Sunday, March 03, 2013
A couple of years ago I put together a small book using the on-demand print servise blurb.com - it was a small book, the service was quite young and there was a lot I was dreaming about regarding to better quality - print, paper, bind quality.
I loved the idea to have a book as a "solid piece of something with several photos inside"instead of just ordering bunch of separate photos so much, that time by time I created new, different books, with different options (paper quality, size of book, cover) to see if/how the service quality had improved and its options widened.
Today, if you are looking at blurb.com, the assortment is so good, that if you order a book with some of the top of the line features, it can easily outshine a "regular" (not on-demand-printed) book at the bookstore next door. This means top quality paper, linen canvas cover and ultimate build quality together with the best printers available these days for the highest print quality.
So here's a little review about a photo book I've recently ordered from blurb, with the following options:
- book size 25x20cm (standard landscape)
- hard cover with dust jacket (image wrap also available)
- paper: ProLine Pearl, 190g/m2 (best option available as of March 2013)
- light grey ProLine end sheets (maybe it is too much of a "bells & whistles", but I wanted to know how it actually look)
- 238 pages (with given size and paper, 240 pages was the maximum as of Jan. 2013).
The price for a combination like this exceeds one hundred and twenty dollars, plus shipping depending on how fast you'd like your book to be delivered. I picked the "standard international shipping" from the list, and the delivery time was quite reasonable, around eight or nine days, with the package delivered to your door.
So with all that hard work - from taking photos, selecting them, processing raws at digital darkroom, to downloading the blurb software and carefully putting together the book - was it worth the effort?
A big YES! From the very first moment the package was opened and I was smelling the scent of a just-printed new book, to a very pleasing quality of the whole product, I can only say good words. When I compare it to the first (already quite worn) book I order from them, the difference is just so huge. So the quality has improved a lot over these years, let alone the rich assortment of how you can customize each part of your book.
I think not everybody is printing photos these days - referring one of my friends from a meeting SIX years ago: "who is printing photos these days? Are out of your mind?" - however, I think a solid piece "real thing" you can hold at your hands, may sometimes feel more safe than all the bits and bytes on your hard drive or file cloud; so if you have selection of photos available that would go together as a beautiful collection, why not to take some time and put together a nice book out of it?
With all that said, I have no hesitation to recommend blurb's on-demand print service for anyone looking for put together a photo book: the quality is high, software is user-friendly, prices are reasonable, as well as the delivery time.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
24mm, F/4, 1/200s
For a couple of months I have been able to use a second copy of Tamron 24-70/2.8 and while I was extremely happy with the first one (used at July), the second one turned to be even slightly better - I'm sure this can of course be psychological effect, since I never had a chance to compare these two side by side.
I'm quite delighted with the image quality though - and currently cannot think about any reason why I would like to "upgrade" from such a great lens.
Long story short, here come a couple of sample images. Nice discussion available at the lens ad dpreview web site - click here.
Using the lens for portrait is definitely enjoyable at superb sharpness and smooth bokeh at 70/2.8, so let's start with some portrait images first.
70mm, F/2.8, 1/1000s
70mm, F/3.5, 1/125s (notice the bokeh - a bit busy because of high contrast at bg, but very well handled)
70mm, F/5, 1/250s (bokeh - as the bg is darker and less contrasty, the bokeh is rendered with excellence again)
70mm, F/5, 1/125s (focus quite far away - lens was able to change the focus between dancers and far background nicely)
42mm, F/7.1, 1/25s (shot without Vibration Control (VC) - as the lens is heavy, therefore quite stable, never missed the VC at daylight)
58mm, F/4, 1/100s (another example of non 24 or 70mm shot (so 58mm this time), shot through bookshop glass)
24mm, F/7.1, 1/200s (notice the lens flares at the image at lower left and center right)
24mm, F/9, 1/320 (the "sweet spot" of the lens at widest angle seems to be (**surprise, surprise :) somewhere between F/7.1-11)
24mm, F/8, 1/320 (the lens rendered the roof stones so sharp that it is almost hurts the eyes at downsized image (bicubic standard interpolation), without any extra sharpness added).
61mm, F/5, 1/200s (gradual filter was used for the sky)
24mm, F/11, 13.00s (from a tripod, with gradual filter)
70mm, F/7.1, 1/20 (manual focus (closest) - bokeh smooth despite small aperture)
61mm, F/8, 1/400 (manual focus (closest) - again, bg is superb despite small aperture (conditions of the subject and background were literally the same)
70mm, F/6.3, 1/400 (some chromatic aberration at contrasty areas - top and down right corner)
24mm, F/16, 3.20s
70mm, F/7.1, 1/400s (what could be a better shot to end this long post, than a sunset? ;))