Equipment Reviews

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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.”
David B. Brooks Posted: Jan 21, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 2 comments
“Over the last few years seeking monitor/display units that serve to perform with adjustment and color management to resolve the problems of too bright LCD displays causing too dark prints, my reaction has usually been mixed. I have to report that this was less so with this display than with even more sophisticated and expensive displays.”
Joe Farace Posted: Jan 14, 2014 Published: Dec 01, 2013 0 comments

The Pentax MX was a 35mm Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera produced from 1976 to 1985 and, for a time, was the company’s flagship SLR. It was solidly built featuring all-mechanical construction, including the shutter, and only the metering system was battery dependent. The new all-digital, all-electronic Pentax MX-1 couldn’t be more different. For openers, the MX-1 is not an SLR but an advanced digital compact camera with the kind of retro styling that’s all the rage these days with camera designers and, apparently, camera buyers, too. So, how does the MX-1 stack up?

George Schaub Posted: Jan 07, 2014 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
One such path is onOne Software’s Perfect B&W, nestled within their Perfect Photo Suite or available as a stand-alone or plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. The advantage of using it within the Suite is that you also get access to the other excellent modules within that program. The advantage of the stand-alone is that you get an amazing array of controls for a rather incredible price. The Suite, by the way, offers onOne’s Layers, Mask, Effects, Focus, and Resize programs, all highly regarded, making the options virtually endless. For this review I accessed Perfect B&W from within the Suite.
Steve Bedell Posted: Dec 31, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 1 comments
This is the third edition of Portrait Professional I have reviewed so I’ll focus this review on three areas of investigation in Version 11: what can it do, how quickly can it do it, and what’s new. I should note that I am reviewing the Studio 64 version that can handle Raw files and utilize 64-bit versions of Windows 7 or Vista. The Standard version works with JPEG files or 24-bit TIFF files; the Studio version can also work with Raw files but is limited to 48-bit color. The program can be used with Windows XP and up and also Intel Mac OS X 10.5 or later. It acts as both a stand-alone product and as a Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Aperture plug-in.
David B. Brooks Posted: Dec 27, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
LG Electronics is the first to offer a new pro-graphics LCD display with LED backlighting. It also has the wide Adobe RGB color width, and will adjust to the lower 80.0 CD/m2 white luminance to provide color-managed printing brightness. The new display is optimized for Microsoft Windows with WQHD 2560x1440 resolution and multitasking windows, “dependent on content, device, interface and/or graphics card,” according to LG. The 27” diagonal size has a base physical resolution of 1920x1080 pixel resolution that may be doubled by the software driver with some PC systems running Windows.
George Schaub Posted: Dec 24, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
The Vanguard ABEO Pro Kit starts out as a solid carbon-fiber tripod but then adds features and functions like a removable and rotatable (vertical or horizontal) center column, a pistol grip with built-in trigger release with cable attachments for many cameras, bubble levels, 80-degree leg spread, three “feet” supports (pads, spikes, and rubber), a quick-release base plate and mechanism, and etched degree settings on the center column for those who want to do precise panoramas.
George Schaub Posted: Dec 17, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 1 comments

The 70-200mm focal length has been the standard tele-zoom choice for many years, offering near normal to a good tele range that suits many practical purposes. Yet, quite a few stock-in-trade 70-200mm lenses had been slow or lost significant aperture as soon as you left the shortest zoom setting, making them a real challenge for handheld, low-light, or even max focal length shooting. Certainly, improvements in sensors and processors in terms of the high ISO/image quality ratio have helped. If you’re too slow on shutter speed with a variable aperture zoom you can always jack up the sensitivity. But that’s not always a great choice and it seems to force you to compromise image quality just to make up for the lens losing “speed” just when you need it most.

Jack Neubart Posted: Dec 13, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 3 comments
The conventional camera strap does the job, but with some gear can put considerable strain on the neck, tempting you to hang your camera from the shoulder, where it may slip off or invite thieves. Like a good backpack, today’s ergonomically designed camera-carrying systems largely relieve that stress and throw in some extras in the bargain. New age straps feature a more comfortable neck/shoulder pad than found on conventional neck straps, so you’ll still be comfortable hours later, and often with a quick-release mechanism to rapidly detach the camera when the need arises. Many are of a sling design aimed at the “quick shooters” among you, and some are so innovative as to almost defy description. A few even let you comfortably and safely carry two cameras at the same time.
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C.A. Boylan Posted: Dec 10, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
Rokinon recently introduced their 16mm T2.2 Cine lens, a wide-angle lens for D-SLR and mirrorless cameras in both APS-C and Micro Four Thirds formats. With its fast maximum aperture, the lens allows for an impressive range of depth of field and with its smooth operating manual focus, it offers high sharpness and clarity. It features de-clicked apertures and follow focus compatibility that is ideal for video. It uses 13 optical elements in 11 groups with two aspherical lenses. Rokinon provides a wide range of mounts for Canon, Canon M, Fujifilm X, Nikon, Pentax, Samsung NX, Sony, Sony E, and Micro Four Thirds cameras.
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Joe Farace Posted: Dec 06, 2013 Published: Nov 01, 2013 0 comments
Shortly after I moved into my former home, there was a knock at the door. Standing in front of me was an 8-year-old girl who lived down the street. “I’m selling note cards,” she told me, “I made the pictures.” A second look showed subjects a kid might shoot but others demonstrated that she was thinking about the photographs before making them. I bought several note cards and asked about her camera, which turned out to be borrowed. With her grandmother’s permission I gave her an old, unused digital point-and-shoot. The girl loved the camera and was inspired to keep making photographs and we talked from time to time about her aspirations. Today she’s a young woman with professional ambitions.

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