Recently I’ve been experiencing one of those existential photo crises. Low motivation, cliché results, slumping Instagram likes. When I get bummed about my photography I do what any self-respecting unprofessional photographer would do – put on some soft jazz, pour myself a fine single malt, then pull out my favorite Zeiss lens chart results and pleasure myself. But even that didn’t make me feel better. What’s a listless soul-wrenched photographer to do? Ha, I know what will do the trick – no better way to demonstrate my photographic élan and self-assurance than to dis on a kit lens.
My wife and I just returned from a whirlwind photography tour/vacation travelling by car through some of the most intriguing parts of the United States. We were on the road for 26 days with 19 of them focused on capturing images along our route. In all we covered 10,187 kilometres (6,330 miles).
Without a doubt, Sony has been flooding the camera market with camera and lens announcements in the past few years. It has not even been a year since the company announced the Sony A6300 back in February and we already have another iteration of the camera in the form of the Sony A6500. I am not sure what the deal is with skipping iterations, but Sony went from A6000 directly to A6300 (skipping both A6100 and A6200) and it looks like there won’t ever be a Sony A6400 either. So why did Sony announce the A6500 this early? Based on the camera specs, one might think that Sony rushed with the A6300 in the first place, but looking at the price and the list of features, it appears that the A6500 isn’t meant to be a replacement for the A6300, but rather an introduction to a higher-end mirrorless camera. If we had NEX-3, NEX-5 and NEX-7 series cameras before, with a clear difference in features and price, now the higher model number is the indication of a superior camera. At $1,400, the A6500 is priced $400 higher than the A6300, but what exactly does the camera gain in comparison? Let’s take a look at all the new features.
In addition to the A6500 mirrorless camera, Sony has also announced an update to the RX100 and the new iteration is now called Sony RX100 V, as expected. While most of the camera specifications stayed the same (20 MP 1″ sensor and 24-70mm equivalent f/1.8-f/2.8 lens), the new RX100 V gains on-sensor phase-detection system to improve its autofocus performance. With a total of 315 phase-detection autofocus points spreading to over 65% of the frame, the camera snaps into focus almost immediately, at record-breaking 0.05 seconds.
Over the past two years, I have written a couple of articles about SmugMug’s website-building platform. There are many ways to build an online portfolio of your work, and SmugMug is one that I have recommended for a while (and use for my own website). If you have been thinking about SmugMug for your photos, there is a pretty nice sale going on now: 31% off any of their plans, expiring October 31. I haven’t seen a discount of more than 20% before, so this is a surprisingly good deal.
Update: It’s past October 31st, but the link still seems to be valid. I don’t know how long it’s going to last, but I’ll keep checking back and updating this article once I’ve noticed that the deal is gone.
Although the Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR has been out for a few years, I only had a chance to try it out earlier this year, during my trip to Death Valley. I have been wanting to try the 645Z for quite some time, since I heard so many good things about it. With medium format digital being traditionally out of reach in terms of cost for most photographers out there, including myself, I did not really have much interest in trying out cameras that are as expensive as some nice cars. However, the Pentax 645D changed the game back in 2010, by being the first sub-$10K medium format digital camera at launch.
Over the last three years, I have been photographing cities with an IR-converted Nikon D80 DSLR while traveling on business trips. I am very fortunate that my job duties involve the administration of international projects, so I travel once or twice per month, mostly in Central Europe, but also in Western and Eastern Europe. Whenever I travel, I try to plan at least a very short window for photographing, even if it is sometimes only 1-2 hours long. In this article, I share some insights after photographing with an IR camera for almost 3 years in roughly 20 European cities.
Most of us think we have a good understanding of the camera settings that affect your RAW photos — it seems like common sense. However, the more that you look into it, the more complicated that this topic gets. In fact, no matter how much you know about your camera, chances are good that you have a few misconceptions about the camera settings that affect your RAW photos. Does high-ISO noise reduction change the way your camera records a RAW file? What about long exposure noise reduction? Color space? Or Active D-Lighting, for Nikon users? The answer to two of these four examples is yes. In this article, I will cover all the noteworthy camera settings that affect your camera’s RAW files, including some that you may not expect.
The Atacama Desert on the Chilean high plateau of Altiplano and the Mauna Kea Summit on the Big Island of Hawaii are generally recognized as the two best places for astronomical observations. However, in this article, I argue that the best place for amateur night sky photography is elsewhere. It is in Hawaii too, but on the Island of Maui. It is the extinct Haleakala volcano. Although smaller than the Mauna Kea volcano, Haleakala might actually be better suited for amateur photographers.
Among the many articles I have read here, at Photography Life, the most controversial are the ones that especially call my attention. Despite being against the polemics, I am in favor of sincere dialogue, because through dialogue we can grow internally too. In my opinion, there are several steps that one can take in order to make better pictures. Therefore, I invite you all to carry out a reflection on the subject.