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Words of wisdom from a guy who knows your camera better than you do

It's easy to take our cameras for granted, but they're full of tiny, intricate parts that need to work in perfect harmony if you want your images to turn out just right. When those pieces get out of whack, Fernando is one of the guys who can fix it. For more than a decade, he has been a camera technician for Canon working with their Canon Professional Services program. He travels to some of the biggest events in the world like the World Cup and the Super Bowl to provide technical assistance to CPS members.

http://cf.c.ooyala.com/oxbm9mcTpOQlaZlGME2h8XHa9Bse7ONL/promo239035377

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Video: Jeanette D. Moses

Here at Photo Plus Expo in New York City, Canon has set up a maintenance station where techs are fixing and cleaning actual cameras. Fernando took a quick break to share some the knowledge he's gained from his years of experience.

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VSCO Film Pack 6 Editing Software Presets

Some unique takes on familiar film stocks

When it comes to making digital photos look like they were shot on film, the VSCO film packs are some of the most popular and effective methods around. Their newest pack takes some very familiar film looks and adds some twists, including pushing, pulling, and even cross-processing to give them unique looks.

Here's a list of all the included stocks:

  • Fuji 400H+1 - / + / ++ / +++ / Night / Over / Over+ / Vibrant
  • Kodak E100VS XP - / + / ++ / Green / Over
  • Ilford HP5-1 - / + / ++
  • Ilford HP5+1 - / + / ++
  • Ilford HP5+2 - / + / ++
  • Ilford HP5+3 - / + / ++
  • Kodak Portra 160+1 - / + / ++ / +++ / Alt / Alt+ / Over / Vibrant
  • Kodak Portra 400+1 - / + / ++ / +++ / Night / Night+ / Over / Vibrant
  • Kodak Portra 400+2 - / + / ++ / Night
  • Kodak Portra 400+3 - / + / ++ / Night / Night+
  • Kodak Portra 800+1 - / + / ++ / +Green / +++ / Night / Night / Night++ / Over / Vibrant
  • Agfa Precisa XP - / + / ++ / Green / Green- / Over
  • Fuji Provia 400X XP - / + / Blue / ++ / +++ / Over / Over
  • Fuji Provia 400X+1 - / + / ++ / +++ / Night / Night+ / Over / Over+ / Vibrant
  • Fuji Sensia XP - / + / ++ / Over / Warm / Warm+ / Warm++
  • Kodak TRI-X-1 - / + / ++
  • Kodak TRI-X+1 - / + / ++
  • Kodak TRI-X+2 - / + / ++
  • Kodak TRI-X+3 - / + / ++

The presets are available for Photoshop and Lightroom and even if you're not crazy about the idea of using a stock preset for your look, they can often work as great starting points when editing an image. We're looking forward to giving it a try and we'll share some of the results. Right now, you can get it for $89, which is a pretty steep discount over the $119 standard price.

VSCO Film Pack 6 Editing Software Presets
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

VSCO Film Pack 6 Editing Software Presets

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Mylio Photo Storage App

An ambitious project to get photo hoarders organized

With most of our photos going on multiple web services and devices, they can be hard to keep track of, but Mylio is a pretty elegant system for keeping them all organized and backed up.

There are a couple different pieces to the Mylio system. First, there's a downloadable app for your computer that lets you manually (or automatically) add your photos to the Mylio service. You can organize them and tweak the interface, as well as perform some familiar editing tasks using the software.

There's also an iPhone app that allows you to do many of the same functions right from your phone. The interesting part, though, is that the software replicates all of your photos from each device onto the other. So, if you have a photo on your phone, you'll also have it on your computer.

There's also a Mylio Cloud component that will store all your photos for you (depending on your membership level), but you don't need to use it if you don't want. Mylio can simply act as an organizer and a conduit between your devices.

Once you get the whole system up and working, it's a pretty elegant solution. It even keeps track of the photos you have uploaded to other services, which can be tricky to keep track of with so many options currently available on the web.

The software keeps track of things like GPS data built into the files and also tries to protect your images by telling you whether you have multiple copies of your photos available.

The free trial version supports JPEG and raw files over three devices for a thousand photos. Moving up a level costs $100 per year, gives you two extra devices, but bumps the photo count up to 100k. For $250 per year, you get up to 12 devices, 500K photos, as well as some extra workflow tools.

There is a bit of a learning curve in terms of getting the whole system humming, but overall, it seems to have a lot of promise.

Mylio Photo Storage App
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Mylio Online Phtoo Service

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This photo sharing app has a clear purpose

We, as people, take a lot of pictures. In fact, it will be well over a trillion this year. So, it's interesting to see how different apps and services are encouraging people to use and share all those photos. Cloth is a personal fashion app designed to let you take photos of your clothes and outfits, then share them with people around the world.



In a way, the whole thing feels a bit like Instagram, only it has a very clear focus. You can take pictures of your own outfit and keep up with other people whose style you like. Then you can keep track of the clothes in the photos and talk about them with your friends.

If you're not a big fashion person, you may have already tuned out, but I think this is an indicator of some interesting things to come down the line. Substitute cars for fashion and you've got a similar project that applies to a whole different collection of people.

As big photo services like Instagram and Facebook get increasingly cluttered, small, focused apps like this could provide a nice way to filter the noise.

Official Site

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These services will allow you to "like" your Instagram photos in real life

Instagram is the 800-pound (and $1 billion) gorilla in the photo sharing world at the moment. It is raking in 60 million photos per day that would reach past the International Space Station if every photo were printed and stacked and it has also inspired a cottage industry of services with the explicit purpose of turning your photos into things. Sure, there are a lot of sites that will print your Instagram photos, but there are others that go beyond that. Here's a list of some of the more interesting (and sometimes weird) objects you can make from your Instagram photos.

Temporary Tattoos (Above)

A new service from the folks at INK361.com allows you to turn your Instagram photos into temporary tattoos. $14.99 gets you a set of 12 "Picattoos" that will last for approximately seven days if treated with care. Although we can't think of many practical reasons for a set of Instagram printed tattoos, these certainly have the potential to be much cooler then those cheesy dragons that you can buy at the grocery store. You could also consider it a great way to test run that portrait of your cat Fluffy you've been considering making permanent.

Finger Nail Art

The NailSnaps Kickstarter project will take your Intagram photos and use them to create "polish stickers" that apply directly to fingernails. Once you've designed the template, they're printed and mailed to you. You then apply them and use a standard nail file to trim them to fit.

The Kickstarter was funded this spring, but the official site for NailSnaps still hasn't launched. During the fundraising period a set of NailSnaps would set you back $15 at the pledge level, but they get cheaper as you add more sets. It's quicker than going in for a nail job and doesn't involve the gnarly chemicals.

Stone Coasters

For $25, Coastermatic will take your Instagram photos and put them on a set of real stone coasters. You pick any four photos from your account and crop them down to a circle. Because of the resolution needed to print a nice looking image, you don't have a lot of leeway with your cropping, so it's best to pick photos that already lend themselves to the circular form factor. Luckily, the square format seems to lend itself well to a round crop.

They can really jazz up your decor, even if your coffee table isn't really nice enough to warrant a set of coasters. And, because they're made of stone, they will feel more substantial than the plastic or plexiglass coasters offered by some other services.

A Real Oil Painting

You can get your Instagram photos printed on canvas pretty much anywhere, but for a price, Pixeli.st will have an actual artist make an oil painting of your photo on a piece of canvas. The services uses artists in Xiamen, China, who make photorealistic versions of each image.

A 12" x 12" painting starts at $150 and prices go all the way up to $799 for a 30" x 40" piece of art. The price also varies depending on how many subjects are in the photo, presumably because accurately recreating a person's face is more demanding than, say, a sunset or a cup of coffee.

Looking through the site, they actually get some very impressive results. Of course, you could get a nice canvas print for 1/8th the price, but that doesn't have quite the same novelty factor.

Marshmallows

For roughly $20, Boomf will take nine of your Instagram photos and print them onto marshmallows. Yes, they're real marshmallows and you can eat them. Each square is about 4cm x 4cm, making it a little smaller than the typical barrel shaped mallows you're used to roasting over the campfire.

Boomf suggests avoiding images with large dark areas because the print quality tends to suffer. But, after all, when you're using a marshmallow as your print media, quality isn't likely your primary concern.

They ship from the UK, but shipping is free on your order, so they end up sticking close to the $20 price tag. You can even see what they look like when they catch on fire if you check out the Boomf error page.

Wood Panels

Instathis will make you aluminum prints or coasters from your Instagram photos, but the most interesting they offer are their wood prints. They use an clever process for printing onto wood that allows the grain to be visible through the ink. They use pieces of birch, which they claim help the colors "pop."

A 6" x 6" wood print starts at $25, but you can go all the way up to 24" x 36" for $270. It's not cheap, but then again, it is unique and doesn't require a pricy custom frame like a traditional print.

Ceramic Tiles

While you probably shouldn't try to tile your bathroom floor with them, Imagesnap makes high-quality ceramic types with your Instagram (or other) photos. They offer a variety of sizes, from the small 2" x 2" Teeny Tile ($4) all the way up to the 12" x 12" Slab, which comes in a $35.

They offer two finishes, glossy and matte. The glossy is meant for best image reproduction, while the matte is meant to be more durable. So, if you want to make something like a table or a mural that will be displayed outdoors, it won't fade as quickly.

They actually use a clever dye sublimation process to apply the art, so if you take care of them, they'll likely last a very long time. And at just $35 for a 12" x 12" they're actually cheaper than many high-end decorative stock tiles.

Post Cards


E-Mail, social media, photo sharing sites, and a million other things have relegated the once-mighty post card to a novelty. But, Postagram takes your Instagram photos and turns them into tangible post cards that can be sent anywhere around the world.

Once the post card arrives, the photo actually pops out of the card, so they can keep it separate from the message. It's a cheap way to give someone the thrill of getting a photo in the mail and saves you the task of buying a lame post card from a crummy tourist shop when you're traveling.

A Tiny Projector Slideshow


At one time, slide projectors were key for sharing photos with groups. Now, they sit mostly unused. Projecteo, however, will take your instagram photos and create a wheel of slides you can project using a minuscule projector.

You choose nine of your photos and they're printed into a single piece of 35mm film. The circle is then cut out and put into a plastic wheel. When you put the wheel into the absurdly tiny projector, it throws the photos at the wall for everyone in the room to see. The image quality is pretty much what you'd expect for a device so tiny, but the whole thing costs just $35 and might be one of the best photography-related conversation pieces I've seen.

Sneakers

In 2013 Nike's PHOTOiD made a soft-entrance into the Instagram consumer product market. While PHOTOiD didn't print your photos directly onto your shoes, it would create a pair of kicks inspired by one of the Instagram images. You point the utility to one of your photos and it's automatically analyzed. It then takes the colors from your photo and applies them to a sneaker design that you can order. The color palette is limited to Nike's roster of materials, so it probably won't pick up on any subtle tones in your photos, but I was actually surprised at how nice most of the color ways ended up turning out.

This sping Adidas took the custom shoe game to the next level with the announcement of a photo print app that allows you to customize a pair of kicks with an Instagram photo. Unfortuantely, at this time, users in the U.S. are unable to order the custom shoes they create using the app.

picattoo
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

picattoo

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A great photo job opportunity lands in your lap�but you don�t have the required gear, and can�t afford to buy it. The Solution: Rent it!

A mega-optic such as the 500mm f/4L IS Canon EF lens sells for nearly $13,000, but rents for less than $500.

Equipment rental has always provided both amateurs and pros an affordable alternative to purchasing expensive gear. But the rental business has undergone a sea change, due to both economic upheavals and the emergence of the Web as a commercial powerhouse. (In the past few years, several big-name New York City rental houses have closed up shop, including Allkit, Calumet, and Lens and Repro.) Now the action is very much with the Internet rental outfits—such as lensrentals.com, borrowlenses.com, and others. The remaining brick-and-mortar rental stores are usually also big retail operations, such as Adorama in New York City and Unique Photo in Fairfield, NJ, and they’ve adapted to the new environment by also offering rentals online. Websites for rental firms typically provide details about their individual procedures. Here are the most important basics:

Plan ahead. Contact the rental firm as early as possible to make sure the equipment is available; this is especially important if you have, say, a big sporting event coming up in your area. First-time renters: Don’t hesitate to phone or Internet chat with any questions or concerns.

•Insure it. Most rental firms require you pay for insurance on the item while it’s in your possession. There may be several levels of insurance—higher levels are recommended if you’re bringing the item out of the country. And on high-ticket items, you may be required to show proof of independent insurance, particularly if the replacement value of the item exceeds the credit limit of your credit card. Rental firms will tolerate minor scratches or scrapes on barrels or bodies, but if you break it, you buy it (or pay the cost of repair). Insure accordingly.

•Getting the item. The rental firm will ship by FedEx or UPS or other carrier, and the rental period is generally considered to start the day of the first delivery attempt. The company will provide a prepaid shipping label that can go right on the box the item was delivered in.

Check it out. Examine the item carefully to make sure it’s fully functional and came with all accessories it was supposed to (e.g., lens cap). Notify the rental outfit immediately of any problems. Ditto if something bad happens to the lens.

Renting can offer an affordable ticket to high-end gear such as the Nikon D4s, the Sony HVL-F60M flash, or the Redrock Micro DSLR Cinema Bundle.

Some Renting Scenarios

The Dream Lens

The 14–24mm f/2.8G Nikon lens for full-frame is such a great optic that Canon shooters have been known to have them custom-adapted to their cameras. You could rent one for $125 to $150 for a week’s worth of landscape shooting, rather than buying it for $1,996 (street).

The Monster Lens

You’re going on that once-in-a-lifetime safari tour and would love to bring a 500mm lens along—but it will cost more than the trip you’ve booked. A 500mm f/4L IS Canon EF lens, to be specific, will drain your personal wealth of nearly $13,000. A week’s rental will run you $400 to $500. Do you have a tripod and head that can stand up to it? It’s a dream trip—so throw in another $150 to $200 for a heavy-duty tripod with a gimbal head.

The Big Bad Body

You’re a proud owner of a mid-level Canon or Nikon DSLR but have this nagging feeling… What am I missing out by not having a Canon EOS-1D X or Nikon D4s supercamera? Satisfy your curiosity by renting one of them for about $325 to $400 a week, as opposed to the $6,800 (1D X) or $6,500 (D4s) you’d shell out for purchase.

Flash Power to Go

You’ve promised a dear friend that you would shoot her wedding as a gift, but she’s not so dear that you’d want
to drop $550 to $600 for a top-tier TTL flash (Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT, Sony HVL-F60M, etc.) and another $350 for a Quantum Turbo SC battery pack. But you can rent a combination like that for $75 for a long weekend.

Your Inner DeMille

Your present DSLR or ILC captures HD video, of course, but maybe you have a yearning for a little more capability. You could try out 4K video by renting a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with a kit lens for about $100 for a long weekend. Really catching the cinematography bug? Kits like the Redrock Micro DSLR Cinema Bundle ($250 a week at borrowlenses.com) include a shoulder mount and follow-focus mechanism that will work with most DSLRs.

Places to Rent Photo Gear

Lensrentals.com: This well-regarded Internet-only rental house has a large inventory of every type of gear and much information on its site.

Borrowlenses.com: This is another big Internet-only rental outfit in the vein of lensrentals.com; inventory includes some very high-ticket items.

Gassersphoto.com: San Francisco retailer Adolph Gasser also sells used equipment on consignment.

Adorama.com: Big Manhattan retailer Adorama offers rentals via in-store pickup, messenger service within New York City, or overnight carrier nationwide.

Backscatter.com: Backscatter Underwater Video & Photo, based in Monterey, CA, sells and rents all things underwater, notably housings.

Fotocare.com: A retailer in New York City’s photo district, Foto Care caters to professionals for rentals; it offers rental rebates on purchase of new gear.

Uniquephoto.com: New Jersey brick-and-mortar store Unique Photo rents equipment nationwide; it also offers rental rebates on purchase.

Prophotosupply.com: Pro Photo Supply, based in Portland, OR, rents a wide variety of equipment locally as well as nationwide via overnight carrier.

Csirentals.com: With locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, CSI Rentals caters to professional videographers; it will also rent by mail order.

Scheimpflug.net: Manhattan-based video specialists Scheimpflug will rent you anything from a DSLR body to a grip truck (including grips).

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Fall down a photo rabbit hole with Collection Appareils

If you’re into old camera gear we have the internet worm hole for you. Collection Appareils is a French online archive that contains pictures of over 10,000 vintage cameras from around the globe.

Maintained by Sylvain Halgand, the massive site contains info about a dizzying number of models: some entries only include a name and a picture, while others are accompanied by interesting facts. For example, the Irwin Lark “sardine can” was oozing oil when Halgand received it because of an overly lubricated shutter.

Other cameras, like the Rollei Rolleiflex Automat 1, are accompanied with product write-ups originally published in this very magazine.

It’s easy to get lost in this extensive site, so proceed with caution—unless you know you have some hours to kill.

[Via: Peta Pixel]

frenchcamera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

frenchcamera

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First Hasselblad Camera to Go to Space Up for Auction

You guys wanna split it?

Right now, most of the amazing space photos you see from the International Space Station are shot on Nikon cameras (or Instagram), but years ago, it was Hasselblad cameras that were responsible for space photography. Now, the first Hasselblad ever to go to space is going up for auction, along with the first Zeiss lens to make its way out of earth's atmosphere.

The camera body is, of course, a 500c that was carried into orbit by the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. It also found a spot on the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission. The lens is an 80mm Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm F/2.8, which is pretty much the lens you'd expect to find on a 500c from that era. The film magazine was flown on the MA-9 mission.



There are so many unique and interesting things to notice about the camera and they're all laid out on the auction page to establish its provenance. For instance, there is exposure data written directly on the film back to be used as a short cut when shooting in space.

Unfortunately, the aiming mechanism is missing, which is one of the most iconic things about the space cameras. Because a typical viewfinder was impractical, they used more of a large plastic bullseye to help the astronauts aim the camera.

There's no current estimate that I saw in terms of final selling price, but it will almost certainly be very high. It's not one of the moon cameras or anything, but anything with ties to outer space often draws a very hefty price tag. After all, that Hasselblad "Moon Camera" fetched a cool $90k.

Auction Page

First Hasselblad Camera to Go to Space Up for Auction
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

First Hasselblad Camera to Go to Space Up for Auction

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Liquor Bottle GoPro Wedding Video

A bottle of Fireball, a GoPro, and some smiling guests make an awesome wedding video

The internet is excellent at coming up with smart places to put action cameras. We've seen them strapped to athletes, dogs, eagles, and all types of other interesting subjects. This video, however, is a bit different. Some clever wedding guests strapped a GoPro to a bottle of booze, then passed it around to the guests to take a swig.

The result, as you can see, is almost like a video photo booth of sorts. You get a hilarious little video portrait of each guest as they down the hit of Fireball. It's a clever thing for a guest to come up with, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this type of thing start to show up in the services of professional wedding shooters who are trying to differentiate themselves from the increasingly large crowd of competition.

I was actually going to post this yesterday, but the video was then made private. Now, it seems to be public again because they must have realized there was no keeping it away from the Internet.

Liquor Bottle GoPro Wedding Video
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Liquor Bottle GoPro Wedding Video

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It's a familiar process for photographers

Many photographers spend hours and hours carefully post-processing our images. In fact, just last night, I stayed up way too late staring into my processing software, having completely lost track of time. And while editing video is a very different animal, it certainly does have some similarities to the still editing process.

The video above shows a time lapse as senior colorist Andreas Brueckl touches up a seemingly simple makeup advertisement. It involves a lot of familiar tools like gradients and some common retouching tools. The result is a very natural-looking image that, without this insdier information, wouldn't tip off how much work went into it.

From: Gizmodo

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Combine high-quality camera capture with the ease of processing and sharing with a smartphone

Eismann shot this beach scene with a Sony a7R, then edited it on her iPhone in Snapseed before sharing it.

From kids to professional photographers, everyone is snapping more and more images around the clock with smartphones and immediately sharing them via Instagram, Facebook, Imgur, or Tumblr. It’s fun, it’s easy, but in some cases, it just isn’t satisfying. Why? Smartphones’ built-in cameras work really well, but not with high-contrast, low-light, or fast-action scenes.

But with the recent develop-ment of cameras offering wireless connectivity, you can take advantage of the best your “real” camera has to offer—a larger sensor, higher bit-depth, better and interchangeable lenses, fabulous low-light performance, and high-speed shooting. It’s easy to transfer your high-quality photographs to your smartphone for creative processing and instant sharing.

Step 1

To transfer files from a Sony camera to an Apple or Android phone, make sure that the Sony PlayMemories Mobile app is installed on the phone. Turn on the camera and access the wireless controls via the camera control menu, and select Send to Smartphone. Then use the phone’s network settings to log into the camera’s wireless network. In the camera menu you can select the image(s) on the camera, but I find it much easier to use the Select on Smartphone option to access a thumbnail grid of all the images on the camera memory card. Check the small square checkbox in the upper left corner of the images you want to copy to the phone and tap Copy.

Step 2

Now that the images are in your phone’s picture folder or image library, the fun can begin! In this example, I used my go-to image-processing app, Snapseed, to enhance and interpret the file. To open images from your phone into Snapseed, either navigate from the Snapseed interface to the Photo Library or start in the Photo Library and copy and paste the
image into Snapseed.

Step 3

In Snapseed, select the processing type from the 15 icons along the bottom or side of the screen. After you have entered a specific enhancement module, click on the image and move up or down to access the module-specific controls and swipe left or right to adjust the settings. To apply a setting, click on the checkmark on the lower right corner; to cancel, click on the X on the lower left hand corner; to see an image with and without the enhancement, click on the mountain icon in the upper right-hand corner. (See Step 4.) Best of all, after accepting a module-specific change, to see an absolute before-and-after version, press and hold on the image to see how your processing is improving it.

Step 4

Enhance the image to improve tonality and color and to crop as needed. First, use Auto Correct for contrast and color, which I often reduce by half. Then use Tune Image to adjust tonality with the Ambience control, in which a move to the right increases moodiness, tonality, and saturation, while a move to the left boosts brightness and contrast. Fine-tune the overall image with Tune Image > Brightness, Saturation, and Shadows controls.

Step 5

Interpret the image with color, texture, softening and frames. To shape the image and tonal depth, use either Details > Structure to enhance texture or Drama > Drama 1 or 2 or Dark 1 or 2 to add an HDR (high dynamic range) effect without softening the image. With both of these controls, always reduce the default strength to avoid creating strong haloing or undesired artifacts. The Vintage model will let you shift color and add texture. Use Center Focus to add a light or dark vignette, edge blurs, and center brightness, and go to Frames to add (you guessed it) a Frame.

In Frames select the desired frame and tap the frame icon to flip the frame edges. Click on the Control Gear and use Format to enlarge or reduce the size of the frame and Colorized to add or remove a tint of the light frame areas.

Snapseed offers many more controls, including Black & White, Selective Adjustments, HDR Scape, and Retrolux; you can apply as few or as many enhancements as you want. Of course, you can also experiment with other apps to further interpret the image, but no amount of great processing can rescue a weak photo.

Final Step

We create images to explore the world and, very importantly, share them with friends, family, and colleagues. You can share the processed image directly from Snapseed to any standard social media site such as Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. With your phone you always have a camera and a darkroom in your pocket, but with the combination of wireless connections from higher-quality cameras to phone, you gain the benefit of better lenses, larger sensors, and higher resolution. It’s a match made in digital heaven!

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See incredible views captured from the back of an eagle

Ever wondered what it is like to soar above the City of Light? Well, thanks to the folks at the non-profit Freedom, you no longer have to simply imagine this spectacular view.

Last month the organization, whose mission is to reintroduce this bird species back to France, strapped a Sony Action Cam Mini to the back of a white-tailed eagle named Victor and released him from the Eiffel Tower’s observation deck. In the video above you can see Victor fly above the Seine River, take in the Eiffel Tower and then plunge at 111 mph back to his handler.

The view, framed by the ruffling feathers of the eagle’s back, is pretty incredible. You may want to turn the volume down though, the white noise caused from the wind is a bit maddening.

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Sigma 150-600mm OS Zoom Lens First Impressions Review

We take Sigma's new monster zoom lens for a spin

To be completely honest, 600mm is not a focal length with which I feel intimately familiar. But, when I got the chance to spend a few days with Sigma's new 150-600mm F/5-6.3 super-telephoto zoom lens, I was eager to dig out my tripod and point my camera at some things far away. While this isn't a full lab test, I do have some initial thoughts and impressions to share about the lens.

Using it
With a zoom range like 150-600mm, you expect a lens to be big, and this one doesn't disappoint. It weighs over 6.25 pounds and, when fully-extended, it's about the length of my forearm from my elbow to my finger tips. So, yes, it's big. It comes with a rather nice case for carrying it around. I also managed to squeeze it into my full-sized Lowepro camera bag if I detached the body, the tripod collar and the hood, so it's not a total bazooka.



As the OS in the name suggests, it has optical image stabilization built-in, which is pretty much a necessity in a lens this long. While our lab tests will determine exactly how effective the OS is, I did find it to be pretty effective, giving me opportunities to shoot hand-held at F/6.3 when zoomed all the way to 600mm.

Both the zoom and focus rings feel incredibly sturdy and smooth and are plenty big, so they're easy to find and manipulate without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. There's also a lock switch for the zoom ring. That came in handy when mounted on a tripod (hate to mess up a shot you took forever to set up), but it's even more important when you're walking around. Since the lens and hood is so heavy, sometimes it would slide to full extension as you walked with it. The lock prevents that.

Build
One of the things I really like about this lens is that just about everything on it is made of metal. That seems especially important for a lens that extends when it zooms. And, while it makes the whole package rather heavy, it also makes it very sturdy, which is crucial for a sports lens like this one.

The front and back elements have protective coatings meant to repel things like water and finger prints. With a 105mm front element, there's lots of room for both. And while I couldn't bring myself to jab a grimy thumb onto the front element, I did take it out in some tough conditions.. Between the burly metal hood and the coatings, the glass stayed looked remarkably pristine. I was impressed.

The tripod collar is also appropriately burly, offering three different quarter 20 ports on the bottom for mounting on a tripod or hanging from a strap. I found that even when I was shooting handheld, the collar gave me something handy to hold onto.

Performance


For a sports lens like this, AF is a crucial thing for me, and Sigma seems to have put a lot of work in there. It's not the fastest AF in the world, likely because of how heavy all those glass elements are, but it never felt sluggish. It's also extremely silent and very smooth, which are both pluses.


A 100% crop of a small grasshopper. Noise as a result of the 3200 ISO.

From an image quality standpoint, it was able to turn out some extremely pleasing bokeh. That might not be something you expect from a lens with a maximum aperture range of F/5-6.3, but you have to remember just how many millimeters of focal length we're dealing with. Get close and zoom to 600mm and you can make an entire background scene pretty much melt completely.

I did notice some vignetting at the corners on a full-frame body, which seemed to be fairly consistent all the way through the zoom range. It's not severe and it's easily corrected, but it's worth mentioning.

I found the images to be a little flat in terms of contrast, but that's honestly how I prefer them, so I can make my adjustments in post. They were still bright and didn't overwhelm the image with contrast, which has been the case with some other super-telephoto lenses I've used.



For a $2,000 lens, it seems to do a lot. At 150mm, it's not impossible to shoot very nice portraits with it. I could hand-hold it, but I also have the hands of a yeti. At 600mm, you can pick out subjects like birds or individual players on a sports field without a problem.

Mounted to a crop-sensor body, the amount of reach you can get is actually pretty astounding. At one point, I had it mounted to a Canon 7D with a 1.4x tele extender on it. At that point, though, it went to F/8 as its maximum aperture and the AF stopped working.

Check back in a few weeks for our lab test to see how it fares.

Sigma 150-600mm OS Zoom Lens First Impressions Review
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Sigma 150-600mm OS Zoom Lens First Impressions Review

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Blood Moon
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Blood Moon

I was lucky enough to have this lens on-hand when the recent blood moon happened. For this shot, the lens was coupled with a Canon 7D for a bit more reach. It was mounted to a tripod and I was using a shutter release cable because at 1 second and 600mm, triggering the camera without blurring the shot was a challenge. Tech Specs: 600mm at ISO 800. 1 second exposure at an aperture of F/6.3.
Foliage
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Foliage

Here's an example of the super-smooth bokeh that's possible when you get close and zoom to 600mm. This was actually shot hand-held when I was trying out the image stabilization system. At 1/320 sec, it actually performed admirably. Tech Specs: 600mm at ISO 3200 on a Canon 5D Mark III. Aperture F/6.3 for 1/320th sec.
Statue
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Statue

Another hand-held example shot at 600mm. This time, the shutter speed was cranked up a bit to 1/500 to make things a little more manageable. This one is actually very sharp right out of the camera. I did add a small amount of brightness in Lightroom. Tech Specs: ISO 1600 at 600mm. F/6.3 for 1/500 sec.
Bokeh
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Bokeh

Here's a clear example of the bokeh capabilities of the lens. This is a shot of some trees from below. You can see, there's not an overwhelming amount of contrast as you might expect from a scene that's so contrasty. The circles form nicely and blend into one another in a pleasant way. Tech specs: ISO 1,000 at 512mm. F/6.3 for 1/1,250 sec.
Dog
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Dog

I didn't run across all that much wildlife during my testing period, so I settled for what fauna I did have access to. Shot at 600mm, you can see the compression effect making the top of the head look tall, but it's extremely sharp. Tech Specs: ISO 1,000 at 600mm. F/6.3 at 1/320 sec.
More foliage
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

More foliage

Another leaf shot because, frankly, it's hard not to shoot leaves this time of year. ISO 3200 at 600mm. F/6.3 at 1/320 sec.
Bird
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Bird

The bird isn't perfectly sharp, but that's a product of my own screw up rather than the lens. This shot is more to demonstrate the lens's ability to create nice separation between the subject and the background. In the hands of a more capable bird photographer, this could be a monster of a lens. Still, it's pretty impressive how close to sharp I was able to get hand holding a 600mm lens at 1/40th sec. Tech specs: ISO 1600 at 600mm. F/6.3 at 1/40th sec.
Portrait
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Portrait

The complete lack of distortion at 400mm makes shots with straight lines easy to pull off. Tech Specs: ISO 3200 at 400mm. F/6.3 for 1/320th sec.
Headshot
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Headshot

This is why you don't shoot head shots at 600mm. The Frankenstein head effect is real. The bokeh and skintones are both really nice, though.
Plane
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Plane

Here's an example of the vignetting that you can expect to see. This was shot into a clear sky at 600mm.
Blood Moon
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Blood Moon

Another shot of the blood moon. This one was taken as the sun was beginning to come up so the background is lighter.
More bokeh
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

More bokeh

Here's another example of how the backgrounds can melt into bokeh. The blob in the back is another yard. Contrast added in Lightroom. Tech Specs: ISO 3200 at 600mm. F/6.3 at 1/160th sec.
High contrast foliage
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

High contrast foliage

This high-contrast scene seems like an easy place to make chromatic aberration happen, but it wasn't the case here, even on the really high-contrast borders.
Bokeh at 300mm
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Bokeh at 300mm

At 309mm, the bokeh leaves a little more detail in the background. ISO 3200 at 309mm. F/5.6 for 1/640th sec.

SEE PHOTO GALLERY








Lego Pinhole Camera

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.

From: CNET

Lego Pinhole Camera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

lego pinhole camera

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Mobile Photo Contest Finalists 2014

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.

Click here for the #Nofilter finalists

Click here for the Open category finalists

Mobile Photo Contest Finalists 2014
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Mobile Contest Finalists 2014

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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.

LomoChrome Turquoise
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

LomoChrome Turquoise

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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.

Canon C100 Mark II Cinema Camera
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Canon C100 Mark II Cinema Camera

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Ditch your lens to get a different look

A pinhole camera is as minimalist as photography gets: All you need 
is a light-tight box with a tiny hole on the front, and something 
light-sensitive fastened onto the inside rear of the box, and you can 
take a picture. In the process, you will get weirdly beautiful results, including infinite focus from near to far (or, often more accurately, equal slight fuzziness from near to far). “Once you realize that there are no knobs, no flashing lights, no buttons, dials, or digital displays to distract you, making pictures becomes fun again rather than a technical chore,” says Andrew Watson, who made this photo of the beach in Brighton, England on Kodak Ektar 100.
You can make your own pinhole camera (out of practically anything), build a kit camera, buy a ready-made camera, or, simplest of all, use the camera you already have, whether film or digital, SLR or ILC, with a pinhole body cap in place of a lens.
STEP 1: 
Learn the basics
The focal length of a pinhole camera is determined by the distance of the pinhole to the film or sensor, and there are optimal pinhole sizes for adequate sharpness. Optimum pinhole size for 50mm would be no bigger than 0.3mm, for example; the f-number would be about f/160. So you’ll need a tripod, or at least a solid perch for the camera.
STEP 2: 
Make your pinhole
You can turn a camera’s body cap into a pinhole with a little fuss. Drill a small (1/8-inch) hole in the center of the cap. For the pinhole itself, use soda-can aluminum. Cut an inch-square piece of the can with a snips, and pierce the center using the smallest needle that will go through. Then tape the pinhole over the hole you drilled in the body cap.
STEP 3: Or buy a pinhole
Commercially made pinhole body caps have the advantage of being properly sized and well machined. Companies such as Rising, Holga, Wanderlust, and Lenox Laser make them, available through camera retailers or direct. Most body-cap pinholes give you a focal length of about 45mm on DSLRs.
STEP 4
: Figure exposure
Your DSLR or ILC metering system will go blind at f/160, although you will be able to compose the picture with live view on a digital camera body. Starting exposure in bright sunlight for ISO 100 would be about 1 second, or ¼ sec for ISO 400.
STEP 5: 
Exploit the look
Place objects or subjects very close to the camera to have them loom against the background (wider focal lengths work best for this effect). Photograph bodies of water in lower light to smooth the water out to glass—no neutral-density filters needed.
STEP 6: 
Do it with film
Many like the look of pinhole photography with film, but you won’t be able to review your exposure in the field. A Black Cat Exposure Guide can be very useful here: it has f-stops to f/1024. We’d recommend color-negative film (used by Andrew Watson for this beach scene) as it has great latitude and can tolerate a lot of overexposure.
beachscene
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

beachscene

Once you procure a pinhole camera (whether you buy one, build one, or make an accessory for your DSLR), shooting pinhole is just a matter of finding the right subject and figuring exposure. Photo: Andrew Watson

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What would happen if you printed every Instagram photo for a year?

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.

What would happen if you printed every Instagram photo for a year?
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

What would happen if you printed every Instagram photo for a year?

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Flickr Park or Bird Site

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.

Flickr Park or Bird Site
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Flickr Bird or Park Site

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The Intrepid Camera Co. wants to make a 4x5 that you can easily take on any adventure

"Compact" and "Affordable" are not typiclaly words that are associated with large format photography. A new Kickstarter from the guys at Intrepid Camera Co. wants to change that.

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.

intrepid
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

intrepid

The Intrepid Camera is a lightweight, affordable 4x5.

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Coco Rocha Model Study of Pose

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.

From: Dexigner

Coco Rocha Model Study of Pose
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Coco Rocha Study of Pose

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Fall Portrait Photography Tips

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.

Start Simple

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.

Fall Portrait Photography Tips
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

Fall Portrait Photography Tips

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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.

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?

New iMac
Photo by: Popular Photography Magazine Editor

New iMac

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