For most photographers, especially those who shoot landscapes, it is crucial to have a good set of filters at your disposal. Filters come in two types: screw-on filters (attaching directly to your filter threads) and square filter systems (sliding into a holder on the end of your lens). A lot of landscape photographers move to a square filter system over time — they have a wider selection of filters, and they let you move your filters from lens to lens more quickly. The main companies that make square filter systems are Lee, Cokin and HiTech, all of which are well-known among landscape photographers. There are a few other companies in the marketplace, too, including a relatively new brand called NiSi. Recently, NiSi has been contacting photography websites for reviews, and they contacted us as well. I have used the Lee system for a while, and experienced a few problems with it, so I wanted to review these NiSi filters and see how they stack up. This review covers the NiSi filter system, along with a few specific filters.
Landscape photographers often deal with the dilemma of choosing between different types and brands of neutral density and graduated neutral density filters for use in high-contrast situations such as sunrise and sunset, where their cameras might not have enough dynamic range to be able to capture the entire scene. While we are not going to go over each and every brand to see which one performs better, we do want to show the difference in sharpness between glass and resin filters. For this particular test, we used three 0.6 (2 stop) filters from three different manufacturers – NiSi (glass filter), Lee (resin) and HiTech (resin). The latter two are probably the two brands that are used the most among photographers in the field.
I have been looking for a small portable alternative to carting my tripod around with me for quite some time now. There have been many occasions when I’ve been out photographing and could have used the support that a tripod provides, but could not be bothered to lug my tripod with me. I have tried using a variety of small tabletop tripods. None of them were strong enough to support a DSLR and heavy lens. Beanbags are cumbersome to carry around as well. This past summer I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for Platypod Pro Max, and I was intrigued. Could this possibly be the answer to my search?
MIOPS Smart Camera Trigger is a camera and flash trigger in a single unit. It provides seven different triggering modes, including lightning, sound, and laser. It also functions as an intervalometer for timelapse photography. It has an HDR mode, a scenario mode, and a DIY mode. With the smartphone app, you can also use the trigger in four shutter release modes: cable release, press and hold, press and lock, and timed release. The past few days I have had a lot of fun playing with my MIOPS Trigger, and I would like to share my experiences with you.
During our trip to Turkey, Lola and I had a chance to briefly meet with my Turkish friends from MIOPS.com, the talent behind MIOPS Smart Trigger and Nero Trigger (see our detailed review of Nero Trigger). MIOPS is a small business that operates out of Turkey, with an exceptionally knowledgeable team of software and hardware engineers. I first met the MIOPS team at the Photo Plus Expo in New York back in 2013 and since then we have become good friends. So when they found out that Lola and I were flying out to Istanbul, they invited both of us to their corporate office for a tour of their production facilities. Since I had a couple of cameras with me during the trip, I requested to record an interview with the team in order to introduce both the product and the talented team behind the product to our readers. In this article, I would like to share the recorded interview with our readers and provide some information on the MIOPS Smart Trigger. If you have never heard of this little device, I would definitely encourage you to read on, since this little gadget might get your creative juices flowing with all kinds of new photography ideas.
Many photographers who want to upgrade their tripod are stuck choosing between high-end aluminum tripods and low-end carbon fiber models. These two types of tripod tend to be similar in price, which makes the decision even more difficult. I have been trying out the carbon fiber Oben CC-2461 tripod over the past few months, along with the accompanying BE-126T ballhead. This review covers my experiences and recommendations for photographers trying to decide on a tripod at this price point.
Every once in a while, I come across gadgets that sound promising, because they serve a specific purpose that I have needs for. When browsing the web last July, I came across a post on a popular site that praised a smart tracker called ANKR. The post started out by talking about stolen gear and how unfortunate the incidents were. Then it went on to introduce ANKR and how amazing of a find it was to be able to “geolocate” (those were the words used) items such as the camera bag in case it got stolen. It all sounded really good, because it seemed to address my particular fear of getting my gear stolen, especially when traveling overseas.
While some people might consider cell phone photography inferior to using a “real” camera, there are many who strongly believe that, as Chase Jarvis says, the best camera is the one that you have with you. These days, that camera is typically going to be a phone. With that in mind, what if you could add the flexibility of interchangeable lenses to your phone’s camera? That’s exactly what Aukey’s cell phone lenses do. In this post I’ll be reviewing a Wide angle and a 2x Telephoto lens. Also, since it seemed appropriate for a phone accessory review, all photos are taken with a cell phone.
For as long as I can remember, ever since I bought my first DSLR I’ve been looking for “the perfect” casual camera backpack. For me, that means a backpack that I can take anywhere, that’s easy to use, carries enough gear for a long walk or casual hike, has room to carry non-photography items and isn’t too big and bulky. When I saw the USA Gear S17 (which I’ll just call the S17 from now on), I knew it had the potential to be a camera backpack that I’d use on a regular basis.
Every once in a while, you will hear some photographers claim that lens filters are completely useless. Some will argue that only specific types of filters such as UV and protective filters are evil, while others will also include polarizing and ND filters into the mix, claiming that one could reproduce the effects of all those filters in post-processing software. Arguments for or against filters can spark a lot of heated debates in the photography community, similar to topics such as “Nikon vs Canon”, or “DSLR vs Mirrorless”. There are certainly some passionate individuals out there who are ready to stand their ground no matter what. And there is nothing wrong with that, as that’s what typically happens when there is truth on both side of the coin, depending on what angle you are looking at – there are certainly both pros and cons to using lens filters. Having been teaching photography for a number of years now, I have come across many different photographers of all skill levels in the field and I have come to realize that there is sadly quite a lot of misinformation out there regarding lens filters and their proper use. Many of us simply don’t know enough about not just filters themselves, but also their significant effect on our post-processing workflow. Although we have previously written many articles on lens filters, let’s explore filters once again and hopefully address some of the misconceptions about these important tools.