Tag Archives: gear

Link Roundup 09-30-2010

Don’t forget that we have ongoing themes in our Flickr pool and I’ll be selecting my favorites on the topic of “Camera Porn” sometime next week. We only have a few entries in the pool, so be sure to see here for details on participating.

Link Roundup 04-03-2010

Weekly Deals and Specials

FROM B&H

SanDisk 8GB Extreme CompactFlash Memory Card
$69.99 + Free Shipping (USA)

Seagate 1TB FreeAgent Go Portable Hard Drive (Tuxedo Black)
Price: $179.99 – $30.00 = $149.99 + Free Shipping (USA)

Sony DPF-A72N/B Digital Photo Frame 7″ LCD (QVGA) (Black)
Price: $94.95 – $25.00 = $69.95 + Free Shipping (USA)

FROM ADORAMA

Adorama Strobo-Socks, Nylon Fabric Diffuser for Portable Strobes, Pack of 2.
Save 54%
Regular Price $12.95
Sale Price $5.95
Free Shipping

Samsung SL Series SL820 Digital Point & Shoot Camera, 12.2 Megapixel, 5x Optical Zoom, 3″ TFT LCD Screen, Silver
Save 46%
Regular Price $279.99
Sale Price $149.95
Free Shipping

Pentax K7 14.6 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Body Only with 3.0″ LCD Monitor
$200 price drop !!!
Free Shipping

Pentax K7 14.6 Megapixel Digital SLR Camera Body with DA 18mm – 55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR (Weather Resistant) Lens
$200 price drop !!!
Free Shipping

Giottos MT-8340, 4 Section Carbon Series, Universal Tripod Legs, Supports up to 3 Kg, Maximum Height 55.1″, Black
Sale Price $199.95
Free Shipping

Joby Professional Gorillapod Focus, Flexible Aluminum SLR Tripod, Supports 11 Lbs.
Save 34%
Regular Price $99
Sale Price $64.95
Free Shipping

Cullmann High Load Magnesit Ball Head 35 with 40490 Deluxe Plate, Supports 66.0 lbs, 5″ High
Save 27%
Regular Price $179
Sale Price $129.95
Free Shipping

Tamrac #5602 System 2 Compact Camera Bag for 35mm or Digital Cameras, Blue.
Save 44%
Regular Price $44.95
Sale Price $24.95
Free Shipping

Interfit Photographic EX150 MKII Kit with Two 150 watt Second Monolight Flashes, with Umbrella, Softbox, Bulbs and Stands
Save 17%
Regular Price $299.95
Sale Price $249.94
Free Shipping

Lexar 2 GB Platinum II Memory Stick Professional Duo Memory Card
Save 33%
Regular Price $14.95
Sale Price $9.95

Wacom Intuos 3 – 4 x 6 Tablet / Nik Software Silver Efex Pro Bundle
Sale Price $194.95

(these are affiliate links — they cost you nothing extra, and help provide funding for this website)

Adorama Weekly Specials

I get a listing of weekly specials from Adorama each week, but I’ve never posted them for some reason. Note that these are affiliate links (which help support this site), and I’m not saying anything about these items other than the fact that they’re on sale this week. Do your own research and purchase responsibly.

Also, is this type of “weekly specials” post useful for any of you? I’m not generally a bargain hunter, but I know some of you might be!

Tamron 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6 DI-II LD Macro Ultra Compact Auto Focus Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon EOS Digital SLRs – USA Warranty
Save $14.96
Regular Price $164.95
Sale Price $149.99

Pacific Image PrimeFilm 3600U, 35mm Film Scanner with 3600dpi, USB Interface
Save 41%
Regular Price $169.95
Sale Price $99.95
Free Shipping

Samsung DualView TL220 12.2 MP Digital Point & Shoot Camera with 27mm Wide Angle Lens, 4.6x Optical Zoom, 3″ LCD Screen, Blue
Sale Price $224.95
Limited time only
Free Shipping

Samsung DualView TL220 12.2 MP Digital Point & Shoot Camera with 27mm Wide Angle Lens, 4.6x Optical Zoom, 3″ LCD Screen, Red
Sale Price $224.95
Limited time only
Free Shipping

Westinghouse DPF-0804 8″ Digital Frame, 4:3 Aspect, 800×600 Resolution, 128MB Internal Memory, with One Ebony and One Wood Grain Frame
Sale Price $49
Free Shipping

Olympus FE-4000 12MP Digital Camera, 4x Optical Zoom, 4x Digital Zoom, 2.7″ LCD Screen – Magenta
Save 17%
Regular Price $119.95
Sale Price $99.95
Free Shipping

(these are affiliate links — they cost you nothing extra, and help provide funding for this website)

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?

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.

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.

Gear Swap Project at DIYPhotography.net

DIYPhotography.net is running a cool project where you’re asked to swap gear with a buddy and write up a review of the borrowed equipment. This is a neat idea because we often become desensitized to the pros and cons of our own equipment, but these things are very obvious when using new gear. The project gives you the opportunity to experience something new while also contributing a resource to the online community (your review).

The guidelines for the project are simple: find a partner, swap gear, go shooting with your partner, write a review, and post some photos. The gear swap could be anything including cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, tripods, etc. Some good ideas might include exchanging your Canon for a Nikon, your dSLR for a P&S, your digital camera for analog, your super-telephoto for a super-wide, your zoom for a prime, and so on.

The project is also a contest, and three winners will be picking up some two-week equipment rentals from BorrowLenses.com. First place gets a camera/lens combo, second gets a camera body, and third gets a lens (the specific bodies and/or lenses will be chosen by the winners). Also, the contest is only open to US residents due to the nature of the prizes and the location of the sponsor.

As a judge for the contest, I’ll be looking for quality reviews that are packed with good information and accounts of the experience. I’ll also be judging the entries on creativity and presentation, so put a little extra time and effort into it — it’ll go a long way. Jim Talkington will also be choosing a winner for the contest.

OFFICIAL PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT AT DIYPHOTOGRAPHY.NET

Less Gear Equals More Enjoyment

I was recently speaking with Sam Abell, a very experienced photographer, and we landed on the subject of photographer mentality while out shooting. Sam mentioned that he takes a minimalistic approach to his gear, and that he’d take photos without a camera if he could. Since that’s not feasible, he usually heads out with just two camera bodies equipped with two different prime lenses.

Sam went on to say that, for him, less gear allows him to be more “in the moment”. And this is coming from a photographer with years of experience shooting for National Geographic.

Stop and think about that for a second. How often do you go out shooting fully geared and you end up fussing around with all your lenses and accessories. Not to mention hauling around a bag full of stuff that gets in your way or weighs you down. At the end of your session, did you really need everything you brought? Or did you take it just because you might have needed it?

Sam’s thoughts on the subject made me realize that I had already discovered the same for myself, I just hadn’t been cognizant of it. Some months ago, I started ditching my camera bag and running out with just one or two (or sometimes three) cameras around my neck. OK, three gets to be cumbersome, but I can’t help myself sometimes. In doing so, I’ve found that photographing is more enjoyable and I’m not missing shots while messing with a camera bag or swapping lenses. I’m more “in the moment” when I have less gear on me.

So here’s a tip: Every once in a while, just head out with one camera and nothing else (alright, a pocket camera bag is allowed). If you really want to go minimalist, slap on a prime lens and leave the zooms at home. Oh, and while you’re out shooting, don’t ruin the moment by being regretful for leaving your equipment behind… just be in the moment and enjoy it.

Oh, and you’ll find out more about the conversation with Sam Abell on October 21st.