A few weeks ago, I rented a Sony A7s Mark II camera from LensRentals.com for a trip to a few Southern California beaches. After using the camera for about 2 weeks, one of my absolute favorite features of the Sony a7 series cameras is the inclusion of a micro-USB port. Packing so much performance into a small body can really be a draw on the batteries, and Sony's little batteries are some of the worst on the market. Luckily, you can power the camera externally using the micro-USB port on the side of a camera. Now you may be thinking, how am I … [Read more...] about External Power for Sony A7 Series Cameras
Oh Platypod, I’m not going to lie. I love my platypods. I received their original version last year and it quickly replaced using a tripod 90% of the time. Yes, 90%. I still needed a tripod if I wanted my camera up higher or using heaver lenses and extra gear. Welcome Platypod Pro Max When Platypod announced they were making a bigger version of the original called the Platypod Pro Max I was over the moon with getting one into my hands. The biggest reason is I do a lot of night sky and time-lapse photos in which I like using my Atomos Ninja … [Read more...] about Field Review: The Platypod Pro Max
There are very few additions that you can make to your camera bag that spur your creativity as much as a Lensbaby lens does. I’ve bought my first Lensbaby for my full frame DSLR in 2006. Today, 10 years later I still enjoy using my (latest version for APS-C Fuji X-Mount) Lensbaby Composer Pro Sweet 35 lens. But the lens has really grown up compared to the early version from 2006. Instead of the flexible rubber tube that you had to manually turn and hold in place with your fingers, the new versions come with a flexible stepless locking … [Read more...] about Get creative with this lens – My quick Lensbaby Composer Pro review
In this video, Photofocus Publisher Rich Harrington and Author Levi Sim show you multiple strategies for manually focussing a camera. They'll walk you through options like zooming on live view, focus peaking, and more. Plus you'll learn how to get proper exposure when shooting in manual mode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWVlvAAsPs0&feature=youtu.be Want to win a Lensbaby Velvet 56? Check out our latest contest. … [Read more...] about How to Manually Focus a Lens
On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Marco returned from an assignment to Oslo and Copenhagen and instead of using train & plane, he traveled by cruise ship and shared a short photo essay that he captured with mirorless cameras. Leica launched the M-D (Type 262) digital rangefinder camera with no rear LCD screen. Scott and Marco discuss the pros and cons of the concept of this camera. Sony is one of the biggest image sensor manufacturers … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast May 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
Photographers buy hard drives in external enclosures to keep up with the data they create with digital cameras and post-production software. When one fills up, another drive along with an enclosure is purchased. Before too long, there are several individual drives on the desk, each in its own enclosure. There has to be a more efficient way. Thanks to Drobo there is. Before I explain, there's some background info. Drobo or JBOD? JBOD is an acronym for Just A Bunch of Discs. This is where all photographers, myself included, start. It makes … [Read more...] about Cost: Drobo v/s Individual Drives
This morning I woke up and had to share this with you right away. If you love photography more than you love good food then you're going to love this. There's a FREE 3-part photography training series that starts today, May24th, 2016 and ends the day after Labor Day. It's not every day we get to learn something valuable and free without putting in a lot of time and effort. I've personally been to five different seminars and workshops this year already and for each one, I had to fly, stay in a hotel, and eat out for every meal. The FREE … [Read more...] about Do you love photography more than good food?
I have had a little more time shooting with the new Canon 1DX MK II since my first look post. I really want to focus on the whole experience of shooting with this camera. Most camera reviews get down to pixel peeping which is why I write so few “reviews.” The expectations when you say REVIEW are different so I will call this the EXPERIENCE. I will also just offer some random tidbits because I still need more time to fully evaluate the camera and I need to use it in more real world bird photography situations to really grasp it’s full … [Read more...] about More Thoughts On Canon’s New Flagship DSLR – the 1DX MK II
I found my copy of Canon's EF 20-35mm F/2.8 on eBay of all places, and while I don't typically sell on eBay, I'll buy like no other. People are worried about scams and not receiving items as described, but in my experience of buying upward towards 500 expensive items, I've only had issues with only about 5 items, all of which eBay's buyer protection had back. I've bought lenses, computers, cameras and all sorts of random things for photography (often finding that some stores like Adorama, Newegg and Best Buy, exist), as well as other household … [Read more...] about Using eBay to find deals on lenses
A few weeks ago Photofocus founder Scott Bourne paid me a surprise visit. He made Viera Wetlands -- a popular site for birders, photographers, and eco-tourists-- one of his stops in Florida to capture some amazing bird photos. Not being a bird photographer, I wan't sure if I could keep up but Scott was a generous teacher and all of us on the shoot got good images. Not knowing much about the wetlands, I called my good friend Michael Tapes --inventor of LensAlign for advice. Michael is also a bird photographer. I asked him if he could take us … [Read more...] about Scott Bourne talks with Michael Tapes on how to get Sharper Images
On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Scott found some info that Canon may actually step up their game in the mirrorles segment. Marco gives a fairly thorough hands on review of the new Fujifilm X70 compact camera that he has been working with for a month now. He shares a lot of hands on experiences about what worked well and what does not work so well. And Marco gives some solid firmware improvement wishes that the Fujifilm marketing and product … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast April 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
This weeks Photofocus Podcast for the Photofocus InFocus Interview Series. This show Pamela sits down with Commercial Photographer Clay Cook as he discusses his path to photography and how working non profit has changed both his professional personal life. Then we find Chamira who interviews Ryan Grove from 17hats with inspiration on how creative professionals can find a balance in doing the business side while still having that passion and love for what brought you in the world of creativity in the first … [Read more...] about InFocus Interview Show April 21st, 2016
I've been working from the road for the past several weeks, only stopping home to repack my bags and maybe sleep for a night. One of the ways I stay sane when flying so much is using Bose QC25 noise-cancelling headphones. While being able to catch up on work (or sleep) in peace on the plane, the headphones come with a downside…they need a AAA battery to power the noise cancelling. But they work for about 35 hours on a single AAA battery. Last week, I was boarding an early-morning flight to Atlanta. When I got to my seat, I put on my Bose … [Read more...] about I Didn’t Bring a Backup
Back in October during PhotoPlus Expo I had the pleasure of meeting the founders of a new Bag Company that had just been funded on Kickstarter, WANDRD. The two adventurous brothers were displaying a prototype bag called the PRVKE (Provoke), and it caught my interest pretty freaking quick. At the time I had been coming from several months on the road traveling and shooting, and getting pretty frustrated with my bag selection. Albeit huge, I was still lacking in that perfect travel kit bag that fit all my gear, felt comfortable, and looked better … [Read more...] about PRVKE Bag by WANDRD – A Stylish and Functional Adventurer Bag!
If you're looking for more control when shooting, consider tethering. Connecting a computer to your DSLR camera opens up a brand-new world of opportunities in image making. The images can then download for review on a bigger screen or for sharing with clients. You can gain greater control over your in-camera adjustments and get a more accurate picture of your lighting and setup. Here's a quick overview of the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPYJQzeO0UQ The folks over at TeetherTools have also put together a free ebook to help … [Read more...] about Free Guide on Tethering
Think Tank Photo has just announced the release of their latest product, the Production Manager 50, a gigantic roller case designed to hold an immense amount of gear, including lighting equipment and large light modifiers. This case will allow a single photographer to transport what it used to take up to two assistants to move! Its size, in case you were wondering, is impressive; Exterior Dimensions: 17.3” W x 53.1” H x 12.6” D (44 x 135 x 32 cm), Interior Dimensions: 15.6” W x 49.2” H x 10” D (39.5 x 125 x 25 cm), and its Weight: 20.7 – 29.8 … [Read more...] about Think Tank Has Released The Largest Rolling Photography Case Ever!
I’m a snob about lighting, which means I won’t make a picture if the light isn’t good enough. When I have the opportunity to influence the light on my subjects, the one tool I use most frequently is the diffuser, or scrim, from my 5-in-1 reflector kit. It’s extremely inexpensive, and does a fine job of softening and redirecting the light on my subjects. What’s It Do? A diffuser makes a small light into a big light and that makes it softer and more flattering for every subject. The sun is a tiny little light in the sky, but when it shines … [Read more...] about One Must Have Lighting Tool: Diffuser
I always like when my tools get a power boost. Kudos to Panasonic which just released two pretty amazing features for the Panasonic DMC-GH4. The company dropped a brand new update to the camera's firmware taking it to version 2.5. Here's what's new... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJjvEe6VbM0 Post Focus Post Focus is a technology that allows you to adjust which point is in-focus point after shooting. This technology was first seen on Lytro cameras, but Panasonic has taken it to the next level by allowing cameras to actual refine … [Read more...] about Own a Panasonic GH4? It’s Time For a Major Upgrade
That’s right…March 31st is World Backup Day! The stories and memories we capture through images are priceless, but they may not last forever without a solid backup plan. On World Backup Day, make sure that you’re precious files are backed up safe and sound. What should I Check Make sure your backup drives are all booting up and spinning Check that there is enough space to continue backing up, or look into getting a larger hard drive If your system has an automated backup, check and make sure it's completing it's backup without … [Read more...] about March 31st is World Backup Day
https://soundcloud.com/photofocus/the-mirrorless-show-photofocus-podcast-march-28-2016 On this episode of the Photofocus #Mirrorless Show Scott and Marco will discuss these new products and mirrorless topics: Marco takes a closer look at the partially overlooked Fujifilm X70 compact camera. Does it offer more camera than you may think? Scott shares his first hand experiences from WPPI camera show in Las Vegas. He played with the new Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f4-6.3 lens, the new Sigma sd Quattro H, the Leica SL with the … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast March 28, 2016 — Mirrorless with Scott Bourne & Marco Larousse
What's the number one feature I look for in a camera bag? Lots of pockets? Strong zippers? Nope. When I choose a camera bag I want it to be easy to find my stuff. That's why I look for a light interior. If your bag has a bright colored or light liner, it's often easier to find your stuff. That's why many companies use bright yellow or tan interiors. This will make it a lot easier to locate a black camera body or lens. It also means you can rummage around on a night shoot and not struggle so much. Here's two bonus tips. First add an … [Read more...] about Shopping for a New Camera Bag? Be Sure to Look for this Feature
In what certainly counts as the least surprising Apple keynote in recent years, the company teased two new products on Monday that shrink existing products: a new 4-inch iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. While the phone is aimed squarely at new customers, the iPad seems to answer many of the complaints existing Apple devotees had of their massive 12-inch iPad Pro which hit the streets six months ago. The new more svelte iPad Pro packs almost all of the processing punch of it's bigger sibling into the more hand-friendly 9.7-inch form factor 200 … [Read more...] about There’s a New, Smaller iPad Pro. Should You Care?
When shooting a portrait or head shot outdoors or inside a studio, I always use a reflector or bounce card to add some sparkle to the subject. This is Emily, I first shot her without any reflected light indoors in my studio. Now, I will add some reflected light directly below her and just out of the bottom frame. Notice Garrett is holding the reflector. Some photographers will ask the talent to just hold the reflector because they have no one to assist them. Get a stand or something, never ask your subject to hold the reflector on … [Read more...] about Reflected Beauty
I’m heading out to the east coast of Florida to photograph wading birds and if I am lucky a few raptors. It’s a fairly long trip with lots of things on my to-do list. I could write a post about gear checklists, and travel arrangements, but I’d rather cover something else. When I am about to go on a big photo trip I try to develop what I call a constraints checklist. What are my goals for the trip? What photographs do I hope to bring back? What subjects or locations or conditions am I in search of? What places or gear or subjects can I skip … [Read more...] about Preparing For That Next Big Photo Trip – Constraints
I often see photographers misusing an important piece of gear, and it's one of the simplest tools in your bag. Many lenses come with a lens hood, and right now I'll show you why you have it and why you should be using it. What's It Do? The lens hood is intended to keep the sun from shining into the front of your lens, and ruining your pictures. Not that it'll keep the sun from shining in if you point it at the sun, but it keeps the sun from shining across the front of the lens and reducing contrast. These two pictures are taken straight … [Read more...] about The 411 on Lens Hoods
I often say that a tripod is the only bit of kit you can buy that will actually make your pictures better. Well, I spent some time maintaining mine, today and thought you might benefit from my experience. Let's talk about why your tripod needs maintenance, some tools you'll probably need, and we'll get to the Zen part at the bottom. Maintenance...? Like cars, or bicycles, or doors in your house, tripods just need some tender loving care every now and again. There are moving parts that need lubrication, and if you use your tripod half as … [Read more...] about Zen and the Art of Tripod Maintenance
You gotta join us live for our next Google+ Hangout, totally free of charge. Not only will you learn terrific techniques, but if you tune in live, you can be entered to win excellent prizes to help you in your work. (Note: MUST BE TUNED IN LIVE TO WIN). We'll be giving away a copy of Perfectly Clear from Athentech. Plus you never know what else. We kick off Monday 3/21 at 2:00 pm Eastern, 1:00 pm Central, 12:00 pm Mountain, and 11:00 am Pacific. 3:30 pm in Newfoundland. RSVP here and it'll show your local time. This Month: Practice … [Read more...] about Lightroom Hangout: Practice Makes Perfect with Pete Collins
Here's a great tip I got from watching some grips quickly change gels on some frames. In the past, when you removed an old gel or diffusion material you always had the mess of the sticky material. Either the 2-sided tape, or the foam stuff from 3M double stick, which ever material was used it was a challenge. I was observing some grips used the following technique and it was fast. This is a standard 18"x24" frame. The first thing you want to do is apply Blue Painters Tape around the entire frame. Here you can see I'm using 1" … [Read more...] about Getting Taped Up
In my previous post, Light Stand Basics Part 1, I gave you some safety tips and jargon to get you started working with light stands. A light stand is one of the only things you can buy that will actually make your photography better. Getting consistent results from your light requires keeping it the same distance from your subject from shot to shot, and even my best assistants can't keep the light in place for more than a few minutes without tiring. Use a light stand to make better pictures. There are many stands to choose from and they vary … [Read more...] about Light Stand Basics Part 2
After a camera and a tripod, a light stand is the one piece of equipment I use more than anything else. For a long time (too long) I used assistants (like my wife) to hold lights and reflectors for portraits and product photography. Once I started using light stands, I had much better results because the light wouldn't change from shot to shot. I was able to work with my subjects to acheive more subtlety because I could trust that there face was the only variable, as in the photograph above. I highly recommend you use light stands, so I'll show … [Read more...] about Light Stand Basics Part 1