New Features in Lightroom Classic CC 8.0

Today Adobe has announced the October 2018 release of Lightroom Classic CC (version 8.0). There are a handful of technology improvements in this update that many photographers will find helpful. The updates include:

Masking by Depth Map

It is now possible to refine a targeted adjustment in Lightroom based on distance ranges within the scene. The Range Mask feature for targeted adjustments has now been updated to include support for depth maps embedded in certain image formats.

At the moment this feature applies to HEIC photos. In other words, for now this is a feature for photos captured with the iPhone or other smartphones running the new Android Pio operating system. It is reasonable to expect, however, that other cameras will offer similar support in the future.

An HEIC capture can include an embedded depth map, which effectively maps out the distances from the lens for all areas of the scene being photographed. That depth information can then be used to refine the mask for a targeted adjustment, such as with the Gradient Filter, the Radial Filter, or the Adjustment Brush.

For photographers familiar with the Focus Area feature in Photoshop CC that enables you to create selections based on areas of a photo that are in focus, the concept of masking based on a depth map is somewhat similar. The key difference is that the Focus Area selection evaluates an image and attempts to determine which areas are in focus, while the new Depth Map feature in Lightroom actually uses depth information embedded in a supported photo.

With this feature you can apply adjustments to areas of a photo based on a range of distances. This can be incredibly helpful for applying adjustments only to foreground areas versus background areas of a photo, for example.

Merge HDR Panoramas in One Step

For more than three years (since April 2015) Lightroom has supported the ability to merge multiple captures into an HDR (high dynamic range) image, or to a composite panorama. With the new October 2018 release of Lightroom Classic, you can now merge captures into an HDR panorama with a single process.

Previously, to create an HDR panorama in Lightroom, two steps would be required. You would first need to assemble all of the bracketed exposures into individual HDR image, and then assemble the HDR images into a composite panorama.  With the new update, you can simply select all of the captures that represent bracketed frames of the full panorama, and then merge all of the images into an HDR panorama with a single process.

Improved Tethering for Canon Cameras

While there aren’t any new features for tethered capture in the October 2018 update to Lightroom Classic CC, there have been improvements to tethered capture with Canon cameras. With tethered capture you are able to connect your camera to a computer running Lightroom Classic CC, control the captures within Lightroom, and have the tethered captures added automatically to your Lightroom catalog.

The improvements for tethered capture primarily relate to greater stability and faster performance when using Canon cameras for tethered capture. In addition, support has been added for a couple of additional Canon camera models (the Rebel T7 and the M50).

New Process Version

The October 2018 release of Lightroom Classic CC includes new Process Version 5. While a new process version has typically involved the addition of significant new features in the Develop module, with this release the updates are a bit more modest.

Noise reduction has been improved to help reduce the appearance of a purple color cast in photos captured at high ISO settings. In addition, the Dehaze adjustment has been improved to help reduce noise when you use a negative value for Dehaze.

HEVC Video Support

The HEVC video format is essentially the video version of the HEIC (or HEIF) capture formats for still images. With the October 2018 release, Lightroom Classic CC now supports HEVC video captures, so you can import videos created in this format. At the moment, this update primarily relates to videos captured with an iPhone using the latest operating system update.

Updated Camera and Lens Support

As with perhaps every other update to Lightroom, the October 2018 release also adds support for additional cameras and lenses. This translates to support for additional proprietary raw capture formats, as well as automatic Lens Corrections adjustments for photos captured with newer lenses.

New lenses supported in the October 2018 release are:

  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM
  • Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM
  • TAMRON 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD A037E
  • Venus Optics Laowa 15mm F2 Zero-D

New cameras supported in the October 2018 release are:

  • Canon EOS R
  • Fujifilm X-T3
  • Nikon COOLPIX P1000
  • Nikon Z 7
  • Panasonic LUMIX DC-LX100 II

New Course: “Learning the Nik Collection by DxO”

With an update to the Nik Collection now having been released by DxO Software, we have published a new comprehensive course to help photographers make the most of all of the applications included in the Nik Collection.

The new course includes more than three hours of video lessons, covering all seven applications in the Nik Collection. In addition, a “Getting Started” chapter includes lessons to help you better understand the overall workflow involved with using the Nik Collection applications.

You can get more details about this new course on the GreyLearning website here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/nik

“Charm of Austria” Photo Workshop

I will once again be leading a photography workshop in Austria, this time focused on the “Charm of Austria” in Salzburg and the nearby Alps.

During the workshop we’ll explore small towns, rugged landscapes, mountain peaks, Alpine lakes, and more. You’ll capture great photographs and create cherished memories along the way. With a small group of just four photographers, you’ll get individual attention as we spend five full days exploring beautiful locations in Austria and Germany.

For all of the details about my “Charm of Austria” photo workshop, please visit my website here:

http://www.timgreyphoto.com/austria-2019

Webinar Recording: “Ten Favorite Photos (And What They Taught Me)”

We have published the recording of my recent presentation on “Ten Favorite Photos (And What They Taught Me)” on the Tim Grey TV channel on YouTube. This presentation was part of the GreyLearning Webinar Series, and focused on helping you improve your photography based on the lessons I’ve learned from some of my favorite photos.

You can view the full webinar presentation recording here:

https://youtu.be/rnDbibpPaik

 

Photo Contest: “Abstract”

The theme for the GreyLearning Photo Contest for September is “Abstract”, inviting photographers to submit their best photo where it is not immediately obvious to the viewer what the subject is. The Grand Prize for this contest is a Tamron 18-400mm lens valued at US$649, thanks to a sponsorship from Tamron USA. Please note that for this contest the winner must reside in the United States.

For all of the details and to submit a photo for this contest, please follow this link:

https://timgrey.me/abstract

 

The Real Cause of Noise

Today’s “Ask Tim Grey” email (which you can sign up to receive here: http://timgrey.me/greylists) resulted in a great deal of feedback from readers, so I thought I would publish the full question and answer here on the GreyLearning blog. The question related to the notion of the camera’s ISO setting not really being the cause of noise in digital photos. That notion is mostly true, but requires clarification. Here is my effort at providing that clarification:

Today’s Question: I just saw an article that said raising the ISO setting does not actually increase noise in a photo, but instead shorter exposure durations cause noise. This doesn’t match what I’ve always read. What are your thoughts?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is mostly true that raising the ISO setting isn’t the true cause of noise in a digital camera. However, it is important to keep in mind that the article in question specifically related to astrophotography. For more terrestrial forms of photography, it is still generally safe to assume that a lower ISO setting will translate to reduced noise levels.

The lower ISO shot has more noise because amplifying the capture data in the camera provides better results than brightening in post-processing

More Detail: As I’ve said many times, noise is the opposite of information, and in the context of photography light is the information we’re dealing with. Thus, less light will translate into more noise. This is the foundation of the “expose to the right” principle, which calls for capturing photos that are as bright as possible without losing highlight detail in order to maximize detail and minimize noise.

However, this does not mean that you should use a high ISO setting to minimize noise. Quite the contrary for most photographic scenarios.

Raising the ISO setting will require that you either use a faster shutter speed or a smaller lens aperture opening in order to reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor. The amplification triggered by the increased ISO setting will then compensate for the exposure.

However, raising the ISO setting really translates into (potentially dramatically) underexposing the image, and then amplifying the capture information in the camera. The underexposure is indeed the key cause of noise, but that underexposure was caused by a higher ISO setting. So the two are related.

Furthermore, this issue is more nuanced than the article suggested, because there is a big difference between underexposing with versus without an increase in ISO. If you use the exact same shutter speed and aperture settings at a low versus high ISO setting, you will see more noise (and less detail) in the capture with the low ISO setting. This is an indication that the camera is able to do a better job of brightening the image (through amplification of the signal) than our computers are able to do by simply brightening pixel values.

But again, more light will help ensure the lowest noise levels. Thus, you generally want as much light to reach the sensor in the camera as possible. That, in turn, means keeping the ISO setting at the minimum setting, so that you will use a larger lens aperture and/or a longer exposure duration to compensate. That results in more light, and therefore less noise.

So for most photographic scenarios, it still holds true with most cameras that you want to use the lowest ISO setting.

The reason a different approach to ISO makes sense with astrophotography is that you generally don’t have any flexibility when it comes to shutter speed and lens aperture. You may be shooting with the lens aperture wide open, and the shutter speed at the longest exposure duration possible without introducing star trails. If you need more signal, your only option is to increase the ISO setting. As noted above, a higher ISO setting is generally preferable to a low setting when all other factors (shutter speed and lens aperture) are fixed.

 

Webinar: Adding Impact to Your Photos

During today’s presentation as part of the GreyLearning Webinar Series, I shared tips for “Adding Impact to Your Photos”. This included tips on composition, photographic technique, subject selection, and more.

You can view a recording of the full webinar presentation here:

https://youtu.be/UU4w6yW7_Xk

The GreyLearning Webinar Series is sponsored by Tamron USA. Be sure to check out the “One Location, One Lesson, One Lens” video series on Tamron’s YouTube channel here:

https://youtube.com/TamronVids

Contest Winner: “Dazzling Night”

Photographer Nick Noble has been selected as the winner of the July 2018 GreyLearning Photo Contest with his image of the Frisco Pier in North Carolina. The theme for this photo contest was “Dazzling Night”, inviting photographers to submit their best image captured at night.

Frisco Pier by Nick Noble

Nick had this to say about capturing this photo:

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Frisco Pier is (was) in North Carolina in the part of the coast known as the Outer Banks. It was in the town of Frisco, just a few miles from the more famous Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Frisco Pier was for fishing. It was heavily damaged during Hurricane Irene in 2003 and then again by Hurricane Earl in 2010. It closed 2010 and was abandoned until fall 2017 when it was taken down. With no lights, it was a hazard to navigation near the shore.

My photo was taken in March 2017 on a dark no moon night about 5am (sunrise at 7:15 am, so 5 is about 45 minutes before Astronomical Twilight). Camera information: Canon 5D Mark IV, Sigma 20mm f/1.4 lens at f/2, ISO 6400, 30 seconds.

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As the winning photographer Nick will receive one year of full access to the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle.

Congratulations to Nick on a beautiful winning image! You can view more of his photography on his Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/NickNoblePhotography/

You can also find Nick on Instagram here:

https://www.instagram.com/nsqr/

“Heart of Rome” Photo Workshop

I am happy to announce I will once again be leading a photography workshop in the heart of Rome, Italy, in 2019.

This workshop is all-inclusive and features five full days photographing in Rome. We’ll visit some of the most popular sights, and also explore many hidden corners of this incredible city. And with only six workshop participants, you’ll be able to get individual help with your photography and composition.

For more information about this workshop, you can visit the Tim Grey Photo website here:

http://www.timgreyphoto.com/rome-2019

Webinar: “Mistakes to Avoid in Lightroom”

During today’s presentation as part of the GreyLearning Webinar Series, I shared my top recommendations for “Mistakes to Avoid in Lightroom”. The focus of this presentation was on helping photographers keep their Lightroom catalog and their overall workflow streamlined and efficient. I talked about the most common mistakes I see photographers making in Lightroom, and shared tips for avoiding (or correcting) those mistakes.

You can view a recording of the full webinar presentation here:

https://youtu.be/kQ05nMd9G98

The GreyLearning Webinar Series is sponsored by Tamron USA. Be sure to check out the “One Location, One Lesson, One Lens” video series on Tamron’s YouTube channel here:

https://youtube.com/TamronVids