Equipment Reviews

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George Schaub Posted: Nov 27, 2013 0 comments
The Galaxy S4 Zoom is what you might call a “multi-personality” device. Phone, camera, Browser, game device, gateway to all the Android apps, GPS, mapper, email connector--it’s all of that and more.
I say “multiple” because while the initial face of the unit looks like half point and shoot camera/half phone, one pasted atop the other, there is a lot more going on under the hood. That includes all the current connections one could imagine and access to the entire Android set of apps,from camera functions to finding where you can get a decent latte in any city or state or country you might find yourself. One can listen to music; watchvideos; browse the Internet, get email, tap compatible phones (literally) to share content; and send and receive via any social media you could imagine.
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Steve Bedell Posted: Dec 14, 2011 Published: Nov 01, 2011 0 comments
The Einstein monobloc strobe is listed at 640 watt seconds (ws) of power, has a bright 250-watt modeling light that can vary proportionally with the flash output, a 12 flash per second (fps) claimed capability, and a constant 5600˚K color temperature, no matter what the power level. Also, a claimed nine f/stop range, from 2.5 to 640 ws, and Paul C. Buff’s proprietary IGBT technology fill out the bill. It’s solidly built, using a Lexan housing instead of metal. It’s not very big, but is bigger and about a pound heavier than the company’s AlienBees units that many photographers, including myself, use.
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?
George Schaub Posted: Feb 07, 2013 Published: Jan 01, 2013 1 comments
There are those who make prints often, and there are those who make prints occasionally. The split, you might think, is between amateur and pro, but that’s not always the case. Some “amateurs” print as much if not more than some pros, and some pros make their own prints only when they have time, usually for their personal portfolio, but certainly not on every job. That’s why pigeonholing the Epson R3000 in terms of intended audience, amateur or pro, is not so easy. It certainly delivers the quality you might expect from a higher-end Epson model, given its attributes, ink set, fine nozzles, and highly evolved print head, etc., but it’s by no means a volume/production printer, given its single sheet feed for “art” paper, albeit with larger capacity ink carts than some past 13x19” printers, and roll feed capability.
Theano Nikitas Posted: Oct 28, 2014 0 comments

Desktop photo inkjet printer release cycles are glacially slow compared to those of digital cameras so it was something of a surprise to learn Epson was going to launch the 13-inch SureColor P600 Professional Photo Printer this morning. While the printer model name has changed from Stylus Photo to SureColor to bring the line under a global branding umbrella, the P600 (P stands for “photo”) takes its place at the top of Epson’s 13-inch photo inkjet printer line, which continues to include Stylus Photo and Stylus Pro models.

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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.
Steve Bedell Posted: Nov 26, 2013 Published: Oct 01, 2013 1 comments
Portrait photographers are constantly looking for new lighting gear that will make their lives easier and produce great results. And while flash photography has been the studio standard for many years, it’s always been more difficult to previsualize the final effect since the image you see using the modeling lights is not always the same you see once the flash fires. The instant feedback of digital cameras has lessened that worry some, but you can still be in for some surprises. The new breed of LED lights eliminates most of these concerns with true WYSIWYG lighting, and with that in mind I was eager to check out F&V’s new K4000 LED Studio Panel to see how it could be used in my work.
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Stan Trzoniec Posted: May 16, 2012 Published: Apr 01, 2012 2 comments
There are two general classifications of lenses that define how you use them in the field—zooms and single focal length, the former being a variable focal length lens that has many convenient advantages, and the latter being a single focal length that, in the group we’re covering here, is what’s known as a “fast” lens. Fast doesn’t mean that it focuses quicker than its zoom cousins, though it might—it usually means that it offers a wide maximum aperture, anywhere from f/1.2 to f/2.8, and that aperture stays put, unlike some zooms where the aperture varies by going narrower as you zoom into longer focal lengths. And to help refine the group we’re covering here we’re also topping out the focal length at 50mm, which makes these lenses prime for street and low-light photography, candid and photojournalism work.
George Schaub Posted: Dec 07, 2011 2 comments
The Leica X1 ($1,995) is a fixed focal length, non-interchangeable lens compact with a fast f/2.8 lens and 12.9MP CMOS APS-C sensor. Introduced over a year ago in silver and recently in black, it keeps apace with firmware upgrades, the most recent of which is claimed improvement of JPEG quality and enhanced AF speed in low light.
Joe Farace Posted: Jan 11, 2013 Published: Dec 01, 2012 4 comments
Just when you thought the megapixel wars were over—or at least subsided—along comes the Nikon D800 with a whopping 36.3-megapixel (7360x4912) full-frame CMOS sensor. It’s wrapped up in a pro-quality magnesium alloy body that’s sealed and gasketed for dirt and moisture resistance. That rugged body weighs almost 2 lbs and when attached to the 24-120mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR II Nikkor lens (23.6 oz) that I tested, the package tips the scales at 3.46 lbs. It’s big.
Jack Neubart Posted: May 30, 2014 Published: May 01, 2014 0 comments
DxO Optics Pro is a Raw converter that keeps pace with the ever-growing, ever-changing world of digital photography. The newest version—DxO Optics Pro 9 (for Mac or Windows)—focuses on one of digital imaging’s most troubling artifacts: digital noise. Whether you’re shooting at high ISOs or bringing out blocked shadow detail in a seriously underexposed image or an HDR photo, digital noise (luminance and chrominance) can rear its ugly head. And now we can finally deliver a knockout punch to this culprit. But before you get in the ring, there are a few things you should know.
Joe Farace Posted: Jun 25, 2013 Published: May 01, 2013 1 comments
While it may not be nice to fool Mother Nature, photographers have been doing just that since Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths photographed the “Cottingley Fairies” in 1917, but a lot has changed since then and we’re now more skeptical of images that appear “shopped.” (Portrait photographers engaged in retouching even before Mathew Brady opened his New York studio in 1844.) To me, part of the fun of photography is enhancing reality, creating images that could be true or might be true in a parallel Fringe-like universe. That’s one of the reasons I like shooting digital infrared images because photography, for me, is all about having fun and if you happen to play a harmless—emphasis on harmless—photographic April Fool’s prank on someone, let’s hope it’s accepted in the spirit of the day.
Edited by George Schaub Posted: Jun 12, 2012 2 comments
The Nikon D800E contains a 36MP full-format FX sensor, a resolution normally associated with digital backs. This makes the D800E a competitor with medium format cameras made by Hasselblad or Phase One. The “E” version of this camera is contsructed without a low pass filter, used in many digital cameras to avoid color moiré but that can create a certain softening of image details. To avoid this soft look, many medium format cameras or digital backs do not utilize this filter. In cameras that use the filter, moiré effects are filtered in their raw converter software.
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.”
Joe Farace Posted: Sep 20, 2013 Published: Aug 01, 2013 0 comments
LEDs may represent the future of studio lighting but a number of the currently available options come with a caveat or two for the new professional or aspiring pro. Some LED solutions are affordable but may be too physically small for efficient use in a studio, or they may be large enough but too expensive for the shooter who just wants to dip their toes into the LED waters. Measuring 14x7.5x2.75” and costing less than $200, Flashpoint’s 500C LED Light appears to be a good solution for the LED newbie who wants to see what all the fuss is about.

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