Human vs Machine: Can This AI Retouch Photos Better Than You?

Artificial intelligence is no much longer a brand-new idea in photography. Complicated algorithms permit machines to pick vehicle comparison and direct exposure settings in all modern-day editing and enhancing software program. They’re improving at all times. What I haven’t seen before however, is a tool that efficiently automates face retouching. Until now, that is.

Full disclosure: This post was given and also sponsored by Photoworks, the smart photo editor.

The picture editor I’m assessing originates from the new children in town, Photoworks. Within Photoworks, the Portrait Magic device enables you to retouch confront with the drag of a slider. Well, a few sliders. A novel suggestion maybe, but I didn’t have high hopes for this modifying software program. I pictured a somewhat enhanced version of the ‘‘ beauty face’ filter you could discover on your phone. Not lovely. I really wasn’t away in regards to idea, however it exceeded my assumptions.

If you’re already interested, remain tuned for a shock waiting on you at the end… … With that said, allow’s dive in.

Working Around Freckles

This photo was taken outside under relatively suppressed problems. We’ve obtained some good side light catching the topic’s hair and also an also scheme to function with in concerns to face skin tones. The actual test was to see just how the portrait retouching software application handled her freckles. I ‘d already made some standard comparison adjustments and also removed her red zombie eyes prior to beginning the retouch.

Opening up the Portrait Magic panel enables option from a group of personalized presets. I picked total improvement. Although I wouldn’t be aiming to finish the retouching right here, it’s pleasing to see that some visible modifications have actually currently been made.

As the illumination was already flat I decided to decrease the redness and also glow sliders. This permitted me to effectively maintain what little deepness the flat lights on the subject’s face provided. The only various other modification I was urged to make was to duplicate destroy a number of trouble spots, which the software handled as you would certainly anticipate. Generally, not bad for a brush-free setup – – freckles undamaged as well as noticeably smoother skin. A digital pat on the back for the AI.

Enhancing a Family Portrait It can occasionally be difficult to know what to do with baby-faced cherubs like these. Age typically hasn’t blessed them with folds, crinkles, bumps, scars, as well as spots yet.

You can not de-crinkle the uncrinkled. I assumed this would certainly leave the AI formulas over-enhancing both toddlers, yet fortunately, Photoworks makes it pretty simple to make up this. By unticking ‘‘ relate to all faces’, you’re able to alter the private modifications for every individual’s face. This permitted me to disregard retouching the boys and concentrate on mum.

It’s clear whatever is geared in the direction of speed within this portrait editor. Eyes, brows and also lip sharpness sliders enabled me to swiftly sharpen up the 2 in front, as the emphasis was initially set a bit also much in the direction of mum. I truly such as this, as I would have usually had to mask out each private feature on each private face with brushes.

Speed-Retouching a Studio Shot

This is the type of picture I ‘d normally like to finesse. Fighting that urge, recognizing I had not been mosting likely to have the ability to make use of brushes with this particular portrait image modifying software program, was an obstacle in itself. I cooled down the total tone as well as cranked up the contrast before diving in for a retouch. This provided me some horrible glare.

I believed I would need to dial the edit down and approach it from a new angle to deal with the ‘warm place. Instead, I discovered maxing out the ‘ glow’slider sufficient.

After hitting automobile on the complexion and sliding up the sharpness enhancers, I was really feeling respectable about completion result. There are certainly adjustments I would love to make to this picture

. I would say I have actually achieved about 70-80%of what I would do within Photoshop. However, Photoworks just turned a multi-hour edit right into a handful of mouse clicks. That’s quite impressive. Enhancing Darker Skin Tones This last photo was used to please my inquisitiveness – just how would certainly the enhancer manage darker complexion?

I used the normal exposure adjustments and also fine-tuned the colors – a little before jumping over to Portrait Magic and also sliding around( remove footwear for best outcomes). It handled this challenge capably. When dragging to readjust makes feeling and also it’s very easy to find the finest skin tone without keeping in mind formulas or various other complexities, the range of shades you can select from. If you’re not accustomed to these methods, this article and video on Canon vs Sony explains on some of the more well-known ways you can accomplish wonderful complexion.

When Would I Use The Portrait AI?

I can see myself using Photoworks Portrait Editor for wedding event fires in the future. I’m often ‘‘ up against it’ when meetings wedding event due dates and also know numerous of my wedding digital photographer good friends experience. To me, that seems to be where the picture modifying AI shines. Quick modifies that do not require to be polished to excellence, but require decent improvement to meet wedding celebration season demands.

Wedding celebrations likewise typically consist of several photos with numerous faces. Anything with even more than one topic will increase the moment you save. Like friends/family candids. I really feel like I will use Photoworks for this too.

There was one circumstance I really did not attribute where the Portrait Magic tool dropped short. It didn’t manage hair obscuring the face – – it battled to identify functions. It likewise isn’t going to make a poor picture good. If it can’t recognize eyes underneath loose hair it’s certainly not clever adequate to take care of inadequate photography. One thing I haven’t discussed is that the software application does not presently support Mac. Obviously a deal-breaker for some.


As long as you’ve got a great original picture to function with as well as a Windows PC to run it on, I think Photoworks has worth. For the times when you’re under pressure to deliver or you just do not have the time/energy to finesse a picture with brushes, Portrait Magic’s AI’s got your back.

I assume it’s wonderful to see innovative software moving in this instructions and additionally an enjoyable shock to see a novice to the scene really supplying on something the big names can not. I’m thrilled to see where Photoworks will certainly go next.

, if you would certainly such as to attempt out the software application yourself (or you’ve been dying to recognize what that surprise I discussed method back at the beginning was!) after that wait no much longer. Here’s a pleasant discount coupon to assist you on your means, supplied by the developer to PetaPixel people.

Best of luck out there and also do not hesitate to let me understand what you consider this portrait retouching AI in the remarks listed below.

About the author: Scott Norris is a professional of outdoors photography and also applicant of covert gems. Has a history functioning at the stop-motion movie studio Aardman (Wallace & & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep) as well as is deeply interested in new photography modern technologies.

The Medium Format Experience

To shoot medium format had been a longtime dream of mine, but I have to admit I didn’t know it would be such a mindblowing experience. The 51.4-megapixel Pentax 645Z arrived on the market in 2014 and was the first camera to ever exceed 100 points in the DxOMark sensor test. For some unknown reason, the score and review weren’t published until 2017.

There is plenty of info to be found on the Internet concerning the camera specs so I won’t cover that in much detail. What is of greater interest to me and hopefully the reader is the medium format experience.

Pentax 645z with the 25mm, 28–45mm and 55mm.

The 645Z body is larger than a regular DSLR, but it doesn’t feel heavy (3.4lbs/1.5kg). It actually feels surprisingly light in my hands, and with the 25mm or 28–45mm mounted it balances very well, and that includes mounted on my Sirui w-2204 with a K-20 ball-head.

As a landscape photographer, my chief concerns in regards to a camera are dynamic range, details, sharpness, colors, noise, and ease of use.

To make a long story short, when I the first time began pushing the 645Z files I almost couldn’t believe my own eyes. The dynamic range is nothing short of breathtaking. Truth be told this absolutely doesn’t feel like a four-year-old camera — on the contrary.

Romsdalen, Norway, July 2018. Pentax 645Z, Pentax 28–45mm

Romsdalen, Norway, offers breathtaking scenery with mountains, steep mountainsides, valleys and waterfalls in almost every direction. The perfect location to test the capabilities of the camera. The following is a very high contrast scene with strong light radiating from behind and over the mountain ridge. I shot a panorama consisting of three verticals exposed for the highlights. This is after stitching in Lightroom and the shadows are more or less pitch black since I do the stitching before any adjustments. For panoramas, I use the Sirui LE-60 leveling base.

After a few minutes of adjusting sliders in Lightroom the scene has completely changed character (the image is not finished and will be further edited in Photoshop when time permits):

Pentax 28–45mm, Nisi polarizer to add contrast to the sky

The Pentax 645Z is absolutely outstanding when it comes to picking up shadows with almost zero noise added and no weird magenta color casts in the deepest shadows. It also does a very good job at recovering highlights which at first sight may look blown out.

One thing I noticed immediately I began scrutinizing my first batch of raws was the stunning amount of detail the camera captured. It must have been challenging for the Pentax developers and engineers to produce lenses which match the camera’s capabilities. However, Pentax has a long history of producing very good glass. Both the 25mm and the 28–45mm are super sharp. I have of yet not tested the 55mm. The 25mm is unfortunately discontinued, but new and used copies are still in circulation. Weighing in at 3.24lbs (1.47kg), the 28–45mm is quite a heavy lens, whereas the 25mm and 55mm are considerably lighter.

My first evening with the 645Z— Pentax 25mm

To have a zoom lens in addition to the two primes is something I consider a great advantage in terms of added flexibility when being out in the field. I am not very fond of long treks which probably has something to do with my impatient and restless nature. In other words, carrying that extra weight of the 28–45mm isn’t a big issue for me.

It is also noteworthy that the 28–45mm is 82mm and thus takes regular filters. The 25mm has this clever in-lense polarizer solution, and the Nisi 150mm filter holder for the Tokina 16–28mm fits the lens. The camera sensor has a crop factor of 0.79x so that for instance 25mm equals 19.5mm full frame.

This is upstream Isterdalen in Romsdalen. The famous Trollstigen is ahead of us. There is no need for an L-bracket on the 645Z. I have mounted two Sirui plates on either side of the camera something which makes shooting verticals a breeze. Clever of Ricoh/Pentax to implement two mounting holes — one for each orientation.

Pentax 28–45mm. A thinking mountain? 😉

Who needs more detail than this:

Very close crop from image above

The Pentax K-1 and Pentax K-1 Mark ii have spoiled me with great, pleasing and vibrant colors. Not surprisingly perhaps does the Pentax Medium format flagship excel also in this field. It doesn’t take much in for instance Lightroom to bring out colors and color contrast.

‘Bispen’ is one of several characteristic peaks in Isterdalen:

Pentax 28–45mm

Sunsets in the southern parts of Norway can be very intense and beautiful during summer. This is from my home turf around 60 km north of Oslo, and I am very pleased with how the 645Z renders the warm tones.

Pentax 28–45mm. Panorama from three horizontals.

Both lenses produce very pleasing sunstars. I may be wrong but I believe this image is a once in a lifetime experience. The sun rose in such a way that it sailed between two mountain peaks before it was obscured by the mountain to the right. The sighting only lasted a couple minutes, and the sun took on an intense and beautiful color which cast a warm glow across the scene.

Pentax 28–45mm

For my second outing with the 645Z, I headed to Rjukandefossen, Hemsedal, Norway. I was a tad unhappy that I had to move over to this side of the waterfall in order to capture the setting sun because that meant walking across a suspiciously looking suspension bridge about which I had my doubts would carry my 210lbs+ (95kg+) camera gear. Working out with weights and doing landscape photography isn’t perhaps the best combination.

Pentax 25mm — the scene is actually shot at f/32

The transition to the 4:3 format has gone surprisingly smooth. I find the format increasingly pleasing, and it opens up new possibilities compositional wise. The format has also challenged me to think outside the box something which isn’t exactly one of my strong sides. In addition to the aforementioned, I also notice that I am far more inclined to shoot panoramas with the 645Z than what is the case with my other cameras.

Menus are easy to navigate and it doesn’t take long before one knows where to find the various settings — everything is very intuitive. A dedicated button on the camera body itself makes it very simple to shoot bracketed if so desired. The “Info” button option on the back of the camera provides a convenient short-cut to the often most used settings. The ability to have a histogram in Live-View is very handy notably when shooting long exposures. A dedicated mirror lock-up switch is also found on the camera body. I have a tendency of forgetting that it exists but as of yet none of my shots have been ruined by shutter shock or vibrations.

Rjukandefossen, Norway. Oct 2018. Pentax 645Z, Pentax 25mm. EC National Geographic

I have had no computer issues with the relatively large files the 645Z produces. My i7 laptop has effortlessly stitched and edited a seven frame pano scene. Even my i5 travel laptop has without great problems stitched three frame panoramas.

The Pentax 645Z is a value for money camera, and Ricoh/Pentax has thus made medium format available to a huge group of photographers who otherwise couldn’t have afforded a medium format system. In true Pentax spirit, the system is of course thoroughly weather-sealed.

Romsdalen, Norway. Two in the night. Pano from three horizontals. Pentax 25mm. EC National Geographic

The camera with three lenses and the Nisi 100 mm filter system neatly fit into a Lowepro Whistler BP 450 AW.

We will end this review with a four frame panorama of the more or less famous cabin scene — cabin to which I have developed a love/hate relationship. Admittedly, during my first years with a camera I shot this location “to death”. I have received some criticism for this. Rightly so, I would add.

Pentax 28–45mm. A white background doesn’t favor images like this, unfortunately.

The criticism has had the effect on me of pushing me out of my comfort zone, so it is all positive. This is a scene which has offered me much fun and provided me with many great memories. Anyway, we are in this instance dealing with yet another extreme high contrast scene. The sun had just set behind the hill so the light bleeding into the sky was very strong. No filters were used to balance the light since I wanted to give the 645Z a really tough challenge.

Well, the camera was up for the challenge.

About the author: Ole Henrik Skjelstad is a landscape photographer and math teacher from Norway. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Skjelstad’s work on his Flickr, 500px, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

How the New Kodak Ektachrome E100 Compares to the Original

I recently did a comparison between old and new Kodak Ektachrome E100 film. But first an amusing story about how these two rolls met.

Long story short: I left my job at a film lab to reconnect with someone I have loved for many years and haven’t seen for the last two. Just as I was retiring, new Ektachrome was making its return to the shelves. On my way out I was fortunate enough to grab one at staff price, eager to trial it.

When I reunited with Anna in Taipei, turned out she had a roll too, gifted to her by Horatio of Street Silhouettes. We hadn’t planned for it, but this serendipitously presented a perfect opportunity to make a comparison of old versus new E100. And since Anna’s roll had been “marinating” for at least 5 years (2013 was the year it was discontinued), it gave us a look at how this transparency film stands up past its shelf life.

So I loaded mine into my Zeiss Ikon ZM with a 35mm Summicron lens and Anna shot the expired roll with her Contax T3. Both cameras have the same focal length and we tried to frame our shots from the similar angles.

We mostly shot at f/2.8 (although the Summicron goes to f/2, to maintain the same settings in both tests) because even with perfect weather in Taipei, 100 speed is still pretty slow. Well, for me at least, I’m sure someone who grew up shooting Kodachrome 25 would think otherwise.

Slide film metering needs to be dead on — just being one stop out can completely blow highlights or destroy shadow detail — so it’s far less forgiving than the dynamic range of C41. I learned from this test that it’s best to err on the side of slight underexposure, maybe a quarter stop, when presented with extreme contrasts as some of my pictures came out completely blown out in the highlights. I had a few examples that simply didn’t make the cut because the light would change and my metering was just slightly off.

Also, when it came to editing the slides, old E100 needed a fair bit of love. We tried at first using the sliders and color adjustment in Lightroom, but it was too time-consuming to get it right. For a more accurate elimination of color cast, it is best to use an inverted color filter in Photoshop. A good tutorial for this can be found in this Photoshop Essentials article.

As you can see in these comparisons, even after editing old E100 exhibits a softer tone curve and lower contrast than the new. It is very difficult to get to true white without desaturating too much, and tweaking becomes a balancing act to retain the qualities you desire in the photograph while not losing others.

Editing the expired E100 reminded me of restoring old photos at the lab. Considering the cost and the amount of work, however, I probably would have only cross processed it if I didn’t have the new roll to compare it to.

Cross process Ektachrome renders some of the best results possible of all slide film, and it will hide its age better than E6 for expired rolls. From my experience with processing old E100 in C41, the film does not shift skin tones into unreal territory while making everything else look dreamlike.

After giving the restoration treatment, we just polished them up in Lightroom to provide a comparison to the raw scans. New E100 needed such little adjustment that it’s not worth showing the pre-edited shot for simplicity’s sake.

So what do I think of this new film? Well, it’s exciting to see that Kodak resurrecting old stocks, as more and more people are coming back to analog. That being said, it’s a strange choice to pick Ektachrome of all things. There are fewer and fewer places that process E6 these days, and well, we already have Provia for shooting transparency portraiture.

But maybe, just as P3200 TMAX was not truly a 3200 but a ‘push film’, Kodak believes this ‘E6’ film is really just a cross-process film for the mass consumer market, with the option of true process for professionals? I plan on seeing how new E100 renders under cross process in a follow-up comparison.

About the author: James Cater is a digital and analog photographer, film lab operator, and model. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Cater’s work on his website and Instagram. This article was also published here.

A Review of the Kipon 40mm f/0.85, The Fastest Lens Money Can Buy

While at Photokina back in September, camera reviewer Kai Wong got some hands-on time with a pink Kipon 40mm f/0.85 lens. This 11.5-minute video is Wong’s brief review of the “bokeh machine.”

The lens is officially called the Kipon Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 Mark 2. Kipon unveiled the original Handevision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 lens back in 2013, and it was a collaboration between Kipon owner Shanghai Transvision and the German company IB/E Optics.

That lens and this latest Mark 2 version are the fastest production lenses available in the world of photography.

“The focusing on this is a bit of a pain in the ass at f/0.85,” Wong says. “You kinda expect that, really. When you’re looking through the viewfinder or LCD screen, the peaking may be flashing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the bit you want in focus is actually in focus.

“When we’re talking about f/0.85, that plane of focus, the stuff that’s actually in focus, is incredibly shallow. It’s wafer thin.”

And when shooting wide open, the lens is “soft like baby poo,” Wong says. And there’s a “crap ton” of color fringing, but the bokeh has a nice quality to it.

“It’s not going to be a lens for everyday use, but a 40mm f/0.85 was never going to fulfill that role anyway,” Wong concludes. “It’s probably not going to be for everyone, but if you’re going to spend $2K on a big rose bokeh machine, all credit to you.”

The black and pink Mark 2 versions of the lens are available for Fuji X, Leica SL, Sony E, Micro Four Thirds and Canon EOS M for $1,480. You can also find the Mark 1 versions available for $2,079.

P.S. If you enjoyed this review, you can find more of Wong’s videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel.

Review: Is Sigma’s New 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport the New Top Dog?

Sigma finishes its”Holy Trinity”with the launch of the brand new 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport– is it the utmost 70-200mm on the market now? Sigma sent us an evaluation item of the upcoming lens

for us to attempt out for a few days. To numerous digital photographers, a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a key item of equipment. Its adaptability in all sorts of scenarios, tough build, and high-quality outcomes make it a staple lens, as well as every significant lens producer has one on the marketplace. Sigma’s existing 70-200mm f/2.8 has gotten on the marketplace given that 2010, and also with Nikon (2016 ), Canon (2018 ), as well as Tamron (2017) having actually just recently released updated variations of their lenses, Sigma’s update was long past due. At $1,499, the Sigma is valued simply above the Tamron, but well below the Nikon and also Canon lenses.

Specs Comparison The Sigma isn’t extremely”sporty”initially glimpse– it’s the most significant, heaviest, as well as has an 82mm front filter thread. Dimension can be deceiving. The develop quality on the 70-200mm is leading notch. Every little thing feels high top quality and also well made. When handling the lens, you obtain the feeling that you might toss it right into a pail of water

, take it out, and go about shooting an occasion. Being a”Sport”line lens, it is climate secured around and also has water and also oil repellent finishes on the front optic. The coating of the magnesium alloy barrel is comparable to that of lots of Nikon lenses, a slightly “textured” coating that aids you keep a protected grip on the lens. It seems to be a new kind of layer from Sigma as well as is different than the lately launched 60-600mm Sport.

Main Features The Sigma 70-200mm Sport has some new features on it, along with some functions located on just recently launched Sigma lenses. 2 of the most noteworthy are the lens hood as well as tripod collar. The hood has a small button to launch it prior to twisting it off. This should assist keep it much more safe and secure than

some of the various other”twist to lock” hoods, but faster and also less complicated to remove than the thumb-screw hood locks located on the 150-600 Sport and the 105mm f/1.4 Art. The 70-200mm Sport also includes an Arca-Swiss tripod foot, something Sigma has just recently begun including into their bigger lenses like the 60-600 Sport, and the short, yet heavy 105mm 1.4 Art. Tamron has actually been including Arca-Swiss tripod feet to many of their lenses, and also it’s great to see Sigma comply with fit.

An additional nice add-on is the two focus hold buttons, something that just the Nikon 70-200mm offers (and Sony 70-200mm GM if you include mirrorless lenses). There is one button on the left side that’s near your thumb in a horizontal cam alignment, and also one ahead that is near your thumb when in a vertical orientation.

Sigma chose to keep the positioning of the zoom and also emphasis rings the exact same as the older version. The zoom ring is situated in advance, and the focus ring is located near the center of the barrel. The throw on the zoom ring is relatively short, calling for regarding a quarter turn to go from 70mm to 200mm. Contrasted to the Tamron, Canon, and Nikon, the throw is by far the stiffest (though not by a large quantity), something I’ve discovered on other newer Sigma Art/Sport zooms.

The focusing ring is bigger than the previous model, however it doesn’t get in the way. The zoom ring obtains bigger towards the front of the lens and also maintains your palm away from the focus ring. I found myself accidentally relocating the focus ring on Nikon’s new 70-200mm when I first obtained my hands on it however really did not have this problem with the Sigma (or any one of the other 70-200’s).

On the left side of the lens there are 4 buttons; one for focus (AF/MO/MF), one for the emphasis limiter (full and also 3m-infinity), one for OS setting (Off, 1, 2), and lastly a button for Custom settings (C2, C1, Off)– which can be established through Sigma’s software application as well as USB Dock. The buttons have a wonderful feeling to them and also are very easy to locate with a good amount of resistance to them.

The tripod collar knob has a really great finish/feel yet appears to be in a slightly weird area. I like the collar styles from Tamron and also Canon, where the knob becomes part of the tripod foot. When loosened, the tripod collar has” click stops “every 90 degrees, a great attribute when making use of the lens on a tripod.

Optics, Quality, and Performance

With a massive 10 LD Elements (9 FLD and 1 SLD), the Sigma needs to deliver superb top quality with reduced aberration, as well as with 11 aperture blades, the bokeh needs to be smooth as well as great. The large 82mm front component need to help reduce vignetting in most situations.

Stable Shooting Though Sigma does not discuss the number of stops of picture stabilization the 70-200mm Sport deals, it’s as excellent, otherwise better than the Tamron G2, which promotes 5 stops of stablizing. Regardless of its dimension and also weight, I was able to fire as reduced as 1/10 -1/ 15th sec. direct exposures and still get sharp photos. You’re not mosting likely to be doing lengthy exposures portable with this lens, however if you wish to include some motion to water, it’s most definitely something that can be done.

Focus Breathing/Close Focus While it does not impact me too much, many Nikon shooters in the past have actually whined concerning the older 70-200mm Virtual Reality II struggling with emphasis breathing, in addition to the older Sigma as well as Tamron 70-200’s. The new 70-200mm from Nikon was a big improvement because classification. Canon’s 70-200mm II/III has actually long been one of the very best lenses in terms of minimal emphasis breathing at close emphasis. The brand-new Sigma 70-200mm Sport is right there with the Canon in the example shots listed below. While the Tamron has a better minimum focusing range, it still struggles with some noticeable focus breathing, and event at close emphasis the photo still does not quite fill up the frame as high as it does for the Sigma/Canon.

Sample Photos Regardless of less than perfect weather, I had the ability to make use of the lens in a few various scenarios, with a couple of images contributed by Sam Young of Sam Young Studios at a natural light portraiture workshop.

Images politeness of Sam Young: Final Thoughts It’s obvious that numerous have actually been waiting on Sigma to release their upgraded 70-200mm for a long time, and also currently it’s lastly below. Though I only had a brief quantity of time to utilize the lens, I believe that this lens is mosting likely to be a hit. With an affordable rate tag and wonderful photo high quality, Sigma hit the nail on the head with this lens. This lens will certainly frequent a wedding/portrait professional photographer’s package, in addition to in a sports/action/wildlife photographer’s bag.

The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 Sport will be available in Canon EF mount in simply a couple of days, with the Nikon F place shipping soon after. You can pre-order your lens below.

Regarding the writer: Ihor Balaban is a digital photographer and also shop manager of the electronic camera shop Pixel Connection in Avon, Ohio. To read more about the shop, head over to the Pixel Connection site. This message was likewise published here.