Archive for Landscape photography

9th Annual Capture Integration in Carmel (Pigs) March 1-4, 2018

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , on December 28, 2017 by kendoophotography

_DSF0044 CI in Carmel WEBCapture Integration returns to Carmel for its 9th year.  Not really a workshop-workshop. Camaraderie, great food, and the best in medium format digital photography, while photographing some of the most scenic iconic areas on the central coast of California. Phase One’s David Grover will be flying in from the UK to teach the Capture One Pro 11 class. There is always something new every year!  Space is limited.  Registration is open online at http://www.captureintegration.com

_DSF0037 WEB

Questions? Contact Capture Integration in Atlanta or Ken Doo.  See you in March!

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Tethering with the Surface Pro: An Evolution of Clamping Choices!

Posted in General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2015 by kendoophotography
Some of the clamping options used while tethering with the Surface Pro through the generations.

Some of the clamping options used while tethering with the Surface Pro through the generations. ©2015 Ken Doo Photography

Over a year I ago, I first wrote a blog article concluding that the Microsoft’s Surface Pro with touch screen interface and USB3 capability was a game changer for those tethering with Phase One IQ series and Leaf Credo medium format digital backs. Now with the Surface Pro 3 and soon to be released Surface Pro 4, that still remains true today. The power of a laptop in a tablet form, the Surface Pro using a full version of Phase One’s Capture One Pro to view full resolution RAW files far surpasses anything offered by viewing via WiFi or puny JPEG files. Even for DSLRs, tethering with a Surface Pro offers great tethering functionality for those who seek a portable tethering option.  Originally I used and recommended the Arkon Clamp to hold the SP2, which can be seen at the rear of the above photo. Since that time, the search for the perfect clamp has ensued, all offering improvements over the first generation Arkon Clamp, but also with known limitations or compromises. The Wolf Clamp (pictured in the above photo on the left) added a pano rail with end clamp and RRS FAS clamp to hold the tripod head and camera. While the Wolf Clamp added increased capability, it is also very stout and bulky making it extremely difficult to pack into a camera bag. It is not inexpensive either. The Pig Clamp (pictured above, right) with its flat stature is perfect for hiking, but its light weight also meant not being as stout as the others. The Pig Clamp also uses the same pano rail and FAS clamp as the Wolf Clamp. The Pig Clamp is inexpensive, and I still have a few available on the shelf.  While some choose simply to handhold the Surface Pro, others have opted for a tripod stone bag, such as Vanguard’s tripod stone bag.  But I wanted something better.  So my search continued, resulting in what I feel is the best possible clamping solution(s) for tethering with the Surface Pro on location.  Don Libby of Iron Creek Photography and I call this the Capture Location Integrated Tethering System. There are actually three versions, but as you will see below, I greatly favor one over the others.

Capture Location Integrated Tethering Systems for the Surface Pro.

Capture Location Integrated Tethering Systems for the Surface Pro. Version 1 on the left; Version 2 on the right. Not shown here is Version 3—see below.

There are three variations of this latest generation clamping system, with two using the same RRS MPR-CL II pano rail (or similar), RRS FAS clamp, an Arca Swiss compatible plate, and all using a Giottos Professional Mini-Ball head, as pictured above. Using the RRS Duo Package rail may give slightly more vertical adjustment.  Stay tuned here to the blog as I may be updating the shopping list to include other recommended rails that may give slightly more vertical adjustment, attaching the ballhead directly to a 200mm multi-purpose rail as opposed to used a permanent quick release attachment point.  My preferred system is the magnetic CLIT Clamp on the shown above on the left, but quickly I am liking the last magnetic CLIT Clamp tripod variation best. It also uses a small metal cheeseplate, metal mounting plates, rare earth magnets, and a Urban Armor Gear (UAG) protective case for the Surface Pro.  Don’t worry—a shopping list of all the necessary items is at the bottom of this blog article.  The CLIT Clamp version 1, as illustrated above, thin metal mounting plates (with 3M self adhesive) are adhered to the metal cheeseplate. The metal plates give more surface area for the adhesive to grab onto.  You will need to cut a metal plate into two pieces using metal sheers or heavy duty scissors. Use a hammer to gently tap the cut edges flat and smooth before using the self-adhesive to apply the plates to the cheeseplate.  Two Nite Ize rare earth magnets are then glued onto the cheeseplate using the included 3M VHB tape. (note: don’t skimp on the magnets—get the ones from Nite Ize). A thin metal mounting plate is then fastened with the adhesive onto the back of the UAG case, at the top of the leg, making sure to leave just enough space so that the leg can fully extend without obstruction. There will be a slight overhang by the metal plate on the leg, but it will not interfere with use of the leg of closing the leg into the UAG case.  Make sure to use rubbing alcohol or lens wipes to clean all surfaces before applying adhesives.  You must use the UAG case. I tried to use the Surface Pro with the metal plates directly on the back of the Surface Pro with only limited success. The strength of the magnets will interfere with some functions of C1Pro (such as the loupe) on parts of the touch screen directly opposite the magnets. For those wishing additional magnetic shielding, a thin piece of MuMetal or any sheet will further increase magnetic shielding permeation and saturation levels. In my testing, the UAG case is more than sufficient and works beautifully.

 

UAG case with thin metal plate attached to the leg. The leg remains full functional and the metal plate is barely noticeable.

UAG case with thin metal plate attached to the leg. The leg remains fully functional and the metal plate is barely noticeable. Can be used on all CLITS Clamp versions, but is required on versions 1 and 3.

Magnetic Capture Location Integrated Tethering System shown alone and with Surface Pro attached.

Magnetic Capture Location Integrated Tethering System (Ver 1) shown alone and with Surface Pro attached. Cambo technical camera on Arca Swiss Cube, attached to RRS FAS clamp and MPR CLII rail. Giottos mini ballhead is attached with a AS quick release plate.

The rare earth magnet CLITS Clamp is stable and easy to use. It is fast and easily adjustable. And it packs well. I believe that this latest Surface Pro clamping system, versions 1, 2, and 3, offers the best in both capability, ease of use, and portability.  As you can see in the video below, the use of the rare earth magnets makes attaching the Surface Pro an easy and fast proposition.  

For those not wishing to use a UAG case, the CLITS Clamp version 2 can be adapted using the same pano rail, FAS clamp, and Giottos Professional Mini-ballhead with Desmond top clamp with lever quick release.  Using 3M VHB tape, a quick release plate is attached to the back of the Surface Pro, taking care not to obstruct use of the leg hinge.  Alternatively, a quick release plate could also be attached to the UAG case using 3M VHB tape.  Apply rubbing alcohol or a lens wipe to clean the area prior to applying the adhesive tape and quick release plate to the Surface Pro. A small Desmond lever quick release is then attached to the Giottos Professional Mini-ballhead.  The Desmond top clamp comes with a 3/8″ bushing reducer, which you should apply blue loctite before installing. The 3M VHB tape adhesive is very strong. If you need to remove the adhesive, apply rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab to loosen the bond and use either fishing line or dental floss to cut through the adhesive. Apply more rubbing alcohol to rub off the remaining adhesive.

Generic AS Compatible plate on the back of a Surface Pro for illustration.

Generic AS Compatible plate on the back of a Surface Pro for illustration of the CLITS Clamp version 2. Using a KPS Slim Plate provides a much lower profile. Attachment of a quick release plate on the UAG case is a preferred option too.

Using the KPS Slim Plate (SU7) would provide a much lower profile than a AS compatible plate

Using the KPS Slim Plate (SU7) would provide about a 50% lower profile than a AS compatible plate

For those who wish to have the absolute best, lowest profile solution for this version 2 of the CLITS Clamp, I highly recommend instead using the KPS Slim Plate system (SU7) and a either a compatible KPS top clamp on the Giottos Professional Mini-ballhead or a KPS mini ballhead. This is a more expensive quick release plate solution, but it is also has a much lower profile. The KPS Slim Plate is approximately 50% thinner than a standard AS plate.  See, www.legioaerium.com  The KPS ballhead also has a much higher rated capacity. KPS has agreed to send me their mini-ballhead to compare. For those seeking to use KPS Slim Plate compatible components, I advise contacting the US KPS distributor directly for best pricing and to order the correct parts.

CLITS Clamp version 3 features magnetic mounting but on the tripod leg

CLITS Clamp Version 3 features magnetic mounting but on the tripod leg. This version does not use the RRS FAS clamp or pano rail, yet still has good adjustment capabilities using the Giottos mini ball head. The compact CLITS Clamp Version 3 is my preferred clamp version.

The last version, the CLITS Clamp version 3, was put together after brainstorming with fellow professional photographer Paul Caldwell. This last clamp version is quickly becoming my favorite. This final version uses a Manfrotto Nano clamp. This small clamp has both 1/4″ and 3/8″ receiving screw holes. A one-inch headless 1/4″ bolt is screwed into the Nano clamp. The Giottos mini ballhead is then attached to the bolt. For a more capable mini ballhead, opt for the RRS BH-25PF instead. I actually recommend this RRS BH-25PF ballhead option instead. The same cheeseplate with the magnets in Version 1 is then attached to the ballhead.  This version allows attachment directly onto the tripod leg. In the photo above, the Nano clamp is able to attach to a RRS TVC 3 series tripod leg. Be careful not to over tighten and damage the tripod leg. A small strip of gaffers tape can be used if desired to protect the tripod leg.

Small, light, fast and easy to use. This version of the CLITS Clamp attaches to the tripod leg and is easily packed for on location tethering with the Surface Pro.

Small, light, fast and easy to use. This version of the CLITS Clamp attaches to the tripod leg and is easily packed for on location tethering with the Surface Pro.

This version of the CLITS Clamp is small, yet allows abundant movement of the Surface Pro tablet. The Surface Pro can be easily held or placed onto the clamp. Version 3 of the clamp is barely five inches in length and well under a pound in weight, making it easy to take along in a backpack pocket. I recommend storing the magnetic surface of the clamp away from the Surface Pro or other sensitive electronics.  What is great about the CLITS Clamp system is that it is modular and integrated, using many of the same parts, allowing users to easily modify the clamp from one version to the other.  Version 3 is my preferred tethering clamp and I will probably upgrade my Giottos ballhead with the RRS BH-25PF ballhead in the near future.

For further tips on tethering with the Surface Pro, there are a couple of threads on the forums at www.GetDPI.com and www.Luminous-Landscape.com. Or, feel free to drop me a note at my boutique portrait studio in Carmel or visit my fine art printing site, Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction.  You can see my landscape work at www.houseoflandscapes.com  Ken Doo

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Capture Landscape Integrated Tethering System (magnetic clamp)

  1. RRS MPR-CL II (or similar), RRS Duo Package or Sunwayfoto pano rail; or Neewer 200mm multipurpose rail –the last option still requires a RRS FAS clamp or similar and the Giottos ball head attaches directly to the bar without quick release; no end clamp knob means more vertical adjustment for folks like Graham Welland who demand it.
  2. RRS FAS clamp
  3. Generic AS compatible quick release
  4. Giottos Professional Mini-ballhead
  5. Smallrig cheeseplate
  6. (2) Nite Ize rare earth magnets (for tablets)
  7. (2-4) Metal plates
  8. UAG case for Surface Pro 2 or Surface Pro 3

Capture Landscape Integrated Tethering System (QR plate)

Same RRS (or similar) pano rail components noted above and:

  1. Giottos Professional Mini-ballhead
  2. (2) generic quick release plate
  3. Desmond lever release top clamp
  4. 3M VHB tape

KPS Slim Plate low profile system:

  1. KPS SU7 slim plate
  2. 3M VHB tape
  3. KPS lever release top clamp
  4. KPS mini/compact ballhead with slim plate lever release
  5. generic AS release plate (for bottom of KPS ballhead)

Capture Landscape Integrated Tethering System (Tripod)

  1. Giottos Professional Mini Ball head
  2. Smallrig cheeseplate
  3. one inch long headless 1/4″ threaded bolt
  4. (2) Nite Ize rare earth magnets (for tablets)
  5. (2-4) metal plates
  6. Manfrotto Nano Clamp

For those wishing to use a higher capacity mini-ballhead, I suggest the RRS BH-25PF ballhead.   ken

Capture Integration in Carmel—On the Road to Lake Tahoe!

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2015 by kendoophotography
Lake Tahoe ©2015 Ken Doo Photography

Lake Tahoe ©2015 Ken Doo Photography. Cambo WRS, Phase IQ180, Rodenstock HR40

Last year marked the fifth annual Capture Integration in Carmel, an informal workshop led by Don Libby of Iron Creek Photography in Tucson, AZ, and me–Ken Doo Photography, featuring the finest in medium format digital photography. After much discussion with Don and Dave Gallagher of Capture Integration, we decided to take the show on the road.  This year’s event takes place in beautiful Lake Tahoe. We’ve already made a couple trips scouting the area for suitable locations, restaurants, and activities. The sixth year promises not to disappoint!  Photographers interested medium format digital photography can sign-up for the “Don, Ken, and CI in Lake Tahoe Not a Workshop Workshop” online. Registration is $349.00.  The online pdf itinerary gives a brief overview and will be updated shortly.  Contact me at my boutique portrait studio in Carmel or call (831) 626-1844 for questions. Ken

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2: A Game Changer for Phase One IQ Series and Leaf Credo Medium Format Digital Backs

Posted in General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2014 by kendoophotography
Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 and Phase One's IQ180

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 and Phase One’s IQ180

Background in a Nutshell.  When Phase One released its IQ180 digital back, its full frame medium format sensor boasting a staggering 80 megapixel resolution was not so surprising. What took the high-end medium format photography community by storm was its large high resolution retina touch screen. Prior digital back screens were postage stamps by comparison. The IQ180 and her sisters the IQ160 and IQ140 were indeed groundbreaking, easily surpassing the viewing screens of its competitors and even those of the smaller format DSLRs such as those offered by Canon and Nikon.  Phase One’s sister company, Leaf, released similar high resolution retina touch screens on its Credo line of digital backs.

Phase One now offered “live-view” on its IQ series and Leaf Credo digital backs, but live-view on a CCD sensor is quite limited in comparison to live-view on a CMOS based DSLR.  Furthermore, the size of MFDB CCD sensors with its high sensitivity often meant that the sensor was overexposed in live-view mode.  Consequently, stopping down the aperture and/or using neutral density filters are often necessary to enable this rather limited live-view function. The Phase One IQ series offered focus-mask, which in my opinion was a sleeper surprise feature on the IQ series digital backs, one that quickly overshadowed the claimed benefits of having live-view. But in a fast moving tech world, the clamor still continued for true live-view, something DSLR CMOS sensors could accomplish well whereas the much larger CCD sensors of MFDBs could not.   And again, the voices clamoring for live-view continued, and Phase One answered with its recently released IQ250 MFDB, the world’s first CMOS sensor digital back—with true live-view.

But regardless of live-view capabilities, the most significant limitation on the effectiveness of live view on location is the physical size of the screen. No matter whether DSLR or MFDB, the screen size on the back of a camera or digital back is still limited to about three-inches in width, or about the size of a credit card.  Regardless of technology, this is a physical limitation that can not be overcome absent an external monitor.  When combined with tired aging eyes, the difficulty of the challenge becomes more pronounced and the proponents of true live view on a diminutive three-inch screen suddenly discover that it is not the panacea that they had been clamoring for.

Tethering in studio is not a problem where powerful computer workstations can run fully featured versions of Capture One Pro software, viewing full resolution digital raw files on large monitors.  In prime conditions it is relatively easy to check composition, exposure, and focus. The difficulty or challenge is viewing images while on location with a larger portable screen option. Tethering on location generally requires using a laptop solution mated with tethering options such as those offered by Nine-volt.com.  For architectural and interior photographers where size, weight, or carrying equipment long distances is not as much of a concern, tethering with a laptop with a larger 15″ or 17″ screen may not be a problem.  Nine-volt offers flexible solutions and I have been able to successfully mount a laptop with a 17″ screen on the DigiPlate Lite, although a 15″ laptop is the largest recommended configuration.

However, size and weight is often a significant concern for landscape photographers and other photographers working on location.  A tablet provides a much better form function over a laptop,  especially where size and weight are primary considerations.  Despite a large selection of tablets on the mainstream market none have had the power or memory necessary to tether a medium format digital back.  None, that is, until the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2.  And I’m not talking about the use of Capture Pilot and viewing scaled down JPEG files on an Apple iPad.  I’m talking about viewing full resolution RAW digital files from an 80 megapixel digital back using a fully featured version of Capture One Pro 7 —all in a small tablet format.  That’s a game changer.

The DigiPlateLite shown on a studio stand and on tripod.

The DigiPlateLite shown on a studio stand and on tripod.

The Game Changer.  A tablet has a better physical form factor for both traveling and viewing in the field than the clam shell configuration of a notebook or laptop computer, a popular selection being the Macbook Pro or MacBook Air.  When tethering, additional accessories are helpful to secure the laptop to a tripod for ease of viewing. There is no doubt in my mind that Nine Volt’s DigiPlate is the finest solution for a laptop tethering. For those with a Macbook Pro or Air, look no further than Nine-volt. The DigiPlate and DigiPlate Lite are both well-crafted and CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum and allow for infinite configurations and tethering options. Both are designed with laptops in mind and although I could attach the Surface Pro 2 tablet to the DigiPlate Lite, I found myself wanting a smaller and lighter on location solution yet—as even the DigiPlate Lite weighs almost as much as the Surface Pro 2 tablet itself.  I have instead decided to use the Nine Volt tethering solution in studio only.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 2 tablet weighs two pounds.  It is smaller and lighter than a laptop, but heavier and much more powerful than a typical small tablet, casting itself as a red-headed step-child among a large, rather uniform, and ordinary field of tablets, notebooks, and laptops. There really isn’t an equivalent piece of hardware readily available in the mainstream market.  The Surface Pro 2 measures 10.81 x 6.81 x 0.53 in, with a 10.6 inch HD touch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It sports a fourth generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM for those selecting the 256/512 hard drive option, blue tooth, a micro SD card slot (adding up to another 128GB of storage),  and a full-sized USB 3 port essential for tethering the Phase One IQ series or Leaf Credo series MFDBs.  Battery life is excellent. It is essentially a laptop in tablet form that can run a full version of Capture One Pro 7.   This changes everything.

Cambo WRS, Phase One IQ180, HR40 t/s. Surface Pro shown mounted on a RRS TVC-24 tripod

Cambo WRS, Phase One IQ180, HR40 t/s. Surface Pro shown mounted on a RRS TVC-24 tripod

Tethering on Location.  Size and weight are major considerations when working on location, especially when you have to hike any considerable distance to your destination. The Surface Pro 2 tethering solution adds no more than 3 pounds total to my pack, including the Arkon heavy duty c-clamp universal tablet mount, which attaches to my Really Right Stuff TVC-24 carbon fiber tripod.  Set up is quick, taking no more than a minute. The tablet mount features two ball joints allowing me to maneuver the Surface Pro 2 in any position quickly and easily. Some care needs to be taken to avoid over tightening the c-clamp and damaging the tripod leg. I placed thin adhesive rubber strips inside the c-clamp which adds grip while also protecting the tripod leg from potential scuffing. I have placed strips of gaffers tape around the tripod legs to quickly mark where to attach the Arkon c-clamp and also provide further protection to the tripod legs.  I chose the Manvex case for protection, and leave the Surface Pro 2 in the case even when using the tablet mount. The Manvex case provides a secure holder for the stylus pen.  In the above photo, I have chosen to position the Surface Pro 2 directly below the digital back on the camera.  The Surface Pro 2 boots up quickly to a nice clean desktop, having opted to bypass the messy desktop of Windows 8 using a neat free program called Classic Shell. Seconds later, Capture One Pro 7 DB is ready. The program recognizes the IQ180 automatically after plugging in a short three-foot USB3 cord connecting the digital back to the Surface Pro 2.  This is just too easy.  

Full view. Note the yellow rectangle for reference.

Full view. Note the yellow rectangle for reference.

Although Capture One Pro 7 can be used to tether a DSLR or Phase DF with digital back, the real advantages become apparent when using a technical camera. The larger screen of the Surface Pro 2 makes it easier to compose images, check settings, and check focus using Phase One’s Focus Mask feature.  Since the Surface Pro 2 is running a full version of the Capture One 7 raw processing software, all the features of the program remain accessible, though my intent is to use the Surface Pro 2 more as a tool on location and process the image files later on the studio’s workstation. The convenient tablet form factor and the capability of the Surface Pro 2 to run a full version of Capture One Pro 7 is ideal for landscape photographer and is also an attractive tethering solution for architectural and interior photographers as well.

Full image view. Note the approximate area of the image marked by the yellow rectangle on the screen.

Full image view. Note the approximate area of the image marked by the yellow rectangle on the screen.

For working on location, I have chosen to set up my Capture One Pro 7 work space to maximize the viewing area of the main image.  Once the cable release is triggered, the image captured by the IQ180 MFDB appears within seconds on the Surface Pro 2’s high resolution screen. Too bright outside? Simply tap in the bottom right corner and adjust the brightness of the screen to match.   Double-tap on the screen and the program automatically zooms in 100% to check focus. Tap the Focus Mask tool to assist and the sharper areas of focus appear painted in green. The Focus Loupe tool or any other tool in C1 Pro 7 is also available to use on the full 80 megapixel raw file.

Full View.

Full view on image on the Surface Pro 2.

Partial zoom. You can easily zoom in from zero to 400% viewing to check details.

Partial 33% zoom using C1 Pro 7 on the Surface Pro 2. You can easily zoom in from zero to 400% viewing to check details.  Simply drag a finger on the screen to easily adjust the location of the image area to be examined.

100%. Note the area selected from the yellow rectangles.

100% image view using a simple double-tap on the screen of the Surface Pro 2. Note the area selected from the yellow rectangles in the previous images.  Double-tap the screen again to return to full image view.

Once on screen, the image can be moved around to inspect other elements of the image simply by dragging a finger on the screen to the area of the image desired. Viewing the preview image on the larger screen of the Surface Pro 2 makes it much easier to check composition, focus, and even the desired amount of lens movement afforded by technical cameras.  Changes can be now be quickly and confidently made on the camera or digital back before again triggering the shutter for the final image capture. Once satisfied with the final image, an LCC image is taken to assist later in post-processing with Capture One Pro 7.  The IQ180’s 80 megapixel image files are stored on the Surface Pro 2’s hard drive and later transferred to the studio’s workstation for processing. I’ve never been much of a fan of tethering, however, the Surface Pro 2 changes everything at least for when I’m working on location with my Cambo WRS technical camera.  For my typical workflow, I do not see myself using the Surface Pro 2 to photograph tethered in studio, although its Windows 8 Miracast WiFi capability to send images to other Miracast enabled monitors, such as high resolution viewing tablets and high definition widescreen televisions, has potential worth investigating.

Live-view still remains an option on IQ series and Leaf Credo series medium format digital backs, and except for the CMOS-based IQ250, are still limited by the constraints of its CCD sensor.  Live-view via USB3 may still be an option on the Surface Pro 2 and C1 Pro 7 enabled later via Phase One firmware update, however, in my opinion, I do not expect any further improvements in live view capability to be implemented with CCD sensor-based digital backs, although I surmise that live view on the ten-inch screen of the Surface Pro 2 will be better than on a three-inch MFDB screen .  My understanding is that live-view via USB3 firmware update is now in beta testing.  In the meantime, I find that using focus mask and other tools within C1 Pro 7 on the Surface Pro 2 on full resolution raw files to be faster and more effective than working with a limited version of live-view and neutral density filters.  Even the IQ250 and DSLRs, with their true live-view capabilities are still limited by the physical size of their viewing screens. Indeed, the IQ250’s true live-view via USB3 (if enabled by firmware) on the larger screen of the Surface Pro 2 may be something to really silence the live-view pundits. *update*  Live View via USB3 on the Surface Pro 2 is now possible with the latest firmware 5.11.36 update for IQ backs and C1 Pro version 7.2; all CCD sensor limitations on live view remain, but is more usable on the larger screen of the Surface Pro 2 as expected.  Life is indeed good with options!

The Verdict.   For Phase/Leaf/Mamiya medium format digital backs that are USB3 capable, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is an ideal tethering companion on location. The tablet format does take some getting used to but its form factor and power is exactly what makes the Surface Pro 2 unique as a tethering tool, especially in the world of medium format digital photography. The tablet is lighter than a laptop and consequently does not require as strong of a mounting clamp to attach to a stand or tripod. This means less bulk and less weight. When traveling the Surface Pro 2 can serve double duty replacing a laptop while also providing a small but capable tethering solution. The Sony Vaio Tap 11 or the less expensive first generation Surface Pro are alternative tablets that could be considered, but their performance does not appear to be as good as the Surface Pro 2 running programs under Windows 8.1.  Further, battery life for both of these tablets in the field is substantially shorter than that offered by the Surface Pro 2. While tethered to the Surface Pro 2, images from my 80 megapixel Phase One IQ180 appeared on screen in Capture 1 Pro 7 DB in a scant three to five seconds.  Battery life in the field for the Surface Pro 2 is rated up to ten hours but I would rate it conservatively in the field at about seven hours. At least one review points out that the Surface Pro 2 has better color performance than the first generation Surface Pro. The Cintiq Companion was not considered as the larger 13″ tablet is almost twice the weight of the Surface Pro 2, which would necessitate a heavier clamping option and further limiting tethering portability in the field.

The Surface Pro 2 has a faster fourth generation Core i5-4300U processor at 1.9GHz base and 2.9GHz Turbo, an increase of 19% at the lower end and over 11% in turbo compared to the first generation Surface Pro. The Surface Pro 2 also offers 8GB of RAM over the first generation’s paltry 4GB of RAM. Consequently, the Surface Pro 2 is capable of much faster image viewing, taking only three to six seconds for a full image preview to appear on its screen via C1 Pro 7.  Processing time to tethered viewing varies according to the resolution (40, 60 or 80 megapixels) and type of digital back being used.  The Surface Pro 2 also has substantially longer battery life.  The tethered view in the field from either Surface Pro generation is still magic.

There are two items that I don’t like about the Surface Pro 2.  First, the Windows 8 operating system to me is like Vista was to XP. It’s like Microsoft just couldn’t help themselves and leave well enough alone with Windows 7. The Windows 8 desktop is a messy social enabled interface. I am sure it’s fine for many, but I’m here to work. Some may recall why the term “desktop” was even developed: software engineers likened the “computer desktop” screen as replacing a real office desktop, as in papers, folders, and projects on your desk. I want a clean office desktop, and the Windows 8 interface is busy, messy, and trendy. Thankfully there are a host of free programs such as Classic Shell that address this minor shortcoming, allowing you to boot directly to a nice clean desktop similar to Windows 7, with a C1 Pro 7 shortcut icon now plainly visible. No more useless clutter. Finally, the magnetic holder which doubles as both the battery charger port and pen stylus holder on the side of the Surface Pro 2 is gimmicky. I find myself spending more time making sure that the magnetic connection is secure enough to enable charging without inadvertently being bumped off. Using the magnetic holder to store the digitized stylus pen is almost insuring its eventual loss and replacement. The charger works well enough, but storing the stylus pen is much better in the pen holder provided by the Manvex case.

There are a host of accessories available for the Surface Pro 2, including the Touch/Type 2 back lit keyboards which attach magnetically (which does work very well) or by wireless blue tooth, and wireless blue tooth mice. All of these accessories are best left in your bag (except for the digitized stylus pen) when tethering on location.  Unless Apple releases an iPad Pro, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 currently stands alone as the ideal tablet tethering solution on location.  Lighter than a laptop or notebook, yet heavier than a tablet, the Surface Pro 2 has not been as widely embraced as a powerful hybrid computer tablet that maybe it should.  But for photographers seeking to shoot high-end medium format digital backs tethered on location, the Surface Pro 2 is indeed a game changer.   It is a worthwhile investment for Phase One IQ series and Leaf Credo medium format digital back users.

Special thanks to Zac Henderson, technical support at Capture Integration in Atlanta. For more information on tethering with Capture One Pro or medium format digital photography, contact Capture Integration at (877) 217-9870.  I will be doing further testing tethering with the Surface Pro 2 during this weekend’s medium format digital workshop, the 5th annual Capture Integration in Carmel.  You may contact me at my boutique portrait photography studio in Carmel or view my landscape work at www.houseoflandscapes.com.  Ken (831) 626-1844

Surface Pro 2 with Type 2 keyboard attached; Arc Touch mouse and digitized stylus pen; Arkon Universal Tablet Mount

Surface Pro 2 with Type 2 keyboard attached; Arc Touch mouse and digitized stylus pen; Arkon Universal Tablet Mount

The Equipment List.

  • Microsoft Surface Pro 2, with 4th gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB storage
  • Sandisk 128GB micro SDXC memory card with adapter
  • Superspeed 1.5 foot USB3 Type A to B cord; optional 3 foot USB3 cord
  • Manvex case for Surface Pro 2 with Type 2 cover
  • Microsoft Type 2 keyboard
  • Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
  • Am Film screen protectors for Surface Pro 2
  • Arkon Heavy Duty Aluminum c-clamp Universal Tablet Mount (10 inch) Tab 804
  • Classic Shell
  • Phase One – Capture One Pro 7 DB

Improved Clamp options! (revised February 2015)

  • K&M stands 19740 Universal tablet holder  “Wolf Clamp” (fits Surface Pro 2 or 3)
  • RRS CRD rail with end clamp or Sunwayfoto rail with end clamp
  • or RRS MPR-CL II nodal rail (my recommendation)
  • quick release plate with 1/4″ screw for clamp
  • RRS FAS lever clamp for camera/Cube/tripod head
  • Optional Urban Armor Gear UAG case for Surface Pro
  • PerfectFit Anti-glare glass shield for SP3 (not for use with UAG case)

New “hiking” clamp!  (revised April 21, 2015)

  • The “Pig” clamp Small, flat folding clamp ideal for hiking. Lightweight clamp but not cannot adjust viewing angle. Usable only with RRS MPR-CL II or Sunwayfoto 180 with end clamp on top of rail. Fits SP2 and SP3.

No further updates will be made to this article; updates will be in “new” blog articles on tethering with the Surface Pro.  The latest clamping options are discussed here:  Tethering With the Surface Pro: Evolving Clamp Choices

ken.

See my new fine art printing website at www.carmelfineartprinting.com —order your photos on canvas and fine art papers online!  From Vision to Print

Capture Integration Returns to Carmel 2014!

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , on January 3, 2014 by kendoophotography
Sunset on Weston Beach, Point Lobos. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, HR40 t/s, Phase IQ180

Sunset on Weston Beach, Point Lobos. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, HR40 t/s, Phase IQ180

It’s back—again!  Capture Integration is returning to Carmel, CA for its fifth medium format digital workshop. Capture Integration from Atlanta, Georgia is a leading dealer of exclusive photography equipment, specializing in medium format digital cameras and backs.  This definitely isn’t your normal photography workshop.  Don Libby of Iron Creek Photography in Tucson, AZ and I have been co-hosting this event for five years now.  CI in Carmel is an informal workshop that has grown in popularity, selling out in less than two weeks last year.

Garrapata Sea Stacks printed in B&W on the studio's specially converted K7 B&W Piezography printer. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, Rodenstock HR40 t/s, Phase IQ180

Garrapata Sea Stacks printed in B&W on the studio’s specially converted K7 B&W Piezography printer. ©2013 Ken Doo. Cambo WRS, Rodenstock HR40 t/s, Phase One IQ180 medium format digital back.

This year’s event will include a tour of the Really Right Stuff facilities, a Capture One Pro 7/8 class, B&W K7 Piezography printing, and of course, world-class barbequed (famous in my own mind) babyback ribs smoked on a Traeger. The workshop focuses on landscape photography along the central coast. Although the event is weighted towards technical cameras including Alpa, Arca, Cambo and high resolution medium format digital backs, you can expect appearances from the Phase DF, Leica S2, and Hasselbald cameras as well. I expect to see the new Alpa FPS, Phase One IQ260 Achromatic, and new lens offerings as well.  CI in Carmel is scheduled for February 21-23, 2014.  Registration is online through Capture Integration in Atlanta, and the current itinerary. Capture One Pro 7/8 class, barbeque lunch, and B&W K7 print included.  For more information, please contact me at my boutique portrait photography studio in Carmel, CA.  Ken (831) 626-1844.

B&W Piezography MPS Prints On Display

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by kendoophotography
B&W K7 Piezography MPS Gloss Selenium. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography

B&W K7 Piezography MPS Gloss Selenium. ©2013 Ken Doo Photography

When Drs. Mowatt-Larssen and Nicholas made plans to re-decorate their patient waiting room area, I was pleased that my landscape work was considered for inclusion at their office.  The selected works were all custom printed on my newly converted B&W printer.  This new printer features seven shades of black pigmented inks capable of producing stunning B&W images with incredibly smooth tonality, great dimension, and presence.  The images are reminiscent of B&W fiber prints.  All images were photographed by me with a Phase One IQ180 digital back and Phase DF camera or Cambo WRS technical camera.  You can see these images at the Vein Specialists of Monterey located at 757 Pacific Street, Suite C-2, Monterey, CA 93940.

The studio recently added several more fine art papers that have been profiled for this special wide format B&W printer, which is able to produce both glossy and matte fine art B&W prints up to 44″ in width.  For more information on K7 B&W printing or high resolution medium format digital copywork, contact Carmel Fine Art Printing & Reproduction.  You can view more of my landscape photography at www.houseoflandscapes.com, or contact me at my boutique portrait photography studio in Carmel, California. (831) 626-1844.

Monterey County Artist’s Studio Tour Weekend!

Posted in Events, General, Landscapes, Nature & Wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by kendoophotography

Doorway to Monterey County. ©2012 Ken Doo. One of five new B&W landscape images printed on a dedicated K7 B&W MPS Selenium printer on display this weekend at my Carmel studio.

The Monterey County Artist’s Studio Tour will be held on September 29 + 30, 2012, from 11:00 PM until 5:00 PM on each day.  Artists throughout Monterey County participating in the tour open their studios to the public giving them a glimpse at the artist’s work and workplace.  An opening reception kicking off the event will be held on Friday, September 28, 2011 at the Pacific Grove Art Center on Lighthouse Avenue from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.  Maps with addresses/directions of various artists are available at local retailers and at the opening reception on Friday evening.  (My studio is #42 on the map!).  The public is welcome to preview artwork on display by various artists as well as enjoy refreshments , raffles and prizes.  This year I plan on showing a few unique pieces of my landscape photography printed on a specially converted K7 Piezography B&W MPS Selenium printer.  Several images were captured using my new Cambo WRS 1050 technical camera and Phase One IQ180.   A demonstration of this special B&W printer system was planned, but in all likelihood the demonstration will be cancelled by required parts and maintenance.  I will also be showing several large panoramic images with incredible detail, some approaching eight feet in length, photographed by me with high resolution medium format digital cameras.  Come by and visit my boutique photography studio in Carmel, see some of my landscape photography, and enjoy a glass of wine, coffee, and cheesecake (hey, I like cheesecake.).   You can see more of my landscape photography at www.houseoflandscapes.com  .  ken

For more information call (831) 626-1844

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