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Hollyhock Flower with Olympus Focus Stacking

Last night I had the chance to experiment some more with the Focus Stacking feature of my Olympus OM-D E-M1X camera using the M.Zuiko 300mm f4 Pro lens. Here is a shot of a hollyhock flower in my backyard here in Bozeman, Montana.

By using focus stacking I was able to get everything I wanted & needed in-focus in this closeup shot, and the detail in it is just amazing!!

Camera Settings and Post Processing

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Skylum Today Announces Luminar 4 – What Now Happens to Luminar 3?

Today Skylum has announced Luminar 4, a paid upgrade to Luminar 3, shipping this fall. Details however are still vague as to what new features Luminar 4 will have outside of the one new feature being mentioned at today’s announcement, even though Luminar 4 is now available for pre-order.

What is that new feature, and what now happens with Luminar 3? Let’s take a look.

New Luminar 4 with Sky Replacement

As I just mentioned, outside of the new Sky Replacement feature I will discuss, Skylum is not mentioning any other new features coming to Luminar 4 at this time. This is a real curious marketing strategy for a number of reasons, but first I’ll talk about this new feature.

For years I as well as many other photographers have been requesting and waiting for Skylum to give us a content-aware smart brush for those of us who need to to cutouts or to do sky replacement. Something like what ON1 Photo RAW has as well as other programs.

Well for those looking for such a brush, it isn’t looking like this is it.

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Luminar Flex from Skylum Updated to v1.1 – What is Flex and What About this Update

Skylum today has released a free update to Luminar Flex bringing it to version 1.1.

What is Luminar Flex? Don’t they have Luminar 3 too?

For those not familiar with Flex, think of all the great photo editing filters and tools from Luminar 3, minus the not-ready-for-primetime catalog features that Luminar 3 has. If you don’t want to use the “DAM” (digital asset manager) of Luminar 3 (and I can’t blame you as it has been a big disappointment from day 1) but still want to use Luminar’s filters to enhance your photos, then Flex might be for you.

Luminar Flex v1.1 running as a plugin inside Photoshop

I say “might be for you” because this is where things get a little confusing. And bear with me for a moment as I discuss Flex, as I never posted a review of it when it first came out. If you just want to see what’s new with Flex, scroll down to the New Features.

A Little History

Luminar 3 arrived back on December 18, 2018 and was initially marketed by Skylum as a Lightroom replacement, even though it barely had any more organizational power than Finder on Mac or Explorer on Windows. I was not a fan, and apparently I wasn’t alone as the majority of people in my Learn Skylum’s Luminar & Aurora HDR Facebook Group who voted in a poll I conducted just last month still couldn’t use the DAM because of missing features and/or performance issues. Only a small percentage were happy with Luminar 3 at the time. In fact, one of my most popular YouTube videos I have is a video I recorded showing how to use Luminar 3 without the catalog.

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Pro Capture for Lightning with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X Camera?

Pro Capture for lightning with the OM-D E-M1X camera?

Yes, please!

We just had a small lightning storm pass overhead here in Montana and while it was on it’s way I ran outside to see if Pro Capture would work for getting shots of lightning.

And it does!

For those not familiar with Pro Capture on Olympus, what it does is keep a pre-set number of frames in a buffer which constantly gets overwritten with the newest images while slightly depressing the shutter button, so that when the action does happen you fully press down on the shutter to save those frames it had in the buffer.

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Where is the Noise in High ISO with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X Micro Four Thirds Camera?

As I continue evaluating the Olympus OM-D E-M1X Micro Four Thirds Camera that Olympus has loaned me for 2 months free of charge (and with no obligation at all to write these reviews) one aspect I will be studying is how usable high ISO images are with this camera.

I have been shooting full-frame digital since I purchased my first full-frame camera back in 2002 with the $8,000 Canon EOS-1Ds, an 11.1 megapixel camera. And simply because of the physical size difference between a full-frame sensor and a four thirds sensor, full-frame sensors by and large have less noise at higher ISO’s and thus are better in lower light situations.

But how big of a difference is the noise in higher ISO’s?

If you believe everything you read in internet forums, people are saying anything over ISO 800 is basically non-usable with four thirds cameras. This was concerning because I am often shooting ISO 800 or higher with my Sony a7R3, particularly with wildlife, and if this Olympus camera couldn’t handle higher ISO’s I would lose pretty much all interest in the Olympus system.

So I went out to a local zoo the other day to get some test shots at higher ISO’s. And this writeup is about my reflections from that day.

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Starting with No Image Library in Luminar 3

In my Learn Skylum’s Luminar & Aurora HDR Facebook group, I have noticed some people wanting to kind of hit the reset button on Luminar 3. Maybe they added too many photos at once in Luminar and it is not running great. Or maybe they don’t want to even have Luminar 3 index their photos but still want to use Luminar 3while waiting for things like keywords and LR migration to appear in future updates.

I prepared a video just for you 🙂

This video also appears in my Mastering Luminar 3 Online Course.

I’ll show you a few ways to start from scratch and also which files and folders you can delete to free up some hard drive space if you don’t want to use a photo library in Luminar 3.