14 April, 2014

What's so full about full frame?

Markets - Samford, Queensland

"Bigger" "Better" "New and Improved" "Dolphin Safe," "Fast acting" "You're worth it"

There's a lot in names and claims. So, here's a riddle: Why are camera sensors like olives?

Answer: Because the naming conventions for both are unhelpful. In olives, "extra jumbo" is smaller than "giant," and "super colossal" is smaller than "mammoth." And in camera sensors, "full" format is smaller than "medium" format.

And it's not about the first DSLR. In 1991, Kodak offered the first commercially available DSLR: The Kodak Digital Camera System (DCS). The Kodak sensor was installed into a Nikon F3, and it was 1.3mp and SMALLER than 36x24.

When I did 35mm film photography in my youth, we never called it "full frame." There was nothing full about it. Truth be told, I always lusted after a Hasselblad 500C. And, by any measure, the 120 film for the Hasselblad was "fuller" than 35mm film. And 4x5 was fuller yet.

When digital sensors came to photography, they were first shoehorned into the film cameras of the day. That's fair enough, because so many of the available lenses had been designed for the 35mm format.

And that made sense until 2003, when Olympus produced cameras specifically designed for digital — the Four-Thirds system. And of course that morphed into the Micro Four Thirds system (same sensor size, but shorter lens flange distance).

I believe that the term "full frame" was lifted from movie film, where 35mm film made use of the full frame of the film gate. Interestingly, the size of that frame is not 36x24mm. The "Super 35" format is 18.66x24.89mm (almost exactly the size of APS-C).

So what's so full about full frame? Not too much.

08 April, 2014

Renaming files in Lightroom

Fisherman Islands, Brisbane

My RAW files are imported from my SD memory cards into folders by Lightroom in the usual fashion. And, as I've mentioned earlier, on import I convert them to DNGs.

But, additionally, I have lightroom rename my files. Lightroom renames both the new DNGs as well as the original RAW files that are saved onto another drive.

Renaming works for me because I don't do keywording. (The only exceptions are those occasions where I have a project that covers more than a day or two. In those cases I go ahead and enter a project name as a keyword so that I can pull all the images together if necessary.) If I did keywording as a regular part of my workflow, then I wouldn't do file renaming.

In my renaming convention, a photo taken in Paris on 5 March 2014 would become a DNG named 20140305_Paris_0001.dng; and its original RAW cousin would be saved separately as 20140305_Paris_0001.ARW.

If you want to know more about renaming conventions, Adobe's Julieanne Kost has an item in her blog. It was written about Lightroom 3, but it's just as applicable to 5.

There is always a bit of danger in making changes to any kind of digital file, and particularly in regard to file names. So it's a balancing act between worry (paranoia) on one side of the scales, and convenience on the other. For me the convenience wins out. I've never had a problem with Lightroom's renaming feature. Fingers crossed.

When I first started with Lightroom, I tried out the keywording, but found that I never needed it to find the files that I wanted. Lightroom groups my files into date ordered folders. Then, because of the renaming, I can find whatever want within that folder.

I can see that keywording is essential for professionals who do stock photography; but my volumes are relatively small, so I can usually find anything I want by the combination of the date and the new file name.

If you need to use keywording, I recommend the Luminous Landscape video, Digital Asset Management: Where the #%*! are my pictures?