Gadgets & Gizmos

When it comes to editing our photographs, Photoshop has been the leading program for over two decades. However, in terms of popularity, Lightroom must be making a big impact given you can do 80% of what you need to do, without going into Photoshop. How long will it be before you can do everything in Lightroom?

Or in Capture One? The latest version, Capture One 12, offers yet more capabilities with the introduction of luminosity masking as part of its layers menu.

In comparison to Lightroom's adjustment brush and graduated filters, Capture One's adjustment layers are far more user-friendly – and much more similar to the way layers work in Photoshop. The big benefit is that layers can be turned on and off easily in Capture One, whereas in Lightroom it's much more challenging to isolate one of a number of adjustments to see its individual impact.

While Capture One has had adjustment layers for many years, only in version 12 does it offer luminosity masking. It's not as sophisticated as Photoshop or one of the many luminosity masking plug-ins, but it does make creating accurate masks for clearly defined subjects much easier. For instance, isolating a grey seal against a snowy white background is very straightforward – because the tones (the luminosity) in the subject are so different to the tones in the background.

One of the benefits of masks in Capture One is that they are easy to modify, so once you've used the luminosity menu to mask your subject, you can switch to the brush and eraser tools to modify the mask – perhaps removing other areas that have been picked up by the luminosity mask, but are not required.

Other new features include an improved gradient mask, a new radial mask, inclusion of Fujifilm's film simulations and an upgraded interface.

The reality today is you can use Capture One without Photoshop for 90-95% of your work. However, it's not inexpensive with a monthly plan costing $33 (if you commit to at least 12 months, or $39 per month if you don't), or purchasing it outright for $481.

The best way to work out if Capture One is for you is to download the 30-day trial and compare the same raw file processed in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw. If you prefer the way Capture One works, you have your answer!

For more information, visit www.captureone.com

With photographers pushing the limits of where they position their cameras, it's no surprise tripod manufacturers are seeing new market opportunities. A great example is Sirui's W-2204 Carbon Fibre Waterproof Tripod. In fact, it's a monopod and tripod in one!

The tripod is protected from water, dirt and dust. In addition, it has a newly designed locking mechanism for comfortable operation and a spirit level for accurate alignment - so you know your camera is level, even if your camera's built-in level is out of alignment!

The tripod tubes are manufactured from 10-layer carbon fibre (which means reduced weight, increased stability and vibration-free performance).

Another special feature of Sirui's W-2204 is that one leg can be removed and used as a monopod. The centre column is also made of two sections of different lengths. The short section can be used with the tripod for ground-level shots. The long section can be used to increase the height of the monopod to 177 cm.

The legs have three ratchet positions and can be folded up by 180° so that the tripod measures just 52 cm when collapsed – and great for attaching to a backpack-style camera bag.

Each leg is made of four sections with three sealed twist locks. Rubber feet and metal spikes ensure that the tripod is stable on any surface.

A stabilising hook on the centre column is a Sirui standard (you hang something heavy from it to give the tripod more stability in windy conditions, for example), as are cold weather grips and a transport bag. The bag strap can also be used as a tripod strap.

Other features include a reversible 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch screw for heads/cameras, weight of 1.7 kg and a maximum carry load of 18 kg.

The tripod offers camera holding heights of 15.5 – 180 cm, while the monopod extends from 48 – 177 cm. RRP $549.

For more details, visit www.sirui-photo.com.au

How many pixels are enough? The Phase One XF IQ4 camera systems are built upon a new and expandable Infinity Platform and three 'full-frame' medium format camera models are offered, including the IQ4 150MP (151-megapixels), the IQ4 100MP Trichromatic (101-megapixels), and the IQ4 150MP Achromatic (151-megapixels).

Most interesting with the Infinity Platform, Phase One has moved the core of Capture One’s imaging processor into the IQ4 back itself. Called ‘Capture One Inside’, this offers raw file control in your camera. Image editing and processing – once possible only in the Capture One software application on a computer – can now be controlled within the IQ4 – although you will only be using the back's relatively small LCD screen, so you mightn't be doing a lot of retouching! However, it's a start of what could be a wholesale change in the way cameras are built and used.

Capture One Inside enables:

• improved preview quality;

• JPEG processing;

• IIQ style integration;

• improved Live View, faster frame rate, and new tools.

Phase One is known for its modular, open-platform approach. Like the Phase One XF camera body, introduced in 2015, the Infinity Platform of the IQ4 has been engineered to anticipate developments in technology and expand functionality to support changing workflow demands.

The IQ4 150MP and IQ4 150MP Achromatic models feature an ultra-efficient pixel design (the Backside Illuminated (BSI) sensor) that delivers unprecedented image quality and detail. It's a world first in full-frame medium format photography.

Wireless, USB-C and Ethernet offer greater control of connectivity and workflow. It means users will be able to interface directly with accessories such as hard drives, NAS storage, network solutions and mobile devices, while the new Ethernet and USB-C ports can offer charging capabilities of the camera system or sustained power from compatible devices. Support for both XQD and SD memory cards can be combined with the above tethering options to provide a multitude of workflow solutions.

For full details, visit www.phaseone.com

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