capture One Pro 7

The final balloon image processed in Capture One Pro 7

Conclusion

Before deciding if Capture One Pro 7 was the right choice for me, I processed several images using four popular raw software conversion programs currently on the market. These were Adobe Lightroom 5, Capture One Pro 7, DxO Optics Pro and Oloneo’s HDR+RAW software. While I was impressed by Capture One’s user customization options, ease of use and processing speed, there was one factor that elevated the software above the competition. A Landscape image is often judged by the quality of color and light captured. Capture One consitently produced the most accurate and dynamic light and color rendition of all the four programs.

Capture One Pro 7 vs Capture One Express 7

While Capture One Pro contains more features than Express, the latter can still very much hold its own, offering most of the powerful features found in big brother. Professional and advanced amateurs will require the ability to use layers, a feature only available in the Pro version, but users who already own Photoshop will easily be able to continue making any necessary adjustments within that software. Owning both Capture One Pro 7 and Photoshop is the ideal situation. However, if I had to start over and was able to choose only one program, I would use Capture One exclusively. Not only does capture One Pro give me the ability to produce the best possible images from my raw files, but it is also available at a price much easier on my wallet than the full version of Adobe Photoshop.

Click on the following link to view pricing for Capture One, and a Key Features Comparison chart for Pro and Express. http://www.phaseone.com/en/Imaging-Software/Capture-One-Pro-7/Pricing.aspx 

Phase One is currently offering a free 60-day trial of Capture One! Taking advantage of this offer is a fantastic option, and one that made me realize what an indispensable tool this software is. Capture One is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

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