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You're going to need some really tiny photo paper
I don't typically approve posts about Lego cameras here at PopPhoto.com. Sometimes they're cool, but often I feel like it's a concept that has been done completely to death. This Lego Pinhole Camera, however, by Ryan H. Eldeem is a different story.
It's made from pretty much a single 2x2 brick. It's one of the bricks that was easily small enough for your little brother to swallow and ruin your birthday with a trip to the emergency room. Eldeem, however, modified it a little and made it light tight so you can actually stick little pieces of photo paper in there and make actual exposures through the minuscule aperture.
You can make a pinhole camera out of just about anything, but it's cool to see one made from a single Lego brick. If you want to try your own non-Lego pinhole photoraphy, check out this tutorial.
Our talented readers show off their skills with their smartphones
After all this time, we're still a bit shocked that people don't consider the cameras on mobile devices to be "real cameras." Yes, there are lots of advantages for carrying around a dedicated camera, but smartphone photography has really started to come into its own. There are tons of talented people doing excellent work with the same device used to play Angry Birds. And if you needed more proof, then the finalists from our first Readers' Mobile Photo contest should provide it.
The contest was broken up into two categories. The #Nofilter category is for shots taken straight out of the camera roll. No editing beyond the very basics and cropping. That means no filters, sharpening, or any other common Instagram tactics.
Then there was the open category, where anything goes. Any app, filter, and editing method is fair game.
The response was overwhelming. Even I was susprised by how many entries we got. What I wasn't surprised by, however, was their quality. Now, we've picked our finalists and we'll be announcing our final winners next week. Until then, check out some of the best photos from the thousands of submissions.
Lomography introduces a new color-negative film with turquoise color shifting
On the heels of the wildly popular LomoChrome Purple, Lomography has announced a new color shifting flavor of film. LomoChrome Turquoise XR 100-400 pushes the lighter portions of photos into shades of emerald and turquoise and changes blue skies golden.
The film is available for preorder in 35mm and 120 formats, with an expected delivery of April 2015. Although the film produces funky results it is processed using standard C-41 chemicals—which means you can drop it anywhere that processes film. There are only 5,000 rolls available though, and these limited Lomo film-stocks tend to sell quickly, so if you want to try it out you better pre-order a pack of rolls soon.
Canon gives a bump to their most affordable pro cinema camera
When Canon released the 5D Mark II DSLR, a lot of cinema shooters really appreciated its ability to shoot HD video. We've come a long way from those days, though, and now, well, pretty much every camera shoots HD video. Canon, however, has continued to put a fair bit of focus on the motion market, and now they're announcing the EOS C100 Mark II digital video camera.
As the name suggests, it's an update to the original C100, which was meant to be a more affordable option to the C300 and C500. The camera uses the Super 35mm sensor and can now be pushed to 1080p at 60 fps in both AVCHD and MP4 mode. They have also added a tilting screen, something many video shooters like in a camera like this.
One thing that's notably missing is 4K capture, which is starting to become a trend in the industry. However, it's not quite yet a necessity because the amount of people with 4K screens is still incredibly small compared to the number of 1080p sets still sitting in living rooms.
The camera is set to cost $5,500, which means it's still aimed at documentary shooters who will also appreciate its relatively light 2.5-pound weight.
It also has the dual-pixel AF focusing system on-board, which means using it will feel more like an actual camcorder than shooting with a DSLR. The original C100 didn't have the Dual Pixel tech, but they did offer it as an upgrade down the road.
I know this kind of camera isn't typically in our wheelhouse, but this space is becoming more and more interesting to all types of photographers. After all, capturing images is our passion and there are lots of ways to do it.
Ditch your lens to get a different look
It would make a tall pile. A really, really tall pile.
Instagram has been a force in the photography world for a while now, and it doesn't really seem to be slowing down. The folks at Photoworld.com put together a clever visualization that triest to put the crazy number of photos being uploaded to Instagram into perspective.
The animation and the visualiziation are actaully great, but unfortunately, it's still a bit hard to grasp just how many photos we're really dealing with. The numbers get out of hand so fast that it's a little staggering.
According to the Instagram press page, they get about 60 million photos every single day. And over the life of the service, they have had more than 20 billion photos shared in total.
I've heard some people use these stats to suggest that photos are becoming less significant--that the sheer volume of photos is dilluting their impact beyond repair. I can see where that argument is coming from, but I still think it's great that people are so interested in sharing photos. And sharing one image that affects a person you care about should be more than enough of a reminder of how much photos really do matter.
A tongue-in-cheek microsite actually shows off one of Flickr's interesting projects
Chances are, you clicked on that headline out of pure confusion. Why would a site need to tell you if your photo was taken in a national park or contained a bird? Well, you don't. But, the folks at Flickr created a pretty funny microsite in response to an xkcd comic.
If you're not familiar with xkcd, they put together a great web comic that pokes fun at a variety of things, but concentrates a lot on tech. It's actually very entertaining and worth checking out on a regular basis.
But, the folks at Flickr saw the comic posted above and took it to the next level. Their microsite will tell you (using GPS data) if your photo was taken in a national park and analyze it to see if a bird is present. There's actually a pretty interesting explanation of Flickr's deep network tech buried within this tongue-in-cheek demonstration.
The Intrepid Camera Co. wants to make a 4x5 that you can easily take on any adventure
The prototype of the Intrepid Camera is made out of birch ply wood and is designed to be foldable. It works with 75-300mm lenses using Linhof/Technika lens boards and weighs 1.2 kg (approximately 2.6 lbs)—much lighter than a traditional 4x5. The prototype model shoots with standard 4x5 holders as well as instant film versions. If the Kickstarter campaign is a success they plan to make the camera compatible with graflok backs, as well.
There were only 25 £99 ($119 USD, £20 extra for cameras shipped outside of the UK) Interpid Cameras and they sold out fast. But you can still pick up a full production model and a photographers notebook for £129 ($240 USD). For £189 ($336 USD) you can have something engraved on your Intrepid camera.
While the camera itself is relatively cheap, it doesn’t come with a lens and as anyone who has dabbled in 4x5 photography can tell you—it is an expensive hobby. One box of 25 film sheets typically costs $33 and if you’re just learning you will probably destroy more than half of those. Intrepid estimates that if they are successfully funded they will start shipping cameras by February 2015.
The Kickstarter campaign runs until Nov. 19.
A fascinating look at the human form from almost every angle
Almost any portrait photographer will gladly tell you that posing is a very tricky thing. That's why working with an experienced model can be such a wonderful experience. For Study of Pose, model Coco Rocha struck 1000 different positions and they were captured using an interesting 360-degree photography rig. Judging from the video, it looks like something similar to the familiar bullet time effect.
In addition tot he book, there's also an app that lets you look at the pose from 360-degrees around the model. It's interesting as an art piece itself, but it also seems like something that could be very useful to artists and even photographers who are looking to get familiar with the way a human body looks when it's in a variety of positions.
The hard cover version of the book is available now on Amazon.
Nature is offering up some perfect backdrops, here's how to take advantage of them
To me, taking portraits during the fall feels like cheating. If you live in an area where the leaves provide amazing colors, it seems like it's tough to take a bad picture. But, that doesn't mean it's OK to get lazy and complacent. here are a few tips to make sure you're getting the most out of those awesome fall portrait photos.
Scout your location close to shoot day
You can look out your window and see amazing foliage today, but depending on the weather, it could literally almost all be gone by tomorrow. All it takes is one frost or some strong wind and your amazing autumn backdrop becomes a skeletal arrangement of bare branches that looks like something right out of True Detective.
Scouting your spot is basic portrait photography 101, but don't wait a whole week between your scouting trip and the shoot. Colors can change, leaves can fall, some places like parks even close off sections for the winter.
The Weather Channel actually keeps a pretty handy regional guide that lets you know what phase the leaves are in at any given time.
Keep close tabs on the sun
Unlike the transition of the leaves, the sun remains forever predictable. But, if you're not keeping track of it, you could miss out on precious golden hour minutes. As the days get shorter, the sunset moves ever earlier. Simply checking on the web what time the sun will set should give you the information you need to keep darkness from sneaking up on you.
Have Your Subjects Dress Appropriately
It seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many clients I've had show up for an outdoor shoot in October wearing a dress that's meant more for mid-July. You may have a tough time convincing your subjects that a sweater is good wardrobe for a shoot, but be sure to explain how important body language is, and how difficult it is to nail it when they're trying not to shiver.
I find the best wardrobe for this kind of shoot is typically something neutral and basic, so it doesn't fight for attention with the awesome backdrop and, more importantly, the expressions of the people in the photos.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to environmental portraits, but sometimes the options can be a bit overwhelming. I like to start my sessions with a straight forward portrait, leveraging the beauty of the foliage in the background.
This serves a few purposes for me. First, it lets me get a solid shot on the card, so if all my other creative ideas don't turn out how I want, at least they still have a nice picture. It also gives me a nice, neutral setting in which I can get a feel for the subjects. Even if you're shooting a close friend, they may be much different in front of the camera than they are at the bar. Lastly, it may just be the shot your subject wants. An epic landscape portrait may be your favorite from the session, but the one they want hanging on their wall may be the most basic of the bunch.
Don't forget the details
I love shots in the fall. I figure, nature is putting on such an amazing show, I want to get as much of it as I can into my photos. Like any other portrait session, though, the details can make all the difference. If you're thinking about your portraits in terms of a cohesive group rather than a single photo, the details bring out things that might not otherwise be obvious. Have your subject pick up some leaves or shoot their shoes as they stand in a pile of leaves. It helps tell a story rather than giving you a random collection of nice, but disjointed portraits.
Avoid the cliches…or embrace them
People have been putting babies in pumpkins for as long as photography has existed. Some people love it, while others loathe it and every other candy-corn-colored cliche you can think of when it comes to fall photography. Ultimately, though, it's a personal decision.
I find that throwing one cliche images in with a set of more artistic images can act as a nice little break and give the subject a laugh when they're going through the photos. Plus, some people just really like them.
So, feel free to avoid the cliche fall photos ("look at us throwing leaves in the air!"), but think of the laugh they might give you when you're flipping through photos 20 years down the road.
Use backlight to your advantage
Backlighting portrait subjects is a very popular technique at the moment, but fall really is the best time to do it. You get the typical, dreamy flare effect that so many shooters (myself included) are fond of, but it also tends to give the leaves an amazing illuminated appearance.
I prefer to keep the sun out of the frame, blocking it with he subjects themselves or keeping it just out of frame, but you can do it either way based on your preference. Practicing with your lenses to find out how they react to backlit subjects is definitely a good idea. Lenses can flare in very different ways, and sometimes a small movement can mean the difference between an image that's dreamy and beautiful and one that's totally washed out.
Don't get stuck shooting wide open all the time
When we think of portraits, we tend to think of fast lenses and blurry backgrounds, but you can approach fall portraits more like a landscape photo. If you're thinking in that mindset, F/1.4 doesn't make much sense anymore.
By stopping down to F/8 or even beyond, you can get sharper backgrounds and leave some of the focus on the leaves, which are what brought you outside in the first place.
Welcome a 14.7-megapixel screen to the mix
We're starting to hear more and more about 4K imaging, especially now that some cameras, like the Panasonic GH4 and the GoPro HD Hero4 can shoot it right to their memory cards. One of the limiting factors, however, is a lack of screens that can actually display 4K footage in all their pixel-heavy glory. In typical Apple fashion, however, they skipped right over 4K and gave their new Retina iMac computer a built-in 5K display, giving it a total resolution of 5120 x 2880. That's 14.7 megapixels.
To put it into perspective, that's about 7-times as many pixels as it takes to make 1080p, which we currently consider to be HD. Also, if you were to take a photo with the new 8-megapixel iPad camera Apple announced yesterday, it wouldn't be close to big enough to make a wall paper.
In fact, David Hobby made a great point on Twitter yesterday, saying that even a 16-megapixel camera doesn't have enough firepower to make a full-sized wallpaper because of the width.
With the new iMac Retina 5k display, you'd need a 24MP camera to make a WALLPAPER. A 16MP camera would not cover the long dimension at 100%.
— David Hobby (@strobist) October 16, 2014
Of course, the new iMac is also a pretty powerful computer. And at $2,500 including that crazy screen, it actually seems like a pretty good deal, at least in terms of Apple products.
Big screens like this are going to become the norm rather quickly, and that's going to be an interesting development for photographers. The "megapixel race" ended quite some time ago, but now that we're all so hooked on "pixel peeping" will these new screens be enough to start it back up again?
Transferring your photo archive from Aperture just got less cumbersome
Earlier today Adobe announced a new Lightroom plugin that will put Aperture users at ease. Apple first announced they were discontinuing development of Aperture in June, and at the point users best options were to transfer manually or use a beta-tool—but now an official release has arrived.
Aperture Importer for Mac will easily mitigate all Aperture and iPhoto libraries into Lightroom and keep flags, star ratings, key words, GPS data, rejects, hidden files, color labels, stacks and face tags intact, although the last three will be imported into the program as keywords.
The plugin is free and works with Lightroom 5.6 or later. At this time the plugin is only available for Mac users.
Download the update here.
A beautiful and interesting short film about photographer Joseph Allen Freeman
Shooting with a large format camera is very different than just about every other type of photography. It's slow, bulky, and doing anything with the photos requires even more of a process than getting out there to shoot them. There are still some shooters, though, that are committed to the big cameras. Joseph Allen Freeman is one of those photographers and this beautiful short film allows him to explain why he still does it.
[NOTE: There is some swearing in the video, so it may not be appropriate for all ages. But, if you've ever shot large format, you probably understand why he's swearing.]
The film itself is very beautifully shot and the narration does a good job explaining the appeal of the slow process. I was lucky enough to learn to shoot large format in college and his love-hate sentiments sum the whole thing up rather perfectly.
Seeing things like this always make me want to go trolling Craigslist for a 4x5 camera that I can throw over my shoulder before heading out into the world. Then, I remember how expensive the film is and the sad state of my darkroom gear and I'm reminded why I do so love my DSLR.
As a final note, if you're not familiar with large format photography, the title of the film may not make sense. But, large format cameras don't have a typical viewfinder, rather they have a large piece of ground glass on the back that's used to compose and focus. The image is upside down and often not terribly bright, which is why you have to throw a dark cloth over your head to compose your shot.
From LENS and LightBox to Slate and CNN, who pays what and who doesn't pay at all
PDN recently published a fascinating feature on the proliferation of documentary and fine art photography blogs that revealed the rates many big name websites pay their contributors to showcase great work. David Walker writes:
The Wall Street Journal recently announced plans to publish “more and more original content” on its Photo Journal blog. Director of Photography Jack Van Antwerp says the newspaper is “pushing forward digitally...[and] visuals are key to making that successful. Photography generates traffic.” The blog will publish up to several stories per week, and pay around $400 for each one, Van Antwerp says. The New York Times Lens blog, one of the most prestigious photo blogs, was among the first to publish slideshows of projects, and interview and write about photographers. It pays $350 per slideshow. Other sites with cache among photographers include The New Yorker Photo Booth (which pays $250), CNN Photos ($600), and TIME Lightbox ($750).
Many other blogs online with far smaller audiences outside the photography community don't have the budget to pay at all. Read insights from the leading photo editors and photographers Walker interviewed on when it's appropriate to push for a higher rate, why someone would want to contribute for free, and most importantly, how to leverage that unpaid attention to land bigger assignments.
The legendary landscape, wildlife, and cultural photographer explains the essence of his work
Camel Trail, Sahara Desert
Women of Thar Desert
African Elephants, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Thai Tattoo, Bangkok
Monks in Myanmar
Humpback Whale, Vava'u, Tonga
Halema'uma'u, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii, USA
A unique take on a very popular subject
By now, you've probably seen a whole pile of time-lapse videos on the web. They're extremely popular, so making one stand out is increasingly tricky. Photographer Julian Tryba used creative editing to make what he calls a "layer-lapse," and the results sure are interesting.
Boston Layer-Lapse from Julian Tryba on Vimeo.
Basically, different parts of the image are stitched together to represent different times of day. So, sometimes you'll have a sky from before sunset and buildings with all of their lights on. There are a couple more editing tricks besides the simple layering, but overall, it makes for an interesting presentation.
What do you think of the treatment? Is it a cool effect or overdone?
A round up of the best deals you will find on cameras, lenses and accessories
Photo: Brian Klutch
The cost of photo equipment can add up quickly. We scoured through all the gear we saw this year and found the best values, so you can pay attention to your exposures instead of your bank account.
Nikon has been delivering lots of resolution in its DSLRs over the past couple of years. In the D3300’s case, this resulted in an Excellent image quality rating in our lab tests from ISO 100 through 400. With faithful color reproduction and speedy autofocus, this $547 entry-level could be just the thing for great shots of your active children. Its fast burst rate of 5 frames per second matches our suggested minimum for shooting sports.
Panasonic Lumix GH3
Panasonic hasn’t stopped selling the GH3, despite releasing the GH4 this year. Why? We think it’s because the company knows that some shooters don’t need to step up to the GH4’s 4K video recording, and the GH3 is a very capable still and video camera in its own right. It earned an Excellent image quality rating from ISO 125 through 400, has Excellent color accuracy, and can capture up to 18 RAW images (or fill your SD card up with JPEGs) at 6 frames per second. With a rugged, weather-sealed body, it’s a bargain at $1,098.
This mid-level ILC boasts a 16MP Four-Thirds-sized sensor and sensitivity up to ISO 25,600; its 3-inch tilting LCD touchscreen lets you tap your subject to snap the picture. There’s no pop-up flash, but the PL5 comes with Olympus’s small FL-LM1 hot-shoe flash. It’ll record video at up to 1920x1080i60 and its sensor-shift image stabilization will work with whatever lens you mount on the camera. You can pick up the PL5 with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R lens for $600.
Samsung NX Mini with 9mm lens
Lots of street shooters will go out with just a single prime lens, typically a wide angle between 24 and 35mm. With its 1-inch sensor, the $400 NX Mini’s 9mm lens has a field of view similar to a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera. It scored an Extremely High image quality rating in our test and has built-in Wi-Fi that lets you change camera controls and trigger the shutter remotely; it’s also easy to transfer images to a smartphone for sharing.
Canon EOS Rebel SL1
If you want a small camera, you might consider an ILC, but Canon’s SL1 is nearly as small as some mirrorless cameras. In our lab tests it achieved an Extremely High image quality rating from ISO 100 through 1600, delivering enough resolving power to make large prints and with solid noise control, so you won’t see much grain unless you want to add it in after the fact. It’s missing Wi-Fi, but you can add an Eye-Fi Mobi card to port images to a smartphone. With an 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 IS STM kit lens, the SL1 streets for $599.
When first announced, Pentax’s 645D seemed a bargain in the medium-format digital world. Now that Ricoh has dropped the price to $4,997, it’s as bargain as you can get for a 40MP medium-format SLR body. Its CCD imager can’t offer the massive sensitivity range of the 645Z, but its range of ISO 100–1600 is what one might have expected before CMOS invaded the medium-format world.
While Sony’s fancy a6000 has been making more headlines this year, its a5000 lets you get into mirrorless for $448 with a 16–50mm f/3.5–5.6 kit lens. Its 20.1MP APS-C-sized sensor is plenty for the average shooter. It sports Wi-Fi for image sharing, 1920x1080p60 video capture, and a 3.0-inch 460,000-dot tilting LCD that flips up for selfies.
Photo: Brian Klutch
Made for APS-C bodies, this fast, manual-focus, ultrawide is available in 10 different mounts, including the rarely seen (non-Micro) Four Thirds. The well-damped focusing ring turns 170 degrees and the depth-of-field scale covers all whole stops from f/4 through f/22. The lens is bit large and heavy for its class, uses 77mm filters, and showed visible barrel distortion; but, you’d have to spend hundreds more than this optic’s $379 price to find something comparable with minimal distortion.
Covering an equivalent focal-length range of 27–210mm on Nikon’s APS-C bodies, this utili-zoom can cover most of the casual shooter’s needs. In our tests it showed distortion on par with other lenses in this class, but it got slightly better SQF results than comparable lenses from Canon, Pentax, and Tokina. Nikon’s Vibration Reduction gave our testers 3 stops of hand-holding leeway in lab tests. Since our test in April of this year, the price has dropped by $100, making it a steal at $497.
Sigma 18–200mm f/3.5–6.3 DC Macro OS HSM
This compact, light, big-range zoom had excellent SQF numbers at all tested focal lengths when we reported our lab results in August. Labeled macro, it has a maximum magnification of 1:2.59 and focuses as close as 12.53 inches. Its optical image stabilization gave us an average of 2.66 stops of shutter-speed leeway, which should help when racked out to 200mm. We described its autofocus as “responsive, accurate, quiet, and in every way satisfying.” What else is there to say? It costs just $399.
Tamron 16–300mm f/3.5–6.3 DiII VC PZD Macro
We dubbed this lens the “Zoom King” in our July 2014 test due to its monstrous 18.8X range. Covering an equivalent of 24.8–465mm on the APS-C bodies it was designed for, it showed a very impressive magnification of 1:2.30, and near-lack of distortion in macro range. We saw no vignetting in the macro range, or at 35mm, 100mm, or 300mm. Even at 16mm, light falloff was gone by f/4. If you’re going to buy one lens to keep on your camera at all times, this $629 optic is the one.
Photo: Brian Klutch
Wireless flash control for multiple off-camera flash units can get pricey quickly, since most manufacturer’s systems won’t work together. The $140 Cactus RF60 has a built in 16-channel transceiver with a maximum range of 328 feet, thanks to its 2.4GHz RF transmission, and a guide number of 183 feet at ISO 100 when zoomed to 105mm. Best of all, it can control multiple brands of flash units simultaneously in up to four groups. If you don’t want to use the flash as a controller, you can add the V6 transceiver for $55.
FlashPoint StreakLight 360 Ws Flash
For an event photographer, nothing’s more helpful than a powerful, long-lasting flash unit. If you can’t abide the over-$1,000 price tag of a Quantum Instruments Qflash, Adorama’s $390 FlashPoint StreakLight 360 Ws unleashes photons with faster recycling times than most shoe-mount flashes, and it’s adjustable from full power down to 1/128 power in 1/3-stop increments. It has an AF-assist beam, two sync jacks, an optical slave trigger, and a stroboscopic mode. It also comes with two diffusion discs and accepts Lumedyne and Quantum accessories.
An off-camera radio frequency (RF) wireless flash with a shoe-mounted controller lets you place your flash anywhere within hundreds of feet and control the unit from your shooting position. Though slightly less powerful than Canon’s Speedlight 600EX-RT, the Mitros+’s 190 guide number at ISO 100 is plenty powerful. Plus, this flash/trigger combo’s $550 price tag is the same as the cost of the Canon flash alone. Adding Canon’s trigger would bring you up over $800.
If you’re a photographer who wants an all-in-one printer/scanner at a great price, you should definitely turn your eye toward a unit made by a dedicated imaging brand such as Canon. This model will scan at up to 1200x2400 dpi, and its AirPrint system lets you print directly from an iPhone or iPad, while the built-in Wi-Fi allows printing from anywhere in your home. It’s only a two-cartridge ink system (black and multi-color) and is limited to letter-size paper, but it’s compatible with a large array of paper types and can be had for just $60.
If you’re only an occasional 35mm film shooter, it might not make sense to get a dedicated film scanner. A flatbed such as this Epson, which can scan both negatives and slides, will likely prove more versatile in the long run, especially if you and your family also have prints that need digitizing. With 48-bit color depth and 6400X 9600-dpi resolution, the V550 will pull all of the detail out of those prints and its Easy Photo Fix and Digital ICE technology can help speed up any retouching needed. It goes for only $170.
We’ve got a positive outlook on this negative film. At $7.90 for a three pack, that’s just over $2.50 per roll. While it costs about the same as drug-store film, this film probably hasn’t been sitting on a store shelf since the Clinton administration. Plus its high contrast gives you that special Lomo aesthetic that compensates well for old fixed-lens cameras or old lenses that often yield low-contrast images.
LCD monitors that use in-plane switching (IPS) technology can display more consistently accurate colors across wider viewing angles compared with those using twisted nematic (TN) technology. While IPS monitors usually cost extra, this Monoprice will set you back just $460. According to the company, it can recreate 1.07 billion color combinations.
Quantum Turbo 3 Battery
Though it may seem pricey at $624, the Turbo 3 will reduce your shoe-mount flash’s recycle time to around
a second and can make it last for upwards of 1,000 shots. It can charge up to two flashes at once and has a gauge to let you know how much power you have left. You can also use it to power a wide variety of camera bodies, and it can power your camera and a flash at the same time.
Monoprice 41.3-inch 5-in-1 collapsible reflector
The company that made its name by selling well-made audio-video cables has quietly turned its attention to photo accessories. We were floored by this $14 reflector. It can function as a diffuser or you can use the zippered cover to turn it into a silver, gold, white, or black reflector. The steel frame collapses into a 16-inch storage pouch.
Think of it as the Mongoose BMX bike of tripods. Using titanium alloy instead of aluminum, this $100 three-footed camera support is 40 percent lighter than aluminum tripods with the same 15-pound weight capacity, according to Slik. And while its maximum height is 74.8 inches, you can use its three-step leg angle adjustment to get it down as low as 15 inches. Meanwhile, the 700DX weighs in at a meager 7.05 pounds.
When you’re carrying around a lot of gear, every ounce counts. This light stand extends up to 7.5 feet, but weighs an easy-to-tote 2.6 pounds. Three removable, retractable spikes on the legs can be pushed into the ground to help secure the stand when shooting on location. Made of sturdy aluminum and containing five telescoping sections, the $40 LP605 is topped with a standard 5/8-inch stud with both 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch 20 threads.
3Pod V2AH Video Tripod
A tall, sturdy video tripod is not easy to find. With a smooth-turning pan/tilt fluid head, 77.56-inch maximum height, and load capacity of 14 pounds, this support from Adorama seems like it should cost more than $150. The legs and head each have their own spirit level, the quick-release plate has a nifty safety lock, and the panning arm is reversible to accommodate both left- and right-handed shooters. The ’pod weighs 13.5 pounds and comes with a padded carrying case.
Lomography's converted cinema filmstock now available in faster speeds
A few months ago Lomography released Cine200, a new tungsten film balance for indoor shooting that offered the visual benefits of cinema film and the rolls sold out super fast. If you missed out on the first batch of Lomography's Cine film, here is your chance to snag some more. Today Lomography announced the arrival of Cine400 Tungsten Balanced Film which has all the benefits of Cine200, but with its slighly faster speed it makes shooting indoors more feasible—the 400 speed makes it twice as sensative to light as Cine200.
Like Cine200, Cine400 is formulated to work with tungsten lighting, which often reads as a harsh orange when shot with films engineered for daylight shooting, but Cine400 also looks great when shot outdoors, although your images will seem a bit more blue. Cine400 is developed using the C-41 process, which any photolab can process, but be warned Lomography is also only prodcuing 4,000 rolls of this stuff—so if you want some you better order fast!
Gail Albert Halaban on her admittedly voyeuristic work
“At first I know it sounds kind of creepy,” says photographer Gail Albert Halaban. “I like to look into people’s windows.”
Following a 2009 series of photographs peering into the apartments of her neighbors in New York, Out My Window, Halaban landed an invitation from M, the magazine section of Le Monde, to come to Paris to continue the work.
The American photographer shoots from one residence into another capturing candid, painterly, Edward Hopper-like scenes of domestic life. Since the subjects seem unaware of the camera as they go about their daily lives, many viewers’ gut reaction is not only to question the work’s voyeristic intentions and value as art, but its legality. Paris is known to have far more privacy restrictions on photographers than anywhere in the U.S.
Halaban admits she always gets prior consent from the people she plans to photograph and the hosts for her vantage point. She avoids telephoto lenses and uses a focal length that approximates the normal window watcher’s view.
“The process of making the photographs connects neighbor to neighbor creating community against the loneliness and overpowering scale of the city,” she says, hoping her new book Paris Views, which comes out this month, inspires others to follow suit.
A rare piece of Nikon glass with a Hollywood history goes on the auction block
There are a lot of old lenses out there that are worth drooling over. The massive Nikon 6mm fisheye, for instance, pops up on eBay from time to time. Right now, you can buy the Nikon 13mm F/5.6 wide-angle lens on ebay for about the price of a family sedan.
The lens isn't as massive as the 6mm, but it's definitely a formidable piece of glass. The images on the auction make it clear just how far the front element sticks out from the barrel of the lens.
According to the auction description, the lens originally belonged to movie special effects wizard, John Dykstra, who is known for working on iconic movies like Star Wars. Because it was meant to be used in cinema applications, the click stops have been removed from the aperture ring, so you'll likely want to reinstall them if you're planning to buy it and use it for photographic purposes.
Right now, the bid is at $16,520 and the reserve has not been met, so we'll be interested to see how high the bidding finally goes. Not only is it a rare Nikon lens, but it also has an interesting Hollywood history to go with it, and that's always good for value.
Do you have a "Holy Grail" lens?
From: Nikon Rumors
Adobe's latest software concepts look very cool
Every year, the folks from Adobe show off some new concepts at their MAX conference. This year, there are two main focuses in terms of image editing.
The first tech lets you change the apparent time of day at which a photo was taken. The idea is that the ideal light only comes at a very specific time of day, and using this new technology, you can go back and catch it in post. It's a lofty promise, but the video demo is actually pretty impressive. It reminds me a bit of the software we saw a while back that promises to change the apparent season in which a photo was taken.
The second demo, Defog, shows a software that automatically cuts down on environmental haze that sucks out contrast and saturation in objects that are far away from your camera. It's not something we think about that often, but seeing the before and after images shows that it does clearly make a difference.
Many of the features previewed in the Adobe MAX setting are often later added to official software releases, so we wouldn't be surprised to see these roll out as part of an edition of Photoshop CC down the road.
Check out all the new tools you can add to your arsenal this fall
Photokina years are always fun when it comes to new camera gear. This year was no exception. Almost all of the big players brought something new to the table this year, which means the camera landscape going into 2015 is as exciting as ever.
You'll notice that there aren't a lot of compact cameras on this list, and the ones that are there, are aimed at higher-end users. That's a trend well fully-expect to continue going forward as companies try to give users an experience that their smartphone camera can't.
There are also a few long-rumored cameras on the list, including Canon's 7D Mark II and the full-frame Nikon D750.
As more new cameras are announced, we'll add them to this list so you can keep track of all the newest cameras and keep that list for Santa as current as possible.
Nikon D750 DSLR
Canon 7D Mark II
Leica M Edition 60
GoPro HD Hero4 Black and Silver Editions
Canon PowerShot G7 X
Sony Action Cam Mini
Sony QX1 Smartphone Camera
New Gear: K-S1
Take a look inside of Nikon Lenses
We can sometimes take our lenses for granted. But, the fact of the matter is, they're filled with amazing feats of engineering that make our favorite activity possible. A video from Nikon Asia gives an inside look into the workings of their lenses, including a few enlightening demos of things like image stabilization.
The video removes the shell of the lenses and shows the moving bits and pieces in all of their shiny, machined glory. And it's all set to an extremely peppy electronic soundtrack.
Some of the demos are downright mesmerizing. I particularly like the way the Vibration Reduction demo seems to fit the music.
So, give it a watch, and next time your lens is acting up a little, remember just how complicated things can get inside that little metal and glass tube.
Craving more hypnotic lens demos? Check out these Canon demos showing what goes on inside their lenses.
From: ISO 1200