New player in town, Xencelabs

If you have used a pen tablet, you have probably heard of Wacom or even used some of their products. Xencelabs on the other hand is much more unknown and younger company started by former Wacom employees. Some time ago I was so lucky to try their Medium Bundle and the experience was very positive. To be Xencelabs first pen tablet, it doesn’t stand anything behind Wacom Intuos Pro. In fact my better half, a long time Intuos Pro user, said the Xencelabs tablet was even better in use for her light handed drawings. One ting to notice compared to the Intous, is that Xencelabs has the key pad beside the tablet, and not integrated. This makes it easier to position according to your preferences and it also holds more options than the Intuos. Connectivity is either with a cable, or remotely via Blue Tooth dongle. All in all, I was very impressed with Xencelabs fist pen tablet Bundle. The biggest drawback for me was the size of the medium tablet, I really prefer the smaller tablet as it will give much less hand movement. But reliable rumors say that Xencelabs is not only working with a Pen Display but also on a smaller Pen Tablet. I see a bright future for Xenselabs, and Wacom needs to make sure they are not falling behind.

A comparison between Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (previous generation), Wacom Intuos Pro Small (previous generation), Wacom Intuos Pro Small (current generation) and the Xencelabs Medium Pen Tablet Bundle.
Xencelabs Medium and Wacom Intuos Pro Medium
The complete Xencelabs Pen Tablet bundle
Old Intuos Pro Pen, Newest Intuos Pro Pen and the two Xencelabs pens
Same order as above, Xencelabs doesn’t provide stand for their pens.

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Nikon to release NX Studio software

For those who have followed Nikon for some years, may remember that Nikon releases completely new versions of their software, not only updates, some years between. This time the new free NX Studio will replace both View NX-i and Capture NX-D.

Nikon software has always been my preferred programs to edit and convert RAW/NEF-files because of the perfect reading of the proprietary image files.

I’ve been playing a little bit with the new software, and those who have used Capture in any form before will feel at home as not much has changed with the user interface.

Color Control Points (U-point technology) that came back in previous version is still here and the whole experience feels very smooth and responsive overall.

The only thing I’ve been missing from any Capture version is a vibrancy slider, saturation slider is not always what you want to use.

Copied from Nikon:

Primary features

  • The viewing, processing, and editing of still images and video can be completed seamlessly.
  • Features a menu structure categorized by workflow, and a functional yet simple design.
  • Features a variety of display options, such as filmstrip with both horizontal and vertical preview options, as well as a 2/4 screen comparison option, in addition to a simple and easy-to-read shooting information display.
  • Supports the precise editing of images with detailed editing functions such as color control points that enable the adjustment of colors within a specified area, and a retouch brush for the removal of dust and scratches in the image.
  • Easy-to-understand user interface with menu items and terminology that match those of Nikon cameras.
  • Users are able to choose how adjustment information is saved, whether in a separate file using the sidecar file format or directly to the image file itself.
  • Includes XMP/IPTC information editing and preset management functions.
  • Works with other software such as Nikon Transfer 2 and Camera Control Pro 2.

All photos are taken from Nikon official websites.

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Reikan FoCal 2021 is available

After just a few months of Focal 2020 out, there is a new version 2021 available. Unfortunately I never came around to even try the 2020 version, but I’ve spent some days playing with the 2021 release candidate around Christmas. For everybody that comes from version 2 and straight into 2021 version, there is a lot of new cool stuff to talk about. If you’ve read about my experience with version 2, you may remember that I had quite a few complains and wishes for improvements. Without going through all of those, I think most on my list has been enhanced or fixed if technically possible, although I see that calculated focus distance is still way off from the real distance.

One of my biggest wishes from version 2, was a more smooth and easy way of checking focus at different apertures, not only one at the time. On this point Reikan has come through with a very nice solution where you can test at all apertures at once, like here my Nikkor 24-120 f/4 at 24mm:

If you where familiar with version 2, you could only test one aperture at the time and get one best point for each one. Here each point on the chart above is the same as having run version 2 at all apertures and joining the best points all together in the end. It’s amazing! It also makes it easy to see the focus shift. The downside is that it takes about 100 photos to get the result on the chart above.

With that out of the way, there is more good news in the 2021 version. Apart from support for the latest cameras, you can also use photos taken from cameras without AF-fine tune, like many lower end cameras. As you can’t do any fine tune in-camera, I would guess it is most suited for 3. party lenses like Tamron and Sigma where you can add fine tune in-lens. I haven’t tried this feature.

Further there is a new stabilization test where you can test how many stops you and your in-camera and/or in-lens stabilization are able to get in somewhat real life. I found this test a little bit awkward, but anyway gives you some guideline to work from.

If you found this interesting, read more about it and the new features here:

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Selected photos from our trip in Northern Spain, part II

This is the part II of the Northern Spain trip we had and while part I took us from Barcelona to Cape Finisterre Lighthouse, part II will take us back towards Barcelona on a different route.
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The road to Glitterheim, Norway

Glitterheim is the name of a trekking cabin in the end of the valley of Veodalen and was built in 1901, and it’s owned by The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT). The cabin is located at the foot of Norway’s second tallest mountain, Glittertind.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, we were not allowed to enter the area close to the cabin as we haven’t booked a visit in before hand. Anyway, the view along the way was amazing, enjoy.

Continue reading “The road to Glitterheim, Norway”

Selected photos from our trip in Northern Spain, part I

A couple of years ago we had an astonishing round trip in Northern Spain, starting in Barcelona up to Figueres, to the birthplace of Salvador Dalí and further to the lighthouse at Cabo de Creus. From there we went up to Andorra, unfortunately it was raining most of the driving, so not many photos from this stretch.

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Book recommendation: Are You Really Listening? by Donoghue and Seigel

Why is it so difficult to really listen with the intent to understand? It’s much easier to just hear but not really care. We experience this were ever we go from a home environment to the workplace and beyond. Do we have two ears and one mouth for a reason?

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Book recommendation: Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

When you are out walking and accidentally trip and fall, do you bounce back up like a rubber ball and look around you with a sheepish smile while brushing off the evidence and continue like nothing has happened? Or do you stop for a while wondering what actually made you fall in the first place? What about other mistakes in your life?

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Book recommendation: Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen R. Covey

How do you make decisions during an average day in your life, being it at work, home or on holiday? Most times I guess you don’t even think about how and why you make your decisions, but now and then a situation appear that are more delicate to handle than others.

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Book recommendation: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Have you ever tried to build a house of cards on top of a flimsy table? You would probably not come very far, especially if someone walks by and bumps into the table. Why is that? Yes, the foundation for your house of cards is not very solid, and if you where to build it on the floor instead, it would be much easier to build.

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I would like to give you the back story of my life as a book worm. From a very early age, I’ve been reading books, from children books, teen books, to more adult books. Most of the books has been fiction, but some has been based on real events. In the end of the teens, I turned more into books with stories from the Wild West, especially the Morgan Kane series from the Norwegian author Louis Masterson (real name, Kjell Halbing).

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Summary, calibrating the Tamron Triple Crown

I’m so lucky to have the complete set of f/2.8 G2 zoom from 15 to 200mm from Tamron, some will call it the Triple Crown. This set includes the SP 15-30 f/2.8 VC G2, SP 24-70 f/2.8 VC G2 and the SP 70-200 f/2.8 VC G2. A triple set of magnificent glass that compete with the 1st party lenses for about half of the price.

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