It's rare that I step up on my soap box about gear... after all to each their own. But this one is just a pet peeve as it causes so many potential problems. The lens hood doesn't point this way when the lens is out of your camera bag! Hoods are reversed when packing the lens into a lens pouch or for shipping. This makes it more compact. Turn the lens hood around to provide physical protection to the front of your lens. This can minimize damage from drops, bumps, or running into things. Mounting the lens hood forward also cuts down on … [Read more...] about The Lens Hood — Don’t Be Like This Guy
I just bought a Pentax 67. It's an old medium format film camera. Format wise, 35mm film is thirty-five millimeters wide by twenty-four millimeters tall, and that's the same as a full frame DSLR. This camera shoots 120 film and makes a picture that is seventy millimeters wide by 56 millimeters tall. That's nearly four times larger! Why would I buy an old camera? Two reasons: It think it'll be fun to explore. This will be my hobby, and since it's related to my profession I don't have to learn all new skills and it'll help me in my profession, … [Read more...] about Don’t Tell My Wife…
It's time for the Question of the Week. We'd like to know which brand cameras you regularly shoot with. Feel free to choose more than one answer or write in your camera if it's not listed. This is for brand of camera, not model. _________________________ … [Read more...] about Which Brand Cameras Do You Regularly Use?
FeaturesThe clamps are a safe way to attach any camera with an Arca-Swiss style plate.The rail has a built-in bubble level to get a straight shot.The clamps can be repositioned side to side.The center cameras can be mounted either direction.The GoPro buckles work with standard GoPro mounts so you can connect the cameras.I used the bendable knuckles included with each GoPro to create a camera that can be angled to shoot in any direction for greater flexibility.The whole unit weighs about 5 pounds without cameras attached.The open spaces in the … [Read more...] about The Ultimate Camera Support Rail
I am currently traveling in Japan and decided to travel light with gear. I wanted to be able to fit virtually all my gear into a single piece of carry-on baggage (there was no way I was going to deal with lost items). For this trip, I have some new gear I want to test, I also have a variety of shooting styles to execute including time laps and video. I decided to go Micro Four-Thirds for this trip (and what I fit into one bag amazed even me). I'll be shooting for the next two weeks (and will share what I find as well as opinions on new … [Read more...] about How I Fit 6 Cameras and 16 Lenses into a Carry-On Bag
When first handed the Light Blaster, I was a little dubious. It seemed a bit like a kitschy toy not suited for a professional kit. But, like most things, its usefulness is largely dependent on the person using it and the goals they have in mind. Once I got my head around the idea, the Light Blaster makes a lot of sense in the creative arsenal of many photographers. What Is It? The Light Blaster is a strobe-based slide projector, which uses standard slides or special films from Light Blaster. On one end, the Light Blaster slides over … [Read more...] about Spiffy Gear Light Blaster
As I build out my camera kit, I find myself wanting to expand my options. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using used lenses. With a few caveats... Buy them from a reputable vendor or someone you know. Inspect the lens for wear and mold. Make sure the lens is compatible with your camera. I bought many of the lenses in my kit from photography friends who were upgrading. Others are older prime lenses bought from reputable camera stores. It is perfectly acceptable to build your kit anyway you see fit. Ignore the pressure to buy the … [Read more...] about Is it Okay to Buy Used Lenses?
At this year's NAB, the Photofocus team got a chance to catch up with HP about their new computers. This one we had to keep a secret until it was announced. We think the HP ZBook 14 is a well-designed machine for photographers to take on the road. Weight starts around 3.5 pounds You can get up to 16 GB of RAM i5 or i7 processor Thunderbolt ______ … [Read more...] about HP ZBook 14 First Look
I am getting ready to retire and I've slowly been getting rid of stuff I know I won't need going forward. I'll be keeping some minimal gear because I am always going to take pictures. But I won't be doing any more assignments (unless they are for good friends or involve cars that I happen to lust over!) So I've been conducting some experiments. I took some actual gear (along with some hypothetical gear) and contacted all the usual suspects to try to rate which offered the best service. My experiment wasn't very scientific. But from a purely … [Read more...] about Some Tips On Selling Used Camera Gear
Rich Harrington has a special guest on this week's show. We catch up with best-selling author Jeff Revell, creator of the Snapshots to Great Shots series. Jeff is specializes in travel, landscape, urban, and nature photography. Rich and Jeff discuss: What matters most when buying a new camera. What are the coolest new features to show up the latest crop of cameras. What is photowalking and why you should get involved. Jeff's favorite places to learn photography. Practical advice for photographers. Where to find Jeff.. Disclaimer: … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast with Special Guest Jeff Revell
I am bombarded lately by pixel peepers quoting DxoMark numbers on this or that product. They tell me (proudly) that THIER lens scores better than mine or their pal's or whatever. I just chuckle. I've never actually met a pixel peeper who's a good photographer. Oh don't get me wrong. I've met pixel peepers who make very accurate exposures, they just generally don't make images that anyone cares about. But be that as it may, the reason I feel this way is that these sorts of things are flawed. To me they matter not one bit. Here's why. I think I … [Read more...] about Why I Couldn’t Care Less What DxoMark Says About My Lens Or Yours
When you bought your first DSLR, it likely came with a zoom lens. This style of lens makes it easy to get a wider range of coverage with just a quick turn of the wrist. Many prefer this flexibility versus having to actually move their feet to get the shot. So why go old school and choose a prime lens that only offers a single focal length? Its all about aperture. Here are a few reasons to consider. Most prime lenses offer apertures that open as far f/1.2 to f/2. These wider opening can let in more light to hit the cameras sensor. More light … [Read more...] about Want great shots? Make sure you have at least one prime lens.
You might be wondering why I'm about to spend so many words on a review for a camera strap. Some of you are perfectly content to use the small strap the manufacturer tosses in the box or pick up a slightly better one at your local camera store. Well, let me bring up an old adage... "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." I get nervous hanging a few thousand dollars over my neck or shoulder. Especially since I'm the type of shooter who has to often juggle other things (additional gear, multiple bodies, small children). Toss in the … [Read more...] about Vulture Equipment Works A4 Camera/Equipment Strap — Mini Review
Learn how to use the Philip Bloom PocketDolly with Scott Bourne. We're on location in Alaska to bring you this special report. _____ … [Read more...] about How Using A Slider Makes Your DSLR Video Look Like Real Movie Footage
I've rented photo gear my entire career. Before the online solutions existed, many major camera stores had rental departments. Most of the remaining large camera stores still have in-house rental departments. Although I've owned lots of gear, there have been times when owning it didn't make sense or even transporting it didn't make sense, so I rented to make my life easier. Along the way I've had everything from very bad to very good experiences. I've learned that there are some things you can do to protect yourself from the bad experiences, … [Read more...] about Renting Photography Gear – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE NOTE: The Photofocus Podcast Feed HAS CHANGED! Here is the new feed: feed://feeds.feedburner.com/photofocuspodcast Download episode here... or get it on iTunes PLEASE BE PATIENT - OUR SERVERS SEE LARGE LOADS ON PUBLISHING DAYS. THE DOWNLOADS MAY GO SLOWLY BUT THEY WILL FINISH. Rich and Scott record a special podcast live from Alaska. They breakdown how they get ready for a professional shoot. Topics include: What gear to bring and what to leave How to get gear on location How to get the shot by setting … [Read more...] about Photofocus Podcast April 5
I just upgraded and added an L-plate to my Olympus OM-D camera... I'd previously used L-plates on my DSLRs, but this is a first for my Micro Four Thirds camera. A Stable Platform The L-plate lets you easily switch the camera from portrait to landscape in your tripod. As such the camera is always attached to the tripod head with its weight directly over the tripod column. There's no flopping the camera into a notch slot and hanging it at an angle when you switch orientation. This means less vibration and less chance of the camera tipping … [Read more...] about 5 Reasons You Need an L-Plate For Your Camera
Talk about a big change. My switch to Micro Four Thirds is complete. I have just about everything I think you can buy for the basic MFT system. Here are some photos. The best part about it is this bag weighs very little and will easily fit under the seat or in the overhead bins on even the smallest plane. I can carry one bag (and a tripod) and have all I need now. In the photo above you now see all the camera bodies and lenses I carry. From left to right: Olympus OM-D EM-5 body Lensbaby Composer With Sweet Optic for Micro 4/3 Panasonic 8mm … [Read more...] about What’s In Scott’s Bag Now?
UPDATED July 2012 - there have been several cool new lenses released since I first published this list and those changes are reflected herein. I've also added a few more of the older lenses I've had time to test and fall in love with as well as another zoom. I've also added a section briefly explaining the difference between prime and zoom lenses: ______________________________ I get lots of "what camera should I buy" questions here at Photofocus. I personally don't enjoy that question since it's sort of like asking me "What sort of car … [Read more...] about Camera Lens Buyer’s Guide – July, 2012
The New Canon 5D MK III Is Official I took a bunch of crap from the trolls yesterday over offering a 5D MK III as a prize in my new contest, but I knew something the trolls didn't - the new Mk III is on its way and it will be here soon. Here are the most important things to know about the new camera. The 5D MK III costs $1000 more than its predecessor. $3499 - WOW! Both Nikon and Canon have significantly raised prices on their new flagships without offering much in the way of justification. I know why they did that. Here's why THEY … [Read more...] about The Canon 5D MK III Announced
If you have 200 square feet of space, access to some white foam core, black foam core a few light stands or C-stands, and one single 150 watt or greater light in a reflector, beauty dish or soft box, you have everything you need to make pretty, dramatic portraits. I recently had the honor, privilege and joy of teaching alongside my pal Matthew Jordan Smith at our local SMUG meeting here in Vegas. We worked in a local rental studio to accommodate our 40 students. We didn't know what the studio had in the way of gear and we had originally … [Read more...] about You Don’t Need A Big Studio Or Lots Of Gear To Make Beauty Portraits
Several years back I wrote a post that contained 10 things you could do to improve your photography without buying gear. Today I am adding five more to that original list in the hope that I can help someone with a thin wallet still feel like they have a chance to get better. So, here are MY suggestions for improving your photography without buying gear. 1. Know what you want to photograph. Make a decision on what's important to YOU - not to your editors, or your girlfriend, or your teacher. Decide what's right for YOU and then stick to … [Read more...] about 15 Ways To Improve Your Photography Without Buying Gear
It's been a long time since I did a "What's in my bag" post. So after my recent equipment purge and Spring cleaning (okay late for Spring but same idea) I thought I'd share what I decided to keep. First - from a bag standpoint, I have only gotten rid of a few backpacks - that leaves 20 to go through and there's no sign when I'll decide on which of those to keep. I like most of the stuff from Tenba and Think Tank so it will probably boil down to their offerings. As to what'll be left in those bags? Very little compared to the old days. I … [Read more...] about NOW What’s in My Bag? The Camera Bag That Is
Fairly or unfairly, I am generally considered a gear head. I do have lots of photo gear. There's no denying that fact. Some of it I purchased just for review on Photofocus. Some of it was given to me in an attempt to sway me. Some of it was purchased for resale later. Some of it was purchased just to write a book. Some of it was purchased for one or two specific projects (before I found out about Borrowlenses.com). In any event, my studio is full of stuff. Lots of stuff. So much stuff that I sometimes discover cameras and lenses I didn't even … [Read more...] about Why I Am Selling Most of my Photography Gear
I confess to having more gear than I need - much more. The fact that I run Photofocus is partly to blame. I review and evaluate a bunch of gear. Some of it ends up in my bag. Sometimes things that I would have never bought if I hadn't tested them end up in my gear room. But how much of it do I need or really use? Probably not as much as you'd think. I believe that I am going through sort of an epiphany in this regard. I have so much stuff laying around that we had to recently build an additional storage room at my studio. That's when it hit … [Read more...] about How Important Is That Next Photography Gadget? Can We All Do With LESS Gear?
In just about six weeks, I'll be leaving for one of my mega expeditions. I have been doing fewer and fewer of these because frankly, they get harder and harder for me to do for physical reasons and because I can actually make more money at home. That said, I still enjoy them and as long as I do - I'll go shoot them. This time it's back to Alaska. I'm not after Coastal Brown Bears this trip. I'll be flying in by seaplane to several locations near Homer, Alaska this March to photograph Great American Bald Eagles. During this trip I will … [Read more...] about Photographers’ Field Prep – Test & Backup
About once a year I like to write a short little post about this subject because no matter how much time passes, I get lots of questions like this - Should I buy used gear? The answer is a resounding yes - if the gear in question meets your needs. There's little advantage in buying new most of the time. There are exceptions which I'll cover in a minute, but for the most part, buying used is just a great way to save money and let someone else pay for the initial depreciation. Whether or not you should buy used depends on three primary … [Read more...] about Should I Buy Used Photo Gear?
Those who know me might think this about me going on a diet - which would be a great idea except it would interfere with my job as President of the Horizontally Challenged Photographers of America. But one place I am slimming down is in the gear department. I'm not necessarily getting rid of any of my gear, but I am considerably more choosy these days about what I bring into the field. Depending on the kind of work I am doing, I may bring more than I need to the general location as backup. But in the field, actually shooting, I am approaching … [Read more...] about Slimming Down
I get lots of "what camera should I buy" questions here at Photofocus. I personally don't enjoy that question since it's sort of like asking me "What sort of car should I buy?" I do have more sympathy for the next logical question: "What lens should I buy?" I am not talking about the "Is the Nikon 50 f/1.4 really better than the 50 f/1.8 lens?" questions, but the "What lens should I buy generally?" questions. Neither question is easy to answer. This is an updated version of my first attempt (back in June, 2009) to cover this question. I have … [Read more...] about DSLR Camera Lens Buying Guide