Why Darktable is perfect for Fujifilm users.

There’s an editing package that stands head and shoulders amongst the paid for and subscription editing package services out there, and it’s called Darktable. Many people would have heard of it, but presume because it is free, it is no good or not suitable. However, things couldn’t be further from the truth, as Darktable isn’t only amazingly powerful, but has a lot of useful features, especially (but not exclusively) for Fujifilm users.

What does Darktable generally offer?

Before we delve into what Darktable offers Fujifilm camera users, you need to know what Darktable offers in the way of it’s general features.

Think of Darktable as Lightroom, but on steroids. It offers a full library/Lighttable organisation section which allows you to view and tag multiple images, arrange them by various forms of ranking and much more, on a similar way to Lightroom. However you’ll have none of that importing inconvenience of Lightroom , as you can point directly to the directory your images are stored, or even just edit single images very simply.

In the editing portion of Darktable you can of course start the process of non-destructive editing. Darktable 3.4 has a wealth of options, many more than Lightroom offers for total control over the processing of your images.

Darktable has some very powerful and unique features for masking, which once used, you’ll wonder how you managed without them. Being able to curve the gradient line is something so simple, yet missing from every other editing package. There are also the parametric masks, which give you instant and full control over the areas you want with the tweak of some sliders (very much like colour or luminosity masks, but more advanced). In fact, there are a ton of masking options, something for every conceivable operation you may need to perform.

What’s in it for Fujifilm users?

Firstly it handles Fuji raw files with ease, avoiding so called artefact issues that allegedly plague some software. Noise and sharpening is handled extremely well, and you’ll always get clean looking images.

And then we have the built in colour science. Using the Colour Lookup Table module, you can instantly choose from a selection of Fujifilm film simulations. When added to your image they can be very accurate, especially when you can the exposure correct. You can fine tune them to by changing the opacity of the modules mask, perfect for getting things just right.

The standard Color Look Up Table Options

There is also a Velvia module, which, as the name suggests, adds colour and contrast to your image in a way that using the Velvia film simulation looks and feels. A great module for making your images pop.

Finally, you have Darktable Styles (dtStyles) which can result be downloaded. There is a huge repository for Fujifilm styles, covering dozens of film stock variants and X-Trans III sensor styles. It’s a great resource to get your image looking “Fuji”, and styles can be adjusted easily, as they are usually base curves with often other adjustments which are added to your history stack for tweaking.

dtStyles (First half)
dtStyles (Second half)

Of course, Darktable can use LUT files too, so as an added bonus, you can add any Fujifilm (or other cameras) LUT files to help you achieve what your aiming for, especially if you’ve used those LUTs in other programs. Check out my good friend Marc’s website here for accurate Fujifilm LUTs.

Conclusion

Darktable has a bit of a learning curve, but in its latest update to 3.4, it’s easier to use that it ever was. If you’re coming from Lightroom, Darktable should generally be more accessable.

For a free and open source program, you can tell a lot of love has gone into making Darktable. Written by photographers, for photographers, and it shows, plus it is updated on a regular basis and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux computer systems.

Visit Darktable here, and give it a download, as it’s free!

Get your dyStyles here.

Visit here for many more LUTs etc

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Why Landscape Photography Is Perfect For Beginners

When you get your new camera, chances are you’ll want something to photograph, and there are only so many times you can photograph the cat, family members and your back garden before they get annoyed or you get bored. The next best thing to do is go out with your camera and take photographs of the surrounding landscapes! They’re not scary places, there’s rarely any people and you can concentrate on what your doing.

The great thing about landscape photography compared to other types of photography is that with little skill, you can create amazing photos. This is due to the fact that nature can be so beautiful and you have so many options. You see a mountain, the sea, cliffs, horses in a field, an empty farm house, and you can literally photograph anywhere near them and you’ll have a result. Even the newest of photographers will usually have some understanding of composition, and I dare to argue that when you’re new, you are far more experimental with your compositions, because you’re learning your craft.

As time goes on, you’ll understand that weather conditions, time of day and the type of light that is available can enhance your photographs, and there’s little to adapt other than learning to work with the things you’ve learned. You’ll experiment with light and shadows much more, and you’ll build on what you know. It’s a perfect learning ground, where the only things that change are the light and weather conditions. You can fine tune your craft with the certainty that you’ll always be in your safe place, with little risk to others, and the knowledge that you’ll get some amazing images.

Landscape photography also lends heavily on allowing you to continuously work and improve on your editing skills. Unlike other forms of photography where colours can hugely vary, you know what colour the skies, water and landscapes are. You’re already programmed with that knowledge, so when you’re at the computer editing, you know straight away if you are on the right track with the edit you are making.

A lot of photographers will almost exclusively do landscape photography, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Firstly it gets you outdoors, and secondly, of all the other forms of photography its the easiest to sell and the easiest to please other people with. As mentioned, it’s also a great place to learn your craft, as there’s so much opportunity to play with your camera and the settings that go into capturing an image.

If you’re just starting out with photography, get outside, and photograph to your heart’s content. With digital photography there’s no cost, and nobody ever got better by doing less photography. If you’ve got a printer, use it on a regular basis, print out your favourite images and just look at them. Give them to friends and family to look at, and take in any feedback. There’s a myth that you should only do photography for yourself, but if you think your work is great and others don’t, it can be really detrimental to you progressing in photography. Of course you should be able to please other people with your images, it will boost your moral and give you confidence to get better.

Once you’ve taken the time with landscape photography, try other genres such as street photography, portraits, architecture or any other kind of photography. Yes, they are so much more challenging, but you’ll reap the rewards for your efforts.

Conclusion

Starting with photography can be a minefield. You’ll read books, watch videos and listen to others. Even if you don’t plan on doing landscape photography, give it a try. Your subject won’t be moving, you’ll have beautiful photos, and you can concentrate. Landscape photography can really be the place to start your career, and it’s one you can dip your toes into time after time in the knowledge you are learning new techniques and enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with it.

Photographing The Moon (Easy Guide!)

I keep seeing people struggling to take photographs of the moon, and long articles going into the setup and execution of successful moon photography, but they’re always over complicated and make it sound like it’s hard work.

Photographing the moon is the easiest thing to do if you understand you’re basically shooting straight into a bright light source on a par with photographing in the daytime.

If you don’t usually use a tripod with the lens you’re going to use for the moon, you won’t need one for shooting the moon. It needs to a focal length of 200mm (300m full frame) minimum to get really great results (you will need to crop your image after), but just experiment with whatever you want.

The simple steps:
1. Set your camera to manual mode
2. Set your aperture to around F/5.6-F/11 (but experiment as all lenses are different).
3. Set your ISO to base level or just above.
4. Set your shutter speed to the minimum length of your lens to stop shake (regardless of if it has image stabilisation or what crop factor it is). I will often a make that speed a bit more. So with a 300mm lens 1/300 minimum, 200mm 1/200 minimum etc.
5. Set your shooting mode to Continuous (low should be fine, around 3-5 shots per shutter press)
6. Take photographs! (If you’re shooting with a mirrorless camera, you’ll see your exposure in camera before you take the photos and can adjust as needed)
7. Look at your screen, sometimes it’s best to just slightly under expose. If you’re over exposed change your aperture of shutter speed to compensate.
8. Get the photos off your camera and crop the image. You may need to add a little structure or sharpening.

Some people get concerned over the focusing. I’ve never had an issue with any lens focusing on the moon, but if you prefer you can use manual focus. Also some people faff around with metering modes, but it really doesn’t matter what you use, the result will be the same.

Now enough reading, and go and take photos of the moon!!!

— As someone who’s been photographing the moon since starting photography, I’ve used lenses ranging from a standard 18-55mm to 1500mm and taken too many images to count. Each time I’ve used the same method and it’s never failed. The main thing to remember is atmospheric conditions on the night can play a huge part in the clarity of the final image.

Perfecting your photography

Over the course of this website, One Camera One Lens has offered a great deal of articles written to help you improve and expand your photography knowledge. They are all within the blog section, but this is a list of quick links that can get you to the article you need quickly.

Maximising Your Histogram Accuracy
Your histogram is not as accurate as you think, unless you take into consideration the points mentioned within this brief article.

The Benefits Of Shooting In Jpeg
Not everyone shoots in the raw format, and in fact, the majority of people shoot in jpeg. And there are some excellent reasons why you would want to shoot in jpeg.

Who Is Artificial Intelligent Software Aimed At?
A look at the new software that uses artificial intelligence, and who it is aimed at.

Edit Photographs For Your Wall
Have you ever wondered why you can’t sell, or where you are going wrong? This article gives you some fascinating tips on getting your images to look right, so that everyone can appreciate them!

The Best Editing Software You’ll Ever Need!
You’ll need editing software, and here is some huge advice!

Storing Film Simulations On Your Fujifilm Camera
If you are a Fujifilm user, this guide is a necessity!

Improve Your Photography With A Prime Lens
It’s a simple trick, but if you really want to get better at photography, take a read and let it sink in!

Never miss a shot with this trick!
It’s simple, it’s effective, but you will always get your shot using this trick!

Printing Your Photos, And Why It Is Important
Probably the most important this you will read in this list of articles!

Why 35mm Is The Perfect Focal Length
No serious photographer should be without this focal length, and I discuss why that is!

20 Tips For Better Photography
An essential list of common sense tips!

The Importance Of Presents & LUTs
They are important, you should have a few ready to hand… And the article tells you why.

The Importance Of Backing Up Your Photographs
It should be second nature, but so many people don’t do it. This article should help you!

Hopefully you will find something you need in this list of articles. You can delve deeper into the blog section for much more information, and don’t forget to come back on a regular basis for more updates to the website.

Storing Film Simulations on your Fujifilm (A simple guide)

One of the reasons we love and use Fujifilm cameras is because it’s easy to replicate old film stocks, invent new ones, and have more control over the image before we take the photo than any other camera. Some of us only ever shoot in these film simulations that we’ve made, others only use the stock Fujifilm film simulations, while others shoot in raw and then add these simulations using Fuji’s X Raw Studio on their computers.

This guide will take you though a typical Fujifilm X camera set-up, although there may well be differences to which camera you use. The basic idea will be the same regardless of what you use. This is NOT a technical post, and not a discussion on white balance, just a way to help you get to the settings quickly.

Step 1: The Look

The first step is to decide what look you are after. Are you looking to replicate old film stock? If so, One Camera One Lens has a page dedicated to over 15 unique film simulations and recipes. Take a look once you’ve read this article!

You’ll notice that these recipes have various settings that you must alter to change the look of your finished image. Each of these settings, when altered, changes the look of the photographs you take.

Step 2: Enter Your Settings

I’ve seen many articles taking you the long way off entering these settings, this is the quick way and is simple.

1. Press your “Q” button – the screen will change to your Quick settings.
2. Press and HOLD your “Q” button for about a second – you’ll be given a list of C1-C7.
3. Scroll to a C number you want to use.
4. Press “OK” – You’ll be greeted by the various settings. Scroll through them and change them as you need.
5. Press “Back” and it will ask you to save the recipe.

And that is how simple it is. If you’ve disabled the “Q” button for any reason, you can get to step 2 by going into the menus. (Found at IQ>Select Custom Setting)

(Your menus may look slightly different)

Press the “Q” Button to get here.
Press and HOLD the Q button for a second to get here, and choose your Custom number.
Inside this menu you can go ahead and change your settings!

For most people, this will be more than enough to complete the setup of a Film Simulation, however, you may want to add an R/B offset for your white balance, and this is where the fun really begins!

Step 3: The White Balance R/B Offset Conundrum

If you do not need to change the Red and Blue (R/B) offset for your recipe, you can skip this part of the instructions.

This is a step that most confuses new and not so new Fujifilm users. While you can alter many aspects of the White Balance in the Q editing of your recipes, you can’t assign a R/B offset directly into the customising function (in some cameras).

To adjust your R & B values (should you wish) you must adjust one of your three Custom White Balance settings, or other White Balance options, please see the notes on this below the instructions.

To do this, simply follow this instructions:

1. Press your “Menu” button.
2. Scroll down to “White Balance”
3. Choose Auto, Custom 1-3 (whichever you want to assign the R/B offset if needed and not using Auto WB) or any of the other settings such as Kelvin, Daylight, Shade etc. – Press the right arrow/joystick to enter the offset mode.
4. If in the Custom 1-3 setting you Press “OK” on the first screen, it will bypass it (and use the last value*) and you can then enter the Red and Blue values.

* To get a correct white balance if you have changed it in the past, you can point your camera at a white object filling the screen, and then press the shutter release to capture this White Balance. Alternatively you can adjust the offset in the “Auto” section and this will need to be changed each time you change settings to a new simulation. Auto, Kelvin, Daylight, Shade etc can all only have one R/B offset attached. Yes… I know it’s confusing!

(Your menus may look slightly different – Older X cameras may be missing the offset option)

Open the menu and go to “IQ” and then down to “White Balance” . *Choosing “Auto” will allow you to change the R & B values and give them auto WB. This will need to be changed for each Film Simulation. *Choosing “Custom 1-3” will give you the option to offset based on a White Balance that has been set by you when asked to press the shutter below. *Remember when saving your recipes you can only set ONE WB offset per WB setting (Auto, Custom, Daylight etc).

You’ll need to remember which Custom White Balance is for which recipe, as you’ll need to assign it to that recipe.

** White Card Technique **
To assign a custom white balance correctly, the manual states to point your camera and fill the screen with a white object when confronted with the “Shutter: New WB” option. This will then set your white balance for that environment.

Step 4: Use them!

Once your C1-C7 are full, get out and use them! Ideally I would set up my camera so that C1 is a default setting, with just a plain, untouched film simulation, with the ISO settings etc that you know you can rely on, and then have C2-C7 as film simulation edits.

Conclusion

It’s great fun shooting in film simulations, if you shoot in raw and jpeg, you’ll have even more options as you can take the raw file into Fuji X Raw Studio and choose different film simulations (another blog entry coming soon on this).

Don’t be afraid to experiment, and if you want the full experience, don’t forget to print your images! The film simulations you use from the internet are great starting points, and sometimes a little tweak or two can make all the difference if you’re not quite happy with the results.

Don’t forget to check out our main page which hosts film simulations, plus like and comment if you have found this useful, as it really helps me out!

— There are different variants of software in each camera, this guide is a general one and your camera may have more or less options, but the general idea should be the same in each case.