Photo Chips — a blog


Lightroom - Moving the Catalog

When the number of images you have in Lightroom gets very large your catalog will get very large, and the Previews file will get even larger.  You bought an external drive, but how do you move the catalog onto that drive?  It is actually easier than you might imagine.

First things first.  The Catalog and Previews should be on a fast drive, either an SSD or a 7200 RPM spinning platter, with a USB 3 interface.

The next step is to make note where your current catalog resides.  To find that out, open Lightroom.  If you are running Lightroom Classic CC, then Navigate to Lightroom>Catalog Settings.  The Menu should look something like this:


Choose the Catalog Settings selection and this daughter screen should pop-up:

Make note of the Location and File Name.  Then close Lightroom.  Navigate to the folder where the catalog should be.  The IMPORTANT thing here is to move the .lrcat file AND the .lrdata file together.  If the catalog is named Lightroom Catalog-2.lrcat then the preview file will be named Lightroom Catalog-2 Previews.lrdata.  Most likely both of the files will be in a folder named Lightroom.

Simply drag the folder containing those two files (or the two files themselves) to the new desired location (the external drive, for example),  

Here is the magic part.  Double-click the lrcat file in the new location and Lightroom should open with the catalog now registered in the moved location!

If you see files with the type lrcat-wal or lrcat-lock then Lightroom is open.  These are temporary files which will disappear when Lightroom closes.

You can delete the old catalog, which will likely be in the old location, in order to free up lots of space.  If you are like me, however, here is a belt and suspenders approach.  Create a Purgatory folder on some drive with lots of space.  If you ever need more space on that drive you can delete the Purgatory folder sometime in the future.  And, if tomorrow you need to go backwards and locate the old catalog file, it will still be intact.

Function Lever

The Function Lever is a new feature for the G9, which will be very useful to serious shooters.  It has two positions which let you switch some setting on or off.  It is best explained in a Use Case.

Where Is It?

The Function Lever is located on the front of the camera, below the Lens Release button:

Function Lever


In the picture the Function Lever is set to Mode 1 (one dot); when you toggle the lever it changes to Mode 2 (two dots).

What Does It Switch?

The function that the lever switches must be set, and therein lies its usefulness.  For example, if you often switch bracketing on/off, the lever saves having to dig through the menus.  Your choices are:

AF Mode

Quality

Photo Style

Long Shtr NR

Stabilizer

6K/4K PHOTO (Pre Burst)

Self Timer

Silent Mode

Shutter Type

Bracket

Touch Screen

Touch Pad AF

Auto Review (Photo)

Peaking

Night Mode

Front/Rear/Control Dial Lock

Off

Restore to Default

How Do You Set It?

You only have to do this once, so don’t despair if it seems complicated.  Start in the Custom Settings Menu> Operations

Function Lever Menu 1s


When you select Operations the next host of operation settings appears.  Scroll to Fn Lever Setting, which is in the middle of page 3:

Function Lever Menu 2


Now you are presented with the list of functions shown above.  If you already have a function set, it will look like this:

Function Lever 3

If that is not what you want, then select the item with the center button on the cursor wheel (not with the back icon on the touch pad!) and you should see your options list:

Function Lever 4


The selections each have their own sub-menu specific to that function.  Let’s set two different possible choices.  First we will set a 5 image exposure bracket, then we will set a change in AF modes.

Scroll down to the middle of page 2 on the list of functions, and select bracket.  You should see a screen like this:

Function Lever 5


The first line shows that bracketing is assigned to the function lever, and the second line shows that it will be exposure bracketing.  By the way, whatever settings you have assigned to exposure bracketing in the Recording Menu will be used (e.g., 3, 5, or 7 images, etc.) here.  You can’t change those settings in this menu.  If you want to have the lever control some other bracketing, select line two, and you will see your choices (exposure, aperture, focus, white balance):

Function Lever 6


If you normally shoot with bracket ON, you can set the lever to OFF for Mode 2.  I would find that backwards and confusing, however.  In similar fashion you can set the lever to change to Auto Focus Mode to Tracking, and then the screen looks like this:

Function Lever 7

 

In Mode 1 you would use whatever the current AF Mode is set to (perhaps 225-area).  Switching the lever to Mode 2 then changes the AF Mode to tracking.

The DISP Button

One of the more useful buttons on a G camera is the DISP button, but it is confusing to use because its function changes depending on the display mode of the camera.   The screens you get when reviewing pictures (called PLAYBACK Mode)  is very different from the screens available before a picture is taken (called RECORDING Mode), what you see in the Viewfinder is different from what shows on the Monitor, and if that isn’t confusing enough, some of the displays depend upon menu items set in custom functions!  This information is valuable, however, so you need to understand this stuff; otherwise you will be in the field and at some point scream “Where the Hell is the histogram?”  Further in RECORDING mode the DISP button will give you a chance to change settings using the touchscreen.  This is a real time saver if you know about it!

NOTE TO PANASONIC:  If anyone at Panasonic is reading this (and cares about their customers) this structure is unbelievably and unnecessarily complex. This is inexcusable.  A simple structure should be the default, and all of the complications explained below should only appear with changes in Custom settings.

Where is DISP?  Unfortunately it has been moving.  On the G9 it has been placed near the right bottom (53) on the back of the camera:

Screen Shot 2018-01-07 at 11.13.13 AM



  On the G7 and G85 it is (36) above the multi-selector:


On all the G cameras it is important to use the DISP in coordination with the PLAYBACK button, which is labeled with a green arrow like this on the G85:


On The G85, PLAYBACK is button (34) on the figure above, but on the G9 PLAYBACK has been moved to the left side of the back, button (35):


To enter PLAYBACK MODE you press the green arrow once.  To exit you either press it again, or half press the shutter button.

But wait, there is more!  You need to select a screen display style, separately for the Viewfinder and the Monitor.  You only have to do this once.  Do it in Menu>Custom>Monitor/Display>LVF Disp. Style (for the Viewfinder) and Menu>Custom>Monitor/Display>Monitor Disp. Style (for the Touchscreen.  I recommend using the black border style to begin:


The black border makes the important information easier to discern.  Later, if you find that you want more screen real estate you can switch to the  superimposed style.  

Next, you have to know about the tilt sensor display.  This is also called an artificial horizon on other cameras.  This is really useful for wide angle lenses and architecture, and really annoying otherwise.  I have not found a way to get rid of it, but it only appears in RECORDING mode displays, and you can cycle to a screen that doesn’t have it if you don’t want it.

TIP  You can easily fix vertical and horizontal converging lines in Lightroom or Photoshop, BUT only if you don’t have important parts of the picture near the edge of the frame!  You may find that perspective adjustments on such images results in an unwanted crop.  You can try to scale the image first, but even then you may need to resort to content aware surgery.  If you intend to make adjustments in post capture then leave some space around the subject either by zooming out, stepping back, or using a wider lens.

Now you can understand what the DISP button does.

In RECORDING MODE:  Viewfinder

With each press of the DISP button the Viewfinder changes between these fourscreens:

In RECORDING MODE:  Monitor

With each press of the DISP button the Monitor changes between these six screens:

When the on-monitor recording information screen is displayed, you can advantageously touch the desired item and change its setting directly.

In PLAYBACK MODE:  Viewfinder & Monitor

With each press of the DISP button on the G85 both the Viewfinder and Monitor change between these five* screens:

*The fourth screen is a Highlight Display that shows only if Highlight is set ON in the Custom Menu. 

With each press of the DISP button on the G9 both the Viewfinder and Monitor change between these four* screens:

*The third screen on the G9 is a Highlight Display that shows only if Highlight is set ON in the Custom Menu. 

The G9 has cursor buttons (46) on the new multi-selector wheel:


This makes it possible to have nested screens.  When the Detailed Information Display is showing (screen two), pressing the up/down cursor buttons cycles through a:

  • Detailed information display
  • Histogram display
  • Photo style, Highlight shadow display
  • White balance display
  • Lens information display

The G9 Touchscreen

The touchscreen on the G cameras is a mixed blessing.  NOTE THIS WELL.  When you use the viewfinder and the touchscreen has been rotated to its exposed position you may find that your NOSE rests on the touchscreen and will cause you no end of grief.  

The best solution is to either (a) remember to move your nose a little to the left so that it doesn’t rest on the touchscreen, (b) keep the touchscreen in the stowed position and inactive, or (c) turn off the touch operation in the Menu. 

A second best solution is to move the screen to a side position, and use a finger or thumb on your left hand to work the touchscreen, as shown in the figure:

Screen Shot 2018-01-06 at 12.11.15 PM

I WANT TO DISCOURAGE YOU FROM DOING THIS, HOWEVER.  The first rule for keeping a camera steady is to place your left hand under the lens, rest your left elbow against your body, and grip the camera with your right hand.  You can’t do that if you are following the figure.  Further, you will look like a newbie who doesn’t know how to use a camera.  

IF YOU MUST use the touchscreen while shooting try to use your right thumb while looking through the viewfinder.  It will take some getting used to controlling your right thumb with visual cues from the viewfinder, but it is possible, and this will leave your left hand free to hold the lens.

Auto Focus Unraveled

Auto focus on the G9 can be confusing, even more so than on other cameras.  You need to approach it as a three step question:  (a) how often do I want the picture focussed, (b) where do I want the focus point to be, and (c) what do I want to use to initiate focus?

How Often Should The Camera Focus?

This really should be either once, or continuously.  On all auto-focus systems this is termed either AFS (think: auto focus - single) or AFC (think - auto focus - continuous).  On the G9 and prior Lumix G cameras such as the G85 and G7, however we  find a complication referred to as AFF on the focus mode dial:

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.48.27 PM

There is a difference between AFF and AFC (it has to do with whether the camera can predict where the subject will be), but if you are just beginning to learn how to use auto-focus just stick with AFS and AFC.   

What Is In Focus?

To tell the auto-focus system what should be in focus you need to set the AF Area.  To do this press the AF Mode button Fn1.  On the G9 it is close to the focus mode dial:

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 5.39.54 PM

On earlier G cameras you will find it to the left of the menu/set (40) button:

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 5.46.46 PM

This will bring up a special menu of AF Area choices superimposed over a live view.  Here is an example:


As you scroll right/left over the selections the name of the AF area will be displayed.  To choose one hit [Set].  To cancel without setting a new area hit the return arrow in the lower left.  If you choose the Custom Multi area (looks like a parallelogram) you will be given the option of customizing the pattern.

The multi area selection has been increased from a respectable 49 points for the G85 to an astounding 225 points in the G9.

  • Face/Eye Detection  With this selection a yellow frame is displayed over a face that is detected and ready to be the subject.  You can resize the frame by turning the rear dial.  When auto focus is initiated it will be at the location of the eye within the frame (on the G9) that is closest to the camera.  If focus is achieved the frame will turn green;  If more than one person is detected (up to 15 on the G9) the selected person will be yellow, and other people will be framed in white.  You can choose a person with a white frame to be the subject by touching within white frame over the person, and then that frame will turn yellow.  On the G9 this setting should also detect faces, and even human bodies.  You cancel a setting by touching the AF Off icon on the touch pad.
  • Tracking With this selection a white frame is displayed and may be placed over a desired subject either by aiming the camera or  touching the desired subject on the touch screen.  While auto focus is initiated the frame will turn green.  If lock (and focus) is achieved the frame will turn yellow; if not then the frame will flash red and disappear.   If the subject moves out of view but quickly reenters the frame the lock should persist; otherwise lock will be lost.
  • 225-Area
  • Custom Multi
  • 1-Area
  • Pinpoint

G9 High Resolution

One of the standout features of the G9 is a new High Resolution (“HR”) mode that promises extraordinary detail.  The High Resolution mode leverages the image stabilization function, so when capturing in HR the IS system is turned off (conveniently automatically if you are using a Panasonic or Leica DG lens).  As a practical matter that will require that you have the camera on a tripod.  The screen will warn you if there is too much movement to take an HR picture (the icon jumps around).

There is no free lunch, and we have to consider that the effective high resolution comes at the cost of correspondingly smaller effective pixel size, which impacts dynamic range.  A lot depends upon the mathematical sophistication of the compositing algorithm.  On the other hand, if you want to print large (say 4 feet by 3 feet) the HR image will give you much lower noise compared to a “normal” image that has been significantly enlarged.

You preset one-time the following settings for HR pictures:

  • Size & aspect ratio e.g., XL4:3 give you an 80.5 Mp file 10368x7776.  
  • Quality:   RAW, JPG, or both  If you have space available on your card and disk drive, then RAW is the way to go.
  • Simultaneous Capture:  Saves the first “normal” 20 Mp file and the HR composite.  In raw mode (RW2) the “normal” file size is 24 to 33 MB, and the HR file in raw mode (RW2) is 131.5 MB.
  • Shutter delay:  this allows vibrations caused by pressing the shutter release to dampen and is generally a good idea if you are not using a cable release.

That’s it. When you are ready to take an HR image you turn on HR mode (this is best done by registering High Resolution Mode in the custom My Menu shortcut), choose “Start” and pictures taken from that point forward will be captured in accord with the settings you made in the HR setup.  If you are successful in starting HR mode a special multi-page icon will appear in the overlay display (red arrow below) and on the information screen in the DISP display (second image; red arrow).  If you want to exit HR Mode press the Fn2 button;  if you are using the overlay information display (shown below) then a reminder to press Fn2 to End is overlayed (green arrow below).  Fn2 is next to the DISP button.


If you are using a non-Panasonic lens you will have to manually disable image stabilization, Panasonic and Leica lenses will automatically turn off image stabilization.  If you are using the overlay information display (shown above) then the image stabilization icon will turn red (blue arrow above)

Then simply aim, compose, focus, and press the shutter.  (First put the camera on a sturdy tripod.  It is probably also a good idea to be using a remote shutter release; either wired or the Panasonic app on your smartphone)  After the preset time to dampen vibrations, the screen goes blank while 8 pictures are captured and a red spot blinks in the viewfinder/screen.  Meanwhile the sensor is incrementally moved to achieve the effective high pixel count.  After capture the camera does the math to combine the images into a single picture, so the camera will be locked until that finishes.  It is actually faster than you might expect; on the order of three seconds.

Auto Review displays the combined photo, and if you set simultaneous capture, the normal file.  The files will have separate numbers; the higher number is the HR file.  I doubt that you will see any difference  on the monitor, however.

Aperture must be f/8 or above.  

Full electronic shutter is used, so speed must be between 1 sec. and 1/32,000 sec.

ISO no higher than 1600

Focus mode AFS or MF (e.g., not AFC)

The combined photo may not be satisfactory if (a) scene brightness is changing rapidly (b) subject is moving (c) scene lit by fluorescent lighting [dependent upon individual exposure time] (d) windy days or (e) waves.  The simultaneous normal capture is the backup, or if something moves during HR capture, an image that possibly can be used.

So how does it look?  In Lightroom at 1:1 the HR and normal image appear identical, but at higher magnifications the HR image has far less noise, and doesn’t start to pixelate until around 8:1 or 11:1.  If you enlarge the normal 5184x3888 pixel image to HR size 10368x7776 pixels, then the noise difference is very evident:


Lumix G9

I have a Lumix G9 on order, and hope it arrives soon.  Meanwhile I have a copy of the G9 manual (available in any language here) so I will start blogging about interesting parts of this camera  Bookmark this page as the landing site for all future G9 related blog enties.  You may find these pages helpful if you have a G85, as I will try to point out where the cameras differ,

The Lumix G9 pages:

G9 High Resolution 

Auto Focus

The Touchscreen

The DISP Button

The Function Lever


Epson P800

A new Epson P800 is set to arrive any day, and I will review it and the optional roll paper adapter here.  Bookmark this page, and come back often; or, subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog, on the blog page here.  I paid for the P800 myself, so I hope that the comments are unbiased.  

The P800 replaces an Epson 3800.  There are two major advances promised over the 3800 — HD inks with less clogging, and a roll paper adapter.  If you like panoramas then you will understand why the latter is a big deal.  Clogging can be a silent nightmare, resulting in horrible color, and ruined sheets of expensive paper.  Physically it looks to be the same size as the 3800.


Macro — What is 1:1?

The world of macro photography is challenging and filled with terminology.  First, what does it mean when a photo is taken at 1:1?  Most important to understand is that this is NOT related to print size.  It simply means that the object size is the same as its image size on the sensor; in other words it is a reproduction ratio.  For example, a micro four thirds sensor is about 17.3 mm wide.  So this picture, using a Lumix G85 with a Micro Four Thirds sensor, set around 2 inches from the subject, showing 17 mm on a ruler is captured at a 1:1 ratio:


Think of this as a fraction (sensor size/object size).  I can print this out any size I want, and obviously the resulting image on screen or on paper can be at any ratio I want.  Now look at the following image using the same image, same camera, but pulled back to around 3.5 inches from the subject:


This shows approximately 35 mm of the ruler on 17.3 of sensor.  So, this is a 1:2 capture.  Now let’s try an experiment.  Here is a crop of the 1:2 capture, down to the field of view of the 1:1 capture:

  

Ignore for now the lighting difference, dust, and camera to subject distance.  It is apparent that the cropped 1:2 image and the native 1:1 capture are identical in the field of view.  So what does mean for your shooting?  Get what you want in the picture, and ignore the ratios.


Lightroom Export — Image Size

There are times when you would like to get a picture out of Lightroom.  You do this with the Export option; right click on the picture and select Export>Export… Or, to export a group of pictures first select them (in the filmstrip for example) then do the right click.  This will bring up a new window something like this:

Lightroom Export


At the top of the window (shown by the red arrow) it will tell you how many files will be exported.  If you want to export 20 files and it only shows one, then you will have to cancel and redo the selection.

Open the Image Sizing sub-menu by left click on the arrow.  It will expand to show:

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 10.56.17 AM


There is lots here to consider.  If you want full size files, then leave this unchecked; with today’s large image files, however, expect the file to to be large.  If you want to resize the file(s), then check the box.  You then need to consider the next pull down box which controls the resize:

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.01.30 AM

Width & Height

Resizes the photo to fit within the specified width and height, while retaining the original aspect ratio. The box order is Height x Width (just opposite of what the name is).  Suppose the original photo is a 5x7 (HxW) landscape.  Specifying 400 x 600 requires the output to fit in a box 400 pixels high and 600 wide, for example, and produces a 400 x 560 landscape photo.

Dimensions

Applies the higher value to the longer edge of the photo and the lower value to the shorter edge regardless of the photo’s original aspect ratio.  I find this easier to remember.  Specifying either 400 x 600 or 600 x 400, for example to the 5x7 (HxW) landscape, still produces a 400 x 560 landscape photo  .

Long Edge and Short Edge

Applies the value to the long or short edge of the photo and uses the original aspect ratio of the photo to calculate the other edge. This is easier to apply when you have an “in-between” output.  For example, if the image is a 5x7 aspect ratio and you want 15” on the long side it is easier to enter 15 inches in the box like this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.35.19 AM

If you use this, however, you MUST enter a print resolution (e.g., 300 pixels per inch.)

Megapixels

Sets the number of megapixels of the exported photo.  This is useful if the recipient has given you a maximum file size, for example.

Resolution

This is a confusing setting.  It specifies what the resolution should be, but sometimes it can be ignored; other times it is essential.  If you have chosen a print measure, such as inches or centimeters, then it is essential and will be used by Lightroom to calculate the pixel dimensions.  If you choose an absolute measure in pixels or megabytes, however, then it makes no difference in the output file.

More details about this can be found at the Adobe website, linked here.



--© Robert Rose 2018