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
Whenever I buy a new camera, I go through the same series of steps to help make sure that I get continuity with my current cameras and that the new camera is brought to the stable ready to work, in its best possible condition. The list goes something like this... a. Carefully open the box and check to make sure everything that is supposed to be included with the camera is included. I also inspect the box and its contents for damage at this point. b. Find a clean, uncluttered, well-lit workspace to spread out the contents of the box. Open … [Read more...] about How to Unbox a New Camera
Okay, Canon only introduces 10 - count em 10 new compact digital cameras this month. While not as silly as introducing 23,234 new cameras - it might as well be. They did introduce 10. That's all I will say about the new compacts. I will cover Canon's introduction of two new wide-angle tilt-shift lenses: The New TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II and the TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lenses. These two new L series lenses expand Canon's line-up of TS-E lenses. Both the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II and the TS-E 17mm f/4L are specialty lenses designed for landscape and … [Read more...] about Canon Introduces 23,234 New Point & Shoot Models And Two New Lenses
It's still the most popular question I am asked. "What camera should I buy?" No matter how hard I try to tell people that there's 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 ) What subject(s) will you photograph most often? Weddings, portraits, wildlife, sports, landscapes, still lifes, food, fashion, etc. 2 ) What gear (if any) do you now own? 3 ) If you had to choose between ease of use and power, which would you select? 4 ) … [Read more...] about Before You Ask Me What Camera You Should Buy….
According to the CAMERA & IMAGING PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION (CIPA) the total shipments of digital cameras in 2008 exceeded 2007 results by 19.3%. SLR camera sales increased 29.7% and compact camera sales rose 18.5 year-over-year. 2009 predictions are not so rosy. All camera sales are expected to fall in 2009 rather than increase. The prediction is for a 0.7% decline. Interchangeable lens sales saw a 25.1% increase in 2008 but in 2009 are expected to grow less quickly at a rate of only 6.1% … [Read more...] about Camera Sales News
I think I might have found the perfect fingerless glove. Etre Touchy gloves are made of 100% Acrylic material. They're a stylish, fun and practical way to keep your hands warm while using your camera. They also work well with other electronic gadgets. Their missing thumb and index fingertips give you the freedom to touch, tap, stroke, slide and pinch your devices controls in any way you desire. I used these gloves on a very cold day here in Gig Harbor while sitting around waiting to photograph a belted kingfisher - who never showed up mind … [Read more...] about Cold Weather Shooting Tip – Fingerless Gloves
If you're familiar with my work, you've heard me talk about the joke I make when someone sees my photos and exclaims, "You must have a nice camera." And yes I do. But I've NEVER said a nice camera is required to get a nice shot. In fact, most of the images made by the old masters were made on cameras we would consider sub-standard today. And yes, having the right tool can help. But it's the eye that counts. Want some evidence? Meet Harold Thompson. Harold is a long-time TWIP audience member. He sent me a link to some of his work with what he … [Read more...] about It’s Not About The Camera
I am a very lucky guy. I've been able to shoot with almost every cool digital camera ever made. And the quality of the average digital camera has risen to unbelievable heights. To add to the good news, the cameras have not only improved dramatically, they've improved at breakneck speed. In five short years we've gone from good to great to fantastic. But still, like all photographers, I yearn for the perfect camera. And while I love my D3 bodies, I still don't see perfection on the horizon. With that in mind, I decided that the New Year would … [Read more...] about 20 Steps to the Perfect Digital Camera
I was looking for a mid-range telephoto zoom to use as a flight lens or a medium landscape lens. Nikon* offers the 80-400 VR, but that lens doesn't focus quickly enough for me. They also offer the 300 F/2.8 - but it's too heavy for handholding. This led me to research other options. Several people suggested the Sigma 100-300. Since I enjoy the Sigma 300-800 f/5.6 so much, I figured it was worth a shot. The first thing that attracted me to this lens was its internal focusing. That means the lens doesn't get longer as it extends to 300 mm. I … [Read more...] about A Mini-Review of the Sigma 100-300mm f/4 EX DG IF HSM
We listened to your nominations, read industry reviews, tested the finalists with our own eyes and came up with winners in the first annual TWIP Photo Hardware Product of the Year Award - the 2008 edition. We picked two categories for this first year's awards. Photo-related software and camera hardware. There were many products worthy of our award, but we had to narrow it down. In the hardware category, we decided on cameras. Once we had that decision made, we needed to decide WHICH camera. We knew this could get political quickly, but also … [Read more...] about Photo Hardware Product of the Year Award