JONATHAN JK

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Posts Tagged ‘design

Fuji X100 ~ David Babsky: How to Show Irrational Bias (Part 1)

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This review of the X100 blew my mind when I read it the first time, it’s by a guest writer called David Babsky over at stevehuffphoto.com. This review does Steve Huff no favours while it’s on his website, as it’s a terrible piece of writing both in content and form. It’s surprising when David Babsky can’t articulate himself in the manner befitting a teacher. The piece is an insult to Steve Huff’s audience, the quality is just that bad with no journalistic integrity, monkeys must have written and proof read it.

Normally I would just make a comment and move on, but you’ll see later in part two why I didn’t. David’s severe unprofessional negative bias is revealed right away, there’s no attempt at all to be objective or take a constructive critical approach.* It’s clear David just wants to bash a camera he doesn’t want to buy.

I’ve provided a breakdown of the 15 problems in his review with what I think is a fair rebuttal.

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Adobe: This is how you do it.

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Source: Push Pop Press

You know what is the best bit from the video, besides the wonderful animation and ever so thoughtful and considered user interface (UI)? Push Pop Press are licensing the technology to book publishers. So we should expect to see more content like this in the near future.

To think it takes a smaller company with a smaller amount of resources to design and produce something that is far more intuitive than what is the current ‘standard’ for digital books.

The book being demoed is Al Gore’s ‘Our Choice’ which is already for sale on the App Store. (£2.99 UK) link.

Written by jonathanjk

May 2, 2011 at 11:05

Simon Heys of Minimal Folio Interviewed

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The eleventh interview from a larger series of interviews with Photographers and iOS Developers.  All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone.  This interview is with Simon Heys, based in London, England. He is a graphic designer and Programmer. He writes his own iOS Apps.

Minimal Folio is a simple way to present images and video on your iPad or iPhone. The app is unbranded so your portfolio can do the talking.

iTunes, App Shopper, Homepage, Twitter.

~

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Simon Lunt of Teleportfolio Interviewed

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The tenth interview from a larger series of interviews with Photographers and iOS Developers.  All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad and iPhone.  This interview is with Simon Lunt, based in London, England. He is a graphic designer and writes his own iOS Apps.

“Now you can put your portfolio into the hands of every creative director in town, without lifting a finger. And without even leaving the house. Teleportfolio gives you a personally branded portfolio app on Apple’s App Store. That means an app with your own name (not Teleportfolio), your own logo and, most importantly of all, your own work. And all delivered on the world’s most popular two handheld devices: iPad and iPhone.”

Teleportfolio can be specifically tailored for the iPhone and iPad, and can be found at any of the links below:

iTunesWebsiteTwitter

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Portfolio To Go IPAD App Review

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Sharing your images

A recent winner of Apple’s ‘iPad App of the Week’ award, Portfolio To Go features an elegant and intuitive photo-wall giving users instant access to all of their Flickr photosets: scroll each gallery horizontally to browse thumbs, scroll vertically to traverse through all synced galleries. The main purpose of Portfolio To Go is to enable photographers to present their portfolio offline to clients – perfect for use with iPad wi-fi: just sync and go. Photographers create and edit their photosets on Flickr.com and Portfolio To Go acts as a presentation tool, keeping in sync with all your Flickr changes.

Quick Features

  • Photo Wall:
View all your Flickr photo galleries at once – scroll each gallery horizontally to browse thumbs, scroll vertically to traverse through all synced galleries. Click on any thumbnail to jump into the main image view.
  • Main image view displays gallery thumbnails to enable intuitive gallery navigation. Just click the main image to go full-screen.
  • Flickr Authorization: access to all of your private, friends and family and public photos
  • Multiple cached portfolios: add unlimited Flickr portfolios via your contacts or Flickr IDs to P2G and switch between them.
  • Auto-cache photos: all photos get cached in the background while you browse (you can turn this feature off in settings)
  • Send Portfolio to a Client: Pick and choose which galleries to include and then send your portfolio straight to clients and friends by email from the app. Clients will download the free Portfolio to Go Player app to their iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and launch your portfolio from the emailed link.
  • Share your photos and Flickr links via Facebook, Twitter or Email
  • Save favourite Photos to your iPad Photo Library

Portfolio To Go

The developer of Portfolio To Go (PTG) has taken a distinguishing approach towards the iPad Portfolio market. PTG assumes your portfolio already exists online on Flickr, and allows you to effortlessly import it onto your iPad with little effort. It also means, creative types don’t need to spend any time creating a portfolio. Flickr IS where you are already showing your work to millions, so it feels like a valid reason to take your photography with you on your iPad.

Importing Images

Upon activation, the first thing you need to do, is sign into your Flickr account. This is mandatory for using PTG; you can’t side load content from iTunes. As with any 3rd party application, you have to authorise a service to work with your Flickr account, nothing unusual there. PTG will then automatically download your galleries from Flickr, it’s quite speedy with images appearing quickly, showing up as thumbnails on your home screen wall. Lot’s of content however creates a cluttered home screen. A prolific photographer would end up having tens of galleries in PTG and it would end of looking very busy like in the image below.

Gallery layout

Notice how caption text runs off the screen, all text is the same weight, everything is shouting for the same amount of attention. Look at the gallery view in iPhoto, much cleaner and easier to navigate. Thumbnails represent entire galleries instead of having all the images as thumbnails, text is reduced to the most important element, Gallery titles.

I would like to see some tweaking with the UI, making it easier to view specific galleries. There is another way to view galleries which is kinder to the eyes, pressing ‘Galleries’ in the top left brings a pop over menu onscreen. It illustrates partially what I’ve just described as an aid for the user. You get a thumbnail of the galleries with some descriptive text, from here you can hide any galleries you don’t want to show and it makes navigating quicker. If this idea was expanded on, PTG wouldn’t be as busy.

You can deselect galleries on the pop over menu.

The pop over menu helps but there still needs to be a redesign on the main screen without needing to tap up a menu screen. Flickr.com has it’s own minimal looking gallery view as well.

Flickr Gallery View

Editing Images

You use Flickr to edit your photography so there is not much to say here. PTG doesn’t allow you to edit anything beyond image scaling, refresh rates and auto-caching photos. Think of PTG as being more of a playback tool rather than an App with a huge array of functions to show off your work. Again this is a boon to creatives who don’t want to edit their portfolio on the iPad, but just concentrate on using PTG to give presentations.

Video Captions

PTG, doesn’t import video, I think it should. PTG does allow for captions. You can’t edit text within PTG, again you’re not supposed to. Captionsthat are longer than two lines are cropped until you push your finger over them to reveal more. I’d have liked to have a bit more space allocated for captions, so I didn’t need to finger them. Better yet, why restrict caption space if there is a button that can hide/show text anyway? Many Apps on the App store do this so, and I’m not sure why it’s so common either (Reuters & Latitude Magazine to quickly name two others).

Branding

Your home screen, consists of all your portfolios from Flickr. PTG has no authoring tools for creating a personalized home screen. If you want to brand yourself, a more novel solution is required in order to present your identity as a creative artist (custom iPad portfolio box maybe)?

Presenting

Presentations are effortless with PTG and the lack of  editing tools does reduce the App’s complexity. In a gallery, a single tap takes you to a shared screen view, main image on top and a thumbnail timeline running along the bottom, further onscreen taps, alternates the view with a full screen mode hiding the timeline. There is no pinch to zoom during slide shows.

Settings

Settings Screen

At the top of the screen are five buttons; top left is the Wall/Gallery switch view, with the remaining four on the right. From left to right they are: a share function (share on Facebook, share on twitter for example), an option to suggest new features/write a review, ‘Settings’ for presenting imagery and a very useful button shaped like a portfolio which allows you to view your contact’s galleries. Let’s be honest, Flickr.com is terribly slow to navigate, this is a great feature to include in the App. Everybody else’s work is just as accessible! During slideshow mode, more buttons appear on the bottom; controls for showing images, info button which hide/shows caption text and another share button

Wrapping Up

The Ugly

  • Doesn’t import flickr video

The Bad

  • No Pinch to Zoom
  • Home screen UI needs redesigning
  • Captions feature needs tweaking
  • You need to have a Flickr account
  • Doesn’t import gallery intro text

The Good

  • Flickr, on your iPad!
  • Automatically imports image captions
  • You can easily view other people’s work
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Install and download content on the go

The Best

  • No need to edit your portfolio, everything is done for you

~~~

There is also an interview with the developer of Portfolio To Go here.

Portfolio To Go can be found at any of the links below:

WebsiteiTunesTwitterFacebook

SIGMA 24-70, HSM F2.8 REVIEW PART 6 (Conclusion)

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Conclusions

Forgive me if you find that I’ve repeated myself, some elements from this conclusion cross over with the Introduction.  I’m trying to keep short.

Advantages

Starting with quality, the Canon lens is noticeably sharper and able to gather more detail even when wide open.  The Canon lens is an older design but still holding it’s own against the newer Sigma.

The vignetting while more pronounced at f2.8, looks more natural and pleasing.  Whether you prefer this depends on yourself.  I really liked it.  Far more attractive than the vignetting with the Sigma lens.

The design of the Canon lens allows for weatherproofing, but it’s a larger lens for it and the construction is superior; built like a tank.  The Sigma feels solid. Not to knock Sigma’s efforts but you don’t see a single screw anywhere on the Canon lens’s streamlined outer hull.  It doesn’t mean the Canon lens will survive a drop any more than the Sigma would, fragile glass is still inside!

I found a benefit of Sigma’s design; the AF switch is far more finger friendly.  The user benefits from being able to operate the AF switch via touch alone, whereas the Canon’s AF switch conforms to the body shape so as to not snag on anything, but it is harder to switch focus modes without sometimes checking to see if it switched modes.

Disadvantages

The Canon lens is far larger and far heavier (nearly a kilo in weight).  The Sigma is positively speaking; half the lens in every way.  Along with the price.

A new Canon 24-70 L retails for around £1400 in the UK and around £800 second hand if you can find one.  A NEW Sigma meanwhile is just £600.  The reverse focal length design, zooming out to 24mm annoyed me, especially when I got close to my subjects.  I don’t tend to shoot landscapes so if you are a landscape photographer this might not be a big enough issue for you.
I don’t want to sound like I have weak wrists, but the Canon 24-70 L is a heavier lens to lug around with a Canon pro body for 6-8 hours a day.  It was one of the reasons why I sold it.  I kept the Sigma because of it’s price, weight and because I believe it’s good enough for what I need it to do.  Even though it suffers slightly with image sharpness as part 4 illustrated.

The way the Sigma zooms out to 70mm instead of 24mm feels more natural to me as well.  Much more practical when in the field. I do a lot of photo documentary work and I’d rather look less intimidating as people feel you were zooming in on them with the Canon lens. I don’t necessarily go out of my way to create ‘beautiful’ images.  Beauty in an aesthetic sense isn’t at the top of my list.  Thinking about it, the quality or should I say lack of quality gives my work an unfinished appeal which I like.

I briefly mentioned the focusing abilities of the Sigma lens in the introduction. But to reiterate, I felt my work hasn’t suffered.  The HSM is just as good as the USM focus mechanism.  I can’t time the differences (if there are any) but I feel I’m getting the same performance for less money.

I’m giving up the weatherproofing by choosing Sigma.  A feature I would have liked for comfort reasons, but it isn’t a deal breaker.  It’s the only feature I miss but I’m not pining over it.  How much does that say about the satisfaction I get from the Sigma lens or how much I needed weather proofing in the first place?

When it comes to putting photo stories together and showing my work, nobody has ever questioned the gear I use, maybe the body, but never the lens unless I offer that information up.  Nobody is demanding I use Canon glass for assignment x. Even with the weddings I shoot, people are attracted to my style.  In reality they care about the insurance and the planning of the event, not my gear.

Where does this concern you?

If your concerns are not financial, but quality and weatherproofing is,(but remember you need a 1 series body to take advantage of it) then the Canon is your only choice.  The older design is the reason for its weight (find a Canon 24-105 for example, it weighs next to nothing) but as I’ve illustrated, the quality hasn’t been surpassed.  I’ve also heard that the Canon 24-70 is due for an update, who knows what that would bring with regard to the issue of weight?

If you’re on a budget, if you’re a photography student, if you’re just in love with photography and don’t want to spend a huge amount of money, if you want a lens that works at f2.8 with that 24-70 focal range you should easily choose the Sigma HSM. You’re not going to benefit in a massive way by opting for the Canon.  You definitely won’t get twice as much from paying twice as much by going Canon, except maybe a feeling of comfort.  The Sigma works, its corrects all the flaws from the previous Sigma 24-70, such as the focusing. I would never recommend  and ask other photographers to consider Sigma’s previous design against the Canon 24-70.  But with this one I would definitely ask you to consider in your purchase options.

Also…

I still can’t help but think the Sigma lens is still trying to appeal to those on a budget (though they have pushed the boundary of what ‘budget’ is).  I’ve stated so twice now in this review.  It would be something else if Sigma really threw another Pro version of this lens out there to really give Canon some competition.  Another design, with the weatherproofing and better image quality.

Instead what we have here is a lens that corrects the flaws of the previous model.  Like Apple’s product philosophy; a newer iteration which improves over the previous but nothing that is going to be a massive jump hardware wise.  It would help with changing Sigma’s perception towards solely aiming for the price conscious photographer.

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