Tag Archives: Equipment

Win a Free Lens Rental

Some time ago, we gave out a few free lens rentals via BorrowLenses.com — and now we’re doing it again! We’ll give out a one week equipment rental to two different winners (see details below for entry). This is a cool deal as the holidays approach, and it’s a good way to try out some new equipment or even use it for a paid shoot or personal project.

BorrowLenses.com

If you haven’t checked them out in a while, they have a few new things happening. First off, they’re selling some of their equipment as the bring in new stuff — not a bad way to pick up a new lens or camera body at a discounted price. Also, you can get a 10% discount as a first time customer if you use the code “First10″ when placing an order. And finally, BorrowLenses.com is offering a membership program to the heavy users — $99/year gets you a full-time 10% discount on orders, increased availability of rental items, and no cancellation fees. Not a bad deal if you’re shooting a lot of paid projects that require top quality glass. They’ve also been bulking up on lighting equipment for you Strobists, and they now do sensor cleaning for you dSLR users.

For the rental giveaway, here are a few ground rules:

  • You need to be in the US.
  • The order will need to be made online and you will need to provide a credit card number. This won’t be charged but they will need it to ensure you don’t run off with their lens :-). BorrowLenses.com is a reputable business but if you don’t feel comfortable with this condition please don’t enter.
  • The offer excludes super telephoto lenses and pro camera bodies.

To enter the raffle, just leave a comment and tell us you’d like to win! I’ll draw two winners on December 12, 2009 — so get your entry in right away.

[UPDATE 12-8-09] You can enter multiple times by doing any of the following:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. (1 entry per person)
  2. Retweet (Via your Twitter account) “Another lens rental contest! http://bit.ly/56AGTp Retweet and post the RT as a comment for a second chance to win! (via @BorrowLenses)” Post the RT and/or (preferably) the link to your RT here in the comments (as a separate comment from the #1 entry method). (1 entry per person)
  3. Post about this giveaway on your blog, in a forum, or any other appropriate avenue — just don’t spam the forums and other public spaces. Then leave a comment (again, separate comment from your other entries) with a link to your post. (1 entry per person)

So there you go — 3 ways to improve your odds at winning.

[UPDATE 12-13-2009] The raffle is over, and the winners have been chosen. See my follow-up post for more details.

Buy and Sell Photo Gear at RutsCameras

I tend to buy cameras and equipment from time to time, as I’m sure most of you do too. In my case, I’m usually scouring eBay for good deals on old film cameras or darkroom equipment. eBay is a great place for this, but I have more than one issue with it from a photographer standpoint.

RutsCameras

Jeff Rutman also had issues with existing sites and services dealing used photography gear, so he did something about it. RutsCameras is a camera & equipment auction site similar to eBay, but it’s only for photography stuff. He’s just getting it started, but it could be a very good marketplace if enough people get on board. Here are some of the strong points of this new site:

  • IT’S FREE! At least for now. I know, “free” usually sounds too good to be true, but this guy seems legit. No seller or buyer fees.
  • NO JUNK! The problem with eBay is that you have to wade through tons of crap in order to find what you’re looking for. No more searching for a camera model only to find 800 listings on a screwdriver of the same model and 3 camera listings buried in there.
  • SWAP GEAR! I noticed on a few of the listings that swap offers were accepted. I would assume that this means you can swap gear if you have something the seller is looking for too. Pretty cool option.
  • JEFF LISTENS! He actually wants feedback and suggestions when it comes to shaping the site. This is way cool because you’re more likely to “have it your way”. The site even has a forum for feedback and general discussion.

At any rate, I just wanted to give a shout out to RutsCameras in case some of you are looking to buy or sell photography stuff. I haven’t tried the site myself (I don’t have anything to buy or sell at the moment), but I’ve been poking around for a day or two. If you’re looking to buy or sell any time soon, maybe give it a try. And, as with any online venue, make sure you read the fine print and that you understand what you’re signing up for.

How to Wet Clean Your Lens

Lens wipe
Creative Commons License photo credit: ant.photos

Just admit it… you haven’t cleaned your lenses in a while, have you? Let alone a good wet cleaning. I know, it’s easy to let it go and forget about it. So go do it now!!!

Here’s a little refresher course on wet cleaning your lens elements (and some product suggestions in case you don’t have the stuff already). Keeping your equipment clean is a important part of basic maintenance and it will make your gear last longer. Lenses are no exception, and it’s easy to forget about deep cleaning the front and rear elements because they usually appear to be quite clean at a glance. But if you haven’t given them a good wipe-down for a while, it’s more than likely that you’ve accumulated some dust and grime.

Here are the basic steps for wet cleaning your lens. If you’ve never done it before, make sure you’re comfortable with the process and you understand the risks involved. As for the products involved… we’re talking less than $40 and the only consumables are the cleaning solution and tissues which should last a year or more.

1. BLOW

Before you even think about touching your lens with any type of cloth, blow off all the big stuff that might scratch your glass. My favorite blower is the Rocket Blaster from Giottos — these things put out a great stream of air and I use mine for lens cleaning, sensor cleaning, film cleaning, and scaring the kids when they least expect it. If you don’t have one already, you can purchase a Giottos Rocket Blaster at Amazon.com for about $10.

2. BRUSH

Even if you blow off the lens, you’ll still have some particles hanging on for dear life. A lens brush will help pull off the rest of the “big stuff” before you hit the glass with a cloth. You can purchase a lens cleaning pen with brush on Amazon.com for about $8.

3. WET

Wet the wipe, not the lens! This is important! Don’t drop any kind of liquid straight onto your lens — it could cause damage to the inside parts. Instead, wet a lens tissue with a few drops of lens cleaner or alcohol (which is what lens cleaners are for the most part). You can purchase Eclipse Cleaning System Solution at Amazon.com for about $10 — this stuff is amazing, plus you can use it to clean your sensor.

4. WIPE

They make these special little wipes called lens tissues that are super soft, ultra clean, lint free, and intended for single use. This is exactly what they’re made for, and they’re cheap — so use them! You can purchase PEC-PAD Lint Free Wipes at Amazon.com for around $8 per 100 pack.

A WORD OF CAUTION: Just be careful when making physical contact with optical quality glass — this stuff is really smooth and it can be scratched with something as small as dust. Just don’t be careless. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to do this simple task on your own. When done correctly, you should have nothing to worry about. Here’s a pretty good instructional video I found that should boost your confidence.

And listen, there’s always more than one way to do the job — so don’t take this stuff as the Gospel. For you seasoned photographers out there, how do you clean your lenses?

Link Roundup 08-24-2009

Things to Consider When Choosing Your Camera

I think this is all of them
Creative Commons License photo credit: xdjio

This article has been submitted by Neil Austin, a digital photography enthusiast who writes on digital photography for his blog: www.DigitalWeddingGuide.com. He mainly writes about wedding photography. If you are a wedding photographer looking for you first camera then make sure you read this article on how to choose a wedding photography camera.

If you are into serious photography, then you have to take into consideration many things when selecting the type of equipment and gadgets to purchase. It does not matter whether you are going into photography as a hobby or as a profession. There are important things that you have to include in the general equation for the determination of the type of photography equipment and gadgets that you will have to invest in.

P&S VS DSLR

PS vs DSLR

When you are going for your foundation equipment, you have to decide if you are going for a Point and Shoot (P&S) or the more expensive Digital-Single Lens Reflex cameras. Your final choice will be based on your budget as well as your requirements and needs. Digital-Single Lens Reflex (dSLR) cameras are the better choice for those who have higher demands from their advanced photography. These are the type of modern cameras which are generally have wider functionality and are versatile in terms of the shooting conditions and controls. It comes with a wide range of features and provides the base equipment for future upgrades in the form of add-ons and accessories.

The dSLR is the camera of choice when it comes to action shots, nature and wildlife photography. It is also the appropriate type of camera when doing portraiture and people photography. On the other hand, Point and Shoot (P&S) cameras are the direct opposite of dSLRs. The main advantage of this type of camera is that they are extremely light and compact making them the better choice for those who put premium on convenience and ease of handling. They also come with the basic features that are normally required for day-to-day photography work as well as other photography requirements on the personal level. The major limitation of this type of cameras is that you will not be able to make any lens changes and their built-in flashes are limited in their range of capabilities.

CONSIDERATIONS ON RESOLUTION

Resolution

There is a wide range of resolution that is provided by dSLR from a low 3.4 megapixels to as high as 16.7 megapixels. There are even some high-end dSLRs whose over resolutions are higher than 16.7 megapixels. It is important to note that not all dSLR produce the same results for the same level of resolution. There are some dSLR cameras that can deliver better shots even with lower resolutions mainly because of the presence of a high-performance and more advanced sensor. The bottom-line is to assess the maximum level of megapixels that you will require in your photography work and settle for the type or model that meets this specification. Higher resolution dSLR does always mean better dSLR cameras especially if you are able to get the shots you like with a lower resolution dSLRs.

DSLR

UPGRADING YOUR DSLR

With the fast paced development and advancement in the field of technology, you will have to keep pace with the emergence of newer and more modern gadgets and add-ons for your dSLRs. The digital format is admittedly the platform on which all upgrades will be based. If you are serious about keeping pace with the advances in the digital photography technology, then you may have to replace your dSLR camera with a newer model every 18 months! However, it is worse in the case of Point and Shoot types of cameras as you may be forced to buy a new unit every six months.

ADDING DSLR ACCESSORIES

Accessories

Most dSLRs are bit heavy and unwieldy compared to the Point and Shoot cameras and you have to seriously take this into consideration when you are choosing the right dSLRs which would suit your needs and preference. You might need models that have a fairly large battery packs and all other add-ons, this will make things really heavier on the side. Don’t forget to consider the size of the lenses that you will need in your photo shoots using a dSLR camera. Once you include all these items, then you really have to consider buying a really large camera bag.

If you have an old camera with lenses and accessories, you may consider purchasing a newer model that can accommodate the lenses and accessories. The compatibility of existing lenses and other accessories can serve as a major motivation in picking out a specific model of dSLR camera.

ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF A DSLR CAMERA

DSLR Features

After you have considered the basic features of your digital camera, you can now assess all the other features which you might consider in your ideal digital camera. Though these might not be an immediate necessity in your present circumstances, you may have to look beyond the present and identify the functionalities which you would like your dSLR to have in the future.

  • Burst-Mode Functionality – This is the feature that you must have to consider when you are looking at action or motion shots. This gives you the capability of shooting a series of frames from an unfolding action.
  • Vibra-Proof Feature – This is a feature that you would like to have to give you fairly good shots while you are in motion. Though this may be an optional feature that spells the comparative advantage of one model from the rest of the units of dSLR, some would find this feature as a basic requirement especially when you are making shots while in motion.
  • ISO Rating Range – You also have to consider the ISO rating of your camera especially when you are looking at high speed shots and close portrait and people photography.
  • Digital Connectivity – With the convergence of digital based gadgets and equipments, you also must have to consider the connectivity of your dSLR camera with your computer and other photo-enhancing equipment. This would provide you with more functionality in creating high quality photo shoots with a wide range of use.
  • Review Mode and Review Features – You also have to decide on the size of the LCD panel of your dSLR. You need to assess the functionality that you will require for an on-spot review and assessment of shots. If you require detailed assessment of shots, then you have to consider larger LCD panel with brighter and sharper images.
  • Shutter Speed Range – This is another feature that you have to assess especially when you are into the more advanced photography. This has direct bearing on the kind of lenses and the ISO settings that you want in your dSLR.

About The Author

Neil Austin likes to write on topic of digital wedding photography. His focus is mainly on providing tips and articles for beginner photographers who are just entering into this amazing field of digital weddings. You can read more of his work and articles at digital wedding guide.

Save A Life – How To Get The Most Out Of Your Camera Battery

This article has been authored by Neil Austin. Neil likes to write about digital wedding photography for his blog: www.DigitalWeddingGuide.com. Neil’s blog mainly focuses on wedding photography tips.

Get the Most out of Your Batteries

Digital cameras are packed with lots of great features and spiffy enhancements. But a lot of the goodies are big culprits when it comes to power usage. And there is no worse feeling in the world than having your digital camera battery run down in the middle of a crucial shot.

While you can quickly stop and put a fresh battery in, you can’t always go back and recreate what would have been a great moment for the camera. And even though you may have a few backup batteries, the real trick is to maximize the life of the one that you’re using so you can get the most shots per charge possible.

Here are some things you can do to help get more out of your battery’s life.

  • Give your LCD screen a rest and use the optical viewfinder. What ends up happening is with each picture you take, it will appear on your digital camera’s LCD screen, eating up valuable battery power. Looking through the viewfinder saves your power for taking more pictures. Of course, be aware that what you see on the viewfinder isn’t exactly what you’re going to see on the actual picture. Some of the scenes to the sides of the frame may be cropped off so make sure you’re focused on your subject if the LCD screen is off.
  • The same idea applies to previewing pictures on your LCD screen. Taking a picture, then pulling it up on the LCD screen to show your friends is a wasteful use of battery life. You can save more power by only looking at a previous picture on the LCD screen if it’s going to help make the next shot better. Save the photo sharing for when you’ve uploaded your pictures to your computer or burned them to a disc.
  • If leaving the LCD screen off isn’t practical, look at lowering the screen’s brightness to save power. Lower it to an acceptable level, remembering that you may have difficulty in bright sunlight viewing the screen. Shade it with the palm of your hand if this is the case.
  • Using your camera’s menu function, try adjusting the “sleep” option. What this will do is put your digital camera into a power-saving sleep mode after a designated period of time, but it still remains ready to be used and can usually be “awakened” by touching one of the camera’s function buttons or the shutter. You may even be able to leave your digital camera in sleep mode to squeeze more shots out of your battery’s charge.
  • Use the single focus feature whenever possible. You’re asking your battery to work that much harder when your camera is using continual focus, and that feature is really only necessary if you’re taking pictures of subjects with lots of motion – say, children playing or maybe shots of a sporting event.
  • Many amateur shutterbugs find themselves playing with the zoom out of habit. Use your zoom sparingly. The motor that zooms your camera’s lens in and out is another unwanted power drain, and you should only use it when you’re ready to shoot.
  • Only press the shutter button when you’re ready to actually take a picture. Pressing it halfway puts the camera into a preparation mode that drains power because it thinks it’s about to take a picture and needs to be ready – and it gets ready by resetting and refocusing the camera – a big expense of power.
  • Don’t charge your battery if it still has a relatively strong charge. This can diminish a battery’s ability to hold a charge, and that is something you will start to notice when you begin getting fewer shots per charge. Avoid dropping the battery too. This can affect its polarity and therefore its ability to properly charge.
  • If you’re shooting pictures in cold weather, keep your camera warm by keeping it close to your body. Colder temperatures cause batteries to drain faster, and your body heat can help battery performance remain at optimal levels.
  • Save the video clips for a video camera. Recording and playing back video clips eats up lots of power, and if you’re really wanting to shoot videos, get a camera dedicated for that use.
  • Don’t go cheap on the recharger. It’s true with some things you get what you pay for, and battery chargers are one item you don’t want to skimp on. A good charger will extend your batteries’ lives and charge them more efficiently.
  • Keep spare batteries handy, and rotate through the batteries you use so they all get used as equally as possible. This helps to ensure that battery life remains constant from battery to battery, and more importantly it also means you’ll grab a battery that’s been recharged, instead of the dead one you kept forgetting to charge.
  • Use the flash only when necessary. Most professionals will tell you that the flash on digital cameras don’t really add anything to a picture anyway, even at night.
  • Wait until you’re back safely at home before you start deleting pictures. Deleting shots only drains more power, and you can get rid of unwanted pictures after you’ve uploaded them to your computer for review.
  • If you’re using lithium ion batteries you’ll get more life out of them by making sure they’re charged completely and regularly. Lithium ion batteries typically hold a charge longer than regular alkaline batteries too.
  • When storing your camera for a week or more, remove the batteries to prevent an accidental discharge.

These battery maintenance tips will help you dramatically extend the life of your battery, while getting the most out of each charge. They’ll help you prolong your enjoyment of your digital camera. And they’ll help you and your camera to always be ready to take a great picture – no matter when the right photo opportunity arises!

This article has been authored by Neil Austin. Neil likes to write about digital wedding photography for his blog: www.DigitalWeddingGuide.com. Neil’s blog mainly focuses on wedding photography tips.

What’s On Your Photography Wish-List?

013/2009 Year 2 Want! Seven Deadly Sins: Greed
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tyla’75

Most of us probably have at least a short wish-list of photography-related items. My list usually fills up with things that I don’t have the money for, and over time I stop caring about those particular items. But there are a few things that I’ve been wanting for a while — and I don’t see myself losing interest in them.

  • MINOLTA HI-MATIC 7SII
    I’ve been wanting this camera for quite a while — this thing is freakin’ awesome for an old rangefinder. Some would even argue that this is the best rangefinder ever produced by Minolta. Why do I want it? Street photography. Why am I holding back? Price: they usually go for over $150 (2-3x that for the black version).
  • CANOSCAN 8800F
    This wish-list item is more of a necessity than a craving. I’ve got the Canoscan 8400F (which is more than a few years old), and I’m getting very finicky about my film scans. I’d like to have a bit of extra resolution and possibly better color control during the scan process. Besides… my current scanner could commit suicide any day now.
  • DSLR SPLIT IMAGE FOCUSING SCREEN
    This is an item that’s been in the back of my mind ever since I started shooting film. I like the split image focusing screen with the microprism ring that my film SLR has, and I often find myself wanting the same feature on my dSLR. Why? Low light situations, macro, street, etc. Sometimes autofocus just doesn’t cut it, and manually focusing without a good screen is useless.
  • BESELER DICHRO 67S HEAD
    This one is on my backburner for now, but I’d like to get into color developing and printing by the end of the year. I’ve had a good experience with the b/w printing, but I also have a growing collection of color negs that I’d love to print in full analog glory. Scanning is okay, but nothing beats a true print. This head I have my eye on will bolt right up to my existing enlarger stand, so it’s really just a component swap-out rather than a whole new setup.
  • SONY 35MM F/1.4 LENS
    Yeah… this lens is way out there for me right now, but I certainly wouldn’t mind having it. I often find that my 50mm lens on the dSLR is too tight for many street photography situations. I like the field of view I get with the 50mm lens on a full-frame film camera (I even prefer my slightly wider 38mm sometimes), and the 35mm on a crop sensor would basically be equivalent to the 50mm full-frame. This thing is spendy though!

Those are probably my top 5 items outside of the low-budget realm. I’ll probably be lucky to pick up one or two of these within the next year, but it’s fun to dream!

WHAT’S ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY WISH-LIST?

Leave a comment and let us know what you crave. I’m always curious about the things that other photographers want when it comes to equipment. And be sure to check out the results of the last poll: What’s Your Experience With Film Photography? Believe it or not, there are actually a good chunk of photographers shooting film today (around 40%). But another 40% gave it up and never looked back.

Build a Film Developing Kit for Under $50

12-step bathroom-sink-darkroom program
Creative Commons License photo credit: willsfca

The intent of this article is to present a list of one-time expenses for developing your own black & white film. I would guess that many people shy away from film photography because of the cost or difficulty. And I agree that it can get quite expensive if you have somebody else develop your film (if you can manage to find them, especially b/w).

But film photography doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve already shown that there are a huge number of film cameras out there for under $50, and I wanted to see if I could put together a list of film developing supplies for the same price tag. After a few minutes of research, whad’ya know? Again, for under $50, we can put together a set of black and white film developing equipment. So let’s dig in!

THE BARE ESSENTIALS

LARGE MEASURING CUP

You’ll need at least one of these measurement cups (or beakers) to measure out the water for your chemicals. I’d suggest getting a 600ml version so you can use it for double batches or 120 film. You can get 3 of these (1 for each chemical solutuion), but if you’re cheap (like me) you can use old plastic cups for holding the chemicals after they’ve been measured.

$9
SMALL GRADUATED CYLINDER

This guys is used for measuring out the concentrate chemicals, since you might be needing anywhere from 10-100ml of concentrate (if you’re using liquid concentrate supplies). Just be sure to rinse between chemical pours and clean very well before measuring out the developer.

$3
THERMOMETER

These cheap-ass thermometers work just fine. They take a while to register the actual temperature, but they work. They’re also a handy little stir stick.

$5
FILM REEL

The cheap film reels will bend-up pretty easily, but something is better than nothing. Just like lenses, buy the best you can afford (you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration).

$10
DEVELOPING TANK

I’m hooked on the steel tanks. You can beat the hell out of them and they keep on truckin’. You can really slam them down on the counter to knock the air bubbles off of the film after your inversions.

$10
HANGING CLIPS

I use these clips for film and print. They’re pretty gnarly, but they have quite a grip. Useful for when you’re wiping down the film at the end.

$6
DRYING CLOTH

I’ve tried the film squeegees, but they always seem to leave a bunch of water spots. I like to wipe down the non-emulsion side of my wet film with a good clean micro-fiber cloth to take care of water spots.

$5
TOTAL $48

OK, so those are the absolute minimum equipment requirements for developing your own black & white film. There are definitely some other items that will make your life easier, but those things aren’t always necessary. Again, these things above are the one-time equipment costs. Immediately below, you’ll find a list of consumable items that you’ll have to buy up-front and periodically throughout your film developing adventures.

CONSUMABLES

DEVELOPER

Use whatever developer you want, but I prefer to use Ilford’s Ilfosol 3 solution for most of my film. The stuff works great on fine-grain film. The only downside is that it’s less versatile than other developers… and it’s a one-shot.

$8
STOP BATH

Stop baths aren’t as important as the developer, but they do a critical job. I like to stick with the Ilford stop bath just for consistency. * Water can also be used if a stop bath is not available.

$6
FIXER

Like the stop bath, fixers aren’t extremely important, but I like to stay with my brand. You can choose whatever fixer you want. * To clarify this statement, I meant that which specific fixer you choose isn’t as important as which developer you use.

$10
WETTING AGENT

For those of us with really hard water, a wetting agent can be a life saver. This little solution helps to clear your film of hard-water deposits while making it dry faster.

$8

* Added for clarification based on reader comments

Remember, these are things that you’ll use-up over and over again (in addition to film). They’re actually pretty cheap, but you have to remember to keep them stocked so you don’t run out and inconvenience yourself. In addition to these consumable items, I’ve got a list of “luxury” items below that might make your “film developing” life easier, but they aren’t completely necessary (unless you’re a film addict).

LUXURY ITEMS

CAN OPENER

These are nice to have when trying to pry the bottom off the film cassette in complete darkness. But you can also use some types of regular bottle openers to get the job done.

$11
DELUXE REEL

Like I said before, buy the best reel you can afford. Get the cheap ones and you’ll be fighting with the film after a couple of rolls. These expensive ones are built to take typical abuse.

$20
DOUBLE TANK

If you shoot a lot of 35mm film (or medium format film), you might consider buying a double tank rather than a single tank. These guys will fit two 35mm reels or one 120 reel. Handy for saving some extra time and effort.

$14
MEDIUM FORMAT REEL

And of course if you’re shooting medium format, you’ll need a medium format film reel. These guys are easier to load than the 35mm reels, but sill buy a decent one.

$13
CHANGING BAG

Changing bags are helpful if you don’t want to seal off a whole room (which is a requirement for loading film on a reel). I don’t have one of these, but it sure would save me some time.

$16
ARCHIVE SHEETS

Of course, after you develop you film you’ll need somewhere to put it. Use archival quality sleeves to preserve your negatives. And use the 7×5 sheets so you can make contact prints later in your career (yes, I made the mistake of using 6×6 sheets and I’m now regretting it).

$10

I could probably go on and on about all the other pieces of equipment that would make developing easier, but we’ll cut it off right here. The point is, you can shoot and develop your own black and white film for a relatively inexpensive upfront cost. Operating costs beyond that are fairly minimal, with the actual film being the most expensive component.

What Camera Should I Buy?

I Don't Have A Problem...

At some point in time, this is a question that every photographer asks. It’s also a question that I get asked frequently — probably several times per week. And that’s totally cool! It’s just that I find myself usually giving the same answers to people. So I thought I’d wrap a few thoughts into a post for those who haven’t ventured out to ask the question yet.

First of all, you have to understand that I never give out the answer as a specific make and model. If you ask that question of anybody and they give you a specific answer, don’t listen to it. The process of selecting a new camera is so involved that somebody else can’t answer it for you. But if you’re in the market, here are 3 important things to ask yourself:

1. Do You Own Equipment?

If you already have lenses, flashes, and other accessories for a specific camera brand, it’s probably a better choice to stick with that brand. The main reason is cost — starting over with a new brand can be a real hassle. This applies to those of you who shot film in recent years, and you still have equipment that fits modern cameras. If you don’t have existing stuff, just ignore this question.

2. What’s Your Budget?

Money makes the world go ’round. Before you even start comparing brands or models of cameras, think about how much money you’re willing to spend on a camera. This is VERY important — set that limit, and stick to it. Otherwise, you’ll be having nightmares for the next two years.

3. How Does It Feel In Your Hands?

Once you get past the first two questions, it really boils down to this. If a camera feels out of place in your hands, you won’t enjoy it (and it’s all about fun, now isn’t it?). Put aside all the resolution-noise-speed-focus-format-button-menu-stabilization-etc… CRAP! And make sure you’re comfortable with how the camera feels in your hands. You’re the one who has to hold it and use it for the next long while, so you might as well make it enjoyable. Once you get a feel for the cameras, then you can jump back into all the technical stuff and proceed to torment yourself.

And if you’re looking for some follow-up reading material on the subject, here are a few good ones:

What other tips and advice do you have for buying new (or used) cameras?

Birthday Gift #2 Winners

Our second giveaway has come to an end and we’ve got three winners for the 2-week lens rental via BorrowLenses.com. Here they are:

And if you’re still looking for a freebie, be sure to enter the giveaway for three black & white prints, fresh out of my darkroom.

I had a few other sponsors in the works, but they may or may not pan out. So this may be your last chance at some free stuff… for now.