Equipment Reviews

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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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Mar 28, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments
The GF6 is the latest model of Panasonic’s ultra-compact GF series. It is based on a Micro Four Thirds sensor and lens mount system and offers a resolution of 16MP.
The camera doesn’t offer a viewfinder system, but does have a large, touch-sensitive swivel LCD screen with high resolution (1,040,000 RGB dots). All camera functions can be controlled with the four-way control field, which is also a setup and navigation dial, but there are also many functions that can be controlled with the touchscreen in a very handy way.
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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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Mar 25, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 0 comments
The Canon EOS 70D is a 20MP APS-C-sized sensor camera that has a massive body with a large grip on its right-hand side that makes for very comfortable handling. It has a classic SLR design with an optical viewfinder with numerous function buttons, and a fully articulated large, touch-sensitive LCD screen on its back (it can be flipped up- and downward and turned to the side) that is very handy, especially in video recording mode.
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.
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Jack Neubart Posted: Mar 17, 2014 Published: Feb 01, 2014 1 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.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Mar 07, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
The Olympus E-P5 has a classic viewfinder camera design but doesn’t have an optical or electronic viewfinder. It does have a swivel monitor which can be folded up- and downward and offers very high resolution (1,037,000 RGB dots). Its 3:2 aspect ratio shows additional information on both sides of the viewfinder image, which has an aspect ratio of 4:3 when taking images in the highest image resolution setting. By pressing the “OK” button in the center of the control field additional parameters are shown as overlays on the right-hand side of the live view image.
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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.
George Schaub Posted: Feb 27, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
There are many ways to share images these days, from social networks to clouds to full-fledged e-commerce platforms. For some, simple online albuming will do, but for others it can become an involving project that puts your images on the Internet in a very engaging way. It’s not only in the personalization of the look and feel of the wrapper around your image content that can separate your site from the crowd. It’s also the ability to work cross-platform, include an e-commerce component, and allow for a “translator” that can make your site accessible to folks and even clients around the world that can add to its attractiveness and functionality.
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George Schaub Posted: Feb 21, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
A tilt-shift lens can be thought of as a flexible visual tool in the many ways it allows you to image the world. Unlike a standard lens, even a zoom, with a set point of view enforced by stance, elevation, focal length, and, within certain limits, depth of field, the tilt-shift lens opens visual doors a “fixed” lens will not. By tilting the lens within the mount you can enhance or greatly diminish depth of field beyond the “normal” abilities of the focal length and aperture setting. By shifting the lens you can “fix” perspective distortion or exaggerate it for “trick” effects.
John Wade Posted: Feb 07, 2014 Published: Jan 01, 2014 0 comments
America did not invent photography—that honor must go to the French—but US camera manufacturers can take credit for introducing simple ways of taking pictures and bringing photography to the masses. Along the way, many also came up with often strange and sometimes ugly designs.
Steve Bedell Posted: Feb 04, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 0 comments
GamiLight has been in the business of making light-shaping accessories for small, dedicated flash units like the ones from Nikon, Canon, Metz, etc., and has recently broadened their lineup. I had heard about their products and thought I’d give them a try, so they responded by sending me just about every modifier they make. I received their Square 43 with the Soft Plus 43 adapter, the Box 60, the Spot 2, the Event Pro, and a few mounts. As we go through this review I’ll let you know what these are all about, but my tests were aimed at determining how effectively the units work, how well they are made, how convenient they prove out in the field, and, most importantly, whether I should consider buying them to solve some of my lighting issues.
Joe Farace Posted: Feb 04, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 0 comments
Lester A. Dine invented the ringlight for making dental photos in 1952 but today people use them for all kinds of photography. A ringlight is a circular light source that surrounds the optical axis of a lens causing light to hit the subject from different angles, producing soft shadows in much the same manner as a light bank. When photographing people, the unique way that a ring flash renders light also produces a shadowy halo around the subject that’s much beloved by fashion photographers. I use a small ring flash to photograph butterflies, but if you want to photograph people, to paraphrase Jaws Chief Brody, “You’re gonna need a bigger light.”

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