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Latest photography articles, reviews, and information at Northlight Images

There are many hundreds of articles and reviews on this site. This is the home page for all our free content.
Northlight Images commercial photography services are covered in their own section of the site.

tonality pro

Review - Tonality Pro

A plugin and standalone application for producing black and white images from colour. Editing features include masked adjustments and layers. Tested in Photoshop. Layers work for Aperture and Lightroom.

topaz ReMask V4 plugin

Review - Topaz ReMask V4

A plugin that speeds up masking and the creation of cutout images. V4 features a cleaner interface and a performance boost, whilst adding additional mask refinement features.

photosweeper - mac app for sorting image libraries and collections

Review - PhotoSweeper

A (Mac) application that will quickly sort through Lightroom, Aperture and iPhoto image libraries, or folders of images and locate duplicates and similar files (by time or by image content for example).


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Site directory - a single directory page with almost everything that's on the site.

making a cheap EW-73C lens hood

A cheaper EW73C lens hood for my 10-18mm lens

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm lens recently reviewed, comes without a lens hood. At one tenth of the price, a cheap EW73B from eBay can be quickly modified to work with the 10-18mm lens.

Topaz Lens Effects plugin review

Review - Topaz Lens Effects V1.2

A plugin that gives a wide range of lens related (focus/blur/sharpening) and filter effects for images, such as vignettes, diffusion and graduated filters.

DxO ViewPoint, geometrical correction software and plugin

DxO ViewPoint - version 2

DxO Viewpoint 2 updates and refines many of its geometrical and lens distortion capabilities. Runs as a standalone app or as a plugin with Aperture / Elements / Lightroom / Photoshop. Makes it easier to produce acceptable photos of groups with wide lenses.

Using ColorTRUE to calibrate an iPad and use it with the CamRanger

ColorTRUE for profiling an iPad used with CamRanger

X-Rite ColorTRUE allows you to create display profiles for iPads and other devices. Profiles add colour management to the display of images in compatible Apps. This review uses the CamRanger App (and device) to remotely control cameras - colour managed liveview.

Using fisheye hemi

How Fisheye Hemi makes my fisheye len more useful

Some example shots taken on a brief visit to Lincoln cathedral show how having a wider range of geometrical transformations ('corrections') makes my 8-15mm fisheye lens even more useful in my camera bag.

portrait plus V3 review

Portrait+ Smart portrait retouching

A short review of the Portrait Plus plugin V3 (and stand-alone software) from ArcSoft which uses facial recognition to provide smart retouching options for portraits.

Why a good camera 'L' bracket can save a lot of time

The quick release 'L' bracket - useful accessory review

One of those simple devices that saves a lot of inconvenience when switching your camera between portrait and landscape orientation, when shooting on a tripod.

review of the Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Review - Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Review of Canon's new APS-C wide angle zoom lens, the Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5-5.6 IS STM lens. Tested on an EOS100D/SL1

review update Autopano giga V3.5

Update - Autopano Giga V3.5

AutoPano Giga is updated to V3.5, improving many areas of stitching accuracy and further increasing the range of projection geometries available.

review of Kuuvik Capture,  Canon DSLR tethering software

Review - Kuuvik Capture V1.3

Advanced camera tethering software for Canon DSLRs from Kuuvik Digital. Wired or WiFi connection, bracketed exposures and focus stepping. Split live view for up to three magnified sections of the whole image.

Is digital photography too easy?

Is digital photography too easy?

If digital photography is too easy, then you are not trying hard enough ;-)
Why the challenges are still there, but different...

review of Intensify Pro from MacPhun

Review - MacPhun Intensify Pro

A Mac application and plugin that gives a wide range of adjustments and enhancements for images, and includes maskable layers for additional refinement. Tested in Photoshop. Layers work for Aperture and Lightroom.

When you finally have to update

Updating my Mac to Mavericks?

Having used 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) for several years, it's finally time to think of updating to 10.9. The only problem is that some important software won't run any more. Notes on how Keith got round this, and got an improved driver for our iPF8300 printer.

Latest Deals (links help support our site) - rather than clutter up our pages, I'll collect any I find here:
Amazon.Com Camera 'warehouse' deals | Amazon.uk 'Open Box' deals | B&H promotions | Amazon.com 'Open box' deals | Adorama Deals

July Only: The new version (V4) of ReMask is available at half price ($34.99) See Keith's ReMask 4 Review
coupon code julyremask|

Review of Topaz Clean plugin

Review - Topaz Clean V3.1

'Clean' - A plugin from Topaz Labs that offers surface smoothing, edge enhancement and texture adjustment for images.

making a difference in your photo business

Take responsibility for your photo business

It's too easy to blame others - no, it's up to you to market what you do...

improved black and white test image

Black and white printer test image

After many thousands of downloads of our original monochrome test print, we have a new refined version that includes more sophisticated targets for checking print detail and tonality, along with step targets for evaluating printer linearity and building correction profiles.

Review - Museo Silver Rag paper A semi-gloss coated 300gsm cotton rag paper, archival and OBA free. Now available in the UK via Canon and Oce.

Review - Museo Silver Rag paper

A semi-gloss coated 300gsm cotton rag paper, archival and OBA free. Tested on our iPF8300 large format printer. Now available in the UK via Canon and Oce.

Review - Museo Max 250 A matte 250gsm cotton rag paper, archival and OBA free. Now available in the UK via Canon and Oce.

Review - Museo Max 250

A matte 250gsm cotton rag paper, archival and OBA free. Includes details of profiling and linearisation for colour and B&W. Now available in the UK via Canon and Oce.

Topaz DeNoise plugin

Review - Topaz DeNoise Plugin

A plugin that addresses noise in images and gives fine control over how you reduce it to acceptable levels.

Making a very large print

Producing a 3 metre print - from an 11MP image

From RAW conversion to final print editing. Making a 2m x 3m print, for Innova to display at 'The Photography Show'. Since it's from an 11MP image, there are quite a few subtleties in the processing that can have a huge impact on final print quality.

profiling and calibration in colour management - two different terms often confused

Calibration and profiling - not the same thing

Monitor calibration or monitor profiling? I probably know what you mean, but actually they are two different things. A short explanation for the usage of the terms that I try and stick to in reviews and when writing about colour management.

Turning down work, for a professional photographer

Turning down photography work – when the alarm bells ring

All too many pro photographers (new and established) make the mistake of saying "If it's paying work I must say yes". After hearing one photographer's troubles, Keith recounts an incident from several years ago, when things just didn't feel right.

DxO FilmPack V4.5 review

DxO FilmPack V4.5 review

The latest version of DxO FilmPack (V4.5) adds film types to simulate, along with a variety of other image processing effect. Works both as a plugin, standalone application or within DxO Optics Pro.

large format prints

So, you want a large format printer?

After 10 years of using large format printers, Keith addresses some of the questions you should consider when you get that desire to move to large format printing.
Do you want a delivery van or a classic car?

Canon PF-05 printhead

Printhead (PF-05) replacement on the iPF8300

A faulty printhead finally needs replacement on our Canon 8300 printer

Printhead cleaning on the iPF8300

Unusual errors, but no print problems. Does a printhead need cleaning?

zeiss 135mm lens

A Zeiss 135/3.5 M42 lens on the 100D

A quick look at using an old Zeiss 135mm manual focus lens on the 100D/SL1. Sometimes you -can- get interesting results for under £30.

Review update - Topaz Simplify

A more refined interface, makes viewing alternatives easier.

FibaPrint Baryta ifa69 review

Paper Review - Innova IFA-69 FibaPrint Baryta

Looking at Innova's 310gsm baryta based paper. A heavy semi-gloss paper that also happens to be an excellent substitute for the now defunct Ilford Gold Galerie Silk paper.

DxO Optics Pro V9 review

DxO Optics Pro review - version 9

A detailed review of the latest version DxO Optics Pro. RAW processing software that offers a wide range of image processing options, including new techniques for dealing with noise at very high ISO settings.

Reviews are getting more difficult to write ;-)

...but that's not a bad thing. Incremental developments in products.

Canon 100D / SL1 used with 300mm photosniper lens

The 100D and the Photosniper

Attaching a Canon 100D to a modified 1970's Soviet 300mm lens and rifle mount. A very good quality M42 mount 300/4.5 lens

Macrophotography with a Canon 100D

Macro photography with a 100D

Testing out the EOS 100D (SL1) for macro photography of small objects. When a cheap 18MP crop sensor DSLR can outgun a top of the range full frame camera.

Quick white balance with the Spydercube

Review of NEC SpectraView 272 reference monitor

Review - NEC SpectraView Reference 272 27" Monitor

A review of NEC's top of the range 27" monitor. The wide gamut SVR272 comes with excellent calibration software, and is aimed firmly at users needing precise colour accuracy.

Review of Samyang f/2.8 14mm lens

Review - Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC lens

A review of Samyang's 14mm f/2.8 manual focus wide angle lens. Sharp and with almost no chromatic aberration, does its complex geometrical distortion limit its use, or at £300 is it a bargain?

Topaz Detail - PS Plugin review

Review - Topaz Detail plugin

A review of the Detail plugin from Topaz Labs. Image content based adjustments of contrast (local and global), tonality and colour. Includes ability to fine tune and mask adjustments.

Topaz B&W Effects - PS Plugin review

Review - Topaz B&W effects plugin

A review of the B&W Effects plugin from Topaz Labs. Conversion of colour images to a range of black and white styles. Includes ability to fine tune and mask adjustments.

Topaz Simplify - PS Plugin review

Review - Topaz Simplify plugin

A review of the Simplify plugin from Topaz Labs. produce sketch and drawing versions of images, with over 100 preset options to start from. Includes ability to mask adjustments.

using a shift lens

Samyang 24mm tilt/shift lens review

Samyang have produced a manual 24mm f/3.5 tilt/shift lens in a range of mount options. Keith has been trying the Canon EF version and finds it potentially offers good performance at considerably less cost than the excellent Canon TS-E24.

using a shift lens

Why I use shift lenses

Keith often gets asked why he uses expensive shift lenses, rather than correct images in Photoshop for issues such as converging verticals. Image quality is one factor, but predictable composition is a major reason. Includes some examples from testing a new 24mm shift lens.

Focus magic - sharpening plugin

Focus Magic - Camera shake and blur removal

An update to one of Keith's first reviews. Focus Magic now runs on 64 bit systems, offering camera shake correction and blur removal. The new version brings a favourite plugin out of retirement, but how does it fare?

Camera sales fall - why are you still taking photos?

Camera sales fall - Why are you still taking photos?

This year has seen a steep fall in camera sales. Phone cameras might account for the compact camera's demise., but what about DSLR sales? How will this affect photography?

Using black and white versions of colour images with luminosity blending

Using Silver Efex Pro to enhance colour image contrast

Producing a black and white version of a colour image to blend with the orginal gives a different way of adjusting tonality.

iPF6400/6450 review

Canon iPF 6400 / 6450 review

A detailed review of Canon's 24" iPF 6450 large format printer (6400 has no internal disk). Covers all aspects of printer fuctionality.
One of our longest reviews to date - Conclusions are in part 2

changing ink waste cartridges on the Canon iPF large format printers

Changing a Canon iPF printer maintenance cartridge

All that ink used for cleaning has to go somewhere. Keith changes the MC-08 cartridge on our iPF8300 printer. What does £150 of ink look like, and why is it actually just a small part of the cost of large format print making.

SU-21 spectrophotometer review

Canon SU-21 spectrophotometer - review

A review of using the Canon SU-21 spectrophotometer unit, attached to an iPF6450.

Paper review Hahnemuhle Albrecht Durer 210gsm

Paper review: Hahnemuhle Albrecht Durer 210gsm

Short paper review during testing of papers with the Canon iPF6450.

Paper review Innova IFA 23 'Decor' Textured

Paper review: Innova IFA 23 'Decor' Textured 245gsm

Short paper review during testing of papers with the Canon iPF6450.

Paper review Innova IFA39 FibaPrint matte

Paper review: Innova IFA39 FibaPrint matte 280gsm

Short paper review during testing of papers with the Canon iPF6450.

Paper review Hahnemuhle Photo Rag bright white 310

Paper review: Hahnemuhle Photo Rag bright white 310gsm

Short paper review during testing of papers with the Canon iPF6450.

Template Sherpa review

Template Sherpa - review

Software for the creation, editing and layout of albums/collages of photos. Outputs files in a number of formats and includes soft proofing and BPC for more consistent print results.

All about sharpening images

Why I sharpen pictures

Keith Cooper discusses aspects of his 'total workflow' approach to image sharpening, including how it's one of the key elements in improving the final quality of your prints, Why it matters and aspects of how to do it.

Topaz Clarity - PS Plugin review

Review - Topaz Clarity plugin

A review of the Clarity plugin from Topaz Labs. Enhance local contrast, colour and tonality with minimal artefacts such as halos. Includes ability to mask adjustments.

Topaz adjust - PS Plugin review

Review - Topaz Adjust V5 plugin

A review of the Adjust plugin from Topaz Labs. The first of Keiths reviews covering the full collection of image editing plugins from Topaz.

6450 su-21 spectrophotometer setup

Setting up the SU-21 spectrophotometer on the iPF6450

Fitting the optional SU 21 spectrophotometer unit on a Canon iPF6450 24" printer. Usage details to come in the upcoming 6450 review.

eizo cx240 monitor

Eizo CX 240 24" 10 bit monitor review

Looking at some of the advantages of going for a top end monitor like the Eizo ColorEdge CX240. With Adobe 98 colour space and built in calibration validation, the monitor is firmly aimed at the pro imaging market.

iprint pure 3D film

iPrint Pure 3D printable plastic film

A printable clear plastic 'holographc' print medium. Not something for our fine art photos, but interesting to try and profile. Would make some interesting promotional items...

6450 printer setup

Setting up the iPF6450/6400

We've currently got a Canon iPF6450 here for a detailed review. It arrived in pieces, so we've an overview of how you set up the printer. Full usage details to come in an upcoming review.

epson r2000 a3 plus printer

Epson R2000 - full review

A detailed review of Epson's R2000 A3+ pigment ink printer. Interesting results for the least expensive printer we've reviewed for several years.

Kuuvik capture camera tethering software

Kuuvik capture - preview

A short review of 'Kuuvik Capture' Canon camera tethering software. The software, still in beta, offers an interesting set of features for anyone shooting tethered, and wanting a bit more than Canon's EOS Utility software. [Update: July 2013 software now at V1.1]

PPL TSE adapter

PPL TSE-Adapter - a review

A mount for Canon 17mm and 24mm TS-E lenses. Keeps the lens stationary, whilst the camera is moved for shift functions. Eliminates parallax problems when stitching images.

permajet titanium lustre

PermaJet Titanium Lustre 280 - review

PermaJet's new Titanium Lustre paper offers a distinctive 'metallic' finish. Keith has been testing it on two different printer to see how it performs.

Canon Pixma PRO-10

Canon Pixma PRO-10 review

A detailed look at Canon's A3+ pigment ink printer, the Pixma PRO-10. With a number of additional features over the 9500 mkII, and without the extra grey inks of the PRO-1, Keith Cooper has been looking at its use and the quality of prints it can produce.

Digital Zone System - book review

Book review: The Digital Zone System

Keith Cooper's review of Robert Fisher's new book: 'The Digital Zone System: Taking Control from Capture to Print'. A comprehensive look at aspects of photography from exposure to print, showing how a digital version of the venerable Zone Sysytem can be of use, including an image editing technique giving very precise control over zones.

The process of making a picture

Making a picture - from idea to print

A look back at all the stages of making a large black and white print. Includes all the other photos taken at the scene, and why one particular view 'worked'. Also covers the editing and print preparation techniques used.

Nik silver efex - reducing halos

Taming contrast enhancement halos with Silver Efex Pro

Although Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 is a great tool for creating black and white images, it's quite easy to generate halos and other artefacts around objects. Keith looks at how multiple applications of the plugin can help.

gigapan on survey tripod

Using the Gigapan Epic Pro with a survey tripod

A survey tripod and tribrach, along with an adapter makes for a sturdy and relatively inexpensive heavy duty mount for a GigaPan with a large camera.

Autopano Giga version 3

Autopano Giga - review (V3 update)

Kolor have released V3 of their panoramic image stitching software Autopano Giga. This updates our comprehensive review of V2.6 which is what Keith used to produce his 14m long panoramic print of Leicester City centre last year.

Colur management and setup for product photography

Camera setup and colour management for product photos

Taking time to use a grey card for white balance, and a ColorChecker card for custom profiling can save a lot of editing work when photographing thousands of items. An example from one of Keith's recent commercial product photography jobs also shows some of what he covers in our product photography training for companies.

scanner profiling with i1Profiler

i1Profiler - scanner profiling review

The latest V1.4 update to i1Profiler adds scanner profiling, using a range of specialist targets for film and flat bed scanners.

review of Nik Define V2.0

Nik Dfine V2.0 Review

A software plugin from Nik software that adjusts noise reduction to actual image content. In addition it allows for setting of noise reduction parameters for specific areas or colour ranges of an image.

when not to buy new equipment

The diminishing returns from new photo equipment

When does it become much more worthwhile to put some effort into the photo side of photography, rather than try and buy better pictures with new kit? [answer: almost always]

DxO ViewPoint

DxO ViewPoint V1.1 - review

Working as both a plugin for Lightroom/photoshop or a standalone program, ViewPoint offers a number of geometric correction treatments for your images. Particularly effective is its fixing of the 'distorted heads' effect you get when shooting groups of people with very wide lenses.

Nik HDR Efex pro 2

Nik HDR Efex Pro V2 review

The updated version of Nik's software plugin for creation of HDR images. Keith looks at how it's been improved, including making it easier to create natural looking images.

add on teleconverter lens

Add-on lens teleconverters

Keith tries a whole host of add-on lenses from our optics 'junk box'. These can often be found for a few pounds in 2nd hand shops and the like, and can make for some interesting photos.

review of version 8 of DxO Optics ProDxO Optics Pro V8.0 review

The latest version of DxO Optics Pro, incorporates improvements in image processing and workflow. Keith has been looking at whether it's still a tool of choice for some of his images.

canon pro-1 printer review

Canon Pixma PRO-1 review

Canon's PRO-1 A3+ printer, with its 12 ink cartridges is a hefty machine. Keith takes a look at its print quality and range of features.

Industrial product photo

Your friends say your photos are great - so what?

Keith gets asked a lot about becoming a pro photographer, including whether people's photos are 'good enough'. Usually, it's completely the wrong question...

lens setup for tilt

Simple focusing of tilt lenses

There are a number of ways of focusing tilted lenses. Whilst Keith normally uses specially created tables of settings for large scale shots, these can be fiddly to use in the studio for close up work. The article describes a generalised iterative tilt/focus technique that can be used with any well lit subject (not just in the studio).

note about improving your photography

Better photography - without the expense

After two photo lectures this week for photography groups, Keith has written brief notes about some effective ways of improving your photography without breaking the bank.

review of the colormunki smile

ColorMunki Smile

Review of X-Rite's basic monitor calibrator. Supports multiple monitor systems.

Photo Ninja 1.0 review

Photo Ninja V1.0 review

A brand new RAW file processing program from PictureCode. Incorporating all the functionality of Noise Ninja, the software offers extremely high quality RAW file conversions.

Spire restoration

Full resolution zoomable interior view of St Mary de Castro church (6GB image file size). Some of Keiths prints are being used to help raise money towards the repair of a church spire, built around 1400.

Zone 5 of the zone systemRe-using the zone system?

Does the Zone System still have a place in digital black and white photography? Keith looks at aspects of his own approach to B&W photography and considers how some elements of a technique first developed over 70 years ago may still have relevance.

HDR Expose 2Review - HDR Expose 2

A stand alone HDR creation and editing tool from Unified Color, which allows the creation and editing of High Dynamic Range (HDR) images.

small micro chips - macro photographyPhotographing tiny stuff

Creating a sense of scale for photographing small objects.

 

Innova paperInnova FibaPrint Warm Cotton Gloss IFA 45

Keith reviews a rather nice cotton rag paper with a glossy type finish from Innova.

 

Canon 1DxSaying no to the update cycle

When is your old camera still just fine? Keith looks at why his 2007 Canon 1Ds mark 3 isn't as easily eclipsed by the new EOS 1D X as it might appear. Sometimes what you've already got is just fine...

UK camera sales plummet - Why things like this matter for our photography business.

Using i1Profiler to measure QTR linearising targets.

Industrial photos in a foundry - Some apects of professional photography.

Using the i1Pro 2 for linearising B&W printing - Making use of ColorPort and QuadToneRIP (QTR).

i1Basic Pro 2 - Review of the i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer kit.

i1Photo Pro 2 - Review of the i1Pro 2 for printer profiling.

Keith's work is featured on the DxO Optics Pro web site.

50 'Business tips' for the aspiring professional photographer.

Pick your photography work with care - Why doing what you love isn't always the best route to running a profitable photography business.

DxO FilmPack V3.2 - Accurate film effects and creative control - based on detailed measurements of real film behaviours.

Keith Cooper has written an article about the making of the large 14m Leicester print featured in his May 2012 exhibition.

Leicester Exhibition opens - info pages includes zoomable version of the big 14m print.

Spyder4TV HD - Review of Datacolor's Spyder based TV and home cinema calibration kit.

X-Rite announces the i1Pro 2 profiling packages.

Spyder4Pro - Review of monitor profiling and calibration package.

Spyder4Express - Review of monitor profiling and why you need it.

Cheap printing? - not if quality matters.

Pro photography - winning the lottery? - Having an idea what you are doing and why.

Working as a photographer on a cruise ship - A guest article by photographer Ian Kee.

Spyder4Elite - Full review of the monitor and projector profiler from Datacolor

Autopano Giga 2.6 - full review of Kolor's panoramic image stitching software, with emphasis on making large high quality prints.

ImageNest V3.5 - Adds BPC, resampling to native printer resolution and sharpening to versatile print layout RIP tool.

What to charge - simple numbers for anyone wanting to become a professional photographer.

Travel blogs

Sunset at Long Beach, Washington, USA
Fall 2010 - Visit to the USA, Pacific Northwest

Aspen trees and fall colours Hahn's Peak, Colorado
October 2008 - Travelling in Colorado
(picture from 'Photo-blog')

autumn colours in the cascades
'Cascade Colours' from Keith's Autumn 2007 visit to Oregon/Washington


The North Californian coast
- part of Keith's April 2007 tour

Aspen on the Grand Mesa, Colorado
The photo above is a sample from Keith's photo-diary of his 2006 visit to Colorado.

St. Georges central, Leicester

'Blue Tower' Leicester

Bury St. Edmunds Cathedral, from a recent paper review.

Tenor saxophone and Ola's leg

Commercial Photography

sabian cymbal

Local Jazz venues

Older articles

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