If you’re trying to photograph the small world of plants and bugs, you’ll face plenty of challenges along the way. Macro photography is a difficult genre — you’re pushing up against the physical limits of depth of field, diffraction, and motion blur. Naturally, focusing in macro photography isn’t an easy task, but it’s a crucial one. How do you optimize your focusing technique for capturing small subjects? The answer depends upon exactly what you’re photographing.
Many beginner photographers often wonder what camera settings they should use to get the best possible results with their current camera gear. While there is no set rule for camera settings that work well in every shooting environment, I noticed that there are some settings that I personally set on every camera I use, which are universal across all brands of cameras on the market. These are the “base” settings I set initially – once they are done, I rarely ever revisit them. In addition, there are particular camera modes that make the process of capturing images easier or quicker, especially for someone who is just starting out. Let’s go through these common camera settings in more detail!
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?
I have been testing the autofocus capabilities of the Nikon D750 during this weekend with several lens and TC (teleconverter) combinations to see how well the camera will perform in terms of accuracy and AF reliability. The first lens that I tested out was the new Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E VR lens, which I used with and without teleconverters. I am planning to review this lens later this year, so I needed to get as many image samples as possible in different situations, with all three Nikon TCs. Like the 800mm f/5.6E VR monster, the 400mm f/2.8E VR is a stellar lens with amazing optics, but also with a very hefty price tag of $12K. So it is definitely not a lens for everyone! As expected, the lens performed amazingly well with top notch sharpness and microcontrast, stunning colors and super fast and accurate autofocus. However, the biggest surprise was how hand-holdable it has gotten compared to the previous version, thanks to fluorite elements and the much lighter build. Here is a photo of a wood duck that I captured hand-held:
Have you ever been in a situation where light conditions were so poor that your camera would completely refuse to autofocus, with the lens constantly going back and forth “hunting” for focus? I am sure you have, since it is a very common problem. Sometimes you want to photograph your loved one in candle light, or snap a shot of your child blowing out candles on a birthday cake. Or perhaps, you are dealing with a DJ that decides to turn off all lights on the wedding dance floor, killing your chances of getting any shots in focus, even when you are fully prepared with flashes to light up your subjects. That’s exactly what happened to me and Lola last weekend when we were shooting a wedding. Lola came up to me and asked if there was anything she could do to make autofocus work again and I thought of an old trick that really does work when dealing with such situations.
The latest Nikon DSLRs like D810 (see our detailed review) and D4S came with the a new “Group-area Autofocus” mode. When compared to the regular Single-Point AF Mode, Group-area AF activates five focus points to track subjects. This focus mode is great for initial focus acquisition and tracking of subjects when compared to a Single-Point or Dynamic AF, especially when dealing with smaller birds that fly erratically and can be really hard to focus on and track. In such situations, the Group-area AF mode might give better results than Dynamic AF, showing better accuracy and consistency from shot to shot.
Some of our readers have been asking about the performance of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens on the Nikon D810, particularly about its autofocus speed and accuracy, especially in low light situations. Lola and I recently shot a wedding with this combo and I had a chance to test out the lens in various conditions – from broad daylight to very dim indoor environments. In this article, I want to talk about my experience with the lens and talk about its pros and cons when using it with the Nikon D810.
As I was writing my Nikon D7100 vs D600 comparison article a while ago, I had a lot of conflicting thoughts that crossed my mind and made their way to the article. I then decided to refrain from making the comparison article negative and rather move my thoughts to a separate post, because I thought that it would be worth the discussion with our readers…
One of the requests we have been getting lately from some of our readers has been to provide more simple and easy to understand photography techniques. So far this year we have covered a lot of complex topics that are for more advanced users, thanks to such new fine tools as the Nikon D800. So for the remainder of the year, we decided to focus on photography basics again, covering simple and basic techniques and tips for beginners. In this article, I will go over the focus and recompose technique, which can be quite useful when photographing in various environments – whether shooting in low-light situations, or composing your shots with the subject in the corner of the frame. I personally use this technique quite a bit in event photography and it saved me a number of times when the light conditions were extremely poor and my camera could not properly focus.
When the D600 was finally announced, most of us got very excited about the new camera. Nasim’s review of the D600 and Bird Photography follow-up answered a lot of my questions, but I was still curious about the D600’s autofocus performance with sports. There are some similarities between sports and wildlife photography, but there are also many differences.