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About Graham

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  • Joined Alamy
    27 Apr 2008

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  1. Yes, I have had one for most of this year. The quality is excellent. I find I am using it with the 11-22mm lens more and more. This is a very fine lens, better than the supplied kit lens (but even that is better than the pixel peepers might have you believe). It is so much easier to carry round than my 5DIV, which is staying home much more than previously. The 22mm lens is also very good if you need a larger aperture and are happy with a fixed focal length. I also have the older M5, which is very portable, but at 24MB, this did not supplant my DSLR in the same way. I do use the somewhat geeky looking viewfinder attachment with the M6II, because the screen can be very difficult to see in bright light and I find this necessary as a backup in these situations. I would thoroughly recommend it. Shadow noise can be stronger than in the 5DIV and high ISO quality is noticeably less, but so long as you are aware of this, it is not an issue (at least for me). High speed shooting has a great frame rate, and is quiet, but the buffer for RAW images is approaching the non-existent, with no more than a couple of seconds max, and a long write time to clear the buffer, but again not a real issue for me. Face detection AF is very effective. I don’t take video, so cannot comment on that. Lightroom does not have profiles for its CR3 files, so you are stuck with generic Adobe profiles if you use Lightroom or ACR as your RAW converter, but again I can live with that. As you may gather, I am very happy with mine. Graham
  2. My FTP uploads from this morning are not showing in AIM yet - probably an hour or so ago, so they should have been showing up by now.
  3. Beginning to wonder whether they are abandoning the 5* immediate pass regime. My last three submissions which had gone into QC passed yesterday afternoon. My next submission this morning has also gone into the QC queue. Graham
  4. You did not cross your fingers hard enough. I have been 5* ever since the system was introduced and have become used to most of my submissions immediately passing QC, with only the odd one called in for a random check. I submitted a batch on Thursday which was taken into QC, along with another batch submitted on Friday while the first was still in QC. This followed three or four automatic passes, and I was not unduly surprised about this, although this seemed to me a little quicker than usual between checks. Both submissions passed QC on Friday. I was surprised, therefore, to find that my next batch, submitted last night, has also gone into the QC queue. I don’t know how they decide when to put 5* submissions through the full QC, procedure, but despite always having been 5* that now means two successive QC processes, or three if you count the one on Friday submitted while Thursday’s was still in QC. Hopefully this latest one will go through quickly, and I have not through some glitch in the system somehow lost my 5* privileges (my dashboard still says 5*). Graham
  5. Pity the police do not seem to understand that very basic and undeniably correct proposition. At least Jonathon Sumption is prepared to restate and reinforce this basic right. Graham
  6. Dammit, I went for a walk today and passed a shut down playground. I thought that the closure sign might be newsworthy, so I photographed it and just uploaded a couple of the pictures. Sod’s law, this is the (about) one in eight uploads that is held up for old-style QC. So even if they pass tomorrow, they will have missed tonight’s database update and will not be visible online until at least Friday, which means they will not realistically be in contention for news use until at least the weekend. Oh well, c’est la vie... Graham
  7. I had to go shopping, and took my camera with me for a picture of empty shelves. I had to go to a hospital to visit my mother in law (while visiting was possible) and took my camera for picture of Coronavirus posters. I would not go out simply to take pictures of this kind, potentially putting myself and others at risk, but if I have to be there anyway, I see no harm in taking a camera with me and posting this in case they prove to be newsworthy. I am not in Live News but my images usually pass QC the same day and are live after the overnight database refresh, so that is quick enough for the images to remain relevant. Graham
  8. Size checker, although useful, was out of date, particularly as regards larger file sizes. It will often show uncropped images taken with 30+ megapixel cameras as failing due to large size, whereas they are nowadays perfectly acceptable. I often make large panoramas and these are the only ones where I try to limit file size. I have made an Excel spreadsheet into which I put the actual image dimensions, which returns the long side length required to keep the file size to 200Mb, and that is the dimension I then use to limit the file size when I export from Lightroom. I have had AIM reject images over 200Mb, hence this practice. I have been doing this for some time now, so maybe even the 200Mb limit has increased, but it works for me and I have seen no need to test whether the system will now accept larger files. Graham
  9. As resolution increases, minor misfocussing becomes more apparent. I always used to use one shot autofocus (in Canon speak - focus is fixed and is held once it has locked on), unless I was photographing something that was supposed to be moving. But nowadays I use servo mode (autofocus continually adjusts) so that if I do move slightly as I press the shutter, hopefully the autofocus will adjust accordingly and compensate for the slight change in distance, even for static subjects. Graham
  10. Another vote for Imatch here. It can have quite a learning curve, but it is very capable. A new version, IMatch 2020, has been teased by the developer, but it has not been released yet. Photo Mechanic 6 is also an excellent browser with lots of capabilities to manage keywords, and the cataloguing function (it will be called PM6+) will be good once it is out of beta (where it has been for a long time). Registered users of PM6 can, however, use the betas and help contribute towards its features or help find bugs. Neither has image editing capabilities.
  11. I use a desktop PC as my main computer. I try to keep everything on local drives, backed up to removable drives. I currently have 10 internal hard drives, of which 4 are SSDs. My images (now over 600,000) are on the normal hard drives. The main OS and programmes are on one of the SSD drives, as is my Lightroom catalogue (it has its own dedicated SSD drive). This is pushing internal drive capacity and power supply to the limit, but it works for me. Everywhere one hears that SSD drives are a panacea for speed of performance, particularly Lightroom, which even in the best set up system often seems to limp along at the pace of a lethargic snail. Despite the OS and catalogue being on SSDs and there being plenty of free disk space (performance of SSDs degrades if they are allowed to become too full), Lightroom's performance over the last couple of weeks has dropped from the barely acceptable to the totally intolerable. I therefore checked my system (which is a high end i9 Windows 10 build with plenty of RAM optimised for graphics uses and a good graphics card with 4GB VRAM), and found that the SSD TRIM command had been turned off, I do not know how. Having downloaded a couple of small SSD optimisation utilities and forced TRIM to run, I have found that Lightroom is now much faster, approaching the heady heights of more or less acceptable levels of speeds most of the time (or at least not too intolerable). The moral of all this is yes, do use SSDs if you can for your OS and catalogues, but do remember that they need TLC and performance can degrade over time for no immediately obvious apparent reason. It can well repay your time if occasionally you check to see that performance continues to be optimised. Graham
  12. I agree with all this. Once you have carried out the RAW conversion, data is discarded and cannot be recaptured. Highlight recovery as part of the RAW conversion process accesses data that subsequent processing of even a 16 bit TIFF cannot access, because it is no longer there. Similarly for shadows, which is why it makes a lot more sense to deal with noise at this stage as well, although the Lightroom/ACR noise reduction engine is not as good as other options which can only be applied after conversion, such as Denoise (other like DXO, but I have not used it). If I am going to create a TIFF from a noisy image to process in Photoshop, I will typically do basic noise reduction in Lightroom/ACR and then apply further noise reduction as needed using the tools I can access in Photoshop. One technique that I find works well in Lightroom/ACR is to apply any more aggressive noise reduction I need for the shadows via a radial or gradient filter which covers the entire image, then limiting its effect to the darkest areas using a luminosity mask, so that mid-tones and highlights do not lose detail. You can do the same thing in Capture One using a layer and luminosity mask for extra noise reduction in the shadow areas. Graham
  13. Seeing in another post that millions of EyeEm images are becoming available on Alamy, and several other posts about the quality (or lack thereof) of keywords in images that seem to have been bulk added from other agencies, I do wonder whether the (or a) reason for the QC change might be that these images may not have been through an equivalent QC procedure and be of less overall technical quality, in which case Alamy may be having to use resources to weed out the more obvious dross from these collections. The QC procedures have for many years been pretty tight and hopefully will have resulted in Alamy having a good reputation for image quality which benefits everyone. If imported images which have not gone through a similar QC process might tend to reduce overall quality, and therefore reputation, it would make sense for Alamy to target these and free up resources with less checks on contributors who have proved themselves over a sustained period. Whatever the reason, I very much welcome the change: it is a real incentive for me to be able to upload and deal with keywords while everything is fresh in my mind, rather than having to wait and then maybe worry about a load of images which are sitting there without keywording having been dealt with because I might not have the time to do this later when the QC pass has been notified. Graham
  14. How strange. I just uploaded a batch which went straight through under my new 5 star status - but the four submissions from Friday and the weekend are still sitting there awaiting QC! Graham
  15. Fab, up to 5 stars this morning 😁. But it’s not retrospective: my uploads from Friday morning and three more Friday to yesterday are still in QC! No-one has mentioned any promotions to 4 stars yet: I wonder whether there are any now, or whether all promoted 3 star contributors have gone up to 5 stars? Presumably in future there will be a progression which will include 4 stars. I wonder whether the new system is a result of a rethink regarding live news restrictions? I lost live news privileges, along with many others, when the system changed, although I have had several later stock sales from former live news uploads. The withdrawal of immediate live news uploads has led me not to bother uploading a small number of images, the immediacy of which would be lost with a QC wait. We will of course still have to wait for the daily database update before our images can be found, but it does make the process a day or so quicker, which may give a better incentive to upload images of more immediate interest in the hope that they will still hit the target while the interest in the subject matter is still warm. Graham
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