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
Not unless you just have to that is. We're fast approaching Photokina in Germany and the Photo Plus Expo in New York City. These are two of the largest and most important photography-related trade shows on the planet. And as you may expect, major camera and lens manufacturers will be rolling out new offerings at these shows. Due to the 24-hour news cycle and the never-ending appetite for content, it's possible we may end up hearing about all the new cameras before the shows - but to be safe, I'm advising people to hold off on new camera/lens … [Read more...] about Should You Buy A New Camera Now – HECK NO!
Believe it or not, right after "Which camera/lens should I buy?" - one of the most popular questions we get at Photofocus goes something like this "I just bought a __________ (Fill in the Blank) and on one of the camera forums, I heard that it (take your pick) ____________ a. had back focus issues b. is soft c. I got a bad copy - what should I do?" Sigh Okay kids, it's time for Doctor Bourne to diagnose your problem, and it appears that you've contacted the very dangerous epidemic that is passed from camera forum to camera forum. It's … [Read more...] about Solving Camera/Lens Hypochondria
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This post is an updated compilation of several shorter posts I wrote in the past trying to answer the question, "What camera should I buy?" Its still the most popular question I am asked. What camera should I buy? Lately there's a new twist to the question..."Is this brand camera better than that brand camera?" No matter how hard I try to tell people that theres no perfect answer, they keep asking. So since I can't convince anyone otherwise, at least know the answers to THESE questions before you ask me YOUR … [Read more...] about What Camera Should I Buy? – June 2011
Trust me - this is photography-related. I went to a writer's conference last month. I was there to support a friend. The conference featured several very famous authors who gave readings from their published works. They also taught workshops, discussing technique and craft. There were many similarities between the writer's workshop and several photography workshops I've attended or spoken at. There was one very big difference. During the question and answer period where the attendees could ask these famous authors any question they like, … [Read more...] about What Brand of Pen Do You Write With?
So you got a cool new DSLR as a holiday gift. For those of you who are upgrading from point and shoot to DSLR, here's a list of accessories you need to finish your leap to the next level. 1. Tripod Okay, it doesn't have to be a $1000 Gitzo carbon fibre tripod, but some sort of tripod really helps when you first move to a DSLR. That new camera is probably significantly heavier than your old compact camera. It's added weight makes camera shake a problem. If you stabilize your camera on a tripod you can greatly reduce the blur caused by camera … [Read more...] about Seven Must Have Accessories for Your New DSLR
I've conducted some polls on a variety of social media sites and here on Photofocus.com. I've taken into account all the answers and based this post on those results, plus my own experience and observation. So without further ado, here are my picks for Cameras of the Year - 2009. DSLR Less Than $2000 Canon EOS 7D The Canon won by a mile. The second place pick was the Nikon D300s, but it garnered less than half as many votes in various polls. Canon's superb video and still image quality at a $1699 price point will be tough to beat for a long … [Read more...] about Cameras of the Year – 2009
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This post is an updated compilation of several shorter posts I wrote in the past trying to answer the question, "What camera should I buy?" Its still the most popular question I am asked. What camera should I buy? Lately there's a new twist to the question..."Is this brand camera better than that brand camera?" No matter how hard I try to tell people that theres no perfect answer, they keep asking. So since I can't convince anyone otherwise, at least know the answers to THESE questions before you ask me YOUR question. 1 ) … [Read more...] about What Camera Should I Buy? – The Ultimate Answer
Generally, if you have to choose between upgrading your camera body or your glass, upgrading your glass is the best choice. So when you go looking for that next lens, how do you decide? Which lens should you focus (pun intended) on first? Here are a few guidelines that might help you figure that out. 1. Determine what your budget is. If you're short of funds, it might be better to save your pennies and wait until you can afford the lens you REALLY want. Rent or borrow until then. 2. If you have to choose between two average lenses and one … [Read more...] about Seven Steps to Buying The Right Camera Lenses
I've been thinking about a conversation I had with Chase Jarvis. He constantly refers to himself as "gear agnostic" or "platform agnostic." Whether it's the highest of the high end video cameras or an iPhone, Chase focuses on the image making. He's not hung up on which tool he uses. He uses whichever tool seems to fit the job best. I've been trying to do the same thing. I am not quite there on the iPhone yet :) I do use it, but not as often as I should. I've been using my Canon G11 more than I thought I would. And of course the video-capable … [Read more...] about Picture Taker or Image Maker?
So far, here are the top three announcements in my mind... Canon has announced the 1D MK IV. This new camera has a brand new 45-point autofocus system, 10FPS and a 1.3 crop sensor that offers 16.1 megapixels. They've also added pro-level 1080p, 24 FPS video to the camera. What's most interesting is that Canon is claiming to match Nikon's new DS3 with a top ISO of 102,400!!! I haven't tested this new camera yet and yes, I do have one on the way. But given Canon's VERY difficult road with the previous sports camera, the 1D MK III, I'm taking a … [Read more...] about All Kinds of New Gear Announced This Week!
So you want to buy a new camera? Here are some tips to help you make sure you get the right one. 1. Buy the best camera you can afford if you're really serious about photography and buy the least expensive camera you need to get the job done if you're just a casual hobbyist. 2. If you want to put yourself on the best upgrade path, buy a DSLR. 3. Buy the camera that you think will meet your needs, not the camera that all the folks on the local camera club Internet forum think is new. 4. If you can't decide between brands, pick the brand that … [Read more...] about Seven Tips for New Camera Buyers
Image and Post by At a recent seminar, a woman asked my advice: "I am going on a trip and I am trying to decide on what photo gear to bring. What's your advice?" I suggested that she bring all her gear: cameras, lenses, flash, laptop, card reader, etc. (Not that much stuff, relatively speaking.) "All that gear does not fit in my backpack and carry-on," she replied. "Uh, get a bigger backpack and carry -on," I suggested. "I don't want to lug around all that stuff - too heavy, too bulky and too much to manage," she sighed. "Hey! It's not … [Read more...] about It’s Not Easy Having Fun
Image and Post by Photographers certainly need the right camera to record their memories. They also need accessories to protect their gear especially during the summer months, when quick rain and sun showers can show up in a flash. In this quickie blog post, Ill share just a few of my favorite accessories to keep you gear safe and sound in and under water. Small plastic bag A small plastic trash bag is the most affordable accessory listed here, but it can save the day in the rain, sleet and snow. It can make the difference between a … [Read more...] about Summer Gear Recommendations for Traveling Photographers
Face it, if you have lots of camera gear, you at least need to think about what would happen if someone stole it. What precautions can you take to help prevent this and what should you do in the event it happens? Let's start at the beginning. Have insurance. I've written about this before so brush up on insurance - then come back here for more So we'll assume you have insurance. What else can you do? At home or at the studio, consider a burglar alarm. Depending on the amount of gear you have, you can get by with something as simple as a … [Read more...] about How Safe is Your Camera Gear — And What Can You do to Protect it?
I get this question often. I always answer "Yes" with some words of warning. Know who's selling that refurb. If a well-known, established company like B&H Photo sells a refurb, (that's not a recommendation just an example) you can trust it. If a company you've never heard of, particularly one located in Brooklyn, NY offers a refurb, stay away. (To check the reports on a given reseller, try http://www.resellerratings.com/. It's usually a very reliable indicator of the quality of the company you're considering buying from.) Refurbs that … [Read more...] about Is It Safe To Buy Refurbished Cameras?
When you buy a new camera, you might find an oddly-shaped piece of plastic that comes in a small plastic package. Sometimes it's attached to your strap. What is it? Probably a camera eyepiece cover. Some topline pro cameras have this feature built into the camera itself. Others provide this piece of plastic to cover the viewfinder when you're shooting in a manner that takes your eye away from the camera. Any time you take a picture without looking through the camera's optical viewfinder, the eyepiece should be covered. If you don't cover the … [Read more...] about All About the Ubiquitous Camera Eyepiece Cover