Category Archives: Technology

Lightroom’s labyrinth

Yes, at Adobe’s offices someone hates us poor photographers…until some weeks ago it was very clear: I had 1 (one) very powerful software for photographic editing..but now? Now I found myself in a labyrinth! 3 (three) versions of Lightroomand a big confusion..

OK, I hope to clarify… first of all the names!

The “old” Lightroom 6 becomes —>Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015.13” and, if we have a license, we can continue to use as a local software without pay anything ( even if we have to register it again! ). The bad news is that Adobe will not update it in the 2018.

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If we want continue to have updates, we have to use the new version: “Lightroom Classic 7.0.1“. The “Classic” is due to the fact that the interface is the same of the Lightroom 6. But the bad news is that we have to pay a subscription.…monthly, yearly … is up to us … but we have to pay! It’s a limited “cloud oriented” software so we pay only for the updates.

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At the end we have the new “Lightroom CC”. Completely new interface…and , this is the bad news, completely different philosophy! We lost (quite) all the Workflow..that was one of the point of strengths of Lightroom, and we lost other tools like the modification history. Like the “Classic” version we have to pay a subscription….this is a very cloud-oriented software and the Cloud has a cost…

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At this point … I don’t know what to do: I have been using Lightroom since the first version…and now I have to decide: find a new software ( that I pay one time ) ? Continue to use the 6 version until I buy a new camera? I think that in the (near) future we’ll have to pay a subscription for every kind of software.. and this is last bad news. Only one question to Adobe: why the old  6 version and the new version have the same name “Photoshop Lightroom CC”?  See the first and last picture..

 

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Parrot Mambo FPV … Like & Dislike

After a lot of flights … I reached some considerations. So, in a nutshell, what I like and what I don’t like.

Like

Easy to control with the Flypad: Mambo responds very quickly to our commands.

Battery life...but if you don’t use camera and hulls. So 10 minutes with a “bare” drone…down to 6 minutes with a completely “dressed” drone.

You can use the camera  on a “Non-FPV” Mambo ( so you can buy only the cam and the cockpitglasses ). But see the Don’t Like.

It’s possible to adjust the interpupillary distance for a correct view. Remember to launch the FreeFlight Mini app and to activate the FPV mode before to use the Cockpitglasses.

The Mambo FPV idea: you can try a race drone without spend a lot of money. This drone is very not-expensive. But see the Don’t Like.

Don’t like

Sometime tot easy to connect : if there are some other wifi-networks around, it could be difficult. This is the correct procedure to connect Flypad & Smartphone.

  • Power on the Mambo (inserting the battery), there is not power button on the drone.
  • When the red lights start flashing green, power on the Flypad (pushing the ‘Parrot’ button).
  • Start the wifi on the smartphone and connect to the Mambo_XXXX wifi ( XXXX is the code of your drone).
  • Start the app FreeFlight Mini. Pay attention: perhaps there are some firmware upgrades.

The camera is not connected to the Mambo: the camera takes only the power from the drone ..so, if you want to download the videos, you have to take out the Micro-SD from the drone and put it on a Micro-SD reader. it’s not possible to download the videos directly from the app. But see the Like.

It not possible to record different flight-configurations…to use for different types of flights: I mean speed, speed-rotation, left/right speed..and so on.

You cannot use this drone for a true race: the video lag (due to the wifi connection) is rather hight: good for a “quite” FPV flight, but not for a serious race. The risk is to hit an obstacle that seems distant.

Conclusions: I like it! Easy to use and it’s an expensive drone for first steps towards FPV races.

Parrot Mambo FPV review ( very first impressions )

The new Parrot’s baby, Mambo FPV, finally arrived to Italy.  I have been desired it since the first announcement..and now is on my hands.

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In the little box you can find the little drone, the little camera, the little flypad, the little and plastic cockpiglasses..and a little micro-usb <-> usb cable to recharge the battery…no battery charger..bah! Why Parrot??? I have to say the charge of the battery ( and flypad ) is very fast: just 1 hour.

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First of all, a small software / firmware “appetizer”: although I had already installed the latest FreeFlight Mini app, I had to remove it and install it again (both on IOS and Android: it didn’t recognize Mambo). Then there are 2 firmware updates (3.0.3 and 3.0.6). After that you need to download (for smartphones) the “Google VR Services” to use FPV. At the end of this “hard” work…I can fly? No, if I want to use the FPV ( the reason why I bought the Mambo ), I have to adjust/fit/configure the Cockpiglasses for my head and  my eyes. There is a band for the head and two (little) cursors for the interpupillary distance adjustments…and you can set the distance from eyes in the FreeFlight app configuration.

Ohhh I can fly…but..acc! It’s 21 o’clock…to later to go out…so I tried to fly whit FPV in my house..but it’s very difficult for me in a little space! I’m not an expert pilot, but is very, very funny! I have to slow down the every speed of the Mambo … because there is a (quite) video lag … and a lot of obstacles in the room: from chairs to table, to all furnishings ( wi-fi is not a good solutions for FPV, but I think it’s a very economic solution ). In my next post I’ll try to calculate the video lag. Now I can say that the definition of the video in FPV mode is not very good: I think, at the moment, that is due to the few light in the house..so the camera used high ISO. The very good new is that the Mambo responds very quickly to the flypad…the “bad” news is about the duration of the battery: 5/6 minutes with the camera and the hulls ( that can be removed  from the harms).

To be continued…

It’s coming back…are you ready?

Film photography is coming back, it’s not dead. An increasing number of people are starting to shoot again with analogue machines. Maybe you can also have a little interest on it…so what’s the situation today about film-based cameras?
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Traveling light!?

1996 : Holidays! A good chance for taking a lot of pictures with my camera, some camera rolls and a little battery:

 Canon FT                                                                   Camera Roll

So I have a lot of space in my bag for a sandwich too! There were a great kinds of films: Color, Black&White, Slides…but they were ‘standard camera rolls’: I could put them in every film-based camera. Returned home I brought my films to a laboratory for developing them…and after 2/3 days I had my holidays’ printed pictures!

2016 : Holidays! A good chance for taking a lot of pictures with my camera , my memory cards, my batteries, my Laptop ( or a lot of memory cards  ), my card reader, my usb cables and a battery charger..ehy! in my bag there is no space for my sandwich!!

Today I need ( almost ) 2 batteries for my camera if I want a take pictures for all the day, 2 memory cards (almost, specially if I use Raw ). Returned to the hotel I have to remember to charge the batteries and, if I have no more space in the memory cards, I have to upload the pictures to my Laptop. Today is (quite) impossible traveling light…I think that the technology is getting worse our ( photographic ) life! But the worst thing is that we don’t print our pictures!!! We post them on Internet…in a space where there are millions of picures…and so they will lost in that infinite ocean of pictures… On my humble opinion we’d start to print them again..in a big format and to hang them in our house.

leduebici

The two bikes

immagineamuro

The two bikes

Amarcord Photography: Nikon FM3A

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To take a picture (technically) we need only three small things: aperture, shutter speed and focus. Three simple choices that today we don’t do anymore : it’s the camera that chooses for us . But to take a picture in that way, I mean automatically, is not the same: we don’t think over on what we are doing … and we do it in a hurry. We carry the viewfinder to our eye (maybe) and we click: the camera will choose the “best” exposure; of course we will get a photo , but it could be a better photo, but how? With that three small choices I told before. In the analogic “world” ( a lot of years ago ) we were obliged to set manually the exposure and focus … because there weren’t a lot of automatism in our camera. So I ‘d like to speak  about a very nice camera the Nikon FM3A … one of the last analogic film-based camera.

It was produced in 2001 when the digital cameras had spread like wildfire and everybody said that analogue was dead and criticized the choice of Nikon: why does it insist on an outdated technology? Often we need some time to get an answer to a question. I don’t know the answer, but I see that  the analog film still lives.


So pick up this piece of “antique” and we notice immediately by its weight that there is a substance! 570 grams (without lens) made of silicon alloy and aluminum with brass caps (as the cameras manufactured in the 70’s) : not plastic! This substance is not a quirk: it means good healthy and robustnesswith the added bonus that with this Nikon I can do even small household maintenance like drive nails or pulverize the coarse salt. I owned the FM3A since 2001 … and after many paintings on the wall, it still makes his jobs … taking pictures.

The first time I had in my hands the Fm3A, I tried to power on it… ACC! But where is the power button? I was not able to find it! Simple, just pull the film-advance lever!

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In any case that lever must remain slightly open for shooting and so it can be use as a power button. Very simple!
Well, once powered on, I looked into the viewfinder and what I saw? Hundreds of figures that only hide what I wanted to capture? Nnnnooo! Only few informations … let’s see: shutter speed display with the exposure-meter indicator, exposure compensation, flash lamp, aperture indication and 12mm-diameter reference circle (  for focus indicator).
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Now I’m ready to take a picture ( after I inserted a film into the camera )… how !? Very simple again: I can use the “priority aperture” by
setting  “A”  in the shutter-speed dial
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then I choose an aperture on the lens
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I compose the image and I press lightly the shutter button: if the exposure-meter indicator in viewfinder is in the range of the shutter speed display then I can press fully the shutter button
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otherwise I have to change the aperture ( remember that we set “A” only once and to find a good exposure we have only to change the aperture on the lens ).

To be continued…

 

Optimized Classic Chrome Preset ( FujiFilmX ) for Lightroom

A little optimization of the Classic Chrome preset of Lightroom: just a little change on Clarity, Saturation and Tone Curve. At the end of the post the  link to download the template. To install in Lightroom: right-click (win) or ctrl-click (Imac) on user presets and then choose import.

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You can download the template here: Classic Chrome