29 2016 Jan

How to select a lens filter for your DSLR?

Have you ever taken pictures when it’s foggy? If so, you may have noticed that the fog blurs the light source(s) in your image. This “fog” effect can can be created anytime with a lens filter for your DSLR called a Fog Filter!

Fog Filter

Hoya 58mm Fog FilterA fog filter will add a soft glow/flare to the image. It will also lower the contrast and the sharpness of the image. A good use for a fog filter is when you are attempting to show the user how humid an area is. A good fog filter can be found online for under $30.

Tiffen 58mm Double Fog FilterOne disadvantage to a fog filter is that these filters cannot recreate the effects of strong fog because the image becomes too fuzzy. To recreate a strong fog you need to buy a double fog filter, which produces a milder flare and softening characteristics that the standard fog filter cannot produce. You may also find them listed as Fog1, Fog2, and Fog3, for varying degrees of fog effects. Double fog filters can be found online for under $40.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

28 2016 Jan

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

Another “dive-ready” option for you, when shopping for cameras for action video, is the GoPro Hero 4 Silver Surf Edition. This exciting camera package can be found online for under $400.

GoPro Hero 4 Silver Surf Edition

GoPro 4 SurfWhat makes this GoPro 4 a “surf” edition? Why the accessories included, of course! This is a standard GoPro Hero 4 Silver Edition camera, rigged for underwater use down to 131 feet (40 meters), with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, USB cable, quick-release buckles, and built-in touch display. It includes GoPro’s new Night Photo and Night Lapse modes and features 12 Megapixel photos up to 30 frames per second, video at 4 times the resolution of 1080p (4K30, 2.7K50, 1080p120), built-in Bluetooth and Protune for photos and videos, and a faster built-in Wi-Fi for enhanced connectivity. You can store up to 8000 photos or 192 minutes of continuous HD video with a 32GB MicroSD card.

Capture your underwater world in an all-new way with HERO4 Silver, the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display. Controlling the camera, framing shots, and playing back content is now ultra convenient. Just view, tap, and swipe the screen. The HERO4 Silver captures 1080p60 and 720p120 video with lifelike clarity, plus 12MP photos at 30 frames per second. New experience-enhancing features include HiLight Tag, which lets you mark key moments for easy playback, editing and sharing, and QuikCapture. This allows you to power on the camera and start recording with the press of a button.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

27 2016 Jan

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens (Part 3)

Canon 28-300With a wide open aperture, the Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM camers lens is sharp in the center throughout the entire focal length range and corners are quite sharp over most of the focal length range. Stopping the lens down about 1 stop from wide open improves overall sharpness a noticeable amount, though 200 to 300mm corners remain the weakest at f/8. Overall, you can expect very good sharpness from this lens – excellent for the focal range it covers.

Distortion is not unusual for a super-zoom lens, and not surprisingly is also one of the 28-300 L’s weaknesses. Barrel distortion, at 28mm, is very strong. Some barrel distortion is apparent at 35mm, but you’ll experience a great reduction. Strong pincushion distortion is present over the rest of the focal length range. It is best to avoid straight lines (horizontal or vertical) appearing at the edges of a full frame image while using this lens.

The 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L has CA (Chromatic Aberration) in the full frame corners from 28mm up to about 50mm and again at 300mm. Moderate vignetting is also apparent in this focal length range, widest and longest focal lengths are the worst. APS-C sensor bodies see no vignetting from the EF-mount (full frame) lens.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

26 2016 Jan

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Ricoh GR (Part 5)

Ricoh GRVideo on the Ricoh GR digital camera is recorded up to 1080p30 or 720p60 in QuickTime format. The quality is very good. Details are sharp and colors are bright. You have an option to apply the same color effects to video as to stills. Included is a micro HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV for reviewing photos and video clips. The USB port is proprietary, and doubles as a battery charging port. It will be necessary to plug the camera into a wall socket to recharge its battery. Standard SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards are all supported.

The Ricoh GR is sharp, fast, and it does well in all kinds of light. The GR shoots in the standard DNG format, meaning that you won’t have to wait for Lightroom or Aperture to be updated to start working with its files.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

25 2016 Jan

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

The new camera tripods are out for 2016. Let’s take a look at some of the best new (and renewed) offerings!

Manfrotto 190 Go (List: $223, Online: Under $200)

Manfrotto 190 Go TripodThe Manfrotto 190 Go is an aluminium tripod capable of handling a maximum load of 15.43 pounds (7kg), with a maximum height of 57.48 inches (146cm) and traveling length of 17.72 inches (45cm). The traveling weight is 3.68 pounds (1.67kg), with legs composed of four sturdy sections.

It is among one of Manfrotto’s oldest tripod series but now has twist leg locks, making it the preferred choice for many photographers. It stands among the best tripods made in today’s photography world. This tripod will easily support an expert level DSLR with a 70-200mm lens. The 190 Go is also equipped with a center column that is adjustable. The flexibility of this tripod makes it a top camera tripod choice which can also be set to 90 degrees to assist you in creating dynamic angles. A socket is included for attaching accessories, such as a reflector.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

22 2016 Jan

How to select a lens filter for your DSLR?

Now that we have covered the different basic types of lens filter for your DSLR, lets get into how to create some special effects with them. First I want to describe the effects created with Star Filters.

Star Filters

Tiffen 58mm 6PT Star FilterStar filters are designed to produce stars on your images. This is done with a series of thin lines that are etched into the flat optical surface of a clear filter. The lines diffract light coming into the lens into long thin lines. When the lines are positioned horizontally, you will get vertically oriented star lines. The closer the gaps between the lines, the brighter and more intense the stars will be.

To get a really sharp star, use the lowest possible aperture. You may find a 50mm prime lens is the best. Only the strongest light will produce high quality star shapes.

Star filters come in many different shapes and sizes. Filters can also be purchased that are designed to produce 2, 4, and 8 stars.

The Star Filter effect can also be recreated inside Photoshop, but if you view your photography as a form of artistic expression a Star Filter is a quick and easy way to create stars with only your camera. The Tiffen 58mm 6-Point Star Filter pictured above can be found online for under $30.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

21 2016 Jan

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

While we are talking about digital underwater cameras for action video, you might want to check out the Sealife Micro HD 13 Megapixel Underwater Camera. This kit is available for under $400 online.

Sealife Micro HD 13 Megapixel Underwater Camera

Sealife Micro SD 13 MPAlthough Sealife does have less expensive models that they market, I wasn’t impressed with the reviews on lesser priced models until I looked at the Micro HD 13. Introduced in 2015, this kit comes with an adjustable wrist strap, USB cable and adapter, camera pouch, and a wall charger and adapter.

The Sealife Micro HD 13 offers full 1080p High Definition video with 16GB Internal Memory, which holds 4000 still images or 3 hours video. Picture in Video allows you to take still images while recording in full HD video, using a 140 degree Fisheye Lens.

This camera sports a large 2.4 inch LCD for easy underwater viewing and aiming and “Easy 1-2-3 Setup Mode” on screen for fast and simple camera set up. With its comfort grip and non-slip rubber armored housing, the Micro HD 13 is easy to hang onto underwater, and after dive maintenance is easy – just rinse and done! Piano key controls are offered for ease of operation. And the camera dimensions are easy to handle too, at 4.2 x 1.9 x 2.9 inches.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

20 2016 Jan

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

Canon EF 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens (Part 2)

Canon 28-300The Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM camera lens utilizes a push/pull zoom design. Some practice is required to keep the lens stable, on their eye, and on their subject while zooming. Loosening the zoom friction rings will help. The benefit of this design is that your supporting hand remains centered under the lens at all times. Some find that the longer they use this zoom design, the easier the push-pull feature is to use.

Another Canon feature that has improved over the years is IS (Image Stabilization). The IS feature on the 28-300 is excellent. It is a noticeably nice feature on a slower lens such as this. The IS version on this lens is also tripod-sensing. The 28-300L “knows” that a tripod is being used when vibrations are below a certain level. You’ll want to keep IS turned on when mounting the 28-300 on a tripod, taking advantage of this secondary IS mode to reduce the effects of mirror slap, shutter, and tripod vibrations

The Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM Lens is a variable maximum aperture zoom. Maximum aperture starts at f/3.5 at 28mm, narrows to f/4 near 50mm, to f/4.5 near 55mm, to f/5 around 70mm, and finally to f/5.6 approximately 115mm. AV and M modes give two clicks for f/5 at 70mm. While IS helps greatly with motionless subjects, stop action with this lens will require a reasonable amount of light (or flash).

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

19 2016 Jan

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Ricoh GR (Part 4)

Ricoh GRIf you’re shooting with the Ricoh GR digital camera in JPG mode, the GR’s continuous shooting mode fires off photos at 4 frames per second for as long as you’d like. If you choose instead to shoot in Raw or Raw+JPG mode, the camera rattles off four quick shots in about half a second, but requires a short recovery time after that.

Adding the wide-angle adapter does hurt image quality, but not to a great degree. The GR’s field of view is expanded to match a 21mm lens, with no significant light loss. The picture is sharp at f/2.8, but you do lose resolution at the edges of the frame. At f/4 things sharpen up nicely. Adding the adapter does increase the distortion, but only slightly.

Noise increases as the camera’s ISO is increased. Too much noise can make a photo look grainy, and wipe out fine details. At default settings, the GR keeps noise below 1.5 percent through ISO 6400. A good amount of detail is lost to noise reduction at this setting, but you have the option of reducing the amount of noise reduction applied to images. When shooting in Raw mode, noise reduction isn’t applied at all. So you’ll need to apply noise reduction in the software of your choosing.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

18 2016 Jan

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

Here’s another camera tripod for those on a budget, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH + GH-100 head. It lists for $300, but can be found online for under $220.

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AGH + GH-100 Head

The vanguard.tif aluminum based tripod legs are combined with a convenient GH-100 pistol-grip ball head in this kit. The tripod legs have load rating of 15.4 pounds (7kg) and the pistol-grip ball head has a load rating of 13.2 pounds (6kg). The folded height is an easily manageable 28.7 inches (73cm) which extends to a maximum operating height of 68.9 inches (175cm). The total kit weight is just under 6 pounds (2.7kg).

Its advanced features include three-position multi-angle legs, each of which has on three sections and sturdy clamps for stability. There’s also a nifty 180-degree center-column pivot facility.

The included ball head operates by way of a pistol-grip trigger. When you squeeze it, you release the lock on the ball in order to position it. When you release, the ball locks to set the position. This enables extremely fast setups and one-handed operation. With the GH-100 head on the tilting center column, you can position your camera easily & securely at virtually any point within a spherical range. With an Allen key you can adjust the tension of the center column’s swiveling motion, and the head also features a Friction Control System.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!