Introducing BenQ…

A few months back I was approached by BenQ, who was asking if I wanted to have a look at their pro line monitors. I was surprised, caused I didn’t even know BenQ had a pro line display series aimed at image professionals.

A few days later UPS was at my door with the PG2401PT, BenQ’s first display aimed at color professionals. Let me say that as a photographer I’ve been a user of both Apple, NEC and (most currently) Eizo displays.
As a color expert, I have demeands beyond that of the average photographer/designer and as always when you test out new gear you have to reset and accept that new is “always” different. With that mindset I was good to go!

1449110468_full.jpeg The PG2401PT is as i already said a display targeted at image professionals and offers a whole bunch of features such as:

  • Printing-Industry Color Certified (G7/Fogra)
  • AH-IPS Panel
  • 10 bit signal acceptance
  • Hardware calibration
  • 99% Adobe RGB colorspace

 
I wrote a case study/review on the monitor so, if you’re interested feel free to download the PDF and give it a read!? BenQ PG2401PT review

After my time with the PG2401PT I was asked if I wanted to have a look at another pro-color display as well, and as impressed I was by the PG2401PT, of course I couldn’t say no.

Long story short; I’ve entered a longterm partnership with BenQ as one of their proud ambassadors.
This is a partnership I’m really excited about. BenQ is working hard to offer more options for the avid photo amateur, the professional and generally anyone who values quality in their color work.

I’m currently doing all of my professional work on another of their fantastic monitors, the SW2700PT. Expect to see a more extensive review of this new favorite of mine, in not too long!

 

As always, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions!

-jr-

Steady, steady I say! (With Induro)

Every time Im outdoor and need my tripod is’s back in my studio. And it seems like every time I’m in my studio and need my tripod it’s in my car… Ironic!

Well, I decided to get another one so this wouldn’t be a problem any more. But ironically, as I’m writing this (in my home)both my tripods are back in my studio. I’ve owned many tripods over the years, but about 2 years ago I got an Induro A 313 M6. A steady and durable tripod made of aluminium alloy. I put a Foba Mini-superball head on it with a Hasselblad quick coupling, and have been happy with this ever since i got it. The only problem though is that you can’t mount any other camera to it other than my Hasselblad. This was actually the main reason for getting a new tripod, even though there was a lot of truth to the opening line.

I decided to get an Induro Carbon CT313, from their Carbon 8X CT series. 

This wonderful tripod weighs in at only 2.2kg or 4.9lbs. It can handle a maximum load of 18kg has a max height of 185,8 cm and is only 71,5cm long when completely folded. You can also get the CT314 which with it’s 4 leg sections only measures 61,5cm folded. Stability is my main concern so I chose the CT313 with its 3 leg sections.

I needed a head too, and my first thought was to get another Foba head, but while shopping I saw the Induro BHL2 ballhead for the first time. I caught my eye straight away with its compact design and it’s matt luxury looking finish. It can handle a maximum load of 30kg (!!), weighs only  0.5kg and is half the size of my current Foba head. It comes with a Dovetail Quick Release Plate(Arca-Swiss Style Compatible).

Ive had this new tripod and ballhead for just over a month now, and one thing is for sure, Induro rocks! In fact so much I’m thinking of replacing my Foba head with another Induro BHL2 ballhead!

I’ve added a few pictures and some comments (Also let me apologize for the lazy lighting and image quality): My old and new buddy, side by side.

Jon Rune TrengereidAs you can see the Foba head is large and has “things” sticking out everywhere.Jon Rune Trengereid

The Induro BHL2 is compact and the head lock knobs are small and not sticking out getting in your way. I was a bit sceptical that maybe you wouldn’t get enough torque, but that’s not a problem since you only need so little to lock the head in it’s place. More about this later.

Jon Rune TrengereidJon Rune Trengereid

The quick release; which took me 25min to release the first time. And a mere 1 second once I could figure out how it worked. (yes I felt like a dork, and no I’m not gonna tell you how its done 😛 )Jon Rune Trengereid

Ok, look closely and you’ll get it!Jon Rune TrengereidJon Rune Trengereid

The quick release plate needs a coin or a an allen key to securely lock onto the camera. I wish they had a solution like Manfrotto where there is a “turn knob”Jon Rune TrengereidJon Rune Trengereid

The “neck” fully extended. Don’t think I have ever photographed with it that way, don’t thing I ever will either…

Jon Rune Trengereid

Jon Rune Trengereid

Extend the legs with only half-a-turn.

Jon Rune Trengereid

It’s easy to change the angle of the legs from the standard 24° to 80° degrees. Just pull out the lock and change the angle(locks into 3 different stages).Jon Rune Trengereid

Mounted with a Hasselblad H4D and a HC 35-90mm. A pretty heavy combination.Jon Rune Trengereid

I only had to use two fingers to tighten the head lock knob enough so substain the weight of the camera possisioned like this. (With my Foba head I would have had to add a lot more force. A lot more!!!)

Jon Rune Trengereid

Jon Rune TrengereidJon Rune Trengereid

The tripod comes with this handy deluxe carry case.Jon Rune Trengereid

A tool kitJon Rune TrengereidJon Rune Trengereid

And spikes for that cold icy day you find yourself on the north pole(or in Norway).Jon Rune Trengereid

My humble conclusion is that this tripod and the ballhead is well worth the money. That said, I really don’t think it was that expensive at all. The BHL2 ballhead was almost half of that of the Foba head. The Tripod is noticeable stiffer than that of my old aluminium one. Something that’s good for… well, absolutely everything!

Induro is imported by Bresson in Norway and if you live in the US, B&H Photo would be a good choice to get yours!

As always, if you have any questions or remarks, please leave a comment!

-jr-

Looking for color control? (A simple introduction to monitor calibration)

Color management, easily explained, is control over RGB values in different environments.

Counter the common perception, an RGB value of R:210 G:0 B:0 as an example, is not a specific color, but an RGB percentage of the color space you’ve chosen to work in.Color management usually starts with a calibrated monitor, the irony of this is that by then, you are often halfway through the production process.Color management is more than just to control color, it is to exploit the potential of your equipment.

In order to certify up to the industry standard it is necessary to have a monitor calibrator, such as the X-Rite i1Publish Pro 2, i1Display Pro, ColorMunki Photo or the new ColorMunki Smile.

Ok, so what does it mean that any given RGB value isn’t a specific color?

Well, if you have a look at the below picture you see four red squares. Depending on your monitor you should be able to see that these red squares are of slightly different reds, but they all have the same RGB values, R:210 G:0 B:0. If you don’t see too much of a difference try looking at your monitor from different angles.

Screen Shot 2013 01 11 at 21 10 52

So, the colors you see on you monitor depends on to factors; the color space you’re editing your images in and the color space of your monitor.

The color space of which you edit you images in you get to set yourself, the color space of your monitor however, is fixed. Most monitors such as an iMac, Laptops and cheap monitors can only display the sRGB color space or slightly more, and this is exactly why it’s important to invest in a high quality monitor such as an Eizo CG series or a NEC Reference which can display almost the full Adobe RGB color space.

 

When calibrating your monitor, what are you actually doing?

Screen Shot 2013 01 11 at 22 53 06

Your monitor is not accurate. It receives RGB values from you computer and displays them. If you are sending an RGB value of, lets say R:210 G:0 B:0 you know its red but how red it is depends on the working color space and how accurate your monitor is. So, if your sending an RGB value of R:210 G:0 B:0 but your monitor is showing this as R:200 G:0 B:0 you’re seeing your images with other colors than what actually exists.

When calibrating your monitor using a hardware calibrator such as the X-Rite ones mentioned in the into of this article, you’re actually measuring your monitors ability to display colors accurately, by displaying patches of colors that the calibrator records and then compares to the actual RGB values sent to the monitor. Based on this info the calibrators software creates an ICC profile which in the future will compensate for the monitors inability to show correct colors. Extremely easy explained, if your monitor shows the Red value of 210 as 200, then the ICC profile will “send” the red as 220, which then will equal to 210.

 

What are you calibrating for?

Before you start the calibration process ask yourself; Where do I want to display my images?? Depending on whether you want your images to shine on the web or on a printed media, there are guidelines to take into account. Before we go on, please let me say; there is no way you can make sure your images will look exactly the same on your own monitor and all monitors out there. To many factors plays a part, factors you can’t control. All you can do is make sure your monitors are accurate compared to the files your computer displays.

The settings Im about to give you, are noting more than a recommendation from where you can start from.

If you have a calibrated monitor, you should always take advantages of the dedicated software for that specific monitor. Ie. ColorNavigator for Eizo.

Luminance = 80 – 120 cd/m^2 (This setting defines the lightness of your monitor, and I would recommend you start with setting it to 120cd/m2)

Whitepoint = D65/6500 kelvin. (This is the color tint of white)

Gamma = 2.2 (This defines how dark grades over to light)

These settings will give you a good starting point for your first print. If your work is only displayed on the web then maybe you should consider upping your luminance to 140, or even 160cd/m2. Personally I keep it at 120.

Some calibrator softwares such as the i1Profiler from X-Rite gives you the ability to also specify the contrast ratio of your monitor. Even though most modern monitors can display a contrast ratio of as high as 800:1 and even higher, this is no good if your calibrating your  monitor for print work. A good printer such as the Canon Pixma Pro-1 or the Canon IPF8400 in combination with a high quality glossy paper can only produce a print with a contrast of as high as maybe 350:1. Based on this my recommendation is that you set your contrast to somewhere around 300:1 when calibrating for print work.

And by the way, if your looking for high-end print paper, take a look at my previous post here.

Even though you cant make sure all your prints look perfect in any given light source, or on all the millions of millions of monitors out there, you can make sure that what you see on your monitor is what actually exists in your computer file/image. If you do not already own a calibrator I would suggest you get one. Monitor calibration should be done at least every 200 hours of use/monitor up time. All X-Rite softwares will let you set a reminder for when its time for a recalibration.

Which calibrator is right for you??

If you don’t care about options and rules and technical stuff, then you should get the ColorMunki Smile. This nice little unit will do it all for you, no questions asked.

If you want options, being able to control luminance, whitepoint and contrast then you should get the i1Display Pro. This little piece of hardware is probably the best value for money available when it comes to monitor calibration. It also calibrates your projector if you own one and uses the i1Profiles, the same software as the  i1Publish Pro 2the most advanced solution X-Rite offers. You should get this if in addition to calibrating your monitor you would also like to be able to create custom paper profiles for print. This badboy (it’s really nice actially) calibrates all there is to calibrate. A more advanced review on this hardware to come at a later time.

Enjoy your accurate colors and feel free to ask me questions if you should have any.

-jr-

Disclaimer: ISO 3664; Someone is bound to ask me why I do not recommend to calibrate to the iso 3664 standard. This is for printshops and advanced commercial printing. And does not fit that of the way any amateur and 99.9% of professional photographers display their images.

Profoto Softgrids…

Their called softgrids, but should really be called AWESOME LIGHT CONTROL UNITS…

A while back I lost my profoto softmasks for my 1×4 stips and haven’t really taken the time to buy new ones, until now. The last major beauty shoot I did for a large client, made me realize how much I missed and needed them. Whats cool is that not long ago Profoto announced their new RFi series of softboxes, and with that also reduced the MSRP(suggested retail price)– A LOT!  Profoto also introduced a collection set of new softgrids, which is what this blogpost is all about.

For those of you who doesn’t know what a softgrid is, here’s a simple explanation; its a grid and its soft. Yeah yeah, there’s of course more to it. The softgris is mounted on your softboxes like this:

1×4 Softbox

IMG 1445 2

And since Profoto have been so kind to reduce their prices, I got myself a softgrid for my 5′ Octa as well:

IMG 1443 2

 So, why would you want a softgrid? Basically a softgrid does the same thing as a metal grid would for your reflector; it concenrates the light. In the case of these new Profoto softgrids, with 40 degrees. Concentrating the light translates into control.

If you never seen the effect of a softgrid here’s one mounted on a 5′ Octa:

Without softgrid, at f/16:

V2Q9490

And with a softgrid, same settings at on the image above:

V2Q9489

As you can see, with the softgrid the lights doesn’t spread and bounce around in the room.  Its concentrated, BUT with the same nice and soft shadows you would expect from a 5′ octa.

Softgrids are a must have, don’t you think?

(sorry for not lighting a model or anything interesting, I was just too excited to not post this)

 

-jr-


 

Print, paper and shoot!

Two awesome days! These past two days have been really awesome. Yesterday, I was invited by Canon to check out the new flatbed printer, Arizona 480GT by Canon owned Océ.

The Arizona 480GT was first show in Las Vegas at the 2012 SGIA show, and belongs to the worlds most (by far) sold flatbed printer series. 

I can’t wait to have my next project printed on this bad boy:

Today started off in my studio with a visit from the Norwegian Canson representative. 

Canson is one of the most respected high-end paper manufacturers in the world and has made paper for over 450 years!

I’ve only tested their Baryta paper, and was really happy when Christian Moen brought me a “few” test rolls:

I’m especially looking forward to test this one:

I ended the day with a beauty shoot for SO-B by Bōre Olsen.

We did a few sets for an upcoming campaign and had a blast! (Yes I know, I’m smiling. Can you blame me??)

IMG 1366

Have a great weekend, and see you soon!

 

-jr-