Equipment Reviews

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Jack Neubart Posted: May 23, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 1 comments
I’ve had to replace a failing computer hard drive more often than I’d care to remember. Fortunately, I’ve learned my lesson: my workstation now includes external drives as both backup and primary storage. I routinely move content from the computer onto one external drive and back up to a second drive. (I usually prefer to transfer memory card files first to the computer, so that my backups will include these; then I move those files to the external drive when a project is completed, making sure that they are synced to Lightroom.) Unfortunately, the cost of all this may amount to the price of a second camera body or new lens, but it’s money well spent, as you’ll realize the first time a drive goes down.
George Schaub Posted: May 20, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
Choosing the right paper for your prints is often a matter of surface texture and tone, but there’s more to it than that when printing for exhibition or display. It’s what the paper is made of, and the inks it can handle, that make the difference between a “warrantied” saleable print and one that might be used for quick display or repro. While there are no industry standards for print longevity as of yet, working with papers that could be dubbed “archival” by their very makeup is a good place to start.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: May 15, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
The GX7 is the latest model of Panasonic’s GX series and replaces the GX1. This Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera has a new sensor with 16MP resolution and a lot of modern features, such as the WLAN system. The camera design has a stylish, somewhat retro look and design.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: May 13, 2014 Published: Apr 01, 2014 0 comments
The Nikon 1 AW1 is the first digital compact system camera that can be used for diving or other active sports without an additional protective case. Protected by a stainless steel front cover, all function elements, card slots, and interfaces are protected by sealed covers. While the 1 AW1 can be used with all lenses of the Nikon 1 system, using it underwater and in similar adverse conditions requires the use of special lenses. Nikon offers a standard kit lens with a focal length of 11-27.5mm (29.7-74.25mm, 35mm film equivalent) that is protected by sealing gaskets and therefore can be used underwater. The second underwater lens is the 1 Nikkor AW 10mm f/2.8.
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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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 21, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 1 comments
The new Olympus OM-D E-M1 is the follower of the first OM-D, the proper and full name having been the “OM-D E-M5.” The E-M1 incorporates many of the E-M5 advantages, the famous five-axis image stabilizer being one of them. This image stabilizer is based on sensor-shift technology and allows the user to shoot a stabilized image with every lens system mounted to the camera.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Apr 18, 2014 Published: Mar 01, 2014 2 comments
The Fujifilm X-M1 is an extremely compact system camera that uses Fujifilm’s 16MP X-Trans CMOS sensor. The camera offers very high image quality due to its special RGB filter array which differs from the standard Bayer RGB pattern. The pattern on the APS-C-sized X-Trans sensor resembles the random pattern of grain of analog film and reduces image noise. The interpretation of this RGB pattern isn’t very easy, but the most current versions of Adobe’s Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in and Adobe’s Lightroom are able to convert this pattern correctly.
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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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