Wirelessly Previewing Images on Tablets – CamRanger vs. Nikon WT-6A

TETHERED PREVIEWING IN THE STUDIO USING CAPTURE ONE

In our studio we shoot what I consider the current traditional way, tethered by USB 3 cable to a Microsoft Surface Pro running Windows 10 and Capture ONE software, displaying the preview image on a 60” monitor. This scenario is perfect for static shooting that takes place in a studio, and makes a wonderful training tool for our photographic workshops, but since you are physically tethered to the laptop via a cable, it is not ideal for location, where you might need to be more mobile.

Previewing images in studio on a 65" monitor. Nikon D5 tethered to a Surface Pro with HDMI output to Monitor.

Previewing images in studio on a 65″ monitor. Nikon D5 tethered to a Surface Pro with HDMI output to Monitor.

Previewing images in studio on a 65" monitor. Nikon D5 tethered to a Surface Pro with HDMI output to Monitor.

Previewing images in studio on a 65″ monitor. Nikon D5 tethered to a Surface Pro with HDMI output to Monitor.

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60" monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60″ monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60" monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60″ monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60" monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting tethered to a 60 inch monitor is a superb tool when conducting photographic workshops. Nikon D5 tethered to 60″ monitor using Surface Pro running Capture One software

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

LOCATION SHOOTING – WIRELESSLY PREVIEWING ON TABLETS

For the past 4 years, on location, I have shot with the Nikon D3x wirelessly “tethered” to various tablets via a CamRanger. The flexibility and freedom to effortlessly move around a location while wirelessly tethered to a tablet is the main reason, plus the ability to show the model or client large size images during the shoot is a significant advantage.

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikon D3X with CamRanger Wireless Transmitter

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikon D3X with CamRanger Wireless Transmitter

Having recently moved to the Nikon D5’s and the WT-6A transmitters, we are still shooting wirelessly direct to various mobile devices, and currently viewing images in the Chrome Browser.

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikin D5 with Nikon WT-6A

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikon D5 with Nikon WT-6A

There are several pros and cons of each setup and I thought I would share my experiences with the photographic community, and of course would like to hear of other’s experience and approach

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikin D5 with Nikon WT-6A vs Nikon D3x with CamRanger

Previewing of Images on Tablets using Wireless Transmitters. Nikon D5 with Nikon WT-6A vs Nikon D3x with CamRanger

CamRanger

PROS

  • Very intuitive. Setup/configurations is simple and fast
  • Fast upload of preview image
  • I love that I can save the images to both the tablet and to the memory card. This provides image redundancy in the event of a corrupted card, and also allows us to continue to view the images, even when the camera is switched off during wardrobe / set changes
  • The CamRanger battery lasts an entire 8 hour day of shooting.
  • Inexpensive

CONS

  • Wireless connection to CamRanger drains the camera battery really fast. In a typical 8 hour shoot we will go through at least 4 D3-x camera batteries. I attach a small 3000mAh external USB battery pack with Velcro to allow our tablet to give us a full day of image viewing
  • Cannot pinch-zoom. You can double tap to view the full size image, but you cannot zoom to a specific area (say eyes to check catchlights)
  • You always have to think about the additional pack and USB wire. I hook the CamRanger to my belt / Monopod / tripod, but you have to remember to unhook when you put your camera down.
  • The CamRanger software isn’t as stable as it could be.

Overall I highly recommend CamRanger for simple inexpensive wireless tethering.

Here is a couple of shots from some recent shoots including my Playboy Playmate shoot with Nikki DuPlessis shot with my typical CamRanger Setup using a Manfrotto magic arm with the K&M Ipad Mount mounted to the side of my tripod.

Wireless previewing images on iPad tablet using CamRanger attached to Nikon D3x

Wireless previewing images on iPad tablet using CamRanger attached to Nikon D3x

Wireless previewing images on iPad tablet using CamRanger attached to Nikon D3x

Wireless previewing images on iPad tablet using CamRanger attached to Nikon D3x

Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa

WT-6A (so far only using it direct to HTTP connection, and viewing in a browser)

PROS

  • The adapter is tiny, attached to the camera, and it becomes part of the camera. There are no additional devices or wires that you have to consider, so it is way more convenient. I leave it attached to the camera even when I am not using it
  • Very fast, almost instantaneous upload of preview image (less than 2 seconds)
  • Interestingly, the wireless connection does not drain the camera battery. In a full day of continuous shooting, over 9 hours, we only changed the D5 battery once at around the 6 hour mark
  • Setup/configurations is simple and fast
  • Ability to pinch and zoom the image to a desired magnification is great

CONS

  • Really Expensive for what it is – just a wireless transmitter
  • The Nikon HTTP browser software approach is really clunky – will look into alternative viewing platforms
  • The inability in the browser to swipe left/right to load the previous/next images is SO unintuitive. Right now you have to hit a minute forward arrow key to view the next image. Cannot believe that Nikon would not resolve this ASAP.
Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Shooting with Nikon D5 with wireless transmitter WT-6A transmitting to iPad tablet running Nikon Software, supported on a mini light stand and a K&M iPad Mount

Behind the Scenes of 2016 Oceanette Calendar Shoot

We had the distinct pleasure of shooting the 2016 Oceanette Calendar once again, this time for the 10th Anniversary of the Calendar.  This calendar has become so popular all over the world and has featured many beautiful girls throughout the years.  This year was especially fantastic as we had one of our original girls, Wendy, from the very first calendar shoot with us again after 10 years!  The photographers, crew and everyone had such a great time and we are all very excited to see the final results and the Behind the Scenes video when it is realeased later this year.

Make Up Artists hard at work, making all the girls look stunning!

calendar photography fort lauderdale calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0002 calendar photography fort lauderdale calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0004 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0005

Prepping for the cover shot!calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0006 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0007 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0008 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0009 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0010 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0011 Shooting some ariel inside with a drone!calendar photography fort lauderdale calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0013 calendar-photography-fort-lauderdale-0014

If you have a calendar that you would like shot for your company, give us a call at the studio to inquire at 954-351-8884.

 

Hypersync test #7 – Nikon D3x / Alien Bees / Pocket Wizards – Hypersync Testing with Playboy Model Alexandria

You can read my previous hypersync testing results here:- Hypersync Test 1Hypersync Test 2Hypersync Test 3Hypersync Test 4 (Diana), Hypersync Test 5, Hypersync Test 6 (Emilee)

This test with Alexandria was a complete departure from my previous tests which had been conducted to establish that I that I could comfortably shoot at 1/2,000th of a second at 100 ISO and F2.8 in bright outdoor light with my Nikon D3, Alien Bees and Pocket Wizard transceivers. And I had established that I could shoot all the way up to 1/8,000th of a second with minimal cropping to the frame.

With that knowledge I wanted to try something completely different. I have played with freezing liquids in a studio setting using the fast flash duration of speedlights to freeze the liquid, but I wanted to see if I could use fast shutterspeed to freeze the liquid outdoors in bright sun, but overpowering the sun with studio strobes.

Freezing Liquids Outdoors Concept

You may ask, why do I want to freeze water outdoors in a bright setting?

Well, when you freeze liquids in a studio setting you are typically shooting against a dark background (typically black) and backlighting the liquid with the speedlights. There is generally no color in the liquid. For instance, frozen water looks like a lovely mass of molten acrylic, shiny, sparkly and totally clear with the back studio backdrop showing through the liquid. And of course when shooting opaque liquids like milk you end up with a frozen white liquid with droplets.

And the uniformity of color and background makes Photoshop work so simple that creation of composite “liquid dresses” whether they be water or milk, are relatively easy to shoot and composite in various ways.

But if you shoot outdoors in a bright colorful location, the clear water will refract all the colors of the background into the frozen mass, essentially creating a molten multicolored acrylic canvas, as you can see. And with the detail and color contained in the water, you really need to capture the full image in the camera, as it will be a total pain to build up a composite image in Photoshop.

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1600 ISO, 1/4,000th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1600 ISO, 1/4,000th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers

Practice makes perfect

I have tried freezing water outside in bright sun with hypersync several times in the past all with less than perfect results. My main issue is that I always shoot glamour at around F2.8 to F4.0 with long lenses in order to have the sharp model pop off the blurred background. But when you throw water in front of or behind the model, now you need depth of field otherwise the water splashes will be out of focus, essentially destroying the intended effect (as seen in the image below with two water streams separated in by approximately 4 feet).

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 800 ISO, 1/4,000th sec, F5.6. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 800 ISO, 1/4,000th sec, F5.6. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers

So now this means you need to have a smaller aperture to create a larger depth of field to have both the model and the water in focus. Or you can shoot with a short lens, and have the entire scene in focus, something that I almost never do in glamour.

So during this shoot I was totally out of my comfort zone.

Also, shooting at smaller apertures with hypersync adds another wrinkle. When you shoot with hypersync you are not getting the full flash illumination that you would normally get at the standard camera flash sync speeds. You are getting the tail of the flash, very often a small fraction of the rated flash power of the head. And when shooting with hypersync, not only is the aperture affecting the flash illumination, but the shutterspeed now also has a linear relationship with the flash illumination. The faster the shutterspeed the less flash illumination provided.

Hypersync Settings – Nikon D3, 4 x Alien Bees 640WS at full power, Pocket Wizards

So, in trying to freeze water outside with flash, not only do I have to go to a smaller aperture, but I also have to shoot at a shutterspeed of somewhere around 1/4,000th to 1/8,000th of a second, both variables killing the already reduced flash power available. This only leaves ISO, so once again I am forced out of my comfort zone and I am forced with the flash power I have available to shoot at way higher ISO’s than I ever do in my glamour work. For this test I ended up shooting at around 1,000 to 1,600 ISO, and of course deal with the associated noise/grain.

The Shoot

I also had an idea to incorporate an assortment of balloons in the water to add excitement and add more specular highlights so we all spent an age inflating, tying off and weighting down 50 odd balloons, and trying to get them to cooperate. Unfortunately the translucency of the balloons meant that flash power the perfectly exposed the model completely blew out the highlights in the balloons, so that idea never really worked.

The gorgeous Playboy model Alexandria Kingsbury graciously collaborated with me on this project and I was ably assisted by two Art Institute students Brian and Lazaro. I tried all aperture, shutterspeed and ISO combinations, along with a host of lighting approaches, using scrims, modifiers, barn-doors and flags and finally nailed down something that worked. And of course there were hundreds upon hundreds of buckets of water tossed in front, behind and on top of our lovely model, all trying to nail that one defining shot that I had visualized in my mind. Of course, converting the visual idea into a finished product was way more difficult than I had imagined and as far as I am concerned the defining shot never materialized.

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/5,000th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/5,000th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/5,000th sec, F6.3. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/5,000th sec, F6.3. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/6,400th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Hypersync, Nikon D3, 1250 ISO, 1/6,400th sec, F8. Bright sunlight, Four Alien Bees 640WS flashes, using Pocket Wizard transceivers. Model Alexandria Kingsbury

Once again Hypersync allowed me to do something that would not be possible using HSS or standard flash sync speed, and I am pretty encouraged with the results. However, Hypersync once again proved to be problematic by not being consistent throughout the shoot. This further reinforces me experience that the technology is great for personal work but is not reliable enough for me to use with my commercial clients.

Hypersync test #6 – Nikon D3x / Alien Bees / Pocket Wizards – Hypersync Testing with Emilee

You can read my previous hypersync testing results here:- Hypersync Test 1Hypersync Test 2Hypersync Test 3Hypersync Test 4, Hypersync Test 5

In my previous testing I made the comment……. “Well Hypersync works for me ….. sort of!”

I felt that it was too unstable to be relied upon under pressure, but I suspected that part of it might be me, so this time round I took way more care to make copious notes during my testing to figure out what was causing the instability.

This time I had the benefit of working with a personal friend and model Emilee, who has worked with me many times before and is used to the stop-start process that goes along with trying out a new technique

As mentioned before in my previous posts regarding hypersync, my main objective was to be able to use wide open apertures around F2.8 in bright sunlight, and to use flash to fill the shadows and possibly overpower the sun. Shooting at wide open apertures with long lenses provides the shallow depth of field that makes the model pop off the blurred background. But shooting at the maximum sync speed allowed by the camera, typically around 1/250th, in bright sunlight means that you have to stop the aperture down around f8 and this unfortunately brings the background into focus.

So we started with an ambient exposure of 100 ISO, F2.8 and shutterspeeds initially in the range of 1/,1000th to 1/2,000th of a second. I shot with my Nikon D3x, Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 transmitter fitted with the Pocket Wizard AC3 zone controller to separately adjust the power of each flash head. I used one, two and three 640WS Alien Bees moonlights, powered by Vagabond batteries. On each Alien Bees flash was a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 transceiver each set to a different group, and mounted to each of the TT5’s was a Pocket Wizard AC9 Alien Bees Adapter. The main light was fitted with the 18” Omni reflector to create more punch, and the rim lights when used were fitted with the standard 7” reflectors and 30 degree grids to kill the spill back to the camera.

In order to try and develop a repeatable lighting approach, I systematically measured the model to flash distance for each shot and kept copious notes of flash power and camera settings, so I would be able to replicate it in future. I mainly shot with the 70-200mm f2.8 lens but also used my 200-400mm F4 lens which narrows the depth of field even more when shooting at longer focal lengths.

During this test I was able to obtain better lighting consistency from shot to shot, so I suspect that part of my frustration in earlier shoots was merely a lack of familiarity. However there still remained some instability, particularly in adjusting the light output, but overall I was very encouraged by the results. Hope you like them too.

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight - 1/2,000th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight – 1/2,000th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight - 1/2,000th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight – 1/2,000th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight - 1/800th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight – 1/800th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight - 1/1,250th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight – 1/1,250th second, f2.8, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight - 1/500th second, f4.0, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard - Nikon 200mm - 400mm f4

Hypersync testing with Emilee in bright sunlight – 1/500th second, f4.0, 100 ISO, Nikon D3x Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard – Nikon 200mm – 400mm f4

Click here to see my next Hypersync test using the Nikon D3x, Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and  Flex TT5, featuring stunning Playboy model Alexandria

Hypersync test #5 – Nikon D3x / Alien Bees / Pocket Wizards – testing the effect of shutterspeed on flash exposure

You can read my previous hypersync testing results here:- Hypersync Test 1, Hypersync Test 2, Hypersync Test 3, Hypersync Test 4

Hypersync – Constant ISO, Aperture, Flash Power and Distance, yet varying the Shutterspeed

From my previous tests I wanted to confirm my previous observation of the effect of shutterspeed on the flash exposure, something that does not happen in traditional flash photography using shutterspeeds at or below the camera’s advertised sync speed.

So with a constant ISO of 100, aperture constant at F2.8, flashes at constant power and flash to model distance kept constant, I shot my model at shutterspeeds ranging from 1/1,000th to 1/8,000th of a second in one stop increments. As you can see from the image below the relationship with flash exposure is inverse and linear. Double the shutterspeed, and all other variables kept constant, the flash exposure, as well as the ambient exposure (obviously) drops by one stop.

As a sidebar, the reason for adding the palm leaves in the foreground was to have something at the edge of the frame that would be hit by the flash so I could see how far the dreaded shutter curtain banding was intruding into the image. And you can see the flash banding start to intrude onto the palm leaves on the right hand side of each image, especially noticeable at 1/4,000th and 1/8,000th shutterspeeds.

Hypersync test #5 - Nikon D3x / Alien Bees / Pocket Wizards - testing the effect of shutterspeed on flash exposure

Hypersync test #5 – Nikon D3x / Alien Bees / Pocket Wizards – testing the effect of shutterspeed on flash exposure

Hypersync – Constant ISO and Aperture, increasing Flash Power with increase in Shutterspeed

So I did another experiment to confirm it, but this time, each time I increased the shutterspeed, I increased the flash power by one stop. And as you can see in the image below, while the ambient exposure decreased linearly at 1 stop increments, the flash exposure remained constant.

Hypersync - Constant ISO and Aperture, increasing Flash Power with increase in Shutterspeed

Hypersync – Constant ISO and Aperture, increasing Flash Power with increase in Shutterspeed

So this further confirms that the flash exposure is affected in exactly the same manner as the ambient exposure …. An increase in shutterspeed above the advertised sync speed will affect the flash exposure at the same rate as it affects the ambient exposure.

And of course the banding is now way more visible with the extra flash illumination. For my use, the banding is not negatively affecting the image at shutterspeeds up to 1/2,000th but as I get above that I will need to pay attention to how I frame the image if I have any objects that will receive flash illumination in the foreground. As long as I frame the image to allow for the banding I will be able to shoot with flash all the way up to 1/8,000th of a second.

Cool – now I understand it better and kind of know what I want to do next!

Click here to see my next Hypersync test featuring the lovely model Emilee using the Nikon D3x, Alien Bees, Pocket Wizard Mini TT1 and Flex TT5

Playboy Playmate Nikki Du Plessis revealed – Playboy South Africa Playmate April 2014

We had the recent pleasure of having our stunning images of Nikki grace the pages of Playboy South Africa – April 2014 Edition! If you missed seeing those images here’s a small sample of some that we shot (some that made it and some that didn’t) for this pictorial plus some behind the scenes from the shoot!  Enjoy!

Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa Nikki Du Plessis - Playboy South Africa nikki-du-plessis-south-african-playboy-model-0267

Our lovely and talented make up artist, France working her magic on set!

nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0001 nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0002 nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0003 nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0004 nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0005 nikki-du-plessis-playboy-south-africa-bts-0006 Nikki DuPlessis Playboy South Africa