If you want to take your photos to another level, camera equipment is a natural place to look. It’s a very tangible part of photography; we work with our gear constantly. In fact, new equipment often does help you capture certain photos more easily, or it improves the technical quality of the images you take. However, it’s easy to get swept away in this marketing message and forget that there are other, better ways to improve your photos — techniques that don’t require new equipment to put into practice, and tips that are applicable to every photographer.
This week is an exciting week for Sony mirrorless fans, because two more lenses have joined the native FE mount in the form of FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM and 85mm f/1.8. While Sony has already brought out the stellar 85mm f/1.4 GM lens last year, it is an expensive pro-grade lens, so there was a gap to fill for an enthusiast-grade lens and that’s what the 85mm f/1.8 is all about. At $599, it is a third of the price of its big GM brother, so it will be an appealing choice for portrait photographers on a tight budget. The Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM joins the ranks of high-end GM lenses that are designed to deliver outstanding contrast, sharpness and other optical characteristics with the latest and greatest technology the company has to offer. Although it has a relatively slow aperture of f/2.8 (for a portrait lens), it is also designed specifically for portrait photography, since it is the first Sony FE lens to feature a sophisticated optical design that incorporates “Smooth Trans Focus” technology that uses apodization filter, similar to the Fuji’s 56mm f/1.2 APD lens. Sony promises very smooth and pleasing bokeh, so it will be interesting to see how the rendering of the lens would compare to its 85mm f/1.4 GM lens.
It is always exciting to see great lens announcements, because lenses play such a huge role in making images and making them appear special. This week we have seen two such announcements from Tamron. Without a doubt, the most exciting announcement is the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 designed for full-frame cameras from both Nikon and Canon. I am personally intrigued by the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8, since that lens is going to retail for a mere $1,299 – that’s less than half the price of what Nikon sells its high-end Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8E FL VR for! I don’t know how Tamron managed to price its 70-200mm so low, but at this price, I almost wonder what corners Tamron had to cut to make it happen. After reviewing its MTF charts and other lens specifications, I could not really find any…
One of the features of Lightroom that I use the most often and has probably saved me more time than any other step in my editing process is creating and using develop presets. A develop preset is simply a group of adjustments that all get applied to an image at the same time. By default, Lightroom includes a variety of presets, but you can also create your own if you want something more personalized. In this post I’ll show you the process of creating a Lightroom develop preset, as well as how to modify an existing develop preset.
A number of our readers have been asking our team about our recommendations on different mirrorless cameras. With so many different options on the market today, choosing a mirrorless system can get very confusing. In this particular article, I would like to start off by comparing mirrorless camera systems that are available today from different manufacturers. This below charts will be updated periodically with new / updated information. Please note that the below comparisons are only for mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Discontinued systems such as Pentax K-01, Ricoh GXR, Pentax Q and Samsung NX have been removed. The list is sorted alphabetically and had to be split into two parts to fit. Also, please keep in mind that some of the benchmarks presented in this article are very subjective, based on our and our readers’ prior experience using the cameras. I have also published an article comparing mirrorless systems, where I go into a lot more detail about lenses and other important considerations.
It has been well over a year since we held our first reader event at Bird Kingdom in Niagara Falls, Canada. We are planning another reader event at the facility on Saturday February 11th. I’ll be there before the attraction opens to the public at 9:30 AM so attendees will have some ‘meet and greet’ time.
We have so many different camera systems available today, that it is getting tougher and tougher to choose between them, especially for those who are just starting out. With mirrorless systems on the rise and advancing at a much faster pace than DSLRs in terms of technology, one might wonder which mirrorless systems are worth a serious consideration. In this article, I want to go over the different mirrorless systems and give my subjective take on each system, stating which ones are the best and the worst, by my order of preference. All of the information presented in the article is based on not only my personal observation and experience, but also the feedback I have been gathering from other sources, including our PL readers.
In the past, bird photography was reserved for those with very deep pockets. With long prime lenses costing more than $8000, their high prices excluded those of us with more modest budgets from the party. However, with the advent of relatively inexpensive super-zoom lenses from Sigma and Tamron, and even some from the mirrorless camera makers, it is much easier to get into bird photography these days. In this article, I want to give you some bird photography tips for creating compelling images of these beautiful creatures. I will talk briefly about gear but will focus more on the techniques for capturing great images of birds.
In my last post I covered the basics of cell phone photography. In this post I want to go over how you can edit photos with different apps on your phone. Of course, you can always import photos from your phone onto your computer and edit them with your software of choice, but if you plan to share images on social media and want to upload them directly from your phone, you can save a few steps by doing everything on your phone.
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you have experience editing photos on a computer. I’m not going to cover the basics of photo editing and what all of the different controls do (if you need more information on editing basics, this is a great place to start). You also might consider our Level 1: Workflow and Post-Processing Basics video.
Telephoto lenses are wonderful tools for almost any genre of photography, but they aren’t necessarily easy to use. In particular, telephoto lenses will magnify any camera shake and provide a much thinner depth of field compared to wide angles. Don’t let that stop you, though. Telephotos have a unique way of showcasing the world — one which may be ideal for your photos. In this article, I’ll go in detail about how to use telephoto lenses, discuss some of their benefits and tips for dealing with their unique challenges. Although I personally tend to take landscape photos, the techniques in this article apply no matter what subjects you like to capture.