Featured Articles and Reviews

How to Photograph Cathedrals

I have been fortunate enough to see some truly spectacular cathedrals in my time, particularly in Europe, and even here in the United Kingdom we are … [Continue Reading]

St Alban's Cathedral

Fuji X-T1 Review

This is an in-depth review of the Fujifilm X-T1, a weather-proof mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera from Fuji that was announced on January 28, … [Continue Reading]

Fuji X-T1

Wildlife Photography Tips Part Two

It has taken a little longer than I wanted, but I finally got around to writing this second article on photographing wildlife. The writer in me is … [Continue Reading]

600lb Wet Black Bear

How to Photograph Clouds

Nature often rewards us with incredible opportunities for photographing sunrises, sunsets and sun rays piercing through the clouds, creating stunning … [Continue Reading]

Mt Rainier Sunset

Apple Mac Pro Review for Photography Needs

I never thought that I would be reviewing an Apple Mac Pro, since I have never owned a Mac and was always a PC user. In fact, the last time I really … [Continue Reading]

Apple Mac Pro

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Review

This is a detailed review of the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD, an ultra-telephoto zoom lens that was announced in November of 2013 for … [Continue Reading]

Tamron 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD

sRAW Format Explained

With the release of the D4s and D810 cameras, Nikon has introduced a new format to store images – sRAW, or “RAW Size Small”, as referred to by Nikon. Although Canon has had this format available in its DSLRs for years, this is Nikon’s first time introducing it. As a result, a lot of Nikon users are wondering what this format is, how it works and how it compares to standard RAW files. Personally, I had very limited knowledge of this format and thought it would be an exciting feature, until I dug deeper and found out what it was all about. After a few hours of research (and some input from Iliah Borg, I decided to summarize my findings in this article, which I hope our readers will find useful. Let’s start with the basics first.

sRAW vs RAW Format

1) What is sRAW?

sRAW, which stands for “Small RAW” or “Small Resolution RAW” is a file format that was introduced by Kodak to allow photographers to capture images at smaller size in order to allow more images to be stored on memory cards and allow for faster workflow when full resolution files are not needed (since computers were slow for processing RAW data). The sRAW format was created as a bridge between full resolution RAW files and JPEG images. Since JPEG images are already processed, compressed and only contain 8-bit data, sRAW allowed more flexibility with more bit depth (Kodak’s original design of the sRAW format was 10-bit). The advantage was noticeably smaller file size, but at the expense of resolution – the resulting images contained either twice, or four times less megapixels. Still, these images contained more data than JPEG files for later post-processing, which increased the popularity of the format.

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Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag Review

I’ve always wanted a small camera backpack that gave me easy, quick access to my camera gear. I’ve owned camera backpacks in the past, but they were bigger (and heavier) and I had to take them off of my back in order to get my gear out. When I got a chance to review the Ruggard Triumph 45 Sling Bag, I took it, hoping I could find a nice bag that I could carry around town with me for more casual photography.

Ruggard Triumph Sling Bag

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24 Things You Need to Know About the New Nikon D810

Since the Nikon D810 got announced yesterday, we have been getting a lot of questions from our readers via emails, comments and Facebook messages. After answering many questions and doing some additional research, I decided to compile everything I have gathered so far in a single article. Looks like the biggest number of questions is coming from existing Nikon DX and D600/D610/D700 owners, who are considering to move up to the D810 as an upgrade. Some Nikon D800 and D800E owners like myself also find some of the new D810 features attractive, but there are still some items that remain unclear from the announcement (such as the camera buffer size), so the below article will hopefully address some of those questions and concerns as well.

Nikon D810 Film Maker's Kit

1) Nikon D810 has no OLPF / AA filter

This one might be particularly interesting to existing D800E owners. If you remember from our previous coverage of the D800E, the difference between the D800 and the D800E is the filter stack in front of the sensor. Basically, the D800 has two stacks of anti-aliasing / blur filters along with the regular UV filter, which is what effectively reduces moire in images. The D800E, on the other hand, has a blur filter in the front of the filter stack, which is cancelled out by another filter at the end, as shown in the below illustration (a detailed PDF illustration from Nikon is available here):

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Nikon D810 Buffer Size

One question that has been continuously asked from our readers has been regarding the buffer size of the Nikon D810. Nikon stated that the buffer has been increased, but has not yet provided any information in the official documents on the English versions of the Nikon USA and Nikon Imaging sites. After doing a bit of research last night, I found the Nikon D810 manual in Japanese language at Nikon-image.com (here it is for reference). I compared the table to that of the Nikon D800 / D800E and found out a surprise – the buffer size on the D810 appears to be doubled in comparison. What a nice surprise!

Nikon D810

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Apple Aperture is Officially Dead

Today is another sad day, because Apple announced that it will no longer continue development of its Aperture software, which many photographers still rely on for their day to day photo management and editing. Too bad, because this basically gives Adobe monopoly with its Lightroom software. Yes, there are some other tools on the market such as ACDSee Pro, Phase One Capture One Pro and a few others, but none of them come to close to what Lightroom offers in terms of features, photo catalog management and up to date RAW file support. Aperture has not seen any major updates since October of 2013 and has not received support for the latest cameras that were announced this year, with only a small minor updates. Many of us saw this coming, but none were expecting the death of Aperture so soon.

Apple Aperture

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X-Rite i1Display Pro Flash Sale, Expires Tonight at 8:30 PM EST!

Our friends at B&H Photo Video earlier today informed us that the X-Rite i1Display Pro monitor / projector calibration and profiling tool is on a flash sale, at almost half off, expiring tonight! At $139.95 ($110 off the original price of $249.95), this is an insane deal that we wanted to share with our readers. I wish this deal was available at the time when I bought mine, because I paid the full price. For those that do not know about the X-Rite i1Display Pro, it is the best device calibration tool on the market today. I previously have used the Datacolor Spyder 3 Pro calibration system and I ended up switching to the X-Rite, because it is better, more accurate and less buggy (more on that in our upcoming review).

X-Rite i1Display Pro

It does not matter what monitor you have, whether it has a cheap TN panel or a high-end professional IPS panel – calibration is something you should do on every device that you are planning to display your photographs on. The difference between a non-calibrated and a hardware-calibrated screen is night and day, so I urge every photographer to do it. Even if you do not print, you should always have a calibrated monitor. The X-Rite i1Display Pro works both on PCs and Macs. I ran the software on my Windows 8.1 PCs and the drivers work very well.

You can purchase this tool by clicking the above image, or you can click this link, which will take you to B&H Photo Video online store. Once again, this deal will expire at 8:30 PM Eastern Time tonight!

Attempting Fine Art Style B+W Landscapes

Attempting’ and ‘style‘ being the salients word here! Nope, not any kind of expert on this subject either but the style and simplicity of fine art photography is greatly appealing to me, and by explaining why we may consider some important aspects of making compelling images.

Fine Art Landscape Photography #1

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How to Photograph Food with a Camera Phone

We all know the mantra of the best camera being the camera that you have available with you. Following the same analogy, I decided to dedicate this post to photographing food on camera phones. Let’s face it, our camera phones are with us every step of the way, and I will not be the last person to admit that I use it more than any other device in my household. So, I think it cuts the bill of being “the best camera” when you need one in a jiffy.

Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches

Although I never seriously thought of shooting food with a camera phone, I got involved in this process by being in a challenge group in Facebook and Instagram. This was a perfect opportunity to see what I can come up with. These social platforms are built on the idea of being connected to your audience in an instant. Boy, it was instant alright! I had to report every single food I ate throughout the day. I had only minutes (if not seconds) to style, photograph and edit the photos I took. I shall add that there is a tiny leverage that will work to your advantage. For obvious reasons, social media is a little more forgiving than a professional photography blog. You can take a breather when your downsized and well-sharpened photos do not get judged harshly for being so out of focus and blurry.

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Nikon D810 vs D800 / D800E

In this Nikon D810 vs D800 / D800E comparison, we will go over differences in specifications between these cameras and talk about what has been added, changed and improved. The Nikon D800 and D800E have been very popular camera models among enthusiasts and professionals for several years now. With world’s first 36.3 MP full-frame sensor, very high dynamic range, pro-level autofocus, magnesium alloy construction and weather sealing, the cameras have converted quite a few Canon and even Medium Format shooters. What does the D810 bring to the table? Let’s take a closer look at the specifications.

Nikon D810 vs D800 / D800E

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Nikon D810 Pre-Order Options

If you are excited about the new Nikon D810 and want to pre-order it via our trusted affiliates B&H Photo Video and Adorama, please use the below links. Detailed information about the newly announced D810 is provided earlier here and you can find the announcement, along with promotional information and videos in this post. The release date of the Nikon D810 is scheduled for July 17th, 2014 in the USA, so it is a relatively short waiting window. Please note that both B&H Photo Video and Adorama will serve orders on a first come, first serve basis depending on your spot in the pre-order queue. If you want to get the camera on the day of the announcement, I would recommend to place the pre-order as soon as possible. Those that pre-ordered the D800 / D800E probably remember that they had to wait for months for availability.

Nikon D810

Nikon D810 Pre-Order Links

The Nikon D810 will be available for pre-order in two configurations – body only and a “film maker kit” that contains three Nikkor lenses. The three lenses will be: Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G and Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G – all superb prime lenses for both photography and videography. In addition, Nikon will bundle the Nikon ME-1 microphone, Tiffen ND filters, extra EN-EL15 batteries and Atomos Ninja 2 video recorder. All this for $4,996.95 is actually a good deal, that’s almost $1K in savings there.

Here is an image of the film maker’s kit, showing everything that is included (click to expand):

Nikon D810 Film Maker's Kit