Sony A7R Image Sample (12)

One of the biggest challenges that many photographers face is yielding sharp photos when hand-holding a camera. Many end up with blurry images without understanding […]

Twin Peaks

During our recent photo walk in San Francisco, where we had over 30 Photography Life readers join us for some awesome time together, one of […]

Sony A7R

Sony unleashed the Sony A7 and the A7R in October of 2013. With the Sony A7 aimed for general use sporting a 24 MP sensor […]

Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2

Read this in-depth review of the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 manual focus lens with detailed information, specifications, image samples and comparisons to other Sony FE lenses

Death Valley Infrared (3)

Now that I have my Nikon D800E converted to infrared (big thanks to Ilija at Kolari Vision for an amazing conversion job and Bob Vishneski […]


A few months ago we wrote an extensive article on sensor crop factors and equivalence. In that post we covered several topics: the history of […]

Upcoming Carl Zeiss lenses for Sony E and Fujifilm X mounts

Carl Zeiss Touit 12mm f2.8 Lens

For quite some time now photography enthusiasts have been very eager to know what Carl Zeiss has in store for Sony E-mount and Fujifilm X-mount cameras. Ever since the legendary optics manufacturer announced that it will be making autofocus lenses for the two mirrorless camera systems, they’ve never stopped receiving requests for more details on their blog. What’s the big deal, you may ask? Well, the only photographers able to enjoy autofocus Carl Zeiss lenses were Sony Alpha and NEX users. The rest of the world had to make do with manual focus lens lineup. Carl Zeiss has been known for their extremely high quality optics for many decades, but avoided implementing AF motors, which many consider an essential in a modern lens. DSLR shooters are still left wanting, but Sony NEX and Fujifilm X series owners will now have a chance to enjoy possibly some of the sharpest optics around (assuming CZ lives up to its name).

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Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements?

Digital photography has become extremely popular thanks to its accessibility and speed, but to get the best out of those photographs some time needs to be spent editing and tweaking them. Thankfully, plenty of applications are available for you to complete such tasks with, starting with moderate and user-friendly functionality of Google Picasa all the way up to most complex pieces of software, such as Adobe Photoshop (or simply PS). In fact, Photoshop is probably one of the most popular photo processing programs currently available. Most people that use it know but a few percent of its capabilities and are likely never to use all of it, myself included! Fewer people still understand that it has never been targeted squarely for photographic use (the way Adobe Lightroom is, for example), but rather all sorts of graphical editing. How much sense does it make to use such a complex and professional piece of software to edit simple family photographs? Not that much if you’re a simple enthusiast who just wants high quality photographs with minimal fuss. Thankfully, Adobe has something for you as well. Photoshop Elements (PSE in short) is a lighter, simpler, quicker version of its sibling. In essence, it offers all the functionality you’ll ever need to edit your JPG and even RAW images, but through user friendly tools and interface. In this Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements article, I will give you a quick tour of 11 capabilities of Photoshop Elements. Hopefully, this brief comparison will help you decide which one is better for your needs.

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Third Party Lens Manufacturers are On The Rise

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

I remember not that long ago there were two types of lenses. Brand lenses, those designed by known manufacturers for their own cameras, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Olympus, and the cheapskate third party lenses you’d buy if you couldn’t afford the first type. Brand lenses were more expensive, but well worth the extra price. Better build quality, better optical capability, better dependability, better compatibility, better autofocus and fewer quality control and manufacturing issues were what you got for your hard-earned cash. Not to mention respectful nods from anyone spotting letters Nikkor or a red ring around the front of that lens barrel. A few years have gone by now and situation seems to be changing, however. Third party manufacturers have moved the game up and started producing some serious alternatives. Sigma is very keen to prove the point with the launch of its latest lens, the new 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM for APS-C DSLR cameras. In this article, I will introduce you to this new lens and give insight as to why it is such an important step forward in current smaller-format lens market.

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Wildlife Photography Tips: Use a Bean Bag

Bean Bag for Photography

It’s been a while since we had a tip for beginners, so here is a quick post for the wildlife photographer. It’s not uncommon for friends of mine to see a photo like the one below and for them to ask where I took it. Quite frequently my response to them is, “From the window of my car.” They usually laugh thinking that I am joking and then I tell them that I’m serious. If you take many wildlife shots, you will quickly realize that oftentimes animals are acclimated to cars and if we stay inside them, we don’t stress them as much and they don’t flee as fast.

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Nikon “Buy together and Save” instant rebates end tomorrow

Nikon Instant Rebates

Happy Friday! Just wanted to give a quick reminder to our readers about the Nikon “buy together and save” instant rebates that are expiring tomorrow (04/27/2013). While these deals are not as good as the previous instant rebates on Nikon lenses, you can still save up to $550 when buying a DSLR with a lens and/or a speedlight. The newly released Nikon D7100 (see our Nikon D7100 coverage), which has already been discounted by $100 for the 18-105mm kit, is also included in this program. From what I am getting told, these rebates will not be extended further, probably not till the end of the year.

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Announcing the Lens Database

Photography Life Lens Database

We have been incredibly busy during the last few months, working on building our very own Lens Database. As of today, the database contains 400 lenses and we are continuously working on adding more lenses from different manufacturers. You might be wondering about why there is a need to have our own database at Photography Life, when there are plenty of them on the Internet. After I went through a dozen different sites about a year ago, I realized that most sites contain very little information about lenses. While manufacturer specifications are mostly there, such important data as lens construction and MTF charts is typically missing. On top of that, very few sites provide image samples from lenses – images are often too small to look at even on a mobile device.

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How to Read MTF Charts

How to Read MTF Charts

When my article on field curvature was published a while ago, where I talked about how one could do a quick analysis of lens MTF data and determine if it exhibits any field curvature, some of our readers expressed interest in understanding how to read MTF charts. Since we talk quite a bit about lens performance and MTF data here at Photography Life, I decided to write a detailed article on the subject and do my best to thoroughly explain everything related to MTF curves, charts and all the verbiage that comes with them.

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Nikon 50mm f/1.8G for Wedding Photography

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G Weddings (10)

As promised in my Nikon D800 for Wedding Photography article that I wrote a couple of days ago, I am continuing the series and this time with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens. As I noted in my Nikon 50mm f/1.8G review, Lola and I really love this lens for everyday and commercial photography. Because I was so impressed with the lens, I ended up replacing the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G with the f/1.8G version last year. While we still own the 50mm f/1.4G, we made it a backup lens, which is now pretty much permanently attached to the Nikon D700 (also used as a backup camera).

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Ricoh GR Announcement

Ricoh GR Announced

Today, Pentax-Ricoh announced a new high-end compact camera. Not someone you’d call a conventional camera manufacturer (neither Ricoh nor Pentax, for that matter), the new camera seems extremely tempting, especially considering its price. Ricoh GR features a 16.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a fixed 18.3mm f/2.8 lens (equivalent to 28mm on a full-frame camera), and will set you back around $800. At least on paper, it seems to be targeting potential Fujifilm X100s buyers, only with a couple of features missing and at a considerably lower price. Another (even more) direct competitor is the Nikon Coolpix A, which is also much more expensive.

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Public Beta Overview

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Public Beta Overview

Update: according to official system requirements and some of our readers, Lightroom 5 Mac version can only be installed on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or newer (official Windows support includes 7 SP1 and 8). I am yet unsure if such restrictions are only theoretical. We can only guess why Apple and/or Adobe chose to limit users in such a way. I’m sorry to say there’s really nothing I can do about it not having any sort of relationship with Adobe other than being yet another user. All older Mac OS X version owners wanting to upgrade to Lightroom 5 in the future can do is hope such feedback is received (or update their OS). After all, this is Public Beta release and, as such, the whole point of it is to collect feedback and gain user appreciation. In any case, I urge you NOT TO remove previous Lightroom version from your computers in favor of the Beta, which will expire as soon as final release hits the shelves.

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