I'll be honest — I have a ton of camera bags. All different sizes for all different purposes. I've got three shoulder bags, three backpacks and one roller bag. But recently, one bag fit the bill so much that I was able to cut the amount of bags I use in half! The Vanguard Alta Access 33X is my new event photography bag. I received it as a review unit, and was happy to see it fit all my lenses, my Nissin speedlight, MagMod MagBounce and both of my Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II camera bodies. And while it does a great job of holding all my … [Read more...] about Vanguard Alta Access 33X the perfect companion for event shooters
When I purchased my first DSLR — a Nikon D5100 — it came with a kit lens. It was 18-55mm and had a variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6. While the focal range was fairly common and a great starter, the limits of variable aperture soon became noticeable. So what is the difference between a fixed and a variable aperture in a zoom lens? Variable aperture lenses Lenses with variable apertures mean that the aperture changes based on your focal length. On my 18-55mm lens, I could achieve a f/3.5 aperture when zoomed all the way out to 18mm. When I … [Read more...] about Photography 101: The difference between fixed and variable aperture
When I first started photography, I didn’t take my buddy’s advice — invest in a better quality lens before upgrading your camera. It was a mistake I never made again. So when it came time to decide if I need a prime lens in my bag, I called on his advice again. Instead of telling me what to do, he explained the difference between a prime and zoom lens plus the benefits of each for me to make my own decision. Here’s how I used his advice many years ago when deciding which portrait lens was best for me. Understanding prime and zoom lenses A … [Read more...] about Should I get a prime or zoom lens?
After you use a memory card, place it into the memory card case backward. Backward?....yes backward with the back of the card showing. This way you know the card is important and should not be used or formatted. Want to learn more? Check out this article, “A Quick tip to avoid formatting the wrong memory card” … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Place the memory card backward in your memory card case to avoid formatting the wrong card
Some images are captured, while others are created. That is, for some scenes, nature does the heavy lifting with the lighting and what is required of the photographer is to have the technical know-how to capture the moment. Other times, digging deeper into the photographic bag of tricks may be necessary to "build" an image up, step by step. On a beautiful sunny afternoon on the Snaefellsnes peninsula of Iceland a few years ago, I had to work through my fund of photographic knowledge to optimize the limited time we had there. Mount … [Read more...] about Anatomy of an image (Iceland)
I was recently sent the Pelican MPB35 mobile protect backpack and guys it’s a keeper! First, let me say this, it is not a photography backpack. It’s not fully protected and doesn’t have a lot of compartments or dividers that we usually like when it comes to holding our gear. With that being said, it is a fantastic backpack and might I say... diaper bag? Yes, you heard that right, diaper bag. I am a mom to two biological kids and also a foster parent, so at any given time I could have 3-5 kids with me in a variety of ages. Life becomes very … [Read more...] about Pelican MPB35 provides space for mom essentials, camera gear and then some
Okay, so here's the deal. You know that little lock switch on the side of the SD card? The one that you move to lock the card from being written on? Well, it works. It works really well. Almost too well on some occasions — like when that little lock switch becomes loose or even worse, missing! My wonderful Lexar Professional 64GB UHS-II 2000x Gold card ended up having one that was loose. Every time I plugged it into my Fujifilm X-T2, no matter how carefully I placed it in there with the card unlocked, the switch would slide to lock! It … [Read more...] about I just saved this $100 SD card from being unusable
Now that the cat is out of the bag and I've had a chance to reflect on Nikon's mirrorless system announcement, here a few initial thoughts. It is still roughly a month away from the Z 7 being released, which Nikon is putting up against Sony's flagship A7R III. Has Nikon come up with a complete game-changer? Or is the Z 7 just another mirrorless camera in the market? Here's an initial closer look... Key specs The Z 7 is a 45.7-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera. It's capable of shooting up to 9 fps stills and 4K video at 30p. The Z 7 has … [Read more...] about First Look: The new Nikon Z 7 mirrorless camera
Full-frame 35mm cameras. Medium-format cameras. Micro four-thirds cameras. These are formats. There are only two types of digital cameras themselves — Single Lens Reflex and Mirrorless. The evolution of cameras has evolved over the past 100 years, and we're about to enter a new generation, with Nikon and Canon both getting ready to reveal full-frame mirrorless camera systems. While the mirrorless system has been around for 14 years, it has only recently started taking off. The first mirrorless camera was made by a company which is more … [Read more...] about The age of the mirrorless camera starts now
Our friends at B&H Photo sent me Tamron’s SP70-200mm F/2.8 G2 (Model A025) telephoto lens to see how it performs at a major league sporting event. I kept my Nikon 70-200mm on hand, just in case. At the end of the first quarter, my trusty Nikon lens stayed in my bag! What I liked about it Focus speed The autofocus is fast. I mean really fast. I had no problem keeping up with the fastest sport on two feet, major league lacrosse. Tamron uses an Ultrasonic Silent Drive (USD) ring-type motor, along with two high-performance microcomputers to … [Read more...] about Tamron’s 70-200mm lens — is it ready for major league sports?
A silver and white reflector adds light to a scene whereas a black reflector — or fabric— absorbs light. This will give an illusion that light is being taken away from a scene. Known as negative fill, it will produce a dramatic effect especially when converting the image to black and white. Want to learn more? Check out this article, “How I Got the Shot | Negative Fill” … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use a black reflector to absorb light for a dramatic effect
You just got a fancy new camera, with a shiny kit lens that, for the most part, has served you well in your beginning everyday adventures. Now you want to take your photography to the next level, whether it's getting a farther reach and being able to capture that dream-like bokeh that you hear everyone talking about or obtaining a more encompassing view. So, what's the next lens you should buy? There are a few different ways to go about answering the question, but the answer comes back to one question that you have to answer yourself — … [Read more...] about Photography 101: Which lens should you buy first?
When you're shooting on-location, it can sometimes be challenging to control the light and shadows in a scene. At a recent food shoot, I used a white card to help to brighten the shadows that were visible around the pizza, pepperoni tomatoes and basil. You can pick one up really cheap — I got this 28x40" tri-fold one card from Walmart for just $7.97. The difference is subtle, but you'll see elements of your photograph pop more and you'll have less dark areas in your image. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Use a white card to brighten shadows
There's an old saying — you get what you pay for. And the same rings true when it comes to camera gear. While the big industry leaders like B&H, Hunt's, Adorama and others are authorized dealers. Their gear comes from distributors who get the goods directly from the manufacturer overseas. These distributors offer reliable, reputable service that you can count on. But what do you lose when you buy cheap, whether it be new or used gear? Understanding grey market retailers While B&H, Hunt's, Adorama and your local camera store will offer … [Read more...] about Cheap gear doesn’t always mean good gear
If you ever leave your house and spend time away, then this battery may be a good option for you. The PowerElf from iForway is sleek and compact but offers a significant amount of electricity and several good options for charging. I've been using it on a three-week trip. I charged it before I left and used it for phone charges, camera battery charges, and even topping off my laptop and it's still got juice in it. PowerElf features The PowerElf has two USB ports for phones and tablets and whatever else charges off USB. Many cameras' battery … [Read more...] about Gear Review: iForway PowerElf Portable Power Station
I see online over and over again about memory cards failing. Here's a quick tip — instead of deleting photos from your memory card, format your memory card after each time you put it into your computer. Doing so will cause the memory card to do a soft sort of "reset," and in addition to deleting your images, it'll make sure it's in tip-top shape for your camera. Want to read more? Check out more in the article, "Avoiding Memory Card Chaos" … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Avoid memory card headaches by formatting after every shoot
Medium Format digital cameras have sensors that are significantly larger than full frame DSLR's. That also means the lenses are larger and the price tag is usually much larger, as well. Hasselblad has long been one of the top manufacturers of medium format cameras, and this series of videos compares medium format with full frame. The videos are produced by Hasselblad, so I'm sure you can guess which one ends up being better, but they give a fair insight into some of the advantages of medium format. Hasselblad, Fuji, PhaseOne and Pentax … [Read more...] about Medium format vs. full frame
The very first thing I do when I get a new camera (after I enter the mandatory date/time information and my copyright, of course) is to adjust the diopter, that little wheel that you can turn next to your viewfinder. This lets you customize the sharpness of what you see through the viewfinder for your eyes. While it's especially handy for people who wear glasses or contacts, adjusting your diopter is something everyone should do, as it will help you optimize what you see through the viewfinder. Achieving the best results When you think about … [Read more...] about Adjusting your diopter for optimal performance
I've always been a fan of pistol grip heads on tripods. While somewhat bulky, they provide a great sense of control and are very easy to use. The Vanguard Alta Pro 2 263AGH is Vanguard's latest offering into the pistol grip market, and I must say I'm quite impressed. I received the 263AGH for review by Vanguard, and have been using it for a few weeks now. And out of any tripod I've tested out, this is the one that's going to consistently stay with me. I find it to be the most secure and easy-to-use tripod I've tested. Pistol grip ball … [Read more...] about Vanguard Alta Pro 2 263AGH provides ultimate flexibility and control in a tripod
When we look at the basic principles of photography, one of the key elements has to do with focal length. When describing a lens, this is the first thing that comes to mind and what it is is a bit of a mystery. This article describes what focal length does. Focal length affects your angle of view and determines how much or little of a scene will be captured. As you zoom in, your angle of view decreases. The subject becomes magnified. Likewise, as you zoom out, more of a scene will be captured, and objects decrease in apparent size. Simply … [Read more...] about Photography 101: Why Focal Length Matters
Mother Nature doesn't always play in our favor. Being in Michigan, I've dealt with all the different elements there are. Last weekend, I had the privilege to photograph the MSU Gran Fondo, a bike race organized by the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine to support skin cancer awareness, prevention and research. And with an eight-hour shoot ahead of me, and gloomy weather in the forecast, I decided it was necessary to pick up some weather-necessary supplies. I wasn't totally worried about my Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark II, with … [Read more...] about Getting Ready to Photograph in the Rain
Editor’s Note: Tracie Maglosky is a portrait photographer specializing in weddings, maternity & newborn photography. She loves teaching and inspiring other photographers in lighting, posing, business techniques and balanced living. Tracie is an Olympus Visionary, MagMod Ambassador and a part of the Miller’s Speaker Team. Follow Tracie’s work at http://www.traciejeanphoto.com. If you’re a MagMod fanatic like me, you’ll be more than thrilled that the brand is expanding its popular line of magnetic, modular lighting tools with the unveiling … [Read more...] about MagMod Announces New Integrated Softbox System
Vanguard's Alta Sky 66 is designed to carry super-telephoto lenses, like 400mm or 600mm lenses, spotting scopes and other long stuff. It is well-made, comfortable, and has a lifetime warranty. There are few bags that feel as comfortable carrying heavy stuff as this bag does. It manages sweat very well and is made of durable materials to protect your tools. Highly recommended. More details and specs right here. Photos follow the video. https://youtu.be/UU3x79OYlgY … [Read more...] about Gear Review: Vanguard’s Alta Sky 66 Super-Telephoto Pack
Sigma Corporation of America has announced that it will introduce seven new E-Mount lenses for Sony mirrorless cameras to their Global Vision Art series. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art for Sony E-Mount Additionally, two new Art lenses will be Introduced at … [Read more...] about Sigma Goes Big with Seven E-Mount ART Lenses for Sony Mirrorless Cameras
After several years with my trusty Drobo generation 3 RAID, it was starting to give me a few issues. And after trying all the troubleshooting steps and contacting support, I realized it was time for a new machine. Since my last Drobo purchase, much has changed. Drobo has introduced devices that use USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, offering optimum speeds and performance. I chose to go with the top-of-the-line Drobo 5D3, which offers a connection through the included Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cable. Because my 2015 iMac didn't have Thunderbolt 3 or … [Read more...] about Migrating Data to a New Drobo Device
If you're just getting into photography, there are several things to consider when buying a camera. Why do you want a camera in the first place, and what's drawing you toward photography? While the question of "which camera should I buy?" may be a simple one, the answer is anything but. What to Ask Yourself Once you've decided you want to get into photography, it's good to know what you like to photograph, and how you like to do so. For instance, do you enjoy capturing scenes on the street? Are you the person at the restaurant table that … [Read more...] about Answering the Question, Which Camera Should I Buy?
Lens hoods are probably one of the most overlooked and important pieces of gear that we have for our lenses. They help with a number of things — with everything from reducing lens flares to getting rid of haze caused by the sun. What Does a Lens Hood Do? "Shade" Your Photographs Lens hoods are made to redirect the sunlight that reaches your lens, and in turn, help to "shade" your photographs. When shooting with a lens hood on, you protect your photographs and end up getting a more realistic contrast than you would without a lens … [Read more...] about Want Better Photographs? Use Your Lens Hood
Some of the most-utilized items that photographers have are lens filters. These give photographers ways to control color, reflections, highlights and more. But what filters should you get, and when should you use them? UV Filters As a beginning photographer, I used UV filters on all my camera lenses. They gave me a way to protect my valuable lens glass from scratches, dust, dirt and pesky fingerprint smudges. It also meant that I wouldn't have to worry quite as much should I drop my lens while shooting, as it would protect the … [Read more...] about What Are Lens Filters & Why Should You Use Them?
Hi. My name is Bryan. and I'm recovering GAS — Gear Acquisition Syndrome — abuser. I'm not alone. Actually, practically, all of us either have or will have been there. We see the newest camera bodies and sleek lenses that are coming out, and we begin to drool. Then we buy. Everything is alright again. Then... And then we buy some more. Rest assured, there's a way to treat GAS and be happy with the current gear you have. It's Not About the Gear I alluded to this in my article about switching to Olympus, but it's not about the gear — it's … [Read more...] about How to Diagnose and Treat GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome
When I made my switch to a micro four-thirds camera system, all of my lens filter threads were significantly smaller than what I was used to. None of my filters fit any of my new lenses. But instead of buying up new lenses, I simply bought step-up adapter rings for them. It allowed me to keep the 82mm circular filters I had and use them on my new camera equipment, which had 52mm and 72mm filter thread sizes. … [Read more...] about Quick Tip: Don’t Toss Those Old Filters; Get Adapters!