31 2016 Mar

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

We have discussed many options to consider when shopping for cameras for action video. So today I will begin a summary of the most important things mto keep in mind when browsing for yours.

GoPro 3 SilverMost digital cameras you buy today offer some movie capture options, and many have some form of HD mode. The quality of a digital camera will not match that of the best camcorders, and movie specific controls will not be as plentiful either. Although great for clips, you may find that your digital camera is not the best choice for serious videography. So a camcorder may still be your best choice.

I know that I have mentioned this many times before, but it applies in every case when making a purchase of photography equipment. First, consider how you expect to use this camera the most. Are you willing to give up movie specific controls in exchange for owning and using one camera for all your photography needs? Is the quality of your movies more important than price and convenience? Is the larger sensor available in a good video capable SLR more important to you?

A big sensor in a good video capable SLR allows Hollywood-style focus effects and excellent image quality, even in low light. The versatility offered by the huge range of lenses, opens up a new world of creative possibilities. But it should be capable of a frame rate close to the minimum 25 fps required for smooth action video.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

30 2016 Mar

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

Sony Wide Angle LensWe’ve looked at a lot of camera lenses to profile the features you should be looking for when shopping for your perfect camera lens. So let’s begin to review those most important features today.

Focal Length

A higher number of Focal Length, expressed in millimeters (mm), means that an object in your frame will appear much closer, while a lower number means that the lens can be used for wider angle shots, appearing farther away.

A focal length expressed as a range of two numbers (xx-xx mm), means that it is a lens capable of zooming and being used at any point within that range. A focal length expressed as a single number (50 mm for example) means the lens will provide a fixed width of view. So to increase or decrease the width of view you will need to physically move the camera away from or toward the object, respectfully.

Maximum Aperture

Maximum Aperture describes how much light a lens is capable of gathering. Typically, you will want to select the smallest possible number you can find, per lens type.

Apertures are expressed in different ways with F4, f/4, and 1:4 all having the same meaning. A smaller number means that the lens has a larger maximum aperture and gathers more light. Thus an F2.8 lens gathers twice as much light as an F4 lens.

Maximum aperture is important because a camera with a larger maximum aperture will allow you to shoot pictures in lower light.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

29 2016 Mar

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

When shopping for a great digital camera, you should first consider all of the types of photography you may want to capture. There are many articles to help you explore this topic, on the web, and in photography related magazines.

  • How do you plan to use the camera? (portraits, landscapes, product layouts, sports)
  • Where will you be mostly using your camera? (indoors, low light, outdoors, bright light)
  • What features most interest you? (zoom, wide angle, large LCD display)
  • How much weight are you willing to carry around?

For high quality images, you will want the largest sensor that you can afford. Will you want to shoot video or mostly stills? Nearly all digital cameras produced these days have video capability, but if you intend to use video often you’ll want to get a camera capable of a high frame rate (fps) as well. The recovery rate of the camera after shooting a series of frames is also important.

A DSLR camera will come with one or more detachable lens(es), allowing you to choose from alternatives that are compatible with that camera. You may be able to zoom in on your subject with a telescopic lens or take in a panoramic view with a wide angle lens.

Will you be editing your shots or videos using post-processing software? If so, you will need to verify that you can easily upload your raw data to your computer for editing.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!


28 2016 Mar

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

I hope that everyone had a Happy Easter and you were all able to spend a pleasant day with friends and family. Perhaps you even got an opportunity to take some pictures of the family in those new Easter outfits. Did you discover that you longed for the advantage of a good, solid camera tripod for some of those family portraits. Before you venture out today to find one, I want to review things that you should consider before purchasing a camera tripod.

Right now, you are probably focusing on Portrait Photography and what tripod characteristics you would prefer for taking those family photos. But you are on a budget, so you can’t afford a different tripod for every photography environment you encounter. Even if you’re not on a budget, this just wouldn’t be practical. So let’s review the questions you should ask yourself before rushing to your favorite camera store.

For example, you might ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I primarily be using my tripod for portrait photography?
  • Will I be using my tripod for live action (sports) photography?
  • Will I be using the tripod to photograph still nature shots?
  • Will I want to make use of lighting effects and shadows?
  • How often do I expect to use my camera tripod?

These are all very good questions to ask BEFORE you go shopping for a tripod. This way you can consider the most appropriate tripod characteristics to look for while shopping around.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

25 2016 Mar

How to select a lens filter for your DSLR?

If you want to enhance the green colors and warm colors in your landscape photography, you may find an Intensifier Filter (otherwise known as an enhancing filter or didymium filter) provides the perfect amount of color enhancement. These lens filters are most frequently used in the fall, to dramatize the colorful effects of the foilage in landscape photography.

Intensifier Filters

Color Intensifier FilterMany enhancing filters (such as a Red or Warm filter) only intensify reds and oranges, sometimes also adding a magenta cast. These filters are inexpensive ($30-$50 range) and enhance warm colors (reds, oranges and even browns) to make them really pop while the cool colors remain unchanged. They are available in Red, Blue, and Green.

Although more expensive ($100-$300), intensifier filters from other manufacturers respond to the full spectrum of colors and accentuate the most prominent ones (blues, greens and warm tones). Neutral colors and white areas remain unchanged and entirely natural, when using these filters.

Despite its “intense” name, the effect itself is very subtle, just enough to add needed saturation and impact to a wide range of outdoor objects, from landscapes to macro shots, in any type of light. Some photographers find that the use of a color intensifier will achieve greater impact in their black & white images, as well. There is also a Nude filter to help normalize skin tones in portrait photography.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

24 2016 Mar

Selecting Digital Cameras for Action Video.

Nikon 1 J5 Digital Camera (Part 6)

Nikon 1 J5The smaller sensor and the lack of a hot shoe for adding an external flash may not excite the typical camera enthusiast, but the Nikon 1 J5 digital camera for action video is ideal for parents wanting to capture better images of their kids in action. The speed comes in handy for those times when they just don’t sit still or for capturing the action on the field. Its small size is convenient too. The Nikon 1 J5 is also an excellent camera for the casual photographer, providing the ability to capture more than is possible with a smartphone.

The Nikon 1 J5 is one of the fastest mirrorless cameras on the market, and is offered at an affordable price. Some others in this price range may have larger sensors, but none of these offer the high frame rate of the Nikon 1 J5.

The Nikon 1 J5 is designed to catch all the action. It may have a smaller sensor, but it more than makes up for it in its speed. The Nikon 1 J5 is competitively priced and an excellent option for either the casual consumer or those looking to capture all the action.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

23 2016 Mar

Selecting the Perfect Camera Lens.

So the kids are growing fast, and your Canon DSLR has got to be faster to keep up with the action, but you’ve still got to keep a tight rein on the family budget. With the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L USM camera lens, you can stay on top of the action at a list price of $649.99. These can be found online for under $600, and if you are willing to consider a used one, even $100 less.

Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L USM

Canon EF70 200 f4l usm lensThis high-performance, L-series telephoto zoom lens combines the qualities of light weight and compactness with an f/4 maximum aperture. Cannon’s inner focusing and ring USM design enable quick and quiet autofocusing. Lens filter attachment (such as a 67mm circular polarizing filter) is a breeze thanks to a front lens element that does not rotate while focusing.

Like every autofocus Canon L-series lens, the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM delivers optical performance equal to similar fixed focal length lenses with silent, high-speed ultrasonic (USM) focusing and a full-time manual focus override option.

Distortions and aberrations are minimal for a lens of such capability. This lens combines 1 artificial fluorite element with 2 UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements, to help achieve images free of secondary spectrum aberrations, which often plague consumer-grade telephoto zooms. It is light enough so that it does not need a tripod collar, but an optional tripod collar is available.

The minimum focusing distance is 3.9′ (1.2m) throughout its entire focal range.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

22 2016 Mar

Selecting a Great Digital Camera.

Looking for one of the top 10 digital cameras for 2016 that will also fit your budget? Check out the mirrorless X-T10 from FujiFilm, body only listing at $799.99 and available online for under $650.

FUJIFILM X-T10 Mirrorless Camera

FujiFilm x_t10 mirrorlesThe X-T10 Mirrorless Camera from FujiFilm features a 16.3-megapixel APC-C sensor, 2,360k dot OLED viewfinder, 3-inch, 920k-dot LCD tilt monitor, and an 8fps burst mode. It is, in many ways, a downsized version of the X-T1. But, it shares the same 16.3-megapixel APS-C sensor and has the same outstanding high-ISO and color performance. And it’s among the very best mirrorless cameras for image quality.

The autofocus system isn’t quite as fast as those from Sony or Panasonic, but when compared to other cameras in its price range the X-T10 performs well. Its 8fps burst mode is very good, as well.

The design has a classic quality and it’s built tough. Its magnesium alloy shell compares well to high-end cameras.  The X-T10 offers plenty of direct controls that make it fun and easy to use, with simple and easy to use video options.

Designed by FujiFilm for the hobbyist and a younger generation of creative photographers, the X-T10 is perfect for those who may not be ready to spend more than $1000 on a camera, but still desire the same image quality, sturdy engineering, and style it offers.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

21 2016 Mar

Choosing the Best Camera Tripod.

So you’re looking for a general purpose, light weight camera tripod, but your budget is also on the light side. Check out the Ravelli APLT4 Light Weight Aluminum Tripod. It lists for $50.53 and can be found online for under $26.

Ravelli APLT4 Light Weight Aluminum Tripod

Ravelli 61in aluminumThe Ravelli APLT4 tripod is ideal for the photographer that is looking for a lightweight and versatile 61 inch Tripod. The APLT4 is inexpensive, but robust in features. With its ability to position your camera in a normal landscape orientation or a portrait orientation, you are sure to be prepared to capture the photo you want. A handle, carrying bag, and 2 built-in bubble levels are included with this kit. It also includes a quick release plate for your camera to facilitate easy set up and take down. The center column is gear driven and extends an extra 11 inches upwards. This tripod is made from aluminum and a dense plastic. The legs and center channel are made from aluminum and the head and section intersects are plastic.

With a maximum load capacity of 10 pounds the Ravelli APLT4 will easily support a medium sized camera and lens package. And with a storage height of 24 inches and collapsed weight of just 2.1 pounds, it’s easy to tote with you.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!

18 2016 Mar

How to select a lens filter for your DSLR?

If your photography hobby leads you to close-up portraits, you might just find that a Close-up lens filter provides an inexpensive way to produce the effects of a macro lens. Close-up filters can be found online in sets of 4 for under $15.

Close-up Filter

Close-up Lens SetClose-up filters attach to the front of an existing lens, and work like a magnifying glass or a pair of reading glasses. These filters are available in different strengths and are measured in diopters. The higher numbers provide greater magnification and bring the minimum focus of the lens closer to you.

These lenses can also be found in sets with a +1, +2, +4, and +10 diopter lense in a convenient carrying case. Multiple filters can also be combined to further increase magnification. The effects are cumulative, so just add the diopter values together to get the total magnification.

A downside (as opposed to a macro lens) is that the optical quality of these filters is not as high, so you may observe more softening at the edges and perhaps some color fringing. However, these filters are capable of giving you a very different view of a miniature world. They can be used to create records of stamps, coins, and jewellery, in addition to artistic shots that show the texture and detail that a more distant shot fails to define.

With a close-up filter, the focusing range is very limited, no longer focusing on distant subjects. However, autofocus and automatic exposure still function normally.

Until next time, Happy Shuttering!