Please welcome Francois Malan!

Francois Malan

We are always excited when our team is expanded with talented individuals that share our passion for photography, and this time I am happy to present yet another addition to our family, Francois Malan. Francois was supposed to join our team last year, but he got very busy with his PhD and thus could not commit any time. This year things will change for Francois, as he will be contributing great articles for our readers to enjoy and learn from. He has already posted an article on using DX lenses on FX cameras and we are looking forward to seeing more great stuff. Please give a warm welcome to Francois!

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Please welcome Robert Andersen!

Bald Eagle with Fish

This week is crazy here at PL, because we are bringing in more and more talent from all over the world for our readers to learn and get inspiration from. Today, we are expanding our team of writers with a talented wildlife photographer, Robert Andersen! I am sure you have been enjoying Robert’s detailed articles on Raptor Photography and getting answers to some of the most complex questions related to camera autofocus, handling, hand-holding and much more! Without a doubt, Robert will be an amazing resource as a permanent team member for our readers, so please give him a warm welcome!

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How to Organize Photos in Lightroom

Lightroom Import Screen

Lightroom has become a very essential part of the workflow process for many photographers, including myself. I cannot imagine managing my photo catalog without Lightroom and I use it every day for my photography needs. In fact, 95-98% of my post-processing work is done in Lightroom and I only occasionally use Photoshop for advanced photo editing / retouching, which not only simplifies my workflow, but also decreases the amount of time I spend on post-processing. Over the past few years of using Lightroom extensively, I have come up with efficient ways to store, organize and access photos on my computer, so I wanted to share a few tips with our readers on how I do it for both personal and professional work. Although there are many ways to organize images, this particular method has been working great for me (and many others that have been reading our site for the past few years). If you are looking for a generic guide on doing this without any third party photo software like Lightroom, then please read my older article on “how to properly organize pictures“.

1) Where do you store your pictures and how?

The first question is, where and how do you currently store your pictures? I used to store all of my photographs in various subfolders of my hard drive (commonly in “My Pictures” or “My Documents”), but after I got into photography, I decided that it was best to keep all of my photographs in the root folder of my PC’s hard drive that I use solely for storing photos and small family videos. Hard drives are really cheap nowadays, so creating a properly organized and redundant storage for your photography needs does not have to cost an arm and a leg.

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Please welcome Thomas Stirr!

Thomas Stirr Portrait

We continuously strive to bring our readers the best content from many different sources and this time I excited to introduce another addition to our team – Thomas Stirr. You have already seen his articles like how to shoot high-quality videos with a DSLR, his top recommendations for photographing New Zealand and an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 V2 camera. Being obsessed with photography like all of us here at PL, Thomas will be sharing his knowledge and contribute to our site as a resident team member. Here is an intro post from Thomas – please give him a warm welcome!

Thomas Stirr Portrait

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Nikon Df Review

Nikon Df

This is an in-depth review of the Nikon Df, a retro-style digital SLR camera that was announced in November of 2013. The Df is a very controversial release, I would say perhaps the most controversial one in Nikon’s DSLR history. After Nikon teased the public with its short videos that slowly revealed parts of the camera, many were excited to see something completely different than a traditional DSLR. Videos titled “it is in my hands again” and “no clutter, no distractions”, with constant repetition of “Pure Photography”, hinted at a camera that combines old style Nikon film cameras with a modern digital sensor. Nikon “Df”, a “Digital Fusion” of retro style and modern technology, became an instant hit on the Internet and one of the hottest topics of discussion and speculation on photography sites and forums. As we got closer and closer to the release date, enthusiasts from all over the world started speculating on the features of the yet to be released Nikon Df and pointed at possibilities of seeing a mirrorless camera, electronic viewfinder and a myriad of other technologies we now come to expect from modern mirrorless cameras. Film shooters had their own list of must-have features, including a large bright viewfinder with a split focusing screen for easy focusing with old manual focus lenses. In a very short period of time, the Nikon Df, a fusion of technologies, became an over-hyped camera with very high expectations…

Nikon Df

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Post-Processing Pains

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

Over the last several years operating this site, I have been incredibly lucky to meet many talented photographers from all over the world. Some I met face to face (whether in my workshops or other gatherings / conferences), while others I met and interacted with online. One interesting pattern that I noticed in the majority of photographers, and I am talking about the ones that understand light, composition and proper technique, is that they often lack the key component of completing the image and making it successful – post-processing skills. It turns out that most of us spend our time learning our gear and how to take good pictures, but we fail to take that beautifully captured photograph to the next level and make it look amazing by enhancing it further in post-processing. Yes, camera technique, light and composition are all extremely important and those are certainly key ingredients that each of us needs to learn and eventually master, but we need to understand that a captured photograph is just the beginning of making the image. What happens to the photograph after it is taken, is as important as the process of capturing it. I have seen many photos that would have looked breathtaking, had the person put some extra effort into making it work. Even worse, I have seen so many examples of great photos that get slaughtered by very poor post-processing techniques and ugly presets.

Dead Horse Point Sunrise

How many times have you seen an overdone HDR, over-saturated, over-sharpened, over-contrasted, over-recovered, over-preset, over-insert-any-photoshop-term-here mess? Unfortunately, I have seen too many. The worst examples are what I call “forced photos”, where the photographer takes a terrible image and thinks that it can look better when post-processed. So much time and effort is spent on making a terrible photo look absolutely horrendous. How do I know? Because I have done it many times myself.

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Equipment for Sale

Nikon D3s Front

It has been a while since I have cleared out my stack of camera gear. After going through everything last week, I decided to put a few items that I no longer need on sale. Although I initially thought about keeping most of it, I just hate to see lenses and cameras gathering dust for too long – I am sure someone else could find better use for it. Most of the money will be used for upgrades and other equipment for the business. If you are interested in multiple items, feel free to make me an offer via the contact form. I am the first and only owner of all below items and I have all the original manuals, boxes, soft cases, warranty cards, etc. A few extras are included, see more below.

Shipping: while I can ship internationally, my preference is to sell to US customers, since it is less risky. Credit card / PayPal fees are included, but shipping and insurance are not. Colorado residents are welcome to contact me for a face to face sale. All sales are final and are on first come first serve basis.

1) Nikon D3s (SOLD)

The Nikon D3s has been my wildlife workhorse and Lola’s favorite wedding camera for the past couple of years. Its ISO performance is amazing – as good as on the D4 (see this ISO comparison) and the shutter speed fires like a machine gun at 9 fps. Autofocus is top notch and the build quality is Nikon’s best. But I have not been using it as much lately and Lola already chose the Nikon Df as her wedding/portrait camera. That’s why I want to sell it. See my detailed Nikon D3s Review for more information.

Nikon D3s Front

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Will you join us in the Bahamas?

Fstoppers Workshops 2014

As you may already know, our friends at Fstoppers are hosting workshops in the Bahamas this year, at the Atlantis Resort. When I met Patrick and Lee earlier this year at the Photo Plus conference, I had a chance to talk to them about the workshop and they were super excited about it. When compared to other workshops and conferences, the idea behind the Fstoppers workshop is very unique – to gather a relatively small group of photographers and have them spend time not only learning from some of the best photographers and instructors, but also get to know them in person, along with meeting other industry peers. And instead of doing it in a traditional classroom format, do it in a remote location to combine education with personal vacation and fun.

Fstoppers Workshops 2014

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Announcement

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Thanks to the rise of the mirrorless camera market, manufacturers are now creating more and more segments in their camera lines. With the introduction of the X-T1, Fujifilm now boasts a total of 5 different cameras, all targeted at different segments. Today Olympus also extended its line of mirrorless cameras by introducing the new Olympus OM-D E-M10, a budget version of the OM-D premium mirrorless cameras. Next to the OM-D E-M1 and OM-D E-M5, this is now the third premium camera designed to appeal the enthusiast crowd. It borrows most of its guts from its bigger brother, the OM-D E-M5, but in a smaller and lighter package. Priced at $699 MSRP, it is significantly cheaper than other OM-D series cameras. In a way, it is a confusing release, because it is even cheaper than the PEN E-P5 (currently at $799). Since all PEN series do not come with a built-in electronic viewfinder or weather sealing options, they are technically inferior to OM-D series. Now with the the OM-D E-M10, it is hard to say exactly what market this camera is targeted for, with its features and price range in comparison. Let’s take a look at the camera in more detail.

Olympus OM-D E-M10

Key Specifications and Overview

While the Olympus OM-D E-M10 has a 16 MP sensor, it is slightly different than the one used on the OM-D E-M5. First, it has a little less resolution (16.1 MP vs 16.3 MP) and second, it features boosted ISO 100 (Low), similar to what the E-M1 does. Its image processor is the same one as used on the E-M1 (TruePic VII with Fine Detail Processing II). The first major difference between the E-M10 and its bigger siblings is the somewhat limited in-body stabilization. Both E-M1 and E-M5 have 5-axis image stabilization, while the E-M10 has 3-axis stabilization. Another difference is the slower speed of 8 fps in single mode and 3.5 fps in continuous mode (the E-M5 is 9 fps / 4.2 fps and the E-M1 is 10 fps / 6.5 fps). Shutter speed is limited to 1/4000 and the viewfinder is the same 1.4 million dot EVF found on the E-M5. The LCD screen has not changed, it is still a high resolution 3.0″ tilting one.

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Manfrotto 405 Pro Geared Head Review

Manfrotto 405 Geared Head

During the last few weeks, I have been trying to come up with a good solution for testing lenses that did not require constant movement when dealing with slightly de-centered lenses. The idea was to build a setup similar to macro rails, but one that is bigger in size and very stable at the same time. Stability is extremely important, because even a slight vibration can negatively affect lab results. Using an Arca-Swiss quick release setup was a no-brainer, because it allows moving the setup without having to deal with mounting and dismounting anything, while being rock solid when tightly secured. While my BH-55 Pro tripod head from Really Right Stuff has been serving me well for a while now, it was hard to use for minute adjustments that are often necessary when testing lenses. Therefore, I decided to replace it with a geared head that would allow very precise vertical and horizontal tilt adjustments, along with the ability to pan, when needed. My quick search revealed that unlike the army of pan/tilt heads and ballheads, which are made by a myriad of companies, there are only a few options available for geared heads today. One of them is the Manfrotto 405 Pro Geared head, which I am reviewing today.

Manfrotto 405 Geared Head

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