Popular Lens Combinations for Wedding Photography

When asked what gear I use most for my work, I will first of all give tribute to the classic fifty and talk about how useful and versatile it is for my style of shooting. And yet I would never willingly rely on that lens alone, no matter how much I liked it. Nor should someone else, really. In this follow-up article I will describe the two most popular lens combinations used among professional wedding photographers. Both of these lens combinations are enough to cover the biggest part of the wedding and, in that context, can be called workhorse lenses. One of the duos is used primarily by fixed focal length lens shooters, the other is very successfully used by photographers who largely prefer zoom lenses. Each of the combinations has their advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other, but whether one is better than the other remains very subjective. Please note that lens choices presented below are a result of a mini-research, where we asked a number of wedding photographers what two lenses were their favorite / most used.

Nikkor AF-D 85mm f1.4 Sample Image 1

While talking about these lens combinations, I will also try to objectively highlight their biggest strengths and weaknesses when compared to each other.

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Adobe’s Silent Exposure Compensation

When using Lightroom, you might be wondering why the highlight recovery between different camera models allows for different room. Given the “color of light” (light source color temperature and tint) is the same, the highlight recovery difference depends primarily on baseline exposure compensation applied to a raw file when it is opened in Adobe raw converters (Adobe Camera Raw, ACR; or Lightroom, LR). This baseline exposure compensation is applied behind the scenes, the exposure compensation slider after the file is opened stays at zero. This is Adobe’s way to equalize cameras.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

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Official Fujinon XF 10-24mm F/4 Image Samples

The rate at which Fujifilm X-mount compact camera system is growing is simply remarkable. I admit, I am very drawn to the system and really like what Fujifilm is doing (thus pardon any subjectivity that might creep in at times). To think that it was launched such a little while ago and yet already has such a versatile selection of cameras and lenses, it is beyond what we’re used to seeing in modern digital camera market. The two most recent Fujinon lenses – the XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS and XF 56mm f/1.2 R – filled in what was arguably the biggest gaps in the system. The first one addressed the wide-angle issue in what we think is a very well-sorted package, while the second finally offers both the aperture and focal length suitable for close-up shallow depth-of-field portraiture. We are excited about both these new lenses along with the XF 23mm f/1.4 R and those soon to come.

Fujinon-XF-10-24mm-f4-R-OIS-Lens_2

Alas, they have not yet reached our hands, so the reviews will have to wait a little longer. On the positive side, Fujifilm has decided to treat us with some eye-candy from the widest lens currently available for the X-system. If you’ve been holding back your pre-order fearing it might not be as good a performer as one might hope, these official full resolution image samples should help you with your choice. Images are taken at various focal lengths and aperture values. If they are to be trusted, the XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS really does perform admirably. Clicking on the images will take you to the full-resolution (several megabytes) file on Fujifilm’s website. The image files also contain EXIF information.

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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art Lens Announcement

We sort of missed the new Sigma 50mm lens in the sea of recent announcements. And we should not have. Because, despite that, like its predecessor, it is very heavy by 50mm f/1.4 class standards and very big, this is not an old lens in a new frock. The Sigma 50m f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is a completely new and very complex design. Worth your attention? Perhaps, if you are into the classic fifty. And, if recent Sigma lenses are of any indication (Nasim adored the 35mm f/1.4 Art), it should be extremely good.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art

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Camera Pollution

With the proliferation of all kinds of gadgetry not only for everyday needs, but also for needs we thought we would never have, the camera market sadly seems to be moving in the same direction. Actually, it is already half way there. New cameras, lenses and accessories keep popping up every few months and come in all shapes, forms and colors. The camera market seems to be experiencing the same over-saturation that other electronics companies are seeing today. People do not want to buy new TVs anymore, so manufacturers are trying to find new ways to sell more TVs by adding more features. The approach is built on typical consumerism – make something look shiny and more interesting than it was before and it might lure people into buying it every year. Camera companies are sadly following exactly the same practice. Announcements are becoming more important than the products themselves, so manufacturers are pushing more redundant choices year after year just to make headlines.

Nikon D3300 in 3 colors

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Fujifilm Updates X-Mount Lens Roadmap

It seems like ever since the first Fujifilm X-mount camera was launched, the X-Pro1, we can’t help but admire the progress Japanese manufacturer has been making. And it is not just the release of well thought-through line-up of cameras Fujifilm’s relentless attempts to improve models with firmware updates. Not just the pleasing design or quality of lenses. It is also what they have in store for us in the upcoming year. Fujifilm has just updated its X-mount lens roadmap for 2014 (and the start of 2015). And it looks bloody brilliant.

Fujinon-lens-roadmap-2014-2015

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The Fujifilm X100S Black

Fujifilm X100s is among the best digital compact cameras for street and candid photography. The useful focal length of 35mm (full-frame equivalent) provides ample versatility in all kinds of environments, aided by the relatively fast aperture of f/2. Despite such commendable specifications, the lens is also very small and makes the whole package appear non-threatening and easy to carry around for long periods. Couple that lens to a large (for a compact camera) APS-C X-Trans sensor and you will soon find that Fujifilm X100s is definitely capable of some very high-quality results, as seen in our review of the camera. What’s at least as important as the camera’s portability is its quietness. Using the camera is basically a silent endeavor courtesy of that whisper-quiet leaf shutter – almost like an electronic shutter, but without the disadvantages. On top of that, what was previously a slow autofocus system (of the original X100) has now been significantly improved for the latest X100s.

Fujifilm X100s Black

The design plays a big part in the camera’s appeal for street photography, too – it is not instantly recognized as a digital camera by most people and, as such, does not raise negative reactions as often, but rather curiosity. Loads of strong points, then. But if there was a slight niggle some of the street photographers had with the X100s, it is that the camera did not come in all-black. Rejoice, because it does now.

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Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G DX VR II Announcement

Along with the D3300 DSLR, Nikon has also introduced the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens, another iteration of the lens with a completely new design. Compared to its predecessor, the new 18-55mm kit lens is now much more compact and lighter, because of its retracting design similar to some of the Nikon 1 lenses.

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

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Nikon D3300 Announcement

Today Nikon announced the new Nikon D3300 DSLR camera – an update to the existing Nikon D3200 that was released in the spring of 2012. The D3300 is not a huge upgrade over its predecessor. Judging from its specifications, it is mostly a cosmetic release without major innovations, meant to keep Nikon’s entry-level line fresh. The image sensor is supposedly new that increases the native max ISO from 6400 to 12800, although its resolution stayed the same at 24.2 megapixels. The main difference in sensors is the removal of the optical low-pass / anti-aliasing filter, which has now become a trend even on entry-level DSLRs (the Nikon D5300 was also released without a low-pass filter). The D3300 comes with the new EXPEED 4 processor that we have seen earlier on the D5300, which allows the camera to record/process images and video at higher rates. For example, video recording at full 1080p is now possible at 60 frames per second. Continuous shooting frame rate has been increased from 4 to 5 fps and the viewfinder got a slight magnification boost from 0.78x to 0.85x.

Nikon D3300

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Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens Announcement

The holidays are over, as sad as it may be. And that means it is time to get back to work! We start with some great news. Fujifilm has just announced (or, rather, confirmed, since we knew this lens was coming) the very hot Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens for its popular and desirable X-series compact camera system. For those who wonder, this is a proper, 85mm full-frame equivalent (84mm if you’re being pedantic) portrait lens with correspondingly fast aperture of f/1.2.

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R

1) Overview and Specifications

It is not difficult to understand why such a lens is so important for any camera system, and especially for that which is based around APS-C sized sensors. 85mm f/1.4-1.8 class lenses are considered to be among the best, most versatile prime portrait optics. Not only do they sport a very useful focal length, generally thought to be not too long or too wide for close-up portraits, but the fast aperture also ensures plenty of creative opportunities to take advantage of. Of course, one could always use a 50mm f/1.4 class lens on a crop sensor camera for similar behavior and that is indeed something I have done in the past myself. And yet there was a problem. A 50mm lens acts much like a 75mm lens would on a full-frame camera, which sounds close enough to 85mm. In practice, I found 75mm equivalent to be a little too wide for close-up portraits, which would get distorted. That is why the new Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R lens will be so appreciated by professional photographers looking for a proper portrait lens. In terms of angle of view, it acts very similarly to how an 85mm lens would when mounted on a DSLR with a 35mm sensor. The maximum aperture of f/1.2 should prove useful in low-light situations, but what is more interesting is that the shallow depth of field capabilities of this lens are similar to an 85mm f/1.8 lens on a full-frame camera. This is the first lens with such parameters for APS-C sensor cameras – Fuji has done something much more experienced digital camera manufacturers have ignored for over a decade now. It is a good thing, and one that is slowly becoming a welcome trend.

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