Photofocus partner MPB.com is a great place to sell and buy used photographic equipment. Check out their clearance specials this week! Deals Here are links to the gear shown above: Nikkor AF-S 500mm f/4.0 G ED VR Canon EF 500mm f/4.0 L IS USM Canon Cinema EOS C500 4K EF … [Read more...] about MPB Clearance Specials ~ Week of December 11, 2017
While it might not officially be the winter season yet, it's still a great time to start preparing for when the sub-zero degree temperatures hit. As photographers, it's of the utmost importance to keep our gear safe and secure in the colder temperatures, not to mention ourselves. Having grown up in Northern Michigan, I know what the frozen tundra feels like. And despite having moved a few hours south, I still know how winter can take its toll on my love of photography. A few years ago I invested in a few pieces of gear that I know consider … [Read more...] about Cold Weather Photography Essentials
Nature is extraordinarily complex and beautiful. It is easy to forget in our modern world just how powerful its forces are. Being a nature photographer presents constant, humbling reminders of this fact! A large part of what drives me is wanting to experience every facet of nature, then create and share images of these forces at work. In doing so, I am often going into potentially dangerous situations for me and my gear. In my part of the world, wildfires are a necessity to the health of our ecosystems. But, they are, to put it bluntly, … [Read more...] about Photographing a Dangerous and Extreme Force of Nature, Wildfires!
As I start to travel more, I look more and more at small gear options, specifically surrounding lighting. One of my must-haves has been a portable softbox that would be quick and simple to setup, and give me satisfactory results. The Vello Octa Softbox for Portable Flash (Large, 12") is a decent option but falls a bit short in some areas. Setting Up The Vello Octa Softbox is pretty much what I expected — a 12" collapsible softbox that attaches to any flash with velcro. While it fit my Nissin i700a flash, it was somewhat cumbersome to put … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vello Octa Softbox for Portable Flash (Large, 12″)
You know we love Platypod, and right now is the best time to buy one and try it for yourself. The Black Friday deal is a free Multi Accessory Kit, which I use every time I go out shooting. It’s good for a few days, but hurry and order for quick delivery. You’re going to love it. I love the 36” strap—it’s perfect for most applications like strapping to a tree or telephone pole or bridge railing. The spigot adapter is great for using a light on the Platypod. I use the silicone pad to keep Platypod in place on delicate surfaces (and I use … [Read more...] about Remember the Platypod!
Actually, it's really Black Wednesday! Today through Monday, November 27, 2017, save big on the following used items from MPB.com. Click any photo to go to its deal page. A full list of the deals is at the end of this post. Quantities are limited so click early and save! Limited Quantities--Click early to get the gear $400 off Blackmagic URSA V1 $50 off Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lenses $75 off Canon EOS 70D bodies $75 off Fujifilm X-T1 bodies$500 off GoPro Omni Kit $200 off Nikon AF-S 12-24mm f/4G … [Read more...] about Black Friday Specials from MPB
Go out into the great outdoors. Find a place that animals like to hang out when people aren't around. Set up your camera to automatically take a photo of them when they do show up. Leave it there. Come back tomorrow to see if you got any shots. Repeat it all over again until you get the awesome shots you want of those shy, hard to photograph animals. Welcome to Remote Camera Traps! In previous articles, I've shared the different ways I've used Platypods in my photography. Possibly one of the best uses I have found is in helping set up a … [Read more...] about Get Ready to Remote, Part 1: Simple Camera Traps For Wildlife
Panasonic announced a new micro four-thirds camera last week, the Lumix G9. It is intended to be a terrific stills camera, a perfect companion to the GH5. I'm a Lumix Luminary and I got to spend a little time with the prototype camera in my hands last week. I like it very much. It feels terrific in the hand with a deep finger grip and it's lighter than the GH5. The viewfinder is wonderfully large. I'm pretty excited about this camera. The thing is, the only thing that really matters in a new camera is image quality: does it make my pictures … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Samples From Lumix G9
On first glance, the Vanguard Veo 2 235AB Tripod is what you'd expect — a lightweight, aluminum tripod. But once you get down to the details, it's much more than that, providing a secure connection that can keep your camera stable even in the windiest of conditions. Travel Tripod, & So Much More I'd call the 235AB version of the Veo 2 a travel tripod(there are larger, heavier versions, like the 265AB), but it has some great features that will make this your primary tripod, too. It has five leg sections, each available through a … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vanguard Veo 2 235AB Tripod
Photofocus partner MPB.com is a great place to sell and buy used photographic equipment. Check out their clearance specials this week! Deals Here are links to the gear shown above: Canon 5DSr body Nikon D4s body Fuji XT-1 Graphite Edition body DJI Phantom 4 … [Read more...] about MPB.COM Used Gear Specials ~ Week of November 13, 2017
Apple has put a huge emphasis on photography in the iPhone X. Behind its $999 price tag comes a 12-megapixel camera, making it a great alternative to your heavy photography kit. The Specs The iPhone X features a 12-megapixel camera with two lenses — a wide-angle f/1.8 lens and a telephoto f/2.4 lens. These feature an optical zoom, as well as a digital zoom of up to 10x for photos, and 6x for videos. Both lenses also feature dual optical image stabilization (OIS). Apple also boasts that the camera has a image signal processor, which … [Read more...] about iPhone X Introduces a Plethora of New Photography Features
I like to travel light. I have a mirrorless camera, the Fuji X-T2, and very small prime lenses. My preference is to keep the camera strap around my shoulder and to put an extra lens and some batteries in my purse or fanny-pack as I leave my hotel for a day of sightseeing. When the need arises, depending on what I plan to photograph, I will carry a tripod and possibly a backpack filled with camera gear. When I carry a backpack I think about ways to lessen the load. On The Road Like many of you, I have read the Platypod Reviews on Photofocus. … [Read more...] about The Traveling Photographer: Platypod, An Essential Tool
Studio flags are similar to a 5-in-one round reflector with the except they are easier to mount to a c-stand. Here’s how to use the Flag’s built-in pin to attach to the knuckle of an extension arm which is attached to a c-stand. Why use studio flags? Studio flags--such as the Digital Juice Pro Flag Kit--are great for modifying light. You can use them to diffuse light, bounce light and even block light. Studio flags differ from a 5-in-one round reflector simply by how they attach to a c-stand. They come with a pin that slips into a knuckle … [Read more...] about Studio Tip: Attaching a Flag to an Extension Arm
An Adventure in Venice, Italy for Carnival Bobbi Lane and I had the great fortune to shoot with a prototype GFX 50S on our tour of Venice Carnival 2017 this past February. Needless to say, we were extremely excited to put the camera to use in the incredible magical dreamlike environment that is Venice during Carnival. Certainly, the whole internet is a buzz with interest for the coming release of the camera, which Imaging Resource said has "The best lab images we've ever seen." The Fujifilm GFX pairs a mirrorless design with a high-res … [Read more...] about Fujifilm GFX – Medium Format Gets Real
Adjusting a heavy light attached to a c-stand doesn’t have to acquire a lot of strength. Here’s a simple tip to help you move the light up or down without much effort. Stand on the Longest Leg This is a very short and simple tip. When lowering or raising a light on a c-stand, place one foot on the longest leg of the c-stand. This will give you leverage to raise the light and prevent it from falling over. This will also work with conventional lights stands by lightly standing on the bar of the front leg. (Editor's Note: C-Stands made by … [Read more...] about Studio Tip: How to Adjust a Light on a C-Stand
Olympus have announced three pro-level lenses, and they all boast a wide aperture of f/1.2. Let's take a brief look at each and check out sample pictures from Olympus Visionary Tracie Maglosky. M.Zuiko ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro This new 45mm f/1.2 lens is the most interesting to me. As a medium telephoto length, it should be terrific for portraits and landscapes. It focuses closer than 16 inches, so it's a respectable close-up lens, as well. The very wide f/1.2 aperture is attractive for both low light performance and soft bokeh in the backgrounds of … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Olympus’s New f/1.2 Pro Lenses
A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a photo I selected for Photographer of the Day. It was of a skateboarder at a skate park, doing some tricks. Needless to say, I was inspired. I really had never tried to capture skateboarding in action, but I knew that with a few extra tools, I could do so in a unique and different way. Enter the Platypod Max and MagMod system. I had recently purchased a complete MagMod set, and was really excited to try out some of the less-traditional tools for lighting a scene. I talked to a local photographer friend, … [Read more...] about Skating The Ramps With Platypod Max And MagMod
Using a low power fan to create a windblown look doesn't get the job done and a large more powerful fan is bulky plus gets in the shot. Here’s how to use the small but very powerful Blowit Fan to create a killer windblown look. Aim at the subject’s chest The secret to creating the windblown effect is lifting the hair from the bottom. Aiming the fan at the chest pushes the bottom part of the hair back producing a pleasing look. Start with a low setting and add more power until the hair is flowing the way you want. If you need to, move the fan … [Read more...] about Studio Tips: Using the Powerful Blowit Fan for Windblown Hair
As I was relaxing, enjoying a nice meal with a friend, out of the blue he asked: “Would you really buy a Platypod?” Nipping any chances of a debate, I gave him five examples of times when I needed my Platypod but didn’t have it with me. Here’s why I answered “Yes!” What Is a Platypod? A Platypod is a versatile and compact base ideal for supporting cameras to capture below-angle shots and for situations where traditional tripods are cumbersome or impractical. It's also a great tool for studio use. You can use it to hang a hair light or hide a … [Read more...] about Would You Really Buy A Platypod?
When I used to shoot with my full frame Nikon cameras, I would often have issues with my zoom lens grips coming loose. And I've talked to several photographers with the same problem. Back then, I used to send in my lenses for repair, wait a few days, and they'd come back looking like new. If that had happened now, though, I would have a much simpler solution — use a band.it. Seemingly enough, this is exactly why band.its were created in the first place. Instead of dealing with shipping and waiting for a week without a lens, you could … [Read more...] about band.it Solves a Common Problem for Photographers
A lightweight travel tripod is a handy piece of equipment for every photographer to have in their gear collection. There are times where larger, heavier, "workhorse" tripods are not the right tool for the job, or places where they are too cumbersome to transport and use. On the lookout for a new one, a few months ago I got my hands on the Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and BE-113T Ball Head. After unpacking it my first thought was "Wow, this thing is light, I'm going to break it." But, half a year later with pretty … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod and BE-113T Ball Head
How many times have you pushed the shutter release on your camera, to take that perfect photograph, only to find your battery is dead and you don’t have another. Let’s face it, as photographers we are only as good as the battery power on hand. Battery power can be challenging at times, when traveling. Lots of batteries mean lots of extra weight. Battery chargers take up precious space in your suitcase. Many hotel rooms don't provide enough working electrical outlets to charge all of your devices at the same time. If you are in the wilderness … [Read more...] about The Traveling Photographer: Powering Up!
The very first lighting tool I ever bought was a Manfrotto Justin Clamp because Joe McNally highly recommended it in his books. I loved it and I've used it all around the world. It's small and light and can place a flash just about anywhere. However, it had some flaws--the rubber pads on the clamp melted off in the sun and the cold shoe couldn't hold all types of speedlights securely. Well, this version of the Justin Clamp made by Impact answers all of the flaws my old one had. The only issue I found is the knob to tighten the ball head is … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Impact Large Clip Clamp with Ball Head Shoe Mount (a.k.a., Justin Clamp)
Sized like a GoPro, the new Google Clips camera seems to be aimed at the family rather than the adrenaline junkie. This new camera's biggest unique selling point is the continual use of artificial intelligence to automatically record motion photos of the people you point it at. The advertising page shows it being used to record family events. It says it recognizes not only people's faces, and not only specific people's faces, and not only when they are facing the camera, but it even recognizes when they have a "good" expression. I'm not sure … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: New Camera–Google Clips
I travel more than most people, and I've used all kinds of bags to help me carry my camera gear from hard cases to shoulder bags to sling bags and messenger bags and backpacks. It doesn't take long to realize that standing in lines with a bag full of gear on your shoulders is miserable. I highly recommend a rolling bag, and this Alta Fly 49T is a good one. Remarkably, it's large enough for all kinds of gear and a laptop, but it still fits in the overhead compartment of Delta's smallest planes. I use it when I travel, but also just around town … [Read more...] about Gear Reveiw: Vanguard’s Alta Fly 49T
I got a chance to spend two days shooting with the new Sony a9 last week and I used it under all manner of conditions from shooting landscapes to portraits to macro to street photography. Let me share with you a bunch of pictures and my first impressions, and then links for the GH5 firmware update that dropped this week. I was using exclusively Lensbaby lenses, and especially the brand new Velvet 85, Sweet 80, and Twist 60. Any of the focus effects are a result of those lenses, not the a9. Overall It's a pretty good camera. The last time I … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Sony a9 First Impressions & Lumix GH5 Firmware Released
Many DSLR's have a Quiet Mode. One way this is done is by separating the sound of the shutter from the slap of the mirror. When you press the shutter button the mirror flips up and the shutter is fired, exposing the image. But then the mirror doesn't flip down until you remove your finger from the shutter button. This works surprisingly well to make your camera not sound like a camera and it's far less distracting in quiet situations--I've even photographed live ballet performances this way without ruining the show. Silent Mode Trumps Quiet … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: Take Advantage Of Silent Shutter
Ever since my switch to the Panasonic Lumix GH5, I've been on the lookout for a good messenger bag I can take on photowalks, or when traveling. While I have Vanguard's Heralder 38 messenger bag, I find that it's often too big for what I need. Enter the Vanguard Veo Discover 38 Messenger Bag, an offering with a slimmer profile than my Heralder 38, but still with the capacity to hold my camera body and a few lenses. Appearance One thing that drew me in immediately was the appearance of the bag. It's dark slate gray on the outside, and … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vanguard Veo Discover 38 Messenger Bag
Oftentimes, when I’m at a large event, I can’t carry my bag full of gear around with me. So when I had the chance to try the Vello Rapid Lens Changer for my Nikon, I was excited to see if I could still take all the gear necessary, without having to make arrangements to switch out lenses when necessary. The Vello Rapid Lens Changer is basically a mount for your lenses, and it comes with a strap that you can wear as a sling or on the shoulder. It comes in three versions — Nikon, Canon and Sony E mounts. In my tests, attaching the lenses … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vello Rapid Lens Changer
Panasonic have announced a new firmware version for the GH5, and it's got lots of bug fixes and plenty of new features. They say this will be available at the end of September, and it'll be a free update. I like that they're adding features and not charging for them. The complete list of features is copied below, but here are the features I'm personally excited about from a photography point of view--cinematographers may be excitred about different things. I realize this is two columns in a row on the GH5, but I promise next week will be … [Read more...] about Mirrorless Camera Maniac: GH5 Firmware 2.0 Announced & Digested