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December 19, 2014
Posted in News, Tips

How To Detect an Exoplanet Using Just a Canon Rebel XS

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To detect planets orbiting around other stars you do not need an enormous telescope or equipment that will break your bank. You can do it using a Canon Rebel XS, a cheap telephoto lens, and a barn door tracker, i.e. something that helps with the tracking of the stars.

On IEEE Spectrum, David Schneider describes how he did it. The grounding idea is to apply the transit detection technique. In other words: you can use an ordinary DSLR to detect stars that become less bright during the time their planets are passing between the star and the point of observation (that’s you and your camera).

What’s the barn door tracker? To do what David Schneider did, you need a device (where you’ll mount the camera on) that can compensate for the rotation of the earth. Without this device, you would picture star trails instead of a sharp snapshot.

Using a Canon Rebel XS (around $200 on Amazon or eBay, a manual-focus Nikon 300mm telephoto lens (around $100 on eBay), a Nikon to Canon adapter (around $15 on Amazon), and the mentioned self-made tracking device, Schneider framed HD 189733, a star with known exoplanets that orbit the star every 2.2 days. In order to detect the transit of the planet, Schneider shot 50 seconds exposures for 3 hours. The transit of the planet lasted 108 minutes.

Says Schneider:

The hardest part of the whole project proved to be waiting for an opportunity to observe the transit of HD 189733’s exoplanet, which takes place once every 2.2 days. That sounds frequent, but transits that occur during daytime or are too close to the horizon are impossible to observe. […]  And of course, I needed clear skies.

Finally, after weeks of waiting, an opportunity came in mid-October. I recorded images for almost 3 hours, beginning about a half-hour before the start of the 108-minute transit. That, I figured, would capture the transition from normal brightness to ever-so-slightly dimmed and back to normal again.

Obviously you can’t see the transit just by looking at the pictures. You have to do some computing stuff. Using the free astronomical image processing software Iris and then MS Excel, Schneider made

[…] differential-photometry calculations—that is, comparing HD 189733 with one of […] four reference stars to compensate for changes in atmospheric conditions. The scatter in the final results was about the same size as the signal I was attempting to measure, but the general dip in brightness was easy enough to discern nevertheless. The average magnitude of the target star diminished and recovered just as the exoplanet’s transit began and ended.

The video on top is where David Schneider explains the process, and shows how he did it. definitely impressive and cool stuff! You can read more about it here at IEEE Spectrum, where Schneider details all aspects of the process.

[via PetaPixel]

 Canon Rebel XS

December 17, 2014
Posted in Tips

How To Process Canon RAW Files to Match the Dynamic Range of Sony Sensors

Process Canon RAW

Thanks Albert

Roger Clark posted an interesting, technical yet easy to follow guide on how to process Canon RAW files to obtain a dynamic range that matches Sony or Nikon sensors.

Clark writes:

Canon raw data typically have an offset of 2048 in the 14-bit data range in the raw file, with a maximum of around 15,000. That means the offset is about 15% of the data range. In other words, the offset is less than 3 stops down from maximum signal! Managing this offset is critical to showing the full dynamic range of the sensor. Many examples shown on the internet fail to manage this offset properly and conclude that Canon has poor dynamic range. Further, as raw processing proceeds in the RGB data, the relative offsets can be changed, leaving ugly color casts in shadows at the low end of the intensity range.

Don’t get scared by the tech stuff in the quote. The article explains why RAW image data coming from a Canon sensor has more dynamic range than most people think, and how to properly process the RAW files to maximise the dynamic range.

Clark’s article is a step by step guide to the proper processing of Canon RAW files using Adobe Camera Raw 8.7 for first settings and then Photoshop’s shadow/highlight and levels tools to fully exploit the RAW file’s dynamic range. Canon EOS 6D RAW files are used as example in the article, and there are screenshots of the process.

You can follow the discussion about this topic going to DPReview’s forum.

 

December 16, 2014
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“Match Total Exposure” May Be the Coolest Lightroom Setting You Didn’t Know About

This may be one of the coolest Lightroom 5 features you didn’t know about. I never stumbled upon this one. But it is definitely cool, and a big time saver too.

Watch Matt Kloskowski walk you thru a LR feature called “Match Total Exposure” that is as easy to use as it is powerful. Let’s say you have some wrongly exposed photos, as in a bracketing sequence because you forgot to deactivate bracketing (that’s the example in the video). You can auto-magically adjust the exposure of these pictures simply by selecting them, and then selecting a photo with the right exposure. Then clicking on a menu entry and the magic happens. This works not just for bracketing sequences. The video lasts 5 minutes, don’t miss it because is a lot of good tip for the short time you have to watch.

[DIY Photography via Reddit]

lightroom5

December 10, 2014
Posted in Tips

Canon EOS Utility Fix for Yosemite

EOS Utility Fix for Yosemite

There is an issue with EOS Utility 3 for Canon 1D X and 5D Mark III DSLRs, and with EOS Utility 2 for earlier cameras. Both are not working with Mac OS X 10.10 (aka Yosemite). Canon released a beta version of EOS Utility (version 3.1.0a) to address the problem.

With EOS Utility 3.1.0a you can install both EOS Utility 2 and 3.

  • EOS Utility 3-series and EOS Utility 2.14 can be simultaneously installed to one computer. (When installing EOS Utility 3-series, EOS Utility 2.x will also be updated to the newest version.)
  • When any model other than EOS 7D Mark II, EOS-1D X, EOS-1D C, EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D is connected, EOS Utility 2.14 will be started.

The software does not show up if you select Yosemite as your operating system on the download page for your camera. Instead, you have to select Mavericks 10.9 to download it. Next you install the software as usual.

[via Photo Focus]

November 27, 2014
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Lightroom Tips and Tricks Round-Up

Time for another round-up of Adobe Lightroom news and useful tips & tricks.

Multi-Photo Poster Layout in Lightroom – Lightroom Killer Tips

A Few Reasons to Switch to Photoshop from Lightroom – Photo Focus

How to Transfer Mobile Photos to Lightroom using Dropbox – Photo Focus

Dropbox Lightroom Catalog Sync – How To Set it Up – DIY Photography

How To Achieve the Film Look Using Lightroom – Fstoppers

Using Adobe Lightroom’s Radial Filter To Emulate Traditional Japanese Art Look – Kayview Gallery

How to Remove Sensor Dust With Lightroom – Digital Photography School

Custom Camera Calibration in Lightroom – Photo Focus

Speed Up Lightroom by Clearing Previews | The Why and the How! – Photo Focus

Why You Need A Tablet & How It’ll Transform Your Lightroom Workflow – SLR Lounge

How to Show the Focus Points in Lightroom – Andrew Gibson Blog

Seven Tweaks to a Better Lightroom | Customizing Your Workspace – Photo Focus

Adobe Shows Off Features for Changing Time of Day Lighting and Removing Fog – PetaPixel

A great video showing Lightroom mobile in use in Iceland (below)

Adobe Lightroom 5: Amazon, B&H, Adorama, Canon USA, Digitalrev, eBay

lightroom5

November 25, 2014
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CPN Published Part 4 of Inside Lightroom & Photoshop CC Workflow (Lightroom Mobile)

Lightroom

Canon started bundling Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography program to the EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 6D DSLRs, and then the PowerShot G1 X Mark II and PowerShot G7 X. Since then, the Canon Professional Network published a tutorial series titled Inside Lightroom & Photoshop CC Workflow. Part 4 “Lightroom Mobile” has just been posted. The tutorial comes with video and text.

Lightroom Mobile can be dowloaded for free but needs a subscription to Lightroom & Photoshop CC program or a 30 days trail period. Adobe’s Lightroom & Photoshop CC program is $.99/€12.29 per month.

Inside Lightroom & Photoshop CC Workflow: part 1 | part 2 | part 3

November 15, 2014
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Canon Pro Network Publishes Part 3 of Lightroom & Photoshop CC Workflow Tutorial (RAW filter)

Lightroom & Photoshop CC Workflow

Canon Professional Network posted part 3 of their ongoing tutorial series about Lightroom & Photoshop CC workflow. The third part is all about RAW filters. Previous episodes: part 1 (smart objects), part 2 (composite images).

Adobe now offers a Creative Cloud Photography bundle that includes Lightroom editing software and Photoshop CC for photographers who want to organise, edit, enhance and share their images via desktop or their mobile devices – this package currently comes bundled with Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D DSLRs. In a four-part CPN series of articles and video tutorials Richard Curtis (a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK) will examine the workflow between Lightroom software and Photoshop CC to give you a good understanding of the benefits of working with both in tandem. In Part 2 of this series Richard Curtis focuses on the advanced use of Smart Objects for creating composite images within the Lightroom and Photoshop CC workflow and, in a special video, he explains how to create such composite images. Please click on the play button in the window above to watch the video.

Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop CC costs $9.99 per month.

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