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4 minutes | Aug 8, 2022
No one Makes a Bad Camera. They’re All Mostly the Same
Every single one of them are good. Every single camera these days is very good and has gotten to a point where they’re all capable of taking great photos. But there is a lot more that goes into making a camera. Believe it or not, they’re all mostly the same in some ways. And it’s easy for someone to sit there and think that one camera is very similar to another until you pick them up and use them. With this in mind, cameras need to diversity. They Can All Achieve Fast and Accurate Autofocus, But They’re Not the Same Years ago, some cameras just wouldn’t be able to autofocus. They would be as slow as molasses. The performance would be bad for both contrast and phase-detection. But that’s all changed. They can all autofocus. Will they always be able to autofocus quickly? No. Can they all keep a moving subject perfectly in focus? No. Do they all have animal and bird face detection? No way. And you can surely bet that they all don’t have vehicle detection. However, they can all autofocus and take a portrait of a subject in good lighting. The performance will really vary in low lighting. More importantly, the speed will really vary depending on the brand used. But again, if you just want them to take a picture, they can all do it pretty well. Even Sigma, much maligned by many reviewers, can make a camera that can do the very basics. They’re all more or less copying one another. When one brand does face detection, so too does another. Some brand will try to do animal detection, and then another brand will too. Because they’re constantly copying each other, the products become the same. Most are Weather Resistant, and That’s Very Important Most cameras have weather resistance these days. And we’re happy about that. It’s not important just for going out into the rain, but also for overall sensor protection. Plus, your cameras will keep working in tip top shape for longer if they’re built better. The way I like to think about this is like what my mother did to the poor Camry we had growing up. She’d use it to haul hundreds of pounds of stuff from Home Depot. The entire suspension system would be screwed up. Of course, there are cars designed to do that kind of stuff. A 1997 Camry couldn’t do it in 2011. Similarly, your Nikon z50 isn’t going to resist what a Nikon Z7 II will. The Sony a7c won’t stand up to everything the Sony a1 can either. At this point though, more and more weather resistant cameras need to be hitting the market. There are also folks that say that weather resistant cameras don’t necessarily need weather resistance. But it’s a big issue for anyone that actually uses their cameras, warranties, insurance, etc. All Ergonomics Follow More or Less Two Design Variants All cameras follow one of three designs: The SLR: like most cameras with a raised viewfinder. The rangefinder: in my opionion, this is the best. The box: Hasselblad and Sigma more or less do that. So with that in mind, there are subtleties that make one camera look and feel different from another. Sometimes it’s a small thing like thumb grips. Other times it can be the exterior materials. But when they’re all copying one another or changing things slightly, it’s easy for everything to be the same. They’re All Using More or Less the Same Sensors All sensors come from maybe three companies: Canon, Sony, or Tower Jazz. So they’re all getting the same image quality until they start doing this own tweaks via the processor and more. This is a big problem. At the root of it all, most cameras on the market have the same Sony sensors in them. What’s the point of discussing image quality if they’ve got the same starting point? The processor and the tweaks companies make can surely have something to do with it. But again, they’re all more or less similar.
30 minutes | Aug 8, 2022
Quit Your Hate! This Is Great! Canon EOS R5 Review
The Canon EOS R5 is the company’s first major professional mirrorless camera, and it’s wonderful! There was a time when I was angry at Canon. But when the Canon EOS R launched, that anger subsided. It was a nice entry into the serious mirrorless camera world. But the Canon EOS R5 is arguably the camera they should have launched at the start. This camera can easily become the bread and butter of any professional photographer using it. It can also be a great tool for a multimedia shooter. Better yet, the hobbyist photographer who is passionate about the craft will enjoy what this camera can do. There has been a lot of wrongful bashing of the Canon EOS R5 on the web. And in this review, we’re going to talk to the practicality of it all. Note that before you go on, we’re not sensationalizing things just for clicks. If you’re a shooter that left Canon for another system, we’re probably going to tell you a few things you don’t want to hear. So, please keep your superiority complexes in check. You can view this article and much more with minimal ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. This review has been updated in August 2022. Table of Contents Pros and Cons Pros Cons Gear Used with the Canon EOS R5 Canon EOS R5 Tech Specs Canon EOS R5 Ergonomics Canon EOS R5 Build Quality Canon EOS R5 Ease of Use Canon EOS R5 Autofocus Performance Update December 2021 Update July 2022 Canon EOS R5 Image Quality JPEG Output RAW File Versatility High ISO Output TimeLapse Shooting Extra Image Samples from the Canon EOS R5 Canon EOS R5 Review Conclusions Likes Dislikes Pros and Cons Pros Well built Excellent battery life So intuitive for a Canon shooter Feels very good in the hand Image stabilization is pretty much second to none Wonderful menu systems Excellent details Weather sealed Reliable Canon’s Mobile App connection setup is as simple as ever Doesn’t overheat with short clips Wifi sending of full HD video is pretty fast High ISO RAW files hold a fair amount of data. There’s great dynamic range and colors, but the noise is a bit painful. Wireless RAW file transmission with Capture One 22 Cons The joystick is in an odd spot In some ways feels like an old 60D, but it’s totally not I personally feel the magnification button is in an odd spot Can’t transfer 8K video via Wifi 4K movie clips shorter than 30 seconds take a while to send, and then ultimately don’t end up on your phone High ISO Raw files above 12,800 tend to get a bit messy The price is a bit high at $3,899 Gear Used with the Canon EOS R5 We tested the Canon EOS R5 with the: Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM Samyang 85mm f1.4 AF Profoto B10 Canon EOS R5 Tech Specs In Brief: High Image Quality featuring a New 45 Megapixel Full-frame CMOS Sensor DIGIC X Image Processor with an ISO range of 100-51200; Expandable to 102400 Dual Pixel CMOS AF covering Approx. 100% Area with 1,053 AF Areas Subject tracking of People and Animals using Deep Learning Technology In-body Image Stabilizer can provide up to 8 stops of Shake Correction Dual Card Slots for CFexpress and UHS-II SD Memory Cards Built-in 0.5″ 5.76 Million Dots OLED EVF with 120fps refresh rate, Vari-angle LCD Touchscreen 2.4/5Ghz Built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Technology Full Specs taken from the LensRentals Listing 45MP Full-Frame Sensor and DIGIC X Processor. The Canon EOS R5’s newly designed 45MP full-frame CMOS sensor works in tandem with the DIGIC X processor to produce high-resolution stills and video with plenty of speed. The native ISO range of 100-51,200 can be expanded to 100-102,400, making this camera suitable for working in a wide range of lighting conditions. 8K30 RAW and 4K 120 Video. The EOS R5’s 45MP sensor makes internal DCI 8K 30 fps RAW capture possible, in addition to 4K recording at up to 120 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit with Canon Log and HDR-PQ. Please note that DCI 8K is the only format in which you can shoot RAW with the R5—every other resolution offers All-I or IPB compression. External ...
27 minutes | Aug 3, 2022
An Excellent Camera That’s Overkill for Most: Sony a1 Review
The Sony a1 shows that electronic shutters are the future. Sony stunned the photography industry when they announced their new flagship camera, the Sony a1. Sony is back to innovating again when it comes to silicon, and this is incredibly exciting. On paper, this camera with its new stacked sensor should impress even the most hard-headed photographers out there. Still, we all know that specs on a piece of paper don’t always equate to great real-world performance. We’ve had our hands on the new Sony a1 for a week, and we’ve put it to the test in some tough conditions. Will the wow factor from the spec sheet carry over into the wild when we test it? Find out in our full review of the Sony a1. Table of Contents Pros and Cons Pros Cons Too Long, Didn’t Read Gear Used Tech Specs Sony a1 – Innovations Sony a1 – Ergonomics Top Panel Camera Back Camera Left Camera Right Sony a1 – Build Quality Sony a1 – Ease of Use The Electronic Shutter Is Nuts IBIS Performance Sony a1 – Autofocus Human and Human Eye AF Animal Autofocus Bird Autofocus Sony a1 – Metering Sony a1 – Image Quality RAW File Versatility JPEGS High ISO Pixel Shift Multi Shot Sony a1 – Extra Image Samples Sony a1 – Conclusions Likes Dislikes Pros and Cons Pros Sony’s a1 shows that stacked sensors are the future Detail rich images with great dynamic range Excellent ergonomics (the best Sony camera to date) The a1 features the new touchscreen menu system Fantastic overall autofocus performance 30 frames per second with the electronic shutter with virtually no rolling shutter or banding issues 1/400th mechanical shutter speed with compatible TTL flashes and triggers Sony’s 9.44 million dot EVF is a work of art Excellent build quality Good battery life 8K video Excellent performance with CFexpress A cards Cons It has the same old 1.44 million dot LCD The LCD is not fully articulating Bird AF is a work in progress Multi Shot mode is inconsistent Autofocus suffers a little in very low light situations It’s $6,499 Too Long, Didn’t Read The Sony a1 is a camera designed for professionals who need the best in stills and video. 50MP images at 30 frames per second with autofocus make this camera a must-have for pro sports, pro wildlife, and photojournalists. It’s pricey at $6,499. However, if you need a solid camera that can produce high-resolution images by the bucket load and 8K video, the Sony a1is a no-compromise camera that delivers. Gear Used We used the Sony a1 with the Sony 24-70mm f2.8 GM and the Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 GM OSS. Also used was a Sony CFexpress A memory card. Tech Specs All of the technical specifications have been taken directly from the official Sony website: 50.1-MP 35 mm full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integral memory Advanced BIONZ XR engine boosts speed by up to 8x 30fps continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking Movie-making with 8K 30p and 4K 120p Wide AF coverage with 759-point phase-detection and 425-point contrast-detection AF points Battery life (stills) – Approx. 430 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 530 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard) Image Quality Modes – RAW (Compressed / Lossless Compressed / Uncompressed), JPEG (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light), HEIF (4:2:0 / 4:2:2) (Extra fine / Fine / Standard / Light) Viewfinder – 9.44 million dots LCD 1.44 million dots Human face and eye AF, animal body and eye AF, and a new Birding AF mode Flash Sync. Speed – (Mechanical Shutter), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (ON) or (AUTO):1/400 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/500 s (APS-C), (Flash Sync. Priority) is (OFF):1/320 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/400 s (APS-C), (Electrical shutter), 1/200 s (35 mm full-frame), 1/250 s (APS-C) Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation Continuous Drive Speeds – AUTO/Electronic Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 30fps, Hi: 20fps, Mid: 15fps, Lo: 5fps,10111213 Mechanical Shutter: Continuous shooting: Hi+: 10fps, Hi: 8fps, Mid: 6fps, Lo: 3fps Sony a1 – Innovations The Sony a1 features a brand new stacked with high-speed RAM stacke...
4 minutes | Jul 25, 2022
Still Have Peel Apart Film? It’s Important That You Do This
For more stories like this, please subscribe to the Phoblographer. The sad truth is that peel-apart film has been gone for many years now. In its final, last years, it didn’t get enough love. For decades, it was used primarily as a way to get a preview of what you were shooting on medium format cameras. But it evolved into other things after that. Recently, Supersense tried recreating it poorly. But if you have some of the original Fujifilm stuff, then you’ve got something special. Lots of folks don’t know what to do with them. So we’re going to walk you through. Oh, and by the way. My favorite camera to shoot peel-apart film with was always the Polaroid 180. Put it In the Fridge. Now. If you happen to get some, trust me on this. Put it in the fridge. Peel apart film is an actual film. And film has organic matter in it. Like all other organic materials, refrigeration helps preserve them. Whatever you do, don’t put it in the freezer. This film has an actual chemical in it that gets sorted through the photo once you shoot and pull it. Then it develops. Putting peel apart film in the freezer lets that film bubble possibly burst. Then the film is useless. So put it in the fridge. Let it Defrost When You Want to Shoot it When you’re ready to shoot your Peel apart film, let it sit outside for a while. Let it adjust to room temperature for maybe around an hour or so. This will get it prepped to shoot. And that brings us to our next step. Don’t Shoot it In the Cold Years ago, you could easily shoot Peel apart film in the cold, put it in a cold plate, and then warm it up with your body heat. At this point, all Peel apart film is pretty expired. So you’re best off just shooting it in warm weather. Aim for at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the room or the outdoor space you’re shooting. Years ago, I took a date out in the winter with this film. I pulled it through the roller when it was too cold out, and the photos never developed because of that. When you pull the image, make sure you’re in the warmest place possible. That will make the chemical saturation its richest. Overexpose it By at Least a Stop of Light Typically, you’re supposed to overexpose expired film anyway. When you use Peel apart film, you’re going to have to expose it. Use a light meter and get the best reading you possibly can. Then add a stop or so extra of light. Sometimes you’ll need to add two stops. This is the only way that you can get an image that will look really great. The Secret: You Can’t Overdevelop It Always remember, this isn’t digital, and it’s not really the darkroom. You can’t overdevelop Peel apart film. You can sit there, let it develop, and it will just stop after some time. Peel apart film usually tells you how long you need to wait until it’s done developing. You can underdevelop the shots, though. Don’t do that. It’s a waste. Keep the Other Side, It’s a Negative You Can Develop at Home with Bleach Lastly, when you’re done shooting, don’t throw away the other side of the instant film. That side contains a negative that’s easy to develop at home. Just use bleach or some toilet bowl cleaner with bleach. Then you’ll be able to get a beautiful negative that you can scan in and make it look gorgeous.
3 minutes | Jul 22, 2022
The Simple Trick to Getting a Pure White Background for Photography
Getting a pure white background doesn’t require post-production at all. Sure, you’ll shoot photos, but you don’t need to spend a whole day or two editing them just right. You can do it easily in-camera. But trust us when we say it’s a lot easier to do with flash than it is with LEDs. LEDs will mean that you’re more or less just spending more time editing in post-production. You can view this article and much more with minimal ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. What You Need A white background with a lot of lighting control. Ideally, you’ll use a box with a white interior A flash with a large diffuser like a softbox, a beauty dish, or something Another flash, possibly How to Do This Getting this done is pretty easy, but it will change depending on what you’re using. Set up: your white box on a hard, stable surface With the white box’s opening towards you, cut the top of it so that you can put a flash over it. Shut all the blinds and curtains in the room to kill ambient lighting Place the light modifier with the flash inside over the top Meter the scene. If you’re using TTL flash, set it to be one stop extra of power. TTL works by looking at the ISO and the aperture. The faster your shutter speed, the more ambient light you’ll kill. The slower it is, the more will come in. If you’re just using a white background, you’ll need a second flash. With your subject in front of the white background, meter them and photograph them with a flash accordingly. Have the second flash firing at the white background and make sure that it is a stop more powerful than the main light. “When you use your light meter to check the output of the lights, your main light should be weaker while your back light should be stronger. For the image above, our main light (which was next to the camera and in front of our model) was metered to f8 at ISO 100. The back light (hitting the background and positioned off to the side) was metered to f11 at ISO 100. Therefore, the light in the back is brighter and therefore gives the effect of a seamless white. It would have also worked if my main light was set to f5.6 and my back light was set to f8. Same with my main being set to f2.8 and my back being set to f4.” Getting a background to go pure white The Idea The idea here is that you’re trying to make the background bright white. This is more complicated to do with LEDs and also doesn’t give you the crisp quality a flash can. To get the background to appear purely white, it needs to be brighter than the subject you’re photographing. That’s how you make it stand out. And it makes sense. If you were photographing a portrait subject with bokeh balls in the background, the bokeh balls will stand out because they’re brighter than your subject. The same idea is being applied here. If you don’t have all these, you should take a look at our tutorial on how to do it with a window, a reflector, and one flash. Of course, you’ll have to do some post-production. And if you’re like me, you want to avoid post-production as much as possible and get it right in-camera.
4 minutes | Jul 20, 2022
What You Should Know Before Buying a 135mm Lens
We’re streaming daily on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, and Spotify! You can also listen to it right here on The Phoblographer. The 135mm lens is a magical wonder for many photographers. It’s a long lens: arguably the longest practical portrait lens. In the past, many photographers loved the lens for more than just portraits. It’s a great candid lens; you can be far from a subject before being noticed. And if you’re a certain type of photographer, it might never leave your camera. The 135mm lens has lots of desirable qualities about it, but before you make the commitment, let’s go over a few things. Arguably the Best Portrait Lens, But They’ve Got Tradeoffs The 135mm is considered by many photographers to be the perfect focal length for portraits. Optically speaking, no one looks bad on the other end of this lens. It gives the right compression level to faces, bodies, heads, cheeks, noses, etc. As the years have gone on, 135mm has become better, though they may be a bit too clinical for some photographers these days. Some legends of this focal length are the Canon 135mm f2 L, Sigma 135mm f1.8, Sony 135mm f1.8 G Master, Sony 135mm f1.8 A-Mount, and the Zeiss 135mm Milvus lens. We’ve used all of them in studio and on location. Shooting with a 135mm lens requires you to think differently than you would with any other lens. If that’s intimidating you, you should probably stop here. Otherwise, continue on and check out some of the best 135mm lenses we’ve tested. They’re Long First off, attach a 135mm lens to your camera and you’ll realize it’s very long and thin. It’s a huge prime lens. If you’re the type of photographer who likes small lenses, avoid the 135mm and reach for an 85mm lens instead. (Eighty-fives are excellent, and something akin to a 55mm lens.) What’s more, a 135mm gets even longer when you put a lens hood on, so I’d shoot without one. The newer ones are a lot more clinical, so I’d use a polarizing filter to make colors pop a bit more. Otherwise, there’s the PrismFX stuff that we’ve reviewed. They’re Hard to Get and Keep a Subject in Focus 135mmm lenses are notoriously hard to get in focus. If you’re on a DSLR, you need to nail the focusing point and ensure you don’t move. With mirrorless cameras, there’s face and eye detection. After you get it in focus, you need to make sure tracking is on to constantly follow the eye or the face. At f1.8, they’re super hard to get in focus. I think the easiest 135mm lens I’ve ever worked with is the Zeiss Batis 135mm f2.8. It’s an autofocus lens and the slowest of the bunch. But it’s also pretty nice with its render. Most people have shaky hands. They’ll probably end up shooting portraits in burst mode and have to cull through hundreds if not thousands of photos later. Otherwise, you can shoot on a tripod and carefully focus. If you happen to be good at handholding a lens, you won’t have an issue. You Need a Lot of Room to Use Them 135mm lenses render super tight if you don’t have a lot of room. If you’re shooting indoors, be sure to have at least 10 feet between you and a subject. Arguably, the best thing to do is shoot outside. If you shoot outside, you have more options with where you can shoot. But, of course, you lack the control that indoor shoots can provide. Usually, 135mm lenses are more of a pain than what they’re worth. But I’ll admit they can create beautiful photos.
19 minutes | Jul 14, 2022
They Finally Did It! Full Frame Rangefinder Style! Sony a7c Review
The Sony a7c is the company’s first rangefinder-style camera with a full-frame sensor at heart. I’m incredibly elated that Sony made a camera like the Sony a7c. The entire industry is lacking rangefinder-style cameras. Putting a full-frame sensor into one is the icing on the cake. Maybe it will mean other brands follow suit. Sony made a few sacrifices to create the Sony a7c. This is a real innovation that was proven long ago with the RX1 series. But this camera is different; you can swap the lenses out. The image stabilization isn’t up to par with the other Sony a7 camera bodies. And in some ways, I feel the autofocus isn’t either. You’re also missing a joystick. But otherwise, the Sony a7c has a whole lot going for it. Editor’s Note: Our original review was published with pre-production firmware. We’ve updated this review with firmware version 2.0. Sony a7c Pros and Cons Pros It’s tiny This is Sony’s first rangefinder-style full-frame camera, and it reminds me so much of the Mamiya 6 Good image quality overall I adore the shutter sound Weather resistance is excellent for shooting in the rain The colors from the images are lovely High ISO output is outstanding, especially in print Focus peaking seems better than previous cameras, but it’s still not Canon’s Cons No joystick I really wanted the Sony a7r III sensor: that was the most perfect one Sony’s IBIS isn’t as good as Canon’s or Fujifilm’s The IBIS in the Sony a7c isn’t as good as that of the higher-end Sony a7 models No touchscreen menu I’d really like a frontal exposure dial Sony needs to revamp its delayed shooting option to focus on a subject right before it’s going to fire I don’t feel like this is the same autofocus as the other Sony a7 cameras. Sony’s autofocus needs to be revamped to accurately focus on people of color with dark hair and against dark backgrounds Needs dual card slots 1/200th flash sync Dynamic range isn’t that great in Capture One Sony is still prone to getting dust on the sensor with this camera Gear Used with the Sony a7c We tested the Sony a7c with Sony 35mm f1.8 FE Sony 28-60mm f4-5.6 Fotodiox M to E mount adapter 7Artisans 50mm f1.1 7Artisans 28mm f1.4 Samyang 14mm f2.8 II Samyang 85mm f1.4 II Profoto B10 Sony 85mm f1.4 GM Sony a7c Tech Specs Here are the tech specs in brief 24 Megapixel Backside illuminated full-frame sensor 20% smaller and 30% lighter than other Sony a7 series cameras 5 stop of IS Weather sealing 4k video features 10 frame per second in mechanical and electronic shutter The same battery as the newer Sony a7 series cameras Variable angle LCD screen Magnesium alloy body with weather resistance Ergonomics Here it is in silver! Many of us have been waiting a long time for a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera boasting a full-frame sensor. And it’s here! Admittedly, I think I made it look more gorgeous in the photos than it is in real life. Personally speaking, my heart belongs to the Fujifilm X Pro 3. And the silver on both cameras is very similar. The front of the Sony a7c has the full-frame E mount area. There are no buttons on the front except for the lens release. I wish Sony put more buttons on the front of their cameras. It would help them feel more like, well, real-cameras! I also wish the front of the grip still had the extra dial. The top of the Sony a7c has three controls. Around the shutter release is the on/off switch. It shares the right side with the mode dial that includes the dreaded Auto mode. There is also a video record button nestled between the shutter release and the exposure compensation dial. To the left of all this is the hot shoe. The back of the camera is incredibly comfortable. It’s missing a joystick, and some folks won’t like that. Changing the autofocus point with the wheel at the back is more annoying and slower than a dedicated joystick. The LCD screen is the variable angle type. To the right of all this are control buttons and the other exposure dials. To the top left of it is the EVF. It’s ni...
4 minutes | Jul 13, 2022
5 Stories Highlight the Intimate and Powerful World of Combat Sports
Ready for a fight? Don’t worry, I jest. The Phoblographer would never encourage our readers to step into the realm of combat. However, we do love combat sports, and we especially love it when photographers document the heat of battle. We’ve done many stories over the years that focus on fight photography, and below are some of the very best of them. Enjoy. Want to get your work featured? Here’s how to do it! Kevin Lynch Doucments Combat Sports and the UFC The UFC is one of the most popular combat sports organizations in the world. It has had to work hard to be accepted, with states like New York only recently licensing fights. Beyond the tough-guy persona, the fighters are humans. They’re normal men and women, just like you and I. Photographer Kevin Lynch documented that for the best part of a decade. He made pre and post-fight portraits of the athletes and really became connected to them. It’s beautiful. Take a look here. Katerina Gregoriou Incorporates Combat Sports Into Shattered Glass Katerina Gregoriou is an exceptionally talented photographer. We interviewed her back in early 2020 and took a closer look at her photography series, Shattered Glass. The work aimed to uplift women who were involved in jobs and social groups traditionally reserved for men. Part of the work involved photographing a woman who sumo wrestles, a sport where you’d seldom find women. You can read about it here. Greg Bowl Shoots Entertaining Combat Sports Professional wrestling struggles to find its identity. Is it entertainment, or is it combat sports? Either way, it involves combat, even if it is scripted and staged. Greg Bowl was making images of pro wrestling way before it went global. He sent us his series, and we loved it so much we arranged an interview. He has many cool stories to tell and plenty of awesome photos to share. Take a look here. Erin Lefevre Shares Fight Like a Woman Way back in 2015, Erin Lefevre joined us to share her photography project, Fight Like a Woman. The work covered professional fighter Casey Morton. Rather than create a bunch of action shots, Lefevre delved into what happens behind the scenes in the life of a professional boxer. It’s fight photography that thinks outside the box and it’s fascinating stuff that’s certainly worth your time and attention. See the images here. August Udoh Shows Us the World of One-Handed Fighting Dambe fighting was born in West Africa. Back in the day, butchers and fishermen were the main competitors. However, today the sport is enjoyed by people from variant backgrounds. Unlike traditional boxing, fighters can only use one hand and fight over three rounds. Photographer August Udoh made some terrific portraits of local fighters and shared the history behind the West African sport. Take a look here. Do You Photograph Combat Sports? Whether you like combat sports or not, they’re here to stay. There’s something intimate about two people going into battle. If you study the sports, you’ll recognize the strong bond two fighters have after the war is over. Because of the emotions and psychology linked to combat sports, they’re a perfect subject for photographers to document. If you have some cool fight photography that goes beyond what the mainstream sees and your work shows something deeper, send it to us. You can use the form above to make contact, and if we like it, we’ll certainly be in touch. Do you like combat sports? What do you think of the examples shown above? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Lead image by Kevin Lynch. All images used with permission. Check out more stories on our Flipboard page!
24 minutes | Jul 7, 2022
Improved Animal and Face Detection! Sony A7 IV Review
Sometimes I find myself shaking my head at what cameras can do these days. The jury is still out as to whether it’s shaken in disbelief or wonderment. That is the case with the long-awaited and fairly priced Sony a7 IV. It packs a lot of features that photographers have been asking for along with capabilities that are overkill. I think Sony’s next camera could take an entirely black or even stark white image and recover almost every detail. Editor’s Note: This review has received updates as of July 2022. Alas, It has been fun watching the community pine for the newest Sony a7 IV leading up to its announcement. Based on what photographers have been asking for online, they will be delighted with the versatility of this camera. Its premise is to build a bridge for hybrid shooters and make their creativity more attainable. While the video functionalities are sure to pique interest, this review will focus on its photographic capabilities. Does it live up to the beloved a7 series? There’s no question that it does. The short answer is it’s an excellent option for most genres of photography. It’s sweeping an even broader net at who this camera is for. Keep reading to find out why. Table of Contents Too Long Didn’t Read Pros and Cons Pros Cons Gear Used Innovations Tech Specs Ergonomics Build Quality Ease of Use Firmware Installation Improved Camera Stability Autofocus Eye AF Isn’t Always Accurate (Update July 2022) Metering Image Quality High ISO Images Raw File Versatility JPEG Quality Extra Image Samples Edited Unedited Conclusions of the Sony a7 IV Likes Dislikes Too Long Didn’t Read The long-anticipated Sony a7 IV is finally here and aims to bridge the gap for still photographers and videographers. It’s received a bit of a facelift with a beautiful, new OLED screen and a more comfortable grip. The updated face and animal detection with tracking is impressive and fun. It now comes with in-camera skin smoothing to significantly reduce post-processing time. Plus, its price is pretty great for an all-in-one option. Pros and Cons Pros Face detection and tracking Animal face detection and tracking Bird face and eye detection Metering Updated OLED screen and menu Comfortable grip Suitable for a variety of applications Weather-sealed and sensor dust issue is improved Fast autofocus Impressive Dynamic Range Sharp – almost too sharp for some womens’ portraits In-camera skin softening to combat incredibly sharp skin pores Cons High ISO performance could be better Color noise in out-of-focus areas at lower ISOs Shutter freezes and the camera becomes unresponsive at times when shooting bracketed High burst mode currently only works if shooting compressed RAW Gear Used We tested the new Sony a7 IV with the Sony 35mm f1.4GM lens, Sony 50mm f1.2 GM lens, and Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 lens. Innovations As far as cutting edge, the new a7 IV isn’t revamping the world of mirrorless cameras. What it does is borrow some of the great features of the flagship a1 and is a welcome upgrade to the lower-tier lineup. The upgraded OLED screen, real-time human/animal autofocus, and impressive dynamic range are welcome additions. Tech Specs All technical specifications are provided by the manufacturer. 33.0 MP (appx/effective) full-frame Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor Latest generation BIONZ XR™ image processing engine High resolution with color reproduction accuracy & low noise 15 stop dynamic range for natural gradations Creative Look / Soft Skin Effect 10-bit HEIF format (4:2:2 or 4:2:0) 5.5-step advantage 5-axis in-body image stabilization 828 continuous RAW+JPEG shooting 759 phase-detection AF points (94% coverage) Improved AF-S speed / Improved low light AF down to EV-4 AF tracking for continuous shooting at f22 Real-time Eye AF for Human/Animal/Bird More tenacious Real-time Tracking 4K 60p recording in Super35 format for slow-motion 4k 30p recording, 7k oversampling for high resolution S-Cinetone™ and Creative Look for delivery work 10bit S-Log3 with 15+ stops o...
12 minutes | Jun 27, 2022
The Best! Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD Review
The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD could be the best lens for APS-C cameras ever made. The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD could be the best lens for APS-C cameras ever made. It combines weather-resistance with fast autofocus and a lot of versatility. For the record, it’s more or less a 24-120mm f2.8 equivalent zoom. And for any APS-C photographer, that’s a dream. To boot, it’s also incredibly small for what it is. While it feels fantastic on Sony cameras, some Fujifilm photographers might not necessarily want to use it. However, it’s great on both camera systems. This review was updated June 27th 2022. A whole other section was created just for the Fujifilm variant. Pros and Cons Pros Small Weather sealed Under $1,000 Image stabilized Basically a 24-105mm at f2.8 Lightweight Cons Tamron is a beautiful diamond being wasted on the sad Ringpop that is the Sony APS-C camera system. What’s Innovative About This? The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD is the full-frame equivalent of a 26-105mm f2.8 lens. The depth of field will be around f4.2 in full-frame too. But the light gathering and true aperture will still be f2.8. This is the first time we’ve ever gotten a lens like this. Add onto all this the vibration compensation, sharp optics, and weather sealing features. Then realize that it’s under $1,000. To me, this sounds like a no-brainer. It’s a truly usable large range that photographers can use with confidence every day. Sigma has their 18-35mm f1.8 lens, but it’s not as useable a range as this Tamron offering. For what it’s worth, I think this lens is wasted on E Mount. Everyone fawns over the company’s full-frame cameras. It has also come to Fujifilm X series. It could also even make the Nikon Z50 seem more useful. Gear Used We tested the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD on the Sony a6600. We also used it with Profoto lighting. Tech Specs Specs are taken from AlphaShooters Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groupsAngle of view (APS-C): 79゜55′-23゜00′Number of diaphragm blades: 9（Rounded diaphragm）Minimum aperture: F22Minimum focusing distance: 0.19m (7.5 in) (WIDE) / 0.39m (15.4 in) (TELE)Maximum magnification ratio: 1:4.8 (WIDE) / 1:5.2 (TELE)Filter size: φ67mmDiameter: 74.6mmLength: 119.3mm (4.7 in)Weight: 525g (18.5oz)Accessories: Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps included Ergonomics The Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD is a moderately sized lens. I say this because it depends a lot on the situation you’re in. But overall, it’s simple to use thanks to the construction. You can see above that the only controls are a large zoom ring and a small focusing ring. The exterior is made of plastic. However, the lens doesn’t feel like a bad, plasticky lens. It’s a ways better than anything Rokinon has made. When fully zoomed in, the lens also doesn’t become much larger than it is. And that’s really great for real-life use. Of course, that also means that it isn’t an internally zooming lens. Build Quality Make no mistake; the Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-A VC RXD is a massive lens for an APS-C camera. But overall, it’s still smaller than a Canon 50mm f1.2 RF prime lens. It’s also far lighter. The lens is built solidly. It’s a plastic body that doesn’t feel cheap at all. Tamron is a specialist at constructing lenses like this. There are also nice rubber rings for grip. Of course, this lens is also weather-resistant. We’re confident that it will outlast the Sony bodies it was designed for. Overall, this lens is built to be the only one you need. It’s lightweight and fairly small. Stuff it into a camera bag slot, and you’ll be good to go. Again, Tamron has built one of the most perfect lenses for APS-C cameras. It’s again a shame it’s being wasted on a format that I don’t think sees its future in APS-C. Ease of Use Slap the lens on the camera, point, focus, and shoot. That’s all there is to it. The lens has vibration compensation built-in, which translates into better hand-holding at slower shutter speeds. And if you’re l...
19 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
New Functions. Improved Performance. Capture One 22 Review
Capture One is back with the newest rendition of their beloved editing software. Capture One 22 improves some of its best features and introduces several new functions photographers have been requesting. Real estate, landscape, and astrophotographers can now enjoy a powerful HDR merge function. The Panoramic Stitch feature resembles the Brenizer Method and makes it possible to create larger canvases in smaller spaces. Capture One Live adds collaboration tools, while the overall design prepares for the upcoming iPad version. Make sure you have plenty of hard drive space for these functions. You’ll see why. You can view this article and much more with minimal ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. Table of Contents Too Long Didn’t Read Pros and Cons Pros Cons Gear Used What’s New In Capture One 22? Ease of Use Capture One Live Magic Eraser and local editing Wireless Tethering for Canon and Sony Panoramic Stitch HDR Merge Auto Rotate Performance Conclusions of Capture One 22 Too Long Didn’t Read The newest release of Capture One is here, and it has some worthy upgrades. After adding HDR merge and a Panoramic Stitch functionality, the photo editor now has online collaboration, an enhanced Keystone tool, and a magic eraser. Wireless tethering is available for multiple Canon and Sony cameras, and overall performance has improved. The editing program still has room for improvement with its selections, healing, and cloning functionalities. Pros and Cons Pros HDR merge is pretty great Panoramic Stitch is a nice feature Many Canon and Sony shooters will enjoy tethering wirelessly Performance is noticeably improved Re-designed tool tab is easier to learn Capture One Live has simple sharing Customizable workspaces Solid performance Cons The clone and healing masks aren’t as precise as Photoshop There still isn’t a patch tool The magic brush should be more accurate and functional to compete with other programs Auto rotate isn’t geared towards verticals The Live feature really needs notifications Larger catalog sizes Gear Used We originally tested Capture One 22 on a 2019 16” MacBook Pro. The images used were captured with a Canon 5D Mark III, Sony a7 III, and Fujifilm GFX50s II. Tethering was tested with a Canon EOS R5 and EOS R. The 15.3 build of Capture One, released in June 2022, was tested on a 2021 MacBook Pro M1 Pro with images from a Fujifilm X-T4 and Panasonic GH6. What’s New In Capture One 22? Main feature upgrades are provided by Capture One. Panorama Stitch HDR Merge Auto Rotate (AI-Driven) Wireless Tethering for Canon and Sony Improved Performance Capture One Live collaboration Magic Eraser tool Enhanced Keystone tool Ease of Use Everything you already love about Capture One performs a bit better. The software has also improved how it captures data. Windows users will be pleased to see more user-friendly catalogs as they have re-engineered them. Mac users will see a quicker response when browsing through images quickly and zoom functionality. With the June 2022 update, the desktop software is now ready for the upcoming iPad app. One of those changes includes re-designed icons in the tool tab. These icons now all finally have labels. One of the most annoying aspects of switching from Lightroom is that there are so many tabs and none of them are labeled. The update will help new users find everything quickly. The only downside is that the tools tab needs a little more space. I had to make it wider to accommodate the Color tab, which was originally hiding in the ellipsis icon. Even with the updated design, Capture One is still very customizable. That’s one of the software’s stand-out features — being able to customize the workspace to your liking. Capture One Live Update June 2022 by Review Editor Hillary Grigonis Capture One Live is a new collaboration tool that shares collections online for others to view, star, or color code. Five sessions are included with a basic subscription — sharing more sessions at once...
33 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
A Remarkable AF, Low Light Jackpot: Canon EOS R3 Review
Photographers now can take their pick of cameras that can shoot stills fast enough to actually be movies. But Canon’s approach to a speedy flagship is arguably the most different from Sony’s and Nikon’s. Instead of creating a camera that can shoot both fast and high resolution, the Canon EOS R3 uses a less-headline-worthy 24.1-megapixel sensor. Canon is taking a gamble that the photographers who want 30 fps are also the photographers who prioritize exceptional low light performance over high resolution. And, they’re trying to sweeten the deal with an autofocus system that will just focus on wherever you’re looking. You can view this article and much more with minimal ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. Will Canon’s gamble pay off, or is the R3 going to lose out to a higher resolution foe? Does the AF in this headline mean autofocus or the Urban Dictionary definition of AF? I spent a few weeks with the Canon R3, shooting everything from wildlife to equestrian to low light portraits. I was blown away by both the autofocus and the noise reduction in the dark. And limited rolling shutter distortion may actually make the R3’s top speeds useful. Table of Contents Too Long, Didn’t Read Canon EOS R3 Pros and Cons Pros Cons Gear Used Innovations Canon EOS R3 Tech Specs Ergonomics Build Quality Autofocus Eye Control AF Ease of Use Metering Image Quality High ISO Images RAW File Versatility Extra Image Samples Edited Unedited Conclusion Likes Dislikes Too Long, Didn’t Read The Canon R3 has a top burst speed that’s actually useful because of a great autofocus system and a faster processor to limit rolling shutter. This camera can not only shoot in the dark but print ISO 128,000 and still look good. While the R5 may make more sense for detail work, the R3 is an exceptional low-light and fast-action camera. Canon EOS R3 Pros and Cons Pros Impressive autofocus performance with both action and low light Face recognition works phenomenally, even on birds and in dark scenes Reduced rolling shutter distortion and 1/180 flash sync with electronic shutter Excellent noise reduction at high ISOs Eye Control AF Built-in vertical grip Lots of great controls Weather-sealed Cons Resolution is lower than competitors (but this is partially why low light quality is so great) Higher learning curve Hot shoe adapter recommended for weather-sealing with older flashes Heavier and larger than the R5 and R6 Pricey Gear Used I used the Canon EOS R3 with the 70-200 f4, 85mm f2 Macro, and 16mm f2.8 RF mount lenses. I also paired the camera with both the EL-1 flash and the Flashpoint R2 Zoom Li-Ion III and a wireless trigger. I stashed the gear in the F-Stop Ajna backpack. The reflections you see in some of the night portraits were created with Lensbaby Omni wands. Innovations Canon wasn’t the first to announce a sports-focused mirrorless flagship; it competes with the speed of the Sony A1 and the Nikon Z9. But, there’s still a lot of innovation here. Canon has included Eye Control AF, which was previously on some of their film cameras. This moves the autofocus point to whatever part of the frame your eye is looking at. The processor that’s behind the 30 fps top burst speed also reduces rolling shutter distortion with faster image processing. Canon EOS R3 Tech Specs Adorama lists the following specifications for the Canon EOS R3, shortened for clarity: Lens Mount: Canon RF Sensor Type: 36 x 24mm (Full-Frame) CMOS Sensor Resolution: Actual: 26.7 Megapixel; Effective: 24.1 Megapixels Crop Factor: None Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 Image File Format: JPEG, Raw, HEIF Bit Depth: 14-Bit Image Stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 102400 (Extended: 50 to 204800) Shutter Speed: Mechanical Shutter: 1/8000 to 30 Second, Bulb Mode Electronic Shutter: 1/64000 to 30 Second in Manual Mode; 1/64000 to 30 Second in Shutter Priority Mode; 1/8000 to 30 Second in Aperture Priority Mode; 1/8000 to 30 Second; in Program Mode; Bulb Mod...
3 minutes | May 31, 2022
The Complete Confusion of the Modern Camera Bag Industry
I’m going to preface this by saying that none of the established manufacturers are making bad camera bags. We’d know; we’ve reviewed the most of any photography publication. Just take a look at our camera bag reviews! All the bags are varying degrees of mediocre to good, but none of them are truly awful. Even if they can’t be used as camera bags, they can be used for something else. But, the modern camera bag industry has a big problem. I’m going to partially credit the idea for this post to my friend, Michael. One day, Michael said that there were too many camera bag manufacturers. Michael specified there are so many camera bags, but camera brands are making fewer cameras. While the camera industry shrunk, the camera bag industry grew. How does that make sense? Honestly, I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure it has something to do with Kickstarter. Brands have been using Kickstarter for years to fund their products. This helps brands that otherwise might not have made it to market have a fighting chance. That’s great for them. The newer camera brands have done some innovative things which have changed the photo industry. Without them, the camera bag industry would be more plain than vanilla and Greek yogurt. So why is this a problem? Well, it’s becoming tougher for things to be unique. This problem was already plaguing the camera world. But in the camera bag industry, manufacturers copy one another all the time. Some stand out from others through materials, while others have pretty different and innovative designs. I think you get the point. What do we do about it? This is a tough question. There are only a few types of bags that make sense in the camera bag industry: backpacks, slings, messenger bags, duffels, and roller bags. I haven’t seen a lot of totes do a fantastic job at being camera bags. But I did some research into what types of bags could work. The Bucket. A bucket bag is sort of like a giant lens cloth. Just imagine it with dividers in there. It wouldn’t need to hold a laptop, but it could work as a messenger bag or sling style bag. Randoseru. A special type of backpack with quick access. Plus, there’s a hard front shell. Who wouldn’t want this? Battle Bag: From the same website as above, these could be modified with the right know-how. I tried to years ago, but failed. Guitar bag: I used to carry guitars and basses with me. The bags were awesome, but creating a larger one that could hold lenses, cameras, lights, etc, could be pretty awesome if it would have a definitive shape. Further, lots of brands don’t use materials like canvas and leather because they feel those materials are too heavy. But with the right design and support, they can work much better. Most camera bags are made from nylon. In recent years, other materials have come up. What about hemp? Or why not silk? Or how about recycled scarf materials like wool and cashmere? I think brands need to try new things.
3 minutes | May 26, 2022
How to Get the Redscale Look In-Camera Without Post-Production
You’d be shocked at just how simple it is to get the redscale look everyone loves and craves. The redscale look derives from the organic look you can get from film. And so, I’m going to preface this piece by saying you should just shoot film. But you can also totally get the look digitally in-camera. Better yet, you don’t need to do post-production. In this short, useful photography tip, we’re going to teach you how to get the redscale look. Want more useful photography tips? Click here. If you’re organically shooting for the redscale look with film, it will vary depending on how you expose for it. Years ago, we reviewed Redscale by Lomography. We said the following: “.the shorter your exposures are, the more red and orange the film results will be. But the longer your exposures are, the more normal they’ll look.” So basically, the less light you give it, the more extreme the look. The more light you give it, the less the effect will be. You’ll need to dial in the look according to your preferences. Of course, if you shoot digital, you might want to just try the look. Well, you don’t need some fancy preset and you don’t need to even step into post-production. You can shoot the image and then just port it straight to your phone. That means you can just focus on creating the entire time. Here’s how to get the redscale look. Tungsten Light and Daylight White Balance Tungsten-colored light is a big way to start getting the redscale look. How do you know what Tungsten light looks like? Well, is there warm light in the room or whiter light? If it’s warmer, it’s closer to Tungsten. Does the light remind you of the warmer lights you see in bars? If that’s the case, then that orange light is closer to tungsten. Most street lamps are also tungsten-colored. Whiter light is more daylight colored. Combine tungsten light in the environment with daylight white balance to get the redscale look. Your camera should have a daylight setting. But daylight white balance is anywhere between 5200-5600 Kelvin on your camera. Yes, this means, that you need to manually set the white balance by kelvin and not by using the white point option. This is just one way to do it, but there is, of course, yet another way to get the look too! 10,000 Kelvin White Balance In most lighting situations involving the outdoors or daylight, you can get the redscale look using 10,000 Kelvin white balance on your camera. For most cameras, this is the most extreme option on the warmer end. Want the extremely warm look with the clothes to be a different tone? Well, use a flash or shoot in daylight. Everything will have a tint of orange going over it and you’ll get a pretty awesome look without needing to do post-production. Some of you might wonder if this is possible with an orange filter on the lens. An orange filter just makes the entire scene orange. That’s a cool look for sure, but it’s not quite the redscale look you want.
4 minutes | May 12, 2022
Understanding the Huge Divide in the World of Photography
If you look at it, there are two schools of thought in photography: gear and photos. Some people are great with gear. Other people are great with making photos. Just because you’ve got an expensive camera doesn’t mean you can shoot a great photo. And it doesn’t mean you understand how to create a great photo, the idea of a moment, etc. I’ve also met a ton of photographers so into their art that barely know how to use their cameras. You can view this article and much more with minimal banner ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. And for $24.99/year, you can have a banner ad-free experience. Some people are just more into cameras. Other people are more into photography. There’s a huge difference. Some people are into knives, but they’re not into cooking. Other folks are into gaming, but they’re not into building their own computers. A reasonable amount of people are into cars, but not necessarily driving them. Some folks are into archery, but not necessarily geeks about bows. Someone could really like whiskey, but not care about the distilling process. This is something we need to keep in mind. It’s fine if cameras are your hobby. You can own a bunch of cameras because you like them. Cameras are a fun hobby. If you buy them used, you’re going to probably get a great buy. More so than any other tech besides TVs, cameras are used pretty carefully. You can’t go wrong when buying a used camera the way you can with a refrigerator or something. At the same time, photography can also be a hobby. You can be just fine with your 30-year-old camera and just enjoy the act of taking photos. Even your phone could be enough, and maybe you’d just be really into the stories of the photos, looking at them, etc. It’s an enjoyable thing for sure. Some folks on the other hand might really like paging through photos in a book. Now here’s the bigger thing: it’s wonderful if you’re just into cameras. At the same time, your interest in photography is equally just as wonderful. But I think we need to go deep down inside our souls and figure out which one we are. You could say you’re into street photography, but you may actually just like using cameras. Similarly, you could say you love Sony cameras, but you may have never touched anything else in your time shooting photos. Can you genuinely be into both? Sure, but not a lot of people are. If I looked at our staff, I could easily see who is more into cameras and who is more into photography. Some people are a bit of both. If I look at brand ambassadors, I can easily tell who is into photography, who is into cameras, and who are both. There are people who call themselves photographers that end up just doing tons of layering in Photoshop. At the end of the day, they could do that with any camera. So they’re mostly just into being actual photographers and photo editors. If you’re making it this far, you’re probably wondering why this matters. I think it helps change the conversations about both cameras and photography. Some cameras are a more tactile experience. You obviously pick up a Leica for a specific experience. But when you look at a bunch of the cameras on the market, the experience is very similar. Conversely, when you look at the different types of photography, they’re very different. So why then haven’t camera manufacturers tried to make themselves as diverse as the genres of photography?
4 minutes | May 11, 2022
Why It’s Time to Bring Back the Tilt-Shift Lens
If you ever experienced photography before Instagram, then you hopefully got to check out the tilt-shift lens. They were used for a variety of things: architecture, landscapes, and surreal work. It’s where the idea of miniatures comes from. And almost a decade ago, they were expensive and not used as creatively. These days, the tilt-shift lens is completely missing from various camera systems. And I think that the tilt-shift should make a return, but in a totally different way. You can view this article and much more with minimal banner ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. And for $24.99/year, you can have a banner-ad-free experience. Tilt-shift lenses were all about getting perspectives 100% totally what you want them to be. All of that can be done digitally via post-production these days. But a lot of photographers would rather not have to do it in post-production. After all, what’s the fun of photography if you’re spending all day behind a computer screen? Manufacturers like to talk about how some of their lenses don’t have distortion. And for the most part, a lot of distortion has been eliminated. But it’s not perfect still. A tilt-shift lens, medium format, or large format lens can still do things much better and get it right the first time around. “The miniature effect is in essence, using the lens to drastically change the plane of focus by a tilt and/or shift to throw out the area of focus only keeping a small area IN focus.” How a Tilt Shift Lens Works Even so, I don’t think that that this is why the tilt-shift lens should come back. Instead, I think that the current landscape of lenses is just seriously lacking in variety. We’d know, we’ve reviewed more than any other photo publication. Manufacturers also generally work to engineer all the character out of their lenses. These clinical experiments have removed the soul from optics. To that end, we get the perfect metaphorical tacos that still need a lime to be drizzled on them. And this means that a manufacturer doesn’t necessarily need to create a tilt-shift lens, but a tilt-shift adapter could possibly work. Even then though, the adapters don’t do as good of a job as a dedicated lens. Years ago, we reviewed the Rokinon 24mm tilt-shift lens. And it touched on a very big and important point. Here’s a section from that review: “Now a lens like this is built to CORRECT distortion caused by less than ideal perspectives (we can’t all shoot from a cherry-picker 20-50 feet in the air all the time). So thankfully with the shift adjustments available on this lens it is quite simple to correct the converging lines of taller buildings or even normal rooms from a higher or lower angle than eye-level.” I’ll totally admit that this can be an annoying problem to deal with. But a tilt-shift lens would make sure that I don’t have to face it at all. And when I’m done with it for perspective correction, I’ll go play with it to create miniatures. If you’re sitting here saying, “Chris, you can just do it in post-production,” then you’re missing the point. I don’t want to do it in post-production. A lot of us don’t. We’re still in a pandemic that isn’t over and people spend way more time in front of screens. We don’t need to anymore. We can spend time working with our cameras and getting the photos to be perfect in-camera. Photography is a skill, and we should make it so again. Yes, AI and technology has made the basics easier. But it’s up to us now to raise the higher end of skills up since the lower end has also risen up.
5 minutes | May 10, 2022
5 Signs That You Need to Take a Break from Photography and Recharge
Sometimes, it’s best to put your camera down and take a step back from photography. Whether you’re a die-hard hobbyist or a consummate professional, you likely practice photography a lot. But there comes a time in every photographer’s journey when things don’t go well. It can be a lack of enthusiasm, a struggle to find identity, or a general loss of love for the craft. When we hit lows in our journey, often the best solution is to take a break. And in this piece, we look at some signs that indicate you may need to put your camera down. The Photography Aesthetic Hasn’t Evolved I’m a big believer in progression. No matter how successful you become, you should always strive to improve and learn new things. That could mean photographing different types of subjects, or it could mean learning new photo editing skills that give your images more life. If you spend time with your archive and notice your images look the same, it’s time to take a step back. It’s easy to get into a routine when it comes to creating. And that routine can be difficult to break. But, by stepping away from photography, you can return to it with fresh eyes. Taking a break also gives you time to gain clarity on what direction you then want to go in. Photography Feels More Like a Chore Even if your passion is photography, there will be phases where you just don’t feel it. You may develop resentment to the feeling that you must always use your camera. Instead of photography being a joyous thing, it starts feeling more like a chore. That’s normal and can come and go in waves. But when that feeling does arrive, take a break. It’s good to miss the feeling of making photos. It can help you realize why you enjoy doing it so much. You’re Feeling Guilty About Your Lack of Productivity Rather than taking a conscious break, photographers may just stop using their camera. Better known as a rut, the camera begins a life on the shelf. “I’ll make photos next week,” you may say, but next week never comes. Over time you start to feel guilty. “I should be making more photos.” Instead of letting the guilt manifest further, and ignoring the obvious, decide to take a break. But the break has to be a conscious thing. For example, you can tell yourself, “I won’t make photographs for four weeks.” That way, you have committed to a date, and you don’t have to feel guilty. Hopefully, by the time you pick up your camera, you’ll have a new sense of enthusiasm. You Focus Your Attention on the Negative Elements of the Industry Every industry has its good and bad parts. The deeper you get into photography, the more you deal with egos, time-wasters, and a whole list of other issues. It’s par for the course, but people can usually handle all of that by connecting to the positive elements of being a photographer. If you can no longer see those positives, and find that you focus your energy on the negatives, it’s time for a break. Honestly, it’s a miserable place to be in when all you see are the bad parts of something. Take a break, focus on your mental health, and come back when you feel positive again. You Want to Have the “Falling in Love” Period Again The romance that comes with starting photography is special. Learning new things and exploring new places with your camera is awesome. But like the infatuation stage of a relationship, it can only last so long. That doesn’t mean it stops being a good thing; it’s just more of a balanced enjoyment rather than an intense thrill. But many photographers long for that initial buzz again. If this sounds like you, walk away from photography. Find something new to do or develop another passion. If the connection is strong, you’ll pick up your camera again. And when you do, it will feel like the beginning of a new, exciting relationship! Taking a Break Doesn’t Have to Mean the End Taking breaks should certainly be a part of your process. Breaks will prevent burnout and the loss of passion for what you love. Identify what you should do to be the best p...
27 minutes | May 7, 2022
Dina Litovsky on Inside the Photographer's Mind
On this episode of Inside the Photographer's Mind, we're joined by documentary photographer Dina Litovsky. Dina has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, TIME magazine, and more! Don't forget to hit a like, subscribe, and ring the bell, so you never miss an episode. Links: Dina's newsletter: https://dinalitovsky.bulletin.com Dina's website: https://dinalitovsky.com Dina's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dina_litovsky/ https://www.thephoblographer.com
17 minutes | May 4, 2022
Practical Design, Fantastic Comfort: Wandrd PRVKE II Review
The refined Wandrd PRVKE has plenty of room and plenty of comfort. The Wandrd PRVKE generated a lot of buzz when the backpack launched on Kickstarter. And that was for a good reason — we gave the original bag the Editor’s Choice Award. Like most photographers, we’re picky about our bags. Now, Wandrd is back with an updated bag by the same name. The updated Wandrd PRVKE II keeps well-loved features like the roll-top, rear access, extra pockets, tripod pocket, and numerous compatible accessories. But, the updated version re-designs the back panel and shoulder straps for more comfort, and adds a luggage pass-through and accessory straps to the shoulders. It also fixes complaints on the earlier bag, such as stronger magnets on the top handles. We called the original PRVKE the perfect camera bag “for the most part.” Can the updated version hit that perfection without any modifiers? Table of Contents Too Long, Didn’t Read Pros and Cons Pros Cons Gear Used Innovations Wandrd PRVKE II Tech Specs Wandrd PRVKE II Ergonomics Wandrd PRVKE II Build Quality Wandrd PRVKE II Ease of Use What size Wandrd PRVKE do you need? Conclusions Likes Dislikes Too Long, Didn’t Read The Wandrd PRVKE II is a versatile, well-built bag with a roll-top that’s almost like having two bags in one. It’s comfortable to wear and easy to use, but you’ll have to put the bag on the ground to access all the gear, and the placement of the laptop sleeve makes the back panel stiffer. Pros and Cons Pros Versatile expanding roll-top Comfortable straps and back panel Two access points The design keeps straps out of the way when accessing gear Made from durable, sturdy materials Cons Small objects can fall from the top compartment into the main compartment The laptop sleeve is poorly placed Lenses with tripod collars are too big to easily get through the side access door Without a waist strap, you have to put the bag on the ground for full access to gear. Gear Used I used the Wandrd PRVKE 41L with the Wandrd camera cube (a larger Pro size is available). I stashed the Nikon Z6 II and Z7 II, the 24-70mm f2.8 Z lens, the 70-200mm f2.8 Z lens, a 20mm f1.8, and the 24-200mm Z lens in this bag. I also slipped an iPad Pro and my 13-inch MacBook Pro into the laptop and tablet sleeves. A Manfrotto BeFree travel tripod was stashed in the side pocket. Finally, the roll-top stashed lots of extras for outings with my three kids, including sweatshirts and snacks for everyone. Innovations This updated Wandrd PRVKE II more of a refresh than anything crazy new. It houses more features, like a luggage pass-through and a back panel and shoulder panel designed for more comfort. Wandrd PRVKE II Tech Specs Wandrd lists these tech specs for the new PRVKE bags. You can find this and more in their Amazon Store.: Materials: Waterproof Tarpaulin and Robic 1680D Ballistic Nylon. YKK Weather Resistant Zippers. Dimensions: 21 Liter: 17″H X 11″W X 6.5″D 31 Liter: 19″H X 12.5″W X 7.5″D 41 Liter: 21H” X 12.5″ W X 9″D Volume: 21 L to 26 L (rolltop full extended) 31 L to 36 L (rolltop fully extended) 41 L to 46 L (rolltop fully extended) Weight: 21 Liter: 2.8 LBS 31 Liter: 3.4 LBS 41 L: 3.7 LBS Wandrd PRVKE II Ergonomics Like the original, the Wandrd PRVKE II backpack has a rear clamshell opening, quick access side door, and a roomy expanding roll-top. The 41L is a massive bag that’s 21 inches tall. I originally thought I picked the wrong bag for my small torso, but the big bag still fit okay, and I was grateful for the extra space. Let’s start our tour on the inside of the bag. The PRVKE doesn’t have to be a camera bag — you make it one with the camera cube. (A larger Pro camera cube is also available.) While I generally don’t care for bags with camera cube inserts, I wasn’t bothered by the Wandrd camera cube because the zipper top and side door are made to tuck out of the way and under the cube. That means you don’t have to go through two zippers, but when you remove the camera cube to use the bag for eve...
12 minutes | May 3, 2022
4 Ways Camera Manufacturers Fail Photographers
We’re all fans of some photography brands. Some hold a special place in our hearts, and many among us defend them to no end. Other brands we can’t stand, and we secretly wish our favorite brand would do better than them. But this article isn’t about which brands are outshining others. Almost all leading camera manufacturers are guilty of doing (or not doing) one or more of the points below. What is worrying is that some of these unhealthy trends have continued for years. And manufacturers don’t seem to want to address these anytime soon. Which ones do you find most annoying? You can view this article and much more with minimal ads in our brand new app for iOS, iPadOS, and Android. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. These points are ones I’ve been discussing with fellow photographers for nearly a decade now. It makes me wonder why, despite these issues being addressed in camera forums, manufacturers pretend they’re a non-issue. Isn’t the voice of the consumer valid to them? Isn’t it annoying when existing users reach out to brands with feature requests, only to have them ignored? Table of Contents Camera Manufacturers Not Providing Firmware Updates to Capable Older Cameras Not Innovating Enough to Fill a Genuine Need Camera Manufacturers Not Giving Prime Lenses as a Kit Lens Option Pretending Like a Major Manufacturing Flaw Doesn’t Exist Camera Manufacturers Not Providing Firmware Updates to Capable Older Cameras Fujifilm is the most notable exception to this. I’m not a user of their cameras, but it brings me a smile to see them releasing firmware updates to old cameras. Many of these aren’t just updates that perform bug fixes. In many cases, they’ve brought AF performance of previous-generation cameras almost on par with current ones. Let’s take the Fujifilm X-Pro2, a camera released to the public in early March 2016. Firmware version 5.00 made the following improvements: The low-light limit for phase detection autofocus has been improved by approximately 1.5 stops from 0.5EV to -1.0EV, raising the precision and speed of autofocus in low-light environments. The range at minimum aperture has been expanded from F8 to F11. For example, even when using the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR with the teleconverter XF2X TC WR, phase detection autofocus can now be used. Major improvements have been made to the AF-C performance while operating the zoom, which provides major benefits when shooting sports and other scenarios in which the subjects moves unpredictably. Finely-detailed surface textures of wild birds and wild animals can now be captured at high speed and with high precision as a result of improvement in phase detection autofocus. Fujifilm’s firmware releases are a testament to the fact that even older cameras can perform better with things like autofocus and subject tracking. Of course, they do this without having to resort to newer or dual processors. Manufacturers try to push consumers to purchase newer models for improved features. Yes, we’d all like faster AF. And we’d never complain if Eye-AF was an added feature with a firmware update. Just don’t keep spinning the annoying old tale that new features need newer processors. Fujifilm clearly proves that older processors can be improved upon if brands just took the effort to work on them. You don’t always need that latest camera; sometimes all you need is just a newer firmware for your current one. By continuing to support even first-generation models of their X-line of digital cameras, Fujifilm keeps their fan base loyal. We only wish more camera manufacturers would do the same. In September of 2020, a whole bunch of Fujifilm’s cameras received firmware updates. These included the following: X-T4, X-T3, X-T2, X-T1, X-H1, X-Pro3, X-Pro2, X-Pro1, X-E3, X-T20, and X-T30. No doubt, it takes up a considerable amount of their R&D budget, but by continuing to innovate in this fashion, they ensure their customers stick by them. Plus it frees up customers from wanting th...
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