Equipment Reviews

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C.A. Boylan Posted: May 06, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Nikon COOLPIX L830
The COOLPIX L830 is an ergonomically designed high-ratio zoom camera with a 3” high-resolution tilt LCD monitor. It features a 34x optical zoom range plus a 68x Dynamic Fine Zoom (an enhanced type of digital zoom) range and a 16MP backside illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. It records Full HD (1080p) video, even in low light, and reduces the danger of camera shake with the aid of the Lens-shift Vibration Reduction (VR) system. The L830 model’s intelligent features include Easy Auto mode and Smart Portrait System as well as 18 Scene modes and a selection of special effects. The model is available in black and red and has a retail price of $299.95.
Joe Farace Posted: May 02, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 0 comments

There is something quietly satisfying about working with finely crafted tools. It’s a feeling I remember having back in the film days when making photographs with my first Hasselblad 500C/M camera and one I had again while shooting with Broncolor’s Move 1200 L Outdoor Kit 2. It made creating all of the images that you see here easier and fun to shoot, and it’s in this spirit of play where creativity lives, inspiring a photographer to try new ways to make better photographs. Broncolor’s Move Kit is just that kind of lighting system.

Jack Neubart Posted: Apr 29, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 0 comments

A handheld meter is not just for studio work. Tricky lighting situations, high contrast, and unusual subject tonalities can often pose problems for camera metering systems, as advanced as they are. Beyond that, the camera meter can’t help with studio flash.
The first step toward taking tighter control with a broader range of lighting situations is to use a handheld meter. Enter the new Sekonic LiteMaster Pro L-478DR (PocketWizard version). Out of the box, it measures incident light. This exposure meter will also prove valuable when working with studio (or any manual) flash or a mix of ambient light and flash.

Jack Neubart Posted: Apr 25, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments

For the studio photographer on location or shooting environmental portraits, connecting a studio strobe to a battery pack, battery-driven power pack, or pure sine wave inverter frees one of the constraints of plugging into an AC outlet and worrying about tripping circuit breakers or blowing a fuse, and it removes wires that could prove hazardous (combined with wireless syncing of the flash, I might add). And wedding and event photographers who rely on portable strobes that run entirely on external battery power are well familiar with the benefits—power that lasts and keeps pace with the event. There are countless choices, whether you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade or expand your lighting system.

Joe Farace Posted: Apr 15, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 0 comments

Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM is part of their DC series of lenses designed for APS-C-sized sensors so the imaging circle is matched to the size of the sensor. For this assignment, I used a Canon EOS 60D with a 22.3x14.9mm sensor, producing an equivalent angle of view of a 28-56mm lens. Shooters of Nikon, Pentax, Sigma, and Sony cameras, the other mounts for which the lens is available, will achieve an angle of view equivalent to 27-52mm. Unlike other lens manufacturers, Sigma priced the different mounts the same ($799) so don’t feel you’re going to be paying a premium for your camera choice. Bucking a trend with camera manufacturers’ lenses, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM includes a lens hood at no extra charge.

Joe Farace Posted: Apr 11, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments

First impressions: the D-Lite RX ONE To Go Kit includes a pair of Elinchrom monolights so you know it’s going to contain quality products. Then you discover that the maximum output of each light is 100 watt seconds and you start to think you’ll need more power. That’s until you’re reminded that this fully loaded two-monolight Elinchrom kit sells for less than $700. Interested now?

Joe Farace Posted: Apr 07, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments
New & Updated Photoshop Actions
Remember the ASCII-art dot-matrix photos that were popular in the 1980s? PanosFX’s free ASCII-art action recreates the effect by producing images pieced together from ASCII characters. The set contains five actions that let you produce not only the classic ASCII-art effect but four modern variations as well, including Gray, Color, Color tiles, and Color tubes. The free Paperworks actions were created by Pit Hermann and let you make papercraft projects. His Pencil Stand actions let you produce (surprise) pencil stands with your photos printed on them. There’s also a set of Advent Calendar actions and Panos Efstathiadis has bundled his Paper Cube actions that let you make paper cubes with images printed on them. Mac OS and Windows versions work with Photoshop CS4 and later as well as Photoshop Elements 11 or later.
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C.A. Boylan Posted: Apr 04, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments
Hoya PROND Neutral Density Filters
Created with still photography and HD-SLR video in mind, the new line of Hoya PROND filters (2 to 6, 6 2/3, 7 2/3, 9, and 10 stops) use ACCU-ND technology to provide a true neutral color balance that does not add any noticeable color cast to your images while effectively reducing the amount of light entering the lens. The filters feature a low-profile one-piece aluminum frame and clear optical glass with a metallic ACCU-ND coating on the front and back. The filter rests securely over the lens, parallel to the sensor, and can also be used with super-wide-angle lenses.
Steve Bedell Posted: Apr 01, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments

The digital camera revolution has brought about many changes, not the least being the ability to photograph in low-light levels that were only wishful thinking a few years ago. That ability has also spawned significant changes in lighting equipment. In many cases, high-powered flash equipment is no longer needed when you can simply turn the ISO dial on your camera to achieve the desired f/stop. And with small product photography, it makes more sense for many of us to use inexpensive constant light sources rather than high-powered strobe setups. There’s no doubt that the trend to more constant light options in both daylight and tungsten color balance will continue.

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Steve Bedell Posted: Mar 28, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
One of the reasons you might consider a “third-party” shoe mount for your camera is simple—it’s usually less expensive, sometimes considerably so. Saving a few bucks is good, but perhaps some features are missing, or the construction isn’t as robust, or the resale value will be lower. But sometimes it just may be a smart choice, as I found when testing the Phottix Mitros flash for my Nikon.
George Schaub Posted: Mar 21, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments

In olden times there was paper for printing color and for printing black and white. Structure, emulsions, and processing chemistry all determined how you matched media and paper, and it was all pretty self-evident. Surface choices were wider for black-and-white printmakers and while there were some choices for color (gloss, matte, semigloss) much of the surface treatment for color prints was added with sprays and varnish. Of course that’s all changed, and the “rules” regarding media and paper matching have been tossed.

Jack Neubart Posted: Mar 17, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments

When my fascination with macro began all my work was done by available light. Getting sharp images at life-size magnification took all the resolve I could muster, especially when dealing with heat and humidity or frigid conditions. It’s tough to hold a camera steady in those situations. What I wouldn’t have given for image stabilization!

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George Schaub Posted: Mar 12, 2014 1 comments
The hybridization of cameras and phones has produced various manifestations of late, one being the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, reviewed here a few months back, which looks like a smartphone with a camera/lens grafted onto it’s front. The Galaxy NX comes at this combination from the other direction, a decidedly camera-like design with built-in Android functionality, sans phone capability, but with all the other amenities and accouterments included. And there’s no confusing this with a smartphone, what with it being 3x5.5x2.25 inches in size, the benefit being a very large back display, 4.77” on the diagonal and width to height ratio of 2.5 x 4 inches.
Joe Farace Posted: Mar 11, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments

These days it seems that using LED lighting systems for studio portraiture is like puppies and kittens—everybody loves them, and why not? All you need to do is turn on an LED light panel and shoot, right? While there’s obviously more to it than that, the WYSIWYG nature of LED lighting is especially helpful for new or aspiring pros who want to get up and running quickly or in applications where the lighting needs to be consistent so lots of portraits can be made in a short amount of time, something event photographers will take to heart. With that in mind I recently tested Bowens’ Mosaic LED light panels (#1). Originally developed for film and video use, they are available in models designed for mounting on traditional light stands for portraiture, so I put them to work in my home studio.

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Edited by George Schaub Posted: Mar 04, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
The Nikon Coolpix A is an unusual camera with a very robust, retro design and a body based on a magnesium-alloy chassis. It is extremely compact but has a 16.2MP DX-format sensor (Nikon’s version of the APS-C format). It also incorporates Nikon’s EXPEED 2 image processor system.

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