Studio backdrops are a great way to transform a space. There are all different sorts of backdrops but I wanted a backdrop that folds up easily and doesn’t require lugging around a bulky backdrop stand. I also own some paper roll backdrops and it is so tough bringing out of the studio. What I like about this backdrop is that compact when stored, but unfolds to be the perfect size backdrop for shooting portraits. This is a review of the Impact Super Collapsible Background.
A short while ago, Adobe made an announcement many photographers (among other Adobe’s software users) found to be rather shocking. Adobe decided to stop developing Adobe Creative Suite and focus on its CC software. CC stands for Creative Cloud. Obviously, it doesn’t mean they will stop developing Photoshop and other popular programs, many of which are among the best on the market. However, CC will carry a number of changes, and, while we can safely assume most of them will be welcome, there is a huge catch. Adobe CC package will be available as subscription-only. That means, in order to use Photoshop and other CC package software, you will need to pay a monthly fee and connect to internet at least once a month (there a several varying conditions), which, for me, sounds much like… renting. We wrote an article on the topic where we discuss Adobe’s decision in more detail – suffice to say, we weren’t exactly thrilled with excitement. I must admit, though, Photoshop wasn’t the main reason for me worrying. After all, I like CS5 and CS6 fine and, with the exception of RAW support, don’t see why I’d need to update anytime soon. What I was worried about most is Lightroom. Was it to undergo the same changes?
A reflector is a light shaping tool. When shooting indoors, I often like to have a reflector handy to bounce light back onto my subject. For example, if my subject is standing next to a window there is more light on one side, than the other side. A reflector is helpful to soften the contrast of the window light. Reflectors can be used to bounce studio lighting as well. This is a review for Impact’s Reflector Panel.
1) Initial Thoughts
I love the size of this reflector. It’s quite large, 35″ x 70″ and is the perfect size for portraits. I used it length wise, and it pretty much covered the entire height of my subject. It folds up nicely for easy storage. There are two different reflective fabrics that come with it– one is white/black combination and the other is a gold/silver combination. I use the white/black combination the most, as that combo yields the most desirable results for me.
A much more exciting news today is for Canon shooters – the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter has finally been announced. The Canon 200-400mm f/4 was released in response to the highly regarded Nikon 200-400mm f/4G VR, which Nikon has been making for a decade now. Many Canon enthusiasts and pros have been craving badly for such a lens, because it can be invaluable for photographing wildlife. Instead of creating the same lens, Canon took optical design a step further and designed the lens with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, making it a versatile lens with 200-400mm or 280-560mm focal lengths.
Nikon has just announced a brand new lens for the CX mount – the Nikon 1 32mm f/1.2. While this news might not be interesting for Nikon DSLR, it surely will be to anyone that owns a Nikon 1 camera system. It is the first Nikon 1 lens with an insanely fast aperture of f/1.2, Nano Crystal Coat, Silent Wave Motor and a real manual focus ring. With a focal length of 32mm, this lens is equivalent to an 86mm lens on full-frame, which makes it a really nice portrait lens. In terms of depth of field, because the sensor of the Nikon 1 system is only 1 inch in size, the full frame equivalent would be around f/3.2 – a downside of a small sensor. Still, considering how much technology Nikon put into this lens, it will surely be the sharpest lens in the Nikon 1 line.
After taking a long nap with 12-16 MP DX and FX cameras and letting Canon take the resolution throne with practically every newly announced camera, Nikon finally struck hard last year, when it announced the 36 MP full-frame Nikon D800 camera. Ever since, Nikon has been on a megapixel roll bringing one high resolution camera after another and not letting its competition come close. As of today, the whole DX line-up from entry-level to high-end cameras features 24 MP APS-C sensors, and the undisputed resolution king, the Nikon D800, still has no equivalent on the market. Looking back, Canon always had the edge over Nikon in resolution; it seemed like Nikon preferred pixel quality over quantity.
This is a review of the Impact Reversible Muslin Background. When I’m shooting portraits in the studio or on location, I sometimes want to use a backdrop that is not a seamless paper. Why? Seamless can be too uniform in color and also difficult to transport. I have always wondered what it would be like to shoot some portraits on a muslin background with subtle color variations, so I decided to grab one of these made by Impact and try it out.
Today, one of the oldest mirrorless camera manufacturers has brought out a refreshed model, the Olympus PEN E-P5. It is a direct replacement for outgoing high-end E-P3. As you might expect, latest Olympus cameras features the usual technological improvements from Olympus, some being borrowed from the very successful OM-D E-M5, which we loved. Obviously, Olympus hopes the new camera will be as successful. Let’s see what they have to offer.
Olympus Pen E-P5
Featuring the same 16 megapixel m4/3 CMOS sensor as its older brother, the new E-P5 packs a lot of punch under the tiny all-metal body. There’s a tilting LCD touchscreen with 1.036 million dots, a superb in-body image stabilization that compensates movement in five directions simultaneously and manual focus aids. Most impressively, perhaps, you can shoot it at 9 frames per second with shutter speeds of up to 1/8000s, which is a first for a mirrorless camera. The same speedy AF system as found in OM-D E-M5 helps to make sure those shots are in accurate focus and works with continuous shooting of up to 5 frames per second. Even though we find contrast-based AF systems to be quite poor at tracking moving subjects, as with E-M5, all these specifications promise E-P5 to be a snappy performer. 1/320s flash sync speed and 44ms shutter lag (when set up properly in the menus) compliment such assumptions. Showing a good example to much more expensive cameras of all classes and, frankly, putting them to shame, E-P5 has built-in Wi-Fi connection.
In the beginning of 2012, I knew I wanted to buy a Polaroid camera. There is something so irresistibly fun about taking a photograph and having the print in front of you instantaneously. I considered several options, but ultimately decided on the Polaroid 180 Land Camera with a 114mm Tominon Lens.
By now you have probably heard about Adobe’s decision to stop development of Adobe Creative Suite (which includes such software as Photoshop and Illustrator) and move to a completely different subscription-only model. In short, Adobe does not want to sell packaged versions of its software anymore and wants you to instead pay for select software packages or the whole Creative Suite on a monthly basis. For example, today you can purchase Adobe Photoshop CS6 for $599 and own the license, which means that you can install it on your computer and use it whenever you want without limitations. With the new Adobe pricing strategy, you will no longer be able to purchase Photoshop that way – you will have to get a $20 per month subscription for using Photoshop alone (or $50 for the whole Creative Suite). There will be no other option. Software will be delivered over the Internet and once you get it installed, it will make occasional requests over the Internet to Adobe.com to verify your subscription level. Creative Cloud will work the same way that CS6 works today, except it will require an active subscription. When traveling without any Internet connectivity, the software will work for a limited amount of time (something like 30 days) before ceasing to work and requiring you to connect to the Internet.