When in Doubt, Bracket!

On any photographic forum, it doesn’t take much effort to find old or new discussions on how to set the “proper” exposure while shooting, and even what exactly “proper exposure” is. The question of setting exposure was and is one of the most commonly-discussed topics on forums and blogs. Newbies (and not) bring it up again and again and receive all sorts of explanations – long and short, deeply “scientific” and completely “practical”, starting with advice to use the in-camera histogram, “zebras”, manual exposure mode, corrections and compensation, special camera modes to increase the dynamic range and increase the reliability of the histogram and other overexposure indicators, a separate exposure meter, Adams’s exposure formula, metering the incident light, spot measurement, a grey card, the back of one’s hand, green grass, an ExpoDisk, the sunny 16 rule, Magic Cube, etc., etc.

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Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR Handling Concerns

With Nikon announcing the new 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR just two days ago, it was a bit surprising for us to see a pre-production sample circulating at the Nikon booth at the PhotoPlus Expo today. We had a chance to check out the lens and while we were not allowed to take any pictures with it, Nikon allowed us to do a quick video about the handling aspect of the lens. I was certainly concerned about the reversal of the zoom and focus rings on the new 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR and today John and I were able to see whether it presents a potential problem with handling. Unfortunately, both us were in agreement, that it was not a good decision on behalf of Nikon to make this design change.

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Are Smartphones Threatening the Camera Industry?

As smartphones are getting better at capturing images year after year, one might be wondering when, if at all, we will see smartphones directly competing with larger cameras. Are we at the point, or perhaps might be soon approaching one, where it won’t make any sense to buy a high-end DSLR or a mirrorless camera to capture professional-looking images? Now that smartphones like the iPhone 7 Plus are shipping with dual lenses (one standard wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens to capture portraits) and some manufacturers are even pushing larger sensors to specifically appeal the photography market, it is no wonder why some photographers might think that a smartphone is all they need to get professional results. During the past few years, I have been using a variety of different cameras with sensors ranging from tiny 1/3″ all the way to medium format, so I thought it would be a good idea to write an article about this particular topic, with some images to represent different cameras and sensor sizes.

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Olympus 300mm f/4 – A User Experience

When Olympus first announced the M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO telephoto lens for the micro-four thirds format there was understandably much enthusiasm for its arrival. After all, it would give users the equivalent field of view of 600mm at F/4 in a far more compact and lighter lens than a DSLR equivalent. I wasn’t personally that aroused by the prospect but curiosity prompted me to ask Olympus if I could borrow the lens to write up a user experience and they very kindly lent me a copy.

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Nikon D820 Wishlist

Having been primarily shooting with the Nikon D810 ever since the camera was announced (which as of today is my primary camera for most types of photography I am engaged in), I have been compiling a list of features that I would like to see on the upcoming Nikon D820, so I decided to share this list with our readers. My goal with this article is not only to share my list of most wanted features, but also to potentially expand it based on the feedback I get from other D800/D800E/D810 shooters out there. Once we put together a list of highly desirable and realistic / implementable features, I am planning to send a letter to Nikon to request the features to be incorporated into the future design of the camera. I think as a large community of Nikon shooters, we should do our best to reach out to Nikon directly and put in our requests, so that the company knows what its dedicated user base expects from the future generations of their cameras.

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What Is Dual-Pixel RAW in the Canon 5D Mark IV?

Canon’s newest 5D Mark IV camera has a lot of exciting specifications — the fast frame rate and 4K video capabilities, for example — but there is more to this camera than what first meets the eye. One new feature buried in Canon’s promotional material is a technology called Dual Pixel RAW. This isn’t something that we have seen before, but it seems like it could be one of the most interesting features of this new camera. So, what is Dual-Pixel RAW?

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Comparing Entry-Level Canon DSLR Cameras

If you are buying your first DSLR camera, the available options that are out there can be pretty overwhelming. In this article, I’d like to walk you through the important similarities and differences between a few of Canon’s entry level DSLR cameras, currently the Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D, Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D, Canon EOS Rebel T5i/700D and Canon EOS Rebel T6i/750D. While this won’t be an in-depth technical review, it will be a practical, hands on review that should give you enough information to make an informed decision about which of these cameras will work the best for your current needs.

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How to Use the Full Dynamic Range of Your Camera

Suppose you have read somewhere that the dynamic range of your camera at a certain ISO setting is 11 stops. And here comes the immediate question – how can one use such a treasure to its full potential? Optimal exposure for RAW is the answer. But now we need to explain what we mean when we say, “optimal exposure for RAW”. Let’s start with one of the problems, which arises as a result of non-optimal exposure for RAW. Here is a typical wide dynamic range low-light scene. According to Sekonic spot-meter, it is wider than 11 stops:

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How to Choose the Right Lens Set

There are very few decisions in photography more personal than picking a set of lenses to use. With the incredible number of options available – no matter which brand of camera you use – it can seem impossible to find the right lenses for your needs. Personally, I have switched out my entire lens kit at least four times in the past four years, and many photographers have done so even more often than that! There are no perfect answers for someone looking for what lenses to buy, but I hope that the tips in this article can shed some light on some of the variables that you need to consider for a set of lenses, whether you use Nikon, Canon, Sony, or any other lens manufacturer.

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Nikon 1 J5 ISO-6400 test images at Bird Kingdom

I had a small break in my hectic schedule today and I used it to spend a bit of time at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls capturing some high ISO test images with my Nikon 1 J5. While I wouldn’t normally use ISO-6400 for all of my images purposely, I did so today at Bird Kingdom. As you look at the sample images some of the EXIF data will look quite strange in terms of using a high ISO setting along with a fairly fast shutter speed. These rather bizarre settings are simply products of the test conditions and my goal to purposely shoot at ISO-6400. [Read more…]